Friday, March 26, 2010

Castrocare vs. Sicko

Thanks to Michael Moore and his "documentary" on Castrocare, the world knows that everyone in Cuba get's free health care. We recently discovered that Fidel likes the new Obamacare plan that will be coming soon to a mall near you.

But just how well does Castrocare work? Thanks to Professor Stern we find that the system doesn't quite live up to the campaign promise.

It seems that Castrocare is a two-tier system.

One is first class, reserved for the wealthy citizens and medical tourists that come for care and bring bundles of cash.

The other is for everyone else.

Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce. In Sicko, even sophisticated medications are plentiful and cheap. In the real Cuba, finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.

A nurse spoke to Isabel Vincent of Canada’s National Post. “We have nothing,” said the nurse. “I haven’t seen aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I’ll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date.”

The equipment that doctors have to work with is either antiquated or nonexistent. Doctors have been known to reuse latex gloves — there is no choice. When they travel to the island, on errands of mercy, American doctors make sure to take as much equipment and as many supplies as they can carry. One told the Associated Press, “The [Cuban] doctors are pretty well trained, but they have nothing to work with. It’s like operating with knives and spoons.”

Somehow Michael Moore missed this side of Castrocare.

Perhaps the voters in our last election who wanted free health care missed the downside of providing coverage for everyone.

If you can't wait for Obamacare, go to Cuba. Just don't forget to bring a suitcase full of money so you can get that first class care.
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