Bless you!

Rounded Rectangle: © Ymke Oerlemans, 2012

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Blog of the little girl in the big city

Never knew that it was possible to put a price on your health but the last couple of weeks thought me differently. A few weeks later and luckily in good health again, but over 2000 dollars lighter. And wizer, because more so now than ever it became clear to me why Obama has to be re-elected. Everybody has to be insured en has to have access to health care in case of sickness without immediately going bankrupt. Obama cares!

About a week after my return to the States I got an ear infection. Very strange, I never had an ear infection in my life but it felt like I was still on a plane and I couldn’t pop my ears. On top of that, I experienced some loss of hearing, so with all my medical knowledge I diagnosed myself: ear infection. But where to go in a foreign country when you have health problems. Luckily, Xander kept his cool and advised me to call Eurocross, who give medical advice abroad. The advice: go to the E.R. in the nearest hospital. After some inquirie at the office, Beth Isreal turned out to be the nearest hospital in Manhattan. What an experience! Everything looked less fancy than I imagined and it took me a good while before I was outside again. First off I had to register myself with an administrative clerk. I even got a wrist band! Whether I was insured? Most definitely,  but not in the States. Well, that turned out to be a bit of a problem. Eventually, we agreed that the bill would be settled by me personally and I would send the bill to my insurance company. So I went and quietly waited in the wating room for the doctor. But boy was I wrong. Before the doctor could see me I had to see two nurses and another administrative clerk. Every time a repetition of the same questions: do I have insurance, how much pain do I have, when did it start, could I be pregnant, do I want an HIV test? (Huh, HIV test, I am here for an ear infection?!) After 2,5 hours I finally got to see the doctor. Again the same questions. After she looked in my ear her reaction was: yes, your ear looks really red in the inside miss, that must be very painful. So I finally get to leave with a recipe for antibiotics. The bill will be posted to me. After I get my medication and paid just 17 dollar for that , I go home.

A few weeks later we get the bill: 1600 dollars in total! For a little ear infection. Xander and I were totally shocked. And to think of the fact that I wasn’t even really sick. Imagine you get really sick and you are not insured. It became every clear to me that what President Obama is doing in reforming the health care system is really important. Your health is not for sale and shouldn’t be. It is the most important thing you have.

In the mean time, we found a general practitioners office where you can get treatment for 150 dollars (of course, you have to pay up front). Way better! The last couple of weeks I felt really blessed with the health care system in the Netherlands. We don’t even have to think about how much a medical treatment costs and whether we can afford it. When something happens to you, you are always entitled to the best possible treatment and I find that a very reassuring thought.