Private Health Care - Bleh

This afternoon as i was trying to pass some time at work i scanned the news page and noticed that Obama's health care bill was passed in the US. I'm not going to pretend i know too much about the bill, but from an Aussie perspective it seems like a big step in the right direction. (Nor do i know too much about the Canadian system either).

I have bad kidneys, and last August while we were in the US on our honeymoon i ended up in hospital. St Vincents in Manhattan was my home for a bit during that trip. Before we had left we had taken out traveller's medical insurance. Even though I knew that the insurance was a must, i never expected to actually need it - i was picturing people avoiding million dollar bills for being air lifted off a moutain in the middle of nowhere. The first shock i got was when my husband called the reception of our hotel in New York, and asked their opinion on how to find a doctor. They said they would send the hotel doctor to our room within the hour. She was the most lovely lady who dumped out her supplies onto the bed from her Louis Vuitton carry bag. She sat with me for 10 minutes, gave me 1 injection and then passed over the $700 bill. Husband had to run to the teller machine for the cash there and then (fair enough, we were international travellers).

Over the next couple of days she visited me 2 more times at the hotel ($750) before arranging for me to get into a medical imaging appointment ($950) and then when that failed she sent a taxi ($20) to take me to St Vincents. While in St Vincents ($2400) i had some great doctors who kept saying to me that if i was to stay in the US and have them treat me surgically it would cost many more thousands, and that i was much better off to get home to Australia and seek treatment. The insurance company also had to re-book our flights back to LA ($450) and put Husband up in a hotel while i was in hospital ($550). They eventually doped me up on Oxycondone ($50) and gave the airline clearance to fly me home where i sought the treatment i needed.

This exact same process of doctor appointments, medical imaging and hospitalisation has happened at home quite a few times over the years and the total amount i have paid is $0. I won't forget the doctor's who were treating me and kept saying they hoped the Obama health reforms would be approved, so today i am thinking of them and hoping they are smiling.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ozi - I could not agree with you more. This is truly a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

If we can't provide health care for everyone on the planet, as well as feed, shelter and clothe everyone, then we have no hope as a species. Well done Ozi.

Anonymous said...

this is what domestic americans will overlook a lot of times when not taking the entire picture in - a perfect example of what could happen to someone visiting the US. what if Ozi had not had the money? what then?

Anonymous said...

GP!!! Very well said.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise - a bunch of socialists read and write for this blog.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Classy comment.

Anonymous said...

Lobbyists are the only ones who don't want public health care.

Anonymous said...

Put all the red tape aside - health care for one and all, worldwide, regardless of who it is, should be the goal... in my opinion. Nice to see that it's finally happened in the States. And you can say it took too long, and it did, BUT... better late than never, especially since it looked like it wouldn't happen at all for a while there.

If we could do the same to make sure that everyone, worldwide, was also fed, clothed, and sheltered - the world would be a better place. Period.

Anonymous said...

GP Ozi!!! Well said.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, fuck it, let's socialize health care. We can become Switzerland II.

B-Rush said...

This may seem an ignorant comment here but...

Can somebody explain to me exactly WHAT is wrong with the idea of universal healthcare?

Other than those who profit from healthcare now, I can't see why it's a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

It's not a bad thing. At all.

Anonymous said...

khahahahaha, puppets

Mizzle said...

I don't think I can comprehend global health care. I'm not trying to piss anyone off, but think about the magnitude of such an operation. Global? Where would the funding come from?

I know your thought about how doctors make too much and these items cost too much. That's obvious by looking at Ozi's health bills while in the states. But imagine how many people are in the world, and how many people would require medical help.

Now ask who is going to pay for it? Would you be willing to lose even more off your paycheck so that everyone has medical coverage?

The reality is some people in 3rd (or worse) world countries, don't have enough money to pay into a medical plan. So the money is going to have to come from places with more money. Which means probably you (the reader) will have to shell out some more cash. I say you the reader because you have a computer, and an internet connection, and a wall... with a plug on it... that has electricity. Which means to me you have money available.

Not to mention the facilities that would be required to perform a lot of the medical treatments. And this wouldn't be making a hospital in the industrial zone where we have some extra land kicking around near a new over-pass. I'm talking about a hospital by that creek that is only a creek twice a year. Where that tree/bush was that one time.

How about the doctors and the surgeons and the techs. Have you ever gone to the doctors office and said "wow he/she was a terrible doctor." or "I can't believe that guy passed high school nevermind x-ray tech". Look at the websites on the internet about your local doctors. You can actually go on there and rate them, and comment on their abilities, there are several with VERY bad reviews. Now imagine that we needed to double or triple the amount of doctors within the next couple of years. The talent pool is going to start going down further.

Would you then have to pay one doctor more then the other for his living or working conditions. Try to tell a doctor that his co-workers will stay in their office off the coast in California somewhere while he's getting assigned to some 3rd world country for the same pay.

Yeah yeah, you think I'm some ignorant asshole. I'm not doubting your worldly desires. And I don't think it's a terrible thing that someone like Ozi can get help for a serious condition. I would love it for everyone to have healthcare available to them. But what I'm saying is it's easy to sit here and say how good it would be. But can you actually imagine what would have to go down for this to become any sort of reality? What would be the cost and would we all be willing or able to hand it over?

I'm not puffing up my feathers trying to act like some huge mogul in the healthcare industry, you probably know and care more about it then I do.

And if you are willing to pay more for others to have it then that's great too. If you aren't, so what, you're currently doing what is asked for your share.

I don't love or hate either side of this argument, I just want you to imagine with me, what would really have to go down to provide GLOBAL healthcare.

Don't be confused, I didn't say first world healthcare, and I didn't say first world healthcare for you first worlder in a 3rd world country. I mean GLOBAL. Canada = U.S.A = Zambia = Uganda = Australia. That would be a large undertaking.

Anonymous said...

I agree Mizzle. But I think it'd be worth it.... is it unrealistic? Yeah. But I think that's what's sad - is that it IS that unrealistic.

Anonymous said...

as a country and a continent now im glad we have it. but I wish that everyone else had it to. your right mizz, because its unrealistic and isnt going to happen in ourlifetime. but thats whats sad. as a species we should be helping each other up with stuff like this, and with food and shelter like bad said.

if only.

Anonymous said...

if only!

gp ozi!

Ozi-Style said...

Interesting comments. I guess from my life experiences i've grown up in a country where we always have had a government overseen health care service. Every Australian who pays tax pays about $400 every year out of that towards covering the Nation's health.

Private health care is a relatively new concept here. There aren't all that many providers, and it seems to be the more well off people who pay for health care.

I think there isn't a single solution to global healthcare, and of course that's hugely unfortunate for the majority of the world's population.

Bottom line 1 person helped and better off is a step in the right direction, so the 35 million people in the US that will be better off with these reforms is 35 million reasons to smile today.

The idea that business can be so heavily involved in people's health leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

If only!

RIP privatized health care

Anonymous said...

GP to Jader and Ozi!