Friday, February 19, 2010

Explaining US Health Care to a Hapless Brit

I have a head cold, so I went to the drug store to get a decongestant. I wanted the stuff that actually works, containing pseudoephedrine. In my home state of Pennsylvania, you have to go up to the pharmacist's counter, show ID, and sign a release to purchase this. (Even if I wanted to, how much meth could I cook up with 18 tablets?)

In front of me at the counter was a British expat. He was astounded that his HMO had changed the rules on him as of January 1st. The medication he wanted would now cost him over $100. He was going on about how his HMO could be allowed to do this.

I stepped in to explain it to him:

Friend, you have to remember that health care in this country is a for-profit business. American health care is the same as other for-profit businesses, like the gambling industry or porn. Only with less integrity.

The pharmacist was not happy with me, but I got my decongestant. Business marches on.