Healthcare Around the World

HEALTHCARE AROUND THE WORLD….Does socialized British healthcare suck? Is it really better to be insured in America rather than at the mercy of the NHS? Avedon Carol, an American who’s been at the mercy of the NHS for some years now, says no:

To me, though, the priceless fact of UK healthcare is this: I pay for it when I can pay, and I get it when I need it. What that means is that, yes, when I’m getting a paycheck, money comes out whether I’m sick or not, but when I’m ill, I get healthcare whether I have money to fork-over or not. I don’t feel that money coming out of my paycheck, but believe me, as someone who grew up in the US, I am acutely aware of the fact that when I’m thinking about seeking medical care or advice, I know with a certainty that the price is not an issue.

When I was getting ready for my eye surgery, I didn’t forget that even some people I know who have health insurance in the US would have had to write-off their eye if they’d been in my situation because the cost of surgery, two nights in the hospital, and after-care might not all be covered and what they still would have had to produce out-of-pocket would have broken them. Someone with no insurance wouldn’t even have been able to consider it. (And that’s leaving aside the four weeks I spent house-bound while I kept my head in the necessary position to make sure the procedure works. Would your employer give that to you?)

I get the care I need when I need it, and so far it’s been good care. I never have to think about whether I can afford it. Like I say, priceless.

And keep in mind that this is Britain, which is generally thought to have one of the worst national healthcare systems in Europe.

It’s funny, isn’t it? Conservatives keep telling us how bad healthcare is in the socialist hells of Europe and Canada, and yet the people who actually live in Europe and Canada mostly like their healthcare just fine. In fact, they like it better than most Americans like American healthcare (see Exhibit 1 in this report). They pay less for it than we do, too (see Figure 1 in this report).

Marc Danziger may think that “If I had a chronic or serious disease, and insurance, I’d rather be here,” but I can’t figure out why. After all, Europeans seem to get pretty good treatment for chronic and serious diseases, even compared to well insured Americans. I’m afraid the alleged advantages of America’s healthcare system continue to evade me.