MARIA'S LOW-COST MEDICAL CARE
2012 June 29, Friday

     Maria lives with me in Scottsdale, Arizona. She's cute and cuddly and fun and undocumented. (She didn't tell me where she was born and I've never asked her. Maria doesn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish.) She doesn't have a social-security number, she's not logged on any census form, and she doesn't have health insurance of any kind. That was fine until earlier this year when she had pain from bone cancer.

     On 2012 February 23 we went to the doctor who gave her an X-ray, a tentative cancer diagnosis, and a referral to a specialist. The specialist gave her a bunch more X-rays and agreed that cancer was the most likely cause of her pain. There was no sign of metastasis and any of the other diagnoses had the same prognosis and the same cure as bone cancer. An amputation was scheduled for 2012 February 27.

     Surgery went fine, Maria came home, she lived on pain killers for almost a week, and I was out a total of about $1600 for the whole mess. Other than looking a bit awkward with a limb missing, Maria's life isn't terribly different than before. All of this medical care was at a standard I would have been happy with for myself, but my bill would have been a lot higher with the regulation, insurance, and all that stuff.

     Just as we have a network of low-cost, high-quality care for patients like Maria, there's no reason less-well-off people in American can't have similarly-good care. Let the well-to-do class pay the higher cost of the cutting edge so the rest of us get cheap health care when the patents run out.

     America used to be the world's health-care center. The socialized-medicine countries made their systems work by sending their really-sick people to the United States. Now folks are going elsewhere, even India and Thailand, for care they can't afford stateside.

     Bad regulation from corrupt government created a health-care mess and now we're hoping that more regulation from bigger government is going to make it better. That's sad when things will become quite good for all of us if they just leave things alone.

    

    

    

If you like what you read here (really?), then here are my other American-issues essays.

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