Stung by a Scorpion, Then by a Hospital. This Could Happen to You.

Tea Party Economist

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An Arizona woman was stung by a scoprion. She went to the hospital. It gave her two shots. Then it charged her $39,652.

Per shot.

In Mexico, the same shot costs $100.

Then it charged her extra fees for the visit. Total bill: over $83,000.

Conclusion: government-regulated health care is not working for patients. It is working great for hospitals.

Here are the details.

Marcie Edmonds was stung by a scorpion. At first, there were no major problems. But symptoms began bothering her. She could not walk.

She called poison control, which advised her to go to a hospital. (Smart people. They won’t get sued.)

The hospital did not give her an IV of vitamin C (cheap). It gave her an IV of a new drug, which costs the hospital $3,780 per dose.

The physician never mentioned cost, She, being naive, never asked.


Three weeks later, she was billed a little over $83,000, or $39,652 per dose.

The drug firm sells the drug to distributors in the USA for $3,500 per dose. The distributor charges the hospital $3,780.

In Mexico, the same drug costs $100 per dose.

Hospitals charge all they can. In her area, some charge $8,000 per dose. Others charge $13,000. But this lady got the all-time sting.

Her insurer paid $57,509, The hospital is demanding $25,537 from her.

The scorpion got away scot-free.

Warning: never accept treatment at any hospital without a written estimate of the cost. If it’s verbal, you need an adult witness.

Better yet, live in Mexico.

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September 12, 2012

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2012 Gary North