You can’t read this story in the Detroit News about Kirk Miller, a twenty-something who can’t afford his health insurance, and tell me big insurance companies are managing our health care system just fine on their own. He’s also suffering from a chronic blood disorder, making the emergency room his only viable treatment option.
After undergoing an emergency operation, Miller was to return for a follow-up surgery.
But on the morning of the scheduled surgery — Jan. 6, 2009 — Miller and his mother arrived at the hospital only to be told at check-in that the operation couldn’t be performed because of his outstanding balance.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the total had been misprinted.
Miller was handed a purple piece of paper with a balance that read: $31,910,348. He was later informed the total was an error. The balance should have read: $319,103.48.
The young man ran out of the hospital, crying. He admits he was “devastated.” Who wouldn’t be, seeing a six-figure bill and being denied care? He called the surgeon who was slated to operate, and luckily, that surgeon stepped up to the plate and found a way to treat his patient.
“I said this was a kid who came here to our hospital, received emergent surgery and this is follow-up care for his original surgery,” Siegel recalled. “He should be allowed to have this taken care of.”
In the end, it turned out Miller “only” owed just over $30,000 for the emergency surgery, which amounts to just a small portion of his total medical debt.
How much longer are we going to allow insurers to make it impossible for the sick to get the care they need, shifting the burden to taxpayers and hospitals just to keep their balance sheet clean?
It’s time to stand up for people. Send your Congressperson a message and tell them to support meaningful healthcare reform for all Americans!