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The Orlando area hospitals that treated the Pulse nightclub shooting victims made a special announcement on Wednesday -- none of those people will have to pay for their medical treatment! Hooray! The hospitals will instead absorb the $5.5 million cost of their treatment, which is a very nice thing for them to do.


The Orlando Sentinel, which first reported the story, included a heartwarming statement from Orlando Health President and CEO David Strong:

"The Pulse shooting was a horrendous tragedy for the victims, their families and our entire community. During this very trying time, many organizations, individuals and charities have reached out to Orlando Health to show their support. This is simply our way of paying that kindness forward.”

And it all sounds super lovely and nice and great until you take a second and realize that were it not for the generosity of these hospitals, those people would have had to pay for their medical treatment themselves. Like, they got shot by a mass shooter, and on top of that, they have to pay for the medical treatment they need as a result of that. And that there are other people out there who do have to pay money when they get shot.

HOW IS THAT NOT JUST GODDAMNED STUPID?

Really! How do we live in a country where this is a thing? Where this is how our health care system works? How are we all OK with this?

Sure. There are government systems in every state that can help victims pay for treatment. There are the Hill-Burton funds that sometimes cover costs for uninsured patients, although I'm gonna guess that a pretty good amount of uninsured people don't even know what the hell that even is. But generally speaking, we live in a country where it costs money to be the victim of a crime, and we are supposed to pretend that this is a thing that is normal and fine and not at all horrifying.

Gee! If only there were some kind of health care system in which no one ever had to worry about paying for life saving medical treatment! They don't have this problem in most other countries! Why might that be?

You know, I would love to gush over this. I really would! There's so much bad news in the world that it really is great when something nice happens! And I really do wish from the bottom of my heart that I felt like Obamacare fully quenched my thirst for a single-payer system and felt like a reasonable enough, fair enough compromise. But at the end of the day, there are still people paying for getting shot. There are people raising money for their kid's cancer treatments on GoFundMe. There are asshole pharmaceutical companies charging people up the wazoo for EpiPens and AIDS and cancer medications.

But we can't have single payer! Why? Because it's just too "idealistic!" Because "Oh sure that would be real nice and all but it's not like it would ever happen. MAYBE IN YOUR FANTASY LAND!"

Because there are a bunch of idiots out there who get a great big sad and feel all "EW GROSS GET IT OFF ME" thinking about paying for someone else's medical treatment. Which would be funny if it weren't sad and mean, because they actually do pay for other people's medical treatments all the time, and not only through their insurance payments! Yeah! Even people without insurance still pay for other people's medical treatments, because when hospitals "absorb costs" like these hospitals just did, like hospitals are required to do for indigent ER patients, they just make other stuff, like boxes of Kleenex, crazy expensive.

Oh, and there is, of course, the fact that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have a ton of political pull. It's all gross. And again, I want to think this is super great and nice -- and again, it is -- but it is gross and sad and horrifying and stupid and insane and wrong that this is even a thing in the first place.

[Orlando Sentinel]

Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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