i mentioned in my last post that we have really great medical coverage. it's sometimes inconvenient since our insurance is governmental - and therefore, until very recently was only usable in the special teacher's clinic. once the "universal healthcare program" took effect, though, we were given more options. theoretically i could use any clinic i want, i think, but we haven't had the need for it...
mostly, we don't pay for anything. some blood tests cost us a few dollars and there are only a certain number of consultations you can have a year for free (i think it's 10 visits, and then you pay the equivalent of like 15 bucks).
but it always knocks me on my feet how inexpensive medical care is, even without insurance. now, i'm not talking about seeing incompetent doctors or getting butchered in a surgery. because i'm sure i'll get some comments about how of it's cheaper because it's inferior.
but let's talk about solid things - that are hard to mess up. MRIs, x-rays, blood tests. i have not seen any test over 100 US dollars. ever. in fact, its a good indicator that there is something wrong in the USA when private health care providers and HMOs are sending people to the dominican to have the diagnostics done. because somehow it's cheaper to pay airfare, room and board in a marriot hotel, and the testing here in the DR than it is to do in the states.
the cost of living here isn't the dirt-cheap price you'll see in mexico or guatemala - things are expensive, and even more so when you consider that the average family of four earns just about 400 US dollars a month. but that's the cost of living on an island where things need to be imported. and medical costs for the typical dominican are expensive. and medicine, while cheaper comparatively, is also budget-stretching.
but when compared to the prices and the atrocity that is medical insurance in the states, i think we've got something on it.