(Oona Tempest/KFF Health News)

Nothing melts our hearts like a health policy valentine. Readers made us swoon this season, writing poetic lines about prescription drug pricing, medical debt, primary care shortages, and more. 

Here are some of our favorites, starting with the grand prize winner and first runner-up, whose entries were each turned into a cartoon by staff illustrator Oona Tempest. 


1st Place

(Illustration: Oona Tempest/KFF Health News; poem: Jennifer Reck)

Darling, this Valentine’s Day,
let’s grab our passports
and fly away to someplace,
where the same drugs cost a fraction
of what they do in the States.

— Jennifer Reck 


Runner-Up 

(Illustration: Oona Tempest/KFF Health News; poem: Sunshine Moore Anger)

I saw the doctor for a check,
I had a lump in my right breast.
Two weeks for the answer.
It wasn’t cancer.
So instead of death, I’m in debt.

— Sunshine Moore Anger


Other Newsroom Favorites 


I was lost in the sadness 
and shock of you leaving, 
Tore my eyes away 
from my Morning Briefing 

How could you leave us, 
Why would you stray? 
When you are loved so dearly by the ACA? 
But I realized too late, 
’Twas not to be, 
My primary care no longer loved me 

– Zac Aulson 


Parental love is beautiful 
And guess what makes it stronger 
A paid parental leave policy 
To stay with baby longer 

– Andrea Ferguson 


The paperwork flirts with my affections, 
A dance of denials, full of rejections. 
My heart yearns for you, my sweet medication, but insurance insists on prior authorization. 

– Sally Nix 


My love for you, darling, is blinding 
Like a clinical trial pre-findings 
But I fear we shall part 
And I’ll lose my heart 
Because of Medicaid unwinding! 

– Kara Gavin