Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Meanderings - Mainly about health care

Not to make y'all jealous or anything but I just put some fresh cannelloni into the oven. They're filled with beef and vegetables and covered in a tomato mushroom sauce. Tina and I picked them up at our favorite fresh pasta place on our way home from downtown. A very satisfying supper along with salad using fresh lettuce from the garden.

I know you hate me right now. But I can live with it. While I stuff my face with fresh pasta.

The car had some issues over the weekend. It's always SOMETHING it seems. Ivan was afraid we'd have to get the alternator rebuilt but when he took it to the mechanic this morning, he said it was just the belt and he could have it ready by noon. Ivan was heading out of town with a friend so it fell upon me to pick up the car.

It rained earlier in the morning and felt much cooler so I decided a pleasant walk was in order. About a block from home I started to feel a touch of moisture in the air; not rain exactly but definitely something wet. A few more blocks and the moisture was thicker, more apparent, like a fine Irish mist (you have to say that last bit with a brogue, rolling it off the tongue -- mine sounds more Scottish than Irish but who's to know since I feel like I'm just talking to myself anyway). I picked up the pace for the remaining ten to twelve blocks, arriving a scant two minutes or so before the downpour hit.

The car was finished but still inside which made it really nice since I didn't have to get wet getting in. By the time I drove home the rain had let up a little and I didn't get too soaked between the car and the house.

So thankful for the rain! Not only is it cooling things off but that lake still needs a LOT of water before it's back to normal.

I wish Americans could get a taste of the REAL national health care in other countries, and not the oh-how-happy-we are-because-everyone-is-covered illusion. Ivan took a friend with prostrate issues to the hospital on Saturday because he was in so much pain. The only doctor on duty, a young female, REFUSED TO EXAMINE HIM. She gave him a prescription for anti-inflammatory medicine and sent him home. Come on! Are you kidding me?! If you have a problem examining the male anatomy, you have no business in medicine! How ridiculous is that?! We felt so badly for our friend.

Most people pay for additional health insurance so they can go to 'private' clinics, which are a step up from the public health care facilities but not by much.  How would you ladies like to go for your annual PAP smear and be asked to disrobe but not be given an ugly gown or even a large piece of paper to cover you during the exam? And that's in a 'private' clinic. Guess who's waiting until she's stateside before she gets another one of those?

Yes, medical expenses are lower. But you know what? You get what you pay for.

Or take the situation with my glasses. Went to the optometrist, then took the prescription to an optical store to order glasses, but when they came in they weren't right. Back to the optometrist who checked and said the prescription is right so we return to the store. Now we're waiting to hear what the lab has to say... The system here seems so disconnected; I prefer the all-in-one process in the U.S.: you choose your frames or contacts through your doctor and they make sure they fit well, and all is good. None of this back-and-forth business.

I've decided to try contacts again, so  I called my optometrist back in Michigan this morning with some questions and he spent a good 20 minutes on the phone going over my history and giving me some great information I needed so I can order contacts.

I'm not trying to be an "ugly American" who thinks that we do everything the "right" way but in this case, I really do think our health care in the U.S. is light years better than anything else we've experienced overseas. In my humble opinion the problem in America is with our litigious nature and settlement cases getting completely out of hand so that insurance rates for doctors skyrocketed and so did the price of medical treatment.

When I was expecting Tina twenty-four years ago, we lived in south Florida; Broward County to be exact. My OB-GYN told me at my first appointment that he "didn't do babies" -- meaning he delivered only, and he required a pediatrician be on hand, in the delivery room, to take over from there. State law required a secondary surgeon also be on hand, so when Tina was born the operating room was filled with three doctors, the anesthesiologist, several nurses, me and Ivan. The reason for the overcrowding? Through-the-roof insurance premiums had shut down most of the OB-GYNs in the area and made the remaining few a little "gun shy" -- hence mine was willing to handle the delivery but not the baby once she was born.

I get a little worked up on the subject. Can you tell?

We've experienced medicine in a third world country (Uganda, East Africa) as well as here and in the U.S. I'm sold on our system. Maybe I've been spoiled by having great doctors and, for-the-most-part, good experiences with health care in the U.S. I've always been to doctors in clean, well-stocked offices and hospitals, and been cared for by professionals who did their job well and with a smile on their face. What's not to love?

So what's been your experience? U.S. or otherwise?


Mari said...

You got a little worked up, but for a good cause. I agree with what you said. I have a friend from Canada and her Dad has been going through some real problems with their health care. As a nurse here, I see how difficult it is to deal with all the government regulations we have now, and I hate to think what it could be with a new health plan.

Kelly L said...

Great post and I could not agree with you more - you nailed it.

Love to you

Betty said...

We have another option all together. In our town, we didn´t even have "public" insurance when my grandparents moved here. They were left all on their own. So what came from that is a totally private hospital and health insurance. I think it can compare to the US or Canada. We actually get much quicker responses from our Doctors, because we are such a small community. I´m very thankful we don´t have to go the "public" route very often, only in really serious cases.

rita said...

I remember the total disrobing for PAP and breast exams in Europe. Ugh!
Yes, I am totally jealous of your garden and peaches (haven't mentioned them in a while).
Glad for the rain!

Kay said...

I've heard of the 'not being given anything to hide under' thing with pap tests overseas. I think that is just too strange! Do women take something to cover with, or is it just the norm to just sit there completely nekkid?

2Thinks said...

We've had some issues with health care for our son, who aged out of our policy recently, but still we get by better than most, as you seem to say here.

Christy said...

Kim, it's so helpful to hear from someone actually experiencing "national" health care. I know the US' has flaws, mainly the lawyers that you mentioned, but I wouldn't want any other system. (And yes, I'm jealous of your pasta.)