When Robert E. Goff and I decided to co-author a book employing our collective knowledge of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the medical and debt collections industries to expose their inequities and shortfalls, we had no idea of the amount of work - and by that, I mean teamwork - that would be required.
At the start we only shared the quality other would-be authors have in abundance: passion.
Robert and could only guess as to the public's reception to a book that deals with the pain inflicted on their fellow Americans by the medical, pharma, insurance and collections industries . Would the response be tepid - or heated? Would our readers ignore our call for education and action, or would people reach for the pitchforks and torches?
The next few weeks will decide that, as The Patient, The Doctor and The Bill Collector was only formally published on February 1, 2016.
Now, back to that teamwork. As any scribe will tell you (including my fellow bloggers here at the Huffington Post), sitting in front of a keyboard is only a start, albeit a good one. What happens to what is created on the pages produced is the interesting part. There is need for copy reading, indexing, annotating, pagination, interior design, cover design, a savvy publisher, printers, promotional pieces, a website...oh my.
The two of us can say that, with the final product in our hands, it was all worth it. This doesn't answer the question of why we went through this expensive, lengthy and time-consuming process. The answer to that is found again in that quality we share with other authors: passion.
Our passion is to bring the inequities of America's so-called "medical system" to light in as clear and forceful a language as possible so that anyone reading The Patient, The Doctor and The Bill Collector might have an "Ah ha" moment. We also were driven to offer remedies. To turn our work into something that could be seen less "how to," than "how come?"
How come we have the most expensive medical system in the world? How come our big-government, big-carrier apparatus seems designed to deliver industry profits rather than truly affordable medical care? How come over 60% of American citizens seeking bankruptcy protection list medical bills as the reason driving them to take this drastic step?
How come, indeed
And, there's that other passion which had to be slaked. We didn't want to just write about the problem, we decided to take the lead in showing our readers at least one path towards solving that problem. Out of this came the launch of a charity we named, RIP Medical Debt.
Its intention is grand: raise enough money in contributions from generous hearted Americans to enable us to go out to the medical debt buying industries and hospitals, buy that debt before it reached the desk of one more bill collector, and then ABOLISH it. Yep - vanished. And, at no obligation to the patient affected.
Teamwork was required here as well. We engaged with Craig Antico, CEO and co-founder of RIP Medical Debt (I am the co-founder, and Robert Goff is on the board) as well as sympathetic members of the collections and debt buying industries to set in place the infrastructure.
There was also medical receivables to buy. Our first physician-contributor of debt to be abolished was Brent Wise, MD, former NYU School of Medicine and Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and now Director of Physician Relations at RIP Medical Debt.
Thanks in part to Bob Parks and Laura Erickson of BlackAndBlondeMedia and sympathetic members of the debt buying industry, our attention was brought to the plight of America's active duty as well as military veterans who are afflicted with unpaid medical debt.
Vets deep in medical debt to the tune of over $1,000,000,000
We immediately set out to address this problem at our website and placed a special donation tab for that purpose. Craig Antico and I have recently been recognized for that attention by way of two major interviews on Sirius XM radio with conservative radio host David Webb and progressive host Richard Ungar.
Having established at this point that we talk the (book) talk, and walk the (charity) walk, our next team building challenge is to find people who share those qualities and our interests. It might start with the purchase of the book at our website or making a donation to help veterans at RIP's site.
Is that you? Are you ready to perform a random act of kindness? Then, welcome aboard and help us perform our mission:
Abolishing Medical Debt. For Good.