I live in the UK, which has a national health service (the NHS). All care is free at the point of delivery, paid for out of taxes. My experience of the NHS is as both a patient and a manger within it. One day I awoke to find that the vision in my right eye had decreased; the world looked dimmer. I went to my GP, was seen as an emergency patient immediately, and was sent straight to the hospital to see an ophthalmologist. After an MRI I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and opted for treatment at the specialist London hospital. Years later I continue to be seen for neurological check-ups, am supported by a local MS therapy center, and recently retired after completing 30 years working in the NHS. I've never been charged for a visit to a doctor; when I arrive at a hospital the questions I'm asked are not about money or insurance, but to verify my address and contact details. A few years back while on a visit here from the States, my mother fell on the sidewalk while shopping in town. A passerby called the ambulance which took her to the local hospital. By the time I arrived from work, my mother was chatting with nurses who were bandaging her leg; she'd had an X-ray to confirm nothing was broken, and could not stop marvelling at the care she'd received. "I kept asking where I should pay or what cards they needed to see but all they wanted to hear about was where it hurt" she told me. I can't think of a more succinct example of what a healthcare system should be. I was billed £25 for her care after she left, as she was a visitor and not a resident. From a clinical and managerial perspective the overwhelming advantage of the UK over the US healthcare system is the removal of an entire layer of bureaucracy; without the cumbersome process of checking insurance status and billing (with its concomitant stress on the patient), the organisation is free to focus on clinical care. The standard of care here is excellent; I speak as someone who has worked in various US healthcare facilities, including Memorial Sloan Kettering. My work in the NHS is among the proudest achievements of my career. Worries about whether or not I would be able to afford health care (especially with a pre-existing condition) is one of the main reasons I haven't moved back to the States. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of this issue.
A superb national health service #DAresists #Medicare4all
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