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Why Doesn’t Washington Care About Its Former State Employees?

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The world is becoming more global but that doesn't mean that transparency is enough to fix urgent issues. I've been working for Touro College, which includes traveling between New York and Moscow, where the institution has taken roots. This work has given me an understanding of Russia's realities and I realized that some issues the average Joe faces in USA are handled better in Russia.

As an example, my friend Douglas was a police investigator for years on the local and federal levels. Then he worked as an investigator for lawyers the past 30 years. He has a two-year associates degree in Police Science and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and was certified by the state in law enforcement and set up his own polygraph school. He was hit by a car, which broke his spine, so he retired early. As we know, the government keeps about a third of retirement when you retire early, and sometimes more. But the person who hit Douglas was never caught, which seems outrageous given how much video surveillance there is in the US.

Douglas also had kidney stones problems. He's had 135 stones and 20 surgeries. Lithotrypsy has never worked because the stones are too hard. It can't even crack one. I've asked my friends in Russia and they said there is often a question of the doctor’s skills with such procedures. Moreover, I was astonished that world-famous doctors in Moscow work in ordinary hospitals and Russians don’t have to pay anything due to their obligatory medical insurance.

In the US, you can pick your doctor but everyone has to get health insurance so you can pay “only” 20% of the bill, with the insurance company covering the balance. Some people have a second policy that covers even the 20%, but this is not the case for my friend Douglas. Even though he spent nearly his entire life working for the government, they don’t want to give him such insurance.

Just 20%? But what about the cost of operations in the US as compared to Russia, where’ I’ve been working? In Russian you can choose private hospitals if you want to try something besides the state health system. In Moscow, it costs about $900 to melt kidney stones by ESWL (distant lithotripsy). In the US, the cost is about $17,400, though it ranges from $8,300 to $35,800 according to NewsChoiceHealth.com.

The average yearly salary in Moscow is about $11,800. That means the average Ivan can afford about 13 ESWL procedures. The median salary in the US is $32,423. That means the average Joe can afford less than 2! Thus, health services in Russia are nearly 7 times more affordable than in the US. This seems like an uneasy truth that uncovers a deep crisis in US society when Washington tries to rule the world but can’t handle the problems of the average American.

And it’s often the case in the US that doctors are not emotionally involved in their patients’ problems. On the other hand, I found a video on Facebook about the compassion of Russian medical personnel for their patients.

My friend Douglas had a different experience in America. For example, his doctor had him on potassium citrate to keep his PH level higher. It was 6 when they checked it, which is normal. But to prevent stones from building up he wanted to see it at 7.5 or higher. Douglas didn’t take the pill for potassium because it was large and rough, but it took two more operations before the doctor advised switching to a liquid form to be able to take it every day. Moreover, after 20 surgeries, Douglas concluded that it was up to him to figure out what pills to take, perhaps from natural ingredients.

This doctor negligence not only affects the health of Americans but could cloud the US’s future at a time when Trump is trying to fix a broken system.

Author: Vladislav Ginko