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Why doctors are offering free tax prep in their waiting rooms | Lucy Marcil

How many of you have had
your doctor ask you about sex? Your mental health? Alcohol use? These questions are almost universal. But how many of you have had
your doctor ask you about money? Most of us haven’t. But that is strange, because
compared to most high-income countries, child poverty is an epidemic
in the United States. It creates conditions that may elevate
stress hormone levels and impair brain development. Poor children in the US are one and a half
times more likely to die and twice as likely to be hospitalized as their middle-class counterparts. So my colleague Dr. Michael Hole
and I started asking moms about money. We knew we needed to reimagine
what a doctor’s visit looks like, to get kids out of poverty and to give them a fair shot
at a healthy life. Our questions led
to a surprising solution: tax credits. It turns out, the earned income
tax credit, or EITC, is the best poverty prescription
we have in the US. The average mom gets two to three
thousand dollars a year from it. When families get it,
moms and babies are healthier: fewer depressed moms, babies weighing more at birth. But one out of five families
who could get it doesn’t, and most who do
lose of hundreds of dollars to the for-profit
tax-preparation industry. One day, a mom asked us
why we couldn’t do her taxes while she waited for the doctor. (Laughter) We all know that purgatory.
Why not make good use of that time? So we started StreetCred, an organization prescribing
tax preparation in clinics serving kids. This is a brand-new approach and one that left some
questioning our sanity. After all, we’re doctors, not accountants. But we have something accountants don’t: access to families. Over 90 percent of kids in the US
see a doctor at least once a year. Their parents trust us and will do anything
to give them a better life. Doctors in every clinic around the country
could be doing this work, too — it’s simple, really. The hospital registers
as a tax-preparation site, and everyone, from medical
students to retirees, can volunteer as a tax preparer
after passing an IRS exam. It’s not as hard as it sounds, I promise. I certainly never thought
I would be doing other people’s taxes, but here I am. We’re nearing the end of our third year. In the first two, we returned
1.6 million dollars to 750 families in Boston alone. This year — (Applause) This year, we’ve expanded
to nine sites in four states. Sixty-three percent of our families
have never heard of the EITC. How can you claim something
you haven’t heard of? And half have never used
free tax preparation. That two to three thousand dollars a year goes a long way. Take hunger. An adequately nutritious, low-cost diet
for a mom and two young kids costs 477 dollars a month. With EITC money, that family
can eat for five to six months. Or think about medical care. Twenty million children in the US
lack access to care meeting modern pediatric standards. And yet, the average cost of that care
is only 400 dollars per kid per year. EITC money can help fix
this access problem. Perhaps most powerfully of all, this money gives moms hope. One mom used her refund
for her son to study abroad in Spain. She was struggling to pay her rent, but she saw EITC money
as his shot at a better future. We have an opportunity, as doctors and as citizens, to get to the root of this problem. We can reimagine health care as a place addressing
the causes of poor health, be it infections or finances. Thank you. (Applause)


  1. Peppi Gaming
    Peppi Gaming August 20, 2018

    First comment

  2. mcup loves waifuwu
    mcup loves waifuwu August 20, 2018

    is the intro new?!

  3. Hayden H
    Hayden H August 20, 2018

    Wait until you discover that Hebrew Cosmology is true and that Earth is flat. Research flat Earth before you laugh too loud. Those pedophiles elites run the world and they hate Jesus. God is OK, Mohammed if fine and anything but JESUS the risen Lord of all soon to return.

  4. mcup loves waifuwu
    mcup loves waifuwu August 20, 2018

    someone already disliked…

  5. Investing Book Summaries
    Investing Book Summaries August 20, 2018

    The more people know about finance the better!

  6. jose yepez
    jose yepez August 20, 2018

    Watch the multiverse theory be true and dark energy and dark matter is really just the gravitational pull of other multiverses near ours

  7. Cr1 Scyth3
    Cr1 Scyth3 August 20, 2018

    How can you dislike when you can’t have even watched the whole thing?

  8. Thomas Hendrik
    Thomas Hendrik August 20, 2018


  9. e4r
    e4r August 20, 2018

    'Doctor Mayo,' John says, 'Whenever I get up after a sleep, I feel dizzy for half an hour, then I'm all right.'

    'Then wait for half an hour before getting up,' replies Doctor Mayo conclusively.

  10. Critical Thinking always
    Critical Thinking always August 20, 2018

    A better topic would be how expensive lunches and lavish dinners for doctors by pharma execs helped kill and destroy millions of familes through an opiod epedemic thats caused more harm then hitler👍

  11. SB -_-/
    SB -_-/ August 20, 2018

    I need to make a calendar, for all the wonderful [smart] lovely women of TED.

  12. aeham taifour
    aeham taifour August 20, 2018

    reach people only who should bring babies poor should use condomes

  13. GURU
    GURU August 20, 2018

    Cristal clear speech 👏

  14. chas ames
    chas ames August 20, 2018

    The Russiabots are going to hate this.

  15. Romanski
    Romanski August 20, 2018

    I don't like this. The poor should stay poor.

  16. alephii
    alephii August 20, 2018

    taxes are not moral, nobody should be robbed that way, with no taxes everybody would be richer and could live with dignity!

  17. Dante Robertson
    Dante Robertson August 20, 2018

    No matter the American people get such terrible healthcare, our doctors wanna be anything other than actual doctors. It was bad enough when the guy or girl who studies English and ends up being a wall street banker, now we got doctors doing taxes. This is not going to end poverty or inequality.

  18. kcmn00
    kcmn00 August 20, 2018

    How about cutting the waiting time though?

  19. Kelly Lve
    Kelly Lve August 20, 2018

    wow . brilliant

  20. Sir Sashimi
    Sir Sashimi August 20, 2018

    I really don’t understand why the US government doesn’t just send out a tax form where you only need to double check and maybe add some deductions instead of filling out page after page of your income and spending throughout the year. The IRS already have this info so why waste everybody’s time and money on calculating this bullshit and hiring a consultant when they could just send out a already filled in form?

  21. mhtinla
    mhtinla August 20, 2018

    American doctors can't even do their own medical coding, how can we trust them to understand tax code? (For those outside America, medical coding is a complex coding system invented by insurance companies that dictates how doctors get paid. Medical coding has developed into a huge industry, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans. No wonder our healthcare is so expensive!!)

  22. Максим Горохов
    Максим Горохов August 20, 2018

    Maybe #Medicare4All would solve most of these problems

  23. King Dedede
    King Dedede August 20, 2018

    thank god we dont have those problems in europe

  24. stefan goatmoon
    stefan goatmoon August 20, 2018

    capitalism on its finest

  25. Adam Albrec
    Adam Albrec August 20, 2018

    Good Luck. Unless you have a way to go back to the top-marginal rates of the 1060's, get the governement to enforce antitrust, prosecute bankers/election fraudsters AND end the Military Industrial Complex's love-affair with WAR, then nothing is really going to improve. The E.I.C. will be done away with in the next few years as soon as the DNC finishes alienating it's base and the GOP completes it's takeover of US Democracy.

  26. Donax313
    Donax313 August 21, 2018

    You should change the title to "…doctors in US". Other countries don't have those problems because they simply got better health care programs.

  27. Meta Self
    Meta Self August 21, 2018

    That's BS about most families not knowing about the EIC!

  28. curioustgeorge03
    curioustgeorge03 August 21, 2018

    On a larger scale this goes to show significantly reducing taxes (instead of collecting it and then giving back in tax credits) helps the poor, not just the rich. All those tax programs created in the name of helping people don't support people like letting people keep their money.

  29. Chibi Blaziken
    Chibi Blaziken August 21, 2018

    How about we start teaching doctors to treat us like humans instead of living bags of money, you walk in tell them you're there sit down for about 20 minutes get called in, you then tell him what's wrong, they tell you we have a pill for that, and they give you a pill and send you on your way, NEEEXT , it's even worse when you have a "mental illness" I have mild autism and they tried to give me five different medicines COSTING OVER $400, I said no obviously I don't need medicine to breathe and enjoy life I just think of everything a little more pessimistically than most people nothing wrong with that, hack I'd call most mental illnesses just being human, but to them they have to fix you cuz if they don't they don't get paid properly, let's start treating patients like friends instead of banks

  30. Brad Allen
    Brad Allen August 21, 2018

    1. My doctor doesn't have people waiting in the waiting room, because the appointments start on time. If the patients are late, we have to reschedule for the next day. (Appointments are usually available within 24 hours any time.)

    That's it. No waiting room waiting. Sorry not sorry!

    (Yes, we also have 24/7 video nurses, and email to our doctors.)

  31. Shahad
    Shahad August 21, 2018

    I just clicked because she's pretty

  32. Wheelsmcdeals ace
    Wheelsmcdeals ace August 21, 2018

    doctors want you to make more so they can make more.

  33. Eli Nope
    Eli Nope August 21, 2018

    I hear a lot about moms who need help but nothing about dads. Women have more rights then men do in the US. Women have more programs to help them then men do in the US. We need to fight the matriarchy.

  34. The Steadfast Duelist
    The Steadfast Duelist August 21, 2018

    It's a weird fusion but I like it.

  35. The Lion's Roar
    The Lion's Roar August 21, 2018

    Here’s the solution: free health care. Yeah, I know, I blew your mind.

  36. Brahmzy
    Brahmzy August 21, 2018

    Not thats $2000 is nothing but $2000 is less than less than $5 per day, who can feed kids on $5 per day

  37. Marry Kurie
    Marry Kurie August 21, 2018

    This is a good example that people need something more than caring about their outer health. This is in my opinion a thing that was just possible because someone listened to problems. 🙂 It's necessary for all of us, that we find someone who listens to our problems and helps us to solve them. These doctors act like counselors, and there are far too few of those in the world.

  38. Nervix 99
    Nervix 99 August 21, 2018

    Arabic plz 💔

  39. grunge2012
    grunge2012 August 21, 2018

    taxation is theft. vote libertarian

  40. Ian O'Riordan
    Ian O'Riordan August 21, 2018

    I loved her as the secretary in Archer.

  41. Ian O'Riordan
    Ian O'Riordan August 21, 2018

    "A mom and two kids" cost of eating? Dad eats, shoots and leaves in the US it seems…

  42. Anny Gruzzyh
    Anny Gruzzyh August 21, 2018


  43. Agent J
    Agent J August 21, 2018

    How about respect others time, and not waste hours of their lives?
    Does she want the plumbers, giving medical advice?

  44. Dave Carl
    Dave Carl August 21, 2018

    If you also did money management courses that would help too….

  45. Iceberg Slim
    Iceberg Slim August 21, 2018

    A Q U E E N

  46. manfred schmalbach
    manfred schmalbach August 22, 2018

    Sheer access to root problems being an issue in a society sounds pretty much like a major development lag, doesn't it?
    I suppose we should deeply review our rating criteria for ranking societies and countries on the "developed" ladder, shan't we?

  47. Gunnslinger50
    Gunnslinger50 August 23, 2018

    Income taxes are theft…

  48. jacobawojtowicz
    jacobawojtowicz August 25, 2018

    How about we quit robbing people through taxation in the first place?

  49. Shivanand Teeluckchan
    Shivanand Teeluckchan August 25, 2018

    By doing that community service your organization will prosper. It is healthy to return to the universe.

  50. JE Hoyes
    JE Hoyes August 27, 2018

    Maybe doctors should offer free fruits and vegetables in their waiting rooms. At this time of year we often have a glut of apples and courgettes in our gardens – doctors’ surgeries could be a great place to offload all those extra apples, courgettes and potatoes etc.

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