The US is making a major shift that most First World Countries did decades ago. It's not easy or quick, but it is necessary. Patience, time, less finger pointing is needed to get through this, but you guys will get through this.
Your current medical system is a laughing stock with other countries and we just don't understand what the problem is with Affordable Care Act. Time to catch up.
General view of US health care is that it's in the dark ages (not the actual treatment, but the set up) and only the rich can afford it. Most first world countries have government sponsored health care so we don't understand the resistance.
I work in the US on contract, but I'm not a citizen.
When we were traveling in Europe, we heard the exact same sentiments that Bernie has stated. They laugh at us and can't believe we haven't adopted something they've had for decades. They do not understand how such a developed country as ours is not providing health care for all of its citizens.
When presented with the actual facts about the ACA with no mention of Obabmacare, overwhelmingly people are in favor of it, including politicians.
If they would take politics out of it, they might actually considering doing what's right for the people, which is what other countries have already done.
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My husband is a Civilian Defense Contractor, and in the fall of 2008 he spent 2 months in Greece. I got the chance to go over for about 10 days to see him, leaving the day after the election. While there we did a tour of some of the smaller islands and made friends with a wonderful couple from Australia. The man wanted to ask us all kind of questions, mainly about our healthcare system. They both said that people in Australia could not understand why wanting universal health care was such a touchy subject, and they couldn't understand why we did not already have it! Talking to them was very eye-opening - and yes, they did say that other countries were laughing at us. I don't think that this plan is perfect, but it is a start. Let's give it a shot, and figure out what works and what doesn't. Anything is better than nothing.
I'm around, but have taken the summer to fine tune my golf game, and deal with the well being and affairs of my mother whose dementia is worsening, and writing my weekly Blog, and preparing to get things in order so I can head down to Arizona next month to escape our winter months.
Because I own property in the United States I may have more direct interest in the goings on than those who don't. I bought property after the crash in 2008, and I know the values of those properties has been appreciating the past two years at least. Figures I've seen suggest a 20% increase in 2012, and another 18% increase in 2013.
For certain, if the government remains as dysfunctional as it is acting, and defaults on it's debts, those values will certainly plummet. If that happens to me, it happens to every homeowner in the United States.
It's pretty obvious that the country in general is as dysfunctional as the government. No one listens to anyone else. Everyone talks, and no one listens. Just like in "Open Debate", the same folks argue to try and make the same points. No one "on either side" changes their minds because of anything said. No one accepts the "other sides" ideas as a possible solution, they just stick to their point of view.
We think it's dysfunctional, for instance, that in the Federal Senate a majority vote isn't enough to pass a bill through the Senate. Seems like democracy, which is so highly thought of, is tossed aside by that policy.
To attempt to answer LuAnne's question... I think generally the world sees the U.S. as a dysfunctional family, not specifically on the issue of health care.
To address health care... I'm not sure outsiders really understand what the health care system was before the passing of the Affordable Care Act. I personally don't. I understand it's an employer based system; where the majority of people have had their coverage supplied by their employers.
But, on the negative side, I understand that coverage varies, and there are limits on how much life time expense is covered, so that if you get really sick, eventually you may not be insured. And there are policies which do not allow people to be covered who have pre-existing conditions.
Those are very basics, and I admit to knowing little more detail.
On the flip side, I have no idea why a person or company is not allowed to purchase their insurance anywhere they want. Makes no sense that a person in living in Arizona can't buy their coverage from a company in New York, for example. If there is a private insurance system, it makes no sense that citizens shouldn't be able to buy it elsewhere.
On Obama Care... despite all the gyrations necessary with the dysfunctional government systems, it became law (though I do understand most of it is not in place yet).
Now this latest dysfunctional mess was started because one party set out to defund it, so it couldn't function. It seems to me that if it's law the party opposing it needs to go and get themselves elected, with enough representatives to change the law... if they want to change it back or to something else they want.
If it goes into law, and is as bad as they claim, they should certainly have no problem getting elected on a promise to get rid of it.
But to say that it's simply a law they don't like, and to attempt to do anything they can to make sure the law is unenforceable, including refusing to pay the debits of the country is incredulous.
If every governing body could simply have a few people decide they don't like a law, so can hold it up then you have a boondoggle. What if a minority of people in a city don't like traffic lights, and have the ability to turn off the power to those traffic lights. Mayhem on the streets ensues.
The Affordable Health Care act is a law "democratically" put in place. If it fails, you have to get elected to change it. But it certainly seems foolish and unjustified to simply decide it won't work, and set out to sabotage it's implementation. Fact is, until it's implemented no one knows if it will be good or bad.
It is of course a total embarrassment that the gov't web site set up to begin the process is such a mess! That should have never happened!
I do notice that the Republican party, though still talking about how bad Obama Care will be, are attempting to change their message, and looking for a way out of the boondoggle their method of objection has created for them, now saying it is necessary to negotiate reducing the debt.
They now seem to be staggering from pillar to post looking for a way out.
So, yes, no doubt the reputation of the United States has been damaged, but I don't think the world is laughing. It's worrying that the democratic process in the Republic of the United States of America seems to be in shambles.
I have a couple of comments. I have tried to stay open minded, and in the beginning, learned so much on here, but I tend to turn off when someone starts a thread attacking someone. People also use other web sites to cut and paste here, without giving an opinion for others to "debate"
The default is a myth. The Gov. takes in millions each week, and is more than enough to pay the interest on our loans. Not the way to get this country out of this mess, but would prevent a default.
I was hoping you and others who live outside the states, would compare what they have read about our new health care plan, with theirs.
The default is a myth. The Gov. takes in millions each week, and is more
than enough to pay the interest on our loans. Not the way to get this country
out of this mess, but would prevent a default.
First off, let's admit the fact the U.S. has created a deficit. The country is in debt. Even if they could pay off the interest, the principal of that remains. And, if interest rates go up, the amount the U.S. has to pay on that debt goes up... just like it does on a personal mortgage.
Every economist acknowledges there is a deficit. The U.S. does not have enough money to pay for all the programs it has in place (including the debt). So, even if were to pay the interest on its debt, there are programs (expenses) in place, that it would have not have the ability to pay.
Those expenses didn't just materialize out of the blue, they were all created by choice by the government. And every government along the way has made those choices along the way.
As I understand it, when Bush Jr. became President the government actually had a surplus, and along the way, before he left office, and before Obama was elected, they chose to spend more money than they had coming in, including spending what they had in the bank (surplus). So they kept borrowing to keep paying for everything they wanted.
So, naturally the solution is to either choose to cut back on expenses, or find sources for more income (taxes) to cover them.
The problem then, of course, is who decides what expenses to cut? During the last attempt no one could agree, and sequestration was the result they fell into.
The thing is the entire process is quite different from personal finance management, because the government is expected to do much more for the people than pay the mortgage, car loan, utilities, groceries etc.
One can say that it doesn't have the money it should simply quit buying, but in terms of a government, that means austerity. .
Austerity, when it translates to a government, means the nation "does without". And when the nation does without, that means people have to do without, which translates to businesses doing without because there is no demand for what they do, and what they sell.
That's a very simplistic explanation, and I'm not saying austerity is not needed or even necessary. But, it needs to be understood that austerity definitely does not grow an economy, and grow jobs, it means sacrifice.
If the government simply quit spending anything on anything I think that nation as a whole would be up in arms.
Now, as far as insurance goes, it's the same as any insurance someone may purchase.. home insurance, car insurance, life insurance, etc.
The idea of insurance is companies exist that are willing to take a risk on the fact they can create a large enough group that what they take in will be less than the amount individual participants in the group will claim; the amount they have to pay out.
It does make sense then that the larger the numbers of people insured with the company, the more the risk is spread out.
In terms of health care apparently until now, those insurance companies preferred to lower their risk (and improve their chances at making more profits) by limiting or denying the insurance of people who they are likely to have to pay out more claims for (pre-existing conditions), and also set limits on the amount they are willing to pay out in a lifetime.
In Canada, and in other countries, the governments have basically chosen to be the insurance company. One of the results of that is we pay higher taxes; so we really our paying for health insurance, but it's "included" in what the government supplies for our taxes, rather than an additional expense. It in essence makes the entire population one group, so spreads the risk of health coverage amongst everyone.
There are some variables in health care from one province to the next, but the essence of the system is the same.
One thing that the gov't health insurance doesn't cover in Canada is prescription drugs (if you are outside of a hospital). If you want insurance to cover that type of additional expense you do have to purchase it separately. Some employers offer that coverage as a benefit, some do not.
I haven't checked health insurance around the world because they aren't the reality I have to deal with. But I assume there are no perfect systems anywhere.
I can tell you that I've had a LOT of experience with our health care system in the last dozen years, as my parents aged, and the majority of the time the care has been very good.
My father passed away at 92 yrs. of age. But at 81 he had stomach cancer, and his surgery was done quickly, and was effective in giving him another 11 yrs of life.
My mother is 85, and suffers from worsening dementia. She was in the hospital in Sept, and her treatment was excellent. After leaving the hospital she was sent for a geriatric assessment, where a team of 6 different specialists examined and ran tests to determine if there was something that could be done to improve her life.
To date we've been able to keep her in her own home, with a live in 24 hr. caregiver, as well as a weekend person to give her time off, because of a program the government provides called "self managed care". This program provides her with $2700 /mnth. to assist us in paying for that 24 hr care.
Some people would wonder why they should help paying for her help. But, the thing is, all her life she paid her taxes along they way, as did everyone, so that same assistance is available to all. It is of course hoped that there are more people who don't end up needing it than do.
BUT... 30 years ago, we were on vacation with my parents in Palm Springs, CA, when my mother suffered an huge heart attack. She was in ICU for several weeks, and we were told she would not likely survive. Thankfully she did.
However, the bill for her treatment there was, even at that time, $154,000. If she had not had travel insurance coverage then, my folks would have been bankrupt and likely lost the home my mother still lives in.
And sickness really should not do that to anyone! That's why I've been in favor of universal health care, even with its shortcoming and flaws. I'm willing to keep paying my share of the taxes to make sure no one else faces the possibilities my parents may have faced.
I should add that at least at a glance it should be easier for 330 million people in the U.S. to share and spread the risk than the 30 million people in Canada, or even less in other countries with universal health care with smaller populations.
It may be that Obama Care is an effective hybrid of private insurance, and universal coverage. It may not be! However, I do think it's not possible to know until it is up and running.
Seems that I have caught this thread well into it's depths, even though it's only a day old, certainly shows that there is a lot of feeling on the subject, so let me throw in my 5 cents ....
I am in the UK/Great Britain, and whilst I think the comments that the world is laughing at you are somewhat harsh, I think it is fair to say that we are very surprised/shocked that there does not appear to be a health scheme provided by a central fund to look after the general populus.
For laughing stock, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) seems to be far closer to that state. It used to cover all healthcare, hospital, homecare and doctors (physicians) but due to underfunding (only the employed contribute via something called National Insurance or NI).
The results being that people working fund the scheme, but are not entitled (well in England) to free eye care, or dental/orthodontics work, and have to pay again for those.
Many companies offer a healthcare plan to their employees to speed up hospital waiting times by using private care, and you would think that as we are taxed on this potential benefit in our wages, we would not have to pay NI - wrong :o(
The problem that we have now given ourselves is that the NHS service has such a good reputation that anyone in Europe can come to the UK & obtain free treatment, which in turn means that our waiting lists are growing by the day, and our doctors & nurses are very overworked
So is there a simple solution to providing equal treatment for all? Unfortunately I don't think so, but would wish for some form of 'State' sponsored care to be available to those who have served well for the country offering the service as a 'thank you' for the individuals, and their dependants efforts.
All of course posted IMHO,
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I was actually not surprised or saddened about the comments of others laughing at us.
I lived in Europe off and on for ten years, and I heard it all. It seemed each new president brought on new jokes, and insults.
A lot of the times, I thought it was pure envy. I heard more than once our country described as the land of milk and honey.
I use to smile when I came back to the states, and saw how very low our gas prices were, and the fact if we wanted to buy a new refrigerator, we did so, but German families held on to theirs for years, because new products were taxed beyond what we could imagine.
Having Gov. insurance is new for us. It will I am sure, be rough for the first couple of years, and then somehow work it's self out.
What is going on in Washington is not new. It has been going on for years.
What has changed that as far as I can read, is the lack of encouragement for the American people to have full time employment. Even when the great depression hit, there was never a problem of people not wanting to work, but determination to work and provide for their families.
Now with all the regulations, businesses are going overseas to employ people. We are told that we are now, or could be self sustaining as far as power, being oil, gas, etc., but yet we are not, because of regulations.
To me there are plenty of things that others could laugh about.
Thank you to those who live outside of the states, who contributed, with this thread. Sometimes, we don't see ourselves until someone points it out.
I live in Japan, which has arguably (tied with Switzerland) the best healthcare system in the world.
We have been rolling eyes and shaking heads at the mess in America for many years.
Every Japanese citizen is fully covered for full medical and dental, and everyone pays a very small premium every month. Our 10% Flat Tax on income pays for most of the program. Employers are not involved in any way.
Every medical or dental procedure from a simple doctor visit to major surgery costs the same - the equivalent of US$5.
We can choose any dentist, doctor, clinic, or hospital we like, and there is no waiting. Very simple and efficient.
When the American Government decided to try to join the civilized world with sensible healthcare, everyone there focused on the countries where it doesn't work very well.
But hardly anyone bothered to look at Switzerland or Japan, where it is just about perfect.
So what did the Americans do?
They could have copied either the Swiss System or the Japanese System, which are both time tested and extremely successful.
But instead they decided to re-invent the system with no testing, hoping for the best.
The outcome was very predictable - complete chaos and very high cost.
America used to have the greatest healthcare in the world - and the healthiest people in the world. Now it has sunk to a third world level.
I would never consider having any medical care in the USA, it's expensive and dangerous.