Daily Prompt: The price of Health

Diabetes

I have diabetes type 2, the one you get because you probably indulged too much in eating sweets, cakes and anything else containing sugar. The one that is your own fault for not using more judgement when stuffing yourself full of the sweet side of life. To be quite honest, I do not even like sweets, but was always partial to a nicely homemade cake and of course if you have a coffee you added the real McCoy. No sweetneners, but sugar, two spoonfulls. My dad always reckoned that sugar was good for you, but I think that somehow came from the rationing in the days of war. If the government rationed it, it must be good for you, so you use it when you can. Rationing makes commodities more interesting.

So I now have to/should measure the sugar content of my blood three times a day. Are you kidding? I have a machine. I can prod my finger (ouch!) and let the blood drip onto the plastic piece. I then insert the plastic into the machine and voilà, I get a measurement. I am supposed to do this measuring three times a day, morning, midday and evening. The silly little bits of plastic with the secret blood counter, are not free. They cost at least half a Swiss France each. This means CHF1.50 a day, if I do it the way I should.

Relatively speaking (no idea of the meaning of this word) I belong to a sickness insurance in Switzerland. This is not free and I pay every two months. Today I got my new assessment beginning next year. I am now paying almost CHF 1,000 (CHF = Swiss Francs) 6 times a year. Can I afford to stay healthy, to visit my doctor? I am now saving. The little bits of plastic for the machine cost only a third of the price if I would be living in another country. We Swiss have precious blood it seems. I do not measure the sugar content of my blood three times a day. I do not measure it daily. I have to visit the doc now and again for a routine check on my MS medicine (a few thousand francs a year (90% paid for by my insurance) so I combine it with the diabetes check. Up to now I am still alive, and if  at all, I might get hypoglymia which is low blood sugar and that can be cured by munching on a glucose sweet.  I now avoid most unnecessary visits and medicines perscribed by the doctor.

Mr. Swiss told me some time ago that the sickness insurance will be increasing. I can still afford it being a golden oldie, living on a state pension and only having to look after I, me and myself. How does a working family with kids manage to pay this? It is law in Switzerland that you must have a sickness insurance, everyone: even the baby that has only just arrived in this expensive world. Admittedly the Swiss system is a good one because you do get value for money. We are a specialist nation. If you see your GP and it is discovered that you have someting special, then you are sent to the next doc, who happens to be an expensive specialist. When I was younger all my doc in England did was apply the stethoscope on the the chest, checked if your lungs and heart was doing its job and the rest was left to chance.

Health definitely has its price in this day and age.

Daily Prompt: The price of Health

9 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: The price of Health

  1. It is interesting that we call our sickness insurance “health insurance!” Your system sounds something like “Obamacare,” or the affordable care act — ours need tweaking, but not repeal.

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    • I believe that Obama actually used our system as a model for his new system. It is probably difficult to persuade people to pay regularly every month for something that they paid for only when they needed it. I am not sure how the American system is now, but I don’t think I would feel very safe with it.

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      • There are a number of systems similar to yours that were used as the model for Obamacare. For those of us on Medicare (over 65), the health insurance is pretty good — though not inexpensive. For those whose companies pay for their insurance, it’s good, but for those who need it most, it’s too expensive, and not comprehensive enough.

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  2. Living in Canada I’m thankful I don’t pay for Dr visits as I see 2 specialists and family Dr. I don’t have health insurance and I too don’t check my glucose numbers as often as I should. It’s about $80 for 100 strips. I’m on a new medication which is expensive as well but thankfully it works!

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    • Have the family doc who works closely with my neurologist. As I have MS I have to keep,a track on things. I inject every two days for my MS and that drug is very expensive, although there is no cure, it just slows down the process. We have a very good hospital system in Switzerland. We have to be insured in Switzerland, it is the law, but the medical insurance companies are in private hands.

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  3. Israel had a similar system. It was all private insurance except for one at the bottom which was for anyone and everyone. The more expensive ones let you have private doctors. If you were poor (or maybe just cheap?) you went to clinics and waited on line. Long lines. And not the best doctors, either … but there was always care for everyone and medicine was free — part of the insurance. It’s a big mess here right now. I have a feeling, though, that this is going to get worked out sooner than people think. This is one area where no matter what party you are “for,” everyone wants to know there’s a doctor if they need one. It’s all about who pays and how much.

    Who ever thought that medical care would become so important to us all?

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    • We have nothing free here, although there is state assistance for the poor if you can prove you are poor, which is not an easy process. An advantage is that we get to see a specialist if necessary and also know the surgeon who is operating with talks before and after the operation, but it all has its price. Personally I prefer general admission in a hospital. I have never been in a ward with more than six patients and I like to have people around me. It passes the time better with an audience.

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  4. People on low incomes in Australia can access some benefits. Some doctors “bulk bill”so you don’t have to pay. I guess they bill the government. But the quality of care may not be as good and waiting times for non elective surgery are horrendous. I know people waiting for gall stone removal or new hips or knees to wait more than a year but if you have cancer and need an op you will get it quickly. David was in hospital for 8 months and we did not pay for a thing as he was on a pension so I can’t really complain. However today I talked to a lady who went to the local clinic with chest problems where she saw a locum who prescribed chicken broth. Private health insurance is expensive, we used to have it when we both worked but gave it up when David stopped because we could not afford it any more.

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    • There is only private insurance in Switzerland, but the vvompanies have variations. If you are hospitalized you can go general with 6-8 people in a room, half private with 2 people in a ward, or private. Your medical care is the same on all levels and we have no long waiting time. The worst system I have seen and experienced myself is the national health service in England. It is free, but you have very long waiting time for an Operation and often large wards with 30-40 patients. Although our costs are rising, the treatment is good, perhaps too good sometimes.

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