Or the fact my grandmother was still being tested for “unknown ailment” when she died. Her results as having stomach cancer came three months after she died. Also, when my husband and I caught pneumonia while there, there was no way of getting us seen AND tested. We could go to emergency, but we couldn’t get the tests done or not right away. My sister-in-law who is an MD advised us to return home ASAP so we could get testing, since tuberculosis is endemic there. So we returned two weeks earlier than planned and were seen, X-rayed, and medicated the next day at one of the express care places.

Then I told her it was easier to get tested and treated in Portugal now, because now they allow private care too, and everyone who even remotely can goes private. Only indigents take advantage of the “free” health care. And it’s worth about what you pay for it. There are good doctors in the system, of course, but there are a lot of indifferent ones, and money and permissions for tests and treatments are controlled by an indifferent bureaucracy. And that’s the truth everywhere you go that has “free” health care.

Okay… so far so good. I expected her to come back with some factoids, and I expected to discuss it, and maybe even have words. You see, normally I don’t discuss this with strangers, but I was in a bad mood, so I didn’t care if she argued.

Instead, as I wound down, I found she was staring at me open-mouthed. When she could speak she said “Is it really like that? I thought we had the worst health care anywhere. No one ever told me centralized healthcare had problems. I never thought that it would need a bureaucracy and of course it would be like this”– gesture at the DMV.

She’s my age or close to it. Educated. HOW could she never have heard any of this, or even be led to think about it? HOW could she plan to expatriate without having investigated better? HOW could she think pie would rain from the sky? Where are these people getting their info? How come we’re not reaching them?  How come they don’t understand basic economic facts?

Yes, I’ll confess most of the time I’ll stay quiet in public rather than get in a shouting match, but the information is all over and not hard to get.  And most adults know you can’t get something for nothing, right?

Are conservatives/libertarians like the tree that falls in the forest and doesn’t make a sound?