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After Experiencing British And U.S. Health Care, This Family Says Single-Payer Is Abominable

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7 hours ago, Roper-Harrison said:

Well, let's see. I'm a USC married to a Brit and presently a resident in England under a spousal visa which runs through July 2019. As a condition of approval for this extended stay I was required to register with NHS and pay a 500 GBP surcharge - about 800 USD at the time - for all service I received during my stay.  There are no other charges levied. No co-pay. No deductibles. Nada. This includes all medicines for me, since I am over 60. Again, no additional charges. That works out to about $28/month for healthcare that is in every sense comprehensive and, based upon my personal experience, readily and immediately available. My spouse, a British Citizen, pays about 20 GBP a month to participate in NHS. She gets the same services I do except that she must pay 8.5 GBP per prescription for any medicines she is taking - she is under 60.

 

In States I am a Medicare recipient - single payer for geezers. Medicare is also a paid service for recipients. It varies by year but this year it's running about 120 USD/month. I'm also a Social Security recipient so this amount is deducted from my SS allotment each month. I, like the vast majority of Medicare recipients (and all current wage earners), contributed to it over the course of my working career. It's a little more expensive than NHS and a bit more complicated what with it's various benefit partitions and the separate drug areas that are at additional cost. Too, I know of no Medicare program that covers 100% of the expenses incurred although some come close if you're in a position to take advantage of them. For one VA Medical Services are generally free except for co-pays. VA bills Medicare for the services it renders to Medicare recipients. If. like me, you are eligible to receive VA services it's a way to avoid using Medicare Part D - Drugs. Prescriptions are available through VA at (presently) 8 USD each. There are also now vision and dental benefits available. The other situation I am aware of is Kaiser Permanente Southern California. I lived in Los Angeles prior to moving to UK and was a member of the Kaiser HMO. In SoCal - but not everywhere in CA or other Kaiser Service Areas - there is no member premium for Medicare recipients. There are nominal visit and prescription co-pays that for me averaged about 35 USD/month. I have nothing but good things to say about both the VA and Kaiser services I received.

 

Based upon my personal experience in my now year here in UK I rate NHS as comparable to any of the services I received through VA, Kaiser, and, over most of my life, the private healthcare system in US. One can find horror stories anywhere, including in the most exclusive medical units in my former neighborhood in Beverly Hills. But the fact is that the more people who are covered by healthcare services the healthier they are. The Brits are a healthy lot and certainly no less so than their American cousins. Seems to me the big difference is that the citizens here are not held financially hostage to the pharmaceutical industry or to private medical practices and health insurers. The cost/benefit profile of NHS  (and, I suspect, nearly all single-payer systems around the globe) is significantly more positive than that of the US private healthcare system.

 

I'm not certain what we're going to do when we migrate back to US. Our monthly healthcare costs will skyrocket even though the service we receive will not in any manner change. So far as I'm concerned that's a travesty.

 

I think people don't realize that there aren't many horror stories coming out of the US, because we have a large number of uninsured people who never get to see a doctor, unless they go to the ER. As with many of the social issues in our country, people believe that if you ignore it long enough, the problem will go away.

 

Great post, by the way!

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1 hour ago, CaliCat said:

 

I think people don't realize that there aren't many horror stories coming out of the US, because we have a large number of uninsured people who never get to see a doctor, unless they go to the ER. As with many of the social issues in our country, people believe that if you ignore it long enough, the problem will go away.

 

Great post, by the way!

So it seems clear, there are horror stories on both sides.

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41 minutes ago, Bill & Katya said:

So it seems clear, there are horror stories on both sides.

There always are. Unavoidable. But policy should not be based on horror stories and anecdotal discussion. It should be based upon solid evidence and in this case drawn to benefit the most number of people for what to me are obvious reasons but most certainly because the healthier the populace the better off the world. There is no perfect healthcare system from the standpoint that everyone will always get the best and safest care under all circumstances. Doesn't happen anywhere no matter how hard we try. But we must try. Judged on global standards the US healthcare system does not rank very high and for the richest nation in the world that is simply reprehensible.

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1 hour ago, Bill & Katya said:

So it seems clear, there are horror stories on both sides.

 

That's why in adopting a single payer system, the US should look at these as well, and look at the healthcare systems in countries like Japan and Sweden. 

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12 hours ago, Roper-Harrison said:

Well, let's see. I'm a USC married to a Brit and presently a resident in England under a spousal visa which runs through July 2019. As a condition of approval for this extended stay I was required to register with NHS and pay a 500 GBP surcharge - about 800 USD at the time - for all service I received during my stay.  There are no other charges levied. No co-pay. No deductibles. Nada. This includes all medicines for me, since I am over 60. Again, no additional charges. That works out to about $28/month for healthcare that is in every sense comprehensive and, based upon my personal experience, readily and immediately available. My spouse, a British Citizen, pays about 20 GBP a month to participate in NHS. She gets the same services I do except that she must pay 8.5 GBP per prescription for any medicines she is taking - she is under 60.

 

In States I am a Medicare recipient - single payer for geezers. Medicare is also a paid service for recipients. It varies by year but this year it's running about 120 USD/month. I'm also a Social Security recipient so this amount is deducted from my SS allotment each month. I, like the vast majority of Medicare recipients (and all current wage earners), contributed to it over the course of my working career. It's a little more expensive than NHS and a bit more complicated what with it's various benefit partitions and the separate drug areas that are at additional cost. Too, I know of no Medicare program that covers 100% of the expenses incurred although some come close if you're in a position to take advantage of them. For one VA Medical Services are generally free except for co-pays. VA bills Medicare for the services it renders to Medicare recipients. If. like me, you are eligible to receive VA services it's a way to avoid using Medicare Part D - Drugs. Prescriptions are available through VA at (presently) 8 USD each. There are also now vision and dental benefits available. The other situation I am aware of is Kaiser Permanente Southern California. I lived in Los Angeles prior to moving to UK and was a member of the Kaiser HMO. In SoCal - but not everywhere in CA or other Kaiser Service Areas - there is no member premium for Medicare recipients. There are nominal visit and prescription co-pays that for me averaged about 35 USD/month. I have nothing but good things to say about both the VA and Kaiser services I received.

 

Based upon my personal experience in my now year here in UK I rate NHS as comparable to any of the services I received through VA, Kaiser, and, over most of my life, the private healthcare system in US. One can find horror stories anywhere, including in the most exclusive medical units in my former neighborhood in Beverly Hills. But the fact is that the more people who are covered by healthcare services the healthier they are. The Brits are a healthy lot and certainly no less so than their American cousins. Seems to me the big difference is that the citizens here are not held financially hostage to the pharmaceutical industry or to private medical practices and health insurers. The cost/benefit profile of NHS  (and, I suspect, nearly all single-payer systems around the globe) is significantly more positive than that of the US private healthcare system.

 

I'm not certain what we're going to do when we migrate back to US. Our monthly healthcare costs will skyrocket even though the service we receive will not in any manner change. So far as I'm concerned that's a travesty.

Wow this sentence is scary

 

"Based upon my personal experience in my now year here in UK I rate NHS as comparable to any of the services I received through VA'

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2 hours ago, Roper-Harrison said:

There always are. Unavoidable. But policy should not be based on horror stories and anecdotal discussion. It should be based upon solid evidence and in this case drawn to benefit the most number of people for what to me are obvious reasons but most certainly because the healthier the populace the better off the world. There is no perfect healthcare system from the standpoint that everyone will always get the best and safest care under all circumstances. Doesn't happen anywhere no matter how hard we try. But we must try. Judged on global standards the US healthcare system does not rank very high and for the richest nation in the world that is simply reprehensible.

One of the highest GDP spent in the 1st world on healthcare and one of the lowest in outcomes.

 

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Posting so I remember to come back and type a lengthy reply, as someone who has also experienced both.

Lots of BS in that article.... and why did they not have travel insurance?

 

The NHS is far from perfect, and needs massive reform in many areas, but it is a million times better than the utter disgrace in the US. 

Edited by mindthegap

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11 hours ago, CaliCat said:

 

I think people don't realize that there aren't many horror stories coming out of the US, because we have a large number of uninsured people who never get to see a doctor, unless they go to the ER. As with many of the social issues in our country, people believe that if you ignore it long enough, the problem will go away.

 

Great post, by the way!

Large number of uninsured?  Only 28 million were uninsured last year, vs. 48 million in 2010.  I thought that number was a move in the right direction? That's less than 9% uninsured in the US.

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1 hour ago, IDWAF said:

Large number of uninsured?  Only 28 million were uninsured last year, vs. 48 million in 2010.  I thought that number was a move in the right direction? That's less than 9% uninsured in the US.

It most certainly is a move in the right direction. But we were comparing the US system of healthcare to that provided in UK by the NHS. The UK population is at about 66 million. 100% of those people are covered by comprehensive healthcare that is essentially free. And yes, taxes are higher in UK but not by much. Most of the difference is because of healthcare - and it is a very tangible benefit. In US not only do we have the equivalent of one third the entire population of UK uninsured, many of whom burden our ER services and drive up our hospital costs, but we also the remaining insured members of our society devoting a substantial portion of their income to health insurance which covers only a portion of their expense. It's only recently via the ACA that our situation was ameliorated to a degree but it's still woeful compared to NHS. 

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2 hours ago, Roper-Harrison said:

It most certainly is a move in the right direction. But we were comparing the US system of healthcare to that provided in UK by the NHS. The UK population is at about 66 million. 100% of those people are covered by comprehensive healthcare that is essentially free. And yes, taxes are higher in UK but not by much. Most of the difference is because of healthcare - and it is a very tangible benefit. In US not only do we have the equivalent of one third the entire population of UK uninsured, many of whom burden our ER services and drive up our hospital costs, but we also the remaining insured members of our society devoting a substantial portion of their income to health insurance which covers only a portion of their expense. It's only recently via the ACA that our situation was ameliorated to a degree but it's still woeful compared to NHS. 

This is what amazes me, 66 million in the UK and the NHS is the fifth largest employer in the world.  I wonder how large a similar system would be in the US?  Personally, I am fine with socialized medicine in theory, yes, wait times for anything beyond a GP visit may grow exponentially, and we will now have a government agency instead of an insurance carrier make the decision to proceed with care, but I often wonder if it is sustainable economically?  Sure, sustainability shouldn't matter when it comes to people's healthcare, but it is a fact of life that services have to be paid for regardless of the service.  The other thing that interested me about the OP article is the differences in the NHS services depending on one's location.  How does this get reported in the UK?  I am honestly curious if there is any discussion of the variation in the quality of care across the country?  My other question is if the NHS says to an individual that a treatment is not warranted, does the patient have an appeal, or is there a private medical industry they could turn to without having to travel to another country?

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