Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SOS Healthcare

I remember the first time in happened: my roommate was sick as a dog and the doorbell rang. “It’s the doctor,” she wheezed.

“The who?”

“The doctor.”

“What does he want?” I wondered.

“He’s coming to see me. I’m sick!”

Suddenly, I realized what was happening. Her doctor was making a house call. My jaw dropped. She was sick, but she wasn’t dying, after all. Not that that would make a difference in my country. Back home, if you are dying, you take an ambulance. House calls have gone the way of the Model T. House calls belong to another era, a mystical time when you could get a root beer float at the drug store counter. They are the butt of jokes, an example of something that is so impossible to obtain, you might as well wish you could fly.

When I opened the door for the doctor, my mind flashed on the last time I was sick as a dog and still living in New York. First I had to beg the doctor’s secretary for an appointment the next day. Then I had to drag myself out of bed and take a taxi to the doctor’s office. Then I had to wait for an hour and a half in his office. When I finally got in to see him, he seemed irked. Apparently I was wasting his time because it was “only” the flu. He spent about 10 minutes with me and I left on the verge of tears. I then paid something like $150 for this rewarding experience.

At this moment, the US Congress is gearing up for a fight against the president’s very mild health care reform that would attempt to cure only the most blatantly unhealthy aspects of our health care system, and is a far cry from a single payer system like the one in France. For those who fear “socialized” health care, here is another first-hand report on what a single payer system is “really like.” If house calls aren’t enough to make your hair stand on end, get this:

The other night, my 8-year-old son woke up at 11pm with severe abdominal pain. When it didn’t go away, my husband called SOS Médecins, a public service that sends a doctor to your house in emergencies. True, we had to wait 3 hours for him to show up, but when he did he was pleasant and professional and the whole thing cost 55 euros, which will be reimbursed by the public health system. (By the way, my son was fine – it was just gas, I’m embarrassed to report).

Yes, these are the kinds of things that can happen when the government gives in to those lefty big government types. Tomorrow it could happen to you. You too might get excellent health services delivered right to your door. Anything is possible.


Scotsman said...

Sadly I don't ever see it happening in the US, there are too many profits for some mighty powerful insurance companies for there to be enough political consensus for a socialised system in the US. As for homecare by doctors, I don't see doctors here wanting to agree to that when its not currently part of their daily routine. As much as people in the UK like to moan about the NHS I for one miss the piece of mind that came with such a system.

Margie Rynn said...

You are right, it probably won't ever happen in the US, but I wish more people were aware of the benefits of such a system, since mostly all they hear is a bunch of propaganda about how bad it is. Believe it or not, people in France moan about the system too (though not as much as in the UK). They have no idea how good they have it.

French Connections said...

I remember when I lived in France, my then boyfriend got really ill, and I was terrified as I had no idea where the doctors were and how to get him to them. We found a number on the internet, rang it, tried to explain what was going on in our pigeon French ("c'est mal a la... tummy?"). An hour later the doctor arrived, a darling little man who looked just like a tortoise turned up, correctly diagnosed my boyfriend, gave him some medicine, charged us 30 Euros, and left. It was such a relief!