When Trevor Noah got emergency surgery, he learned a lot about our health care system.

It costs a lot of money to be sick in America. A LOT of money.

Many Americans learn this the hard way by going to the E.R. without insurance, or by realizing that health care is still expensive even with insurance, or by getting an outrageous medical bill in the mail.

And some people find that out because they get a case of appendicitis the morning before they're supposed to tape "The Daily Show."


Al GIFs via "The Daily Show."

OK, maybe that has only happened to one person ever. But it did happen — to Trevor Noah, the new host.

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Via this tweet.

Trevor was born in South Africa and has spent most of his life outside the United States, blissfully unaware of what it's like to have a medical emergency in America — until last week, when he had to get an emergency appendectomy. Or as he (sarcastically) called it, “the world's shortest vacation."

Trevor had quite a bit to say about our health care system when he came back to the show after his surgery.

“A lot of people ask me, 'Trevor, what's it gonna be like commenting on America if you're not from America?'" he said on his first day back. “And I was like, 'Well, I'm gonna have to experience America.' And what better way than enjoying America's health care system for myself?"

His unexpected American Health Care System 101 experience demonstrated some of the biggest problems with U.S. health care.

Of course, he created an episode of the show to teach us about these things. Here they are:

1. You end up with a huge medical bill.

That whole not dying thing? It can get pricey.

A couple of years ago, one guy put his medical bills from his appendectomy on Reddit, and the post went viral.

It's easy to see why: The time he spent under the knife cost him 16 grand, but his charges from the hospital stay totaled $55,000. Things like room and board ($4,878), the recovery room ($7,501), and a CT scan ($6,983) were responsible for the difference.

Luckily, that guy (and Trevor Noah) had insurance, which covered the majority of those costs. But millions of Americans still don't have health coverage — often because they can't afford it, they're undocumented, or they fall into the Medicaid gap.

And the kicker? The U.S. government actually spends more money per capita on health care than countries with universal health care coverage. ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯

2. You have to wait for a long time. Like, a really long time.

The average wait time to be seen by a doctor in the E.R. is 24 minutes. That's a lot of time when you're having a health emergency. And in some places, the wait time is much higher (you'll wait for 54 minutes if you're in a Washington, D.C., hospital, for example).

3. If you need time to recover from your hospital visit, you might not get it in America.

Trevor only took one night off, but Comedy Central told him he could take as long as he needed to bounce back from his appendicitis. In reality, though, most employees in America don't get that kind of leeway.

In the U.S., if you or a family member faces a health emergency, you may not be able to take off work at all. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) doesn't cover a lot of low-income workers, who might get fired if they take a couple of days off to recover from a health emergency.

And even if you do qualify for FMLA leave, the U.S. doesn't require employers to grant any paid leave — only 12 weeks of unpaid time off.

The good news is that things are looking up.

Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, 31 states have expanded Medicaid and millions of uninsured Americans have gotten health coverage!

However, there are still folks who aren't insured, which means they can't get good access to quality health care. That's why it's important for all of us to continue fighting for health equity every day.

Check out the "Daily Show" video to hear more from Noah (and to get a few laughs in).

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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