Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Government healthcare seems to work fine

From SB7
Here's a doozy of a non sequitur from Hege123l:
I don't want a for profit company making life and death choices for me. Government healthcare seems to work fine for government workers, the military and our politicans...

Seems to work fine
. We might imagine that Hege123l has never talked to anyone in the military.

Fort Ritchie, Maryland, 1989. It's wet and rainy and cold in Maryland in the winter, and my nearly year-old son has chronic ear infections. Fort Ritchie has a clinic, so to the clinic we go. Sensibly (for the Army) dependents must wait until active duty soldiers are seen. Including the Light Duty Brigade showing up to get just one .. more .. day on their Work Avoidance Chit. Also, sensibly, unless you're about to die you are seen in the order in which you show up. Appointments are for sissies.

What this really means is that if you want to be seen for anything you show up early and wait in a crowded room until after lunch time.  If your kid is in a lot of pain, you show up early .. and wait in a crowded room. This is actually less fun than it sounds with a one-year old doing a lot of crying and vomiting.

The Clinic from Heck has two doctors. One doctor has the bedside manner of a brick and while you'd like to avoid the bastard, you can't because it's luck of the draw. By the fifth visit my son has learned the diff between Doctor Asstard and The Good Doctor. By the tenth visit he whimpers when we're in the wrong examining room and cries when the guy shows up.

The doctors - over the course of eighteen months - managed to miss that B. was going deaf and has a whole lotta scar tissue on his eardrums. His ear infections didn't really go away until we moved to North Carolina, where the Navy farmed their dependent care to civilians who looked at B, said 'wow, he's deaf, no wonder he can't talk well', popped tubes in his ears and .. lo, he could hear.

Now, mistakes happen and anecdotes are only that.  Also some of the finest care I've ever gotten has been from Navy corpsmen, dentists and PAs.

But - from my experience - saying that 'it seems to work fine' is to ignore a whole lot of experience that says there are some pretty serious problems with 'government health care for the military'.  To me, government health care will always be that small clinic at Fort Ritchie with one good doctor and one bad doctor and waiting in a 'first come first served line' with a baby in a lot of pain.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.
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