Regular readers know that I had gastric bypass surgery back in July.
Since then I have had to do a great number of follow up tests to be sure all is going well.
Significantly, Luiz and I live in the epicenter of doctor’s offices and diagnostic labs. We can literally get any test done within a four block radius. All our doctors: cardiologist, endocrinologist, dental surgeon, dermatologist, physical therapist, allergist, and of course the fat-to-skinny surgeon have offices within a ten minute walk.
Everything is covered by the insurance we have. No co-pays, no limits - the doctor takes the hit (low reimbursements) not us.
Recently I had to have a CT scan, multiple blood tests, and a 24 hour blood pressure mapping. Done. Done. Done. Everything was done within two days. No waiting. No delay. And I paid nothing (aside from my affordable monthly insurance payment).
The worst of it is waiting in the waiting room for a long-delayed appointment (my fat-to-skinny surgeon guy is ALWAYS one or two hours late for appointments -- thank the goddess for iPods!). Waiting in Brazil is most certainly NOT the exception to the rule.
But the best of it is the kind and personal conversations you have with doctors who seem to care about you and who want to know more about your life than just your situational illness.
I could not be happier. Easy, quick (to set appointments - not to see the physician), efficient, great quality, and by USA standards - ridiculously cheap.
It must be said that the free public system has its problems. - especially in rural areas. But we have a dear friend, with no extra insurance, that was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and he was in for surgery within a week. It seems if your case is dire, you get immediate attention. There are of course horror stories of those with non-emergency situations that had to wait...
For me, the lesson is that if a community - a country - commits itself to providing universal health care -- it is possible. Even if they have scarce resources. There are ways to make it work. Take note US America.
[Did I mention that 100% of Luiz’s cancer treatment/medication (totally separate from our insurance) is free?] ‘nuf said.