This is my “How can it be the end of the month, and I haven’t written about anything social yet.”-post. Though I have to say that this month I feel like I haven’t said anything of substance, social or not. I blame it on vacation. (Also the not reading your blogs. Sorry. I’ll come and visit you after I return from Paris. Yes. Really.)
The thing that stuck in my head this month (apart from many fluffy things) was something Ewe wrote about Health Care in the US. And that mixed with numerous pleas for financial help on various blogs.
So: It’s a shame. Being sick shouldn’t make you bankrupt. Especially if you’re paying for health insurance. And then, when you actually need it – boom – you’re not “covered” and on top of serious illness comes financial debt. It seems to be better in Canada, and it certainly is better in Germany. Even in England, or so Ewe tells us. She writes:
I’ve never been without excellent, dependable health care, health care that never required more than a reasonable co-pay, and I’ve certainly needed it over the years for my multiple knee surgeries, shattered elbow, emergency appendectomy, pregnancies, etc.
I have been thinking about that phrase “reasonable co-pay” since then. I don’t quite know what reasonable means here. When I was pregnant and had a baby there was only one thing I had to pay for, and that was some kind of test that wasn’t deemed necessary but that my doctor recommended. It cost me about 40 €. Otherwise, dozens of ultrasounds, checking in with the doctor once or twice a month, a big ultrasound made by someone specialized in pre-natal diagnostics, giving birth in a hospital, the cesarean, staying in said hospital for ten days, all this cost me – nothing.
Health care in Germany is not heavenly, not by far, but I have never heard of somebody having to pay for years because he got seriously ill. People are required by law to have health insurance and employers are required to pay half of the monthly fees.
The US system leaves me with my mouth open in utter astonishment. I have a friend who moved to the US when she was pregnant with her first child. Her husband had a job at a university in Colorado. She told me that she had to enroll in classes she didn’t want to take (and pay for the courses of course) in order to have a reasonable health insurance. In Germany she would have had insurance through her husband. Like my son can have health insurance through me or my husband (it doesn’t really matter) without extra pay. When my friend had her second child in Germany she was surprised by all the test and check-ups that were done. Obviously, she didn’t have those when she was overseas.
Families like this have enough to deal with, they shouldn’t have to go fundraising so that there son can have necessary surgery. To me this appears inhumane. While people in the US are fortunate to have this medical care available, the next thing they have is to worry about the cost. In Germany all of the surgery, and most of the therapy would be paid for, just like that.
Nobody should be without “excellent, dependable health care”. My heart weeps for the people who live in countries where there is no medical care to speak of but I find it exceptionally cruel that there are people living in one of the richest countries in the world – and one that is very proud of having the best of everything – who can’t afford medical care. Or people who just have lost a loved one and then in addition to have to deal with that loss have to face bankruptcy on top of it.