Originally posted at The Clash Daily
If ever there was a warning of what horrors lie ahead for our healthcare system, Cubaâ€™s decision to give raises to their medical personnel is a sobering look into a future where Americaâ€™s private physicians are downgraded to government employees.
In a vacation spot frequented by the likes of billionaires Jay-Z and BeyoncÃ©, to promote â€œfairnessâ€ Cuba does benevolent things like ration food and medicine, pay government workers a share-the-wealth salary that averages about $20 per month, and, for their services, provides doctors with free housing and food subsidies.
Now, Cubaâ€™s Communist Party daily newspaper Granma is reporting that Cuba â€œexpects to take in $8.2 billion this year for the tens of thousands of medical workers it sends to care for the poor in countries such as Venezuela and Brazil.â€ In turn Cuba will reward health workers with raises that, in some cases, surpass a 100% increase.
Thanks to that infusion of money, as well as an â€œelimination of 109,000 redundant jobs in the last four years,â€ a cost-cutting effort that, quite frankly, the US federal government should attempt, 440,000 Cuban medical sector employees, also known as those without a â€œvested interest in disease,â€ will soon be rolling in the big bucks.
That should inspire the top 1% types here in America to encourage their children to pursue medicine as a career.
This is the pay scale our future doctors and nurses can look forward to if Barack Obama continues to have his way: Cuban doctors with two specialties such as hematologist/oncologists will see their salary go from the equivalent of $26 a month to $67, or $2.23 per day. For entry-level nurses, woo-hoo, the pay will jump up from $13 to a whopping $25 per month.
According Health Minister Roberto Morales, even double pay is still a small fraction of what Cuba collects from the 66 nations where 50,000 Cuban healthcare professionals work.
Nevertheless, one of those lucky winners of lifeâ€™s lottery, 62-year-old nurse, Soraida Pina, is over the moon with excitement over the impending influx of extra cash. Sounding like a Cuban version of Warren Buffett, Soraida had this to say: â€œThis is very good news that makes me tremendously happy. â€¦ With my first paycheck Iâ€™m going to buy a toy for my youngest grandson, whoâ€™s three.â€
A toy for a grandson is a tad extravagant, but maybe just this once nurse Pina can splurge without the National Revolutionary Police Force addressing her unwillingness to share.
Donâ€™t be fooled by the scarcity that permeates the socialist stronghold; while its people are poor, Cuba is a rich nation that, despite the impressive pay hikes and supposed economic changes, maintains a socialist system that is â€œirrevocable.â€
Thatâ€™s why Laura Vazquez, a 38-year-old pathologist, isnâ€™t all that impressed with the news, because in the beautiful socialist paradise that is Cuba, the salaries are low and the cost of living remains high. â€œThey had talked to us about this,â€ she said, â€œand itâ€™s very important for the family economy, but it continues to be a salary that means very little because everything is very expensive.â€
Itâ€™s not â€œvery expensiveâ€ Laura, itâ€™s just central planningâ€™s effort to keep the Cuban people grateful for things like the limited availability of rationed goods.
With that in mind, Dr. Laura should just be thankful that healthcare professionals assigned to international missions to countries like Venezuela, a nation that supplies Cuba with 92,000 barrels of oil a day (which can be exchanged for hard currency), are paid double.
Meanwhile, here in America, with the Castro brothersâ€™ secret admirer â€˜fundamentally transformingâ€ the US healthcare system, itâ€™s not implausible that American doctors will one day be demoted to government workers too.
Thatâ€™s why all the medical professionals and future medical professionals who favored Obamacare should be relieved to know that when they voted for Barack Obama they also voted for a future salary of about $67 a month.