I've done it again, hired a documentary . . I watched Sicko . . hey the video shop has 4 for the price of 2 so I was pressured at the checkout to get another one.
Now firstly, I am VERY aware of Michael Moore's bias but this one wasn't quite as glib as Farenheit except for the Cuban stunt which was clearly done for dramatic purposes but it did make a point. What it brought to bear was the idea of socialised medicine, universal medicine vs pay your way. I'm not going to bash Americans here because 250 million of them have insurance and feel safely cocooned that they're covered for everything as long as they don't have a prior record of yeast infections. (For the record, a client of ours had a skiing accident and had she not been covered for a broken leg would have been charged $25,000 American Dollars for the surgery) It is clear that American citizens need to read the fine print very carefully and I've never, never heard of an insurance company 'changing their mind' after granting cover "oops, sorry, we found out that you scraped your knee in 1975 so you don't quality for a knee replacement".
It emphasised the principle that those who can, look after those who can't and I'm a strong proponent of that philosophy. Does that make me a socialist. I think not, I think it's human nature to help those in need or in a position of disadvantage.
I was very impressed by the bonus system offered to particularly British and French doctors for assisting in preventing disease. Now there's a revolutionary concept. I can't find out whether that exists here as we move towards a two tier health system.
In Australia, if I'm in a car accident or experience an emergency trauma and cannot pay - I don't. I choose to have health insurance because it guarantees the hospital and doctor of my choice for elective or non emergency surgery. Both my mother and my husband died in hospital after being rushed by intensive care ambulance and treated with every resource available. There was no bill even though we were covered.
If I'm all smashed up on Windsor Road, I'll likely be taken to Westmead or Blacktown but nobody will refuse to treat me, charge me through the nose or dump me on the street because I cannot pay.
What really interested me about this doco was France, Canada and Britain. They all have an NHS type system as do we (only more expansive $10 for a prescription of anything which exists here but PBS prescriptions are set at $25) but the French also offer Government sponsored child care and nanny assistance to new mothers. Six month paid maternity leave, five weeks annual leave and even a week to enjoy your honeymoon. Last time I looked, the French economy isn't suffering too badly for all it's social security payouts. Sure they, like us, pay higher taxes to cover the expense but I really like the idea that people look after other people who are less fortunate, it's the foundation of all religion and simple humanity.
I don't understand the anti-socialistic paranoia of the Americans. Well actually I can because their electoral system relies solely on donations to get candidates up. Therein lie the seeds for corruption and influence right in your face! Canada has a free health service. America's health service is inching above that of Slovinia! Patients are declined for the silliest of reasons.
Oz is in the top ten countries for health care, given a small population of only 20 million and the gargantuan size of the place, that's not half bad but we are in grave danger of following the US model. I found the absolute paranoia of the US government over many years amazing. They've never fought a war on home soil (except against each other), 7/11 terrible as it was has been blown out of all proportion and billions spent on defense, space stations, war, fucking Hollywood movies! Yet they don't look after their own in the simplest region of public health. According to the documentary in 1948 Britain, torn to pieces after the ravages of war, announced the NHS . . "if we can spend millions on war, why can't we spend millions on infrastructure and health?"
What was interesting about France is that it's people still have the verve to protest. They won't tolerate a government that doesn't serve their interests. In Australia, much like America we have lost that sense of public protest we have become lazy and complacent. We have an 'I'm alright Jack' and "not in my back yard" (NIMBY) attitude. How does a nation get to the point that they 'believe' what they're fed. The French have a reputation for being arrogant and dissident. Perhaps Australia and America should adopt that stance instead of just taking what's dished out to us. An affluent lifestyle has made us lazy and complacent.
I'd be interested to hear what my Northern Irish friends have to say about their health system as opposed to the Republic which appears to be in tatters. I am so glad that ClareBear is travelling on a British Passport and can access their system if she gets into trouble.
Bottom line - those who are capable, need to look after those who aren't. Pharmaceutical and health providers need to stop looking at their bottom line. This is not the province of a 'nanny state' this is simple human kindness to take care of those who can't take care of themselves. Health and Education are rights not privilidges and both should be free. And don't even get me started on the cost of AIDS medication to Africa. . .or the price of medicines for the chronically ill like Diabetes sufferers, asthmatics etc. How much can a bunch of chemicals cost?