I don’t usually go into politics in this space, but today I feel the need to go there.
Let’s talk about healthcare, shall we?
I may not live in the U.S. currently, but I spent almost half of my life there and I’m an American Political junkie. I’ve been following the election this year religiously. In honor of the implementation of new regulations under ObamaCare a couple of days back, and the continuing Republican outrage, I’d like to throw my two cents into the mix.
Let me start with a personal story: While living in LA, I sprained my ankle. It was a bad sprain, and I needed x-rays and crutches. I had health insurance at the time, paying close to 100$ a month while living as a poor graduate student.
Still – that sprained ankle cost me over 500 dollars.
I also had to go to a dermatologist that year. Another 600 bucks.
Did I mention that I had health insurance this entire time? Because I did. I also worked, and paid taxes and social security.
I was generally healthy. I admit, I didn’t disclose my PCOS for fear of getting rejected for a pre-existing condition. I was told that they do this with PCOS, even with women who have no intention of getting pregnant. I found out that health insurance with a pre-existing condition would run me about 300 dollars a month. Knowing that I wouldn’t even be going to a gyno (I’d be getting that care in Israel on my vacations), I chose not to disclose for one simple reason: I couldn’t afford it.
So – no gyno appointments, and only a sprained ankle and one dermatologist visit in two years. 90 dollars a month for two years, and another 1100 dollars in “co-pays” and “deductibles”. That’s 3,260 dollars in two years. That’s 3 and a half months salary for what I was making at the time trying to support myself (3.5 very good months. Most months I made less and had to rely on help from my parents and financial aid).
Now let’s run through my health care in the last couple of years in Israel, shall we?
Hospital stays: 5
Emergency room visits: 2
OB/GYN visits: too many to count
Blood tests: Too many to count
GP Visits: 6 or 7
Cost to me: 0.
That’s right folks. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Like in the States, I pay taxes and social security. That’s it. That’s all I pay. And the rates here are comparable to the rates in the States.
A lot of Israelis complain about our health care system. Not enough subsidized prescriptions, overcrowded hospitals during flu season, underpaid residents.
I understand those complaints, but you’ll never catch me saying them ever. That’s because I know what the alternative is. I know that in the States one broken bone could send me into debt. Here, it wouldn’t make a dent.
When we lost Nadav, I spent 4 nights in the hospital. I had two surgical procedures. 4 ultrasounds. I spent that first night in the emergency room.
Losing him was hard to deal with to say the least. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been had we needed to contend with an insurance company on top of it.
I can’t imagine how hard it would have been had we gotten a bill demanding that we pay for all of that care.
Yet that’s what happens to women who live in the U.S. every day. “Sorry about your dead baby, now please pay up.”
Right wing politicians in the States call a nationalized health care system socialism. I disagree. Supporting it is one of the most egotistical things out there. Because that’s really who you’re helping by supporting it – yourself.