by Peary Perry
time to time, I start my research on some of these columns by calling
a life long friend of mine who is politically a little to the right
of Attila the Hun. I donít mind being conservative but I have found
that if you keep turning too far the right or too far to the left
you will find that you are walking around in circles. No matter, I
still appreciate his opinion and points of view.
Anyway, on my way to Germany a few weeks ago, I had to watch each
and every movie on the way over and back. One of these happened to
be a documentary about the state of our health care in this country.
Since I donít endorse products or people in this column I will not
mention the producer of the film by name. But most of you know who
he is anyway, so it doesnít really matter. Well, I only looked at
it for about fifteen minutes and then decided that I wanted to show
it to my wife once I got back home.
We watched it this past weekend and trust me it will get your blood
pressure up and make you think. Now, my Attila friend pointed out
that he doesnít trust anything the film maker says so he refuses to
watch anything he has made or will make in the future. My thought
is there has to be some element of truth in the film, so if you disregard
90% of the information, there is still enough to get you mad at what
these people were going through.
decided to look up some information to see if any
of the facts in the film were true or false. I found that healthcare
for each citizen in this country costs $4178 per person per year as
compared to people in the United Kingdom where it costs $1783 to keep
them healthy. Our infant mortality rate is 7.2% per 1000 births, the
highest of the top 14 countries on the report. We are 37th in the
world in overall performance of our healthcare. Our life expectancy
is 70 years, Japan is 74.5. We are 24th in terms of life expectancy
in the world. The World Health Organization ranks the US between Costa
Rica (#36) and Slovenia (#38).
Now, as far as Iím concerned this is just plain wrong. Here we are
the most prosperous country in the world and we canít take care of
our own people. Weíve got to look into changing this system. Sure
parts of the film are political, but you have to think some of the
examples really are accurate. My friend argued with me that the healthcare
in Canada was really bad and the film was inaccurate. Yesterday I
spoke to a young man in Montrťal, and I asked him how long it took
for him to see a doctor if he needed to do so. He said it was a matter
of walking into a doctorís office (of his choice) and asking to see
one. If he needed an operation, then it must be scheduled, but it
wasnít like he had to wait six months of a year to get any kind of
treatment, and oh yes, it was free.
Free? Several months ago, I signed up for Medicare. Iíve paid into
it ever since it came out twenty or thirty years ago. So, now I have
to pay for it out of social security as well as the plan D and the
drug part. In addition to the social security deduction, they take
more Medicare out of my check where I am now working, so that means,
Iíve paid for it and am still paying for it and I guess I will keep
on paying for it as long as I am working. All total itís about fifty
bucks a month less than I was paying when I was on private PPO insurance.
We are a nation of problem solvers, we should be able to step up to
the plate and solve something like this in a fashion that will benefit
everyone and not cause the entire country to go broke. Other countries
around the world are doing it, why canít we? If itís because of the
insurance companies, then we should do something to stop their influence
of our congress. If itís the drug companies, then we should do the
same. This is ridiculous and a national disgrace. Itís time we pulled
our collective heads out of the sand or wherever they have been and
look around the world and see what other people are doing and how
they are doing it. We need accurate and fair information about healthcare
systems and costs in other countries without any political spin or
input. This is not a problem that is going to go away, you and I need
to be able to walk into a hospital, see a doctor, get treated like
an American should be treated and walkout without having to mortgage
our homes or declare bankruptcy.
Think about it, watch this documentary, I donít like this guyís political
views but I think he has hit on a subject that rings true for all
of us. We better stand up and listen before itís too late.