Tag Archives: comparison

Health Care in The Netherlands vs USA

It’s an interesting comparison at the very least.
Especially between these two countries.
For the contrast couldn’t be bigger, it seems.

We have proper health care in The Netherlands. We do. It’s nearly unaffordable these days, but up to a certain point, people who fall ill, have the security of being cared for and it doesn’t cost them (too much).

The sights you see (in films and series like Breaking Bad, Good Girls etc) where people, upon arriving at the hospital, are handed out a form to fill out, is something that doesn’t happen here.

In order to achieve that, everyone who works, pays taxes and also a part of insurance for all the people in this country. If you have a better paying job, that means you pay more, as it’s a percentage of your wages. We are taught from a young age that paying taxes is a good thing to day. That our country and everyone in it, thrives on it. That you help people who are sick and needy, that it’s like giving to charity, in a way. Of course there’s still lots of (rich) people who still prefer to keep their money theirs, but there’s always exceptions to that rule.

Insurance companies here build plans. Until about a decade ago, the plans were devided between people who could actually afford care and people who could afford less. If you see that as seats in a plane, it was devided between ‘Economy Class’ and ‘Business Class’. In Economy Class you didn’t actually have a say where you were seated or how comfortable you were, but given that you didn’t have to pay that much, it made sense that someone else should make the decision (more) for you. Business Class was the opposite: you pay more, you had a say and at times even a choice of Care.

As I said, about a decade ago, this changed. We all became Economy Class people. It is now illegal to not have insurance. It is now no longer possible to have a choice between things needed in Care, you only have a choice in amounts of money to pay. Which is:

-A Lot,
-A Very Big Lot, or
-An Insane Mountain of Money

Automatically you pay the first if you don’t have (much) money. You pay the latter if you’re chronically ill and can’t bare life without medical assistance. It is usually hard for these people to find an insurance company. They have to find one that ‘accepts’ them, the medications they’re taking, the therapists they like and need and so on.
Also, the insurance companies have a huge influence on medical supplies. The idea was to persuade doctors to prescribe medication that was less expensive, so that pharmaceutical companies would be forced to kneel down and demand lower prices for their meds. It now has come down to insurance companies having so much power that no human being has a right to any Care, unless they can proof they’re not lying and really need it. This also means giving up a lot of privacy. Even the privacy one would expect at their doctors’ office.
You see, in order to get a prescription, you need your doctor to write down what it’s for. The dosages are restricted to certain diseases, illnesses and this also includes mental illnesses. So unless a doctor declares on a form what the meds are for, you won’t get the right amount, And yes, the insurance companies really are that strict.
Then there’s pharmacists. Pharmacists have actually studied medicins (along with doctors) and know the chemical base of the patient. They know what medicins can and can’t be combined, something that a doctor doesn’t always know. S/he is your GP, not the one you see for absolutely everything. So, sure, if you’re a diabetic, s/he’ll know more or less what meds you take, but not necessarily if it will or won’t effect other meds you’re taking. When there’s other doctors involved, that’s even trickier. That’s where a pharmacist comes in.

Then there’s insurance companies. Who are just part of this Health Care System.
They’re (sort of) willing to pay you (some) of the money you have to pay in order to get well again. The problem is: they see you as guilty of lying. They do not believe you actually NEED these meds/therapies/medical supplies until you proof that you DO. And everything that’s not in your health plan, you need to pay for yourself. This even includes (nowadays, it didn’t used to) the instructions pharmacists’ assistants give you when you go there to pick up your medications. Which makes people furious at these assistants for even trying to explain.
I have studied to become a pharmacist’s assistant, and this was the main reason not to go through with it. Insurance companies are such vile bastards, they need human boxing balls for the patients who become more angry for not actually getting any meds for ‘free’ (they already pay quite a lot) for medications they need. As a pharmacists’s assistant, that’s who you are. A boxing ball. I was instructed to tell patients why they had to pay for their meds. There was no real reason, it’s just that the insurance companies don’t want to loose that much money. I’ve had colleagues who had their faces scratched, being spat on, kicked in the shins and all that, because the assistant would tell them they now had to pay for even the instructions of their meds, thanks to the insurances.

And insurance companies don’t listen to doctors. I’ve had a mother in law with cancer. For her treatment, she had discussed with her oncologist (chosen by herself, approved by her insurance company) how to take her pills, a chemo.
She wanted to take 10 pills each day, for 10 days, so that she could feel like bloody shit for a relatively short period, then three weeks of feeling quite OK.
The other option was to take a pill each day and feel relatively shit the entire year.
That sounds like an option one should have, no? To take pills in the order that you want. If you have your doctor’s approval?
Not for the insurance company. They told her that if she wanted to take her pills that way, there was a certain bonus of 50 euros she wouldn’t receive.
It’s a mild amount of money, I am aware. But the guts this insurance bastards have, to tell a terminally ill patient how s/he can/has to take their meds! Sometimes I hear prisoners complain about inhumane behaviour. I think insurance companies here are going that same direction. Who the f*** are they to tell patients of doctors who have been verified, accepted and acknowledged, to tell that they want the treatment to go elseways, or otherwise you won’t get money?

I do understand why something like crowdfunding is a thing in the USA. Insurance is completely unaffordable if you’re only one of the few who actually pays taxes and so on.
If you don’t have insurance, it’s pretty much the only way to go. That or suing a company who you believe is responsible for the lack of health in your life.
The thing with crowdfunding is, people can decide whether or not you are cute enough, have a point in not getting treatment for free or affordable prices yet. But it’s a tricky business, as you give up all the privacy you have.
After all, you’re gonna have to show people you don’t know, exactly how sick you are. Your name, your family, your neighbours etc: everyone will know who you are. People will see to it that their money is well spended. You are being watched. You’re an investment of sorts.
And people don’t want to save just anyone. If you have had an unhealthy lifestyle, or people don’t like your race, your gender, your religion or the place you’re coming from, they get to tell you: no, you had it coming, you’re not worth saving.
They simply will not give you any money.
With insurance companies, you don’t have that ‘convincing’ part of others, who simply have no other choice than pay taxes etc. You have to convince the insurance company you’re not a fraud, yes, but other than that: it doesn’t matter who the hell you are, if you fall ill, things will be taken care of. They don’t have your face with it, nobody wil recognise you in the streets.

So, when I hear someone say: ‘the government should meddle less in people’s health care’, I think: people should care more about each other. And for real. You shouldn’t care about whomever receives the care that you are paying for by paying taxes. It shouldn’t be necessary that Breaking Bad is a true possible scenario. I can’t watch that series as it’s so unreal to me on specifically that level (OK and I hate both the wife and the sister, but that’s quite a different story).
How many lives could be saved in the USA alone by being insured for proper health care? And it’s not ‘meddling’ if you’re making sure that someone gets better. If you put it like that, no-one wants to have health care, indeed. A government should care for its people and not withdraw their responsibility. Because that’s factually it. It’s not ‘less meddling’, it’s less caring. It is saying: I take my hands off my responsibility for you. Given that it’s Trump, who doesn’t care about anybody but himself, I do get where he comes from. But the rest of the USA? I don’t get that. Obama had a proper plan, and people are still shooting at it. For heavens’ sake why?
Less meddling is what our insurance companies could use. Shut the f*** up about people’s plan of health. If you accept a doctor to your health plan, then indeed accept their plans of caring and don’t tell their patients that eventually you’re not gonna cough up the money.
But that’s The Netherlands for you. It works so well here, we get to complain about how it doesn’t work in other scenarios. Meanwhile, we all pay, the CrowdFunding is barely ever used for Care supplies. Only when meds are very rare and therefore, very expensive.

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Posted by on September 17, 2017 in Opinion, Uncategorized


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This film, that reminds strongly of a Disney-film because of the style of drawing and the style of music, is really anything but a Disney-film. Despite the fact it even has two little helpers, just like Disney usually has.

The story is about Anastasia, who is born and raised in the rich aristocracy of Russia, where, during a party, Rasputin has invited himself, cursing all of the Romanov family. He wants them all to die. The family which Anastasia is part of. This happens shortly after Anastasia was given a small music box by her grandmother.

Because of the curse of Rasputin, the family is forced to flee the scene instantly, as Rasputin wants to kill everyone, setting the house on fire. During the flight, grandmother and Anastasia loose each other. Grandmother is on the train and loses grip on Anastasia’s hand, causing her to fall down.

Years later, it appears that Anja (her name by now) has no recollection of the life she led before her 8th birthday, the moment the party  was. She is, by now, grown up, leaving the orphanage she’s been living in, to start her own life as a cleaning lady. At least, that’s what she’s supposed to do, according to the head mistress. But Anja has a will of her own. The road goes in two opposite directions. Which ones shall she take?

The film was made by Fox film corporation, and this is noticeable. There’s far more elements of it being a drawn musical at times than in Disney films. The drama is heavier, it’s far less suitable for small children with a strong imagination, who might get nightmares from such dark images. Especially Rasputin being depicted as being in a darker world, can be too much for a happy mind. You should watch along, or fast forward. Though it’s very possible that the fact there’s no blood visible, makes it funny for those who aren’t that weak in the stomach, or just care less.
There’s a scene, however, in Paris, where one of the statues (of a horse, with wings) becomes evil by the touch of magic. I wouldn’t call that very suitable for small children either.

Then again, the fact that in Disney films usually a prince or any male type person has to rescue the girl in her bloody expensive dress from any evil beings, is nicely compensated here. The girl does it all by herself, telling the bastard in his face he can go take a hike. Of course, she has help, but she’s the one who stands there with her dress being torn apart, kicking and giving a big mouth. Good stuff.

All in all, I’d say this is a nice film, but I wouldn’t recommend your kid watching it on her/his own that first time. At least hang in there for the music, it’s truly lovely.

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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Films, Opinion


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Logeren / Sleepover

Ik bleef een nachtje bij Vriendin slapen. Gezellig, want elkaar al tijden niet meer echt gesproken. Met een kaarslicht dineetje (de lamp deed het niet) was het gastronomische onderdeel alvast ruimschoots geslaagd. Eindeloos babbelen, tv kijken, muziek luisteren.
Toen het ‘naar-bed-gaan’ ritueel. Van ons allebei anders. Dat wisten we al, want het allereerste studentenkot ooit gedeeld.
Met name het tanden poetsen verschilt. Mijn tandpasta, ongeacht welke, maakt me aan het kwijlen. Heftig ook. Als een tandeloze teckel.
No way dat ik dat zonder wasbak red.
Vriendin daarentegen doet dat niet alleen moeiteloos zonder wasbak, ze loopt ook rond. Vouwt de was op, legt schone sokken in de la, richt de keuken opnieuw in, redt tussendoor de wereld nog even.
Ik moest lachen om deze acties, wat een rampzalige uitwerking had op mijn ‘kwijlreservoir’. Zelfs al probeerde ik m’n lach in te houden. Het kwaad was al geschied.
Vriendin keek lachend om de hoek van haar badkamerdeur. Een zwevend hoofd.
‘Gaat-ie?’ vroeg ze verbaasd.
‘I wa ehe verhehe ha hij haltij honlooh’, deed ik een poging tot uitleg, (‘ik was even vergeten dat jij altijd rondloopt’) met mijn mond tegen het plafond gericht, nu beducht om niet nog eens dezelfde fout te maken als daarnet.
‘Ah, ja ik vind het zó ontzettend saai om stil te blijven staan! Vind ik echt niks aan’, verklaarde ze wat ik al wist.
Toen ik een witte punt op mijn sok ontwaarde (want schoenen al uitgetrokken) terwijl ik m’n mond in de piepkleine wasbak spoelde, keek ik eerst wat bedenkelijk. Wat was dat nu weer? Toen bedacht ik me dat het een teken betrof dat mijn theorie klopt: zonder wasbak red ik het niet.
De witte punt op mijn sok was m’n eigen tandpastakwijl.
Het was officieel kansloos. Tenminste, het tandenpoetsen. Het slapen ging prima, we sliepen beiden als roosjes.

I stayed over at Friends house. Cozy, we hadn’t really talked for ages and with a candle lit dinner (the lamp wasn’t functioning) the gastronomical part of the evening was quite a hit.  Then we watched some telly, talked about films, books we’d read and so on. The good stuff.

Then followed by the ‘going-to-bed’ ritual.
We both have different ones. Having shared our very first student home, we were already aware.

Especially the brushing teeth part is different.
My toothpaste, no matter what brand, makes me drool. And not just a little. Think of a toothless teckel.
No way I can make it without a sink.

Friend, on the other hand, not only doesn’t need a sink while brushing her teeth, she’ll walk around. Folds her laundry, puts away clean socks in a drawer, rearranges the kitchen, saves the world while at it.
I was laughing because of it, which had, ofcourse, it’s effect on my ‘drool-reservoir’, even though I tried not to laugh too loud. It was too late for that.
The damage had been done.

Friend looked around the corner of the bathroom door. A floating head.
‘Are you okay?’ she asked grinningly.
‘I ha fohohhe you ahayhs hah ahounh’ I tried to explain (‘I had forgotten you always walk around’) with my mouth aimed towards the ceiling, carefull not to make the same mistake again.
‘Ah yes, I find it so terribly boring to keep still at the same spot all that time! Really I don’t like it at all’ she told me what I had already known.
When I discovered a white spot on my sock (because I had already taken off my shoes) whilst rinsing my mouth in the incredibly small sink , I was puzzled for a moment.
Then I realized it was proof of my theory being correct. I can’t do without a sink during brushing teeth.
It was my own toothpastedrool. There, on my sock. Officially didn’t make it. Well, the brushing teeth part, that was. Sleeping was no problem at all.

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Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Daily life, Humour


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Oma /Grandmother

Bijna iedereen heeft in zijn familie wel zo’n geval: zo’n familielid dat niet wil deugen.
Iemand waar niemand mee vergeleken wil worden.
Gebeurt dat wel, dan zijn heftige excuses, compleet met blote knieën op de grond, de enige remedie om ooit nog in een goed plaatje te komen.
Heftige scheidingen van familiedelen vinden er anders plaats. Want die is het wel met die eens maar vond neef zo en nicht zus eigenlijk maar niks en is allang blij eraf te zijn. Die vindt weer dat oom zo en tante zus toch al niet bij het behang kleurden, dus afzinken in de Noordzee en tadaa, klus geklaard.
Ja, hebben we beeld?
In mijn familie ook. Het lijdend voorwerp leeft inmiddels niet eens meer.
De enige leuke verhalen die er over oma te vinden zijn, zijn de lachwekkend slechte. Het is echt kansloos.
Zelfs op de begrafenis werden er vooral warme verhalen aan opa opgehaald, omdat er van oma alleen uit de oorlog leuke zaken terug te vinden waren. Niet omdat ze zo geleden had in de oorlog -ook wel, wie niet?- maar omdat ze sindsdien voor niemand meer aardig was. Al helemaal niet voor haar kinderen.
Huiverend hoorde ik van mijn zus hoe ze bij echtelijke ruzies altijd weer moet horen dat ze toch wel heel veel op haar moeder begint te lijken. Die op haar beurt, want zo gaat dat, aan moet horen dat ze op haar moeder, de gevreesde Oma, is gaan lijken. Het betere zout-in-de-wonde wrijven, zullen we maar zeggen.
Gelukkig hoorde ik al van die truc ver voordat mijn echtgenoot zelfs maar in beeld was. Dus ik ben dat lot voor geweest. Bij ruzies roep ik:
‘Jemig, wat lijk JIJ op je schoonmoeder, zeg!’

Everyone has one of those familymembers: one that can’t to be ‘good’.
The person nobody wants to be compared with.
If that does happen, excuses, on your bare knees, wishing and hoping you will one day be forgiven, are necessary. Otherwise huge separations will take place in the family, because cousin this and cousin that couldn’t get along anyway, aunty zero and uncle nero didn’t match the wallpaper anyway, so let’s throw them in the big ocean and whoppa: done with the evil.

Yes, do we have an image?
Our family is no different. The one concerning the comparing is no longer alive.
The only nice stories detectable are the ones that are so bad you can only laugh of them. It’s without a chance, really. Even at her funeral the warm remembrances that were spoken about were secretly of granddad, since the last time grandma had been a pleasant woman had been in the war.

Shivering with fear I heard my sister telling how in marital fights, her husband likes to say she is starting to look like her mother. Who in return, since that’s the way it goes, keeps telling her mother how she’s starting to look like her mother, the feared Grandma. The better way to rub it in, so to speak.
Thankfully I learned about this before I even met my husband.
So I was well prepared.
When we have a fight, I yell ‘bloody hell, you sound just like your mother-in-law!’

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Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Daily life, Humour


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