Tag: Healthcare

Incendiary Monday Post – Healthcare, Birth Control, Women’s Roles – Oh My!

“Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man’s attitude may be, that problem is hers — and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born. As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.”
― Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race

My old job did a horrible job at supporting women’s health. There, I said it. No real maternity leave (unless you count 12 weeks without pay, after which time your job is hypothetically up for grabs and much relies on the goodwill of your department), no day care (there is a single care area, but it is a research facility and not open to public enrollment), and frankly less than impressive health care options.

I have my theories about this, but primarily I think it’s because it’s a private religious school that’s part of a traditional gender essentialist cultural. Women with kids should be at  home with those kids, goes the thinking. Granted I certainly I never heard anyone at the university say this in an official HR capacity, but I heard it everywhere (including some classes) unofficially, even from administrators of my own department. Let me be clear, I do not believe for one second that the policy and procedural edicts on the subject were the result of some cabal of men evilly stroking cats and scheming in a dark room somewhere, but I do think that this idea of prescribed gender roles passively plays a role in making assumptions about what working women do or do not need long term.

1970's ad from Australia.
1970’s ad from Australia.

I’m not going to get into the arguments for or against this cultural set up now, except to say that for a school that emphasized family values, I often wondered why I saw so many policies and procedures – and cultural mores – that made it hard for women (employees and students alike) to have one, because that’s a rant for another day. What really bothered me personally was the issue of birth control.

Yes, my birth control was theoretically covered by my work insurance plan. In practice, however, it turned out to be cheaper for me in the long run to go through Planned Parenthood for my annual exams and prescriptions. That is ridiculous. I often wondered what was the point of my healthcare plan if the main thing I used it for besides dentistry (being otherwise a pretty healthy person) turned out to be more financially heavy than services outside its administrative scope. And believe me, Planned Parenthood was not popular or commonly marketed as an option in this state!

But the real challenge came when I quit that job in preparation for our London move. I needed a supply of  several months to get me through the summer, the move, the settling in, and the setting up of our new health plan in Britain – we’re covered by the NHS but opted for additional coverage as part of Jeff’s work benefits package. Planned Parenthood could only give me 2-3 month of a prescription at a time, and my GP couldn’t write me a prescription that could account for my change of employment status, since my insurance disappeared with my job. My GP was a great doctor who took them time to listen to my concerns and ultimately wrote me a full year’s prescription and worked with the pharmacy to fill it, since they also normally dispense it in smaller quantities. But it was entirely out of pocket for me and cost nearly $400 to do so – a bit more than a $1 a day to remain child free by choice.

VictorianPostcard

Fast forward to London. When down to my last month of birth control, I make an appointment with the doctor’s office I’ve registered at (coincidentally a 7 minute walk from our flat). My stats and measurements are taken, my health history is reviewed, my current prescription is examined to verify they carry the same or a similar drug, a new prescription is written. The whole process takes 10 minutes. Four days ago I walked to the adjacent pharmacy and filled it, getting two months of BC. It is not as attractively or complexly packaged as what I got in the States, but the dosages are identical.

It cost me nothing.

I don’t pretend that socialized medicine is without consequences, particularly for a country as large and divided as the US. But I grew up in socialized medical care – by which I mean… the system that treats the military and government servicemen and women of the country. It too had some major drawbacks (witness a large scar on one arm when having skin biopsied vs the nearly invisible one I got for the same treatment in private care), but when run properly it works. Astonishingly well. I’m for more of it, particularly more that treats women’s health as an integral part of the system, since we’re 51% of the population, instead of a specialty field.

Discuss.

– My friend Heidi documents a less than stellar experience from her Danish doctor. Any other expats have stories to share, good and bad?

John Green talks about healthcare costs on the vlogbrothers channel, worth a view even if you disagree vehemently.

– A post laying out the pros/cons of universal healthcare and comparing it in the US to other nations

Another pro/con examination

Obsessive Compulsive. Disorder.

“A pint of sweat, saves a gallon of blood.”
– George S. Patton

Know how I can tell I spent my youth catapulting across continents and time zones?  Apart from the various personality quirks it engendered, my ability to learn languages rather quickly, my fluid definitions of “home” and “family,” and the long-lost art of being able to keep in touch through letter writing?  Because I am an obsessive move planner.

Does this make me a packing rat?

I’ve been collecting boxes for our eventual move for over a year now (our office is a tragic sight), and I’m continually going through old clothes, knick knacks, cosmetics, random collections of pillows, pictures, books, etc.  Occasionally I send a box of things home to Snickers, or foist a bunch off on Margot when she comes by to watch movies, and at last resort I donate armfuls of stuff.

Occasionally I take it a step further.  Such as this morning.

One of my health insurance company’s benefits is that you can earn cash back for participating in health challenges – eating a bushel of vegetables a day, jogging 20 miles before breakfast, etc.  You can earn up to $200 a year per person.  And call me crazy but a year from now, when we’re living Quetzacoatl knows where, I have a sneaking suspicion that $400 could come in handy.  So J. was dragged awake and forced to endure a round of blood drawing for tests, long before we usually eat breakfast, all for $50 a year from now.

You be the judge, am I psycho or just extremely well organized?

This is Your C. on Drugs

“Like everybody else, when I don’t know what else to do, I seem to go in for catching colds.”
~ George Jean Nathan

Kittens!  I am so sick of being sick!  In desperation I went to the doctor yesterday (which since I’m normally a pretty healthy person, is highly unusual) and in order to calm my swollen throat I was prescribed antihistamines.

The trouble is, antihistamines have a very peculiar effect on me.  About half an hour after taking them I turn into a hyperactive cross between a more than usually destructive two year old and a terrier.  Everything is funny and the only way to live is running around in circles until you drop from exhaustion.  It’s the pharmaceutical equivalent of watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail at two in the morning.  After this high comes the crash and I drop into a comatose state from which not even the zombie apocalypse could wake me.

Even after I do manage to wake up (a dozen or so hours later), the lingering traces of chemicals in my blood stream mean that throughout the next day I will get waves of intense tiredness.  Quite suddenly my head will drop or my vision will blur and I feel like I just need to lie down for a few hours.

Unfortunately this last bit is where I am now and it’s making work more difficult.  I’ve already scattered a package of dried oatmeal all over the floor and caught my fingers in my keyboard and it’s not even 11am.  I’m afraid I’ll do myself an injury long before 5pm.

Know-Nothing. Party.

C.’s Quick Translation for Online Oppinuendo on Health Care

You liberal/conservative idiot! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

Don’t you have a brain?! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

The Republicans/Democrats are out of touch with the American people!  Down with them!  Drag them into the streets! :   Rep-R/Rep-D voted against my personal opinion! 

Obama is the Antichrist! :  I’m conservative.

Obama is brave to take this problem on! :   I’m liberal.

Stop making asinine comments! :   I have weighed and measured such information as I have found, and I now find myself on the other side of the aisle from you.

You socialist nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

You conservative nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

This is a choice between good and evil! :   This is a choice between political ideologies, about which I feel very strongly.

It’s unconstitutional! :   It personally offends my sensibilities.

I can’t even begin to tackle your logical fallacies! :   I refuse to attempt to see things from your liberal/conservative point of view and prefer to argue.

As a future doctor I don’t want to have the government dictate the terms of my work (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to me! :   I much prefer to dictate the terms of my work  (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to my patients myself.

Go ****/$$$$/@@@@/%%%%  yourself! :   I’m afraid we just can’t see eye to eye on this. 

The End Times are coming! :   I am seriously displeased with the turn of events.

I’m moving to Canada! : I am not actually moving to Canada despite ranting to the contrary for some time. 

 

There, now you find yourself able to navigate the intricacies of Facebook, comment threads, and forum mudslinging.  Take a few calm breaths to recharge and think of some withering profanities, and when you feel ready, charge back into the fray.  Discussion doesn’t seem to be the name of the day, so feel free to bandy tired clichés back and forth, quote the pundits/talking heads in lieu of actual original thought, and mistake insults/gloating for a solution.  Carry on!