One of the great things about Twitter is that although you can’t possibly keep an eye on everything, every now and then something flies past that you never would have seen otherwise.
This weekend this extraordinary post caught my eye: How I lost my fear of Universal Health Care. Please read this earnest young mom’s experience. It starts:
When I moved to Canada in 2008, I was a die-hard conservative Republican. So when I found out that we were going to be covered by Canada’s Universal Health Care, I was somewhat disgusted. This meant we couldn’t choose our own health coverage, or even opt out if we wanted to.
I’ve always preferred to stay out of political spitting contests (to put it mildly), because I can’t function when wild accusations fly around. Heck, everything I’ve seen says most people don’t actually know what’s in the health reform law. And besides, what I’m about is patient engagement, not politics. I believe people should be actively engaged and responsible in health and care, and that society should enable that, not block it.
So what I need is real-world examples of how things work out when people try to get care and try to be responsible for their families’ health.
And this young mother relates what she found when she moved to the land of universal care. Partway through the post, she writes –
I started to feel differently about Universal government mandated and regulated Health care. I realized how many times my family had avoided hospital care because of our lack of coverage. When I mentioned to Canadians that I had been in a car accident as a teen and hadn’t gone into the hospital, they were shocked! Here, you always went to the hospital, just in case. And the back issue I had since the accident would have been helped by prescribed chiropractic care which would have been at no cost to me.
When I asked for prayers for my little brother who had been burned in a camping accident, they were all puzzled why the story did not include immediately rushing him to the hospital. When they asked me to clarify and I explained that many people in the States are not insured and they try to put off medical care unless absolutely needed, they literally could not comprehend such a thing.
Read the rest of it, please. It’s just one person on her own journey through life. What she describes matches what I would have expected – after all, prevention costs less than repair – but it makes a difference to hear what a skeptic found.
p.s. It turns out her whole site is an amazing journal of personal inquiry and growth – see “Why I Blog” and her other posts if you want to explore.
p.p.s. Re what’s in America’s reform bill: I’m at a meeting in DC where I just learned from Lance Kilpatrick of AARP that their Health Law Guide asks a few questions and then shows you the parts that are most relevant for you.
Bernard Farrell says
Great post, having health care changes everything. Generally for the better. I wish folks would also read this NY Times opinion piece Five Obamacare Myths.
I live in Massachusetts. When RomneyCare was introduced there I didn’t have to:
Change insurance company
Pay for a socialized plan
The reality of universal healthcare is very far removed from some of the misconceptions that folks are spreading about it. That’s a shame.
Perhaps the biggest misconception that people have about the ACA is that its universal health care. Well…its actually not! From a systems approach, it cannot be described as universal care. It just creates the environment for more people to become insured.
Indeed, prevention is much cheaper than repair.
Glad to hear that an American starts to discover the value of the social insurance! The Canadian healthcare system has a lot in common with most European healthcare systems, where everyone in a job is insured and healthcare is available through a network of hospitals, community healthcare centers, contracted doctors. And yes, it did not cost me anything many years ago, to be followed by an obstetrician during pregnancy nor to deliver my daughter in Montreal, nor to have physiotherapy after delivery for back pain…
The question now, however is not to see the differences between the problematic American hc system and those (Canadian, European, and other) offering more to patients but whether these countries will be able to support these healthcare systems under the growing economic crisis. Everywhere, there are articles, presentations, books about the soaring costs of healthcare, with particular accent on the cost of cancer care.
It should not go unnoticed that only in a year the cost of cancer care was featured and questioned in the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress in Stockholm last September, in San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in San Antonio, Texas last December, in National Clinical Oncology Congress in Greece, in ASCO in May, just to name only those few I attended or had access to pres…..
In the meantime, many social insurance benefits granted to cancer patients/survivors in Greece, Spain, Portugal have been or are in the way to be abolished or curtailed, as the need to drastically reduce the state expenditure dictates cuts in healthcare unheard of before…
So, of course the Universal Health Care is a blessing where it exists and Canada had, hope it continues to have, a good healthcare system. Of course, nothing hinders anyone who wants to see a private doctor or receive private hospital care, to do so, if he has the money or insurance to do so..
John Murphy says
“So, of course the Universal Health Care is a blessing where it exists and Canada had, hope it continues to have, a good healthcare system.”
Canadians pay $3800 per person per year to provide proper health care to everyone.
Americans pay $7900 per person per year to to leave 40% of Americans with inadequate or no health care.
The main difference between the two amounts is the extra cost of 1) insurance companies 2) extra staff (and cost) which physicians and hospitals must pay (and bill) to cover the added bureaucracy of dealing with insurance companies (which do not occur with single payer)
Michael Campos says
I agree that ObamaCare is not universal health care but it’s one step
closer to it, isn’t it? There are a lot of people who desperately
need to be insured in this country and that’s their only hope, isn’t it?
I don’t know if this Affordable Care Act will cripple our economy but
when people are sick, they should never be afraid to seeing a doctor,
especially in the United States, the most powerful country in the world. If Canada can, why can’t we?
e-Patient Dave says
I’m no genius on health policy, but I can sure say this:
Having worked with people now in almost a dozen countries, who all have BETTER health outcomes than the U.S., at lower costs, I can definitely say that they either laugh about our stupid system (stupid as in bad quality, poor coverage and high cost) or they look at us sadly, as in “Why are you doing this to yourselves?”