Only a power hungry know nothing such as Donald Berwick could describe the British health care system as a boon to the have less. The truth is that the British sick find themselves in the same position as the Soviet hungry. They have to stand in long lines to buy tasteless bread. That has been my conclusion after listening to the story innocently told by Pat, my Northern Irish (County of Armagh) singing teacher, in response to a fellow classmate revelation that she is about to go through Cataract surgery:
Oh, my husband just went through it. It is great. He looks at everything as if he has never seen it before. In fact, he was planning to have a vision corrective laser surgery. We were going to forgo a vacation this year to pay for it. We also figured we would save money on his glasses. His eyes were always terrible and he would have to wear glasses as thick as bottlenecks if he did not buy expensive thin lenses. He is now working as a music teacher in an elementary school but he used to be a carpenter and has a real tough time avoiding injury.But I decided that he should see a specialist before surgery and gave him the appointment as a birthday present. The specialist said he had congenital Cataract and he should have corrective surgery as soon as possible. But there was a long waiting line. It was so bad that the government brought in eye doctors from England and Scotland to reduce it. Still, we would have had to wait for many months.
A couple of years ago I bought a very inexpensive health insurance policy. So, I called them up and they said he was covered. They made him an appointment to have it done within days in Belfast. It was great. A year later, he developed a small scab. He went to check it out. Realizing that he came from Armagh, the doctor scheduled the preliminary tests and did the surgery within the very same day.
So, here you have it. The only bright spot in this poor man’s interaction with health care providers was the result of his access to a greedy insurance company. Thanks to Margaret Thatchers Britons may buy supplementary insurance. Canadians are not as lucky, a Canadian health insurance expert I met in an Irish pub explained. Canadians may not buy insurance which would enable them to bypass a waiting line for any procedure available in Canada. They have been coming to America. The rich can always find a way out. The rest, the ones Berwick claims to want to help, can not.
Interestingly, the Canadian health official worries that the passage of Obama care means that their waiting lines will get longer. He figures that the growing demand for doctors in America would cause Canadian doctors to move south creating a doctor shortage in Canada. I figure we will have to purchase health care in the same place we purchase our manufactured goods, in the Third World!