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Old 08-28-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
formerroadie
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American Health Care

Ok, I know many of you hear are from other countries and many of you know what is going on in the US concerning Health Care. What I would like to know is, what is your perception of it all? I know that outside news organizations often report on issues far better than our domestic news does (it's why most in the US have no clue about other cultures or geography, etc). Anyway, I want to leave it open ended so you all can say your peace. For my US colleagues, my intention is not to have this turn into a debate on weather a public option should be implemented. It's a contentious topic in the states and I don't want to go there here.
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Old 08-29-2009, 04:06 AM   #2
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The perception we seem to get in the UK is that it's very, very good if you have sufficient money; it's OK if you're very poor, but there's a big "gap" in the middle where people are not poor enough to quality for free healthcare, and not rich enough to be able to be able to afford the insurance premiums for high-quality healthcare.

That, as I say, is my perception of the system, speaking as an outsider to it.
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by formerroadie View Post
Ok, I know many of you hear are from other countries and many of you know what is going on in the US concerning Health Care. What I would like to know is, what is your perception of it all? I know that outside news organizations often report on issues far better than our domestic news does (it's why most in the US have no clue about other cultures or geography, etc). Anyway, I want to leave it open ended so you all can say your peace. For my US colleagues, my intention is not to have this turn into a debate on weather a public option should be implemented. It's a contentious topic in the states and I don't want to go there here.
For a lot of us Europeans we just don't understand why everyone wouldn't want, and insist upon free healthcare. I, myself, can't understand why there's even a debate on the matter to begin with. Shouldn't free health care be a guaranteed human right by now, and shouldn't failure to provide that care cause outrage? Or am I just naive?
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:58 AM   #4
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I remember that story, about a year ago, I believe it was, about that woman who had something chronic (I believe it was diabetes). She couldn't get insured anymore because of this.

We don't have "free" healthcare (I don't believe anything is free), but we do have a mandatory insurance, which will guarantee you will receive the medical treatments you require. And insurance companies can't reject anybody, nor can they ask a higher insurance price. It doesn't matter if I'm about to die, if I apply for a basic medical insurance, I will be accepted for the same price as the one next to me who is as healthy as a horse.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:00 AM   #5
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As I understand things in the USA there is very basic healthcare for all. On top of that anyone can purchase a separate plan, although most people buy into corporate schemes which are significantly cheaper.

If money is no object the standard of health care in the USA is fantastic. However taking the whole country into account the standard is very poor compared to GDP.

The problem in the USA is that there isn't enough money to go around to give everybody the excellent standard of health care that the rich enjoy. As a result it would lead to either decreases in quality of care for some people, or enormous tax increases.

Americans do not view health care in the same way that Brits and Europeans do. Over here I think we view healthcare as a basic human right and the system in the USA to be mind boggling. Americans view health care in the same way as material posessions, in that it is something to strive to earn money for in order to purchase. I think that's probably exaggerating things a little, to say all Americans feel that way.

Is that in any way correct?
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Halk View Post
As I understand things in the USA there is very basic healthcare for all. On top of that anyone can purchase a separate plan, although most people buy into corporate schemes which are significantly cheaper.

If money is no object the standard of health care in the USA is fantastic. However taking the whole country into account the standard is very poor compared to GDP.

The problem in the USA is that there isn't enough money to go around to give everybody the excellent standard of health care that the rich enjoy. As a result it would lead to either decreases in quality of care for some people, or enormous tax increases.

Americans do not view health care in the same way that Brits and Europeans do. Over here I think we view healthcare as a basic human right and the system in the USA to be mind boggling. Americans view health care in the same way as material posessions, in that it is something to strive to earn money for in order to purchase. I think that's probably exaggerating things a little, to say all Americans feel that way.

Is that in any way correct?

I think you summed it up very nicely. Better than I could do.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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My take on it is that the medical insurance companies are lobbying like mad to kill the scheme, and are spreading FUD to worry the very people it's likely to help most.

US healthcare seems to be great if you're fully insured. But any break in employment could mean that you lose your insurance cover. If you then get ill when you're not covered, you're stuffed.

Healthcare should be universal. Everyone should pay (who has an income), and everyone should get treatment (who needs it). Rather like schools. People without children still pay taxes to support schools for those with children. Similarly, people who are not ill should still pay to support hospitals for those who are ill.



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What I would like to know is, what is your perception of it all?
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:39 AM   #8
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For a lot of us Europeans we just don't understand why everyone wouldn't want, and insist upon free healthcare. I, myself, can't understand why there's even a debate on the matter to begin with. Shouldn't free health care be a guaranteed human right by now, and shouldn't failure to provide that care cause outrage? Or am I just naive?
But where does 'healthcare' begin and end?
There's a debate in the UK about whether IVF should be provided free.
Some people don't think the NHS should provide tattoo removal, or other cosmetic procedures.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:02 PM   #9
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But where does 'healthcare' begin and end?
There's a debate in the UK about whether IVF should be provided free.
Some people don't think the NHS should provide tattoo removal, or other cosmetic procedures.
I'm among those who would like to see government run healthcare here but I can only laugh at the thought that it would provide free IVF or tattoo removal! I'm pretty sure that whatever system we adopt, those won't be included.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:07 PM   #10
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Tattoo removal is a cosmetic procedure, which is not generally covered by state-run healthcare systems, but why ever would you think that infertility should not be treated? My sister had (successful) IVF treatment on the NHS, as do many other couples in the UK.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:08 PM   #11
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I'm among those who would like to see government run healthcare here but I can only laugh at the thought that it would provide free IVF or tattoo removal! I'm pretty sure that whatever system we adopt, those won't be included.
IVF is provided in California, so I wouldn't be so sure.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:12 PM   #12
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I don't see IVF as a necessary part of "basic" health care since no one is threatened or in pain. But now I suppose I will have to think about it.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:16 PM   #13
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You're right, of course, that infertility is not a "health threatening" condition, but I believe that in many (most?) state-run healthcare systems it is, nonetheless, included, since it is perceived as so very important by many people.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:53 PM   #14
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As I understand things in the USA there is very basic healthcare for all. On top of that anyone can purchase a separate plan, although most people buy into corporate schemes which are significantly cheaper.
There is not basic healthcare for all. There is basic healthcare offered for the most impoverished, after much hassles with forms & paperwork to prove they are impoverished. This may or may not include dental or vision services, depending on the state. If, however, they have a job, that "right" to healthcare vanishes--they either get it through their jobs (I pay about 30% of my wages for health insurance for my family), or they go without.

I get to choose between healthcare, and the ability to afford rent in a neighborhood where car windows don't get smashed regularly. (I suppose there are safe and friendly neighborhoods at my current rent level... that are so far from my job in downtown San Francisco that I'd lose the same level of money paying for transportation.) So far, I've chosen health care; next year, I think I'll go the other way, and hope nobody in the family is badly damaged by that choice.

Emergency health services are available to everyone, at the cost of possible bankruptcy later. Hospitals have to supply it, but they bill you; if you can't pay, you can go bankrupt. Between half and 2/3 of the bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical bills.

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Americans do not view health care in the same way that Brits and Europeans do. Over here I think we view healthcare as a basic human right and the system in the USA to be mind boggling. Americans view health care in the same way as material posessions, in that it is something to strive to earn money for in order to purchase. I think that's probably exaggerating things a little, to say all Americans feel that way.
A lot of us are boggled that health care isn't considered the same as education of our children--something that used to be reserved for the wealthy elite, and is now extended to the general public because we have the resources & technology to allow it, and the nation as a whole is enhanced by having it freely available.

We are forced to think of health care as a commodity of the wealthy, which is offered to the less-wealthy if they're willing to make sacrifices to get it, and offered to the poor as charitable hand-me-downs which may not fit well, but at least is better than nothing.
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Old 08-29-2009, 02:05 PM   #15
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You're right, of course, that infertility is not a "health threatening" condition, but I believe that in many (most?) state-run healthcare systems it is, nonetheless, included, since it is perceived as so very important by many people.
Personally I'm in favour of IVF being provided by the state. The reason is not simply because of compassion. It's because we will have a lopsided population eventually, and generally speaking people who would go on IVF are stable couples, the type of people I'd like to see raising kids rather than Vicky Pollard.
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