Nationalized healthcare - UK, Canada, et al

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_starinvestor, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Midwest
    In the spirit of collecting feedback about nationalized healthcare, can members who live in a country with nationalized healthcare weigh in on your experiences and assessment of the effectiveness of the program?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. mattflanders

    mattflanders Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Messages:
    279
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    14
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Belgium
    Here in Belgium, healthcare is kind of nationalized. Every "pillar" (Christian, Socialist, Liberal) has social security companies, hospitals, etc. So the government isn't involved, they just say this the minimal service you have to provide.
    And by law everyone has to have social security. It's forbidden not to have it, just like car insurance.

    From the few times I've been in hospital or to the dentist, everything's been a-okay. Most of the fees are paid back almost 100% and last week my dentist prescribed me some painkillers (ibuprofene) for my wisdomteeth and they cost me €1.20 ($1.70) so that's pretty good.

    My mom works for a company that sends household help to the elderly and young families and that service costs under €5/hr. And if you really need it, it's free. (It involves: cooking meals, doing the shopping, cleaning, laundry, if necessary bathing, getting people in and out of bed, medicating, etc)

    So, we can't complain.
     
  3. AG08

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    2,144
    Likes Received:
    431
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    You may want to check out this thread for info about this topic:

    The truth about Canadian healthcare
     
  4. rawbone8

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    2,864
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    Some of my family has had some serious health problems and got excellent treatment with speedy responses.

    My sister had breast cancer 6 years ago and was dealt with quickly with surgery (partial mastectomy), radiation and chemotherapy, recovery support, psychotherapy, and continues to receive follow up tests every 6 months. Her type of cancer is one of the worst ones, and she'll have to be tested twice a year for the foreseeable future. The provincial health plan covered pretty much all costs except for some drugs, which she and her employer's insurance co-pay.

    My late father had good health until he retired, but in his 70s had to have life-saving surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurism, was immediately booked into a leading teaching hospital within 3 days and was operated on by the head surgeon in the department who did the graft. He was in intensive care for 2 days recovery, had post-surgery physiotherapy, and follow up checks. Excellent recovery. He had to pay for ambulance, extra fees for a private hospital room (his choice) and some relatively modest hospital fees. Everything else was covered by the provincial health plan.

    Sadly, within 6 years he was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease. At first he was thought to have suffered a stroke, and was treated in hospital for several weeks. Later it was diagnosed after he had extensive tests, including referral to one of the top doctors at the same teaching hospital mentioned above. He got counseling and physiotherapy, and we were trained on home nursing care by his care-givers (my brother and sister and I were given training to help nurse him and learn the proper use of his feeding tube and general hygiene). He retained his mobility for a more than a year at home with canes, then a walker, until my elderly mother reached her coping limit. We had nurses visiting twice a day for almost two years up until that point. He then spent 6 months in hospital in a chronic care ward. In the last month he was moved to a palliative care wing where he got a respirator and more intensive nursing care. He was mentally aware and retained his will to live up to the end. The provincial plan covered the vast majority of the costs. The care was excellent.

    My daughter was born 7 weeks prematurely and was born via C-section. She spent close to 15 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in an "incubator" before coming home. My wife's visits during the pregnancy to her OB-Gyn were all covered, as were lab tests and ultrasounds. Surgery was covered. I think we paid about $600 total for hospital stay for my wife's semi-private room, and the two ambulance trips required. The hospital arranged to have speech and motor skill development tests with a team of pediatric specialists every 6 months to assess our daughter's development until she turned two years of age. No cost to us.

    I can call my family doctor for an appointment just about any time and get an appointment within a day or two, and a complete physical exam once a year. My wife has some non-crisis health issues that required a specialist and that took 3 months for an appointment. There is no fee for a visit. She also gets some partial coverage for some limited acupuncture and chiropractic treatments.

    Some services are removed from coverage as the years pass. The health plan does not cover everything. I have to pay for eye examinations and prescription reading glasses. Dental care is not covered unless it is surgery in hospital. Drugs are not covered. People either get private employer benefits to help cover those costs or like me, pay entirely out of pocket.

    I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars the above care would have cost us if our family lived in another country with a different health care system, and we did not have comparable private insurance.



    Emergency Rooms at hospitals are not fun to wait in, but the longest I have had to wait was about 5 hours when I brought an injured friend in and stayed with her. There were more serious cases, so she had to wait a long time. It was the weekend when they are busiest. Cost: just her time and patience. The plan covered the visit.
     
    #4 rawbone8, Sep 10, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  5. Drifterwood

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    15,724
    Likes Received:
    386
    Location:
    Fingringhoe (GB)
    We pay National Insurance in the UK. I think it's 11% of your salary and then your employer makes a further contribution of 5%, I think. I should pay more attention.

    These sums are supposed to cover Healthcare and Pension provision, but in reality they don't and get put in the overall pot.

    There are too many issues to discuss in one post. Who runs it, Consultants or Managers? Which structure is best? Do we get blackmailed by the drugs companies? Should hospitals specialise? Should they outsource to the private sector where and when it is cheaper?

    For the average earner and below it represents very good value whatever the cost because they pay relatively less. I'm a higher earner but I don't have a problem that my tax goes to a universal healthcare system, with the caveat that it does not become institutionalised and represents good value for money, with money available for the care of people who need it.
     
  6. D_Tintagel_Demondong

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,055
    Likes Received:
    8
    Brilliant post, Che! There's nothing like Empirical evidence to quell the doubters.

    Chiropractic and acupuncture is covered and eye examinations, including preventative glaucoma tests, are not (in Ontario). That's ridiculous! I guess the Chiropractor's lobby groups are more powerful (and have excellent posture).

    All of that is pretty much 'free' for the elderly and those on social assistance. Women on 'Mother's Allowance' get money to cover these costs.

    Two hours is the longest for me, with an average of about 45 minutes. The myth that people wait days in triage is completely untrue.

    As for the ambulance fees, I am fairly indifferent. I like the fact that user fees discourage abuse (people speed-dialing 911 over every ache and pain), but I see two problems:
    1. These fees could discourage people with serious problems from going to the hospital.
    2. I called for an ambulance for a friend of mine a few years back. He went to the hospital and I got a $40 bill from the ambulatory service.
     
  7. rawbone8

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    2,864
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Canada
    A fee of $40 is probably heavily subsidized. I'd say it's a token amount that recoups some of the costs, yet is high enough to discourage frivolous use. I have heard that fees are waived in some cases when the patient has demonstrable difficulty paying.
     
  8. D_Tintagel_Demondong

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,055
    Likes Received:
    8
    What pissed me off was more the fact that I got stuck with the bill, rather than the person who was taken to the hospital. I paid it, but I think that the bill should have gone to him.
     
  9. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Here
    All I know is that if the USA is such a 'super-power' then why don't we have free medical coverage like the vast majority of all the other not-so powerful countrys?
    GRRRRRR
     
  10. kalipygian

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,982
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    35
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    alaska
    Does a Canadian dentist charge upwards of $1,200 for a crown?
     
  11. ColonialBoy

    ColonialBoy Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    5
    The weirdest part of the US system is you do not have socialised medicine, but run a big budget deficit. Australia has socialised medicine, but runs a big budget surplus.

    Mandatory 1.5% of all salaries goes to government healthcare.

    Australian Government Healthcare
    - free hospitals; I've never paid a cent at a government hospital
    - long waiting lists for elective surgery eg hip replacements

    Private doctors visits - government pays doctor about $35 for each visit, but many doctors charge more and you pay the difference

    Private hospitals - many are run by churches and are not for profit.

    Private Health Insurance
    - is virtually mandatory if you want to use a private hospital
    - families pay a fixed rate no matter how many children; singles pay exactly half this rate; this is enshrined in legislation. The net effect is having more children does not cost you more in health insurance.
    - 30% tax rebate for all private healthcare

    Australia is 6th in terms of lifre expectancy; US is 29th.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy
     
    #11 ColonialBoy, Sep 11, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  12. D_Tintagel_Demondong

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,055
    Likes Received:
    8
    At least.

    Virtually all dental care and drugs are not covered by any Canadian provincial plan that I know of. Unfortunately, we must buy private insurance for these.
     
  13. photodudeuk

    photodudeuk New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    Albums:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Lincolnshire UK
    All I can say is that if it were not for the National Health Service in the UK I would not be alive, as it has saved my life several times. It does have many problems and the cost is unsustainable in the present situation where, IMHO the country's economy and social cohesion is heading for collapse.
    There are ethical dilemmas: while I paid a lot of tax before I became ill, and am now cured of the initial (genetic) problem (Alport's Syndrome), the medication regime has caused further problems and I doubt if I will work again. The cost to the taxpayer of the medication I have to take to stay alive is substantial
    Some would say that nature should have taken its course.
     
  14. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Here
    In the USA its all about capitalism..
    The fedral public reserve is privatly owned in the USA.
    Its the only bank that makes money for the USA, with interest.
    The only way to pay it back is to borrow more money, with interest..
    The Drug companys and insurance companys buy up all the lobbyist seats in congress and therefore have a big influence as to what is actually passed regarding health legislation... There actually are cures out there for some diseases but the drug companys have bought all the rightd to them and will not put them on the market... They would rather put out drugs that negate the symptom but not the cause..
     
  15. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    11,908
    Likes Received:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Here in Spain the employer is responsible for footing the Social Security bill. What is paid depends on contracted hours and age. It ranges from €45 a month to €350. All self employed like myself pay Autonomo which is €245 a month. Social security covers you for health care, pension and unemployment benefits.

    Everyone paying social security is entitled to the same health care but the other benefits depend on the amount you are paying. All dental treatment is private.

    I've had a few experiences of health care and have been well impressed with what I have seen. My partner had health issues last year. We went and registered him with the local social doctor at 8.30 one morning and he was inducted and saw a doctor by 9am. He was back the same night to see a specialist at 6pm and treament started immediately. He was monitored constantly until his condition was stabilised. His monthly prescription charges for his drugs are €2.30. A pittance.

    A friend recently needed a minor operation. After consulting his doctor he was in hospital and sorted within the week.

    After much nagging I recently went and enrolled at the local social Doctor. I was made an appointment with the nurse for the same day and given a full medical screening as part of the induction. The exam was very thorough and included full blood analysis.

    The other side of the coin though is that if you are not paying social you are not entitled to any "free" treatment.

    The health care here in Spain is far superior to what I witnessed in my last years in the UK.
     
  16. Elmer Gantry

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,503
    Albums:
    2
    Likes Received:
    546
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Melbourne (VIC, AU)
    Australia has Medicare which seems to work fairly well, despite our last conservative govt. trying to tear it apart. A trip to your local doctor costs you nothing. Some friends of mine from the UK who recently became naturalised citizens had their second child here and were amazed at how well they were treated by the public hospital staff and how little it cost them.
    The ambulance service charges horrifically but you can subscribe for next to nothing (I think its $50 a year for a family) and that gets you road and air ambulance service anywhere for nothing.

    Private health insurance has always struggled over here due to how good the public system is. It only survives today thanks to the efforts of the Howard govt making life a little easier for them.
     
  17. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Midwest
    This is incorrect. The federal reserve is a government entity. It does have independence in that it can act without Congressional or Presidential approval, but it is absolutely not a private entity.

    I would be interested in which cures have been developed for which diseases, because that would be a significant profit windfall for any of the pharm companies - and each of the pharm stock prices have been struggling for years.

    This was a very left-leaning post with no source or detail; it's hard not to completely dismiss it.
     
  18. D_Tintagel_Demondong

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,055
    Likes Received:
    8
    All of the Federal Reserve's money comes from private bankers. These investors charge the government interest on every dollar that they withdraw. The Federal Reserve is one of the biggest blunders in the history of the American government.

    Of course, the gov't must raise taxes to cover the interest, and make these bankers even richer (and increasing the income gap). I don't know why the public tolerates this, but I doubt that anything will change soon.
     
  19. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Here
    Thank YOU VERY MUCH Rec for explaining what I was having troubles with!! And for validating my point so clearly!!
     
  20. D_Davy_Downspout

    D_Davy_Downspout Account Disabled

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    1,144
    Likes Received:
    0
    You have some serious brass balls to say this to someone else on this board. I have called you out repeatedly for spouting "facts" that you couldn't back up. One of those times likely lead you to post this thread.

    I applaud that you're actually doing research now, but when it comes to informed debate, you should probably make sure that the shadow you chase is not the one you cast.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted