Sunday, February 01, 2004

Readers Write

In the comments section came this beginning of a debate. I thought I'd move it here for others to consider. I had made the point in one of my posts that U.S. healthcare system (as opposed to its technology) sucks. I mentioned that my wife is uninsurable, and will soon lose her group coverage. Below is a response from "Daniel" and my comments are after, in maroon. I deleted portions of his post that did not pertain to this discussion.

Daniel: First let me say that i wish the best for your wife.
Lastly (though I thoroughly agree with you about the fascist overthrow of our government) let me remind you that in all of Canada there are exactly 18 MRI machines (the average wating time for the use of one is 6 months and Canadians generally come to America for equipment intensive procedures). And it's inhabitants who enjoy "the world's best standard of living" in my experience generally complain about the quality of their health care.
None of this is to say that the American style of purely capitalistic healthcare/everything-else is ideal, but ust that a balance must be struck between self interest and public welfare.

Best wishes,
The smartest peson ever

Posted Sun 1 Feb 9:11 AM CST by daniel ( : )

Now Daniel, are you from Canada? My aunt and uncle live there half the year and have very
different stories about the people's opinions on healthcare there. Do you think they would trade with Americans?

A few comments:

1. I'll take a 6 month wait for an MRI (I assume life threatening conditions get priority? Oh and where does that statistic come from, by the way?) over no insurance whatsoever. At least 40 million people get their PRIMARY care in emergency rooms. Guess what that does to the rest of our medical costs.

2. If there are not enough MRI machines, is that the fault of the system of healthcare or the management of that system?
3. In this country, if a doctor thinks you need an MRI, your HMO can overrule them and not fund it.

4. The reason that it's easier in this country is that we have a "natural selection" approach. He who pays can get the service.

5. Canadians can probably better afford to use U.S. technology since they don't blow all their money on health insurance.

6. In this country, doctors receive bonuses for NOT recommending expensive tests and procedures.

7. Although I think this got outlawed, it used to be that doctors could be BANNED from recommending needed tests and procedures not approved by the HMO.

8. The Canadian government is in the process of addressing the shortcomings.

9. Every wonder why people are trying to buy drugs from Canada? They are cheaper there. I'm guessing this is a direct result with the huge single-payer system's being able to negotiate far better pharmaceutical rates plus the fact that the pharmaceutical industry in this country is so powerful and basically write their own laws.

10. Whatever the flaws of their system, the Canadians value health care as a RIGHT, not a privilege. Any system that rations care based on ability to pay cannot make that claim.


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