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Some thoughts about healthcare

September 10th, 2009 at 04:28 pm

I heard the President's speech about the healthcare reform last night. I'm from a country with government health care. So, I will share my experience what it's like.

First of all, it is NOT free. Everybody pays in, just like SSN tax we pay. And, just like SSN, employers pay 50% and employees' share is 50%. I don't remember how much I was paying, but it depends on how much people make. People pay more if they make mroe, and people pay less if they make less.

There is one government agency, and it administers all health issues. And here's what people get.

- When kids are in school: A group of doctors and nurses come to school once a year. It is called physical check up day and everyone participates. Each student have "health record book" and it has record of results from annual check up day from K - 12. Nurses measure students' height, weight, check their basic health condition, anything critical for children's health. This check up includes dental and vision. If the student show any kind of warning signal, a doctor will write up a letter and it will be sent to parents so that the parents will make an appointment with their doctor. This annual health check up is done no charge to students.

- After people get jobs: Grown up version of annual physical check up is provided by companies. Again, a group of nurses and doctors come to our office once a year and give us physical check up, including measuring blood pressure, taking x-ray, etc. People over 30 years old are sent to stomach cancer screening (because Japan has high stomach cancer rate), and people over 35 years old are sent to what they call "Human doc" for very thorough physical. This is part of employees' benefit, thus, no charge.

- For housewives and self-employed: Local government (such as cities and towns) have medical office where similar service are offered to people who cannot take advantage of employees' benefits like above. These local medical offices also provide parenthood classes for pregnant women and their husbands, and issue "Mother and child" book so that we can keep health record of both mother and the baby.

- When you get sick, you can go to any doctor you want. There's no such thing that you need to choose your doctor. If you get sick when you're traveling and found a doctor by shopping mall, you can walk in and receive a treatment by showing your insurance card. The cost is the same no matter where you go. Different doctor may prescribe different medicine, but the difference of amount is nothing to fuss about. When I went to see a doctor when I got sick, the most I paid was like $10 or so.

- My cost of hospitalization when I had C-section was about $3,000. (well, it was like 18 years ago... but still...) It was a private hospital. I had my own room, three gourmet meals provided every day, my own shower, and I was there for 10 days. (Normally, people stay in hospital about 4 to 5 days for normal delivery.)

I won't say their system is perfect. There are problems including rising cost due to fast pace of graying society. However, I've never heard anyone filing bankruptcy due to medical bill. And, people live for a long time over there.

7 Responses to “Some thoughts about healthcare”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    Very interesting! It's not really what Obama's proposing; sounds like you had one big plan, whereas the public option we hopefully get will merely compete with insurance companies to try to bring some of their ludicrous charges down. But it's good to know a government option can be so good. Actually our current government plans (for military, senior citizens and government workers) are said to be pretty great by most people I've heard from.

  3. Nika Says:

    I am so for public option!!!

  4. Jerry Says:

    Yes, thank you for sharing your perspective. I am all for universal health insurance. It is time. More than time. If we don't do something, it will lead to disaster.
    Jerry

  5. Nika Says:

    Universal health care would be the right thing to do.

    But if they are having so much opposition to even public option, there is no hope for universal. Frown(((

  6. fern Says:

    We've got to have a public option to control costs. The problem with private companies running the show is that profit will always be their #1 priority. When it comes to our health, health should be our #1 priority.

  7. Jerry Says:

    The other thing that I notice is that it seems the only public health care programs people are talking about are in Canada and Great Britain. I don't know where maismom is from, but there are countries with very successful health systems that cover everyone and still use health insurance companies... Holland and Austria jump to mind. Why is nobody talking about how these countries lead it to work? Maismom, what country is your experience from, may I ask?
    Jerry

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