Uninsured Aurora shooting victims face financial devastation


Caleb Medley, an aspiring standup comic, YouTuber, total nerd, and enthusiastic fan of Batman, was shot in the eye at the Aurora movie theater mass shooting.

He is currently in intensive care in an induced coma. He lost his right eye and suffered brain damage. His wife Katie "is about to give birth to their first child," one floor away, according to this CBS News report.

Update: Katie, 21, just gave birth to their first child. Snip from Reuters update:

Katie Medley and her husband, Caleb, both wearing Batman apparel, were at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman clad in tactical body armor, helmet and gas mask opened fire during a midnight showing early on Friday. Twelve people, including a 6-year-old girl, were killed and 58 wounded.

Caleb is currently listed in critical condition at the University of Colorado Denver Hospital. He is showing some signs of progress. Like a number of people injured in the Aurora shooting, he is uninsured. His family has been told that the cost of his medical treatment may exceed $2 million.

There's a fundraising site here, where friends and family are gathering donations to help with his health care costs. America would be an even greater country if people didn't have to do stuff like this to get life-saving medical treatment.


  1. Dear God.  This is the status quo that some people in Washington are sworn to defend at all costs.

  2. Two million dollars, are you sure?  Can the hospital possibly withhold any charges and simply save a victim who surely did not want to be shot in the face?

      1. Kathryn, I’d be curious to hear what you think resident physicians make per year (or per hour).  It seems odd to me to peg a large hospital bill on charges from resident physicians.  What information is this based on?  Is this really how hospitals or physician medical groups billed in your state?  Was this from a bill that you received? As a pediatrician and cost-effectiveness advocate who was ‘in residency’ not too long ago, the situation you describe would be fraud.  An attending physician (the one of your hypothetical three doctors not in residency) is the only one who can bill for inpatient stays.  The resident physicians receive salaries that are independent of any hospital income.  Hospitals with residency programs are reimbursed by Medicare per resident.  This money is used to pay the resident physician’s salary.  Resident physicians’ work allows attending physicians to see more patients but resident physicians cannot charge for inpatient visits.  I’m sure there’s someone out there with more in-depth experience than mine and I’d welcome anyone’s input.  I just couldn’t leave this comment out there leading someone to believe that involving doctors in medical specialty training led to higher individual medical bills. 

        1. Dr. Johnson, you are correct.  A resident does not bill for the professional component of a hospital admission, the attending physician and any consulting physicians would bill, in addition to the hospital’s billing for the hospital portion.  In the case of an uninsured patient that’s fee for service, but in the case of a medicare patient as you mentioned the hospital portion is based on the Diagnosis Related Group, and billing is determined in advance (not related to the actual cost of care).

      1.  HR is wanting me to make an account and login, just to view comments.  I think I’ll decline.

  3. Maybe they’ll go back to claiming the system is fine and he should have planned for this tragedy. It’s utterly vile that you have to pass a hat around to not die so that no-one screams ‘socialism’.

    1. Not all states are like that.
      While it probably wouldn’t have covered all of his medical expenses, at least Iowa tries to look out for it’s own:


      “The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division (CVAD) was established in 1989 to provide services and assistance to victims of violent crimes. The division administers programs that directly benefit victims of crime, including those that assist victims with the financial burden resulting from injuries of crime, that assist local crime victim service programs, and that assist the criminal justice system in holding offenders responsible for the effects of their crimes. All crime victims and survivors will be treated with dignity and respect. Funds for these programs come primarily from fines and penalties assessed on state and federal criminals.”

      (To be fair, I have no idea if Colorado has an equivalent program.)

      1.  It’s one step up from not having a safety net, any idea if there are serious plans to expand it?

        1. Sorry, but I can’t answer that with any certainty.

          What I can say is, I’ve known several persons who have suffered harm at the hands of others, and this has been there for every last one of them—my own mother included.

          IAG Tom Miller is a Godsend, and I have no doubt he would do no less than fight tooth-and-nail to preserve this program, if not expand it.

      2. This is a great idea for victims of violent crime. It’s a shame it can’t be extended to those who suffer from ill-health. The two groups are surprisingly similar. Violent attacks and sickness are both random, unpredictable events. In some cases, it could be argued that the victim brought it upon themselves (she hung out in a bad neighbourhood, he ate too much junk food), but really, these are just random, frightening events that can happen to anyone. One might hope that a civilized society would spread the financial burden, giving the victims space to rebuild their lives.

    2. Well, maybe like many/most in the GOP, they’ll just let him die (and cheer!).  I mean, that’s what the GOP wants – he didn’t plan ahead, doesn’t have insurance, why should anyone else pay for him?


      Why was he at a move that costs $15 if he can’t afford $10,000 a year for insurance?

    1. Funny, but (mostly) no one has a problem with “socialist” police protection and “socialist” fire departments (free market FTW!), and “socialist” local roads.

      Then we talk about directly helping people and we get all 1950s-Red-Scare-we’ll-all-die!! And become slaves!!!

      1. Your linked article was a government fire department watching a home burn. Please don’t blame government ineptitude and cravenness on the ‘free market.’

        1. It’s a perfect example of what a privatized service would look like.  Can’t afford the fee?  Sorry about your house.  There’s a reason this was a big news story, and that’s because it’s otherwise so unusual, but in a Libertarian world it would be an everyday event. It comes as no surprise to me that it happened in the anti-government (but addicted to government largesse) South either.

      2. Yeah, this isn’t really a “free market” issue. If there were, say, several competing fire departments and they were allowed to compete in lieu of having a proper centralized fire department? That would count. 

        This is just a case of an underfunded city handling their lack of a fire department in a piss-poor way.

        1.  Let’s also point out, that the Affordable Care Act is more market based than what we have had before. They are the ones trying to force insurance companies into those markets where people can compare and buy their insurance.

          As opposed to being force to a single provider based on the whims of the company you work for. That’s definitely not free market or consumer choice.

    1. 100%.  The insurer would gladly take any opportunity to send a PR flack to the hospital and very gravely and seriously tell the cameras that they “just want Mr Medley to get the best care available”, no matter what pre-existing conditions he might have or what it might cost.

      As for everyone else in the country, well, go find your own national tragedy you freeloaders.

      1.  LOL – you have more faith in insurance co than I do. I see them fighting care all the way.

        1. I have faith that a soul-less corporation will seek to cynically maximize profit, and knowing that this event has gone from “tragic statistic” to “national tragedy” in no time they wouldn’t dare risk the PR nightmare of denying one of the “heroes of Aurora” coverage. 

          Any other shooting?  Fuck yes they’d deny him coverage.  It’s what insurance companies do best.

          Of course, since he’s uninsured, he can go screw himself anyways according to everyone who thinks “public health care” means “communism”, so it’s a moot point.

        2. “Sorry, sir, but that bullet in your brain? That’s pre-existing. As stated in your policy, you have to pre-clear before you get injured.”

    2.  Well–

      Thanks to the ACA, there is no lifetime limit.  Before “Obamacare”, even with insurance, he would have been financially ruined, because he would have a $1M or maybe $2M lifetime limit on benefits.   Obamacare removes that limit entirely.   If/when Obamacare is repealed, that protection gone straight away.  Also, thanks to the ACA, they can’t cancel his coverage now that’s very sick (again, assuming he had it to begin with).

      Unfortunately, mostly thanks to Republican instragenience, the guy probably couldn’t afford any insurance.  In 2014 assuming the GOP doesn’t get it’s way, he would receive a government subsidy to purchase insurance, up the point that he’s spending not more than 8% of his gross pay on insurance.  Obviously too late. 

      Under the ACA, there are maximum yearly out of pocket costs, usually in the range of $10k to $25k, meaning the insurance company would pay all but that amount in this case.

      1. I really wish the President would’ve done a better job explaining his healthcare bill to the average American.  Instead, we all hear lies about it such as death panels, evil socialism, etc.

  4. When the government is called upon to build a highway, nobody calls it socialism. It is accepted that having a highway will allow a lot of people to drive to work and, over the course of their lifetimes, pay for their share of it’s cost through their taxes. Why does the same attitude not prevail for health care?

    1. ‘User pays’ sounds like a great idea until some unavoidable tragic event knocks the selfish out of you.

      I’m not even sure most of the people who cite ‘socialism’ as a reason not to do something understand what it is. I assume they think it’s a giant flesh-eating Soviet that crushes orphanages with it’s flailing arms.

  5. I’m sure the media coverage we’ve witnessed in the past few days will rise to that level again if a crazed, lone debt collector hounds a dozen or more of the survivors into the grave.

  6. In a lot of states, I believe that there is monetary compensation from the government if you are a victim of a crime. I don’t know if Colorado has this available, or if they do, exactly what it provides.

  7. One of the saddest aspect of our disgusting healthcare system is that Caleb’s catastrophe is one of the best cases of getting ill when uninsured, even if it wasn’t high profile.  No one’s turning him away, he’s getting top notch healthcare exactly when he needs it most, and the fact that, like most young people today, it doesn’t look like he has assets to lose when the bills come put’s him way ahead. You can’t get blood from a stone, bankruptcy would be the easiest part of his recovery.

    That’s in contrast to someone who feels progressively poorly but never sees a doctor because of the cost, and is either unwilling to go to an emergency room or gets poor care & inaccurate diagnosis there as an apparently “non-emergent patient”. (even having insurance I had this experience with acute abdominal pain).  That person often ends up too far gone to be saved by the time they are actually treated in the much vaunted “American Healthcare System”. As Rick Perry says of the 25% of Texans without insurance: “everyone has access to healthcare”.

    Prayers for Caleb and his family.

  8. If you have any humanity at all you will kick in a few bucks and not criticize this kid… god forbid it was one of your family members….  chassmann !

  9. 2 million dollars. Even if he DID have insurance, that cost is so insanely high that the amount that insurance didn’t cover might be enough to bankrupt him and his entire family.

    1.  Exactly true.  It would probably cost him $10k to $20k as the maximum out of pocket (per year), which on Walmart wages, might as well be $2 million bucks.

      And of course, thanks to bankruptcy reform, he probably can’t discharge it all, he’d be put on a 20-year repayment plan at 18% interest.

  10. Dang, tax the the weapons makers in order to cover such health costs. Call it a ‘random bullshit you helped enable’ tax. Yeah the  reductio ad absurdem slaps (as well as other dodgy rhetorical attempts) will stick to this comment like flies to agaric cream, but hey why not? I think it makes a clear sense.

  11. So when everyone pitches in before something happens, that’s “socialism” but passing a hat around after it happens is “charity”? 

      1. in the former case, the selfish pricks are the only ones who feel like they got screwed and not the rest of us.

      2. No one has to pay taxes. Just grab a boat and GTFO.

        Adults realize that stuff costs money, and it is far easier and cheaper if we all chip in a few $$ collectively, rather than trying to go it alone.

  12. [blockquote]Warners is the first of the Hollywood organizations to make a charitable gift.[/blockquote]

    Oh good. Now if we can just get charitable donations to cover the rest of health care for everyone in the country, we’ll be all set.

    Wait, what’s that you’re saying? Rich people don’t give you money unless you tax them? Sacrebleu I guess we’d better tax them then

    1. The best part is the taxes on passive (investment) income maxes out at 15%, whereas wage slaves pay up to 35%. Guess which type of income rich people have?

      Oh, did I mention that with a good accountant, non-wage-slaves can pay ZERO taxes?

  13.  In reality they can’t send a $2million bill to this guy. He doesn’t have it – will never have it. The hospitals eat the cost like they do on a lot of uninsured patients. Am I right on this?

    1.  Exactly, which is why it’s much fairer to simply have single payer paid for by a broad-based tax.

      As it stands now, those of with insurance will still pay cost, but in the meantime, this guy will be permanently hounded for the debt.   All of which is incredibly unproductive.  All involved lose – the patient who will have to beg, borrow and steal probably the rest of his life to get by under crushing medical debt; the hospital who will probably never be made whole on their life saving (hopefully!) treatment, his employer (grr, Walmart, thanks for nothing) who will lose an employee for some time period, his wife and new baby, and society as whole.

    2. They can send a bill and collect all he haves.  And, as a business, I can’t really fault them.  They provide the same service as they would if he had shot himself in the eye while cleaning his own gun.

      Edit: Note that I don’t think that this is a good thing. But a system that relies on businesses to be charitable is broken.

  14. OK, I figured it out. There’s going to be a site where people try to Kickstart their healthcare and education costs. 

    “Hi, I’m John Doe! If you can help me pay off my medical bills, I’ll be able to rehabilitate my credit rating and get a professional job commensurate with my education! Please pledge your support now! im living in a shipping container, for the love of God Thanks for watching!”

  15. Being unfortunate enough to be severely injured at a massacre, and then financially ruined for not having medical insurance?

    Hearing this sad tale makes me glad as hell my country has “dirty socialist pinko commie” universal healthcare.

    Here, we look after our people.

    1. Oh, don’t worry. My oppressive socialist government will make me pay for the endless litigation that will ensue over the medical expenses of the survivors. 

      WOuld be cheaper to pay the medical expenses, but you know. Socialist court houses good. Socialist hospitals bad. 

  16. Damn Faux News keeps repeating:
    “Now is not the right time to talk about gun control.”
    “Now is not the right time to talk about healthcare.”

    If not now then when?

      1. yeah, if only we had the right to healthcare like every other first world country.  why is owning a gun a protected right, when healthcare is not, that seems so backwards to me.

        the thing that makes me the most sad is teh rich fat cats in government all get free tax dollar paid government health care.  they just don’t want it for the common person.  you don’t hear them complaining about getting it themselves.  *sighs*  i guess it is because the represent the coporate interests over the common citizen.

        1. You have the right! We’re talking about the financial access.

          Seems that Fox “News” has gotten to you, too :(

          Universal Health Care Insurance != Universal Health Care

      2. The ammunition should come with free health care. Seriously, put a serial number on every slug. The hospital puts the numbers into their billing system as they pull the slugs out.

      3. I had a similar reaction. Why doesn’t the manufacturer of the gun, the NRA (and other pro-gun orgs…are there any??!) chip in? It seems weird to me that Hollywood is the only one ponying up, and that somehow the cinema should also feel obligated. 

  17. As someone on Cobra who pays close to $500 a month for health coverage (and currently looking for full time work), I can tell you, many people struggle to be able to afford health coverage. If you are a contract or freelance professional, chances are full coverage health care is often out of your budget. I feel for this guy and his family.

      1. Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It means that if you have insurance through your job, the insurance company has to let you buy the same policy (at rates that they set) for 18 months after you leave that job.

      2. No, but you do have to be careful to avoid any G.I. Joes.  And the prosthetics options they’ll pay for are a little on the weird side.

  18. This is why you should avoid insurance policies with $2 million copays. Another shooting brought to you by MKUltra.

    1. Every company does. Only meat people have to obtain permission to get insurance for other meat people.

  19. The last paragraph bothers me. Why the passive-aggressive attitude towards film companies and not yet donating?  Why not the NRA, Heckler & Koch, gloch, etc.?

    1. Duh. Guns don’t kill people, cinemas and liberal media do!

      Sorry, could not resist.   I do agree with your observation. 

    2.  This is EXACTLY what I was going to write?  I’m not sure why the movie/entertainment  industry is being singled out here –

      Where is the NRA’s support to help these victims?  Or the gun manufacturers, or the bulk weapons web site?

  20. In Australia we have free healthcare and we also have private healthcare. It means everyone gets the healthcare they want. Younger people usually just use the free healthcare which is good. Older people tend to use more private healthcare for elective surgery and private rooms and stuff. It’s a system that works. It also means when tragedy strikes a family they don’t have to worry about paying bills.

    Australia does have gun control laws though. There is no legitimate reason for a civilian to own an assault rifle with a hundred round magazine and over  6000 rounds of ammo. Assault rifles are made to kill people not for hunting.

    I used to hunt and I used a single shot bolt action rifle and took a handful of rounds with me. That’s all you need for hunting if you are a good shot.

    1. It is my understanding that the violent overthrow of an oppressive and illegal government is a legitimate reason for such military-grade arms.  We actually put something like that in our German constitution. 

      Though I doubt that these days it work work like that. 

      1. An illegal government which refuses to provide healthcare for its citizens, for instance?

        1. As far as I know there aren’t any provisions in the US constitution that mandate something like health inurance, while it’s at least alluded in the German one.

      2. Most Australian’s couldn’t get passionate enough to have a violent overthrow of an illegal and oppressive government. We can’t even make ourselves a republic. Our flag still has the union jack on it so you can see we’re not very revolutionary.

        LOL one whole quarter of our flag is British

          1. Well, come to think of it: When did all these aboriginal people sneak over the Australian border? 

            Edit: Nice to see that the quip about Poland had been silently dropped.

  21. I don’t live in the US- How is this possible? How could it cost 2 million dollars? HOW. 

    1.  I obviously haven’t seen his bill, but I can believe it. The amounts hospitals bill for services are enormous, especially when the care is so intensive.

      Also, the amount they bill uninsured patients is much higher than what insurance companies pay. I have insurance. Last year I spent 3 hours in an emergency room- I got a CT scan and they told me I was fine, and then I left. The bill I got said that if I didn’t have insurance, I’d have owed over $13,000. What my insurer and I actually paid was closer to $3,000. Insurers get to negotiate the rates; individuals don’t.

    2. Since hospitals are billing straight to insurance companies there’s no real reason to keep costs down, if you look at an itemized bill you may see a bag of saline billed at $100 a liter — so you’ll see a hospital bill an insurance company something like $10k for a simple concussion treatment, the insurance company will pay $5k (they essentially pay what they think is “fair”) and the insurance company will bill you $500 (which of course, you have to pay in full).

      Of course, that’s all fun — but you often have to fight insurance companies tooth and nail to get them to pay what they’re actually supposed to. I’ve been sent random bills from hospitals that were supposed to be picked up by the insurance company… but the insurance company denied the claim for seemingly no reason other than to try to get me to pay it out of ignorance. 

      So insurance companies don’t just have shitty coverage, they also drive up health care costs, plus they try to shove as much of the cost as they possibly can to you, even when you’re their customer. 

      Anyone who says the healthcare system in this country isn’t completely broken is absolutely delusional.

  22. I always thought that anyone in the US could turn up at an emergency room and get treated? I have frequently seen this as a rebuttal on comment threads when US health system is criticised…

    1. Does “getting treated” equals „getting treated in an affordable manner”? 

      It was my impression that emergency rooms have to provide medical services, i.e. they can’t turn you down in an emergency, even if you can’t show that you are able to cover the costs.

      Edit: … but not that they have to provide these services for free. If someone finds my cat injured and brings it to a vet and treats it, I have to pay for it, too, after all. Well over here, I wouldn’t be surprised if I wouldn’t have to in the US.

      1. They will often do stopgap measures, and will often balk at providing needed services.  They’ll mostly save his life, but that’s it.  This guy might need brain surgery, they will dither about that, and put it off as long as possible in the hopes that he’ll go elsewhere.  He’ll likely needed months to possibly years of physical therapy/rehab, they’ll give him a prescription to have it done, but he’ll be on his own in terms of finding a PT who will do it.  He might need serious pain management for his headaches, but may have someone suggest he take high dose ibuprofen and do little else.  Eventually (often  years, it’s a legal process) he’ll get himself declared disabled, and then he can get some help as he’ll qualify for medicare.

    2.  Yes, you can. Then afterwards, you get sent a huge bill. When you can’t pay it, you get hounded by debt collectors and reported to credit agencies. Then for a long time (I think legally an unpaid debt is removed from your credit report after 7 years) your poor credit means you are going to have a very hard time trying to buy a car, rent an apartment, get a credit card, or get many jobs.

      1. My ex is a master at dodging unpaid bills.  He uses the ER as free health care all the time.  His credit is already ruined and his phones get shut off on a regular basis for nonpayment, so they can’t find him to make him pay. 
        We’ve been divorced for almost 15 years, and I get collection calls for him.  At a number that’s never been his, and I’ve remarried and changed my name.  I’m still easier to locate than he is.

    3. They’ll care for you until you’re ready to leave the hospital — and then they’ll send you the bill. You can forget physical therapy or any other non-emergency services though… and of course if that bill goes unpaid have fun being harassed by bill collectors and not being able to own houses or rent apartments. 

  23. Access to assault rifles and no access to free health care. From an outsider you look broken mate. 

    Hope this guy can get the help he needs and can be put back to the position he was in before he went to the cinema.

    1.  Yeah, in Canada (and most decent countries) this article wouldn’t even exist. Surprised that the Waltons wouldn’t provide health insurance for their employees, though. Oh, wait, no, I’m not surprised.

    2. The US has money for universal healthcare, but enough to pointlessly  bribe primitive tribesmens into adopting democracy on the other side of the planet.

      1. My point I think was access. No civilised society should have access to guns willy nilly, especially ones specifically suited to mass murder. 

        I believe civilised societies should have access to free health care. 

        Strange sense of priorities I know but I am a liberal socialist pig according to prominent republicans… probably.

        1. Let me state first that I agree with you 100%. I’m not arguing. But I’d like to point out that access to assault rifles is not actually willy nilly in the US.

          Now, I’m from a state with particularly strict gun laws (New York), and the only other state I’ve lived in also has relatively strict gun laws as far as I know (California). So I may have the wrong impression. But even in the wild west states, it was my impression that assault rifles and machine guns and the like are highly restricted. In particular, you can’t legally get fully automatic weapons, and magazine sizes for automatic rifles are restricted.

          The fact that people like this guy, the Columbine shooters, the Virginia Tech shooter, etc. got access to these kinds of weapons is a failure of the gun control measures that already exist – not a failure to have proper gun control measures in the first place. We can, of course, argue that with stricter gun control laws than those that already exist, it would make it harder for criminals to get these kinds of weapons.

          I guess I’m not really making any sort of strong point here, I’m just saying, it’s not like you can just go to Wal-Mart and buy an assault rifle off the shelf. The US is insane, and gun laws in most states are insane, but not that insane.

          1. But…two points here:

            1: If you have an asault rifle and a modicum of hand eye coordination, its not a massive amount of work to make it full auto (especially if you have access to a machine shop).  Similarly with respect to magazines (all you really need for that is access to the internet and a credit card).

            2: If I go crazy, and decide to off a shedload of people, then its less likely that Im either going to be mentally competant to, or able to pull off correctly the manufacture of poison gas/explosives etc.  However, if I go nuts and have an assault rifle in my cupboard…

            Dont get me worng, I love guns.  But I think theres something wrong with the american psyche that makes it dangerous for people to have them… lots of other countries have higher per-capita gun ownership, but far fewer nutjobs offing people in large numbers.

            Maybe this guy had some huge medical bills, and figured if he was in jail, the government would have to pick them up?…

        2. Assault rifles aren’t designed to kill, they are designed to wound, that’s why they use FMJ rounds (for the most part).  A common hunting rifle, has ammunition that is designed to mushroom and inflict as much damage as possible, thus making it much more dangerous.  In reply to penguinchris: Where I live (Montana), getting any gun is simply a matter of a 10 minute background check (might be different for handguns) however, automatic weapons require an ATF permit.

  24. Surely the NRA should be chastised for not donating? 

    I do hate those smug “glad I live in x and not x” comments, but right now being British with sensible gun laws and a National Health Service should someone still flout them seems like the right side of the pond to be on.

    1. Surely the NRA is without fault here.  I’m pretty sure that they told – multiple times – the American public to handle their guns responsible and not point them at humans. 

      1. The NRA isn’t here to protect people, it’s here to protect gun manufacturers. Look where their funding comes from.

      2. Pretty sure the cinemas and movie studios haven’t said the opposite, but if they’re being chastised for not being charitable then why not the NRA?

        1. Hey, the studios produce movies glorifying violent solutions and the cinemas show those, without checking everyone for weapons or prodding armed snipers.  They are *clearly* enablers!

          Sheesh, how thick do I have lay that sarcasm? 

          1. Oh internet comments, why is sarcasm so hard?

            Obviously movies promote violence, but only against BAD GUYS.

  25. I spent the weekend in hospital for unexplained digestive problems which have seen me projectile vomiting everywhere, losing 15lb/6.8kg in weight in the last week, and requiring emergency rehydration, and it’s cost me precisely nothing, including three visits to my GP.

    God bless the King of England. ;)

  26. I am disheartened at the expectation that the cinema and MPAA should be expected to make a donation towards medical costs. Surely it should be the pro-gun lobbyists… They are infinitely more responsible for this tragedy than the cinema, Warners, the MPAA et al.

    Let’s start making the gun enthusiasts responsible for the consequences of legal firearm misuse, not everyone else.

  27. So here is what you need to know about the victim advocacy system in Colorado (I ran a statewide anti-violence program here for 7 years); so please distribute facts not fiction:

    Victim’s Compensation is available for anyone affected by the crime through the local state Victim Assistance and Law Enforcement offices in each judicial district – these can be used for anything deemed by the VALE board, and if often used for medical and related expenses. You do not need to live in Colorado to receive VALE funding; it is available if you have been a victim of crime in that judicial district; you do not need to be the actual crime victim – VALE funds can help pay for funeral expenses, for example.Given the nature and scale of the tragedy, additional funds will probably be available through the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) and the state Office for Victim’s Programs (VOCA) at the Division of Criminal Justice Colorado Department of Public Safety.These sources may or may not cover all the expenses, but victim advocates and others will work to find extra sources at the state and/or federal given the extraordinary nature of the crime.In addition, there is already $2 million in a private donation fund set up by Governor Hickenlooper and the Community First Foundation. After Columbine, the various donations/funds were pooled and a community-based panel set up to consider the needs and expenses of those affected; I would imagine something similar will be established for those affected by the Aurora shooting.Friday I ran into Reeves Brown, head of the Governor’s Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) at Swedish hospital; the governor had asked his staff to be available at all 6 hospitals where the injured were taken, to be helpful if they could to the families/victims. Clearly this issue is on the Governor’s radar as well. That’s not to say that there won’t need to be some advocacy around the hospital bills,  but the victim advocacy system does have quite a few mechanisms to assist, and the need will probably be longer term.

  28. Wouldn’t it be great if the chronic problems of the uninsured and the outrageous costs of health care in our country was the topic of discussion this week in the national media, instead of gun control? At least we have a chance to do something about health care. Of course, both problems boil down to the same thing; corporations trying to make a buck.

  29. The NRA should be sent the bill.

    They are implicitly responsible for the murders of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans every year.  Their belligerent lobbying has weakened our gun control laws and made it easier to obtain a firearm than to obtain tires for a car.

    1. You are treating a symptom rather than the cause.  

      It isn’t the fact that guns are relatively easy to get that makes psychos kill people.  Even if you could have ideal gun control, there would just be another method to kill/hurt people.  Then we ban knives,household cleaners, etc.,etc.,etc.

      1. It’s a bugger sight harder to slaughter a lot of people with a knife than it is with an automatic rifle!

    1. No, it isn’t.  It’s called *begging*.  And donating to such causes is laudable, but it’s *charity*, totally open to the giver’s discretion. 

      Socialism makes some services a right and makes people pay for them. It may be widely *accepted*, but at its base, it’s not voluntary.  And in cases of health insurance, social security, military, police, fire trucks, etc many, many countries are okay with that. 

  30. What a great country where people need donations to live after such tragedy…

    And 2 millions dollars for a hospital bill… But it’s okay, at least it’s not “socialism”… Man, the world is going to watch USA slowly kill itself in the name of broken ideologies, religion, etc.

  31. too bad he’s not canadian.  our socialist (thats communist for you gun toting republicans) medicine would provide all the surgeries and follow up care he needs – for FREE!
    (God bless Canada)

    1. Yea, us Canadians have everything bass akwards. We believe everyone should have healthcare, not everyone should have an assault rifle.

      Silly us.

  32. Perhaps bankruptcy is different in Canada, but you don’t loose your house or your belongings if you declare bankruptcy up here. Is it different down there? Because I honestly don’t understand why people don’t just automatically declare bankruptcy when presented with horrendous medical bills. Can someone comment on that?

    1. There are different types of bankruptcy for one, also there are certain things that are exempt from liquidation, up to a certain amount anyways.

      Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually involves the liquidation of all non exempt assets and unsecured debts are discharged.

      Chapter 13 involved the reduction and/or lengthing the terms of the debt and you can keep some/all of the non-exempt assets.

      I may be slightly off on some of that, but the short answer is that there are various forms of bankruptcy and what can be liquidated is complicated.  For Caleb’s case, it looks like he could get by quite easily with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  

      It sucks for the hospital because they eat the cost of his treatment.  

      It sucks for other customers because now the healthcare costs of everyone else are increased to cover that loss.

      It sucks for Caleb and his family because their credit is in the crapper because of the bankruptcy.

      1. But the credit repairs itself in 7 years. I doubt they’d have paid off the debt in 7 years. 

        And if everyone started declaring medical bankruptcy as a form of protest then wouldn’t the system collapse, giving you a chance to build a new one that wouldn’t bankrupt everyone? England created the NHS after WWII while 7Billion Pounds in debt. I still hold out hope the USA can do the same.

        1. It’s difficult getting so much as a shitty apartment if your credit score is below 650.  Bankruptcy hits your score hard, if it was low to begin with, you’re looking at homelessness as a very real possible outcome. 

          This country is right fucked up.  In reply to your question downthread (rhetorical though it was) is yes, it’s a return to fuedalism.

    2. In addition to what the others wrote above me, the law was recently altered to make it much more difficult to declare bankruptcy. The standards are tougher and the process is so complicated that it is in practice impossible for a layman to manage. That means you have to pay a professional to handle the paperwork and process-navigation for you, typical fee $1500 – $2000. As a consequence, there is a growing class of people who can’t afford to be bankrupt.

      A further complication is that although the bankruptcy law gives people some protection against losing assets, you get less protection against government taking things if part of your debt is unpaid taxes.

      The worst complication is that your creditors can go to court to get a judgment against you, to make you pay up. If you don’t respond to the notices about hearings and don’t show up, the court can issue a “failure to appear” warrant, which puts a criminal issue on top of the civil debt. People with collapsed finances often have address changes and the creditors usually don’t try very hard to find you for the notices anyway, so an increasing number of people end up in jail over the debt. And if you end up in one of the jails that bills you for your time in jail, … . Lather, rinse, get sucked down the drain.

      1. So… debtors prison sound about right then?

        And with the erosion of the middle class, the increase in the 1%’s real estate holdings and workers being beholden to their employee for health care, how is this NOT a return to feudalism?

        1. Wait, what? I was being hyperbolic, debtors prison is actually a thing, again? WTF? 

          Whats next? The company store? (Please don’t tell work farms and company stores are back too…)

          1. If there’s a draconian thing from a Dickens novel that you can think of, we have it.  With the exception of orphanages.  Those have been replaced with the foster care system which can be equally odious for any child subjected to it.

            Like I said, right and truly fucked.

          2. They have prison farms. Also factories and call centers. It’s all under the name “prison industries”. Prisoners who work there get paid pennies, but they need those to cover the commissary costs for food, toiletries, and clothes.

          3. Manny – I can’t reply to directly… but thats seriously messed up… I’d love to see some stats on that. For profit prisons turn my stomach. And I had no idea inmates had to pay for their own food… thats insane!

  33. I have a feeling that all the 2nd amendment freaks are also for drug testing welfare recipients( infringement on the 4th amendment). I’m not against guns, just explain to me what part of game hunting an AK-47 has? While you’re at it, explain the reason in why we the people should be able to purchase any kind of grenade? I have fallen victim to the useless post on an internet forum. Not changing anything. I’m just going to continue to live until I die, however it may happen.  

  34. I would be extremely interested in learning how many and which countries share the moronic United States’ concept of health care, for I don’t remember hearing similar stories from anywhere else.

    For what I know, the rest of the world has free public hospitals and completely optional private clinics for those who want a nicer environment during their stay – but public hospitals are actually just as nice and efficient as most clinics, and every medical doctor is required to work in public hospitals for a part of his time anyway, so the quality is roughly the same.

  35. the anti-universal healthcare argument is so empty and baseless its insanity more people dont see it for what it is: a ruse to protect the wealthy and powerful while those with the least suffer the most. we have already socialized corporate losses in this country to the tune of trillions of dollars but we cant socialize healthcare for all citizens for a few billion? we went to iraq and set up universal healthcare for the iraqi people, why dont americans deserve the same basic right of healthcare? should we start charging for elementary school too? why dont we just create a country of one class of super rich and powerful and one class of poor, destitute, and hopeless? oh yeah, we are already headed that way… ( -_-)

  36. This comment isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, but the topic at hand is health care, not gun control.  Please stay on topic.

    1. Why does it need to stay on health care? No offense, but yes the main idea of the post was about health care but the guy also got shot.  Why would some discussion about gun control be off topic?

      1. Any thread on a post involving guns tends to devolve into a gun control vs. right-to-bear-arms flame war.  It’d be nice to avoid that for a change.

  37. Holy shit.  The US Health system is fucked, and it is fucking your people.  The UK has its problems, but one shining thing it has (well, until the  Tories finally sell it out to the US med companies) is the NHS and universal healthcare.  I have private healthcare as well,  but thats because a) I can afford it, and b) I want the benfits it gives.  But this doesnt mean that I want to stop paying into the univeral system topay for myself and towards those that cant afford healthcare.  Its about making sure that everyone can be a productive part of society, and looking out for your fellow human beings.

    I have heard just about every argument against univeral healthcare, and guess what?

    They. Are. All .Bullshit.

    And they all come down to “why should I pay for someone elses’ healthcare?”

    And the answer is “because its the right thing to do for you and them”

  38. Rojaws, why do you have private healthcare? Are there drawbacks to relying on the NHS? What benefits do private healthcare provide that NHS doesn’t?

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