Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Head-to-head on universal health care

 

As debates over health care reform heat up on Capitol Hill, a similar conversation is taking place on iReport.com.

 

We asked iReporters for their solutions to America's health care system and whether universal health care is the answer. Two of the most interesting responses were from iReporters living in countries that have universal health care systems.

 

sallyinparis, an American in France, and PunjabiPower, who lives in Canada, have had markedly different experiences with the health care systems in the countries where they live. Click on the videos above for their views.

 

What do you think? Is universal health care the answer or should the U.S. government try a different approach? Share your opinions in the comments field below, and be sure to check out what other iReporters had to say.

22 Comments
June 10, 2009

Canada's health care system is only marginally better than the US system according to the World Health Organization.  In 2000 the US was rated 37th of the world while Canada was only rated 30th.  France was rated #1 for the world, so I don't know why people insist on using Canada as an example for government aided health care when they Canada's system isn't nearly as good as what people have in France. 

 

If government aided health care is a bad idea, let's hear the horror stories from France, if there are any.

June 10, 2009
Click to view Elfin's profile

How does the World Health Organization rate health care? I wouldn't use their rating system as a yard stick. LOL!

 

The US has great health care, it is just difficult to get through the insurance industry's maze of paperwork and ridiculous coding system! The insurance industry runs our healthcare system right now and we need to put an end to it. Our doctor's are up to their eyeballs in paperwork because of the insurance company's silly rules and regulations. They think they know how to treat a patient better than a doctor. The insurance companies are merely trying to save a buck, not trying to keep a patient healthy. It's all about risk vs benefit to them.

 

We need to regulate the insurance companies or get rid of insurance all together!!!!

June 10, 2009
Click to view Gooddy's profile

Not every system is perfect and nobody can make it perfect, because we will always have to handling greedy and selfish people in position, they are only thinking about their own profit. But the worst system in Europe is better than the system in the USA. Watch the movie "Sicko".

When a country can afford the money to kill people in a war, than this country can find the money to keep the Citizen healthy. Every country is doing a better job. This is only the money and the profit. And by the way. Right now all insured people are paying more, because there are uninsured people which has be covered. The Doctors and the hospital can work cheaper, because they will get paid for everything and has not to work with collection agencies and settlements. And an other point. Split the FDA. Food and Drugs has not to be together. This is a conflict of interest. This county is making his citizen sick on purpose and the drug industry is getting rich.

June 10, 2009

You can discredit the World Health Organizations results all you want, but the proof is in the pudding and Europeans live far healthier lives than we do in the US.  Obviously they are doing something right so our health reform should be modeled after the best European system there is.  Canada is not the best system out there, so using their system in any example is pointless.  Again, let's hear the horror stories from France if their system is so flawed.

June 10, 2009
Click to view NERanger's profile

As I mentioned on the other post- I was recently in Norway and spoke with friends - one American citizen who has worked in elder care and medicine much of her life and is now married to a Swiss citizen. I asked if they thought medical care was better in the US- a statement I hear all the time. They said Norway, which has government-sponsored health care was incredibly great- equally to US. Switz. has a pay system but not quite like ours and it is about as good as the US as well. So, it seems to be a myth that countries with socialized medical care receive any less quality of care than we here in the US. People may not like it for other reasons, but I believe it is a scare tactic if we are told we will be treated by less professional staff. Especially when you see how many people in the US are going to walk-in clinics for serious illnesses. Quick care, but not the best.

June 10, 2009
Click to view rasfanta's profile

Take the profit out of healthcare. Remove the middleman, insurance industry, from the mix and you will see costs go down. The AMA shot themselves in the foot when they got suckered into believing that we will have socialized medicine. Instead of the government telling them what to do, they got the insurance company telling them what to do. The reason they don't have American-style healthcare in europe is because the profiteers have been chased out of europe and are here in america, controlling everything.

June 10, 2009
Click to view rasfanta's profile

Additionally, why do immigrants have medicaid and US citizens have to pay or have none or little health insurance? I had an immigrant ask me, "why are americans upset about healthcare? I have medicaid." I could not believe what I heard. These people never paid a dime into the system but they come here and get medicaid and medicare, if they are elderly. Then you turn around and tell US citizens, there is no free care. Who the hell is paying for this? US citizens. What's up with that? In NY, it is particularly bad. My 99 year-old grandmother living in the south cannot get help at home but immigrants in nyc get help at home easy. Let the government price fix medicine so hospitals can't charge what they want for the same procedure.

June 11, 2009

We definitely need something done soon.  Our system currently bankrupts anyone who gets sick.  I know, because this has happened to me.  I think many people are fooled by their "adequate" coverage.  Everything seems OK until you need to really use it, then reality sets it.  I know many people in Canada, and they tell me that their system is so much better then ours. 

June 11, 2009

Sorry, should of been "reality sets in".  Maybe I should put my glasses on, oh wait, new ones aren't covered yet. 

June 11, 2009
Click to view PunjabiPower's profile

For the record, let me add some facts about the state of healthcare in Canada

 

- 14% of canadians don't even have a family doctor.

- Ontario's wait time for critical cancer therapy takes twice as long as other provinces. Inconsistencies in the system due to lack of resources since healthcare is provincially funded.

- Canadians travelling to U.S. in record numbers to seek personally funded health care due to unaccptable wait times in many situations. Primarily cancer treatment.

- Record number of wait times in emergency rooms due to over crowding and lack of resources. I have personally waited in emergency room for over 10 hours before being seen by a doctor.

- A specialist visit wait time is generally around 6 months. I have personally been through that for the last three years.

 

Canada and Endland used to be as good as France. Look where we are today. Don't hold your breath for good times to continue France. All it will take is a moron politician to cut funding for Health Care tax dollors to meet budget gaps or fund other govt. programs.

 

 

June 11, 2009
Click to view jeniqua's profile

growing up in Canada and now living in baltimore, MD, what really bothers me about America's approach to everything is the survival of the fittest mentality. Of course those who can afford private health care are going to want to stop universal health care legislation. The american elite are so afraid of socialism, for fear that god forbid some of their fortune will be redistributed to the less advantaged. But what i want people to stop and think about is that even if the wealthy are taxed higher or whatever to pay for universal health care or other social reforms, what we need to understand is that giving everyone a level playing field when it comes to health care and education only makes the country stronger as a whole. I am so tired of people talking about socialism like its a horrible thing. Socialims doesnt mean that everyone will be living exactly the same, doing the same job, same car, and same house. There is still opportunity to grow and prosper in socialist nations, however socialsim does help try to level the playing field to give everyone the OPPORTUNITY to succeed. Isnt that really what the American dream was supposed to be all about?

June 12, 2009

The below comment was written by sallyinparis. I am forwarding this message because there is an issue on this site not allowing her to leave comments in this blog.
____________________________________
From Sally Sharpe:

I made my i-report to respond to one precise false argument used by Republicans to fight any government based option: that by definition a government plan means the government between you and your doctor.

 

I realize based on reading comments posted to my i-report that Americans are so used to private insurance companies challenging medical expenses every chance they get that many in the US can’t imagine this is not the case in countries that have state-sponsored plans.

 

In France, when you require extensive care, the government agency that pays for health care (social security) can require you and your test results to be examined by their own doctors. But this verification process is intended to weed out cases of fraud and does not call into question the treatment your doctor has prescribed. On the other hand, HMO’s are the ones who often ration care uniquely on the basis of cost. Without a doubt doctors in France are not second-guessed they way they are in the US.

 

I do not know why in England people must chose the public or private system. In France, we have both and they work together. Yes, surprise, surprise, part of the French system is private and competitive! For most people (not poor, not suffering serious chronic illness…) the state system reimburses about 65% of the costs of basic care (GP consultations, medications) and up to a certain amount for specialists. Employers usually provide a complementary plan. But even if you don’t have an employer-provided plan this coverage is very affordable. You can choose a more or less expensive plan and decide for yourself if you want basic or better coverage, but even the most basic plans are quite good.

 

Although with respect to the overall French economic system, it is not the so-called “socialist nightmare” some American think it is, I do often defend the more open free-market system in the US. However, healthcare should not be considered a commodity in the same way as a car or a vacation. Lack of even basic coverage for some individuals leads to a high cost for the society as a whole.

 

In any case, if people want to argue against universal health care, they shouldn’t do it by telling lies about not being able to choose your doctor. This is done to scare people into going along with them.

June 15, 2009
Click to view ThePup's profile

I'm with getting RID of insurance companies!

 

Study the progressive Western Europe countries, including Scandanavia and out right copy or synthesize a plan from there!

June 16, 2009
Click to view DrJessica's profile

I'm an (ER) physician and I welcome universal healthcare.  Their is so much wasted man-power and money currently being spent on the endless cat and mouse game played by insurance companies, medi-caid, and medi-care.  I would be interested in knowing how much money and man power is actually spent keeping up on the constantly changing rules as hospitals and physicians bill for their services while the other side tries to delay or avoid payments.

June 17, 2009
Click to view PunjabiPower's profile

CNN just posted the health care spending PER PERSON in the following countries:

 

France - About $3300

England -About $2700

Canada - ABout $3600

U.S. - About $6700

 

So the U.S. is spending about twice as much, yet the accessibility is least among these countries. Seems like mismanagement of health care resources and lack of basic prevention in the U.S.

 

June 17, 2009
Click to view Unionite's profile

we NEED to have healthcare Insurance that cannot be manipulated by those offering services.I saw a bill for 800.00for a ambulance to take someone 27 miles up the road and the patient was sitting up and needed no meds.

The cost of taking a nursing home patient 27 miles and back was 600.00. The Hospital gives only mediocre services, without compassion for the sick. They even fail to offer incapacitated patients water and place the water picture too far away to reach.If they cannot feed themselves sometimes the food is placed on a tray in front of the patient who cannot feed himself and removed after a period of time.Do I want to go to the hospital?No

 

June 17, 2009
Click to view Unionite's profile

I would like to see 60 Minits do a program on the healthcare system. See how they work and how they treat the patients.We might be surprised to see DRs and Nurses in action the real thing.Nursing Homes would be a great place to start.

June 17, 2009
Click to view Unionite's profile

I would like to see 60 Minits do a program on the healthcare system. See how they work and how they treat the patients.We might be surprised to see DRs and Nurses in action the real thing.Nursing Homes would be a great place to start.

June 20, 2009
Click to view RobertAllen's profile

Unfortunately, as regards the following post, PunjabiPower is right:

CNN just posted the health care spending PER PERSON in the following countries:
France - About $3300
England -About $2700
Canada - ABout $3600
U.S. - About $6700
So the U.S. is spending about twice as much, yet the accessibility is least among these countries. Seems like mismanagement of health care resources and lack of basic prevention in the U.S.


The accessibility problem is exacerbated by prima donnas who only want the easiest, or the most profitable cases from their

customers

.
One of the saddest facts about U. S. Health Care is that the average physician invests only 3.3% of the total cost of his medical education while the rest of us chip in the other 96.7%. Yet their Narcissistic Personality Disorder (the "God" complex). We've all encountered it and there are a few physicians who seem to know they have a moral obligation to their

customers

.

Never again call any healthcare provider anything other than physician (no matter how much they want you to use the meaningless title of doctor).

Always remember that you are a customer as much as you are a patient.

Prepare for the appointment by doing as much research as possible on the Web - be your own expert.  Call the physician on it when he says something wrong, or like I have been, lies to you.  Don't let them get away with it.

If he doesn't like the heat he can get out of the kitchen and make way for someone who has a moral calling to medicine.  Not some snot-nosed kid who sees it as a way to get a Lexus while still young.

View physicians as Rug Merchants. They are no better. Both must know their product and they must attract customers or they go back to working a fast-food grill, or asking "you want fries with that?"  Just because we paid for most of their education it doesn't mean they are more important than the person asking if you want fries, all work is noble and until physicians understand and absorb that we'll continue to have healthcare problems in the U.S. with our current narcissists.

July 1, 2009
Click to view ntom's profile

IF YOU WANT SOCIALISTIC WAY"S. MOVE!!!!

It does not matter if it is health care or anything else, the Government of the United States of America

Should not Compete or be treated like a private industry...

This country was built on Free enterprise, this country was and still is one of the

largest forces in the world, WE GOT THERE BY FREE ENTERPRISE.

Doctors used to go to peoples houses, I still remember, when the person could not pay,

The doctor took food in trade, when someone died the doctor did not get sued.

I read above someone said :

 

Additionally, why do immigrants have medicaid and US citizens have to pay or have none or little health insurance? I had an immigrant ask me, "why are americans upset about healthcare? I have medicaid." I could not believe what I heard. These people never paid a dime into the system but they come here and get medicaid and medicare

 

Wow what a concept, get the illegals out and put the legals in... hmmmm seems pretty simple...

 

I see a lot of people saying the rich are afraid of socialism.. I am not rich, I am afraid of socialism.

I want my chance at doing something, I got my health care, I make small payments.

I have very little to live on but I can still come up with 20 dollars a month for the doctors,

and I have not run into one that has turned me down...

I know some people out there are hurting, but America did not create a government that is responsible for your health. Like I said before if you want socialism that bad, MOVE!!!!

 

 

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March 17, 2010
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