I haven’t been updating much recently, mostly due to a relatively minor but annoying health problem that involved a brief hospital stay. However this experience gives me the chance to make one compliment about Taiwan. The health care system is excellent. It’s cheap, accessible, convenient, and quite effective. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s something that can stand among the world’s best. In fact, it is, at least according to Global Post, which suggests the US can learn from it, and PBS, which lists it among those of Japan, the UK, Switzerland, and Germany. The service is very cheap to be almost unbelievable (and the service is often effective, if not great). For instance, a dental visit can cost as little as NT$100 (US$3.30)! In contrast, going to the dentist for a basic checkup in Toronto in my student days cost C$50 (US$50). Every month, less than US$40 is deducted from my salary to pay for health insurance, which goes towards the health system. In turn, when I go to see a doctor or dentist, or stay in the hospital as happened recently, much of the cost is already subsidized. Sadly as a result, the health care system has been losing a lot of money and the system is being shaken up to try to raise the revenue, though for now it seems a little confusing to me. It involves decreasing the fee rate that is collected from salaries and increasing the fee rate for people’s income. Regardless, if this new system does bring in a bit more cash, that’ll be good. The costs are often quite cheap, as I mentioned above, but this isn’t always a good thing. It’s common to hear about people going to the doctor all the time or doctors prescribing too much medicine (and I know this from personal experience) almost like it if were candy.