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IV Stat

Adam Zyglis
© Adam Zyglis



  1. Phil wrote:

    Re New Zealand & healthcare costs

    IRON KNEE mentions New Zealand & our dreaded socialised medicine a bit so here’s a recent example of how it works…

    I’m a kiwi, the nationality, not the fruit. I have no health insurance, never have had, never plan to have (though both private hospitals and insurance are available). I went to my GP (whom I chose myself of course) about 6 weeks back for a full check-up (cost $27) and she got me back for an ECG the next week (cost $20). The result looked o.k. but she thought maybe a hospital follow-up was wise. As a not-vaguely-at-risk case I waited 5 weeks before the 2 hour visit to a cardiologist at hospital for another ECG and an ultrasound (cost $0). The hospital wants me back in three weeks for a run on the treadmill (cost $0) and has given me a prescription for Statins (cost maybe $15 for 3 months worth when I pick them up because I earn a lot). If any surgery or other action becomes necessary the cost will be $0.
    Also I went to the doctor with a heavy cold last month (cost $27) and got antibiotics (cost $7). My girlfriend had a nastier dose and got antibiotics, steroids, two inhalers and a peak flow meter (cost maybe $20).
    And I injured my elbow stupidly three months back and have been seeing the physiotherapist twice a week since (cost $0).

    Cheap (or if you’re young, old or poor – free) GPs and medicines mean fewer comlpications, fewer hospitalisations, fewer days off work, a healthier happier population, a stronger workforce etc etc. Of course people bitch about health care – they do everywhere, but removing public healthcare is unthinkable. Because it works. I’m more use to the country as a fit, working, manager than as a bankrupted, chronically ill unemployed person.

    Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  2. Daniel Habtemariam wrote:

    New Zealand’s healthcare system has received nothing but the best of praise on this blog. I don’t quite understand what Phil means when he says ‘dreaded socialised medicine’…perhaps he was being sarcastic.

    At any rate, as far as single-payer “socialized” medicine is concerned, the international evidence is all there. It’s cheapest, most widely covering system in the world, including in America where we have it for our elderly citizens. The reasons America has not adopted it universally have to do with conservative right-wing politicians effectively scaring the population into thinking that this will be a nightmarish Orwellian scenario of government taking over healthcare and ruling it like Stalin ruled the USSR. There are also powerful financial ties between many politicians and the large private health insurance companies.

    Monday, July 6, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    I think Phil was being sarcastic. But maybe he didn’t see this post by me:

    The important point is to remember that the debate should not just be “single payer versus private insurance” — if we fall into that hole we have let others control the debate and are lost. Even between countries that have single payer, there are important variations.

    I like the New Zealand system because it has single payer insurance covering a base level of health (preventative care and major medical problems) but people can also purchase private insurance to cover elective procedures, or get faster or better care. To me that is the best of both worlds: guaranteed basic health for everyone, and private insurance to provide the benefits of free markets (innovation, competition) for other coverage.

    Monday, July 6, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  4. Phil wrote:

    Yes, that was sarcasm. Sorry for the confusion. The New Zealand model is enviable.

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Permalink