One argument about cryptocreatures or aliens’ improbable existence on earth is that no one, for the moment, is able to bring a nice clean photographic evidence, especially today with the availability of digital cameras and smartphones [cue The X-Files Theme].
But look at that. This is a fox. I kid you not. A very nice fox. It was maybe ten yards, three meters from me, lurking in the nearby field, hoping to be very invisible from that strange human on the road and keeping quiet.
You have to understand that when I’m walking at night, in order to not be hit by a drunken driver on the narrow, agricultural roads I’m using to go home or to work, I’m very visible. And by very visible, I’m meaning “lighthouse wearing a hi-viz jacket while shooting fireworks” visible. I have reflective stripes on my clothes, a very powerful red light on my backpack and a fucking 350+ lumens headlamp. And you can see on the last picture that the light was powerful enough to see the colour of the grass.
So, this is what a picture of a nearby fox in the night, illuminated by a powerful flashlight and taken by “one of the best cameraphone on the market” (Sony words, certainly not mine) looks like.
That’s an interesting question. Full disclosure : I have a strong bias against any form of socialized healthcare but preventive/educative.
About Switzerland’s economy, it’s true it’s quite free, compared to most European countries, with fairly good results. But it’s also a very limited market, and what made the country strong (social and national cohesion, consensual policies, involvement of the citizen in the polis, taste for well-made work…) is beginning to vanish for several reasons (mostly due to the infeodation of a huge part of the political class to Bruxelles, but also because of the increase of Anglo-Saxon management practices looking for short-term profits).
That said, the healthcare system in Switzerland is pretty good, and probably one of the best in the world. Is it cost-effective ? That is another problem.
Health is not a product like others. The fact it can produce profit is not a problem in itself (it can provide incentives for innovation, good practices and general efficiency), it just have a lot of possible abuses that are permited by the numerous strict rules, lack of alternatives/competition, situation rents for the medical profession and big pharmas, medical treatment that are more useful for the health of hospital budgets than their patients’, etc.
In Switzerland, healthcare insurances are private , that’s true, but since they are mandatory it means there is almost no true competition between them. You could expect to pay between 5 and 20 percent of your revenue, depending on your age, health risks exposure, subventions, level of deductible…). If I take my example, I spend about 7 % of my revenue on insurance, with a huge deductible (about a monthly salary) and given I’m not going younger, I’m quite the frugal one (I have a treatment budget of about CHF 100.- , mostly for over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories). When I search for better prices last year, most offers were in a twenty francs a year range, so it wasn’t good enough to begin the bureaucratic effort to make the change.
Like in most health insurances systems, there is not a lot of incentive to make efforts to be healthy (from the financial point of view, at least), but a true incentive to overconsume (“oh, it’s free”/“I’ve paid for it, it’s my right to have it”).
So, due to the legal system, health insurance competition is almost inexistant. Nevertheless, compared to a state-directed system I know very well, the French one, it’s way better.
France’s healthcare system is always quoted as one of its big success, since because of accountant tricks, it’s “almost free” for the inhabitants of the country. Of course, it’s also chronically in deficit, with huge costs for the taxpayer.
But if you’re one of its users, you’ll be confronted to a very dangerous system (you may enter in hospital for a mild problem and die there or goes out with a severe nosocomial infection), with overworked or incompetent personel (not saying that not a lot of people are not trying to make the system works, but the amount of depressions, resignations and suicides in the medical professions say a lot about that), with the empathy of Soviet political commissars turned medics on the East Front (“stop crying or I’m sending in Doctor Tokarev”), and plain corruption (you know the DDR joke about the car delivery(*) ? that can be the reality if you need an appointment – “but maybe we could find an (wink-wink)… agreement…”).
I have no defitive answer about socialized healthcare. It’s good for the society to have a healthy population (and it’s also good for the individuals participating to said society), but state-oriented systems have bad results and privately-oriented systems have a greed problem that tend to make profit not a consequence but an objective.
I have two lines of thought about, first, the fact that a lot of businesses tend to exerternalize the costs of work-related illnesses (mental or physical) to the community (even if lack of fitness and medical leaves can have huge consequences to their competitiveness) ; and second, the fact there should be a way to make health system more cost effective for the 90% of medical acts that don’t require a CHF 5000.- an hour infrastructure, while responsabilizing the users, and rethinking the end-of-life care (is it really rational to foot hundred of thousand of Francs to help some people staying alive for several months in an hospital bed ?).
At last, please be indulgent about my grammatical/typing errors, I’m writing that on the fly.
(*) if not : “A citizen orders a Trabant. The salesman tells him to come back to pick it up in nine years. The customers asks : “Shall I come back in the morning or in the evening then ? I really need to know whether the plumber can coome at 3 PM or not.”
West of the Cascades are more green & even home to temperate rainforests. You get misty rain and overcast days.
The US Pacific Northwest is considered rainy due to the proximity of the Cascade mountains to the coast, which causes a rain shadow. The regions of Oregon & Washington that are east of the Cascades are desert/high desert.
Hi ! thanks for the input. Just so you know, it was more a tongue-in-cheek comment of @old-fools’ mal du pays. After all, you’ll just have to check my “meteo” tag to note that I live in an area mostly known in Switzerland for its brutal rapist/serial killer and perpetual cloud over the main town ;o)
To be honest, my main concern about living in WA would be more Patriot Act than rain.