Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brazil has public option with universal inclusion.

In Brazil, if you want care, you go to a public neighborhood clinic or hospital and they treat you with no discussion whatsoever of insurance, enrollment or payment. It's illegal for anyone in the system to request or accept payment.

Many common medications are also provided at these clinics and hospitals immediately after the doctor has written the prescription - FOR FREE!

When people ask me why I've left the United States for "third world" Brazil, I describe the US health care market to them and I explain to them that the health care options they depend on in Brazil simply don't exist in the United States.

The United States has a health care system worse than exists in many "third world" countries, because the costs of care are so high in the US that virtually no one can pay out of pocket, whereas in Brazil health care is more affordable and paying out of pocket is real option, even for surgery. My wife spent two days in a private hospital for a completely successful surgical procedure, and the whole thing cost me less than a twenty-inch color television would have.

If Brazil is "third world" then I'll take "door number three", thank you.

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