Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Socialized Medicine and Me" (With introduction by D.C.)

As most of you know, the whole issue of medical care in the United States is erupting into a big debate over whether to adopt "socialist healthcare" practices (for instance, like the system we have in Canada) or retain their "pay as you go" system. I have already touched on this issue in a previous blog post, but recently, while checking my Facebook, I came across a note that one of friends (who is a philosophy PhD candidate) had something (which I thought was very interesting) to say about the "powder keg" which is the debate surrounding this issue. Here is what he had to say:

Since I've had experience of the British health care system now, I thought I'd throw an anecdote on the pile. Given all the nonsense in the US health care debate right now about death panels and rationing, it seems apt.

I've always gotten headaches, but this April I started having a different kind - the pain was different and in a different location than the ones I used to have. I had a really bad one, and then kept having little ones for about a month. Eventually, I got fed up with being too distracted to read and went to the doctor. I made an appointment for the next morning, a Wednesday. The GP ruled out some of the big scary things (stroke, aneurism) and suggested we consult a specialist. I made an appointment for that Friday. The specialist re-ruled out the big scary things, and was 99% sure about his diagnosis, but figured we should get a MRI just to be safe. If I was still in pain, he said, we'd have done it right then, but since I wasn't, I was on the lowest of the low priority list. I was put on a list, and within a couple of weeks had an appointment for 2 months after my initial visit. When I went in to get the scan done I was actually finished before my scheduled start time. The needle was a pain, but that was it. The doctors confirmed that there is nothing unusual in my head (as for my mind, well, that didn't come up on the scan) and that I'm just susceptible to more than one kind of migraine.

If there were rationing, I wouldn't be getting an MRI at all. If there were serious wait issues, I would still be waiting on the scan. If I was in serious trouble, the scan would have been done right away. Since I'm an international student, I'm covered by the NHS and paid a grand total of £4.80 in bus fare for the whole thing. I'm told I could have gotten an NHS shuttle for free, but couldn't be bothered.

Anyway, I want to go on a nice preachy rant right now, but hopefully the facts of my experience speak for themselves.

P.S. My head's fine, thanks. Well, as fine as it ever was.

(Raymond G. Critch, PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh)

I will let you, the readers, form your own opinions of his text, but I think it speaks very highly of a "socialist healthcare" system. there are many benefits of being able to walk into a hospital and be treated for your ailments without having to mortgage your house. Also, I don't Stalin will be delivering you your flu shots if it is adopted (just thought I'd point that out).