Friday, April 22, 2011

In Mississippi, everyone has access to health care

According to the Governor of Mississippi (as we say here, thank heavens for Mississippi!) everyone in the state has access to health care.  I assume that he means by that that anyone can turn up at the emergency room and get care.
I'm sure that that is true: emergency room doctors and nurses do indeed take care of people.
But having visited an emergency room a little over a year ago --- with a pain that I didn't think was anything (and the doctors quickly agreed) but was in my chest area, I know that there are issues here.
For example, I had insurance: so they were happy to treat me.  But before the doctor came out and told me the good news that I was right to think that I shouldn't be worried (which is, of course, very different from not being worried!) I was greeted by a representative of the business office, asking, "as a courtesy" whether I had a credit card with me, and would be willing to pay for the other charges.

Getting scared by a chest pain that was nothing cost us a lot of money.  Do I regret getting checked out?  Of course not!  But at the same time, it might be nice to live in a civilized country, which recognized that prevention is a lot cheaper than cure, but that multiple insurers have "tragedy of the commons" incentives against any one of them providing prevention, and so the country as a whole ends up paying for the cure.  When the cure is possible.

Yours, thinking that it's sad that we have to mourn the remainder.

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