American and Brazilian heathcare…a user’s comparison

Mike Kimel posted American and Brazilian healthcare in 2011, but the post received a comment in 2013 that might be a interest. Anecdotal for sure, but then in political chatter anecdotal seems to be the rule. We do have readers who can compare Canadian health care to US experience…but the differences between city and rural services, regions, and medical practice can be quite sharp.

I'm a Brazilian living in Texas for about 10 years, i got used with 
everything here, except health insurance!!! I can not believe how a rich Country 
can have such a poor health insurance, and believe me, my husband is an engineer 
and has a very good job,i also have a good job too. but it kills me all the time 
a have to go to the doctor, first of all, i always have to wait, then the nurse 
gets me, put me on a other room and takes my blood pressure and put me on hold 
again, if I'm lucky after 20 minutes the doctor comes.spend 5 minutes with me 
and prescribes a lot of medicine(i never  buy, just if I really need it )and I'm 
free to go.

After 2 to 3 weeks a get a bill because my insurance has this deductible that 
until now i don't know how it works.  Do I need a insurance if all the time we 
go to the doctor we have to pay??? The only time we don't have to pay is for our 
physical once a year, and if i say check up not physical they'll try to charge 
me. What do people without health insurance do in this Country? Is there such a 
thing as public hospital? Now talking about Brazil, i spend most of my life 
there, my husband used to work for IBM and of course i had the best health 
I had two daughter there, stayed in a private room and left without 
paying a penny. Most private health insurance in Brazil you don't pay to visit 
the doctor or when you are hospitalized, this happened with my Mom and father, 
my mom has Unimed that she pays about $100 dollar a month, my father has a 
petrobras insurance that is even better, after staying at the hospital they send 
him home with hospital bed,  nurse 24 hours a day, because his insurance 
provides this kind of benefits. i was comparing my private insurance here with 
Brazil private insurance.. 
Now lets talk about public health insurance, we do 
have a real public insurance in Brazil, it calls SUS that means Unified Health 
System.its a FREE health insurance for everybody, poor, rich, foreigner, nobody 
is left out, but it used by poor population.  Is it perfect? No its not, there 
are so many thing to be improved , that's why Brazilian are going to street to 
change this and many others thing that is wrong in . Brazil.  Brazil is a such a 
big Country and not all state are the same, if you leave in Sao Paulo the chance 
are you"ll get a very good public hospital, but if you leave in Northwest of 
Brazil, they will be not as great.

I go back to Brazil once a year since I moved here, and had two times 
experiencing  with public health there.  First it was in Barao Geraldo(Unicamp) 
Campinas, SP, where I'm from.

I woke up with a bad earache, my head it was about to explode,. I was going to 
schedule a visit to a private doctor, since i don't have insurance in Brazil 
anymore,  my sister suggest me a public one, i wasn't sure at first, all my life 
leaving in Brazil I never used public hospital, but my sister convince me. I got 
there for my surprised there where just 4 people in front of me, since I forgot 
my Brazilian ID here,  the person helping me said any document with my  picture 
would be ok, i gave her my American driver license, she made no question about 

before 30 minutes i was seeing a doctor, that treat me very nice, actually 
talked with me, saw what my problem was, prescribe me a medicine, and told me to 
get it for free at the public pharmacy they have at the hospital, he just told 
me if they have the medicine here they can not deny it for me.
The  other time I was when I was visiting a small city ( Itacare ) in a state 
called Bahia.  The trip offer me insurance, i accept and paid a little bit more 
for my trip.

Getting there since they have a lot of sea food place( they have a lot of 
beaches there ) I could not resist to eat shrimp(its my favorite sea food) but 
after eating, i notice that my voice it was changing, i got worry and call the 
number on the  insurance card that i bought, they help me with the closest 
hospital there, for my surprise i was told that they don't have private hospital 
in Itacare, just public( I should have saved my money with insurance). I went 
there, it was a very simple hospital, so different from USA and the ones I'm 
used in Sao Paulo.  It was so empty , first thing that came in my mind it was , 
people don't get sick here or its closed.  I walked a little farther and saw 
this lady, explained her my problem and she took me to this just one doctor that 
was at the hospital. I just fill this paper with my information, and the doctor 
helped me right away. He gave me some medicine and asked me to stay there for a 
couple hours to see how i would respond to the medicine. After three hours I got 
better and he let me go. The same afternoon I was enjoying the beach.
I know a lot of people that had to wait much longer then me, and I know if you 
need a surgery you probable have to wait the one to a year, it depend where in 
Brazil you are. Of course Brazil do not have all the technology we have here in 
America( even Europa doesn't have) but believe me, we do have good doctor.s,  
our technology are in our doctors hands, they are as good as American doctor 
with one exception, they are so human, they talk to you.  In  Brazil you don't 
spend time with the nurse but with the doctor.  They have a office and you go 
there and seat and talked with them as long as you want to.

Oh, other thing, you can find free dentist in Brazil too , believe or not. And 
we do have such a thing as public university too, actually they're better then 
private, i went to Unicamp one of the best one in the country.  Its hard to get 
in, but if you really want to, there's nothing that is going to say no to you, 
it really depend  on you.. Now they have the cota for poor and negro (we used 
the word negro in Brazil, not black, black is considered offensive)it gives 
priority for those classes to get in public university.  
Brazil is not perfect and I think it will never be, but for a poor country its doing very good 
comparing to USA.. Don't  be mean and tell me if I'm not happy go back to my 
Country.  Here is my Country too, I'm an American citizen now. and pay as much 
or more tax then everybody., and i love here too, just don't like going to the 
doctor here.  Sorry about my poor English, I feel that with all my time here I 
still have a lot to learn.