Health care crisis? What health care crisis?

Via TBogg, we learn of writer Evan Morris and his adventures with the American health care system:

A funny thing happened last week. Actually, it wasn’t funny at all. A few months ago I started getting strange stomach upsets when I ate, sort of a weird bloating effect that hurt a lot and kept me up all night when it happened. Then it started to happen more and more frequently, eventually nearly every day, so I did what any rational person would do: I pretty much stopped eating. Bad idea. I lost 15 pounds over the course of two months or so and the pain just got much worse, until finally Mrs. Word Detective, who had been trying to get me to go to a doctor for quite a while, convinced me to go to the hospital.

This seems a good time to mention that The Great State of Ohio is one of those states that allows health insurance companies to refuse to offer you coverage, which they did to us several years ago. We had good coverage through the Authors Guild when we lived in NYC (where insurance companies can charge you out the wazoo but can’t refuse coverage entirely), but since we moved out here we have had no insurance.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital, it developed that I had a severely inflamed gall bladder and needed immediate surgery. So they yanked the little sucker out in the nick of time (it was three times normal size and the surgeon said he didn’t understand why I was still walking around and not, like, dead), leaving me with four incisions that look like bullet wounds, and sent me home six hours later. Total time in hospital = 22 hours. I wasn’t in intensive care, and I didn’t even get a real room, just a glorified closet with the bathroom 50 feet down the hall to which I would stagger trailing my IV pole behind me. But I seem to be all right now, although it still hurts when I cough or sneeze.

And then the other shoe dropped. Bills have begun to arrive. So far, they amount to (is everyone sitting down?) a little over $22,000. That’s twenty-two thousand dollars. For 22 hours in the hospital. And we haven’t received the surgeon’s bill yet.

This strikes me as absolutely insane. Twenty-two thousand dollars? That’s close to the advance on my last book, which took me most of a year to write. We don’t have anywhere near that amount of money. But something tells me the hospital plans to get its money one way or another. As in take away our house.

I’m sure Evan would appreciate it if you dropped a buck or two in his tip jar.