Saturday, August 01, 2009

No Pills Today

In an effort to control spiraling health care costs, the Irish government announced a cut in reimbursements to pharmacists who dispense medicines to those without private insurance.

Rather than accept a 34% cut in pay, hundreds of pharmacists across Ireland have informed the Health Service that they won't accept the government health card when someone turns up at the pharmacy to pick up their pills.

You want your medicine? Go find a pharmacist who's willing to work for less. Good luck.

The Health Service assures everyone that there's plenty of pharmacies around that will take their medical cards and dispense the prescription. If your local drug shop isn't in on the latest scheme, then there's surely another one nearby.

Welcome to nationalized health care. It's all good on paper, until one part of the medical engine goes on strike. No surprise, then, that developer Owen O'Callaghan sees profits in the construction of a private hospital, for those who can afford to pay for private care.

A shiny new 100-bed hospital will be constructed in Cork and run by a Swiss firm. Mr. O'Callaghan promises a state-of-the-art facility, with the latest innovations in the surgical suites and intensive care unit.

According to Mr. O'Callaghan, several doctors have shown interest, and plenty of people who can afford to by-pass the government plan will be delighted to take their illnesses to a hospital where they can have a private room that's actually clean. And no sick people on trolleys in the halls when the supply of beds can't meet the demand.

Health care was supposed to be equal for all, but we all know that some are more equal than others. After all, why wait to see a doctor if you can offer him greater compensation for letting you cut to the front of the queue? And if you can buy into a queue that's shorter and has comfortable chairs to sit in while you wait, what's the point in accepting the government program?


Aeneas said...

My grandfather and several uncles were doctors in a national/socialized/government health system. They lived very well, thank you very much, by accepting huge fees for providing care privately, on the side. I know EXACTLY how this works. Sometimes no money was exchanged. Just jewelry, gold... yah know, portables.

And BTW, it was prohibited by law to have a private practice. Right.

Aeneas said...

I think private medical facilities, offices and insurances will flourish. When it comes to one's life and health, people spend their last penny. As I said--I've seen it at work. I still recall my grandfather coming home one day with what looked like a blessed kilo of caviar. Sometimes, it was just a poor farmer with a sick child in tow and a couple of feisty chickens. At least my grandfather had a heart big enough to take care of someone like that as well. But others did not.

Meantime, at the public, government clinic, bribing was the way, like at the Ottoman court.

O hAnnrachainn said...

Prohibited to have a private practice, but what's a doc to do when someone shows up on the doorstep?

Easy to imagine someone wanting to get moved on a waiting list paying off the bureaucrat in charge.