Health Care Reform, Public Opinion, and Personal Experience as Information

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2 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    The Health Care system needs much more than just financial considerations and availability.

    Much more needs to be done to see that the professionals providing the care are actually qualified professionals and they are using their skills to HEAL, not just line their own pockets at the expense of hurting others.

    In addition to my own bad experiences attempting to gain quality care, as well as others whom I know and thousands of others seen on the internet, I’ve recently been emailed a link to a new blog with a story far worse than my own, and he/she has apparently only begun to tell their tale. There was a bit in his/her tale that reminded me of several known situations, so perhaps it might spark some recognition and contribute to any venue of improvement:
    http://enoughdangit.blogspot.com/ .

    Something must be done.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    Apropos of anecdotal evidence: I lived in California until early 2007. I was self-employed, and used an asthma inhaler slightly more than 1x per 2 weeks, including an inhaled steroid. (I’ve had asthma for > 40 years, and have never been hospitalized.) For a while I had COBRA coverage from my previous employer, for which I paid > $1,200 per month (preferred provider plan). After that ran out, I was DENIED all health insurance coverage I tried to get on my own, because of my asthma. Best I could get was to get on waiting list for “indigent” coverage; at the time, wait was about 4 years.

    Cut to Japan, where I now live. A couple days after entering on valid visa, I got national health insurance coverage (“public option”). Cost ~US$50/month (¥4,700). Later that year, I had trouble with my leg; walked (limped) into neighborhood clinic. Doctor who examined me was head of orthopedic surgery at best med school in Tokyo region. I had full blood panel, X-ray, two office consultations. My co-pay: ~US$30.

    As asthma sufferer in Tokyo, cost of care for asthma = US$0.00, thanks to class-action settlement that set up privately-funded program with contributions from various polluting companies.

    Also, within the last 6 months, my wife’s aunt had coronary bypass surgery with mandatory 30-day stay in hospital. Her co-pay for surgery and stay: ~US$2,920 (¥280,000). My wife’s company’s president had back surgery earlier this month. His cost for surgery and 1-week stay in hospital: ~US$1,060 (¥100,000).

    BTW, ambulances here are free (cf. $4,000 ambulance charge paid by a friend of ours to get from downtown San Jose to Stanford Hospital). And most doctors here oppose cutting back on health care benefits.

    I’m happy to hear that so many Americans are satisfied with their healthcare. I’m satisfied with mine, too. Personally, I’d still be happy with it if my co-pays went up by 40% or even 100%, though I expect that the endowment effect you mention will make that politically difficult in Japan, despite the huge gap in relative prices compared to US.