The images of President Donald Trump returning to the White House after three days at Walter Reed Medical Center is not one many of us are likely to forget. And then there was the statement that he delivered by video, and which was subsequently uploaded to Twitter, where he told us ” … I learned so much about coronavirus. One thing that’s for certain, don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines all developed recently, and you’re going to beat it. I went … I didn’t feel so good. And two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago, I felt great. Like, better than I have in a long time. I said just recently … better than 20 years ago. Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen.”
So how much, in fact, did “the best medical equipment and the best medicines” — one of which is still in its experimental phase — actually cost in total?
Trump's care may have cost the American taxpayer around $100,000
The New York Times did a tally and based its estimates on Trump’s three days in the hospital. It includes the cost of multiple coronavirus-related tests, oxygen, medicines from the experimental antibody treatment Regeneron, which has yet to hit the market; remdesivir, an Obama-era drug which NPR has priced at $3,120 for a five day course or patients with private insurance and $2,340 for those with Medicaid or Medicare; and steroids. After all this, a person could expect to pay upwards of $100,000 for the course of treatment.
The paper also warns that patients could expect extra surprise bills to come as a result of line items, including helicopter transit and extra coronavirus testing. However, Trump’s fees are underwritten by the federal government, and he, like all presidents, gets the best care and the best medicines for free.
COVID-19 hospital bills can cost even more
Without experimental, off-market drugs and chopper rides to and from the White House, an average COVID-19 patient might expect to get a bill of $34,927, as one Boston-based patient who had suffered from COVID-19 and lymphoma did (via Time). The patient later recalled, “I was pretty sticker-shocked. I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.”
Time, which had begun to report on the costs of COVID-19 on the American public, estimates that amount can be what millions of Americans who test positive need to prepare to spend, particularly if they have no insurance to fall back on. The WHO has also warned that if a COVID-19 patient develops complications and heads into the intensive care unit, they can expect to pay much more. One patient who spoke to The New York Times said she was invoiced $401,885. After financial assistance benefits, her bill came to $75,000. She hoped that the insurance company would cover most of these costs. The projected median hospital bill for someone with COVID-19 is set at $61,912.
The numbers provide even more incentive to follow the CDC’s recommendations to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently as a way of protecting yourself and others.
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