I’m walking to the pharmacy, fingering my wallet in the pocket of my school bag. It’s bright and cold out in London’s November air, and the people who live in the neighbourhood near my classes are bustling around. I’m worrying about money. Is the £50 I took out the other afternoon enough? Today I have to get my birth control. It runs out on Sunday.
If you’ve never lived in the US health system, much less been subject to the many sticker shocks built into it, you might wonder why I bother worrying whether I have enough money. I grew up in that system where those who can afford medicine get it and many simply go without. Where health is contingent on gainful employment and the benevolence of one’s employer. Where the average cost of an uncomplicated childbirth is $30,000, and even with insurance most new mothers pay at least $3,000 out of pocket. Where I’ve never gotten birth control for less than $30 per month….