Moire found an amazing article about the practice of many Amish and Mennonite families traveling to Tijuana, Mexico for low-cost medical treatment. I had no idea that stuff happened. Reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer undergoes a bypass from Dr. Nick. How desperate do you have to be to travel to Tijuana for a hysterectomy? And how the hell do they get to Mexico anyway? They don’t drive all the way there in their buggies, do they?


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  1. Jeez… I never even thought of how the Amish get to Mexico. It’s okay for them to take buses and planes, I think, as long as they aren’t manning the thing. I’ve seen van-loads of Amish going from construction site to construction site, so… And Mennonites drive, and have phones, remember? I used to see them at Scott’s all the time, shopping for food. Most of them drove very modest Lincoln Towncars or Ford Crown Victorias.

    I think that with the astronomically rising costs of health care in America that it’s more than just the Amish who’re looking for alternatives to U.S. medicine. I was having a conversation with my new, kickass OB/GYN, and he took me into his “prescription room” and showed me all the the advertising and gimmicks the pharmaceutical companies are using. He bitterly remarked how all of those fancy “perks” were one of the reasons that health care costs were so high… The other reason was malpractice insurance. People in America are so eager to litigate — You remember that recent article about the OB/GYNs in Las Vegas, right? It’s insane.

    Have you had any contact with the health care system in Australia yet, Kris? Are the costs comparable, is the red tape and disorganization the same? How about health care in the UK?

  2. The UK’s health care system was, in my opinion, AWESOME. I know the people there bitch about it a lot, but coming from the US, it was heaven. The government pays for everything. It never cost me a cent to visit a doctor, and prescriptions never cost me more than £6 (that’s about $10 US; they’re free for old people and students). I also had a hospital visit while I was there (I had an infection that had me throwing up for 12 hours straight) and never paid a cent. Of course, with that big and bureaucratic of a system, there are trade-offs. When I went to the hospital, I sat there for, like, eight hours before a doctor could see me. (Of course, I’ve sat nearly that long in US hospitals too.) There are private doctors and private hospitals for those rich people who don’t want to wait in line with the plebs, but I thought the NHS was great. The people over there don’t realize how great they’ve got it. They bitch because they’ve got to wait months for surgeries, but at least they’re not flying to Mexico like the poor Amish.

    I don’t know a lot about the Australian system so far, but from what I’ve seen, it’s not quite as socialist as the UK system. (Correct me if I’m wrong, Claire.) Basically, there are public hospitals where the poor can go for free, and old people can get prescriptions subsidized too. (Although the government’s trying to raise what they’ll pay by, like, $1.) There other other hospitals that are private, though. Basically, instead of providing everything, the government just provides low-cost health insurance for those who can’t afford private. All the doctors are independent and charge fees, but if you’ve got insurance you can claim most (if not all) of it back. I don’t have my Medicare card yet (to show that I’m on the gov’t scheme), but my costs are still far less than they’d be in America. For instance, I recently went to a nearby clinic to get hayfever medicine. The visit cost me $40 AU (just over $20 US), and the stuff he prescribed me cost another $50 AU (just over $25 US). There’s no way I would’ve gotten the same stuff at that price back home, even in Indiana.

  3. Oh, I forgot to mention, there is a big scandal going on here because a big insurance company that provided a lot of doctors with malpractice insurance just went under. So now there are all these uninsured doctors who are refusing to work until the government does something about it. I think that’s in another state though…

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