Give Me Universal Health Care

Global Health CareWhat is universal health care like? I have an idea. 

Last summer, I took my three children to Mexico for a summer cultural immersion experience. We spent about a month in the country where I was born and where my mother’s family still lives. I wanted my children to learn about their culture. 

While we were there, my 10-year-old developed a high fever. I had packed everything in my medicine cabinet for my trip but nothing I was armed with was working. I called our pediatrician in the states and she told me what I already knew. I’d have to take him to a doctor. I made an appointment with a doctor whose clinic I had passed before. I braced myself for what was to come next. What would the doctor’s office look like? What would this cost me? What if I couldn’t afford it? 

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I had an appointment scheduled in less than two hours. I arrived to a very clean waiting room. Within minutes, we were sitting in front of the doctor who was at her desk taking notes as I explained to her the symptoms. I was struck at how diligently she asked me questions. She was at her desk, I was on the other side. I couldn’t ever remember a visit like this, especially to discuss a fever. It was like a scene from an old movie. 

After the check-up, we sat down again and she explained that my son had strep throat. We went over treatment methods and I was handed the prescription; "no need to go to the pharmacy," she said. 

As we checked out, the receptionist told me that the credit card machine was down and that I would have to pay cash. Since we were not residents, we had to pay the costs ourselves, she explained. I quickly explained to her that I only had a few hundred U.S. dollars with me and that I would not be able to get more cash until the next day. I was embarrassed and mortified. She looked at me and smiled as she handed me my bill for the visit and seven days of prescriptions, $54 U.S. dollars. 

I knew that Mexico was one of the many countries of the world that offers universal health care to its residents. It joins Canada, Germany, and almost all of the top 10 richest countries in the world. All except the United States. 

All the ugly rumors I had heard about universal health care were false. There were no long lines to see the doctor, the waiting room was not full or dirty, and I was able to get my appointment and prescription medicine right away. The doctor gave us individual attention. The care we received was excellent. In fact, we were back again two days later with my other son for the same thing. The service was no different. 

Do I want universal health care? If it’s anything like what I experienced in Mexico, you bet I do.  

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other bloggers have to say, read Does a Candidate's Position on Health Care Affect Your Vote?

 

Image via Trouthout.org/Flickr

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