cover art for “Your Money or Your Life”: Dr. Luke Messac’s book on the history of medical debt

An Arm and a Leg

“Your Money or Your Life”: Dr. Luke Messac’s book on the history of medical debt

Season 10, Ep. 5

In 2019, Dr. Luke Messac was a medical resident who found himself spending his day off in a courthouse archive. He’d heard about hospitals suing their own patients over unpaid medical bills. He wanted to know if the hospitals he worked in were doing the same. They were. 

Trained as a historian, Messac then set out to trace the history of this phenomenon, and the story of medical debt in the U.S.

His new book, Your Money or Your Life is the result of that research. 

Luke Messac sat down with us for a chat about how he got interested in medical debt, how medical debt became the massive problem it is today, and what he thinks people who work in health care can do to start to fix it.

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