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View Diary: Real example of socialized medicine (16 comments)

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  •  Socialized medicine isn't perfect... (11+ / 0-)

    The flip side to this tale is the problems.

    No matter how it's structured, every countries' national health system has some sort of issue.  And if you look through the news for a given country you're likely to see stories about those issues - disputes about pay, disputes about working conditions, concerns about MRSA, waiting times, quality of care, completion times for new hospitals, whether older hospitals should close, etc.

    Conservatives will ferret out such stories and say, "See!  It's terrible!"

    I disagree.

    All of those issues exist in the States but they aren't covered nearly as much.  And more importantly, no one seems to pay consequences for it.  If a health care story is making the news here in Ireland around election time, quite often someone involved in the medical profession will run for office.  And an incumbent politician will frequently lose his or her seat.

    People care about their health system.  If they see that it's not working, they hold their politicians to account.  If their TD (representative in parliament) isn't paying attention to health issues, that TD will have a short career.

    I like these positive stories about other countries' health systems, but in the next elections in those countries those of us living overseas should write about the political cost our representatives face if they don't look after the health system.  The feedback loop where those in power are held into account by the people is a feature of national health systems - one the US could do well to see.

    •  You're right, (5+ / 0-)

      any system as large as a national health care system is bound to have problems of some sort.

      But at least those problems come on top of everybody being covered.

      My experiences of nearly ten years living abroad in Europe have been almost unanimously positive. The only negatives being a waiting period (for an appointment) longer than I'd expected . . . but that was no big deal.

      "Fox tv is a white trash christian taliban station owned by a megalomaniac ball sack and staffed by playground bullies." -McHardy at the Guardian

      by vadasz on Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 04:47:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. (1+ / 0-)
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        And I bet those waiting times are part of the national political discourse.  I bet politicians hear about those waiting times in their clinics.  And I bet resources are put into reducing those waiting times.

        There are stories about issues with the health services in various European countries because publicity and pressure can have affect on those health services.

        A CEO of an HMO or a private hospital is not accountable to the people.  A politician is.

        It's as simple as that.

        BTW, at a Dems Abroad event in Toronto we were visited by Howard Dean.  I made that comment to him - that American politicians feared a national health service because then people would do even more to hold them accountable.

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