Given Institute kicks off summer lectures Thursday

Aspen Times Staff Report

With America’s health care system deteriorating, even some doctors are worried about finding a doctor.

As he looks toward retirement, Joel Levine, M.D., is one of those who’s worried – perhaps because he’s studied the warning signs of America’s health care system for more than 20 years.

In the first lecture of the Given Institute’s summer series, Levine will speak on “Our Nation’s Health Care Crisis” on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Given Institute, 100 E. Francis St. in Aspen. The program is free, and refreshments will be available at 5 p.m.

Levine will talk about how U.S. health care came to be “inequitable, incoherent, expensive and unreliable.” He will challenge the audience to re-examine the underlying assumptions in the health care debate as he explores “how we got here and if there is a way out.”

Levine, a professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, has worked as the health legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.

“Even for a person with insurance and Medicare, it’s much less likely for that person to find a doctor who will treat them than it was two years ago,” said Levine. “We need to heighten people’s awareness about how the system, or the non-system as I call it, is steadily falling apart.”

Upcoming Given lectures include: July 31, former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm on “End of Life Decisions”; Aug. 7, Bernard Wagner, M.D., “Health and the Environment: Why are We Scared?”; Aug. 12, Richard A. Spritz, M.D., “The Human Genome Project and the Future of Medicine”; Aug. 19, Lee Osterman, M.D., “The Boundless Potential of Peripheral Nerve Regeneration”; and Sept. 18, Dr. David Braddock, “Cognitive Disability, Emerging Technology and the University of Colorado’s Coleman Institute.”