Thursday, September 03, 2009

health care (II)

If you use the social networking site Facebook you know what I am talking about, but if you don't, imagine this: You open up the site, and what you see is a page where all of your friends have entered a sentence describing what they are doing. For the most part what people are saying is kind of funny, or kind of interesting, but no more than that.

This morning, in the middle of that blur, this statement popped up:

XX thinks that no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

Needless to say, I copied and pasted the statement onto my own status line.

Then I went to my friend's page to see what kind of comments he had gotten. The first one was this:

RIGHT NOW, We save you even if you don't have money and even if you are not a citizen. Now you get a choice in hospital and doctors. The new healthplan will eliminate your choices. You want the goverment to pay for your healthcare, remember you always get what you pay for! I work at the hospital and doctors work hard, get up and take call in the middle of the night for a patient with no money, because the insurance people make up for the rest. Just think if the doctor was salaried, hum, he would make the same amount of money if he slept or if he came up there in the middle of the night. You want THAT care?

I am quoting this to show the nice people of Sweden who read my blog how those Americans who oppose health care reform think. It makes me mad, and sad, that people are so ill informed. Actually, it really scares me.

There are roughly 46 million uninsured in the US. They, of course, have no choice whatsoever. But even if you do have insurance, right now, the insurance company can drop you when you get sick. And if you are or have been sick, they can refuse to take you on because of your "pre-existing condition".

There is a memorable scene in Michael Moore's Sicko where Americans living in France are hesitant to fill out the paperwork that will enroll them in the French health care system. They think that if they list their illnesses they will loose health coverage. The idea that the French want to know their medical history in order for them to provide better care is mind boggling to the Americans.

Dan was at a town hall meeting earlier this week where a minister had stood up and suggested that instead of health care reform we should go back to the "Good Samaritan model." People taking care of each other, that sounds good, right? But who would be willing to pick up the bills for the 9 months of cancer treatment I had last year? Anyone? No one? Oh.

Another way to look at it would be to say that if we are to take care of each other, lets be rational about it. Lets collect from everybody ahead of time what they can afford, so we will be prepared to provide for those who will be in need later. What was that? That's socialism, you say?

Well, what it is, is government funded health care. And it works.

This is how I responded on my friend's Facebook page:

The "salaried" doctors in my country of origin (Sweden) provide care that helps Swedes end up in the top three of the healthiest nations in the world, along with Iceland and Finland. Iceland and Finland also have government funded health care programs. The US ranks 11 according to Forbes. Ahead of the US are 7 other countries with national health care programs: Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Austria, and the Netherlands.

Then someone jumped on me for using Forbes and not the World Health Organization. If you're curious, according to WHO, the five top nations are: Japan, France, Iceland, Sweden, and Cuba. The US ranks 37.

Update: At 4:37PM President Obama posted this statement on his Facebook page:

Encouraged to see this going around today:
"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."

Everyone's connected.

1 comment:

cecilia said...

Hey you, I just posted the same on my FB status!
There is a really moving piece on This american life, a few weeks ago, the programme was called Fine Print, and they partly talked about insurance companies denying a dying woman with breast cancer surgery because she "forgot to include a previous condition in her application", the condition being that she had been treated by a dermatologist for acne.....

You can download the podcast on Itunes, it's worth a listen!