Sunday, April 1, 2012

Single payer medical coverage … something that pretty much every nation on earth (first or second world nations that is) except for one offers its citizens …

Of course, I am talking about the USA. The one advanced nation that refuses to ensure good health and to eliminate the prospect of going broke or being denied life saving procedures.

Many movies have been made about the issue … for example, the excellent 1997 movie “The Rainmaker,” starring Matt Damon, Danny DeVito and Jon Voigt covers the issue very nicely, A young man is denied coverage right up until he dies. If you have not seen it, it is certainly worth the rental.

Anyway, this evening I was watching this week’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and I was struck by something that his guest said – “We don’t let people die … if you come into an emergency room, you won’t be allowed to die even if you cannot pay … Obamacare just wants to make it formal.”

That’s a slight paraphrase, but that is the gist. What bugged me about that was two things. First, I find it hard to believe that literally everyone gets saved under a system so driven by medicine for pay. But even assuming that it is true that one will not die of the injury that brought one into emergency if one can be saved immediately, that addresses only life and death in emergencies. It does not address denials of life saving treatment, and I would bet that this is the more common situation. People indeed go broke all the time in the USA and they die all the time because they did not get treatment. Insurance driven medicine just works that way.

Now … why did I bother to post this blog entry? After all, who exactly would consider this revelatory?

Well, I consider the fact that even people who bitch constantly about the medical system in the USA (e.g. Bill’s guests this week) can gloss over the real evil in their system. The fact that they continue to run medicine as a for profit business and that this guarantees that the poor will have substandard care.

Even in Canada, where a single payer medical system is well entrenched, the rich and the powerful (politicians and celebrities) have an advantage. They skip queues all the time and they can always fly to the USA and pay for better medical care. So imagine a system that does not even pay lip service to fairness.

And here we arrive at what drove me to put this down in writing.

I cruise web sites in support of my new life style (low carbing for those who missed it) and I like to see what others are up to. For example, some of the weight loss surgery people have had remarkable success with similar diets that are driven by their surgeries (which gave me the idea in the first place, as I have previously written.)

There is a thriving business in Mexico for people from Canada and the USA who either have no insurance, cannot wait for insurance, or want the best doctor they can find (and yes, Mexican doctors have a low kill rate because they have done thousands each.) One story had a woman quoted 20,000 at her local hospital and half that in Mexico, with a better doctor. So she went that way. Her local hospital (clinic) refused to perform after care, but the Mexican hospital lined up her after care (periodic fills to keep her lap-band functioning properly.)

And here we really do arrive at my point. Which I have actually made already … this is just punctuation. She flies this signature on her posts:


That’s just evil. No one should ever have to feel that way about medical procedures that are life saving. Seriously. That’s not “freedom” …