The glory of a health care system free from government

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

   I was visiting one of my project partners today.

She has two daughters, the youngest of them 6 years old. While we were talking the girl from next door, about the same age, came over to play with the daughter.

 I couldn’t help but notice the fresh dime-sized scabs and scars all over her lower legs. It was some sort of skin disease.

 What is it from? No one knows. Has the mother seen a doctor about it? No. Why not? No tiene dinero.

 It’s as simple as that. This is the Dominican Republic. This is a third-world country. There is no real public health care system. It is almost totally private, and thus inaccessible to most of the population.

  A short while later, my project partner pulled out a box and showed me what was inside. It was bandages and sanitary napkins.

 They are for her brother. Last year he was a security guard at a bank when it was robbed. He was shot twice and nearly died. He was taken to a hospital who told them that there was no hope.

 Then the hospital found out that he was injured on the job, and thus had health insurance.

  Suddenly there was hope.

 Many months later he’s still in bad shape, but alive. However, the insurance doesn’t cover everything. That’s why my project partner is taking clean bandages and sanity napkins to his hospital.

 Hospital care in this country varies entirely on the ability to pay.

 I live about 100 yards away from a small, local hospital. I hadn’t gone into it until two weeks ago, when the father of my host family contracted influenza.

 He would up in the hospital, hooked up to an IV.

 The day after he was admitted, his wife showed up at my door. She needed a bucket of water. Why? Because the hospital didn’t have any water to bath him with.

  Needless to say, the hospital also doesn’t provide food. Families do that too.

My host family doesn’t have health insurance.

 As a Peace Corps volunteer, I have health insurance. Fortunately, I haven’t had to use it so far (knock on wood).

 One part of the training was a tour of a hospital in Santo Domingo that the Peace Corps uses. It was as clean and modern as any private hospital in the United States.

 The Peace Corps uses this hospital (and one in Santiago) exclusively. I’ve been told that no matter how sick I am, they will not let me be admitted to any other hospital.

 I have health insurance and Devil take the hindmost.

3 comments

    • gjohnsit on September 25, 2011 at 2:09 am
      Author

    Looking for karma so that I never have to wind up in that hospital.

  1. Here in Mexico, though, everyone can get basic coverage for around $100/year.

    But that’s a bunch of money if you’re a family of 5 rancheros. Let alone 8 or 10. So many people (most??) don’t get it.  There’s a little girl here that broke her back in a car crash & had no coverage, she needed 10K for operations, and the local gringos came through for her. But it could have been covered.

    It’s also a big hassle to get the paperwork done, there are long lines, they run out of the papers you need, they tell you to come back, they close for the day at 11.00 AM–it’s a freaking mess.

    It’s unclear to me how much this basic coverage covers, but I plan to get it–manana por la manana.

    There’s several levels of coverage here–the better one I guess I don’t qualify for, for some reason I don’t understand, but it’s more expensive anyway.

    There are good and bad hospitals, just like the US, or most any place I guess. There was one scam, where a hospital in Cabo San Lucas was charging outrageous fees (by Mexican standards) to Gringo tourists (they’re always getting hit, trying to cross the crazy road down there) , and not letting them out till they paid up. Not sure if they cleaned that up or not, prolly did, but it was a scandal.

    There are also clinics, which charge around $2 to see a doctor.

    I paid $50 to the ER to have some stitches put in to my foot when I cut an artery, at the most expensive hospital in town–it was the only one open at night. But only $2 to take ’em out at the clinic in the daytime.  

  2. Both thinking about the same themes today?

    Johnathan Amord, a modern day Saint.

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