America's Health Care Reform - One Step Forward
Last Sunday in the United States, the government signed into a law a bill that facilitated sweeping changes to the country’s current healthcare system.
Last week in Toronto, I had to rush my two-year-old to the hospital after she suddenly, alarmingly, clutched her neck and stopped moving. She was ok, but man did she give me a scare.
Both events got me thinking.
I got thinking about how very polarizing, controversial and hotly debated the former has been. And I got thinking about how very devastating the latter might have been – that is, if I had to actually deal with the former and not just write about it.
Admittedly, I do not know the minutiae of the health care reform issues on the table, but I do know and understand the big picture issues – I know and understand that millions of people in the United States cannot afford or qualify for health insurance, and therefore, must pay out of pocket when in need of medical assistance. I know that even when you can qualify for and afford health insurance, that insurance can easily be denied by a medical centre or practitioner because they are allowed to say that they don’t like the insurance you are probably paying a whole lot for. I know that my father needed FOUR different insurance policies just to be able to die, broke, in his hometown.
When my daughter suddenly, alarmingly, clutched her neck and stopped moving last week, a series of events followed: 1) I silently freaked out and negotiated with every spirit I might believe in to make this not be serious. Cost – a little bit of my mental health
2) I called Telehealth for advice. Cost – zero
3) I followed Telehealth’s advice and took my daughter to the hospital. Cost – zero
4) We dispelled a popular myth that having 'socialized' medicine means that you die in waiting rooms because you can’t see a doctor, and saw a pediatric ER doc in a special pediatric ER room after waiting – you ready? – TEN minutes. Sheesh.
5) I called my family doctor and made a follow-up appointment for the very next day. Cost – zero
6) At that follow-up appointment, I scheduled my older daughter’s well-child visit for the week of her fifth birthday. Cost – zero
You know what I didn’t do? I didn’t sell my car to afford insurance to pay for all that medical attention. I didn’t sell my house to pay for all that medical attention out of pocket. I didn’t go to a different hospital because the hospital close to me wouldn’t accept the insurance and lastly, I didn’t fight with my neighbours for years and years; slag other countries; call my Prime Minister a baby killer or ok it with an HMO before I sought medical attention for my child. One day soon maybe Americans will be able to say the same thing.
So, congratulations to my neighbours to the South; I can only see this as a step in the right direction, and hopefully, you guys do too.
National health care – it does a body good.
This is an original post to Canada Moms Blog. Karen also blogs at The Kids Are Alright.