WTF of the day: Recessionary healthcare madness

Laid-off expectant mother induces for insurance purposes.

Published December 8, 2008 8:35PM (EST)

If anyone needs any more evidence that the American healthcare system is broken, consider the birth of Kathryn Darling, the new daughter of one Starla D. Darling, 27, of Ashland, OH.

Laid off from her job at a cookie factory, where she'd worked for eight years, the expectant mother took medicine to induce labor two days before her health insurance would expire in hopes she would not be stuck with the bill for the delivery. She ended up having an emergency C-section and still getting the bill.

As Darling told the New York Times:  "When I heard that I was losing my insurance, I was scared. I remember that the bill for my son’s delivery in 2005 was about $9,000, and I knew I would never be able to pay that by myself."

So she asked her midwife to induce: "I was determined that we were getting this baby out, and it was going to be paid for,"  said Darling. The insurance company denied her claim leaving the unemployed new mother with more than $17,000 in medical bills, since a C-section is more expensive than a vaginal delivery.

As the recession deepens and more American workers lose their health insurance along with their jobs, we expect to hear more mind-boggling stories like this one.


By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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