Adding yet another horrifying anecdote to the ever-growing list of reasons the United States urgently needs to transition away from its disastrous for-profit system to Medicare for All—which is backed by 70 percent of Americans—Kaiser Health News (KHN) and NPR on Monday published the story of Drew Calver, a 44-year-old teacher with health insurance who was billed nearly $109,000 by a Texas hospital after he suffered a heart attack.\u0022How anyone can read stories like this and still think the for-profit health insurance model is acceptable is baffling to me.\u0022 —Ben Spielberg\u0022The heart attack was a shock for Calver, an avid swimmer who had competed in an Ironman triathlon just five months before,\u0022\u0026nbsp;KHN\u0026nbsp;reports. \u0022Despite the surprise, even from his hospital bed, Calver asked whether his health insurance would cover all of this, a financial worry that accompanies nearly every American hospital stay.\u0022St. David\u0026#039;s Medical Center—the Texas hospital where Calver had emergency surgery—assured the teacher and father of two that they would accept his insurance, despite the fact that the facility is classified as \u0022out-of-network\u0022 on his Aetna healthcare plan.But then, months after Calver\u0026#039;s heart attack and operation, the bills arrived.\u0022Total Bill: $164,941 for a four-day hospital stay, including $42,944 for four stents and $10,920 for room charges,\u0022 noted KHN, which published the billing statement from St. David\u0026#039;s Medical Center. \u0022Calver\u0026#039;s insurer paid $55,840. The hospital billed Calver for the unpaid balance of $108,951.31.\u0022\u0022They\u0026#039;re going to give me another heart attack stressing over this bill,\u0022 Calver told KHN. \u0022I can\u0026#039;t pay this bill on my teacher salary, and I don\u0026#039;t want this to go to a debt collector.\u0022Calver\u0026#039;s story provoked outrage but not surprise, given that the 44-year-old teacher is one of millions of Americans who have been threatened with financial ruin by the United States\u0026#039; for-profit healthcare system, which—compared to other advanced nations—is uniquely expensive while still delivering terrible results.According to a recent study by the Koch-funded Mercatus Center, Medicare for All would save Americans $2 trillion in healthcare spending while covering everybody.\u0022How anyone can read stories like this and still think the for-profit health insurance model is acceptable is baffling to me,\u0022 noted journalist Ben Spielberg, expressing a sentiment that was echoed across social media in response to Calver\u0026#039;s story.A man with health insurance survives a heart attack. Despite being told his insurance would cover the costs, he\u0026#039;s left with bills for over $100,000.Stories like this are not uncommon. We need #MedicareForAll more urgently than ever. https://t.co/F3QxU3e3Jd— DSA for Medicare for All (@dsam4a) August 27, 2018Let me say it again. American health care is run like a criminal enterprise. This is should be fraud. The whole system is rampant with fraud. If you want single payer we need to talk about how bad hospitals are https://t.co/9dH7lJmvnd— Jon Walker (@JonWalkerDC) August 27, 2018This @chadterhune story (along with other \u0022Bill of the Month\u0022 features) blows a hole in the commonly held belief that the U.S. employer-based health insurance system is great. https://t.co/s5rtuIijik— Bob Herman (@bobjherman) August 27, 2018Strikingly, and shortly after KHN and NPR published their piece on Calver\u0026#039;s heart attack and resulting financial turmoil, St. David\u0026#039;s Medical Center said it has decided to reduce Calver\u0026#039;s bill from $109,000 to $782 because he qualifies for the hospital\u0026#039;s \u0022financial assistance discount.\u0022\u0022Calver disputed that he owes any additional money to St. David\u0026#039;s and said this situation should have been resolved long before now,\u0022 KHN reported.Critics viewed St. David\u0026#039;s rapid reversal in the face of backlash as confirmation that the initial bill was just a massive grift, which hospitals and insurance companies likely get away with on a regular basis, given that not every victim of America\u0026#039;s for-profit healthcare system is lucky enough to have their horror-story featured in major news publications.\u0022Notice that every single time a news outlet publishes one of these stories, the hospital either waives the charges, or offers the patient a settlement,\u0022 Slate\u0026#039;s Jordan Weissmann wrote on Twitter. \u0022That seems like a pretty good fucking sign that the bill was bullshit profiteering in the first place.\u0022American health care1) Get sick in a way that goes viral so you can fundraise 2) Get a bill so horse shit a journalist will write about it and the hospital drops the grift out of shame https://t.co/9Vqc9RHFRt pic.twitter.com/Jb5a0VcMnw— Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) August 28, 2018*Insured teacher suffers heart attack, survives*Hospital: \u0022You owe us $109,000\u0022*press runs story showing predatory charges and hospital\u0026#039;s history of overbilling*Hospital: \u0022Congratulations, you qualify for our magic discount! Now you owe only $782.\u0022https://t.co/lCtnzjCCXc— Another Steve (@NotAnotherSteve) August 28, 2018\u0022The lesson is, if you live in America and get charged an outrageous medical bill, you better hope you can find a journalist to write about it,\u0022 concluded Splinter\u0026#039;s Libby Watson.For those who can\u0026#039;t find a journalist to write about their insane hospital and insurance bills, KHN and NPR conclude their article with a series of basic action steps.\u0022Faced with a surprise bill or a balance-billing situation, don\u0026#039;t rush to pay any medical bills you receive. First, let the insurance process play out completely so you’re sure what the health plan is paying the hospital and doctors,\u0022 the outlets advise. \u0022Ask for an itemized bill. Review the charges carefully and talk to your insurer, your employer, and the hospital if the prices seem out of line. Arm yourself with estimates you can find online of the average prices charged in your area as you negotiate with all the players. If the bills keep coming, talk to your employer\u0026#039;s benefits department or the state insurance department about your legal protections.\u0022And here\u0026#039;s one final step, which is not mentioned by KHN and NPR: Contact your member of Congress and demand that they support Medicare for All, which is gaining momentum in the House and Senate.