The clip features an itemized list of charges, from anesthesia to physical therapy to a stay in the ICU, which in total came out to a staggering $2.8 million.
A video spreading across the internet like wildfire this week has yet again sparked an outcry about the US healthcare system. Shared by TikTok account @letstalkaboutbusiness, the video appears to show the cost of a four-month stay in an American hospital for COVID-19 treatment. The video — which has been viewed over 10.4 million times on the social media platform so far — features an itemized list of charges, from anesthesia to physical therapy to a stay in the ICU, which in total came out to a staggering $2.8 million.
The printout does, however, explicitly state that it isn't a bill but rather a "summary of charges and payment activity." This could mean that it accounts for charges made before insurance is applied, which may cover most or some of the total. Be that as it may, since most American insurance plans would not cover the entire bill, many could easily still leave patients in thousands of dollars of debt. Even if, in this case, insurance were to cover 90 percent of the charges, the individual would still be on the hook for around $285,000. That's still a substantial chunk of change for an average person.
The biggest charge appears to be $550,458 for respiratory therapy, followed by $404,515 to cover intermediate ICU care. Not far behind, a whopping $324,349 was charged for intensive care while laboratory charges came up to $350,203.50. Another $397,632 was charged for non-sterile medical and surgical supplies. The printout also shows two separate pharmacy charges, for $155,218.60 and $43,212, plus another $193,521 charge for "drugs/detail code." The cost of a pulmonary function test also came in the six-figure sums at $110,375, joining an over-$108,000 charge for physical therapy and $2,000 more for a physical therapy evaluation.
The itemized list also includes $5,352 for room and board in a shared two-bed room, a $4,950 emergency room charge, $12,969 for operating room services, and $5,128 for more medical supplies. The unidentified patient was charged another $3,034 for more surgical supplies, $1,573 for anesthesia, $12,008 for blood services, $5,296 for occupational therapy, $1,575 for speech pathology, $2,850 for speech therapy, and $3,423 for an ultrasound. Echocardiography cost a whopping $10,596 — not including a separate $3,195 charge for an EKG/ECG — while radiology was $15,525 and a CAT scan cost $9,416.
The video quickly racked up thousands of horrified comments from bewildered netizens. "USA is not a country. It's a business," commented one TikTok user while another wrote: "America truly is a 3rd world country in a Gucci belt." Several non-American residents thanked their stars for not being in a position to receive such a heart-stopping piece of paper. "The rest of the world laughs at the US healthcare scam," commented one netizen. Meanwhile, there were many who dismissed the bill by pointing out the "This is not a bill" statement at the top of the printout and assuming that insurance would pay for all or most of it.
Despite their continued faith in the US healthcare system, countless past incidents have demonstrated that U.S. health insurance companies would go to any lengths to deny coverage to their customers in their drive to maximize profits as demanded by capitalism. Let's hope the individual who received this list doesn't become yet another example of that.