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The Medical Bill That Shocked The World At American Health Care Costs

Medical receipt that went viral shows thousands charged

By: Katie Wells  |@NeonNettle
 on 16th July 2014 @ 4.30pm
one bill recently shared that went viral  shown above and below © Facebook
One bill recently shared that went viral. Shown above and below.

In an age where cancer can be cured, advanced treatment is available and life expectancy is high, what is the biggest worry of those unfortunate enough to fall ill? Some would say the word 'terminal'.

But for most Americans, they would say the word 'money'.

Because for some money, or the lack of it, is what can make an illness terminal, whether it is serious or not. And even if treatment gives a person their life back, the lasting financial effects can span the remainder of it. I hope thats not news to you. 

For developing countries it is too often the case, that little or no medical care is provided for communities. Be it lack of expertise or lack of money, this just is not on in the modern world. So to think that the US is the wealthiest place on the globe, and with some of the greatest experts in countless medical fields, it is mind-boggling it still cannot give its people basic treatment.

Sparking off the fresh outrage and disgust at the state of American health care issues, is one bill recently shared that went viral. Shown above and below, the invoice highlights the plight of unnecessarily expensive medical charges made in the US. $55,000 for appendectomy and basic care, does that sound right to you?

only 20 years old  the boy in question was in extreme pain and so was rushed to hospital  he was diagnosed with appendicitis © Facebook
Only 20 years old, the boy in question was in extreme pain and so was rushed to hospital. He was diagnosed with appendicitis.

Only 20 years old, the boy in question was in extreme pain and so was rushed to hospital. He was diagnosed with appendicitis, and if caught early the removal and care for this is relatively straightforward. Many countries would not expect patients to even foot a small bill, for an operation that is considered routine.

Yet, the long list of charges mount up on the boy's inflated receipt, which would have cost him more if he had not been on his parent's insurance. That said, of the incredible amount he still had to fork out over $11,000 from his own pocket. To us in the UK and other nations, it is hard not to think this bill is a hoax, but it is the genuine article. 

And the backlash from the viral photos? Shared stories from across the globe describing similar operations with minimal or no cost poured in. Australians, Canadians and Malaysians all told of comparative experiences when treatment charges were nothing or little, in stark contrast to the thousands the American had to pay. And fellow American's supported these debilitating costs with tales of their own.

Possibly the saddest incident was one family's tragedy of two cousins. At 20, one had developed cancer for which the costs grew so high the boy declared bankruptcy at just 24. The life impacting position shattered his future. Even worse, his cousin actually died, because his own insurance firm shut him off.

Declaring he had reached the policy's 'life limit', no more money was given even after the family's pleads. And the 'life-limit' in this case? He was only 27 years old. Although illegal now, the fact this was allowed in such a powerful and affluent county is absurd.

It just makes nation's like the UK realise how lucky and privileged we are with the help we get with health care. Often berated for its many issues and problems, we can still rely on basic treatment costs being covered. Most importantly, one would like to think that no human being has a 'life limit' or sell by date that society should help them out until.

Especially if that someone is only 27.

tags: Health | news

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