July 09, 2007 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, Reviews, Spain, USA 896 views

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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.

  • creo

    I am surely unable to articulate myself justly, so that this post may not seem utterly ambiguous–if not altogether random. Nonetheless, I am an American who by chance alone stumbled upon your blog while attempting to find the exact length of the beach in Laredo (Spain, not Texas). Google, it seems, is fond of your blog. The reason for this, of course, is that I am living in Laredo this summer, or more accurately, have been living in Laredo this summer. I see that you are quite close, and if for nothing more than mere commonality–I offer a friendly hello from another American in Northern Spain. A friend of mine, and myself, are studying Spanish at a local language school in Laredo–while having a wonderful time living on the beach. I am a student at the University of Michigan back in the states, while my friend attends Central Michigan University. I may be a little young for your taste, but regardless, maybe a friendly conversation could be had over coffee sometime. My mobile does not work in Europe, so I am destined to communicate only through email (and by blog posts). Please email me (-removed-to-avoid-spam-) if you have any interest in sharing a few polite conversations in your native language. If not, I wish you the best of luck with your wedding. Adios.

  • Cool, yet another person who wants to meet me after reading my blog. And a Wolverine, no less. We’ll definitely have to get together.

    creo, I’ve removed your email address from your comment for your protection.

    P.S. I heard the beach was 7 km, 5 km from the port to the tip, and then 2 km more doubling back towards Colindres. Word of mouth is my only source, though.

  • I haven’t seen ‘Sicko’ yet but am keen to. Yeah, the whole health care thing can really get me wound up. Remind me to tell you about my Polish appendectomy sometime. In the states I would have been dead, or so deep in debt that that I’d’ve wished myself so. And I can’t imagine the stress of being a parent of young children in the U.S. with the current state of health insurance or lack thereof. Thinking about that certainly makes the idea of remaining outside my native land an appealing prospect.