Healthcare in the US

It’s broken. I’ve thought so for years, but recent Covid testing really just reminded me.

I have good health insurance through my employer and have generally had access to care through work-related insurance as an adult. And dental, too. But I also know that as a kid, we only went to the doctor when ill. In theory my father was supposed to provide health insurance but I don’t think he ever did. Or if he did, it was through his employer and limited to the employer’s location (out of state and thus useless).

All that to say that I am aware that I am fortunate in my relative health and insurance.

I needed a timely Covid test recently. So I arranged one that my insurance would cover, but the results were not timely, so I paid an obscene amount of money out of pocket for a rapid test.

Then I had to have another test to return to the US. It was easily arranged, cost 30 €, results in an hour.

Today the billing info for the the too late test results arrived – it’s fully covered – showing the charge of $164.

The difference in cost and timing is striking. There’s no good reason or explanation for the divergence. There is no real reason that Portuguese labs are able to promptly, efficiently, and affordably administer tests and get lab results but the US can’t. Or won’t. Because the US healthcare system is broken. Or designed to profit to the detriment of actually providing care.

Healthcare is a human right. My negative covid tests are not a big deal in the scheme of things. But I’m guessing the disparities there are visible in areas of more critical care, too.

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