Monday, January 26, 2015

Japanese Health Care: The Original ObamaCare

Can I take a moment to talk about Japanese health care?

Japanese liquid Jesus*...I mean, medicine
My Lord Jesus Christ, it's the best! My excitement for great health care ages me, but I don't care. I'll take Japanese health care over the disaster health care services we have in the United States any day.

How is that when I had a bladder infection in the United States, I was sent to a specialist where I had to make an appointment to discuss my issue, another appointment for a urine test, another appointment in a different facility for a CT scan, another appointment with the specialist for another test, and then another appointment to discuss the results of said test? Mind you, those results were inconclusive! How is it that 4 months later, I received multiple and expensive invoices?

Let's fast forward to the same issue in Japan!

I went to the clinic where they administered an exam, and since those results were extreme, they prepped the adjacent room for an ultrasound of my bladder and kidneys. After he administered the test and noted that I was cancer free, he prescribed me medicine and told me, "Drink more water. Drink so much water that you piss clear. Okinawa is hot; Miami is hotter. You're constantly dehydrated. Get well soon. kthanxbye"

Wow! Problem fixed. My bill, including medicine, was less than $20. I was expecting an invoice in the mail, but it never came because it's Japan and their health care is the bees knees.

During my time in Japan, I have gone to the doctors for ear issues resulting from my scuba certification, the flu, a bladder infection, two bouts of stomach issues, and two mandatory physicals (free), and I have never spent more than $30 for the consultation, exam, and prescribed medicine.

Just a bit of advice for JETs: Pick a clinic and stick to it. If you switch, bring your medicine so that they don't prescribe the same ineffective medicine twice. Also, print out a calendar and write down your symptoms (in Japanese), when they started, and how long they have lasted. Ask your coworkers, especially your school nurse, about their recommended doctors/hospitals/clinics!

Health care is cheap, but it's not perfect. Check out my drama with hospitals/clinics in Japan in this post!

* Jesus = "perfection." Get it? lol

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