A question for our European brethren

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LoserFreak
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A question for our European brethren

Post by LoserFreak » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:32 pm

Greetings. I have a question for all of you European folk who take advantage of your socialized (universal) health care. It's a fairly simple question, I think.
How is it?
As Americans, we hear conflicting views fairly often and while I support the theory of it, I'm not sure just how it well it works. There's no paper or grade at stake here, I'm not reporting it to the NY Times, I just want an honest opinion from people who have lived it.
Is the wait really that bad? Does it truly take up such a large portion of your paycheck? Etc.
Thanks in advance for any response
(You other Americans can chime in too, of course.

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Mr Vaughan
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Post by Mr Vaughan » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:10 am

To be honest, I think that most people here take the NHS for granted. I’m happy to contribute a small percentage of my wages without even thinking about it. I’ve never known an alternative.
I’ve only ever had one direct experience of the NHS (when my cruciate ligaments decided to go rogue during a game of football) and can’t really complain. I also have a friend who has had a series of very expensive operations and who, if he lived in America, would certainly be dead by now.
I know quite a few people who work for the NHS and it would appear to be both incredibly flawed and very impressive indeed. There are fundamental faults in the way it's organized, managed and the way things are done. There are perverse incentives for certain individuals, breakdowns in communication resulting in wasted labour and duplication of tasks, and astonishing oversights occurring every day which could easily be rectified with a little time and effort.
But, at the same time there are individuals working incredibly hard and beyond the call of duty to deliver a top service, and in reality, an NHS is the best way to provide healthcare.
To paraphrase a toast made my housemate upon the 60th birthday of the NHS back in July, “You are a magnificent, complex, infuriating and red tape consumed beast and you drive me to the brink of insanity at times. You also make me proud to do what I do for a living.â€
Mr Vaughan has spoken

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Silver Ginger
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Post by Silver Ginger » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:53 am

The National Health Service is funded through Income tax and National Insurance contributions.
N I contributions are calculated on your wage. You pay nothing if you earn under £105 per week. Over that you pay at a rate of 11% on your earnings.
Considering exactly what you get for that, I'd say it's an amazing service.
(N I contributions also fund certain benefits, such as unemployment benefit, inapacity benefit, state pension etc).

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAnd ... &cre=Money


http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAnd ... &cre=Money

It's true the system isn't perfect, but I'd say it's remarkable when you think exactly what it does achieve.
I've had a few dealing with the NHS recently (only last night I had to take my daughter to A & E, after she fell and broke her collar bone!!), and my sister was dangerously ill during the summer with a ruptured bowel and spleen She had 2 major surgeries, countless stays in ICU, physiotheraphy sessions, after care specialists, district nurse visits, etc and thankfully, although she still has a long way to go, is making a remarkable recovery. All of which was provided by the NHS without any fee.
I've also had experience of waiting for months to actually get to see a specialist (when I buggered my knee up), which was annoying, but certainly better than the alternative of not being able to afford any treatment.
The NHS is also broken down into local authority hospital trusts, so that is why some counties provide treatment for one condition , which may not be necessarily available where you live, but you can (most of the time) get transferrred or referred to a trust that can deal with your condition.
The NHS also provides medication for free when you are say, in hospital having a procedure, but you do have to pay for medication you take at home, or is prescribed by your GP. This is £7.10 per item, but if you're on certain benefits, retired, under 16 years old, under 20 yrs and in full time eduacation. or have certain medical conditions which require ongoing medication such as diabetes, thyroid problems, then the prescription is provided free of charge.
Personally I think the NHS is a wonderful thing. Flawed and imperfect at times, but what isn't?
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And anyone that doesn't is, quite frankly, a c*nt. - Ginger / The Wildhearts

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LoserFreak
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Post by LoserFreak » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:27 pm

Many thanks to you for your replies. There's been a huge debate here and I've always been on the side of universal/socialized medicine because at this point in history, there is no reason not to.
Also wow. John McCain's healthcare plan would have been a lot more than 11% of income without a doubt. For anyone who didn't catch it, he to change insurance laws so that they were cross-country, not state-by-state to open them to freer trade, but then remove employer based healthcare. He'd help out by giving out a $5,000 a year tax stipend... too bad the average policy is about $11,000 a year in the US. Oh yeah, then he'd tax you on what you pay for the healthcare. Obama's wasn't perfect, but at least he wouldn't be dicking more people over and convoluting it like that.
Anyway, again, many thanks for finally helping to clear that up without a lot of media negation.

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