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Tuesday, October 18th "Free health insurance!; One of the worst temp jobs I ever had…"

I had to live until I was 34 to finally enjoy free health insurance! The day arrived yesterday when I got my own doctor. I don’t miss paying $1400 a year for a policy that only covered me for catastrophic medical costs while living abroad. And while I will certainly want a little choice in the future and may pay for a private policy I am happily coasting along with my FREE insurance for now. Until you’ve had it you just don’t know what you’re missing. Sure, I may have to make 4 appointments just to get a blood test and analysis, but at least I don’t have to pay a single penny to get it done. So how do you get social security in Spain? You need to be employed or self-employed, the latter case meaning you will pay at least 200 Euros a month, and I guess that means that it’s not free for some. Then of course you can always get married to a Spaniard and hop on as a dependent to their social security. Sure beats paying extra on your policy to cover your spouse in the U.S. Will the care be the same? No, likely it will mean longer lines and not the same quality. Will you have trouble paying rent and your bills so you can pay for your health insurance for you and your family? No, and that’s because health care should be a citizen’s (and their family members) right and not a luxury item. Again, I think the mistaken assumption many may make is that you don’t have a choice with a national health care system – like you are sucked into some government run health plan and you can never get out. Actually, you have a much larger choice: If you don’t have the financial means you can still choose to go to the doctor. If you have enough to fork over 50 Euros a month you can go to a private clinic. Hell that 50 Euros per month is much less than what I paid on my own in the states for coverage that did pretty much nothing for me – large deductible, higher copays and expensive prescription meds if I ever needed them.

This all leads me to the worst temp job I ever held, although it was for just part of one day. Many years ago I was running my own company between my home and an office shared with a man I now like to compare to Hitler. Bad comparison? Maybe you need to meet him. Sometimes we make bad decisions in life and it’s not until later we realize we’ve selected a crook for a partner. Not just a crook, but someone who would stop at nothing to earn money, and that likely includes hurting people both financially and perhaps physically. I won’t go into details and perhaps the Hitler comparison is a little too much…well, perhaps it’s not. So I must get back on track. Because of the working conditions with the “H” man I decided to leave and because, like the rest of us, I needed to pay the bills I started temping a day later. My first job was processing records at a collection agency. And this wasn’t your normal collection agency. Their focus was to collect unpaid medical bills for hospitals and clinics. They called poor people or people who had been out of work who had to have emergency surgery or other medical care when it happened to be inconvenient: that is, when they didn’t have health insurance. Why didn’t they have insurance? Some had been laid off, others worked for little money for employers who didn’t have health plans, some were likely illegal immigrants and all simply couldn’t afford to pay for health insurance. Sure, there were probably a worthless few in the bunch, the ones who preferred to drink or smoke their money away rather than pay for the necessities. But “y far the vast majority” (to quote Bush on his taxplan) probably took the choice of food and rent over health care. So, these people who couldn’t afford insurance and needed emergency health care (themselves or perhaps their children) of course then couldn’t pay the thousands of dollars in medical bills. Kind of tough to pay what amounts to 4 years worth of insurance premiums in just 6 months. If you can’t pay one month, then how do you pay 48 times that in just a fraction of the time? So you can’t pay, but this company gets paid to make you pay. So they call you at work, at home, they threaten you with legal action, talk about how your credit rating is in danger, etc. etc. And some of the assholes who did the calling actually enjoyed this – I saw them smile as they made the phone calls. I saw them use all the tricks in the book – ask for the person by first name, claim you are a friend and perhaps there was a work number where you can reach them…the list goes on. So, put yourself in the shoes of the person who can’t pay – you don’t earn much, you can’t get health care because you can’t afford to purchase health insurance and now because of your emergency need for a doctor you have even more debt? And now because of the debt you can’t afford to pay your credit rating is ruined? So now you can’t buy a car, lease a new apartment, buy a house or get a credit card. Quite a nice system we’ve got going. So that’s why I will enjoy health care in a place where it’s a right and not a luxury. And that’s why this was the worst temp job I ever held, and why I quit after part of one day.