The story, ironically enough, comes from Vox. It's ironic because this is exactly the system that lefties champion. A system which punishes people with jobs to reward people without. A social welfare state built on the backs of the middle class and the working class.
But when they actually encounter the real thing.
The scene is San Francisco's Zuckerberg hospital and its crowded ER (yes, that Zuckerberg), which claims to serve Medicaid patients by ripping off insured patients in two ways. First, by overcharging them. Second, by being out of network for all private insurance.
So when you get into an accident and show up in their ER, you end up with a huge bill.
On April 3, Nina Dang, 24, found herself in a position like so many San Francisco bike riders — on the pavement with a broken arm.
A bystander saw her fall and called an ambulance. She was semi-lucid for that ride, awake but unable to answer basic questions about where she lived. Paramedics took her to the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where doctors X-rayed her arm and took a CT scan of her brain and spine. She left with her arm in a splint, on pain medication, and with a recommendation to follow up with an orthopedist.
A few months later, Dang got a bill for $24,074.50. Premera Blue Cross, her health insurer, would only cover $3,830.79 of that — an amount that it thought was fair for the services provided. That left Dang with $20,243.71 to pay, which the hospital threatened to send to collections in mid-December.
There's a good reason for that, according to the hospital.
A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that ZSFG does not accept any private health insurance, describing this as a normal billing practice. He said the hospital’s focus is on serving those with public health coverage — even if that means offsetting those costs with high bills for the privately insured.
“It’s a pretty common thing,” said Brent Andrew, the hospital spokesperson. “We’re the trauma center for the whole city. Our mission is to serve people who are underserved because of their financial needs. We have to be attuned to that population.”
It's not normal for an ER to be out of network to all private insurance plans. But it is normal for patients with insurance to end up paying far more than uninsured patients, even after the insurance pays its part. ERs are losing money on every "underserved" patient which means that you get billed a cool grand for a band-aid.
Second, he emphasized that the hospital’s primary mission is to serve vulnerable populations, such as the uninsured and low-income patients with Medicaid.
“For us, the challenge is we don’t want to become just another hospital,” he said. “Our mission is to serve people who are underserved because of their financial needs. We feel like we have to recoup what we’re able to from people who are insured because we’re supporting people who don’t have insurance.”
Working people end up soaked twice over. They subsidize facilities with their taxes and then, when they get injured, get soaked to pay for them again.
But this is the intermittent stage of socialized medicine. Which doesn't mean free health care. It means working people subsidize everybody's health care.
Unhappy progressives no doubt think that socialized medicine means free health care. But nothing is actually free.
The Zuckerberg model is how socialized medicine works. The preferred model of progressives, is some Medicare for All nonsense in which the bill gets rolled into taxes, and then they invisibly end up paying for it through much higher taxes.
That's the same thing. And the quality of care will be even worse.