The seasonal change has kicked in and Chaos is an early casualty. The poor wee bug has an ear infection to go with a bad cold. She is not happy.

Our kids aren’t really sickly types, but I have been worried about this. Mostly because I’m pretty bad with cabin fever, and Hurricane is even worse. Chaos kicked off on Sunday night and after looking like she might have been on an upward swing the next morning she then deteriorated and we didn’t leave the apartment even once that day. Tuesday wasn’t much better and we ended up taking her to the doctor today (Wednesday) so she’s now on antibiotics.

Thankfully we have (expensive) medical insurance for the little people, even though that doesn’t make treatment free. We still had to pay $60 to have Chaos seen and another $20 for the prescription. Back in NZ, well we would have paid nothing.

Since I’ve been here I’ve learnt a bit about the US healthcare system and how screwed it is. The truth is, it’s probably beyond fixing. The Government effectively absolved itself of one of its core responsibilities – to look after the health of its citizens – a very long time ago and it can’t really go back. The US now has the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but you don’t really get much for your dollar. Just a whole lot of waste and exorbitantly priced drugs. The relationships between insurers, pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare professionals themselves are pretty sorry when you look at the simplicity of the NZ system.

For example, early on BB went to the doctor and sought a very basic prescription for what back home is an over the counter purchase. She then went to fill it, but her insurance card hadn’t arrived yet. They said if she was happy to pay cash they could get it sorted for her on that day anyway, so she was like sure how much? $700. Seven. Hundred. Dollars. You didn’t misread that. $700!!!!!!!! No really. $700!!!!!!!!

I thought that can’t possibly be right. Surely. They’re just taking the piss to see if some dumb foreigner would pay it. In some ways, yes. See what happens here is that prescription medicines are just part of the money-go-round. The insurers don’t pay $700 for that drug. They negotiate deals with all the pharmas on what they pay, so it’s probably closer to $50 per prescription (which is still triple what it should be). The hyper-inflated price point also drives people to get comprehensive medical insurance, so there’s some mutual back-scratching involved. Just like insurers negotiate deals, so could we try to negotiate a better price. But we don’t exactly have the same bargaining power.

When people (including that super bigly demi-God Trump) talk about Big Pharma extorting Americans, this is what they mean.  Then there’s the other racket where they sidle up to doctors to get their drugs prescribed in the first place. The whole system kind of feels like it was born from a hillbilly dinner where the moonshine-filled cousins started out playing footsies under the table and ended up with a 7-fingered baby.

Anyway, so yeah Chaos is sick. This week is now about nothing more than survival. I’m treating it like a prelude to winter, when a snow-storm will inevitably hit and the cabin fever will truly kick in. Just imagine the ramblings that will emerge on this blog when that happens.



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