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Living without medical insurance is like "living right on the edge of a knife every single day," Morgan says. As they found out, it can lead to financial ruin overnight.

Morgan says manual labor had aggravated a wrist injury, but he couldn't afford a doctor's visit. When he tried to visit a free clinic, he was told there weren't enough doctors to see him that day.

The free clinic was not even an option when Alex woke up in the middle of the night with a urinary tract infection. They went to the emergency room and to a 24-hour pharmacy to fill Alex's prescription. Later that day, the pain in Morgan's wrist forced him to go to the emergency room as well.

The bills from the emergency room were enough to significantly harm their budget. "We went to the hospital to get Alex's bill. Just for walking into the emergency room it was $300," Morgan said. "My bill? Just to walk in the door, $551. It's incredible."
FROM: Inside the Lives of People Living on Minimum Wage
Published on April 14, 2006