Remember my friends, Richard and Viki?
Well, one evening over dinner Richard said to me, “So Kim, what’s the best thing about living in the UK?” and before an eye was batted I said, “The NHS.”
There were slight puzzled looks from everyone around the table. Maybe a little shrug of the shoulders. I think my friends here in Europe and in the UK do not fully grasp what healthcare is like in the USA.
It can break you. Quickly.
In the U.S., if you are fortunate enough to have the money to buy fantastic private insurance or if your employer provides it, then it’s no problem. You will get great healthcare. However, if you are like most people, you probably have a mediocre insurance policy with a high deductible and co-payments for every office visit and every drug and every procedure, big or small. Or worse, you have no insurance at all and are praying every day that you do not get sick or need to see a doctor.
That’s right. The wealthiest country in the world provides its population with medical care that is…well…pretty much non-existent. Oh yes. There’s The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). It’s a great system if you don’t mind being forced to buy substandard health insurance that may not cover a lot and that changes every single year so that you may have to change your doctor every single year because your network changes. The prices are fixed for one year and then the insurance company is allowed to raise its premiums… etc.
Confusing? Yes. And utterly ridiculous and expensive.
I’m exhausted just writing this post. And sad. And angry.
(Here’s some advice to my British brothers and sisters. If you value the NHS then you’d better protect it. At the moment the government is selling off segments of our healthcare system and they’re privatising it, bit by bit.)
So this is why my friends and I are asking for donations to Owie’s fundraiser. Because she has cancer. Because her chemotherapy is covered 80% by her insurance and she must pay the other 20%. Because some of her medications aren’t covered at all and she has to pay for them herself. Because she needs respiratory therapy; Because she has to pay her deductible for the year. There are other expenses for people who are catastrophically ill that fly under the radar: the cost of gas to and from doctor/chemo appointments; the cost of seeing a dentist because your teeth go bad with chemo; the cost of hiring people to do the tasks of everyday living because you are too ill to do them yourself.
And finally — I’m asking for your help because when people are this sick, they need support. They need to not feel alone in the world. When they read notes of support or receive prayers or donations — no matter what the amount — they feel less afraid. The outstretched hands of family, friends, friends of friends and people from all over the world sustains them during some very dark times.
To all of my friends and family and everyone who has passed along the fundraising page or left notes or donations, THANK YOU. It matters so much. The stress levels go down a lot when you receive such loving-kindness.
If you can donate, please do. If not, that’s OK – perhaps you could pass along the news of the fundraiser.