Thursday 10 August 2017

Universal health care

Universal health care? Or the US for-profit model?

Here's an interesting fact. Under universal health care, it's in the interests of the health service to try to prevent bad health. By education (which probably doesn't work), by preventive measures, and by testing. Here's a couple of examples, from my personal experience.

1. Every few years, I get sent a testing package; I take a tiny sample of shit out of the mammoth amounts I create, put it in an envelope, and send it to the given address. They test that, and tell me if I have bowel cancer (I don't). If caught early, the outcomes are a lot better than if it's caught late.

2. Whenever I have an eye test, they also test the pressure inside my eyeball (as well as a few other tests). A few years ago, they found that the internal pressure in my left eye was twice what it should be. If left, that will lead to deteriorating vision in that eye. Because it was caught early, I take an eye drop each morning, and that keeps my pressure down, and I haven't lost the sight in that eye.

3. Vaccination. I had all my shots as a kid; more recently I had an anti-tetanus jab to maintain that immunity, and next winter I'm going to get the optional flu shot.

Now contrast that with a for-profit system of health insurance. Once the user is bankrupt (medical bills are the leading cause of bankrupcy in the US), there's no reason for anyone to give them any more healthcare.

In a universal health care system, the health service has an incentive to keep people healthy; that's cheaper, and, of course, it's the Right Thing To Do.

In a for-profit system, the incentives for the healthcare system is for people to be ill, so that profits can be extracted from them (until they run out of money or die).


  1. American's life expectancy has stopped increasing, unlike the rest of the world where it continues to rise.

  2. Yes. And their infant mortality rate is terrible, 40% worse than other western countries.