Michael Moore’s claim that there is something wrong with American medicine is correct. But the problem isn’t healthcare. Well, it actually is a problem, but I have healthcare so I don’t care. More importantly, this morning I went to my doctor’s office for my 9:30 a.m. appointment. They called me in at 10 a.m., and the doctor didn’t even see me until closer to 10:30 a.m.. In fact, I don’t think a doctor has ever seen me on time.
People without healthcare – there are barely 47 million of them – don’t have to worry about waiting to see a doctor. (I hear that waits are even longer in other parts of the world, but this is America, the only relevant part of the world.) I don’t understand why doctors cannot be punctual. They help the same amount of people regardless of whether they see them at the scheduled time or an hour or two later. The system is inherently flawed.
The process begins when you call your doctor and make an appointment. The woman – I mean person – who answers the phone writes down your name on a piece of paper, cuts out your name and puts it in the hat for the day you requested. Every morning, patients’ names are pulled out of that day’s hat, and that is the order in which they are seen. If you don’t believe me, next time you go to the doctor check where they claim to keep their “files.” You’ll find a storage room full of hats. (This does not apply to orthodontists. Their patients are treated based on the amount of fear in their eyes.)
People without healthcare coverage don’t suffer through this ordeal. Luckily for them, they get almost no preventive care and therefore only see a doctor when they become sick, typically in an emergency room. Emergency rooms are much more advanced than a normal physician’s office: instead of a hat per day, they have one per hour.
Other industries could not get away with this. Imagine an airline whose flights take off hours after their scheduled times, (perhaps we could call these flights “delayed”) or a movie that begins fifteen minutes late (we could refer to this time as “previews”).
I’ve heard some people suggest socialized medicine as the solution. It makes sense to me: if the government provides healthcare coverage for everyone, (fatally) long waits and scarce supplies would reduce the U.S. population, thus leading to fewer people in physicians’ offices. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will work. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any easy solution. One thing is clear: the current system needs an overhaul and America does not want to wait any longer for it.
Anthony Vega is a sophomore majoring in finance and English. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.