Shirley Johnson gets her medical care at Palmetto Health Baptist hospital’s emergency room in Columbia, South Carolina. She goes when her back gives out or when a benign tumor near her ribcage swells and throbs. She goes for headaches, heartburn, and spider bites, leaving the hospital a sheaf of unpaid bills.
“I owe so much money,” said Johnson. “The last time I went just for my toe. It cost $1,000.”