What happens in America if you can't afford Healthcare?

As a Brit I'm curious.

We have the NHS and although a lot of people complain about it I've never had any problems - in fact the standard of care I received last year when I had my first baby was excellent.

As a result I'm used to healthcare on demand when I need it and can't imagine living in a country where you have to be able to pay or have insurance in order to get help when you are sick or injured.

What happens to those who don't have health insurance or are too poor to afford it or to pay the fees? Do hospitals turn away sick and injured people who can't pay? What about pregnancy - would they turn away a woman in labour who couldn't pay them for the delivery? Do you have to pay everytime you see a doctor?

I've never been to America so I really don't know and I'm not sniping at America or trying to say our system is better, I'm just interested to find out about how it works over there. Neither is this a debate about whether Private of Public Healthcare is better!
Answer:   Oh it would not do for me to live in America then as I'm always ill every since I was wee..always ill with one thing or another so I guess unless I had insurance I would have died.

And we have the cheek to complain about our health service...with all it's problems warts and all it is still the envy of the world.
There are Charity Doctors and Hospitals, otherwise stay well, unless you pay insurance.
you die
I saw a programme, this bloke was knocked down, but he refused to go to hospital because he couldn't afford the $500 he would have to pay for the ambulance,he had no insurance!
There are many charities that fund various illness and disease . There are also free clinics in some cities that I have heard of .
The USA boasts the best medicine in the world. I have to agree but then I'm independently wealthy so I can afford it.
Where are all the Yanks?,When people ask questions about which they know nothing they jump in but dont seem to be around when they could help.
We have public health departments where you can get free medical screenings and vaccinations. If you are involved in an accident, then the hospitals will treat you and work out payment plans or write off the balance you can't pay. The horror stories you hear about people losing everything they have to major illnesses are true, but as in all things that have to do with the media, they are sensationalized and repeated over and over.

She said the patient refused to go to the hospital...BTW. THAT's where many of the horror stories start, people too proud to take charity or go into debt. The system isn't perfect, I admit, but it does allow those who CAN afford it, to buy the care they want. In some countries, you can't even buy your healthcare. In some countries with the technology, you are treated medically because you are deemed too old to have an organ transplant...so you may spend the rest of your life on dialysis. I don't even know if they would do surgery if a family member donated the organ, because the patient doesn't meet their age requirements.
It depends on the severity of the problem and where you go. some places will not turn people away, some won't only if it's life threatening. there are discounted county/state clinics people can go to for assistance as well.

My sister had to have state assistance when she had both of her children, she is a single mom and did not have healthcare offered through her work. She had to go to the county health department and to a university hospital to give birth. She either didn't pay anything or it was very minimal, I don't recall.
Our government provides Health Care for the poor as well. The system is called Medicaid, and many in poverty depend on it for health care.

Also, it is against the law to not treat someone without insurance. The person who is treated might be in financial trouble afterwords, but poor and in debt is a lot better than poor and dead.

Also, for pregnancy most orphanages will deliver your baby for free. And of course nobody is stopping you from delivering the old fashioned way. (at home)

All in all, my government doesn't provide health care for all of the American people. However, it does provide it for those to poor, sick, or elderly to care for themselves.
well Healthcare in general (public and private) is a joke in this day and age. All the old ways have been abandoned. Modern healthcare is guesswork and here is a pill, and not real "treatment". Doctors today are indoctrined to think "give em a pill, and keep em coming back".

There are public healthcare clinics in America though that treat the "poor and unwilling to work" it's call WelFare etc...
You just never hear about those public clinics and such in the media.

But like in all things life, finding your local public healthcare facility that does not charge out the yin-yang, you need to search (ie..open a phone book). And no, Hospitals do not turn you away.

But, if you're concerned w/ "healthcare" you'd do better going and buying a book that explains and utilizes herbal remedies.
The advantage here versus the UK is that when you want to go to the doctor or get hospital services, you go. There's no long wait to get services (i.e. in the UK elective surgery scheduling can take months/years). To answer your questions, if you go to the Emergency Room, you HAVE to be seen - it's the law. Private doctors have a choices over who they treat - so yes or not there. Hospitals/Emergency Rooms don't turn anyone away (including pregnant women...).

You go to the hospital/doctor and you get services. The hospital/doctor, etc. bills you. You can't pay. One of three things happens if you don't have insurance: 1) You get sued and they get a judgment against you (hoping that eventually you win the lottery and have money) and you never pay until they can collect the judgment 2) you make payment arrangements to pay what you can afford ($5.00 a month) 3) they 'write off' the bill as noncollectable or as charity.

Neither our system or your system is better. Here, services for people who can't afford insurance are covered by the government through taxes. In the UK, all people are covered by taxes. just a difference in the delivery model.
Don't think the Americans will give you more than life saving care ( at specific hospitals) unless you have private care. And the care depends on the level of care you buy. So unless you have shed loads of gelt - you get very very basic treatment, you are left to get on with it. Our system is the best but very abused.
...They go to the emergency room for minor ailments...in the long run...you can't be denied care in emergency rooms...the poor cannot be forced to pay bills they can't afford...and those who can afford care wind up paying through higher cost...

I have health care through work...but don't go for regular check-ups because those $30 co-pays add up. $30 plus co-pay for meds, plus uncovered cost at dentist and eye doctor - BANG! $1,500..

Seems to me, if I had a major disease, I'd rather be poor...people do not die! They get the care I can't afford.

The government gives free healthcare to poor people and children through the medicaid program. The problem is that there are a lot of people who can afford health insurance, they just aren't responsible enough to get it. Even for them, if they have a health emergency, they'll get free healthcare. But if they have a health problem that isn't an emergency, they just have to suffer.

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