BillyName99 (billyname99) wrote in corpgoth,

Sick Sick SICK

(x-posted and Slightly Off-Topic)

Sharon & I watched 'Sicko' today. The Michael Moore Documentary on Health Care in the USA.

15 years ago, I would have been blogging this and spewing rage, disgust and shame at the this country.

The sad part is that I am not surprised by anything I saw in the film. Except the Hospital in Havana, Cuba. Or the Cashier's office in the London hospital.

The Managed Care industry in the U.S. is Appalling, since it's entire existence is dependent on NOT Treating people who need medical assistance. They deny coverage, which saves the Insurance Co. lots money, which means Higher Profits, which is ultimately worth more than the life of any human being.

I've heard the Horror Stories, and the mass AMA Sponsored Propaganda about the Evils Of Socialized Medicine all my life.

What I saw in the film of the Socialized Health Care Systems in Canada, France, The U.K. and Cuba seems to prove otherwise.

You see, this film bothered me on many levels, If what I saw in the film was true, it proves that the U.S. is NOT the "Greatest Country in the World", and that we are constantly fed a bunch of comforting lies via the news and the neo-con types that do nothing but bash every other nation in the Western World for daring to utilize a Socialist concept for the benefit of their citizens.

So, I have a few Questions for any of you who live or have lived in Europe, Mexico, The U.K. or Canada:

Compared to the U.S., How good is the Medical System in your country?

How long do you have to wait to see a doctor?
How would you rate the competence of the Doctors that treated you?
How much do you pay for Prescriptions Drugs and/or equipment?
How much do you pay for Eyeglasses and/or Contact Lenses?
How much do you pay for Dental work?
How Up-To-Date are the Facilities where you go for treatment?
How much would an Emergency Room trip cost?
How Competent are the Nurses, Orderlies, CNA's, and EMT's?

I saw the Propaganda from the Insurance Companies and the AMA, and Mr. Moore's footage seems to completely disprove all of it.

So I'd like to get some First Hand Info from people who KNOW.

Please comment here or email me @ with your comments.
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My husband is British and while in England I needed to see a doctor. I knew they wouldn't take my Blue Cross, which I pay $350 a month to have so I was reluctant to bother going in. My husband took me to his primary and not only did they offer to get me in right then they had a price list they used and for an American the cost was $20.

In the UK my husband can get into the doctor right away.
His doctor is very competent, helpful, and takes as much time as is needed to get to the root of your problem.
My husband doesn't pay for his prescriptions, they are free.
He gets free eyeglasses but that is limited to certain frames.
most of the UK dentist no longer belong to the medical system. if you can get one you don't pay. But you probably have to find a private dentist and you would have to pay for that.
The facilities were meager but clean and up to date.
ER trip would cost you nothing
Everyone I experienced seemed very competent.
The wait: This isn't always the case. I have a friend here in the UK with a bum knee. He is waiting to get in to see the doctor. Then he may need surgery and if he needs that then he will have to wait for who knows how long. My uncle up north in Coventry had to wait for his surgery as does my aunt. And they will only see you for up to 2 problems.

Private healthcare in this country is better if you can afford it. However, it's still better than the US in terms of actually getting care.
perhaps it is b/c my husband lives in Cambridgeshire and not London. I went to the doctor there for my bum knee...
Nope. Recall that I mentioned that my family in Coventry had similar problems. It's not just London.
In Canada, healthcare is supposed to be free. Here in Alberta, it will be free shortly, but we still had to pay about $50 per month for our healthcare insurance.

Basic healthcare is covered. Extras such as bandage changing, wart removal, crutches, tubal-ligation reversal etc etc etc you have to pay full dollar for.

Prescriptions are not covered. Hopefully whatever company you work for covers at least 80%.

Dental is not covered.

Optometrists are not covered.

Depending on which city you live in and what your problem is; the wait time is always better if you are rich and can afford private healthcare.

Minor emergencies where you aren't bleeding to death can be upwards of a 6 hour wait in an emergency ward.

Our facilities are modern and up to date. If you are lucky enough to have a family doctor (most aren't taking new patients) some of the better clinics have labs and x-ray ability right on premises.

So the above is for Alberta only, I hear that other provinces have prescription coverage and some allowance for optometrists.
"I saw the Propaganda from the Insurance Companies and the AMA, and Mr. Moore's footage seems to completely disprove all of it."

I don’t know you or your political leanings, but I do know Michael Moore leans VERY HARD to the left. While of course there will be some facts that he presents, a set of facts viewed from an extreme and selective angle one way will look different from the same facts viewed from a different angle. While I will not argue that the insurance companies absolutely have their own best interests first, (and are horrendously wasteful and inefficient)I think that to refer to what they put out as propaganda (no argument on that) you would have to classify what Michael Moore puts out exactly the same way. I believe that any system can be looked at from a perspective that highlights the bad and ignores the good, and vice versa. I will always question someone who presents a one sided bashing argument rather than an objective comparison.

just my 2 cents

"I will always question someone who presents a one sided bashing argument rather than an objective comparison."

My Political and/or Social leanings are irrelavent.

I am NOT Interested in turning this post into a political or philosophical debate.

Yes, I use the the word *propaganda* to refer to the AMA's "information" regarding Socialized Medicine. I also agree that Mr. Moore's film is obviously biased.

Hence, this post. The Film raised a lot of questions in my mind.

I am seeking information from Un-Biased Sources, I.E. anyone from any of these Countries, who have *direct* experience with a National or Socialized Health Care program.

Do you have any experience with the National Health programs in Europe, The U.K., Canada or Mexico?

If so, I am very interested in hearing about it. If not, please refrain from commenting further, Thank you.
Here is Australia, we have a two-tiered system - the universal, socialised system called Medicare, and the private system with private health care insurance, private hospitals, etc.

Unfortunately, the previous federal government tried to gradually force us into a US-style system by drastically under-funding the Medicare system and "encouraging" (through tax penalties) people to take out private health insurance and use the private system. It was at least partially the realisation of just how bad things were getting and the promise to get things back on track that finally saw the previous government ousted and the new one brought in at the last election.

Compounding these problems is the mis-management of some of the state governments (who actually run the hospitals etc) and a nation-wide skills shortage which affects all industries, including the health industry (baby-boomer doctors and nurses are retiring and we haven't trained enough people in the meantime to replace them).

So, in light of all that, our health system is currently not in great shape, and has been a lot better. That being said, however, from everything I have seen and heard (including Sicko), our system still kicks the US system's arse all over the park. Most of our current problems are from the previous government trying to replace Medicare with something like the US system.

So, to answer your questions for the Medicare system:

How long do you have to wait to see a doctor?
Depends - if you just walk in off the street for a GP visit with no appointment, you'll probably end up waiting a couple of hours unless it an emergency of some sort. However, you can usually get an appointment the next day, especially if you're already a patient of theirs.

For specialists, especially the really good/popular ones, sometimes the earliest appointment you'll be able to get will be a couple of months from when you ring.

If you rock up to the emergency of a hospital with something non-urgent, you will definitely wait for a long time - 6 or 7 hours is not uncommon. But that's what GPs are for, not the ER. Unfortunately kids accidents outside of GPs opening hours mean that kids with broken bones sometimes also wait for a long time, although 3 hours has been the longest I've had to wait the times (yes, plural) my kids have damaged themselves.

There are waiting lists for non-urgent things (hip replacements and the likes) and some of these are very long - months or years in some cases - another thing the new government has promised to address. On the other hand for simple elective surgeries that can be done as day surgery you can usually get done within a few weeks.

If you have private health insurance and go through the private system you can usually get elective surgery done a lot quicker but even with insurance you usually end up with significant out-of-pocket expenses.

Part 2 to follow, apparently my reply is too long ...


September 2 2008, 05:35:02 UTC 9 years ago Edited:  September 2 2008, 05:39:20 UTC

How would you rate the competence of the Doctors that treated you?
It varies. Some are excellent, some are atrocious. For GPS, sometimes you need to shop around a bit until find a good one - unlike the US system, we're not restricted to certain doctors covered by a particular HMO. If you're in hospital as a public patient then you have the doctor that is assigned to you, and some are better than others, but the overall standard is pretty good.

How much do you pay for Prescriptions Drugs and/or equipment?
It depends on what is needed. Prescription drugs are price-capped and highly subsidised. I think medical equipment is also subsidised, but I'm not sure about that. For low income earners there is a prescription scheme that caps any script at about $3 I think, but even if you're not covered by that then most medicine is reasonably priced. I've never paid more than about $20-$30 for anything I've needed. And for people that need a lot of medications there is a safety net scheme whereby once you've paid a certain amount for medicine in a year, then anything you need after that is free for the rest of the year.

Prescription drugs and some equipment are covered by many health schemes but often not to the full price.

How much do you pay for Eyeglasses and/or Contact Lenses?
Optometrist visits are covered by Medicare but not glasses or contacts, although there are schemes for low-income people to get them cheaply. I've just replaced my glasses and it cost me AU$270. A 30 pack of one-day contacts costs me, from memory, $90 ($45 for each pack as I have different script for each eye).

Glasses and contacts are covered by private health insurance, usually as "extras". Even then, they don't cover the full cost. Depending upon the scheme and level of coverage, they can give back as little as 1/3, and I've never seen or heard of one that gave back more than 1/2 the cost. I did the math and worked out it would be cheaper for me just to buy new glasses every couple of years straight out of my pocket than to pay the premiums required for this coverage for the pittance they reimburse you.

How much do you pay for Dental work?
Dental is also not covered by Medicare, although there is a huge amount of pressure for it to, and the new government has promised to consider it, so that may change.

Costs for a standard dental visit vary, but I've never paid more than $50 for one, and I paid $500 for a plate to stop me grinding my teeth at night.

Orthodontic work, root canals etc cost more. I can't give any information on them as I don't know how much they cost.

As above for glasses, dental is covered by some private health insurance, and again, I decided it was cheaper just to pay it out of pocket. That may change if one of my kids needs orthodontic work.

How Up-To-Date are the Facilities where you go for treatment?
They're state-of-the-art, world-class, however you want to say it. This myth that all the countries with socialised medicine are languishing with third-world equipment is just silly. How do you think Australian doctors and technicians pioneered things like the bionic ear?

How much would an Emergency Room trip cost?

How Competent are the Nurses, Orderlies, CNA's, and EMT's?
Like doctors they vary from excellent to abysmal (just as in any field), but overall they are professional and competent.

Just in closing, I've given birth in state-of-the art birth centre facilities attached to a public hospital, had a tubal ligation and had several visits to the ER when my kids have damaged themselves, plus assorted GP visits for various things over the years, all on Medicare and I was happy with the level of care I and my kids received. I have the minimum level of private health care necessary to avoid the tax penalties the previous government introduced to try and force everyone to take out private health insurance but I've never used it and I consider it a waste of money.