Originally Posted by chelsmm
I work at a large teaching hospital in a big city, and my experience has been that the uninsured often get better/ more thorough care than the insured. The floor I work on is a trauma floor/surgical floor, and so many of our patients are uninsured trauma victims. The doctors are able to order all kinds of tests for the uninsured, but they often have to clear the same tests with the insured pt's insurance company. It's ridiculous. Perhaps this is because it's a teaching hospital though.
Yes, probably. Research institutions, even if affiliated with a "private" university, receive a great deal of public funds - NIH research grants and, I'm sure, a large number of other things I don't even know the names of. And they have a mandate to do a lot of stuff on people in order for students to get the needed clinical experiences (although see the stories of many women who have given birth in teaching facilities for how this can backfire on a patient). In less-well-funded settings the story is quite different. You're also not taking into account the many uninsured patients who never make it to your facility because they are too far away, or because they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that it is not accessible to them - or perhaps because the ambulance driver just takes them straight to the county public hospital. All your experience indicates is that, depending on location and circumstances, my "pray for charity" idea doesn't necessarily
Also - hospital care is one thing but the specialized outpatient care which is often needed for serious conditions is another. My husband has a rare, chronic debilitating condition, but one which does not normally require hospitalization. When we were uninsured, he was given painkillers etc for symptom relief and told by multiple specialists in several different states that there was nothing else that could be done because "your condition is so rare, nobody bothers to develop treatments for it."
When we got insurance, his specialist suddenly revealed the existence of a drug therapy which attacks the root causes of his condition, halts the progress of the disease - and costs $25,000/year to administer.
Anyone can walk into an emergency room but you can't force a private doctor to give you an appointment nor a drug company to give you $500/week worth of outpatient meds. In my pediatrician's office there is a sign on the wall that if you do not have insurance you will not be seen unless you pay the full fee up-front. It breaks my heart to see that because I know that sign isn't there because of some imaginary possibility that they dreamed up. People really do show up with sick kids, hoping for a break, and they really do get turned away.