Monday, February 20, 2006

Every Now And Then, A Glimpse of The Real Picture

A comment left by a poster named Mara (No. 64), at Phil's Finland For Thought site, provides an insight as to how state-rationing of universal health care really works in Finland:

“On the health care front, the state declared that the municipalities have to provide a “guaranteed access to care” within 6 months of first patient contact. In a caricature of implementation the guaranteed response turned out to be a phone call between the health provider and the patient within 6 months from the moment of contact. The outcome of the call was that the system now recognizes the patient’s need for care, and the patient will hear from them later on.

Some municipalities have transferred people in queues for hip or knee operations into physiotherapy, explaining that the better muscular condition will help them to recuperate after the operation. But after a while the patient finds out that his health has been officially re-evaluated to require the operation, but not immediately. And so the patient is back to square one in the queue for the operation. All the time everybody agrees that the patient clearly needs the operation, but the system can postpone it by few years, while the patient lives a very limited life. This “queue shuffle” with its variants seems to be a smash hit among the public admins. And private hospitals, which have no shortage of patients.”

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Brilliant Idea

Former Spanish prime minister Aznar, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required), has come up with a brilliant idea for a viable counter move to Iran’s decision to go nuclear: have Israel admitted as a member of NATO. The move would certainly force Europe to make a fuller commitment to the preservation of Israel, and make it more difficult for Europeans to engage in spurious anti-Semitic exercises. And it would reintroduce the necessary Cold War politics that are needed when confronting Iran.

What’s more, the ascension of both Sweden and Finland to NATO would become more difficult, as these two cowardly states would have a harder time selling NATO to their respective electorates. Anti-Semitism is rampant in these countries, and being forced into a treaty with Israel would be complete anathema to all the foreign policy themes promulgated by these two freerider states.