COVID-19 Crisis Is Revealing the Urgency that Universal Health Care Finally Should Be Implemented in the US

A recent analysis by the reputable Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation Health System Tracker found that while getting tested for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is free, being treated for the respiratory illness could cost up to $20,000. 

People with health insurance through their employer could pay more than $1,300 in out-of-pocket costs if they’re hospitalized with a severe case of COVID-19. 

The study also found that 18 percent (1 in 5) patients hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia ended up with a surprise medical bill from an out-of-network provider (meaning that the patient received treatment from a medical facility not covered by their health insurer). 

More than 36 percent (one-third) are worried about being able to afford testing or treatment, and two-thirds of people who don’t have health insurance said they worried about the cost of treatment and testing. 

Failure of Corporate Media 

Corporate media (specifically broadcast) has been doing an adequate coverage on the spread and containment efforts for COVID-19, as well as ways Americans can stay healthy through social distancing and proper sanitary practices. 

But what about cost for treatment? There is practically zero reporting on it except that through the Families First Relief Act just passed by Congress testing for coronavirus is free. That is just for testing! With less than one handful private insurers covering COVID-19 treatment, many Americans are unaware of treatment costs and could be surprised with a hefty bill. 

Millions of uninsured in this country — more than 20-plus million Americans — cannot afford to pay for treatment, as projected by studies. Add to that number, the millions of other Americans who are staying home and not receiving income during this crisis. How would they be able to afford treatment? 

And the likelihood that the uninsured seek medical help for COVID-19 is not high because cost is a deterrent. That is fact; and the mainstream media is out of touch with this reality by not addressing this issue on-air, as if this would not have an impact in fighting the coronavirus. 

What this means is beating COVID-19 could last longer as the health of the general population is compromised as millions of uninsured might not be getting tested due to fears of cost. 

Another glaring omission in coverage related to cost — while broadcast corporate media is quick to report on the record-breaking 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits, reporters have consistently failed to talk about most of what these newly unemployed workers are concerned about. 

What? Losing their health insurance and not being able to pay for a health emergency, which at a time of a pandemic, is a real concern. 

Why isn’t corporate media reporting cost and the pitfalls of the health care system in the U.S.? And it’s not just during this COVID-19 crisis, but a longstanding pattern exists, even in their bias against candidates pushing for Medicare for All.

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