- Protect yourself and your loved ones. Pronto. If you qualify for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, sign up, immediately. Go to healthcare.gov to learn more and to launch the process. The deadline is Friday (Dec. 15). Partisans shortened up the sign-up time, publicized the program poorly, and have sought to undercut Obamacare in myriad ways. But for millions of poorer and middle-class Americans, the ACA is a solid path still to all-important health coverage.
- While you’re online, go to organdonor.gov (click here) to join a national registry of Americans who have volunteered life saving and life changing parts of themselves with a post-mortem gift. More than 100,000 Americans await hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, and other invaluable tissues, and 8,000 of our family members, friends, and work colleagues will die because suitable organs can’t be found for them. You can, of course, sign up to be a donor when you earn or renew your driver’s license. The national registry is a way to ensure further that your wishes will be followed. Be sure, too, to tell your family and loved ones you’re a donor. You also may want to think about becoming a “live” donor.
- Talk to your doctor, ask around at the nearest academic medical center, or go online to clinicaltrials.gov to learn more about how you might assist with scientific research and advances. Volunteers play a crucial role in medical research, but investigators struggle to recruit them. Few Americans participate in clinical trials. You can have a role in research projects if you’re healthy or if you have a disease or condition under study. There can be risks and rewards for participating, and you need to give an informed consent to join any study.
- Think global, as Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, has suggested. He recently wrote an excellent piece, suggesting that his readers might help people in need, near and far, by supporting efforts to rid them of parasites, fix their painful teeth, correct their foot deformities, or provide them mosquito netting so they don’t get malaria and other debilitating tropical infections. Kristof, twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is a careful reporter. The organizations he recommends for readers’ support, he says, have been checked out by GiveWell. It’s a “nonprofit dedicated to finding outstanding giving opportunities and publishing the full details of our analysis to help donors decide where to give.” GiveWell says its top targeted charities, some highlighted by Kristof, “are evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, underfunded organizations.”
- Our law firm year-round tries to support worthy community organizations. You can find our list of these by clicking here to learn more. If you’ve got suggestions about additions or if you have money burning a hole in your pockets that you’d like to discuss donating, ping us because my colleagues and I are committed to serving our communities.
Just FYI, giving to others and being grateful for what we have and can share can have a positive impact on our own health and well-being. Some call it an “attitude of gratitude.” Whatever term you use, know that giving to worthy organizations is good for all of us, and for you too.