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Surprised? No. Depressed? Yes. … The Despicable M.D. Anderson

They’re a great hospital — they saved my mom’s life twice! But, my parents had (and still have) fantastic health insurance. They were never faced with this scenario. (Picture doctors walking around like gods, saving lives and graciously accepting thanks …. while clerks and secretaries screen the patients, sweeping the rabble from the door)

Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance. Stephanie got her mother to write her a check. “You do anything you can in a situation like that,” she says. The Recchis flew to Houston, leaving Stephanie’s mother to care for their two teenage children.

About a week later, Stephanie had to ask her mother for $35,000 more so Sean could begin the treatment the doctors had decided was urgent. His condition had worsened rapidly since he had arrived in Houston. He was “sweating and shaking with chills and pains,” Stephanie recalls. “He had a large mass in his chest that was … growing. He was panicked.”

There aren’t very many families that could scrape up $84,000 in cash like that. I guess the rest just have to drive back home with their tumors. Who comes up with a health care system like this?

(sigh)

Part One. Assuming I get the strength to read more of the article.