Aventuras y anécdotas fuera de casa

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mis experiencias con el sistema sanitario americano. My experience with the American healthcare system

Hola amigos! como veis en el titulo, ya sabeis de lo que quiero hablar y los que me conoceis, ademas sabeis que soy asmatica.
Antes de venir a USA prepare mi equipaje a conciencia y por supuesto, lo primero que prepare fue mis medicamentos: el inhalador (symbicort) y mis sprays para la nariz. Me asegure de que traia botes suficientes de todo para al menos 4 meses. No se como paso, que cuando se me termino uno de los botes, fui a buscar en mi bolsa magica y los inhaladores no aparecian por ningun lado...me los habia dejado en casa!!!
No pasa nada, me dije a mi misma, manana al medico y ya esta. La cosa no fue tan facil, primero me tuve que registrar en el sistema, no me pregunteis cual, en el sistema, jeje! luego pedir cita, luego hacer el check in en el centro de salud de la Universidad, hacer un cuestionario de 4 paginas sobre toda mi vida y la de mi familia, despues un test sobre el asma, luego un chequeo general (tension, corazon, temperatura, etc) y un test de capacidad pulmonar. Los resultados de este ultimo fueron pesimos, por lo que ademas de darme mi medicacion, mi medico me mando volver en un mes.
Me aumento la dosis de mi inhalador y al parecer, con ello tambien el precio...aaahh!! Despues de que me viese mi medico, me dirigi hacia la farmacia universitaria con temor, pedi mis medicamentos y vi el precio...creia que estaba en una pelicula de terror: "Oh, no, que es esto??" pues esto es 287 $ por tu inhalador, el mismo que en Espana te compras por 15 euros!!! madre mia!! mas otros 45 por otro inhalador. Afortunada de mi, que con el seguro que tengo solo pago el 50 %, oh gracias Obama!!
Pero aqui no se acaba todo. Ayer se cumplio un mes de mi primera visita y tuve que volver a por mas medicamentos y a ponerme todas las vacunas que un asmatico necesita. Este agno la vacuna de la gripe y la de la neumonia. Ademas, me tuve que hacer un analisis de sangre. A todo ello he de sumarle el precio de los medicamentos, asi que esta noche creo que me ire a donar un rinon a algun sitio porque manana tengo que pagar todo esto...
Ahora mismo estoy pagando dos seguridades sociales, una aqui y otra en Espana y desde alli me pagan todo lo que cueste mi seguro sanitario aqui, pero como me dijeron en Espana: "ten paciencia, estamos en crisis, ya te llegara el dinero".
Me alegra saber que lo puedo pagar, pero no puedo dejar de pensar en todas esas personas que no se lo pueden permitir y que tienen una enfermedad tan simple como el asma o la diabetes que necesita medicacion diaria, que es lo que hacen esas personas? que hace el gobierno? cuales son esos cambios para mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas? para que tanta investigacion en medicinas y tratamientos, si nadie las puede pagar? es un poco decepcionante. Amigos americanos, me gustaria saber vuestra opinion y tambien la de todos los demas.
Ahora os dejo, tengo que ir a tomarme mi medicacion :)

Hello friends!! you can already know what I'm going to write about today and also, the ones who know me also know I have asthma.
Before coming to the US, I prepared my luggage very carefully and of course, the first thing I prepared was my medication: my inhaler and my nose sprays.
I wanted to be sure that I had enough medicines for at least the next four months. I don't know how it happened...one day, I finished my bottle of inhaler, I went to pick up a new one and I couldn't find them anywhere...I forgot them in Spain!!!
It's alright I thought, I'll make an appointment with the doctor tomorrow and ask for prescriptions, but it was not so easy...first I had to register in the system, don't ask me what system, just in the system :), then make the appointment, check in at the University health center, answer a 4 pages form about my entire life and my family's life, an asthma check and a lungs function test. The results of this last test were apparently quite bad and that's why the doctor ask me to come back again in one month and check my lungs again.
She also increased the dose of medicines I had to take and with that, I think also the price, hehe! I thought I was in a horror movie: "Oh no, what is this?" this is 287 $ for your inhaler!! the same one I buy in Spain for 15 $, OMG! and 45 $ for another one for when I'm feeling worse. Because of my health insurance I only had to pay 50 % of the price, thanks Obama!!!
But this is not the end. Yesterday I had another appointment, the one after one month. I had to repeat my lungs function test and get all the vaccinations a person with asthma needs. This year a flu and a pneumonia shots, one in each arm, great! plus a blood test and my medicines...I think I'll start selling my kidneys or something because I have to pay this tomorrow.
Right now I'm paying the Spanish and American social securities and then, the Spanish government will pay my American health insurance, but as they said: "be patient, we are in a credit crisis, so you will get your money in a few months" (I hope it is months").
I'm happy to know that I can pay it, but it really makes me think about all these families and people who can't pay the treatments and medicines for asthma or diabetes, something so common and simple. What are they supposed to do? what is the government doing? what are all this changes to improve people's quality of life? what is Obama doing? why so much research in drugs and new treatments if people can't pay it? American friends, I'd like to know your opinion and of course, what the rest of you think about this. I find it a bit disappointing to be honest.
Now I leave you, it's time to get my medicine :)


  1. it's a pretty shit system... basically, if you're poor you get screwed. if you're wealthy, you're fine because you can afford anything that gets thrown at you. You're also going through the U as a postdoc - the quality of that varies - "good doctors" are not always at the universities and the health plans that the U negotiates can be hit or miss... After Mila was born, both her and her momma got a bill for the hospital stay - I'd say close to 10k in total. our insurance took care of it, but we had to call in (actually, still need to deal with Mila's) to make them realize that the insurance took care of things.

    also, some people go to ER and don't pay afterwards... it's a pretty flawed system. obama is trying to make changes in it, but politics is a tricky game - and there are plenty of people who are afraid of socialized medicine since it has "social" in the title...

  2. Thanks for your answer! it's amazing...10k for the hospital after you baby is born, I can't believe it.
    I tried not to write in a very dramatic way because I can't really complain if you compare my situation with other families, but it is unbelievable. Of course, it is something a lot more serious than what I wrote and I hope this can change in the future so everyone has the same possibilities.
    I agree with what you said about some people being scared of the word "social".
    Let's see...it's difficult, I guess.

  3. In the land of the free, it seems that it's been decided that it's up to the individual to decide if one wants to spend one's extra money (less taxes, right? - assuming you have a job) on healthcare. Personally I'm fine with the government dispensing healthcare - I think they do a decent job with the mail, police, fire dept, schools (I'm sure some would argue this point). Elliott had surgery recently and I was worried we'd go broke paying for it. I almost considered negotiating like It was a mechanic: "so doc, does he REALLY need anesthesia, because that stuff's expensive!" :) It wasn't cheap, but nothing is compared to $0 (thanks VGZ!).

  4. Yes, I understand. I hope the surgery went well and without negotiating :)
    I think paying taxes is necessary if you want to receive social services, etc. Some people just don't want to pay and they always want to receive and that is not possible. But for me, this thing with the medicines was too much...
    And I have another question. What does a family or a person that is unemployed and gets seriously ill? I guess the government pays something, right?