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Nationalized Healthcare

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  #1  
Old 10-08-2002, 07:10 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Nationalized Healthcare

I'm curious about how those who live in countries with nationalized healthcare feel about it. Does it work? Would you know how the experience compares with our (U.S.) system?
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:12 AM
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We have the much maligned National Health Service in the UK but my parents in their 80's have nothing but praise in times they have used its facilities. I think the quality of the NHS varies according to the area of the country you live in. I assume in the US you pay into some form of insurance scheme ? What happens if you can't afford to pay in?

My brother who regularly visits the US has £10,000,000 medical insurance to cover him. He says this would just about cover a broken arm in the US !!!
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:34 AM
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In the U.S., if you can't afford to pay for insurance you're basically treated like a criminal. If they find out early enough that you're un-insured (or under-insured), you're either sent home or to an indigent clinic. If they find out too late (ie: after they performed the treatment), they break out the attorneys and collection agents. Many are ruined by catastrophic health bills.
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:41 AM
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I think I'll stick with our NHS Doug!
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:41 AM
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Don't forget that if you've ever been sick with more than a bad hangnail, you can't get insurance here in the US. They won't give it to you if you have a pre-existing condition or are not the picture of perfect health.

The best thing to do here in the US is work for a company that provides good health insurance to its employees. But even this is becoming rarer and rarer and with more limitations, stipulations and rules against being sick in the first place.

I just took an outside job. Basically it was so I could get health care insurance.
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:49 AM
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Fortunately here in the Dallas Texas area we have a fairly good county hospital. Parkland takes EVERYONE- insurance or not. Granted the non-insured people get minimal care but they do get something.

I bicycle with a physician’s assistant that works in the orthopedic department. She says that 70% of their work is on non-paying patients. The hospital gets county tax dollars to help keep it going.
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:50 AM
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So in effect you can be tied to an employer for fear of losing your healthcare package?

As a matter of interest what would a healthy 40 year old with no previous complex medical history pay per annum to be covered for insurance purposes in the US ?
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:56 AM
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Well, you can get it, but at an unreasonably high fee. The insurance companies are required by law to offer insurance to everyone, though not necessarily their own. So they have a special 'pool' where they stick everyone with hangnails. Here in Missouri, it's $800/month to be insured out of this pool.
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:04 AM
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Picks himself up off the floor !!! thats £142 per week in real money.

Be interested to see what the situation is in other countries. I can't give an exact figure per person here because the NHS is funded out of tax and therfore the rich subsidise the poor (in theory).
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:34 AM
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I spent a year in the US and at one point went down with strep throat.

In the UK I'd have gone to my doctor (free) and got a prescription for antibiotics (which at that stage in my life would have been free because I was under 19 - now would be equivalent of about US $10 for each item prescribed (regardless what it is ... and if you anticipate a particularly bad year you can pay an annual flat rate of about US$50 instead that will cover all your prescriptions for the year ... and if you suffer from certain long-term conditions (e.g. thyroid problems) then you get free prescriptions for life)).

In the US I couldn't afford to go to the doctor (and I *had* medical insurance - but there was a $50 excess on the policy and I didn't have the $50 at the time (cue sound of heart-rending violins)). So I suffered for weeks, probably infecting a whole bunch of people, until my immune system eventually managed to fight it off on its own.

Ever since then I've been a fan of the principle of the NHS, although as with anything else it does have its problems in practice. In the UK medical insurance works out as a perk - you can buy it yourself, or if your employer offers it it's valued at £250 or so per year as a taxable benefit, and it allows you to jump some of the worse queues if necessary. But the NHS is always there as a first port of call, and largely still free at the point of use. I get very uneasy when our governments start suggesting chipping away at the principle of free healthcare.
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