American Health Care; Vew from Afar
I received the following email from an expat friend of mine from college who now lives in Israel:
I thought of you when I read this, and would be interested to hear your take on it. (I'm one of those pessimistic types that think that America's health care problems will only begin to be cured when a majority of the public realize that their "insurers" are truly robber barons. Guillotining comes to mind as an option. But that's just me.) Trying to sound rational I usually say that it's high time the US took a look around at countries that have dealt successfully with providing health care (Denmark springs to mind) -- but I doubt the American political system or the American voter are ready for that.My response:
Yeah, don't get me started on all that "Patient Centered Medical Home" shit. Basically, it's a way to get large impersonal multispecialty practices to work like me, from the patient's perspective (ie, everything they say they want to accomplish is precisely what I'm already doing).
As for systems in other countries, forget it. You know what the main problem is with American health care? Americans. If you could magically impose any other country's health care system on the US, I guarantee it would crash and burn in 6 months. Mostly because of the unparalleled litigiousness found here, but also because of patients' generally unreasonable expectations of medical care, coupled with an appalling refusal to take responsibility for modifiable lifestyle factors.
So yeah, if everyone recognized that the "insurance companies" are basically robber barons, and made rational decisions in their own financial best interests (which would involve paying cash for quite inexpensive primary care, true insurance for catastrophic illness, and programmed savings for end-of-life care (a la retirement)) then sure, we'd be fine. Just remember that this is a country of Limbaugh dittoheads who think Sarah Palin has more than two functional neurons in addition to a hyperfunctional uterus [edited to add] and left-wing nanny-staters who think it's their civic duty to wipe everyone's ass from cradle to grave. Believe me, there are times when guillotining sounds downright sensible to me too.