Korea and Obamacare - Part 2
November 4, 2012

Korea and Obamacare – Part 2

In the last article I addressed what I felt was an important issue for many this coming election:  health care reform.  It has taken on the notorious name Obamacare, and will affect a lot of lives.  Many people are for it, and many people still stand against this idea.  I do understand the opposition to health care, and it is mostly financially related.  A lot of people already pay for insurance, either out of pocket or through their place of employment.

The questions I have for people who are against universal health care are as follows:  Do you now have insurance?  How do you pay for insurance?  Have you ever had to go to the hospital without insurance?  Have you lived in a country that has universal health care?

Here are a couple of true stories about health care and how it has affected my life directly and indirectly.

I fractured my foot in Tae Kwon Do.  Afraid of getting hit with a big bill from the doctor, I delayed going to the hospital.  After a nurse told me to go to the hospital I did drag my feet, but I went to the hospital anyway.  I was admitted with broken English by the receptionist and I was given an X-ray, and a doctor’s visit.  The doctor told me I had fractured my foot and they fit me for a splint, and all together it cost 44,000 Won – about $40.  Each follow up visit has cost me 13,000 Won or about 12 USD.  Each follow up visit has also included meeting with the doctor and an x-ray.

Please tell me where or how in the states you can get an x-ray and a doctor visit for that price without insurance?  If you do, you have insurance – must be nice to have that kind of money where you just go and buy insurance, then go to the doctor and have a healthy life.

I know what some people think about Korean hospitals: that they are probably terrible, that Korea was just a third world country.  The hospitals I have been in are actually very nice, and have what appears to be very up-to-date equipment.

Hospital visits and stays are expensive in America, and the economy of hospitals shows that.  I believe it was a Dateline NBC report on hospitals that claimed that half of the American hospitals are running in the red.  The big reason a lot of these places are running in the red is that they are owed a lot of money by patients who cannot afford to pay their bills.

My best friend was in a car accident, and he owes $80,000 to the hospital for saving his life.  He can’t afford to pay that much money off; not even after 10 years could he actually pay that amount off.  He told me he has to file for bankruptcy and that is the only way for him to take care of it.  He is going to wreck his credit so that he can get out from underneath a massive pile of debt he has from a car accident.

These people saved his life, and he can’t afford to pay them back.  Incidents similar to this one, where people can’t afford to pay their bills, cause a rise in health care cost.  It ends up leading to more people not being able to afford health care, and a terrible cycle repeats itself.

Unless, of course, the goal is to make people who are elderly, out of work, or unable to afford health insurance with their current job just die.  Then people should be honest.  Social Darwinism at work here – if you can’t get health insurance, you do not deserve to continue to be healthy or live.

The ideas of ‘if you can’t stand alone you should not be allowed to stand’ or if you can’t pull yourself up by your boot straps you don’t deserve any help’ contribute to what we as Americans suffer from – a huge ego that needs serious readjustment.

The Bad: we are so concerned about looking after ourselves that we don’t seem to care about other people.

Image Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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