Health care in America

While living in the southwest for decades, I often joined a swarm of many American snowbirds (people from northern states who came down south during winter months) who would routinely cross the Mexican border to get quick, efficient, and very good health care at a very affordable price, especially dental and visual. Now, having retired back in Iowa to be near family, trying to find good and even halfway reasonably priced dental care has been a miserable experience. And with $400/month ripped from my monthly retirement check for medical/drugs insurance, no way can I afford dental insurance too.

Two days ago I had a small bridge fall out … one done in Mexico five years ago, no doubt from flossing too hard. I called a number of local dentists and then decided to go to a dental clinic in Marshalltown, asking them to simply cement it back in. But, of course, you’re put through the “wonderful free X-rays and exam” (routinely free in Mexico) whether you want it or not. Then he looked at the bridge and said it would need to be completely replaced as there’s a small hole in one place. I asked him for an estimate … he said $3,500. I said, “You’ve got to be kidding” … removed my napkin, got up, took the bridge back, and as I went out front, he hurriedly followed and told the receptionist to show me how they could provide financing. I said, “no thanks” as I glided on by. Talk about highway robbery.

Since driving down to Mexico in this heat is prohibitive, I went online and ordered a non-toxic resin filler for the hole, dental cement to put the bridge back in, and three dental tools on Amazon, all for $50. Figure even if those only hold a week or month, I can simply clean the bridge and just re-do. That should suffice until mid-winter and then, if need be, I’ll make a pleasant cruise back to Mexico and get a whole new bridge … total cost: including gas, motels, dental bill … around $800.

The cost of medical care in America absolutely stinks.