The evolving American health care debate

For the growing ranks of the uninsured, many of them middle-class, every day is a day lived in fear of what will happen if they get sick and treatment will bankrupt them. Meanwhile, universal health care in America has been so villanized as to continue to be untenable to many Americans, who fear inefficient bureaucracy and additional government intrusion into their lives. Luckily, opinions are changing as the tragedy of the American health care system continues to grow. Of course what many people don’t want to think about is the sorts of hard choices that come along with socialized medicine — or the words “socialized medicine” themselves.

6 replies on “The evolving American health care debate”

  1. I have a friend here (UK, i.e. socialized medicine) who is on a waiting list for…wait for it…a heart bypass operation. On the other hand, all healthcare here is free so NO ONE goes without healthcare. Having now lived in both the US (with, thank God, private health insurance) and the UK, I’m not really sure which system is better overall. Mediocre care is better than none, and the wealthy can always pay for private care under either system.

    The problem here is that there is no happy middle-ground. Private health insurance is available but quite expensive and most employers do not provide private health coverage since everyone is already covered by the NHS.

  2. Well, like Adam said, each system has it’s flaws, but I have to say if it were a choice between the NHS and healthcare in the US with insuarnce I’d be all over the US healthcare. I know it wouldn’t be free, but it would be pretty affordable with lovely co-pays and heck, when you pay your doctor has to listen or you are free to find a new one! Even one not in your post code! Oh, and you can see a specialist for the same yummy co-pay without a) waiting lists and b) having to convince your GP you have to (see my experience with the ENT and other fun). Oh, and doctors give you actual physicals, complete with blood tests, sure they cost a bit extra, but what the heck, it’s your health. Whereas under the socialised medicine of the NHS you really can’t get even a simple blood work up without begging your doctor…

    So yeah, in summary, I miss my $15 copay and the ability to see whoever I wanted when I wanted and get the kind of healthcare I think I deserve…

    So in closing, I truly hope that the US does not embrace socialised medicine, I think it should revamp things like medicare and medicaid as well as health clinics and other public services, but I like my insuarce (even if it is a deeply flawed system) it’s been better to me than the NHS.

  3. I don’t know what kind of health care you had, even under Harvard’s (very generous) benefits package I can’t just go see a specialist without first getting approval from my GP. Well, since I’m on a PPO I can, but I have to pay 20% of the costs. And I’m paying more for the privilege already.

    And I wouldn’t call the amount I pay + the amount Harvard pays “very affordable.” It would be quite a burden if my employer wasn’t shouldering over 60% of the cost of the already well-negotiated low rates.

    It is spurious to look at NHS vs. private insurance without acknowledging the millions of Americans who have no private insurance. The point of universal health care is to provide just that — universal care. There are many problems with specific universal care implementations, and the biggest problem I think you’re seeing is that there is a lack of choice and thus a lack of market-driven incentive for better care. However in our system where the employer negotiates the coverage, some of those same problems already exist. Just because you had great health care doesn’t mean others do as well.

    I suspect any socialization scheme we see in the US would heavily embrace private practice in much the way Medicare does — the US wouldn’t be running the health care system, they would just be running the baseline insurance system, while still preserving a broad range of options for those of better means. By making sure everyone receives a basic level of insurance care, I suspect costs would go down across the board because of the massive pool of shared risk, which might counteract the increasing levels of discrimination in health coverage which greatly penalize those with higher risk in exchange for lower rates for healthy individuals.

  4. Well, I suppose I must have had rather good healthcare, and you know what, odds on where I work I’ll get good health care in the future, science based jobs are known for the quality of care they provide. At any rate, I realise I’m not a generalised case, I’m just me. I know that plenty of Americans lack care, and you know, that sucks. But, I’d rather there be a better standard of care out there rather than stoop to a low level just so everyone can get some. Then no one gets good care. Like I said, a revamping of our system is in order but still, I embrace my ability to get employed and have health care be part of my compensation (I looked at a compensation package for a national chain of vet clinics and man, do they get good health care). I know you obviously don’t agree with me, but lets face it, you’ve also never lived with socialised care and so, while you may be grumpy about paying for medical care, I’m grumpy about not getting any care at all.

    oh, and you can’t assume that the US wouldn’t meddle in the health care system, I’m betting if the republicans had anything to say about it they would, to the tune of womens health and the like as well as a substandard motivational scheme for doctors. That’s what happens in socialised medicine in lots of places… (on that note, the only good thing about the NHS is their view on contraception – free with prescription to all)

  5. The problem with private health care is that one evil word that 1/2 the people who have it fear… DENIED. The SLIGHTEST technicality in American health care can cause you to pay for the ENTIRE BILL possibly even after the company said they would pay for it.

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