At first I wanted to comment this over at Libby’s post but I figured it would be too one-sided of an argument to be really beneficial in the comment section. Hence, I decided to put this up as a post on my own blog, in response to her post on the evangelical letter to 2012.
As someone who enjoys the benefits of socialized medicine, here are some things I can assure you.
1. There are in no way whatsoever problems treating the elderly. Nobody, no matter how old you are, is refused care. Nobody. You may deny receiving care. But you won’t be denied if it’s necessary. There is no euthanasia in the form of simply not treating people (though there is a discussion about letting people decide if they wish to die if their condition is deadly at that point, or if their life seems unbearable to them – as in, assisted suicide, see switzerland)
2. I do not know the waiting times for surgery, but I do know that someone with a life threatening condition (aka cancer) will be prefered over the patients with non-life threatening needs (hip surgery, for example). I personally feel that I’d rather have someone’s life saved asap than me getting a hip replacement asap. But maybe that’s just the social little me.
3. Rural areas do in fact have issues with doctors and specialists, especially waiting times. Now, how’s the situation in rural US? The same? Thought so. That just comes with living far away from civilisation.
4. I personally have never suffered extended waits to see specialists. The longest was two weeks for a checkup I demanded. My eye doctor squeezed me in within 2 days. Gyns (no emergency) is 2-7 days wait. A neurologist my friend saw had a wait of 3 weeks (very hard to get appointments).
5. Health care providers don’t approve treatments. Doctors do. Health care decides if they’ll pay for it. Doctors know how it works, they will warn you if it’s not covered. I had one case of that so far – I wanted to get an experimental treatment which was not proven to work. That’s why my health care doesn’t cover it (because it’s not proven to work). I ended up paying 200 Euros (150 for the meds, 50 for the doc for treating me). A bargain if you ask me. And it did work. I informed my provider.
I’m not saying it’s the perfect system. Every system has it’s issues. But the problem is simply, are we a society which believes in helping others when they can’t help themselves, or are we a society which believes in social Darwinism? The poor die because they’re useless to society anyway?
Imagine you were a doctor, the only person around after a plane crash. There are tons of injured, some life threatening. Imagine one of the injured would offer you $1000 dollars for helping him first. Imagine another one with ‘only’ a broken leg would offer you $2000 to help him first. Would you do that? Would you treat the ones who can offer you a lot of money first? Would you let a person burn alive because he’s only got $10? Would you fix up broken legs while watching someone bleed to death because that person can’t pay you as much?
If that bleeding person offered to sell his house and go into dept to pay you enough to help him – would you let him do that? Would you allow for people to ruin their lives so they can buy your help?
Would you give better care to the rich, and only basic care to the poor? If you had to personally decide, would you?
Let me ask you another question. Do you think it’s fair that the US invests billions to ‘free’ other countries, while refusing to treat their own society? Do you think it is righteous to use altruistic slogans such as “freeing the people of XY” while telling your own people to fend for themselves?
It’s not like I’m against helping other nations and people. But if you want to go around telling people how to do shit properly, maybe start cleaning in front of your own house first.
Is it not funny that when the US set up the new government in Germany after WW2, they did not forget to set up a proper health care system? That they thought that “a good health of the German people was essential for democracy”? (quote from here, translation by me)
Well how come that good health for everyone doesn’t seem beneficial for American democracy then? Oh well. I’m left puzzled.
As far as I know Libby is quite the scholar in history, so maybe she can help me (and others) out on health politics the US followed when it comes to helping other countries.