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Health care heartbreak

Justin Webb | 07:28 UK time, Monday, 5 January 2009

Apologies for the long break in posts. My son fell ill over Christmas and has been diagnosed with type one diabetes.

He can still have a long and happy life but no longer a care-free one and nor can his parents!

So we find ourselves at the receiving end of the health service I have heard George Bush describe as the best in the world and Barack Obama describe as seriously flawed. Both are right of course.

I desperately want a cure to be found and I have every confidence that if it is found it will be found HERE - in a nation that creates the wealth, and fosters the humanity, necessary to do the job.

But to arrive back from the hospital - confused and, frankly, a bit heartbroken - to find a bill already in the letter box, that's tough. And we are insured so the next day a letter from the insurers arrives telling us they have reviewed the case and decided to pay (note the language - how kind of them!) but if we hadn't been insured or if the insurers had behaved differently .......

The amount by the way for a night's stay and associated treatment is nearly $3,000. Even the co-pay which I handed over in the pharmacy on Christmas Eve (for the kit which is now part of our life) set us back a couple of hundred.

Of course the Obama reforms would not necessarily change this - his plan is not for a European style national health service. But as a user of the current US system I have to say the bills feel cruel, particularly when they apply to sick children.


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