Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heal the sick and bind up the broken hearted

On Mike Bird's blog there has been some interesting discussion about a Christian perspective on the question of the government providing health care.
One issue that gets debated is about the quality of the current US system versus government systems elsewhere in the world.
I thought I might add my own limited personal experience and perspective. My wife is from the US and I lived for 10 years in the US. We had one child in the US and one in Australia. I would be the first to acknowledge that the US has the best university system in the world and that Australia's health care system has serious problems. Hence, I am not America bashing!

However, I find claims that the US health care system is the best in the world debatable, even for middle class families. When we had our first child in the US most decisions did not appear to be motivated by what would be best for the mother and baby, but rather what procedures and practises would minimise the chance of litigation (e.g., unneccessary proceduces and precautions), what could make the hospital money (e.g., billing for unnecessary services and products), save the insurance company money (e.g., discharge from hospital after 24 hours, incredibly breif consultations with the obstetrician where she stood with her hand on the door knob the whole time!) . Having the second child in Australia was completely different and so much more laid back.

The above issues only pertain to the efficiency and quality of the provision of health care to middle class families. The much more serious questions and issues are those about access and quality of health care for the poor and uninsured.

"The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them."

Ezekiel 34:4 (English Standard Version)

1 comment:

  1. I'm uninsured in America. My husband has asthma, and so his only hope for medical insurance lies in finding work that also provides medical insurance. Private insurance is not even an option for someone with a condition like asthma. We have to pay cash, of which we have little, if we want to see a doctor. We have to pay cash for prescriptions, which means my husband can only afford the inhaler, not the meds that actually control the problem. This means we don't go to the doctor unless it appears to be something very straightforward. We both had the flu in April. If it had been more serious, I would have died in my bedroom. I'm not being dramatic, I promise you. It's just the way it is. I would not have gone to a doctor.

    Now, if we were very poor, we could qualify for MediCal, which is a decent system. But for that to happen, I'd have to stop working and we'd have to lose our tiny little house. The very poor get help. The rich can afford insurance. The rest of us, if our jobs don't cover us...well...