This initial refusal of admission is likely what caused Duncan and his family to try to tough it out for days until, in desperation, they called an ambulance. By then, he was probably beyond help.
American politicians love to boast that "we" have the greatest health care system in the entire world, well-equipped to handle Ebola cases. This cavalier statement got a well-deserved jolt when a nurse treating Duncan came down with the virus herself over the weekend, despite the vaunted precautions. It is assumed that she has health insurance from the hospital employing her. In any case, she was immediately admitted. Why she wasn't flown to one of the centers with expertise in treating Ebola -- as was an NBC cameraman and others who contracted the disease in Africa -- isn't known.
Meanwhile, there are millions of homegrown Thomas Eric Duncans out there, uninsured or underinsured, who each and every day are absolutely hesitating to seek medical help if they start feeling sick. One little trip to the emergency room is enough to bankrupt anyone -- whether they're covered under Obamacare or not. According to a new study by the personal finance site NerdWallet, more Americans are going broke from medical bills than ever before.
We can't afford to get treatment for our diseases.
The bean-counters at Texas Presbyterian likely knew that it would have been next to impossible to get Thomas Eric Duncan into collections once he was successfully treated and left the area or went back to Liberia. As a foreigner, he wouldn't have qualified for expanded Medicaid coverage even if Texas had accepted the coverage.
It's getting hard out there for for-profit health care systems to extract money from their strapped domestic customers:
- NerdWallet Health has found that Americans pay three times more in third-party collections of medical debt each year than they pay for bank and credit card debt combined. In 2014, roughly one in five American adults will be contacted by a debt collection agency about medical bills, but they may be overpaying – NerdWallet found rampant hospital billing errors resulting in overcharges of up to 26%.
- NerdWallet found 63% of American adults indicate they have received medical bills that cost more than they expected. At the same time, 73% of consumers agree they could make better health decisions if they knew the cost of medical care before receiving it.
- Between 2010 and 2013, American households lost $2,300 in median income, but their health care expenses increased by $1,814. Out-of-pocket spending is expected to accelerate to a 5.5% annual growth rate by 2023 – double the growth of real GDP.
And despite their sanitized gated communities, security guards, private schools and concierge medical services, rich people are not immune. They interact with us whether they realize it or not. They sleep on sheets laundered by others, eat food prepared by others, breathe the same air as everybody else.
Conversely, the rich are also fully capable of transmitting disease to the poor. Celebrity NBC medical reporter Nancy Snyderman, M.D. was caught getting takeout at the ironically named Peasant Grill in Hopewell, New Jersey last week when she should have been in home quarantine, having been exposed to Ebola in Liberia with the rest of her news crew. Naughty Nancy, ironically named by Readers Digest as the 30th most trusted person in America, was busted by the health police and sent back into isolation. So it seems that the rules do occasionally apply to the elites too, especially when they threaten to sicken other elites. It's the affinity fraud, Bernie Madoff type of crime. When the wealthy become victims of the wealthy, justice prevails.
The plutocrats running this show had better get with the program: selfishness and greed are hazardous to their health, too. Social Darwinism is a pathology deadlier than any plague.
"I don’t know about you, but I like it here. Sure, life can get complicated, hard to get through, and it’s not always fun, but I don’t want to be shown the door anytime soon. If there are ways I can enhance my health and longevity with healthy habits, if there are appropriate screening measures for my age group, if there are new lifesaving treatments I can access, then I want to know about them so that I can stay around and be kicking up my heels when I’m ninety." -- Nancy Snyderman, on Why It's All About Nancy.
|Healthy, Wealthy and Snyde(rman)|