A question

Last week I watched the inauguration of the 44th president while sitting alone in my living room.  I watched as people looked up with hope, expectation and joy.  I then spent the next week listening to report after report on how bad the global economy is.  I read articles on the economy, one of them claimin it will be as bad as 1946- in the UK that is BAAAAAAD!

On Monday/Tuesday I watched President Obama walking the halls and shaking hands and trying to get Republicans on board with his economic stimulus package.  Yesterday I watched the vote count as Republican after Republican voted against it.  Now I’m not living in the US so I’m not completely knowledgeable about what the package is calling for but it did make so sad that no one single Republican voted for it. With the economy imploding it’s still politics as usual.

I’ve also listened to people say they don’t want socialized medicine.  On this issue I feel I am in a unique position as I am currently living in a country that has socialized medicine.  I am a BIG fan of the National Health Service, NHS.

I suppose my question is, what exactly do you not like about socialized  medicine?  What do you like about private health care.  Do you know that the UK has BOTH?

The other day I watched a panorama program where they showed people lining up to be seen by a charity that was originally set up to provide health care to 3rd world countries.  They now spend 60% of their time in the US.  I found myself getting angry.  How is it that the richest nation in the world allows some of it’s citizens to go without such a basic fundamental human right.

I really am curious to hear what everyone has to say.  I’ll put away my pinko-commie soap box now.


  1. January 29, 2009 /

    You should get up on that soapbox more often. You make some great points.

  2. habitual
    January 29, 2009 /

    I don’t get it at all. It’s a basic necessity and as the world’s richest country, it’s embarrassing… but I have noticed more and more people changing their tune as their cushy middle class lifestyle goes down the crapper. The current employer-funded system (aka “private”) is not sustainable, and even the corporate world is starting to acknowledge this fact.

  3. Rachel
    January 29, 2009 /

    You have some excellent points.

    I’m happy that the NHS works well for you. But I don’t think all socialized medical programs are created equally. I hear not so good things from some Canadians regarding their program.

    I think my biggest problem with US health care right now is the astronomical costs. I think it is horrible that not everyone is getting the health care they need. It used to be so affordable that no one had health insurance. Now private insurance has largely become a farce, my aunt and uncle own their own business and can’t get insurance. I have friends whose insurance won’t cover certain illnesses because it isn’t important enough. I just don’t think nationalized health care in the US would be a good solution at this time. I want the current system examined and work towards lowering costs so it becomes more affordable for all. I want people to be encouraged again to become doctors. The massive student loan debt, malpractice insurance, and cost of maintaining a practice is seriously turning people away. I believe that were the government to put socialized medicine in place right now, it would make a messy situation so much worse. I’m really not trying to offend, I’m just trying to be pragmatic.

    Thanks for listening.

  4. January 29, 2009 /

    I can only speak from a brit’s point of view but I’m very happy with the NHS. I very rarely use it thank God – only for pregnancy and one broken wrist really! I love the fact that I know Caitlin and Noah will get treatment if needed. Obviously its not perfect – my particular health visitor is rubbish – but in general its great.

  5. Kim
    January 29, 2009 /

    I do like the cost of prescriptions. I don’t like the postcode lottery. I didn’t like the fact that my GP was unable to give me a simple wrist splint and I had to be referred to a physio. He didn’t seem to like that either. I don’t like that people think we get free health care living here. I pay quite a bit every month for National Insurance which helps fund the NHS. I don’t use the NHS very often either, so it’s been okay for me. I live with a nurse who works for the NHS and I hear lots of scary stories, but that could happen with a nurse at any hospital.

  6. Vic
    January 29, 2009 /

    I love the NHS. I agree totally with Byrney! It has its down points and I think a few Americans would get a real shock if they saw the wards at the hospital I am placed at. Thats not to say it is dirty, on the contrary, its spotless, its just a little shabby round the edges, in desperate need of a cosmetic facelift. But, I maintain that as long as the quality of care is good, and hygiene is maintained, I am happy.

    I have heard that in the UK, NHS care is far far superior to private healthcare in this country, especially in respect to maternity and antenatal care. I know who I would rather look after me, when I have a (not to happen, imaginary) third child!!!

    I don’t know enough about the US system to criticise it, but I do know from T’s experience how expensive it is, and, like I say, I am happy with what I have.

    Good job really, as they’re likely to employ me for the foreseeable future!!

  7. Julia
    January 30, 2009 /

    I don’t like the costs that come with the US system but I don’t like that my son’s back problems still dont’ have an accurate diagnosis after 4 years with the NHS or that physio still hasn’t happened 9 months after a referral with the NHS.

    There’s good and bad to each but atleast in the UK prescriptions are cheap once the illness is diagnosed.

  8. Rachel
    January 30, 2009 /

    I am also a big fan of the NHS and have had several excellent experiences, including having a baby, a stomach infection (strange, I know) and my husband having two experiences with long hospital stays. Its not a perfect system, we live in a big city where the care happens to be excellent, but my inlaws live in Bucks and they have nothing like the healthcare we have here. My husband and I watched Sicko this weekend, and we were shocked. I appreciate its a Michael Moore Film and he does have an agenda, and he never really mentioned the fact that we pay big NHS Contributions every month. I feel lucky to be in a situation where I can afford to help others, I can’t understand why Americans don’t feel that way.

    From my experiences many Americans think that people with serious illnesses are waiting for months and months for serious treatment that will save their lives, I feel its simply not true…Americans also feel like they will compromise quality health care with a universal health care service, again, I don’t feel thats true.

    Its greed through and through in my opinion in America…but thats just my opinion.

  9. January 30, 2009 /

    I think it’s the lobbyists in the US that cause all of the problems. Healthcare has taken a huge nose dive in the last 10 years here.

  10. January 31, 2009 /

    hope you don’t mind if i add my 2p here….from a personal perspective, i am satisfied with my care on the NHS. which has included a handful of GP appointments for run of the mill flus/sore knees etc.
    i have had what i call “hands free” cervical smears and a mammogram…never saw a doctor! just a few basic questions from the nurse/tech.
    but hey, i’m healthy and if i thought there was a problem i do feel confident that my GP would listen to my concerns.
    however, i am also a nurse…a critical care nurse…and guess where i work?? the NHS! i don’t think i have enough time to write all the things i have seen…but let me just think of a few…
    over the holidays, i know for a fact that 10 wards within my trust were staffed by only ONE qualified nurse on the night shift…that’s one nurse for 15-25 patients. in this country it takes two nurse to check IV drugs so chances are that none of those patients got their IV antibiotics overnight.
    some of the nurses i work with started out on the wards, one told me that she was in charge of a ward 6 months after qualifying and was the only nurse on a night shift, she called the manager and was told that if the doctor wanted the IV drugs given he should give them himself…
    most families love the ITU because we are absolutely overflowing with nurses, but they usually have a litany of complaints against the wards. one of our current patients wife wrote a letter complaining (among many things)that her husband who was vomiting and unable to keep anything down being given a meal of fish and chips, she said she hoped the consultant enjoyed his christmas dinner because her husband threw his up…
    one of the saddest things i ever heard was from a man whose sister was with us a few times with liver failure…he said when she (30 years old) went to the ward (mixed sex, a big no-no) she was next to old men also with liver failure vomiting and pooping blood and the beds were so close together he couldn’t fit a chair between them. he would find her all slumped down in the bed, dirty and unwashed. i remember him with tears in his eyes making excuses for the nurses saying “oh i know they are busy”…but she’s my sister. we would bring her to ITU get her all tanked up, clean tidy, sitting in the chair, pushing her to eat and then she’d go back the ward and crumble in a heap after a few days. she died.
    like i said i could go on forevever…and i admit all kinds of shitty care goes on in the states but here it is just accepted…and among the administration it’s just brushed off as..oh well, this is the NHS, we can’t afford more nurses…that’s crap because they have loads of specialist nurses and nurses doing audits but no nurses to actually take care of the patients.

    here’s some links just so you know i am not the only one who feels this way…




    just to add, i came to this country because i wanted to see socialized healthcare at work, i completely believe in the concept and would love to see the US implement a plan that provides basic care for all children and pregnant women….i DO NOT think the NHS is working. i’ve done a lot of reading about other european healthcare systems and the difference is that they allow people to divert some of their tax/NI money towards obtaining private insurance. i think if more people had private insurance it would take some of the burden from the NHS. it’s a british mindset that the NHS is FREE!!!! but as those of us who collect a payslip know it is far from free….

    sorry, for being so long…