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  • Author
    Elyse Conley
  • Co-author

    Sarah Lawrence, MD

  • Title

    Humans of the Gap: Storytelling to Improve Healthcare

  • Abstract


    The United States spends more than twice as much per capita on healthcare than any other country and yet we get less for our money. The rising cost of health insurance and the innumerable gaps in coverage provided by costly American healthcare plans leave people in every corner of this country to grapple with a choice between accessing care and keeping food on the table. One in four Americans with diabetes ration their insulin, and more than 40% of Americans diagnosed with cancer deplete their entire life’s assets within 2 years of diagnosis. When illness and tragedy strike, Americans are left to beg in the streets and on social media. Each year, more than 250,000 campaigns are started on the fundraising platform GoFundMe to cover medical expenses, resulting in more than $650 million raised annually, and yet more than 90% of these campaigns will fail to raise the necessary funds. Every day, people throughout the country suffer in silence under the immense burdens resulting from expensive, inadequate access to medical care.

    The Project:

    Humans of the Gap is a nonpartisan initiative focused on collecting stories and quantitative data from individuals across the US who have experienced challenges accessing or paying for healthcare. We aim to create a concise, accessible record of the real impact of these gaps in healthcare access while also attempting to demonstrate their immense scale.

    Patient Stories:

    Kat Parker, a career waitress and sommelier in Oklahoma, struggled to afford healthcare, but when she was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer after passing out at work, she was thankful that she had coverage. When talking about her struggles with cancer, she remembers how she slowly lost everything; her car, her home, her ability to afford food. “When I was diagnosed, I had no idea that fighting the cancer was going to be the easy part. Fighting with my insurance, feeling like I had to prove that my life was worth saving… that was the hard part. I’m in remission now, but I’m still fighting with my insurance. I don’t know if there will ever come a time when I’ll be able to stop fighting. This is just a part of my life now.”

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