Dave Ross’ teenage son, Dave Jr., had sharp chest pains, and his doctor feared a punctured lung. So when the doctor ordered an ambulance to take Dave Jr. to the hospital, a worried Ross readily agreed. All he thought about was getting help for his son, and fast.
The pain turned out to be a pulled muscle, and Ross, who lives in Framingham, Massachusetts, was relieved. But his gratitude turned to shock when he got an ambulance bill for $2,400, for a ride of less than two miles.
Anne Thompson has more on this story tonight on “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt.”
Ross then learned what an increasing number of Americans are finding out: Their town ambulance services, once financed by local taxes, are a thing of the past.
It turned out that the ambulance service Ross used is run not by the city of Framingham, but by a private company, American Medical Response. Many cities trying to cut costs, and save taxpayers money — especially after the recession of 2008 — have contracted with private companies.
For-profit ambulance companies are a growth business, said Betsy Imholz, special projects director at Consumers Union, where ambulance services account for a quarter of the complaints about surprise medical bills. Privatizing ambulance services might save towns money, but consumers are caught in the middle, Imholz said.
“We as patients, as consumers, should not be in that position of putting everything at risk financially just to get the emergency care we need,” she said.
Ross found out that his insurance would cover only $400 of the bill from the ambulance company, an out-of-network provider, leaving him responsible for the rest.
So he fought back. He appealed to American Medical Response and the company reduced his bill to $1,600.
Why are consumers being asked to pay so much? The answer is what the industry calls “cost shifting.” The American Ambulance Association says government and private insurers “often reimburse ambulance services at the rate below the cost of providing this care.”
The breakdown for Ross’ bill, provided by American Medical Response, is as follows: $1,679.03 for general advanced life support, $153.91 for oxygen, $307.82 for a cardiac monitor, $35.40 for advanced life support mileage and $197.01 for intravenous therapy.
So when you dial 911 for a medical emergency, a for-profit ambulance company might respond — and it might not be covered by insurance.
Airstrikes launched against Hamas after incendiary devices are sent into Israel | World News
Israel has launched airstrikes in Gaza less than a month after a ceasefire agreement was reached.
The move, also the first strikes under the new Israeli government, came after incendiary balloons were launched from Palestinian territory.
The balloon launches appeared to be in retaliation for a march on Tuesday in East Jerusalem where Jewish nationalists celebrated Israel’s capture of the area in 1967.
Palestinians consider the march a provocation and it sparked threats of action from Hamas.
Israel said the balloon launches had caused 20 fires in open fields in communities near the Gaza border.
Commenting on Tuesday’s air strikes, the Israel Defense Forces said jets attacked Hamas military complexes that “served as camps and meeting places for terrorist operatives”.
“The attack was carried out in response to the inflating of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory,” it added.
“The terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences of its actions.
“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios, including the resumption of hostilities, in the face of continued terrorist operations from the Gaza Strip.”
Jerusalem is claimed by both sides – Israel regards the city as its capital, having occupied the east in the 1967 war and annexed it in 1980.
But Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state that would include Gaza and the West Bank.
A spokesman for Hamas said on Tuesday that Palestinians would continue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.
The renewing of tensions provides a challenge for Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett, a nationalist who presides over a diverse but delicate coalition government.
The government was sworn in on Sunday and one of the first problems was whether to cancel the Israeli march – there were concerns it would spark tensions but also that cancelling would be seen as giving in to Hamas.
Previously the march has passed through Damascus Gate and into the heart of the Muslim Quarter but police changed the route to avoid the Muslim Quarter on Tuesday.
But not every party in the coalition agreed with the decision to let the march go ahead.
Mansour Abbas’s Raam party is the first Arab faction to be part of an Israeli coalition and he said the march should have been cancelled.
He described it as “an attempt to set the region on fire for political aims”, adding: “I call on all sides not to be dragged into an escalation and maintain maximum restraint.”
United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said UN officials have urged all sides to avoid “provocations” in order to solidify the informal cease-fire that halted last month’s 11-day Gaza conflict.
COVID-19: New York returns to ‘life as we know it’ as state hits 70% adult vaccination target | World News
New York is returning to “life as we know it” after at least 70% of adults in the state have received at least one COVID jab, its governor has said.
Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday he is lifting virtually all remaining COVID-19 restrictions for businesses and social settings.
It comes on the day the US, the worst-affected country during the global pandemic, hit another grim milestone as the number of people who have died passed 600,000 from more than 33 million cases.
Addressing an invited audience at the World Trade Centre, Mr Cuomo said: “What does 70% mean? It means that we can now return to life as we know it.”
COVID restrictions are being lifted across more than a dozen commercial and social settings, including childcare, camps, food services, offices, real estate, amusement, gyms and more, Mr Cuomo said.
The state is immediately lifting restrictions that limited the size of gatherings and forced some businesses to follow cleaning protocols, take people’s temperatures or screen them for recent COVID-19 symptoms.
Firms no longer have to adhere to social distancing rules or limits on the number of people allowed inside.
But for the time being, masks will still need to be worn in schools, subways, large venues, homeless shelters, hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.
Fireworks displays will be held across the state on Tuesday evening to honour essential workers, Mr Cuomo said, with bridges, along with the Empire State Building, lit blue and gold.
Good morning California.
It’s reopening day.
We’ve administered over 40 million vaccines.
No more social distancing.
No more capacity limits.
No more colors or county tiers.
And if you’re vaccinated—no more masks.
It’s a good day.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) June 15, 2021
Mr Cuomo said: “It’s our way of saying thank you all across the state. I’ll tell you how to honour essential workers. You get vaccinated so you don’t need the essential workers again.”
Half of all 20 million residents in New York are fully vaccinated, according to government figures released on Monday, while about 58% of residents of all ages have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The city has been averaging around 450 new coronavirus cases a day over the last week, the lowest level since the pandemic began.
Vaccination rates are particularly low in parts of the state that were hit hard by the winter coronavirus surge, including parts of New York City and rural counties in western and central New York.
California, the most populous US state and the first to impose a coronavirus lockdown, has also dropped state rules on social distancing and limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums and other places, governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday.
Passing 600,000 means the US death toll is now more than the population of cities such as Baltimore or Milwaukee and about equal to the number of Americans who died of cancer in 2019.
Worldwide, about 3.8 million people have died from COVID-19.
Climate protester parachutes on to pitch at Euro 2020 game | World News
A climate change protester parachuted into the stadium and landed on the pitch before Germany’s Euro 2020 game against France.
He appeared to parasail from the roof on to the turf at the Allianz Arena in Munich using a bright yellow parachute with the slogan “Kick out oil Greenpeace” written on it.
The man was quickly met by security staff and given medical attention on the side of the field.
Kick-off in the group F match was not delayed and the game started as scheduled at 8pm UK time.
Regeneron antibody cocktail can save lives in hospitalized Covid patients
We need You Britain! Denmark admits they could suffer without access to British waters
Singapore minister Lawrence Wong on climate change, green investments
EU on notice as Truss announces huge 650 percent trade cuts from bloc to Brexit Britain
Biden prepares for long, tense meeting with Putin
Middle East close to crowning more billion-dollar unicorn start-ups
EU devastated: Insider admits Swiss snub as bad as Brexit – bloc's power shrinking
Putin Biden summit in Geneva 2021
Ros Atkins in brilliant analysis of the Australia Brexit trade deal – is it good or bad?
Ex-Barclays CEO’s fintech 10x raises $187 million
Politics1 week ago
Central America has long faced challenges. Add Covid, climate change and politics.
Latest News4 days ago
G7 summit: World leaders discuss COVID origins – as WHO keeps Wuhan lab leak theory ‘open’ | Politics News
World1 week ago
AMC insider selling picks up as meme stock rises amid retail wave
Latest News1 week ago
Hundreds arrested, guns, drugs and millions in cash seized after joint operation targets organised crime gangs | World News
Politics1 week ago
Boris Johnson backs England players taking the knee after fans boo -No10 forced to respond
Politics1 week ago
Matt Hancock announcement: Health Secretary to issue urgent update as June 21 on the brink
Latest News1 week ago
Toddler’s body that washed up in Norway is boy who drowned during migrant Channel crossing | World News
World1 week ago
Deutsche Bank warns of global ‘time bomb’ coming due to rising inflation