Vice Chair Denmark

I support Democrats Abroad because I believe the Democratic Party is the party in the United States that best represents my values and commitment to social justice and equal rights and respect for all.


  • published #DAresists #Medicare4all in Healthcare Stories 2017-09-22 03:35:31 -0400

    #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I married my Danish partner in 2012 and she gave birth to our beautiful twin daughters in 2013. Because it was her first delivery, and she was older and had to undergo hormonal treatments, she experienced hormonal imbalances. No problem, she was given two weeks of inpatient care at the country's premier hospital in Copenhagen. Later, one night she awoke at 3 a.m. with severe back pains. No problem, an on call physician arrived at our doorstep within 30 minutes! Recently, one of the now four year old twins fell and damaged her teeth, of course in the evening! My wife called the emergency medical number, was given an appointment at the emergency dental clinic, and within 30 minutes had gone with my daughter, received treatment and returned home, which in this case was the removal of her two top front teeth. In Denmark, all you have to do is show your national health card upon entry to any medical facility. Your record pulls up, you are told exactly where to go relative to your appointment, and off you go! That entire process takes less than one minute. And because she was a child with an obvious immediate dental need, she went right to the front of cue, no questions asked! On my side, I just recently received my national ID number and thus access to the local health care system. Previously I would have needed to use my US insurance for routine care. However, I had a bike accident resulting in a concussion and needed emergency medical attention. I was fully covered, including many nights in the hospital, several MRIs, and two months of outpatient treatment. No bureaucratic lines, no hassles of any sort, 100% first care, easy treatment. During last year's presidential election season, Denmark was referenced often as a place where according to Bernie Sanders health care works and according to Republicans: "we don't want socialized medicine like in Denmark." Well ... Bernie is right. It works great here. It is hassle free. And the total costs are LESS than in the States. Sounds like something that our leaders should more seriously look into!


  • Great coverage stories from Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I am grateful for Canada's health care system One reader's comment to the New York Times this week captured my feelings exactly: however imperfect our Canadian health system might be (it still needs to bring pharmaceuticals under its umbrella, for example), how reassuring it is to me, to know that my health care will be taken care of, always, even if I have a pre-existing condition, even when I am old, whatever my degree of wealth or destitution. Examples: we are not billed for having babies in hospital - and the birth of my daughter turned into an emergency, with a lengthy hospital stay for baby; my husband's kidney stone was removed - no bill. We pay higher taxes, but in return there are such high dividends in peace of mind - and excellent care. I am deeply grateful for all of this -- it is the polar opposite of what my siblings, still living in the U.S., go through, what with drug prices, insurance and administrative complications. The ones that now qualify for Medicare


  • A great experience from Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

    My wife & I were both unemployed when a checkup found out she had life threatening anemia. She was admitted to hospital immediately, given multiple transfusions, and a barrage of tests including cardiac stress test, ultrasound, MRI, and colonoscopy. It was a horrible week; I was terrified there was something serious and she was too weak to care. We were lucky - we didn't have to worry about the cost wiping out all our savings. The medical team was terrific, and because she shared a room and didn't rent a TV, and we left the hospital with a bill for zero dollars. Every time I think about that summer I am profoundly grateful for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and I shudder to think where we'd be had that happened while we were in the US. Yes, it took me longer than I would have liked to get an MRI for a minor shoulder injury, but the Canadian system came through when we needed it most and if my wait meant someone else with a more serious condition had their life saved after a timely MRI, I'm ok with that. S Stephens


  • The experience of a senior citizen couple in Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

    As everyone can tell you, Canada's system isn't perfect, but it is certainly a vast improvement over the US system. In my years here in Canada, I have battled heart disease, including bypass surgery, degenerative disc disease, and two surgeries for cancer. My husband has had several knee replacements. All this has been at no cost to us. Now that we are over 65, prescription drugs are also included. I watched how much my mother paid for her insulin and a plethora of other drugs in the US, even with Part D of Medicare and an Insurance plan and how that ate into her savings in her old age. To be fair, elective surgery and many specialties are rationed based on severity of illness. In my experience they are pretty good at triage, but you can end up on a wait list if your condition isn't urgent. I can see my family doctor within a day or two. All countries ration health care. In the US it's rationed based on who can pay. In Canada, it's rationed more on need. Hope this helps. Nobody should go bankrupt because they get sick. Jackie DiGiovanni


  • Overview from nearly 20 years in the UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have been living in England since 2001. My health care here has been excellent. I don’t have a single “story” of why the care here is excellent but I do have a general ability to get on with my life and manage my own health because of the support I can count on from the NHS. I’ve experienced minor illnesses, a skin problem that required minor facial surgery, and mental health difficulties that required months of treatment. None of this cost me anything (okay, a small medicine co-pay but REALLY small – and limited since the NHS prescription card is a thing). Any time my son, who is now 19, was ill I could take him to the doctor (I’ve never lived anywhere more than 15 minutes’ walk from the doctor’s office) because no matter how little money we had, he was taken care of. I think back to my life in the US as a child - where my parents had to decide not only if I needed the doctor, but if we could afford to go. That is not my life and not my reality. I can take risks. I can travel. I can extend and renovate my home. I can buy a new car. I never have to hold money back to make sure I can afford the doctor or the hospital. I can be less than perfect with money and not die because of it. I want that for everyone. I want my friends back home to have the freedom I have that comes with universal health care. Regards, Arwen


  • A genuine experience from Austria #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Here´s a little anecdote of mine: While I was a student in Austria, one night my left ear popped as if I were in an airplane. I couldn´t hear much out of it, but went to bed hoping it would sort itself out by morning. When I woke up and still couldn´t hear, I decided to go to my doctor to check it out. He said, if I wanted, he could refer me to a specialist, and I got an appointment the same day with an Ear Nose Throat (ENT) doctor. This doctor quickly informed me that sudden hearing loss needs immediate treatment and referred me to the hospital where I was admitted that evening. After exhausting different treatment options, I had surgery about a week after my first symptom and then follow-up appointments for the next 6 months. Unfortunately, neither doctors in Austria, nor private specialists in the US have been able to tell me exactly what the cause was, but since the surgery I have regained about half of the hearing that I lost. All in all, I had over 10 doctor´s visits, more than a week´s stay in the hospital, and surgery. My monthly premiums at the time as a student were about 50-60 dollars. The only additional cost I had was 10-15 dollars per day in the hospital to cover meals. Austria´s government insurance program works quickly and affordably and gives the people a sense of security that I´ve never felt in the US health market.


  • A comparative story from Australia #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Hi there, I’m a NC voter living in Australia and working for Bupa, a UK-based health insurer and care partner. Long before I had up-close experience with a functioning healthcare system and a private insurer who genuinely cares for its customers, I grew up in rural North Carolina with a chronically ill mother. Suffering from Lupus, cancer, and a wide range of related issues, my mom was often in and out of the hospital. Despite working gruelling hours, my dad always found it difficult to make ends meet. Any child who grew up with a seriously ill parent knows all too well the anguish of seeing a loved one in pain, the pitying head pats from Sunday school teachers, and the stomach-dropping discovery that someone you care about had to be rushed to the ER again. My time abroad has taught me that many Australians can commiserate with experiences like these. But most can’t understand the constant battle my parents waged just to make sure my mom could have health insurance. With so many pre-existing problems, it was always hard for my mom to secure a plan that could account for her many needs. The ramifications of poor health are acute enough; children don’t need to overhear their parents crying because they aren’t sure how to pay their medical bills. Thank goodness most Australians already understand this. While no system is perfect, Australia’s public/private hybrid allows consumers extra choice and extra comforts if they can afford them, while supplying basic care for those who can’t. This likely contributes to the comparable cleanliness, safety, and overall better quality of life that Australians tend to enjoy. President Obama took on great political risk to try and fix our own broken system. He did this by selecting a bipartisan compromise: a market-based solution that originated from the Heritage Foundation. While the ACA is definitely flawed, I know that it helped other little girls avoid at least some of the pain I felt. I am repulsed by the moral failure of politicians who have decided that cynical machinations are more pressing than fixing the ACA’s flaws. Their disregard for American lives is alarming. Other countries have recognised that investing in their citizens’ well-being pays dividends; I pray that one day America will wake up to the value of a similar investment. 


  • An emergency experience in Hong Kong #DAresists #Medicare4all

    About a year and a half ago, my then-boyfriend (now husband) was out for a bachelor party in Lan Kwai Fong, one of Hong Kong's nightlife districts. As he walked down the street, a crazed man ran by brandishing a broken glass bottle, which cut my husband's arm quite severely. He was taken by ambulance to a public hospital, where he waited several hours to be seen/admitted. He ended up staying in the hospital for a few nights, awaiting exploratory surgery to ensure no glass was embedded in his arm and no nerves were damaged. Thankfully, the eventual surgery went well and he has had no complications to date. Although I was shocked that my husband had to wait hours/days at various points during his treatment, I believe he received a high quality of care, especially considering the cost. Upon leaving the hospital, he paid only about US$50 to cover the entire experience. Subsequently, he needed to go for check-up visits to have his dressings changed, and I think the charges were something like US$2 each time. Hong Kong does not exactly have universal healthcare, rather a combination of public and private systems. I am very grateful that the public option here is extremely affordable and accessible, otherwise my husband's experience could've been much more costly. Thanks, Sydney


  • Perspective of an American doctor working in India #DAresists #Medicare4all

    As a doctor/medical physician in India, one developing country slowly rising out of the economic pit into a possible new economic super power, still has healthcare for all. There are drawbacks but still available. No one is turned away for reasons of lack of finance or insurance, rather they may be turned away because of the lack of space. Having worked in a Government run hospital, no emergency patient was turned away, once we had to since there was no more space, which means no floor space to place a mattress on the floor, we were working at double capacity with beds filled and beside each bed on the floor another mattress with a patient. We had to refer to our neighboring government hospital. Medicines had to be bought, and those who could not even afford this the doctors would pressure the pharmaceutical representatives to supply the necessary dosages for these poor patients, at times we had to sell our soul to the devil for these precious medications so that we could help patients. I don’t understand while the rest of the world enjoys healthcare, even the poorest, with the help of the government funding, why can’t our government for once ignore the bottom line and those who feed on that line (the “bottom feeders”) and serve the very people they were elected to serve? There is a reason I have invested heavily in health insurance here, I know I will not have to fight long hard battles for my stay in the hospitals etc with a company. People here are worried about the availability of medicines rather than medical care. There is a tier service, however that medical care is available is the issue. It is a sad day when people cannot get care because of cost that is driven not by anything else except the pharmaceutical, health insurance companies, and the legal system demanding high insurance rates from my American resident physicians.


  • Great experience for husband and wife living in Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

    My husband, then 65, needed a knee replacement. He was able to get it after a 5-month wait. After a group information session--which included one old patient maybe in his 80's--we booked the surgery for September 30, 2013. Everything went like clockwork. Until they noticed that his extremities were showing a lack of oxygen. Worried about a blood clot in the lungs, they sent him immediately down for a CT, which was fine. He stayed in the hospital for 2 days, until he could climb five stairs without help. They released him with a set of bandages along with pain and anti-blood-clotting medications. We followed up by getting him into ten cost-free physiotherapy sessions which started about two weeks after the surgery and went until late November. All went according to plan, and now he is able to golf 18 holes and walk 5 miles a day. Cost: $155 for parking at the hospital, $200 for brand new cane, walker, and cold packs. Thanks for the opportunity to tell this story. Patricia Kirby


  • Perspective of a young American living in Brazil #DAresists #Medicare4all

    young, independent, and empowered Universal healthcare is a fundamental right to all human beings. Recently graduating from college and no longer on my parents healthcare plan, i moved to Brazil where I teach English in Vitoria, Espirito Santo. As a young person making money for the first in my life I feel empowered knowing that no matter what health adversity, I can handle this situation. That language is my only hindrance to receiving assistance because financially, Im guaranteed treatment. This is empowerment and true freedfom. Best, Mary Mary E. Nagel


  • American brother died because of lack of health care -- from UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I support universal health care for all my large extended family in Indiana, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois and Maine. My brother in Indiana died prematurely of Lyme disease and a stroke last week, due to the lack of affordable health care when he needed it, but couldn't afford it. PLEASE do not support the Republican Congress's changes and, instead, act to ensure universal health care for all. Pamela Ann Smith, London


  • 40 years of great coverage from an American living in UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have been domicile in the UK since 1978 and during that time I have received excellent health care on the NHS. This has included the birth of a son, thyroid problems, prostate cancert and a heart bypass. This (and more) has been provided free at the point of care. I have never had to worry about paying, pre existing conditions, or anything else. The care has been prompt and excellent. I have been treated for cancer at the oldest, largest and best cancer hospital in Europe. This is a caring servicing. It seems to me that a government which does not ensure health care for everyone is not doing what it should be doing – looking after the citizens and residents of that country. Money must not be used as the criteria for health care. We must “love they neighbour as theyself”.


  • An American in France comparing her situation with her sister in the USA #DAresists #Medicare4all

    It's actually my sisters story. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She had a work comp accident in California, that was made worse in Las Vegas. We moved to Vegas as she got a job promotion. Little did we know that in a state where you pay no state taxes, you also get less services. To make a very long story short, she has fibromyalgia, hyperhydrosis, diabetes, is somewhat physically disabled and bipolar II disorder. Needless to say her medications can run into hundreds of dollars a month. She only gets $930/month from Social security. If funding is cut to Medicare, as Trump plans, she will never be able to afford her meds! Under the AHCA (Obamacare), and with her Medicaid as backup, she is covered for her pre-existing conditions and her co-pays. With Universal healthcare, she won't have to worry if she can "afford" to go to urgent care, or if she can afford to eat and still get all her meds. She will be able to incur LOWER co-pays, and not have to NOT go see a Dr. because she can't afford it. As with all civilized countries now offering Universal Healthcare, the USA needs to stop being so parsimonious with its money, and make healthcare for all, a RIGHT and NOT a privilege!!! Jenna Wong Logan


  • Advocacy from the UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I live in the UK where everyone has access to quality healthcare, regardless of income. From where I stand, the US health care situation looks appalling. Last summer, a disabled cousin based in Wisconsin died prematurely of cancer aged 54, because his health insurance would only pay for so many days of hospital treatment. He was then transferred to a home where he was forced to "exercise" every day for an hour. He died 10 days into his stay in that institution. That, to me, is the problem with American health care: cutting-edge treatments available to a minority, inadequate care for the majority, especially the vulnerable. That is not a social model to be proud of.


  • Experience of a recently returned American from Spain #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have returned to the US so please note that. While living in Spain I had to buy my own private insurance because I retained my US citizenship and was not eligible for health care there. Once I had problem that paid ok but then it tripled in cost to maintain so I now am covered with Obamacare and insurance with supplemental insurance which is still not s good as universal insurance in the EU, Lee Andreason


  • published #DAresists #Medicare4all in Healthcare Stories 2017-09-21 13:53:34 -0400

    #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Dear Democrats Abroad: As a dual citizen living in Canada (GTA area(, I am attaching a copy of my Issues/Solutions about U.S. Healthcare. This has already been forwarded to 24 influential Senators and Representatives. Please feel free to use this in any way that may help in the current discussion on healthcare. Regards, Dave Brindle


  • Great health care in the Netherlands #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have lived in the Netherlands for 45 years and have experienced the benifits of a universal health care system most of my adult life. It has changed many times in the course of the last decades, but never have we suffered from the huge debts my son and his wife have encured for their health care in the US. Our daughters have more children similar complications and no debts for medical care.


  • Several experiences from many years in France #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Aside from the usual and thankfully banal problems of bearing and raising three children, I can report on fairly major issues. NB: I also have a “mutuelle”—a collective non-profit complementary health arrangement that costs approx. €2000 a year and covers the 30% French social security doesn’t pay in some cases. Except in the last, worst item below I don’t remember which paid what. --A hard fall on cement the night before I was supposed to lecture in Oxford resulted in a hip replacement and hospitalisation for almost two weeks [Radcliffe Hospital] plus special transport arrangements home to Paris. French social security and probably the mutuelle reimbursed costs to the Brits. --Three fractured vertebrae and three “vertebroplasties” in which they inject resin cement: cost zero --Worst: in late 1999 my husband was diagnosed with a fairly rare form of cancer : He died a year and a half later after two operations, one very long and risky, intensive care, a whole variety of convalescent measures at home or in hospital, daily nursing visits when at home and, a particular blessing in the circumstances, he was able to spend the last two weeks of his life surrounded by his family at home, in a hospital bed with perfusion and three times daily visits from a nurse as well as regular ones from our family doctor. He could self-administer doses of morphine as needed and we were all with him when he died. Cost for us: Zero, entirely paid by French social security since he had a recognised “serious illness”. I sometimes tell this story now in talks to encourage the French and other Europeans to fight for all our public services, explaining to them we would have had to sell the house if we had lived in the United States. Since I have mentioned giving talks, it may be worth adding that after Smith College junior year abroad where I met and later married my French husband and living in France, I was able to win two higher degrees, a “licence” in philosophy, equivalent to a US master’s degree and allowing Immediate entry to the doctorate. Ten years later I got my PhD with honours in political science from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales, a quite prestigious part of the French university graduate schools system. Cost—about $150/year in today’s dollars for inscription and insurance fees. Comment: Totally impossible for me cost-wise had I lived in the US. With 17 books and innumerable talks, articles and interviews for various social / ecological/ political causes since, mostly without fee, I feel I have “given back”, as Americans like to say. Note: My four grandchildren have now graduated from a variety of excellent, highly recognised schools [except for some at masters’ level with modest tuition fees] in several disciplines and—barring global warming disaster—are set for life.


  • Perspective of a Dr. from California and Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I live in Canada and vote in California. I have worked as a family physician in both countries and the health system works better in Canada. People worry about their illness, not how much it will cost. Physicians worry about the health of their patients, not whether or not they will be paid. Care is not disrupted by changes in where or whether you have a job, or by an insurer deciding to change the network. I worked in the "safety net" in the US for years, where we had to stress out all the time about finding health coverage for our patients, constant changes in rules, intense scrutiny and red tape, and the frustration of trying to practice medicine in that environment. Since being in Canada that stress is gone. And when I need care, it is there for me too. My heart aches for the people in the US who still do not have universal coverage. Khati Hendry MD Summerland BC


Retired Foreign Service Officer, having served in 19 countries in nine geographic regions of the world. Passions are advocacy for democracy and democratic values and multi-culturalism. Personal passions include sports and bridge