Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quick Question

Watch this video and then tell me: if you don't support universal public coverage (hello, Mary Landrieu!), what do you suggest this woman do?

ps. Dear Democrats and Obama,

Until I see some serious effort on this issue -- and also some follow-through on all those pesky little promises you've been making to gay Americans over the past few years while you've been taking all their money, I'll be sitting on the sidelines. Okthanksbye!


june said...

Never have understood the opposition to UHC when everyone loves Medicare. The arguments put out in opposition are lame!

Keera said...

At least Obama got to explain why sending an uninsured to the ER is no solution.

IMO, however, he/the US has to get rid of the health insurance companies altogether. The reason UHC works in Europe is because it is _not_ competing with the private sector in providing basic and general care. UHC _dominates_.

In Norway, you can get some things done at private clinics but it is all elective or non-life-critical treatment/surgery. In Norway, health insurance helps get you get the private clinic option if the public one has too long a wait, and it can help pay for expenses that may come afterward, like having to remodel your home to accommodate a wheelchair. It is not supposed to be the door-opener to see a GP about a cough. That's just overkill and truly bureaucratic.

Lucy said...

Correct me if I am wrong, since it has been a few years since I was in Norway (OK, ten), but they also have a very different cultural attitude about illness altogether. They do not have OTC medications, and if you are sick, you do not take cold pills and go to work, school, stay home and rest until you get better. Of course they have medical and leave benefits that are also based on this assumption.

People do not run to ER or doc for colds and sniffles, unless there is some underlying complicating reason. VERY different from our take-a-pill-for-everything-culture. Just open a mag and look at the drug advertising. To my knowledge the the drug industry has not taken a hold of the health care industry and public the way it has here - also TV is far less popular. Fewer hospital shows, and TV drug commercials (spare me from those insipid Viagra commericals , pullleze).

I think the problem here in the US goes beyond just what payment system is most affordable in our economic climate, most efficient, and most effective. It also reflects our cultural attitudes towards illness, treatment, and social welfare. And to many, Medicare is example of that icky communistic welfare type system. Like Norway.

Keera said...

Ah, Lucy, sounds like you're suffering from some of the delusions I've had about Norwegians and their health. The truth is quite different and reports this year have been shattering a number of myths even Norwegians have believed. For example, they are now one of the most sedentary people in Europe, which may explain how we've managed to start catching up to the US in obesity. Yes, 2/3 of Norwegians are overweight.

Since you were here, they've started selling OTC analgesics in grocery stores, and there are more OTC drugs in the drug store.

The difference in attitude re illness has to do with having paid sick days. You have up to 4 "self-reporting" sick periods in a year, totally 12 days max. Beyond that, you must have a doctor's notice. The abuse of anti-biotics to treat flu symptoms has been pretty rampant here, too. The docs here will happily prescribe a drug and send you on your merry way. Just recently, a report was published that stated that 2 out of 3 Norwegians use prescription drugs, and usually more than one. I use none, and am horrified at such a statistic. Pharma advertises directly to doctors (and they are mere humans to are swayed) but ads of any kind for prescription meds are banned (thank heavens; when I was in the US last year, those ads were the most annoying thing ever!). That doesn't mean people don't find out; one huge problem is that Norwegians are buying stuff over the internet without knowing what they're getting. We've had our first diet pill scare, with a woman ending up in the hospital with liver damage.

The Norwegian government wants to turn the system around from treatment-focused to prevention-focused. Too many are turning into diabetics or in need of dialysis.

I'll will tell you one good thing about the US: A lot of people do focus on preventive medicine out of necessity - like not having health insurance - and that's a good attitude to have even with insurance.

Lucy said...

Wow - that is interesting. Thanks for the update. As I said it has been a long time since I was there. Guesss its time to go back and do more research!

I see that the internet is becoming as pernicious an influence as TV, maybe worse since TV just rots your mind while the internet actually gives you means to you have described.