You’ve got some gall, buddy

And THIS is why the gubmint should NOT be in charge of healthcare! Free universal healthcare is a great idea, and countries that can afford it should do so. But for crying out loud, don’t entrust it to bureaucrats and politicians!

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

5 thoughts on “You’ve got some gall, buddy”

  1. Hi Belladonna,

    Our universal healthcare works really well on many, many levels. It’s when more serious treatments are necessary (like surgery for non-life threatening conditions), or certain tests are involved (like CT Scans) that the entire system breaks down. In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that basic healthcare is a basic human right. Yes, I pay a shit-ton of taxes to my government, based on my tax bracket, which benefits the masses (including the least fortunate in our society) – and I’ve never begrudged that. I pay more because I get paid more. But these past two+ weeks broke my spirit. I literally sat and bawled my eyes out, like a baby, in Emergency that third night in a row, thinking, I paid $150k in goddamned personal income taxes in one year and I have NEVER been a burden on my healthcare system (or the unemployment system, or the maternity leave system, or, or, or..) and now, this ONE TIME that I need this system to support me, I get treated like an animal. Scratch that. Animals are treated better.

    The whole thing has left me very sad and very jaded. Next time I will get myself the US as soon as the first sign of distress and know that whatever extra cost I need to eat will be more than worth the savings in time, pain and suffering.



    1. Hey, Nancy, thanks for a thoughtful response. I started out adamantly opposed to Obamacare, to the extent that I argued that no government had the right to force anyone to buy something they didn’t want, because over many years I’ve been involved in research into healthcare and, over and over again, I found stories of gross inefficiencies and incompetence. But there are the good stories too. My views have modified considerably, and I now do believe in the concept of universal healthcare – I don’t know that I’d call it a “human right” exactly, but certainly it’s a “community good”. My gripe is with the way it’s managed – and your experience is just classic. I am increasingly convinced that a tax-funded but private sector-managed approach is the way to go. It would be a strange hybrid, and probably not easy to create, but it’s got to be better than a situation where, in wealthy nations like Canada and Australia, people die after months or years of pain because “non-emergency” medical needs have been ignored until they became no-longer-fixable. Even when they don’t die, the effect on quality of life, and hence happiness and productivity, is abysmal. There has to be a better way!

      I hope you’re on the road to recovery soon. It’s just not fair that someone who has paid ALL their dues – not just money, but also working hard to keep healthy – should be going through what you’re experiencing!


      1. I think you hit the nail on the head – and it’s the same conversation I had with numerous strangers while we languished in ER together; that is, Yes to government/tax-payer funded BUT allow it to be run by private sector. What I witnessed was an abject failure in business process and operational efficiency. No corporate business I’ve ever been part of would survive if they operated with that same level of business incompetence. I could write a book on the layers and layers of operational breakdown I witnessed. My business mind just wanted to start problem solving, but I was too consumed by my own pain. And the knowledge that I have zero power to change things in that setting.

        And finally – yes, I do feel that basic healthcare is a human right. As a civilized society, I believe we owe it to our most vulnerable (the elderly, the children, the disabled) to ensure everyone has that most basic of rights: the right to primary medical care. It’s what separates us, the civilized, from the uncivilized.


        1. The problem with rights is, someone has to pay for them, and someone has to ensure they are delivered. And with something like healthcare, you also have to define how far the rights extend. Does everyone with a dicky heart have a right to a transplant? Do people who insist on their right to smoke also have a right to be treated for emphysema or lung cancer? In South Africa, there is an array of I think around 22 conditions that all health insurers are required to provide, and they are not permitted to deny this cover to anyone. I’m not sure but I think the premiums they may charge for this cover is capped. That makes sense to me – provided the insurance companies are able to survive financially (of course they screamed bloody murder when this was introduced, but most of them are still going strong). A “civilized” nation (although that’s also something that needs defining, I think!) should provide against common and dangerous ills – infant mortality, for instance, provision of ARVs and TB treatment, screening for certain cancers, etc. But beyond that basic level, I don’t know that it can be a right except in the wealthiest nations – and that’s where people should have the freedom, and the responsibility, to choose whether or not to pay for a higher level of cover. This means that some people die, essentially, of poverty, and that’s really shit – but I don’t see that as any less fair than someone who has contributed heavily into the system, and who is willing and able to pay more, suffering because efforts to keep the playing fields perfectly level have resulted in gross inefficiencies.


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