Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Healthcare in sane countries

An interesting post in Daily Kos, "WORDS YOU'LL NEVER HEAR IN THE CANADIAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM," describes understandings and practices that many American would find utopian. But Canada is not the only example.

Over the years I've lived in Europe and Scandinavia for extended periods.  Each time my family and I were covered by health insurance provided by universities in the U.S.  What was notable, however, was the way in which extracting payment was not part of the drill over there.  When I'd say "We're covered by ..." they'd often say not to worry, that the charge was nominal anyway, and it was.  During a stay in Norway sixteen years ago we took our three young boys to clinics with a variety of minor illnesses.  When we'd ask, "How much do we owe you?" the doctor or person at the desk would say most emphatically, "Children don't pay!"  They were offended by our asking.

The difference comes in defining health care as a public good, equally available to all as a basic right, in contrast to the American understanding that has crept in over the past several decades that health is a profit center for the sellers, a consumer good for those able to pay.  I rank this "industry" second only to our military-industrial complex as a fount of deranged priorities and policies.

- Langdon


  1. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Just so your readers know, I studied medicine in Germany and France, practiced in Canada and now in the states. Your claims are completely false. We receive payment on children and we verify insurance plans (in all three countries) before we diagnose. The only country where we did not treat without verification is the US, however only in an emergency. To the people reading your column---open your eyes! He is lying to you!