American in Spain


July 9, 2007

I watched Michael Moore's new movie, Sicko, the other day. Let's just say that he makes a good argument for me not returning to the States until I'm a millionaire. I think I'd rather have whatever life-saving operation I need when I need it than an iPhone. The American mindset towards universal health care is pretty mind-boggling. From a very young age, Americans are given this idea that they, too, can be "rich" one day. I use quotation marks because everyone's definition is different. And because we feel that we're going to all be wealthy "any day now", we can't be supporting legislation that's skewed against the most wealthy. "By the time I need a heart bypass or chemotherapy, I'll be wealthy," we all think. Hell, this way of thinking even crept its way into the second sentence of this post! Get real, people! The chance of you getting filthy rich is incredibly low, and the chance of you needing assistance from the health care industry is incredibly high.

What's particularly disturbing is how the thousands of people that work for pharmaceutical and insurance companies can sleep at night. They must all be emotionally void psychopaths.

I, for one, have a solution to my personal heath care needs. I call it "Operation Marry a European and Live in Europe". Here, when I get even a light head cold, people tell me that I should go to the doctor. It's not that people are hypochondriacs, they just don't see a reason why you shouldn't see a doctor when you're sick. And they're right. Despite the fact that I know its free, I'm still, subconsciously, wary of visiting the doctor when it's not absolutely necessary, even though I was lucky enough to never have to avoid medical attention for financial reasons as a child.

Here's a thought experiment for you... Can you imagine something like the San Fermin festival happening in the US? With 5,000 people running down the street with some bulls and cows? Can you imagine the security waivers and insurance clauses people would have to sign for such a festival to take place? The insurance companies would have to give out special bracelets for the insured people to wear, so the emergency crews could know which people to attend to first. In Pamplona, there are health safety workers every few meters of the run ready to whisk you away to the nearest hospital should something happen to you. They'll save your life even if you're not a European resident.

In conclusion, I recommend that you see Sicko. It'll piss you off, but you need to be. The part where the Cuban firefighters are eager to meet and revere the 9/11 rescue workers who have come to Cuba because they can't afford the medicine they need for their 9/11-related illnesses in the US was particularly poignant. Everyone loves Americans except the US government.