By: Liberty Laura
Babies are expensive. Medical bills are also expensive. Last week, when a new mother in Australia went into labor, she decided to cut some costs and precious time by utilizing the free market and calling an Uber for a ride to the hospital, rather than an ambulance.
“I’d never called an ambulance before, so I didn’t know how far away it would be or how long it would take,” Rati Sinuraya said. “I was in so much pain, it was 2.30am in the morning and I didn’t want to risk the ambulance taking a long time to arrive.”
Rati was not expecting to give birth for another month, so the couples’ plans were made on-the-fly.
“An ambulance couldn’t give me an exact time of how long they would be, but with an Uber we could just see on the map where they were and get updated estimations,” she said. “If I was picked up five minutes later, I would’ve been pushing out the baby in the car,” she said.
As of a 2016 report, ambulance rides are costing the consumer, on average, $164 per mile. So, a 10-mile ride to the hospital could cost someone upwards of $1700- on top of whatever medical bills were also accumulated.
A story of a swim instructor who broke her teeth from swimming into a wall of the pool shared her expensive ambulance story to the New York Times. Someone called 911 for her, she accepted the ride, and for 15 minutes and a non-emergency trip to the hospital cost $1,772.42. Luckily, her place of employment’s insurance covered the bill.
The Times article continues, “Thirty years ago ambulance rides were generally provided free of charge, underwritten by taxpayers as a municipal service or provided by volunteers. Today, like the rest of the health care system in the United States, most ambulance services operate as businesses and contribute to America’s escalating medical bills.”
Time to remove regulations on health insurance? Allow for consumer-friendly competition across state lines?
It is time to let the free market relieve consumers of deafening medical bills, so that trips to the hospital can be as accessible and affordable as a trip with Uber.