Some Fear That The U.S. Healthcare System Could Help Spread The Coronavirus

Rachel Tsoumbakos

As the coronavirus threat continues to spread across parts of the world, within the U.S., there are fears that limiting healthcare could help to spread the virus.

According to The Daily Mail, it cost one businessman more than $3,000 after being suspected of contracting the coronavirus. The threat here is that for people who cannot afford to be tested, if at risk, may end up helping to spread the disease within the U.S.

Osmel Martinez Azcue came down with flu-like symptoms after traveling to China on work-related business last month. Concerned that he might have contracted the virus, he went to his local hospital near Miami, Florida. While there, he was tested for the flu, which came back positive, meaning he did not have the coronavirus and he was sent home to recover. However, two weeks later, he received a bill for $3,270.

While Azcue worked for a medical device company, the company does not cover employees with health coverage. Then, after his existing premiums shot up in cost significantly, Ascue had to switch to another plan. This meant that his plan did not quite cover him yet. As a result of this, he was hit with a huge bill.

While Azcue turned out not to have coronavirus, it does highlight a unique risk in the U.S. regarding the potential containment of those infected there. Currently, that number stands at 35. However, with the high costs of medical bills in the U.S. -- even for those with health care coverage, the risk is substantial that people who cannot afford to be tested for the disease will not be. As a result of this, proper isolation procedures may not be carried out and the spread of the virus could escalate.

In many other countries around the world, healthcare is provided by the government, funded by taxpayers. This means that going to the hospital does not put them out of pocket any more substantially than by paying their taxes every year. This is true even if their medical stay is complicated or for a long period of time.

As the Washington Post points out, the coronavirus may actually be a timely reminder that the U.S. should look at Medicare-for-all in an effort to help stop the spread of a potential pandemic. With citizens having to weigh up the cost of going to the doctors when they suspect they have the coronavirus against whether or not they can afford it against other bills means that the risk is there for the virus to spread significantly.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, U.S. president, Donald Trump has "proposed a $2.5 billion spending package for the emergency response to the coronavirus." While this looks great on the surface, it has since been discovered that a portion of the funding for this will come as a direct result of taking from low-income heating funds.