Monday, March 03, 2008

America has the best health care in the world

I just realized something kind of scary. I have been trying to come to terms with socialized medicine versus a privatized health care system like our own. One of the major advantages of privatized medicine is that it is capable of developing and making discoveries on a scale unlike any other. This leads, as the argument goes, to better health care and opportunities. But how does it do this? Sure, there are 50 million uninsured Americans (... sucks to be them!), but why and how are the insured Americans receiving "better health care" in this system than a socialized one?

Alright, so most major cities and universities have free health care clinics and research studies, right? Hundreds of people travel from all over the country to get into these research studies sometimes. Here in San Diego, many end up or have been on the streets. Even those that aren't on the streets struggle.
Most, if not all, are the uninsured or under-insured. Just this weekend I read that up to 50% of all Californians are on the brink of financial ruin due to health insurance premiums and uncovered medical bills (I don't know the accuracy on this, so don't quote me!) In addition, 16% of those in California don't have health insurance at all. But anyway, at these research facilities (and under the strictest codes of confidentiality which prevent social security numbers, names, etc from leaking out) the patient exchanges seeing a doctor and learning more information about themselves and their aliments for letting themselves essentially be guinea pigs and donating information about their bodies. With access to so many "lab rats", these universities have greater resources to develop new bio-technology. The patients also get access to the free medical clinics with greater ease, which are also run by the university. This provides opportunities for those that are down on their luck. However, these clinics are run either by very dedicated doctors and nurses, or medical students.

In socialized medicine, no one would be so desperate to give away their bio-info because they have no need to. Medicine is about helping people, not about making money. But without gross disparity, we have no advances in health care.

But the ends justify the means for American's that that actually do have access to insured medical care, right? I talked to a physician the other day at a lecture. He works in the pharmaceutical testing industry doing phase 1 clinical research and explained to me that many if not most doctors are afraid to be the first one to try out a new therapy or medication, etc because it often causes unintended lawsuits. Medical advances and knowledge is vast, yet application is severely limited. SO, tell me again how is privatized health insurance systems advantageous to the consumer again? ... let me hear those Nixon tapes one more time.

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