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Public or Private Health Care?

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Public or Private Health Care?

Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:04 pm
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Default Public or Private Health Care?

This is a question to anyone living in America. What are your thoughts on the US's Private Health Service in comparison to the UK's Public Health Service?

What would you like to see improved with the US Health System? Would you rather pay more taxes and have a public service that covers everyone?

Discuss? I'm interested
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:09 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by Rob B
This is a question to anyone living in America. What are your thoughts on the US's Private Health Service in comparison to the UK's Public Health Service?

What would you like to see improved with the US Health System? Would you rather pay more taxes and have a public service that covers everyone?

Discuss? I'm interested
I would have to say the US system. You can get treatment when you want and when you need it, so long as you have the money. In the UK it's allways to do with waiting lists. The company I worked for in the UK had private health insurance which just acts as a queue jumper to get you to the front of the queue. I had to go and see a neurologist about a severe hospitalizing migraine attack and would have had to wait 6-10 weeks on NHS. Used the private insurance and got to see the same Dr I would have seen on the NHS within 1 week.

One of the big things that helps with the cost here is an FSA account. FSA allows you to divert a portion of your pretax income to a special account that you can use to pay for most medical bills. Our's is the type where we get 100% of the amount we plan to put in on Jan 1st.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by Rob B
What would you like to see improved with the US Health System? Would you rather pay more taxes and have a public service that covers everyone?
Where to start ? Firstly, there's things with UK healthcare that are not good - length of time to see a specialist, big wards with lots of beds in hospitals, um, er, ok, can't think much beyond those at the moment. BUT, if you have the money you always have the choice to go private.
In the US, your employer (and you) are effectively taxed - it just goes to a private party (an insurance company) rather than a central government body. So, it's inefficient, as everyone is taking a cut. Now, there's a lot of great things available in the US, great doctors etc, but the overriding concern is you do not have peace of mind. In the UK, you will get medical care and hopefully get cured. In the US, you will get medical care, and you may get cured but you may also be left bankrupt.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by dinosaur
Where to start ? Firstly, there's things with UK healthcare that are not good - length of time to see a specialist, big wards with lots of beds in hospitals, um, er, ok, can't think much beyond those at the moment. BUT, if you have the money you always have the choice to go private.
In the US, your employer (and you) are effectively taxed - it just goes to a private party (an insurance company) rather than a central government body. So, it's inefficient, as everyone is taking a cut. Now, there's a lot of great things available in the US, great doctors etc, but the overriding concern is you do not have peace of mind. In the UK, you will get medical care and hopefully get cured. In the US, you will get medical care, and you may get cured but you may also be left bankrupt.
Agreed! I think having the choice to go private if you can afford it is a much better system.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by hayley82
Agreed! I think having the choice to go private if you can afford it is a much better system.
The problem with that is as more and more people in the UK go private their will be different teirs of private care and it will soon boil down to the more you pay for your private care the quicker you will be seen to. In effect its the US system via the backdoor.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:40 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

[QUOTE=dan_alford]I would have to say the US system. You can get treatment when you want and when you need it, so long as you have the money. .

QUOTE]

Don't understand this sentence, because the rest of your post confirmed that you can in the UK too....

The difference is, in the UK the medical insurance is cheaper than here (but you do have to pay NI as well, although I still don't think it gets up to the same level as the extortionate premiums here), and if you can't afford insurance, there is no danger of you being left on the hospital doorstep searching for a credit card with some balance left on it, nor of being made bankrupt just to try to stay alive...

Last edited by Yorkieabroad; Jul 21st 2006 at 8:48 pm.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by dan_alford
The problem with that is as more and more people in the UK go private their will be different teirs of private care and it will soon boil down to the more you pay for your private care the quicker you will be seen to. In effect its the US system via the backdoor.
I see what you're saying, but if you don't have the money, you can still get seen, just not as quickly.
And seeing a GP won't cost $60 for a quick visit! I just think that having a choice is fair to everyone.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:52 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

[QUOTE=Yorkieabroad]
Originally Posted by dan_alford
I would have to say the US system. You can get treatment when you want and when you need it, so long as you have the money. .

QUOTE]

Don't understand this sentence, because the rest of your post confirmed that you can in the UK too....

The difference is, in the UK the medical insurance is a cheaper than here (but you do have to pay NI as well, although I still don't think it gets up to the same level as the extortionate premiums here), and if you can't afford insurance, there is no danger of you being left on the hospital doorstep searching for a credit card with some balance left on it, nor of being made bankrupt just to try to stay alive...
Well I might be biased because even paying extortionate insurance here plus medical bills we are better off than paying high NI contributions in England, even though I currently earn less here than I did in the UK. My companies health insurance was free to me (allthough taxable). Like I have previously mentioned, if more people start getting private care in the uk the premiums will go up. A lot of the "private" health care is done by NHS doctors in NHS hospitals and so the supply is currently finite. If more people go private, the providers will have the option of having to build more facilities or charge more for services, either way increaing cost.

My aunt was also stuck in a uk hospital for 16 weeks because of bureucracy and inefficiency. There is no way you would be stuck in a hospital here, mainly because the insurance company would be wanting to kick you out!
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:53 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by hayley82
I see what you're saying, but if you don't have the money, you can still get seen, just not as quickly.
And seeing a GP won't cost $60 for a quick visit! I just think that having a choice is fair to everyone.
That is the one thing that I don't like. Especially when the Dr always wants you to come back in "6 weeks". $60 is a bit much tho, we only pay $20.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

I prefer the US system. Partly because we dont pay for it - but also because we see a specialist when we need to, not when we get to the head of a queue.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by dan_alford
That is the one thing that I don't like. Especially when the Dr always wants you to come back in "6 weeks". $60 is a bit much tho, we only pay $20.
That's without insurance.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by hayley82
That's without insurance.
Ahhh Ok.


Kate reminded me of another good point. You can get to see your GP when you need to. I remember several times having to wait 3-5 days for an appointment in the UK by which time you are usually feeling better or have gotten so bad you have to go to A&E.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by dan_alford
The problem with that is as more and more people in the UK go private their will be different teirs of private care and it will soon boil down to the more you pay for your private care the quicker you will be seen to. In effect its the US system via the backdoor.
The issue is that here there is no "good enough" safety net. The NHS, despite its problems, is wonderful. You never have to worry about paying for an ambulance, reaching your lifetime insurance limit, pre-existing condition coverage etc. It's there if you need it.
There's no equivalent here. It would be nice if there were, but then US government agencies are so incompetent, it might be messy.
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 9:05 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by hayley82
Agreed! I think having the choice to go private if you can afford it is a much better system.
I third that!
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Old Jul 21st 2006, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: Public or Private Health Care?

Originally Posted by dinosaur
You never have to worry about paying for an ambulance
Have you read any of the ambulance based blogs? Such as the superb random acts of reality or neenaw control? Every week you see stories of people calling out ambulances for non emergencies or even worse using the "difficulty breathing" card to get an ambulance quickly when they are in no desperate need of one and causing long delays in ambulance wait times.
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