International Health Care Systems

Get rich quick; Have a baby in Russia

NPR’s All Things Considered has an interesting report on health care in Russia.  A few items that caught my eye ear:

  • Russia offers birth bonuses of $9,500.
  • In Russia each year, there are more abortions than live births.
  • The wait for an MRI in Russia can be over 2 months.
  • Doctors are often-well trained, but Russian hospitals often do not make capital improvements or even basic maintenance.  According to one individual, overall conditions were “horrible.”
  • Health care in Russia is free…sort of.   Individuals often bribe doctors to move to the head of the medical care queue.  Medical care is free but medicines are not. “You have to go to a pharmacy and buy everything — stitching, cotton wool. Everything you need during the birth, you buy and pay for. We were told to bring our own sugar. If you are a patient in a hospital, you better have a friend who can bring you food.”
  • Private physician practices are becoming popular.  The clinics are better maintained and additional services are offered.  For instance, in the state health care system, mammograms are not routine and are done only when a problem arises.   
  • These private clinics are more lucrative for physicians: “At the state hospital, I earn $200 a month, $400 with overtime,” Bogdashov says. “Here, I can make $200 in three hours of work, without the mess, the pressure and the horrible conditions.”

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