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Old December 3 2012, 02:44 PM   #65
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Do the Homeless Get Free Medical Treatment at American Hospitals?

CoveTom wrote: View Post
^ And that's my point. The post to which I was replying said it was an "abusrd" notion that universal or "socialized" healthcare systems do not have unlimited money and, therefore, someone somewhere must eventually decide what to cover and what not to cover. It's true of insurance companies today and it will be true of government tomorrow. Yet somehow it is eeeeeeeeevil when insurance companies do it, but fair and benevolent when government does it. Go figure.
You just don't get it.

Some of the most expensive care is already suffering free riders--namely, people who wait until they need emergency care to go to the hospital, then stick everyone else with the bill. This happens now. The situation you're worried about is one in which lifesaving/emergency care is withheld because there isn't enough to go around. The stress is already on that type of care, and we are all paying for it. Moving the stress to routine/preventive care allows for much better planning and much less expense--something you should be in favor of.

Let me tell you a story. I had a friend who was bitten on her ankle by a spider (or something, she was never sure what.) She had no insurance, so she couldn't go to the doctor. The bite turned into a quarter-sized ring which kept growing. She tried to keep it bandaged and clean but there was only so much she could do.

Well, within a couple weeks, she developed a high fever and one of her arms swelled up to three times its normal size. She was rushed to the ER and they had to operate immediately. Basically, the bite had led to a blood infection, which settled into her arm and was working its way to her heart. If she'd waited any longer, she would be dead. She had to spend three weeks in the hospital for observation, too. She did not have one penny to pay for this, given that she had a job that paid slightly over minimum wage (which she lost because she was in the hospital for weeks.) Total cost: about $60,000, paid for by people like you and me.

It probably would've cost a couple hundred bucks' worth of a GP visit and proper disinfecting/bandaging treatment right after the bite happened, if she'd had insurance.

But, no, universal coverage is somehow more expensive and will break the system.
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