Please join the LPE Project, the Global Health Justice Partnership, and the Program for the Humanities in Medicine, on Wednesday, November 29th at 4:00-5:30 PM ET for the Book Launch of Your Money or Your Life: Debt Collection in American Medicine (Oxford University Press, 2023) with Dr. Luke Messac, an emergency physician and historian, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He will be in a conversation with Lindsey Muniak, an organizer with the Debt Collective, who is leading national efforts to address medical debt and financialization in the healthcare sector. The conversation will be moderated by Gregg Gonsalves (Yale School of Public Health).
For the crime of falling sick without wealth, Americans today face lawsuits, wage garnishment, home foreclosure, and even jail time. Your Money or Your Life offers a critical analysis of how we got here, beginning with the neoliberal ascendancy of the 1980s, a period characterized by targeted reduction in social expenditures for the ‘unworthy poor.’ It explores the transformation of medical debt collection practices into the contemporary multibillion-dollar industry, examining the aggressive methods adopted by hospitals such as third-party debt collectors and liens on patients’ homes. At the intersection of healthcare, law, finance, and social justice, Messac’s book highlights the dire consequences for patients of medical debt collection, from financial despair to denial of non-emergency medical care to the destruction of the foundational trust between doctors and patients.
We are holding this event at Yale Medical School because, as Messac’s book recounts, Yale New Haven Hospital’s aggressive tactics against low-income patients in the early 2000s harmed the community to such a degree that it propelled the issue of healthcare debt into the public discourse, ultimately leading to legislative action.
Dr. Messac will be in conversation with Lindsey Muniak, an organizer with the Debt Collective, who leads national efforts to address medical debt and financialization in the healthcare sector. She is co-chair of End Medical Debt Maryland, a statewide coalition of nearly 70 organizations fighting predatory medical billing and collections practices, educating Marylanders on their rights as patients, and working to eliminate barriers to care.
This event will be hybrid. Those wishing to attend in person at Yale Medical School (in the Hope 216 Lecture Hall, 315 Cedar Street) can register here. For virtual attendance, please register at this link.
This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Health Policy, and Management, the Program in the History of Science and Medicine, and the National Clinician Scholars Program Collaboration for Regulatory Rigor, Integrity, and Transparency.