Most Americans are unaware of how bad our healthcare system is in comparison to the rest of the developed world. I know, I lived more than two years in South Korea which, like every other developed country save America, has a single payer, national health insurance system which every workers pays into. I payed approximately $60.00 per month into this system during my stay working in South korea.. I am a 57 year old man with a preexisting hypertension condition which is treated with maintenance drugs.
In May of 2008, as a result of ever work and fatigue, my American prescribed blood pressure medicines stopped working. I collapsed in a subway station and was rushed to a hospital by ambulance with dangerously high blood pressure. I received emergency treatment ans spent a large part of the night in the hospital. I had a complete physical, blood work and electrocardiogram. The cost was $64.00. That's it. This included the ambulance and hospital treatment, all tests and medications.
Subsequent to the aforementioned incident I was required to see a doctor on a weekly basis for two months and then on a monthly basis until August of 2009. My doctors visits were $5.00 each. I was prescribed new medications. My medications, six drugs, totaled $45.00 per month. I had my doctor's cell phone number and email address. I was told by him to call him whenever I needed. We text messaged each other and I contacted him with questions by email quite often.
A fair question is who pays for this? Everyone in South Korea is required to pay for a government run health care system. You chose your own doctor, any doctor in the country. I changed doctors because my first doctor was very impatient. My second doctor was the best doctor I have ever had. She referred me to her husband who is a specialist. I saw him and paid him $6.00 once. Afterwards we spoke by phone, and contacted each other regularly by text message and email.
These two doctors took a personal interest in me and brought me back to full health. Healthcare and hospitals in Busan South Korea and in Daejeon South Korea, where I lived, are at least as good as in the Atlanta area in the United States. As I said my second doctor and her husband were the best doctors I have ever had.
Americans need to realize that American healthcare lags behind many countries in the developed world in almost every objective, statistical area. This includes enfant mortality, lifespan as well as other discriptors of medical care. We pay a lot more for our healthcare and receive less. Why, the middlemen insurance companies drive up the costs while providing no actual benefits to the American people. We need a single payer system. The recent healthcare reforms are a small step in the right direction. We have a long way to go. Insurance companies make huge profits as middlemen. They are free to attack healthcare reform with misleading and scary advertisements. They have the money to pay lobbyists as well as to donate to candidates and proxy organizations which support their continued control of American healthcare. Human beings are fearful of change. America really needs a change in our healthcare system. We have taken a small first step. We have a long road ahead of us filled with the potholes of greed, self interest and fear.
John H. Armwood