co-pay due before you see the doctor

For most of my adult life I’ve been a libertarian-leaning sort of guy. It’s never made any sense to me that drugs are illegal. Additionally, I liked to think of myself as an entrepreneur. Mostly, though, I think it’s just that I liked the whole libertarian scene from a (would be) intellectual point of view. Their arguments are persuasive and probably are based on the clearest understanding of human nature (IMHO). Simple creature that I am I guess I saw it sort of like free enterprise = good; taxes = bad; do your own thing = good; religious nuts telling people how to live = bad. With libertarianism I figured I was in the right place both economically and culturally.

Then I got sick. Since I was basically a small time hustler, I didn’t have any health insurance. (Had I been lazier or had less confidence in my abilities, I could have gotten on with the government and enjoyed some measure of security. Had I worked in the private sector, I may very well have been on the in betweens when I got sick, and been just as screwed as actually was.) In the United States, if you get sick in the mental illness sense and you’re uninsured, you’re in trouble. I couldn’t find a psychiatrist that would even see me in the city I used to live in. What passed for the indigent mental healthcare system there couldn’t work me in even as an emergency for something like four months. (It may well have been longer. I don’t recall exactly but I know it was a long time for someone who was suffering.) The result was that my little life essentially disintegrated.

Since I couldn’t earn a living, I had to move to another city and my mother’s home. (She was thrilled.) Fortunately, this much more backwards town actually has decent mental healthcare for the downtrodden, as healthcare for the downtrodden goes in the US. After a short time dealing with them I was taking meds that somebody else was picking up the tab for. (The tax payer?) I wouldn’t have been able to afford them otherwise, inasmuch as psychotropic meds are ridiculously expensive, especially when you consider who they’re intended for. To make a long story short, the meds did me lots of good. I got right back in the game, albeit at a much reduced station. (I was delivering pizzas and doing lawn work.) All was well with me.

Then I got injured. The manager at the Pizza Place had forgotten to turn in my insurance paperwork at the prescribed brief window of opportunity. I was screwed yet again. That was seven years ago. I’ve only worked intermittently since then. My credit has been ruined. My self-esteem is in even worse shape than my finances. As I’ve already stated, if something goes awry in the US, you’re screwed, thank you very much. My state isn’t exactly progressive. I couldn’t find any sort of short or long term benefits I qualified for. I couldn’t find subsidized housing so I could at least get out of the pressure cooker that was Mom’s. There is essentially no social safety net. You’re simply swallowed by the cracks, no pun intended.

I droned on and on about this because I’d be interested to know if any former hardcore anti-socialism sorts, such as myself, have had a collision with life that caused them to re-evaluate their opinions? Have you come to realize that homeless people are actually human beings? That people without health care are actually human beings? I’m not sure I didn’t care so much as I just didn’t know, or perhaps just didn’t want to know or see. To say that the scales have fallen from eyes would be an understatement. Additionally, I’m curious what other Americans, either insured or not, think about socialized medicine?

Some of my blogger buds are from England and Canada. I’d love to know what y’all think about government healthcare and social programs in general. What do y’all think of the US’s aversion to taking care of its citizens? Would you prefer to perhaps have a little more material stuff, more tanks and fighter planes, but no social safety net? I’m just asking.


2 Responses to “co-pay due before you see the doctor”

  1. 1 untreatable March 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    The thing with the Canadian health care system is you have to be patient as everything comes with a long waiting list. A friend of mine is trying to get clean and it turned out that she needed to wait a month for an assessment meeting then if she qualified would need to wait two to three more months for a rehab bed. Recently I went through a program and at the meeting it was decided I needed therapy but the wait is close to six months. If I want specialty treatment such as DBT, the main therapy for borderline, I would have to leave town and according to my doctor the best place for me is on the other side of the country, similar from Detroit to LA. Canada’s major hurdle the moment is lack of doctors as for whatever the reason most medical students are picking careers where the most money is made so areas such as family medicine or emergency room doctors are a small number. In my area if my family doctor retired tomorrow your looking at five hundred people who would be stuck without a doctor and there is no one to take them on. The system in a lot of areas is hanging by a thread. There are benifits such as 95% of medical procedures will not bankrupt a family but like I said earlier unless it is deemed an emergency there is going to be quite the wait

  2. 2 Prester John March 9, 2008 at 9:20 am


    “The thing with the Canadian health care system is you have to be patient as everything comes with a long waiting list.”

    That’s one of the big drawbacks and the primary example that opponents of socialized medicine point to. I’m disappointed to learn that it really is as bad as they say.

    I used to run around with a guy from Canada who’s dad was a doc. I think he was Canadian educated, but I can’t swear to it. (The doctor.) At any rate he was practicing here in the states purely for financial reasons. I’m sure you know docs are the creme de la creme here.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

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