Hospital Birth Bill of $62 Discovered from Great Depression

Gillian Sisley

Is the US healthcare system broken?

The US healthcare system has taken a lot of criticism over the years from citizens, but also from other members of the globe—such as other first-world countries.

And with the United States being the only industrialized country that doesn't have universal healthcare, the US system for treating sickness among its citizens has come under great debate.

Those criticisms have only been heightened by a recent viral post online that shows exactly just how inflated prices have become in the US Healthcare system, and how backwards treatment is for those who go to hospitals seeking healing or life-saving measures.

Is the US healthcare system broken?

A Reddit post published on May 5th, reported on by Alice Gibbs from Newsweek, has gone viral with 16,600 upvotes and 1,500 comments.

The post was originally uploaded to a Reddit thread named 'Mildly Interesting', where users will upload content that they think others would find intriguing or noteworthy.

The title of the post is, "Hospital bill from 1936 for the birth of a baby (my grandmother)". The user uploaded a photo of a hospital bill issued by the Brunswick General Hospital in Amityville, New York. The specific bill is in regards to the birth of her grandmother on May 26th, 1936, in the middle of the Great Depression.

The bill from the hospital shows that the mother stayed in the hospital for a total of 11 days, and her charges for this stay—which included delivery room, laboratory, special medicines, and baby care—all totalled $61.60.

Inflation cannot be blamed exclusively for this difference.

While many will state that this price shouldn’t be too shocking due to inflation, when doing the math $61.60 translates to $1,275 today. This conversion alone still shows that there have been gargantuan price hikes in healthcare care.

According to data, the average price of having a baby through natural delivery can range anywhere between $5,000 to $11,000 in most states. These prices include a few days of care (often 2 or 3) in the hospital, obstetrician fees, hospital care, and anything given by the anesthesiologist.

With that said, these prices are related to a natural birth without complications. Should a mother need to deliver via c-section, and if there were complications that required further care, that price can skyrocket into the 10,000s or 100,000s of dollars.

What do you think? Is this receipt a stunning piece of evidence as to how healthcare in the US has become more about profit than helping people? Or are these just the realities of living in the world that we do, and price hikes to anything—beyond normal inflation—should be expected?

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