INCREDIBLE: My Wall Exploded With Tales Of American Healthcare Horrors

this is actually going to be our first story today because I think this is very interesting I had an experience with health care and as a result I'm gonna be at the doctor Friday morning and I had to make it in the morning because I'll do another announcement here and you guys are the first to hear this I will be on The Young Turks live show tomorrow during our one so I'm gonna be on the TYT main show tomorrow which is across town for me so I need to get over there that's what's going on I'll be on the TYT main show and uh so I have to go the doctor now why didn't I go to the doctor today I tried to so I'm gonna tell you guys a story and I'm gonna read this to you I posted this on my Facebook and then something very interesting happened now it's not often that I do a story about like my experience necessarily as but I think this really has a theme going here that's really interesting so here's what happened to me and I'm just gonna read it to you guys a story of contrast for anyone interested in 2005 I was in Italy studying abroad during a beach day I was less cautious than I should have been and got a fairly bad sunburn I looked up the word for sunburn cuz it was pretty bad and I wanted to go get looked at so I looked up the word for sunburn it's go to Torah and I went to a pharmacy hoping to find aloe vera or something similar like that to put on my sunburn so I got there and I was given two different lotions one for healing and one for moisture a doctor came over to me there there there are doctors at pharmacies in Italy and in other European countries doctor came over to me and he took a look at me he took my vitals took my temperature you know took my blood pressure you know bliss into my heart all like kind of usual thing he inspected the burn he told me what level burn it was and then they sent me on my way now the one told me that I would need to pay something because I'm not a resident I'm a visitor from another country I'm not a resident of Italy I was gonna have to pay something so I figured this was gonna be pretty steep right I I started getting out some bigger euro bills thinking you know this is gonna I just saw a doctor I just had a check-up basically in a country where I don't have insurance who knows how much this is gonna cost I was I was anticipating you know I didn't know what I was gonna do I was like man this is probably this could run me as much as a hundred euro right uh now as I was getting out these big bills the woman looked at me like I was crazy because it ended up costing me I don't remember the exact amount I want to say it was two euro I do remember distinctly it was less than five so it was less than five euro for all this so that's the story from 2005 now here's what happened to me today fast forward to today so I have a little bit of an ear infection I'm fighting it and you guys can probably hear I'm congested overall – and it's pretty annoying you know I kind of feel like I have a fish ball on my head it's not fun so I called my doctor what's up Colin so I called my doctor my doctor couldn't see me until Monday so I was like look I have an ear infection like I got a like I want to get this taken care of so I told them like I'm gonna try to figure something else out so I tried a CVS clinic like some of the CVS is they have clinics I scheduled an appointment for noon all right so I'll get back to reading the story here I get there and of course before the nurse's assistant even asked what's wrong she asks how I'll be paying and for insurance info so I give it to her turns out my insurance was out of network she informed me it would be around a hundred and fifty dollars just to be seen by the nurse and that doesn't include any prescriptions that's just to be seen just for the nurse to be like hey I'm I'm meeting with you now 150 bucks 150 bucks uh and that does include any prescriptions I said fine and I was willing to just eat it I was like whatever I have an ear infection it's not comfortable I need to take care of this and get on with my life right then she received a phone call sitting there in the office she's you know asking me questions she taking my vitals or whatever she gets a phone call she picks up the call she goes yeah yeah yeah hangs up the phone when she informs me that was the nurse she had a few patients ahead of you and then she's going to lunch it'll be sometime after 2:00 when she'll be able to see you my appointment was for noon she told me the nurse would not be able to see me until after 2:00 so my so I said look I don't know this is gonna cause me a pretty penny and and all I want her eardrops I have an ear infection you know like I just need air drops like that's it so and the attendant was what did genuinely want to help me I will give that to her she was a very nice lady I could tell she just wanted to help she was very friendly she called the nurse she's like look there's a guy here like he has an ear infection he just kind of needs those drops and the nurse was like I'm you know whatever I'm busy I'm going to get lunch whatever don't care so that was that so I was like hey you know thanks for trying so I called my doctor's office again and I was like look I'm kind of getting jerked around this clinic is there anyway I mean I don't want to have to wait until Monday I'm an ear infection my doctor's assistant called me back said they could squeeze me in tomorrow morning so I made the decision that I'd rather be seen by my actual doctor and use my insurance than pay more money to not even be seen by a doctor so I was like I'll just suck it up for a day so that's why I'm going to the doctor tomorrow morning and I technically went today but failed so I went back into the CVS I asked them to cancel me that's not something that they do they said look if you want to leave just leave that's how they do it like if you just don't show up like whatever you're just it just is what it is so here's what I wrote here at the end of the day this isn't a huge deal you know and it's not like this is some you know an ear infection is not that big of a deal you know and it's it's a very treatable thing you get the drops you're fine I'm not necessarily an insurmountable pain it's annoying short but um but yeah I mean it wasn't so severe that I couldn't just wait until the morning to be seen by my actual doctor but uh compare that to Italy and then tell me again how universal healthcare is such a bad idea so what's interesting is is I posted this story on my Facebook and randomly I started getting a bunch of people telling me similar stories that all kind of followed this theme and I'd like to share some of them with you I'm gonna leave these people's names anonymous cuz I don't know I mean they did post it on my Facebook so it's public but uh but I won't say their names um so here we go I had a similar experience in Taiwan it was a holiday week Lunar New Year and I was ridiculously ill I saw a doc and got a prescription and was on my way for a very low amount I can't even remember how much but not enough to stress my low budget lifestyle at that time so a person was traveling around Taiwan they got pretty sick they don't even remember how much that's how that's all negligible it was they'd only remember how much they paid here's another story I recently sprained my ankle in Egypt I didn't want to see a doctor at first after about a week I finally went to a pharmacy with the intention of getting a brace instead the doctor behind the counter asked me some questions told me a brace would only prevent healing and gave me pills and two creams to help with the swelling and pain all of this cost the equivalent to around three dollars three dollars I regained full movement on my ankle in about a week if I'd been in the u.s. I can't even imagine how much it sort of costs especially since I currently have no insurance here's another story when I lived in Korea I had the same kind of realization I caught the swine flu and went to the hospital it probably cost me no more than twenty dollars and I stayed there for four days before day stay at the hospital $20 I got a prescription when I was discharged and I literally stuck it in a vending machine to get the meds we are the wealthiest country in the world and also the most backward when it comes to health care very true here's another story this is not a fun one I got bit by a wasp last summer turns out I am allergic to wasps total costs for 24 hours in the hospital $3,600 this in the United States now with the universal health care I would have had absolutely no privilege and honor of paying for this excellent service so at least they're able to see the humor in it the person that that posted this on my wall here's another story I cut my thumb really deep doing some housework and panicked to the nearest ER I had to get three stitches nothing too complicated but it was out of network so it cost me $1,500 pretty much cleaned out my savings account that of course happened here in the United States I had an experience when I lived in Sweden in 2011 this is another story I've had back issues since I was 14 because of a birth defect but I thought I would be able to make it the full year in Sweden without any problems I had been running and basically stepped wrong and tripped which resulted in back pain 24/7 I was already thinking about how much it was going to cost so I told my mom to wire me a thousand dollars just in case for two years my mom and I went to 20 different doctors regarding my back and it was a major financial hit I give to the hospital and I was seen right away they did x-rays an MRI and a full checkup on me they gave me a prescription and scheduled a follow-up I went to the front desk filled with anxiety about how much this was going to cost only to be told it was the equivalent of $25 I was floored so floored I had to ask in English if I was misunderstanding the Swedish they looked at me so weird like it seemed I wanted to be charged more also the follow-up was for and the prescriptions cost me under $10 Wow and someone pointed out also in the comments that Sweden uses private insurance but it's not for profit so it's a huge difference from ours here in Canada where she would have a two to four hour wait in a walk-in clinic and get your meds the same day no bill except for the meds unless you're over 65 in which case the meds are free I believe meant for children may now be free in certain provinces – this is from Jeff Waldorf I'll share this because this is from Jeff over TYT nation last week I paid over $100 to get seen by a nurse Practice practitioner and get some cough medicine in an antibiotic for whatever I was sick with over New Year's our system is nuts cough medicine over a hundred dollars just get seen by a nurse my parents there's another story my parents a retired dentist and a retired nurse would be bankrupt if we didn't have a universal health care I believe this person lives in Canada both have suffered heart attacks both have had heart related surgery including a bypass my dad has had multiple strokes a lot of which occurred before age 65 not incidentally top doctors top Hospital no one told us where to go except see this great doctor someone that lives in Guatemala said Harrisons eye exam last week was the equivalent of five dollars and 50 cents I had 11 stitches back in the UK in 2002 cost me five pounds I sprained my knee in Ireland in 1999 this is an American citizen by the way I sprained my knee in Ireland in 1999 waited at a clinic and kill Kearny for about 45 minutes x-rays crutches six vicodin $50 out of out of pocket $50 my son sprained his ankle a few months ago x-rays through insurance barely covered a hundred and eighty nine dollars out of pocket after a monthly 800 dollar preemie guy pays $800 a month for his healthcare his son sprained his ankle barely covered the x-rays and it was still 189 dollars out of pocket another story my friend got a dislocated shoulder visiting Montreal years ago went to a Canadian hospital and they basically didn't charge him in American anything I'm not even sure a nominal fee I also had to see doctors a couple times visiting Umbria Italy and I don't remember the cost being any issue at all and I had to cut or something when I was in Egypt and saw a doctor and a clinic near the pyramids and that too was incredibly little money I think health systems like that are great as long as there's money ultimately to pay the doctor solid wages because they have to go through incredibly rigorous medical school for years and you want them motivated enough to care about the job in patients but that seems very doable in countries that have heavily state subsidized medicine yeah it works yeah it works you look at doctors in other countries they're very health they're very happy they're very happy and you know what they become doctors not just because they want to make a decent living and they do make a decent living they make a very decent living but they also genuinely want to help people they're not just you know they have they have a little bit more than just profit motive because you know some people you know that's the only reason they become a doctor when you have such a profit motivated system like we do in the United States I was rear-ended in 2006 this is another story I ended up having to get my spine fused from c-to-t to l5 l SI joint to hip replacements and shoulder surgery ongoing shoulder surgery and at least one more spine hip surgery my bills have been over 1 million dollars I lost my insurance three times due to caps once I had a company decide that neurosurgery is elective and not pay the bills I waited for the Affordable Care Act to fix my ninth surgery which my spine collapsed I was stable and it wouldn't kill me so I waited like that for three months he waited with a collapse fine for three months then I lost my Affordable Care Act because of the rate hikes if I wrote about all the horror and needless suffering this would be pages long I can honestly say ever and my right to say this system is for shit no matter if it's an ear infection or what I went through fuck this that's pretty heavy one collapse pine had to sit like that for three months because of astronomic health care costs I recently traveled to Mexico and Peru with family my mom and brother got sick while in Peru and my sister slashed her leg they give you antibiotics at a small pharmacy and they also offer shots even some you can do on your own I got food poisoning myself none of the antibiotics we were given without a doctor a note or nurse cost even a dollar the shots are like five dollars I see this in third-world countries and it baffles me why we as a first world nation can't even compete it's beyond reprehensible now hashtag single-payer now this is just from my facebook wall this is just this is not some article that someone did research for all over the country and they found a couple anomalies these are just from my Facebook friends from me posting this story listen to all those stories somebody had stitches it cost five pounds somebody fell and sprained their ankle really bad needed help it only cost them $50 somebody had an accident a car accident which happens every day which I've been in and I'm sure all of you have been in and it cost him over a million dollars somebody couldn't move their ankle it was sprained so bad it cost them three dollars to get fixed it's unreal I mean this is unreal how anybody can be against universal health care and did not want us to see us have a universal system which every country that has some form of a universal sister have universal system universal system has better results than we do is ranked grossly higher than us as far as a health care system goes single-payer now is Right single-payer now the time is now and I don't know about you I refuse to vote for anybody that does not support single-payer and support single-payer for real it's just beyond I mean that is the biggest issue I think plaguing this country and it yeah Colin you said it it really means to change hey guys thanks for watching that was a clip from get your news on with Ron the world's first viewer curated streaming new show what does that mean that means I log on to a stream and people tweet me articles over on Twitter a trompe l'oeil cone or they use our reddit subsection which is just get your news on with Ron over on reddit and that's how we build the show I'm seeing all these articles for the first time we are literally getting our news on together follow me on Twitter at Rockland Cohn so you can participate and this show streams live every Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time so please do tune in if you want to support this show you can do so over on slash ron pollack own where first low as $1 a month you get access to exclusive podcast every week exclusive videos free tickets to shows when I'm performing in your town and more for as low as $1 a month please do consider it thank you so much for your support this is big get your muse on with Ron


  1. I used to get ear infections. After one I became deaf in one ear.
    I dated a naturopathic doctor. She told me to eat probiotic yogurt for infections.
    I've never had problems long since.

  2. My story is I lived in Sweden in the 80's. I got dysentery during a side trip to Russia.. I went to the clinic in Sweden and got a test sample kit for me and my husband as he was not doing well either. We got our samples, brought them in and got a prescription. When I went to get the prescription they told me it would be expensive because I was not on the national health.. I asked how much. 100 Kroner, about $10 dollars. I told them that that was a normal copay in the US. they were shocked that we had to pay anything with insurance. BTW doctor's visit and tests were free.

  3. In Sweden they have both public and private like in many European countries. Ireland it is the same. Everyone is covered under national insurance but if you want a better room or better service you get private insurance.In Ireland some jobs offer private

  4. Be careful about using Facebook Ron. Just seen a report by RT that Facebook is helping to prosecute protesters of the pipelines.

  5. Just a heads-up on a very recent experience with Slovenian healthcare system: my mum got horrible abdominal pains last Saturday and had to go to the ER (went there to be with her). Extensive blood tests and an ultrasound exam (and a massive dose of analgin to ease the pain) later and it turned out she had two massive gallstones and several smaller ones. She got transferred to gastrointestinal wing of the hospital where they performed endoscopic removal of the stones on following Monday morning which took all but 30 minutes. But they also discovered a bacteria potentially dangerous to the heart in her blood so she had to stay in the hospital on antibiotics under supervision. Today (Monday, a week after), ultrasound of the heart to make sure bacteria did not do any harm, all fine there, but will have to stay until Wednesday on antibiotics and blood checks to make sure everything is cured.

    So, to summarise: ER visit, several extensive blood tests, two ultrasound exams, god knows how many shots of antibiotics and I.V. infusions (she wasn't allowed to eat before and some time after the endoscopy procedure), and, of course, 10 days in hospital. Total cost: 0.00 EUR

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