Last week, a cousin living in America, came home to help his eighty year old mother settle into her new, more suitable and smaller accommodation. His mother is severely disabled with kidney failure and heart problems. Although we have little community and medical support for the needs of such patients in our community, his mum does obtain highly technical equipment to use at home, (even if has failed four times in a year) and the medications that she needs, to live a reasonable quality of life.
There are people all over the world who just would not survive major organ failures, as services and equipment are not available, or, at any rate, it would not be, without heavy costs.
Our cousin was describing the increasing visibility of the unemployed, in what has been a reasonably prosperous area till recession struck. The people receive food vouchers for specific kinds of food shopping. The check-out queues, these days, are more usually populated by voucher holders than people who have the ability to purchase their household shopping.
While welfare, such as it is, in America, has recently been extended beyond previous time limits, those without jobs or regular income, have no medical cover, no eye care, or dentistry. There will be some limited service at emergency level (Accident and Emergency). Ongoing needs will be neglected because of a lack of insurance or money.
America is a commodity society in all areas; commodities have to be purchased. It includes a whole range of life-saving, quality of living, and basic health care elements, that we are fortunate enough to be able to take not ‘for’, but, as granted. Sure, those of us in work, pay a national insurance contribution that is meant to cover what we receive. At times, it may be a highly imperfect health care system, but, at least we do have it.