You are certainly not alone in your frustration! The current health care system in the U.S. needs some work- namely, some help in putting the patients first- and many recent bills have been passed in hopes of doing this. We will see what happens.
In the meantime, unfortunately, it is left to the patient to advocate for him/herself and to jump through all the necessary hoops (paperwork, phone calls, etc.) to get needed care.
To further address your question, yes, part of what's necessary (right now) is paying fees for health care. Again, there may be some reform of our system under president Obama so this might change, but right now there are lots of fees.
You might be eligible for waivers and/or benefits in some cases if you carry the Bipolar Diagnosis-- sometimes if you ask about any potential reductions in fees prior to getting care you can get some assistance.
There is some research to suggest that people (both providers of help and clients) value the help more when there is money exchanged. I certainly know of people who would disagree with this, but this is what the research says.
Also, it is important to remember that the people offering help through social service agencies have to be paid for their work (and they are often paid very little); the only way to generate income to pay them is to charge clients for services rendered.
I'm not suggesting that anyone WANTS to pay a lot of money for any service, especially if that person is struggling financially. I'm only saying that there is some research suggesting that people perceive services to be worth more, more valuable, when there is a higher price-tag.
This article speaks to this phenomenon and there are lots of others on the topic. I have to add, I don't necessarily agree with this theory, I just wanted to make you aware of this research and suggest that it is a possible reason why people charge for services.
Lack of research to cite on the topic and a guess does not answer the basic question.
Am going to accept answer. In agreement that you answered the question to the best of your ability.
Am at a lack of direction to the Lions Club and YMCA and their non profit ministry status, or if they are a not for profit status?
My basic conflict or concern with the above social agencies and others is more of a focus on registration forms and fees and less with the humanity, fraility and disenfranchised individuals served. No ohmsbudsman, no paid congressional lobby, no centralized health care say for specific mental or physical health problems; i.e. diabetes, nutrition, internal medicine, therapist, psychiatrist; under one roof.
Will ask one more question. Do not have to agree; just curious. Have you worked with, or volunteered with working poor people?