Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Re: losing my religion insurance

This is in response to a question posed in my comments.

"How will you deliver your baby now that the government is taking health benefits away from all foreigners who have been in DK less than 5 years? We heard this on DR 1 and were in shock, thinking of all our virtual friends who are having babies, or like Kelli, need serious care. Will your private insurance protect you?"

You can read about what Denmark is thinking of doing here and in other major Danish media.

My answer: I'm hoping they hold off for the next 12 weeks until the Spawn in born.  The DB is putting me on his extra health care that is offered through his work, but that only covers major injuries.  I suppose that if I want to see a doctor for a sore throat, I could always just walk in front of a car...

The hubs is wondering "dude, can we even buy basic health care coverage for you here?" and swearing a lot at his stupid country.  Because basically, if the government takes away my access to free health care unless I have a job that covers me, I'm screwed.  I just came back from working a job because I'm pregnant and no one is going to hire a woman that's two and a half months away from starting maternity leave.  The entire situation makes me mad enough to spit nails.  I wrote an open letter to the Minister of Employment, who's heading the committee, but it's taken until now to get all the expletives out of it and now it's too bloody long to go into a newspaper.  I'm just going to post it here.

Dear Inger Støjberg,

     I’m sorry I have to write this in English, rather than Danish, but it seems that I’m going to have to drop out of my Danish classes in order to work full-time in order to make enough money to pay for my health care.  I’d love to say that I’ll get a job where my employer pays for my health care, but alas, I am not educated as an engineer or doctor or anything particularly useful, so the best I can hope for is something in the hotel industry, perhaps cleaning toilets, because without Danish language knowledge, no company is going to hire me.  I know because I’ve tried.  I thought that perhaps, after I passed my Prøve 3 test, I may want to take an education in something that would benefit Danish society and lead to a full-time job here in Denmark, but it seems you also want to limit my options on that front as well. 

On the other hand, I do manage to work full time for several months out of the year for the University of Copenhagen as an archaeologist.  It’s only a contract job, and in Qatar, but I can work full time and make enough money to be taxed through Skat.   Thankfully, it’s only 5 months long, because I can only be out of Denmark for 6 months per year, but a job is a job and you go to where the work is and I’m trying to make the most of the education I have.  It means, of course, that I can never get permanent residency, because I’m only working full-time for a total of 5 months out of 12, but at least I’m contributing to society.  Society I will soon be unable to participate in, not having any Danish language skills and working full-time as a hotel cleaner in order to pay for basic health care, but I’m sure my children will appreciate being stuck in vuggestuer and børnehaver [daycare for children under 6 years of age] for 9 hours a day so that when Mor [Mom] gets sick she can afford to go to see the doctor like Far [Dad] does for free.

Or I could risk not having any health care and try to finish my Danish language classes.  I don’t get that sick that often anyway.   Gosh, it will be just like living in the US!  In fact, why don’t I move my family back to the US, because what is the point of trying to participate in a society that continually rejects you because you had the audacity to be foreign and fall in love with one of it’s citizens?  Thanks for my husband’s free education!  Oh, don’t worry, he’s a Danish citizen, so you don’t have to worry about having wasted all those years of SU [money from the government to pay for a student's living expenses] on someone like me, instead you wasted it on a citizen who might just leave his homeland to be with the woman he loves.  I’m sure losing two tax paying adults is far better than having to pay my biannual doctor visits.

Of course, you say, it would only be until you reached permanent residency or until you have worked x number of years!  I’m sorry, remind me again why educated foreigners would want to clean toilets for 5 or so years so that they can “earn” the right to spend the next 3 learning Danish so that now, after 8 years they can actually actively participate in society?

When we chose Denmark, rather than the US, to live in, we did so because we believed that Denmark was where we could realize our dreams of lives focused on family rather than on working long hours at thankless wages to pay for basic human needs, such as health care.  What a joke!  Family means nothing in Denmark, unless both parents are native born Danes!   In Denmark you have a saying “it’s an American situation” and maybe I’ve been mistaken all this time, but I thought it was used to mean something was a bad thing.  But you know what?  This idea of denying basic free health care to part of the population is very much an American situation, and that’s a situation many Americans are working hard to change.   Congratulations, Denmark, in just a few years you will have a social welfare system that makes the US look good.

Am I mistaken?  Prove me wrong.  Allow immigrants to better themselves, to work towards integration without having to worry about covering basic medical needs or the education that will allow them to succeed in this society.  Show your own citizens that they will not be punished for bringing outsiders to Denmark, that love and humanity can extend past the borders of this land.   Or continue to show the world that Denmark fears the future, the effects of globalization and multiculturalism on the economy and society, and would rather take it’s native-born citizens and hide down the rabbit hole until the world goes back to the way it was before the twentieth century.

Sincerely,
Exxx Exxxxx

13 comments:

  1. Hi I am Melissa Straarup form over at http://danishgeeks.com
    I am a lucky one ...NOT that they gave permanent residendency to but asked for it back....
    Believe me when I tell you that you are so not alone.

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  2. This would be my letter:-
    You are IDIOTS. Make the "free gift" foreigners who come straight from a country which has taken care of their education, health, wellbeing etc pay for health care and they will find a way to make it work (either, as you say, clean hotels or leave the country)

    Make people who are here fleeing wars and violence caused by absolute poverty pay, and they will probably choose to eat instead. What other option is there?

    So, we will have people who cannot leave who are infectious with such infections as TB and HIV getting sicker and sicker. We will have people who are mentally unstable due to untreated post traumatic stress disorder. We will have women popping out babies in the bakery aisle at Føtex.

    I mean, first and foremost this is a humanitarian issue but even if you had every inch (2.5 cm) of your humanity stripped by crippling racism, SURELY you can see that having unwanted immigrants who have NOWHERE ELSE TO GO, have no access to even basic health care... you are going to have major problems when people start dying. And they will.

    Or HEAVEN FORFEND ethnic-danes catch TB. Or ethnic-dane-childrens catch measles because unwanted poor immigrant children are not vaccinated and there is no herd immunity.

    So, I repeat. You are IDIOTS.

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  3. Since I've been living abroad for a number of years, I could in theory be one of the Danes affected.

    I have nothing against paying a reasonable sum for health insurance, but I would certainly expect my taxes to go down as well. Hell will freeze over before I'll pay 8% "health" tax for something I don't have access to.

    The whole idea is daft, though. Did she even think it through? They are doing it to save money, but how much is it going to cost them to set up the whole insurance system? And what about the tax-money they will be missing out on? Not to mention how much more paperwork the already pressed hospitals will have to deal with - oh...and that's paid by the taxpayers as well. And what about the much needed highly educated foreigners that have started avoiding Denmark like the plague?

    All in all it sounds like a half-arsed idea, and don't get me started about the whole no free schooling (talk about shooting yourself in the foot), but at least now I know who NOT to vote on for during the election this year.

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  4. Don't worry too much over it. This will not be introduced quickly if at all, and it's extremely unlikely it would affect you. I even think I read somewhere that people who already got here by family reunification will not be affected, only people who arrive after they (hopefully never) introduce the new rules.

    I do understand if the idea worries you, though, and I'm appalled at the very idea myself. But i don't think you personally need to worry about it.

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  5. Great letter to Støjberg, though.

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  6. Anonymous10:09 PM

    "We will have women popping out babies in the bakery aisle at Føtex."

    Oh of course not - foreigners aren't allowed in Føtex, as you know. Netto can just stock up cheap blankets and diapers, offer a birth-giving special.

    But the issue actually isn't a desire to punish you, the American. It's really a desire to punish your husband, the Dane, for daring to marry a non-Scandinavian. Why don't the Danish spouses themselves protest these laws that are aimed directly at them?

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  7. Anonymous10:44 PM

    As Doctor Phil says: "If you don't have a health care plan, then you better have a plan to stay healthy."

    I don't understand the person who left that comment. It seems a bit mean and below the belt to ask you a question like that in your conditions.

    Stay happy and cheerful Arch, you are going to be a good birther. It's not a problem area for you. So what if the system here is rotten, you are probably going to be a natural. Don't worry about it. This aint the time.

    It's very bad form to target a pregnant lady with such an unsettling and pointed question. Who the hell wrote that question?

    With love,

    'Babs'

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  8. Anonymous10:54 PM

    Okay, I've just read the comment I was scathing about, in context, and I can see it was just someone who is really worried and upset so the tone just came across as thoughtless.

    But still, seriously, Arch, don't think about it, just get on with letting your body do what it is going to do, you can't worry about what the health system here will or won't give you at this stage. I'm with Agger, let this one slide. You need your energy. It's not worth getting involved with the bullshit that is so rife here on all sides of the path. It's a lost cause, but that doesn't mean you can't thrive anyway.

    'Babs' xx

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  9. Your letter rocks.
    Especially the paragraph about the "american situation".

    I cannot believe that the companies in DK that bring in so many employees (like Siemens) would stand by and allow something like this to happen...

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  10. The One That Got Away11:48 PM

    adventuresandjapes, you are absolutelyright. BUT what I bet they're counting on is being able to use those ill foreigners politically to whip up hatred and frustrations among the electorate and keep voters busy with that while they empty the treasury and go on their merry ways.

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  11. Like Agger said, I hope this won't affect you.

    I hate the way they even came up with the idea. All the evil schemes to milk immigrants dry

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  12. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Funny, about the 'woken up and smelled the coffee' era right now... the negativity and boredom overwhelmed me and I bowed out of the mix, burnt bridges, no longer part of the scathing foreigners in Denmark groups, no longer part of integrated Denmark. It's safe to say a combination of the rot already existing in DK and the la de daa expat cultural tussles finished me off in terms of caring. I've been here through so many decades now, I know what I know. All I can do now is to stand back and watch people get more and more distressed, going over the same old ground. Been there, done that. It's not worth it. If one struggles one is also part of the problem. I am not saying Denmark is wonderful. It's a pit stop. A place for a summer house. Not a place to get branded on your skin, surely, but we all did that in some way just by staying here after we realised it wasn't what the tourist board said it was.If one can find a parallel culture here not bothered by the norms or the unhappy expat struggles then it can be fun within that. I've recently constructed my own happy bubble, give or take the usual life challenges.

    These days, I honestly don't understand how anyone can really complain about the state of play in Denmark when it is what it is. Why do people expect Denmark to be a place of equality and wonderment?

    Why do people come to small town Denmark and expect some kind of fairy tale? INTERESTING QUESTION. It's a tiny place, with a very limited outlook. Where did the idea come from that it could be anything more?

    Ah. The hype. That'll do it. The hypes dead now though. Thanks to lots of swashbuckling trashing of it. A little goes a long way. i did my bit, and made people chuckle. Tough gentle.

    However, I will say the sad thing is that in a tiny place like this, health care is dodgy. Many foreigners get sick when they come here, and it is often a sign of depression and stress, or just a sign of not getting the right diagnosis or treatment. It can be psychosomatic. Or people being wrongly diagnosed and having too much treatment.

    Either way, I don't see a lot of health here. Or healthy people. Staying healthy is a real challenge in Denmark.

    Plus the only way forward is not to integrate, it is to create a parallel universe for foreigners so they can live within their own culture here and be healthy in mind, body and spirit..a la the international culture here, so touted by the state, so needed by the state. Let's just draw a veil over the class system within the international culture with the so called 'low grade foreigners' being at the bottom unless it impacts on the 'desirable' foreigners and/or us.

    *sigh*

    'Babs' x

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  13. Heidi3:13 PM

    Beautifully put, Erin and friends.

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Keep it clean, don't be mean....