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International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!



 
 
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  #21  
Old May 21st, 2007, 3:45 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by SSJ_Jup81 View Post
I know I would go for this. I'd rather have some type of healthcare (especially since I'm diabetic), that's affordable for me, and suffer with having to wait than to not have it at all. Beggers can't be choosy, I always say.
I think that what I said came out wrong.... apologies. If we did have an NHS with the option to keep private insurance, I would keep my insurance. BUT, if moving over to an NHS was dependent on me giving up my private insurance - I would do it in a heartbeat. No question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dung
Nobody here fails to get urgent treatment because they can't afford it.
The same is true in the US. That 12 year old boy without health insurance did receive care, including very costly brain surgery. Unfortunately, it was too late. An $80 dental procedure would have been a hell of a lot cheaper than $250,000 in final medical expenses, not to mention a precious life.

It just goes to show how important pro-active medical care is and this is what our nation needs.



Last edited by Ana-Magus; May 21st, 2007 at 3:52 pm.
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  #22  
Old May 21st, 2007, 4:01 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by Ana-Magus View Post
I think that what I said came out wrong.... apologies. If we did have an NHS with the option to keep private insurance, I would keep my insurance. BUT, if moving over to an NHS was dependent on me giving up my private insurance - I would do it in a heartbeat. No question.
I feel that what I said came out wrong, so "apologies" here as well. I was only referring to those who dislike NHS or finding reasons to complain about it.

Out of curiosity, do you obtain private insurance on your own, or is it a part of your benefits through your job?
Quote:
The same is true in the US. That 12 year old boy without health insurance did receive care, including very costly brain surgery. Unfortunately, it was too late. An $80 dental procedure would have been a hell of a lot cheaper than $250,000 in final medical expenses, not to mention a precious life.

It just goes to show how important pro-active medical care is and this is what our nation needs.
That's the thing, it really shouldn't even be that way, which you've already pointed out, but there isn't much that can be done, imo. When it comes to healthcare, the US is really lacking. I'm not very knowledgable of our healthcare set up, I just find it odd how not everyone in this country can't seem to get it.


  #23  
Old May 21st, 2007, 4:19 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by SSJ_Jup81 View Post
Out of curiosity, do you obtain private insurance on your own, or is it a part of your benefits through your job?
I have benefits through my job. I have had to pay out of pocket before though, through COBRA. (for those outside of the US - more info on COBRA can be found here - http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/health-plans/cobra.htm) It cost me over $400 a month for single coverage and, at the time, was more than my rent and car payment combined. The coverage wasn't that great either!

My husband also has coverage through his job, which is much cheaper than my coverage. Get this... because my employer offers me coverage, my husbands insurance won't cover me 100%. There is a clause that states (loosely) "if a spouse declines coverage through their employer in order to receive coverage through this insurance, we will only over 20% of the cost."

Insurance companies do all they can to pay as little as possible. It's so sad to think that when a human life is a stake, the bottom line is more important.


  #24  
Old May 21st, 2007, 6:28 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by SSJ_Jup81 View Post
When I actually had health insurance, I felt that it was okay. It was nice because it covered my medication costs, even though I only had one type of medication to take.

The only downside to healthcare (in the US anyway), is that not everyone can get it at an affordable price, especially if you have a pre-existing condition when applying for insurance. I'm diabetic, so I can hang it up. Paying those outrages amounts per month, just isn't in my budget. For me, since I've started this job, I haven't had insurance/healthcare since I'm a temporary employee (seems like it was false advertisement temp > hire and I'm still a temp). In July, it will have been two years. The best way to get healthcare is through the companies you work for, but this doesn't apply to temporary workers, so they have to pay out of pocket for medications and treatment, and that can be expensive.

I never had problems (when I had insurance to actually get checkups, whether it's with the eye doctor, physician, GYN, etc.) where appointments and such were concerned, so my experience has always been a good one. Now, as for the actual doctors, that's an entirely different story. I have had a doctor (or two) that I didn't care for, but that's pretty irrelevant to the topic.
I've always found the group aspect of Health Care in Amercia to be a bit odd. In a nut shell, the most affordable way to obtain haelth care is to participate in a group plan. Most group plans are sponsored by employers and granted as a benefit to their employees (employees generally have to pay something for the benefit).

What I find odd is that there are laws which prohibit specific types of organizations from selling health insurance to their members. For instance, many businesses, especially small ones, belong to a Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is prohibited from providing a group health insurance plan to its members because that would "violate it's charter and stated purpose" So many small businesses go without health insurance plans or pay exhorbidant fees because their pool of workers is smaller.

Well, if the problem in the US is that many people are living without health insurance why not allow member driven organizations to sell health insurance packages? Like Costco. Lots of people who don't have health insurance, and lots of small businesses are members of Costco. Why not allow Costco to form it's own pool and sell health insurance to its members?


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  #25  
Old May 21st, 2007, 6:56 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
I've always found the group aspect of Health Care in Amercia to be a bit odd. In a nut shell, the most affordable way to obtain haelth care is to participate in a group plan. Most group plans are sponsored by employers and granted as a benefit to their employees (employees generally have to pay something for the benefit).
Yeah, this is pretty much true. I think the amount gets taken out of the check every week. I'm not sure entirely how it works, since I've never been fortunate enough to get a job, where I get benefits in general.
Quote:
What I find odd is that there are laws which prohibit specific types of organizations from selling health insurance to their members. For instance, many businesses, especially small ones, belong to a Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is prohibited from providing a group health insurance plan to its members because that would "violate it's charter and stated purpose" So many small businesses go without health insurance plans or pay exhorbidant fees because their pool of workers is smaller.
Now this, I didn't know. This may explain why my younger cousin, who's an Assistant Manager of a clothing store, doesn't get any benefits or insurance period. It's a small business.
Quote:
Well, if the problem in the US is that many people are living without health insurance why not allow member driven organizations to sell health insurance packages? Like Costco. Lots of people who don't have health insurance, and lots of small businesses are members of Costco. Why not allow Costco to form it's own pool and sell health insurance to its members?
That's an interesting concept, but wouldn't one have to be actual Costco members, to actually get the insurance, and that aside, there's still that screen process. Unless you're close to 100% healthy, you have a better chance of getting insurance, unless you're old and apply with AARP or something. Like for me, I've been rejected for insurance at the normal rate (aboug $60/$65 a month), because I'm not the "normal" weight nor am I 100% healthy since I'm a diabetic. They rejected me right off the bat. I was offered alternatives, but paying close to or more than $400 a month is just ridiculous just to go to the doctor to get prescription medication. Healthcare definitely sucks in this country, and even before I'd gotten to this point (where I didn't have insurance), I always felt this way and wondered why it couldn't be set up where everyone can get it who has some type of a job, like say in the UK or Canada.

That aside, I need to do something. I've been out of my medication for a long time now, but, it's just too expensive to go to the doctor and pay out of pocket for the visit just so that they can write you a prescription to obtain more medication. We do have places like Patient First that take people without insurance and go on about how it's affordable, but the last time I went there, which was last year, they charged an arm and a leg. That one visit was nearly $350, especially after they found out I was a diabetic, who hadn't had medication in forever. It took me a check and a credit card to pay for the visit, and to cover what I wrote for the check, I had to borrow money (which I hate doing), and then I had to pay for the medication they prescribed.

Ranting aside, whichever candidate (regardless of the political party) who decides to improve the healthcare here with a decent plan, is defiintely getting my vote. IMO, all these unnecessary organizations (NRA) need to spend funds on improving healthcare, or either, this country should have some type of tax so that we can have an NHS type system.



Last edited by SSJ_Jup81; May 21st, 2007 at 7:02 pm.
  #26  
Old May 21st, 2007, 7:17 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

I don't necessarily support a NHS type plan, but I think we should make it easier for more organizations to sell group plans (like Chamber's of Commerce, the SBA, or Costco) and preexisting conditions (like diabetes or asthma or pregnancy) shouldn't preclude you from buying into a plan.

On a personal note, have you contacted the manufacturer of the insulin you used to take? I know Pfizer used to have a program where they would donate insulin to diabetic's at little or no cost to the patient. Here's a link to the program......

http://www.pfizer.com/pfizer/subsite...rams.index.jsp


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  #27  
Old May 21st, 2007, 7:28 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
I don't necessarily support a NHS type plan,
Well, it's better than having nothing, though andi t seems that it's mostly young people who don't have any type of healthcare, or lower income families with not so great jobs. At least there's an alternative in places like the UK with this not so perfect plan aside from health insurance.
Quote:
but I think we should make it easier for more organizations to sell group plans (like Chamber's of Commerce, the SBA, or Costco)
I whole-heartedly agree.
Quote:
and preexisting conditions (like diabetes or asthma or pregnancy) shouldn't preclude you from buying into a plan.
Yeah. It's annoying that I can't get it, because I'm "sick" to them. I mean, isn't that what they're for? To help the sick to get well?
Quote:
On a personal note, have you contacted the manufacturer of the insulin you used to take? I know Pfizer used to have a program where they would donate insulin to diabetic's at little or no cost to the patient. Here's a link to the program......

http://www.pfizer.com/pfizer/subsite...rams.index.jsp
Oh, I'm not on insulin, just a generic pill for it (my father takes insulin, but he has a job with insurance benefits), but, my refills ran out. I'd have to go to the doctor to get approved so that they can write the prescription so that I can get more refills. The actual medication that I was taken didn't cost all that much, it's the actual doctor's visit that costs a lot and since I am diabetic, no matter what I go for, they'll always do lab work on me, which means more money out of my pocket. I'm technically supposed to go every two or three months anyway, so that a physician can monitor me to know if I ever need to up my dosage or lower it or adjust my diet, etc., but that's much too expensive, and I hate having to use a credit card just for a measley routine visit.


  #28  
Old May 24th, 2007, 3:54 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by SSJ_Jup81 View Post
When I actually had health insurance, I felt that it was okay. It was nice because it covered my medication costs, even though I only had one type of medication to take.

The only downside to healthcare (in the US anyway), is that not everyone can get it at an affordable price, especially if you have a pre-existing condition when applying for insurance. I'm diabetic, so I can hang it up. Paying those outrages amounts per month, just isn't in my budget. For me, since I've started this job, I haven't had insurance/healthcare since I'm a temporary employee (seems like it was false advertisement temp > hire and I'm still a temp). In July, it will have been two years. The best way to get healthcare is through the companies you work for, but this doesn't apply to temporary workers, so they have to pay out of pocket for medications and treatment, and that can be expensive.

I never had problems (when I had insurance to actually get checkups, whether it's with the eye doctor, physician, GYN, etc.) where appointments and such were concerned, so my experience has always been a good one. Now, as for the actual doctors, that's an entirely different story. I have had a doctor (or two) that I didn't care for, but that's pretty irrelevant to the topic.
This is a huge failing of our healthcare system. I can cite an example of this.

A close family friend and his wife are clergy. He is the pastor of a Methodist Church in Southern Illinois. It is a small, rural community, but they have a moderate congregation. In addition, the Presbyterian Church has such a small congregation that they no longer have a pastor, so, strangely, he and his wife have taken over running their church too. They are constantly going to ailing church member's homes and hospitals, sometimes hundreds of miles to minister to them, and at all odd hours of the night.

For this, their needs are barely provided for by the Methodist Church. They provide their house, but not the bills, not their vehicle, nor fuel, nor food. They are paid only a slave wage (Barely 13,000 dollars last year between the two of them). The one thing that the Church does give them is their healthcare, and a good thing too.

Both of them have serious heart trouble, and she has chronic bronchitis as well. They are routinely hospitalized and have a list of medications longer than my grocery list (that is saying something). Were they to leave, they would lose the health care. Both are very educated, and he has run companies before. However, unless he went back to a job that gave him company paid insurance for the both of them, they would never be able to pay for the doctors and medications they require.

These are two of the most spiritual people I know. Yet no one ever seems to care. Not even their own church board of governors. Thanks to our healtcare system, they are stuck at the will of the church governors.


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  #29  
Old May 26th, 2007, 1:40 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

Here in Taiwan we have a system similar to NHS or Australia's Medicare. I get a certain percentage taken out of my salary each month and doctors consultations and medications are heavily subsidised. One problem is that Taiwan is still a develping nation and so although they have the knowledge to provide medical care as good as any developed nation the money just isn't available. For example, I developed a medical problem about 2 years ago and the first thing the doctor should have done is give me a blood test. However, as this test would cost about US$1500 (for the hospital, not me) I was given some medicine which would solve what was most likely to be my problem. The medicine didn't work and I was given some different stuff which also didn't work and after a year of nothing working they ran out of ideas and were forced to give me a blood test (which diagnosed my problem). However, my problem isn't life threatning so while the lack of proper care was frustrating it's not a big deal. From what I have heard they do care sufficiently for serious medical conditions.

I have a collegue who is Taiwanese but his 2 children have US/Taiwanese citizenship. They spend a fair bit of time in the US for work reasons. Once, while on a year-long visit to the US his daughter (8 years) had a heart attack and they discovered she has a serious genetic defect. My collegue had a lot of trouble getting his daughter proper medical care in the US, despite having health insurance (I guess they had a basic package). The only choice was to cut their time in the US short and come back to Taiwan. In Taiwan she got excellent care and an operation which has been a success. I think there's something terribly wrong with a system which will turn away an 8 year old with a life threatning heart condition.


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  #30  
Old May 26th, 2007, 3:23 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

I would like to know why they turned her down, or why the child had so much trouble in general. That sucks big time.


  #31  
Old May 26th, 2007, 9:59 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by SSJ_Jup81 View Post
I would like to know why they turned her down, or why the child had so much trouble in general. That sucks big time.
Actually, I probably shouldn't have said she was 'turned away', but she was certainly discouraged. My collegue did tell me the details but they were a bit confusing so I don't really remember. When she had the 1st heart attack she was treated at a hospital and that was covered by insurance I believe. But then my collegue was asked to sign some documents which he claimed were essentially promises to not bring her back to that particular hospital. I'm not at all sure what he meant by this, maybe someone familar with US hospitals can clarify? After the 1st heart attack they did some research into hospitals in their area (LA) and found the level of care which they could afford in the US was very much inferior to what they could get in Taiwan so they returned to Taiwan.


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  #32  
Old May 26th, 2007, 10:10 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by SSJ_Jup81 View Post
It's annoying that I can't get it, because I'm "sick" to them. I mean, isn't that what they're for?
No. Private health insurance companies' first responsibility (like all business) is to their shareholders. Obviously, someone with a pre-existing condition is bad for profits because the insurer knows they'll be drawing on benefits whereas the average healthy client will pay years of premiums while receiving very little in return.


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  #33  
Old May 26th, 2007, 3:58 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

Healthcare in my area is a tricky business. We have a huge amount of non-insured people looking for healthcare. Specifically unemployed or non-citizens (I live in Texas, that is to be expected). Our emergency rooms are filled with people who cannot afford private health insurance and are not insured through their job, so what happens to those people who DO have health insurance? They go to the back of the line. I've seen it first hand at a children's hospital. I've been stuck in a gurney in a noisy hallway for 12 hours waiting for an emergency room. I understand the serious problems that Houston has concerning healthcare.

On the upside, I live in an area which has one of the best cancer treatment hospitals in the world. That was a plus when my father was being treated, but sadly he passed away about a month ago from cancer. My dad was a long-term, hard-working employee of his company and was insured through that company. Until he was sick, our health insurance seemed perfectly adaquete. After diagnosis and a couple months of treatment, our health insurance company put up a fuss. So we switched. But they stuck us with a 5-figure bill that was technically against the law (apparently Texas legislature passes bills that try to protect the client from the insurance company, but they don't seem to want to enforce it). It was truly a nightmare for a while.

After this experience, I think we need to look to the government to enforce the rules that protect people from their insurance companies. I don't think that institutionalizing healthcare is a good idea (not at all, period), but there needs to be some course of action to keep truly ill or injured people from being bankrupted trying to keep themselves alive. (Hopefully I'm not being redundant or preachy).


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  #34  
Old May 27th, 2007, 3:22 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

Health insurance is a tricky thing. Insurance companies are businesses, first and foremost, and they hate paying claims.

I am lucky (ha!) enough to be poor enough to qualify for Medicaid for my children. That will be a thing of the past as soon as my husband's job starts paying him enough to afford the health insurance premiums. Unfortunately, my husband works for a small business, so they pay a rather ridiculous amount, which is why my husband and I are currently uninsured. Any medical costs we've had the past year for ourselves, we've paid out of pocket. Ouch.

Here's the nasty part. My three year old son has just been diagnosed with severe autism. A chronic, lifelong neurological condition that is going to make any insurance company run for the hills! We'll be allowed to get insurance for him, but there will be a denial period (about 6-18 months depending on which we choose) where nothing will be covered that's related to his autism. And another kicker is that many of the interventions or treatments for autism are classified as "metal health" issues, and are often not covered. His symptoms are treated that way, even though they are actually neurological in nature.

The insurance company, of course, does not care. My son will definitely be a user of health insurance, and they hate that. They want our money, they don't want to actually have to pay for any treatments!!

We'll have to hope and pray that we can get a Medicaid waiver for him when the time comes, otherwise we'll be bankrupt.

That's the nature of the U.S. healthcare beast, I suppose. I really wish there were some feasible way of doing a national system, but I don't know how it could work without it being too unwieldy or costly.

It stinks.


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  #35  
Old May 27th, 2007, 6:31 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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I really wish there were some feasible way of doing a national system, but I don't know how it could work without it being too unwieldy or costly.
The real irony is that all models of social medicine cost less than the current US system (as a proportion of GDP)


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  #36  
Old May 27th, 2007, 8:00 am
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by Mundungus Fletc View Post
The real irony is that all models of social medicine cost less than the current US system (as a proportion of GDP)
That's because social healthcare models focus more on prevention/early treatment, rather than holding back on treatment until the situation is really bad.

For example, if I hadn't recieved timely treatment for my (not terribly major) conditions, I would probably be deaf and disabled and costing the state a lot more money than I am (mostly) healthy and able to work. The same goes for a lot of other people, for example if my housemate had been uninsured, her parents might have delayed taking her to the hospital when she got sick, and she could have died or been seriously disabled by meningitis. As it is, she has pain in her ears and some hearing problems, but is able to live normally. When there was a small mumps outbreak at the university, having a social healthcare system meant that the cases were recognised and a vaccination programme was implemented, thus preventing many more cases.

I know that some healthy people resent the idea of "subsidising" the sick in a social system, but the thing with that attitude, is that anyone can get sick.


  #37  
Old May 27th, 2007, 12:47 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by Lyra Black View Post
Here in Taiwan we have a system similar to NHS or Australia's Medicare. I get a certain percentage taken out of my salary each month and doctors consultations and medications are heavily subsidised. One problem is that Taiwan is still a develping nation and so although they have the knowledge to provide medical care as good as any developed nation the money just isn't available. For example, I developed a medical problem about 2 years ago and the first thing the doctor should have done is give me a blood test. However, as this test would cost about US$1500 (for the hospital, not me) I was given some medicine which would solve what was most likely to be my problem. The medicine didn't work and I was given some different stuff which also didn't work and after a year of nothing working they ran out of ideas and were forced to give me a blood test (which diagnosed my problem). However, my problem isn't life threatning so while the lack of proper care was frustrating it's not a big deal. From what I have heard they do care sufficiently for serious medical conditions.
We have a similar program in the United States also called Medicare. However, instead of it being available to all citizens, it is only open to adults over 65 years old or those who can show serious disability. The program is paid for through our payroll, with a small amount being deducted each pay period. All workers pay for this, but, again, we do not get to draw on the benefits until we reach retirement age, which will be at least 67 by the time I am able to retire.

We also have an indigent program called Medicaid. It is for those who are poor, and on state sponsored aid.

Both programs pretty much pay for everything, with Medicare requiring some out-of-pocket expenses or a supplement be purchased. The difference between them is that Medicare is a Federal Government program, and Medicaid is a individual state program.

(Lyra, since you are Taiwanese you may not know that our system of government is a conglomerate of 50 sovereign states, each with its own set of laws and governing bodies, but connected by a central government.)


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  #38  
Old May 27th, 2007, 7:46 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by Ana-Magus View Post
The in US, the need for a national healthcare system is very strong. I don't know the exact figure, but there are upwards of 50 million Americans without health insurance.

The danger of this was unfortunately highlighted this past year when a 12 year old boy died because an infection in a rotted tooth spread to his brain. A simple $80 procedure (tooth extraction) would have saved his life, but it was left untreated because his family did not have health insurance.

I don't know much about national healthcare, but it seems to have just as many headaches as it does success stories. I am lucky enough to have health insurance and I'm not sure I would be willing to give it up for the headache of a "first come first serve" style of service.

Do those of you with an NHS have the option of paying for health insurance instead of using the free system?
That is kind of misleading. If the parents couldn't afford $80 they qualify for medicare and having a potential infection diagnosed is covered, as is the procedure to correct. We hear repeatedly about the uninsured, but if you remove those who use medicade and medicare, what is the actual number? We have illegal aliens that have world class healthcare without insurance, yet we clammer for national healthcare. Remember, the U.S. has a massive population and geographic area and many of the best hospitals and medical schools in the world, nationalizing healthcare will reduce the quality of care for millions and only slightly increase the quality for a few. Why does that seem so reasonable? Do we really want healthcare brought to us by the people who gave us public education and the DMV?


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  #39  
Old May 27th, 2007, 9:26 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by OldLupin View Post
That is kind of misleading. If the parents couldn't afford $80 they qualify for medicare and having a potential infection diagnosed is covered, as is the procedure to correct.
Not true. First of all, in the USA Medicare is reserved for elderly, retired people. Medicaid would help those who are on state sponsored aid. However, if a family makes over a certain amount of money annually (determined by each individual state) they cannot qualify for Medicaid or public assistance (AKA Welfare).

An $80.00 tooth extraction may seem like small potatoes, but to a family of four, existing on less than 25,000 dollars a year it is probably a lot of money. Also, since at the time of the initial infection it was probably not considered an emergency, the dentist can demand payment before services. Once the infection spread it then became an emergency matter, which cannot be turned away for inability to pay. By that time, of course, it was too late.

The case of this child dying as the result of an infected tooth is rare, but can happen. It is unfortunate, but Ludwig's Angina, which is a spreading infection often resulting from an infected tooth can cause rapid deteriorization. In this boy's case it was not Ludwig's Angina, but something similar.

A National Healthcare System may have saved this boy's life. No guarantees, but it may have facilitated the required extraction without concern of payment.


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  #40  
Old May 27th, 2007, 10:31 pm
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Re: International Healthcare: The good and bad of your area!

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Originally Posted by rigdoctorbri View Post
Not true. First of all, in the USA Medicare is reserved for elderly, retired people. Medicaid would help those who are on state sponsored aid. However, if a family makes over a certain amount of money annually (determined by each individual state) they cannot qualify for Medicaid or public assistance (AKA Welfare).
And, I've been informed, that the hospitals which provide free services have batteries of lawyers and investigators to ensure those who are seeking free aid are pretty well destitute otherwise they make sure they pay.


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