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Call Guinness*! I think we’re about to set a record

February 12, 2008 | Family,Getting sick,Health,Norway,Traveling,Vacation


See that? That’s how much the Kristiansund Hospital in Norway wants for one overnight stay for my daughter in December. That’s NOK 9750,00 (Norwegian kroner) or about $1,780. That brings our running tab for this vacation to almost $14,000. For three weeks — and one day (thanks, Haris) — in Norway. Next time a Norwegian says they have “free” health care? Don’t believe it. I never have. Paying a 50-percent income tax rate when we lived in Norway was enough to make me believe that nothing is free.

So, dear Norwegian Consulate in Houston, can you help a mother out? (Or anyone? Please?) It apparently doesn’t matter that our daughter has dual citizenship, a Norwegian passport and a Norwegian identification number. I know she doesn’t live in Norway, but this was an emergency.

I suppose it wasn’t great timing for the hospital stay, considering all the news about Gro Harlem Brundtland at the time. Norwegians were all up in arms about her use of the Norwegian health-care system. She’s a former Norwegian prime minister. She’s also a physician and former head of the World Health Organization. (Sorta ironic, no?) She’s retired now and lives in France, and Norwegians weren’t about to let her get “free” health care that included a hip operation. Never mind that she probably paid up to half of her lifetime salary in taxes to pay for Norway’s “free” health care. And never mind that she’s one of those people Norway’s system is supposed to care for in its cradle-to-grave “safety net.”

*I meant this Guinness.

But a few of these wouldn’t hurt. (Although, who has money for beer? Sigh.)


P.S. The bill arrived today. I’m afraid to check my mail anymore.

Posted by Becky @ 7:20 pm  

7 Responses to “Call Guinness*! I think we’re about to set a record”

  1. maggie Says:

    Damn. That’s no fun. And that’s shaping up to be a staggeringly expensive vacation.

  2. lumpyheadsmom Says:

    Holy crap. That sucks big time.

  3. lumpyheadsmom Says:

    Norwegian money is pretty, though.

  4. Karl Says:

    All I know is I saw the word “Guinness” and suddenly I found myself staring at Monopoly money. Heh. Way to lure me in, with Guinness.

  5. Jørn Idar Kvig Says:

    Well, it’s not free, you have to pay aprox. 150 NOK (Around 30$) which is not that much for us. We earn alot of money, so things are not so expensive to us, just to everybody else.

    Looking forward to compare when I’m going over to you guy’s this summer, hope I’m more lucky than your daughter.

    Oh, and Gro moved back, at least on the paper…

  6. Lasse G. Dahl Says:

    If I go abroad, I make sure I am insured – since I know my Norwegian health benefits don’t necessarily follow me abroad. As far as I know, Americans rely on insurance for all of their health care, so …. Don’t you get travel insurance?

  7. Becky Says:

    We will now, Lasse, if my husband can ever talk me into setting foot in an airplane again. :)

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