Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ann Leary: The NHS worked for her

Just a couple of hours ago, Ann Leary, wife of comic Denis, posted at HuffPo her story about going into labour in the UK at just 26 weeks while Denis was still an unknown comic. Her story about how the NHS came through for her and her child totally refutes Sarah Palin's claims about "death panels" for preemie and / or high risk births. Since she wasn't a EU national she of course had to pay out of pocket but she wasn't asked for her insurance information until well into her stay at the hospital. Even then, her cost was only -- only! -- £10,000, which her insurance fully reimbursed. And she got medical treatments that still hadn't been approved for use by the FDA.

Mrs. Leary then relates a nearly identical case in the States at the same time for an uninsured person. The cost? "Hundreds of thousands of dollars."

President Obama isn't pushing anything near to what exists in Canada. Not even a hybrid system like in France, or public with a private option like in the UK or in Australia. He's just trying to fill in the gaps of what exists in the States right now. For this he is vilified as a "socialist."

Even under the best of circumstances, a complication-free pregnancy, a woman in the States will be expected to pay up at least $5000 even with insurance and will be chased out of the hospital the next day. Here, a woman gets 48 to 60 hours of post-partum convalesence, in Europe it can be a week or more. And they get medicines which are considered too "controversial" in the States, no thanks to so-called "pro-life" groups.

If that's the price of "socialism" then I'll take it over the shitload US way any day. Our system is in desperate need of fixing, and it'll need more than just money thrown at it; but that green plastic card is worth its weight in the most precious of metals hundred of times over.

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1 comment:

Bina said...

Maybe, when she talked about "death panels", the Paliness was really thinking of those panels of doctors that used to decide whether or not a woman was worthy of a medical abortion. They could certainly be death panels if they said no, and a woman ended up trying to abort herself, or going to a back-alley butcher, or attempting suicide in sheer despair.

My aunt went through such a panel in Germany after she developed rubella in the first trimester of her second pregnancy, and found out that the fetus was too deformed to lead a meaningful life if it were to be born. She needed a second-trimester termination, and oh, the hoops she had to jump through to get it! In the end, they saved her life by saying yes. She has a hereditary kidney disorder, and until her recent transplant, used to spend several hours a day hooked to a dialysis machine. Having to care for a severely disabled child probably would have done her in.

But of course, what she went through is not socialized medicine. Her husband's private plan probably paid for the operation, as well as the deeply demeaning consultations that preceded it. And the US healthcare "system" has always been very capitalist, and it had such panels too. Probably still does--or would again, if the Sarah Palins had their way. Because when it comes to denying care, there really is nobody like a conservative.