To a Brit, it is a truly frightening and confusing and bank account-draining system. We got our daughter to the nearest emergency medical centre in our arms, and the staff immediately asked us to complete two long forms for the insurance company, and for a swipe of our credit card (you'll notice this is a recurring theme) before they even inquired what was wrong with our little girl or showed any signs of compassion whatsoever. It makes you angry to witness. Money is absolutely the priority in any medical scenario here. The average cost of an ambulance ride in LA for instance is $1,200 (£800).
There have been a rash of outrageous breaches of the public trust relating to national and international security including: Failure of the US Secret Service to protect the President and the First Family. Failure of the Dallas Hospital and federal, state and local officials to initially detect the first person in the US infected with ebola...
The hospital was on the ageing side and a little drab, but clean and well-marked. I didn't have to ask anyone for directions. We had to take a number to be registered, but waited less than five minutes. I gritted my teeth a bit in preparation for the we-are-not-from-the-UK conversation, but it wasn't an issue at all. I offered my US insurance number for billing, but was told they didn't need it.
Dear American Citizen, I write from the other side of the Atlantic. Our homelands are separated by a vast, malevolent body of water. Thousands of miles stand between us, yet still we share so many things, music, theatre, fashion, culture, history, high street stores and banking ties, and much more. Our military train together, and politicians lean on each other. We really aren't that different.
The current US federal government shutdown - which is more of a slowdown - has merely set the stage for an even more nerve-racking deadline on October 17 when the US will cross their debt ceiling. At most the government could get by for another couple of weeks with $30bn cash on hand, but without a deal the US will in effect be in default in a couple of weeks.
President Obama has to make a crucial decision on the US response to Syrian President Assad's use of chemical weapons and deliver the speech of a lifetime on the 50th Anniversary of the "I Have A Dream Speech" in the shadow of one of the greatest orators of all time - Martin Luther King Jr on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
As the saying goes "presidential candidates campaign in poetry and if they are lucky enough to win, they govern in prose". Presidential Candidate Barack Obama was especially good at campaigning in poetry. Perhaps that is why, even though he has won re-election for a second term, he is unwilling to dismantle his campaign appartus and get into the down and dirty, nitty-gritty work of governing in hard edged well disciplined prose.