Monday, September 28, 2009

Is Your Health Insurance Making You Sick?

When vacationing in Nova Scotia this summer, we were amazed, as we listened to CBC radio, how seriously the country was preparing for a swine flu epidemic. Every day, the radio featured lengthy programs on various aspects of the flu, from deciding at what point public events would be cancelled to detailed information on the transmission of germs. It was all there, including information on how schools were preparing for the epidemic (teachers were pre-recording class sessions, which would be televised to students in case of school closures).

Swine flu concerns even had an effect on churches: one Sunday, we went to an Anglican Church, and the priest said that, under direction from the national office, communion would not be received through intinction (dipping the bread in the cup). Also, a bottle of Purell was strategically placed at the altar rail. Instead of preparing our souls to receive the meal, we had to purify our hands!

Here is one person's view of communion in swine flu season:

While a humorous response to the possible epidemic, I am more fascinated by the relative lack of discussion in the US about Swine flu. When arriving in Canada, we found Purell dispensers at the airport, at the gym, at shopping malls...well, any place people gathered in public. There was constant discussion in the town square about how to avoid the flu.

It feels as if we in the US have barely started the conversation. But then again, consider the difference in health care: when the (Canadian) government is providing (and paying!) for health care, it has a vested interest in keeping people well, because then it keeps the cost of health care low. Prevention is paramount. In contrast, the privatization of health care in the US means that insurance companies want to have diseases treated because that is when they can make money. Treatment = profit.

Is your health insurance making you sick?

No comments:

Post a Comment