Military Healthcare System

since the “neutered military” post received so much attention, and since a few readers asked me to post on it- i figured i’d give you guys what you asked for. this is going to simply be a post about what i’ve witnessed over the last 20 years. i’ve worked in healthcare my entire career. i’m just here to tell you what i’ve experienced.

the military health care system (MHCS) is basically a perfect example of socialized medicine. all HC is free to active duty and thier dependents.

the military has a vested interest in keeping all active duty in prime heath. so we get access 24-7. i can go to sick call 365 days a year and be seen. i’m sure that makes perfect sense to anyone. however, if i need to been seen by a specialty service (internal med, ortho, etc) then i become another cow in the herd. in 1994 (when i came in) if you needed to make an appointment, if you called in on a monday you could usually get seen before the week ended. now…..2 week wait MINIMUM.

i’m currently being seen by internal med for hypertension, if i need to schedule an appointment, i have a 3-4 week wait. i’m not complaining. well imagine if you’re a mother trying to schedule an appt for a child- 2 week wait. what’s a mom to do? well, do what everyone else does…..GO TO THE ER!!!!!! i have wroked in ER’s and in conjunction with ER’s for 90% of my career. i can say with complete honesty that 95% of the cases that come into the ER are NOT accute issues (as in symptoms have manifested in the last 48 hours). very few patients come in with “emergent issues”.

you read that right. the ER is now simply a 24 hour family practice clinic. ER visits (and i’m only talking navy) have increased by 600% in the last 10 years. this is a fact. and what’s the common thought process of the average patient coming in to the ER (regardless of age or gender)- “well, it’s free; so why not go.” i swear to God. i’ve heard THOUSANDS of patients utter those very words after simply stubbing their toe.

secondly. doctors practice what we call “defensive medicine”. NH jacksonville has had multiple cases where they were sued for malpractice. you can google it to prove i’m right. because of the possibility of litigation, more and more doctors are ordering procedures unneccassarily to avoid the possibility of litigation. got a headache, you’ll probably get a head CT to rule out a bleed despite lacking ANY nuerological deficiencies. i’ve witnessed CT’s, xrays, and ultrasounds ordered on ONE pt. why- to cover the Dr’s ass and……because it’s free.

and the fraud. don’t get me started. there are people that have aunts, uncles, and grandparents, in-law, parents put on their page 2 (show’s who your dependents are) so they can get free health care. yup.

now, this is simply among the 4 services. most of whom are working. take this dynamic and plug into the current entitlement minded sheeple. where 47% don’t even pay income taxes. got a bit of a chest cold, TRY and get an appointment since, you know….it’s free. and if you can’t get an appointment, just go to the ER for your 3 day chest cold. i mean…they legally can’t turn you away and you’re entitled to it. besides IT’S FREE!!!!

and if you’re over 60…..good luck. you’re at the back of the line within the HCS. i’ve lived in spain and italy. my gf’s “nonno” had cancer- they gave him pain meds. i asked if he were going to get chemo. my gf said no. i was shocked. when i asked why she said, lui e’ vecchio. stai cosi”- he’s old, that’s just how it is. this was 1998 btw. lived in spain from 2007-2009, and it was the same story. the quality of the HCS is abysmal. so, those “death panels” that won’t happen. LIE.

oh, and doctors, MANY doctors are walking away from practicing. what do you think THAT will do to the HCS?

and remember, these changes only happened within the last 10 years or so within the military. i’d predict this will implode in less than 5 years if/when it gets implemented. when people ask me for advice on what to do when ACA (affordable care act) get’s enacted, i tell them the same thing.

“don’t get sick”.

one thing i’m happy about is after spending 20 years as a Corpsman, there is very little i can’t treat on my own. 90% of the shit people get can easily be treated at home with OTC meds. they just don’t realize some sickness have a 4-6 week run time. usually a week to manifest, then 4-5 weeks for it to run it’s course.

again, this is just what i’ve observed working within the MHS. i leave it up to you to decide what road we’re heading down. and while you’re at it, go ahead and pontificate on the health issues in ‘MURICAH- especially obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

stay up.


24 Comments on “Military Healthcare System”

  1. prcd says:

    Ironic that the Boomers who created this system we have today will get to experience socialized medicine as old people. I’m not in favor of death panels any more than I’m in favor of any other type of murder. Still, the irony is striking – they ushered in death panels for the unborn, they ushered in death panels for themselves as they age.

  2. BC says:

    “don’t get sick”

    Amen. Having lived in a country with socialized medicine for the past 20+ years, this is the best advice that can be given.

    Take. Care. Of. Yourself.

    And – have money. Even in socialized healthcare systems, there are private doctors and facilities for those with resources and/or connections. Always has been, always will be. Not to mention the ability to go overseas for care.

    Also, if you are single (stay that way! hah!), DO NOT get married or seriously involved with someone who has a personal or family history of serious and/or chronic illness. Looking at extended family and friends, almost without exception, those who take care of themselves and married into health are doing better than those who married or are in LTR with persons with poor health or who have family members with poor health. No matter how much you love or feel sorry for the person – don’t do it, or the odds are very high that you will be damning your posterity to a life of poverty and hardship, not to mention higher genetic likelihood for the diseases themselves. Harsh, but true.

    • Joe Sixpack says:

      BC: I’ve been in the USA my whole life. Americans are told that Europeans and Canadians are very happy with their socialized healthcare. Furthermore, we are told that socialized med can be delivered for 1/2 the price and be just as effective as what we get in America.

      Can you offer any insight on this? Is it not all unicorns and lollipops for socialized care?

      • dannyfrom504 says:

        It’s free, but the quality is more inferior than in the US. If it were such a money saver then premiums would have dropped. Which hasn’t happened.

        Ponder this- congress and the senate have made themselves exempt from ACA.

        What does that tell you?

        Sent from my iPhone

      • BC says:

        Basically what Danny said.

        The country where I am has both state-run hospitals and private hospitals and clinics. The state-run hospitals generally have a few experienced doctors and surgeons, and then a shitload of interns doing their residencies. Private hospitals and clinics tend to be newer and have more staff including specialists. I have heard it half-joked private hospitals are where you go to live, and state-run hospitals are where you go you go to die.

        The national health insurance scheme also looks to be going bankrupt in the near to mid-future, which is what usually happens when the people mainly receiving the benefits are not those mainly paying for the benefits.

      • Le Sigh says:

        Check out the “Liverpool Care Pathway”. Basically, they starve old people to death to save money. All hail the glories of the British national health service.

      • RadRave says:

        I’ll mount a half-hearted defense of the Canadian system…

        First off, it’s not so much “free” as Danny suggested: you (as a non-freeloading adult) pay a big chunk of your paycheck directly to the government every month. But no charge (mostly) when you need it.

        The good: If you chop off your fingers in a table saw or something, you can expect damn good treatment without any concerns about bankruptcy, even if you haven’t put any thought into private health insurance.

        The bad: If you need some brand new or experimental treatment, or are considered a low chance of success, you are often SOL. (Yes, “death panels” are effectively real.) And non-life threatening surgeries might takes months on a wait list. You didn’t really need that new hip, did you?

        The ugly: Politicians, firefighters, and professional hockey players tend to get better care than the rest of us, despite the fact we’re all paying the same amount.

        All in all it’s not bad, except for the unionized government employees that staff the hospitals and go on strike every couple days. But we definitely like having a free market neighbor next door when the shit hits the fan.

        If I was King I’d keep the government insurance, privatize the hospitals, and allow private clinics to compete where-ever they think they can make a buck.

  3. […] Military Healthcare System […]

  4. Faust says:

    Well, shit.
    You know this stuff in your head, but then you hear it from somebody you trust (I mean “trust not to be lying,” not “trust not to stick a fork in an electric socket”) and it just brings it all home.

    So “Don’t get sick” it is. Question then Danny, from somebody who’s knowledge of health is limited to “Take a multivitamin”, “Don’t eat too much” and “Work out,” what are the important things to do to avoid ending up on a 4 week waiting list to see a doctor?

    • dannyfrom504 says:

      You’d be amazed at how far diet and exercise will get you.

      A yearly check-up is good as well. Most ailments are treatable with OTC’s. in essence if it doesn’t involve a fever or symptoms that get more and more severe, OTC’s are the way to go.

      Most of the cases that make me crack up is the person that comes in for an X-ray for something that happened a week ago and is obviously having minimal discomfort.

      ER= if you’re not treated immediately you run the risk of loss of: life, sight, extremity….you get the picture.

    • BC says:

      “Know thyself”

      Understand your current physical condition – what are your weak points (= risks).

      Also, ask your parents about your family illness history. The two sides of your family will likely have different body types. Find out what they are, and which body type you take after. This will tell you a lot about what you need to be watchful of. For example, I physically resemble my mother’s side of the family, and my body responds to diet, exercise and other stimuli pretty much in line with that body type. However, my sister physically resembles my father’s side, and I can already see that she needs to be very careful about certain risk factors there, and have warned her to start taking better care of herself in those areas.

      So, know yourself.

      Also, follow basic hygiene. Simple stuff like “don’t share food and drink (i.e., utensils and cups), and wash your hands before you eat. Seriously. 90% of the increase in average lifespan during the late 19th through 20th centuries was due to improved hygiene, and not fancy, expensive medical procedures.

  5. Ton says:

    As a 24 year survivor of the military health care system, cannot say enough good things about the men and women who patched us up and save our asses down range.

    Sadly I don’t have anything good to say about it stateside. The crazy thing is, it’s the same people down range as stateside…..

  6. Jim says:

    The VA is the only place I’ve seen pills given out in paper bags. Hundreds of them. And is there to not heal but treat and in many cases, responsible for addiction. Dated a former Navy vet once who broke her hip while in service. Biggest pill addict I’ve ever known. And she used the VA to feed her habit.

    • Jim says:

      And when I mean addict, she would crush the pills and then snort them like coke. Needless to say I didn’t stick around when I realized what she was.

  7. Paul says:

    How exactly is that system any different than the private healthcare system, except that under the private system, we pay more for roughly equivalent health services?

  8. Senior Beta says:

    Nephew an ER doc and expects to be very busy once Obamacare kicks in. Will be doing much more family/internist stuff just like Danny says.

    Several docs now forming mini insurer type practices where they will watch after rich folks and make house calls for set fees. Pediatricians I know are doing this in rich areas (Long Island, eg.). Folks with money won’t be standing in line.

  9. mindstar says:

    I’ve had friends who’ve been treated in Canada and relatives who’ve been treated in the UK and the waiting times are horrible. An uncle in the UK’s neighbor was on a waiting list for a coronary stent for 6 months. The guy died before he made it up the list. Had a friend here in NYC was diagonsed with heart problems in the afternoon and had a stent implanted the next morning. You already see the ERs here in NYC filled with welfare types who use it as a primary physician. Things will only get worse.

    • dannyfrom504 says:

      Yup. Which I said “don’t get sick”. Preventative medicine is the best option.

      Sent from my iPhone

    • Joe Sixpack says:

      Dam man. 6 mo’s for a stent? Those things are darn near routine in the USA. Like your friend that got one the next day.

      Now, the stupid thing is that in the USA, there are a lot of people who should be left to die because they WANT to die. They have non-fixable conditions, are in terrible overall health and are as old as dirt. They are begging to die. But we do not let them die. We force them to be treated with ultra expensive therapy that everyone knows will not work.

  10. […] when i talked to you about this coming up with the implementation of obamacare. particularly the increase in ER visits. well, i […]


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