Monday, July 28, 2008

Just another American success story.

For anyone who missed it, NPR ran an interesting health care story last Thursday. It was a comparison between a British woman and an American man who each suffer from the same affliction -- multiple sclerosis. The differences and the pain inflicted on the citizens by their nation's respective attendant health systems were dramatic.

The story was quick to point out neither Britain's nor the U.S. health system provides everything needed to treat such a terrible affliction. For example, the British woman now pays from her own pocket for extra physical therapy not covered by her government. It costs her the equivalent of $30/week (it's a donation, not a required fee). Everything else (to include expensive medications) is free!

The MS for the American only cost him his job at first. But, of course, without employment, his health insurance soon went down the drain too. Because of the loss of income from his job and lost insurance, he was forced to bear the burden of his treatments and meds himself. As a result, the next thing he lost was the family's home. Bankruptcy soon followed with contemplations of suicide to ease the financial strain on his wife and their two daughters, ages 4 and 9.

It was a good story. And an excellent chart is provided by NPR which allows Americans to compare their health care side by side with any of six other "first world" nations. (CAUTION: reading this chart, one may get the idea there are Third World nations with better health care than the United States. There are.)

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Dada note: Just a point or two. While the U.S. health care system for its citizens is inferior to most other industriaized nations, it maintains the greatest health care for its health care industry, i.e., the HMO's, insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers who determine health and drug policies through cozy relationships of their lobbyists with our government representatives.

U.S. citizen's health care inferiorities are also made up for in another important area where, again, we excel heads above everyone. That's in a Joseph Goebbels' Nazi style propaganda, "if you repeat a lie it becomes the truth!" Such bullshit mechanisms are in place to wipe the minds of all with the dogma that foreign health care systems are detrimental to one's health, not to mention they reek of that scarier-than-shit "S" word -- socialism!

I don't know how many Americans know the difference between "universal health care" for all and "single payer health care." But they are NOT the same. And neither of the two major presidential candidates is calling for a single payer system. They dare not, at the risk of their political health and ambitions (if not their very own physical health!).

In the U.S., the best way to avoid the pitfalls of the health care system that claimed the above cited American MS victim is to just make sure you stay healthy I guess.

19 comments:

eProf2 said...

Michael Moore is right: Take the profit out of health care and the government will be able to run a very reliable and much more inexpensive health care system. Moore points to the social security system as the parallel model. We already have medicare and it works reasonably well but doesn't completely cover each participant. As a transition, the US needs medicare for all Americans and get the insurance companies out of the system. Not likely in my lifetime, unfortunately, because as you say the "s" word is involved. Tragic!

Utah Savage said...

One of my closest friends has M.S. She has lost her ability to work, lost her savings and is now mortgaging her house to the hilt to pay for the needed modifications that will allow her to navigate in the coming wheelchair.

Thanks for your recent visit to my site Dada. It was your words that made me write another post. I'm not in good shape these days and my health care costs are starting to scare me, too.

Border Explorer said...

"...know the difference between "universal health care" for all and "single payer health care."
Uh-oh, I better learn the difference.
------
Good post! It's got me singing, "God Save the Queen."

enigma4ever said...

really good post....I too have a neighbor with it...and she gets by - by the skin of her teeth and with alot of help....but not for any Healthcare Entity or the govnt...and we have alot of homes that went under due to banruptcy due to health.....

I often joke if I was not on the No Fly List I would move...

49 million with NO Health Insurance...
another 50 UNDER Insured....
and 100 Million with NO Dental Insurance...

so is there a difference between killing ones peoples or just letting them die????

dada said...

eprof: Inevitably, when any discussion of health care reform comes up between myself and my two immediate neighbors (both career retired military), they get real up tight. Never mind that they both have access to the local military hospital (one's 84, the other 69) AND V.A. health care systems.

While I have no problem with that -- I think it great they are well taken care of -- I just wish the rest of us could enjoy some of the same "S" word (that scares the sh*t outta 'em, that they spent their lives "fighting" against) medical care as they have. But as is a common logic among many Americans today, they have theirs and f**k everybody else.

Such discussions are extremely bad for Dada's blood pressure. Dada, who doesn't enjoy the same quality health care that his neighbors have.

dada said...

Utah: This subject frightens the hell out of me because of the example you mention, your friend. Because of your own circumstances. Of Enigma's, Fran and her family's, myself and Mrs. Dada and millions and millions of other Americans who cannot go peacefully into retirement, old age, senility, and eternal peace without worrying "to death" of the potential burdens we may become, not just to ourselves, but to our families.

And could we, we in the 'greatest nation on Earth' end up out in the cold, on the streets, homeless, living under some bridge because we exhausted our resources trying to afford access to a health care system that wants to spit you out once they've drained your last penny from you? Apparently, "Yes!"

I can't imagine what life must be like in some advanced nation where such worries are totally absent, not from just older folks in their declining years, but for EVERYBODY.

And what would such a place on this Earthly plane be called?

Nothing we Americans here can imagine until AFTER our appointments with the Grim Reaper, I'm sure.

dada said...

B.E. ah, "universal health care" vs. "single payer health care" conjures up memories of that delightful democratic caucus evening in your home late last winter or early spring when Dada, feeling warm in his tummy from the wine (in your kitchen) got impassioned to highlight the fact that neither Obama or Hillary would dare advocate for the latter.

My interpretation of the differences between the two are minor. Universal health care means everybody has insurance, even if the law requires you to purchase it (from insurance cos., of course). It would probably make America feel better anytime comparisons between us and other places health care systems like Canada's, France's, or Cuba's are brought up and we could say, "But see? Every American has insurance, too, just like youse guys!" (And dumb-ass Americans would say, "Here, here!" proudly.)

Whereas, "single payer," a subset of universal health care, is a truly national health system that eliminates the tremendous waste and duplication of admin. costs as well as profit driven insurers whose underwriters decide whether or not your heart bypass is feasible in view of their declining profit margins for the latest quarter (that would greatly displease share holders) instead of your doctor's more soundly based scientific opinion of what's best for you (health wise, not profit wise).

But I get a little too impassioned to remain calm about such a subject, hence, I tend to avoid such tête à têtes between myself and the public, your delightful party last winter being the exception, of course..

eProf2 said...

Dada, I'm with you on the single payer health care system. I know getting past the "socialism" argument is a steep hill to climb but it's worth the effort. We will never have a decent system until we have a non-profit, single payer system. Medicare for everyone.

enigma4ever said...

its alright to get impassioned about it...lives hang in the balance...it makes no sense there sit our representives- our elected with full healthcare and ALL their needs met...and CARED FOR....

It should be a Right...like the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness....I mean it is hard to be happy if one is homeless or healthless....

Someone , some wise person once said that a truly advanced society takes care of their people....


sigh....

maybe we all need to set up a Commune in Belize and take care of each other...( or ???South of France ? or some little Island ? )

D.K. Raed said...

Other nations have done it, why not U.S.? Some of them, like Britain, got socialized right after WW2, so the insurance companies never got their hooks in in the first place. Ones who came to it later were profiled in a PBS Frontline called "Sick Around the World" in April. Germany & Switzerland reworked their systems about the same time as Hillary was working on HMO care for US in the 90's. They managed to do it; we blew it. They now have the kind of hybridized system that we could adopt tomorrow. They even encourage insurance companies for SUPPLEMENTAL coverage, but the basics are all covered for every citizen & all health care costs are highly regulated. When PBS asked the Switzerland administrator how many people go bankrupt there due to health costs, the guy went blank in the face. "No one", he said, "it would be a national travesty". If you go to the pbs.org site, you can watch it online, each country or one at a time. warning: you may be inspired to move even though France wasn't included in their 5-country review.

dada said...

enigma asked: "so is there a difference between killing ones peoples or just letting them die????"

I ponder that myself sometimes. I remember the 80's and Reagan's take on compassionate conservatism when he was turning all those mentally ill out into the streets to fend for themselves. And I remember Reagan's cuts he made in healthcare (Medicaid?) because my boss at the time had a sister on dialysis. When Reagan slashed her available dialysis treatments in half, she died soon afterwards.

So I often ponder if she was just a victim of good ol' conservative Reaganomics, or was president Ronnie a just butcheringmotherfucker?

dada said...

*NOTE TO ALL"*

I apologize for my recent language. When I feel really, really passionate about something, I'm likely to resort to profanity as a means of showing how strongly I feel about the subject at hand.

But lately, I've been resorting more and more to that mode of expression and, as I was taught, overuse of such devalues it which is something I don't want to happen.

Then no one will be shocked anymore. No one will know if I'm feeling really passionate about what I'm speaking of, or just being foul mouthed (which is something I try to avoid), but when talking of anything Bush, Cheney, McCain, etc. that's almost f**king impossible.

dada said...

d.k. Well, I guess what we have here is a national travesty. At least, as enigma notes, the people who count most are the ones most likely to never know the plight of their constituents because, unlike their constituents, they have theirs and, sadly, cutting taxes for the rich and funding a couple of wars leaves nothing for the 'poor bastards.'

enigma4ever said...

Now Dada WHY should you apologize for stating the motherfuckering truth of it all ????

seriously....

what kind of "developed Country "would abandon Millions of people....It makes NO rational sense...and here we sit and try to speak politely and talk to each other coherently about this issue...when we know we are beyond FUCKED....

there ...
2.00 for the Foul Mouth Jar...
so be it...

( ps...you are not the ones that should apologize- the Govt should, Dead Ronnie should, and the Bush Dynasty, and even the Clintons...I could obviously go on and on.....but I would run out of TUMS....)

thanks ;-)

Fran said...

I for one am glad folks do feel passionately about the need to care for the basic health needs of people. No need to delete expletives.
I mean really- if we are not impassioned about our very survival & caring for each other, we would be a civilization void of civility.
A friend & I were having a discussion & she said she has no tolernace for those who drone on about welfare. Those welfare recipients draining our resources. She insists they stop the conversation. Until the BIG welfare recipients... big oil, Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel & other corporate beneficiaries, are cut off the welfare, they can't even discuss genuine people in real need of public assistance until
those on the top of the list are cut off.
The actual poor people in need are small potatoes compared to the amount mega corporations are raking in.

dk mentioned supplemental policies. I sat through an AFLAC sup. ins rep tout their product & all their offerings at a work presetation. At the end of the presentation, they said- by the way, we don't cover people with diabetes or heart conditions. You halfway expect them to have some fine print saying the policy is for people who are well only, anyone who becomes sick, does not qualify.

In the United States, Medical expenses are one of the main reasons for bankruptcy.

Of all the things that get taken care of, taking care of each other's health is most important.
It is a crime that poorer nations care for their people better than the US.

dada said...

As Fran said:"It is a crime that poorer nations care for their people better than the US."

or, we might say, "It is a crime that the U.S. doesn't care for their people better than poorer nations."

Thanks Fran for your comment. Knowing how passionately you feel about this subject, I was eagerly anticipating your comment.

I wasn't disappointed. America has become a dispassionate, insensitive, caring-less nation more concerned with dispensing its will upon the rest of the world while ignoring the very underpinnings of its strength that made it great, i.e., its people.

And I deeply appreciate people like your friend and your conversation with her insistence on stopping conversations that attack "those welfare recipients draining our resources" when its the exact opposite that's true. Bless her and you both!

And thanks for further verification of the corruption of insurance via your AFLAC example of insurance only for "healthy people." Fuck them all.

(Thanks for endorsing my use expletives too!)

dada said...

Enigma: Missed your comment that came in before Fran's. Excellent!

(And thank you for your endorsement of language that necessitates donations to the Foul Mouthed Jar! I certainly don't mind conributing when millions of Americans are being neglected and going down the tubes they've designed for us if while the pigs on top can extend - for just a while longer - their ability to further complete their drain of the dwindling riches of the nation for their own personal aggrandizement. )

(BTW, thank you for your $2.00 contribution to the FMJar! I'll have to calculate what I owe in light of my recent trangressions!)

And, oh yes, I hope you have OTC drug coverage for all those TUMS you're chomping down, Enigma! Bless you (and thanks for your comment on these motherfuckingassholes!) Whoops, I forgot the going price for such moments of indiscretion?

enigma4ever said...

motherfuckingassholes is a mere discount word- One dollar....

No if you add Bush or Dick or Condasleeza that makes it a 2 dollar word...

dada said...

Wow, thanks Enigma. BTW, why is that? Is there a sale on currently, or are run-on obscenities cheaper?