the post about the flight is coming. promise. but something else is consuming my thoughts. health care. i know, i know, i just wrote about health care. talk about beating a dead horse. but a situation arose today that really caused me to question everything.
as you all know, i have never been a huge fan of nationalised health care. i think it sucks. but i also think its about time i pointed out some of the strong points of the system i live under in the UK.
the main one being that is free.
i dont pay to see a doctor. ever. the NHS has a flat rate of 7 pounds for prescriptions. and well, everything else?...its free. i didnt pay a dime when i had eleri. we just walked in and out of the hospital; no insurance card, no paperwork, nothing. ok, sure we had to stay on a ward with lots of other people. and bring our own blankets...and pillows...and sheets. and yeah, the bed was all metal, with a metal headboard and it was built in 1950. and ok, no air conditioning. but it was free. according to the american association of pediatrics, the average cost of having a child in 2008 was $3475. that cost was what people had to pay in addition to the costs covered by their insurance companies. ok, so those americans didnt have to bring in their own sheets and pillows; and they probably had a nice padded bed that could be adjusted. but they had to pay. and i didnt.
and whenever i have to go to the pharmacy. its only 7 pounds. no wondering how much it will be and if my insurance company will cover that particular prescription. its a flat rate.
my cancer removal/treatment? free
rhys' x-rays for rugby injuries? free
doctor visits? free
and that is nice. i realise the flip side to that is the HUGE waiting time to see a doctor or a specialist. the way the NHS judges procedure on a cost basis, refusing treatment if they feel it is too expensive. and that is not ideal either. but you know what really sucks? being in america without insurance. it sucks even more than i remembered.
a few days before we left for america, eleri seemed to get a bit of a cold. but that happens in the winter time, plus some of her little friends had colds and we had been around them recently. so no big deal. since we were flying for so long, i figured i would take her to the doctor and see what he said. i assumed he would say it was just a cold. and i was right. his exact words were "she has a cold. it happens. enjoy your flight" fair enough. on we went.
its now been a week and she has the same cough that she did before we left. and since my mother HATES nationalised medicine even more than i do, she really wanted eleri to see an american doctor. so we went to the doctor today. and the american doctor said that she had a chest infection, probably asthma, and needed a breathing treatment. she did one in the office and then gave me 3 different prescriptions. i was told to give her the antibiotics for 5 days so she doesnt get pneumonia, do one type of medicine in a breathing treatment 4 times a day, another type of medicine 2 times a day and come back for a chest x-ray in a week if she is still coughing. wow. know how much that visit cost me without insurance? $437. and that doesnt even cover the prescriptions. just one of the prescriptions she gave me is $207. and i have 3 to fill.
there was no change in eleri in the week that passed. but those are two VERY different diagnosis. one was free. and one cost me nearly $500.
so i am stuck in the middle.
i dont think the NHS does enough. but does american health care do too much? is that too extreme? before you all go thinking that i am bad mother, i filled the prescriptions and i will give eleri the medicine, but i am still questioning the necessity of it all. there has got to be a middle ground. there has got to be a system that checks people out thoroughly, doesnt over medicate and doesnt charge so damn much. because as it is, i cant afford it.
the american health care system leaves people like me out. i cant afford those kinds of bills. its just too much. i buy a lottery ticket every week hoping to cash in on my share of the millions of pounds up for grabs, but until i win, i am poor. too poor to be paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars in medical bills just to see a doctor. something in me says seeing a doctor is a basic human right. am i starting to sound a bit like a socialist? perhaps. but the system has some major flaws.
unfortunately, so does the UK system. which leaves me in the middle. i am not a fan of having to wait over 3 months to see a specialist for eleri. i want her to be seen straight away. but when i see said specialist, it wont cost me a penny. but it may be to late to correct her problem. flip to america, and i got to see a doctor straight away who took immediate action. but i cant afford to pay the bill as a result. i really am stuck. people need to be taken care of. but they need to be done so in a way that is affordable. i dont have the solution. i am not sure that it is nationalised health care. i have lived in that system and it lets people down. but i am not sure that private insurance is the way to go either. i have lived in that system. and it lets people down too.
so for now i will stay stuck in the middle; forced to live in the pros and cons of both systems.