Hard Times

†     The anniversary of my motherís death came by a couple of weeks ago, and to mark this somber occasion, I was delivered a letter from the hospital where she received 48 hours of treatment. The final tally of her stay there was a mere $11,000. Chump change right? Well, add the final bill from the next hospital where she spent 3 days in ICU, $9,000, and we have a beautiful $20,000 (I prefer round numbers). Two hospital stays over the course of 5 days. Insurance should cover that, right?

    Well, what insurance? The only insurance many old- and not so old-timers have are their children. To them the bill passes. Itís the way it has always been done, and many still depend on said method to guarantee a stay in hospital. Itís not sensible, and itís a toll on families. Iíve been served a notice with intent to sue after a certain date. Iíd love to know what exactly theyíll sue me for, as I have constantly belly-ached to anyone whoíll listen that I own nothing. And sending me to jail will certainly make sure the bills are paid Ö not!!

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    Essentially, the problem lies in the fact that healthcare in the country is at its worst ever. It used to be that people would say, ďWill it take someoneís baby dying to make a change?Ē Well, I believe itís been two babies now? And the scary thing is that even the developed world (ie: USA) is having problems as well.

    I wouldnít change a thing about the way I went about providing health care for my mother, but it sure would have been nice to have an extra twenty thousand dollars lying around somewhere to pay for the bills. The government hospital was an option in the beginning, but with my mother needing dialysis, and ultimately ICU treatment, she would have eventually ended up in a private hospital either way. And healthcare in Belize is NOT free Ė even at the government hospital. Donít ever fool yourself into thinking you can get away with it.

    However, when you canít provide basic proper healthcare for the poor, and the working class, at a minimum rate, or even for free in extreme cases, then you do have a problem. The island doesnít have proper emergency service in place, and unfortunately, most emergencies have to be flown out of the island. What would happen if the person who needs that service canít afford even that service? Yet more money problems.

    Many people claim insurance is the way to go. Having seen friends battle with insurance companies, and the fact that many people already have such a stretched budget, insurance is the first thing many people strike from their list of things to buy. Ultimately we end up hoping we donít get sick, but with the stress and worry over such a burgeoning issue, we probably drive ourselves into the ground.

    With the economy enduring such hard times now, many people find themselves scrabbling to feed themselves, not worrying much about health as such. But what happens when you get sick? Having children is not a guarantee that bills will be paid. I am fortunate to live in a community that cares, and to have a hubby who helps out with bills he should never have taken on at his young age, and his family has been spectacular, offering all sorts of help, but the sad case is that the bill sits and barely budges. And how many more people have the same problems?

    I dread to think that my lack of funds is a shoo-in for jail time. I know the bill is there, and I hope I can pay it off sometime before I need to use their services again, but hoping and praying that I win the Lotto, and pinching pennies here and there is not helping. Iíve often said that I wish I could vote for someone in government who doesnít make false promises, but at least has a plan. A plan is better than hot air Ė but what will happen while we wait for that plan? Do we have to go to jail? Do we have to die? ††††††††††

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