The private health care system we have now is focused on profits, not people, and that includes "non-profit" providers as well. The US system is so bad that the following horror stories represent just one report from one health system in Virginia. Imagine all the other hospitals in every state going after Americans who had an unfortunate health event and were left with hefty bills to pay, or else.
You'd have to be a sociopath to argue against universal health care after this:
University of Virginia Health System (UVA) has ruined us’: Health system sues thousands of patients, seizing paychecks and putting liens on homes.
Over six years ending in June 2018, the health system and its doctors sued former patients more than 36,000 times for over $106 million, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy, a Kaiser Health News analysis has found…Unpaid medical bills are a leading cause of personal debt and bankruptcy.
UVA dunned some former patients an additional 15 percent for legal costs, plus 6 percent interest on their unpaid bills, which over the course of years can add up to more than the original bill. The hospital ranked No. 1 in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report is taxpayer supported and state-funded, not a company with profit motives and shareholder demands, it pays no federal, state or local taxes on the presumption it offers charity care and other community benefits. CEO Sutton-Wallace makes $750,000, with bonus incentives that could push her annual pay close to $1 million. NOTE: Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has sued roughly 240 patients a year on average since 2009. UVA, by comparison, often sues that many former patients in a week, and averages more than 6,000 cases a year, court data show.
1. Heather Waldron and John Hawley are losing their four-bedroom house. Financial disaster, they say, contributed to their divorce, finalized in April. Their money problems began when the University of Virginia Health System pursued the couple with a lawsuit and a lien on their home to recoup $164,000 in charges for Waldron’s emergency surgery in 2017. The $164,000 billed to Waldron for intestinal surgery was more than twice what a commercial insurer would have paid for her care … Charges on her bill included $2,000 for a $20 feeding tube. For Heather Waldron, the path from “having everything and being able to buy things and feeling pretty good” to “devastation” began when she learned after her UVA hospitalization that a computer error involving a policy bought on HealthCare.gov had led her insurance to lapse. She is now on food stamps and talking to bankruptcy lawyers. A bank began foreclosure proceedings in August on the house she shared with her family. The home will be sold to pay off the mortgage. She expects UVA to take whatever is left.Property liens do give UVA a claim on the equity in patients’ homes. “We see a lot of them,” said Tina Merritt, a partner with True North Title in Blacksburg. “And a lot of people don’t even know until they go to sell the property.”
2. Zann Nelson, sued by UVA for $23,849 a few years ago fought back. The now 70-year-old Reva resident was admitted with newly diagnosed uterine cancer, bleeding and in pain when she signed an open-ended payment agreement. The judge said that Nelson had “the ability to decline the surgery” if she didn’t like the terms of the deal.
3. Carolyn Davis, 55 … $7,448 to pay about twice as much as what a commercial insurer for nerve injections to treat back pain that she hadn’t realized would be out of network. Her husband is a cook at Hardee’s … UVA refused their application for financial assistance because his Hardee’s 401(k) balance of $6,000 makes them too well off, she said. The hospital insisted on a monthly payment of $75. She was meeting it by charging it to her credit card at 22 percent interest.
4. When Jesse Lynn, 42, didn’t realize their plan considered Jesse’s old back problems a preexisting illness … After back surgery at Culpeper Medical Center, a UVA affiliate, he came out with a bill for about $230,000, Renee Lynn said. The surgeon reduced his portion … asked for a similar break or a payment delay from UVA. “We are not a lending institution,” the billing office told her, she said.
5. It took Priti Chati, 62, six years to pay a $44,000 UVA bill for brain surgery and have a home lien removed last year … The health system seized bank funds intended for her daughters’ college costs, she said.
6. Paul Baker, 41, ran a small lawn service and with his wife, owes more than $500,000 for treatment after their truck rolled over. He is grateful to UVA “for saving my life,” he says. But he is “frustrated they are ultimately taking my farm” when he sells or dies, as a result of UVA’s lawsuit.
7. Nacy Sexton, who is in his 30’s, hoped he might get a break on his medical bills as a student enrolled at the University of Virginia. He was close to finishing a bachelor’s degree in 2015 when he was hospitalized for lupus. When he was unable to cover the reduced bill offered by the hospital, the university blocked his enrollment. “The university places enrollment holds on student accounts for unpaid tuition and medical bills … “When you get sick, why should it affect your education?” he asked.
8. Shirley Perry, once a registered nurse at UVA, became chronically ill, lost her job and insurance, and then needed treatment from her former employer. UVA sued her for $218,730 plus $32,809 in legal fees. She died last year at age 51, with a UVA lien on her townhouse. It was auctioned off on Aug. 7 at the Albemarle County Courthouse.