I've gotten more complaints about my October 2009 column, "Don't socialize medicine," than anything I've ever written. I wrote it with a humorous slant, which seems to have been missed. Incidentally, I only mentioned a few of the sad experiences I've had with nonprivate medicine. There are other horror stories I omitted, such as when I was in an army hospital with dysentery and fever and a nurse ordered, "Everybody up to mop the floors." She was a lieutenant and I was a private—so I mopped.
There's no question that American medical services can be improved. We need insurance company regulation. We need tort reform. But all the sad tales that occur within our system can't compare with those in Canada or the U.K. The waiting time in both for essential surgical procedures is unacceptable, for example. That's why those who live there and can afford it come to the United States so often for medical services.
Those who think the currently proposed health plan is either affordable or satisfactory are delusional. I hope a compromise will come out of this conflict. As a senior on Medicare and with my treasured AVMA GHLIT coverage, I feel fortunate.
Robert M. Miller, DVM
Thousand Oaks, Calif.