"Lessons of a $618,616 death"
I arrived at the gym tonight with nothing to read. Given that 30 minutes on the bike can seem like eternity, I went to check out whatever was left behind by those smart enough to bring along some reading material. I found only two recent but ragged magazines--BusinessWeek and Entertainment Weekly. My heart sunk--I was facing eternity on the bike. Then the BusinessWeek cover caught my eye: Lessons of a $618,616 death. The cover story was written by Amanda Bennett about her husband, who died after a 6-year struggle with kidney cancer. After his death, she read all 5,000 pages of his medical records, analyzed every medical bill, and tells the story of his illness in an incredibly honest way. She describes some of the fundamental flaws of the US healthcare system, the bizarre workings of the insurance industry, the moral hazard of having good insurance, and the desperation of the terminally ill that leads to a spare-no-expense mentality even when the odds of success are very, very small. In the end, she feels guilty about the fact that the resources spent on trying to save her husband could have vaccinated a quarter million children, yet she admits she would do it all over again. The entire article can be read online here. It's a must-read.