USA health system... umm... what the hell?!

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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(The dreaded wall-o-text lurks below. I tried to keep it as concise and readable as possible. No, really, I did.)

Let me make one thing clear right off the bat. I am not from the US. I'm Australian. Therefore, I have no personal stake in this. I am not really trying to make any particular argument, one way or another. My interest in this matter is mostly...well, I suppose the most appropriate term would be "anthropological".

Just try to bear that in mind when you respond. Please.

So... I'm guessing that everyone here has heard about the medical dramas involving the artist of the Escapist's own Extra Credits show [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111418-Extra-Credits-Artist-Amazed-at-Fan-Support]. Long story short, she sustained injury to her shoulders. Quite a lot of injury. If untreated, she could lose the use of her arms. (Just take a brief moment to dwell on the various delightful implications of not being able to use your own arms.) Now, in order to receive the required treatments, she had to come up with a large amount of money. Somewhere around $20,000 USD. No, that's not a typo. Yes, we're talking one thousand dollars, twenty times over. And just to make it all better, her private medical insurance refused to pay out. (What's that? An insurance company weaseling out of having to pony up the cash? Well, I never... who would have thought, eh?)

Luckily they managed to organize a lightning fundraiser that resulted in a ridiculous amount of money being generated in a ridiculously short time [http://rockethub.com/projects/2165-extra-credits]. It was all rather heartwarmingly awesome.

But hang on one second. Let me just back up a few sentences. A person was expected to produce $20,000 in order to receive medical treatment for an injury that would prevent her from earning a living and drastically reduce her quality of life.

America, just... what the fuck?

See, here in Australia, what with our evil communist government health system, we occasionally like to tell silly campfire horror stories about the state of health care in the US. Y'know, tales about that terrible place where you can get hit by a car and hospital staff will refuse to put you back together unless you throw wads of money or medical insurance forms at them. I never really knew what to think about these stories. And, quite frankly, I didn't particularly care because hey, why would I? That mess is an entire Pacific Ocean away. But this whole business with Extra Credits and the injury of the Pink Bean seems to suggest that those stories were disquieting close to the truth.

Some months back there was talk of the system being changed under the Obama administration. Last I heard it was still in the early stages, it seemed to mostly consist of a lot of people running around yelling something about socialism. Did that end up going anywhere?

So, anyway... is there a point to all this text? Well... no, not really. I guess I'm just a bit surprised that such a system would exist in a nation that likes to hold itself up as the epitome of the developed world, and not entirely without reason. Also, I would really like to hear from some of the many American escapists. What do you people think of this system? Do you want to defend it? Is there something I am missing here?

...

PS. If anyone is interested, I could give a brief summary of the far-from-perfect Australian system for purposes of comparison. I was going to do it here, but this is already too long.

PPS. Oh yeah, and another thing. I know it's a bit tricky given the nature of the topic, but can we please try to keep the USA-bashing within reasonable bounds? Yeah, I know they pull some immensely stupid shit on occasion, but, well... don't we all?
 

ELD3RGoD

New member
Apr 23, 2010
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English System - Everything is free, but they'll put off doing small things unless they get worse AKA a small skin cyst isn't an issue (out of sight) unless it changes over time, which they would THEN do the surgery on. No point wasting money. Explain the Australian system. My opinion? I dislike America so it doesn't bother me in the slightest.
 

Pinkamena

Stuck in a vortex of sexy horses
Jun 27, 2011
2,371
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I agree. I think it's ridiculous that USA doesn't have socialized health care, nearly all other developed country has it. It has something to do with USA's deep-rooted fear of socialism and "Dem evil reds!" I think.
 

headshotcatcher

New member
Feb 27, 2009
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Well durr, you have to pick exactly what you want to be insured for, it's cheaper for you.

Unless something goes wrong, so you either pay TONS of money for private insurance or pay a small amount and then you get angry when you do sustain an injury..
 

Jegsimmons

New member
Nov 14, 2010
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Don't judge an entire system on one event.
Quite frankly, I'm not very happy about our system. But not because I support government health care. I don't. I'm unhappy because of all the restrictions put on insurance companies and hospitals so it cost an arm and a leg To do anything.
 

Shakomaru

New member
May 18, 2011
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Its really stupid, and there is no reason for it. I think we could have a better country if corporations didn't control half of it....
 

Racecarlock

New member
Jul 10, 2010
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Zhukov said:
(The dreaded wall-o-text lurks below. I tried to keep it as concise and readable as possible. No, really, I did.)

Let me make one thing clear right off the bat. I am not from the US. I'm Australian. Therefore, I have no personal stake in this. I am not really trying to make any particular argument, one way or another. My interest in this matter is mostly...well, I suppose the most appropriate term would be "anthropological".

Just try to bear that in mind when you respond. Please.

So... I'm guessing that everyone here has heard about the medical dramas involving the artist of the Escapist's own Extra Credits show [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111418-Extra-Credits-Artist-Amazed-at-Fan-Support]. Long story short, she sustained injury to her shoulders. Quite a lot of injury. If untreated, she could lose the use of her arms. (Just take a brief moment to dwell on the various delightful implications of that.) Now, in order to receive the required treatments, she had to come up with a large amount of money. Somewhere around $20,000 USD. No, that's not a typo. Yes, we're talking one thousand dollars, twenty times over. And just to make it all better, her private medical insurance refused to pay out. (What's that? An insurance company weaseling out of having to pony up the cash? Well, I never... who would have thought, eh?)

Luckily they managed to organize a lightning fundraiser that resulted in a ridiculous amount of money being generated in a ridiculously short time [http://rockethub.com/projects/2165-extra-credits]. It was all rather heartwarmingly awesome.

But hang on one second. Let me just back up a few sentences. A person was expected to produce $20,000 in order to receive medical treatment for an injury that would prevent her from earning a living and drastically reduce her quality of life.

America, just... what the fuck?

See, here in Australia, what with our evil communist government health system, we occasionally like to tell silly campfire horror stories about the state of health care in the US, tales about that terrible place where you can get hit by a car and hospital staff will refuse to put you back together unless you throw wads of money or medical insurance forms at them. I never really knew what to think about these stories. And, quite frankly, I didn't particularly care because hey, why would I? That mess is an entire Pacific Ocean away. But this whole business with Extra Credits and the injury of the Pink Bean seems to suggest that those stories were disquieting close to the truth.

Some months back there was talk of the system being changed under the Obama administration. Last I heard it was still in the early stages, mostly just a lot of people running around yelling something about socialism. Did that end up going anywhere?

So, anyway... is there a point to all this text? Well... no, not really. I guess I'm just a bit surprised that such a system would exist in a nation that likes to hold itself up as the epitome of the developed world. Also, I would really like to hear from some of the many American escapists. What do you people think of this system? Do you want to defend it? Is there something I am missing here?

...

(PS. If anyone is interested, I could give a brief summary of the Australian system for purposes of comparison. I was going to do it here, but this is already too long.)
America heals with the power of patriotism, apple pie, and walking it off. Health care, why would we ever need that? It's not like anyone ever gets injured on the job here. Especially not american soldiers or 9/11 responders. They can walk it off. That's our health plan right there. "Walk it off". Isn't my country so awesome?
 

Da Orky Man

Yeah, that's me
Apr 24, 2011
2,107
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Exactly my thoughts. I had to have a spinal fusion operation costing the equivalent of about $180,000. Fortunately,I live in the UK, so I didn't have to sell the house, go bankrupt, and generally fail life.
 

hotsauceman

New member
Jun 23, 2011
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I concur. I could barely contain my rage when i heard that. I'm not sure how she received the injury(none of my business) but if she got it while under there care they should do what she paid them for.
And while the idea they wont fix your if you come in if your don't have money isn't true(they will fix you then demand there payment) it is stupid.
My mom had lung problems a while back(shes a smoker luckily it got her to stop) she went in and they treated her. But she then had to pay 5000 dollars right after she got treated(something we didn't have) and we nearly had to declare bankruptcy because they didn't want to do a payment plan(they caved in) Just kinda shows you the way our system works.
 

Pinkamena

Stuck in a vortex of sexy horses
Jun 27, 2011
2,371
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Shakomaru said:
Its really stupid, and there is no reason for it. I think we could have a better country if corporations didn't control half of it....
Haven't thought about that before. That would actually explain a lot of things... What's in the best interest of a company isn't always in the best interest of the people!
 

Hero in a half shell

It's not easy being green
Dec 30, 2009
4,286
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I can honestly say my favourite thing about living in the U.K. is our N.H.S. I am twenty two, have nearly every tooth in my head filled, have a half crown and two extractions, and I never paid a penny. I have terrible eyesight, and I have glasses, but the only thing I needed to pay for were frames. The lens, appointments, etc. were absolutely and gloriously free. I have been to the hospital several times, for stitches in various parts of my body (mainly my head) and never had to pay a thing. I have never broken a bone, but if I did, guess what? I wouldn't have to pay a thing. I am just now finishing my education, so some of the more specialist things I may have to pay for in the future, but for now, Mister NHS and I have had a wonderful relationship.
 

Lord Of Cyberia

New member
Jan 4, 2009
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It's because our political system and culture have been royally fucked over over a period of 200 years, and now we can't agree with anyone on anything, and are starting to crack up at the seams as a nation while the whole damn country slides into the abyss. HAPPY?
 

Woodsey

New member
Aug 9, 2009
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Oh you, everyone knows the Americans are fighting the good fight against Socialism!
 

Dense_Electric

New member
Jul 29, 2009
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No country anywhere has free healthcare, you just pay for it now instead of later. There's a reason taxes in the United States are among the lowest in the world, while medical bills here are through the roof. Though I should point out that Allison's insurance (you know, that she paid for) backed out, so if we're going to have some government intervention it should really be in making sure insurance companies don't do clearly illegal things like that.

In principle though, I don't have a problem with socialized healthcare. If the government wants to run a program, great. What I have a problem with is mandatory socialized healthcare. If someone wants to go with a private insurance provider instead of the government option, they should have the right to do that.

The other potential issue is that some operations have absurdly long waiting lists, so if you get backed up for two years for something that's going to kill you in six months, you're as shit out of luck there as if you get slammed with a $50,000 bill here. Basically you can die because you couldn't afford it, or you can die because you couldn't get the operation in time. Take your pick.
 

conflictofinterests

New member
Apr 6, 2010
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Healthcare reform involves a large number of aspects, from spreading coverage to the poorest segments of the population, to making it harder for insurance companies to weasel out of necessary surgery like this. It also deals with the problem of insurance companies restricting insurance availability because of "preexisting conditions" (part of the reason the Extra Credits artist was having a hard time) and previously preexisting conditions were grounds for being uninsurable. (As there was such a high chance you would NEED the insurance you're paying for, it was unprofitable to take your money.)

In an emergency, unless something is going horribly wrong, physicians HAVE to treat people, the subsequent COST of the treatment has been known to bankrupt people, and that's another facet lawmakers have been working to correct.

This explains the debate neatly, in my opinion.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svCQJvP1S8g
 

hotsauceman

New member
Jun 23, 2011
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Dense_Electric said:
No country anywhere has free healthcare, you just pay for it now instead of later. There's a reason taxes in the United States are among the lowest in the world, while medical bills here are through the roof. Though I should point out that Allison's insurance (you know, that she paid for) backed out, so if we're going to have some government intervention it should really be in making sure insurance companies don't do clearly illegal things like that.
It is illegal to back out like that now i think.