Yikes I'm on fire! (or why every American (and especially children) need health insurance)
So, generally this trip has truly been lovely. However, in the last week, MommaBean got sick. really, really sick. Not the vomiting and diarrhea sick that I can ignore as awful as it is. But, the fever of 102+ degrees and alternating chills and sweats and such that is actually rather scary. I spent an entire day bringing down my 102 degree fever with Advil and Tylenol every 4 hours and never seeing it go below 100.5. Finally, when it spiked at 103.5, I decided it was time to go see someone. Of COURSE, it happened on Saturday. So, traditional doctor's offices were closed limiting my options. I could go to the emergency room (NOT gonna happen) or find a walk-in clinic. I vaguely recalled being surprised that there was a walk-in clinic in the Wal-Mart near the house, so we called over an determined that they were there and could write prescriptions. I went and saw a very fine nurse practitioner who took my pulse, blood pressure, etc. We talked, did a breath test of some sort, and a strep test.
The diagnosis: double ear infection, strep throat, and a small touch of pneumonia. Wow! I've never had all that at once before (that I'm aware of). Now, just to give you the background, I avoid Doctor's until I can't avoid them any longer. I'm not a "go at the first sign of a cough" kind of person. With the kids, I expect most things they'll battle through on their own and until they are (like I was) running a high fever for 2 or more days, I wait and see.
So, with the handy diagnosis ($45 by the way, awesome price) came the prescriptions. Rx: A super-strong antibiotic and two (count them two) inhalers for opening my clogged airways. (Oh, did I mention that I have an allergy to the most benign mucus unblocker in the world?)
I proceeded to the Wal-Mart pharmacy (which is typically one of the cheapest) and handed in my prescriptions and the "emergency" insurance card and prescription discount card. The end total? Just a few dollars shy of $500! The antibiotic was nearly $300 alone. Honestly, I was shocked and could not believe it. And, I find myself scared for the working poor. Those Americans who are seeing their S-CHiP programs going away because the genius in Washington decided to veto the compromised agreement the Ds and Rs came to. S-CHiP provides health insurance to children whose parents are unable to afford it otherwise. Imagine I were a child of a family who works 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. A huge pharmaceutical bill like this would be untenable. I'd go without the medicines and either a. go to a charity hospital and hope, b. die, c. well, there really isn't a c, is there. George Bush, you should be ashamed!
I thank God that we have the means to pay for this and am ashamed at the lack of understanding W seems to have with the plight of Americans. Perhaps he'd like to share his wealth. For those who haven't followed this, about 2 years ago, he started trying to steer companies and individuals away from traditional insurance plans and toward these high-deductible plans. This is what El 3atal and I maintain for our family. Basically, it covers nothing until we have paid $5000 out of pocket in a given year. If we lived in the US, we couldn't afford a policy like that. So, I just wonder what world he lives in that he thinks he understand and can speak for the average American. For the average American, $500 in prescriptions in one day can feel like a catastrophic illness. It's truly outrageous.
Get it together folks, get some coverage out there for Americans who can't afford it. End of diatribe. Tomorrow we will resume our usual programming of light and mostly issue-free satirical commentary and obvious observations...
Happy pill popping!