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Old Jul 25, 2007, 08:39 AM
Government is a fearful master
electroman7's Avatar
United States, TX, Farwell
Joined Feb 2001
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Why not compare healthcare systems?

After reading about helathcare in cuba in another thread, I got to thinking about the U.S. health system and all of it's alleged shortcomings as charged by a couple of posters. So why don't we compare systems using a couple of scenarios I'm familiar with to start off. If anyone has some other treatment to compare the systems with, please include it.

1st lets do one that is somewhat routine in the U.S. , I think, colonoscopy. My family has a history of colon problems, so as a precaution, my doctor recomends a colonoscopy when I turn 50 yrs old. He recomends a specialist who is listed in my health insurance system. I contact said specialist and set up an appointment. Wait time about 2 weeks. I see the specialist and set up a time for the procedure. Wait time about 2 weeks. I visit the hospital and have the procedure and go home the same day. 1 week later I get a report on the results of my procedure. Nothing wrong, suggest I get another colonoscopy in 5 years. Total cost from the initial visit to receiving my report, I'm estimating about $4,000. My insurance pays 90% after deductible. My deductible was met before the procedure and my bill for everything is $400. My insurance is through my employer, my premium is deducted from my bi-weekly paycheck. It amounts to $435 a month.

How does the English or European system compare?


2nd Scenario.. It is discovered during a routine checkup that I have an irregularity in the rythem of my heart beat. It is suggested I visit a cardiologist. I get an appointment 4 weeks away. I visit the Cardiologist who does a stress test and some blood tests and recomends an angiogram. The procedure is scheduled in 10 days. I have the procedure and have the results of the test in 2 days. Estimated cost of all the procedures $6,500. My portion is $650.

Again, how does the socialized system compare?


Anyone else care to include a scenario for comparison..

I'm only trying to get a fair comparison between systems here. any help in doing this is appreciated.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 08:47 AM
Government is a fearful master
electroman7's Avatar
United States, TX, Farwell
Joined Feb 2001
157 Posts
How about this one? I wake up one morning with a fever and chills. I call my docotr who gets me an appointment for the next day. I meet the doctor and he diagnoses the flu. I get a couple of prescriptions that my doctor sets up for me at the pharmacist. I pick these up on the way home. Cost? I have a co-pay of $30 dollars for the office visit. My insurance has a $15 dollar copy for each medicine prescribed. total cost to me $60.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 09:07 AM
Hi ya! Car ride!?
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Portage La Prairie, Manitoba Canada
Joined Sep 2003
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I can speak for the Canadian system and colonoscopy. I have a grandmother who died of colon cancer and my father has had a history of polyps. I am 45 and have had my first of these procedures, two years ago. My doctor recommends another at 50. I was sent to a specialist. The procedure was done as a day surgery in hospital. Time from my doctor recommending me to the specialist to getting the procedure was about three months. Costs were 100% covered. My dad, who is 66, gets one annually now because he has had polyps come back. His costs are also 100% covered, of course. Our costs would be 100% covered and our medical care the same whether we worked as a professional, self-employed tradesman, or spent our entire lives on welfare.

As for heart, my wife's family has that problem. My in-laws are in their mid 70s The F-I-L has had quad bypass two years ago after congestive heart failure three years ago and the M-I-L had angyoplasty after minor heart attack this spring. My F-I-L was a self-employed trucker who has never bought additional insurance. I can't speak highly enough of how our medical system has taken care of them with the procedures themselves and follow medical and home care. Their costs are of course 100% covered, including home care. I believe they pay 10% towards their prescription drugs.

As far as my family goes, because I have additional insurance through work 100% of any prescription drugs are covered, as well as 80% towards any paraprofessional care - chiropractor, nutritionists, physiothereapists, heck even massage therapists.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 09:32 AM
Government is a fearful master
electroman7's Avatar
United States, TX, Farwell
Joined Feb 2001
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Do you know what your monthy outlay for all these services amounts to? As I said mine runs about $435 a month. Of course I have to pay 10% of the cost for any procedure not considered office visit or routine.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 09:59 AM
Hi ya! Car ride!?
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Portage La Prairie, Manitoba Canada
Joined Sep 2003
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Its a part of my income tax. I have no idea how much of my income tax goes towards my health insurance or how much goes towards keeping the roads clear in winter.

Do we pay higher taxes? Yes. But we also pay more to provide modern services to remote northern communities as well.

The big point to remember is that everybody is covered here, whether you've worked and been prudent or whether you've spent your entire life as a parasite. My FIL is 76, is still paying a mortgage on is house, and has little savings. He and his wife have ben 100% covered by our health care system since its inception.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 10:18 AM
Hi ya! Car ride!?
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Portage La Prairie, Manitoba Canada
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I can tell you that I pay about $80 per month for my extended health care insurance. That's for the paraprofessionals, travel insurance, and ambulance coverage. I also pay an additional $45/mo for 80% family dental coverage.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 10:20 AM
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I will wait for some glowing well informed view of the UK health service but in the meantime here is my view; we have a third world service where underpaid Doctors and Nurses are managed by incompetants who have little idea about how to manage, or appropriately spend the insufficient money handed down by central govenment.

2 weeks to see a GP. We do have a 24 hour self diagnosis system which tries to weed out the nutters, but the usual advice is "I think you need to see your Doctor" or "oooow that sounds nasty, can you get to the hospital? no? please redail using 999"

My local doctor has got a new phone system which charges everyone a minimum 44p for every single enquiry it takes.

I would much prefer the US system!
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Fleetwood, Northern England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert May
I will wait for some glowing well informed view of the UK health service but in the meantime here is my view; we have a third world service where underpaid Doctors and Nurses are managed by incompetants who have little idea about how to manage, or appropriately spend the insufficient money handed down by central govenment.

2 weeks to see a GP. We do have a 24 hour self diagnosis system which tries to weed out the nutters, but the usual advice is "I think you need to see your Doctor" or "oooow that sounds nasty, can you get to the hospital? no? please redail using 999"

My local doctor has got a new phone system which charges everyone a minimum 44p for every single enquiry it takes.

I would much prefer the US system!
I'm sure you would, at least until your insurance company wriggled out of your claim.

The NHS is not a third world service and to be honest there are few things that make me proud to be British but our system of healthcare is one of them.

It's not perfect but I would seriously question the sanity of anyone who believes the American system to be better, the French, the Canadian, maybe we can talk but the American system is shameful. You can argue about the details but nobody will ever convince me that healthcare should be anything other than a basic right, just as the Police or Fire Service is.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 10:47 AM
All under control, Grommit!
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United Kingdom, Aberdeen
Joined Sep 2000
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I'll describe a situation somewhat analogous to Electroman's second scenario, as an experience with the NHS.

I woke up with a splitting earache that had come on over a period of a couple of days. Bad enough to make a man go to the doctors without too much persuasion anyway.

So I telephoned the surgery in the morning and, as it was a surgery morning, was told to come down and they would fit me in. Walked the 100 yards to the village surgery and waited about 10 minutes to see the doctor, who examined me, asked a few questions, looked in my ears, diagnosed a middle ear infection and prescribed a course of eardrops and a decent antibiotic. As I'm quite a big chap she said it wouldn't hurt to double up on pain killers as she predicted that I'd need them.

The pharmacy - the room next door - had the drops and antibiotics in stock so there was no need to go to the chemist. The cost of the drugs was, IIRC about £12, there is no charge for the consultation. Went home, took the drugs, found that I did need the doubled up dose of painkillers as it got worse for a day before subsiding.

The service that we've had from our GP, as a family, has been nothing short of brilliant. We've never found a need to wait weeks for an appointment, usually it's that day or the next day, very rarely it's the day after that - this depends to a certain extent if we want to use the village surgery or go to the main practice three miles away or if you want to see a particular doctor in the practice. I use the health service as little as possible myself - I'm a bloke after all and so I only go if I need to go - but my wife has much more regular appointments and has always had excellent service. My son likewise.

You'll likely hear different versions of the service offered, even of the same practice, from different people, a lot of which is based on their expectations. I can only recount my own experiences, which have been excellent. As I'm self employed I also have private health insurance, should anything major occur, but, touch wood, haven't used it in anger yet. I literally can't fault the service we get from our GP though.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 11:43 AM
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When and where the NHS works I agree it is brilliant but it is an absolute postcode lottery. North Devon is not good, East Norfolk is not good.

We have got lots of NHS Denists though.

I am not given a choice on who and on what my money is spent on, as soon as one Private Health company gave me less than the service I felt I was paying for, or wriggled out of a claim I would like the option to change.

I wonder if anyone really knows where our NHI contributions end up.

PS, 2 year wait to see someone about her Bowell cancer cost my Mother her life, 3 months of incompetance with an operable Brain Tumour cost my brother in law his life and I had to wait 41 years for a Hernia operation that I eventually had to pay for because East Norfolk and North Devon Healthcare trusts had "higher priorities for the little cash they receive"

One good GP does not make our NH service good
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 12:16 PM
Love & a Molotov cocktail
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on a boat on the river cam
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I can't give you an example to fit with yours, but all I can say is that the NHS have looked after me and my family from birth to in some cases death, and I have no complaints. Yes it has shortcomings, but all systems do.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 12:50 PM
Go get them Meg!
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Cabin 21...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punkie
I can't give you an example to fit with yours, but all I can say is that the NHS have looked after me and my family from birth to in some cases death, and I have no complaints. Yes it has shortcomings, but all systems do.
This is absolutely true.

It must be reiterated that the U.S. does not have a "system" designed as such per se. The U.S. health care scheme is an ad hoc "system" that was never intended to cover the population as in the UK, Canada, France, wherever.

As to whether or not an overall scheme should be imposed in the U.S., that, like all such large Government programs, should be at the will of the voters.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electroman7
How about this one? I wake up one morning with a fever and chills. I call my docotr who gets me an appointment for the next day. I meet the doctor and he diagnoses the flu. I get a couple of prescriptions that my doctor sets up for me at the pharmacist. I pick these up on the way home. Cost? I have a co-pay of $30 dollars for the office visit. My insurance has a $15 dollar copy for each medicine prescribed. total cost to me $60.
Maybe it's just where I live (SF east bay) but no way in heck am I getting in to see my doctor without phoning in an appointment at least a week or (usually) more in advance .He's always over booked and I wait an avg of 1 hour in the waiting room and at least 30 minutes in an exam room before being seen.

Steve
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Fayetteville, NC
Joined Dec 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinolefm1
Maybe it's just where I live (SF east bay) but no way in heck am I getting in to see my doctor without phoning in an appointment at least a week or (usually) more in advance .He's always over booked and I wait an avg of 1 hour in the waiting room and at least 30 minutes in an exam room before being seen.

Steve

For routine care, my experience is the same. I don't imagine that any feature of a (more) socialized system would actually improve my access to routine care.

I wonder if average time to get an appointment (in the US) is affected by living in a densely populated area.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 01:27 PM
Government is a fearful master
electroman7's Avatar
United States, TX, Farwell
Joined Feb 2001
157 Posts
I read from a couple of posters that they carried extra insurance for major problems.. Is that right? does the english system just cover routine doctor visits, colds, hangnails, etc.. then require that one have purchased insurance for major healthcare?.. Does anyone know what you pay for the nationalised care? For what it is worth. I worked a number of years for a brittish owned corporation and with about 1/2 dozen brittish citizens. They all used to tell their american employees that over all the brittish system was inferior to the U.S. system in terms of the speed at which you can get to see the doctor and for the number of high quality specialized services available over here. They didn't think our healthcare professionals were better than the english, just quicker, and more numerous so that you can get specialized care much faster. I know there is a lot of hipe about people in america being unable to see a doctor because of lack of insurance, but that is basically wrong. I have a sister in law who is , I quess, a highly stressed individual that can't hold a regular job.. She has no insurance, but has an ongoing series of maladies which need medical attention. She goes to the county hospital and sees the volunteer doctor on duty and is examined for free. she has learned what part of the system to milk in order to get subsidized medicines also. She has a card that entitles her to obtain prescriptions for average of $4 each. She has as good healthcare as I do and pays nothing.
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