International Chair

  • tagged Sharon Smillie's Affordable healthcare in the Netherlands #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 09:35:38 -0400

    Affordable healthcare in the Netherlands #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Both my husband and I have experienced adequate healthcare in the Netherlands, that is affordable. We pay about 310 euros a month for our entire family including some dental and alternative health insurance. Our daughters are free until the age of 18 years old. My husband has been treated twice for a benign brain tumour within 6 weeks of diagnosis, and I had a couple of life-threatening illnesses in which I received immediate care. There are no co-pays on the GP visits, but some thresholds exist, particularly for alternative care. But the difference is affordable. Both my daughters have had their acne treated, half paid by the insurance and half paid by us. Overall it is proof that mixed social and private health care models can work. Specialists are affiliated with hospitals or medical centres.


  • Freedom from Fear #DAresists #Medicare4all

    The person who should have written this was my wife. Unfortunately, she couldn’t as she died from pancreatic cancer two years ago. Given that in some of our last conversations she told me that it was important for her to believe that her loved ones would find a way to be happy after her death and to make a difference in the world the way she tried to do during her lifetime, I’m writing this for both of us. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2014. Unfortunately, the cancer was not operable which put her chances of recovery at five percent. After her appointment with the oncologist, she met with our GP who enrolled her in the government program that covered 100% of the cost for her treatment including such things as visits from visiting nurses, ambulances, hospital stays — literally everything. In spite of the best medical care one could hope for, she died in August 2015. I was holding her hand at the time. She spent her final week in a hospice where the staff realized that even if the regulations didn’t exactly allow a spouse to stay in the room overnight, there were situations where feelings were more important than regulations. I’ve thought of this since her death and know now that even though we never spoke about it at the time, we were able to spend our time saying things that were important to us because the fear of being hit with huge medical bills never entered our minds. In France, when you're a citizen or a legal resident, you’re enrolled in the publicly-funded healthcare system which normally covers two-thirds or most medical and dental expenses. We also have private supplemental health insurance that usually pays 100% of the difference. My private policy costs about $200 per month. At my age, I pay a lot more attention to my health than I did in my 20’s, but I never have to worry about how to pay for it. One of the famous speeches FDR gave was on the subject of the four freedoms — one of which was the freedom from fear. Although freedom from the fear of catastrophic illness, was not what he had in mind, I believe it’s a concept that Americans should embrace and provide universal health care as has every other developed nation in the world.


  • tagged Pam Masco Heseltine's British National Health Service #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 11:09:13 -0400

    British National Health Service #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have lived in Britain many years and consider the British National Health Service a very good thing. It is for everybody, rich and poor. It is possible to still have health insurance and there are doctors that see both private and NHS patients. There are still private hospitals. The British people consider NHS very important and would not be without it. I can't imagine a civilised country not having a health service. Many countries in Europe have Health Services funded in different ways. I receive ongoing treatment and so far it has been excellent. I have had major operations. All good. Some of the nurses that look after me believe that it is barbaric not to have a health service. I agree. It gives more freedom not less because there is freedom from want. My elderly mother paid insurance all her life in the USA. When I heard about the way she was treated in a hospital she was paying for I felt shocked. I believe the NHS would have treated her etter.


  • No need to fight with an insurance company for life-saving treatment #DAresists #Medicare4all

    We live in Germany, where health care is universal. The system is a little bit like Obamacare, where employers and employees split the insurance cost, and the unemployed and elderly get insurance from a default insurer. Unlike the USA, most insurers are non-profits and strictly regulated with respect to their finances. They don't spend all their time and our money trying to find ways to deny you coverage. But they still compete for your business. There are no caps, no deductibles or co-pays in most cases, no preexisting conditions, you choose your doctor. Insurance is simple and worry free. Health care is excellent. And Germany still pays far less for health care than the US does. Germany understands that health care is a social good and a human right, not a privilege. For-profit is the wrong way to provide health care. We had to put this system to the test. Our daughter, 18, contracted Hodgkin Lymphoma. In the USA, a routine case costs around 150,000 dollars to treat, more or less, with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After the initial approval of treatment, our insurer left us and the doctors alone. Our daughter was treated according to the latest available protocol and has since maintained a complete remission. We, our daughter, and her doctors didn't need to fight with an insurance company every other day about whether it would pay for life-saving treatment. We were allowed to concentrate on what mattered - supporting our daughter in her fight to get well. In the USA, this might have been the experience of someone insured as the employee of a top company, a Google, a Microsoft, a Facebook. Other people would not have been so lucky. Other sons and daughters may not have gotten the all of the treatment they needed, and some may have died, unnecessarily, since Hodgkin Lymphoma can be "cured" nowadays. Other families would have been burdened with debt, and their children would have been marked forever as "uninsurable because of preexisting condition." You know, a return to the time before Obamacare, as the Republicans want, would be cruel and for many citizens, miserable. It does not have to be that way.


  • tagged James Griffin's #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 11:08:14 -0400

    #DAresists #Medicare4all

    A comment I posted on the internet two years ago: "Insurance companies do not provide health care. They act as intermediaries between you and doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, etc. taking a part of the transaction cost. An insurance company’s objective is to make money. Often they say that they have profits only in the order of single digits, but it is their far greater organizational cost that accounts for the difference between income and outgo. They want to maximize the amount of premiums they take in and minimize the amount of their payouts. They employ oodles of people to check the validity of claims made for payments, others to sell their products and highly paid bosses to oversee these activities. From an individual’s point of view insurance companies are thus the antithesis of obtaining health care. Most health care in Europe is managed by its governments. Money to pay for it is obtained in the form of taxes. This income and the payments for health care are in the general budgets of the countries or adjuncts to it, similar to expenditures for education, infrastructure, armies, police, etc. Doctors participating in public health care systems are public employees and are paid salaries. They don’t have to carry expensive malpractice insurance; the government would sustain any successful claims for malpractice. Doctors do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to repay for their educations because their education costs are significantly less than in the U.S. Most doctors have gone to state schools. Some medicines are free, some must be paid for by the patient, and some have a “co-pay” of a couple of Euros. One need not go to a doctor or hospital that is publicly funded; there are also private ones. Waits for non-critical specialists’ visits can be long and you can get quicker service going private, but when there is a critical need care is immediately available with the public system. Average life expectancies are longer. Thus health care costs less but is better in Europe than in the U.S. "


  • An Expat’s View of Heath Care Down Under #DAresists #Medicare4all

    As an American expat living in Australia I feel blessed that I can go to sleep every night knowing that my wife and I will never have to worry about not having health insurance. That’s right, whether we lose our jobs, go bankrupt or have pre-existing medical conditions - WE NEVER WORRY ABOUT NOT HAVING HEALTH INSURANCE! The reason is that we live in a country that has a universal single payer health care system that automatically covers everyone from the time they are born to the time they die – a country where something as basic as medical care is viewed as a right and not a privilege for those who can afford it. Sadly, this is still not the case back home where the cost of health insurance is often ruinous. For those not covered by employers, some go without, some go bankrupt and millions more struggle on the margins with inadequate coverage. Astoundingly, the cost of health insurance for a family of four in 2016 was $25,826 while the median family income was $56,516! By contrast, we in Australia pay a health care levy of 2% although if your income falls below a certain level you don’t pay at all. In addition, my wife and I pay an addition $4,000 a year for private health coverage that gives us a choice of doctors in hospitals and extras like private dental and physio. All totalled, it’s considerably less than the cost of health insurance in the US, but regardless of your financial situation you will always be covered for life. So from my vantage point living down under, I view the US privatised health cares system as totally crazy and inhumane. In fact, if you set out to devise the world’s worst possible health care system, I think the US would be your model.


  • Universal health care in France #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Hello, fellow Democrats Abroad! I have been under universal health care coverage for nearly all my professional career, first in Algeria, and now in France. I have had some harrowing experiences on the health scene, less by questions of policy coverage than by circumstances which necessitated health care. I was nearly always taken in and cared for without question, and indeed without personally incurring expenses. In Algeria public health policy had covered all my immunizations yithout my having to advance even the slightest payment. I once broke an ankle wnile playing basketball with fellow teachers, and although I had to drive to the nearest hospital thirty kilometers away I was properly examined and treated without having to pay. I did have to insist on being cared for, when the opening hours at the clinic expired, but I prevailed, and did not have to pay out of pocket. Near the end of my sojourn in Algeria, I was stabbed in the back in downtown Algiers, and I was taken into emergency care at first and then into intensive care with securitz guard, all without any outlay on my part. To the contrary my care was considered as a responsibilitz of the country because of the "indignity" of having been attacked on the street of the nation's capital. Laterm during my retirement in France, I was covered by the nation's public health care system, but did pay for enrolment in the health care system, a rather nominal sum, but less than the care yould have cost in the United States, although that cost was covered by employer's health care. I have been in relatively good health, but asthmatic and diabetic, for which I receive medication covered at 100%, and see the doctor as needed, usually without an appointment, without undue waits and no payment other than the nominal €23 for the visit, which is, incidentally repaid by my mutual health care policy! I am totally happy with this system, and would not willingly submit to the US health care system in its current disorderly state. Rev. Dr. Hugh G Johnson (BA, STB, MDIV, MA, PhD)


  • Universal health care in France #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Happily, we have not had to seek health care in France (except for routine blood tests that were easy, quick and inexpensive) but we do have a story. The young son of French friends in Avignon was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthrtis when he was five years old. Their national health insurance paid 100% of all the costs for his diagnosis and care over the course of 2 years by the best specialists in Montepellier and Paris, including travel and hotel expenses. Of modest means -- father an electrician and mother a secretary -- this young family would probably have been ruined had they been living in the US. Sincerely, Woody Halsey


  • Universal health care in the United Kingdom #DAresists #Medicare4all

    My sick baby had an emergency medical team at my door at midnight on a Saturday within 15 minutes of calling them. There was no charge. When I broke my leg in a tube accident, entirely of my own making, I had an EMT crew collect me, take me to the hospital, surgery and a hospital stay all at no direct cost to me. I am delighted to pay my taxes to support that kind of access for all. Occasional waiting lists for certain non-urgent conditions and some restrictions on available drugs due to cost are a small price to pay. Healthcare to GDP in the UK is half of what it is in the US with lower infant mortality and higher average life expectancy. They must be doing something right. Keep up the good work! Barbara


  • tagged Frank Mento's 100 % #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:27:16 -0400

    100 % #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I am very thankful to have universal health care in France because I was mugged one night in Paris in 1979. I was beaten, and had a double fracture of my right ankle. Someone called the police who transported me to the hospital where I was operated for a compound fracture. A pin was installed. Once discharged from the hospital, I was transported to a physical rehabilitation center where I had months of rehabiltation therapy. All this paid in full by my French universal health care insurance because I work in France. Can you imagine this same scenario in the USA ? Having universal health care helps you to solve all your other problems without having to worry about where you're going to get thousands of dollars to pay for major medical situations.


  • tagged Corinne Grealish's Back Surgery in France : being treated like a human being. #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:27:07 -0400

    Back Surgery in France : being treated like a human being. #DAresists #Medicare4all

    In 2014 I had to have back surgery to remove a severely herniated disc. Leading up to the surgery I had an X-ray, two MRIs, two non-effective cortisone injections and ultimately a referral to the top spinal surgeon in Paris. I had to stop working because I could not stand, lay, walk or sit in comfort. I was given many medications over the period leading up to eventually necessary surgery. In France, this type of surgery requires multiple nights in the hospital. I checked in on Friday afternoon for my surgery later that day. I checked out Monday afternoon after the surgeon and the orthopedist had both performed further examinations and made sure I could walk properly. After 6 more weeks off of work, I went back to my job having continued to earn 70% full salary over the 3 months off of work. I can't even imagine having had my surgery in the US. I paid a total of €150 out of pocket for doctors visits, medications, treatment and diagnosis leading up to and including back surgery and a three night stay in the hospital. And that 150 was to pay for my mom to have a bed in my room and three meals a day with me. In the US I'd be bankrupt. It's a government's duty to protect its citizens. It should not be the party responsible for doing its citizens harm.


  • tagged Elissa Perreau's It isn't just for the times you are sick #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:25:34 -0400

    It isn't just for the times you are sick #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have lived in the UK for ten years and have been fortunate to be healthy the majority of the time. But the security I feel in knowing that I can see my doctor even for small things (before they become big things) is something that doesn't get mentioned often enough. As a young person that doesn't make a lot of money, I would be in a very different position in the States, and wouldn't be able to address issues with my health until it was an emergency. Nobody should have to be put in that position. I have had the freedom to leave jobs without worrying about losing my benefits and losing access to healthcare, and the impact this has had on my well-being and mental health cannot be overstated. Obviously, there are so many more reasons why universal healthcare is the only system that makes sense!


  • tagged Laura Mosedale's The cost of doing business #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:24:33 -0400

    The cost of doing business #DAresists #Medicare4all

    About eight years ago, my husband left his own company and started his own business in London. It was a bit risky with three children still at home and university fees looming, but one thing we did not have to worry about was private health insurance, which would have been crazily expensive for a family of five in the US. We have had great experiences with the NHS. My husband created many new jobs in this company and his next one, and we didn't have to worry about high premiums or deductibles at a time of financial risk. Simply put, the US insurance-based system is terrible for the economy and job growth, as well as people. On the other side of the pond, my sister, who just lost her job, pays hundreds a month for a policy with a $5,000 deductible. She's decided to put off preventive care because she just can't afford it. . #DAresists #Medicare4all


  • tagged Ann Sutcliffe's I love the NHS #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:24:14 -0400

    I love the NHS #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have been living in England for over 17 years (after having grown up in the US for over 25 years, with a father who was a doctor in the States up until about 1989), and have had numerous small treatments through the NHS, for both myself, my husband, and our two children. I have had a couple of minor surgeries for removing suspect moles (including one from my then 10-year old daughter), and have had two wonderful experiences with giving birth in a local NHS hospital (and the amazing after-care/home visits I received from health visitors for up to 6 weeks after giving birth) and haven't had to pay a penny (or pence) for any of our family's treatments, except of course the 20% basic rate tax I pay on my salary. I get free birth-control pills and if there has ever been a charge for a particular prescription I may have needed it has been extremely low (about £9.80 on average), and free for my children, including free ibuprofen (for pain). What this means to us as a family is we don't have to worry about anything like many Americans living in the States seem to, such as "what if I loose my job and I don't have my employer help me with insurance payments" or "what about my pre-existing conditions" or anything like that. The way the healthcare system is set up in England means that all of my family is automatically covered no matter what, and we don't have to worry if one of us suddenly gets ill. I wouldn't say we have never had to wait for appointments or results or such, but the waiting time seems to compare favorably with what I remember from the US system - and of course they prioritize appointments for children or urgent cases here. Overall I have no complaints about the NHS and think it's marvellous! I only wish the US could adopt something similar.


  • tagged Laura-May Abron's Healthy and debt-free in France #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:23:58 -0400

    Healthy and debt-free in France #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Here in France my parents both received excellent care for their cancers which were detected early thanks to all the help getting free screenings and cheap visits to specialists. I also received great care after a sport injury that required a shoulder operation, from identifying what the issue was with scans to my rehabilitation which cost me pennies with a great physical therapist. I hope the US will implement universal healthcare, it is something everyone needs at some point or another in their life.


  • tagged Kristina Bruce's I feel totally cared for. #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:22:51 -0400

    I feel totally cared for. #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Living and having grown up in Canada it has never crossed my mind that I would have to worry about medical costs should I get sick. If I don't feel well I go to the doctor, receive care, end of story. Now, I may have a prescription cost which I do have extended coverage from my employer, but to not have to worry about a cost just to visit the doctor which means I catch things early before they have the chance to become more serious. Yes, there may be longer wait times for some tests or procedures, but if it's an emergency there are no wait times. I am more than happy to wait a bit longer for a non-serious condition test if it means I can rest easy that I will not have to go into financial ruin because of it. Universal health care is the only humane form of health care.


  • tagged Erin Mushaway's Pneumonia in Argentina #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:22:38 -0400

    Pneumonia in Argentina #DAresists #Medicare4all

    In Argentina, there are two options: public health care, free for all, and a private option with private insurance companies. The private option is affordable. I am able to own a "Cadillac" plan paying on my own, out of pocket each month, as I work from home as an independent contractor. In 2012, I got pneumonia so serious that I spent five nights in the hospital. I was given a battery of tests: x-rays, Ct scans, blood tests. I was visited by a dietitian who built my hospital meals according to my illness and medications. I was visited daily by a physical therapist who taught me breathing exercises. I was visited by a hematologist daily who monitored my white blood cell count. I was visited by countless nurses and doctors around the clock and given breathing treatments. All of this treatment was included in my private health plan and I had to pay nothing on top of the co-pay I paid for my emergency room visit to be admitted. It's comforting to know that if I get sick I will be taken care of. I work hard and more than a full time schedule, more than 40 hours a week. But in the USA, working from home as a contractor, I wouldn't be given any insurance. I would be looked on as lazy for not getting a "real job" and getting insurance that way. This is unacceptable. There is also public healthcare here that offers comparable service to the private options. The difference is the infrastructure, the private hospitals are more modern, more polished. I've had friends go to public hospitals for surgeries and check ups and are charged nothing. I want to move home to the United States one day. The only thing, the ONLY thing that concerns me is the gamble of health insurance. What if I get into a car accident? What if I get sick? Will I lose everything? I shouldn't be afraid to move home because I may get sick.


  • tagged Wright Salisbury's My experience with the French health care system #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:21:55 -0400

    My experience with the French health care system #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Last September I fell and couldn't get up. The spirit was willing but my femur wasn't, as evidenced by my right foot sticking out at a 90 degree angle from what I presumed to be my leg. Someone called the pompiers, who scooped me up and drove me (at no cost to me) to the nearest hospital. There I had to wait a day while they took more urgent cases (one woman was aborting), but the next they replaced my femur with a titanium rig guaranteed not to set off alarms at airports. I was placed in a private room and a therapist came daily for 10 days to walk me around the halls. Nurses fed me, helped me into and out of bed and spoke French at me, which forced me to speak my appalling French to them. After I was sent home, another therapist came twice a week to coach me in walking again and teach me exercises. Nurses came daily to message my leg and give me pills, probably anti-coagulants. (As a tough-guy American, I declined pain medicine.) The whole episode cost me 14,000 euros. (Had I been French, it would have been free.) In the U.S., it would have cost in excess of $100,000. Recovery was predictably slow. I am only now learning to run, very gingerly and slowly, on absolutely flat paving. I have nothing but praise for the French health car system. I have read that it is ranked the best in the world. Australia's is ranked second, with the American somewhere near the bottom in quality and highest in cost. Wright Salisbury


  • tagged Maya Bendifallah's Knee, not bank, took a beating #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-20 09:20:55 -0400

    Knee, not bank, took a beating #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I was able to have my knee operated on four times with barely anything paid out of pocket. These operations were done by top-notch doctors in well-equipped hospitals. After my operations, I had months (actually, years) of physical therapy completely paid for through France's universal healthcare system. I feel so lucky to have gotten injured in France and not in the United States.