My poor lil feelings are hurt that nobody followed up on my post (in earlier
car insurance thread which quickly became a classic example of thread
There were many personal anecdotes of experiences with the health care
system, military and civilian, but nobody really addressed the topic of
medical care which in the U.S. is commodified as an "industry" rather than a
"When I was living in Europe, a member of my family was treated, long-term,
for a very serious condition, without a penny of cost, even though neither
of us was a national of that country.
Allow me to reiterate that physicians in many developed countries -- I only
know specifically about European countries, so am extrapolationg -- complete
their medical studies at government expense.
No sky-high tuition bills from for-profit universities. No crushing debt
load for the first 15-20 years of practice. No wild divergence in
physician-hospital fees between practitioners and institutions. No drive to
specialize in big money practices like plastic surgery. In return,physician
obliged to devote 'n' years to (more or less) government assigned practice,
meaning often working in under-served communities.
Sounds like a win-win to me. In those countries, health care is not
considered an "industry" --I wince every time I hear that term --but a
Those governments must have figured out that $1 spent on preventive health
care and affordable care for existing conditions saves $100's of dollars
down the line in social costs that we pay out of our other tax pocket."
The usual comments on this kind of suggestion lean heavily to "...they have
to wait months/years for a procedure... whereas we in the US can get it fast
Yeah, sure, if you have insurance or can pay out of pocket. If not, you're
basically fracked. Leaves out a large segment of the population
The public seems to have a very hard time understanding that if we don't
emphasize preventive care*, and don't make medical care available to all, we
pay for it ANYWAY in the form of social costs for damage done to and/or by
impaired individuals who didn't get care in time.
*For just ONE example: In most "developed" countries, qualified
professionals follow new mothers and babies in their homes for a period
after the birth to make sure there are no complications. In the U.S., where
childbirth for a while was handled like a McDonald's drive-through until
outrage forced some retrenchment, there were many cases of babies having to
be rushed back to the hospital because of undiagnosed post-natal problems.
Enormous cost that could have been avoided by a much less expensive program
as described above.
(steps down from podium)
It's probably not possible to have any kind of rational discussion on the
subject right now although I know that the Chautauqua Institution (summer
camp for adults) has courageously chosen the subject for discussion all of
next week and they work hard to have useful "civil discussions" on their
topics. See: http://www.ciweb.org/education-lectures-week-nine/ There are
summaries of the topics in the daily newspaper (free) at:
http://chqdaily.com/download/ if you are interested in what was said. I'm
sure there are better ways to deliver health care to the U.S. population
with less cost and better quality than we have now; but, sadly, few seem to
know how to make that happen or want to get beyond the politics.