Medicine in the Soviet Union was socialized. All doctors got paid the same miserable salaries but worked really hard. Most medics entered that noble field with high ideals of saving people’s lives (“ideals” were really big in Russia, and socialism is very good at brainwashing people), but then they ended up in utter slavery, working in horrible conditions for pennies…unless they took lots and lots of bribes, especially surgeons and dentists. Nobody wanted to risk having scissors left in their belly during a surgery or have their teeth drilled and pulled without a Novocain.
And I’d like to bring that point up, because it’s very important. In the society where everything is equal, bribe becomes the only way to achieve something special, to get a special service, a favor, or even simply to make oneself feel important, like a better table at the restaurant. Want socialized medicine? Die in a hall, lie in a pool of urine, or bribe the nurse just to get your bed changed.