Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Care Reform Follies

The wiseguys at fivethirtyeight.com have the funniest explanation of the difference between single-payer insurance and government-provided health care that you will ever see, in a posting called Not All Socialist Countries are Alike. They manage to work in a photo of poutine, to give you an idea.

Meanwhile, we've been treated to the spectacle of people showing up at health care town halls to demand that the government stay out of Medicare. Yes, you've got that right: some of your fellow citizens don't understand that the federal government provides health insurance to all Americans over 65. It's single-payer insurance for our older citizens.

Lastly, a friend called to my attention the spectacle of an editorial making the claim that under the British health care system, which rations health care in various conscious ways (unlike the US, where we ration irrationally and with no transparency), the physicist Stephen Hawking, who has had amyotropic lateral sclerosis for many years, "wouldn't have had a chance" under British health care.

Dear editorialist: Do your homework. Hawking, the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, was born in Oxford and has lived in Great Britain for his entire life. He has clearly gotten excellent health care.


Hamster said...

My wife and I are in our 60's
We are self employed
My wife has a pacemaker
I am in good health
We have Blue Shield
The most affordable policy we could find at our age was their PPO 4000/8000 plan
Our monthly premiums are $920 per month..
Our deductible is $4000 per year per person.

Terrigble insurance but all we could afford. So basically we are "self insured" since we pay for everything up to $8000 per year...X rays , medications, oprations and doctor visits (over 3 a year)
I've tried everything I can think of to get our premiums down. Even looked into a small group plan.

It's gotten to the point that we've started going to Thailand for medical care
For the past 4 years we've been saving up all our medical and dental problems and making a 3 week visit to a Thai hospital where the care is excellent and the cost...just a fraction of what I would have to pay out of pocket in the US. For example, last November I had an Endoscopic balloon dilation for a condition known as dysphagia. The specialist in the US said the operation would cost me $2500. (His bill for the 15 minute consultation was $250.) I decided to wait until I got to Thailand and had it done in at Chulalonkorn public hospital...cost $100 including biopsy, (all I needed for ID was my US passport. No questions asked!!)

If anyone out there can't afford health insurance, you might consider going abroad. India, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Costa Rica....many countries around the world are gearing up for a flood of Americans without adequate health insurance

Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm sorry. Another very clear example of why single-payer or government-provided health care would be better than the patchwork mess we have now.

Riva said...

This is interesting. My question is, are CATS covered under family health care plan?

Lisa Hirsch said...

lol, I WISH, especially since one of my cats has an eye injury that is requiring repeated progress checks at the vet.