Friday, June 21, 2013

Cuba's health care system

Good on prevention, not so good if you get sick. The authors of this NEJM piece seem to like it but don't romanticize it, they say. OK. From the article:

The system is not designed for consumer choice or individual initiatives. There is no alternative, private-payer health system. Physicians get government benefits such as housing and food subsidies, but they are paid only about $20 per month. Their education is free, and they are respected, but they are unlikely to attain personal wealth. Cuba is a country where 80% of the citizens work for the government, and the government manages the budgets...
A nephrologist in Cienfuegos, 160 miles south of Havana, lists 77 patients on dialysis in the province, which on a population basis is about 40% of the current U.S. rate — similar to what the U.S. rate was in 1985. A neurologist reports that his hospital got a CT scanner only 12 years ago. U.S. students who are enrolled in a Cuban medical school say that operating rooms run quickly and efficiently but with very little technology. Access to information through the Internet is minimal. One medical student reports being limited to 30 minutes per week of dial-up access.

The authors suggest that's the result of the U.S. Economic embargo.

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