How bad is the state of healthcare in the United States right now? How about this: Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman had to sell his Nobel Prize gold medal to help pay for medical expenses.
Washington Post has the obituary, which is worth a read for Lederman's many accomplishments:
Sometimes called the “Mel Brooks of physics,” Dr. Lederman was known for his humor and engaging lecture style. (“I’m so old,” he said when he won the Nobel, “I can remember when the Dead Sea was only sick.”) He brought an innovative spark to science beginning in World War II, when as a soldier he helped develop the Doppler radar.
“It was a cruel blow when I got caught speeding years later with a Doppler radar gun,” Dr. Lederman told Smithsonian magazine in 1993, “and the judge didn’t care when I explained that I’d helped create the thing.”