American Health Care: Too Much, Too Late?

November 14, 2013 6:03 PM

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Last year, while doing book research in New Haven, Connecticut, we met a social worker who told us about a twenty-eight-year-old man with diabetes. He had been living in a vacant, boarded-up house; to avoid being seen there, he entered through the marshes behind the home. His shoes were full of holes, but he couldn’t afford to replace them. He also sometimes went several days without fresh food. As a result of his bad diet, he struggled to control his diabetes; after a lifetime of poor insulin control, he was starting to lose circulation in his feet.

The man had recently got two toes removed from his right foot to save his life, an operation with a baseline cost of at least four thousand seven hundred dollars, and his feet were already badly infected. Several people at the hospital emphasized the importance of keeping his feet dry, getting prope...

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