truthiness_aura: Gray birdwing. (Default)
[personal profile] truthiness_aura
So flist!

Some of you may have heard about the debate going on right now in the US over universal health care. As WIkipedia states, "Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries, with the exception of the United States." What we have here are a number of private health insurance companies and plans (and a smaller number of providers) that give health care to those who can afford it. Health care plans are generally offered as part of your job benefits. If you're like me and work at a large organization, you generally have access to good providers and don't pay a great deal for services. If, on the other hand, you work for a smaller company, or a company that for whatever reason doesn't have a good plan, you can spend a lot of money on health care, and/or be denied coverage for procedures or doctors you'd prefer. And if you or your spouse don't have a job (and don't qualify for the plans for low-income citizens (Medicaid), elderly citizens (Medicare), or citizens who served in the armed forces (the Veterans Administration)), you generally won't have health care benefits, will be charged hundreds or thousands of dollars for your care, and are just all-over screwed. It's a big messy system with some public participation, but it's mostly overseen by large health insurers.

President Obama is supporting a bill that has provisions for universal publically-funded health care in it. Liberals (Democrats) generally support the idea of universal health care, while conservatives (Republicans) generally oppose it. Wikipedia has an excellent rundown of the arguments on both sides that I won't bother to replicate. But for whatever reason, this issue has really brought out the crazies over here. People (okay, far right conservatives) are arguing that, among other things, adopting universal health care means that the elderly and persistently ill will get poor quality care. (They're also shrieking something about forced euthanasia, but my brain gave out under the sheer bullshit present.) Basically the fear seems to be twofold- first, that the overall quality of care will diminish; and second, that those most at risk will not get the care they need.

So I thought I'd ask people about their healthcare experiences in their countries. I'm particularly interested in seeing the differences in access to care, quality of care, and cost of care between American citizens and citizens of other nations. What do you like about your healthcare? What don't you like? I know my flist has folks from all over. Tell me about your experiences!

I'll start by saying that I live in the US; I have a few chronic illnesses (depression and a kidney transplant) that require regular doctor's appointments and medical tests; and that I have what is considered high-quality health insurance through my job. I would say that my annual expenses on healthcare are about USD $650 a year (about 2% of my gross salary). Much of this cost is from medication. I take five medications daily; I save money by ordering them online through a company that has a deal with my insurer. I like the fact that my health plan offers me some choice in the doctors I'm permitted to see; I don't like the amount of paperwork I have to deal with and the fact that my coverage hinges on being employed. What if I'm fired, or I lose my job because I'm sick?

Fire away, friends! I'd like to hear more than what's being screeched about on CNN.
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truthiness_aura: Gray birdwing. (Default)

October 2011


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