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07th May 2020

British people shocked at cost of coronavirus treatment in the US

Oli Dugmore

Shut the fridge, again

Last year we asked the British public to try and guess how much certain medical procedures cost in the United States, from an ambulance callout to giving birth, to more serious procedures and long-term treatments.

In a country whose society is ingrained with the National Health Service, the reactions were understandably ones of shock and horror.

The United States has long been criticised both within and outside of the country for its healthcare system. Unlike the United Kingdom, where fees for the majority of medical procedures are either non-existent or minimal, the American healthcare system bankrupts thousands of people every year.

That is because those without health insurance are forced to saddle the costs for their own ill-health. This disproportionately effects lower income people, due to the fact that health insurance is most often tied to employment. The better the job, the better the coverage.

Unfortunately, the US is now home to the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world. And its healthcare system is not helping those in need. We got our colleagues to guess how much it costs to have a coronavirus test, how much it costs to have your doctor visit your home, and how much a spell in intensive care will set you back.

The results are, once again, sobering.