This was going to be a blog but I want discussion and information from the community; 

The UK NHS is funded by 14% tax, that's a mean of £3,360 for the median salary of £24,500 yr. Or £280 a month. And no one can be turned away because they may actually need the service they are trying to pay for....

A prescription is £8 whether it's for £2 pain killers or £900 chemotherapy treatments(some are tablets to take home) and drugs given in hospital are free.

I want to know what the average figures are in America, because I think we probably don't get a fair representation in our press; poor families in southern USA were quoted as paying 400 a month, more than their rent, for health insurance.

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I haven't looked at averages but, here in the States, you either pay a ridiculous amount of money for your own health insurance or you are limited to what (usually more affordable) options your employer offers. Most companies only offer these benefits for full time employees and, even then, they are not eligible for the first year and don't get much of a choice in matters of quality.

Even after a person has health insurance, this does not guarantee treatment or health care. Most insurances will deny coverage or put up a fight to pay a medical bill.

For instance, my mom has been a nurse (and paying into disability) for 20 years. Last month she was in an accident on her way to work and is in and out of neurology and physical therapy treatment. Her job is threatening to fire her and disability is refusing to pay her in the meantime.

It's pretty crappy.

I blame insurance. Insurance companies make agreements with medical facilities in which they pay only a small percentage for the care provided to a patient. To make a profit off this arrangement, hospitals inflate their costs. Insurance companies still get a break but those of us paying out of pocket have to pay the full, inflated cost.

It's a mess.

Well I am a military vet so my case is different so I will give you my sister in law's statistics. She works at walmart. She makes $10.50 an hour. Here in the states a full time work week is 40 hours a week. She pays $190 a month on medical insurance a month. She has a $750 a year deductable. That means she has to pay that before the insurance kicks in. She pays about $9 for perscriptions, some less and some more it depends on the meds and whether there is a generic available. What patch seems to be talking about is what we call HMO's.  I personally think that medical bills are so expensive because it is in noone's interest except the customer(you). Even then you don't pay it directly so noone tries to reduce cost not the insurance company or the hospital or the lawers.

It seems pretty poor, when there is funding for large scale and non-vital military opporations but not health care. And relying on companies who profit from a denial of service. Well, I don't pretend to understand it yet but so far, it seems like someone's getting screwed.

You have to understand that even nationalized healthcare isn't perfect. It is a MUCH BETTER SYSTEM than what's going on in America, and I think that any sick person has the RIGHT to be treated. But. Here's some food for thought for you.

I would like to call your attention to Act Four: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. The story is about a woman who has a serious psychological disorder: munchausen syndrom. Individuals with this disorder crave the love, sympathy, and affection you find in a hospital setting. She was a sick woman, and everything she did was due to a psychological disorder: something that should have been identified and treated. Instead, she was blacklisted in all healthcare facilities. Eventually, she developed a serious physical condition (cancer) and was not able to get any treatment, even though she was legitimately and honestly sick. In America, it is illegal to blacklist patients. In countries with nationalized healthcare, however, it isn't. 

I'm afraid that isn't true, it is not legal to do that in the uk.
We had a well known regular. He used to take insulin for attention. 70 admissions a year.

He was never barred. Or redirected.

One of the problems is that advancements far outstripped the ability to plan. For example I have leukemia and have had a stem cell transplant from my brother to treat it. It cost almost a million dollars. Its just unrealistic to expect that everyone could afford that or that the govt or insurance companies could. 16 years ago my father had a heart transplant. I know several people who are on kidney dialysis all that cost a lot of money yet everyone expects things like that to be available to everyone. Thats just unrealistic. It will bankrupt countries. A few decades back people just died of the diseases we now treat. Insurance doesn't have incentive to reduce cost because the high cost makes it unthinkable to go without the insurance so they want the higher prices. We need to figure out a way to make it unprofitable to have higher prices.

Thats just unrealistic. It will bankrupt countries.

How come it hasn't then? It hasn't bankrupted the UK, Canada, France, Norway, Sweden etc.

He's using the, "Quia ego sic dico," argument, I'm guessing.

Vertigo health care expenses are a big drain on major economies all over Europe austerity all over the place look at Greece. I know that healthcare isn't the only thing but its a huge one. I was merely giving examples. Its just unrealistic to expect a million dollar expense for everybody thats just too much where would the money come from?

 You can't just print the money from thin air.

Latch, if free healthcare is such a big drain, explain certain factors...

1) How come the US spends FAR more on healthcare as a pecentage of GDP than any other western country.

(16% compared to 10% across most of Europe and 8% in the UK in particular)

2) Why is no European economy offering to put austerity measures in place around healthcare?

Vertigo health care expenses are a big drain on major economies all over Europe austerity all over the place look at Greece.

You are aware that healthcare was not the cause of the crisis in Greece, yes? You are also aware that the US spends significently more money on its healthcare system than Greece does.

Here's American health care as I've experienced it.

My husband got laid off last January and has been desperately seeking employment ever since.  Thanks to cobra laws, he was allowed to stay on his insurance as long as we could pay the premiums, and I got a separate private policy.  We ended up forking over about 24% of my 2011 income in insurance premiums alone (I guess it is technically less then yours, though, because we're covering two people, not just one).  Then come co-pays, $45-$50 per doctor visit, plus if you get lab work, it's hit or miss how much the insurance will cover, and you have to come up with the difference.  Then my husband needed a root canal.  His health insurance "covers" dental work.  It payed $40 and we ponied up the other $500.

If one of us were to be hospitalized, we'd have to pay a deductible of $1,500 before the insurance kicked in at all, then it would cover 70% and we would owe 30% of the final bill.  Frankly, one serious illness will break us, plunging us into debt that we might never recover from. 

My mother had a cancerous growth cut out of her foot last year, requiring reconstructive surgery so she would be able to walk again.  It wiped out my parent's life savings and they now owe more in medical bills then their house is worth.  This after working their entire lives, planning ahead, and retiring comfortably.

My health insurance only covers pregnancy if there is a life-threatening complication.  Otherwise, if I were to get pregnant, I'm essentially uninsured.  If I accidentally get pregnant, I HOPE I get pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes or something, so the insurance will cover my care.  How messed up is that?  They only offer one policy that covers pregnancy, and it's even crummier then the one I have now, with (if I recall correctly) a $7,500 deductible for ANY medical treatment (not just pregnancy-related care).  None of their higher end plans even have it as an option.

The messed up part of all this is that my husband and I are the lucky ones.  At least we can afford the premiums (actually, we CAN'T afford them, we're slowly sucking the savings account dry, hoping he'll find work before this all comes to a head, and I've been doing a mental inventory of what possessions we can sell when that money runs out).  In my younger days, I spent about 8 years with no insurance at all, unable to afford the premiums and trusting to luck to not get sick or badly hurt.  I know loads of people who don't have any insurance.  If they get sick, they're screwed.

Vertigo you seem to be under the impression that I am advocating for the American system. I am not. I was merely pointing out how expensive it is. Greece did cut some of their healthcare. Healthcare is very expensive. It is a big drain on the economy. I was merely pointing out that it is very expensive and that the major players (the  insurance companies and the hospitals) don't really have incentive for reduceing the prices. I was trying to point out the flaws.


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