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Re: a few facts on the U.S. system

Posted by Abby on June 5, 2000, at 11:49:56

In reply to Re: Question for Canadians » Abby, posted by NikkiT on June 5, 2000, at 10:28:56

I know a bit about the UK. My sister goes to school there. Her medical care is fine, because the school has its own physician. She even managed to see a dentist! I've noticed that a lot of Oxbridge colleges have a similar set-up, an NHS funded doctor who acts almost like a private one. I know one old lady who is rather rich but is also a socialist and refuses to go private. She's convinced her husband didn't get as good care on BUPA. After her hip operations she made donations to the hospital.

There are public hospitals in the U.S. funded by state and local government. People who are poor get government insurance called Medicaid, a decidedly second-rate program with a real stigma, but there is a gap of working class people with many jobs who don't have any insurance, and they could be ruined financially if they got really sick. There are some efforts to provide free care, but it is getting harder all the time. Hospitals used to use insured patients to subsidize the care of the uninsured, but the insurance companies have clamped down on what they're willing to pay, and many times, hospitals lose money on insured patients.

I'm interested in health care policy. One of the candidates for president, Bill Bradley, had a health care proposal which I thought was superb, but instead of Bradley or McCain, we're getting the bozos Bush and Gore. I don't want to be flamed for saying that.

His plan was to have everybody on private insurance, and to allow everyone to buy it at the rates the federal government currently pays for its employees. Everyone could get the tax benefit which for a long time was only enjoyed by employers, and poorer people would have subsidized premiums.

A while ago some people posted information about a site of mental health care professionals which I found very interesting. Their idea was as follows. Determine what a reasonable fee for a specific service is, say a physical or an appointment with a psychiatrist.
Let's say that (I'd do this in pounds for you, but I don't have the key on my keyboard) a reasonable fee in an area is $100. The insurance would then pay $80. Oftentimes traditional indemnity insurance paid a percentage, and consumers weren't sensitive to the price, and thought that somebody else was paying for it. If a patient was very poor, a doctor could waive the $20 or provide a sliding scale of fees. Likewise a really top specialist could charge more, say 120, 135 or 155. So let's say you wanted to go to a Harley Street shrink, because you didn't like your current one who costs you $20/visit. The Harley Street doctor still charges $135, and you might not be able to afford him, but it would cost you $55, only $35 more than you were already paying. Well, you get the idea.





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