Just kidding -- I only went to the doctor when I broke a bone or needed stitches. Sometimes not even then. See, there's a problem with having a medical card that borders on paradox: In order to get one, you have to be poor, and the poverty-stricken people who do have them often don't have a means to actually get to the doctor in the first place. Growing up in impoverished neighborhoods, half the people I knew didn't have a car. Or they had a car, but it needed repairs so badly, it could only be used in an emergency. Or they had a working car, but they never had money to buy gas. Or they had gas, but their car had long since been converted into a meth lab.
Well, there's your problem.
When my mom did have a job, it was usually a shitty-paying part-time position that pushed her over the line of eligibility. Lots of people run into this. Since it's part time, the employer doesn't have to offer benefits, which means that employee is responsible for 100 percent of her medical bills. If she doesn't have cash on hand, that takes clinics completely out of the equation. The only medical facility that's required to treat you is a hospital, and even then only enough to stabilize you, stuff you into a catapult, and launch you the hell out of their building.
Because of all that, the only time you can realistically get treatment is when the injury or illness is so bad, it requires a trip to the emergency room. You become trained at a very early age to recognize the difference between a sprain and a fracture. You know on sight if a cut is bad enough to require stitches or if it can be taken care of with alcohol, iodine, and a butterfly bandage. Even broken fingers can be fixed with a Popsicle-stick splint and some tape to hold it on. Meanwhile, all the medical treatment you need is right there on that card, completely useless, because the doctor's office could be located on the moon, and it would be exactly as easy to get there.
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