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Dr. Lipson writes his own blog called White Coat Underground, contributes and helps edit at Science-Based Medicine, and contributes to The Science Business Blog at Forbes.com where this piece originally appeared.

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Proper prenatal care contributes to healthier babies and mothers. Though access has been improving, minority women were twice as likely as white women to get prenatal care only in the third trimester, or not at all. Mothers who delay or forgo prenatal care are three times more likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby than mothers who do get care, which quintuples their baby's risk of dying, according to the U.S. Office of Women's Health. An estimated 84 percent of pregnant women in the U.S.

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This story is about the angst and frustration experienced while not having health insurance followed by the serenity experienced after completing a surgical procedure because I was covered with medical insurance

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We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

Picture of William Heisel

It sounds like a line a standup comic might use while flailing for a laugh: "What's a guy gotta do around here to get arrested? Steal somebody's kidney?"

If you are a doctor in a hospital in most of the United States, the answer is: yes.

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Six of the world's biggest drug companies are about to be winnowed down to three. If all the mergers go through, we will have Pfizer-Wyeth, Merck-Schering-Plough and Roche-Genentech controlling more than $100 billion in drug sales every year - amounting to one seventh of all revenues for drug companies worldwide. (I wrote a story about this a couple weeks ago for the Los Angeles Times.)

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Two years ago, poor medical care in state prisons accounted for about one inmate death each week. A federal judge took over and the state terminated about 60 substandard physicians. That's left many prisons without enough doctors, but not the Calipatria prison about 100 miles east of San Diego. KPCC's Julie Small reports on one doctor who's quickly building the staff.

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