Healthcare Examples to Follow: Colombia
A system that truly works for everyone
As legislators haggle about healthcare reforms in the U.S., I'm in awe of the healthcare system in Colombia, South America, and I wish the U.S. would take note.
In Colombia health insurance companies do not exist, so no middle man. People here choose the healthcare system that fits their needs. The health care systems are privately owned for the most part, with the government owning the "Nueva EPS". Each system includes a large hospital, doctor's offices, laboratories and screening equipment for exams.
An individual here decides which healthcare system then want to belong to, and pay directly into that system. The monthly premium is based on a person's income and the number of individuals in the household. Most families pay between $20-$100 per month, and when they are seen by a physician there is a small copay of $2-10. The healthcare includes medications with a small copay. I receive my monthly prescriptions (2 medications) for a copay of $2. Individuals who cannot afford even this healthcare are provided with free care at a government facility.
Some systems are better than others, and there are plenty of complaints. Sometimes the wait to see the physician might be 2 weeks, and the wait for elective surgery might be as long as a month. In order to see a specialist, one must first see the primary physician and be referred to the specialist, not very different from the U.S. system.
I don't hear any complaints though about the cost of healthcare, or the quality of the care that individuals receive. When I have gone to a Dr. appointment I have only had to wait 15 minutes, and the Dr. spent at least 20 minutes with me during each visit. I see the same Dr. each time and all of my medical information is in the computer system.
I would love for this healthcare system to be copied in the U.S. but I'm afraid that the insurance companies would never allow that to happen-it would put their multimillion dollar business down the tubes and would be much too efficient! Imagine paying your monthly premium directly to the hospital of your choice, with no middle-man! When did insurance companies get involved? Are they truly necessary? Hospitals and physician's offices would also benefit from not having to spend hours and countless personnel coding files and filing insurance claims.
I love this system and I'm glad I'm here most of the year where I can afford healthcare, where my Dr. knows me by name, and where everyone is covered! People have a choice as to where they will receive their healthcare and their premiums are based on their income.
Listen up, U.S. law makers!