A story about the Morality of the UK Healthcare System.

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by wvpeach, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. wvpeach
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    wvpeach Member

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    I love this story. Same thing I hear from friends in the UK, Finland and Australia .
    They love their healthcare system and to use their words " americans must be daft to put up with the lack of healthcare in the US"

    For those that don't know the word daft as near as I can tell from it's usage by friends means " crazy" insane" , not too smart"

    Anyhoo

    Enjoy and please while we fight to make sure healthcare gets passed please pass this on.

    It's rather long for some who have the attention span of Republicans so I will short cut it a bit. But for the more intellectual among us the entire story can be read at the link provided.

    Why I love Britain's socialized healthcare system | Salon


    Why I love Britain's socialized healthcare system
    As I learned when my newborn daughter was very sick, in U.K. hospitals, people take care of each other

    By Stephen Amidon

    Aug. 22, 2009 | My eldest daughter had a rough first week. Born after 22 hours of hard labor, her pink skin proceeded to turn an alarming shade of yellow on the second day of her life. It was a bad case of jaundice. She would need to be placed in an incubator, whose ultraviolet light would hopefully clear up the condition. If not, a transfusion would be required. My exhausted wife and I watched in numb horror as our child was encased in the clear plastic box that was to become her crib for the next seven days. What we had hoped would be a straightforward delivery had turned into a nightmare.

    Because I am American, and those endless days and nights were spent in a maternity hospital in London, the week that followed has been very much on my mind as I listen to the recent attacks on the British National Health Service. It is a system that I found to be very different from the one currently being described as "evil" and "Orwellian" by politicians and commentators eager to use it as an example of the dark side of public medicine.

    I was initially skeptical about the NHS. I’d grown up comfortably in suburban New Jersey; good private healthcare was always immediately available through my father’s insurance. When my English wife became pregnant soon after we settled in London, I was alarmed by the idea of having our first child born in a system I had been told was underfunded, overstressed and inefficient. After all, healthcare in the UK was free. How good could it be? Friends and relatives back in the States were spending thousands to have children. If you get what you pay for, I was about to get a whole lot of nothing.

    I really began to appreciate the NHS. The moment she showed distress, we were whisked off to a private room, where we were looked after by a no-nonsense pediatrician and the imposing Irish ward sister, or chief nurse, who quickly made it clear to me that my sole useful contribution to the whole process had come nine months earlier. Blood was drawn regularly from our daughter’s tiny heel; test results came back promptly. The meals were surprisingly edible. I even developed a taste for the milky tea brought to me by kind nurses. My only complaints over the following week were that the free cookies in the father’s lounge were always running out. And for some reason the ward sister kept giving me withering looks, no matter how dutifully I attended to my family’s needs.


    As my blindfolded daughter slept in the incubator’s eerie violet glow, I would take occasional strolls through the ward. It was the most egalitarian place I had ever seen. The yuppie woman honking into her newfangled cell phone, the young Pakistani mother who always seemed to be surrounded by a half-dozen gift-bearing relations, the self-sufficient older woman desperate to get home to look after her other children -- all of them were cared for in exactly the same manner. Whoever needed help got it. When a terrified Afghani girl arrived, rumored to be only 14 and apparently abandoned by her family, several nurses dropped what they were doing to teach her the rudiments of child care. The rest of the mothers waited patiently until they were finished. Other wards were the same. There was no private wing with champagne service. Everybody was in this together. If you were a woman and you were in labor and you were in our part of London, this is where you came. If things went wrong, skilled doctors appeared with the latest technology. Nobody asked about insurance or co-pays.

    This, I learned, is what the NHS is about -- common decency. It is about the shared belief that all the people who live in the United Kingdom constitute a society, and a decent society provides certain necessities for its members. Freedom from hunger is one. Police protection is another. Free healthcare from the cradle to the grave is simply one more item on this list.


    I saw this decency at work countless times over the following decade, until my return to the United States. I saw it with the twice-daily home visits by community midwives for the fortnight after each of our newborn children’s release from hospital, and in the vouchers for free milk we were given for those babies. I saw it when our GP paid us a house call early one Sunday morning to treat our son’s spiking fever.

    I saw it most clearly, however, in the treatment my in-laws received at the end of their lives. My wife’s father, who suffered from acute myloid dysplasia, spent his last year receiving constant care, including several sprints to the hospital for emergency transfusions, where doctors struggled heroically to keep him alive. His final week was spent in a very comfortable single hospice room whose French doors opened onto a terrace overlooking his beloved Yorkshire moors. When he died, he left us his house, and not a penny of healthcare debt. My mother-in-law, stricken by arthritis, got two artificial hips and two knees from the NHS, and received daily home visits from social workers during the last three years of her life so she would not have to go into a nursing home. Neither of these septuagenarians was working at the time. The amount of money spent on their care must have been staggering. And yet, despite shouldering this yoke of decency, the nation prospered around them. People were buying French wine and German cars and second homes. They were attending Cats and supporting Arsenal and going on holidays in the sun. Sure, people complained about the NHS. But the British complain about everything. Living without a public health system, on the other hand, was unthinkable.

    On the day we were finally given the all-clear, there were no papers to sign, no bills to settle. All we had to do was remove our daughter’s blindfold and go. But I felt I had to leave something behind. So I rushed down to the local corner shop and bought several tins of cookies to give the staff who’d looked after us so well. As luck would have it, the Irish ward sister was the only one at the nurse’s station when I arrived. Before I could explain myself, she gave me a tight, approving smile.

    "Wondered when you’d start chipping in," she said, returning to her paperwork. "Just leave them in the father’s lounge."
     
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  2. auditor0007
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    auditor0007 Gold Member

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    Great story. I understand the arguments against this type of system in the US. And implementing such a system would be very difficult. One of the biggest problems is the simple fact that those in the medical field in the US make substantially more than those in the same field in other countries. To reduce costs, those wages would need to be reduced, and the only way to reduce those wages without losing medical providers in droves is to reduce their operating costs so that they can keep more of what they do bring in.

    But it is good to hear the positive of this type of system, because we are always being told how bad the Canadian, British, and so many other similar systems are, and the simple fact is that just isn't true. They may not provide quite as much choice at times, and they may be deficient in certain areas, but overall, they are much better than we are led to believe.
     
  3. wvpeach
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    wvpeach Member

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    My son is a third year Orthopedic surgery resident, my sister a radiologist. My daughter is a pharmacist. I have 3 cousins who are doctors. In our large family probably at least a dozen nurses.
    My son is the only hold back in joining the fight to get single payer health care in the US. LOL No doubt newly making money , after all those years in medical school, he would like to get his before we change the system. The rest of the health care providers in my family firmly support universal health care in this country. They feel they will make a little less but it's worth it because they are tired of seeing people die because they are denied health care.

    Moral care givers do worry about money. But the really moral know that a human life is worth much more than a extra 50K in their bank account each year. And we are talking about hundreds of thousands of human life's here.
     
  4. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Thank you, WV Peach. It is refreshing to hear from those with real experiance with health care systems in other nations. Much differant than the lies we are constantly hearing here.
     
  5. Michael44
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    Michael44 Rookie

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    I also have friends in the Uk. Most of them love the system ... a few of them do tell me stories of having to wait on certain things but overall when you talk directly to most of the people they seem to like it.

    Here in Los Angeles... a popular morning radio host named Bill Handle on KFI640 (who is hardly liberal) tells the story of being in the UK on vacation when his wife broke her leg. He takes her to the emergency room.. they fix her up and as they head out ..Bill starts to take out his checkbook to say "where do I pay?" lol He said they looked at him like huh? Once you're out you are done ... absolutely nothing.
    Since then the conservative Bill Handle said he is for some kind of single pay program like Britain has

    I know so many people who are in extreme medical debt here in the US.. and these are people WITH insurance.
    As a conservative myself, I have a hard time with the moral aspect of people getting their credit history destroyed because they were sick and insurance left them with too much of a co-pay or they had no insurance at all. Something doesn't sit right with me about it all.

    I don't believe the government owes people houses or cars or should be our nanny with everything. With people's health though I am beginning to think that yes .. the government does play a role in not denying people health care and to have it available for all legal citizens.
     
  6. OneWorld
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    Daft... no? Just brainwashed by very powerful special interest.
     
  7. auditor0007
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    auditor0007 Gold Member

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    I understand the argument many have with the government running healthcare, because our government doesn't have a great track record with many things. On the other hand, this idea that because everyone is happy with the way things are, that we should just leave it alone is about as dumb of an argument as there could be. Within ten years, as healthcare costs double again, the vast majority of working Americans will be without healthcare. With all of the medical advances that have come about, very few will be able to afford their use anyway. And then what? Well, we shall see. My guess is that we will finally see a complete overhaul of the system and it will be supported by the vast majority.

    If everyone paid for their own health insurance plans, rather than having employers cover it, most Americans would not be so happy with their own healthcare right now. They would actually see how expensive it is and realize that it will only be getting worse. What they don't understand is that rising healthcare costs is the number one reason wages have been stagnant over the last decade. Any money available for increased wages has gone directly to healthcare. And yes, there are other reasons, but that is the main one.
     
  8. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    The beauty of an OP like this, with such a well-written article supporting it, is that it could actually reassure people who are genuinely frightened because of the scare-mongering by vested interests. Those are people who are probably, for whatever reason, unable to counter the propaganda by finding out things for themselves. I hope many of them get to read this article.

    For the reactionary rightists who will soon explode in Sentences Using CAPS A LOT and who will be POSTING BIG PICTURES this will be combustible.

    I can hardly wait! :lol:
     
  9. Old Rocks
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    I was working for a construction company that had a health care policy that was 20%-80%. That is, it covered 80% of the cost. You paid the other 20% until the amount you paid exceeded $10,000. Within a period of 10 months, my wife had two major operations. Of course in differant years, so I owed $20,000. Plus co-pays, and anatheasologist fees. During the same period, my daughter had major orthodontal surgery. Another $10,000. The result was that for six years there was no extra money in our budget for savings. And the little savings that I had was gone. Of course, during those six years there was also the matter of interest.

    Now, as a millwright, my wages have been on the upper level of blue collar middle class most of my life. So I was able to pay this, and recover enough to have some savings now as I approach retirement. But the very best years for investing were lost for me.

    Had I had a job that paid less, I would have effectively been bankrupt.
     
  10. Michael44
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    Michael44 Rookie

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    I hear these kinds of stories ALL THE TIME. People WITH INSURANCE who are struggling with medical fees not to mention the ones that have been without insurance.
    When I told my UK friend that I was thousands of dollars in medical debt..she just kinda shook her head and said how grateful she was that people aren't broken financially with medical debt there.
     

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