Friday, March 20, 2009

Unwitting Participants of a Ponzi Scheme?

Man, I'll bet three months ago you would not know what is a Ponzi scheme. But thanks to Bernard Madoff, we understand that a Ponzi scheme is a "fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned." (per Wikipedia).

It seems that with the economic downturn afflicting the global economy, a great deal of attention has been placed on issues that previously are never really caught the limelight. One of them is the health insurance issues plaguing the United States. Physicians on the Medscape's Physician Connect have alleged that "commercial, for-profit health insurance is one of the greatest Ponzi schemes ever foisted on the public". As I understand it, patients do not pay directly to the doctors for treatments and prescription, but the insurance will handle it. Dubbed to be consumer driven health care, the American health insurance is a billion dollar industry. What this means? Read here.

I would like to believe that good health care should be the rights of all, especially in the self-dubbed greatest country on Earth. But it does look like the basic economic principle of "those who can afford, gets it; those who can't afford, forget it" is still at play here. Many have hung their hopes that the Obama administration will do their utmost to resolve this issue. I sympathise with the Americans who skimped on drugs that their insurance companies balked to cover or those who can't afford it, as they are the ones who are the greatest hit by the economic downturn and hope that Mr Obama and his crew will manage a miracle on this.

Malaysians should be grateful that they can get decent health care at Government hospitals with minimal payments for treatment and prescription. Even those who work in the private sector is still partially subsidised by the Government even though they pay more than civil servants. Those with diabetes and hypertension who needs long-term medication to control their condition, should they know the true price of the drugs they consume, would be a little more appreciative of the efforts of the Goverment.

Granted there is room for improvement, especially in terms of service delivery and time turnovers, but at the very least, you do get treated. Unless of course, if you decide to trust the medium/bomoh/tok dukun who promised you the cures of all ailments from cancer to baldness. Then, by all means, go to them. Let other people benefit from the Government hospitals.

No comments: