What does it mean to not have health insurance in the US?

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Um, the health care system we have in the US is pretty terrible, I'm not saying it's not.

I'm just agreeing with what I think frob is trying to say, which is that even though your immediate out of pocket expense might be low or non-existent doesn't mean it's free, it means you and/or someone else is paying for it somewhere else. Which isn't incompatible with it also being a good idea (since our semi-private system is incredibly inefficient, as I said).

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Well first of all, US law is going to mandate health health insurance on January 1st, so this isn't exactly a long term question.

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A friend of mine has three kids and all three of them had to be delivered via c-section. That alone could have added up to well over a hundred thousand dollars in medical bills. Fortunately he had some coverage but was still on the hook for close to $10k due to coinsurance. My former colleague had a million dollar baby. The complications in the delivery resulted in many complex and advanced procedures and prolonged (multi-month) stay in the hospital. The bill was over$1,000,000