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Your Views: Dutch health care system works well, better than in US
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In response to Lenny Baker: I'm a former Gainesville resident living in the Netherlands. While his facts may have been correct 55 years ago, they are no longer. With the overhaul of our health system in 2006, there is no longer a need for private or "particular" insurance.

The wait times he states are nowhere near accurate. Last summer, I waited four weeks for nonemergency gallbladder surgery. That was from the day I first saw my general practitioner and included all the tests I needed.

No, I didn't have a private room, but why is that necessary for every procedure? How common were private rooms except for the rich 50 years ago? Here they are usually reserved for cardiac wings and serious treatment areas. My average wait time for an appointment with my general practitioner is 48 hours for a nonemergency. Often I'm able to go the same day or the next.

His claim that there was just one MRI machine for an entire country is a blatant falsehood. The hospital in Alphen aan den Rijn has one. Let me just say that if my local hospital is busy or behind schedule, I can easily find an MRI within a 15-minute drive. If I need special equipment, there are university hospitals in every major city and this is a small country.

It's not perfect here, but when I compare what I pay and what I get to what is available to U.S. citizens, I'm blessed. I pay less than 3,000 euro per year, including medical taxes, to fully insure a family of three. My son is covered for free, including basic dental, until he is 18 or finished with his education. My deductible is 155 euro per adult per year. For my surgery, I paid 3 euro out of pocket for some incredibly bad television.

We're not a low-income family. In fact, ours is twice the average income. For those not as fortunate, there are subsidies, but the important part is this: No one is denied treatment or insurance. No, it may not go as fast as instant gratifiers may want, but it goes in a timely manner and the doctors are thorough.

I've lived here for more than five years and I am grateful I no longer have to worry what will happen if I get sick. I will get treatment and I will be able to pay for it. My mom is still in Gainesville and she can't say the same. She's struggling to pay for life-saving medication, and until this new law was passed, she was uninsurable. My stepfather is a veteran and retired and he pays more for just himself per month than we paid even under the old system.

Mr. Baker, I beg you to stop spreading falsehoods about our medical care here. It's more than adequate, it's accessible for everyone and it's affordable for everyone. That's something you cannot say for the U.S. under the old system.

Misty Walst-Kennedy
Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands

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