Colorado Shooting

07.24.12

Victims Without Insurance

Mourners at a vigil light candles near theater where 12 people were killed July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. A graduate student who told police he was the Joker opened fire in a theater showing the premiere of the latest Batman movie near Denver. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT        (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages)
Don Emmert, AFP / Getty Images

CBS News reports on the uninsured Aurora shooting victim facing $2 million in medical bills:

(CBS News) Victim Caleb Medley was shot in the eye at the Aurora movie theater massacre and remains in intensive care in an induced coma. In the same hospital, one floor away, his wife Katie is about to give birth to their first child.

"He's a strong guy," said Seth Medley, Caleb's brother. "I'm not used to seeing him like that. I don't ever want to see him like that again."

But even if Caleb fully recovers, what happened at the midnight movie threatens to ruin the couple financially. His family has been told medical bills could total $2 million. Longtime friend Michael West is trying to raise money.

"Caleb, he doesn't have any insurance so I put together a website," Michael said, adding that Caleb was looking forward to being a dad."

In this charitable country, no doubt funds will be found for Caleb Medley and his family. But what if Caleb hadn't been shot in a spectacular crime? What if he'd just been injured in an ordinary accident or succumbed to an ordinary disease? The most likely answer is that his hospital would absorb a lot of the cost and find ways to load that cost onto other paying customers - socialized medicine, American-style.