Unions, government corruption collapse Greek hospital system
Greek health crisis is a caveat against Obamacare.
State-run Greek hospitals are failing as they start rationing vital care and medications because of a complete lack of funding. Fueled by the political crisis, the health crisis provides a look at what a state-run healthcare system could devolve into, should healthcare in the US be taken over by Obamacare.
Without food or medicine a Greek family sits outside a local hospital in despair.
A lack of government funding has left doctors and hospitals without a way to pay their suppliers for even the most basic drugs and materials. Many doctors have made special arrangements with the drug companies to keep the most essential medicines coming into the country, but even those supplies aren't enough.
A chief complaint is that pharmacists are being strangled in the process by a nightmarish backlog of unfilled state payments. Until they are paid by the government insurers, they cannot afford to replenish their stocks. Adding to the problem, is the Greek government's insistence on using patented brand-name drugs rather than generics, which makes the drugs more expensive-and therefore harder to get in a time of austerity.
Many pharmacists have resorted to demanding payments up front for medications. Those that still allow credit have queues that can stretch outdoors.
Many patients complain that the drugs they need are lifesaving and they still cannot get them.
The Greek healthcare system was once rated as "relatively efficient" according to a report from Reuters, but many people have also had to provide "gifts" to medical staff to ensure quality care, showing the graft and corruption that can take hold in a government-managed system.
Meanwhile, medical lobbies and labor unions have orchestrated a severe backlash to government cuts, making it nearly impossible for the government to control some of their costs. Excessive bureaucracy and poor organization make the system too expensive for its own good.
Unfortunately, as it fails, it takes the lives of innocent people with it.
The same report from Reuters that credited the Greek medical system as being "relatively efficient" also reported on the repulsive sanitary conditions inside the same hospitals. Bed sheets must be reused, and other sanitary measures are cut.
Even then, many patients simply never get seen.
The crisis in Greece is an example of a government-run healthcare system managed by professional bureaucrats appointed by whatever party was in charge at the time. It is a warning against such models of care. Adding to the cautionary tale, the United States, today still a very wealthy nation, continues to spend far more money than the government takes in. Swelling deficits, gridlocked government, a divided people, and a weak economy mean that the lessons being learned in Greece should be required reading for all Americans.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Greek, Greece, hospitals, medications, crisis, debt, corruption, unions
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