Monday, August 17, 2009

This I know.

August 17, Indian River.

I listened in dismay this morning to the news of the Obama administration's willingness to drop the public option from the health-care bill now making its way through Congress.
As chance has it, later on in the day I picked up a book I'd left aside for a while, "Paris to the Moon," a series of essays about the life of an American in Paris, by New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnick, and started to read.
A few lines down I came upon this: "Early in December Luke fell terribly sick (...) We packed him off to his pediatrician (...then) to the Necker hospital for an emergency workup (...) It was only after we had left the hospital that we realized that not only had we not paid a penny but that no one had asked us to show our insurance, fill out a form, or do any of the other standard, humiliating things that happen to our American friends with sick children. Nor had any of the procedures had to be run by the profit-and-loss manager of an HMO. This is socialized medicine, of course, which the insurance companies have patriotically kept Americans from suffering under."
We know best what we experience. So this I know: when my father was diagnosed with cancer and along the more than ten years that he survived and fought the disease with an army of dedicated surgeons and specialists, not once did he have to wait for treatment, not once did he complain about the lack of appropriate, latest and best tests and drugs, and always he was treated with humanity and compassion.
My father was a conservative all his life and liked to complain about the high rate of taxes in his country - until he fell sick, and had the luxury of being treated not only without spending a dime but more importantly without having the added stress of having to worry about being able to afford care.
This I also know: my mother has been going to the doctor of her choice for decades, and the only thing between her and him is now a lasting friendship.


Jim Royal said...

Beverly and I went to work with a circus in England in 1982. Shortly after we arrived, she had to go to the local emergency room. There was no waiting and no questions. The doctor who treated her was not rushed and spent plenty of time with her. At the end, we explained that we were US citizens, no problem - no charge. We ended up living and working in the UK and Ireland for almost 14 years and used the National Health Service many times. In 1986 we started a circus with Phillip and Carol Gandey. All of our employees had full medical, as did we. They were paid well, and we made a profit. "Socialized Medicine", where do I sign up?

Valérie Berta Torales said...

And I didn't add the cost of a mammogram for an uninsured woman in the U.S. ($1,600 in my case) and its French counterpart, free mammogram as part of a preventive medicine national priority.
When will Americans be educated about the reality of health-care issues and stop being so manipulated by powerful lobbies serving their narrow interests?