Where medical care is free

When people get sick, in the U.S., the Philippines and many other countries, one of their worst fears is the prospect of long-term hospitalization and medical care. Medical and hospitalization costs are so expensive nowadays that many middle-class families will suddenly find themselves impoverished if a member were to be hospitalized for more than a few days. The poor will probably find themselves so deeply indebted after the hospitalization of a family member, that some will simply opt out of the commercial health system to seek help from indigenous healers.

It is unfortunate that Philippine medical authorities have patterned our health-care system after the U.S. where medical and hospitalization costs have skyrocketed as health care became less of a calling for doctors and a duty for governments, and more of a business.

Is there a viable alternative to a highly commercialized health and medical system, where only those who have enough money get properly treated?

The documentary video on national health systems, Sicko by Michael Moore, is truly an eye-opener. Every Filipino must see this video, which compares the practices of the U.S. health system and those of the U.K., France and other countries.

The U.K. and French systems appear so superior that it is a mystery why our authorities would emulate the U.S. system.

In countries like the U.K. and France, anyone who gets sick – especially if it requires immediate attention – gets treated. It doesn’t matter if you are a local or a foreigner, young or old, millionaire or pauper. You will be treated, be operated on if necessary, and be given upon discharge all the necessary medicines you ought to continue taking. In short, you will receive the proper medical treatment, for free.

The British national health system (NHS) does have problems. There are waiting lists of sick people who need medical but not emergency attention. Those who cannot wait, or who are not satisfied with the NHS, go to private doctors or hospitals, who charge them commercial rates for medical care. Dental services are excluded from the NHS, forcing dental patients to pay the same prohibitively high fees to dentists.

But, as Moore’s documentary video Sicko clearly showed, those who are not in a hurry but still need medical attention will eventually get it. While those who need emergency attention will get it immediately.

And to us Filipinos, that is nothing short of miraculous.

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 8, 2009 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    This topic of (medicine) is one that most interests me.
    With the mentors with whom I have chosen to learn agricultural skills, each has been a doctor or nutritionist of alternative practice. Among them are Dr, Arden Andersen- Ag consultant / educator and MD., Dan Skow DVM, International Ag Labs, Gary Zimmer-Biological farmer and organic dairy nutritionist, Jerry Brunetti-livestock nutritionist and self taught cancer survivor, and recently Graeme Sait of Nutri-Tech QLD Australia with numerous brilliant yet unsung farmers who are my heros. All are authors who work tirelessly to help the farmer and consumer grasp that we are of the soil. Soil Quality is translated to Human health. Soil Nutrition is human nutrition. Real nutrition is the foundation of health.
    Fresh public figures like Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva and scores more are shaking the card decks of corporate agriculture. Wasn’t it Pliny who said “Let food be your medicine”..
    …and then there is the first statement of the Hippocratic Oath: “First do no harm” Now isn’t it interesting that the word ‘hippocrate’ today means something more like ‘two faced lier’ or worse. I must agree that any society that emulates American health care is doomed to the same failures and service-to-self behavior of the medstablishment rather than be of service.
    As Dr. Andersen states to farmers in the beginning of all his seminars ” You hold the life and well being of the consumer in your hands”. There is accountability afoot, that a real farmer, known by his or her clients, builds a relationship of trust with the farmer, based on the motivation of health and mutual prosperity.
    Modern medical establishments and commodity producers in the US are however absolved of accountability by malpractice insurance and often seek to profit as kickback salesmen or serve as retainers to pharm giants.
    That could be a hard pun..Pf-Harm-acy .. Sometimes in visits to commercial green houses i am required to wear a mask and suit due to the toxic system chosen to grow these “healthy salads” Then I ask ‘is this farming or pharming?” Biological farm consultant, educator and inventor Bruce Tainio opens his classes with the question ” How many nutritionists are there here today?”.. (2-3 hands out of 60-70 go up). Then he asks
    “Why didn’t all you farmers raise your hands?”
    A recent interview of various mainstream medical graduates and practicing professionals are asked “How many hours of your schooling for certification to practice are required on the topic of nutrition or prevention? ” answer: Just about None! (That might be considered as extra curricular)
    I have also had the personal experience of waiting in line at a clinic and when finally getting to the front desk, I am asked if I have insurance. Upon my “NO” reply, the rates are blatently changed to a much higher fee on the grounds that I am not as worthy of service as a policy holder. The following cluster of prescriptions after a 5-10 minute exam,
    further wipes out a couple of weeks income with a lot of very fine print disclaimers to read about the side effects.
    Wow, I feel so privileged to oblige this system??
    To further insult the care and intelligence of neighbors helping each other ..Any advice shared between people, ‘commoners’, about medical advice or suggestion is taken as: “practicing medicine without a license”‘and subject to breaking a law. Codex Alimentarus Laws seek to make it illegal to grow something as common as peppermint in your own garden.
    Thanks so much big brother for protecting me from myself..
    God bless that home grown salad before I need a license to harvest and serve it at my own table.
    M

  2. Roberto Verzola
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mark. I can only agree. Truly, food is medicine, and healthy food can only come from a healthy soil.

    You might want to browse, if you hadn’t done so yet, my piece entitled “Undermining Abundance” (also posted here), which adds to your examples of health information exchanges becoming “illegal practice of medicine” and the possibility of a ban on “unauthorized” seeds. I would add “illegal” use of medicinal plants, or discouraging mothers to feed their baby with their own milk.

    By the way, one farming book that impressed me a lot was Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing. They were socialists turned organic farmers. Scott Nearing lived to a hundred and died naturally. Helen Nearing would probably have lived as long, but she died in a car accident when she was 91.
    They were pioneers of the back-to-the-farm movement.

    Obet

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