A viral thread is blowing up the American perception of universal healthcare simply by telling the story of how one woman went from feeling a lump in her breast to getting checked out and assured that it was benign in the space of a single day, and for $3. The woman, author Mary Robinette Kowal, was living in Iceland when she discovered a worrying lump and feared the worst.

In the U.S., patients typically have to get a referral from their primary care physician before seeing any kind of specialist or get any medical test beyond the absolute basics in order for health insurance companies to cover the costs.

In Iceland, such a process apparently does not exist.

Walking into a medical office? The same day? Without having to wait in line for hours in a lobby full of horrifically sick people coughing and sneezing their germs into the air you breathe? What?

She apologizes because Kowal will have to walk across the hall to immediately get a mammogram.

Notice how they keep repeating “you found a lump.” As though there is no question that someone who found a strange lump on their body would be checked out immediately. Is this that fabled “health care” people speak of?

In the U.S., there is a persistent myth that “socialized medicine” means that you get put on long waiting lists to see a doctor even for urgent issues such as a possible cancerous tumor. Yet Kowal walked into the cancer center the same day and was getting a mammogram in 20 minutes, then immediately got an ultrasound and minutes later finds out that she’s going to be okay. This is unheard of in the U.S.

Yes, why?

As a follow up to this jaw-dropping, myth-smashing thread, Kowal directed readers to a tweet by writer Kelly Gregory about the nightmare she endured trying to get a mammogram in the U.S. when she found a lump on her own breast while living in Tennessee.

Unfortunately, in Gregory’s case, the disastrous U.S. healthcare system has proven deadly.

People living outside of the U.S. are routinely horrified by how inefficient and generally broken the healthcare system is in this country, yet the myth that universal healthcare will be somehow worse persists. Hopefully, in the face of stories like Kowal’s, the myth will not be able to survive, especially as others come out to tell their tales of quests for treatment within the U.S. and abroad.




What do we want, America? What kind of healthcare system do we want for ourselves? Think carefully.

Kowal did not immediately respond to God.DailyDot.com’s request for comment.

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*First Published: June 5, 2019, 1:27 pm