On Boxing Day a friend, who is spending the winter in the United States, suffered a stroke. Fortunately, it was a mild event and she bounced back in less than three days. It was not the major episode an earlier stroke was.
Her brief hospitalization was $52,000 USD!
As shocking as both the stroke and bill were, she managed to negotiate a 75 percent reduction in payment! That’s $39,000 off the bill! She is still paying $11,000 for her treatment and care, which still provides the hospital with a profit, and makes this is an important teaching experience.
The first lesson is never go to the U.S. without health insurance. The second lesson is for those who promote the advantages of a for-profit-model for health care. For-profit health care only works for those who have the resources to pay, otherwise, profit is a barrier to care. And the fact that the hospital would reduce the bill by 75 percent ($39,000) illustrates the level of profit built into the U.S. health care system.