QOTD: USian Healthcare

From currently unemployed teacher Diana Wagman, writing in the LA Times:

Some 700,000 Americans every year declare bankruptcy because of medical bills. The number in Japan? Zero. The number in Germany? Zero.

And the kicker?  It could be worse.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, my new insurance company can’t deny me because I had cancer.   […]  We’re not poor, I don’t want to suggest that we are, but we will have to make some hard choices if I’m not working and we’re paying $1,300 a month to an insurance company.

In my field, I could make more money in the short term, and probably have less stress, if I were to focus on temping (which includes overtime) instead of being a full-time salaried employee (which doesn’t).  But the full-time salaried job at a big company includes affordable access to better-than-average health insurance.  I have asthma & allergies, which means maintenance meds — and allergy shots.  I am also OMG FAT & have a history of depression, which makes me expensive to insure.  So yeah, I’ll do the big company salaried job if they want me.  At least they gave me a signing bonus (which helped make up for the overtime) and stock (which I try not to count on, because I’ve had employer stock become worthless).

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4 thoughts on “QOTD: USian Healthcare

  1. I’ve had this debate with people many times. The waiting list for certain medical procedures, like MRIs, is bad in some companies with universal health care. If you do a web search, I found an article indicating the average wait for MRIs in Canada in 2007 was 10.1 weeks. The last time I needed an MRI, I waited less than two days. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and she had to wait several months for surgery – she’s in remission at the moment, but what if she had been forced to wait longer, and the cancer spread to other organs during the wait?

    I think that’s what the people opposed to universal healthcare fear, and I understand it.

    But of course, the truth is that average life expectancy in those countries is higher than it is here. If they were doing something that seriously diminished medical care, it would be lower. And we can’t afford to let things continue as they are – my employer pays $550 per month for my health insurance for me and my family, I pay the other $950. A lot of people can’t afford that, and before the health care reform if they didn’t qualify for Medicaid they flat out wouldn’t get an MRI, period, unless their lives were in immanent danger in an emergency room.

    • Here’s some “anecdata” from a real live Canadian. I have never waited more than a week or so for an MRI. Our machines run 24 hours a day and all I have to do is say that I’m willing to go late and night and I get an appointment really quickly.

      You yourself note that countries with universal health care have healthier populations than the States. That’s because we all get health care.

  2. There might be a wait, but at least there is hope that you will get the treatment you need without having to worry about ruining your family financially or losing your home etc. Recent five day hospital stay, we’re already up to over $50,000 – and all the bills aren’t in yet. Plus I get to look forward to now being permanently unable to access insurance – sure, they can’t deny you based on pre-existing conditions any more, but that doesn’t mean they won’t price it right the heck out of any hope of affording it. And if you can’t afford it, you get fined eventually – I don’t know why the people in love with our idiotic “free market” profit driven insurance model are complaining, the whole affordable care act is a giant gimme for insurance companies.

  3. My father (85), a Canadian, had a heart attack five years ago. He had surgery within a few days (as soon as he was stabilized) and, despite prostate cancer, skin cancer, and diabetes, he is still alive and kicking. I have a friend in Calgary who also had breast cancer, was seen and treated immediately, and has made a full recovery. Canadians are VERY attached to their healthcare system, and no politician who tried to dismantle it would get very far.

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