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Old 11-14-2007, 09:35 AM   #1
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Just watched Michael Moores movie, Sicko and wanted to hear what others thought about it. I would love to hear from people who live in countries that have free national healthcare. How do you like it? Do you feel that you get good care? It seems like other countries outside the U.S. focus a lot more on prevention. As a nurse here in the U.S., I am often horrified by the amount of people who fall through the cracks of our healthcare system. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:53 AM   #2
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I LOVE that movie!

As for free national healthcare (while I am American), I have heard that like anything else, there are pros and cons. Every nation with free national healthcare gets taxed to death for it, BUT I have heard from friends in places like Canada and the UK that the healthcare system *does* take care of you.

I think universal health care would help so many people. Anyone with a "pre existing condition" knows that the cost to SURVIVE is EXPENSIVE without insurance! For instance, I'm a type 1 diabetic. The cost of insulin alone would rack up to $400/month without insurance, and then test strips and other miscelleanous supplies would add almost $200 more.

There was a short time when I had no insurance and no job benefits. I practically stopped eating out of medical necessity

Most medications are incredibly expensive without coverage, so people who are broke and insuranceless often neglect their health because in the US, they pretty much have no other option. ****, hospitals and doctors even treat you so differently without insurance. If you mention a medical concern that you might want checked out (but you don't have insurance), they pretty much ignore you and brush it off, but once you have insurance, your problem suddenly matters...

ALSO, did you know that insurance companies often delay payments until a patient's credit rating is in peril or otherwise impacted? I have seen friends have to bug insurance companies, in spite of the fact that they are paying premiums to these companies, to pay on time even when paperwork is properly submitted. People should not have to have their credit rating jeopardized or have to make a choice between paying the high costs themselves, somehow, even if they are financially stressed to the max...and then hope the insurance company will one day reimburse them.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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I live in the UK and have above average income so yes I am taxed considerably and at the moment I would say my family puts more into the National Health system than we take out. However, I accept that as there may be a time, hopefully a long time off, when I will need care. And yes I feel I have had excellent care when I have required it. When my son was born and needed specialist neonatal care, when I had a detatched retina repaired and even my recent experiences of support for my weightloss from my G.P have all been good (I was precribed Xenical for which I pay 6.75 a month, around $14).

At least with the tax system people pay proportional to their income but still get the same level of care regardless of how much that is. It horrifies me the number of stories I hear about honest hardworking people who can't get access to healthcare benefits because they work part-time and are not entitled, or have had to give up work due to illness. So yes, despite the drawbacks and some inequalities in the system, I strongly support universal health coverage.

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Old 11-14-2007, 02:24 PM   #4
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I live in the UK, and on the whole, I'm glad we have the NHS and am willing to pay for taxes for it. Then again, I might change my mind after I graduate, LOL!
My experience of it has been highly variable. I have only been seriously ill twice in my life and both times there were major problems. I actually might have died - I let a problem get really critical because I have an abnormally high pain threshold, which isn't always a good thing as pain is supposed to be a warning - and the doctors didn't pick up on the seriousness of my problem so the operation I needed was delayed and delayed. Then I realised how bad it was, and we paid to go private. When the private surgeon operated, he found out it was critical, and should have been picked up much earlier, so they didn't end up charging us any money. But every time I've had something small wrong with me (which kind of adds up over 20 years...) I've mostly been able to just go to the doctor and get it sorted, which when I step back and think about it is a really great thing. What exactly happens in the U.S. if, say, you don't have insurance, and you're in a car crash or something? Someone told me you'd just be left there, but I don't believe that. Don't you have to get insurance by law, like for cars?
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Old 11-14-2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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Jude - Emergency departments are required to provide emergency care to anyone coming into their emergency room. So if you were in a car crash, you'd be taken to the closest ER for treatment. Usually, though, you'd be stabilized and moved to public hospital as soon as possible, if you were originally brought into a private one. So, for example, if you were in a car crash outside of a major private hospital like Cedar's Sinai, they'd stabilize you and then transport you to a County General or other public hospital as soon as possible. And you would be billed for all of the charges (and we all know in the US how expensive an Emergency visit can be...usually no less than $1000).

There are programs to pay for some of those costs, but again, people slip through the cracks. And motorists are required to carry insurance to cover medical bills. Those would only apply, though, if you were in a car crash and it was the other person's fault...if you were at fault for the accident, your car insurance would most likely not cover your medical costs.
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Old 11-14-2007, 02:57 PM   #6
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I live in Alberta *Canada* where I pay $88 a month for family health care. This cost covers dr's vists, surgeries, medical treatments in hosp or docs office, laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging. We still pay for the medications (unless you have another coverage through work), diabetic paraphanilia (some of which may also be covered if you have a special plan) and all therapys (mental and physical).

I heard that Ontario has a similar plan... but is free (??) this is what I'm hearing from my aunt who lives in Toronto.

Alberta is taxed higher than Ontario.... hence one of the reasons why Alberta government is so "rich"... of course jacking up gas prices and keeping the profits doesn't help us citizens much either. *mumbles*


Oh yeah, I should probably add: The health care I pay for here is ONLY covered in Alberta (it is NOT national coverage). If I was to travel to let's say BC (e.g. travelling just over the border to go on an overnight camping trip and I get attacked by a bear); unless I purchased special health care for travel purposes nothing would be covered. I could get any emergency treatements I would need, but I would be billed for it.
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:46 PM   #7
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Jude - Emergency departments are required to provide emergency care to anyone coming into their emergency room. So if you were in a car crash, you'd be taken to the closest ER for treatment. Usually, though, you'd be stabilized and moved to public hospital as soon as possible, if you were originally brought into a private one. So, for example, if you were in a car crash outside of a major private hospital like Cedar's Sinai, they'd stabilize you and then transport you to a County General or other public hospital as soon as possible. And you would be billed for all of the charges (and we all know in the US how expensive an Emergency visit can be...usually no less than $1000).

There are programs to pay for some of those costs, but again, people slip through the cracks. And motorists are required to carry insurance to cover medical bills. Those would only apply, though, if you were in a car crash and it was the other person's fault...if you were at fault for the accident, your car insurance would most likely not cover your medical costs.
Adding to this...

There are programs such as going through the financial aid dept. of the hospital itself, or to make small monthly payment arrangements. There are also free and income based clinics for those without insurance, for non-emergency situations.

As for car insurance, the only time your insurance would pay if you were at fault for the accident, is if you carry full coverage insurance. And even still, if you're not at fault, there's no guarantee the other driver will have insurance. Some people don't follow the law and a few states don't even require insurance.
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:48 PM   #8
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I saw the movie and love Michael Moore!

There are pros and cons, yes so I don't know what I think about this. But I do know there have been several times we had to fight the insurance companies over stupid, petty things...they do not budge and it is ridiculous. What I hate too is you can't just go to the freakin doc...you gotta go to your general and get stinking referrals for everything, almost everything. Overall, though I guess we are pretty lucky in that we have insurance. I feel for those who don't.
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Old 11-14-2007, 04:51 PM   #9
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Wow, it sounds like a harsh policy when put down on paper (ok, screen). But then I guess you could say it's not fair that a lot of people in the U.K. are paying a lot of money into something they won't use and can't, ultimately, rely on.
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:09 PM   #10
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Wow, it sounds like a harsh policy when put down on paper (ok, screen). But then I guess you could say it's not fair that a lot of people in the U.K. are paying a lot of money into something they won't use and can't, ultimately, rely on.
Which is another part about national health care I don't care for. Not only do you pay if you won't use it, but you pay for people who refuse to hold down a job, creating a situation in which they won't have insurance. You pay for people who simply want to get by on other people's dime. And I just can't wrap my mind around wanting to do that.
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Old 11-14-2007, 07:49 PM   #11
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Which is another part about national health care I don't care for. Not only do you pay if you won't use it, but you pay for people who refuse to hold down a job, creating a situation in which they won't have insurance. You pay for people who simply want to get by on other people's dime. And I just can't wrap my mind around wanting to do that.
Yep. It's called welfare. Some people use it as a helping hand. That, IMO, is what it is for. However, too many use it as a way of life. They treat that income as many of us see our salaries.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:35 PM   #12
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I knew a lady from Canada (can't remember where there) who liked their health system until she developed a critical neurological problem, and was having horrendous symptoms, with doctors trying to figure out whether it was strokes, MS, or whatever. I couldn't believe how she was forced to wait for tests/appointments while having all these symptoms that could kill her! I think that she finally had to come to Minnesota and pay for care there for fear she'd die before she got help in her area of Canada. That is probably not common, but sounded scary to me!

The U. S. has it's problems, too. However, we don't leave people on the highway after a car crash! They will get care; it's just that you aren't able to choose your doctor, etc. You have to go with whatever comes your way, and then pay for it, if you can, over time if you don't have insurance. Of course, many people don't! With either system, you have people "carrying" other people who don't or won't pay the bills for themselves.
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:36 AM   #13
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My brother-in-law is a african american from a poor family. He had a heart condition from an early age, but never received the proper care or even diagnosis, though he had been rushed to the emergency room several times as a child after passing out during physical activity. After he married my sister, but before he had health insurance (he was working a full-time job with no benefits as well as a part-time job where he worked too few hours to qualify for insurance) he passed out while playing basketball and was rushed to a hospital with a very good reputations. Tests were run, and they told him they performed surgery and had fixed the problem, sending him home with medications and a very large bill.

Last year he made retail manager at his store and finally had great insurance. He passed out again playing basketball, and was taken to a different hospital with a comparable reputation. The cardiologist went over everything in fine detail. He ordered medical records and determined that BIL had never seen a cardiologist, had been misdiagnosed with different wrong diagnoses (the misdiagnoses a result of not running proper tests), and the "surgery" that he was told "fixed" the problem wasn't a surgery at all, it was only a test that involved an incision to insert a catheter into his heart during the test. The "treatment" that he should have been getting since childhood was simple and cheap - only involving close monitoring of his electrolytes. The consequences of not doing so, could have been (and could still be) fatal.

What really p's me off, is that we all were fooled by what on the surface seemed to be competent care. I have a master's degree in psychology, and while I'm the most educated in my family, the rest of the clan aren't dummies either. I never spoke to the doctor's directly, but my sister and mother had, and they had also been led to believe that the cardiac "test" was a surgery that fixed the problem.

I thank God that he had insurance when he was injured playing baseball (he was batting and his eyesocket was crushed by the ball). He had to have extensive and delicate reconstructive surgery to remove bone fragments and rebuild the eyesocket). We were a little apprehensive since this had to be done the same hospital that claimed to have fixed the heart, but he received excellent care, and doesn't even have a scar (though my big-dumb-kid husband persuaded my nephew to stick a refrigerator magnet to his dad's head to see if it stuck to the new metal plate - it did).

My husband and I have had recent health care issues as we're both on disability. Mostly it has been good, but there have been enough glitches that we don't take anything for granted. I lost drug coverage a couple months ago that won't pick up again until the beginning of next year. While it began as a nightmare, it has had a happy ending. I had to stop taking most of my more expensive drugs and found that a good part of the illness I've been experience may have been side effects from some of the drugs I've been on. I'm in a lot more pain from fibro and arthritis, but my asthma or COPD is gone. Pain sucks, but not nearly as much as not being able to breath.

I don't know what the solution is, but I think it's most horrifying that most people have no way of knowing whether they are receiving good health care. If the doctor is "nice," and seems to know what he or she is talking about, we trust that we're getting good care. I've learned that you can't trust that. If you can, you have to educate yourself so that you can in essence check your doctor's work. I've always felt that I've done a fair job of doing that, but have been fooled on several occasions. It's frighting to me to know how many people will never know that they aren't being given the care they need.
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Old 11-15-2007, 04:54 AM   #14
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Which is another part about national health care I don't care for. Not only do you pay if you won't use it, but you pay for people who refuse to hold down a job, creating a situation in which they won't have insurance. You pay for people who simply want to get by on other people's dime. And I just can't wrap my mind around wanting to do that.

But you're also paying for those 'deserving' poor who have low paid menial jobs, old people who've worked and paid in all their lives, paying whilst you are physically able for a future when you are not. Lets face it EVERYONE will encounter periods in their life when a major health related intervention is required, if that happens in the US at a time when you are unable to afford health insurance you're going to have a very difficult time getting the care you require. Yes, there are freeloaders in the system and that is for their own conscience to justify but my social conscience can't see people suffer because their 'crime' is being poor.

Getting down from my high horse now.

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Old 11-15-2007, 05:33 AM   #15
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"However, we don't leave people on the highway after a car crash!"

LOL. I did think the person who told me that was winding me up. I'm incredibly gullible and tend to believe whatever people tell me. Like this one time, a guy told me his dad owned the Hilton....(true story).
Re: freeloaders v. deserving poor: in an ideal world, there would be a massive redistribution of wealth and labour here in the U.K., which would eliminate both categories. But as that probably won't happen any time soon, I think I'm willing to pay for the former so that the latter get service.
But ask me again in a year when I have to get a real job and pay taxes (aaah!)
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