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Gloucester City News Headlines for October 1

WHEN EAST MEETS WEST: Japan's health care System as a model.

Keeping it Plain, Simple and Brilliant

The health care debate in America has had an interesting item mentioned again and

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again in recent weeks the Japanese health care system! Editorials and news reports have held up Japan as an example of good-quality health care service.

While the background conditions in America and in Japan can be said to perhaps too different to compare,Japan can be said to provide a very good, if not perfect,level of health care to its citizens.With the debate ranging in the States as a new government in Japan,now is a good time to take stock of the lingering problems.

What many articles in the American press have been pointing out is the overall choice and general quality of services in Japan for its citizens. Per-capita expenditures here in Japan are lower than in the States because of so much primary and preventive health care, mostly at local clinics.While Japan's specialization and high-tech health care may not be as advanced,the level of access,number of annual checkups and basic care for the majority of Japanese mean that specialized and technology--oriented medical  care is needed less often.

All of that system is good,but other problems remain,local clinics and hospitals have long waits. Further consultations about rare conditions or unusual symptoms can be extremely time consuming but cheap.A shortage of gerontologists and geriatricians are balanced, ironically,by a shortage of obstetricians and pediatricians.Many hospitals in the countryside have to close or limit operations. Emergency rooms and services are

under-staffed.The number of doctors who remain at large hospitals over the course of their careers continues to diminish.These are all problems that can be solved in time but need urgent attention and also new policies as well.

As the population ages,significant changes in health care services will have to be instituted.Another problem is,Diet,tobacco,and alcohol,lifestyle issues are the largest impact on the health care system.The health care system also needs to devote more attention to suicide and depression,leading causes of death and suffering.

The new government has a lot of work to do ahead of them to address and solve these problems.Any system of medical health care needs on going development to maintain its standards.For the Japanese medical system to truly be considered a model for other countries,and a great service to those living here,much work needs to be done.

My family and I as well have benefitted from the Japanese health care system over the years.Me with prostate cancer diagnosed 5 years ago,I have been through the whole system. 33 days of Chemo radio therapy,3 MRI’s-magnetic resonance imaging,

Cat Scans,many blood tests,X-rays etc.plus many doctors consultations.The treatment was extremely cheap and wonderful.

I had three tumors which are now dormant this has been my 5th year of treatment almost my sixth year.I am still under going checkups and treatment as needed.

My first check-ups were every month as an out-patient,I am now on a one year checkup watch twice per year.

I don't believe we spent more than $ 6,000 U.S.dollars till now from the beginning of my diagnosis for all this care and treatment right from the start five years ago.

All the medications that were prescribed each time for treatment only cost between 70 cents U.S. to about $ 2.50,Two dollars fifty cents, and I received quite a lot of medication, this system is truly unbelievable.

We have a health care booklet since our marriage when we applied for the Japanese Health Care System Insurance.That was about 29 years ago each of our children's birth, pre-natal care cost,injections plus their birth, plus post-natal care cost were extremely cheap.

My family also have dental care included and we've used this service very very very often over the years while our kids were growing up.And they still use the Japanese health care system each time when they return home for visits.

Our Japanese health Care System monthly payment cost $280.00 U.S. Dollars. All three of our children are American citizens as well as myself,my wife Keiko is Japanese by birth.

I am a permanent resident certificate holder and an American citizen.

I as an American have all the privileges just as a Japanese citizen does only I can not vote that all. I was issued a seniors citizens card when I became 60 years old I have been using the card for 13 years now .The which gives me special discounts at movie theaters and many other facilities as I receive about a 50% discount. I frequent many places as often as I can,I do pay taxes here and they are also very high too,but I do not mind one item pays for another.

Just recently during my yearly health check two weeks ago,I had to under go an endoscopy to examine my internal organs,the whole examination took about 5 hours and only cost me in U.S.dollars about $37.00.and I thus I under went also a variety of different tests etc.I'll once again have the check up with the endoscopy next year in September,also and who knows the cost of that may be cheaper too. "WOW !" This system is great ,the Japanese really do take care of their citizens and some non citizens too!

Very Warm regards from Kitakyushu City, Japan and have a great fall of the year get out and smell the roses !

Hank F. Miller Jr.

Hank is a former resident of Gloucester City NJ

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