As the immediate shock of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO subsides, hard realities are starting to set in. The first funerals are starting to take place and the medical care required by the victims is becoming known.
Colorado has a high level of uninsured. One third of the population has no insurance or is underinsured.
There's no exact count of how many of the victims have no health insurance. But statistics suggest many of them might not be covered.
Nearly one in three Coloradans, or about 1.5 million, either have no health insurance or have coverage that is inadequate, according to a 2011 report by The Colorado Trust, a health care advocacy group.
The highest uninsured rate was among adults between 18 and 34.
And many of those injured in the shootings are in that age group.
One of the three hospitals treating most of the victims has issued a statement saying they intend to waive fees for those that are uninsured, and copays for those that are.
Children's Hospital Colorado announced it would use donations and its charity care fund to cover the medical expenses of the uninsured. For those who do have insurance, the hospital says it will waive all co-pays for shooting victims it is treating.And funds are being raised from the public and the movie studio. Caleb Medley's family, whose wife gave birth shortly after the shooting, is raising money online.
"We are committed to supporting these families as they heal," according to a statement from the hospital, which treated six shooting victims.
HealthOne, which owns the Medical Center of Aurora and Swedish Medical Center, also says it will limit or eliminate charges based on the individual circumstances of the patients. Those hospitals have treated 22 shooting victims.
Members of the public, along with Warner Bros., the studio that released the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," have contributed nearly $2 million to help victims pay their bills. One family is raising money on its own onlineFor those Republicans who say that the system is functioning because hospitals are required to treat emergency room patients, the problem comes not with the immediate trauma treatment (which is required by law) but the ongoing care that many of the patients will require, some perhaps for a lifetime.
The issue most probably facing the hospitals and patients in a situation like Aurora is what comes after 'stabilization,'" said Dr. Howard Brody, director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and a frequent critic of excessive medical costs.And while Mitt and Ann Romney have said it is 'unseemly' to ask to see their tax returns, I think it is unseemly to have to beg for money because you have been shot in the head.
"Many of these people I assume will need prolonged and expensive rehabilitation after their immediate injuries are dealt with, and that seems precisely what hospitals today are less and less willing to cover out of their own funds, and no law requires that they do so, as far as I am aware," he said.
The hospitals should not have to pay the tab for these shootings. This will ultimately be paid by taxpayers.
Warner Bros. is not responsible for this shooting and should not have to pay for the medical costs of victims hurt in a theater showing one of its movies.
And perfect strangers who do not know these victims, while very generous, should not have to donate out of the goodness of their hearts so that the victims can pay their medical bills. It's always the ones with the least to give that give the most anyway. Thes unfortunate side effectof eoples' generosity in these cases, while it certainly helps the individuals, is that it takes the pressure off solving the problem.
But this is just how Eric Cantor thinks it should be.