Author Topic: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare  (Read 5337 times)

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Offline BertineC

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2017, 10:12:01 PM »
I was just talking about this with my parents last night, discussing Other Half's father's current medical status (they all need to get off Facebook essentially!) and how all I know is that the Swedish system has put him in for MRIs and he will probably finally get those knee replacements he really should have had 5 years ago but they patched him up to make it "a little while longer". Whereas my parents who have both had knee/hip replacements at some point got them done more or less right away, because they had decent insurance. Which is quite rare in this day and age.

So my parents, who put up with worrying about me and my back problem last fall, think Universal Health is great... until they see the implications of waiting time, etc. On the NHS I had a three month wait to see a neurosurgeon, though my GP more or less sorted me out for an MRI and drugs to manage the nerve pain. Having been between jobs when the back pain started I would have been screwed in the US, but here I got sorted out, it just takes time. Actually for what I have time was really what I needed and the body is taking care of itself.

I have days when I think it would be best to go back... until I remember all the health insurance hoopla and stupidity (amongst other things like car insurance and commuting etc). I have private health insurance now as a work benefit and have received excellent treatment in a surprisingly efficient manner. And no need to worry about chasing billing and paying copays on top of paying into insurance monthly - that is all covered by work. That is refreshing, but it is also nice to know that the NHS system, which is the first port of call anyway, is there.

Margo-is there no one at Queen's Square National Hospital of Neurosurgery that can do that? Anyone in Germany?

Offline margo

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2017, 11:15:05 PM »
Margo-is there no one at Queen's Square National Hospital of Neurosurgery that can do that? Anyone in Germany?

If there's involvement of the brain (Chiari malformation) as well as the craniocervical instability, there are none in England who are qualified to deal with the extremely fragile tissues found with EDS as far as I know (from the patients there). I'm not entirely sure about the other countries, but I doubt people would be flying to the US and paying that kind of money, while literally dying because your autonomic nervous system steadily shuts down from brainstem compression, if there were surgeons nearby who could do it.

I was unemployed when injured by a doctor, and was nearly screwed by it because if I hadn't been able to start working I would've both lost my unemployment payment and then had to wait however long it took to be approved for disability. Thankfully I was able to keep job hunting well enough and didn't find a job offer long enough to heal and get back to work. It's a mess juggling illness and healthcare here. :(
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Offline lyonaria

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2017, 11:17:29 AM »
What does the US have against universal health care? An EXTREMELY powerful lobby....insurance companies, big pharma.....need I say more?

Sad to say, in the US you can get ill and become bankrupt, with no safety net. Jimmy Carter wanted universal health care, and got opposition from within his own party. He could have pushed in through then - now? Not a chance in hell.

The NHS is not without problems, but it's a wonderful thing. I am thankful to live here and have access. Before we left the US, our insurance premiums were >$12k per year - and I was a 'well person' with a very high deductible. Hubs worked until he was 70 for company paid insurance, as he was essentially uninsurable prior to the ACA. Our co-pays were huge as well.

I could go on and on, but time to get off the soapbox.
I don't understand it either.

In the US:
Healthcare is not a right.
Healthcare is big business. It's for making money.

Think back to when you lived in the US. Did you think, at that time, that the US should have universal healthcare? I didn't. It was an argument my husband and I had. I didnt understand why I had to pay for others' healthcare (medicare and medicaid) when I couldn't afford it for myself and millions of people think that way.

I was uninsured and just seeing my doctor cost $102, no tests or prescriptions included.

If they simply cut part of defense spending it could be possible.
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline lyonaria

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2017, 11:39:59 AM »
I think that is the idea behind the fee to see a GP. GPs are saying that too many people are wasting their time.

The same with A&E, which is meant to be for life-threatening emergencies but Fred turns up there because he stubbed his toe. ::)

Visting an A&E department

An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:

    loss of consciousness
    acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
    persistent, severe chest pain
    breathing difficulties
    severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
    severe allergic reactions
    severe burns or scalds

Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units (MIUs). An A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP practice is closed you can call NHS 111, which will direct you to the best local service to treat your injury. Alternatively, you can visit an NHS walk-in centre (WIC), which will also treat minor illnesses without an appointment.

http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/Emergencyandurgentcareservices/Pages/AE.aspx

Truth of the matter is the ER in the US and A&E in the UK are both abused by people. My sister in law would take the boys there instead of an after hours clinic because she wasn't charged for ER visits on their insurance, but were for the after hours places.
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline physicskate

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2017, 12:59:35 PM »
About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with a bone tumor (scary, but it wasn't a really bad one). Anyway, I needed surgery and went directly to a specialist (that is the one thing that was nice in the US - no need for GP referrals and then to be called in months and months later). Long story short, my parents got a bill for nearly $10,000 after my outpatient surgery, even though it was medically necessary and I was covered under top of the range insurance that movie stars get (it even covers veneers!!!).

I still needed monitoring after the surgery, and once I was too old to be under my parents' insurance, the doctor started charging me less! Literally - one time it was $150 to the insurance company, then six months later he charged me $55 - all to check my xray...

So the lesson I learned is that healthcare is expensive in America because there is so much choice, and because doctors have to pay so much for their education (and thus are expected to maintain a certain lifestyle with huge debt), and it is easier to charge more to a faceless, nameless organisation than your patient (who you know and have a relationship with).
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Offline ksand24

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2017, 01:00:23 PM »
Think back to when you lived in the US. Did you think, at that time, that the US should have universal healthcare? I didn't. It was an argument my husband and I had. I didnt understand why I had to pay for others' healthcare (medicare and medicaid) when I couldn't afford it for myself and millions of people think that way.

What I don't get about this thinking is: why does it apply to healthcare but not anything else in life?

The cost of public education comes out of our taxes, so why aren't people saying that we should all have to pay for our own elementary and high school education?

Same goes for police departments, fire departments, courts, prisons, city maintenance, public housing, income benefits etc. Those are all universal, so why not healthcare?

As it is, 22% of US income tax already goes towards healthcare, yet hardly anyone sees any benefits from it (i.e. most people need insurance as well because they don't qualify for Medicare/Medicaid) and even if they do, they usually still have to pay something towards their healthcare.

In the UK, only 20% of income tax goes on healthcare, yet you get all the benefits from it... all your healthcare is free, and everyone else's healthcare is free too.

From an article showing where US taxes currently go (http://www.ibtimes.com/10-biggest-programs-your-income-taxes-pay-1216631):
- 25% on defence/military
- 22.5% on healthcare
- 17% on income security
- 8% on national debt interest
- 4.5% on veteran's benefits
- 3% on education
- 2% on law enforcement/immigration

And in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-public-spending-was-calculated-in-your-tax-summary/how-public-spending-was-calculated-in-your-tax-summary):
- 25% on welfare (benefits and state pensions)
- 20% on healthcare
- 12% on education
- 5% on national debt interest
- 5% on defence
- 4% on public order and safety

Offline durhamlad

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2017, 02:17:28 PM »

So the lesson I learned is that healthcare is expensive in America because there is so much choice, and because doctors have to pay so much for their education (and thus are expected to maintain a certain lifestyle with huge debt), and it is easier to charge more to a faceless, nameless organisation than your patient (who you know and have a relationship with).

A big problem in America is that there is so little choice these days. The idea of shopping around to get the best deal simply does not work in many places. This is because the health industry got itself exempted from the anti-trust regulations which means that the different companies can collude on pricing and carve up the market to suit themselves. There are many counties, including just south of where I used to live, where there is only a single health insurance company to choose from.

No anti-trust also means that big hospitals have bought up all the medical practices in the area so that in many cities all the doctors, clinics, labs etc are owned by the same company so that large numbers of folks have only one medical provider within a 50 mile radius.  In the last year or so of Obama's presidency they did pass a law banning hospitals from buying providers outside of their premises but too little too late, and they didn't break up any existing monopolies.

No anti-trust also means no conflict of interest laws, for which my company was audited annually to ensure the correct procedures were in place to prevent such practices. A change in the law meant that in 2015 when I had my first appointment at the N Houston Heart clinic there was a disclosure page at the end of a pile of papers I had to sign that listed all the doctors who had a financial interest in the labs there. (Stress tests, Echo cardiograms, blood work etc).

I also looked at finding insurance myself once my retiree insurance through my ex employer got so expensive ($10k/year) but the ONLY options available were HMO's with very narrow networks, and no option to see a specialist without going through your GP, and there were no GP's or medical facilities in the networks that were available in the city of 120,000 where I lived so we would have to change all our doctor's, travel much farther for appointments and have no coverage other than emergencies when we travelled away from the network. We travel a lot so I stuck with our existing PPO plan for a couple of years before moving back to the UK.
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Offline lyonaria

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2017, 02:50:04 PM »
What I don't get about this thinking is: why does it apply to healthcare but not anything else in life?

The cost of public education comes out of our taxes, so why aren't people saying that we should all have to pay for our own elementary and high school education?

Same goes for police departments, fire departments, courts, prisons, city maintenance, public housing, income benefits etc. Those are all universal, so why not healthcare?

As it is, 22% of US income tax already goes towards healthcare, yet hardly anyone sees any benefits from it (i.e. most people need insurance as well because they don't qualify for Medicare/Medicaid) and even if they do, they usually still have to pay something towards their healthcare.

In the UK, only 20% of income tax goes on healthcare, yet you get all the benefits from it... all your healthcare is free, and everyone else's healthcare is free too.

From an article showing where US taxes currently go (http://www.ibtimes.com/10-biggest-programs-your-income-taxes-pay-1216631):
- 25% on defence/military
- 22.5% on healthcare
- 17% on income security
- 8% on national debt interest
- 4.5% on veteran's benefits
- 3% on education
- 2% on law enforcement/immigration

And in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-public-spending-was-calculated-in-your-tax-summary/how-public-spending-was-calculated-in-your-tax-summary):
- 25% on welfare (benefits and state pensions)
- 20% on healthcare
- 12% on education
- 5% on national debt interest
- 5% on defence
- 4% on public order and safety

Healthcare has always been left to the individual here in the US. It's not a right, it's a money making enterprise. You've had to seen all the medication ads that air on TV, that never happens in the UK!

And there are people who think that way. I'm from a smaller town in the US, 150,000 people, and it's got a high population of older, retired people. They always voted down any and all increased tax spending to go towards schools or renovations for the public library. They didn't currently have children themselves and didn't use the library so why should their money go towards those things?

Pretty much, the majority of the population of the US thinks, 'how does this benefit me?' And not, 'How would this make where I live a better place?'

And people see infrastructure and police, fire, and emergency services as required and they want them in place for if/when they need them. So funding is rarely an issue when it comes to tax dollar allocation there.

Your information for the US breakdown of income tax spending is from 2013 and that's really outdated. The most recent info we can get right now is for 2015, check out the below. Healthcare, with the ACA, has increased to over 28%.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/18/pf/taxes/how-are-tax-dollars-spent/

The average household paid $13,000 in income taxes to Uncle Sam for 2015. Of that, the federal government spent:

$3,728.92 (or 28.7%) on health programs
$3,299.13 (or 25.4%) on the Pentagon and the military
$1,776.06 (or 13.7%) on interest on the debt
$1,040.93 (or 8%) on unemployment and labor programs
$771.26 (or 5%) on veterans benefits
$598.74 (or 4.6%) on food and agriculture programs
$461.59 (or 3.6%) on education programs
$377.50 (or 2.9%) on government expenses
$250.03 (or 1.9%) on housing and community programs
$207.68 (or 1.6%) on energy and environmental programs
$194.29 (or 1.5%) on international affairs programs
$150.68 (or 1.2%) on transportation funding
$143.20 (or 1.1%) on science funding

This info below is old info and I don't feel like doing an in depth search right now.

In 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there were 70.4 million people who enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month. There were also 48.849 million people enrolled in Medicare.

US population in 2011 was, 311.7 million. That's 22% of the population who had signed up for Medicaid, the program for low income people. That's no small number! Some of those people will also be signed up for Medicare, the program (generally) for over 65's. 

People don't have health insurance because they can't qualify for Medicaid. They have Medicaid because they can't afford health insurance or to be able to afford to go to the doctor without it.
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline ksand24

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2017, 03:07:16 PM »
Healthcare has always been left to the individual here in the US. It's not a right, it's a money making enterprise. You've had to seen all the medication ads that air on TV, that never happens in the UK!

Yeah, in the UK it's actually illegal to advertise prescription medicine to the general public (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/advertise-your-medicines).

Quote
Pretty much, the majority of the population of the US thinks, 'how does this benefit me?' And not, 'How would this make where I live a better place?'

Yeah, that's so sad :(.

Quote
And people see infrastructure and police, fire, and emergency services as required and they want them in place for if/when they need them. So funding is rarely an issue when it comes to tax dollar allocation there.

I guess what I find puzzling is why those services are considered to be required, but healthcare is not. I know that a lot of the US population feels as you have said above, I just don't really understand WHY they feel that way, or why it has always been left to the individual. Why do they feel that their police/fire department/education/city infrastructure is more important than their own health?

Quote
Your information for the US breakdown of income tax spending is from 2013 and that's really outdated. The most recent info we can get right now is for 2015, check out the below. Healthcare, with the ACA, has increased to over 28%.

Ah, okay - thanks :). I checked the UK stats for up-to-date figures, but forgot to check the date on the US article before I posted.

Offline durhamlad

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2017, 03:25:14 PM »
Yeah, in the UK it's actually illegal to advertise prescription medicine to the general public (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/advertise-your-medicines).


I believe New Zealand is the only other developed country in the world that allows direct marketing of pharmaceuticals to the public.
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Offline lyonaria

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2017, 03:54:42 PM »
Yeah, in the UK it's actually illegal to advertise prescription medicine to the general public (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/advertise-your-medicines).

Yeah, that's so sad :(.

I guess what I find puzzling is why those services are considered to be required, but healthcare is not. I know that a lot of the US population feels as you have said above, I just don't really understand WHY they feel that way, or why it has always been left to the individual. Why do they feel that their police/fire department/education/city infrastructure is more important than their own health?

Ah, okay - thanks :). I checked the UK stats for up-to-date figures, but forgot to check the date on the US article before I posted.

The only thing I can think to say, in regards to why, is that it has always been this way and people are so very against anything that's seen as Socialism. Even though we have a program called Social Security.  ::)

You will have to pry that program out of their cold, dead hands to take it away from the retired people who are currently getting it it.  ::) The American people even fought VERY hard against that program when it was instituted in 1935.

Weren't a lot of people against the NHS here in the UK as well?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/intermediate2/history/cradle_to_the_grave/welfare_state/revision/9/

Opposition

Many doctors did not want to become employees of the government and hospital consultants wanted to continue to charge private patients for treatment.
A survey of GPs showed that 64% were against the NHS as they wanted the freedom to treat patients privately.
The BMA organised a fierce campaign of resistance against Bevan.
The Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, finally got the cooperation of doctors when he promised new hospitals and equipment which was badly needed.
He also agreed to allow doctors to treat private as well as NHS patients.
For their work for the NHS Doctors would get a salary rather than be paid per patient or treatment.
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.

Offline physicskate

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #41 on: March 05, 2017, 04:17:04 PM »
A big problem in America is that there is so little choice these days. The idea of shopping around to get the best deal simply does not work in many places.

By choice - I meant I could go straight to a surgeon/ specialist. No need to wait months for an appointment if I needed to be seen (in my opinion) urgently. Granted, I did not shop around to see if I could get my surgery for less elsewhere - but why would I? We often (sometimes erroneously) relate cost to quality. When it comes to health, don't we all want the best for ourselves?
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Offline Texas2uk

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #42 on: March 05, 2017, 04:27:40 PM »
I frequent another forum that has a lot of Americans and today there was a post from a guy who has advanced throat cancer.  Apparently, he thought he had insurance until the bills started rolling in and it's not enough. His work set up a go fund me page, I guess as an alternative to providing proper insurance.  He was trying to act like he was just posting some news but it was obvious he was scrambling to raise money so he can live.

WTF!  What is wrong with America?  This poor guy was scrabbling around to raise 10k so he can have cancer treatment and not even mentioning his two small kids .   He was already talking about himself in the past tense. 

I can't see how Americans can put up with it.
I'd strongly caution people on things like this, cause that sounds like a scam & a half.

As for universal healthcare, it isn't remotely close to free. The taxes are much higher in the UK. That's healthcare. There is already Medicaid for the poorest people. I realize that's an imperfect system, but it's there. What's really going on is some people can make the choice to go without healthcare in order to support or raise other areas of their lives.

There's anecdotal cases on both sides of that equation that make it look bad, but really on the whole neither alternative is really better or worse than the other. It's just a public choice to either let people have a choice on how to use their scare resources versus not.


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Offline durhamlad

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2017, 04:50:12 PM »
By choice - I meant I could go straight to a surgeon/ specialist. No need to wait months for an appointment if I needed to be seen (in my opinion) urgently. Granted, I did not shop around to see if I could get my surgery for less elsewhere - but why would I? We often (sometimes erroneously) relate cost to quality. When it comes to health, don't we all want the best for ourselves?

You can only go direct to a specialist if you are in a health plan that allows it and as I said above that mostly only applies to plans from employers. HMO plans require you to go through your GP so if you don't have full time employment you may struggle to find an affordable plan, or in my case any plan that allows you to go straight to a specialist. The times they are a changing....
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Offline ksand24

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Re: Americans begging for money to pay for basic healthcare
« Reply #44 on: March 05, 2017, 04:57:44 PM »
As for universal healthcare, it isn't remotely close to free. The taxes are much higher in the UK. That's healthcare. There is already Medicaid for the poorest people. I realize that's an imperfect system, but it's there.

No, it's not free, but as per one of the posts above, the average US household pays over $3,700 in taxes towards healthcare programs each year, and they still have to spend thousands each year on health insurance and deductibles.

In comparison, I earn an average salary in the UK and I pay only about £1,500 in tax towards the NHS each year... and I get all my healthcare included in that (bar the odd £8 prescription). I'm single, but if I had a family too and we were living on just my wage, my whole family's healthcare would still only cost just £1,500 per year.