After losing her baby, a new mom was handed a $600 medical bill, displaying the fundamental flaws in America's healthcare system or lack of it.
As the 2020 United States Presidential elections loom closer, candidates have been campaigning through all means possible. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, a fan favorite from the last Presidential elections in 2016, has been focusing deeply on identifying the flaws in the US healthcare system as he hopes to institute a universal healthcare program should he assume the highest office in the country. In this regard, through a recent post uploaded to social media platform Twitter, he asked: What’s the most absurd medical bill you have ever received? While the answers have been truly shocking, one mother shared her experience of being handed a $600 medical bill for the birth of her son, who sadly only lived for three minutes.
Dr. Jennifer Gunter, an OB-GYN and the author of the bestselling book The Vagina Bible, shared: $600 for my son who lived about three minutes. He received no medical care. At all. As he died almost immediately, he didn’t get enrolled in my insurance plan, so I got the bill. From the hospital where I was a doctor. This is, without a doubt, absolutely appalling. She explained in a follow-up tweet how traumatic the experience was: It was from my own department too. Ha! You asked for absurd. When I got home this $600 bill came for Aidan, [my son[. It was addressed to “Parent of Aidan XXX.” And for a second I thought his death was a dream and I got very hopeful he was alive and then confused. And then very sad.
The doctor continued: Then I called the billing department and literally had to argue with them about my son being dead and they didn’t believe me that I let him die without medical care. I am literally explaining how some babies are born to die. They say, “Too bad.” So I wrote a very threatening e-mail to the hospital CEO and told him I would call the newspaper (this was pre-Twitter) and tell everyone how my own hospital tried to bill me for care my dead baby never received. And that is how I became a patient advocate.
While the incredibly high medical bill is undoubtedly shocking, the lack of compassion, too, is a cause for concern. Unfortunately, Dr. Gunter was not the only individual to have terrible experiences with the United States healthcare system. Others weighed in as well. YouTuber Farron Cousins shared: A few years ago in the ER with my daughter suffering a severe asthma attack. [A] representative from billing came in and made us pay $300 BEFORE they would send in a doctor to give her a breathing treatment. Another user, Troy Rudd, posted: In 1991, at age 21, I broke my neck in a diving accident. $1.2 million for eight months in hospital. After months of fighting with Blue Cross and Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, I owed $250,000 after insurance. Filed medical bankruptcy at 23 years old.
However, what was most notable was that others from equally developed nations couldn't possibly imagine what it would be like to live in the United States, the only developed country in the world to not have universal healthcare. Liam Young from the United Kingdom stated: As someone from the UK I have never had a ‘medical bill’. I hope you, [Bernie Sanders], win so that no American has to have one either. And there you have it, folks. Will America finally be able to establish a universal healthcare system following the 2020 Presidential elections? Maybe if voters vote wisely.