Why One Doctor Has Started Dispensing Financial Advice

Monday, July 27, 2020
dr lucy marcil

PBS NewaHour Extra

What is An Earned Income Tax Credit?

Studies show that health outcomes are worse for low-income Americans, but pediatrician Dr. Lucy Marcil is changing that as she aims to integrate free tax and financial services into her clinical care. Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To read the transcript, click here.

  • Marcil explains that in America, if you are poor you will have worse health outcomes with any disease. For example, she claims, poor children are one-and-a-half times more likely to die and twice as likely to be hospitalized.
  • She aims in her pediatrics practice to provide financial services and teach families about programs, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, so they can acquire more money for spending on health.
  • Marcil gives an example of the first family she helped in this way, a great-grandmother who had custody of a two-year-old. After receiving money through the EIC, the great-grandmother was able to buy winter clothes and fresh produce.

Key Term: The Earned Income Tax Credit is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income that reduces income tax and may result in a direct payment from the federal government.

Discussion Questions: Health and Income

  1. Essential question: What are some of the ways that health and income are correlated?
  2. Aside from affording health care costs, what are some ways extra income could help improve health?
  3. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit and why is it important? Learn more about this tax credit from the IRS. 
  4. Media literacy: Did you enjoy listening to this person’s story? Do you prefer learning through people’s stories, or would you prefer to examine this topic through data alone? What can stories do that data cannot, and what can data do that stories cannot?



Extension Activity 

There have been many stories of hope of resilience during the pandemic. Watch this NewsHour story about survivors of the COVID pandemic and how they coped and what they learned.

  • What have you learned from these personal accounts that you haven’t learned from scientific studies, journalists or politicians?
  • What have you learned during the pandemic? NewsHour EXTRA hosted their own Brief But Spectacular video challenge for students to submit their videos. Do you have a fun and interesting story of what you learned throughout quarantine? 


Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.