Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Health Care Woes

An article that appeared in USA TODAY got me to thinking about health care and the virtual crisis faced by millions of people in the US and South Africa.

Many of those folk suffer on as the respective governments seem to dither on about restructuring their health care systems.

The USA Today article describes the fate of retired Americans who live in Mexico to have access to affordable health care. The article starts:
MEXICO CITY — It sounds almost too good to be true: a health care plan with no limits, no deductibles, free medicines, tests, X-rays, eyeglasses, even dental work — all for a flat fee of $250 or less a year.

To get it, you just have to move to Mexico.

As the United States debates an overhaul of its health care system, thousands of American retirees in Mexico have quietly found a solution of their own, signing up for the health care plan run by the Mexican Social Security Institute.

The system has flaws, the facilities aren't cutting-edge, and the deal may not last long because the Mexican government said in a recent report that it is "notorious" for losing money. But for now, retirees say they're getting a bargain.

"It was one of the primary reasons I moved here," said Judy Harvey of Prescott Valley, who now lives in Alamos, Sonora. "I couldn't afford health care in the United States. … To me, this is the best system that there is."
Read the rest of the article here.

The article says that it is "unclear" how many Americans use the IMSS even as it sounds a warning from Mexican authorities that if the number grows significantly it will be a huge problem.

Americans are no doubt fed up with the way things are. The Obama administration is seen by some to be dragging its feet on the issue of universal health care and the debates over there can be described as fierce.

My good friend and fellow blogger, Dade, has written an excellent post on the matter that you can read here.

In South Africa the contours of the debate is not much different in essence. Like the US, we do not have universal health care coverage.

That is about to change, it seems.

President Zuma's government intends to create a National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme to achieve the principle of affordable universal health care.

The proposal is not without its detractors, most of them can be found in the private health care sector.

Nontheless, the government is determined to move ahead and the noise from the private sector is likely to subside as the terrain is redefined.

The NHI proposal comes at a time when there are serious questions about South Africa's health care system. See for example an exhaustive collection of related articles that currently appears in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet.

I remain hopeful at this stage. What other option is there?

I have no health care insurance even though I am employed full-time in a permanent position. My employer rather deducts a significant amount of money for a life insurance scheme that I cannot decline.

Maybe there is sense in this option. Maybe. Just recently I read an investigative report that says many private health insurance schemes are hardly even covering routine care.

We are in trouble hey.

Sadly I know it is just a matter of time until my ass will be burned (again) and I will have to fork out big bucks just to get a measure of decent health care.

As it stands now I pay out of pocket each month for costly insulin and other medication related to the blood clots that almost sent me to that playground in the sky a few months ago.

What the hell is going on hey? Universal health care should be a primary political right ... or is that just more pie in the sky thinking?


Picture Credit


Eugene said...

Crazy, enit! I made a post about the shit Obama is trying to pass off as health care and that it is basically designed so that no matter what, the private insurers win. If it loses, those who want universal health care struggle from the bottom again. If it wins, it will be so crappy that all those who thought that universal health care might be nice will think it is crap and...INSURANCE COMPANIES WIN!

It amazes me how Michael Moore can take a glimpse of half a dozen people WITH health insurance being literally murdered by their insurance company in his movie, "Sicko," and still, no one really gives a shit. This adds to that recent study about folks believing the big lie. Governments don't lie, churches don't lie, cops don't lie, etc., however, so-and-so health care activist is a liar even if they are telling the truth. Humans!

Ridwan said...

Crazy it is brother Eugene.

In the end folks die while bureacraps fight over this and that and bean counters collude ...

My head hurts and I have no damn health insurance.

Best wishes to you Eugene.