Socialized Healthcare???


You can almost hear how someone in the US might vocalize that statement. A statement that might be more accurately portrayed in this cartoon:

socialized-medicine1

However, I am approaching nearly half my life under socialized medicine and half my life under “capitalist” medicine. Though I believe there are doctors in Canada who might prescribe that way, I equally believe there are doctors in the US who would too. I have never had that experience with the three family doctors we had and I will probably move back to Canada one day because I MISS “FREE” HEALTH CARE!

There have been oh, so, many times that expression has been used, least of which are not:

1. The time I was bit by a spider in 25 different places on both legs at a GARAGE SALE on Rivermont Ave!
2. The time I was helping a friend by bringing over medicine because he had the flu and I ended up with strep-throat
3. The time I went to a homecoming party and found out that someone there ended up with swine flu!!

In every instance, the cognitive dissonance was this:

In Canada, all I would have to worry about was getting myself to a doctor, getting better, and the potential loss of income for sick days.

In America, the first thing I think, once I realize I’m headed to an MD, is: ‘Holy crap how much is this going to cost?’ ‘How on earth am I going to pay for the meds?’ ‘Dear Lord, please let me NOT be hospitalized,’ ‘How am I going to pay for this if I can’t work?’ and THEN I get to worry about getting better.

I recognize that my opinion is bias, as I can only speak from my immediate and extended families experience with socialized medicine, but in all the years I was part of the system – even through my mother’s cancer – never once did we have difficulty getting the medical attention we needed.

So with swine flu on the rise, and my bank account unstable…it is moments like these I really miss home.

healthcare_Canada_090626_mn

What are your thoughts on health care? (The loaded question of the year)

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10 thoughts on “Socialized Healthcare???

  1. I think there is a gigantic missing piece to genuine healthcare reform in this country, and I wrote about it at the Swanson Vitamins Blog. No, it’s not (just) vitamins… I’ve never thought about the line of thinking you presented here, where thinking about getting well is last on the list. Interesting point.

    • You made some good observations in your blog. I have to admit, I wasn’t writing necessarily as someone who is “educated” about health care, but more as someone who has experienced both and is speaking from that experience; likely how I came to that line of thinking 🙂
      Thank you for the note!

  2. Shall I put into typeface my end of our discussion at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago? 🙂

    Socialized medicine is the only humane form of healthcare. I live in hopes that, one day, America will realize that the concept of a free market cannot be applied universally, and that healthcare is one of the areas in which it cannot. Yet, most of America seems to live in fear, a “that’s not the way we do things around here” approach. I appreciate your thoughts that you’ve never suffered for lack of care, because the primary (and I think unfounded) premise that is typically used as an American argument against universal healthcare is that quality suffers due to quantity. Yet, they fail to consider the multitudes of individuals who permit illnesses to progress into dangerous realms because they are hesitant to empty a bank account to pay for it, or the elderly who choose between paying for medication or eating, or the many children I have seen fall through the cracks because necessary services could not be afforded by parents. Ironically, we already have a partially socialized healthcare system: Medicaid and Medicare. Yet we argue that it can’t be done.

    Removing power from the pharmaceuticals is part of the answer, as they have a vested financial interest in us not being fully well. The amounts that they can charge for medications is exorbitant.

    The question facing America is how to afford what we need. We more than quadruple Canada’s population, so paying for the system would likely do significant damage to our economic system, at least initially. Still, every overhaul has its price.

    I say, people before profit!

    Thanks for your thoughts. May you remain free of swine flu and other illnesses, lest you have to pay. Literally.

    • Ah Dave, I really appreciate you taking the time to add to my blog! You are right, you can not compare health care to car insurance, or home insurance; these are HUMAN BEINGS we’re talking about. Thus, medical attention SHOULD be a right, NOT a privilege. Something that I think is beautiful about Canada 🙂

  3. Very happy you’re pro socialised healthcare. I mean, people shouldn’t have to pay for their abortions should they?!

    I am of course kidding Renee. But what is the Government’s role, if not to protect the people?!

  4. oh by the way, i got my tamiflu free on the NHS and never took it, so if you do get swine flu, let me know and i’ll help you out 🙂

    x

  5. I’ve been reading a little about healthcare today and can’t let go of some thoughts.

    If you have a moment, I’d like to hear yours on the following:

    #1

    What is the purpose of life?

    #2

    Considering a universal healthcare system, where there’s only one provider and only one collection agency; when compared to a partial(population) healthcare system, with many providers and many collection agencies:

    Does the population overall request a different amount of treatment (in dollars/quantity of visits/or quality)?

    #3

    If there are many mediums through which money can be collected and allocated to the doctors and hospitals, which one would you pick?

    a) The local church collecting via tithing and distributing based on membership and need to the sick.

    b) Insurance company, collecting via premiums and distributing based on membership to the sick.

    c) Locally organized board of directors, collecting all bills and requesting equal obligatory payments from all members based on all monthly bills.

    d) One government organization collecting via taxes and distributing via funding based on average salary/seniority and maybe patient death rate.

    If you pick A B or C would you prefer to live in the community of sick or healthy people? What will you do if a sick person wants to join the group?

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

    Thanks in advance, and I hope you are all doing great!

    My answers follow:

    #1: Be happy without interfereing with the happiness of others and make others happy as long as it doesn’t interfere with your own for too long.

    #2: No, because whether a person has to pay for it or not, the system will eventually treat all cases. In a situation where a person is about to die, the system employs all possible measures to save the life, because that’s a human obligation to our fellow man. In a situation where a person is dying we leave them to die, because that’s our obligation to the system (capitalistic Darwinism). And the difference between the prior and the latter is only a matter of timing; dying slowly or dying immediately. The costs, however, are predictable and are summarized nicely by an adage… something about “ounce of prevention vs pound of cure”

    #3: The only reasonable system is option D because without sacraficing our capitalistic ideals, we couldn’t bear to care for others in their time of need, unless its dire and visible; and those that can bear it can’t help everyone.

    The fundamental issue, is that we established a system where we cannot morally agree to acknowledge a universal belief. We want universally funded healthcare but don’t seem to want to admit to it. Perhaps its more then fear of ridicule though; maybe we want universal support from our fellow man, but do not want to the government to be in charge, lest we forget their universal incompetence; so we put our faith into the collection agencies (insurance companies) to handle the funds for us in the most competitive manner… and in order to satisfy our ultimate desire of a universally funded support system, make everyone pay money to a private company, rather then a publically elected government (theoretically representing our interests).

    • Wow…that was a lengthy discussion! A lot longer than I feel there is time/room for here, but I’ll briefly add my “two-cents” to your questions…

      #1

      What is the purpose of life? – you asked the purpose of life, but didn’t answer your question. Happiness is most certainly a goal, but there are a number of things you must be willing to do to find true happiness (all of which would require more time than I have in this little space – maybe a future blog ;).

      #2

      Considering a universal healthcare system, where there’s only one provider and only one collection agency; when compared to a partial(population) healthcare system, with many providers and many collection agencies:

      Does the population overall request a different amount of treatment (in dollars/quantity of visits/or quality)? – I am not sure what you are specifically asking for here? Are you talking about the US or Canada? What would require this request? Meaning, in Canada, you go as much as you want, to whomever you want, and thus are able to choose the quality you are interested in having. The types of doctors (good and bad) are pretty much the same here as they are in Canada.

      #3

      If there are many mediums through which money can be collected and allocated to the doctors and hospitals, which one would you pick?

      a) The local church collecting via tithing and distributing based on membership and need to the sick. – I don’t think the church should limit it’s giving to members

      b) Insurance company, collecting via premiums and distributing based on membership to the sick. – the US had a system like this, and it works poorly

      c) Locally organized board of directors, collecting all bills and requesting equal obligatory payments from all members based on all monthly bills. – locally? Organized? members? This is a little abstract.

      d) One government organization collecting via taxes and distributing via funding based on average salary/seniority and maybe patient death rate. – Using taxes is not an uncommon system (around the world) but I don’t think it should be contingent on averages, especially death rate.

      Hope that answers some of your questions! 🙂

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