57 year old woman loses her retirement savings, home due to treatment for rattlesnake bite. She was billed for $160,000. When she liquidated all her assets, including her retirement account, she came up with $60,000. The hospital accepted it as full payment for her account, thus showing you just how hospitals work today -- they bill the uninsured much higher than they bill the insured.
As for the idiots who said that it was her own fault for not being insured -- individual health coverage is basically unobtainable if you're over 50 years old. The health insurance companies don't want to cover you, and if they can find some excuse, any excuse, they won't. They just want you to go away and die quietly far, far away from them. Especially if you're someone in a low-paying profession like teaching dance at a dance studio, which pays $20K/year, paying $840 per month with a $5K deductible through the state high risk plan simply isn't going to work.
Y'know, I have a thought. Let's screw the insurance companies. Let's all get together and create our own insurance fund. We'll pay something reasonable into it -- say, maybe $300 per month for every man, woman and child -- say, that'd be $90 billion dollars a month to share amongst ourself for our health care! Naturally we'd keep an eagle eye out to make sure nobody free-loaded off our health care or tried to use more health care than they needed, but we wouldn't have any of these insurance company people saying "I don't want to insure you, go off and die" anymore. Of course, we'd need an organization to collect and disburse the money for this health care fund. What can we call this organization? Oh, I know, we could call it, uh, GOVERNMENT! Oh wait, I forgot, that name is already taken for some hostile dictatorship that rules us at gunpoint or something, if I listen to the right-wingers' talking points that's what I hear anyhow... gosh darn it, I'll call it "government" anyhow, f*ck the right-wingers!
-- Badtux the Health Care Penguin