Books | Government

April 23, 2007

The Complete Layman's Guide to the Health-Care System

Health-care expert and author Jonathan Cohn helps Gelf understand America's maddeningly confusing health insurance system.

Sarah Arnquist

Elizabeth and Steven Hilsabeck, a young, middle-class couple in Austin, Texas, were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their first children, twins. They had health insurance through Steven's banking job and believed they were prepared for any eventuality. Then their babies were born with severe complications. Baby Parker needed intensive physical therapy if he was ever going to walk, but the Hilsabecks' HMO decided it wasn’t necessary and left them with a bill they couldn't afford. After years of therapy, Parker did eventually learn to walk, but the Hilsabecks lost their home, and their marriage.

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Article by Sarah Arnquist

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