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Money Matters

Essay winner confronts the cost of medical care in the U.S.

 

Money MattersAs a primary care physician in Baltimore, Laura Sander, MD, MPH ’12, chief resident in the School’s General Preventive Medicine Residency program, often witnesses her patients struggling with medical expenses.

The issue became personal when Sander's father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma while working in France. Her family chose to bring him home for treatment.

With European medical coverage, Sander’s father was “under-insured” in the U.S. The family was concerned about paying for tests, surgeries and medications. Her parents even considered selling their home to cover costs.

“It’s a really tough spot and I know many, many Americans are faced with this,” said Sander, who decided to write an essay about her family’s experience for a contest sponsored by Costs of Care, a nonprofit that raises awareness of health costs.

Chosen as a finalist and published in Cost of Care’s blog, Sander recounted care providers’ seeming detachment when her family asked about the costs of tests or medications.

“They often expressed polite concern, said something along the lines of ‘I don’t deal with that,’ then referred us to billing,” she wrote.

“I think my dad’s story highlights a lot of the challenges in our health care system and I wanted to add to that conversation” said Sander, who is pursuing a career in primary care and preventive medicine.