No. of Recommendations: 98
FY, Solarae, and Pos have hit most of it. I'll add this.

I have had HIV often bordering on full blown AIDS since 1979. I am fortunate enough to have been lucky in my immune system (HIV resistant Viking genes from Great Grand Mother?), in job history (primordial highly paid ARPANET hacker while Al Gore and I were only dreaming that it would become the Internet), and in therefore being relatively well off. As a result, I have longtime been a self employed consultant, and well before diagnosis had bought into a premium private health care plan. As of this day I have paid in more than thrice what they have paid out, even with a tough disease like AIDS. I have survived with it since 1979. While I struggled with my own health, and that of aging grandparents and parents, I have also watched 100's -- I am not kidding, I HAVE WATCHED WITH MY EYES, SEATED IN 10'S OF HOSPITALS, 100'S OF PEOPLE I KNEW WELL, STRUGGLE AND MOSTLY DIE -- I know something about health care, and what matters, and what works, and what does not.

For complex reasons, I currently reside in Spain. It became impossible to get my HIV meds shipped from the US without hopelessly difficult logistics. So I sought them out here. I could only get them here if I entered the Spanish health care system. So I did.

Wow. (Another post, long thread, you can find it on the Atheist board). The care here is MUCH better. Not because they spend more on MRI's, or DNA assays, or etc., or because the nurses or docs are more dedicated or knowledgeable, but because they work so hard at investing money and cultural importance in getting the simple yet unglamorous stuff right.

I have finally gotten a billing for the health care I am getting (took me months of badgering -- cases like mine, expatriate with deadly infectious disease but who has insurance/money -- are so rare, and their emphasis on universal care and public health is so strong, that getting a billing was like pulling teeth.) It is about 2/3 of the cost for comparable services in the U.S.

I live in a small Spanish town. When someone gets sick or has troubles of whatever sort, we all know pretty quick. Unlike in even the rather well-to-do neighborhood I lived in in the U.S.; here, getting health care is NOT AN ISSUE, NOT A CONSTANT FEAR WITH ATTENDANT CONSTANT DENIAL. It does not motivate other economic decisions, such as taking or leaving jobs, or moving or not, or marrying or divorcing or not, or having children or not, or staring a new venture or not, or .....

AS to MRI's etc. I do not have stats, but it seems that MRI's do not happen here quickly unless you are wealthy and pay for it -- just like in the U.S. in my experience (or you are a member of some union with goldplated insurance -- a dying breed). However, you would get excellent care very quickly, and if an MRI were to be something that would be COST EFFECTIVE (words inapplicable to the supposedly 'market driven' US system) for your care, you would get one within 8 weeks at worst.

I made my claim about the POSSIBILITY of cutting health care costs while maintaining or improving quality of care based on easily available statistics regarding infant mortality, survival rates for various diseases, "customer" (meaning general population) satisfaction, and etc., as well as my ground level experience here. I have NEVER met a proponent of the bizarre U.S. system except those who have NEVER lived abroad, or who are so wealthy and insulated from everyday people that they simply do not care.

The anti universal health care position in the U.S. has run out of gas, just like the economy has run out of credit, and the energy infrastructure is running out of -- hmmmmmm, yes, running out of gas.

It grieves me to see the U.S., my family's home for three and a half centuries, the pioneer of the human spirit for almost as long, lapse into a strange angry, stupid, reality denying sullen imperial senility. Yet, across the board, that is what seems to be happening. My deeply conservative heart prays that the crackup happens sooner rather than later, so that a reawakening of Spirit and Reality Consciousness can take place while there is still time. But I have had alcoholic and drug addicted friends, and it feels just like that -- hoping for a sufficiently horrible event to cause an awakening before the situation becomes terminal.

Hey, has this become an outlawed political post?

No -- this is a heartfelt riff on Investments in Infrastructure. And there is plenty of blame and shame for all Parties.

david fb
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