Friday, August 21, 2009

David Sedaris on Health Care

(keep on talkin', david)

Hey! One of my friends posted something great on Facebook! Maybe there is hope for the world after all. Or at least for my friend-picking ability.

What did she post? The quote below, which is from David Sedaris, a sarcastic and witty writer who surprise, surprise, is one of my favorites. Especially after reading this quote.

I tracked the quote down to Allison Kilkenny's excellent blog, which you can find right here. David was doing a radio show, and had been asked about the differences he had seen in health care while living in the U.S. and Paris.

Here is his response:

"Allow me to answer with kidney stones. I had my first one at the age of 34. At the time I was living in New York, and had no health insurance. Never in my life had I experienced such pain, but I couldn’t afford to go to the hospital, and so I passed it at home, not knowing until the end what it actually was. (I thought I was delivering Satan’s baby through my penis.)

I had my second kidney stone seven years later, in Paris. It was ten o’clock in the morning, and after looking at my options in the phone book, I took the metro to a hospital in the 15th. Two minutes after walking through the door, I was in a private room. Delicious, mind-numbing drugs were delivered to my blood stream by way of a tube and life was beautiful. I was in the hospital for four hours, and as I was leaving, I asked the receptionist how I was supposed to pay.

“Oh,” she said, “We’ll send you a statement.”
“But you never even asked me my name.”

A few weeks later I got a bill for the equivalent of seventy dollars, this because I’m not a French citizen, and am therefore not entitled to free care.

I got my third kidney stone a few months ago, while on a lecture tour of the United States. The hospital I went to was in Westchester county and the service was outstanding. Maybe I arrived at the slowest time, but, like in France, I was waited on immediately, and the doctor and nurses could not have been more pleasant. Again I was there for four hours, though this time the bill came to $5,800. Not including medicine.

I’m completely fascinated by the health care debate going on in the United States, especially by posters of Obama with a little mustache drawn on his upper lip. Is that what Hitler is really known for, his health care plan? To quote Bill Maher, “I haven’t seen this many pissed off old white people since they canceled, “Murder She Wrote.”



  1. I am still laughing, as I write this. I wish it wasn't the truth, but it is. The moral of the story I guess is - move to France or return "Murder She Wrote" back on TV. Put hidden encrypted messages in Angela Landsbury's lines so that the old white people will hear "support health care reform". Obama will have a sudden influx of support. Might be worth a try.

  2. Isn't that just amazing? $70 for the total bill! I just paid a bill for an ER visit for my asthma. My co-pay was $55 with my 'excellent' insurance. It has since gone up to $100. I also just paid $64 for the follow-up visit to my doc. Haven't got the other bills yet. But the total out-of-pocket for me to breathe during the month of June? Probably in the neighborhood of $500, after insurance!

    It sickens me that people compare our President to Hitler! He's trying to make health care affordable. Hitler sent people to death camps. Oh yeah, I see the comparison!

  3. Rae: I know, this just cracked me up! He has such a dry sense of humor. And it's just so true - "Is that what Hitler is known for, his health care plan?" lol

    Lily: We have so-so insurance right now. $1,000 deductibles for each of us, so basically most of our costs are out of pocket. Hubby's job is still a little shaky though, and I'm scared about what will happen if we have to go shopping for insurance. Argh.