Friday, August 25, 2006

Mexicans' Medical Bills Paid With Friends' Blood

In Mexico, patients who have no health insurance or who are covered by bare-bones government plans are required to recruit two to six blood donors — friends, relatives, even total strangers — in order to receive free or discounted medical care.

It is an obligation accepted matter-of-factly. Nearly half of the population had no health insurance in 2005, and almost everyone — except for the estimated 5 percent of the population that can afford deluxe private insurance — can readily spool off a list of surgeries that their blood has made possible.

But in Mexico, where the World Bank estimates half the population lives below the poverty line, a person's blood type is essentially common knowledge. It's the sort of thing that gets talked about at sidewalk taco stands and, thankfully for Morales, at bars.
That is such an interesting setup. I wonder if it makes people feel more interconnected as they know exactly who helped save their life.

It reminds me of this article I read before about blood donations in Britain.
"In Britain, blood is given free of charge. Donors are proud to be known as good, altruistic people. There is never a shortage, and the quality of blood is very high because the healthiest people give blood. In America, it's the opposite. People are frequently paid to give blood, and so you've got two big problems: The quality of blood is bad, because drug addicts and the poor have an incentive to donate, and there tend to be many shortages of blood.

"Two years ago, there was talk in Britain about selling blood to make money for the new blood-donor service. Immediately, there was an uproar. People didn't want to give blood, even though that money was to go back into the blood-donor service. People felt it was no longer a gift relationship.

"The number of people giving blood dropped dramatically in the weeks following that decision. The currency changed. Therefore, the emotions changed. When someone gives you money, you don't feel the same emotions that you feel when someone demonstrates a kindness. We are too quick to interpret everything as marginal that does not fit our economic model," says Cronin.
via The Seattle Times

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.