My husband’s sick. It’s Sunday evening and clinics are closed and we should probably head out to the ER, but we’re still at home because we’re living in the United States of America and we don’t have health insurance.
We’re having to make decisions based on knowledge we don’t have. Can we afford to wait? Will he make it through the night? Is it worth the many thousands of dollars it would cost for the ER if it turns out to be just the common flu?
This is not the way things should be in one of the wealthiest nations on our planet.
When we were in Nicaragua John slipped and fell and hurt his thumb. We visited the local hospital where he had x-rays and visited with a doctor. We were out of the hospital within thirty minutes and didn’t have to pay a dime.
In Panama my son needed to have his toenail removed in order to dig out a very serious ingrown toenail. The bill came to $15. He had the same procedure done in Colombia by a top-of-the-line specialist for $50.
Over the years we’ve sought medical care in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and others. I was hospitalized for a week in Argentina for pneumonia. As we gallivanted around the world, health care was the last thing on our mind. We knew we would find doctors wherever we went.
And yet now that we are back in our own country, health care is a massive struggle.
Choices are always hard to make, but when it’s a choice that you really don’t think you should have to make it’s even harder.
We are loving living in the USA. It’s a great place with a lot going for it:
- We’ve got a great little house that’s very comfortable.
- Our sons are involved in robotics and Boy Scouts, which they love.
- The boys are taking a few classes through a world-class program through the public schools that we couldn’t find any other place. Our school system has been very supportive of our homeschooling and allowed us to pick and choose classes to make a tailor-made program for our sons.
- Everything we need is here. We have running water and a flush toilet and a stove to cook on.
Overall, this is the best place in the world for our sons right now. We can’t imagine any other place that would be able to provide them the opportunities they have here.
But that all comes at a cost:
- We’re paying a lot each month for a high-deductible catastrophic health insurance policy that will only kick in the event of some major accident or illness.
- Each time we need to see a doctor, we have to consider the seriousness of it and decide if it’s worth the $300 or more to go. And yet we are not qualified to make those decisions.
What I really don’t understand is why we’re having to make these choices. Why should we in the United States of America have to make choices on whether we can afford to visit the doctor?
If our country can afford to destroy the entire country of Iraq, why can’t we afford to take care of our own citizens?
I’ve heard all the arguments for our private insurance system but honestly, none of them make sense. If other, much poorer, countries can provide health care for their citizens, why can’t the USA?
I do take comfort in the fact that we can leave the country. If, at any point, we feel we can’t handle this stress any longer we’ll pack up and leave for another country. But still – why should I need to do that?