Monday, 17 August 2009

Obama's Health Reform - Yes/No?

Firstly, before setting out and reading this post I am in no intention of offending anyone. I am not American. Obama is not my president and I will not be affected largely by this policy. I would like this to be a public forum where one another's opinions are respected. I have researched as much of Obama's reform as possible and there is too much to point out (this man likes to talk! lol). I have recieved many emails and messages from you and people I have never met asking for my thoughts. So I am just going to talk about the healthcare in the UK and some basic knowledge that I know of as I know Obama has likened it to our healthcare policies.

Also, if any bloggers are from outside America how does your healthcare system work?!

I am a fairly socialist person and I have always been in favour of socialism. I hate the conservative party here in the United Kingdom and their policies are very similar to the republicans in the USA. Although, there is one thing I am very happy about and that is both political parties here believe that healthcare should be entirely free and if we want to take out private medical insurance we can, but we pay for it ourselves.

This is the jist of what I make out from the reform Obama is trying to set in motion:

Positives - Everyone would recieve healthcare that is affordable, the reform will save each family around $2500 a year, everyone would get the medications that they need, more money for technology, research and advancing care.

Negatives - It will cost a lot of money to do this - around $65 billion a year I found, there may be increased wait times for appointments e.g. scans etc because of the widespread coverage anticipated, insurance companies may go under and not very many benefits to the elderly.

I have very mixed emotions as the positives sound brilliant and the negatives look pretty grim - as with all political bills. I have two family friends who have moved back from the States because they simply could not afford their healthcare plans, even though they were the cheapest. There is also a client I see regularly who comes just to the UK from the the States for his medical checks every six months because it saves him $3000 a year - even with visa, flights etc.

My work friend Natasha was involved in a car accident in Colorado. She serverly fractured her ankle and when she arrived in ER they wouldn't see her until she produced her documents. She had to wait in the reception area with a bone sticking out for her ankle, in absolute agony, whilst her friend took the hour's journey to her home to get her health plans. All the medical team did was put a blanket over her ankle so it wouldn't scare other people. Is that responsible? Is that deemed efficient healthcare? Because I think that is disgusting.

My next door neighbour's aunt is receiving chemotherapy in Washginton at the moment. Her health plan doesn't cover her next lot of treatment and she cannot afford to increase it. So she is now awaiting palliative care as they cannot treat her cancer any longer unless she can raise funds privately to pay for it. I cried my eyes out when I heard this. This woman is dying but she can be saved?!

I do not want to base this solely on indivudual experiences that I know of. I know that when American healthcare is done well it is outstanding. Far better than what we have in the UK but I feel these stories should be fiction not fact.

Here in the United Kingdom we have the National Health Service and I could not live without it! I could not be more thankful that I can go to a hospital appointment, get a prescription, be admitted to a ward, have surgery etc and it be completely free of charge at that moment in time. It does sound too good to be true doesn't it?!

It has its flaws and it does cause debt but it saves lives by the millions. Everyone who is employed over here pays national insurance tax monthly. If you are unemployed then it is taken off the benefits you get. The more you earn the more you pay - which I do feel is justified because if not there would be no such thing as good healthcare to me. I have cared for insanely rich people (very jealous! lol) and people who earn more than the average. All have said they are so thankful that the NHS operates as it does, because even though they have private medical plans if an emergency happens they cannot call their insurance company to sort out something immediately - it takes time and in many cases time is of the essence!

Within the NHS here we have the 18 week rule. This means from the moment you go to your doctor about any problem and it needs further assessment e.g. scans, surgery etc then the government have 18 weeks for it all to be cured or treated successfully within. If it does not happen then this is an NHS breach and then we have access to free private medical treatment. This rule works brilliantly and I hardly see any breaches in the trusts I and others have worked for.

I know I am not in the know like many of you are. I am not completely slamming the republicans view either. This reform is very exspensive! Although when Palin said the reform was 'evil' I was taken aback by it. I know I haven't covered half of Obama's health reform policy but I just wanted to share with you what a complete outsider to America is thinking. I am not saying I am correct but I am not misguided either. My healthcare policy here at home has saved my life - literally. Healthcare to me is not about how much a person pays, whether they have their documents at hand or selecting who recieves what type of care or not.

In many ways I do agree with this reform and I do think it will have a lot of benefit. I can completely see how this is scary. Obama wants a complete overhaul and I do not blame opposition to this.

So...Do you fix the old or go with the new?


Stephanie RN BSN (to be!) said...

Oh dear, we are about as different as night and day: I believe in Capitalism and you are a die-hard socialist. I believe the government is there to protect, whereas you believe it should provide. I'm an (shhh!) ultra Conservative!! And that's ok...we're all entitled to our own opinions. And probably, that's why I live in America and you live in England :-)

When you think about it, a personal savings of $2500 is nothing compared to the downfalls to our healthcare system! My hospital would be shut down, because, well, I'll explain that in my post about nationalization of healthcare!!

The problem I have with the 1017 page "reform" is that people don't know what's in it. I'm in the process of reading it in its entirety and it shocks me how naive people have been! There is very little free choice provided for in this reform...I can't even begin to count the number of uses of the word "shall" (which frankly mean you must!). That doesn't sound like choice to me!

So anyway, I didn't intend to hijack your post. I'll write my own with my take on the whole should be fun to discuss it!

Again, I can't say it again how much I appreciate the respect we've developed for each other's opinions. I wish everyone could be as open and respectful!

Brittany said...

Becca, first of all, thank you for being so respectful! It is so hard to carry on a conversation with people when all they do is call conservatives 'pinheads' and 'dumb bimbos.' I am perfectly open to listening to people's opinions as long as it is done respectfully. I was very happy to see this post was written with respect and dignity! Like Stephanie, I am die hard conservative. I will not budge on my views, including believing that national healthcare will do nothing but hurt our country. One of my major problems with national healthcare is that I want to be able to choose my own doctor. Not every doctor here will prescribe the medicine I take for my anxiety because of my age. If we get government run healthcare the doctor I am assigned to may not prescribe me my medicine. Despite what the liberal media is trying to make you believe, you will NOT be able to pick your own doctor. It will be chosen for you. I am NOT okay with that. Private insurance companies will lose money bigtime and go under (including MORE job losses!) As horrible as it sounds (and I KNOW I will get bashed for this!) it is NOT my responsibility to pay for other peoples healthcare that are too lazy to get off their butt and find a job. To me, there are more negatives to national healthcare than positive and that's why I am totally against it. Thank you for letting us voice our opinions in a respectful manner. We may differ on opinions but that does not change the fact that your are a very sweet girl and I am blessed to read your blog!

Brittney Galloway said...

Great post! I don't agree with your opinions, but you did it in a very respectful manner. Also, remember that it is very inappropriate to use the term "hate," to describe a people group (in this case, the conservative party.) It takes away from your credibility.

Politically, I am very conservative. As for this situation in particular, it is not directly because I oppose "free healthcare for all." Of COURSE I would love for every person sick and dying to get the appropriate medical care! I don't think anyone would tell you that they want that!

The premise for this plan is that to keep private medical care "honest," they need a competetitor. Bring in the government. Only thing is, the government isn't a competitor! They would rule the roost within a blink of an eye. They have an unlimited pocket and do not have to meet a bottom line, they can simply raise taxes.

The bottom line is, is health care a right or a privelege? We believe it is a privelege (a hard worked for one, at that too!)

I have no medical insurance right now, so I haven't been to a doctor or dentist in over a year. Am I upset that the government doesn't pay for that? No. Because I know that if I saved and was wiser with MY money, I could have insurance. I don't want to pay for lazy joe schmmoe insurance, who can't afford insurance because he goes out to eat every other night. it's not right.

Mere said...

My vote is fix the old. I'm not a huge fan of this healthcare reform, however I do see your point. Thanks for sharing your opinion, because it gave me a different perspective!!

Love, Mere

Kristin said...

The others are right - you could really have dug deep and been more forceful about your opinions but you were so respectful and looked at both sides which is rare!

I agree with going with the new. I am actually a republican but when I voted for them last year the one thing I did not agree with was their health policy. Obama's is more positive I believe. I cannot afford healthcare. I can only afford my childrens so if anything happens to my hubby or I then I don't know. I find it very frightening.

My hubby said last night that as Americans we were given this free will to work in unity together. It it were a democracy then we would share healthcare together.

Stephanie above was right socialists believe the government should provide. How an Earth can we provide for ourselves if we don't have a government that cares enough to help us? I do believe this reform is the way forward.

Great blog, great view and well constructed. If only more people be more kinder with their thoughts.

Kristin xo

Janet said...

Nice blog and the comments were good too!

Gave me a good idea of how your systems work being neither British nor American.

Our healthcare system in South Africa, unless you contribute to a medical aid, is not good at all. People queue for hours and hours to see Doctors / Nurses who are horribly underpaid and really not interested at all. Those of us who belong to medical aids (insurance) are ripped off as the fees are exorbitant and private doctors charge the earth! You really have no choice here at all! Especially if you have young children, or are elderely.

My thoughts are to have a hospital plan insurance, which will cover all expenses if you need to be hospitalized, and then save the normal monthly medical contribution in a money market account where you earn good interest and pay cash if you need the Dr, dentist or optometrist. Problem then is you have to be VERY disciplined!

Allie Garcia said...

Becca, Thank you so much for addressing this. I agree with you:)

Candy Hart said...

Wow - you were really brave to blog on that issue! You can see how strongly people feel about this issue here - some for and most against. I don't follow politics much but i really liked reading your post and the responses! It was like a mini healthcare lesson!!

Mary said...

I don't really know as much about the specifics of the plan as I should. I've never really been that into politics, knowing different policies and the like. So I really don't know how I feel about it. I did love your post though. It's very interesting to hear how your system works.
Working at a hospital, I see so many different situations when it comes to insurance. Maybe it's different since I work with children, but I've seen patients that have no insurance, on a ventilator, racking up mega bucks in bills, getting the same care as ones with great health insurance. I don't think that anyone should ever be discriminated against because of having/not having health care. If you are sick and need to be treated, you should get the same respect as any other person. I don't think that we have a "perfect system," but I don't really know how we can fix it either.

wbz said...

your blogs really make me want to write about something worthwhile! haha.

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