Thursday, January 29, 2009

Universal Healthcare

This whole toothpaste business (see 3 posts down) is something special. I really feel like I should be using it to my advantage somehow, like using whether it's blue or red to decide morality-based decisions (needless to say, blue would be the moral choice and red would be the immoral but more advantageous choice.) The red and the blue also lends itself to the Matrix, but I don't think I can use that in practice.

So, Universal Healthcare. I few posts ago I made a point that I can't wait to go to a doctor so I can be let down by the system of Universal Healthcare. Mission Accomplished. After feeling like I needed to see someone as soon as possible, I went to the University center to ask where I could see one. I could only call my doctor between the hours of 4 to 6 on Wednesday, so we went looking for another doctor given it's legal to see any doctor in a Universal Healthcare system. I suggested going to the hospital, but was told unless I was bleeding (which apparently is the key word at hospitals), it might take up to 7 or 8 hours. So, I finally found another doctor. I had a lunch consisting of St. Peter Bakery's small spinach pizza and another Bakery's homemade version of a strawberry poptart.

The doctor's priority in seeing me was making sure I promised not to go to her again. I was assigned a doctor, and even though I'm allowed to see anyone, she gets paid for the visits by HER patients. That's the problem with Universal Healthcare - incentive. I was told by my Danish instructor that in this system, doctors are trying to get you out of their office as soon as they get you in. Which makes sense; they get paid for each head they see, not each head they treat. As Americans, we look to any system that's not our own as more advanced, more utilitarian, less capitalist and of a higher moral degree. Universal Healthcare is none of the above (besides probably less capitalist.) Although healthcare is ''free'' under this system, nothing is free. Somebody has to be paying the doctors: the people. Income taxes are between 50 and 70 per cent here. The people do pay for their doctors, in fact more than the average US citizen, but they get a healthcare system with less incentive, a grouping together of all citizens (which may or may not be a good thing; from my experience yesterday: a bad thing), and a solid dose of bureaucratic bullshit.

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