Crises often highlight both the best and the worst of humanity. Coronavirus is no exception. It has brought out the best in America’s health-care workforce. Public support for nurses, doctors, and other frontline workers is overwhelming. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, food service workers, janitors, and administrators, among countless others have risen to the challenges of high intensity work in the setting of a novel virus, without preventative strategies or treatment options, limited testing, little PPE, and not enough ventilators. Doctors are going to work in some cases not knowing whether we will be paid, and in all cases not knowing whether we will survive. By May, about 60,000 health-care workers had tested positive, and about 300 have died.
But just as we are going to work regardless of our employers’ ability to pay us, all patients—all—are being cared for regardless of their ability to pay the