More or Less?

In this environment, are you more interested or less interested in the idea of the healthcare system in the US being nationalized (meaning, administered by the government)?

13 thoughts on “More or Less?

  1. I’ve always thought it was a terrible idea. This isn’t changing my opinion.

    But it is a misleading headline? 6 paragraphs down: “Brigham and Women’s Hospital told the Washington Examiner in a statement that the article is an “opinion piece written by two physicians, not a formal position of the hospital.”

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    1. I think it’s absolutely true that for now these are the ideas of a couple of woke quacks at the hospital. But what are the chances that it won’t become official policy once the system is nationalized?

      By the way, my father still hasn’t been able to see a doctor for his extremely painful kidney stone in the Canadian healthcare system. I’m hoping he’ll manage to get treatment by June.

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      1. Best healthcare we ever got was in Peru. Cost 1/6th of the same care in the US, we loved our docs, and they were allowed to give us advice that would get licenses revoked in the US (i.e. stuff that actually works). We could buy drugs and medical supplies in the corner pharmacy there that it is not even possible to acquire here as a private citizen, and stuff that I have to specialty-order online in the US. Because regulation. I just don’t see more government involvement making any of it better.

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        1. “Best healthcare we ever got was in Peru”

          Before the ‘pandemic’ I couldn’t really complain about the healthcare I got in Poland (though being generally healthy…. helps). It beat what I got in the US (which was essentially nothing since I didn’t have insurance) by many, many lengths.
          I was always able to get what I wanted in a reasonable length of time. The first time I went to my ‘family’ doctor (actually an outpatient clinic at a research hospital). I saw the doctor, explained the problem (sinus infection) was sent for an x-ray, saw the doctor again, got a prescription and a couple of referrals for things I didn’t even ask for and was sent to someone who punched a hole up my nose (a half-second of blinding pain followed by immediate relief). This was all in less than 3 hours or so…
          There’s also a private medical sector that’s priced for the local economy because it’s not controlled by an insurance mafia (the US system).
          But it was running on fumes due to successive governments starving it of funding and will take a loooong time to recover.

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          1. I gave birth while we were there. Part of the reason we made that decision is that we did not have insurance in the US– it would have cost us a minimum of $6k to have the baby at the worst hosptials in the areas near our in-laws at home (and that’s before the billing fraud)(and did not include prenatal care), and a guaranteed $20k+ if anything had gone wrong and I’d needed a C-section (we’d have been crushed by medical debt). We shopped around for prices. When we priced these things out in Lima, we could have a world-class partera, go to a birthing center, and have all prenatal care and childbirth classes included, for about $1,200: we could afford to stay in the country at least another 6 months on the cost savings alone. And if we had an emergency and needed to transfer to a maternity hospital for a c-section or other emergency care, it’d cost us… another $1500. We didn’t have to think very long about that decision.

            Our experience was wonderful, and the quality of care was amazing compared to what I’m used to stateside. Every time I’ve had blood drawn in the US, I’ve had horrible phleb techs who wiggled the needle in my arm, took two or three jabs to find a vein, etc. Never once happened to me in Lima– and I had blood drawn at two different labs, once while severely dehydrated. One stick, almost painless, every time. They must train them better, there.

            We had to purchase all our own medical supplies and take them with us to the casa de naciemento (which was a new experience for me!), but they were all cheap and readily available at the neighborhood botecas: this included a suturing kit, an ampoule of methergine, and a sterile syringe (things probably illegal to buy in US). I also discovered rehydration salts while there: available at every boteca and probably at the supermercado, but I have never seen them retail in the US. They saved me a trip to the hospital during a bout of dysentery, and they are not the same as Gatorate/Sporade– which I puked up immediately. You would think that something so simple, inexpensive, and lifesaving would be available everywhere, but here in the US you have to order them online. Now that I know about them, I stock my first-aid supplies with them, and we use them whenever someone gets a stomach bug. They’ve saved us a lot of misery. All I can think is that Americans are so spoiled that they won’t buy it because they don’t like the taste– and would rather go to the hospital and get an IV than drink the stuff. They seem to be cheap and readily available everywhere else in the world.

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            1. US doctors aren’t trained to do anything but prescribe.

              It gets comical, as when a nurse told me my baby’s heartbeat during pregnancy was abnormal because she was hearing my heartbeat and couldn’t figure out that she was listening to my heart, and not to the baby’s. I had to physically move her hand out of my left armpit where she was trying to locate the baby with zero success.

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              1. Yes, it is sad 😦 Why are Americans paying so much for medical care, when we are getting so little for our money? Why is the training so bad? We are complete dupes. It’s not like there aren’t issues with Peruvian healthcare (access, sky-high c-section rates…), but– it blows the US away on price and quality. My partera taught me how to handle recovering from dysentery. No drugs: real, effective, digestive rehab. Would never have got that from a doc in the US. All they can do is prescribe antibiotics.

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            2. To be honest, many Americans have probably never heard of rehydration salts. It’s not about being spoiled, it’s about not knowing about things that aren’t regularly available on local store shelves. Most people don’t go online looking for things they need to get through stomach bugs–they go straight to the store for quickly-bought staples.

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              1. Yes, but why aren’t they available in stores? I assume it is because they are a tough sell to Americans, and don’t make enough profit to justify the shelf space. We have generally safe drinking water, not as many dangerous GI bugs, and… we prefer drinks that don’t taste like armpit sweat. I have earnestly tried to get friends and family to try rehydration salts when they were suffering from horrifying digestive illnesses, and they flat won’t do it. A) They think it should taste nice (no, you’re supposed to sip it every 3 minutes, if it tasted nice you’d want to chug it), B) They think if it’s a 3rd-world solution then whatever’s available in the US has to be better (eyeroll), and C) They flat-out don’t believe me when I tell them they’ll recover faster this way.

                IMO this is why you can’t buy them here. Not enough customers.

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  2. Even under that terrible race based framework it is likely that the population as a whole would be healthier were the US healthcare system to be nationalised.

    Also imo it’s a bit unfair to criticise the Canadian system for not seeing to a kidney stone as quickly as usual, since the lockdowns caused so many life essential elective surgeries to be postponed.

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    1. A kidney stone diagnosis isn’t an elective surgery, though. It’s a CT scan. And if it’s large enough to warrant surgery, it’s an urgent or emergency surgery, since that means the ureter is blocked and that stone isn’t coming out anytime soon.

      As far as elective surgeries being paused, however, that should have ended around last July or so, when the rest of the world started to ramp up elective surgeries and procedures again. I doubt it’s because of the pandemic. However, it is Canada, and even getting a prenatal ultrasound must be scheduled about a year in advance. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re being dumb about it.

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      1. Where I live, the medical system is similar to that in Canada. Lockdowns, partial lockdowns, partial hospital closures etc have been ongoing. So, elective surgeries, scans of all kinds are stopping, starting, being reprioritised, facilities underutilised, procedures pushed back etc in an ongoing fashion. I assumed that the same kind of thing would happen in Canada’s similar system.

        Regarding kidney stone diagnosis, I am making an assumption but would think that a doctor should be able to get an idea of urgency by telephone, and so be able to at least part way prioritise/assess the need for a consult.

        Then again as you said, it is Canada, which means that someone indifferent and/or idiotic may be involved in running things.

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        1. Where I am, the hospital got sick of losing money. Plus we have well-known treatment centers that were doing absolutely nothing for urgent things like, you know, cancer diagnosis and care, or transplants, so eventually they had to resume standard patient care.

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