miércoles, 14 de abril de 2010

Paseando a Miss Health Care Reform (2) - lo que de verdad piensan los americanos

Sigo paseando entre el estallido de margaritas que la primavera trae junto a mi hogar. Ahora en bicicleta y con mi sobrina. Como se aprecia, maneja la niña la bicicleta por los caminos mejor que los americanos su reforma sanitaria. Es normal: la redacción de ésta se ha ido casi a los 3.000 folios. 

¿A que tienen curiosidad por saber lo que me cuentan mis amigos yanquis sobre el Obamacare? Va, soy generoso y lo comparto con ustedes.

Me permito subrayar lo que me parece especialmente llamativo. Como que, por ejemplo, el problema son los seguros que se contratan por el trabajo. O que el problema lo tienen las clases medias, no las bajas, para las que parece que la cobertura existente es mejor de lo que se oye por ahí (ya saben, Medicare/Medicaid). Y, por supuesto, la endémica y genética desconfianza nortearicana hacia un Estado grande. 

Amiga de Carolina del Norte: 

I haven't read the bill, but have kept up with the debates. I'm a very strong supporter of it as a step in the right direction--I am one who would really like to go all the way to single-payer system.
(Para los de inglés flojito: "single-payer system" es uno a la española, financiado con impuestos y gestionado por el Estado). 

Amiga de Texas: 

I am not very knowledgeable about all the details. I do think there needs to be reform, and I believe that most, if not all Americans, would agree with that. The point of contention is the form that reform should take. I am one of those who is a bit cautious about big government. Many times when government gets hold of a program there is a lot of waste and inefficiency. On the other hand, people shouldn´t have to fear going into bankruptcy because of an unexpected medical situation. I think it is the middle class that are in the worst position. The rich can afford good medical care, and the poor can go to county hospitals where they can´t be turned away and they recieve free medical care. As things stand right now for me personally, I am covered by the insurance where I work. That used to be typical, but I understand that some companies are no longer paying the insurance for their employees. A number of years ago I was uninsurable for about a year. I had changed jobs (I was laid off) and because I had some preexisting conditions, no one would cover me. It took me about a year to find new coverage. That is one of the things the government plans to change. A person will not be able to be refused insurance because of preexisting conditions (but it may be too expensive, I don´t know).

Y la más sustanciosa, Amiga de Wyoming:

There has been a very long discussion about health care reform in the Culture Cafe. I wrote in a few times, but quit, because I don't like arguments.
My family's health insurance is very good. I can go to whatever doctor I want, I am seen within a few days, I only have to pay $12 for each basic visit (more for surgery etc. obviously), and I get drugs for $3 per prescription. I have a friend who is flying 2000 miles away to have neurological surgery with the best surgeon for that problem in the country, and her insurance is paying for it. Most people who have insurance are very happy with their healthcare.
The problem is that, in general, people get their insurance through their job. So if they lose their job they lose their insurance. (They can keep if for 6-12 months--I'm not sure how long because the situation hasn't arisen for me. Most people would expect to get a new job before their insurance runs out.) I do have a friend who had a difficulty with her insurance (she is severely diabetic and broke her leg in several places and it wouldn't heal) and ended up owing about $20,000 for months of hospital bills. That was very bad.
There is also a government-run system for elderly people, disabled people (my diabetic friend is on that program now), and unemployed people with small children.
I have not seen "Sicko," but mainly Michael Moore's goals in life seem to be complaining, exaggerating, and making money while doing it. (I don't care for his movies, obviously.)

What is your question about Medicaid/Medicare? Those patients pretty much get the same care as anyone else--the same doctors and all, just paid by the government. Some things Medicaid doesn't pay for--private hospital rooms, probably optional things like plastic surgery. I don't really know. Some Medicaid programs even pay for heart transplants.
In general, our health care is quite good, and if you have insurance (through your job) you are pretty well taken care of (not always). In February I hurt my knee playing ice hockey, and have seen the doctor twice, had an MRI, and will start physical therapy. So far the cost to me has been about $50 (my insurance has paid several hundred dollars).
The problem is, if you don't have insurance, then you would have to pay your doctor's bills yourself, and most people can't afford to pay those bills by themselves. So people without insurance don't get as much care. According to the statistics I've read that would be about 15% of the population

People who own their own business have a hard time buying insurance just for a few people, so people who work for very small companies often don't have insurance. Some young people don't want to bother with insurance because they figure they're healthy. (It usually costs money to get the insurance even through your job--my husband's just happens to be free.)
I am politically conservative, so I was against this particular reform bill. I would have liked to see improvements to the healthcare system that didn't rely so much on the national government. You have to realize that our country has 309 million people (almost 7 times the population of Spain) and we are very large in area too. Washington DC is as far from my city as it is from Madrid to Kiev (Ukraine). Would you really want decisions about your life made in Kiev? 

Y a mí Madrid ya me pilla lejos. 

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