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American woman laments that she can't afford medical emergency in Tokyo, bill turns out to be $33

Having become familiar with the notoriously expensive process of seeking treatment in the country, Americans are often shocked to see how affordable healthcare is abroad.

American woman laments that she can't afford medical emergency in Tokyo, bill turns out to be $33
Cover Image Source: Getty Images (representative)

It's no secret that the US healthcare system is deeply flawed. From a mom receiving a $600 bill for the birth of a son who only lived three minutes to a Texas county jailing individuals who're unable to pay their medical dues, America leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to affordable healthcare. Having become familiar with the notoriously expensive process of seeking treatment in the country, Americans are often shocked to see the stark contrast in other countries. Twitter user Kyle McLain recently shared one such incident, recounting how one of his clients was in tears when she encountered a medical emergency while in Tokyo.



 

An American client of mine experienced a medical emergency while in Tokyo. I insisted we go to the hospital. However, she was in tears, screaming that she couldn’t afford it, and absolutely didn’t want to go, McLain tweeted. Ultimately, her bill turned out to be just $33, substantially lower than what it would've been in the US. Netizens soon began sharing their own experiences with America's expensive healthcare and how seeking medical help has become a luxury for many. Twitter user Sabrina wrote: A few months back I ended up having to go to the hospital because of a food allergy. The hospital gave me an epi-pen and within the hour let me go home. I got the bill a week later and I'm being charged $1200.



 

This is why Americans don't go to the hospital, a lot of us can't afford it. Getting treated by a health professional has turned into a luxury that not everyone can afford. A lot of us have to decide between getting treated or being able to pay our bills that month. I don't know how we can say that we are a great country when we punish our people like this, she added. Brandon Sheffield, the director of Necrosoft Games, shared his own experience with the American healthcare system vis-a-vis abroad, recounting how he fixed the crown on his teeth in Osaka for a a much lower amount than he would've had to pay in the US.



 

The crown on one of my teeth broke last year. I went to my local dentist and they said the work would start at $3k, and the best insurance would only cover half - the best insurance is like $150/month, he wrote. I happened to be going to Japan the next month, and the pain wasn't excruciating, I could just not chew on that side. I booked an appointment at a nice private clinic in Osaka and went in. They did a full mouth x-ray, took a cast of the tooth, and asked my availability. Turned out they'd need me to come in at least 3 times that week.



 

They asked when I could come in, I mentioned I was there for work, so the earlier the better. They open at 9:30, but they were like, "Oh, if we opened 30 mins early would that be enough?" So they opened early for me, saw me across three+ sessions, did a full mouth x-ray, cleaning, a 2nd root canal (!), and made me a new crown. Guess how much it cost? They said, "since you don't have national insurance, it'll be a bit expensive." It cost me $130 in total, Sheffield revealed.



 

If I had had Japanese national insurance it would've cost half that. Medical care there is subsidized by taxes, and the care was just beyond excellent. It's no wonder people *go to the doctor when they're sick* in Japan. Can you imagine doing that in the US? I was there on a business trip, so my accommodations were taken care of - but I determined I could've paid for a flight to Japan, gotten an Airbnb for a week and hung out the rest of the time, and still save $1,500 vs what it'd cost at the dentist down the street. It is so stupidly, blatantly obvious that we need universal healthcare in this country, and the more I travel the clearer it is. Nobody else walks around sick until they're too ill to move, that's just us. There's no reason for it to be this way but greed, he concluded.



 

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