OK, I swear I’m almost done with doctor stories. It’s too bad my mother doesn’t read my blog because she will never get to know she was right. In my family, the nicest thing you can say to someone is, "You are absolutely 100% right." This even tops, "Goodness, have you lost weight?"

In this case, Mom is about 75% right. It turns out, I am a bit of a hypochondriac. She doesn’t know this, but in college, I had to stop taking Psych 101 because I thought I was everything: depressed, schizo, manic. I dropped out before we got to homicidal. Now that I’m a grown-up, I’m pretty sure I’m none of those things. Actually, we can rule out depressed with some certainty.

Here in Costa Rica, I’m like a kid in a penny-candy store with $10. Here we can afford to have all those preventive medical care check-ups we are supposed to have at age 50+ but could never afford to in the states. Not only are they practically free, they are performed efficiently in modern facilities. Hell, I’m doin’ ’em all.

Actually, we could afford to do them in the states, back in the good old days when we had an income. Sigh. But there were other things I’d rather spend $15,000 on when I’m feeling so good! Like sushi.

In the past week, I had a blood test for $150 (including the cancer markers which no doctor in the states will sanction), a colonoscopy $220, a gastroscopy $88. And today I went to the dermatologist (piel = skin). She looked EVERYWHERE with this little microscope thing, then froze about 30 spots on my body and only charged me $50. After the prices I’ve paid in the U.S. for medical care – not all of it quality by a LONG shot – I feel like I’m stealing something.

On a political note, it’s interesting that CAFTA (the Central American Free Trade Agreement) is THE topic at the moment around here. Signing CAFTA will open Costa Rica’s doors to all those Free Market Guys from the U.S. Including pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Those guys don’t want cheap drugs and cheap medical care… if it’s cheap, you don’t need insurance, right?

There’s way more to CAFTA, of course. There are absolutely pros and cons. As a strong Free Market Family, we appreciate the ideas. As strong loathers of having U.S. fingers in every foreign pie, we are certain the execution will be flawed.

But this post is about medical care in Costa Rica, and right now, it’s damn near perfect. To muck around with it, model it after, oh, U.S. medical care, for instance, would certainly not be progress.

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