While the US struggles with its health care system, already the costliest in the world both overall and per capita, Cuba is struggling with a different problem, how to open more clinics in more countries to give more people free ophthalmological care so they can see better than before. And the most remarkable twist of all is, they are doing it for free. It doesn't cost the patient one thin dime to have the surgery done, regardless if the person is a citizen or not.
With President Obama's health care plan supposed to cost an additional $1 trillion, there's no guarantee that it will even ever see the light of day. The US health care system is bloated beyond compare, is slipping precariously from its horrible 37th ranking in 2000, and is doomed to cost even more in the near future if any existing plan is passed. Obviously the words "Free surgery," are nowhere to be found in these plans.
In the US, the first thing one does when an eye problem occurs is to see whether one's medical insurance covers the problem in question. Of course, for the 50 million people and growing without insurance, this becomes a moot point for them. Whatever they do will cost them money, usually lots of money. And if one doesn't have health insurance, it's quite likely because one can't afford it, either due to budgetary business costs, lack of affordable local resources or simply out of work.
But even for the few who continue to have medical insurance, eye care is not free. It's part of an overall plan with a monthly cost for many, and for others, it's not even an option. In the US, the first thing to do is to check the costs, regardless of the problem and the solution. And, as is often the case, if the decision is to go with a private plan such as Lasik and other state of the art surgeries, the costs are astronomical and not always covered.