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Does anybody here make a living writing? If so, where do you get...

  1. 0
    pgrundyposted 8 years ago

    ...your health insurance?

    Right now I have enough regular work to leave my day job, and the work I have pays more and is more fun, but I don't know where to get health insurance that won't eat up every cent.

    Has anyone here solved that problem?

  2. Inspirepub profile image87
    Inspirepubposted 8 years ago

    Live in Australia - free universal health care ... smile


  3. Stacie Naczelnik profile image89
    Stacie Naczelnikposted 8 years ago

    Health insurance is one of the main reasons why I'm still at my "real" job.  The hourly pay alone isn't that great until you calculate in the insurance benefits.

    You should shop around at different companies.  Does your state offer a low-income insurance plan?  We did that in Washington state for a little while.  Also, do some research on group plans.  Some areas have groups of individuals (generally people who work for themselves) that join together for a group insurance plan.  Do some research on freelancers' insurance groups.

    Best of luck!

    1. 0
      pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this


      Don't you sometimes resent keeping a job for the insurance though? Maybe if I liked my "real job" it would be better, but some days I feel like I'm being held hostage there.

      I hope when we get a new prez we'll get a government health care option of some kind. At this point, such a plan would have a major impact on my quality of life.

  4. Marisa Wright profile image93
    Marisa Wrightposted 8 years ago

    I'm in Oz too, so I don't have to worry.  Nor would I have to worry if I was in the UK, or most of Europe for that matter.  What kind of third world system does the US have, that self-employed people fall outside it?

    PG, is that a husky I see in the photo?  Have you read Gamergirl's Hubs about her gorgeous baby Sierra?

    1. Isabella Snow profile image89
      Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Not even a socialist healthcare system is "free". Not even in the most socialist healthcare system in Europe.

    2. seamus profile image59
      seamusposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      That's the question I also have.

      I have another: Why in a country with politicians espousing 'family values' does a parent only have 12 weeks (if that) of unpaid maternity/paternity leave? In Europe, you get a year or more.

      Maybe this article will help with your insurance question:
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co … 00139.html

      If you find out, please write a hub on it. smile

      You could buy disaster coverage with a high deductible and then use urgent care centers when you're sick at about $95 a pop. If you're healthy, that could be affordable. Depends on age and health.

  5. spuds profile image22
    spudsposted 8 years ago

    I live in New Zealand so there is still free public health. I choose however to have health insurance because the public system is terrible.

  6. 0
    pgrundyposted 8 years ago

    Thanks for all the good ideas everyone.

    <<What kind of third world system does the US have, that self-employed people fall outside it?

    PG, is that a husky I see in the photo?  Have you read Gamergirl's Hubs about her gorgeous baby Sierra?>>

    I haven't read Gamergirl's hubs but I will now! The dog in photo is Rocket, our Malamute. He's an Alaskan Indian sled dog, much bigger than a Husky and not build for speed so much as power. Pound for pound an Alaskan Malamute is the strongest draft animal on the planet. Plus, he's a big sweetie.

    What kind of third world system does the US have? Oh my god, I hope you never have to find out. I don't even use the health care system here, it's gotten that bad, but I need health insurance or I can be wiped out financially if I have a heart attack or a major illness. They can take my house, garnish whatever wages they can find, and so forth. It's such a mess here right now, lots of working people have no health insurance.

    Last summer my boyfriend had a medical emergency and was ordered by his doctor to go to the emergency room for possible surgery. We waited 6 hours for him to be seen, and after that another 7 hours while tests were run. After insurance, we owed over $5,000---for 7 hours--and we are still paying it off.

  7. crystalkay profile image60
    crystalkayposted 8 years ago

    America is a capitalistic based country. We have programs for the poor and elderly but not working people.  Our country believes working people pay their way, and a free market offers the best for the consumer. 

    The current presidential campaign has healthcare as a hot topic. They are pushing a mandatory socialist’s health care program like the countries mentioned above.  I am concerned about this, as it is not the basis of our country. I like how a free market models nature in its survival of the fittest, competitive stance.  What I don't like is a federal reserve bank...the source of our current economic troubles. If we would strip all our unconstitutional programs and be Americans again we could pull ourselves of this mess!

    However, mainstream here is buying into the warm and fuzzy socialistic ideals. Who pays for all this? Our country is many trillions of dollars in debt so who pays for these free programs? Income tax is not constitutional, and has only been present since 1914. Food stamps, a form of wealfare, is up almost 20 percent and the population has not grown to match that number. We even have radio and TV adds promoting the welfare. There is no shame anymore in taking handouts! Some are truly in need, and there have always been programs to serve this population. In fact, private services work as good as federal ones...and are more American. 

    I'm so discouraged, because we have NO candidates in the front running who are worth my vote. I will be writing in Ron Paul’s name, Google him to learn a lot about America.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Unless you happen to be an investment bank, pharmaceutical company or oil company. In which case, the government will step in and bail you out, or write new laws to suit you. LOL

      free market - yeah right !

      Dammit. Lost the sarcasm smilie. big_smile

    2. pauldeeds profile image
      pauldeedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      America spends significantly more on health care per capita than any other country, and we aren't anywhere close to the "healthiest" nation, by any reasonable measure. So there is clearly some inefficiency in the "free market" for health care that you love so much.   How do you propose we eliminate that inefficiency?



      source: http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/spend.php

      Health spending as a percentage of GDP


      source: http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm010307oth.cfm

      1. 0
        pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Thank you Paul, for pointing that out. I'm so tired of all the "free market will heal us all" crap. What nonsense. As mark points out, if you're an investment bank the government is more than willing to bail you out to the tune of billions, but if you just need a way to get health insurance without selling your soul to some corporation, too bad.

        Plus, I too am sick of hearing how the US "has the best health care system in the world..." Ha! Clearly people who like to say this have not been to a doctor's office or emergency room recently.

    3. thecounterpunch profile image57
      thecounterpunchposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      It's just an appearance of "free market", it's rather an engeniered chaos and an apparent regulation by central banks.

      as Caroll Quickgley, Bill Clinton's mentor put it in Tragedy and Hope http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html% … FS0EHBYQ02

      "The powers of financial capitalism had far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert."

      It's neither capitalism nor socialism, it's just symbols to fool people from both camps whereas they should rather "look at the real situations which lie beneath the conceptual and verbal symbols" because these bankers are neither capitalists nor socialists they use FORMAL (abstract) capitalism or socialism which are different from people's (concrete) capitalism or socialism.

      1. 0
        pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Well said. I agree completely.

  8. gamergirl profile image61
    gamergirlposted 8 years ago

    *derails thread a moment*

    Marisa, I love you to bits for mentioning Sierra!

    *un-derails thread*

  9. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    I wouldn't blame it on free market - rather on government regulations in the favor of insurance companies...

    nice charts, though smile

    1. pauldeeds profile image
      pauldeedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I don't know where the inefficiency comes from, but there is clearly a problem.  It's bad for people and it's bad for business (unless maybe you're in the healthcare business).

  10. robie2 profile image90
    robie2posted 8 years ago

    The bottom line here is that the current American system is badly broken--and rife with greed and corruption. Tt is shameful that in a country as rich as ours we pay so much and get so little for our healthcare doillars. There are problems with any sort of system--government run or free market. I personally don't think that socialized medicine is a dirty word but I would be happy with any system that works. The current one doesn't.

    1. Isabella Snow profile image89
      Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Socialist healthcare doesnt work any better than the US system. Most socialist healthcare systems are on the verge of economic collapse and are being reformed to more closely resemble the US version.

      1. robie2 profile image90
        robie2posted 8 years ago in reply to this

        I am told by European friends that more and more services are being privatized and they are complaining, so I guess you are right, Isabella. Also, one friend in Denmark went to South Africa and paid for her operation privately rather than waiting for many months for her elective surgery. Like I said, there are problems with every system,but results for $$ spent are worse under the American system than in any other country. Innovation is our thing as a nation and we really need to think outside the box and come up with something new.

      2. Ralph Deeds profile image70
        Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        I'm not sure what you mean by "socialist" health care systems. However, single-payer, universal health care systems in most industrialized countries, although not without problems, get better results, based on all the figures, at significantly lower cost than does the U.S. private system..

        1. robie2 profile image90
          robie2posted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Plus those governments with single payer systems can bargain with the big international pharmaceutical companies for better prices which is why Americans pay 4 times as much for their prescription drugs as most Europeans and lots more than Canadians too.  Busloads of senior citizens used to go to Canada to buy their medications until the government made it illegal....gee wonder if the Pharmeceutical Lobby had anything to do with that???(duh!)

          1. 0
            pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

            I know this is kind of crazy, but I'm nearly off all my medications--I was on a BP med, and anxiety med, and depression med---without coverage the total cost was $320/month for just the meds, with insurance it was still over $100. I started walking every day, changed my job (last year), and now I am part-time which is even less stressful. My BP is normal and I feel great---no anxiety, no depression. Looking back, it seems to me these problems were largely CAUSED by the job I had to keep to GET the insurance to pay for the meds.

            How crazy is that? I think its pretty crazy.

            1. Misha profile image75
              Mishaposted 8 years ago in reply to this

              Yeah, I think reliance on medications as an "easy" way to solve all health problems contributes to the high cost of health care, too. And don't get me started on antibiotics use...

              1. 0
                pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

                I know you said don't get you started on antibiotics, but you are right about them---they are so over-prescribed that they are actually now causing diseases to mutate into more powerful forms, whereas if they hadn't been so freely given out, that would not be happening. Also, they are turning up in the water, and until very recently antibiotics were in milk and meat too. I won't buy meat or milk with hormone or antibiotics, even if I have to pay a lot more--we just eat more vegetables and starches instead and we are doing fine.

                Nobody seems to think these things through. You're in the examining room five minutes, tops, and for the doctor its all about the prescription pad. Wham, bam, and thank you mam, and out the door he goes on to next sicko. In my own case, I did not need  all that medicine, I needed a saner life. But I had to figure that out for myself and take care of it myself--it's not easy to do, there's a lot of pressure to work unhealthy, live unhealthy.

                1. Isabella Snow profile image89
                  Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago in reply to this

                  The resistance you refer to was actually caused by people not completing the full course of prescribed meds, thereby allowing the bacteria to rebound and develop an immunity to it.

                  I am not a fan of overmedication though, and I am especially anti-vaccine in most cases.

        2. Isabella Snow profile image89
          Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          I mean exactly what it sounds like I mean wink I've no doubt you're familiar with Socialism. Most of Europe is lead by Social Democrats/Democratic Socialists. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and many other EU Presidents and Premiers are Social Democrats. Sweden's a pretty successful model of a Social Democracy, and most former Soviet Bloc countries are social democracies as well.

          As for "better results" that's all well and good on paper, but IMO it's not something one can really compare before personally experiencing the two models being compared.

          1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
            Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

            There are hardly any socialist countries in Europe, in the economic sense of the term. All of the countries economies based on private or free enterprise. Of course they all offer much more comprehensive social insurance than does the U.S. But that doesn't make them socialist. Germany and France now have conservative governments. England had a long run of conservative governments starting with Thatcher and then Blair. Thatcher undid many of the programs adopted by previous Labor Party governments. Several of the Scandinavian countries have moved toward the right in recent years. Nobody in the U.S. has proposed "socialized" medicine. Health care would continue to be provided by private doctors and hospitals. The only part of the system that would be eliminated is the parasitical health insurance companies that contribute a measure of costs with little or no benefit to the health of Americans.

            The results are not just "on paper." They are real, calculated various international institutions based on data collected and submitted by each country. They are widely accepted as quite accurate. Measuring average life expectancy or infant mortality isn't exactly rocket science.

      3. Ralph Deeds profile image70
        Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        47 million Americans have no health care insurance and the number is growing every year. Illness is the single greatest reason for bankruptcy in the United States. Infant mortality in the U.S. is comparable to experience in Third World countries, and life expectancy as well. If you are fortunate enough to be rich or have an employer that provides health care insurance you get good care. If not you don't. The quality of health care you get depends on your income level, your job and race in the U.S. Health insurance companies refuse to insure people with pre-existing health conditions and they do everything they can to avoid paying claims of the people they do insure. Here are some health care facts:


        1. Isabella Snow profile image89
          Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          IMO This isn't really a "healthcare" issue, it's an issue of Big Business being allowed to treat their employees badly.

          Part of the funding for healthcare in the EU comes from EU companies being required to give any full time employee health insurance -- and 5 weeks paid holiday every year.

  11. Dorsi profile image90
    Dorsiposted 8 years ago

    This is getting off-track but the US healthcare system is broken and has been for a long time. I have been self employed for over 14 years and getting good insurance has been a nightmare. The last time I had healthcare was Kaiser and I paid almost a $1,000 a month for my husband and I (and that did'nt cover everything)
    I continued to get my meds from them though at a cost of over $300.00 a month, until I found out I could get the same meds at Costco for under $40.00
    I was burned to find out the mark-up that Kaiser was putting on my meds- it's a joke, the healthcare system we have.
    I could on and on and on...yup... I better write a hub about this!

    1. 0
      pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I don't think you are getting off-track at all Dorsi. I think you are right on track. I haven't been able to even get a quote on a policy without giving the agency a fee first or cancelling the policy I have--I'm NOT going to cancel what I have just so that they can hike my premium the minute I've left my day job!!!!! What are they thinking?! I cut down to 20 hours a week at my job so I would have insurance, and have 4 more hours a day to write. My policy at work has a $5000 deductible and an HSA and runs me $27 every other week, for just me, which is not bad. I haven't been able to get a quote on an individual policy, but so far the estimates I've found start at around $259/month for the same kind of coverage, and that can change the minute they process my application. So I don't know. I guess I'm stuck at the bank for as long as its still afloat (which might not be very long...)

  12. barranca profile image79
    barrancaposted 8 years ago

    Recommendation for anyone who believes America's healthcare system is just grand:

    Watch Michael Moore's movie  Sicko.   Free on the internet.  Won't have to leave your computer.

    1. 0
      pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      "Sicko" was really good. You know what upset me the most about that movie? It wasn't that it showed health care here is bad and expensive and everything is corrupt. I already knew that. What really upset me was when I saw how good other countries have it. THAT I did not know. I was really shaken afterward. We are told over and over how great it is here, but it isn't true, not even close to true.

  13. Zsuzsy Bee profile image83
    Zsuzsy Beeposted 8 years ago

    I might be off the mark here but don't you have Blu Cross or Blue Shield in the whole US. ( I know California does) I looked into it a few years back as an additional. I found that Manulife her in Canada had a better price than Blue Cross for the same coverage. So that what I've had for 8-9 years. Manulife is also available in a couple of the East Coast States you would need to check out which. Maybe this helps.zs

  14. MrMarmalade profile image82
    MrMarmaladeposted 8 years ago

    In the early eighties I was in Hospital for 10 weeks and three major operations (Plus an out of the body experience) I almost quit this earth. This wonderful experience cost nothing.
    In Dec 2007 I underwent some more surgery. with Medical insurance Ended up I paid $3,300 and recived back $1,250 from our free Medical (Medicare)

    We pay Vals medical Insurance every month and She mat be slightly ahead after 40 Years.
    Where as I belive I am well a head

  15. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    You made a smart move I think smile

  16. Ralph Deeds profile image70
    Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago

    Here's a recent op-ed by Paul Krugman on health care:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/opini … ugman.html

    1. robie2 profile image90
      robie2posted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Great link, Ralph.  I especially like this :

      "And the international evidence on health care costs is overwhelming: the United States has the most privatized system, with the most market competition — and it also has by far the highest health care costs in the world."

      1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
        Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Krugman is a hard man to argue with. He's my favorite op-ed writer. Some in this forum would probably call him a socialist. Actually he's a middle-of-the-road orthodox economist who believes in our free enterprise system with the minimum regulation necessary for it to operate honestly and deliver the benefits offered by a market system.

        1. 0
          pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          I love Krugman too. He pretty much just puts right out there, and he's hardly a flaming radical. When you see moderates this angry, you know the country is a mess.

  17. Isabella Snow profile image89
    Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago

    Could you maybe make your quoting easier to read, please?

    Im not sure why you're telling me that no one in the US proposed socialist healthcare -- I never suggested anyone did. You must have misread something, or you must be talking to someone else.

    As for socialism not really existing in the EU, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Finland, and Greece are all lead by Social Democrats. Germanys last Chancellor was also a Social Democrat, and the last election was very close. The French election involved a straight Socialist candidate -- why would you think socialism doesn't exist? Just because it's not fascist doesn't mean it isn't socialism -- and there is nothing wrong with socialism. Not in theory, anyway. And what has conservatism to do with anything?

    And sorry but I dont see what your lifespan or infant mortality argument has to do with how a healthcare system functions, unless youre suggesting babies are dying of SIDS and pneumonia because their parents cant afford healthcare -- I would disagree with this, being that there are loads and loads of facilities available for indigents. More importantly, you cannot possibly compare US infant mortality rates with EU infant mortality rates, and here's a US News and World reports quote explaining why:

    "The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don't reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates."

    I could keep going but I will stop, as I have a feeling you're going to keep telling me Im wrong regardless. And that's fine, I'm ok with that.

    1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      "I don't see what your lifespan or infant mortality argument has to do with how a healthcare system functions..."

      Well, I don't pretend to be an expert on international health care, but infant mortality and average lifespan are the two most widely cited statistics for comparing the effectiveness of health care systems. I guess the theory is that living longer has something to do with the quality of health care. Of course other factors affect longevity as well as health care. High infant mortality results from lack of good prenatal care and nutrition and the quality of obstetrics and post natal care. I would be very surprised if differences in the way the statistics are kept account for the major differences in the levels of infant mortality. Some say that inequality of income distribution contributes significantly to disparities in life expectancy and infant mortality. No doubt there is some truth in this. The other statistic that is used to compare health care systems is the total cost of health care as a percentage of gross domestic production or GDP. On this count as well, the U.S. system compares very unfavorably to every one of the other industrialized nations.

      As far as the use of the term socialism is concerned the definition I learned in my training as an economist is government ownership and control of the means of production. By this definition there is hardly a socialist country in Europe or the industrialized world. I'm aware that Segolene Royal was the socialist candidate last year in France. She lost to Sarkozy who is quite a bit to the right of Royal. It is true that France has had government's that have called themselves socialist and which have adopted socialist measures including government ownership of certain industries. This was true for a period in the UK after World War II. However, today economists do not consider the UK a socialist country. The same is true for the Scandinavian countries where most of industry is private. Economists call their ecconomies "welfare capitalism."Of course you are free to use the term however you wish. In the United States, the conservatives use "socialism" as a pejorative in opposing most forms of government regulation. As you probably know, health care is one of the top issues in our current election campaign. Sometimes I forget that others in the forum are from other countries and have different perspectives.. And for this I beg your pardon.

      If I'm not doing my comments or quotes correctly I'm open to suggestions. :-)

  18. Isabella Snow profile image89
    Isabella Snowposted 8 years ago

    I never said they were socialist countries. I said they have socialist healthcare systems. And some of their leaders are heads of social democratic parties. And... I just dont have the energy to keep repeating what I actually said while you imply that I said something else.

  19. crystalkay profile image60
    crystalkayposted 8 years ago

    The U.S. currently does not entertain a true free market healthcare system.  We are all taxed so the government can have social programs for the weak and poor.  Medicare serves this purpose already.  Medicare for illegal and legal immigrants, poor citizens, and the elderly are the areas where the U.S. has introduced socialized medicine.  To socialize medicine for all the U.S. citizens will not really change much in the end.  The middle class and rich will be paying even higher federal income taxes to fund this expanded Medicare system, which already is bloated with bureaucracy, waste, and budget shortfalls.  The bloating and waste is evident in the fact that millions of our citizens pay little or nothing for the healthcare they receive while the rest of us attempt to foot the bill in higher private insurance premiums for the shortfalls.  This will not change much if we switch to pure socialized medicine.  Our healthcare will just have a new name and the government administering it instead.  Instead of paying $400 to $1000 a month for private insurance you will pay that money in taxes instead.  Just as with the Social Security programs the Medicare programs are failing and there is not enough money to fund the services.  More government may not necessarily be a good thing in this instance.  The only true “equitable” solution would be to dissolve Medicare and allow everyone to privately purchase services.

  20. Inspirepub profile image87
    Inspirepubposted 8 years ago

    I don't know, Crystal, we have universal free basic healthcare here, funded by a tax levy of 1.25%

    That levy doesn't amount to anything like $400 or $1000 per month!

    It's BASIC healthcare, it doesn't cover normal dental, for example (but it will cover you once the unattended dental issue causes a life-threatening systemic infection, of course), and it doesn't cover cosmetic surgery, even to repair scars caused by major injuries.

    But hey, anyone can visit a GP or a hospital ER without paying anything for the visit, and if you have no income, you pay no tax levy, so that's free in my book.

    With three kids, we get our money's worth out of our 1.25% levy - we're ahead, while wealthy single stockbrokers are probably behind.

    We also have private insurance to help out with the things that aren't covered - othodontic, spectacles, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. It costs about $200 a month, and I am not entirely sure we will get our money's worth out of that once they have all finished having braces ... time will tell.

    It seems to me that our system works a thousand times better than the US system, even though it's not perfect. And most major hospitals are government-owned, so you could even call it "socialist", LOL. Just don't let the government hear you use that word ... they would come out in hives at the thought!


    P.S. I'm in Australia.

    1. crystalkay profile image60
      crystalkayposted 8 years ago in reply to this


      Sounds like you guys have a good deal going but the numbers really work out the same.  Based on your tax rates a person earning $60K will be taxed over $12,000 to fund the social programs of Australia.  A person in the U.S. with a couple of kids, married, and making the same wage will end up paying similar numbers in federal/state tax, medical insurance, social security, and medicare benefits.  Our medical/dental insurance covers many of the items that are excluded from your policies so you actually may end up paying more than we do for the same services based on the extra $2400 you spend to get the extra coverages. 

      My concern with universal health care is that I will be paying what I am now for less care and will have to purchase supplemental insurance or pay extra fees to get the care I get now included in my private policy.

      1. Inspirepub profile image87
        Inspirepubposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        I think you might have misplaced a decimal point or two when you did your division - 1.25% of $60K is  $750, not $12,000!!!!

        I can get perfectly acceptable basic health care for that $750.

        We spend the extra $2400 because we choose to, not because failure to do so will result in us being left to die by a medical system built on private insurance.

        The rest of my taxes go to fund a bunch of other things like roads, schools, etc, many of which are better quality than the US equivalent, and our social security system is infinitely better than yours - we don't throw people off unemployment benefits after six months, for example!

        If the net expenditure on all those things IS the same in both countries, we definitely get more for our money.

        And if you isolate out health in particular, private health insurance over there costs more than our tax levy plus our private insurance premium, and you get less for it.

        Our system is far from perfect, but it's definitely better value than the one in the US.


  21. Lissie profile image85
    Lissieposted 8 years ago

    I think too that the US system restricts peoples freedom to tell their employer to go shove their job where the sun doesn't shine and move on.  We (ages 45/55) left New Zealand last year - travelled for most of the year and then started working in Australia (we have the right to work- a different issue).  We dropped our private surgical cover in NZ when we left - in Australia we are covered by the universal Medicare system.  When I was working and trying to get an online business up and running I didn't have to worry about paying health insurance - when I got a job I started paying the taxes/medicare levy.  If I  need new glasses I will pay about $500 for them - they arent covered - if I needed plastic surgery after a surgical procedure I'd pay a few thousand here, or get on a plane to Asia and pay a lot less there - the point is I am free to make choices about my career without taking on the risk of bankrupcy if I happen to knocked over in the street or get sick.  When I go back to NZ I may or may not get private health insurance again - but its a choice about convenience : choice of doctor, faster service, nicer room, private room - its not about not being able to get emergency or urgent treatment when I need it. 

    From what I have seen on other forums Americans sometimes cant take a 12 month break from work in their 40's or later because a new employer may not be able to cover them because of their age! IF thats true that is pure ageism and its not even to do with their ability to work its about a health insurance risk!

    1. 0
      pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      A 12 month break from work? OMG Lissie, I worked for 30 years before I got a job a that gave me a two week paid vacation.

      The way I see it, we are held hostage by corporate America. It wasn't always like this. Not everyone had health insurance when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, but going to the doctor didn't meant $4000 in tests and a $120 office visit bill to learn that you need to go to another doctor. The cost was more reasonable and doctors would let you carry a balance if you couldn't pay. It was more humane.

      IMO the medical care here stinks, the insurance stinks, most of the jobs stink, and it's all because our government has turned into a government run by huge oil, financial, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations. If you aren't willing to be a corporate slave for $10 or $12 an hour, you will face an uphill struggle, but to my mind it is worth it and even a responsibility to resist. At my age, I just want to do what I care about before I die---it used to be I thought, I'll do it when I retire, I'll have time then-- but now that I may not ever GET to retire, screw it, I'm doing it now. My mom dropped dead at 58--I'm 55. I don't have any more time to give the greedy bastards.

      1. Lissie profile image85
        Lissieposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        I should clarify - the odd public servant can get a year off (without pay) but we both quit our jobs.

        Which is exactly how it works here - its about $60 for a 15 min appointment with a GP - maybe 2 x that for a specialist

        We had a good friend die with cancer at 60,  a month later  Iwent the funeral for a former colleague who was dead at 54.  At least the 60 year old had retired at 52. 

        My partner is 55 - he'll get a pension at 65 - but no one guaranttes that you will be alive to collect it or healthy enough to wander the world - we decided to go - life ain't a dress rehersal - you go for it girl!

        1. 0
          pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Amen to that!

  22. Bike Web Guy profile image61
    Bike Web Guyposted 8 years ago

    Our system in the US has gone awry not because of the insurance companies.  The insurance companies are merely middle men in a series of hogs feeding at the trough. 

    These hogs are outrageously overpaid Doctors,  ($10,000 doctor charges for a four hour surgery?) 

    Trial Lawyers and greedy patients that sue the medical system over any little thing hoping to hit the lottery in our equally messed up legal system.

    The charges for American health care are outrageous.  It is unbelievable that a visit to a clinic for a simple wound bandaging with a couple of stitches will cost a couple of thousand dollars.

    The Doctors with their Hypocritical Oath---I know I used the wrong word which is often the right word--have hidden behind their profession to keep the number of Doctors low and their rates unreasonable.  The government has done enough meddling in the industry to make more of a  mess of it. 

    The AMA and the rest of the medical community is one of the most powerful lobbies in DC.  Their goal is not better health care.

    My Two Cents

    1. seamus profile image59
      seamusposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Hmmm, it might start earlier than that with the greedy medical schools that leave doctors about $96,000 in debt if not more. Then, that interest piles up as the doctors do their residencies while earning $30,000 and working 80-hour weeks.

  23. crystalkay profile image60
    crystalkayposted 8 years ago


    "I think you might have misplaced a decimal point or two when you did your division - 1.25% of $60K is  $750, not $12,000!!!! "

    Over all taxes...its all the same. You pay less in medical and more elsewhere than we do.

    Gladly, we all seem to be happy where we are!

  24. Inspirepub profile image87
    Inspirepubposted 8 years ago

    I guess you could argue that people have a choice - be an indentured servant, underpaid on an hourly basis but insured and paid for a few days off each year, or make your own way, which allows you to make more per hour, but requires you to pay more for medical insurance and to find your own work instead of being able to turn up and find it in your in-tray.

    Or the third option - emigrate.

    Millions of illegal immigrants seem to feel that option B is a good enough life, and millions of average Americans seem to feel that option A is a good enough life.

    I took option C (although it was my parents who made the decision on my behalf at the time, i can't claim credit for it smile)

    Any choice is valid, but you can't really choose one and then bitch about the one you chose. Well, you can, I guess, but you chose it.

    What is not an option is to provide less value to the world than the cost of the products and services you consume.

    If you choose to remain in the US, then you choose to keep funding the "personal injury lottery", which "taxes" the users of medical services via higher fees to fund a pool of money which is allocated to people who, by random chance, suffer some injury during the course of their medical treatment.

    I am excluding the small proportion of payouts which were the result of genuine malpractice from this "lottery" - since we here cover those payouts from within the 9.2% of GDP spent on health here.

    I wonder how much of the 6% of your GDP extra that you guys spend on health would be saved if you didn't have the "medical malpractice" lottery?


    1. Ralph Deeds profile image70
      Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      The idea that medical malpractice awards are responsible for a significant portion of health care costs is a myth perpetuated by a small number of high awards. Actually, most awards are not high and most are justified.
      http://makethemaccountable.com/myth/Ris … urance.htm

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/busin … nsure.html

  25. crystalkay profile image60
    crystalkayposted 8 years ago


    What?  Let’s agree to disagree!

    To those looking for insurance, I too have purchased it privately, I know its an expense. I wish you the best of luck! I have had a few carriers and no horror stories. With a bit of research you will find a program to suit your needs.

  26. crystalkay profile image60
    crystalkayposted 8 years ago

    "Why in a country with politicians espousing 'family values' does a parent only have 12 weeks (if that) of unpaid maternity/paternity leave? In Europe, you get a year or more."

    Answer: Personal responsibility. Plan a family and at a time you can financially stay at home with your children, they need much more than one year anyrate.  Personal responsibility is never a popular answer.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image61
      Mark Knowlesposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Personal responsibility -

      You are on your own. We are spending your taxes on more tanks. Deal with it. There is no reason why the government should have to worry about national health care. The pharmaceutical companies pay us enough that it is your problem.

      What on earth do you think a central government is for? We are too busy protecting your "freedom," to worry about your health.

      Personal responsibility people, that's what it's all about. Never a popular answer.

      1. robie2 profile image90
        robie2posted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Right on, Mark!!!! ROTFL---and all is well here in this best of all possible worlds smile

      2. Ralph Deeds profile image70
        Ralph Deedsposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        It works in Banglaesh  But do we really want to trip over the beggars on the sidewalks of our cities?

        1. 0
          pgrundyposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          Hey, no kidding, we have so many homeless people here already they organize and picket city government meetings. It's a big problem all over the US--no place to put all the homeless people. Lots of them are kids too. This winter a homeless woman fell asleep on the steps of the courthouse and froze to death. You can't make this stuff up.

  27. Misha profile image75
    Mishaposted 8 years ago

    LOL +1