Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sicko in America

I never thought I was going to miss Venezuela so fast. Well, at least its healthcare system.
I got sick three weeks ago, food poisoning, terrible diarrhea and retching. I felt I was going to die, losing liquids by both ends of my gastrointestinal tube, even at the same time, I could not even retain water. Nothing pleasant. Nothing too serious, neither. In Venezuela, maybe I would not even bothered in going to the hospital, just waited until it is gone, a couple of days. Or if it got too serious, go to the hospital and get some attention and medicines before one hour if I am lucky and close to three if I am not. Cost of the trip to the hospital: zero. Or my taxes and our collective oil. TANSTAAFL, you know.

Here in the land of the free and home of the brave, being sick was hell. A small food poisoning cost me almost $ 150. A doctor looked at me for 5 minutes, told me things that I already knew in a very distant way, asked some questions, became worried about the restaurant where I had eaten, told me to get stool tests and prescribed me an antibiotic that would have been my exact choice if I had reasons to believe that a bacteria was responsible for my disease. I did not went through the tests, it would have been a pointless waste of money for a self remitting disease, as it turned to be. The drug, Ciprofloxacin, was three to four times more expensive than in Venezuela (And is not because government's control on drug's prices, as non regulated drugs are also cheaper there!) even if it was generic, something amazing, given the fact that a free market is supposed to lower the prices and yet is not the case for drugs. Yes, a lot of things are more expensive here, but compared to food, for instance, the difference is outstanding. Another difference with Venezuela is the rigidity of prescriptions. The pills came in a personalized container with the exact amount of pills that I would need for all the treatment in order to prevent self medication issues, useful, but problematic if something happen to the pills.

The quality of the attention I received was lousy, I can get better attention in a public hospital in Venezuela in more or less the same amount of time I had to wait here in the US. It's amazing that health care in this country is so screwed up. I just read in the newspaper that the federal government denied funds for an initiative of a state to cover insurance for children of families that earn less than $ 60.000 a year. In order to be covered, children must be sick during one whole year. Can you imagine this? We are not talking about a clueless tourist or a person who chose to not to have insurance. We are talking about a child, chronically ill, without insurance because his or her family is poor, or even worse, because coverage is denied because he or she is already sick, waiting a whole year to get treated, causing financial damage to the family and even dying in the waiting. It is an outrage. I just cannot understand how these brave Americans that stand for their rights and fight wars all around the world in order to keep order and liberty, these same Americans who claim the government will take their weapons from their “dead cold hands”, can swallow these huge buckets of shit while nodding.
I guess American Idol is more interesting.

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Priscila said...

so much for the american dream, huh????

RosauraDua said...

What can I say, dear? I'm glad you're well now. I love you.