Thoughts on the U.S. Healthcare System

Medicare Set-Aside Blog on August 14, 2008
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In his August 4th “Cheap, Fast or Good” blog post, Joe Paduda says:

“There are those on both sides of the political debate (and some who fancy themselves in the middle) who use anecdotes, scary stories, hyperbole and highly elastic versions of ‘true’ stories to support their solutions to our present health care insurance disaster. While both sides are guilty, I’d have to say the free marketers look to be ‘guiltier.’ Case in point – I’m on the distribution list (at least at the time of this writing) for a few PR firms that have been hired by conservative types to get bloggers to espouse the libertarian, it-ain’t-broke-that-bad-so-don’t-fix-it perspective on health care reform. And they tend to try to scare the crap out of everyone with horror stories of waiting lists in Canada, patients expiring in the UK on transplant lists, and folks with furrin accents invading American hospitals as they try to get kidneys or MRIs or gall bladder surgery without waiting till three years after they’re dead. And these are the reputable folks – there’s also a lot of misinformation circulating in the webosphere about bad Canadian health care”.

Maybe, maybe not. Who really knows after everyone gets their PR firms to slant the facts? But today, while attending an OB appointment, I got a first hand story of Finnish healthcare from our midwife who cares for an ailing 72 year old mother. The discussion centered around whether her mother would be eligible for Medicare as a non-US citizen (the answer is that she can “buy” Medicare Part A and Part B if she has lived in the US for at least five years, is at least 65 years old and has permanent resident status) and whether she would be better cared for here in the United States or under the socialized Finnish system.
Apparently several years back, while the mother was still in Finland, she was hospitalized for a bladder infection. Prior to being admitted, she told the doctors that she was predisposed to such infections and that was the likely cause of her current ailment. Despite her self-diagnosis, this poor lady spent three months in the hospital before being properly diagnosed! The conclusion? No way was this US certified midwife going to send her mother to lanquish back in Finland.
So that’s it, point proved, no further discussion needed on US health policy.
And it was a girl!

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