A Collection of Problems with the US Health Care System

Retired. Washington. Statement 10193.

Categories: Patient Statements
Tagged as:

State:: Washington

Occupation:: Retired

In January 2012 I experienced a terribly painful flareup of gout in both my feet and both knees. The pain was unimaginable. After a few days of sitting on the couch unable to move, eat, take pain medication, and the like, I contacted an emergency vehicle to transport me to the closest ER, St Francis Hospital in Federal Way, WA. I had been an outpatient at this facility in the past, and had always been covered for health care costs by Medicaid, so I didn’t have to pay any hospital bills. I was confident in the ability of the staff to take care of my situation. Shortly prior to this incident, my Medicaid was cancelled and I was to begin receiving Medicare, but was not doing so at that time. (I was in between Medicare and Medicaid, and as such, I had no insurance coverage). After spending about a day and a half in the hospital being treated for chronic gout and anemia (as I could not feed myself for several days due to being immobile), I was released to begin my post-hospital recuperation (which consisted mainly of drinking lots of fluids, taking pain medication, and rest). After a few days I was much better and essentially pain free.

About one month later I received in the mail a highly-detailed and comprehensive bill, in an amount in excess of $22,000! As this incident happened about a year ago, I continue to receive bills from this hospital system, and I simply cannot afford to pay them. (In addition, I received bills from the Ambulance company, another $1000+.) I currently am receiving Social Security Disability in the amount of $950 per month, and although I am now on Medicare, I have not needed to use it at this time. I am very dismayed (but not surprised, however) at receiving this $22,000 bill.

If the US had Universal health care these costs would be covered, but apparently those in power in the US are simply to greedy to allow such a logical, humane system to be implemented here. I’m not worried so much about myself, but about those who will, through no fault of their own, through accident or disease, go through a similar horrendous experience with our nation’s ‘health care’ system. I am particularly concerned with young people, who are likely to be saddled with health care debt for the rest of their lives.