Friday, February 03, 2006

Health Care in a Third World Country: Better than what we get here

The local hospital in Berkeley, CA is a paragon of glass windows, crisp uniforms, indoor plants, top-of-the-line computers and all that kind of stuff. But does it deliver the goods?

If you get sick in the U.S. and you are poor, you are screwed. Want to spend ten hours in the waiting room of an ER? Then America is the country for you! Our healthcare system is really, really pretty -- and it costs an arm and a leg. But does it deliver the goods?

A friend of mine just got back from a third world country. Here is her report. "I got desperately sick three weeks ago and went to the local hospital with grave hesitation. From the outside it looked like Abu Ghraib and on the inside it looked like a seedy version of the most run-down office building in Detroit." But did it deliver the goods?

And how much did it cost?

"I was processed through reception and triage in less than five minutes. That would be a record in ANY U.S. hospital. I was diagnosed with bronchitis (not bird flu!) ten minutes later. Five minutes after that, I had my prescription in hand and was out the door."

Fine. But how much did it cost? "It was free!"

Let's see America top that.

"The next week I went back and got free dental care. And when my cough didn't go away, they sent me to a specialist and I got a chest X-ray and they even had a podiatrist look at my foot. All that and I was in and out in 45 minutes. I swear!" The place looked like a slum, but looks aren't everything. American hospitals rate a 10 for appearance. This place rated a 2. American hospitals rate a 5 for service, medical skill and effectiveness. This place rated a 10.

Moral? Next time you're sick, move to a third world country? No. Demand that America provide proper healthcare HERE.