Cross-posted at Casey's Critical Thinking
I’m no expert on healthcare systems, but I think we better look before we leap. I believe the problems in our own system are fixable, and I’m afraid many people are unaware of the problems of other types of systems. Take Japan, for example. It seems like almost every month I hear a new story about critically ill patients in Japan being taken to emergency rooms only to be turned away and then die waiting for treatment. Most recently, an 82-year-old woman was turned away by five different hospitals and ended up dying in the ambulance. A month ago, a 36-year-old woman was turned away by seven different hospitals and eventually died after giving birth at one of the hospitals that had earlier turned her down. That’s simply heartbreaking. Sadly, these stories are anything but rare in Japan.
Why does this happen? Because the hospitals are full. Why are they full? I’d have to say that one of the reasons is socialized healthcare. When people catch a cold in Japan they go to a hospital. Whenever I catch a cold, people around me are puzzled when I refuse to go to the hospital. It’s practically an unwritten rule. Stuffy nose? Go to the hospital. Stub your toe? Go to the hospital. Did you just sneeze? Better get to the hospital, then.
Elderly people use ambulances as taxis because it is free. When you’re paying nothing or next to nothing for medical care, you go to the hospital for even the most minor illnesses. When you consider the ratio of doctors to patients, simple math will tell you that this isn’t going to work.
There are no doubt problems with the healthcare system in the United States, but there are problems with the systems everywhere. Personally, I think I’d rather be in the US if I was ever to get severely ill. I think it would probably be better to fix the problems with our own system rather than blindly going over to yet another system that doesn’t work the way it should.