Being Healthy Is Priceless

Nothing is better than waking up after the first good night of sleep you’ve had in over a week and not feel dazed or be in pain.

Once again, I want to mention that I’m very impressed by the US healthcare system on my second encounter with it. Yesterday, I went to a place called Express Care. It’s a little clinic for those who don’t have a regular doctor in the area and those who don’t want to go to the emergency room. These Express Care places are located in many little towns in the area, including mine. The one I went to is located right across the street from where I live. What was great about it was that I got to see a nurse and then a doctor immediately and didn’t have to wait at all. Paper-filling and signing was reduced to a minimum, which is important when you are in pain. And as you can see from yesterday’s late night’s posts and today’s optimistic tone of my writing, the medical professionals there really helped.

The best thing about the Express Care place, though, was that there were posters everywhere informing people that even if they had no medical insurance and couldn’t pay, they would still be helped. So if I arrived with no insurance card and no money, the doctors still wouldn’t have turned me away. “This is the law”, the posters said.

Does anybody know if this is part of Obama’s healthcare plan, or if the laws guaranteeing that urgent medical care will not be denied to those who can’t pay existed before Obama’s presidency?

12 thoughts on “Being Healthy Is Priceless”

  1. I don’t know the exact details of the law, and how Obama’s reform changed it or not. The problem before was not access to urgent medical care. They couldn’t deny it either (at least at emergency rooms in the hospitals). What they could do was to charge you an arm and a leg for it, and it was very difficult to pay back.

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  2. Or another example, pre-reform. A classmate of mine in grad school: she was not American, but she was insured, with the same kind of insurance that grad students get. She had to go to the hospital for emergency surgery because of an apendicitis. Her insurance covered 80% of the cost. She was in the hospital literally 36 hours. The total bill was $50,000. With insurance covering 80%, she still owed the hospital $10,000 out of her own pocket. She managed to negotiate and reduce it to $2,000. I don’t know if I would have the skills to even attempt such a negotiation.

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  3. It existed before Obama, but it is not free. If you do not have insurance, the hospital will offer you emergency treatment but will attempt to collect money from you retroactively. If a large sum is involved, they would offer you to sign a contract for gradual repayment. Can’t get off the hook unless you are officially poor and unemployed forever.

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  4. I volunteered for an ambulance service for many years. Emergency service to stabilize a patient has been required by law for a long time. However, once the patient is stablized (not cured) a medical facility is free to dump an indigent patient out on the street…and some have actually done that. A few years ago a hospital in Los Angeles was reported to use a van to deliver indigent injured and sick patients to Skid Row. You would think for a country that spends twice as much as any other in the world we could afford a medical system better than #17 in the world.

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  5. You can legally be denied cancer treatments and other things in the US. What you saw isn’t typical of American health care. Most clinics like that require hours of waiting time. I’ve spent as long as 16 hours waiting in the ER before.

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    1. I know the ERs are not good. hich is why I didn’t want to go to an ER. This is a very different system that is something between a regular doctor and an ER.

      Do these exist in other areas of the country? Does anybody know?

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  6. Yes, there are. But you were lucky with the little waiting. I waited for an hour and a half for a ear infection in one of those facilities. Still better than ER waiting time, and cheaper.

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    1. In Canada, the healthcare system is free and extremely good. However, there is no place to go for minor complaints. My mother recently had a problem but she didn’t go because it wasn’t major and sitting in the ER for 6 hours to be told to take a Tylenol is hardly worth it. This is why I’m so happy about these Express care places. I’m used to suffering through minor complaints on my own because in Canada I never found a productive way of addressing them.

      I don’t think I was lucky with the waiting time. We are a very tiny town, which is why there are no waiting lines at such places. But, hey, there’s got to be something good about living in a rural area, right?

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  7. In Costa Rica the healthcare system is free also and you don’t have to spend hours waiting. It is also on a par with US and Canadian systems which is why Rush Limbaugh said that if the Obama healthcare plan passed, he was going to Costa Rica for medical care. But it is only free for Costa Ricans; sorry Rush. I have a professor friend who returned home to Costa Rica for serious surgery because even with her university insurance policy, she was going to be left with a $10,000 bill here in the US.

    More and more of these express care facilities are popping up because they are highly limited in the services provided, divert unnecessary traffic from emergency rooms so that real emergencies have a chance to be treated, and lots of money can be made from insurance companies for minimal effort. Realistically, most people’s health questions can be easily resolved by a nurse, paramedic or just common sense. But if an MD or DO goes on the bill to the insurance company, much more money flows into the facility.

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  8. I actually like those walk in clinics (what we call them here). You wait a long time in a regular doctor’s office too, I note, and that’s with an appointment you have to make in advance!

    Also, I’ve found that the walk in clinic people have skills others don’t. These specialists do their specialty, and the people who are officially GPs often seem to be a little behind on their skills. So, unskilled generalist or specialist that can’t recognize your problem, what to do?

    And that’s where the walk in clinic people come in, they’re good diagnosticians. At least in my experience. Of course, a smart nurse / paramedic could also perform the same function, but still. And they charge less than the regular doctors.

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