Member-at-Large, Switzerland

  • The ERA is important to me because my family is important to me

    Most of us want to think of ourselves as thoughtful, compassionate persons, even when it concerns more than just our immediate families. Our religions and our ethical learnings point us there. But our families are special to us. Mine is to me, including the women -- my wife, sisters, sisters in law, daughter, granddaughter, nieces... I'm determined that they be treated with equal respect by the law and by society at large, and that this CANNOT be taken away from them. That's why I support the ERA: because no one, NO ONE, should be able to treat women with anything less than the full human rights they deserve.  Peter Kaiser - Lives in Switzerland, Votes in MA

  • I still have cancer, but no payment worries #DAresists #Medicare4all

    My residence is in Switzerland, where I was diagnosed several years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, for which I've gotten superb care at what is probably the best hospital and with some of the best doctors in a country with sky-high medical standards. I've had lots of tests; antibody treatment; surgery; many scans and X-rays; and radiation treatment. All this isn't cheap. It's the first time in my adult life I've needed sustained medical care. And my perfectly ordinary, basic Swiss health insurance has paid for almost all of it without a fuss. Wait -- there was one fuss: my wife and I spend considerable time in France, but my Swiss insurer at first didn't want to pay for my regular treatments there, which would have either trapped us in Switzerland or cost me a serious amount, more than just pennies. But with a little help we discovered that Swiss law requires them to pay for those treatments in France (where, incidentally, they're a lot cheaper!), so we weren't trapped in Switzerland. I know that my care is covered by my basic insurance, and I can switch insurers if I want, so although I still have the problem of cancer (along with some other things related to being a mature age, like cataracts -- now solved by the standard surgery), I don't have the problem of worrying whether I can afford to pay. My insurance, by the way, costs $435 per month, and luckily I can afford that. Just for your information: my antibody treatments cost about $3400 each in Switzerland; the identical treatments about $960 each in France; and in the USA a few years ago, $11,000-$18,000 depending on where. Same brand-name medicine, same method. What's the lesson here? I never cease being aware of the injustice when others can't afford care, or may not even be able to get to it. I'm damned lucky. I'm still alive. And my T-shirt says so.