Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Notes on socialized medicine

David Seaton's News Links
As an American expatriate long living in Europe, the one thing I think most separates my experience here with that of living in the states is socialized medicine.

I have been spending most of the day the last few days in a large hospital here in Madrid, where my wife has had her second hip replacement operation in the space of a year. Each artificial joint is made of titanium and costs €6000. Add to that the surgeon's fees (she was operated on by the head of the hospital's orthopedic surgery department, one of the top specialists in all of Spain), then there's the anesthesiologist's fee, a week in hospital, nursing, transfusions, etc, etc and the total cost to me is.... nothing... zilch... nada de nada.

I worry about my wife, I worry about the operation, I worry about all kinds of stuff, but I don't worry at all about how I'm going to pay for her operation.... I don't have the fear constantly hanging over my head that our savings will be wiped out or that some private plan will nickel and dime us
literally to death and not give us the care we need when we really need it.

I know so many cases from home of friends of the family and relatives of mine who have worked hard all their lives, been successful in their professions, played by the rules, bought insurance and then have been humiliated by illness and left high and dry by the insurers. I am so grateful not to have worry about that, not even for a moment.

I think that experiencing socialized medicine is what changed me from being a "parlor pink" into really being a person of the left. For me a state that doesn't give its citizens health, education and culture is a fraud and to cut back on those things to spend the money thus "saved" on more and more weapon systems is simply (evil?). DS

1 comment:

kelly said...

A speedy recovery to your wife!

As I slowly put myself through college, paying and working as I went, I had to be taken to the hospital for a few hours... $5,000 later I was set back substantially in my attempt to finish school debt-free. The hospital bill included $7.00 for one regular strength Tylenol, charge for toilet paper I didn't use and $5.00 for some cola beverage they told me I had to drink before being discharged. My student health insurance wouldn't cover any of it - but I knew in comparison to many others I was quite lucky.

I'm glad those days are behind me. I was amazed after the birth of my son, that I could walk out of the hospital with no bills to pay (Germany) - and medications are free until my son is 18.

Michael Moore's next movie will be dealing with exactly this theme. Should be interesting how this my sway pop U.S. opinion.