September, 2009 browsing by month


Health care reform will save the U.S. $250 billion per year says Institute of Medicine

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

No one should die in America for lack of health insurance. Yet so many people do – one every thirty minutes.

We know we have to change this. It’s one of the great moral issues our country faces. Yet, there are those who say, we can’t afford to cover everyone. I can’t fathom that argument. I believe that all deserve the right to life-saving treatment.

So I was happy to learn that we will soon have an economic argument as well as a moral argument to support making health care available to all.

The Institute of Medicine is about to release a study that reportedly found that, some years after reform is instituted, we  may save up to $250 billion per year over what we’d pay if we did nothing.

That gives us every reason to reform health care and no excuses not to. The moral imperative is obvious, at least to me, as a doctor who has treated both the very poor and the very wealthy. The economic argument should counter those who want to do less or nothing at all.

To save lives (and even, we now learn, to save money), it’s time to provide no loopholes, no fine print, real, affordable health care coverage for all.

– Yvonne  S. Thornton, MD, MPH

UPDATE: The above figures, showing that one person dies every 30 minutes due to lack of health insurance, are from The Institute of Medicine statistics of 2002. A new study, just released today by Harvard Medical School researchers, shows that it’s even worse than that: today, one person dies every 12 minutes due to lack of health insurance.

A reader “adopts” my father

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I recently heard from a reader of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, named Sheila. Like so many who have sought me out over the years, Sheila had words of admiration for my father. But for her, my book about how my blue collar laborer, high school dropout father instilled the importance of an education is his daughters provided an especially poignant inspiration:

I grew up in the projects and never had a father. I purchased your book and Donald Thornton became my father. Whenever I wanted to give up or thought I was not smart enough I would remember his stern words and teachings. Your dad is the father every little black girl in America needs. I am soon to finish my Bachelors Degree in Nursing and going for a Ph.D.

It’s letters like this that keep me going through the tough times, knowing I’ve made a difference in the lives of others by sharing my story.

And that’s why I wish I didn’t have to wait to announce some major, and very exciting news. I hope you will bear with me for a little while longer. That announcement should be coming very soon.

– Yvonne Thornton, MD, MPH