Our grandparents gave their children the world — then took it back again

When I stopped being able to relax, I didn’t even notice it happening. Between one childhood summer and the next, I went from walking to places just to be there and watching fish swim in shallow water to having a Purpose. I still knew where to go to hear baby frogs sing and why home-made ice cream tasted better than store-bought, but it stopped being important. Or so I thought.

As I moved through childhood, I began developing an insatiable demand for things to make sense —…


You know it, I know it, and it’s time we all admitted it

Today, millions of Americans seem convinced that healthcare should only be provided to those they consider to be worthy of such support — and those lucky few usually don’t include the long-term poor. They may say that they’re just being practical — that we can’t afford to pay healthcare costs for everyone — but the truth is that they don’t want to see the poor get coverage.

These beliefs have made it almost impossible to discuss the real issues affecting healthcare costs, quality and consumer access to…


As a patient, I’ve often struggled to get adequate access to my local pharmacist, given how overworked most community pharmacists are. As someone who takes multiple drugs, this can be a difficult problem.

After all, the likelihood of medication-related concerns rises the more meds you take, and even the most experienced patient will have trouble figuring out whether their particular symptoms were due to an interaction, a side effect or something else entirely.

However, there may be at least a partial solution to this problem. It’s time for someone to develop a medication bot or virtual pharmacist which handles at…


In his widely-read book on protecting yourself from violence, “The Gift of Fear,” author Gavin de Becker describes how people focus on high-profile events and tune out day-to-day threats:

We all watched as bodies were carried away from the Oklahoma City bombing, and by the end of that week we learned to our horror that nineteen children had died in the blast. [Meanwhile,] seventy children died that same week at the hands of a parent, just like every week–and most of them were under five years old.

Our reaction to the spread of the coronavirus follows the same pattern. In…


As a patient, I’ve often struggled to get adequate access to my local pharmacist, given how overworked most community pharmacists are.

As someone who takes multiple drugs, this can be a difficult problem.

After all, the likelihood of medication-related concerns rises the more meds you take, and even the most experienced patient will have trouble figuring out whether their particular symptoms were due to an interaction, a side effect or something else entirely.

However, there may be at least a partial solution to this problem. It’s time for someone to develop a medication bot or virtual pharmacist which handles…


Decades of experiments prove that our current system doesn’t work

Every decade or two, U.S. healthcare industry talking heads insist that this time, they’ve found a way to make money and deliver great patient care.

The latest strategy getting healthcare execs worked up is the value-based care model, which assumes that if providers are paid to deliver good health outcomes rather every service they deliver and test they order, everybody wins.

If you read the breathless articles pumped out by consulting firms, health insurance companies and industry seers, you’d think we were on the brink of a massive breakthrough —…


I was almost ejected from my health insurance by a system increasingly designed to drop consumers

Back in 2017, my husband and I became eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan, the coverage made available through the Affordable Care Act. Yes, we’re talking about the nefarious Obamacare program that our Fearful Leader — in fact, the entire Republican party — is still trying desperately to kill.

Signing up for coverage was pretty easy. All I had to do was visit the Healthcare.gov site, looked at my options and chose a policy. When I finished signing up and paid for my…


Over the past seven years, as we’ve struggled to get solvent, mentally well and credit-worthy, we have lived in four different basement apartments. And over those years, they’ve gone from a quick fix for an untenable housing situation to pure misery.

Initially, we saw basement living as a relief. The first time we rented underground, my husband and I were at an all-time low financially and emotionally, behind on our the rent and desperate for somewhere safe to go. He had just gotten out of rehab. …


Tonight, I saw David Crosby on tour with the Sky Trails band at a music hall in Virginia. My husband and I seldom blow our budget on concert tickets but come on, this is The Croz. He’s almost a part of my family.

Not only is he a seminal figure whose work with Crosby Stills Nash (and sometimes the elusive Young) has informed American culture for nigh-on fifty years, his music has been a part of some of the most important moments of our lives, like when we sang a CSN song as my first son was born. I mean…


It’s all about efficiency, not ideology

Most of the arguments regarding the establishment of a universal healthcare system in the US are ideological. They focus on broad questions about the appropriate role of the federal government in addressing citizens’ needs, rather than the practical outcome that can be expected if a given policy is implemented.

I would argue that it’s time to put aside such ideological battles and get serious about spending healthcare dollars effectively. If we hope to tame healthcare expenses, deliver high-quality care and serve the greatest number of people, we have to get practical. …

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger has been a writer for almost 30 years. She's interested in life, the universe and everything.

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