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s/o Why is your universal healthcare a love?


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This is somewhat of a s/o from the "love about your country" thread. I'm curious about the Canadians and Australians and others who listed universal health care as one of their loves. Why is this your love? What is it that you love about it? Any stories you want to share about why you love it?

 

I'm hoping this will not turn into an inflammatory topic. I am an American of the Libertarian stripe. I'm not a big fan of the move to universal healthcare here, but at the same time, I'm open to hearing the experiences of those who have been utilizing universal health for...a long time? Always?

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Man, you know this thread is gonna go south eventually, but I'll answer.

 

First of all, knowing we can access appropriate medical care, for whatever reason, and not have to worry about finances is a huge thing. I cannot imagine having to worry about paying medical bills when pregnant, in a medical crisis, etc. Plus, w/my having RSD, I don't know how we would have been able to pursue a change in Wolf's job since that would be a pre-existing condition.

 

From talking to friends in the States, I've been shocked to discover that they pay far more in insurance than we do in taxes per month...not incl any copays. So, we keep more of our income.

 

There's def a security and peace of mind that comes w/knowing that health care is at your fingertips, regardless of your income. That if a medical crisis comes, you're able to focus completely on the loved one, and not worry about any debt. Knowing that none of my loved ones will go w/out medical care due to our financial situation.

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Man, you know this thread is gonna go south eventually, but I'll answer.

 

First of all, knowing we can access appropriate medical care, for whatever reason, and not have to worry about finances is a huge thing. I cannot imagine having to worry about paying medical bills when pregnant, in a medical crisis, etc. Plus, w/my having RSD, I don't know how we would have been able to pursue a change in Wolf's job since that would be a pre-existing condition.

 

From talking to friends in the States, I've been shocked to discover that they pay far more in insurance than we do in taxes per month...not incl any copays. So, we keep more of our income.

 

There's def a security and peace of mind that comes w/knowing that health care is at your fingertips, regardless of your income. That if a medical crisis comes, you're able to focus completely on the loved one, and not worry about any debt. Knowing that none of my loved ones will go w/out medical care due to our financial situation.

 

I'm a foolish optimist, so I'm hoping the thread doesn't go south. :tongue_smilie:

 

I am probably a bit spoiled because, while I have never had universal healthcare, I have always had good health insurance. I have not had any big worries about a medical crisis. Though I know that is not so for many others.

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See, and I think thats the thing...

 

I was really angry and upset, still am, about Joanne's dh. B/c he couldn't access appropriate medical care, he's now in a nursing home. No, it wasn't *my* family, Joanne and I don't talk outside of the Hive, heck, I don't think we've ever even PM'd.

 

But that her dh, her family, have gone through what they have b/c of finances? That's disgusting and deplorable.

 

I don't consider myself particularily patriotic, but I am glad that my country provides everyone w/the same level of health care, regardless of finances. Knowing that my neighbours couldn't afford the health care I do would disturb me greatly...and, tbh, Wolf and I have been so broke at times, there's no way we'd have had insurance at all times.

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I love it because I know that no matter where we are financially, or what has happened, I have access to medical care. I went in just this past weekend because of a persistent cough and it won't cost me a dime. I have never had to pay for hospital care to have a baby, or have stitches, or anything else for that matter. Well, not really, I did have to pay for my boys circumcisions.

I would hate to worry about insurance, or if I'm covered or how much insurance costs per month. My SIL's family couldn't afford insurance and as a result she has a lot of health problems that would've been easier to deal with if they had been cared for earlier.

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{{{Imp}}} Your outrage at my situation is a comfort to me. (And I think we might have PMed once ;)).

 

OP, I'm not trying to be snarky or accelerate the demise of the thread when I ask this. Really, I am not. But when I was traditionally fiscally conservative/Libertarian, I totally *got* why people wanted and backed UHC.

 

One of the things I learned in my 30's was the wisdom of the "other side" ~ I began to see how a thinking, kind, loving, concerned person could feel the opposite of an position I held. (My 40's have been a direct challenge to previously held beliefs, and not an existential one).

 

Loving universal healthcare as source of national pride makes total sense. It levels the playing field in ways that *allows* equality in many other areas. It takes a burden off citizens that is massive. It takes a burden off business that could allow them to focus on business. It severs malpractice concerns. It attracts talent the the medical field because it's more likely people will be in it for reasons of care rather than attraction to profit. Even if "you" don't believe that the elements of this paragraph happen with UHC, it seems easy to understand the hope. It's just like the hope behind Liberatarianism that is theoretical and may not be functionally accurate.

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Loving universal healthcare as source of national pride makes total sense. It levels the playing field in ways that *allows* equality in many other areas. It takes a burden off citizens that is massive. It takes a burden off business that could allow them to focus on business. It severs malpractice concerns. It attracts talent the the medical field because it's more likely people will be in it for reasons of care rather than attraction to profit. Even if "you" don't believe that the elements of this paragraph happen with UHC, it seems easy to understand the hope. It's just like the hope behind Liberatarianism that is theoretical and may not be functionally accurate.

 

I think this might be why lawsuits against hospitals and doctors are not as common in Canada as the US. I think when it's your own money that is buying your healthcare, a person would be much more demanding of how things went. When it's not your money, it isn't as hard to just walk to the next doctor, or brush it off as a bad experience. In some cases anyway perhaps.

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Because I get excellent care without financial worry. It works and that's the most basic reason.

 

Just a quick run down of our system because the Aussie and UK systems may be different; our system is a one insurer system. The insurer is our provincial government. You can buy private purchase insurance for services the province doesn't cover like dental work and prescriptions (that insurance is part of my husband's benefits at work) but the vast majority of services are covered by the provincial insurer. Hospitals and public health clinics are funded by the gov't while doctor's offices are run much as they are in the US, small businesses that bill the gov't.

 

When I had my son last year the only bill I was facing was for my upgrade to a single room. I didn't get charged that in the end, I think because I lost a lot of blood and ended up in the OR so maybe the private room was standard for that sort of recovery. When I go to the doctor there's no charge. When I need a prescription filled the cost is much less then in the US because the province buys in some bulk that they have much more negotiating power with the drug companies. The advantages of one huge, not-for-profit insurer are huge for a person.

 

And the care has been excellent. I showed up on the wrong day for an appt. with my family doctor last year and she laughed and saw me anyway. The staff at the hospital where I gave birth to my son were warm and caring. When I go in for an operation to repair some damage from the birth (4th degree tearing) in a couple of months the doctor will be one who happens to be a leading expert (worldwide no less) in this particular operation. My MIL had kidney disease and my dad had cancer and both got effective treatment quickly and are now disease free.

 

I just can't see the advantages to NOT having UHC.

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Man, you know this thread is gonna go south eventually, but I'll answer.

 

First of all, knowing we can access appropriate medical care, for whatever reason, and not have to worry about finances is a huge thing. I cannot imagine having to worry about paying medical bills when pregnant, in a medical crisis, etc. Plus, w/my having RSD, I don't know how we would have been able to pursue a change in Wolf's job since that would be a pre-existing condition.

 

From talking to friends in the States, I've been shocked to discover that they pay far more in insurance than we do in taxes per month...not incl any copays. So, we keep more of our income.

 

There's def a security and peace of mind that comes w/knowing that health care is at your fingertips, regardless of your income. That if a medical crisis comes, you're able to focus completely on the loved one, and not worry about any debt. Knowing that none of my loved ones will go w/out medical care due to our financial situation.

 

:iagree:

the health cover in Australia is really really great. If you are sick, you go to the dr. end of problem there is no thinking can I afford it. The general health of the population in countries that have UHC is far higher than America.

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See, and I think thats the thing...

 

I was really angry and upset, still am, about Joanne's dh. B/c he couldn't access appropriate medical care, he's now in a nursing home. No, it wasn't *my* family, Joanne and I don't talk outside of the Hive, heck, I don't think we've ever even PM'd.

 

But that her dh, her family, have gone through what they have b/c of finances? That's disgusting and deplorable.

 

I don't consider myself particularily patriotic, but I am glad that my country provides everyone w/the same level of health care, regardless of finances. Knowing that my neighbours couldn't afford the health care I do would disturb me greatly...and, tbh, Wolf and I have been so broke at times, there's no way we'd have had insurance at all times.

 

:iagree: I can't say how many times I've read Joanne's posts and just thought the whole situation was insane.

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Would those of you who live in a country that has universal health care share what is not so good about it? I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true. I hope this thread doesn't turn south. This is a great place of diversity to hear other people's opinions.:bigear:

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:iagree: I can't say how many times I've read Joanne's posts and just thought the whole situation was insane.

 

It still is. I am paying out of pocket for his nursing home care for the 90+ days AND first 30 days of care until/if his medicaid packet gets approved. I am not getting child support currently, and my salary is modest. Guess what I got in the mail this week? A $2225 MONTHLY bill for prescriptions from the company that provides the Rx for the nursing homes. Most of the charge was for an Rx that was prescribed a while back, but I have not been able to fill (about $1800-$2000 a month). Somewhere in the communication between medical people, it was mentioned and ordered and administered and there is not a mechanism for a "check with the payee" threshold of cost. I called the issuing company, who put "it" on the nursing home who put "it" on the pharma company and prescribing Dr. No one knew how high the cost was. The Rx company said I could "make payments." :lol: I outlined my budget: one of my bi-weekly checks = rent plus $150. The other doesn't cover everything else. :confused:

 

I have been working with the Rx manufacturer directly to get on a patience assistance program.

 

Ironically, and oddly, I have another family member who is prescribed a similarly priced drug. How unlikely is that?

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[b

From talking to friends in the States, I've been shocked to discover that they pay far more in insurance than we do in taxes per month...not incl any copays. So, we keep more of our income.

 

[/b]

 

Years ago I did a lot of research on the Canadian system. At the same time I had a friend whose mother had lived and worked in both Scotland and the US. (She had married a Scottish citiizen, that's why she had moved between the two countries). She noted to me that in the US a significantly higher portion of her income went to paying for health insurance than she paid in taxes in Scotland. They had considered retiring here because her dc were getting married and she wanted to be closer to grandchildren, but healthcare was a deciding factor in returning to Scotland.

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Would those of you who live in a country that has universal health care share what is not so good about it? I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true. I hope this thread doesn't turn south. This is a great place of diversity to hear other people's opinions.:bigear:

 

I don't get to pick my own doctor in the US, so even if that was the case, it would be the same for me.

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Would those of you who live in a country that has universal health care share what is not so good about it? I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true. I hope this thread doesn't turn south. This is a great place of diversity to hear other people's opinions.:bigear:

 

I have had only very good experiences. I think the whole leaving the country thing is a myth. I have only heard of it happening for a condition so rare that it is not preformed in Australia like a intestine transplant or something.

I can pick my own doctor, but if I was in an emergency I would have whatever doctor was on call at the hospital. If I wanted to see a specialist, I would of course need a referral from a doctor. To see a specialist, I will be graded by need. Emergencies go tot he top of the list.

I have few options not because of health cover but because of location. I am way out in a rural place a trip to the local hospital is 25 minutes, a trip to the closest big hospital is 100 km, and a trip to the city is over 400km away.

 

Things not covered by UHC include dentist, ambulance, and medication. people can get private health insurance to cover these things. I don't have dentist cover, though school aged children can get free dental checks and fillings, they have to be on a waiting list for this, which takes about a year.. as soon as their turn comes up, the y are immediately put back on the list , so they have their teeth checked every year. It does not include things like braces for cosmetic reasons. I do have ambulance insurance it is around $90 for the whole family per year. And because I am on an extremely low income, I have a health care card that results in subsidised medication, no more than $7 per box.

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Would those of you who live in a country that has universal health care share what is not so good about it? I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true. I hope this thread doesn't turn south. This is a great place of diversity to hear other people's opinions.:bigear:

I call bull doody.

 

I can see any Dr I want, assuming that they have room for new patients. Seems to me that only being able to see Drs in your insurance coverage limits ability to choose a Dr. I've NEVER had the experience of not being able to see a Dr I needed to.

 

I've heard of ppl going out of country, but not known anyone that has.

 

From what I understand, it has to do w/everyone here who needs medical attention gets it...MRI, CAT scan, etc, etc, etc...so there's the potential, in non life threatening situations, to have a bit of a wait. Same goes for elective surgery. Some ppl have the finances not to have to wait at all, and therefore travel.

 

Personally, I'd rather wait a bit (we're not talking yrs) for a non emergency procedure, than go to the front of the line b/c my neighbours are unable to access what they need. Since everyone gets what they need, it means everyone is in line. If ppl are eliminated due to lack of insurance, insurance not approving, and inability to pay out of pocket, of course the lines are going to be shorter.

 

I'd rather wait.

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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

Completely depends on where they live.

 

My area, currently, has no openings w/a GP. No walk in clinics either.

 

Has nothing to do w/UHC, everything to do w/being in a small town.

The only issue I've ever had w/referrals was to do w/WCB, not our actual health care system. Many specialists do NOT want to deal w/WCB. It's a major hassle for them. That being said, I was in to a neurologist w/in a wk. It was the orthopedic specialist that was forever and a day to get into, and by that time, I'd been dx'd w/RSD, so it wasn't needed. And, I wasn't an emergency, and that was when WCB was a factor...there was something like 2 orthos in the province that would accept WCB patients.

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Because it is awesome to be able to go to the doctor without thinking about costs. Care is excellent as well. They require less immunizations too :)

 

I'm from the USA and I've experienced excellent insurance in the USA and I much prefer the healthcare in Canada. BTW, in not in favor of the program starting in the USA. It isn't government paid healthcare and it still relies on the powerful insurance companies.

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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

 

I just don't see how that is so much different than here. I've waited months to see a specialist, ds had a 5 month wait for OT, a 6 month wait for a Neuropsych, etc. I've also had to call every single day for several weeks in order to catch a PCP during a time period when they were accepting new patients.

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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

 

Well, in the US, even WITH insurance, I often have a long wait for a routine appointment, and if I didn't have insurance yes, the public clinic would take hours and hours. Actually, even the fancy dancy doctors I've normally seen, with insurance, have made me wait an average of 30-60 minutes. My friends that see OB/GYNs rather than midwives for their prenatal appointments say the wait is at least an hour each time, for a 10 minute or less appointment. So I don't think that is that different.

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Are there really people in the US who truly get to choose their own doctors?

 

I have a "cadillac" plan and we still have doctors who are in the network. We get reimbursed for non network at less favorable rate. At one point we were going to have to switch doctors -- I couldn't find a pediatric practice that would take new patience with the exception of newborns and possibly siblings of newborns.

 

dh company looked at switching plans. If they did that we'd have to switch doctors and try to find a practice that accepted the new plan and was accepting new patients.

 

The only advantage I see for our current insurance is I do not need to referral to go to a specialist. The premiums we pay through dh's company are incredibly high though. If we could cut those premiums, I'd be willing to go with referrals. Several jobs ago we had HMO insurance with Kaiser Permanente and we had great care. Honestly, some of the care was better because they had this great efficiency with getting you to the lab when you needed to be tested for stuff like strep.

 

It appears to me that in the US we have far more health care rationing than in places with UHC.

 

ETA: even though I have a "cadillac" plan and don't need a referal appointments to some specialist can take months to get. My youngest just went to an appointment I scheduled in Jan.

Edited by betty
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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

 

I'm, in the US and I have a chronic disease. My doctor is at a major teaching university and he's one of the best in his field. It is HARD to see him. I have been a regular patient for the last 8 years and I see him every 3-4 months. When I see him I schedule the next appt, which is at least 6 months out, so I always have two appts scheduled. If I am having a flare-up - well too bad. If it's not an emergency (a true emergency) then I need to just wait for the next appt. He will give me phone advice but that's it. He is just too overbooked. I don't see how this is any different than universal healthcare. We pay a fortune for healthcare, both in premiums and in co-pays.

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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

 

These Canadian ladies don't know how good they have it;) Everyone has something to complain about. That said, it can be hard to find a doctor accepting patients, but not impossible. Referrals do take longer, but in a reasonable amount of time. I did have a doctor request an emergency referral and we got in right away. Other times it took about 2-3 weeks before they set up an appointment about a month away. I've never had a long wait at a public clinic.

 

My son did have to go to the emergency room with a severe eye infection before we were on universal health care. They did several tests, put in an IV, and gave him medication. He was seen by several doctors and received excellent care. We had to pay the entire bill. The bill? $300.

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fwiw, i've lived in germany, england, australia spain and canada.... and am now in the usa. i've had babies in germany, canada and the usa.

 

i could choose my doctor in each place, including the usa (for americans, we have an hmo, kaiser).

 

we spend incredibly much more in the usa than we have anywhere else. (national geographic had a graph recently showing price per person in different countries and life expectancy. its mind boggling.)

 

everywhere except germany and the usa, i had complete confidence in my ability to access health care when i needed it, and that it would be excellent. (in germany the catch was how rural we were, and the level of my german when i'm ill). the cost of prescription meds is higher in the usa than in any of the others, and several of the others have much more stringent testing before a medicine is admitted to the country for use.)

 

our experience is that when there is universal health care available, folks go to the doctor's earlier in an illness, so the burden of care is less. eg. if you go with bronchitis/a bad cough, that is easier to treat than if you wait until you have pneumonia. and if you go at the bad cough stage, fewer of your friends and colleagues are exposed to it all, so fewer of them get sick. and you miss less work time. so by going earlier, it actually costs less in terms of overall time and money for the health care system and for the economy than if you waited. the national geographic graph also showed number of visits to the doctor, which isn't higher with universal health care.

 

i found the graph, from 2009. its important to click to expand it, because the usa line is off the chart on the top in the reduced version.

 

http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2009/12/the-cost-of-care.html.

 

hth,

ann

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:iagree: I can't say how many times I've read Joanne's posts and just thought the whole situation was insane.

 

:iagree::iagree:

It all just gets me so angry. I think about Adrian...whom I have never met, or seen and Joanne and I want to spit darts!!! It is JUST NOT FAIR.

Dh and I would be in the same pickle if anything happened to him or our business because we could not afford the premiums! We have health insurance, but we buy it...and it is a fortune....and THAT money doesn't go to help anyone if we are not using it!!!:glare: We work like maniacs to meet that premium every.single.month.

Not only that, we still have no prescription coverage, so when ds really could have used a PICC line to fight his Lyme disease, we could not get one because we could not afford it. He still battles Lyme, yet we can not get the insurance to cover "out of network" doctors. I can not afford to pay for meeds I need....so I suck it up and deal with Fibro pain.

so, even though we have insurance, we still can not get some of the healthcare we need....and I shudder at the long term effects that could possibly happen.:confused:

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Here in the US I just got told I will have to wait 8 months for an appt with a dermatologist. Now, I don't need a referral but could have got one with no trouble. There are three or four derms in my small town and they all have the same wait. I have no idea why it would take so long

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See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

 

I'd love to know how this is not the case where you live in the US. We've lived in three different states in the last 10 years and I always have a horrible time getting a new doctor. It's insane. I practically have to beg.

 

I called to make a dentist appointment last week for ANY day or time, just the soonest available. I can't get in until Sept 5th.

 

Also, it took me 3 weeks to get a referral from me pediatrician's office because the woman was such a ding bat. It was so much easier in our previous state. One call and they'd fax it over.

 

I really think individual areas can vary greatly and it probably has less to do with UHC vs. insurance.

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I think the reality in the USA is that half of the people will be paying little to none of their share of the health costs, with the other half footing nearly all of the bill. And on top of that, the "universal" benefits will probably phase out if you make more than $x. So folks paying the largest chunk of the bill won't even get the same benefit as those who don't pay. That's just the way our politics work. Maybe it's different in other countries.

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In my home country, there is universal health care, too.

People do not go bankrupt because they have an expensive illness.

People do not delay treatment because they can not afford a doctor and as a result only go to the ER when the condition has advanced to a level that the doctors can not do anything.

People do not have to choose between paying for food and paying for medical care.

Everybody pregnant woman has access to preventive care.

Bottom line:

nobody dies because because he was poor.

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I am probably a bit spoiled because, while I have never had universal healthcare, I have always had good health insurance. I have not had any big worries about a medical crisis. Though I know that is not so for many others.

Well, I think I can safely say that virtually all Americans would like to be able to say the same. Considering that the most common cause of bankruptcy in the US is from medical bills, and those are for insured people, something is wrong for both many insured and many to all of the uninsured.

 

And I would be interested in hearing from those with medical care who don't have a bureaucrat (albeit a privately funded one) making decisions about treatment and coverage, and who are allowed to get whatever medical care they'd like.

 

The reality of insurance is that a lot of healthy people are paying for a few sick people. Why not just have everyone pay for their actual usage OR have some cap (as was nearly settled in the Nixon Administration) or just have everyone be covered. Those are some alternatives. Why should an employer pay anyhow.

 

ETA: Wait time for doctors appts and specialists doesn't necessarily depend on insurance. My son had to wait nearly 6 mo to see a specialist just because the specialist was so booked. Had zero to do with insurance. No one got in any sooner.

Edited by stripe
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Knowing that my neighbours couldn't afford the health care I do would disturb me greatly...and, tbh, Wolf and I have been so broke at times, there's no way we'd have had insurance at all times.

 

Good point.

 

{{{Imp}}} Your outrage at my situation is a comfort to me. (And I think we might have PMed once ;)).

 

OP, I'm not trying to be snarky or accelerate the demise of the thread when I ask this. Really, I am not. But when I was traditionally fiscally conservative/Libertarian, I totally *got* why people wanted and backed UHC.

 

One of the things I learned in my 30's was the wisdom of the "other side" ~ I began to see how a thinking, kind, loving, concerned person could feel the opposite of an position I held. (My 40's have been a direct challenge to previously held beliefs, and not an existential one).

 

Loving universal healthcare as source of national pride makes total sense. It levels the playing field in ways that *allows* equality in many other areas. It takes a burden off citizens that is massive. It takes a burden off business that could allow them to focus on business. It severs malpractice concerns. It attracts talent the the medical field because it's more likely people will be in it for reasons of care rather than attraction to profit. Even if "you" don't believe that the elements of this paragraph happen with UHC, it seems easy to understand the hope. It's just like the hope behind Liberatarianism that is theoretical and may not be functionally accurate.

 

This is why I'm asking - because I want to hear from the folks who know from experience. I understand why someone might say, "Oh, it's great. It's there and we never pay a cent," but honestly, I am very skeptical of government-fascilitated programs. I'm a believer in free markets. I see how Social Security failed to live up to it's promised hopes, in part because of unforeseen circumstances, i.e, people live longer, BabyBoomers. A perfect example of something that did not live up to the hope it was meant to provide. But I'm open to hearing from those who have had UHC for a long time or for always, because I'm aware that my beliefs could certainly not be their experience.

 

Because I get excellent care without financial worry. It works and that's the most basic reason.

 

Just a quick run down of our system because the Aussie and UK systems may be different; our system is a one insurer system. The insurer is our provincial government. You can buy private purchase insurance for services the province doesn't cover like dental work and prescriptions (that insurance is part of my husband's benefits at work) but the vast majority of services are covered by the provincial insurer. Hospitals and public health clinics are funded by the gov't while doctor's offices are run much as they are in the US, small businesses that bill the gov't.

 

When I had my son last year the only bill I was facing was for my upgrade to a single room. I didn't get charged that in the end, I think because I lost a lot of blood and ended up in the OR so maybe the private room was standard for that sort of recovery. When I go to the doctor there's no charge. When I need a prescription filled the cost is much less then in the US because the province buys in some bulk that they have much more negotiating power with the drug companies. The advantages of one huge, not-for-profit insurer are huge for a person.

 

And the care has been excellent. I showed up on the wrong day for an appt. with my family doctor last year and she laughed and saw me anyway. The staff at the hospital where I gave birth to my son were warm and caring. When I go in for an operation to repair some damage from the birth (4th degree tearing) in a couple of months the doctor will be one who happens to be a leading expert (worldwide no less) in this particular operation. My MIL had kidney disease and my dad had cancer and both got effective treatment quickly and are now disease free.

 

I just can't see the advantages to NOT having UHC.

 

Thanks for explaining that.

 

Would those of you who live in a country that has universal health care share what is not so good about it? I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true. I hope this thread doesn't turn south. This is a great place of diversity to hear other people's opinions.:bigear:

 

:bigear: These are things that we hear, yes.

 

It still is. I am paying out of pocket for his nursing home care for the 90+ days AND first 30 days of care until/if his medicaid packet gets approved. I am not getting child support currently, and my salary is modest. Guess what I got in the mail this week? A $2225 MONTHLY bill for prescriptions from the company that provides the Rx for the nursing homes. Most of the charge was for an Rx that was prescribed a while back, but I have not been able to fill (about $1800-$2000 a month). Somewhere in the communication between medical people, it was mentioned and ordered and administered and there is not a mechanism for a "check with the payee" threshold of cost. I called the issuing company, who put "it" on the nursing home who put "it" on the pharma company and prescribing Dr. No one knew how high the cost was. The Rx company said I could "make payments." :lol: I outlined my budget: one of my bi-weekly checks = rent plus $150. The other doesn't cover everything else. :confused:

 

I have been working with the Rx manufacturer directly to get on a patience assistance program.

 

Ironically, and oddly, I have another family member who is prescribed a similarly priced drug. How unlikely is that?

 

That is really awful. I'm sorry to hear it.

 

 

Years ago I did a lot of research on the Canadian system. At the same time I had a friend whose mother had lived and worked in both Scotland and the US. (She had married a Scottish citiizen, that's why she had moved between the two countries). She noted to me that in the US a significantly higher portion of her income went to paying for health insurance than she paid in taxes in Scotland. They had considered retiring here because her dc were getting married and she wanted to be closer to grandchildren, but healthcare was a deciding factor in returning to Scotland.

 

This is one of the biggest concerns. We already pay a lot in taxes. How can the government cover everybody's health without this being a serious blow to our already wonky economy? I don't know that what is true for Scotland would be true here.

 

Completely depends on where they live.

 

My area, currently, has no openings w/a GP. No walk in clinics either.

 

Has nothing to do w/UHC, everything to do w/being in a small town.

The only issue I've ever had w/referrals was to do w/WCB, not our actual health care system. Many specialists do NOT want to deal w/WCB. It's a major hassle for them. That being said, I was in to a neurologist w/in a wk. It was the orthopedic specialist that was forever and a day to get into, and by that time, I'd been dx'd w/RSD, so it wasn't needed. And, I wasn't an emergency, and that was when WCB was a factor...there was something like 2 orthos in the province that would accept WCB patients.

 

What is WCB? Is that like work-related injuries?

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I'm not Australian, but all the other members of my immediate family (and nearly half of my extended family) are. I also lived in Australia for several years. I agree with the other posters about UHC.

 

I found the healthcare in Australia to be at least as good, if not better, than the healthcare I get in the US with good health insurance. I chose my own doctor and was always able to get appointments quickly. In the US, I am often not able to get same-day appointments, but I never had a problem getting in the same day in Australia. When I needed to see a specialist in Australia, I always found the wait time to get appointments to be very reasonable. In the US, it isn't unusual for me to have to wait 2-3 months for a specialist appointment for my kids. I don't think I ever waited so long in Australia. I am sure it depends on the type of specialist that is needed, but my limited experience was that I could always access care in a reasonable time frame and if I had a need to be seen more quickly, something could be worked out.

 

I also really liked the system of maternal child health checks that are standard in Australia. Babies and children get their well checkups at neighborhood centers staffed by nurse practitioners. I felt the care was of a higher quality than the care we get from our pediatrician here in the US.

 

Downsides to UHC in Australia were pretty few ime. It was annoying that dental care was not covered, but as a previous poster pointed out, free or reduced-cost dental care for kids was available with a bit of a wait. It took me a while to learn how to use the system, since I was used to the American way of doing things, but once I did, it was fine.

 

My opinion of all this is colored by the experiences I had trying to get healthcare in the US prior to living in Australia. When my oldest was a toddler, my husband and I both worked, but neither of us could get insurance through our jobs. So we went without. I think it is pretty sad that two hard-working, college-educated people with a child were forced to go without health insurance in a place like the US. We couldn't afford private insurance, but made too much to get state health coverage. Sad, sad, sad.

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There are definite downsides to universal healthcare, but for me the benefits and security of knowing help is always available, and not having to agonize over whether each and every illness is worth the co-pay or full pay, etc, outweighs the drawbacks. We've got a lot of American friends, my brother went to college in the U.S., both my SILs are American, plus we live just an hour from the border. Nearly every one of our U.S. friends (except for the rich ones who have an awesome insurance plan) complains of the high cost of healthcare, the stress, etc. While in the U.S. a few years ago we had to take our dd to the ER for tummy pain, they suspected appendicitis. We were there 6 hours, she had blood drawn (had to get the phlebotomist down as none of the nurses could do it), urine analysis, and an MRI and the bill came to $4000!!! Thankfully we bought travelers insurance, but in Canada that is something that we would never have to consider. This also, obviously contributes to overcrowded emergency rooms- some people don't think twice about clogging up the ER because they have a cold. There's also no competition between hospitals, so some hospitals are not motivated to treat the patient like a customer as well as a patient. There's also a doctor shortage. There are definite improvements to be made to our system. Our old family doctor moved 40 minutes away and we've had to stay with him as we couldn't get a new doctor for the last 10 years. He is now 76 years old and we really wanted to find a new doc before he closes his practice. A new office opened in town and I was able to get on the waiting list because my MIL sews for the new doctors mother. (!!!) However, the way it works is you first have to de-register from the old doctor before they'll put you on the waiting list. I was able to get priority near the top of the list as my children have health issues (asthma and anaphylactic allergies)- but it's still been 2 months without a doctor. Not allowed to be seen by the old one nor the new one, so it's either go to the town walk in clinic which is closed half the time, or the overcrowded ER to wait 6-8 hours to see a dr (unless you arrive in severe immediate perril). But my wait is up in 2 weeks we will officially be patients. As a woman with asthma who has had to make lots of ER trips in my life, and married to a man that operates a small business and could never afford to pay for health insurance (which would probably be bare bones and crappy)- I sure am thankful to have universal health care.

 

Also, a huge rave I have is in Ontario- midwifery is covered 100%!!! I've had a midwife with hospital privileges for all my kids, even a planned home birth for my second child, and it was fully covered. We've been to see a fertility doctor to help us conceive and it was mostly covered- we have to pay for our own drugs, semen analysis, and a couple hundred dollars per IUI, but no payment for the doctors services. We wouldn't have our third child if we lived in the US, as we'd probably have insurance that didn't cover it. We're going back this week to try for another child. :)

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I am very skeptical of government-fascilitated programs. I'm a believer in free markets.

 

Apparently Medicare seems to work quite well... I have not heard from seniors who rally to have their socialist, government-facilitated health care abolished. They seem quite comfortable with it

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Just as an outsider one huge difference I observed going to an ER in Germany (I guess it was an ER, some kind of after hours care) there wasn't nearly the extreme overhead as there is here. Here, when you go, you see 100 people before you get to the doctor. Someone greets you. Someone else asks why you are there. Someone else escorts you to the waiting room. Someone else escorts you to the exam room. Someone takes your temperature. Someone records it. ETC...Then there are the other 100 who work behind the scenes in billing, etc. (I'm only exaggerating somewhat...)

When we took our son we saw a front desk person. Then we saw the doctor. The doctor did everything. The bill was peanuts compared to what we pay here. And Germany doesn't have clinics in a remote jungle with questionable care.

 

 

One reason is probably that the ERs are not nearly as swamped with patients - because, in Germany, we do not have the uninsured people who need to use the ER instead of going to a regular doctor. Only people with actual emergencies go to the ER. So they need less staff to triage and sort the patients, and the doctor can handle the situation without a dozen auxiliaries who are there to save the doctor's time.

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Would those of you who live in a country that has universal health care share what is not so good about it? I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true. I hope this thread doesn't turn south. This is a great place of diversity to hear other people's opinions.:bigear:

 

No healthcare system will be perfect. I think we have very poor communication between hospitals here. They are working on it, but not very hard.

 

See, now I know a bunch of Canadian ladies, and they are always complaining about how hard it is to get in to see any doctor (several weeks waiting list, and referrals are a nightmare - might take months), and how there are no more PCPs accepting new patients in their area, so they have to go to the public clinic where the wait is hours and hours. It just sounds awful to me.

 

However, they all will say they love their universal health care despite this. So it must not be as bad as it sounds to me. :)

 

I don't think the problem getting in has anything to do with UHC. The problem has more to do with where you live, how many doctors are available, and how many patients need to get in. If I wanted to switch doctors I have a couple choices that I know I could get into, and I know there is one here that simply can not take anymore patients. I've never had any problems with referrals, neither has anyone else I've known of, although I suppose that could change depending on where you live.

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But isn't it kinda that way anyway? Last time I broke my foot late at night and ended up at the ER and they charged me $4000 for one x-ray and an ace bandage, do you think it really cost them $4000 except that I was paying for half the people in there without insurance?

 

I don't know what the answer is, but I'm all in favor of trying something else. What we have is currently not working.

 

Until recently with all the changes being rammed down - er - implemented, 90% of Americans had insurance, and most of the rest were in groups who hardly ever need expensive care (such as young, single adults) - and that is usually a temporary situation per individual. So no, it isn't the same as half of the people paying for the other half, and the ones paying the most having to pay still more since their own care isn't included in the deal.

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I'd love to know how this is not the case where you live in the US. We've lived in three different states in the last 10 years and I always have a horrible time getting a new doctor. It's insane. I practically have to beg.

 

I called to make a dentist appointment last week for ANY day or time, just the soonest available. I can't get in until Sept 5th.

 

Also, it took me 3 weeks to get a referral from me pediatrician's office because the woman was such a ding bat. It was so much easier in our previous state. One call and they'd fax it over.

 

I really think individual areas can vary greatly and it probably has less to do with UHC vs. insurance.

 

I suppose we just live in a great area of the country for health care? :confused: When DH and I got married, we started looking for a doctor. We randomly picked the closest practice to us. When DD was born, we just picked a pediatrician who had good reviews. It never even occurred to me that there might be a problem with the doctor not accepting patients. And we've been through two insurance changes at DH's work since then. Never any issues with needing to switch doctors.

 

When DH needed to see a urologist, he was referred and saw him like two weeks from that time. I saw my new OB, I think, three weeks after I got married. When I wanted to switch to a new one after my second miscarriage, I did. I saw the new OB a week or two after calling for the appointment. When I wanted to switch to a OB practice that had midwives when I was pregnant with DD, I did. They offered me an appointment a few weeks out (they wanted me to be 10 weeks along, and I was 7 weeks when I made the appt). For my very special, high demand, top-of-the-line surgeon, I think I had an appointment in a week.

 

The longest waits were for pediatric services. When DD needed PT and OT when she was about a month old, I think the wait to get in was maybe a couple of weeks? Three weeks maximum. When they referred us to a pediatric GI, that took maybe a month. It was about a month to get in to her allergist, too.

 

And I've never called for an appointment to our regular doctors and not been offered an appointment for the same day.

 

So, really, it just boggles my mind that it's not the same in other parts of the country. Because from where I'm sitting, doctor availability and wait time are just not a problem. :001_huh:

 

(Not trying to discount other people's experiences. Obviously I'm learning now that it's different in other parts of the US....)

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This is somewhat OT but I'm wondering about the level of pay that doctors recieve in countries with UHC? I had heard, but don't know for sure, that they received a more modest level of income in other countries. Not that they were poor by any means, just that it didn't afford them luxury cars etc. Just wondering if that's another difference that would need to be changed for UHC to work here.

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I'm open to hearing the experiences of those who have been utilizing universal health for...a long time?

 

I immigrated to Canada 19 years ago. I would LOVE to move back to the States to be nearer family members, but we cannot afford the health care and health insurance there.

 

I hear of people that leave their country to go to the U.S. or other countries for better care. I also hear you can't pick your own doctor, and you have fewer options. I would love to know if this is really true.

 

I think you hear about those people because it's so rare, but it makes for something to talk about in the news.

 

You *can* pick your own family doctor.

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This is somewhat OT but I'm wondering about the level of pay that doctors recieve in countries with UHC? I had heard, but don't know for sure, that they received a more modest level of income in other countries. Not that they were poor by any means, just that it didn't afford them luxury cars etc. Just wondering if that's another difference that would need to be changed for UHC to work here.

 

I don't know about the level of pay, but if I compare my USA experience to my Canada experience there is a big difference in the quality of the waiting rooms. I have yet to visit a posh waiting room in Canada. Examining rooms are more simple in Canada too.

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This is somewhat OT but I'm wondering about the level of pay that doctors recieve in countries with UHC? I had heard, but don't know for sure, that they received a more modest level of income in other countries. Not that they were poor by any means, just that it didn't afford them luxury cars etc. Just wondering if that's another difference that would need to be changed for UHC to work here.

 

Doctors' salaries vary widely, in each country. Even in the US, you can not compare the income of a rural family doctor with the one of a specialized surgeon.

Overall, doctor salaries in Germany are probably less (even so, doctors are among the top earners).

Please keep in mind, however, that German doctors do not start their career with several ten thousand dollars or 100k in medical school debt that they need to recover.

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This is somewhat OT but I'm wondering about the level of pay that doctors recieve in countries with UHC? I had heard, but don't know for sure, that they received a more modest level of income in other countries. Not that they were poor by any means, just that it didn't afford them luxury cars etc. Just wondering if that's another difference that would need to be changed for UHC to work here.

 

Years ago, I asked a GP what she received, and at that time it was around $18/appt. - so if she saw four to six patients per hour, she received $72-108/hour. I think she works around thirty hours/week. She operates independently, so she has office rental, business, one employee, and supply costs, but she lives a pretty decent (materially) life. She also doesn't have to pay for her own health care, lol, so she'd save on costs there, too.

Edited by Colleen in NS
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I've got a few questions about how UHC deals with system abusers.

 

Many people are on medicaid in America, and use it responsibly. But there are a few who abuse it. They don't care how much they're costing the government because they don't pay for it. They are the diabetics who make no effort to take care of themselves and go to the ER on a regular basis. Or the folks who don't have anything really wrong with them but like the attention and free food they get from the hospital. There are thousands of ways to abuse free health care.

 

Again - the vast majority of folks on medicaid don't do this - but those who do really rack up the bill. They don't take any responsibility because there is no cost to them. How does UHC handle this sort of situation? This is one argument I've heard against UHC, and I'm curious how it is solved.

 

Also - one of many things driving up the cost of health care is litigation. Doctors run all sorts of unnecessary tests because they're afraid of being sued. Is there some way countries with UHC deal with this?

 

(Because tone is hard to interpret on the internet - I am genuinely curious, and in no way trying to argue.)

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Also - one of many things driving up the cost of health care is litigation. Doctors run all sorts of unnecessary tests because they're afraid of being sued. Is there some way countries with UHC deal with this?

 

This is my biggest fear about UHC in the US. The US is a very litigious society, not just in health care. I just don't see how UHC would solve this. I mean, right now most people who have health insurance in the US get it through their employers, so it's not even like they're paying for it outright and feel like it's their money. YKWIM?

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\

When DH needed to see a urologist, he was referred and saw him like two weeks from that time. I saw my new OB, I think, three weeks after I got married. When I wanted to switch to a new one after my second miscarriage, I did. I saw the new OB a week or two after calling for the appointment. When I wanted to switch to a OB practice that had midwives when I was pregnant with DD, I did. They offered me an appointment a few weeks out (they wanted me to be 10 weeks along, and I was 7 weeks when I made the appt). For my very special, high demand, top-of-the-line surgeon, I think I had an appointment in a week.

 

The longest waits were for pediatric services. When DD needed PT and OT when she was about a month old, I think the wait to get in was maybe a couple of weeks? Three weeks maximum. When they referred us to a pediatric GI, that took maybe a month. It was about a month to get in to her allergist, too.

 

And I've never called for an appointment to our regular doctors and not been offered an appointment for the same day.

 

So, really, it just boggles my mind that it's not the same in other parts of the country. Because from where I'm sitting, doctor availability and wait time are just not a problem. :001_huh:

 

(Not trying to discount other people's experiences. Obviously I'm learning now that it's different in other parts of the US....)

 

Wow. My son needed to see a neuropsych and it was a 4-6 month wait for all of them. My daughter needed a neurologist and it was about a month, and that was for possible seizures! I've never been able to get in same day with my own doctor, ever. And Pap smears, well child checks, etc take months.

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I suppose we just live in a great area of the country for health care? :confused: When DH and I got married, we started looking for a doctor. We randomly picked the closest practice to us. When DD was born, we just picked a pediatrician who had good reviews. It never even occurred to me that there might be a problem with the doctor not accepting patients. And we've been through two insurance changes at DH's work since then. Never any issues with needing to switch doctors.

 

When DH needed to see a urologist, he was referred and saw him like two weeks from that time. I saw my new OB, I think, three weeks after I got married. When I wanted to switch to a new one after my second miscarriage, I did. I saw the new OB a week or two after calling for the appointment. When I wanted to switch to a OB practice that had midwives when I was pregnant with DD, I did. They offered me an appointment a few weeks out (they wanted me to be 10 weeks along, and I was 7 weeks when I made the appt). For my very special, high demand, top-of-the-line surgeon, I think I had an appointment in a week.

 

The longest waits were for pediatric services. When DD needed PT and OT when she was about a month old, I think the wait to get in was maybe a couple of weeks? Three weeks maximum. When they referred us to a pediatric GI, that took maybe a month. It was about a month to get in to her allergist, too.

 

And I've never called for an appointment to our regular doctors and not been offered an appointment for the same day.

 

So, really, it just boggles my mind that it's not the same in other parts of the country. Because from where I'm sitting, doctor availability and wait time are just not a problem. :001_huh:

 

(Not trying to discount other people's experiences. Obviously I'm learning now that it's different in other parts of the US....)

 

I am sure this varies all over the US. I have experienced long waits for every kind of service. My GP is absolutely terrible in this respect. My dh severely burned his legs on his motorcycle and wanted to go in to our GP and they said they didn't have an appointment for almost a month away. By then, obviously, his burns would be moot, so it was totally baffling. They told him he could go to the ER, but he didn't do that, because it wasn't an emergency. He ended up just caring for himself the best he could. We spent literally a few hundred dollars in bandages to wrap the injuries.

 

When I was pregnant, I had to make perinatologist appointments several at a time to have any hope of getting in on anything resembling a regular basis. That is despite being willing to take ANY appointment - first thing in the morning, middle of the day, last at night, whatever.

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