Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health care is kind of like the library: It should be open to everyone

By Brian Polk

Spare me your horror stories of socialized healthcare—I just don’t believe them. I’ve talked with several Canadians and Europeans and none of them report any long lines, waits for surgery, or unqualified doctors. In fact, I’m convinced those stories come from within our own borders: Recently I paid a visit to Denver Health’s emergency room because my dog almost bit my finger clear off. I can safely report that I had to wait several minutes before I was even acknowledged, even though I was holding my bleeding finger in a dishtowel. When they finally found me an open bed, I sat there holding my finger in place for well over forty-five minutes before they finally gave me a painkiller. A full 5-6 hours later, they finally found someone who could stitch my finger back together. And then they almost let me leave without a prescription for painkillers (they told me to take Tylenol) because all poor people will abuse or sell prescription drugs, right? Even with the best health insurance money can buy, the whole ordeal cost me $500—a hell of a lot of money for someone like me. Despite the fact that my arguments for socialized healthcare are vast, I will say only this: Everyone needs medical attention, even poor people.

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