With all the preparations for my son leaving for the US, there has been precious little quilting going on. There has been a conflux of family and work issues on top of the general chaos of preparing a child to move abroad for university, and it has frankly left me rather grumpy and irritable. You may want to scroll down past the next few paragraphs and just look at the quilt pic.
Heading off to university is a thrilling prospect for my son, and I am very excited for him. I have wonderful memories of college myself. But it seems every time I think we have things under control in terms of preparations, another issue pops up. Currently it is insurance. I’ve lived in a place that offers subsidized health care for any child enrolled in school for over 20 years. In addition, as a resident of any age, you get free basic health care at clinics and universally applicable medicare under a ‘single payer system.’ You also get a small number of cash vouchers that can be used at any private doctor, for any procedure. No resident of Macau is without access to medical care, and there is no complicated procedure you need to follow. Just present your resident card and get a medical card. Certainly, you can (and probably should) get supplementary insurance to offset costs during major medical issues, finance optional treatment at more expensive private clinics, or to have the freedom to be treated in a nearby territory rather than in Macau. But it is a luxury, not a necessity.
Enter my son’s pending relocation to the US. In the face of the outrageous medical costs that seem to be quite common in the US (renewing a prescription that would cost him 15 USD in Macau was going to set me back 250 in the US on our last trip.), being without insurance is a nightmare as well as now subject to a fine. But choosing insurance is also a nightmare. It’s easy! claims the national health care site. Just compare premiums, coinsurance, deductibles, out of pocket maximums and coverage. Oh, and decide if you want an HMO, PPO or HSA. But don’t forget to look at what is covered and what is not, because that varies…and will be different depending on whether you are single, married or have children. And of course, what is offered all depends on which state you live in! I just have no words. Actually, I have lots of words, but my mother raised me excessively well, so I will not say them. Out loud.
Luckily the university offers an excellent policy for international students, so that is one clear option. It does not, however, cover sports injuries or meet the university’s requirements for varsity athletes, and my son intends to play basketball. So out that goes, unless it is possible to get a supplementary policy to meet those requirements. From when my son arrives in the US, we have between 30-60 days to work all this all out, or he will be subject to penalties for not being enrolled in health insurance…..And this current system is the improved option, where there is at least some way to get medical insurance for every American. Or at least every American who can navigate the system.
In the face of all this, I have a lot of thoughts about the meaning of universal human rights, the nature of community, and what it means for society to recognize the fundamental unity of the human race. But right now, there are happy sounds of mixed Cantonese and English interspersed with bursts of laughter and giggling coming from my living room, where my son is spending his last afternoon before leaving for the US enjoying time with former classmates, many of whom he has known since kindergarten or early primary. I think I’ll end my rant and go enjoy their presence. I may not get to experience it for quite some time.
Quilt Notes: I’ve widened the zigzag area and added some lines that hopefully will set it off. I’ll fill in the unquilted areas you can see with lines that run horizontally (actually vertically when you look at the quilt). But there is still quite a bit that remains unquilted! This quilt was my A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for June, and I thought I had a fairly good chance at finishing it, but life has intervened. It is my first month in the year that I did not have at least one finish, so that is a bit disappointing. At this stage I am hoping for August!
Linking this up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict, where there are always lots of great finishes and works in progress to see.