The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Some thoughts on health care while my dislike of Michael Moore comes through, and a small tangent thought on cheap computers

“Anyone seen Sicko yet?” asked a friend. None of us, and by “us” I mean a group of friends and myself hanging out, had seen the new Michael Moore film. “Aw man,” he said, “it's a really good film.”

“Is there anything about that film that tells us something we don't already know?” I asked.

“There are over 40 million uninsured Americans in this country, getting XXXXXX over by greedy corporations,” he said.

“Um,” said one of the other friends, “Sean said ‘anything we didn't already know.’”

Touchy subject this is.

On the ride home, this friend and I continued in this conversation, agreeing more than disagreeing on what exactly is wrong, but we strongly disagreed on the weaknesses of “universal health care” in other industrialized countries. He was sure that it's not in as bad shape as I think it is overseas (or even across the border), but I found this (on a totally unrelated search) very interesting:

This may seem foolish at first, but despite being in the heart of South East Asia, in what is generally thought to be a developing country, the Thai medical system is unbelievably good. Not only is it the medical hub for [Irish] expatriates throughout the region, but tens of thousands fly here each year to have elective surgery, from laser eye treatments to boob jobs and face lifts. There are lots of reasons why they come to Bangkok but invariably quality of surgery and care comes top of the list. Simply put, medical care in Thailand is amongst the best in the word, available at a fraction of the cost.

Via Justin Mason, Surgery in Bankok

Irish going overseas for surgery. Okay, so this is elective surgery, which appears not to be covered, or it might be very long waiting lists to get it done. But I find it very telling that not only is there a market for elective surgery, but that greedy doctors in Thailand are exploiting the desire for elective surgery to get filthy rich by charging affordable prices—

Wait a second!

Something doesn't sound right there …

I think I know what it is—there's no good market for elective surgery in Ireland (or possibly the rest of Europe by extenstion). You can either wait months or even years for such a procedure, or pay through the nose for private care. Thai doctors, seeing the large amounts of money to be made in elective surgery, have entered the market, but given the lower cost of living in Thailand, prices that would surely be outrageous to fellow Thais are actually quite affordable to Westerners.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all if certain elective procedures even here in the United States are cheaper than comparable, non-elective procedures since the cost is borne solely by the people, and if you want to tap into that market, you have to charge what the market will bear, and what the people will bear is way less than what the insurance companies can bear (when said insurance companies dare to actually bear).

And on a completely different tangent, it's amazing that $300 will get you a fully functional computer. I wonder how that came about?

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