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pollystyrene
So this thread is for those without health insurance and the people who love them. Personally, I am so fortunate that I have health insurance (I do thank goddess for it everyday!), but my mom hasn't had it for several years, due to my dad being self-employed and she has some pre-existing conditions that make it unbelievably expensive to keep her insured under his insurance, so she goes without.

I'm pretty worried about that because it's been several years since she had a mammogram and a couple years ago, her sister had a double mastectomy, so we now have a family history of breast cancer. I'm seriously considering paying for a mammogram for her birthday/Mother's Day/Christmas.

I think it's really pathetic that over 40 million people in the U.S. are uninsured.

Here's an interesting article about it.

I'd also be interested in hearing from people in countries that do have health care about the problems they face, because I've heard it's not always all it's cracked up to be.

I'd rather have "not all it's cracked up to be" than nothing any day, though!
venetia
Um, I think the "not all its cracked up to be" comes from the fact that at the end of the day you get the same thing i.e nothing.

Your article hit a nerve with me - I am about to go and celebrate with my family the achievement of our long-term dream ...of having ten rotting broken off stumps surgically removed from my mother's mouth - so that now she can finally get false teeth.

It took us almost 10 years to save up the money. Because the rotting teeth were causing massive abscesses and also affecting what she could eat (which affects her health too as she has a bowel disease) in theory she was entitled to free care, but she was repeatedly bounced off the waiting list (re-referred back to her GP) because they have their hands full doing surgery on car accident victims mouths, etc which is more serious. Someone finally levelled with her that in practice they never do cases like hers, which is when I snapped and took a second part time job (I was working part time and also a full time PhD student).

She got that way same way the people in your article did. So in some ways it's no different, perhaps.

I'm hoping that lurking in this thread will help me to understand exactly how the insurance industry and system in the US work, as I'm still a little hazy.
maryjo
Wow, that was a scary article. I cannot comprehend how Bush et al can think that Americans have *too much* insurance. Or how Americans large can accept the model of healthcare that you have - though I know it's not a matter of accepting it so much as being forced to live with it. The actuarial model/'moral risk' thing that article talked about just seems like so much complete and utter crap to me, and yet it also helped me make sense of the (insane) motivations behind the American 'healthcare' system.

It makes me think that I really had better come back to Europe after I finish my PhD in the US (where health insurance is included in my funding); indeed, it makes me think that I am slightly mad to be going there at all (I have a chronic illness - I couldn't be without health insurance) though I already knew that.

Here in the UK, state-funded dental treatment is quite limited and free dental care is means-tested, but I don't know anyone whose teeth are falling out. I grew up in a poor, high-tooth-decay area, but everyone always seemed to get extractions and fillings. I suspect that situations like ven's mother's would be pretty similar in the UK, though. There are a lot of waiting lists - getting them down and improving the National Health Service is always a big thing for political parties trying to get elected. Major accidents / catastrophic illnesses are usually dealt with quite efficiently under the NHS though, at least in my experience and that of others I know. Even if our equipment and hospitals are a bit older and shabbier than the American kind.
lowredmoon
i am one of the 45,000 uninsured. i lost out on health coverage from my parents' company when i was 25. i spent two years without any health coverage at all, and then received health benefits from the company i worked for. i gave up health insurance to go back to school. i have minor coverage through my university, which allows me to purchase basic prescriptions from the health center at a reduced cost, and i receive free care from the nurse-practitioners in the health center. i'm graduating in a few weeks, at which point i will be completely fucked.

when i was uninsured, i was also on anti-depressants. i paid $100 a month for my prescription. eventually, i decided to stop taking them, in large part because i couldn't afford them anymore.

my teeth are a complete and utter mess. two years ago, a cavity that i couldn't afford to get fixed turned into broken front teeth. i went to a dentist, who told me it would cost about $1500 to fix everything that was wrong with my mouth. i cried in her office, because i knew there was no way i'd be able to afford it. i went to a dingy clinic to have my front teeth fixed. it was done poorly, and it still cost me $500. that's what i spent my tax return on. i live in dread of losing my teeth. nearly every tooth has a cavity, and right now, there's nothing i can do about it. i'm ashamed to open my mouth. i try to avoid laughing, or i put my hand up to my face when i do. i'm only working part time, and i'm barely making ends meet. in june, i won't be working at all. how can i possibly afford to take care of my teeth, when i can't even afford to eat?

i also have a chronic health condition. i have polycystic ovary syndrome, an endocrine disorder that can lead to infertility, insulin resistance, and a host of other problems. i can't afford treatment. i'm applying for "payment assistance" at a local hospital, but i'm worried sick about being able to afford the medications they will prescribe, medications that i desperately need in order to remain healthy.

it isn't always better for the insured, thanks to the fact that insurance plans don't cover all costs. both of my parents are missing teeth; my mother just had an abcess in her jaw thanks to the diseased teeth in her mouth. my father's insurance covers only part of the cost of treatment, and since they can't afford their share, they can't take care of themselves, either.

basic health care shouldn't be a luxury. i shouldn't avoid going to the doctor when i have bronchitis simply because i can't afford it. i shouldn't have to opt for medications that are less effective, simply because they are cheaper. i'm frustrated by the system, and i'm angry that people seem to have absolutely no problem with the idea that people like me, and people who are even worse off than i am, are expendable.
culturehandy
Canada has "universal" health care. Many provinces are making mri's and ct scans, available to those who have the money to pay for it. How is this universal. Yes you can go to a hospital or a doctor and get looked at for free. With this, comes waiting times, but if you have the money, then there is a private clinic somewhere which is willing to do the procedure for you. So, if you have money, as in the states with the insured and the uninsured (and money vs. no money), you will get better treatment than your counterparts of a lower socio-econimic status. Canadians also have to pay for their own dental and eye exams, procedures no longer covered under the suposed "univeral" health care.

The Right wing nuts here think that the u.s. system is great, why not pay for health care they ask? Well, those at high risk of disease canot be insured, easily, and those who are in a low income bracket won't be able to afford treatment, just as the article pointed out. Health care is a luxury of the rich. Even in places where health care is available to all.

Another thing to point out is that doctors are increasingly leaving rural areas, they stay in metropolitan centres and work there, thus leaving those is rural areas without health care. This is a similar situation in Canada's north, where doctors are not flocking northwards, and those who live in these areas, often the disifranchised and segregated native populations, are also left without health care. These are the people who have astronomical diabetes rates, infectious disease rates, most notable tuberculosis, and illness from substance abuse. Those in need are not getting. My question is can there ever be a happy medium?

George Bush obviously has no interest in those who aren't rich white men who can contribute to his rediculous causes. If he really cared about all citizens, and this goes for politicians everywhere, then wy not make health care availabe for all people?

pollystyrene
Is there anyplace with [so-called] universal health care that doesn't do a totally sucky job at it, and what do they do that other places don't?

I posted about this a couple of months ago in Kvetch Up- I was on my way to Trader Joe's so I could buy my organic milk, and was mentally whining about what a pain in the ass it was to drive an extra five or so miles out of the way to get it and this story comes on NPR about this family living in Virginia, parents and 2 or 3 kids and they moved there from some other Appalachian-area state to make more money, but then the father got injured and lost his job. They have no insurance, most of their food is convenience food from the dollar store, like ramen. The mother was skipping meals so that the kids and husband could eat instead and she's had some tooth problem for a few years now, and of course, can't afford to get it fixed, so she fills it with wax every couple of days to lessen the pain slightly...it was awful...I was crying by the time I got to TJ's to pick up my damn organic milk. It shouldn't have to be like this.

ETA: I found the story. I forgot a couple of the details of their story, but it's just heartbreaking.
rainarana
Moral hazard my ass. Damn that article pissed me off even more than I already was. I'd bend down and kiss the ground here in the NL if I could bend over. No, the health care here is not perfect. Waiting times for non life threatening conditions can be long. But they recently enacted a law, if I remember correctly, that if you have to wait more than three weeks for treatment you can go to a neighboring country if it's faster. I shouldn't be on the computer right now, but NEED to communicate witht he outside world on occasion and this struck a nerve. I injured my back about 1&1/2 months ago. Some days I'm ok, some I curl up in bed and cry from the pain. I've been to physio, have nsaids for the inflamation, valium for the spasms and nerve pain and last week got xrays. I should have the results this coming Monday. I spoke to the doctor yesterday and she told me that if the xrays were inconclusive she'd send me to a specialist for further testing.

I pay €100 a month out of pocket for realy good insurance. I make €24,000 per year before taxes. I pay a lot of tax. So far my out of pocket for treatment has been €0. My job is secure. If it takes me another three months to get better then I stay home and my paycheck continues to come in. I'm sure as shit not complaining. Sure I may complain a little about the "wait and see" policy, but when I call my doctor she'll do what she can to make sure I'm getting help. It may be a herniated disc, it may be something needing surgery, but either way, what makes me most depressed is that it's spring and I can't be out working in the garden, and that the fella had to do all the household chores. This is the way it SHOULD be.

I found out recently, mom didn't tell anyone, that she was in the hospitalk for four days with a heart condition. She can't get insurance. My father is 70, still working and has insurance only for himself as it's a small, family owned company that would hire him, due to his age and health problems. Due to a strange twist of fate, the house that I grew up in, which at the time was located in the backwater, is now in the middle of a groth explosion. What they paid 35K for is now worth about 400K. They moved to another backwater area, they hate overpopulation, and though the first house isn't sold yet they had no problem financing the second house until the first one sold. The four days in the hospital cost my mother $80,000 dollars. Dad borrowed the money from his employer as they knew he was good for it. Mom now needs surgery. Nothing immediately life threatening, but she has to wait 1 & 1/2 years before she gets medicaid, because they have too much in assets. If they were to pay for her surgery outright then they would go into retirement with NOTHING. Mom can't get insurance for less than about $2000 a month, and it wouldn't cover ANY preexisting conditions, which means it would mean fuck all for her anyway, as she has high blood pressure and numerous back injuries from and accident about ten years ago. She has memory loss and constant pain from that and can't work. I told her that if it gets worse she can come live with me, at least as long as it takes for me to get her a residence permit and insurance, so she can get treatment. Even if she couldn't get insurance, treatment is about 25% of the cost here as it is there. Before I had insurance I had to go to the doctor and an office visit was€10 out of pocket and 10 for the prescription.

Yes, things are better here. I may pay a minimum of 1/3 of my income in taxes, but I'm not curles up in a ball in a refrigerator box for lack of health care.
anoushh
One of the scariest things--no, actually the very scariest thing--about moving back to the states is the health care situation. For whatever problems the NHS has here in the UK, there is no contest at all as to which I'd rather have. People here in the UK moan about the NHS, but when I tell them yes, we do let people suffer and even die b/c they don't have health care in the US, they all can't believe it, having convinced themselves that there must be some safety net they don't know about as surely the richest country in the world wouldn't let that happen.

But it does. Every single day.

I'm currently pregnant and my need to go home is so huge that I'm giving up health care based on need at this time I most need health care. I'm giving up free dental care for the next year as well as free prescriptions. My partner is 50 years old. I'm fucking terrified and he is more than me as he's had the NHS his whole life.

Oh, a practical side effect to having a national health care system is that workers in the system get paid a decent wage. In the US if you are working in one of the many non-profits that desperately try to fill some of the gap for the uninsured and underinsured, such as in mental health care (failing miserably but still trying) you get paid what they can afford to pay you, which is hardly anything. I work for the NHS (at least until next Friday) and at least I get a fair wage.

Whatever problems the NHS has, people here don't realize how good they have it, and how proud they should be of it.
maryjo
Amen to that, anoushh. I could say a prayer of thanks for the NHS every day, were I prayerfully inclined. I think you appreciate things more when you contemplate being without them. My healthcare situation in the US will be fine as I'll be covered by my rich private university, but I think probably that after my PhD I'd move back to the UK in a heartbeat rather than live uninsured over there (given my health problems which could recur at any time). Well, that's a few years away, I can see what happens first...

Good luck with your move back, anyway!
ginger_kitty
It's really sad because where I work we do have insurance but to call it pathetic would be very kind. It doesn't cover vision or dental. We no longer have paid maternity leave. And we still have to pay a lot out of pocket. Two of my coworkers had surgeries, one a hysterectomy and the other gall bladder removal and both of them end up w/ huge out of pocket expense. One had to pay 13,000 and the other had to pay 8,000 and hospitals are completely unsympathetic to people w/ insurance who can't afford to pay. You think oh I'm okay, I luckily have insurance, then when you need it, it just doesn't cut it.
voodoo_princess
anoushh - AMEN! and AMEN again! I am an american by birth and as bad as it may sound, i have no love for my country anymore. why should i? it doesn't love me. i too am uninsured along with my 2 young children. we do not have a primary doctor, we simply go to whatever clinic will see us if they have a fee we can afford. we try to go to the one that gives free medicine so we don't have too many prescriptions to fill. my children do not get to have yearly check ups, as are recommended for children their age. we recently went to the charity dental clinic for a check up and found that my daughter has 5 cavities and needs them filled. when i say charity clinic, that does NOT mean FREE. i do pay for the services. my son has to see a child psychiatrist and take meds that cost me 120.00 per month on top of office visits. i have problems with my teeth where they have broken or old fillings have fallen out and i can no longer chew food on my right side. it's been that way for over a year and i have not seen a dentist in over 5 years or more. we tried to apply for state insurance, but got nothing. we even offered to pay for it, but they don't accept payment anymore!!!???!!! the state system went broke so they made changes and one of the changes was to STOP taking people who COULD PAY and provide FREE insurance to other people with slightly lower income. well OK then, that makes sense (NOT). don't take perfectly good money into the system that's already broke, hell that would be too simple. instead, turn down people who could afford to pay a little, which in turn would help the system provide for those less fortunate. DUH!!!! what pisses me off more is there is a fella who works for my MR. who has a girlfriend who is like 18 or 19 and perfectly healthy and gets state insurance for free..... you know why? because she is too lazy to work, and doesn't think she should have to work, so OF COURSE her income is "low" enough to qualify her for FREE insurance, FREE everything!!!!! what a lazy bitch! my kids can't have insurance that we are willing to pay for, that we pay taxes to fund, but some lazy teenager can get it?
i have listened to my friends who are covered by NHS complain about it and i am just in awe, because i WOULD GIVE ANYTHING to live in a country with a national health system in place. people want to complain about being sick and having to wait a while..... try not having any other option but to NOT see a doctor at all. i would be more than happy to wait if i knew i would eventually be guarenteed healthcare. i here complaints that the care received is crappy under NHS..... NO HEALTHCARE AT ALL is crappy, try that one out for a while.
sure, this country boasts to be the biggest, the best, the richest........ and what the hell good is it doing anyone? anyone but the rich anyway.....
pollystyrene
I think it's all part of Bush's grand plan to keep a consistent amount of peeople interested in the military- cut funding to education, financial aid for education and healthcare spending and people will have no choice but to join the military to get free education and healthcare...although, I know the VA hospitals are AWFUL too. But no military recruiter's going to tell you that when you sign up- "Are you kidding son, you'd be lucky to have yer leg blown off over in Iraq! And get to come back here and stay in one of our luxurious VA hospitals, with shiny new medical equipment and caring doctors as far as the eye can see! Now just sign here, here, and here!"
voodoo_princess
Ok, this thread is about advice too, so here is some for my fellow un-insured BUSTIES.

1. HEALTH DEPT.... you're thinking duh! but really, it's there so go. In my state the services are based on income and they have a dental clinic too. I didn't even have to PROVE my income, I told the truth tho. NO, it is not like going to a nice office with nice furnishings, but if your sick or need a check up, it WILL do.

2. See if there are any OTHER income based clinics in your city or town. We have one that has patients meet with a social worker to determine their "co-pay" based on income info. including income and bills payed each month. "Co-pays" are either $10.00 / $20.00 / $30.00..... and they give FREE basic meds and also have a deal with a local pharmacy that has agreed to give a discount on prescriptions brought in by the clinic patients. FYI - this place is better than the Health Dept. because it is private and NOT run by "the man" and not staffed with really rude "I am not human, I work for the MAN" people.

3. Ask around to see if there is a local organization that offers help with things like prescription purchases. There is an organization here that offers this service along with assistance with utility bills. Some of these type places put a limit to how many times you can use each of their services, but even a month of meds. paid for might help you get that much of a jump on saving for the NEXT month.

4. I know this sounds weird but it kind of ties in.... if you have access to a local food bank or even community center that offers a food bank, check it out. I say this because obviously if you are SAVING money in one area, it can be APLLIED in another area ie. SAVE on FOOD one time and be able to PAY for a prescription. I know it sounds horrid, but trust me, you won't die (but you might without that prescription!) I have had to do this very few times but OH was I greatful that the option was there when I needed it. I'm not saying to try to do this ALL the time, just know that it's there IN CASE. We have a community center in town that has a deal worked out with KROGER grocery store and the KROGERS bring all their "day of" or "day old" bread, pastries, specialty breads, cakes, doughnuts etc etc etc (bakery stuff) and they put it out on a table in the hall of the community center and it can be taken by anyone, no questions asked. They have some really awsome stuff sometimes that I can't even afford on a regular basis (fancy sandwich wraps, crescents, angel food). Bread is FILLING and soup is cheap, so now you got more money for doctor stuff, right?

5. In the event you or a family member has to go to the HOSPITAL, let them know you have no insurance (they will ask anyway) and then ask if they have "finacial assistance" programs that you can apply for. I have had 2 separate trips to the hopital over the years and not had insurance to cover it. The hospitals both had a "financial assistance" program and I had to request it then fill out a paper regarding my income and household size, returned the paper and waited for a reply. Both times the hospital "wrote off" my bill because of my income and the fact that I have 2 children to support. Sometimes the hospital will just REDUCE the bill, but any little bit helps right?
These kind of services are NOT usually advertised or they would be overwhelmed with people who just don't want to pay, even if they are able. Also, it cuts into the hospitals pocket, but you know what? Their pockets are WAY DEEPER than yours!

WOW, I know this sounds like some homeless persons guide to living, but these are things that I personally have had to do in the past to be able to provide in OTHER ways for my children..... ie. to afford healthcare.
I am gratefull that we are doing better now financially, but we still have no insurance which SUCKS. We do well enough to have little extras here and there, but NOT well enough to just plunk down a wad of cash in case one of the kids has to go to the hospital or has a serious illness. So for anyone out there who might need a little more than I and mine do, check these tips out and do what you can.
Oh, and here's another tip...... VOTE! Maybe we'll get lucky and get a winner!
rainarana
And another tip, check the local schools in your area; Dental, medical, massage, etc. . . often they will charge rock bottom cost for work. I don't know that they would treat anything too serious, but I used to go to the dental university in NYC for the ocassional filling.
nohope
Ithaca Health Alliance is a successful health project begun by Paul Glover of Ithaca Hoursfame. Currently he lives in Philadelphia where he is organizing a health cooperative Philahealthia for that region along the same model established in Ithaca. He also has just recently written a book Health Democracy

Ithaca Health Alliance is also dedicated to helping other communities establish their own health Alliance in their communities.
http://www.ithacahealth.org/iha_kit.htm
misspissed
this thread has hit so close to home right now.

i am fortunate enough to get pretty decent insurance through my job. i contribute about $75 a month towards my coverage, which includes dental and eye exams. i am definitely lucky for the coverage, and i stay at my job partially for the benefits. it is very easy to take benefits for granted, as every job i've had since college has offered decent health coverage.

my parents, on the other hand, have to pay through the nose for decent insurance. my dad is self-employed, and my mom works for a small company. her company offers HER insurance, and pays 75% of HER costs. through a pre-arranged deal with her boss, she is allowed to put my dad on the insurance, but he has to pay the full amount with no deductions. other (larger) companies usually allow a spouse dependent for minimal cost, but since my mom works for a small, family owned company, she's pretty lucky to even get insurance at all.

it is so sad, because the coverage they get is pretty mediocre (one step up from an HMO) and they are paying almost $1K a MONTH for coverage. my parents are middle-aged, and are starting to get the little health problems you get when you age, so of course they are paranoid about losing whatever coverage they can get.

it is a damn shame that middle class, hard fucking working people can barely afford to see a doctor and get their RXs filled. i am so ashamed that our "great nation" has been reduced to this state of affairs because of the selfishness of the few boneheads in power. IMO, this extends prior to dubya, but he sure as hell hasn't done much to change anything for the better.

i do have some horror stories about the italian healthcare system, though. when my grandfather was in the hospital, things were really bad for him...so it looks like some countries with universal healthcare haven't gotten too right, either. but at least one can go to the doctor and get into a hospital!
nohope
Study: Americans sicker than English
Study finds more serious illness despite greater U.S. spending

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/05/02/sick.america.ap/index.html
hellotampon
I don't have health insurance.

It's really shitty that you can't be covered by your parents' insurance unless you're a full time student. I'm just shy of full time- I work 39 hours a week and I can't cope with taking that many classes at the same time.

If I was like some of my rich friends, I could go to school full-time and just sponge off my parents and not work, but that's impossible for me. My parents are more broke than I am. And it's probably not something I would feel good about anyway. I live in an affluent area where SO many kids do that.

It doesn't matter right now anyway because neither one of my parents has insurance either.
pollystyrene
Apparently this week is Cover the Uninsured Week and I got this in my Ben & Jerry's newsletter. Ice cream really does make everything better!
lilacwine13
Wow, that's interesting, polly. And I heard about that on NPR, nohope, and how the researchers have no clue as to why the results are like that.

I consider myself lucky because I've had health insurance almost my entire adult life. My university required it and currently my health insurance is through my company. While it's not as comprehensive as my school's, it's a lot cheaper and I like knowing that my check-ups and treatment are covered. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't be able to afford to get some sort of treatment for my depression.

However, I can't go see my therapist as often as I should because there is a limit on how many sessions the insurance will cover, plus the copays for both that and the medication aren't cheap either. Still, I know that they are a lot less expensive than what I would pay out of pocket. (In fact, prescription drugs weren't covered under my school's insurance so I didn't go on them until a few months ago due to being poor.) Is it really sad that health insurance is something I seriously consider when I'm looking for work? I turned down a couple jobs because they didn't offer health insurance and I want to be prepared just in case something happens.

There is something I've been able to get through my job that is related to this thread: dental insurance. Last October was the first time I had a checkup in over 10 years because I couldn't afford to go otherwise. In the meantime, I had two teeth pulled because they were rotten and roots canals were much too expensive.

My mom gets her health care through Medicare and my dad gets his through the VA. While I'm glad they have something, after years of being self-employed and unable to have health insurance, at the same time I'm worried because of what the administration has done to both the agenicies. Right now my dad has to drive 80 miles to the nearest VA clinic and even furthur if he has to have surgery. (And don't even get me started at how disgusted I am by how underfunded the VA is. Cripes, if you are willing to die for your country then the least it can do is provide you with decent health care.)

I would like it if I could find someplace that covers eye exams, one year I spent my tax return on new eyeglasses.
rainarana
About the English vs. American health, I think a major aspect that they didn't bring up is lifestyle. While there are plenty of couch potatoes in the UK, there are also plenty who still live in small communities where they can bicycle, in the cities many take public transport which means a bit more walking, gardening is a favorite pasttime. I'd like to see what choices are made by the affluent in the US vs. UK. The US is obsessed by stuff, and perhaps the UK as well, but the lifestyle just seems healthier.

It definitely is here. Two car households are considered excessive, EVERYONE has a bike. Most people live within biking or walking distance to a supermarket, drugstore, clothing store, etc. . . Although I can't work at the moment, I can walk (with my granny grocery getter wheelie shopping bag) to the market and buy the day's groceries. I think the US's lifestyle in general needs to be addressed.
voodoo_princess
AMEN rainarana! I agree, and I am in the US. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish for a public transportation system, for sidewalks, for bike lanes etc etc etc. Where I live we have either none of these things or so few they don't even matter. There is no public transport (with the exception of a very very very limited bus route) and I live on the edge of a large city (Nashville). I could not use public transport to commute to work, or go to the store or anything like that. It's just not available. There are no sidewalks and alot of the time no shoulder of the road to walk on. There are a very very few designated bike lanes in a few select areas but not so as you could really use them to ride to work or whatnot. They usually put them within fancy neighborhoods so the residents can use them for leisure riding. Even if someone here chose to ride their bike everywhere it is definitely at their OWN RISK and that risk is HIGH. People here who drive have ZERO respect for pedestrians and cyclists. The police pull cyclists over and ticket them for the most ridiculous things. But they do nothing about motorists who run over cyclists or run pedestrians off the road.
If I could live in a place that offered these options I would be all over it! I would never drive again..... I HATE DRIVING. I wish for a safe place to walk or cycle, I wish for a rail system, busline whatever so I could just hop on and go, wherever.....
It's a shame no other country wants US citizens immigrating over, cause I would in a heartbeat! I would gladly pay the taxes, pledge my alligiance and do my part for the betterment of that country if someone would just let me and my family in. I only say this because I realize that my own country is never going to come around on issues like National Healthcare etc.
I think it sucks to live in the "richest" country in the world. Whole lot of good those riches are doing a majority of the people, huh? If this country is so rich and so great why do we have so many without healthcare, without shelter, without food, without appropriate education or skill training? I just don't understand.
peacereverie
My husband does not have health insurance but I do. It's very painful. To put him on my work insurance would be 162 dollars out of every paycheck. We just can't afford that. Pisses me off every time.
peacereverie
I SO agree with you, voodoo. I am so sick of dealing with cars. I'm sick of having to spend over a thousand dollars on a piece of crap that I will drive for a few years and then it will be junk. I hate having to worry about what I will do if I end up without a car. I can't buy a new used or new car because my credit is bad and so on.

Everyone always says this is such a great country and it always irritates the hell out of me. I can't even take care of my husband! This is not a completely free country.
anoushh
rain, I don't know where you are when you refer to "here", but in the UK from what I see we are as car dependent as in the UK.

I am scared to death at leaving the UK health system behind. I just may punch the next person I hear who gripes about how crap the NHS is. THey have no fucking idea.
maryjo
You really feel the UK is as car-dependant as the US, anoushh? Whereabouts are you? Somewhere fairly rural or at least outside the centre of town, I bet - because I've never felt the slightest need for a car in the UK, living in cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Brighton and London to date).

Though I do believe that Rain is in the Netherlands...
misspissed
voodoo, i SO agree with you! sorta off topic below:

i am planning to eventually move into NYC proper just so i don't have to depend on my car. i live in the 'burbs outside of NYC, and i need my car to get to work. if i tried taking the bus, it would take about 2-3 HOURS (and i work only about 30 min away) because there is nothing remotely direct to my job. i can't commute 2 hours each way, it would just be impossible!

my dream job would be within walking or biking distance. i am really fortunate because i do have a grocery store, diner, post office, bank, pharmacy, coffee shop, clothing shop, bowling alley and liquor store within walking distance-- so at least i can ditch my car when i have to run local errands!
voodoo_princess
misspissed - i think we too are going to have to move into the city, in our case it will be Chicago, as this is where the Mr. is from and there really are no other "major" cities any closer than Chicago, so it makes sense. I guess anyway, if you consider 8 hours away from where we are now "close". It sucks that we are going to have to move 8 hours from my family just so we can ride the Amtrak, "L", buses or walk on sidewalks (that shouldn't be a luxury for heavens sake!)..... and not have to be so dependent on our vehicle. Plus the jobs pay better, are unionized and maybe we'll be able to get decent insurance and benefits (MAYBE). I guess this is our best option since we have to stay here in the good 'ole U S of A.... (gagging slightly)

voodoo_princess
Sick right now and so wish I had insurance so I could get some of that GOOD sinus medicine.....
I feel miserable......
Thanks America!
voodoo_princess
Can anyone tell me when it was that American doctors decided that giving ANTIBIOTICS to sick children was a BAD idea?!?!?!?!? My children and I have been getting repeatedly sick with this horrible repiratory infection / green nose runny / yellow eye drippy infection stuff for monthes now because of a child that I babysit who has been sick with this "unidentified" shit for monthes. His mother has brought to him the doctor over and over and every time she gets the same line of BS which is..... " this is just a baby thing, there is nothing we can do, just keep his nose clean" and all the while this child is infecting other people with whatever this is that he has. Just "a baby thing" MY ASS! My family is now going through our THIRD round with this crap, my kids are running fevers, yellow shit coming out of their eyes, noses all green.... I have to sleep sitting up because I can not stop coughing at night.
This is absolute BS!!! This is the sort of shit that turns into pnuemonia (which I and my daughter have had before) and doctors are like "just deal with it, we can't do anything for you"..... I know that repeated antibiotic use is NOT a good idea, but we are talking about a child who has been SICK for over 5 monthes and has NEVER had even the first round of antibiotics (in his LIFE)! Would it really be sooooo bad to give him some? I mean, get real!!!!! And what pisses me off even more is that this kid HAS insurance so, IF he does end up with something worse, he has hospital coverage and all that stuff whereas my family HAS NO INSURANCE AT ALL and the hospitals here will NOT admit us without insurance (even though they're supposed to) for things like pnuemonia etc..... we know this from experience. My daughter and I were so sick with pnuemonia and went to the hospital a couple of years ago and I actually passed out in the waiting area from lack of oxygen because I couldn't breathe and they would not admit us or give us treatment there because we had no insurance. They wrote a bunch of prescriptions (that we had to borrow money to purchase) and sent us home, where we remained in bed, wearing masks to be able to breathe, for another 3 weeks! She was only 2 at the time. God forbid this shit we have now turns into anything worse! The Mr. says I have to stop watching this child because even though I get paid to watch him, it costs me more money to try to stay well and get medicine for my kids because this kid is making us sick.....
Sorry for ranting and raving but this is just unbelievable to me.....
OK.... I feel a little better
nohope
Doctors in the US finally figured out that one, anti bionics don’t work against viral infections and two giving anti bionics to people at every time they get sick, makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics. It only took fifty years for them to figure this out. So you should be happy instead of angry. Cause their change will save lives even if it causes annoyance because you believe anti biotic will work.
venetia
I agree, that sounds like a viral infection alright. Ours wouldn't prescribe antibiotics for it either.

That said, although antibiotics don't really work it's not like there's nothing that can be done instead, so I can see why Voodoo is upset! The doctors should be giving advice on how to treat fever, etc.

(((Voodoo Princess))) It's horrible when everyone is sick!
lunasol
voodoo, that sucks about the hospital not admitting them. but it's dumb on their part because they could and shoul be sued.

hey, can i rant about how STUPID it is that medical insurance and dental insurance are separate, and dental insurance is viewed as some sort of luxury? i had to have a root canal friday and had to pay for the whole damn thing - $1000+. this is especially dumb because i have really good health insurance (through school).

a root canal basically treats an infection in yur tooth. if i had had an infection anywhere else in my body, it would have been covered, but because it's in a tooth, it's not. stuuuuuuuupid.
cloverbee
I so agree, lunasol. and now that they have linked heart disease w/ your teeth, it should be covered for sure. but don't feel left out at all. I have had to get two crowns ($1600.00) and several fillings over the past year and I have NO insurance.
voodoo_princess
nohope - I can completely understand your point on giving too many antibiotics etc and the effect it has on breaking down the human immune system. It certainly does that with over use BUT this particular baby has been sick for 5 monthes straight now and has never had a course of antibiotics in his entire little life and he is soooo suffering and making everyone around him sick and miserable. To top things off, he got here to me today and now has an EYE INFECTION. His whole little body is just becoming infected, one part at a time. I just wonder how long this is to be allowed to go on? The mother is very very lucky that I am the one watching him because there is NO "regular" daycare that would take this child as sick as he is. He is infectious and that is not allowed at daycare centers. She would lose her job because she would not be able to work if it weren't for me agreeing to keep him even though he is making all of us sick over and over. I just don't believe that this is the BEST that can be done by our doctors for this child. Things like this could develop into much worse illness and then what?
I know viral infections can't be treated by anti biotics but everything isn't a viral infection and I have 2 children who have been sick plenty through the years and many times, when given anti biotics, the improvement was amazing. They do work when prescribed for the right illness.
This baby might or might not improve with antibiotics but since he's NEVER had ANY, would it really hurt him to try it, since nothing else is working? I just don't think so.... I just feel so bad for him, I wish he would get better. And to be really honest, I am sick of being sick. I hate to turn him away because of what it would mean for his mother, but..... what to do? what to do?

venetia - so true so true..... it is really frustrating to go to the dr. like this baby's mom has and all they tell her is "wipe his nose"..... for real! that was their advice.... what a crock! if that's the extent of their medical knowledge then they paid WAY TOO MUCH for their education!

lunasol / cloverbee - dental insurance.... oh what a luxury!!!! I need so much work done and even if I did have insurance, I still wouldn't be able to afford to have the work done. Why in the world is it so damn expensive? I wonder too why dental is separate from health and why dental coverage covers soooo little? Teeth are IMPORTANT.... bad teeth and tooth loss leads to many many other health related problems (which cost more money to address.... do we see a pattern here?)
what a mess.....
free_spirit
do you feel obligated to take the baby to the doctor or tell someone who can help? since obviously it seems like neglect. just wondering.
voodoo_princess
free spirit - i DO wish I could take this baby to the clinic myself because I am fairly sure that I would have better luck getting cooperation than the baby's mother has.... The mother HAS been taking the baby to their regular doctor and also to the clinic at a very very well known children's hospital. I just think she is too young and not assertive enough to get done what needs to get done.... I also think that there is way to much inconsistency in medical practices these days and I know for a fact that if the baby was seen at the charity clinic where I take my children, the baby would have had SOME SORT of treatment by now. And that's at a freaking CHARITY clinic. This kid has insurance and could go anywhere.... he's just not getting the care he needs and the mother is getting bowled over by these HMO doctors.... I never knew medicine left so much room for opinion.... some docs give meds, some don't and it all seems based on opinion, not fact. If it was based on fact, then medical practices would be the same across the board, no? That's scary.
nohope
Just for clarification, I was not talking about the effect Antibiotics have on the immune system, clearly that is a concern as well. But the greater concern is that bacteria themselves become immune to antibiotics through their over use and misuse.

i.e. the consequences of choices others make regarding antibiotics effect you whether or not you have ever used antibiotics in your life. Today a significant number of antibiotics are simply no effective against bacteria for which they were effective n the past.

The result is that each of us is daily becoming more and more endangered by the same organism which killed thousands of people before the miracle of anti biotic, simply because these bacteria are now resistant.

Whether it is your first time taking them or not, these bacteria can no longer be treated with certain anti biotic, and if we continue down our current course of anti biotic use, all bacteria will be resistant and anti biotic will cease to provide a cure.
venetia
That's soo what's going to happen. An ex-nurse at M's work was trying to tell him what lies to tell the doctor in order to get prescribed antibiotics!
voodoo_princess
Thanks for clearing that up for me *nohope*....however, even now that I'm armed with that info, the baby in question still doesn't feel any better, still is infectious and still no one can tell his mother anything effective.... I guess I just don't see the need for the baby's suffering when we live in a country with medical advances the likes of which most other countries can't rival.... but if "non-care" is the route we're going, I suppose that's the way it is.... that should make for a good time hey? Sick people everywhere, not able to get out and be active, not able to go to work.... wow, that sounds super!
Oh well, nevermind me.... I'm just pissy cause I'm sick of being sick....
voodoo_princess
UPDATE on the sick baby..... he now has a YEAST INFECTION too.... WTF????
Let's recap, shall we.....

Lung Infection
Sinus Infection
Eye Infection
Yeast Infection

Will it NEVER end???? This is crazy!!!! I don't remember it being this way with my own children... there must be a factor here I am missing out on...... I feel so bad for this kid!
erinjane
Pssst...Yeast infections really aren't super uncommon among young children. I was repeadetly getting them when I was 3. I have never had one since though. Weird.

But this poor kid. Something should definatly be done for him.
lucizoe
God, voodoo, I know it's not your kid and you can't really do anything...but can you somehow go to the doctor with the mom and the baby and be assertive FOR her? Or find some sort of organization (maybe La Leche league would have someone able to accompany her?) Clearly she needs an advocate, many people do when it comes to healthcare, and that kid needs something done for it.

Blah. I'm so sorry that this is stressing you out so much. It totally sucks
voodoo_princess
erinjane - yeah... they are common and that sucks too cause he's already got so many other infections going on.... I'm thinking I'm gonna start calling him "INFECTO".... like an X-Men name, but he'll be the sickly X-Man (I love the X-Men, hee hee hee)
Ah well.... maybe he'll get well soon but somehow I doubt it.
venetia
((Voodoo)) He sounds really sickly, like there's something wrong with his immune system because it's tired out fighting all the time. Does he live in damp conditions?

voodoo_princess
We are in Tennessee, so we aren't by any large bodies of water or swamps or bayous and the rain is not too much in this area BUT as for his actual home living.... they have one of those BIG fancy modular home thingy-s.... not your average trailer if you know what I mean and they live in a rural area.... I can't really vouch for the "dampness" of the home or particular area.... I know they don't have a basement or anything, where dampness may be prevelent....
and as far as I know, neither mom or dad smokes.... I had considered that too, but....

OH YES, AND.... we can add diahrrea to the list of symptoms too now!

I'm really begining to think there is a factor that I am not being told about with the baby or maybe something that the mother isn't aware of that might be a big deal and might be making baby sick but mother isn't able to put 2 and 2 together.... she's a new mom and maybe there is something in the home or something around the baby that she doesn't realize is BAD.....
Oh well.... I have him quarantined at my house during the day and I feel kind of bad about it because it is limiting his interaction time with me and the girl baby, but what can I do? He is infectious and I am starting to see signs of illness in the girl baby too, so.....
maybe he'll be well soon.... somehow I doubt it though...
voodoo_princess
Pushing garbage to the bottom.....
lucizoe
ba-bump
voodoo_princess
good to see you lucizoe..... have I ever told you I ADORE the pic you have posted with your profile.... I always point it out to the Mr.... we think you're a doll!

Oh, and more on topic.... I'm still uninsured.... so sad so sad....
nereid
Huh. I just realized that if I ever need to go to the doc/be hospitalized, I'm SOL. I have NO insurance whatsoever. I was on with my folks until I hit 18. Can anyone suggest a good health insurance provider? I mean, one that doesn't gouge it's clients?
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