Socialized Medicine in Italy

This post was written by jd on June 8, 2010
Posted Under: Travel
Italian Hospital

Italian Hospital

While in Rome, for some reason I got an asthma attack.  I haven’t had an asthma attack since I was a teen ager which was a couple of years ago, more or less.

In talking to the receptionist at the place we were staying at, he suggested that I go to the emergency room, since that would be free and if I wanted a doctor to come to our place it would cost a $100 euro’s.  I also had the option to go to a private hospital, but that would be expensive.

I arrived at the emergency room, not knowing what to expect, since in the U.S. you can wait a couple of hours or more. However, within 30 minutes or less, a doctor interviewed me (not some clerk wanting to know my life history and a promise to go to mediation if the doctor screwed up)

I told him I was having an asthma attack. He took the information down and told me to go to the waiting room. Sure enough, I had to wait about 30 to 40 minutes.  I was then taken to another room, a doctor listened to my chest, put me on a nebulizer, with vapor coming out of it, an IV (a shot of cortisone I think), took blood samples, did a EKG and sent me back to the waiting room.  While in the waiting room, someone came and took me up for two x-rays.  Finally after two doctors examined me, one a specialist in bronchial problems, I was told that indeed I had had an asthma attack.

The doctor gave me a prescription for three drugs, a full printout in Italian of the blood test results, the EKG, his diagnoses and told me when I got near another hospital in the next week or two, to go and talk to another doctor and give him this report to see how I was doing.

Total cost – zero. If I had been a senior citizen of Italy, the drugs would have been free. By the way, the total costs of the drugs were $83 euro’s, and that was only the ones I had to take afterwards, not those at the hospital.

I can well imagine the costs of going to an emergency room in the U.S. and getting that kind of treatment. The hospitals in the U.S. would charge at least $10 to $15 thousand for two doctors and all of the tests.  It was really nice to have the doctors in charge of my treatment, instead of a hospital administrator or an insurance company dictating what a doctor can do or not do.

If you don’t like socialized medicine, well, you don’t know what you’re missing, other than what the insurance and drug companies are telling you. (By the way, they’re in the market to make money off of well people and keep you from having to take any medical tests or procedures that they think are unnecessary, not the doctors ideas of how many tests or procedures you should have.

The argument I hear from people say that the American government can’t run anything (other than the military, the police, the road systems and on and on) In general I hear we have the best health care in the world. Sorry, according to the National Health Organization, the top health care country, that is the country that has the best health care for their citizens is France, followed by Italy. Where do we rank? Thirty seven out out of a hundred and ninety countries. Yep, we’re two steps above Cuba.

You know by now, that because medicine is so high in this country, people in this country are buying airplane tickets to India and other places because they can’t afford our great medical system.

Of course, the biggest joke I’ve seen in years was senior citizens protesting Obama’s attempt to have insurance for everyone.  They said they don’t want socialism but it was OK for them to collect their social security and have Medicare insurance.

Reader Comments

Hey John, I am enjoying reading your blog! I am planning to go to Italy in August, so this is a great introduction….

Written By Anonymous on June 11th, 2010 @ 6:50 AM

Anonymous = Christian

Written By Anonymous on June 11th, 2010 @ 6:50 AM

Social Security is not a socialized entitlement.

Written By Anonymous on April 14th, 2013 @ 10:59 AM