jeudi 20 août 2009

An appeal from the UK for an equitable solution to America's heath care woes

"I am writing this note to urge you to support, be vocal,
be whatever it takes to find a more equitable solution
to America's health care woes.
It is a discredit to the U.S. that so many are without access
to affordable health care. It borders on a crime."

-- Carolyn, American living in the UK

The following is a letter, written by an American living in England. It was forwarded to me by a fellow supporter of President Obama, working to promote better understanding of what health care as a moral, societal and economic issue and what government participation in its payment and delivery really mean.

I could write the same letter as an American living in France, where I am married to an Ob/Gyn who has practiced in a public hospital for more than 25 years. I have told many stories here in this blog.

Those of us Americans living in Europe, like those living in Canada and Japan, know what benefit we receive in return for the higher taxes we pay: secure and certain, top-quality health care without question. No one cannot afford to see a doctor or be hospitalized. No one has to go without medical care. No one has ever to mortgage a property faced with the worst. And, American health care, while for those who can afford it is among the best in the world, is no longer the best in the world. Check out the WHO rankings of health care success by country. We're at the bottom of the industrialized world. Even if you consider only the top quintile of the population (in income), our infant mortality rate is higher than Canada's. Something is very wrong in the US as far as access to health care and health care delivery is concerned.

We might have bureaucrats receiving our claims and paying our doctors, but they aren't deciding which doctor we can see, what medical treatments will be covered, nor whether we can afford to see one at all. I'd rather have the government make doctors available to me than insurance executives decide what I need and don't need.

For us, health care is a given. We live our lives without fear of losing our jobs and losing our insurance. That's big peace of mind.

Dear friends,

I've been following with increasing anger and dismay the debate over health care reform and once again the scare tactics being used to discredit and confuse the debate. I am writing this note to urge you to support, be vocal, be whatever it takes to find a more equitable solution to America's health care woes. It is a discredit to the U.S. that so many are without access to affordable health care. It borders on a crime.

As an American citizen who now lives in England, I have had first hand exposure to both systems. In the U.S., I was self-employed and could barely afford private insurance and even then, one with a very high deductible. I could not and did not avail myself of basic care and, when I needed an operation, funded that through a home equity loan that took me 5 years to pay off. I was lucky in that I at least had home equity and could afford the long repayments. My brother, also a self-employed contractor, cannot. He suffers from a variety of ailments and can only afford a doctor only very occasionally. Needless to say, that has not helped his other health conditions, including underlying high blood pressure.

In England, I have access to the National Health Service which provides full medical care. When my local doctor can not address the problem, I am referred to specialists. I have used the system for 10 years. It has served me well with good quality care. I have good friends who have had breast cancer or need for a heart bypass and who have sought and received good care through NHS. What you are hearing in the U.S. media are a few cases where the system has not worked or met expectations. To my knowledge, some of those cases were of individuals who could not have been 'cured' even with all the best care money could buy. In another instance, there is a British politician who is hitting the media trail to criticize the NHS. He is called an 'eccentric' by his own party and I understand is someone who can well afford private care on his own money and has never ever had to use NHS.

As I face retirement I will admit that one of my reasons to remain in the UK is the assurance that I have access to such health care benefits. It is reassuring. I know that my English taxes have contributed to funding that system. Those taxes are high but well worth such benefits as this.

Please support the struggle for health care reform.



There's always the alternative... Wealthcare! No Welfare!

Yeah. That's the ticket.

Thanks, Jeannie!

Or, we can all get behind Howard Dean and keep Obama clean, fighting for the public option at the very, very minimum like the President has said he favors.

Me? I'm with Randy Huber:
"I would like to see single-payer health care in this country," said Randy Huber, 64, a retired state government worker from Canaan. "To me, the public option is only a start."

And Representatives Kucinich and Weiner, and many more Americans than the Blue Dogs and the President wish to count, or hear from, it would seem.
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