14
Aug
09

On air: Who does healthcare best?

DocAs Brits and Americans exchange barbed tweets over the merits of their healthcare systems, we’re going to see who you think is making the best of a difficult job.

We’re inviting five guests to make the case for the UK, America, Cuba, Singapore and France.

You’ll be able to quiz them about the details of their systems, explore how they might work in your country, or explain why yours is superior to all of them. And of course those Americans who think their system needs an overhaul will also get involved.

Here’s Shaimaa’s post on this from earlier:


The healthcare row in the USA gets more heated by the day and with MEP Daniel Hannan’scriticism of the British national healthcare system comparing and contrasting the two systems (essentially private vs. public healthcare) is what’s getting a lot of you talking.

President Obama is currently taking his healthcare reform campaign on the road to gain backing of the new plan that the democrats say will be more efficient and will save more money.

Five congressional committees are currently working on healthcare bills, and although there is consensus on some aspects of reform, lawmakers are divided on whether to set up a public health insurance scheme for Americans without employer-sponsored coverage.

“The creation of a new government-run insurance plan is a step in the wrong direction,” The Chamber of Commerce issued in a statement. While Pharmaceutical Companies stand by the new plans.


In the United States
, ownership of the health care system is mainly in private hands, though federal, state, county, and city governments also own certain facilities.There is no nationwide system of government-owned medical facilities open to the general public but there are local government-owned medical facilities open to the general public.

Here in the UK the NHS (National Health Service) is entirely government funded and free at the point of use. And while many people praise the fact that they can get free healthcare when they need it many others criticize it for long waiting lists and the time it takes to get treatment on some occasions.

In India the healthcare system is public but according to this study, since 1990s, the public health system has been collapsing and the private health sector has flourished at the cost of the public health sector.

In Nigeria, Health care provision is a concurrent responsibility of the three tiers of government in the country. But because Nigeria operates a mixed economy, private providers of health care have a visible role to play in health care delivery. The federal government’s role is mostly limited to coordinating the affairs of the university teaching hospitals, while the state government manages the various general hospitals and the local government focus on dispensaries.

France prides itself with a very successful and efficient public healthcare system and says even though it’s publicly funded you cannot compare it to the UK’s NHS. These are a few examples of different systems in different countries.

Tell us about your country, does it have the best health care system and if not what would you want to change about it?


253 Responses to “On air: Who does healthcare best?”


  1. 1 Brian Curtis
    August 14, 2009 at 10:59

    Anyone who has lived abroad knows that the NHS is the most inefficient and impersonal health system in the world. It is a black hole that will take in any amount of money and produce virtually nothing. Just sit in any A & E any time and watch the staff languishing about becase there is nothing to motivate them, you can’t fire them and so they take their money and go home. The NHS is a sixty year old failure and it is about time that we recognised it for what it is.
    Having said that, it could be made to work by adopting some Draconian measures: pay the doctor for each patient VISIT, elect hospital boards. make patirnts contribute to hospital treatment,, make thye GP TOTALLY responsible for the patient’s care and most important of all, introduce MANDATORY private health insurance, premiums deducted at source by the employer.
    I lived in Canada for twelve years, the NHS was a serious factor prventing us returning to the UK. Their system is a kind of hybrid between the UK and American systems – it is athousand times better than the NHS – our GP came to see us when any of us were in hospital and even delivered our daughter – that is real patient care.
    PLease lets stop being Gingoistic about the NHS, it doesn’t deserve it.

    • 2 Lisa
      August 14, 2009 at 18:46

      I think it is best for the doctors to be paid by salary. Here in the USA, some doctors are paid per visit, and what happens is that they try to schedule as many appointments as possible per day, since each appointment means more money. The result is that the patient has one or two minutes to visit with the doctor who then rushes to the next person. It is terrible.

      • August 17, 2009 at 20:06

        True it’s the same with the Dentist as well.
        one dentist jumps from room to room and most of
        the work is done by the hired help.

      • 4 Sarah
        October 27, 2009 at 13:14

        But one would wonder, on that note, if doctors are paid like government employees, would they start to act like government employees? I.e. come in at 9 am (maybe), take a two hour lunch break, do what they must, then walk out the door at 5:0- whoever is left is just gonna have to wait. By taking away all competition, there is no desire by any doctor to become anything more than ordinary. We all know how it goes, like in the DMV or the Department of Health or any other government organization…should we be willing to take that chance?

  2. 5 Will, British Columbia
    August 14, 2009 at 11:14

    Canada’s health care system is not perfect but it’s nice to know that I live in a country that affords a certain quality of life to its people. I would be willing to pay more taxes if it could reduce wait times for emergancy rooms and surgeries but I think a lot of time and money could be saved by cutting through red tape and restricting punitive lawsuits against health authorities.

  3. 6 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 14, 2009 at 11:16

    It’s not the best but it could be worse. It can definetely do with some improvement. Our health care system is a mixture of government health care and private institutions. The government service is free since all working citizens contribute a health surcharge tax to it, while private instutions are expensive and perceived to be more efficacious.

  4. 7 Ramesh, India
    August 14, 2009 at 11:45

    What is that? I never heard that phrase in India!!

  5. 8 Ramesh, India
    August 14, 2009 at 11:53

    Well, we have private health insurance. It is not widely used although many global health insurance majors tied up with local banks to rpovide the services. Most people who go for life insurance do not go for health insurance. The governments, both central and regional do take care of their employees. But nothing so proud to tak about the system in India.

  6. 9 anu_D
    August 14, 2009 at 12:32

    The Indian system of health care is a very good model.

    There are goverment hospitals and dispencaries–free for the poor ..and at rather nominal charges for those who can pay….but the queue are long.
    No insurance is required.

    Then there are private healthcare providers…through independent doctors, nursing homes and hospitals…..so reasonably priced..that these are affordable by the middle and upper classes through direct and full payment.

    Insurances are not required…..but I see ugly concept of insurance is creeping in….which will drive the pricing up for the upper segment….for insurance forces expenses that may not be essential.

    Such reasonable is the full cost medical treatment systmen and comparable to international standards in quality…that many a westerners come to India for medical tourism and pay anywhere between 10-20% of the full costs compared to US and first world

  7. 10 Peter Gizzi UK
    August 14, 2009 at 13:11

    I can only speak as I find. Overall The NHS has done me and my family proud. I’ve had 2 prostate operations (non-cancerous) and a hernia operation. All have been a complete success.

    What I do see is an NHS whose administators like our MPs take vast sums of money for what? Privately provided buildings that are leased back at great expense. Vast numbers of immigrants from Europe putting extra pressure on staff who are often overworked filling in forms to satify MPs who themselves go private. The immigrants often require an interpreter paid for by The NHS. In Spain the patient pays for the interpreter. The NHS is also abused by those coming to this country for “health holidays”

    I would hate to live in a country where low paid people like myself are scared of illness when often they cannot afford treatment.

    Finally as Daniel Hannan is anti-European Union I love him to bits. Lets hope this will cause him to switch to The UK Independence Party. I would welcome him with open arms.

  8. 11 Ramesh, India
    August 14, 2009 at 14:03

    Just a few minutes ago I read on Robin Lustig’s blog that 15% of the population in the US do not have health cover. Well, I have a suggestion. Obama should try to provide state healthcare system to that 15% of population not having the cover. If he does that and stops there, everybody would be happy. I don’t understand why so much fuss is being made about the healthcare system there.

    • 12 Tom K in Mpls
      August 14, 2009 at 16:58

      Actually Ramesh, you are wrong. Probably 25% of US feel that most of the uncovered 15% are an unfair burden. The definition of this is people that have no desire to be a legal and/or contributing member of our society, yet they want everything for free. There are good people facing hard times, especially now, that need and should be given coverage, but this is short term aid. What you are suggesting is exactly what is facing the strongest opposition.

      • 13 Ramesh, India
        August 14, 2009 at 17:56

        @Tom K
        My assumption was that we were talking about legal citizens of the US. Regarding the burden created by those people who don’t contribute to the society, my opinion is that the government shouldn’t stop at giving them free medical service, rather, it should also try to bring down that % levels to say 10% so that burden would be minimal. Having 15% of the population dissatisfied with the system could cause lot of problems to the society under different contexts.

      • 14 mark c
        August 17, 2009 at 01:31

        maybe if the US stopped wasting money (trillions of dollars) on fighting illegal wars for oil and killing innocent civilians, and instead spent it on saving the lives of their sick or injured citizens everyone could have a good standard of health care in america

        the same goes for the UK, Australia to a lesser extent, and i suspect many other western countries could also be included in this

        mark

        brisbane australia

    • 15 Bob Ranney
      August 14, 2009 at 17:19

      The fuss in America is because anyone other than the wealthiest can be made completely bankrupt if they face a serious healthcare issue and because most people cannot afford to buy health insurance that pays for anything except catastrophic care.

      As a self-employed person (working within the health care field) I paid over $300 a month for over twenty years for insurance coverage that did not pay for any visits to a primary care doctor. If I had developed a serious illness or needed surgery, it would have covered 80% of a hospital stay after I had paid $5,000 out of pocket. I never used it, but I sure paid for it. (Over twenty years it cost me about $60,000 and I never got any benefit from it except the knowledge that if anything happened, I could survive financially.)

      No government program would cost that much, but any program being discussed by the Obama administration would provide better coverage.

      Your idea of a program to cover just the 15% now totally without coverage would do nothing to alleviate these problems for the other 90% of us who are stuck in the position I was in before I became old enough to get Medicare – one of those government programs our right-wingers keep saying never work, but which is the only reason that I am now getting the kind of health care I needed all my life, but couldn’t afford. We need Medicare coverage for the entire nation and relief from the licensed theft our private insurers have indulged in throughout our nation’s history.

      • 16 patti in cape coral
        August 14, 2009 at 17:41

        @ Bob. This was almost exactly my situation when I was self-employed, except that I finally dropped the insurance because I couldn’t afford it, and walked around with my heart in my throat for several years, worrying that I might get seriously sick.

  9. 17 Bob in Queensland
    August 14, 2009 at 14:33

    The one country that definitely does NOT do it best is the United States. In cost terms they spend roughly double per person what the UK does…and still leave 50 million people without cover. It is scandalous, verging on criminal, that the largest single cost of personal bankruptcies in the USA is health care costs.

    The out and out lies being told by the health industry lobby in America shows just how desperate they are to preserve the status quo.

    • 18 Tom K in Mpls
      August 14, 2009 at 17:13

      You also need to point out that the biggest single business for collections agencies is related to medical expenses. Fighting between the insurance companies and provider corporations, and between different health care corporations is so time consuming that some bills go to collections before a responsibility is assigned.

      This is one inefficiency/expense that needs to be resolved.

  10. 19 Katharina in Ghent
    August 14, 2009 at 14:40

    I’ve lived in three different countries now, Austria, Belgium and Canada. All three have state organized health care, but to different extent and differently organized. In Belgium people have to choose an insurance provider, but the payment goes directly off your pay slip and the rates are fixed. This will cover for all that’s necessary, including dental care. If you want on top coverage, that’s possible but you have to pay for it on top.

    In Canada it’s different in that you are automatically covered by the province, but that doesn’t include dental care – an important feature, since bad teeth can contribute to other health related problems.

    In Austria, your type of employment will influence where you’re automatically insured. This shouldn’t have an influence on the type of care that you get, but doctors get paid differently depending on the insurance, so their willingness to go the extra mile may be much less when you come from a ‘miser insurer’.

    All three have in common that to get decent health insurance doesn’t bankrupt you, and while you may have to wait a bit to get treated for non-threatening or elective procedures, the quality of it is generally good.

    I would be scared to live in the US and fall out of coverage for some benign reason!

  11. August 14, 2009 at 14:42

    The best health care is … wait for it… you do it yourself.
    You know what’s good for you.
    Try it out. It works.
    The body is wonderful thing.
    It has a brain sitting on top of it.

  12. 21 Tom K in Mpls
    August 14, 2009 at 14:45

    If you look past the surface, I like what Obama is doing. He is using the very justifiable fear of government run anything, to get politicians on both sides to come up with a simple workable plan. Nothing has yet been presented by either side yet.

    In my view, the biggest current problem is inefficiencies. This could be well managed by standardizing test procedures and reports and giving the patient copies of everything. This can eliminate redundant testing and keep people from getting trapped in one corporations system. It allows patient control and therefore promotes a competitive market. Another issue is to be certain elective procedures are insured very differently from physicals and essential procedures with all plans.

    I feel in most ways the US system was the best and still is marginally the best, but it is a knotted mess now and needs some help.

  13. 22 robert
    August 14, 2009 at 14:50

    I’ve used the health system in the US and the UK. On the balance of what I’ve seen personally, I’ve had better care from the UK NHS than I did from the more expensive US doctors.

    The NHS has issues, I’m not claiming it doesn’t. But the issues in the UK are in the grand scheme of things fine tuning of a general functioning system. The lack of health care to many in the US shows that there are real problems with it.

  14. 23 Sergio Joaquim Dique
    August 14, 2009 at 14:55

    Dear WHYS

    l definitely would have also said, as Ramesh, India: What is that?

    Mozambique, my beloved country has something like a health service. l visited the dentist this morning and there was blood in the spitting pot of the observation chair. My visit today was third day trying to see the dentist who would just speed in and out and never look at me. At last l was told to another department as l was just fine from a dentist’s point of view. By the way, this was a student technician who told me this. The doctor could not even see me.

    Having said that, all around the country one find cases where doctors have to do with the bare minimum. We do not have the luxury of routine check ups in Mozambique, because there are not enough doctors to attend to emegencies. Beleive me, regardless of the shortcomings of a few doctors, l salute the local health system.

    No doubt there is need for improvement, this could be Mozambique, USA, UK or anywhere else. Where people’s lives are concerned we all want quick attention, cheap payments, etc. So wher improvement can be made they should be welcome and people should allow themselves to evolve at all levels, be it politicians in USA, UK or the simple Mozambican, who needs to understand that regardless of the diverse dificulties, the lacal health services are trying, or at least some of those involved.

    All the best.

  15. 24 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    August 14, 2009 at 15:03

    No one can honestly say that the US system is the best in the world. We spend more money than anyone, have some of the worst outcomes, and have 15% of the population uninsured. And now that the President is really trying to change things people are crawling out of the woodwork to protect the status quo! Ridiculous!

  16. August 14, 2009 at 15:04

    Why, when I post a post, does it take so long for it to be moderated?
    You dudes not got the staff or what?

  17. August 14, 2009 at 15:07

    Singapore has excellent medical facilities with the doctors highly qualified and very professional. It is high time the United States and the United Kingdom take a leaf from Singapore’s highly efficient medical services. Talking to a senior medical consultant and professor from the Singapore General Hospital recently, I was struck by the very high emergency standards there. The government there places such a high emphasis on education and health, the twin pillars of robust growth, ensuring that every citizen is covered adequately irrespective of their wealth.

    • 27 Nanci
      August 14, 2009 at 15:46

      Good point. I lived in Singapore for 5 years and found the health care there very good. Doctors there are well-trained and the hospitals are well-run and efficient.

      I really never needed much care when I was there, but when I did, it was always outstanding.

    • 28 Tatiana
      August 16, 2009 at 15:50

      I’m from Russia. It was great surprise for me to learn about exellent health services covered by the government regardless the citizen income. It’s such an inspiering thing to learn some good news about the life in other countries. I myself lived in the USSR ( before its desintegration), in the US and in modern Russia. As for the accessability of the services, a possibility of their delivery right to your house, especiaally for children, — hte former USSR was out of competion, we didn’t have any medical insuranse system, every citizen was eligible for all kinds of medical tratment free of charge, including dentist care. Of sause it was a system very far of being perfect, but it woked well. In the US I was terrified by the medical services: each doctor ‘s office is in a different location ( in russia we have a POlYCLINIK, which gathers all the doctors and labs in one big building), so my friednd having broken his hand had to drive to his surgeon 230 miles to SAN DIEGO. And the insurance gives you so limited ” set” of doctors, that it’s a real shame for such country as the US!. And many other ptifalls: the doctor has only 3 minutes to speac to you, the specialist on your right eye doesn’t want to know anything about your left eye ( a joke), they dont send you to take your heart electrocardiogramme, sayin you don’t look like in need for it, then a folk comes from the hospital and dies exactly to a infarkt an so on. I have some friends living in Canada, they say this country has the best hralth services one can desire. we in Russia now have 2 good things : Paediatricians still come to your home and our
      heakth Spa Resorts are really good, with their monitoring, regular check ups, a lot of healing/reabilitaion procedures available and all this for a very decent price. the rest of medical institutions are corrupted, more& more doctors are not competent and so on. Russia. Tatiana

  18. August 14, 2009 at 15:11

    I would have to smile were it not way too serious a subject to hear the lies told about health care nations here in the USA. Nations who have paid their way and who have no child left behind. Last night a LA program of a child who never has had dental care and needed two extractions. They lined up with thousands to get into a arena for free care. Recently a mother who took advantage of a freebie in her city to get dental for her eight and ten year olds. My three step boys and my own two daughters had free dental at the clinic right across from their school in Peterborough Cambs and all children had that same care. How CAN this rich nation not be ashamed of these news features showing that they don’t care enough for the poor and unfortunate and hope instead to present a failed nation of Britain and Canada when it is nonsense. Pay your way America and be proud to pay the taxes that provide for the less fortunate citizen.

    • 30 T
      August 14, 2009 at 19:58

      The reason why is because 99.9% of the politicians could care less. The States is locked into a two-party political power system. It’s one of the most profitable businesses there is. If you have a profitable business, you’d do literally anything to stop any threats to your profit, no?

  19. 31 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 15:17

    If you their health system is like their legal system, I wouldn’t have too much confidence in Canada. House arrest for killing your baby?

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Ottawa+mother+suffocated+newborn+sentenced+house+arrest/1885595/story.html

    • 32 Anthony
      August 14, 2009 at 16:42

      @ steve
      August 14, 2009 at 15:17

      What does that have to do, in anyway, to this show? Please stay on topic.

      -Anthony, LA, CA

  20. 33 Nanci
    August 14, 2009 at 15:22

    As an American living in the UK and having dual citizenship, I have to say that both systems have their strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day, however, I prefer the NHS. I was in the States recently and had a sinus infection. To register at a clinic for poor people (as I do not have US health insurance any longer as I live here), I had to pay to register, pay to see a nurse practioner and pay to get the antibiotics. It set me back over £200.

    When I did live in the US, PAP smears were not included for free in my health insurance package, so I would have to pay out of pocket. Regular doctor visits required I pay a copay which meant I didn’t go to the doctor as often if at all when I was sick.

    Here I can go to the doctor anytime. I have asthma and only pay the $10/6£ for the script. I have attended asthma clinics and have had a lot of advice on how to manage it. Also, because my dad has glaucoma, under the NICE guildelines I am entitled to a free eye exam on the NHS every year. I would have to pay through the nose for all these services in the US, even if I had health insurance.

    As an American, I just also want to say that I am furious about Hannan going on fox news and being a tool for the right wing propoganda machine that is undermining and shutting down a rational and informed dialogue on health care reform. Hannan mind your own business please and don’t meddle in US politics!!!!!!!

  21. August 14, 2009 at 15:29

    The current american system is definitely flawed. My doctors are amazing. I am lucky enough to go to the Cleveland Clinic health care system, but for how great they are, it is a constant battle of paperwork between them and my insurance company. When I lived in Italy for two years I got excellent care there for practically nothing.

    My concern right now is the fear mongering that is going on here right now. People who disagree with the President’s ideas are putting out false information to scare others into disagreeing. One example being Sarah Pailin’s death panel info. The effects of this are being seen throughout the country in the “Town Hall Meetings” that are being held and people are acting out in fear and rage without a real sense of which the program might entail. These displays are truly an embarrassment which the whole world is having to witness.

  22. 35 Halima
    August 14, 2009 at 15:35

    I had one baby in the US and my others were born in Britain. The NHS was vastly better than the US. After living in the US and Spain, I found the British NHS wonderful. I think its present problems stem from the huge growth in possible treatments and the growth of the drug industry and the options now that simply weren’t available only a short time ago. It needs a sort of re-think, and possibly a marriage of some private health care systems. I don’t know. but the underlying basic of the NHS surely is one of the very best in the world.

  23. 36 patti in cape coral
    August 14, 2009 at 15:50

    About 20 years ago when I had my kids I was covered under my ex-husband’s insurance. We did not pay a dime other than the premiums, the coverage was very good. He was working for a Japanese company at that time, though, so I don’t know if that made a difference. When we divorced, the kids were still covered under his insurance and it has deteriorated throughout the years, costing him more, and covering much less.

    When I was working from home I had to pay for my own insurance, and it didn’t cover much. I finally dropped it because I couldn’t afford it, so for many years I was without insurance and prayed I wouldn’t get a serious illness. If I had gotten sick, I’m certain I would have lost everything, healthcare cost sbeing as high as they are. I now have insurance through my job, and my company recently switched companies to get a better rate, but there is also much less coverage.

    I don’t know who does healthcare best, but I can say healthcare has deteriorated a lot in the US, costing more and offering less.

  24. 37 Linda from Italy
    August 14, 2009 at 15:54

    Having had my personal story “disallowed” (OK, this isn’t Outlook) with an insight into the HS in the country I live in now and the one I come from originally, I’ll repeat the nub of my argument.
    I really fail to understand the attitude of so many Americans, for a nation apparently so concerned with human rights and democracy, the inability to see universal health care, free at the point of delivery, as a fundamental human right is more than a little puzzling, rather like the (lack of) gun laws and the death penalty. I have heard that the US healthcare budget is enormous – so I guess this is just filling the coffers of the insurance and drug companies – it certainly doesn’t go on benefitting the people.

    • 38 patti in cape coral
      August 14, 2009 at 16:39

      @ Linda, I have to say I agree. I work in a neurosurgical office, and the doctors are FREAKING OUT about possible change in the healthcare system. They send out company-wide emails telling us where to go online to sign petitions rejecting anything that might resemble universal healthcare. I have seen what kind of checks those doctors get, though, and it’s easy to understand why they don’t want any changes.

  25. 39 T
    August 14, 2009 at 16:07

    Who has the best system? Everywhere else but the States.

    The purpose of for-payer coverage is to charge you enormous amounts of money. Then, to deny you coverage for as long as possible (regardless of the problem). That being said, why would any sane person want to be in that?

  26. 40 Dennis Junior
    August 14, 2009 at 16:07

    U.S. Health Care if you wanted to have access to the First Class Medical Tools….And, United Kingdom Medical Care if you want to have it for *free*……

    =Dennis Junior=

    • 41 Anthony
      August 14, 2009 at 16:44

      @ Dennis Junior

      First Class Medical Tools aren’t worth anything if your insurance company says it’s “pre-existing”. It’s like having a gun without bullets.

      -Anthony, LA, CA

      • 42 Dennis Junior
        August 15, 2009 at 06:19

        Anthony in Los Angeles (California)

        That is also very true. ….If you have any existing medical problems than the chance of getting medical insurance is drastically reduce unless you are working for an organisation that’s medical insurance coverage is in the *GROUP* Pool….

        =Dennis Junior=

  27. 43 T
    August 14, 2009 at 16:09

    The Democrats talk a mean game when it comes to “health care reform”. But when it’s time to act, all that matters is wnning the next election. They don’t have the guts to fight for single-payer care.

    • 44 Anthony
      August 14, 2009 at 16:45

      @ T

      They DONT WANT a single payer. They want something to compete with the other insurances, which will hopefully (and most likely) change the way they do business.

      -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 45 Tom K in Mpls
      August 14, 2009 at 17:19

      That’s true for both parties. All show for votes and no action. We need a viable third party to stir up some action.

  28. 46 Lex
    August 14, 2009 at 16:09

    In response to 1 Brian Curtis comments.
    I am not sure how long ago it was that you lived in the UK, but the years of the conservative/Thaturite (i think about 18 years).

    the NHS was starved of investment, and was terrible.

    I have had various appointments at hospitals over the period of the labour government, A&E twice and I never had to wait more than 10 minutes, in fact the first time I was collected by the ambulance within 10 minutes, treated while on the way to hospital. I was seen as soon as i reached A&E. with in 3 hours I had been seen by 3-4 different doctor who specialise in different areas.

    this was just for a broken collar bone, not that serious, but fantastic care.

    Th NHS is much better than it was under Conservative Governments, the truth is they dont really believe in the NHS. A lot of them are very very wealthy, if not millionaires., and they dont see why they should pay for others health care , when they have there own private health care.

    Yes the NHS could be better, it really suffers from Old-world principals, its very hard to get consultants to change the way they work.

    I work with high-level business strategies, and was very impressed with how the Labour party tackles bad management in the NHS. but still a long way to go.

    One thing most people seem to forget, is that we do still (and always have had) private health care here.

  29. 47 Vijay
    August 14, 2009 at 16:12

    By consensus France is supposed to have the best healtcare system,but that isn’t grounded in reality because the French are funded by the rest of the EU countries,rich or poor,everyone has to look after the French first.It is time to reform EU funding of the French lifestyle.

  30. 49 polly
    August 14, 2009 at 16:13

    I am from Barbados. Here health care and education up to university level is free of cost. Of course people take advantage of the free system but many people still have medical insurance. The health care system is burdened and at some point the public system may have to institute some charges but i feel proud when i see that a 45 year old taxi driver can get free CABG after having paid taxes his whole life and go back to work which cant be done in many other countries

  31. 50 Trent West
    August 14, 2009 at 16:21

    I live in the US and for me the health care issue comes down to one thing; more taxes. I am sick and tired of paying taxes. No one has given me a good reason as to why I should work like a dog to support other physically able people. I work six days a week, about ten hours a day, and every time I look at how much taxes I am paying it makes me want to jump off a bridge. \

    If Obama wants to fix health care more power to him, but please do not raise my taxes. What ever happened to government creating a safe platform so that every one can fend for themselves. The government needs to be involved less with my personal life.

    • 51 Linda from Italy
      August 14, 2009 at 16:41

      What ever happened to social responsibility and community solidarity in a country that’s always banging on about God and Christianity? Or are we really only our brother’s keeper if it doesn’t cost any money?

    • 52 Anthony
      August 14, 2009 at 16:49

      @ Trent West

      Once again, you will NOT have higher taxes. It’s not a single payer system. You can CHOOSE if you want the Social HMO, or something else (Blue Cross, Aetna, Kaiser, etc.).

      You’ve been listening to Rush and the GOP agenda, that all.

      -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 53 Bob Ranney
      August 14, 2009 at 17:38

      The government could not possibly tax you or me as much as we (or at least I) have had to pay private insurance companies throughout my twenty years of self-employment. I now have Medicare which costs far less than my private insurance did and actually covers primary and preventive care – services which my $300 a month private insurance never covered.

      Look at what you are (not) getting for your current insurance dollar and you’ll find that a government operated program like Medicare could save you thousands. As to your helping to provide care for those less fortunate, just search your soul and maybe your religious precepts. Anything there about your responsibilities in that area?

      It seems to me that the reform currently being sought could provide the “platform” you want through means test determined premiums for universal Medicare coverage. i.e. the single payer coverage neither political party is willing to have on the table.

  32. 54 Kevyn/Barbados
    August 14, 2009 at 16:25

    Here in Barbados, I can testify to the beauty of a Public Health Care System, which runs along side a Private one. People can choose which one they prefer once they can pay for private.

    To be honest, the only problem with Public health care is sometimes the demand is high, but that in our reality can be relieved once a new hospital is built (our main hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital was built in 1960) is now too small for our population, but the level of service with that constraint is top class.

    If the service is not available here, and you prove your financial cant support it on your own, the government pays for you and a attendant to have the procedure done else where.

    We pay high taxes here in Barbados, we are classed a developing country but the standard of living here is much higher than in many poorer parts of the US, with a commitment to life for the poor and rich alike.

    Health, and Education (to tertiary level) are both free, and the benefits can be seen in our human development index rating by the UN, life expectancy is up there at about 74.

    Public health care can work and work well.

  33. 56 mountain adam in portland
    August 14, 2009 at 16:30

    After being exposed to the German medical system, Amerrican Army Medical system, American Veterans Medical sytem, and private American Insurance system. I believe the German system is best overall and believe it or not the Veterans Administration Desert Storm Clinic has had the best care for me here in the US.

  34. 57 mountain adam in portland
    August 14, 2009 at 16:38

    @ Bob’s first post
    You could not have said it better.

    Yesterday I listened to BBC News Hour and there was an American Conservative guest and an NHS Dr. on the show debating each system. I wanted so badly to pick up the phone and have my say, the fellow from the U.S. was an embarrassment to my country.
    He did not tell the truth and should be ashamed of himself.

  35. 58 Bob in Queensland
    August 14, 2009 at 16:46

    @ Dennis Jr.

    The UK system is not “free”. It is paid for out of general taxation. However, the advantage of this is that the costs are averaged over everyone’s income so those with long term needs are not priced out of market and you do not lose cover if you lose your job.

    As for the excellence of the American system I’ve had care for a heart condition and also a knee replacement operation in the UK and I can’t think how the USA could have handled either any better–if I could have got cover at all.

  36. August 14, 2009 at 16:48

    As a Canadian I am alive today because of the health care system we have in place. In 1990 I was in a near fatal car accident. at the time I was un-employed, is spite of that fact I was treated hospitalized and rehabilitated at no cost to me, In 2004 I had quadruple heart by pass surgery again all my cost were covered by the heath care plan, I have suffered with colitis for the last 9 years and have had all my specialist fees paid. two years ago I had a fracture develop in my hip, it was diagnosed and within 3 weeks I was given a complete hip replacement. These medical procedures, had I been a US resident could not have been done as I have not been independently insured and have not in the had any financial resources.Our system like all systems has it’s problems but on the whole it works very well

  37. 61 James Turner
    August 14, 2009 at 16:55

    I’ve had absolutely no contact with any health care system but the ones we have in The United States. My experiences with our health care has been 99.9% positive. The reason. The year I finished High School I started working for IBM in my hometown. My health care for the next 15 plus years was free. later I was ask to pay a small part of the premiums! I am 60 years old and retired! So most of my adult life has been, health care wise, pretty trouble free! I know lots of folks have not been that lucky! In fact I am back working and helping pay for some of my current health care.
    My question to the panel is this. What is your feelings about how the unsophisticated people fair in your health care system? I have a sense of how people with money, and power get things done for then in this country! How do poor people, or people just above poverty do in your system?

  38. 62 Carole
    August 14, 2009 at 16:55

    I’m from B.C. Canada and we have a good system. It works for everyone. Most people who work get health insurance covered by their company. For those who don’t , they have to pay a small premium each month. If you cannot afford this small premium there is still health benefits available. The only problem is with the increased population and government cutbacks there are more waits for operations and hospital beds.- but the system works!

  39. 63 Linda from Italy
    August 14, 2009 at 16:58

    This will probably not get on the blog, but here it is anyway.
    Q1 If you believe in democracy why don’t you believe in joint social responsibility? (Government of/by/for the people – Lincoln)
    Q2 If democracy is “the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried” (Churchill) why is a democratically government such anathema and all measures must be taken to avoid it actually governing?
    Q3 We pay taxes to maintain a just and equitable society – oops, just remembered, according to the Thatcher Testament, there’s no such thing
    Ipso facto, democracy US style = no government = anarchy “non-socialised medicine” anyone?

  40. 64 Roy, Washington DC
    August 14, 2009 at 17:01

    The USA’s system is based far too much on making a profit. Our doctors are top-notch, sure, but everything is insanely expensive. Prescription medications are expensive, too, and we are one of only two countries in the world (the other being New Zealand, IIRC) that allow them to be advertised on TV like a commercial product — why?

    Costs are also driven up by all the frivolous lawsuits that people file here when someone close to them dies. This doesn’t help either. It drives insurance costs way up, even for the doctors that don’t get sued. I’ve heard of doctors who have had to pack up their practices because of this. In short, we have a good system here, but it has *major* flaws.

  41. 65 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 17:01

    Gotta agree with Trent. If EVERYONE paid their fair share of taxes, then i would have less of a problem, but people like me lose huge portions of their paychecks, that could be used to pay back my student loans, and 50% of Americans don’t pay any taxes at all. It’s like I’m punished for having gone to school. My idea of fair share of taxes is not only taxing people who make decent money, but everyone should be paying at least something. Right now, 50% of Americans pay absolutely no income tax and many of those actually get earned income credits, meaning not only do they pay no taxes, they get some of my taxes back.

    • 66 Ramesh, India
      August 14, 2009 at 18:13

      Come on Steve, you can not expect everyone to be university graduate in the event of which who would be doing all those mannual work like taxi and truck drivers, service personnel in restaurants and many such activities. Everything should not be viewed from financial angle, I suppose. have you ever complained why such huge sums of money are spent on military activities like nuclear weapons that may never be used etc.

    • 67 Tatiana
      August 16, 2009 at 16:23

      Although i can understand your feelings, but those categories of people who don’t pay taxes can be devided in radically differnt by their nature groups. 1. those the richest who registered their businesses in OFF SHORE zones, and in this case I’m with you: why should you pay the accessability of Their medical care?! the second group are illigal immigrants, who are currently doing all dirtY work for all the americans – and they and their children must have a garanteed medical care even for YOUR sake, because you don’t want to have near you those people with tuberculosis, Jauntice, the flu …. to catch something unexpectedly and fall sick. the 3d segment embraces those with many children, devorced, with desabled and just destitute. Sure thing, there is a lot of fraud here, but it was stated by the previous member, you can’t get the right picture of the society from the “invali like” money making position. Good luck in your studies. Tatiana. Russia

  42. 68 Leroy
    August 14, 2009 at 17:02

    What is most unfortunate about the health care debate in the U.S.A is that most of the people know little or nothing about the rest of the world and have the mistaken notion that what is in America is best. The USA has some of the most sophisticated technology and finest research facilities, but this does not translate to good health care because access to these is determined by a profit-driven insurance industry. Failure of President Obama’s health care reform will invigorate the insurance companies to make greater profits on the backs of the people of America.

  43. 69 bjay
    August 14, 2009 at 17:03

    Who does healthcare best?
    who substitute the most. bjay

  44. 70 Michael Denmark
    August 14, 2009 at 17:10

    Just a little comment. In Denmark we too have public healthcare. We pay a flatrate health tax of 8%. But you are still covered even if you have no income. All members of an one income family are covered. The system basically means that the rich pay for the poor. How can that be bad? And if the local public hospital can’t provide the necessary treatment within reasonable time, we are entitled to go to ANY hospital in the country including private hospitals free of charge.
    We spend only 1/3 of the US on healthcare but our general public health is better!
    So it isn’t how much you spend. It’s how you use it.
    I wouldn’t want to live under the US system. Even though we do have waitinglist for some operations.

  45. 71 Peter
    August 14, 2009 at 17:18

    Health care insurance should be paid by the insured but should be allowed to lapse and the government should guarantee the lapsed premiums and recover later or write off.

  46. August 14, 2009 at 17:30

    The health system in developed countries – despite its possible shortcomings- remains an envy for developing countries

    While in the USA, 15% of the population doesn’t have health insurance, in Morocco only 20% of the Moroccans benefit from it. There is just one doctor for every 10,000 citizens. Some Moroccans living in remote areas have to travel more than 150 Km to get to the nearest hospitals for some ordinary medical checkups and more than 1,000 Km for a major operation.

    In general, health service remains one of the most underfunded sector in developing and poor countries where there are few hospitals and relatively archaic medical equipments.

    The question I’d like to ask is about the moral implication of recruiting doctors and nurses from developed countries to work in rich countries. Is it right to rob poor countries from their medical staff to help the rich live at the expense of the well-being of poor people in poor countries?

  47. August 14, 2009 at 17:30

    Private industry has proven the case not to run a National Health Care System.

    They got too greedy and quick to not help and be loyal to their policy holders.

    Profit for Company dominates serving a nation and its people.

    We can try private companies doing it, but with rules. Like insuring everyone in a random manner, remaining loyal to them. Everyone needs to have a total, and complete policy linked to paying federal income tax. First $2,000 you pay into it covers you and all citizens of the nation. Private companies that can’t or won’t do it for that …….. go grow a garden.

    It’s simple. If you pay taxes….the very first $2,000 you pay in goes to your health care. That insurance pays 95% of your bill you pay 5% so it is not a free thing that is abused.

    Reward, citizens who can run 5 miles, or swim two mile, or bike 50 miles, or cross country ski 25 miles. Tested at local high school twice yearly, and that citizen gets $1,000. You have to stay in shape, and live healthfully to do this.

    troop

    Oregon coast.

  48. 74 denise banister
    August 14, 2009 at 17:31

    Hi
    I have lived in UK, Canada, Aus and now the USA. I am a Brit. I had 2 children in the UK and 1 in Canada – the Canadian doctors and hospital were fantastic. The NHS was good.
    The USA healthcare service is a circus – very obvious that its all led by $$$. There must be conflicts of interest here? The experience of dealing with insurance companies and doctors offices where you handover money is stressful at a time when you actually need less stress. The convoluted calculations that the admin staff and insurance companies got through to get to the final amounts due actually serves to create more employment and therefore substantial cost, its absolutely crazy – if just this piece was simplified it would save millions of $$. The perception that you can see Drs more quickly is wrong you still have to waited for an appointment.

    The majority of the UK population have never lived abroad and have no concept of healthcare outside of the UK. My time spent in various countries has given me a greater appreciation of the NHS despite its faults. It does need an overhaul and it needs to be more efficient but if you are seriously ill there is no place I would rather be treated.

  49. 75 Robert Macala
    August 14, 2009 at 17:45

    I was in London for 5 weeks this past Spring and witnessed the English Health
    Care system first hand. My good friend tripped and broke her forearm
    going down into the Tube on night and when to Homerton Hospital located
    London. Folks, she got great professor medical service, from the beginning
    when she came into the emergency room to the follow up examinations
    in the five weeks that followed. As an American living in miami Beach
    and formerly in Chicago, I’ve had my share of experiences with the
    American system. The English care system,in this case, was an admirable
    experience and cost my friend “nothing”, no questions asked, just did what
    had to be done with a minimal amount of waiting time. I’ve spent considerable
    time in Emergency Wards waiting my turn in America. You can always
    find ineffeciencies in both systems, but let’s get real. Systems are systems
    they can always be improved, but in my eye witness experience…the
    English system was “brilliant” as they say. Homerton was AOK…

  50. 76 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    August 14, 2009 at 17:49

    If my In laws suffer a serious health event there is a very reasonable chance that they will lose the farm we live on due to thier inability to pay large medical expenses. They have very little health insurance coverage. How right is it that two families will lose thier homes, and a farm that has been in the family for over four generations just becuase the US is a crippled lurching monster when it comes to caring for it’s own people.

    Not only that, but we raise grass fed all natural cattle that are purchased locally by friends and family, so those people will lose out on buying healthy quality low carbon footprint food. The US will be ruined by it’s own infighting and greed if we don’t get this problem solved. The NHS may not be the best but I bet small farmers in the UK don’t worry about losing thier heritage and livelyhood just becuase they might get sick. It’s better for people in the US to have thier family members die quickly so they don’t bankrupt the whole family should they linger in hospital for length of time. What happened to the great nation that helped win two World Wars?

  51. 77 Vijay
    August 14, 2009 at 17:52

    @Trent West
    Do you work for the GOP,Healthcare and Insurance industries?
    Why do want to deny the one third of Americans who have inadequate healthcare coverage a chance to get a better deal?

  52. 78 rob z.
    August 14, 2009 at 17:56

    Hello Everyone.
    I live in Florida,USA,and the system or lake there of is bad.My wife is working for a small groupe of doctors,she had insurance through them.But the doctors changed insurance companies because of cost.Well the policy costs to much,so my wife had to decline the offer;she is currently 7 months pregnant.Now she has to use MEDICAIDE,the doctor that she was using dropped her becuase he would not make as much money.Now my wife has to drive out of town to another doctor.
    The system needs to be rebuilt,I don’t care if taxes go up.
    If you believe that government control will only end up a mess,then that is the same as calling your elected officials idiots.
    If the USA is the richest (doubfull) and most powerful nation in the world,then why can’t our citizens have free health care and free college?
    China has it,Cuba has it,Argentina has it;what’s the problem?
    Rob in Florida.

    • 79 Jessica
      August 14, 2009 at 18:39

      I carry my family’s insurance through my job. We switched to my company’s plan versus my husband’s because it is cheaper. I’d like to change jobs, but I also would like to have another baby as I’m not getting any younger. I feel stuck, because I how can I afford prenatal care without insurance? For now I’m staying at a job I am fairly miserable at to keep our coverage. Now isn’t the time to quit a job and lose health insurance with the US economy like it is.

  53. August 14, 2009 at 17:58

    For all its faults, the US has the best health care system in the world. It’s the one people run to when their own system fails. As a Canadian, I’m very aware of the shortcomings of our own system; they are many and growing — doctor shortages, long waits for tests and surgeries, ballooning costs. Which is why I sincerely hope the US will not go further down the state-controlled/funded medicine road. I like knowing there’s a better system available to me if it comes to that.

  54. 81 Linda from Italy
    August 14, 2009 at 18:00

    Dear Michael,
    thanks for your voice of reason and humanity, I’d emigrate tomorrow, as a self-sufficient tax payer, if my husband wasn’t allergic to northern winters!
    Linda

    • 82 Michael
      August 25, 2009 at 17:07

      In Denmark we only have copay at the pharmacy(but all perscription drugs are subsidicies) and the dentist(But children get free dental care) and if you need drugs for life they will in most cases be free. HIV patients get their check-ups and drugs 100% free

  55. August 14, 2009 at 18:01

    I have been at an event for nurses in the USA where they have been wined and dined, at the best venues, by the drug companies to promote their drugs or procedures. Just goes to show the profits they enjoy and they have no shame to brag of it. What kind of nation supports this travesty and yet shrugs their shoulders at kids having no dental treatment and diabetes sufferers dying at fifty through neglect?

  56. 84 Vijay
    August 14, 2009 at 18:02

    @steve why can not taxes be used to provide adequate healthcare for the 50 million Americans who have no healthcare coverage,you have socialised Major League Sports the worst teams get the best players in the draft and the TV money is divided equally amongst the franchises.

    • 85 Anthony
      August 14, 2009 at 18:15

      Ummmm, if you win the super bowl, you’re making a LOT more $$$ than the others. What you said is untrue about the sports teams.

      If you’re gonna relate it to something here, relate it to the School System only letting people into school who can afford it, or out Fire Dept only saving some houses.

      -Anthony, LA, CA

  57. August 14, 2009 at 18:07

    BY LAW in the United States, NOBODY can be denied life-saving medical care for their inability to pay. NOBODY. The system is only broken because the ambulance chasing lawyers have been running things and the cost of care has been driven up dramatically because of lawsuits.

  58. August 14, 2009 at 18:09

    The healthcare system in the U.S. is great if you are lucky enough to have a top-notch insurance plan. But if your plan is mediocre, you get bogged down in paperwork, deductibles, co-pays and lots of time wasted in seeking approval (from the insurance company) for many procedures. If the company decides not to cover something, you must come up with the money yourself. And of course if you have no health insurance at all, you have to pay for everything. And if you have an ongoing medical condition, getting insurance coverage can be difficult. In my opinion, this way of handling healthcare is terrible. It needs to be fixed. The Obama plan is a step in the right direction. It’s not perfect, but it has the endorsement of the AARP, the American Medical Association and the major drug companies. Let’s give it a try. It can be tweaked down the road.

  59. 88 Anthony
    August 14, 2009 at 18:11

    @ American Speaker

    Does this mean the Emergeny Room will treat cancer?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  60. 89 Susan Hoag
    August 14, 2009 at 18:13

    We in America have good healthcare if you can pay for it. I have had to mortgage my house to pay for a miscarriage I had in 2003. I am not able to get healthcare insurance because of pre-existing condtions. Insurance companies require such a prohibitive premium every month that it is not even a question that I cannot receive insurance. I would like to have a system more like the UK.

  61. 90 mountain adam in portland
    August 14, 2009 at 18:13

    I want Matt on air to respond my last blog post. I believe he is way out of touch with the rest of America.

  62. August 14, 2009 at 18:13

    Cuba doesn’t have a strong economy. Yet it has a good health service. How does Cuba maintain its good health service despite the economioc hardship?

  63. 92 Shannon in Ohio
    August 14, 2009 at 18:13

    I find it simultaneously amusing and infuriating that a large number of people who oppose any sort of governmental role in health care here in the U.S. are themselves Medicare patients. In other words, the government is paying for their health care, but they don’t want the government to help cover their children and grandchildren. Amazing.

    Seven years ago I faced a cancer diagnosis without insurance. The diagnosis itself was very frightening; the fact that I had no covereage made my blood run cold. The only reason I am alive now is because I fought tooth and nail for care. I was, needless to say, wiped out financially. I am hardly alone on that front. I don’t want this to happen to any more Americans.

    I envy those people who have never had to worry about how to pay for a doctor. Even those with insurance here in the U.S. delay treatments because the co-pays are just too high. My husband had a few routine tests done this spring–we ended up paying about $2,000. Reform NOW.

  64. 93 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:16

    @ Vijay

    There’s a huge difference between spectator sports and publicly funded healthcare. The poorest still have some income. 50% of Americans pay ZERO taxes and they actually get money from the government (states). Why not them have to pay SOME taxes, even if it’s just a pittance, as a symbolic measure? I’m not rich, I lose well over a third of each of my paycheck to various taxes, money which I could otherwise use to repay my student loans. I should be taxed even more now? I don’t live in a mansion, I rent a small apartment, I drive a used car, because my education was very expensive. Why shouldn’t everyone have to pay? Say if one day I decide to become a public charge? I just get sick of funding everyone else, and just decide to quit and live off your taxes. Fair? You would want your taxes going to that? Because that’s what would happen.

  65. 95 Jonathan in Portland
    August 14, 2009 at 18:17

    Your American policy annalist talks of the young invincibles, and he gets our situation completely wrong. As a member of the 18-25 age cohort, I can say that the majority of us want to have health coverage, but no one with offer us plans that we can afford to buy. I’ve attempted to buy insurance for myself, but unfortunately, the premiums are about 2/3’s of my monthly rent. Having sought treatment in Portland emergency departments and treatment at the A&E ward at St. James hospital Dublin, I can say from my experience that I have had superior treatment in nationalized systems.

  66. August 14, 2009 at 18:17

    How is the film/documentary Sicko produced by Michael Moore in 2007 a true depiction of the health system in the US as it contrasted with the health systems in Cuba and UK?

    • August 14, 2009 at 18:25

      “Sicko” was somewhat onesided and biased. But, the basic message was pretty much true, atleast if you do not have good healthcare insurance in the U.S. as compared with more universal systems in other countries.

  67. 98 Zack Newcomb
    August 14, 2009 at 18:18

    I live in Oregon. I am an American citizen born and raised. I must say the American Heath Care System is terrible. IF you have the money then you can get good care, but if you do not have the money or if you have a pre-existing condition, then you are in trouble. I was denied coverage because I have a so called “…history of depression.” Ridiculous.

  68. August 14, 2009 at 18:18

    I’ve seen polls that indicate that most Brittians (55%) are not satisfied with their healthcare, France seems to do much better. In the U.S., if you have good insurance, healthcare is great but for those who are not covered or undercovered the cost can be prohibitive and debilitating in its own right.

    As far as outcomes; Japan is the best of industrialized nations.

  69. 100 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:18

    Look at everything else the government runs, the Postal Service, Amtrak, and see what catastrophes they are. They are money losing, inefficient, and are wastes of taxpayer dollars. Face it, the government here is incompetent, you want them running healthcare now? If we had a competent government, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but EVERYTHING they do, they are incompetent in.

    • 101 Ramesh, India
      August 14, 2009 at 18:52

      Steve, look at the private sector in US. They have put the whole country under the threat of bankruptcy!

    • 102 Tom K in Mpls
      August 17, 2009 at 17:12

      The Postal Service and Amtrak are not owned by the government. But they are heavily regulated and subsidized. Amtrak has no current hope of changing but the Postal Service is becoming more practical in a service swap agreement in some delivery services with Fed Ex.

  70. 103 Vijay
    August 14, 2009 at 18:19

    In the USA I got injured wrestling,even though I had a couple of insurance policies the Hospital wanted me to pay in cash,they said the Insurance would reemburse me later.
    Another time I had an appointment with a doctor after the examination he said I needed a test which I couldn’t afford at the time ,therefore I didn’t get it taken care of in the USA.
    Optical and dental care is also way too expensive in the States,the UK made a mistake when it cut back on Optical and Dental healthcare coverage.

  71. 104 Nagual
    August 14, 2009 at 18:19

    I work at Silicon Valley and make about $60,000/year. My health care premiums (and the health care is provided through my employer) which cover myself, my daughter, and my wife, are so high that my bi-weekly paychecks are only $635.00!!!!!

    My health care provider is a company called “Health Net” and I pay $780.00 a month to have this health insurance through my employer. Health insurance companies in the U.S. are slaughtering people, and if I had a public option I would change to it in a heart beat.

    Kudos to BBC for this debate.

    • 105 Jessica
      August 14, 2009 at 18:44

      The demonstrators against health care reform at the Town Hall meetings here in the US are probably not listening to this discussion.

  72. 106 Richard
    August 14, 2009 at 18:20

    The fuss being raised is a result of the opposition to Obama – the rank and file – seizing on anything they can because they are still in denial about having lost the election. The same folks who refuse to believe he was born in the states are the ones showing up at these town hall meetings. They are being fed lies about “death panels” and the like by well-funded lobbying groups. There is no real debate on the merits. While I applaud the program for trying to illuminate the issues, the simple fact of the matter that the combination of entrenched corporate health care interests and an intractable rightwing grassroots are trying to stifle debate – the one for money and the other out of stubborn opposition politics. There’s a lot of talk about “I want my country back” and comparing – incessantly – the President to Adolf Hitler. The opposition to healthcare reform is not going to be reached rationally and the administration should recognize this instead of trying to reach the unreachable.

  73. 107 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:20

    I find it hilarious that a day or so ago a canadian doctor in the US posted about how Canada’s system was superior, so i was wondering why he was practicing in the US? That’s right, so he could make more money.

    • 108 Tara Ballance, Montreal
      August 14, 2009 at 18:35

      My family doctor once told me that if she were to work in the US she could easily be paid twice what she gets from practising medicine in Quebec. But because of the excessively high cost of malpractice insurance in the US, she added, she wouldn’t consider moving.

    • 109 Cheryl
      August 14, 2009 at 20:03

      Canada experienced a brain-drain, we trained our doctors, the US offered to pay them more after they graduated and they followed the money. They didn’t do it because they belived the system was better it was $$$. – they want to provide for their families as well, have nice houses and cars. Simple

  74. August 14, 2009 at 18:21

    Health is a tool of economic developement.
    Very little amount is spent on health, i think India’s ranking is 175th in the world.
    Our healthcare system is not at all fulfilling the needs of common man.
    Primary and block health centers are in a worst possible state wrt infrastructure, availability of sufficient properly trained staff, laboratories etc,
    Maternal health and child care is neglected.
    In India, there should be Integreted syllabus( Modern Medicine + Ayurvedic Medicine ) all over the country after 12th, i.e. 6 years (two years each- 1st,2nd & 3rd 11/2 years Modern Medicine+ 1/2 year Ayurvedic, practical and relevant subjects ), + 1 year internship. These doctors will definitely earn name and fame not only in India but in the World!
    At present Ayurvedic/unani and Homeopathic practioners are not practising/sticking to their respective fields for various reasons thereby patient’s heaith is always at high risk.

  75. August 14, 2009 at 18:23

    Free market principles only work when demand for something is elastic. With healthcare demand is inelastic, if the patient wants to stay alive from a chronic or accute health problem, they will demand care until the problem is solved.

  76. 112 Tom D Ford
    August 14, 2009 at 18:25

    Around 1900 it was considered immoral in the US to make profits from health care.

    Now Conservative Republicans are so lost in their insatiable greed that they consider it immoral to not take profits from the sickness, disease, pain, suffering and dying of American citizens. They are demanding that Americans pay profits to Insurance Corporations instead of for actual health care.

    So much for the ever changing morality of Conservative Republicans!

  77. 113 Alvin
    August 14, 2009 at 18:25

    Hi Dr Kang,

    You mentioned that patients have a choice of Wards when they go to the hospital. What about “Means Testing”? How does that affect this system? Can I choose a lower Ward if my income can afford a higher ward or will I be forced to pay more because my income can technically afford it?

    You also mentioned that all Singaporeans will get the same level of medical care regardless of income or affordability. However, some specialist Doctors (especially cardiac) do not operate out of government hospitals. And there seems to be an “outflow” of good experienced doctors to private sectors where one would have to pay more to receive. So, it’s not really a difference between time of care but standard of care i reckon.

    Ta.

    • 114 Alvin
      August 14, 2009 at 19:07

      To add:

      It is extremely difficult (or near impossible) for a person with an existing medical pre-condition to apply for higher/more coverage (more subsidy) under the national healthcare program (i.e. Medishield) in Singapore.

      In fact, it is not eligible for persons above a certain age to apply for the scheme.

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

      Ta.

  78. 115 Anthony
    August 14, 2009 at 18:25

    @ Matt

    I call garbage on that!!! The SCHOOLS are the ones who make new drugs, the companies just buy them and throw a patent on them.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 116 Tom K in Mpls
      August 14, 2009 at 19:04

      The schools are in essence built and owned by corporations. The University of Minnesota has been a pioneer in cardiac studies and in transplants. The school was built by, staffed by and administered by the Fairview corporation. They also get the profits. The schools are a tax dodge that gets the corporations physically and financially convenient workers in the form of students.

      Please do a search for Fairview Hospitals.

  79. 117 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    August 14, 2009 at 18:26

    @David Meyer –
    And just who do you think pays for that “free” service? WE DO – the people with insurance. The hospitals build the cost of charity care into the costs they charge the rest of us. Emergency care is the most expensive form of health care. The system is utterly messed up and needed to be fixed 20 years ago at least.

  80. August 14, 2009 at 18:26

    Did you know that the US is the only industrialised country in the world that still lacks a wholly public health care system?

    The human cost is tremendous. The US infant mortality rate is higher than that of Cuba and Croatia. Entire cities’ worth of American babies die each year in the US compared to Canada because our infant mortality rate is that much higher than theirs. 18,000 people die in the US every year because they could not access health care. This number includes the insured and uninsured. 47 million people in the United States do not have health insurance. And while bankruptcies can result from any number of financial difficulties, half of the bankruptcies filed in the US are a direct result of medical costs. This is not solely the problem of the uninsured: the vast majority of those health care-related bankruptcies come from those who are insured.

    This reflects a culture of death, contrary to the popular claim of Americans that we have a culture of life.

    How much longer will we force ourselves and our fellow Americans to suffer from our pride and our unwillingness to stand up to the HMO corporate lobyists and the politicians whom they have bought?

  81. 119 Richard
    August 14, 2009 at 18:26

    I have health insurance in the USA and it’s the best only if you have money to burn. It’s all about making money for the middle men. That’s why it’s difficult for most people to have quality healthcare. Emergency room care is mandated by law and some people use it as primary care. Hospitals and the insurance industry cover this cost by passing it on to those who are insured. We have the best technology but only those with deep pockets can afford it. We pay more for medications, that’s why US citizens who could, went to Canada. Most of the ‘life saving drugs’ are extremely expensive. My Parents have retire health insurance and still go to Mexico for all primary treatment.

  82. 120 Sölvi in Reykjavík, Iceland
    August 14, 2009 at 18:27

    To me, and I believe most people in the Nordic countries, the idea of health insurance is simply incredible. This is a question of principle: Healthcare, like education, policing and so on, is something that needs to be provided on a community basis. The healthcare system is something everybody has to use, rich or poor, and as a matter of principle we should all participate in the costs. Systems such as the one in the US sound to me, quite frankly, barbaric.

  83. 121 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:27

    Can anyone who is for federal government healthcare point out where in the constitution the power to do this comes from? Please? I won’t hold my breath while you look because I would die. It’s not there. Sorry. You’d need to change the constitution for this to be permissible. The States could do it if they want to, not the federal government.

    • 122 rob z.
      August 14, 2009 at 18:46

      There is no constitutional power besause,at the time it was written,there was not an issue;the doctor fixxed you,if he could.
      If it takes an ammendment,then so be it.
      Good luck in getting it by Conservitives and nimbys.

  84. August 14, 2009 at 18:28

    Most Americans who have health insurance are happy with it: until they get really sick and the insurance compaines denie a claim. Then things change alot.

  85. 124 Vijay
    August 14, 2009 at 18:30

    @steve I think you mean Income tax,people pay federal,state and local taxes directly or indirectly in some form or another no one escapes death or taxes.
    Americans pay way too much tax,where does the money go?You pay nearly the same as some European countries,Americans get poor value for money,it depends on the USAs priorities,Congratulations you have the finest military in the world ,infact your spending on the military equals the rest of the whole world combined.The USA is a “Spartan” state

  86. August 14, 2009 at 18:30

    Co pays and the fine print are the bull.

    40 million uninsured have no small print to worry about.

    We are talknig about billions in profit, of CEOs who take away 100 million dollar bonus–made by denial of service.

    Rus can you ask how Matt and his backers allow millions to be uninsured, insured people to end up in bankruptcy and thousands to DIE because they can’t go to a doctor at the early stages of disease.

    Please ask what exactly is the price of an American’s life.

    Steve

  87. 126 Tom D Ford
    August 14, 2009 at 18:30

    This Conservative Republican Matt guest is a fantastic fibber, a fear-monger, a dynamic dissembler.

  88. 127 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:30

    @ Tom

    Great point if you disregard the Constitution. If you get to choose to ignore certain parts of it, why can’t other choose to ignore other parts of it?

  89. 129 Pat
    August 14, 2009 at 18:30

    Matt is wrong about profit driving drug comapanies to create life saving drugs, the FDA actually has to create government driven incentives for companies to create these drugs. On their owm, drug companies tend to invest more cures for baldness and viagra than actualy curing diseases. Also, these companies have an incentive to not create drugs that cure diseases quickly. Under todays sysem in the US Polio could not be cured without direct FDA incentivs because it would be far more profitable to keep people on iron lungs than stop the disease with a one time vaccine.

    Portland, OR

  90. 130 mers in OR
    August 14, 2009 at 18:31

    Listening to the paranoid fears of Americans of a similar demographic makes me livid. I was born here. I’m not illegal. I am educated–I’m just finishing my Ph.D. in physical sciences emphasizing climate change. Clearly I have a great desire to contribute to the world in which I live… And I do NOT have health insurance! Not because I choose not to, but because I can’t afford it on a graduate student budget. I did a year abroad studying at the University of Edinburgh and during that time I could walk into any clinic to receive health care and any prescription was 5 pounds–amazing! I wish people would stop behaving so appallingly childish and think about people in my situation: productive, hardworking Americans whose career choices may not allow us to afford the healthcare accessible by the elite.

    • 131 rob z.
      August 14, 2009 at 18:50

      I agree,so much for :united we stand.
      It’s more like;united we stand as long as it dosen’t cost me or if I have to pay for some one else.

  91. August 14, 2009 at 18:31

    1. Dr Keng from Singapore should distinguish between (a) Healthcare Insurance (ie, Medishield, Incomeshield, etc) and (b) Healthcare Quality. The former is well-conceived but that does NOT equate with high healthcare quality.

    2. Could each of your guest speakers say how much their respective country spends on healthcare per capita?

    3. In Singapore, the Ministry of Health’s FY2009 Healthcare Budget is SGD3.7bn out of which S$2bn is for healthcare subsidy. One of our Sovereign Wealth Fund (Temasek) lost $40bn in portfolio value for FY 2008/09 – just to put things into context

    Regards, MK Khoo, Singapore

  92. August 14, 2009 at 18:31

    I only know US health care system, but it is obviously severely flawed — but not obvious is that this is *because of* government interventions. The notion that the US system is a free market is the Big Lie, which even Republicans believe and promote. A free market would not result in 47 million people being left out of the market — from a business perspective that makes no sense. Instead it takes decades of government regulations and favors to lobbying companies to do that. The great tragedy is that people take the current US system as proof that freedom doesn’t “work” in the medical or insurance industries. It is actually only the freedom to pursue happiness, contemptuously called “the profit motive”, which *creates* health care services and financial instruments for insuring against major medical expenses. We need health care reform which gets government coercion out of the system and returns freedom to individuals. For more info see the website I’ve linked.

  93. 135 Therese - USA
    August 14, 2009 at 18:32

    I’m Irish living in the USA, married to an American. He had to have quadruple bypass surgery here in February. I have good insurance through my job, but the bills for his surgery plus 10 days in hospital came to at least $150,000, of which we’ve had to pay about $4000 after insurance. Without insurance we would probably have lost our house.

    The surgery was great, the nursing care was very bad, but the worst part was when he came home, not one doctor or specialist called us to ask how he was doing… he could have been dead within a week, but nobody in the hospital would have known and that’s after charging over $150,000. An aunt of mine in Ireland had hip replacement surgery and when she left the hospital, a team of people came to her house to make sure she could get around, check her stats etc. I’ve had two children in hospital here and after you leave the hospital you are totally on your own… no health care visits, no calls, no help with your baby. I’m not surprised the infant mortality rate is so low here.

    The question is not just how much health care cost here, but also how much value people get for their money.

    • August 16, 2009 at 15:17

      THERESE,
      I’ m sorry to hear of your experinces, I had two heart surgeries in one night, the first one went bad. I was in my sixties then, and I am now going on 73. My bill was almost double of your’s and I didn’t pay a red cent, the nurse were terrific, and the doctor and I got to be good friends. The only thing I paid for was therapy which was pysical fitmess 3 times a week for I think two months
      GOOD LUCK

  94. August 14, 2009 at 18:32

    Where is your defender of free-market health care? This should not be a discussion of how best to structure government involvement in medicine, or of how much profit will be _allowed_.

  95. 138 Julia in Portland
    August 14, 2009 at 18:33

    Ok – who is this guy Matt – he seems to think the US system is efficient – WOW –

    He’s also the only person I’ve ever heard who, wasn’t a drug company employee, rep or lobbiest who thinks the extent of the profiteering these companies have is a good thing.

    I’m wondering if there is another United States – because the one he lives in doesn’t entirely mesh with the one I live in.

    Personally, I wouldn’t have health insurance right now if the stimulus package hadn’t aided me in paying my Cobra premiums. When the aid runs out – I may have to drop my health insurance – which is a very scary prospect for this cancer survivor.

  96. 139 Andrew in Australia
    August 14, 2009 at 18:33

    First you really do need to define what you mean by health care?

    Is it merely a means for corporations and trained individuals to extract as much money as is possible for their services and as a result purely a capitalist endeavour devoid of sympathy for ill members of society?

    Or is it something that should be service to all members of society who have and will contribute to that society and should be covered by a universal and above all caring health care system which can be allowed to make profit but not to the exculsion of some and the at the expense of others.

  97. 140 Mel
    August 14, 2009 at 18:33

    Years ago I worked with someone whose profit-oriented company-sponsored health care program provided no more than $15,000 lifetime benefit for psychiatric care.

    Once he hit the limit he jokingly declared, “I guess I’m cured!”

    He subsequently committed suicide

  98. 141 John Palmer
    August 14, 2009 at 18:33

    I am a America and have excellent health insurance from my employer, so I am opposed to any change that Obamacare offers; I could care less about the other 50 million Americans without healthcare because that is the American way. We are not a socialist country. This is something others like Mat fail to note, what entitles those without insurance to free healthcare? That said, I do agree with Mat on most points, especially the profit aspect of our system.

    America’s healthcare system is the best for those who care afford it and that is the way it should be.

    • 142 mers in OR
      August 14, 2009 at 18:55

      Wow. Wonder if you’d have the same opinion if you got fired? Maybe that experience would teach you some compassion.

    • 143 Robert T
      August 15, 2009 at 06:44

      John – I’m not quite sure if you’re being serious there. But perhaps what will change your mind, if yes, is simple economics. A less discriminating and affordable healthcare system means that you can take home more money, because you and/or your company must pay less overall for the same services.

      What does seem obvious to me though, is that any US reforms will have to be a completely different beast to the other systems around the world. It will have to be built on true competition, and economic incentives to improve on every level. And I don’t think it will be as affordable as in other countries regardless, but it can be better.

      I’m also with The Economist, in that the tax breaks for company provided healthcare should be extended to individuals, and furthermore insurance and healthcare choices should be up to the individual, not their company of the moment..

      I get the feeling that the US isn’t nearly as free as many people like to think it is – workplace immobility due to health insurance requirements doesn’t sit right with me.

  99. 144 Sunil
    August 14, 2009 at 18:33

    I am a doctor in the USA and work as an attending physician at a world renowned teaching hospital. What Americans do not realize is that for one part of the medical community, healthcare is a business, and doctors get paid for what they do. Americans equate more procedures with better care, which is not the case.

    Despite the politicians and the “talking heads” in the media, we ration care everyday. The only difference between the rationing in America and that of other countries is that we ration care on the ability to pay (i.e., insured vs uninsured), not on the diagnosis.

    The american public is deluding themselves into beleiving we are the best, but we are not because of the unequal distribution of resources.

    • 145 Erika Jareman Turner
      August 14, 2009 at 19:03

      Great point, Sunil! I think one problem is the pharmaceutical companies’ marketing to patients, to make them pressure their doctors to get all the medications and tests they promote. “Ask your doctor about….”

      I heard an interview with an OBGYN, who said she had to give her patients a certain test when they asked for it, even though she knew that it could not help diagnose (I think it was ovarian cancer) at an early enough stage to save them, but she still did it because if she didn’t and they did get it, they would sue her and she KNEW she would loose despite all the research showing that the test cannot help save a patient from the disease.

      /erika

  100. 146 Jerry Cordaro Cleveland OH
    August 14, 2009 at 18:34

    Many years ago my then-fiance took me to the hospital in the middle of the night with a fever so high that I was hallucinating. After several hours I was diagnosed with a severe case of the flu, given intravenous fluids and Tylenol, and told to go home and rest (as if I had any other choice?) The job I had at that time did not have insurance, and since we weren’t married yet I wasn’t covered under hers.

    It took us nearly two years to pay off the bill.

    Fast forward ten years. My wife is rushed to the hospital with what turns out to be severe gallstones, followed by a post-op infection. She is in the hospital for nearly a week. (This was actually the second time that day she went to the emergency room – the first time she was sent home with a diagnosis of gas.) Because she has insurance, we’re able to pay off our share of the bills in a few months.

    Now – imagine if the situations had been reversed, if I’d had the gall bladder problems without insurance. For that reason alone I know the whole US healthcare system needs reformation.

  101. 147 Todd in Atlanta
    August 14, 2009 at 18:34

    Great discussion! I’m riveted.
    Is it possible that by the end of the show, some sort of conclusion (or an attempt at a conclusion) can be arrived at?
    Right or wrong, accurate or not, I do think it would be very helpful to this debate if you reached a conclusion. From there we can all continue to hammer things out until we can come closer to a ‘right’ answer.

  102. 148 Cindy
    August 14, 2009 at 18:36

    Couldn’t you have found someone without an agenda rather than a Republican?

  103. 149 Tom D Ford
    August 14, 2009 at 18:36

    The “Free Market” only benefits giant Corporations, it is bad for consumers, workers, and small businesses.

  104. August 14, 2009 at 18:36

    In Germany, health care is mandatory. People without a job are being covered by the state, everyone else has the standard health care and those who can/want to afford more, get private health care, which has very different plans and includes for example being treated by the chief surgeon or single-room hospital stays.

  105. 151 Richard in Florida
    August 14, 2009 at 18:37

    The US system is NOT efficient as your panelist suggests. Dr.s over test and practice defensive medicine in fear of lawsuits, and there are no shared medical records so every time you change providers you have to start over and your doctor does not have your full medical history, not very efficient to me. Recent studies show for every doctor in practice there are 4 administrators to interface with the health insurance industry.

  106. 152 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:37

    Please don’t ignore the constitutionality of this. It’s blatantly unconstitutional. How much money in litigation will be spent, when this ultimely gets overturned by the courts? The Constitution would have to be amended to allow this.

  107. 153 Susan Hoag
    August 14, 2009 at 18:38

    I don’t think that it is ethical to allow profits when dealing with peoples’ health. It’s just plain wrong! The Republican gentleman from Washington speaking today seems to side with the status-quo over here in America. We need something more like the UK (ideally.) Other countries which have good healthcare are France and Cuba. I have actually considered moving to Canada to have health care!

  108. 154 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:38

    @ Cindy

    So democrats have no agenda? Or you think that only republicans should be silenced since you don’t agree with them? Who else should be sileneced in your opinion?

    • 155 Cindy
      August 14, 2009 at 18:57

      There should be someone “neutral” on the panel. I don’t think a democrat or republican should be sitting there.

      • 156 Tom K in Mpls
        August 14, 2009 at 19:09

        As I posted above, we need a viable third party so the other two will be forced to quit simply talking extreme nonsense and do something practical.

  109. 157 Maria
    August 14, 2009 at 18:40

    As an American who lived in the UK for several years and now lives in the US, I can say “barbaric” is not too strong a word for the US “system.”

    As a patient and an employee of the NHS I saw and received excellent care. In the US as a social worker I see people dying because of lack of access, having disability that would not exist in the UK because of lack of access, and people’s lives ruined financially and emotionally due to health care costs and poor health care outcomes due to lack of access.

    The US ranks 37th in the world for health care outcomes. It’s obvious this is not a functional, desirable system.

  110. August 14, 2009 at 18:40

    Are doctors business owners or physicians, in a profit driven system?

  111. 159 Andrew
    August 14, 2009 at 18:40

    Matt says that what makes the US health system great is that it is motivated by profit. My girlfriend is covered by an HMO and yes, it can’t be denied that her insurance is motivated by profit. When she goes to see her doctor while sick, the first question she is asked is if she had the condition before her policy started. What does it say about the current generation of what Matt calls “the greatest doctors in the world” if they are being trained, and in fact paid an extra comission, to deny coverage to their patients? This is the for-profit system at work. What Matt does not mention is how much money he has accepted from insurance companies to appear on programs like “World Have Your Say”.

  112. 160 Katya in Oregon
    August 14, 2009 at 18:41

    If the American healthcare system is so efficient, why does it cost so much more than those of other countries? My experience with the system is that the quality of care is good, but that it is unaffordable for far too many Americans.

  113. 161 bob muzzy
    August 14, 2009 at 18:42

    I didn’t catch all of your program but the republican guy (consultant?) is either lying or so hopelessly naive he has no business being in his job. The entire US health care system is based upon the insurance companies denying as many claims as possible to maximize their profits.

    He said everybody has medical care; just go to the emergency room. This is utter rubbish. I was just laid off when my company was sold. I was denied medical insurance from 2 different brokers. I don’t have pre-existing conditions; but I’m 57 yrs old. Try going to the emergency room for routine preventive care.

    My wife’s doctor’s wife got breast cancer at age 62 and was promptly dropped from their insurance coverage. Shortly thereafter they dumped him, too.

    Anybody in favor of the current US system is either receiving massive campaign contributions from PHARMA or they believe the lies of those who are. They claim we wouldn’t be able to choose a doctor or care under a single payer system. We’ll I couldn’t do that when I had HMO coverage. And the insurance co. arbitrarily decided what they’d pay for.

    This whole debate disgusts me because it is so unequivocally a simple issue of an industry that’s currently scraping 15-20% off every health care dollar spent wanting to protect their revenue stream, and spending millions lying to the public to convince us.

  114. 162 Julia in Portland
    August 14, 2009 at 18:42

    This is where Matt Mackowiak works – this is the intro to the business he works for…I apologize for not know this prior to my earlier post. He does live in the same USA, we just see it through different glasses. At least this explains his view.

    “Welcome to Potomac Strategy Group

    We are a Republican strategic political consulting firm, which can offer you highly tailored political consulting, government relations, media relations, and crisis communication services. We specialize in assisting congressional campaigns with strategic knowledge based campaign consulting services. Potomac Strategy Group is led by veteran political analyst Matt Mackowiak, who appears regularly on television news broadcasts and talk radio programs.”

  115. August 14, 2009 at 18:42

    At least people in developed countries don’t have to bribe nurses and doctors to get medical care. In many developing counties bribing doctors and giving tips to nurses is the only way not to be indefinitely kept on the waiting list.

    • 164 Ramesh, India
      August 15, 2009 at 02:22

      Yes, Abdel, same here in India. Only poor people go to government hospitals and they have to bribe the staff to get treatment. When some poor are dead and their bodies are not claimed by the relative, the dead bodies are thrown into a so called martuary which smells like rats. I have seen healthcare facilities for the poor of the west(in europe and US). When I comapare them with India, I just get very jealous! That is why I call them arrogant when they complain about their system!!

    • 165 Tom K in Mpls
      August 17, 2009 at 17:20

      To solve problems, follow the money. It would seem your doctors and nurses need more money. Higher pay would attract more staff resulting in less bribe opportunities. Can your people afford it or not? This is a long term question.

  116. 166 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:43

    How good would canada’s system be if they actually had to provide for their own defense? Say if the US massively cut back on military spending, and Canada actually had to defend itself, that extra military money spent would come from money they were using on healthcare. The reason why Canada has such a good system is because they rely on the US for defense and has a tiny military.

  117. 167 EchoRose
    August 14, 2009 at 18:43

    Thank YOU BBC for having this discussion & opening it up on a WORLD FORUM… We in the U.S. REALLY need to talk about this and hear about what is offered elsewhere to realize what exactly we CAN ask our government to DO with OUR money.
    Thank YOU, thank YOU, thank YOU! One day on this issue is NOT enough…could we talk about it again tomorrow?
    I want to hear more personal experiences of those under Nationalized healthcare.

  118. August 14, 2009 at 18:44

    Here in Canada, a supreme court has ruled that patients must be allowed to go outside the inefficient government-funded health care system (something that’s not allowed right now). In their words, access to a waiting list is not access to health care.

  119. 169 Shannon in Ohio
    August 14, 2009 at 18:44

    Matt, do sick people with insurance deserve to go bankrupt?

  120. 170 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:45

    @ Katya

    Costs are so high in the US primarily because of liability. This is a very litigious society, people like to sue for just about any and all reasons. In countries where they limit liability, health care costs are lower. However democrats are in bed with trial lawyers, so this won’t happen, nothing will change.

  121. 172 Sunil, MD. in the USA
    August 14, 2009 at 18:45

    @David,

    You are wrong, by LAW, as an doctor in the emergency room, I am only obligated to “stabilize” your emergency medical condition, not “treat” you.

    If you come to my ER without money, and you have cancer and as a result a pneumonia, I am required by law to treat the pneumonia, I don’t have to do anything for your cancer.

    I have spent 3 years running a major county ER in one of the largest cities in the USA, and know the laws in and out. EMTALA (Emergency Medicine Treatment and Active Labor Act) only applies to emergency conditions, not stuff like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc…

    • 173 polly
      August 15, 2009 at 00:30

      That really very sad. I am a doctor and i would feel terrible if i saw a patient who had had cancer and a pnuemonia and i just treated the pneumonia and did not even arrange a follow up re the patient’s cancer. Cancer in itself is not an emergency but arranging follow up i tink is necessary. In Barbados we treat the PATIENT not just their lungs!

      • 174 polly
        August 15, 2009 at 00:32

        That is really very sad. I am a doctor and i would feel terrible if i saw a patient who had had cancer and a pnuemonia and i just treated the pneumonia and did not even arrange a follow up re the patient’s cancer. Cancer in itself is not an emergency but arranging follow up i think, is necessary. In Barbados we treat the PATIENT not just their lungs!

  122. August 14, 2009 at 18:46

    At 62 I finally get my social security. Now it all goes to paying for my health insurance. And I still have a high a co pay. What am I paying for? Their TV adds? Our health care system in this country is a disgrace.

  123. 176 Erika Jareman Turner
    August 14, 2009 at 18:46

    I grew up in Sweden and am now living in the U.S. To me it’s absurd to hear the shouts of “socialism” and government takeover. I’m not saying that the Swedish health care system is perfect. Swedes do pay the highest taxes in the world, but it does not all go to health care. I would gladly pay higher taxes here to get free health care.

    My husband is a bankruptcy lawyer, so he sees every single day how people are sued by hospitals, and have to declare bankrupcy, because they can’t pay their medical bills. People here don’t realize that they are all paying for these people’s care anyway, in the form of higher costs!

    Another argument here is than of free market, choice and efficiency. But health care doesn’t work like any commercial market. You can’t look at patients at a hospital as a “consumer”, how are you supposed to know as a patient, which procedure is best for you? That’s the doctors job to know. One of the reasons americans spend so much money on health care is that they get so many completely unnecessary tests and procedures.

    /erika

  124. 177 Sarah in Portland
    August 14, 2009 at 18:46

    Living in Portland and attending naturopathic and classical Chinese medical school, I understand how much money could be saved by offering true preventive care to everyone. Improved quality of life, decreased medical costs and greater satisfaction have all been noted as a result of utilization of natural healing methods. Insurance companies should not be responsible for deciding who receives care and of what type.
    So many uninsured and underinsured people in the United States have come to make use of emergency services for non-emergent medical concerns, the cost of which is something we all end of paying for in our premiums. Universal health care is the only answer.

  125. 178 KN
    August 14, 2009 at 18:47

    Hello,
    What’s interesting is that US Insurance firms have been expanding and growing rapidly in India, where there is a national healthcare system. If they can make profit there, they certainly can in the US.

    Cheers,
    KN

  126. 179 ben
    August 14, 2009 at 18:48

    I do not believe that here in Canada we have the best possible health care in the world, nor does any country, but it is baffling to listen to the arguments being made in favour of private US style health care. The best way to make insurance efficient is to spread the risk across the largest possible base of payees. What coule be larger than an entire country sharing the cost, like Canada, or the UK or many other developed nations.

    Whilst it may be true that private interest tends towards efficiency, it is certainly not true that they are motivated to do so out of any particular interest in the well being of their clients or in improving the health care of the country at large.

    Private insurers in the US are constantly trying to find new inventive ways to to deny coverage and increase the amount of money they get. Public systems are busy trying to find ways to deliver more services, better services and fasters services with the money they have. Which scheme sounds more sensible to you?

  127. 180 Therese - USA
    August 14, 2009 at 18:49

    If you haven’t yet seen Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko” and care about this whole topic, then please watch it. It’s also running on HBO right now.

  128. 181 James from Vancouver Canada
    August 14, 2009 at 18:52

    I’m a pharmacology student planning for a career in medicine. I think US’s health care system is much too profit-driven, and that has made everything very expensive and not affordable, especially with the long-lasting drug patents pharmaceutical companies are geting. From what many of my professors had told me, the conduct of these companies is at least as horrifying as those presented in the film “Constant Gardener”, if not worse. The fact is that pharmaceutical compnaies spend more money on advertising and marketing (which includes paying financial benefits to MDs and academics) than they do in R&D. I’m not familar with the insurance companies in the US, but I wouldn’t think the situation is much better. All this will eventually come down to burden the health care system and the people, while these private corporations keep making their enormous profits. Health care should be about maintaining a high level of health standard in the general population, not about making money.

  129. 182 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:52

    Human rights don’t trump the constitution. How about a compromise? For people that don’t pay taxes, consider the value conferred on them by the free healthcare as income, which then they would have to pay taxes on?

    • 183 Gertrude Strickland
      August 15, 2009 at 09:38

      Are you for real Steve? It amazes me how Americans seem to think their constitution was written by God, instead of by slave-owning, fallible human beings who had no idea how society would develop.

  130. 184 Pat
    August 14, 2009 at 18:53

    The US health care system is stiffling small business development in non-health care related fields. If we do’t fix this, the US entrepreneural system will end. I myself am planning to quit my job to start a software firm, but I am going to move to Taiwan to start it because I cannot afford health care for me or any of my future employees in the US. I am American, but I am lucky enough to have married someone from a country with a good, affordable health care system. I would like to bring jobs back to the US if my company succeeds, but a company needs to have at least 300 employees in the US to insure itself so that is not likely to happen.

  131. 185 Trent West
    August 14, 2009 at 18:53

    Health care is not a human right because it is not free. How can someone say it is their right to have health care but I have to pay for it.

  132. 186 Tom D Ford
    August 14, 2009 at 18:54

    We’re not a socialist country? (US)

    Our Military has Socialist health care!

    Our Congress has Socialist health care!

    So if socialism is good enough for our elites, why not for the common man!

  133. 187 Cindy
    August 14, 2009 at 18:54

    Health care might not be a “right” but is the “right” thing to do.

  134. 188 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    August 14, 2009 at 18:54

    As you keep talking about the merit of a “reformed” health care system in the U.S., you have to talk about the costs associated with it. Currently, other than Welfare and Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security, we pay for all our own services. The taxes we pay on welfare and health care as well as social security are high, yet the level of health care and amount of social security one receives is low and/or not worth the amount of effort to attain them. The government has proved just how inefficient it is with these programs, what makes anyone think this situation will improved with increased power over health care?

    Also, you don’t mention the fact that, in America, part of the way they plan on paying for a public option is taxing so-called “Cadillac” plans. As someone who has what would be considered a “Cadillac” plan, I find that completely mad. I have little choice over what plan I use, my employer chose it, and my out-of-pocket monthly expenses are $250/mo as it is. I think if you looked at the statistics, people who have good health care plans probably spend less than those who don’t because our plans make it easier to take preventative measures instead of going in with a serious illness that would be much more expensive to treat later on in life.

  135. August 14, 2009 at 18:54

    One reason why Canada, and to a lesser extent Europe, can afford their universal health systems is because the United States spends so much on its military that pretty much protects the Western World.

    • 190 Katya in Oregon
      August 14, 2009 at 19:10

      America spends more on it’s military than the rest of the world. Unless we are planning on fighting the rest of the world at once, I think we can afford to use some of that money to protect the health of our own citizens.

  136. 191 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    August 14, 2009 at 18:56

    And why should I have to pay for health care for people who don’t have jobs like I do? I searched for over a year for my job! I understand the need for TEMPORARY health care for those who are fired/laid off, but that is what the COBRA plans are for.

    • 192 Erika Jareman Turner
      August 14, 2009 at 19:07

      Sorry, but you are paying for them already. And you are paying a lot more than you would in a universal system that would actually provide preventative care, rather than poor people having to go to the emergency room!

    • 193 Tom K in Mpls
      August 15, 2009 at 00:21

      I have never yet met anyone that paid COBRA ( self funded continuation of coverage, for the rest of the world) for more than three months. It is waaay too expensive. And at three months, that was only in a strong employment economy to prevent a very limiting lapse of coverage.

    • August 17, 2009 at 06:35

      Lisa
      Do you know what COBRA costs. If you are unemployed there is no way you can afford it.

  137. 195 John
    August 14, 2009 at 18:56

    I find it interesting that in America, so many Republicans scream for a “right to life”, for the unborn, but could care less about the same rights for the already born. Healthcare is an issue of being allowed to live. Republicans are fine with 50 million deaths as long as there’s no “socialism”

    America’s Declarating of Independance claims a right to life – let’s honor that!

  138. 196 Chris Poulos, United States
    August 14, 2009 at 18:56

    I live in the US and can tell you first hand what a disgrace our healthcare system is in this country. Whenever profit motivates healthcare needs the money will always overrule the patients rights. That is why the Right Wing conservatives in this country are spreading lies about the reform bill because they are being lobbied by Pharma and the healthcare industry who only wish to show better earnings at the end of the quarter. You cannot quantify a persons life by reducing their health to the bottomline of a corporations balance sheet, but that is exactly what happens in this country. This rumor about ‘death panels’ started by the republicans is an attempt to draw attention away from the abuses the insurance companies engage in every day.
    One enraged elderly man at a town hall meeting recently shouted “Get your goverment hands off of my medicare!!” This man was so fully deluded by the right’s scare tactics that he didn’t even realize medicare is a government program. This is all a product of the paranoia of the right who are so afraid of the new black president that one of them, Glen Beck, even called Obama a racist. It is this culture of fear and bigotry that is fueling the hatred to reform in this country, but the real victims are the reported 20,000 people a year who die in America due to lack of healthcare.
    I would like to ask your Republican guest how someone with life-threatening cancer and no insurance is expected to receive healthcare in and Emergency Room? Or someone with diabetes for that matter. Do they go to the ER and get their insulin shots at a hospital? Thats preposterous! Would he send his own mother to the ER if she were ill with a disease? The ER is not a place for primary healthcare, it is only for emergencies.

  139. 197 Holger
    August 14, 2009 at 18:57

    I am an American living in New Mexico USA. My co-pay just encreased to $30 per visit for a specialist it is $45 where as it used to be $15 dollars and $25. This now is very difficult. my wife just had a foot operation and needs therapy 3 times a week we can not afford it. Not at $45 doollars a visit. When my aunt was visiting Germany she got great treatment. I think for medical should be a right. I get annoyed when my son went to the ER 3 yrs ago and I did not have insureance I had to pay $300. A Mexican that was next door did not pay anything That is not fair I have been paying in the system for years.

  140. 198 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:57

    I have a right for someone else to pay my automobile insurance!

  141. 199 Katya in Oregon
    August 14, 2009 at 18:58

    America is founded on the principle that Life,Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are human rights. Without proper healthcare, both Life and the Pursuit of Happiness are severly comprimised. I don’t understand how people can say that healthcare isn’t a right.

  142. 200 Parag Deb
    August 14, 2009 at 18:58

    for the past few days india is reeling under the clutches of Swine Flu . Unfortunately private hospitals are moving away from conducting test for swine flu. Unfortunately government hospitals are overwhelmed by patients . When India is celebrating its 63 years of independence tomorrow , millions of people are denied of health security from the government . It is unacceptable.

  143. 201 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 18:59

    Right D.R. Healthcare will get worse in the rest becuase the US will reduce military spending, and other nations will have to increase their military spending, their medical care will decrease. So I ask non Americans, is this what you really want?

  144. August 14, 2009 at 18:59

    Heathcare, human right or not it’s a business, isn’t it? I live in Japan where healthcare is provided to everyone – who can pay. The underlying problem about healthcare in Japan is that ‘bad doctor’s’ will make you sick by prescribing you pills you don’t really need: leading to side-effects that usually bring you back to the same doctor with a different complaint for further treatment. Forget about the unemployed, can anyone afford to take time off work for medical treatment?… I guess they can in these gloomy global economic times. Let’s face it, ‘healthcare’ is a business. Let’s go (Kampo =) natural remedies to cure ailments.

  145. 203 Anthony
    August 14, 2009 at 19:00

    I swear Ros, you better continue this on Monday, or I’m gonna cry!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  146. August 14, 2009 at 19:00

    The US Government also run or control the airlines and the space program and the military. 5000 military just on USS Nimitz awake every day to socialized medicine. They don’t argue about which doctor or dentist. None of them owe a penny to a doctor? Enlistment will surely suffer when all citizens enjoy the same just like all Brits?

  147. 205 Ramesh, India
    August 14, 2009 at 19:00

    I would like to sign off with a final comment. It appears to me that most of the contributing tax payers seem to expect that whatever taxes paid should be repaid at some point in their lifetime and they don’t have enough intelligence to question their government on its ridiculous spending on things like B2 bombers, nuclear weapons that may never be used in their life time. That is why I say 10% of the americans are extremely talented while 90% are just simple idiots!! I don’t care if my comments are not published! After all, it is friday evening!! I hate american arrogance!!

  148. August 14, 2009 at 19:01

    Health care is not a right because the rights as identified in the Declaration of Independence are rights *to action* — to *pursue* happiness — NOT to the property or services created by the labor of others.

  149. 209 Richard in Florida
    August 14, 2009 at 19:06

    US hospitals are mandated to help everyone, insured or not, citizen or not. So in fact we are already running a public health system, except it is only being paid for by those with insurance via higher premiums. Either we remove the mandate and refuse healthcare to some or we have to get those who are not paying to start paying in some fashion (i.e taxes, public plans, etc) The course we are on now is a death spiral. (no pun intended) America clearly felt a public school & pubblic retirement system was needed to solve those large social issues, why not for health care?

  150. August 14, 2009 at 19:06

    Health care was a right once. Did the Pilgrims throw sick grandma overboard? Would a doctor shipwrecked on a desert island set up an office and a billing area? What are you people like? Care from the ‘bottom up’ buddy. BS to the ‘labor of others’?

  151. 211 Rob/United States
    August 14, 2009 at 19:07

    Whether health care is a right or not is irrelevant. The US should reform its health care system simply because it doesn’t work for most Americans. The sheer costs involved with leaving large swaths of the public uninsured make it mutually beneficial for all to have a government insurance option at the very least. While some of the callers and posters might not care a whit about their uninsured brethren, the government doesn’t have that luxury. We hire them to preserve, protect, and defend us, and I would argue that universal health care does all three.

    What is clear is that we cannot continue along the path which has led us to this point.

  152. 212 Michael
    August 14, 2009 at 19:09

    I live in Texas and have worked for myself (without insurance) and for various companies (with insurance) at various times during the past 30 years. Most of my family is employeed in the medical business, but I have found that overall the American health system benefits mainly the wealthier classes AND those employeed therein. On occasions when I had no choice to go to the doctor or hospital even with reasonably good company provided insurance, the care was relatively poor with long wait times (3 hours in the emergency waiting room to have a dislocated shoulder put back in place for example). Also they will never tell you how much more than your deductible or co-pay you will end up paying and in all cases they continue to send escalating bills for upwards of $1000. At that particular time I was employeed by a major insurance company and have a fairly good program with a fairly low deductible.

    The system needs to be changed, medical professionals need to get used to earning less or go to another and more realistic profession, one which is not subsidized by the misery of the many. As it is charized repeatedly, the American health care system is islands of excellence in a sea of misery, absolutely true.

  153. 213 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 19:09

    @ Ramesh

    Can I make a huge assumption about 90% of indians without having met 99.999999% of Indians like you have just done with Americans? Are such generalizations not arrogance on your own part?

  154. August 14, 2009 at 19:12

    As to defence and the costs? You think that all these nations sleep well because of wasted millions on American nuclear aircraft carriers. What DO they prove? What enemy to they deter? At what price to the tent cities all over America? Get real with that ‘old hat’ argument?

  155. August 14, 2009 at 19:12

    I come from Australia and cannot understand the arguments going on in the USA at the moment.
    No one in Australia is not covered. The first question they usually ask is where does it hurt?
    In 1995 I had a 5 X Heart By pass Operation and all the follow up needed. Everyone pays 1.5 or 1.6% of income towards there health care. If you are unempleyed or low waged you pay less or nothing. There is a private health insurance industry and a private health system running side by side with this but depending on why you attend a hospital, for example an emergency, you will be seen in a public hospital after the emergency and seen depending on a assessment made by a triage nurse.
    Car accident victims or others bought to the hospital by ambulance are assessed by the para medics on the way to the hospital and are usually seen straight away.
    We have similar grumbles from people from time to time, even I grumble. I grumbled about a state funded program for bowel cancer for over 55’s – that after the test I had to wait an two months to have a colonscopy ( which I have had now)

    But if such programs and our system did not exist, listening to the people from USA I don’t know what to say. They all seem to be concerned about their pockets, wallets and purposes. Or socialism. Australia is hardly a socialist country but at least the health system is getting fairer. But like every country I guess – the more money you have the more health care or what ever you want you can have.

    I can’t understand why the US people are not demanding better health care for everyone from their government.

  156. 216 ben
    August 14, 2009 at 19:15

    This argument by “steve” and D.R. about military spending is an idiotic misdirection. You could come up with lots of scenarios where if you did A, more money would be avilable for B. If the US tooks half it’s military budget and just shipped food and medicine and iPods to every country in the world that despises your foreign policy, you probably wouldn’t even need half your military anymore.

    Besides that, nobody has asked the US for help in a military action since WWII. The US has just decided to go ahead and fight wars on it’s own for the most part, some worthy, many of them questionable at best. I’d say the world would be just fine if the US scaled back it’s ridiculously large military just a little bit. I’m not particularly frightened that someone is going to attack Canada anytime soon…except maye the US😉

  157. 217 Janet Zabo
    August 14, 2009 at 19:20

    I am baffled that the gentleman from the US can say that our health care system is good or better than average. I am also appalled at the comment that profit is necessary for the health care system. Does he really believe that people will discontinue research if they are not making a profit from it? He used the example of the pharmaceutical companies and how they research for profit. They also have created a system where half the people in the US are on some sort of prescription drug from anything to depression to restless leg syndrome.
    I also have issue with with a clerk at an insurance company giving my doctors the directive on how to treat me. This IS happening because doctors will not treat something that they are not going to get paid for by the insurance company.
    To say that the system is just fine is ridiculous.
    thanks.

    • 218 Tom K in Mpls
      August 15, 2009 at 00:47

      First thing, anything that does not generate profit is either subsidized or it fails. Most research is paid for by the large prices entitled to the company/school by special patent laws enacted specifically for this purpose. Lower costs would mean less research, and I think this might be a good thing. These laws , like all others need regular review.

      I also think medical advertising should be limited due to the absurd paranoia/hypochondria it creates. People seem to think they can medicate their way to perfection. Also, I know of several pharmacists that have the knowledge to guide people to ask doctors the right questions.

  158. 219 steve
    August 14, 2009 at 19:22

    @ Patrick

    Many nations rely on the US for defense. Even if there is currently no “enemy” nations still have an obligation to at least provide defense against potential enemies. Canada’s military is MUCH to small to protect Canada, it completely relies on the US for defense. Iceland, completely relies on other nations for defense, hence why they can afford healthcare. In a perfect world, militaries would not be necessary, but many, many nations rely on the US for their defense, and that subsidizes their healthcare systems by not spending the money on their military. Do you honestly think a nation as large as Canada can defend itself with the 65,000 soldiers it has? Canada is absolutely massive, second only to Russia in size. No, it relies on the US, and that’s how they have the money for healthcare.

  159. 220 Tom K in Mpls
    August 14, 2009 at 19:23

    Ok, having posted, listened and replied, I have come to see the debate obstacles. There is no consensus on what is right. The best approach is to first weed out the worst or most inefficient systems. What I suggest is first to look at the percentage of GNP spent by each country and eliminate some. Then decide which are effective and then see what makes them effective. I suspect you will find how they are funded to be irrelevant, it is how they are managed. Standardization in the US could match government control in any country with virtually no direct government control.

  160. 221 Emilia
    August 14, 2009 at 19:28

    I am coming home in Madrid after a week holidays in London. My child suffered an accident and we were taken to Guy’s and St Thomas’. What can I say apart from THANK YOU ALL.!
    Since ambulance arrived until the exit of the hospital few hours later, everybody we met were nice, always helping us all. Doctors and paramedical acted in a extremely professional and human way. I didn’t feel language as a big problem. No identification, insurance or money was requested.
    THANKS once again.

  161. August 14, 2009 at 19:34

    Money for health care is not just income tax. Most nations pay more for many goods and especially gas. They pay it and they have a healthy nation. Pay two more dollars for gas here and for other items and health care is paid right up.

  162. 223 Frank in Oregon
    August 14, 2009 at 19:35

    As a US citizen and former registered Republican, I am dumbfounded that prominent Republicans, like our speaker earlier on this show, are saying publicly that we have no problem with access to health care here because Emergency Rooms never turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay. What a humiliating lack of understanding! A US citizen with a serious disease like cancer or diabetes needs long-term and costly treatment, not simple emergency room care, and this will bankrupt most people unless they have insurance. With health insurance costs rising three times faster than wages, with 49 million uninsured and 12,000 more Americans losing their health insurance coverage every day, and with half of all US bankruptcies due to unbearable health care costs, we are a nation in crisis and reform IS COMING.

    A political party than cannot understand this crisis cannot lead us out of it, and those who seek to distort and to manipulate fear and ignorance to oppose the inevitable public good do so at their political peril. They are on the wrong side of history. Again.

  163. 224 ben
    August 14, 2009 at 19:40

    I fear I let my desire to kick sand in the face of American jingoism get in the way of the real point. US military spending aside, Americans ALREADY pay more for healthcare than any other country. So if you are already spending MORE than everyone else and all you are getting is your “private” system with countless millions uncovered, why not go that one tiny step further and just cover everybody? From a monetary perspective you already are anyway…why not just make it official. You don’t need to change your military budget at all.

    A public system has some drawbacks but it’s not like the rest of the world is operating by candlelight with leeches. Health care technology and know how is pretty much on par in all the western nations.

  164. 225 Keri
    August 14, 2009 at 19:41

    Questions for guest from U.S.:

    Is the private sector efficient or greedy?
    Is emergency room care for uninsured efficient or wasteful?
    Is your perception that salaried jobs with insurance benefits are a-okay realistic or have you missed the fact that costs have been skyrocketing over the past 5 years or so and what once was a benefit that many of the “lucky ones” shared, is now an increasing out-of-pocket expense?

  165. August 14, 2009 at 19:51

    It seems to me that Americans believe too much in their dogma of capitalism, some things clearly cannot price tagged.

    No socialism here, profit making is good, it enables competition, innovation, and ultimately better quality for consumers, but only those who can afford to pay for it.

    The best system is the British NHS mashed up with the American medical industry funded with the Pentagon’s budget, case closed!

    Of course, for universal health care to work, it must meet the highest standards!

  166. 227 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    August 14, 2009 at 20:52

    Based on the sheer volume of repsonses I would say it is wise for the WHYS editorial team to bring this one back to the table for discussion on air. Apparently there’s quite a few folks who have something to say.

  167. 228 Stanley Peterson
    August 14, 2009 at 21:09

    Several years ago while vacationing in London my wife became ill. We went to St Mary’s Hospital emergency room. She had a through examination and received a prescription. I estimated her treatment in the US would easily cost over $900-$1,000. I was bracing for a large hospital bill, not knowing about the NHS. Imagine my surprise when I was told, “No cost”. No charge for an non citizen! Excepting under unusual circumstances, this sadly, would have played out very differently here in the US. Here the first stop in the emergency room is the financial/payment clerk. Thank you citizens of GB who help this tourist.

  168. 229 Roseann In Houston
    August 14, 2009 at 21:54

    Everytime I hear someone in the US say that they are very satisfied with their healthcare I question if they have ever had to use their coverage for a catastrophic event – my guess is that they have not.

  169. August 14, 2009 at 21:55

    Why can’t just those why pay taxes get health benefits…how b’out that Obama and the rest of the health care reform starters??? NO seriously, this I could be in favor of, but not just letting any old person that comes to America, even the illegal’s to get healthcare and our taxes go up the roof???? No, sure, I will cont. to fight this…

  170. 231 Peter Dewsnap
    August 15, 2009 at 04:02

    I live in the US but I was born in EDngland and grew up with the NHS. I still have friends and family there and they all speak very highly of the NHS. I have lived also in Canada and their system is very similar.
    In this country there is a tremendous effort to decry such systems and we are bombarded with propaganda and outright lies to denigrate what they call “Socialised Medicine”. Many Americans believe we have the best system in the world but they know nothing about any other system and parrot what they have been told to believe. In fact, the US system is an international disgrace because it is a business set up for profit and not to help people. The major, but not the only problem causing this situation is the insurance companies which are making vast profits from it.
    I believe Obama is sincere in what he wants to do but I have grave doubts as to whether he can achieve is. If he is to give us a system as good as those in the advanced countries, he must get the insurance companis out of it then regulate severely the medical and drug industries. I am retired and, even though on Medicare, it’s costing me over 20% of my income.

    Peter D South Carolina

  171. 232 David Daniel Ruddy
    August 15, 2009 at 17:56

    From my own personal experience with the UK, USA and Canadian medical systems I am completely satisfifed with the care I have received from all three.
    In the case of the UK, while on a sabbatical leave in London, I came down with pneumonia and was treated promptly at home by a home-care doctor at no charge.
    While visiting one winter at Marathon in the Florida Keys I had an arrythemia of the heart and was hospitalized and treated with drugs to restore the heart to a normal rhythm. After six days, without the use of electro-shock therapy, the doctors were successful and I was flown home to Montreal at no cost to myself. My Canadian health-care plan covered all expenses.
    In the 80’s in Montreal I underwent two cataract surgeries and had an aortic-valve replacement, again, at no cost to myself.
    Here in Victoria, BC, my current home, I have had a mitral-valve replacement , an anuryism outside the brain, with cranial surgery and other assorted medical treatments covered, once more, by the Canadian Health Care plan. In all of these cases I had prompt and successful medical treatment with no waiting times at all
    I am not afraid of the “socialist” threat so feard by the drug and insurance companies and their mislead followers. The health-care systems have worked beautifully for me Count me in..

  172. 233 Richard M
    August 15, 2009 at 19:11

    I am an Englishman living in the states,like many i came here to see the American dream.It is from personal experience that i say as regards health care here its no dream but a nightmare!
    If i were to become ill again i will jump on a plane back to England , and get treated by someone that cares about me and not my wallet.

  173. 234 tanboontee
    August 16, 2009 at 04:52

    Who does healthcare best?

    The healthcare has been unhealthy, it needs reform.

    The economy is unhealthy, the education system is less than healthy, the ecosystem is sick, the inter-religious and international relationships are equally sick – what else is healthy?

    So, they all need reform. But how? When? By whom?

  174. August 16, 2009 at 09:33

    Well In India not much has been done on Medicare insurance. But in many companies Medical care facility is available for their employees.

  175. August 16, 2009 at 11:33

    According to the last EU survey in 2007/2008, NHS is rated 15th in Europe as a healthcare provider. France leads with its version of a government-supported health service.

  176. 237 Justin Durueke
    August 16, 2009 at 15:55

    Health care in America needs to be fixed. So many health care providers find a way to opt out of covering their users in times of crisis. People in the US should realize that the form of health care being proposed by Mr President will not be a government take over or socialized medicine. So many people need to read very well before jumping into the argument. If you like the type of health care you have right now you can keep it. But if you do not like the one you have now or have no coverage at all, you can join the Obamacare. It is very simple and self explanatory. The government will not put private health care providers out of business.

  177. 238 GTR5
    August 16, 2009 at 18:15

    The French Social Security system is the best system in the world. It is medical insurance plus all the other social security net items combined. Plus a good retirement scheme. One is totally free to choose ones own doctor or specialist and I can assure you that French doctors are the most caring and kindest doctors I have ever met. They really care about their patients and are the top of world class. The French have it right. I don’t understand why the Americans don’t study their system. Yes, I am an American.

  178. 239 x
    August 16, 2009 at 20:14

    Simply by ousting the Insurance company out of the picture, and let patient pay out of the pocket (which spare us the socialized medicine debate), will cut the administrative cost from the insurance company so much and drive each hospital to competition thus in the process reduced the price burdened by the patients (see John Stossel’s Sick in America).

    Why not look to the east in Taiwan and Japan for alternative, patients can choose which ever hospital to go for under the Government single payer system.

    The simple fact is, while always complaining a system is not good, Conservative American will reject any changes that has any difference with that ever they have, at the same time ignorance about the rest of the world, they are easily manipulated.

  179. 240 Don
    August 16, 2009 at 21:55

    After having resided in both the UK and the USA, I must admit that the United States solely privatized health insurance ‘market’ is, among all developed countries, truly the worst in the world. The UK system and, similarly, the French and German systems are, far and away, the best in the world. And here’s why: markets do not, by definition, have a conscience. As such, then, any function relying on a market equilibrium must enable a participant in that ‘market’ to have choices and the time to make rational decisions amongst all available competitors. By extension, then, to suggest that a ‘market’ exists for your heart attack and to further suggest that you, the heart attack patient, have a choice of providers is absolutely ridiculous. What’s even more ridiculous is the United States’ suggestion that their market for healthcare somehow results in equally distributed availability of medical services , across all socio-economic groups and, also, that the best medical care goes to those, who, through trick and theft, are most able to afford the usual, customary and reasonable medical care to which ALL ought to have access, but who do not, because the Americans do not think that their fellow citizens are entitled to health care outside of a market setting, which, as I have already mentioned, does not have a conscience.

  180. 241 Kindi Jallow
    August 17, 2009 at 01:04

    It has been a doctrine to ‘love your heighbours as you love your self’ but what we are withnessing is on the contrary, people are at each others throats because of profiteering. The amount of over $2 trilloin expenditure on health care each year and yet 50m people have no medical insurance is, like Dimangarana who would not lend his knife for cutting up a dogs meat because the dog is toboo but he preferes to offer his teeth.
    The bottom line for health care should be affordability, proxmity and quality for all American citizens. Why should insurance companies decide who should have insurance or not? In a leizefaire economy, competition is supposed to drive quality up and bring down the cost so that it is affordible and cost effective.
    If on the other hand profit is the objective rather than patient needs then cost drivers will push up the cost in the long run you expect to have budget deficets, people try to find alternative health care than to face big debts etc.
    In my country the Gambia there are both private and government owned health care systems. Health care is affordible to all Gambians at reasonable costs in all government owned although I am not saying the system is perfect, I am thinking in terms of affordibility.

  181. August 17, 2009 at 03:02

    If the USA does not get its act in gear when it comes to health care reform I am leaving America. I have been rejected by a major health insurance provider due to a preexisting condition.

    • 243 Dennis Junior
      August 18, 2009 at 04:31

      Well, yes, Robert; Because they don’t want to take the liability of covering you…And, that is the problem with the health care system in the United States…

      =Dennis Junior=

  182. 244 Elias
    August 17, 2009 at 16:07

    I have lived in England, Holland and the United States, I have come to the conclusion that Canada does healthcare best.

  183. 245 T
    August 17, 2009 at 19:27

    Here’s an idea for WHYS. If you can find one U.K. person (who doesn’t work for the Tories or some right-wing think tank) who actually prefers to be under Stateside health care (vs the NHS), I’ll be very impressed.

  184. 246 Canadian
    August 17, 2009 at 20:35

    I am from Canada and while our system is less than perfect and declining every year with increasingly long wait times, the cancellation of many surgeries, both elective and medically necessary, I do feel that we have a good foundation. I don’t worry that my hospitals bills are going to make me bankrupt unlike many American citizens.

    I think it boils down to attitude. In Socialist societies like Canada, we distribute the wealth and everyone reaps the benefits. In societies like the US, when anyone is asked to contribute for others’ benefit, the response is always “We are not communist”. They have a difficult time distinguishing between the extremes of communism and working towards the common good through social benefits, like Universal health care.

    I am glad I live in a country like Canada and though I have been offered work in the US, the health care system is one of the many factors stopping me from moving there.

  185. August 18, 2009 at 04:15

    Any health care system can only work effectively and contain the costs if the people it serves are also responsible for their own health.
    Governments should instead provide incentives to the people that make it a point to stay healthy.

  186. 248 Dennis Junior
    August 18, 2009 at 04:28

    Here in the United States, I am speaking from experience; that if you don’t have adequate health insurance…You better hope that you don’t get ill or; you will have a *MASSIVE* medical bill….

    =Dennis Junior=

  187. 249 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    August 19, 2009 at 19:38

    I never have an deal with insurance med to discuss on this subject on who is better off than other in medical term.

  188. 250 Jeff
    August 27, 2009 at 16:01

    If you have Cancer where would you get care? Remember the US has a substantially higher survival rate over all other countries with Government Care

  189. October 29, 2009 at 14:16

    Sarah, physicians’ pay is regulated in the UK, and no-one there seems to have been left on the table just because 5 p.m. came around. In fact, if you would take the time and effort to look up surveys regarding the NIH, you would find that it is overwhelmingly popular among English people. And whereas we have thousands who file for bankruptcy every year because of medical costs, they have zero. We have 18,000 who die every year because of lack of access to health care. They have practically zero. Their infant mortality rate is lower than ours. Their average life expectancy is higher than ours. Nearly every single health factor is better in Western Europe – heck, even Cuba – than ours. And yet we try to claim that our health care system is the best in the world. If that were true, our health stats would be better than everyone else’s, not leagues behind everyone else in the industrialised world.

    And we aren’t even planning to nationalise our health care system. The health inusrance corporations have invested too many millions of dollars in the campaigns of Obama, Baucus, the Blue Dog coalition, etc. to allow that to happen. No, we are going to force everyon in America to buy into the corporate health care system or pay a fine, which might as well be a tax.

    That’s real reform, now, isn’t it? I can feel the change myself.

  190. 252 Sam, UK
    January 14, 2010 at 16:01

    I know you American’s rave about how bad our health system is and how good yours is, no offence guys, our health service may not be perfect but its pretty damn good. However it is common opinion amongst my country men and those of a number of others who have spoken about it.

    How can you honstly justify letting a person die just because they cannot afford the bills? Im sure this works fine for the more fortunate citizens, but what of those who cannot afford medical insurance or insurmountable bills? In our country, and in many others i might add a public health service works fine for everyone. I have had two operations in my life and both went smoothly with no repercusions

    You see the thing is, im not generalising here i know alot of you are educated nice people, but you seem to think that you have the best of everything? Is this fed to you by your media or is it patriotics gone mad? The thing that gets my back up about this situation is that you fire of your opinions without actually finding out if you are wrong or not, to the rest of us you look like a stuborn child who refuses to admit when he is wrong.

    Please read “pink Muslimah’s” post for the REAL facts, or if indipendent research is too much of a daunting task for you, then why not kick back in your famed lazy boy arm chairs, chug down a bucket of fried chicken and ice cream and watch “sicko” by Michael Moore. This is a quick look at all the problems with your countries so called “healthcare”

    Thanks


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