Health care in Europe Puts America to Shame
"America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system."
- Walter Cronkite
About a week ago, my son was showing me some martial arts moves he saw in a video game that he had been practicing. As he turned and came down with his arm, he misjudged the space we were in and his fingers hit the back of a wooden dining chair very hard and made a loud crack, followed by a lot of pain. It definitely didn't sound good and we thought he may have fractured it.
I had him put ice on it at appropriate intervals as he did not want to go to the hospital until we left Ireland, which we were scheduled to do in three days. Nothing against doctors in Ireland, it's just that the newspapers in Ireland were full of articles asking people not to go to the A&E's because they were already overcrowded, beyond capacity, due to the flu virus. We decided to watch and wait so as not to risk being unnecessarily exposed to the flu. To get us through, we went to the pharmacist in Lisdoonvarna the next day who agreed with our decision to watch and wait due to the flu situation and provided my son with a temporary splint.
We arrived in Scotland late on a Sunday evening, so Monday we went to the minor injuries unit of the nearest hospital. It was a quiet afternoon, only two other people were there, one waiting and one checking in. After my son gave his name and address info to the woman at the check-in desk, I went to hand her my son's insurance card and she said, I don't need that. I assumed she meant they would take care of it later.
We saw the doctor in less than five minutes. They diagnosed his injury as a sprained finger, no fracture, which was great news. I asked the doctor where I go to pay for the visit. She chuckled and said, "You don't. It's free." I asked her, "Even though we are not EU citizens and we are traveling?" She said, "Yes, you're just used to the way your country does it. It's free here, no unnecessary charges." I knew that healthcare was free and high quality for EU citizens, but I was shocked that it was free for us, as travelers. Our situation on that day may only apply to minor injuries; I'm not sure of all the details, but I do know that Europe has its act together. Healthcare in the U.S. in unaffordable and has never been about the government caring for its citizens, but about insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies making lots of money at the expense of our health. Europe's system has been working beautifully for a long time, so when will America get its act together and provide the same excellent quality health care that Europe provides its citizens, free to everyone, as it should be???
Bless you, Scotland, and thank you so much for your generosity, kindness, and great medical care (for free!) even for those visiting your great country.
Walter Cronkite, Jr. (1916-2009), quoted above, was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years. He was often cited as "the most trusted man in America." He reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including bombings in WWII; the Nuremberg trials; the Vietnam war; the Dawson's Field hijackings; Watergate; the Iran Hostage crisis, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lennon. He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of a Moon-rock award. He was well known for the departing phrase he used after every newscast "And that's the way it is."