I am writing in response to a letter by Dr. Willis Ingle-Gillis, dated February 28, 2010. It is somewhat of a relief that someone is finally speaking in favor of a European — particularly Western European — style health care system. Though Dr. Gillis did not go into specific details, which is understandable due to the constraints and limitations of length in letters to newspaper editors, his letter is rare in terms of honesty. Although he is a citizen of the United States (of America) and registered to vote in Georgia, he apparently resides in the United Kingdom or in some place allowing him access to the "British National Health Service."
He briefly describes his positive experience with that service. He notes that the cost of health care in the United States prevents him from returning to this country, and thus has chosen to remain in the United Kingdom so that he can continue receiving the care to which he has become accustomed. Some Americans seem to think that there is a correlation between the cost and the delivery of health care. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the United States of America, the health care industry, including physicians and other health care providers, as well as health insurance, medical supply and pharmaceutical companies and corporations, has spared little expense promoting their products and services by propaganda and erroneous information submitted through the printed and electronic press (that is, the mass media, including newspapers and radio and television broadcasts, etc.).
When confronted with information about European — particularly Western European — alternatives which are lower in cost, yet equal to or perhaps even better than their American counterparts, including products, services and medical plans, the American health care industry often dismisses such information, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.
Most notably, the social and health care systems of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, and especially the Scandinavian countries, tend to be much more friendly and receptive towards the public, including both general and specific populations. Though every system has its problems, and no single system is perfect, Western European alternatives are not only much more cost effective, but tend to grant access to virtually everyone.
While Dr. Ingle-Gillis is an American citizen living abroad in a location serviced by the United Kingdom and the "British National Health Service," I was born in the Netherlands, but immigrated to the United States when I was about 8 years old. My parents and I have always regretted immigrating to this country; if returning to one's native land is a simple matter, we would have done so long ago. Unfortunately, once a family has settled in a new place, its members tend to have too much invested to simply return.
Bruno A. Pelczarski