L – doctor
S – husband
O – wife
O: Good morning, Mr. Brown! I’m Samantha and this is my husband Richard Thompson. May we come in? L: Surely, but before all tell me are you private patients or you have an insurance? S: What insurance? I’ve never heard about it.
L: Oh, don’t worry. It seems to me that you’re not Americans. Am I right? O: Yes, absolutely, we’re from Britain. Could you, please, explain us what’s the problem with the insurance? L: There’s not any problem. Simply, most Americans have insurance, through their employers or through the government, with the help of which they pay only statutory charges towards the cost of treatment, medicines and services. S: So you can easily accept us on a paying basis as private patients? L: With great pleasure, besides I’m having a room on my list just now. S: How lucky we are!
L: So, what’s the trouble? Both of you certainly don’t look as if there’s anything wrong with you. O: Doctor, I’m great. This is all my husband. He hasn’t been feeling very well for some time. He has lost his appetite and doesn’t sleep very well. S: Moreover, I have rather bad cough that I can’t rid of, and a pain in my chest, sometimes when I breath. L: But why have you come to me? I’m a general practitioner. I think that you should go straight to cardiologist and psychiatrist.
O: You know, in Britain, if a patient needs to see a specialist, their general doctor will usually give them the name of one and some recommendations. L: Mmm, I see. Well, I’ll give you the referral to them later, if it’s necessary. Now you’d better have a thorough examination. Let me see your tongue…Yes, your stomach is a little out of order… Now your pulse… That’s all right. Now just unfasten your coat and waistcoat and shirt and I’ll listen to your heart. Say «ninety-nine».
L: Again, please.
S: Ninety-nine. Ninety-nine.
L: Do you smoke a lot?
O: Well, rather a lot, I’m afraid, twenty cigarettes a day! And that’s only during the time when I see him. Who know show much does he smoke out of the house!? It’s absolutely intolerable, doctor! Our entire beautiful house is smoky! =(
L: Is that true?
S: Yes, maybe even 30 cigarettes a day.
L: Hm! You ought to cut that down for some time. Let me see your throat. Open your mouth and say «Ah! ».
S: Ah! Ah!
L: One more time, please.
S: Ah! Ah! Ah!
L: All right. That will do. You can put your coat again now. How much do you weigh? O: Twelve stone. In American measure of weight it means about 76 kg. I’m a nutritionist and since recently I’ve been trying one new kind of diet on my poor husband for the first time. That’s why I know it exactly. I hope that his ailment is not my fault. L: I reckon that not. Take it easy. Please, tell me, have you been losing your weight at all? S: No, I don’t lose or gain, at least never more than a pound or so one way or another. L: Well, there’s nothing serious with you, but you’re rather run down. You have been working too hard. You know, you can’t burn the candle at both ends, and you need a real rest.
A cardinal change of air and surroundings will be very helpful if you could manage it. O: As a matter of fact, we have been invited to go and stay with our friends in their cottage in Cornwall after our return to Britain. L: That’s just the thing. Don’t worry yourself. If that holiday in Cornwall doesn’t work wonders I shall be very much surprised. Another month and you’ll be as fit as a fiddle. But just to be safe I’ll give you the referral to cardiologist and psychiatrist and prescribe some medicines. S: Thank you very much, doctor. How much should we pay for your willing to accept us? L: Not so much, just 50 $.
O: Oh my God! Not so much!? It’s a rather considerable sum! L: Please, don’t be amazed. What have you been waiting for? You’re foreign tourists without insurance, besides you’re on a paying basis. You’ve agreed with it at the very beginning. S: Yes, it’s true, but we had expected less price. In Britain, this procedure will be free for every oversea resident, but he will just need to register with a doctor, practicing under the National Health Service, so that he can attend you if you get sick. Unfortunately, you don’t have such organization here. L: It’s unfortunate for you, but not for us. Our hospitals are in general well-equipped and efficient, and doctors earn incomes far above the general average.
O: And that’s why you have a right to make very high cost of treatment for anyone who is sick, haven’t you? L: Well, we have. In fact, there’s a strong prejudice against «socialized medicine», and there are only 2 federal health programs in our country, for elder and poor people, and as I can see you’re not included in these groups. S: And do you think that the United States’ health care system is pretty efficient and fair? L: I think that it’s one of the best heath care system in the world. A lot of people, like you, complain that it’s too expensive and not accessible to everybody, but for the most part, it’s pretty much accessible and everyone deserves a minimum. S: But not for the 50 dollars!
O: Darling, be quiet, please. He has already explained us that this is because we don’t have insurance, and if we had it we would pay less. Am I right? L: Yes, of course. In the USA insurance entail a co-pay, this means that every time you see a doctor you have to make a payment in addition to what your employer or your insurance would pay. Usually, it’s very minimal, for example, 10 $. It’s a great fortune for you that you’re here, in Colorado Springs, because in a very large city like New York or Los Angeles it might be more difficult to get health care without insurance. O: As for me, I guess, that your health care system is rather complex. Is it really so? L: I’m sure that it’s not more complicated than in Great Britain with your NHS. S: Hah! Rubbish! The NHS makes a lot of services cheaper and even free of charge. In comparison with America, ambulances and vision testing are free in Britain, and it helps to pay part of the cost of drugs that doctor prescribes.
L: Well, there’s something in what you’re saying. But speaking about the disadvantages of your health care system, I’ve heard that people under the NHS, who need to go to hospital, for example, for an operation, may have to wait a long time on waiting list for their treatment. O: Well, every system has its pros and cons. To tell you the truth, medical treatment in Britain isn’t as free as it seems to be, because we have to pay stated charges towards the cost of medicine, dental services and glasses, so the expenses for spectacles broadly cover vision testing. So let’s stop this silly tongue-fence and put a price on our visit.
S: I can’t help thinking the same, darling! Moreover, you’re a patriot and I’m an idealist, that’s why it’s very difficult for us to come to an agreement. And I’ve forgotten the golden rule, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. O: So probably, you will reduce the price a little because of our misunderstanding. L: Well, I’ll do it for you for the first and the last time. You should pay 40 $ and I won’t take a cent less. Here is your prescription. S: Thank you, doctor. We’re very grateful for your kindness. L: Not at all. But the next time it’ll be in your interests to have a complete medical check-up and X–ray before you leave home to ensure that you’re in a good health. Register office is at the end of the corridor. O: Surely, Mr. Brown. Goodbye.