Monday, June 4, 2012
The Faery only has eight days of school left, meaning one thing: if I want to have a decent clear out of junk before we move, I need to pull my finger out. Throwing out crappy McHappy Meal toys (she doesn't get them often, but I swear those toys breed) and other annoying 'treasures' is only possible in stealth mode - in other words, when she's at school.
I got started this morning, but became side-tracked by various baby paraphernalia. I've actually been fairly good about passing on no-longer needed baby items as Miss Pie has grown, but there are still a few little things I'm yet to part with. I found myself staring at them today, wondering, in case we need them again... which is silly, considering how much I've already given away to Goodwill.
My ideal number of kids has always been two, but we haven't officially ruled out a third. Two is good for now but there's that saying: never say never. We often joke about how if we had another while we lived in the US, the child would have dual citizenship - which could be a handy thing for that child, down the track. God only knows applying for visas is a painful process. American bureaucracy has to be experienced to be believed.
Then J came home from work last week, less than thrilled with some changes that had been announced. Like most American companies, the one he works for is cutting costs, and that's meant skimping on the health care plans - to the point where some employees (who have dependent family members with ongoing health issues) may have to seriously consider changing jobs in order to get better health care.
(I think it is completely fucked up that in a 'first world nation', a person's well-being is so dependent on the health care plan provided by their employer, and the precarious position it puts them in each time they change jobs. Call me socialist, whatever, I don't care. It is a major flaw in this so-called land of the free.)
Courtesy of these cuts, we will now pay a higher co-payment for each trip to the doctor. Luckily for us, we're a pretty healthy bunch but there are no lifetime guarantees when it comes to good health, right?
J joked, "There goes any idea of having an American baby" because the minimum cost would set us back $6,000.
Six. Thousand. Dollars.
For a basic hospital stay - assuming it was a straight-forward birth. That's not even including the costs of pre-natal health care with an obstetrician.
How on earth do poor people afford to have children in the US? Something is very wrong.
Now I feel even more grateful for the Australian health care system (all I can say is, Australians who complain about it have not experienced health care in other countries). In Sydney, for pre-natal care, delivery and hospital stay - for both the Faery and Miss Pie - we paid nothing. Not a cent, and received excellent care through a midwife-run birth centre that was attached to the labour ward at our local public hospital.
How lucky do I feel?
Six thousand dollars to give birth? I know there are plenty of people who wouldn't blink at that, and willingly pay through the nose for an obstetrician - both here and in Australia. The difference is that in Australia, there's (generally) a choice. There are some great things about life in the US, but this is not one of them.
The remaining baby items I'm yet to part with have been put into a box for now. I am excellent at procrastination... but it's looking as though the box is more likely to end up at Goodwill than our next apartment.
On the bright side, baby stuff is so cheap to buy here - never say never, right?