Saturday, June 20, 2009

me & Shannon rock out!

Last night, me and Shan came to the realization that we are pregnant! Was it planned? No. Is my upcoming vasectomy? Yes.

We are overjoyed. This will change things, but we are in a happy, relatively prosperous place. The adventure continues.

I love you Shannon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

me & snootch rock out

photo credits:
top, Alaster
bottom, me.

how's your HMO action?

part of a thread from the UTMC, author:DerGolo (lives in Belgium)

Look here how universal healthcare systems are total failures and are more expensive than the current US system...oh, wait, they aren't!

We've got universal healthcare here.
Over the last couple of months, I had three surgeries, spent a week in hospital, was prescribed numerous medications and things.
You know the soul-crushing amount of paperwork I had to do in an obviously over-bureaucratic, stalinist system?
I had to sign three things for consenting to surgery (on three different occasions, basically just the waiver that protects the surgeon from criminal prosecution for assault), one thing for hospital admission (they filled it out for me, I just had to read it and sign it. Mostly stuff about how I'd have to pay a euro a day for the bedside phone, and a warranty card for a blood-sugar doodad.
Total time spent on bureaucracy: Maybe six minutes. Including reading through the lot.
Today, I had to fill a whole bunch of prescriptions. They have to order in two items, because I didn't get there before four PM or so, they won't get it till tomorrow (They have multiple deliveries of ANYTHING YOU MAY NEED per day. I've visited one of those distribution centers. Think the Amazon warehouse, only bigger. Any medication legal in the country, no matter how obscure, in any pharmacy in a matter of hours.). Because I don't get off work before they close, they'll send someone to my house to drop the stuff in my letterbox. Free of charge.
I glanced at the billing the pharmacist did for the insurance. Maybe 100 euros worth of stuff, my copay is 10.33. And I'll probably be able to get that reimbursed.
And guess what: I PAY MY OWN HEALTH INSURANCE out of my salary. It's a lot, but it's worth it. And they can't take it away from me and the only person who decides what treatment is necessary for me is my doctor.

Our hospitals treat any common disease. I got chief-surgeon treatment even before they knew I had the self-paid additional insurance for VIP hospital service. Why? Because my doctor called ahead and asked for it.
So even though I'm free to get better treatment (well, a more comfortable, quieter room, chief doctor consults and a newspaper delivered to the bedside every morning. ROCKSTAR!!) and pay for it myself, or rather pay for the additional insurance for that myself, even before I could give them my insurance details, I got the bigshot doctors because I needed them. You know what my copay was for five days in the hospital with a lot of expensive medication, testing and surgery? 50 bucks. And I'll probably be able to get that back.

When my mother had cancer, the petrol bills for daily hospital visits and the flowers and grapes probably cost more than the copays.
When a ankle brace had to be custom-modified to fit around my manly thighs, it cost me a grand total of a tenner.
When my father had emergency intestinal surgery a few years ago, the financial impact on the family was next to nill.

The critical care departments of our hospitals look like the ISS.
I can get an ambulance and specialised emergency-doctor here in under five minutes. It's not a grab and move operation but a rolling ER.

The system works. It's funded. The only problem is too many doctors competing with each other and some of them consequently not making enough money. But kinks like that can be ironed out.
We got a longer life expectancy than the USA, we pay only a bit more than half what you lot pay per capita, we got 99.8% of people in the country in health insurance, and those who are not insured could get insured like that by just going to the welfare office or finding some way to change their status from illegal immigrant to something else.

Everyone pays a percentage of their income for health insurance.
People making serious money can opt out and get private coverage with certain extras (like slightly less time spend in the waiting room). I could pay for my treatment myself if I wanted to and get the same VIP stuff. I can get (and have) additional insurance for more luxurious treatment. But no matter what, the stuff that needs to be done is DONE and it's paid for by my evil, socialist, oppressive, inefficient, bureaucratic health insurance. Wait, no, that's wrong. It's none of these things. It's just health insurance.