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Of course it isn't "free", taxes pay for it, but nice to know she isn't bankrupt because of it. She also doesn't have a monthly health insurance payment, so what she pays extra retail for stuff (like Lego), is balanced by the lack of out of pocket costs of healthcare and such.
I suspect it balances out pretty even in the end.
But this could go on forever and really needs to go to brickset's 'sister' forum: Healthsetforum
Sorry, Back to topic...
I'm guessing LEGO stores in prime location (ie Major cities) have to deal with a higher tax bracket and Rent usually... Also be careful to not confuse a LEGO discovery center with an actual LEGO store.
My wife and I do not have health insurance, it costs too much. To get private coverage for our family would cost $915 a month. There is a $25 office co-pay, a 20% coinsurance payment (meaning if that we ended up in hospital, we'd have to pay 20% of the cost ourselves up to $6,000), a $1,500 annual deductible per person, plus separate co-pays for drugs (from $10 to $45 depending on type)
I don't know about you, but that is a lot of money... Add to that it doesn't cover dental in any way, no long term care coverage, no "wellness care" (they pay when you get sick, not to actually keep you well), etc.
If you have the money, we have great care, if you don't and have no insurance, it is brutal. That is why 60% of all the bankruptcies in the United States are primarily caused by medical bills.
Case in point: Good friend of mine (only about 27 at the time) developed a significant intestinal complication a couple years ago whereby he almost died. Healthy guy before that. If memory serves, he was in the hospital for well over six months, about two months in ICU. He told me his total medical bills were a little under $1M. Had he not had health insurance, him and his wife would have been bankrupt. He was fairly young, but going bankrupt later in life would devastate most retirement prospects.
I can understand your point about the U.S. having great care if you're lucky enough to have a job that provides good insurance, or if you can pay the ridiculous premiums out of pocket. It's really a shame that the richest country in the world does not have healthcare for all legal residents. Regarding your bankruptcy comment, I actually saw a show about a week ago about people who had good coverage and STILL went bankrupt due to maximum lifetime coverage amounts written into many policies. So even with decent coverage, you can still get burned if you happen to be unlucky enough to have an expensive health issue.
Sorry, I just wanted to chime in there. To tie this into Lego, I think I might be willing to pay a few $$ extra on Legos to have health coverage for all legal residents.
The trick to catastrophic coverage... It is about half the price of regular plans, with a $10,000 deductible and almost no coverage until you've spent that amount.
To pay $450 a month for coverage that I will only use if a major, serious event happens which is honestly not all that likely to occur, is a hard thing to do. It is a serious bet against the odds.
As for wellness, it's my understanding from our Insurance CSR that Obamacare mandates that all insurance plans now cover Wellness 100%.