A letter for healthcare change.


<<< My two younger brothers died from cancer in the last couple of years. Around Christmas time my last brother died and had so much medical debt when he left this earth their home is being forclosed on and his widow is being kicked to the streets. She has not had to work since they were married for almost forty years because he always had good paying jobs and business on the side. He left no life insurance because he had to borrow from it for the last couple years to keep their home. What is she going to do? It’s a real shame things come to this when we could at least begin to fix problems. There are hundreds of thousands of stories about people having life changing things happen because of our lack of an efficient health care system.>>>

You don’t seem to grasp the mathematic improbability that a government could survive trying to fund such things.

“Free” government health care is the MOST expensive in the WORLD. The “free” system in Russia costs 35% of Russia’s GDP, and each year it still gets WORSE, with the average life expectancy of a Russian man now down to 58 years.

The simple fact is that if your brother did NOT have assets and insurance, etc., to fund such things, he would have gotten NO treatment at all, because the government would have cut him off at about $10,000 (which would STILL bankrupt the entire government).

A Russian friend’s wife, a gynecologist, invited me and my American friend to her office, which we gladly accepted. On the way down the snow swept street, we decided to stop at the post office to get stamps. That required us to get at the end of a line which snaked around the streets for several blocks. After waiting so patiently in the blowing snow for what seems like an hour, it was finally our turn to ask for stamps, only to learn that they had run out yesterday. Oh, well, at least we didn’t have to wait in another line which was even longer than the one to the post office. Except it turns out that this was the line to HER office. You cannot imagine the glares we got when we went to the front of this line, even though we were simply accompanying her to the office.

This is exactly what we found in her office: a SMALL filing cabinet, a table (not a desk), three chairs, and a telephone. Because there were two American visitors there, we took turns sharing one chair, she sat in the other chair, and each of the hundreds of patients who came in sat in the third chair. Nobody seemed to be bothered that two obvious Americans were there—they were just too excited to have finally been able to just SEE her. The “doctor’s visits” were very brisk, with everyone obviously aware of the hundreds of people waiting behind them. One woman came in looking really sad, and after just a few minutes with the gynecologist, went away with the biggest smile we had seen all day. So at dinner that night, both of us wanted to ask her what kind of good news would have made her so happy. It wasn’t hard for her to remember which patient that was, because she was literally the only one who seemed so happy.

A. She had cancer.

Q. Cancer?

A. Yes.

Q. So she was happy she had cancer?

A. No, I told her she didn’t have cancer.

Q. [two jaws hanging to the table] Why would you tell her that?

A. I’m required by law to tell her that, and there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.

Q. Don’t you tell her children or husband or parents?

A. We can’t. It’s against the law.

Q. So nobody will ever tell her or her relatives that she has cancer, and she won’t receive any treatment for it?

A. No. There’s no treatment for it, it would be too time consuming to get others involved, and there’s no money allocated for cancer research, drugs, or equipment.

Q. [to others at the table] How can you accept such a contradiction in the duty of doctors to their patients, where lying to them becomes a social norm or public mandate?

A. All shoulders shrugged in agreement with the doctor’s account].

So there you have it. The ultimate efficiency of single payer health care. The cheaper we can make it, the better off are the people who’re expected to pay for it. The less interaction there is between doctor and patient, the less we manage drugs and equipment, more efficient the health care system.

John Knight

Ps—at least your brothers’ doctors told them they had cancer, something no Russian is now offered the luxury of under their “free” health care program.

From: whatnowgop [mailto:whatnowgop@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2010 2:03 AM
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Subject: Re: A letter for healthcare change.

My two younger brothers died from cancer in the last couple of years. Around Christmas time my last brother died and had so much medical debt when he left this earth their home is being forclosed on and his widow is being kicked to the streets. She has not had to work since they were married for almost forty years because he always had good paying jobs and business on the side. He left no life insurance because he had to borrow from it for the last couple years to keep their home. What is she going to do? It’s a real shame things come to this when we could at least begin to fix problems. There are hundreds of thousands of stories about people having life changing things happen because of our lack of an efficient health care system.

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