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I have several friends in Canada, where there is "socialised medicine."  They are appalled to hear of the quality of care that I receive as an HMO member.  Nothing in their experience matches the disdain w/which the US insurance/HMO cartel treats patients, the opacity and inefficiency of the bureaucracy, etc. Their paperwork is simple and they do not report excessive waits for services.  Nor do they fear that any illness in the family may lead to bankruptcy, as many American families must.  IMHO the HMO experience is a taste of Fully Corporatised Medicine, which is not quite the same thing as socialised. :-)

And what of those who cannot afford the high premiums for "business class" health insurance?  They should just resign themselves to inadequate care, or no care?

I read a while back that an astonishing percentage of health care expenditure -- more than half of the notorious 30 percent admin overhead -- in the US was dedicated to the denial of health care, i.e. gatekeeping, screening out patients, exhaustive analysis of "savings opportunities", etc.  The author of the article (which I will try to find) contended that the money spent on denial and gatekeeping was almost adequate to provide care for the people who were being screened out -- a typical case of "spending a buck in order to save a buck" ...though of course what this really means is diverting an enormous cash flow into the pockets of middle managers, accountants, financial analysts and the elite upper management of private insurance firms, so it's more like "stealing a buck in order to steal a buck" -- that is, if we accept the fundamental premise that the purpose of a health care system is to provide health care, not to enrich elites or provide permanent job security for unproductive paper pushers.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Oct 13th, 2005 at 09:22:30 PM EST
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