31 July 2017

US health care - an user opinion


The last week events left a lot of impressions on me, so I decided to write my opinion about health care systems.
I lived in 4 different countries, one of them is the US. Two of them had what right-wing people would call full-on socialized medicine. And the third one had some version of socialized medicine -- basic insurance package was offered to everyone, if you wished more, you buy an additional or different package.
Anyway, from all four healthcare systems, I can tell you that US healthcare is the worse. And it was worse before Obamacare.
I did not have any health issues when I came to the US. I took health insurance as a matter of habit. Years of living in countries with good health systems trained me to go and take preventive care.
So I went to a standard checkup and met surprised doctors, who could not believe I’m there just for preventive care. And guess what, waiting times for appointment were outrageous. I had to schedule an appointment almost a month in advance and then wait for an hour before the nurse started taking my vitals. In so-called socialized medicine systems the longest I had to wait for an appointment was two weeks when I schedule the appointment. And if you do not mind waiting for an unspecified amount of time, one can just do a walk-in. That's what I did in most of the countries with 'socialized' healthcare.
I was annoyed with the whole procedure in the US. So annoyed, when I fell on ice and broke my ribs, I simply did not go to the doctor. I knew from years of experiences with sport's injuries what is an appropriate treatment for broken ribs. So I said f..k it and just dealt with the injury myself. The ribs healed in two months, on schedule. Years before Obamacare even rolled out, I grumbled about how terrible the US system is.
Then I had a car accident and tried to get proper treatment. Boy, that was the worse experience ever. Oh, they did all bunch of tests on me, the expensive ones. I was sent to CAT scan, MRI scan, seen all those expensive machines. But when they realized that the only thing I need is physiotherapy, well, that took time to start. They waited to start physiotherapy almost two months after my accident.
My years of athletic activities and experience with sports injuries (I broke few bones during competitions), taught me that physiotherapy has to start as soon as possible. Once, doctors pushed me to do exercises as soon as my wound formed a scab over it. And it was effective. I recovered in full. But no, US doctors had different ideas.
I have to admit that I had the misfortune to be rear-ended two times. The second accident happened during the roll out of the Obamacare, and boy, nothing much changed. I was disgusted with such overt greed display, so noticeable in faces of medical staff as soon as I would mention traffic accident. I had to fight to receive treatment that was recommended in scientific medical papers. In the end, I was seen by the doctor who bowed to science and allowed me to have just physiotherapy for my knee since surgery was not recommended in my case. And guess what, it worked. Although doctors tried to persuade me to take surgery threatening that I’ll never hike again, I hike now on a regular basis. Science was right, physiotherapy was enough.
So when opponents of Obamacare say that Obamacare made US health system worse, I laugh. When they say that the US had the best health care, I laugh. US healthcare system needs fixing.
Obamacare is the best fix the US could get in current political climate, but I personally think it is not enough. Obamacare was a band-aid, but the truth is, US would benefit from something like health care systems in UK, or Canada. It would be cheaper for citizens and for business in the US. The only ones who would suffer might be health-care and insurance industries, of course.

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