Healthcare Debate and a small rant on selfishness (nonpartisan)

Healthcare. For me, just saying that word conjures up feelings of boredom, something that only old people with white/gray hair and wrinkles talk about and large confusing plans that make me feel dumb when I try to understand them.

Now, when I read my news in the morning it is a word tied to something real in that it is causing people to yell in these so called “town hall” meetings. I used to skip any article with the world healthcare in it as again my mind relegated it to the boring category but no longer. Instead, it is now relegated to my ongoing American culture shock category which I thought had finally subsided but apparently resurges with vigor when least expected.

I suppose it would do well to get my small rant out of the way before I start on healthcare. My main problem is not about the merits of individual healthcare plans but actually is a bit of culture shock in how people are going about it. In every news article it would seem that people are YELLING to get their views across. Further, their sentences begin with “I want” or “I don’t want.” Perhaps it is the Japanese influence in me that YELLS OUT (pun intended) “What arrogance, what selfishness!” Again, the American public is not public at all but instead a large grouping of individuals that all want something and believe they should all be mollified because their wants and desires are more important than anything else. They have been raised to think they deserve and expect anything and everything that their mind tells them they want.

Every sentence starts with “I.”

– I want
– I think
– I believe
– I need

This really makes the Japanese portion of my brain really ashamed of my culture. It’s all ME ME ME instead of the simple and harmonious “We.”

In the Japanese culture the desires of the group trumps the desires of the individual. In greater Asian culture it is better to have a harmonious society and to run around yelling “I want” is reserved for the spoiled 2 year old. Therefore, when my Japanese side gets the better of me, these people yelling about healthcare are seen to be acting as children expecting everyone to jump, should they yell and scream. Throw a tantrum why don’t you!

Secondly, they YELL when saying they want or don’t want something like the spoiled child. Perhaps we should examine what they expect to gain by yelling. The logic (of the spoiled 2 year old) is that should I raise my voice it expresses that I really feel strongly about the “want, not want” and seeing as I’m so important and the world revolves around me everyone should stop what they are doing and come pacify me because my feelings are the most important thing in the universe.

Unfortunately, as a strategy, I cannot recall even one instance when yelling helped me win and argument in ANYTHING! It actually serves no purpose and only shows that I am not in control of my emotions. This is something expected from children but not from grown adults! As I have posted before, when I was a child I really respected adults on the simple reason that they were older and were supposed to be wise. I cannot tell you how disappointed it makes me to see so many adults running around like spoiled 2 year old children who cannot control their emotions, WANT everything and not be able to control their feelings.


As for Healthcare, I did discover a few articles that calmly point out the facts and do not try to hype up every single detail, get people in a tizzy á la Fox News, and tell outright lies such as the so called “Death Panel” such as Sara Palin.

It would seem that most people believe that everyone should have access to Healthcare but differ on how to go about it. The main points against the public option are that we do not have a way to pay for it and many people dislike big government which is fair enough.

So instead of debating the issue point by point I’ll simply relate my own experience to American Healthcare which has been very poor at best. Let’s start in Vietnam.

In Vietnam I had no healthcare. When I got sick and by sick I mean bugs that do not go away without my friend Cipro and a white chalky substance to drive out the worms, I would simply go to the doctor, pay out of pocket which was about $50 and be done with it. The only time a healthcare plan was needed was if you fell off your motorbike, smashed your head and had to be helicoptered to Bangkok. That ordeal would run about $120,000 and thus you would be in serious trouble if you did not have insurance. Everything else could be covered at a reasonable price.

Then I come back to America, enroll in the employer healthcare and am presented with a large volume of options, plans and so on which caused me much distress on being very hard to understand. To drive the point home, I spent the last 10 years studying languages and here is something I could not really grasp in my own native language!!!

In-Network, out of network, co-pay, deductable, tax-free health savings plans, and notes to refer to some other page to determine exact coverage which would then in turn direct me to yet another page and so on. I still have a very faint idea as to what is covered, how much I actually have to pay and the benefit of them taking money out of my paycheck vs. how much I would have to pay if “something goes wrong.” The old scare tactic is loved here in America.

Returning to America was the first time I actually had to think about doctors and healthcare. In Ohio, we always had the family doctor, what he said goes and trust was no issue. Now that I had to do it alone, I just chose one closest to me. My first experience at the doctors here in San Francisco was not much fun. I needed a doctors note for work because I had the flu for three days, missed work and a note was required. The doctor listens to my heart, checks weight and blah blah blah then charges me $150 and tells me to come back for the results and then charges another $150!!!!! WTF!!!! No wonder healthcare causes so much consternation,, it’s DAMN expensive in this country!!! The quality also sucked so I don’t see how American healthcare is so much better for normal sicknesses. They do have sweet machines and great doctors should I need a heart transplant or something like that but for common problems the quality is on par with poor countries.

It is now time for a physical and to be honest I’m almost scared to go. I read the manual and it appears my insurance covers it but I almost expect a call from the insurance company telling me something about my doctor not being “in-network” or something or other isn’t covered and other nonsense. Besides, every other physical has gone something like this, “You’re fine, please pay $200 and come back tomorrow so you can pay another $200.

Honestly, I hate hospitals and doctors offices because they creep me out. Further, should I get sick, my Campbell’s Chicken Noodle has always been a good cure. In fact, I do get the flu on a yearly basis but have never felt the need to go see a doctor about it. Other than that, I do not get sick!!!

Yet, being back here in America and after reading the news it would seem that it is a nation of sickly people who are all on medication for every conceivable ailment or not. They take drugs for every single human feeling and the advertisements for drugs show happy people running in the surf and sh*t. (sorry for the vulgarity but had to be expressed that way.) It would seem the entire nation is on drugs.
So my advice is to quit getting sick and only opt for a light emergency healthcare plan. End of story. The doctor is not like your barber and you only need to see him every 1 to 2 years at most. Go to the gym and quit eating hamburgers and doughnuts. Well, you don’t have to quit completely as I like pizza and beer but get to the gym and sweat it out the next day.

But alas, here we are, a bunch of sickly people acting like 2 year olds, yelling and saying they don’t want the USA to turn into Russia and are mad about “Death Panels,” which do not exist. To be fair, this is not a liberal/conservative thing really. I would imagine most sensible conservatives are more concerned about money/big government even though it is tempting to paint them as uncaring, Jesus-freaks driving around in SUVs and carrying guns. But that I will not do. I will not call them “knuckle-draggers” either. This criticism is only in regards to those yelling at “town hall” meetings.

Therefore, to those that are sick and need help, I will be happy to lend you a hand in the form of taxes. BUT please do not go too often, get to the gym and quit eating doughnuts. To those that are sick and do not need help nor want to extend it to others, I hope you give yourselves and aneurysm by all your yelling, die and get out of the gene pool.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/


  1. On topic, though, you have a point about being healthy. The biggest problem that I see with healthcare is that, some time ago, we divorced personal payments from services rendered. What I mean is that I could go to the doctor and only pay some very small amount for a huge amount of services. Extra tests became the norm. Doctors could raise their payments because the consumer wasn't actually paying them. In fact, "good" insurance meant you really didn't have to pay anything. The problem with that is that we don't become consumers, we become users. To get around this, I support the hell out of HSA accounts. In these I'm in more control of the costs. Now, in order for this to work well we need to see an actual definition of all the costs up front so we can make informed decisions. Only then will costs come down. Having the gov't pay for it completely removes any direct link to paying whatsoever.

  2. You're in the industry and I'll defer to you on this. I have an HSA account but have no idea what the hell it means nor care. All I know is my plan keeps changing and I hate reading the plans which leave me more confused then before.Therefore, I make sure I'm in the plan by my employer, go to the doctor and they can tell me what the hell I'm supposed to pay. I've now got a health savings account with my own money (non taxed) which is supposed to be a good thing.Hell, I guess I support the National Health Care just for the fact that I don't have to do any thinking and am still covered if I lose my job. On the other hand I'm steadily becoming more anti- big government. THEN again, if the government has to do anything then it might as well be something that will benefit me like healthcare and they can stay out of everything else. Solution? Forget the whole argument and move to Japan. They've already got it set up there. 🙂

  3. Nice article Matteo. I agree with you on many aspects – where has the “we” gone? as a Brit I’m proud of our socialistic universal coverage. As a resident of vietnam; registered as a nurse in the UK, worked in France (Sickos healthcare paradise yes, but they are billions in debt because of it) now following the debate on US healhcare, just wanted to comment – US healthcare from afar, has completely lost the plot. I work for a medical insurance company and we dread claims for anyone caught with a bit of chest pain on american soil – how on earth can you run up a 60,000usd bill in one night? 350usd for a bag of normal saline (salty water) which costs 3 pound in the UK!!? the actual costs are purely fantastical.
    Ron, I do agree that you have become users, and not consumers, however this is the case in many other countries with an insurance system. The UKs NHS is in hindsight (as of course I loved to complain whilst working in it) a fantastic system, and its only problem would seem to be underfunding. However having “government” control a healthcare system does not lead to waste – it leads instead to controlled economies and logical decisions as to the benefits of certain healthcare practices. In a UK hospital, a junior doctor will have to justify his decision to carry out a certain blood test, or an MRI (now Dr, this blood test costs 140pounds; do you really need to do it?) whereas in the US you see a wasteful, decadent medically defensive type of medicine. Nothing could be further from the reality of universal healthcare than the US system. Anyway enough ranting..

  4. Thanks Lisa! You are correct in that the Healthcare costs are completely out of control here in the USA. I’ve lived in a few countries and would have to say I prefer Vietnam (costs super low) and Japan (I don’t have to deal with signing up or reading countless changes to coverage). I prefer staying as far away from hospitals and doctors as I can because it really threw me for a loop when I had to get a doctors note for sick leave from work and he charged $150 for a piece of paper with his signature and information I could have found on Google.

    The healthcare bill did pass in the USA (with significant compromises). The biggest benefit for me is that I’m no longer job-locked in terms of insurance which is completely necessary in this country due to the “What if?” factor which could ruin a person financially.

    Besides, even if there were any truth of a lot of Republican claims, I am mobile enough where I could just go back to Japan and not have to deal with it anymore. (^^)

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