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Canadian woman hit with $950K medical bill after unexpectedly giving birth in US hospital

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A Canadian woman was hit with an unexpected medical bill of nearly $1 million after going into labor early while vacationing in Hawaii.

Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel was six months pregnant when she was cleared by her doctor to leave the country on vacation.

She and her husband purchased travel insurance before flying from their home in Saskatchewan to Maui.

But two days after arriving, her water broke and she went into labor nine weeks early.

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Huculak-Kimmel was airlifted to Honolulu, and her daughter was delivered Dec. 10 by emergency C-section.

She had been at the hospital for about a week when her insurance carrier, Blue Cross, notified her that her coverage was denied due to a pre-existing condition – a bladder infection she’d had during the fourth month of her pregnancy.

Huculak-Kimmel said her specialist had examined her prior to the trip with an ultrasound, and the physician determined her pregnancy was stable.

“He saw no reason for me not to go,” she said.

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She told the Blue Cross salesperson about the bladder infection when she bought her travel policy, and the representative said she was fine to travel because she was less than 36 weeks pregnant.

“I guess we thought we had done everything right,” she said.

A medical expert told CBC that he believes the treatment should have been covered if Huculak-Kimmel was cleared by her physician, who sent a letter to Blue Cross.

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“I don’t think we can be our own doctors,” Steven Lewis, a health policy analyst in Saskatoon. “Either we do, or we don’t have a pre-existing condition — and we’re not likely to know about them unless we’ve been told by our doctors that we have them.”

Huculak-Kimmel spent six weeks on bed rest at the hospital, and she was told that her daughter would require a lengthy stay in the neonatal intensive care unit – if she survived.

That cost up to $15,000 per day, and she spent about $30,000 renting a condominium and car during her daughter’s two-month hospital stay.

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Huculak-Kimmel looked into various options to return home, but doctors said travel wasn’t safe for their daughter.

She insists she never would have traveled if she believed there was a risk to her baby or herself.

“Anybody in their right mind doesn’t risk their life, their unborn baby’s life to go on a vacation,” Huculak-Kimmel said.

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Her daughter, Reece, is now 10 months old and healthy, and Huculak-Kimmel is grateful for the care they received in Hawaii.

But she and her husband can’t afford to pay the $950,000 the insurance carrier has billed them, and they said if they begin paying they’ll be stuck paying the rest of their lives.

“We don’t know what to do,” Huculak-Kimmel said. “We can’t afford to pay a million-dollar medical bill. We can go deeper in debt and try to fight Blue Cross. We can wait and declare bankruptcy on the bill, which is no good for anybody. But we don’t have very many options.”

Watch this video report posted online by LuvLuv:

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‘Stand with Hong Kong’ shirts fill the stands at Nets game as NBA is protested for China subservience

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The National Basketball Association was protested on Friday for bowing to pressure from China.

The NBA has been harshly criticized for standing by the oppressive regime instead of standing in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA," New York magazine correspondent Yashar Ali reported Friday. "They're all wearing 'Stand With Hong Kong' T-shirts."

Photos from the protest:

1. Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA.

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Trump polling close friends over whether he should fire Mulvaney: report

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President Donald Trump is considering firing Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, The Atlantic reported Friday.

"Mick Mulvaney's job was in danger even before his disastrous press conference yesterday, and his equally disastrous attempt to walk that performance back," The Atlantic reported. "The fumble could not have been more poorly timed: According to multiple current and former White House officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations, Trump has been steadily souring on Mulvaney for weeks."

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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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