KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 ― An American YouTube content creator recently took Twitter to claim that her sister was charged US$40 (RM176) for crying when she visited the doctor.
The 25-year-old posted: “My little sister has been really struggling with a health condition lately and finally got to see a doctor. They charged her $40 for crying.” She also attached a photograph of the bill, explaining that her sister had been visiting the doctor since January after she found out she has a rare disease as she’s reportedly struggling to find care.
“One tear in and they charged her $40 without addressing why she is crying, trying to help, doing any evaluation, any prescription, nothing.” Johnson’s tweet went viral with more than 340,000 likes and 55,000 retweets with thousands of comments from Twitter users expressing their shock and frustration.
She noted on the itemised medical bill that the “brief emotional and behaviour assessment” which is the cause for the extra charge, cost more than any of the other tests her sister had taken during the appointment.
In an interview with The Independent, Johnson stated that the doctor noticed her sister was crying and made no effort to help her and she was not evaluated despite being charged US$40 during the appointment.
“They did not evaluate her for depression or other mental illnesses, nor did they discuss her mental health with her,” Johnson said.
“She never talked to a specialist, was not referred to anyone, not prescribed anything, and they did nothing to assist with her mental health.” Even though the medical bill is covered by Johnson’s father's medical insurance, this has prompted a debate about the overcharged medical bills and the overtly costly price of medical care in the United States.
One Twitter user, Lauren Cugliotta replied to Johnson’s tweet with a picture of her medical bill for removing a tumour where she highlighted that she was charged with almost US$2,000 for “Women’s services”, which Cugliotta said was for a pregnancy test.
Many Twitter users were shocked with uncertain medical charges that were being faced stateside after many of them shared their experiences about the US medical care system after Johnson’s tweet went viral.
Johnson hopes that with her tweet going viral, it can help change how the US healthcare system helps others and how it can be improved.
“We need a drastic change in the healthcare industry and I thought that sharing a real life story online would be a good way to open up the conversation and help advocate for change,” she said.
“I really hope this tweet can incite improvement in our healthcare system as well as be a warning for the future.”