Monday, December 17, 2012

Steyn: The Doctor Won't See You Now

In this piece, Mark Steyn comments on the future of American health care.

 *Spoiler alert: HEAD FOR THE HILLS!!!!*

Americans really have no idea what they are in for, but I've lived in two countries now that have socialized medicine-Canada and Israel. Israel at least has a private system as well, so you can purchase additional coverage if you like. Their socialized system is also stretched to the wire. There was a doctor's strike last year and a nursing strike a few days ago. It's a mess.

Here in Ontario, almost 50% of our province's GDP is spent on health care. As Lefty likes to say, it's "unsustainable".

Americans have no idea what it means to have to wait months and months to see a specialist or for specialized (read: expensive) tests.

I've gotten quite expert at navigating the system, but I started out with an advantage-a doctor in the family.

(Hi Dad!!!)

Plus, I've cultivated relationships with the nurses, the receptionists-the works.

As Steyn points out, Americans have to deal with massive levels of bureaucracy with their insurers-no wonder people doctors are going back to a simpler system-patient pays doctor directly for service.

Anyway, the whole essay is great, but actually this part was my favourite.

"It's a good thing the email is secure at American pharmacies because nothing else is. Last Christmas, while guest-hosting at Fox News in New York, I had a spot of ill health and went to pick up a prescription at Duane Reade on Sixth Avenue."

"The woman ahead of me was having some difficulties. She was a stylish lady d'un certain age, and she caught my wandering eye. After prolonged consultation with the computer, the "pharmacist" informed her (and the rest of us within earshot) that her insurer had approved her Ortho but denied her Valtrex."

"I was thinking of asking her for cocktails at the Plaza, when I noticed the other women in line tittering. It seems that Ortho is a birth-control pill, and Valtrex is a herpes medication. So good luck retaining any meaningful doctor-patient confidentiality in a system in which more people – insurers, employers, government commissars, TSA Obergropinf├╝hrers, federal incentive-program auditors – will be able to access your medical records than in any other nation on Earth."

America in a nutshell.