TRUE STORY: US health system literally takes the piss by charging tourist $26,404 for one night of gastro treatment
Capitalism has officially reached a new low point after an Australian woman was charged – no bullshit – US$26,404 for one night in an American hospital.
About a month ago, 29-year-old tourist Georgette Karabina came down with a severe bout of gastro after her husband bought her an extremely dodgy-looking street hot dog in Washington. Fearing she was about to shit her internal organs out, the couple rushed to hospital.
During her less-than-24-hour stay, doctors gave the woman an IV drip, some basic medication, and literally took the piss by asking for a urine sample. Apparently those meagre services are worth more than a year’s worth of full-time work at the minimum wage in the States.
Georgette’s husband Darren was apparently pleased with the medical team’s work at the time, having said “Thaaaaaaanks man” to the head doctor. However, after receiving a bill for an amount large enough to put a deposit on a house, he was livid.
“I mean, I’m a pretty capitalistic guy. I’m entertained by wrestling and value Scott Morrison’s opinion on things. But 26 grand for one night in hospital is fucked, right?” he said to The Tragic Traveller.
Upon second examination of the bill, Darren realised – and it’s almost impossible to fathom that this is 100% true – his wife had actually got a discount of more than $41,000 because the hospital staff thought she was uninsured. That means the “greatest country in the world” actually wanted to charge nearly 70 grand – or US$47.40 per minute – for gastro treatment. Fuck that.
“It’s almost as if the logical extension of voting for conservative parties is living in a world where everything is boiled down to a dollar value and the wealthiest among us will try to fuck us whichever way they can, even if it means holding us hostage for our own health.”
“On the other hand, we’ve got travel insurance, so fuck it.”
Despite being confident the insurer would cover her bill, Georgette admitted that next time she’d probably be better off buying a box of Gastro-Stop from a servo and toughing it out rather than accruing a medical bill worth more than a 2019 Honda CR-V.
At publication time, the couple had just got off the phone with a helpful customer support agent who told them their claim would almost certainly be covered. Unbeknownst to them, the support agent was crossing her fingers behind her back.