Healthcare perspectives

Although I’m tempted to write a blog post on the current debacle around the Texas legislature’s attempt to remove Women’s choice on abortion, by legislating abortion clinics pretty much out of existence in Texas. I won’t since thats not really healthcare, it’s basic human rights, freedom of choice and freedom of the individual.

I’m heading, this time next week, to my last full distance aka Ironman Triathlon. It’s my last since my right knee is pretty much wrecked, some 36-years after smashing my leg to bits in a motorcycle accident, and some 40-years after having the meniscus removed following a number of soccer injuries. My left knee also shows signs of excessive wear and tear. In 2009 I was referred to Dr Doug Elenz who after looking at x-rays said “a picture is worth a thousand words, I only need six – I don’t know how you run?”. He also said “your right knee needs replacing now, and your left knee soon”. We laughed and joked and I have not seen him since.

So I’ve been considering my options for when I get back. Knee replacement, lot’s of new alternative therapies. A couple of interesting things prompted this blog post though which just show how different things are here in the USA. I checked with a couple of medical insurers websites on type types of treatments available. Here is an example on the Aetna website, it would be nearly impossible to meet these requirements since one or more of the conditions would need to be present in order to make the treatment necessary.

I checked with a friend back in the UK, and yes, provided a Dr referred me to a consultant specialist, and the specialist scheduled the treatment, this would be available free of charge. There may be a waiting list for a hospital bed and surgery.

If I worked for a large multinational, as I did when I was in the UK, I had company provided top-up insurance. Rather than being full health insurance American style, what this did was provide for the things that the UK public healthcare system didn’t. I wouldn’t have had to wait, I would have had a private room. All mostly still at no cost, that’s right, no co-pays none of the other nonsense charges that a US insurance policy mandates.

It wouldn’t be totally free, since the government considered the private insurance a taxable benefit, the value of the insurance was added to my annual income declared by the company to the government tax authorities. So, basic healthcare for everyone, for free. Improved access for those that can afford it or have additional insurance. Both of these come without the panels, expense and charging bureaucracy that are weighing down the US system, the cost and expense mostly actually goes on Heathcare.

The real reason for writing though was an email from a neighbor. He was trying to raise money for his sons’ knee surgery. I’m just left speechless really that average American families have to resort to this sort of thing. Where is the dignity, the respect, the care in a society that allows this to happen?

Everytime I think I understand the American psyche, the societal norms’ something like this comes up and I have to take a step back and accept I just don’t get it.

Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not. – More at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvo-7YrMoK0

Senator Edward M. Kennedy quoted these words of Robert Kennedys in his eulogy for his brother in 1968.The New York Times, June 9, 1968, p. 56