Healthcare options

This video from PragerU offers good advice on at least beginning to get the American healthcare system in order. I offer it to you as a public service.

The Unseen Moon is all about caring.

PragerU videos, usually about five minutes long, are often blocked by leftist YouTube censors because, one supposes, they are a danger to Western Civilization even though Dennis Prager is a practicing, conservative Jew. One video that YouTube banned was on the Ten Commandments. Go figger. If you are a practicing Christian or Jew, and you vote for the Democrat Socialist Party, it’s time for serious introspection.

When I worked on the Houston Chronicle, I had health insurance supplied through the job. It was no big deal. When I made a doctor or dental visit, I supplied my info to the receptionist and, at times, paid a small deductible, and that was the end of it.

Simpler times from over two decades ago.

When I retired on December 19, 1999, the coverage continued for the four weeks I remained in the United States before it faded away. It was a grace period that gave me time to find other coverage, but I did not bother.

When I landed in Mexico, I had no health insurance, and I gave it little thought because I was busy with other things, a new life. I lived in the state capital for eight months before moving up the mountainside. I had been brainwashed in the United States into thinking living without medical coverage was nuts, so I enrolled in government healthcare, a system known by its initials IMSS. I paid for one year. It was dirt cheap by U.S. standards.

But you have to use IMSS facilities, and I noticed in that year that the mountaintop IMSS clinic was neither a place I would want to be hospitalized nor a facility I would visit for doctor appointments. There were lines.*

For the rare doctor visit during that first year, I utilized the private sector and was very pleased. When the IMSS coverage expired, I did not renew. I never used IMSS even once. Oddly, I used it just last month for a free flu shot because my regular source at Star Medica in the state capital did not have the vaccine this year, a first.

Blame the Kung Flu hysteria.

I have been without health insurance for the past 20 years if you don’t count our enrolling in a free government plan for about three years, something I did just to provide my wife with peace of mind. We never used it either, and our doofus Mexican president has ended it, promising to replace it with something better, but that hasn’t happened.

Shortly after taking office two years ago, he promised a great government healthcare system “like Canada’s.” Thank God, like so many of his promises, he never followed through. Doofuses are like that, you know.

If I have a medical problem, I make a next-day, or even the same day, appointment at one of a number of excellent options here on the mountaintop or at the nearby state capital. I pay out of pocket. Most excellent doctors, dentists and even specialists here charge the peso equivalent of about $35 for a consult that can include minor procedures.

You need an X-ray? Just walk into a laboratory, get it done on the spot, and pay about $12. The privately owned labs also do blood work and similar stuff.

The video demonstrates well the problem with healthcare coverage above the border. I am so glad I don’t live up there anymore for that and plenty of other reasons.

* Our mountaintop IMSS clinic was given a major upgrade three or four years ago, and it’s far better now.

17 thoughts on “Healthcare options

  1. That is a compelling video. There are numerous small ideas out there awaiting serious consideration, and they are far more favorable alternatives to further government control of health care. Democrats and Republicans who see the flaw in more restrictive government health care should be talking up these ideas.

    When I broke my right ankle while ziplining in Puerto Vallarta in 2009, I tried an experiment in The States. Having just left my job with an insurance company, I knew most of the hospital financial offices in Salem. When I asked them how much my surgery would have cost at any of their facilities, they could not give me even an estimate, even though I showed them my medical records and the itemized billing from the hospital in Puerto Vallarta. The concept of paying cash for services stymied them.


    1. Señor Cotton: I often think of that experience of yours, and I chuckle. The fact that no one had any idea what a procedure cost is a crystal clear example of the problem up there. U.S. healthcare is in grave need of repair. Not the actual care itself, which is normally excellent, I think, but the process of getting it.


  2. Having endured some fairly serious medical procedures over the past decade, paid by Medicare, mostly in our frontier territory, my knowledge is vastly increased as to medical costs.

    One can now track medical expense paid by Medicare on one’s behalf using the handy Medicare website. I had no idea I was worth so much. If I had that information over the past decades my attitude towards bankers would have been quite different. I would have made sure they knew my dollar worth despite the levels of my bank accounts.

    Of course, that Medicare money was paid by my taxes and the taxes of tens of thousands of others. Not free at all. And not price conscious.


    1. Ricardo: Medicare is a good deal for the citizens, I think. But, like Social Security, it’s wildly in need of reform. Medicare fraud is high, and SS needs means-testing, among other things.


  3. Perhaps to you and some of your readers with incomes from the U.S. or Canada, 500 to 1,000 pesos for a consultation with a doctor seems quite affordable, cheap even. But for a good portion of our population that represents a large expense. And then they may have medications to purchase on top of the initial visit. And if further care or hospitalization is required they will not have the resources to pay and will go without treatment.

    IMSS and other government health services have their deficiencies but they help millions that otherwise would go without treatment. If you had to survive on the same income that the majority of the population here earn, you may see things far differently.


    1. Antonio: You are right, of course, and if you read my post again, you’ll notice I leveled no particular criticism at IMSS, only that the clinic here where I live was a little shabby 20 years ago. It just is not for me for the reason you state. I can afford private healthcare. As I often say here, the Mexican system of private healthcare for those who can afford it and government services for those further down the economic scale is a very good system of compromise. Better than what exists in both those nations above the Rio Bravo. I love the way Mexico does healthcare.


    2. Antonio, P.S.: I love the way Mexico does healthcare, and I just hope AMLO does not screw it up with his nuttiness and ignorance. But the good news is that he seems distracted by the Maya train and other concerns. Good.


      1. You may not know this but Seguro Popular, which AMLO is replacing, was started by Vicente Fox and was based on AMLO’s proposal while the later was head of government in CDMX. By most accounts the health system there was vastly improved under AMLO. Seguro Popular certainly has its faults. The major one is it does not cover catastrophic illnesses such as cancer.

        INSABI, as the new system is known, supposedly will cover anyone not affiliated under any other government system such as IMSS or ISSTE. All you need is an INE, Curp or birth certificate to recieve service. And it will cover cancer and other major illnesses. Time will tell if it improves upon Seguro Popular.


        1. Antonio: I did not know Seguro Popular began in the Fox Administration. I did know that while AMLO was the mayor of Mexico City he initiated some fairly good programs. For that reason, I was just moderately apprehensive when he was elected president. But his actions as president have led me to believe that he spent his time as Mexico City mayor trying to look good, setting the stage, so to speak, fooling people, and he did it well. But now his true colors are visible for all to see. I am not a fan, to state it very mildly.

          Everything I’ve read indicates INSABI got off to a very miserable start. Maybe it’s improved. I just did an internet search on the program, and there is next to nothing — or absolutely nothing — that I see that is more recent than last January. It seems to have vanished.


  4. I’ve had to go to a clinic twice while down in Mexico. During the week it was $5 for a consultation which is when most of the Mexicans went. I went on a Saturday when it was $10 but less people. I waited my turn, about half an hour, got checked out and the doctor gave me a prescription. Fantastic. The next time I went there a few years later I was already in their system. I like the medical system down here. Canada’s healthcare system is crumbling partly due to hypochondriacs abusing it and not enough money to support a growing and going population. I think imposing a fee for a visit would help but if we keep bringing in 350,000 immigrants per year nothing’s going to save it. Merry Christmas Felipe. 🎄


    1. Brent: But opening the border to a flood of foreigners makes a society more rich and diverse and happy. It’s always a good thing. Always. To say otherwise is Nazi-like.


      1. Yes, I realize that I’m a Nazi for not wanting immigrants to flood into our country. And I fully support changing Vancouver’s name to some unpronounceable aboriginal name because Capt. Vancouver was such a bigot and racist. And any time I refer to my property I will admit that it’s really unceded native land. But my white privilege has made me think about using Aunt Jemima pancakes for breakfast and Uncle Ben’s rice for dinner. And I’ll be sure to remove my Christmas lights before they trigger someone. Wouldn’t want that on my conscience. So have a Merry Nazi Christmas and a happy Woke Reset.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I, as you know, am a fan of the private system in Mexico. A totally public system gets buried in administration and becomes unaccountable and any change is met with protest and criticism of taking away from the people. It is the second highest single expenditure from federal and provincial governments, and in Canada we pay much more taxes than our southern neighbors, and our system is falling apart.

    I know of Mexican doctors who work in both private and public healthcare. It’s the private that pays their bills.

    A system that charges nothing for its use will eventually fall apart from overload of use.

    Immigration is a whole other subject, and the U.S., more than Canada, could use a major overhaul, but seeing as it was six months to get help for their own citizens with a 6,000-page bill full of waste, I don’t see much hope for immigration.

    Merry Christmas, Felipe, to you and yours.


    1. Kirk: It seems to be the norm that doctors who work in government healthcare also have a private practice on the side. This is actually good, I think, because the doctors one encounters in IMSS, for instance, are not complete bureaucrats.

      Felíz navidad to you and your better half too.


  6. Indeed, the American healthcare “system” seems to be almost completely insulated from economic forces. In theory, insurance companies ought to be the gatekeepers, but this doesn’t seem to actually happen. If it did, then we wouldn’t see the enormous spread of prices for the same thing. And in fact, why should insurance companies particularly want to control costs? They get a slice of the spend, so the bigger, the better for them. This is a pretty big case of market failure, enabled and furthered by the myriad government and private regulations, the latter being known as “standard of care,” which basically centralized innovation and prevents individual doctors and hospitals from achieving more cost-effective results by deviating from the standards.

    I’ve now had a handful of medical experiences in Mexico, and it astonishes me at how Mexican doctors seem to be able to deliver the same services at somewhere between a quarter and a tenth of the prices in the USA. In October, I got a colonoscopy at literally a tenth of the cost here in Boston, and unlike what’s done in Boston, I also got a slide deck of photos of my inner self. (Which I’ve had framed and put over the mantel in the living room. 😉 )

    So Viva la Mexican Healthcare!

    Saludos and Merry Christmas,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where death is still not optional.


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