On the one hand, I totally disagree with people that say we have the best health care in the world, as we discussed in the comments on my rant and rave post earlier this week. We may have great resources and fantastic doctors available, but are they actually accessible? I really question that. I have multiple refugee families that I know that feel like they can't go to the doctor, period. No matter what. Medicaid pretty much covers the very bottom rung of people, and even most poor refugee families don't fall into that category. However, they don't make enough money to pay for health insurance, thereby making all health care inaccessible.
I also have a number of young working friends that have the type of jobs that don't offer health care coverage. During a period where they didn't have insurance, they had an unexpected hospital trip and dental surgery, and the costs were astronomical.
Then there's us - two young professionals who were living in Chicago, covered by a great insurance plan by Aetna insurance through my work. They are a great provider, and Chicago is a huge city. However, when my husband's foot was badly burned and he needed to see a burn specialist to get skin grafts, Aetna told us that they did not cover ANY burn specialists in the city of Chicago. I asked what in the world I could do... and they had no options for me. RIDICULOUS.
So, here's the thing. I see two options.
1. We open up our system so that insurance, pharmaceuticals, and health care are actually competitive, capitalist systems that we are consumers of. Right now that is NOT what we have. Insurance and pharmaceuticals are a wall that the average consumer cannot access or analyze because they keep their information private.
2. We go for universal health care. People bash the health care in Canada and England, but in my experience the general health care there is much more accessible and better than what we have here. Yes, we'd raise taxes to cover it, but I genuinely question whether the cost I'll end up paying will be more than what I currently pay on work insurance plans.
This is a story written by a guy on a Yelp talk thread discussing universal health care:
Fact: When my pregnant wife and I were in Montreal, she was spotting at at risk of losing our baby. We found a hospital emergency room and were whisked into an examination room within 2 minutes of our arrival. Ultrasound, doctor consult and we were out of there in less than an hour - total cost : 7 dollars2 weeks later the routine repeated itself and this time we were in the states.... 90 minute wait in the emergency room- Ultrasound, doctor consult and we were out of there in 4 hours 30 minutes. Total cost $650- I remember joking that the cheap foam slippers they made her wear were going to cost as much as the hospital visit in Canada - I was correct 7 bucks.