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post #1 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 7:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

I caught Frontline last night- the one featuring people forced to buy private health insurance. It wasn't a very encouraging situation for many of them. I'd like to hear directly from our friends in the U.S. about life with "non-universal" health care.

-what is the real cost to you directly?
-are most of you covered by employer sponsored plans?
-are those plans comprehensive enough?
-what is it like if you or a family member has a chronic condition?
-is your health coverage as tenuous as the reports I've read over the years?

I am not referring to the quality of your care at all ( I know it's excellent) just the cost to you - especially if you become a risk because of pre-existing or chronic conditions etc. Set me straight.
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post #2 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 9:23 PM
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

I pay nothing for my health care; y employer pays 100% of it; medical, dental and vision. I have no complaints and have seen plenty from Canada come to the US and pay out of pocket to get surgery quicker than they can in their own country. The media always puts a slant on a story.

This might help you decide if you think it is hard to get medical care if you have no insurance in the US.
Austin ER's got 2,678 visits from 9 people over 6 years
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post #3 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 9:46 PM
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

My employer pays for some of my health care and I pay the rest.

I have a choice b/n different plans that varies from emergency-only care to almost full coverage. The less care I choose, the lower the cost to me.

I PAY for the most expensive plan and the insurance coverage is one of the biggest reasons that I stay in the job that I'm in. It's important to me and my family to be able to choose our doctors and have options in the course of treatment instead of being told who to see and what to do.

This comes from experience. 10yrs ago, I had insurance through the military. They sent me to an old surgeon who still practiced old-school ways to do hernia repair. Instead of two tiny holes and arthroscopic surgery to make the repair, I woke up to find a six-inch incision across my lower abdomen. The recovery should have taken weeks. Instead it took months and to this day I still have pain.

I fear the day that we move to socialized medicine. I think that one day there will be some type of "universal" coverage. If I have the option, and I hope that I do, I will continue to pay for better insurance.



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post #4 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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Originally Posted by lanbrown View Post
I pay nothing for my health care; y employer pays 100% of it; medical, dental and vision. I have no complaints and have seen plenty from Canada come to the US and pay out of pocket to get surgery quicker than they can in their own country. The media always puts a slant on a story.

This might help you decide if you think it is hard to get medical care if you have no insurance in the US.
Austin ER's got 2,678 visits from 9 people over 6 years
While it is true that many Canadians go across the border for treatment, the majority of them do so because they choose to, rather than wait for it up here. Most often their problem is not considered to be immediately life threatening. If it were, they would be treated very quickly. But I would do the same thing if I could afford to have it done stateside and wanted it over with now for my own peace of mind. Here is a good example. In December of 2007 I woke one morning and realized that I had a torn retina. At noon that day my optometrist confirmed it and immediately booked me into a hospital that specializes in this type of surgery ( A orn retina cannot wait ). I was there at 7:00 am the next day. At 11:00 am I was operated on and admitted for an overnight stay. The surgery was successful and I was discharged the following day. I left with a week's worth of dressings and two vials of eye drops. Total cost to me- $0.00. I own my own business and have no coverage outside of our government run program.
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post #5 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

To me it seems that if you can afford it, then you have it as long as the insurance company aint taking the piss, have know of to many cases where a rare treatment will not be covered even though peeps have paid through the nose for what they thought was "full" cover.
God help you if you dont pay though




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post #6 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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Originally Posted by DUX View Post
My employer pays for some of my health care and I pay the rest.

I have a choice b/n different plans that varies from emergency-only care to almost full coverage. The less care I choose, the lower the cost to me.

I PAY for the most expensive plan and the insurance coverage is one of the biggest reasons that I stay in the job that I'm in. It's important to me and my family to be able to choose our doctors and have options in the course of treatment instead of being told who to see and what to do.

This comes from experience. 10yrs ago, I had insurance through the military. They sent me to an old surgeon who still practiced old-school ways to do hernia repair. Instead of two tiny holes and arthroscopic surgery to make the repair, I woke up to find a six-inch incision across my lower abdomen. The recovery should have taken weeks. Instead it took months and to this day I still have pain.

I fear the day that we move to socialized medicine. I think that one day there will be some type of "universal" coverage. If I have the option, and I hope that I do, I will continue to pay for better insurance.
This exactly what is wrong with the U.S. system in my view. Basing the level of care and perhaps expertise that a person receives according to their ability to afford it is unjust and is not tolerated in a "socialized" system. If you need by-pass surgery today you will get it today and it doesn't matter if you're a CEO with a solid gold toilet or a dirt farmer with barely a pot to piss in. Socialized medicine removes economic and social class. And let me tell you about my hernia. My doctor confirmed that I had one and he asked me which surgeon I wanted. I picked the guy ( I knew his reputation was good) and saw him in a few weeks. He discussed the various methods and we decided on the best one (arthroscopic). The wait was two months- a little long but I was in no danger. The surgery was at 10:00 am and I was home in bed by 1:00pm the same day. I was back to work in 3 days on modified duty. And then a follow up visit to the surgeon- all was well. Total cost to me-$21.00 for the pain pills.
Dux- you should embrace universal health care. Imagine if car insurance were elective. All those who chose to have it would be paying enormous rates in order to cover the cost of the carnage caused by those who chose not to have it. And that's what's happening in your medical insurance business. You spread the risk over the entire population. Everyone has the same coverage and the rates are reflective of the costs.
By the way Dux-how much do you pay for that plan and what happens if you get laid off? Does your coverage go with you as long as you can keep paying the premium? I'm curious.
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post #7 of 34 Old 04-02-2009, 11:18 PM
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

Check out Sicko by Michael Moore, had a friend who worked in the system that borrowed the movie from me because she thought it would be shite........but give it back to me with a "ok I have no comment" which in her parlance was ok hands up we are guilty.
BTW Canadian health care is renowned around the world for how good it is




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post #8 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

One small thing to remember. Where do the majority of prescription drugs get discovered? How is the research paid for?? Who pioneers medical procedures?? Who pays for those new practices??

Without the coat tails of the US medical profession to ride on, the Universal Health care might not be so great. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and reap the benefits of watching the game without sacrificing anything. If we stopped pushing the research forward with free market money, where would the world be??
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post #9 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 2:21 AM
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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This exactly what is wrong with the U.S. system in my view. Basing the level of care and perhaps expertise that a person receives according to their ability to afford it is unjust and is not tolerated in a "socialized" system. If you need by-pass surgery today you will get it today and it doesn't matter if you're a CEO with a solid gold toilet or a dirt farmer with barely a pot to piss in. Socialized medicine removes economic and social class.
That dirt farmer can't afford a BMW either, so the government should give him one. That is the logic of your thinking.
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post #10 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 4:20 AM
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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One small thing to remember. Where do the majority of prescription drugs get discovered? How is the research paid for?? Who pioneers medical procedures?? Who pays for those new practices??

Without the coat tails of the US medical profession to ride on, the Universal Health care might not be so great. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and reap the benefits of watching the game without sacrificing anything. If we stopped pushing the research forward with free market money, where would the world be??
I beg to differ.. Just down the road from us is the John Radcliffe Hospital and Research Centre at Oxford. This hospital is world renown in the medical industry for the research it carries out and the new procedures they devise.

The Stoke Mandeville Hosital at Aylesbury is a world centre for paraplegics and spinal injuries. St Bartholomew's and The Royal London are world renown centres for heart problems and cancer treatment.

The discovery of what DNA would look like was announced in a British pub, at lunch time, on the 28th Feb 1953 and look where that led!

The UK's Professor (Lord) Winston has developed tubal microsurgery and various techniques in reproductive surgery, including sterilization reversal and pioneered IVF treatment, which was then taken over by the money makers worldwide.

I know that some people don't understand the National Health Service here, but at least we know that if something goes wrong we will be treated.. Yes the USA may have a wonderful medical programme but if you can't afford Medical Insurance or treament YOU DIE!!!

There was a TV programme on here in the New Year about those who cannot afford Medical Insurance or treatment in the USA. One of the people featured was a 26 year old mother who desperately needed a liver transplant in order to live. She had no Medical Insurance and could not afford to have the procedure done. You try telling her, and her children, that the USA has the worlds best medical care, I bet you she wouldn't agree with you. Plus I bet the opinions of Americans who currently have medical provided with their jobs, or can afford it, would change if they were ever in the position where they could no longer afford it. In the current economic times how many of you can guarantee your jobs are safe right now. Imagine losing your job, your medical insurance or not being able to afford treatment any more! Would you still have the best medical service if your wife or your kids developed a life threatening illness and you could only stand there and watch them die as you were unable to afford the treatment.

I personally have been diagnosed with cervical abnormalities 4 times in my life, and have had FREE surgery 4 times to remove them. If I had been in a country where I had to pay for treatment I would probably be well on my way to developing cervical cancer and dying! Give me the NHS any day, yes I know it's not perfect but at least I know that I will be treated and not have to face telling my kids that I'm going to die as I couldn't afford the treatment.

The TV programme shown here featured a free clinic which was being run for one day only. The word got out and people started queueing at 2am in the hope that they could be seen and get some kind of treatment for their ailments. 2am!!! In the hope someone could help them! How can you possibly tell me that this is right! Thousands of people die in the USA every year because they can't afford medical bills, you try telling them your service is the best, their opinion may differ from yours.

The pharmicutical companies are in it for the money, nothing more, nothing less. Take Pfizers, a truly massive worldwide company, in fact my parents met there 40 years ago while working for them. In 2008 their revenue was $48.3 Billion and they spent $7.9 Billion on research and development. And the Insurance companies are just as bad, they have to make a profit or go under.

As far as I'm concerned give me the system we have here anyday. I know I will be treated, as will my kids both of whom have had surgery already, and I know damn well that it won't cost me anything. I wouldn't want to see the look on my kids faces after telling them I was going to die because I couldn't afford the cost of medical treatment.

What you leave behind is not what is engraved on stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others - Pericles

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post #11 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 6:16 AM
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

Well said Loopy another point that is missing is it is still supply and demand, the huge profits the drugs company makes pays for the research so they can produce more thus making more profits and it goes on and on. Health Insurance only lines the pockets of the Insurance people.




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post #12 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 6:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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That dirt farmer can't afford a BMW either, so the government should give him one. That is the logic of your thinking.
That is an illogical thought . We are not speaking about shallow, worldly possessions. We are speaking about life. No one needs a BMW. But everyone needs health. That need is not and cannot be bound by wealth.
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post #13 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 6:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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One small thing to remember. Where do the majority of prescription drugs get discovered? How is the research paid for?? Who pioneers medical procedures?? Who pays for those new practices??

Without the coat tails of the US medical profession to ride on, the Universal Health care might not be so great. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and reap the benefits of watching the game without sacrificing anything. If we stopped pushing the research forward with free market money, where would the world be??
You raise a good point, but that is not what we are talking about. The health premium you pay (or your employer pays) does not go to research. It goes to a "for profit" entity which has the potential to deny you and your family access to health care without bankrupting you. And may I remind you that advances in medical and pharmaceutical arenas are not the domain of a particular type of medical system or country. Most developed countries can boast of one breakthrough method or drug founded on their soil. Insulin for example.
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post #14 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 7:14 AM
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

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That is an illogical thought . We are not speaking about shallow, worldly possessions. We are speaking about life. No one needs a BMW. But everyone needs health. That need is not and cannot be bound by wealth.
Lanbrown has a point.

I could have a cheaper type of "universal" coverage available to everyone here in the States, but I pay more for the type of coverage that I want. It is not given to me. If we move to a socialized system, I will most likely pay more out of my paycheck in the form of taxes to cover those who don't even bother to go to work. So please explain to me why I should "embrace" universal health care if my level of available treatment decreases while I pay more out of my paycheck? Why shouldn't I say screw-it, quit my job, and let the gov't provide my clothes, food, house, car, gas, etc....?

Yes, there are honest people who work and need serious care and simply can't afford the coverage that I have. However, here in the U.S. if you need medical attention, have zero coverage, and you go to the E.R. you cannot be turned away. You will be treated regardless of ability to pay.

Loopy, I understand your feelings and am glad that things have worked out for you but there are probably situations where the type of attention you would get is not as good as what I have available here. I took my wife to the walk-in clinic yesterday, which is accessible by anyone. She's had headaches for two weeks and they suddenly got worse with a few other strange symptoms.

There is a type of socialized medicine here called HMO coverage. Under an HMO, which is less-expensive, they probably would have given her meds and sent her home for observation with instructions to go to the E.R. if things got worse.

Instead, and b/c of the extra that I elect to pay, the doctor was able to go with his first instinct and order an immediate CT scan at the hospital to rule out bleeding in her brain. We rushed her to the hospital and she was scanned within 1/2 an hour. Thankfully, they saw no bleeding.

Some may argue that it's b/c of an elitist system that I was able to get her in for the CT immediately. I see it differently however. No one gave me the job that I'm in. No one gets up everyday for me and goes to work. No one risks getting shot at for me. I have worked very hard to attain my position, and I stay in it to provide for my family. As I said, there are many who do an honest days work and need coverage. Those options are available. The people that I have a problem with are the ones who sit at home and watch Oprah on their gov't provided wide-screen tv and want "free health care."

As always, everyone needs to be careful about developing opinions from the news and its sound bites....or even worse from Michael Moore. He's a complete For example, health care was all over the news last night. The stories are pouring in from England about women with breast cancer who are being denied meds b/c their cancer has advanced too far to make it cost effective. Is this true?




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post #15 of 34 Old 04-03-2009, 7:28 AM
 
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Re: Tell Me About the U.S. Medical System

Having lived at a border with the US and many relatives over there and some elderly, there is no question that the US medical care is far better than ours in Canada but ONLY provided you are covered or can afford it. There system is fast and the best doctors period!

In Canada our system is great provided you stay healthy. You go for your annual physicals, blood tests and so on and it works great. Where it starts to fail is when you get sick, I mean very sick, like cancer. Everything that goes on at that point has waits involved because the system is full and not enough doctors, in particular specialists. I swear that the system is designed to be slow in hopes that you just die and there's no more cost involved.

I thought waiting was normal until I saw the US. The longer the waits are, the more the cancer spreads. Every day that goes by waiting for treatment is important. That's where you see Canadians going to the US for treatment. Not only is it faster but better as well.

Here is the choice you're faced with.
Do I wait over here and just die for free or do I cross the border, get treated and live for a cost.

I also don't believe the US could have socialized health care now. Way too costly because it has been private for too long, even if they did it on the backs of the wealthy. Up side is, as others have said, it has created great things from drugs to medical procedures.

That idiot Michael Moore has only shown the worst of the US system and the best of other countries with socialized medicine too. You can make anything look good in a movie.
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