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In the U.S. capitalist system we have what we call appointments… and wait even longer.

and pay more…

and get less…

and die younger…

and our babies die more often…


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Comment Preferences

  •  In the NHS, you could always see a doctor (12+ / 0-)

    the same day. At your GP practice they had an urgent care clinic every afternoon, or you could try and show up early in the morning -- and every NHS trust also had a walk-in clinic, in addition to the urgent care facility at the hospital.

    I've never waited less for care in the UK, and more in the US.

    •  Americans need to hear this more... (6+ / 0-)

      if we are going to move the President and Congress in the right direction.

    •  Waiting lists? In America? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      From a diary I wrote on this topic a while back:

      First, go ahead and set up a ‘socialized’ health care system that grants every citizen a ‘first come, first serve’ right to the scarcest of elective services.  If nothing else were done, this type of system would force the richest citizens in the country to wait in line just like everyone else.  (That is, of course, precisely the nightmare that most rich people fear would be their fate if Socialized Medicine were to come to America.)  But might there not be a way we can use the marketplace to fix this little problem?

      Here is my proposal: Have the 'list managers' create a market that gives those with high positions on a list (those with the shortest waiting times) an opportunity to trade their places in line with those who are lower on the list for some kind of mutually agreed upon compensation.  If I'm rather poor and have only a week to wait for my knee replacement surgery, I might be willing to trade my position in line with a very wealthy citizen who might otherwise have to wait for 6 months if she can offer me some amount of money that would adequately compensate me for enduring the additional months of pain.

      Other health care ‘privileges’ that could be auctioned off: the next available kidney, becoming the next patient of one of the best doctors in the country, etc.  I suspect some kind of internet-based bidding system could be set up that would be a bit more dignified than Ebay.  Understand that when it comes to emergency services, the financial resources of the patient are usually a secondary consideration (not a variable usually considered during triage decisions). We consider seriously wounded people to have an equal right to the best care that is immediately available. My proposal would simply extend that kind of moral reasoning to the provision of scarce non-emergency medical services.

      And so we would finally have a health care system that is fair.  My prediction, however, is that we would still end up with essentially the same result that we have today: the wealthiest members of society would still obtain the best medical care on the planet; they’d just be paying a bit more expensive premium for the privilege. The big difference, of course, is that the poor would get compensated directly for accepting poorer quality medical care, instead of simply being relegated to that fate by an uncaring society.

  •  We could "off shore" our health care system (8+ / 0-)

    to Canada and get more for less .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:27:12 PM PST

    •  I live in Canada. (7+ / 0-)

      I made an appointment today to see my family doctor, to re up a prescription for pain killers (after knee replacement surgery).

      He's really busy, so I can't get in until Monday morning.

      Getting to see a primary care physician is not what waiting lists are about; they're about the wait to have surgery done after being referred to a specialist.

      The government publishes lists of waiting times for each surgeon in the province that I live in (so, presumably, one could pick the surgeon with the shortest waiting list.
      Personally, I avoid the guys with the shortest list; there's a reason they don't have a long list of patients waiting.)

      I injured my knee, the last time, in March 2010. I had knee replacement surgery in October of this year. I could have had it done in June but I didn't want to be recovering during the summer.

      So, that's a wait of a little over two years. My surgery was complicated by the fact that I have allergies to nickel, meaning I would need a titanium prosthetic instead of the typical nickel containing prosthetic.

      The nickel allergy added a year to the wait list because there are only a few surgeons in the province who have expertise in titanium knee replacements.

      Yes, we have waiting lists.

      •  You know this is starting to sound like bragging . (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, cotterperson, ExStr8

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:43:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  With a 2-year wait time, ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I wonder what the related suicide rate is.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:48:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Could have had it in June? (0+ / 0-)

        See, this will likely have been recorded statistically as a delay in the system, when it was in fact your decision to delay it until after the summer!

        I think this kind of delay might be common.

        As an American who has lived in Canada since 1997, I had carpal tunnel release surgery this summer after a wait of only about 4 weeks. The reason I got a call is that, according to the surgeon, everyone who was ahead of me, when first called, opted for a later date in the fall so their summer activity would not be impacted by recovering from the surgery.

        So, not being a big beach volleyball player, I happily took the slot. Went back to work the same day, mainly because it wasn't my dominant hand, and I work as a fairly sedentary designer at a printshop where my wife and I are the sole employees. I didn't want her to have to spend the day alone. :-)

        You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
        - Jessica Mitford

        by Swampfoot on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:31:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My friend waited for over 3 months (12+ / 0-)

    for a doctor and hospital to treat his prostate cancer.  3 months right here in the good ole USA!  Don't believe all the horror story's about waits and the like in Canada or some other "European style" health care country.  If you have a heart attack in Canada, you will be able to go to the emergency room for treatment, straight away, same thing here in America.  Seeing a doctor for some other kind of service that is non essential, you got a wait dude, no matter where you are, except for Europe.  Europe has private as well as public systems.  The private system was designed so that you could use it for simple stuff, get in and get out.  If you have heart problems or cancer or the like, you do not use the private system, you use the public one.

    •  That is very interesting. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not knowing anything about the European system you refer to, I would have thought that the private/public use would be the opposite of what you describe: public for the little things and private for the big, read expensive, things. But that is how it would work in America. It would be designed with a supply and demand model in mind. We love to make sure our wealthy get the good stuff.

  •  Generally (16+ / 0-)

    ... in the Canadian system you get seen based on the priority of you condition, not on the size of your wallet. Obviously those with big wallets are sometimes a bit upset.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:39:38 PM PST

  •  And you won't even see a doctor (6+ / 0-)

    You see a nurse who is essentially following a punch-out card.

    It's a disgrace. It is a total scam.

    Just remember that in America, doctors/medicine is a leading cause of death.

    In 2000.

    In 2012.

    Before, between and into the future.

    Not that there isn't good being done here among the negligence, but in general its a disgrace.

  •  no 'healthy living' appointments for 2 months (0+ / 0-)

    I had to change doctors this year because we participate in a cost-reducing program through the insurance network. we take an online assessment about our health-impacting habits and get a physical health eval annually, due by a certain date each year.  apparently they have too many ppl going for it and not enough slots at the massive medical ctr and I only gave them a couple months notice so my fault for not calling sooner I guess.  

    sometimes I spend more time reading the comments than the diaries. no offense to diarists: thanks for the launch pad.

    by dunnjen on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:02:39 AM PST

  •  Lived in both systems (3+ / 0-)

    My experience with both health care systems (Canada and the US ) has been instructive.

    Almost never a prolonged wait (> week) to see a family doctor, and Urgent Care clinics available same day in both systems.

    I've experienced waits in both systems to see specialists.

    In Canada, prolonged waits for elective surgery and diagnostic imaging for non-life threatening conditions (back pain, knee ligaments). In the US, same day service for an MRI or CT scan, laparoscopic or other day surgery, colonoscopy, scheduled within the week.

    A family member in Canada had cancer, in to see an oncologist the same week as their family doctor suspected something was wrong, MRI PET scan the following week, superb care, great follow up care, total cost for two years of almost daily treatment - in the 100's of dollars for copays.

    In the US, working in that sector, I've seen families with insurance rack up $100,000+ debts and sell their homes for the same level of care because of lifetime limits (pre - Obamacare) and have seen patients make the decision to forego or discontinue care, knowing that treatment had a >60% chance of achieving remission, because of the financial ruin it would cause their families.

    There are very few people in this country who can put aside the kind of money it would take to cover the costs of dealing with a serious illness (maybe the top 5%), which is why I cannot understand why working class people oppose universal health care.

    The Canadian system is far from perfect (several family members who work in the system will attest to that loud and long) but it does provide a basic level of health care to all citizens/residents at a cost substantially less than what it costs the US to provide care to 2/3 of the population.

  •  no question about it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My sister would probably have died in the US health care system; instead, she's in Israel, where they discovered something about her heart that American doctors never did. She's had a valve replacement, and the care she received was outstanding.
    It was weird hearing about all those Canadian "horror stories." No one I know in Canada has ever had to wait for anything, even a specialist.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 05:56:15 AM PST

  •  Cuba (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Canada doesn't have illegal wars or Corporate Welfare to pay for.

    So many Canadians have the money for Medical Tourism to Cuba.

    No matter what was wrong with me, recuperating on the beach at Varadero with the topless European women would make me feel better.

  •  3-month wait to get pain management injects. (0+ / 0-)

    Chronic pain isn't regarded as urgent, evidently.

    I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
    NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
    Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:41:47 AM PST

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