We love sports 12/4/17

We headed to IPic theatres today for the Smurfs Lost Village movie and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie theatre was quite fancy — you had a choice of Premium or Premium Plus. The Premium Plus would be the equivalent of Gold Class. Premium still had leather seats and a table but you just couldn’t have your food delivered to you. We brought our own smorgasbord of mandarins, popcorn and muesli bars so we were all set. Laila thought the toilets were very fancy. It was obviously in a very affluent area as all of the surrounding shops were high end brand names. We headed to Adair for lunch but I was a bit disappointed because Justin’s chips tasted like they had sugar added to them. Our sandwiches were okay but nothing spectacular. I did like the lemon artichoke soup though. Here in the USA, there is often a soup and sandwich special. A little bowl of soup with half a sandwich is a perfectly satisfying meal. The afternoon was spent shopping at La Galleria. It is a humungous shopping centre — it even contains a skating rink! We found Justin a pair of basketball boots so he was stoked. They are Air Jordans and so much more reasonably priced than in Australia. They are red so they go perfectly well with his basketball team colours.

The evening brought us to the Toyota Centre to see the NBA game between the Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ken bid on some seats and we ended up getting some really close to the action for less than you would normally pay for the rafter seats. The atmosphere was electric and it was so exciting to see a game together as a family. I think it would have been particularly thrilling for Ken to have his kids next to him, watching his favourite game. Number 13, James Harden, is an incredible player. He is hard to miss with his iconic beard. We saw quite a bit of dunking and Nene, number 42, was also quite impressive. This was the last game of the normal season for the Rockets so everyone was yelling out “MVP” whenever Harden got the ball. The NBA clothing shop in the centre had 50% off all merchandise so we were fortunate enough to be able to purchase some singlets (or jerseys as they are called here) for the kids.

I spoke to a really interesting Uber driver today about the US healthcare situation. He was a medical student and I took the opportunity to ask about the medical care here. I was astounded that, to see a GP or internal medicine consultant, it would cost at least $100-$200 for just a normal visit. That is without tests or anything else other than a 5 minute consultation. People delay their family doctor visit because of the cost and then, only when things get really bad, they head to the hospital where it will cost them a fortune to get treatment. One of the main reasons for bankruptcy in the US is the cost of a hospital admission. Once you have a hospital debt, it stays with you for life until it gets paid. As an Australian, just take a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are to be able to go to a public hospital, in an emergency or any other time, and not pay a cent. We wake up and our dilemma is recovery not payment. Medicaid in the USA is supposed to be used by people with low income but a lot of family doctors refuse to accept it because they only get paid around $50. As the medical student said, $50 seems quite exorbitant for a 5 minute consultation. I was blown away by his account of the medical situation. He said things could change but lobbysists stand in the way. It was so interesting to hear the perspective of the medical student.

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