On February 26, the night after the Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, I urged readers to discuss the debate in the comments. And so you did, to the tune of—as of today—193 comments. While nothing is ever settled in these discussion, nor do opinions ever coalesce around a single one (we are, of course, diverse and largely irreligious, which means cat-herding), it’s fun to sound off.
Here are the results of the two polls, both about The Bern. In the first one, a bare majority of readers felt that Bernie would wind up as the Democratic nominee. Many were undecided.
In the second poll, most people (the figures are almost identical to those above) felt that Bernie could NOT defeat Donald Trump. I was surprised, as I thought most people would think that Sanders could beat Trump. In fact, that’s my own view, but I’m not a pundit.
I still have no favorite candidate in the race, and no idea for whom I’ll vote in the primary. (I’m voting by mail). Nobody inspires me with as much enthusiasm as I had for Obama in the 2012 and 2008 elections (or George McGovern in 1972, which was a complete Democratic disaster). So be it; I’ll still go with whom the convention chooses to run against Trump.
Here is a question for foreign readers who live in countries with single-payer health care. My own view until now has been for the government to pass a single-payer option like Medicare, so that everyone is covered, and must be covered, but also to allow coexisting private insurance.
One reason I feel this way is that almost everybody I know who lives in countries with universal government health care—and those include Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Poland—has resorted to going to private doctors some of the time because of a) their higher quality and, more important, b) the speed: you seem to have to wait long times under government systems. Often government doctors are very good, but the waiting times, to my friends, seem intolerable.
An example: I had an inguinal hernia last year, and a friend in New Zealand had one at roughly the same time. His was painful; mine was not. I could have gone without treatment, as it wasn’t immediately dangerous, but as I was going to Antarctica, my doctor advised me to have the repair operation beforehand, for if the hernia became strangulated when I was on a boat in Antarctica, I would probably die. (Strangulated hernias must be operated on within a day or so.) Strangulations are rare, but do happen. I called the belly doctor and he said he could operate on me in three weeks. And so I got operated on and completely fixed.
My friend in New Zealand is, as far as I know, still waiting, and says he is in pain. He may wait two years, as I recall, because the government healthcare system can’t fit him in before then.
This is also the case for friends in some of the other countries I’ve mentioned: long waiting times for non-life-threatening operations, even when you’re in pain or debilitated during the waiting period. This is, in fact, why private healthcare coexists alongside government healthcare in those countries.
When readers say they favor a single-payer procedure, do they want the complete elimination of private healthcare and private insurance? Based on my experience, and that of other people I know, that does not seem optimal. Even those people who tout and are proud of their government healthcare seem to resort to private doctors when the crunch comes. Sander, however, seems to favor the complete elimination of private medical insurance and non-government healthcare.
Weigh in below. If you live in a “single-payer” country, have you ever gone to a private doctor? If so, why?