Wednesday, August 05, 2009

More Not Better Blues

After lots of icy towels and ibuprofen, and then a visit by a doctor, I managed to halt and then reduce a terrible fever early this week. It was the kind that makes your hands numb and makes it hard to speak. The doctor was curt and professional and did not react to my dramatic, slurred complaint that something was trying to kill me from within. His visit was both efficient and inexpensive, and the pharmaceuticals he prescribed were very, very inexpensive. I'm living in India at present.

But there's no sense even pretending that the healthcare system here in India is working terribly well. There are many, many thousands of excellent doctors here, but this country struggles with such massive inequalities, fiscal and ethnic and every intersection of those two and more, and such tremendous infrastructural holes that it looks like it will be a long time before the national picture of its healthcare can compare to countries that do it well.

What is remarkable from this perspective, though, is how poorly and unequally people in the United States are treated, given our tremendous wealth and technological infrastructure. How did it get so out of whack? And why are people so hell-bent on making sure it stays exactly the way it is?

When I could type well enough for browsing, again, I naturally had a look at Cheryl's links to rebuttals of anti-healthcare reform arguments (though, as for that, calling any of those 'arguments' is itself a stretch; they're mostly just depressing).

And then, like two months after it was published, I got around last night to reading McAllen, Texas and the high cost of health care, over at It's wonderfully disturbing. Short version: more money is spent on healthcare in McAllen than anywhere else in the country. As of a couple years ago, a little more than twice the national average. And people there are no healthier. Hint: it has to do with money. Money money money.

And then read, from July 29, the story about the lobbying and contributions from a hospital in, uh, McAllen, Texas.

And then read today's story about ghostwritten articles for medical journals!

I'll be visiting the states for a while over the winter holidays. Here's hoping I don't get sick while I'm there, as I'm not covered for it.

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