Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Healthcare Homework

I have to admit that I've been largely ignoring the Healthcare reforms being elucidated by Obama and his administration. For most part this is because I've never really thought about healthcare. In Singapore there used to be free healthcare for all. These days I think it's means tested, but only such that a top tier tax payer has to pay a couple of dollars to see a doctor, and a hugely subsidised amount for medication and treatement. There isn't really any waiting lists to consult, and although it's rarely possible to schedule life-altering surgery in a fortnight, most surgeries can be scheduled a month away.

In the UK, things are a little different, with visits to doctors being covered by the NHS, assuming you are able to register with one. Medication is sometimes free (if, for example, it assists with population control), but otherwise subsidised. Consultations with specialists can take weeks to schedule, and private healthcare, as I discovered today, is insanely expensive.

I discovered this today when I shelled out a hundred and one pounds for every ten minutes of my doctor's time. Of which I took three batches. Who would have thought that I'm (a) not as healthy as I've taken for granted all this time, and (b) now having to pay for conversation. I'm lucky enough to hopefully be able to claim this back from my insurers, but imagine if I couldn't! This was just the first of potentially many sessions. If I had stuck with the NHS, I'd be looking at a huge lead time for a consultation on something with symptoms that include exhaustion, hair loss, the odd rash, brittle nails and eventually infertility. Given the obvious symptoms, can you see how I may have not thought anything was up for years? Everything I was aware of was explicable. Partying, crappy hard water, my allergy to prawns, never knowing different and as for that last one, I'm hoping it's not the case but if it was, I wouldn't have tested to see.

I don't know what it's like in the US, but I do remember reading years ago that a huge percentage of the population was living below the poverty line (considering). I know there are a lot of people for whom three hundred dollars in a half hour, or a couple of grand a year in insurance, would be out of reach. What happens then? Do they simply wait till they get treated? I don't even know if people have the option of free healthcare in the free world. Something to investigate...


This is what I found out.

FRANCE has #1 healthcare. I guess that fits with their taxes and lifestyle.
Singapore ranks #7
The UK ranks #18
The US ranks #37

I anticipate that this is going to see some flaming...


Anju said...

what did you find out...? I have the same symptoms! :( Cant seem to figure out why my hair has been falling out. It's been quite devastating. What tests did you do?

JamTam said...

Hi, so I'm absolutely convinced it's an underactive thyroid, and was tested for the same (all blood tests, NHS GPs should be able to refer you for this. I went private and ended up with a £300 bill, which I don't advise!). The results I got basially told me it was nothing, which was pretty unhelpful. I'm getting a second opinion at the moment (blood test this Wednesday). The doctor I saw prescribed topical steroids as well as oral steroids, as well as Regain for Men (which led to a fairly horrific conversation at Boots).

I've been recommended Revivogen shampoo by a friend who had the same, which I'm using. I'm also taking supplements (my hairdresser recommended some, and I also got Wellwoman ones). I saw a Caffeine shampoo today which is also meant to help. Something is working, because it's growing back (albeit mostly gray). Horrific though, quite traumatic an experience. Still losing a lot of hair every day, but it seems to be getting marginally better and isn't coming out in fistfuls anymore (this happened in a client meeting, winner!). Hope one of these works for you - if you haven't got any bald patches I'd go with the shampoos and supplements.

Anju said...

I went for blood work as well, but it came back showing nothing abnormal.
I have found doctors ridiculously unhelpful, ignorant and basically stupid. Everything I have found out about hair loss has generally been through extensive research online.

My doctor told me I had telogen effluvium initially (reasons unknown/vague), which then later morphed into dandruff/ seborrhea dermatitis.

Strangely, since i went to the dermatologist, and he diagnosed this, prescribing a topical corticosteroid, and dandruff shampoo.....my scalp has BECOME itchy, and flaky.....something it never used to be.

I was recommended Rogaine by my first derm, but i didnt take it. It does terrible things to your scalp, and I am now trying to solve this naturally and homeopathically. Let's see if it works.

My hair does seem to be growing back, (ive been losing it for a year now) but it is still falling like crazy. Sometimes more than other times. Unfortunately, the hair is thinning...but the growth is infinitely slower. Luckily no bald spots, but the pony tail diminishes by the day. :(

It's so frightening. And embarrassing. It's not something you ever expect will happen to you, even though it seems so much more common than many of us realise. sigh.