I was taught all through elementary school and high school that communism, and its first cousin socialism, were failed models. Such a system was said to kill one's incentive to excel by taking from those who produced and giving to lazy slackers--redistributing wealth. The detractors say the idea of socialism is to dumb everything down to the lowest common denominator and attempt to make everyone equal regardless of who earned what. This, of course, appeals to "have nots" and really takes root in societies where there is no middle class. On the other hand, the advocates quote a particular philosopher (Kant?): "The greatest good for the greatest number". |
See, when I was educated in the public school system (which is actually a government school system if we want to be precise) capitalism was proudly recognized as the US system. And why not? We had a track record of uncommon success. After World War II, the Japanese built on the US model courtesy of Douglas MacArthur and W. Edwards Deming, again to uncommon success.
The models of socialism that have existed in my lifetime have track records that feature government control of practically everything including the media, and cowtowing to the squeakiest wheel regardless of right-and-wrong. Actually, there is no right and wrong. Well, to be fair there is some, but most areas are varying shades of gray, which fits well in our (since the 1960s) growing litigitous society. Tell me what lawyers produce? Do we really need one lawyer for every fifty people? Another feature is that all the government controls are for the masses, but not the administrators (mostly lawyers) and/or people who have never worked at a regular job. The political bosses are exceptions to the rule(s). Brings to mind Orwell's "Animal Farm" doesn't it? This came to mind during the recent National Health Care debate when we discovered the politicians wouldn't be subjected to the same system as the rest of us.
Well, what about health care? Is our present system THAT good? (At least we have choice or the illusion of it.) Also, we know anything run by Federal and State governments is terribly inefficient, wasteful, and fraught with sleepy-eyed, don't-give-damn-government workers. Once on the GS system they have something even better than tenure. They can't be fired. I used to work for an international company that had factories all over the world. In socialist countries (like Italy) we had to be very careful during the hiring process because those you hired had a lifetime guarantee no matter poorly how they performed.
So my motto has been: SOCIALISM SUCKS! Unfortunately that's exactly the direction the US is heading, and it's probably too late to do anything about it. On the other hand, maybe neither socialism nor capitalism sucks. Maybe it's our human condition to corrupt any system that sucks.
Okay, I'm a fair guy. So after trashing socialism and the socialistic health care system forced upon us, can we say the present system is better? I'm not talking about those who DO NOT have coverage, which includes me. I'm referring to those who DO have coverage.
The purpose of this article is to present a brief look at two actual cases and let you draw your own conclusion. You may be surprised at the outcome. On one side we have Kate from England, and on the other side Ray from Toledo, Ohio.
Keep in mind there are those who are FOR and those who are AGAINST the National Health Care system forced down our throats by congress. The extremists on both sides predict wonderful / horrible results. Anyway, take a read at two real cases. See what you think.
Kate and her husband, Bob, resided at the Sylvania (Ohio) Senior Center while in the US. She went back to England to have surgery to correct a foot problem. Here is a letter she sent to Ray about how the Nationalized Health Care System took care of her. By the way, her costs were covered 100%.
Dear Ray, The second cast was removed on Tuesday. Surgeon very happy with results. Now in a "moon boot"--looks like a cross between a robot leg and something out of Star Wars, but I can put my weight on it. Still need to use a walking frame for the next month, then go back to see "the man". He said I would have to wear this thing for 6 weeks. I can take it off when I go to bed. The greatest joy is being able to have a bath!!! Glad you were able to get out to California to visit your family. Have you finished your treatment yet?? I've kind of lost the place regarding that. Love, Kate
On April 12 and 15, 2010, Ray wrote back...
Dear Kate, Glad to hear you are semi mobile. Hope you make rapid progress. We are well. I went to California to see my two sons' families--one grandson--at the end of March. Asparagus is up; frost got some of the fruit tree buds. Trying to kill the white pine weevils that keep knocking out the tops of my white pine trees; fungus in the azaleas--and so it goes at the "cow palace" on Holstein Road in Toldeo, Ohio. Finished treatment; just beginning to pay the bills. The US system is nuts. The initial charges are twice the real costs. Medicare agrees to half of what they quote, and pays 80% of that. I pay the remaining 20%. The billing is so weird in that it is all in code. 713 costs $1200 and 432 costs $435 etc, etc.; then the hospital and the physicians (separate company) both bill for the same code as well. Totally incomprehensible. When I call each entity, they cannot explain anything. All they know is code 713 = $1200. I asked the doctors and they claim they don't know anything about the codes. All they know is what procedure they performed. And on and on and on. I hope your system is better. Over here they tell us when the new system kicks in we will have to wait months to get an appointment either to see a doctor or get a procedure. Best wishes, Ray
Dear Ray, Glad to hear you have finished your treatments! The rest of your message sounds like it would drive you round the bend. The prices are astronomical and codes sound weird. I cannot imagine why in this day of computerised systems no one can tell you what the codes mean! Our system is far better. It might take 2 weeks to see someone at first, then the ball gets rolling and things happen. The only time you might have a lengthy wait is if the consult you want to see is unavailable for some reason. Of course, my op had to be delayed due to lack of beds at the hospital--caused by number of accidents during our worst winter in 30 years. Had my op been for a life-threatening condition, I would have been fast-tracked. Just one more reason why I'm glad to be back "home". Regards, Kate
From Ray on April 19...
Dear Kate, It seems you got quick access to the care you needed in England. So my question to you (and one that is ranted and raved about here in the US) is: Has your government refused to treat some of the elderly? As for me, I think spending huge sums on people with an extremely short life expectance is questionable. I have often stated that if I am ill but cannot be returned to an interesting active life, pull the plug. Best, Ray
Dear Ray, To the best of my knowledge, they are treated as needed. There are some cases of cancer patients that have been unable to get some drugs, but they are usually denied because they haven't been proven against their condition. Other than that, they are as well cared for as any other age group. Considering my age is creeping ever higher, I'm glad that the system is working so well. Love, Kate
Both Kate and Ray are octogenarians.
Copyright by Gene Myers
Author of "After Hours: Adventures of an International Businessman"
web site: www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/AfterHours.html
Also available at: www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and borders.com
Coming August 23, 2010 from PublishAmerica: "Songs from Lattys Grove"
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