One American’s socialized medicine horror story

healthcare

Republicans have argued that socialized medicine would be a total nightmare for Americans if we enacted universal healthcare here in the United States. Well, one American who was forced to seek healthcare in Taiwan shared his own horror story on Facebook that everyone should read.

Earlier this month, a young man named Kevin Bozeat began experiencing severe abdominal pains that he described in a Facebook post.

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“A few days ago my stomach began to hurt,” he said. “Thinking it would pass, I went home to try and rest for the night. A bit later I vomited.”

I thought that was the end of it. But for the rest of the night, I kept vomiting almost every 30-40 minutes. Even after my stomach was completely empty, I kept vomiting. Soon it was nothing but stomach fluid and bile. I tried to drink water to stay hydrated, but I kept throwing it up, no matter how hard I tried to keep it down. By 3am I had severe stomach cramps, my body kept trying to vomit even though there was nothing left. I was dizzy and light-headed. My symptoms showed no signs of abating. At this point I had to seek medical treatment, I knew I had to go to the hospital.

Bozeat shared his fear of going to a Taiwanese hospital since he had no idea how much the medical care would cost or the what quality of care he would receive in the country’s socialized healthcare system. Conservatives have brainwashed Americans into thinking socialized medicine in other nations amounts to squalid barbaric conditions with long lines and death panels that will bankrupt them, so it’s understandable that Bozeat would feel uncomfortable.

“I wanted to avoid it,” he wrote. “I had no idea how different Taiwanese hospitals would be, whether I would be able to find an English speaking doctor, or what it would cost me (my US health insurance has lapsed and I don’t qualify for Taiwanese NHI).”

His roommate ended up taking him to the emergency room at the National Taiwan University Hospital, which can cost thousands of dollars here in the United States. But to his surprise, Bozeat’s nightmare began to subside.

My Taiwanese roommate called a taxi and took me to the ER at NTU Hospital. I was immediately checked-in by an English speaking nurse. Within 20 minutes I was given IV fluids and anti-emetics. They took blood tests and did an ultrasound to ensure it wasn’t gall stones or appendicitis. From there I was given a diagnosis: a particularly severe case of Acute Viral Gastroenteritis (aka the stomach flu). After about 3 hours on an IV, I began to feel slightly better, my nausea disappeared and my stomach began to calm down. I was discharged with a prescription for anti-emetics and pain medication. Each day since I’ve gotten progressively better and am now pretty much back to normal.

And then his nightmare disappeared entirely once he received the bill.

The bill for the ER visit?…

US$80.00

Eighty. American. Dollars.
Out of pocket. Full cost. No discounts. No insurance.
At one of the best hospitals in Taiwan.

And if I had NHI, it would have been a fraction of that.

This could have easily cost me hundreds or even thousands in the US without insurance. But here in Taiwan I was able to receive speedy, quality care comparable to what I would have gotten in a US hospital for relatively small amount of money.

Indeed, it’s safe to say that most Americans would be quite happy with an $80 medical bill, especially since many Americans across the country are one major health issue away from going bankrupt.

Because of what he went through, Bozeat now completely supports socialized medicine in the United States.

“Given this experience, I no longer have a reason to fear or hesitate getting care in Taiwan should I ever need it,” he concluded. “America, it’s time to stop making excuses.”

The real healthcare nightmare is the privatized American healthcare system that is controlled by pure greed. Just ask a British couple who gave birth to a child prematurely while on vacation in New York a few years ago. While the cost of the birth would have been covered by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service at home or even cost a couple thousand dollars with private insurance, the bill for the birth in our own country reached $200,000.

Healthcare should not be morbidly expensive anywhere in the world. Every human being should have affordable access to healthcare. Our nation could institute socialized medicine or universal healthcare, which most Americans actually support. But as long as Republicans are in power, the real healthcare nightmare will always be in the United States.

Featured Image: Wikimedia