Medically Induced Bankruptcy: An American Disease

In the U.S. we have no system of health care but rather a well oiled revenue generating infrastructure that incidentally provides care while charging excessive amounts.  This distorts our entire economy.  We spend nearly 20% of the GDP for medical related expenditures.  It’s literally your money or your life (Thank you Marcia Angell).

Even with the affordable care act in force this still happens.

The woman tells WISC-TV [via Reddit] that in Sept. 2013 she went into cardiac arrest and was taken by ambulance to a hospital that was out of her insurance network instead of the one — only a few blocks farther away — that accepts her Anthem Blue Cross coverage.

Had she gone to the in-network hospital, she’d only have been hit with about $1,500 in expenses. But since she was taken to the other hospital, she now has to pay the huge difference between what her insurance company paid the hospital and what the hospital charges.

“I was in a coma,” explains the woman. “I couldn’t very well wake up and say, ‘Hey, take me to the next hospital.’”

Read the article for more.

Medicynical note:  For my friends who think the “free market” is the solution and that we merely need to shop for the best price and become informed before purchasing,  this woman’s situation typifies health care.  It is not discretionary, it is often emergent, there may not be another option locally, pricing is unclear,  often obfuscated and not fully apparent at the start. 

The U.S. remains the only industrialized country in the world without a national health program, the only country in which people go bankrupt from health care expenses, which are by far the highest in the world. 

And the newly elected republican congress wants to make things worse.  America is truly exceptional. 

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