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Hi all,

I've been registered on here for a couple of weeks now and I've been really enjoying helping out over at the mens health forum. There is one thing I've picked up on though that I'd like to hear your thoughts on.

What do you think of the health service in general the US? There are posts on here from American's who desperately need people like us to give them a diagnosis because they cannot afford health insurance and can't afford to see a doctor. For such a well developed country this is appalling.

Here in the UK, the NHS isn't perfect, but compared to what's over the pond its brilliant and I couldn't imagine life without it.


Just out of interest, is health insurance in America expensive?

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Oh good topic...

Yes, health insurance is fairly expensive. The fortunate ones have programs that are subsidized by their employers. How much depends on the company, it seems like most will pay about 80% of the costs. Private plans are available, ranging from $200 and up a month for a single person. It all depends on age and where you live as to how much it costs as each state requires the health plans to cover certain items. For example, one state may require medications to be covered while another would not. Prices also vary according to the deductible.

Not all doctors take all the plans either. I've had to change doctors several times because my company changed plans.

Considering over here that even having an appendectomy can cost $10,000 and up, it's easy to see why we need it. Unfortunately a lot of people can't afford it and then have to work out a payment plan so saving that $200 a month turns out to be a big mistake.

One thing that seems to be a problem here is that doctors will act as though they are limited by the insurance plan. If the plan will only pay for a generic drug for example, that's what they'll give you. It may also limit you on what tests they perform.

If you've got the money though, you can find a doctor to do anything immediately. Unfortunately, most people can't and have to wait. They tell us that in the UK and Canada people wait months for routine procedures, well, it is the SAME over here in a lot of cases.

My state, Massachusetts, requires us all to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. It's still a bloated, complicated, expensive system. I work on a couple of ambulance services and can't tell you how many people still don't have any. It's a shame. A 5 mile ambulance ride can easily run $700, without any IV"s or drugs.

That's a start and I'll definitely let you know more if you want. Our system is a mess, there is no way around it.
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Hi Kingfreze,

I happen to have a job that has good insurance coverage. When I recently went to the doctor for a procedure that, without insurance, would have cost well over $2,000. But because I have insurance I just payed a minor co-pay ($15).

My two sons were on my insurance until they moved out of my house then no longer qualified to be covered under my insurance. They also didn't qualify for the state's insurance due to their age (early twenties.) They got a nice letter in the mail from my insurance co. stating they could buy their own insurance for about $500 a month...they could not afford that.

Here in the US, the drug companies set the costs of the drugs. All other countries tell the drug companies what they will pay. That's why we have bus loads of people traveling to Canada all the time to buy their prescription drugs.

We need your kind of health care - everyone deserves access to health care. It kills me when I hear people on TV quoting statistics saying, "there really aren't that many people in the U.S. who don't have insurance" as if that makes it ok not to give it to them.

As I said, I have good coverage. And if President Obama's health care reform is passed, I will keep my insurance and everyone who doesn't have insurance will finally be able to get it. But passing health care reform will be difficult because the opponants are using scare tactics and out-right lies to discourage people from backing the bill. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who would like nothing better than to see our President fail. I just hope he wins this one because then we will all win.
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Hi lh4853,

I don't disagree with you but I'm so afraid that Congress will add so much junk to the health care bill that it will never see the light of day. It's a shame that we can't give our president a line-item veto just to eliminate this problem.

I also don't think that Congress should have health care that is "better" than what the average American can afford/have access to.

Politicians seem to be watching their own pockets and not the average Americans. That is what concerns me. The lobbyists for the health insurance companies spend big bucks to sway votes and that needs to stop.
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Hi medic-dan,

I completely agree with you on all three paragraphs. It's unfortunate that there has to be so many "back room deals" in order to get enough votes on anything. Then often the original intent is so watered down it's not even worth saving. And the lobbyists are only out for themselves. They don't care about the issues they push. They really only care about how much money their clients are going to pay them for getting politicians to vote the way they want them to. Too bad the health insurance companies didn't save that money they pay to lobbyists and just put it towards insuring more people. And don't get me started on how much the CEO's make!!

By the way, I'm usually very mellow. :-D
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Did you guys hear about the guy who's rallying against the healthcare bill who hurt himself? He's now asking to raise money because he turned out to be uninsured. I don't think he gets that not everyone can just ask for donations or has that sort of luxury. It's an odd time to be an American...
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$200 a month!!! No wonder a lot of people don't bother that's over £100, like a small mortgage.

So whats this new bill from congress planning to do at the minute, do we know?
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Hi guys.

I am from Europe. Here we pay around 75 euros for basic health insurance (I am self employed, otherwise employee pays that; or if you are unemployed and registered as such basic insurance is covered by tax payers), and then comes additional insurance which covers certain procedures (not all drugs...) costs about 25 euros per month.

I read every third person (14-30 years) in US is uninsured... this is horrible... I mean is the situation really like this?
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Well, that's the thing. See it's not just one bill. It's several bills. In fact, my understanding is that it's five different bills that are getting pushed. Most of them have pretty horrible ideas in them so they're going to get vetoed or we're not going to get anything. I can tell you at this point that we're not going to have anything even approaching the NHS for quite sometime.



Out of curiosity, does NHS also include mental health services? Most private insurance here doesn't cover it except in exceptional cases.
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Yeh the NHS covers more or less everything. There's a few of the cancer drugs they won't give these days but other than that yes mental health is in there and any operation so long as its for health reasons or reconstruction (i.e. not plastic surgery for the fun of it). Long waiting lists though.



Problem is though, I don't know how long our NHS will be here for. We pump millions and millions of £££ into it every year and with this recession theres rumours they may start cutting back.
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Well that's one thing that absolutely no Americans will admit to. There's huge waiting lists here too. I had a precancerous mole I had to have removed and I had to wait three months to see a doctor! It's the same thing at almost any doctor's office. There's not going to be any longer lines than there already are. And I think that people seem to forget that preventing a disease is easier than treating ones that we already have...oh well. I've pretty much given up!



I thought that the NHS was protected? I heard that both Labour and Conservative parties were very pro-NHS and don't want to make any cuts?
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I totally agree! ANd did you hear about how now they have started to back down on the public healthcare option now? What is the point in having any sort of healthcare bill if that's the case? DId you hear that?
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They are pro-NHS, but never trust the politicians, it may not be the NHS as we know it at the minute.



By the way, over here if your GP suspects you may have cancer you have the right to see a specialist within 2 weeks. Possibly one of the best things Gordon Browns done for us.
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Ah, I see. I figured as much but it was worth asking. I figure at this point it's so entrenched in being British that you guys would have a revolt if they tried to take the NHS away! I think that seeing a specialist in two weeks is a great policy to have too. People are so terrified of change here. I'm afraid that now that they've taken the public option off the table, which means that we're still going to have no health insurance for poor people here. Have you been following it at all?
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I've been following its progress on the news over here but I can't say i know a lot about it. Seems like its just getting watered down and probably won't be much help by the end.

We seem to be the other way, our NHS looks after foreigners as well and is what really is draining the system of finances. People who don't pay the tax just coming over for treatment from the Eastern European countries. Don't know if you've heard of them over there but this is one of the things the BNP party are campaigning against, like you should only get treatment on our system if your British or have paid into the system which I think is fair, but they just get shot down as being a racist party.

Disclaimer: I am not pro-BNP and do not support the party in any way.
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