Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Comparing National Health Systems

This morning as I was waiting for my youngest daughter, Noorul Amalia, to get dressed for school I saw a documentary on National Health Systems of US, UK and France.

Within ten minutes the director (an American) of the film had successfully brought to light the reality of things in the three countries.

Before, I always admire the way they do things in US, but now I am having second thoughts about it all.

The Americans require medical insurance for treatment. I know this as Malaysian government had to pay US$6,000 ++ when my wife delivered our Amalia. That was for a normal delivery. Later I learned that my insurance card did not cover my son's dental treatment when I brought him to see the dentist to treat his teeth.

In UK and France they do not have to pay for medical treatment! Not only that, an uninsured Frenchman living in the US for 13 years had to go back to France for treatment of his tumour. Much to his surprise he did not have to pay anything for his chemotherapy and surgery and he was given 3 months leave with full pay just that he got his rest!

A retired British MP explained that by right with Democracy the country should pay for the health system.

The documentary also shocked me when an old lady with stitches in her forehead was left at the roadside by officers of a well known University Hospital just because she could not pay the bills without even asking her did she know where to go looking for shelter.

On the other extreme, in France a mother with a newborn baby was very happy that she was given a maid to take care of her laundry and even to prepare her meals. The maid was paid fully by the government. She said " Now I have more time to look after myself and husband!" How lucky she is to be in France.

The director of the film then interviewed a British government doctor. I did not know of his exact intention, but I guessed he in a cynical way want to say that American doctors work mostly for the money.

"How much do you earn?"

"96,000 per year...this could be more depending on your success...I could get more if more people quit smoking, less hypertension cases.."

"Do you drive an old car?"

"No, I drive an Audi."

"What kind of house do you live in?"

"We live in a 500,000 pound house.?

"That is US$ 1 million."

My fear is that the thing happening in US is gradually coming here, our national health system that is. I do not feel the pinch now as being a government servant, I still enjoy most of services offered at the government hospital for free. A non-government employee still enjoy medical treatment by just paying RM$1 for registration fee!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

America is in dire need of change. My prayer is that we first get our healthcare on the right path. I do not give up hope though.