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Free Healthcare and the Poor

You know, I had to write an addendum to the healthcare article I posted recently. I talked to an RN from the Mississippi named Charlotte, and she told me that in the south, poorer people will go to the ER for things like “my baby has been crying for three days.” And because it’s an ER, they have to take care of the person and try to help. They may ask, “What is the baby’s temperature?” and the mother would reply, “I don’t know. I don’t own a thermometer.” And these same people would be the type who would ask the doctor on hand to write them a prescription for Motrin, because their Medicare would pay for it that way.
She explained to me the poor people using Medicare (at least what she has seen where she worked) don’t even understand that Medicare is insurance. A doctor might ask what type of insurance they have, and they would say they don’t have insurance, but they have Medicare.
I also heard a funny comment from one of the southern nurses studying in northern Illinois, Monica: she said something to the effect of the fact that if she has to pee into a cup periodically to be a doctor, then the same should apply for people to be on Welfare.

Then again, does that mean that we should be giving healthcare away for free? I think we’ve deduced that healthcare isn’t free (you know, that some Canadians actually pay extra so they may have access to a doctor in a reasonable amount of time, and as expensive as drugs may be in the United States, the people who create these life-saving medicines should be reimbursed for their labors). By my husband told me he heard on the radio recently that British doctors were asking to not treat the sick and infirm (and yes, the infirm are those of poor or deteriorated vitality, like people feeble from old age). So I had to actually check the validity of that one out, and I found a Telegraph article from the UK called “on’t treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors”, by Laura Donnelly, that explained that British doctors are calling for NHS (National Health Service) treatment should be withheld from patients who either are too old, or lead unhealthy lives. That means that even smokers, obese people or heavy drinkers would fit into the category with the old, that they “should be barred from receiving some operations,” because “he health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.”
The article went on to say that one in ten British hospitals already deny some surgeries to smokers and obese patients, especially if the hospitals are already battling debt. And the British government is also not offering cash incentives to obese people to actually get them to diet and lose weight, just so (and this is my interpretation) they don’t grow to become as fat as the United States.
And remember my mentioning that Canadians often pay for additional healthcare (in addition to that “free” healthcare they get with their increased taxes) for a chance at better service? Well, Canada isn’t the only one with national healthcare not footing the bill. “Among the survey of 870 family and hospital doctors, almost 60 per cent said the NHS could not provide full healthcare to everyone and that some individuals should pay for services.” And “One in three said that elderly patients should not be given free treatment if it were unlikely to do them good for long. Half thought that smokers should be denied a heart bypass, while a quarter believed that the obese should be denied hip replacements.”
So I don’t know what the answer is, when we allow poor people to over-abuse Medicare, when we allow anyone to have Welfare, and when we have Democrats running for President who want to Nationalize healthcare. Although our system might not be much better, it seems obvious that it doesn’t work in a number of countries on different continents in the world.

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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