The “American Mentality” Regarding Health and the Corona Virus
Hey, everyone. So I sat down to film today.
I had a few ideas written down that I wanted to do and this was not one of them. But I’d
been thinking about it a little bit recently and then I just got this surge of confidence
to record this video. I wasn’t going to make this video because when I talked about this
topic last time – I have to be realistic. It wasn’t a ton of people . A lot of people
were very supportive in the video I made about why I got brain surgery in Japan. But there
were enough people that were just nasty and wanted to start fights that I was like, “Look,
I’m gonna put this topic away for a little while and come back to it in the future when
I think I’m ready.” But you know what, I had to block a few people but I’m feeling ready
to talk about it again. Look, I’m not saying I have the answer to everything. I don’t.
But, I know a bad idea when I see one. I live in Japan. I’ve lived here for 4 and a half
years. I have brain cancer. I got brain surgery and radiation and all that kind of stuff.
I made a video about why I decided to get it here and things that my health insurance
covers. Japan has universal healthcare. I pay probably about $300, maybe a little bit
more, a month and it covered a lot of the procedures I had to go through regarding my
brain tumor. I made a whole video about that. I’ll link it for you to go watch if you haven’t
seen it yet. I mentioned in that video as an example of how good the coverage was that
I broke my toe last year and called and ambulance and went to the hospital. At that time, I
had been living here long enough that I didn’t really think much about it. But the comments
that I got from Americans about that specific topic was not eyeopening but it reminded me
of what the American mentality about health is and healthcare in general is. A lot of
people criticized me because I called an ambulance because I broke my toe. It sounds kind of
silly that I have to defend myself but the belief is that “people like me are the reasons
why there’s not enough ambulances, the hospital are crowded, this and that.” None of that
was the case. As I mentioned in the video, when you call an ambulance they’re not just
gonna take you to a hospital that’s booked. That’s not how it works. I live on the fourth
floor of a building that doesn’t have an elevator. I don’t have a car. I couldn’t walk. So yeah,
I called an ambulance. I knew immediately that I broke my toe because I could see it
and that scared me. I had never broken a bone before but it was visibly broken. That scared
me. But the first thing that went through my head was OMG this can’t be that serious.
I don’t need to go to the hospital, right? And I think that this is a very American thing.
It’s not just “Oh I don’t need to go to the hospital because I don’t want to go to the
hospital. I hope it’s not that serious.” but it’s the idea of the cost. It’s the money.
It’s the insurance. Can I just wait until this goes away? Will this go away on its own?
Can I just take an Advil and sleep this one off? That went through my head. I was like
“Oh, I’ll be fine. It’s Sunday, maybe I’ll go tomorrow if it’s bad.” And then I thought
about it. I was like, “It’s really broken. What if it gets infected? I know I’m going
to have to get it set. If I get it set tomorrow what if it’s gonna hurt more?” All these ideas
started to go through my head and I realized, “I should really go to a hospital today.”
A lot of my audience is not only from America so a lot of people were understanding and
didn’t even mention anything about it. But I started to think about it again. And now,
here in Japan, we have the corona virus outbreak happening. And my thoughts about all of this
have come up again. I have been talking to my coworker about it. She is also American.
She recently went to a dentist, and she talked about how she put it off for the longest time
because even though she lives in Japan she has this reminder in the back of her head
like, “It’ll go away. You don’t need to get it taken care of. It’s gonna cost money. Don’t
worry about it. It’ll be fine! If it gets really bad then you can go, but for now it’s
fine. You’re overthinking it. You’re exaggerating it. It’s not that big of a deal.” And she
put off going to the dentist for a really long time and she went and found out she had
to get a root canal. It just made me think: it’s this mentality that we have. “It’ll be
fine. I’ll just sleep it off. Give me an Advil.” And now that the corona virus is happening
I’m thinking about it again. I’m trying to plan a trip soon to go home to see my family
in America. People have been asking me, because it’s all over the news how many cases are
in Japan and Korea and China. Everyone’s being very very careful, a lot of different precautions
are happening. Everyday there’s new things coming out. New rules and things like that
we have to abide by and everyone’s just doing their best to avoid crowds and stay clean
and all that kind of stuff. I remembered thinking to myself, “Why is everyone in America asking
me? What about all the cases in America? We saw in the news all these people that were
being infected in America. What happened to them? I’m sure they’ve infected other people.
Where are they? Why haven’t we heard about them?” I was trying to do some research to
see if my flight was going to get cancelled as a result of all of this and if I should
even go at all. I was just trying to test the water and see what people were thinking.
It was all just hysteria about Asia. I understand because it started in Asia and there’s a lot
of confirmed cases in Asia. But then I was talking to my coworker again and I was like
you know, I think we’re never going to know how many people in the US have the corona
virus because they’re not going to go to the hospital. They’re gonna go to sleep. “I’ll
sleep it off. I’ll be fine.” They’ll take an Advil and go to bed. They’re not going
to go to the hospital when they get a fever. No. Even if they think it’s the flu. Even
if they think it might be the corona virus. I read an article today called “A cautionary
tale: A Miami man doesn’t have the coronavirus but may now owe thousands of dollars for being
tested.” So a man who had visited China and flew back to Miami started to have flu-like
symptoms. Because he had been in China he took it upon himself to go to the hospital.
That’s great. We want to encourage everyone to do that. If he does have the corona virus,
we want to know, right? We want to be able to stop him from giving it to other people.
So he goes to the hospital and gets tested. He finds out he doesn’t have the corona virus.
This is great, right? He did the right thing and he doesn’t have it. I think that’s a win-win.
He did what he felt he should have done and he doesn’t have it, so that’s also great news.
It says here, “But he has limited insurance coverage and received a claim for $3,270 two
weeks after his test. After insurance he’ll be responsible for $1,400 of that bill.” And
then I was curious because I knew someone was going to say something about this – but
this guy earns $55,000 a year working for a company that does not offer health insurance.
Now this is some criticism people gave in my last video. “If you worked for a good company
in America you wouldn’t have to pay anything for your health insurance.” I don’t know where
all these jobs exist but if you can let me know who is hiring I’ll put in my resume.
But that’s not the reality for a lot of people. A lot of people in America. Even if you’re
making 55k a year. That’s not bad money. That’s a pretty good salary. And making 55k a year,
his company does not offer health insurance and went on to say “he was covered under the
Affordable Care Act-compliant care last year that cost him about $278 in monthly premiums,
but that shot up to $400 a month when his annual salary kicked in.” So I guess he thought,
“That’s a bit too much for me,” and knocked his payment down to $180 a month and that
was a more limited plan. So it doesn’t cover obviously the whole thing. And yeah this guys
still has health insurance, maybe it’s not the best plan. Maybe he can afford to pay
a bit more, but I don’t know him. I don’t know his life style or how many kids he has
and things like that. But still, he’s paying for health insurance. And even though he’s
paying for health insurance he still needs $1,400 just to get tested for the flu. So
this is just someone who did this of his own free will. He thought “I might have this extremely
contagious virus, I want to make sure I don’t have it so I don’t give it to my family or
anyone else or to the public.” This is a public health concern. He takes it upon himself to
go to the hospital and now he owes $1,400 for someone who has insurance. So think about
all the people who don’t have insurance, or those who can’t even afford this limited plan.
A lot of people who have corona virus, I am theorizing, we don’t know about because they
can’t afford to go get this test done. And even if they could, maybe that American mentality
of “Oh, it’ll be fine just sleep it off,” is what they’re doing right now. They’re not
gonna go. I think this guy is an outlier. He’s an outlier. And I mean I’m glad he’s
trying to set a good example. And now that this article is out here what do you think
other people are going to think if they start to feel flu-like symptoms? Like the guy said
in the article, “How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to eliminating the
potential risk of person-to-person spread if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3,270
for a simple blood test and a nasal swab?” If you don’t think that’s a little expensive
for a blood test and a nasal swab I guess you’re doing a little bit better in life than
I am. He also had to provide three years of medical records to prove the flu he got didn’t
relate to a preexisting condition. Are you kidding me? That is ridiculous. So now, especially
if someone does have some sort of preexisting condition and they have some kind of health
insurance plan like this they’re definitely not going to go get tested for the corona
virus. Are you kidding me? Especially if they’re a healthy and young enough person that they’ll
be able to beat it.They’re not gonna go. We’ll be lucky if they just stay home, but the thing
is they’re not gonna know for 2 weeks if they have it because it has a 2 week incubation
period. Here in Japan, hospitals are a little busy right now because people are worried
that they are experiencing flu-like symptoms and are going to the hospitals. Because of
this, the hospitals have put out notices saying if you need prescriptions to be refilled to
do it over the phone and this and this. But again, this is happening in a country where
people want to go and make sure they don’t have the virus because it’s affordable enough
to make sure they aren’t a public health concern. So I’m not trying to start a whole debate
about health insurance because I think that’s something that will never end in America.
Anyway. I know this is a little bit different from my usual content but it’s something I’ve
been thinking about and it’s pretty topical right now and relevant a bit to a previous
video that I made. But I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this whole thing.
Especially if you’re in America, do you have any conspiracy theories or theories about
what is going on there? What happened to all those people who had it before? Let me know
what your thoughts are and I’ll see you in the next video. Bye!