My father has lived on both sides of the coverage debate. In Colombia, much of the rural poor have no concept of health insurance as anything more than some extra cash or assets to give to the doctor if you are hurt. A story he told involved a trip when he took my mother to meet his family and she was shocked to see a chicken in the doctor’s office. He later explained to her that the woman with the chicken was going to pay the doctor with it for her treatment. He thinks this less formal system of payments and billing is far superior to the current U.S. system of co-pays and deductibles and HMOs and Gold Optical Care options (and more insurance nonsense) even though it is quite primitive by U.S. standards (evidenced by my mother’s surprise). He is currently covered by the state employees’ health care plan and pays extra for a higher level of coverage as well as for coverage of his dependents (most notably me). He thought it very important to contrast the way doctors are chosen in America vs. La...
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... be uninsured. My parents have always worked to keep us covered and have insured that my future insurance is taken care of, at least to the point when I stop being financially dependent on them. So the messier side of American health care is not really visible to me. I’ve never forgone a visit to the doctor for a serious problem because I could not pay nor have I gone more than year or two without a checkup and regular dental visits. I believe a large aspect of the problem is the isolation of each level of health care. Those receiving it are not made aware of the problems facing those who cannot afford it and those who cannot afford it are often badly informed of what they could or should be getting. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and so preventative medicine must be more classless, as it is the more efficient side of medicine.
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