Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some reasons why national health care is necessary

Some reasons why I think national health care service is necessary:

* it supports preventative care which actually cuts down on costs in the long term
For example: I believe the annual health check up offered in Japan is very important for all people.
I have gone to a local clinic for the complete check up most of the years I have lived in Japan.
For a small fee you can get screened for lunch and stomach cancer, have your gyno health checked, get blood and urine tests and have a general consultation as well as a separate consultation on weight and diet control.

* weight and diet control-- many people in the US could use such "metabolic syndrome" support service. In the US it is politically incorrect to criticise people's weight, but the reality is Americans suffer from many illnesses (diabetes for example) because they do not take care of their health. I think an annual check up with professional support would help people develop better habits over time.

One example of when I realised it was good to live somewhere with national health care service:
In 2001, I had heart palpitations while on vacation in the EU. I did seek help there and even though no trouble was found I decided to seek care when I got back to Japan.

After a visit to the hospital and consultation with a GP, I was able to get an appointment with a cardiologist. I went to one of the leading heart clinics in Japan, and got this appointment within about 2 or 3 weeks. It only took that long because all my tests were normal.

I spent almost a full day there getting al types of tests and was able to get most of the results before I left.

I had blood tests, urine tests, an EKG, an echo test, Xrays and physical endurance test besides the doctor's consultation 2X. Although I complained about it costing me about US$200, when I got home I looked into what it all would have cost in the States and was shocked. It all would have been way more than that and I would have had to wait much longer to get the appointment without the proper introduction.

Let me also share the blog and comments of a dear friend of mine who died on June 13 2008. She kept track of the cost of breast cancer treatments only for 2 years. She recognized that she had such good health coverage because she worked in the health care field. I would like to share her blog entry "Ka-ching! Put it on my tab (updated)" ... it says a lot in its short outline of 6 weeks of health care costs:
to get really upset at costs check out her 5 month cost listing

Sarajean Rossitto
Living in Tokyo and Shizuoka City, Japan
US address: New York, New York

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