Friday, March 11, 2011

Deep Thoughts on Health Care

I had a pretty nasty sore throat a couple weeks ago that I couldn’t shake, no matter how many glasses of Emergen-C I drank or nasty mouthfuls of salt water I gargled. I worried it might be strep, so I headed to a non-urgent care doctor’s office by my work.

A short time in the waiting room, a throat swap, and blood pressure and ear-check later, the doctor determined that I did not have strep, just a “pretty bad sore throat.” She instructed me to take some ibuprofen and take it easy. On my way out, the receptionist said they would bill my insurance and send any leftover bills to my house.

Today I received a notice from my insurance that they had covered it. Thank goodness. Because that cost $290. All I could think was “$300 for what?” But that’s ‘America. Health care don’t come cheap.

I’m really fortunate to have made it this far with no major health problems. I really don’t get sick. I have a pretty good immune system I guess, and exercise pretty often enough, and eat vegetables almost every day. And even so, I’ve always had insurance to fall back on. I have only been uninsured for four months of my life. I’ve always had dental and vision, too.

This health care stuff just boggles my mind. It is so hard to wrap one’s mind around why if I were in, say, Canada or France, I could have gotten my throat checked out for $0, not $300. Although I pay for my health care with each pay check, and those folks do pay for their health care in their taxes. So what’s the difference?

The difference is I wish I had instead been able to use that $300 for a plane ticket somewhere fun instead of for paying to have a ginormous cotton swap stuck down my throat.

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