"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Tolerance

I found out today that I have no tolerance for certain things: people who believe that everything American is inherently better, and people that are unable to grasp concepts that are mentioned in class due to the aforementioned superiority complex. This all happened in my Healthcare in Scandinavia course where today we were discussing 7 theoretical healthcare financing setups. These ranged from a system very similar to how the US does it now to a completely socialized setup like in Denmark. Keep in mind that this was a theoretical discussion only, there was no comparison, we were simply looking at the characteristics and pros/cons of each system, independent of the others. The first thing that really frustrated me was when the professor asked for cons for a system that involved compulsory tax payments to a single insurance company/the government. An unnamed student responded that in the states this concept is highly criticized because of the possibility that it will give motivation for people that are not working to continue to not work, because they will have their health care paid for, and therefore this was a bad system. Whoa! When were we ever asked to for that kind of response? It was not what the professor was looking for, and the haughty attitude that it was said with, did not help. He simply ignored the comment and moved on. The next issue was in a similar situation except in this theoretical setup the single insurance company/the government had contracts with multiple providers, and the text stated that this situation led to consumer choice. No one in the class could understand how this was possible. They were all focusing on the economic standpoint, and they are correct there, there is no competition between the providers for the patients that will result in lower prices, but that's fine because the government pays for it. What people failed to see was the competition between providers to provide the best quality of care in order to have more patients use them, especially if they are being paid in a fee for service or capitation program. It was just an incredibly frustrating situation.

On a similar note, now that classes are picking up, I am going to try to comment on anything interesting that happens in them, such as the above or something entirely different.

One surprising thing I learned today in my Human Health & Disease course was that in Denmark MRI is rarely used due to its expense (for some reason its very expensive here, as CT scans are cheaper). This even includes orthopedic diagnoses. Instead, orthopods use almost only ultrasound to diagnose soft tissue damage, including torn ligaments and tendons. A different way to do things, with both pros and cons. The test can be done faster, and cheaper, but the image results aren't nearly as clear. In my opinion, especially if surgery is needed I would want better image results, but that's just me.


Jessica Denise said...

So, with all that said, right now, do you have a preferred healthcare financing system? I'm curious. Did you ever see the film Michael Moore did called "Sicko?" And if you did, what did you think of that in comparison with the pros and cons that you learned of in your class?

Daniel A. London said...

Yeah, I did see Sicko. In fact, I saw it the night it came out at the Michigan Theater (maybe it was the State Theater, I always get those two confused). In terms of my preferential financing system, we haven't gone over enough information yet for me to feel comfortable with making a choice. I'll be sure to write a post once I do, though.