A Brief Note on Paying for Health Care

It makes little difference being sick in the USA versus here in Hong Kong.

Two nights at Queen Mary, including the bone scan, three squares a day and all other tests cost 400 dollars (about fifty dollars US).

You may now get up off the floor after pitching a faint, ma’am.

The same would have cost much more in San Francisco.

But there’s a caveat. It is that I would have gotten much the same in the US as of right now in a public hospital. I would, however, have to pay a huge bill, and to pay for all care, I’d have to sell a screenplay, and I am not even a screenwriter.

But that’d be cool: I’d be a survivor of cancer, which I am already for a small amount of time, and a cynosure with all sorts of babe attention assuming I still have a hot body, which I probably would, since working out is key to my handling this thing.

Six of one, a half dozen, of the other.

But the option to get care irrespective of ability to pay is under threat in the USA. The ACA health insurance mandate can fund this, but the wack jobs on the right in the Supreme Court may “find” that it’s not covered under the Commerce clause or make up a lot of fancy-assed words to prove it ain’t because they like to hurt people.

Which means that the United States will become a less-developed country precisely as Brazil and China advance to being developed countries, and Hong Kong already is, and a less-developed country is where your betel-chewing mate drags your sorry ass to the hospital gate and hopes Mother Theresa comes along.

I shit you not.

I must of course adjust to the open wards, the aging men groaning, and the use of Cantonese by the staff (from which occasionally emerge frightening English medical terminology such as “scarlet fee-vah”). The meals which are magical but bland. The lack of mateyness which is an aspect of Chinese sagacity and reserve.

I also have to adjust to queueing. Immediate tests, or a Pet Scan, are only had by paying much more than I can afford. I am very blessed in my legacy, although I’d planned to use it to sniff about Europe and shall not be able to do so, at least this summer: but my Father’s gracious ghost admonishes me that perhaps this was in some way intended. Even given the public option, not being able to work and no money in Hong Kong or San Francisco would be a nightmare.

And Queen Mary sits upon a beautiful hill next to Hong Kong University and there is a magical pathway from the hospital to the university traversed by stream-beds and nullahs, a path on which one expects to meet Empire ghosts like Aldous Huxley, one’s children, or one’s Mantuan, or mentor:

O anime cortese Mantoana (Dante)

Edward G. Nilges, “Postcard from Edward Joseph Nilges, Captain, United States Army, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (“Nisei”, “Go for Broke”), 1915-1945, KIA Mount Folgorito, Tuscany, 6 April, 1945. Silver Star: Purple Heart.”, acrylic painting assemblage. Copyright (C) by Edward G. Nilges. Moral rights asserted.


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