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Yesterday we put Lucy in a laundry basket again to show her to the cats. We'd moved past the laundry basket into just letting them roam free in the same room, but we decided to back up because Munchkin was freaking out so bad. Yesterday morning's visit went well, with no hissing from Munchkin, but all the visits since then have been full of hissing and growling. I wouldn't mind if she was hissing a little bit, like Cobweb is, but Munchkin hisses constantly.

Lucy is an absolute monster today, racing around and attacking everything, including my feet and legs, which makes it hard to walk. She's driving me crazy. It would be easier if she had the run of the house, since she would be able to play all over the place and wouldn't always be underfoot, but we can't do that with Munchkin reacting the way she is.

I don't know what we're going to do about Munchkin. The sites I've read online have said that some animals won't adjust, and if that's the case you should get rid of the new animal or both animals are likely to develop behavior problems. I don't want to have to get rid of Lucy, so I'm willing to give Munchkin time (though the sites also say that the longer it takes, the less likely the animals are to adjust), but I don't know how to tell if we're making progress when she keeps growling and hissing so much. I don't know how long you're supposed to try before concluding that the cat isn't going to adjust. Longer than a couple weeks, I'm sure, so we'll keep trying. It's just frustrating to see no apparent progress.

Last night we went to see Sicko. I didn't find it as interesting as Michael Moore's other movies, probably because it didn't surprise me very often. I already know about socialized medicine, which was more than half the movie. I'm sure that stuff was shocking to people who are only familiar with the American healthcare system. When we were leaving the theater, I said to Shannon, "I wonder how many people leave this movie with a desire to move out of the country," and Shannon replied, "I feel that way after all of Michael Moore's movies."

Lucy has finally collapsed. Thank GOD.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC)

I enjoyed that movie, but I definitely felt that Moore was preaching to the converted. Just about everyone in this country who is non-rich and thinks about health care finance favors a single-payer system.

I've often said that America is a great country for gamblers. You're allowed to keep more of your income as long as you don't ever get very sick. If your health holds out, you might even become rich, because taxes are relatively low. In other developed countries, you certainly won't get rich, but you won't lose everything due to illness, either. Even though I have an above-average net worth, I could still lose every penny of it in a matter of weeks were I to suffer a serious illness and lose my health insurance, or find that the insurance wouldn't pay for some reason. Therefore, as a non-gambler, I'd rather have the certainty that comes from living in a country with a single-payer system. Of course, those countries also have generous welfare and disability systems, which was something Moore touched on only briefly. Free (to you; nothing is truly free) health care is great, but it's not enough if you're still poor because your illness renders you unable to work.

One thing Moore didn't mention is how hard it is to get admitted to one of the countries that offers single-payer health care if you aren't already a citizen of one, or married to a citizen of one. If you have highly specialized skills and an advanced degree, and you're currently healthy, you might have a chance, but those are the people who don't usually mind our current system very much. Those countries do an excellent job of screening out people who might want to move there just for the health care system. When I was visiting Canada a number of years ago, they were in the midst of deporting a Japanese family who had a Downs syndrome daughter because they were afraid she would be a drag on the system. As it turns out, she required very little health care, so it was probably just an example of anti-Asian and anti-retarded bias. There was a public outcry, but I'm not sure how it turned out. That does bring up the question of how you get people to make healthy lifestyle choices like maintaining proper weight and not smoking if they don't have to pay for the consequences. Maybe they could augment health care funding with higher taxes on fatty and sugary foods and cigarettes, but a lot of other unhealthy choices like watching too much TV and exercising too little would be harder. Big tax on cable TV and subsidies for gym membership? The mind boggles...

In summary, I think that while our method of financing health care is grossly inefficient and even more unfair, there are a lot of other health care issues besides how to finance care, like all the defensive and unnecessary care that's provided because of fear of lawsuits. I'd be surprised to find out that single-payer systems allow you to sue as freely as our system does. After all, one way to hold costs down is to provide the minimum necessary interventions and prevent people from suing if the test you didn't order would have turned up a dread disease that went undiagnosed.

One thing single-payer systems do well is keep non-emergent cases out of the ungodly-expensive ER by making sure everyone can see a family doctor or go to a clinic. It makes no sense that the cheapest care for the user is the most expensive care for society, the way it is here. If you have a heart attack or accidental amputation, by all means, go to the ER, but bronchitis? Please. Some counties in Texas are enrolling their poorest charity cases in HMOs so they can have a family doctor because it's cheaper than paying for them to come to the ER all the time. I applaud that.

Another thing single-payer systems do well, though a lot of people find it maudlin, is deny care to people unlikely to benefit, like the hypothetical 95-year-old guy with advanced cirrhosis who "needs" bypass surgery that I mentioned last time I wrote about health care. What I don't like about the Canadian system is that that guy is legally barred from spending his own money on that intervention, even if he has it and wants to spend it. In the UK you can legally pursue private care at your own expense, or purchase private insurance. I don't know about France.

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