Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

American Exceptionalism

What I could say of the conference is multiple and various, but one important theme is that the Europeans and Canadians here think we're completely nucking futz. To whit . . .

I attended a talk yesterday in which the investigator reported on surveying cancer patients about out of pocket costs. How much could they pay, how much did they pay, how was it affecting them financially and emotionally, yadda yadda yadda. As you might expect, the answers are not so much, more than they had, and disastrously. (Average cost: $600/mo. Top cost: tens of thousands of dollars a month. Average education: grade 12.)

A guy from Germany or the Netherlands or someplace -- you know, one of those totalitarian dungeons -- said basically WTF? In my country, in all of Europe, nobody who has cancer pays a penny. The speaker was nonplussed. What, you don't even have a copay? No no, the guy said. We might have a conversation over whether it's still worth it if the person is going to die anyway, but of course they don't have to pay. Why should they? They have cancer for heaven's sake!

Makes sense to me. Back in the U -- S-- S-- A one thing the confluence of government shutdown and opening of health insurance exchanges has accomplished is that it has forced the corporate media, against their will, to explain what's going on. Err, okay, the idea is that if you don't have health insurance and you haven't been able to get it because you couldn't afford it or you are disqualified by your diagnosis of pinky spasm, now you can get online and find good, cheap health insurance. Therefore you and your children and grandchildren are no longer free. Or something. Meanwhile people are having their regular doctor appointments and the doctor is telling Granny, no, there isn't any death panel and your Medicare is just the same as ever, except now your prescription drug coverage is better. Even if the doctor is a teabagger, what else is he gonna say? There isn't anything else.

So as far as I can tell this can't end well for Ted Cruz. But I don't prognosticate. We'll see.

1 comment:

Don Quixote said...

So many Amurricans living in Plato's Cave . . .