Regional Vice Chair & Communciations Director at Democrats Abroad

  • tagged Anthony Dunn's Ulcers #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 02:12:21 -0400

    Ulcers #DAresists #Medicare4all

    In 1980 I was poor and in a catastrophic car crash. I have had, since then, 22 major operations, the latest one just last year, thirty-seven years later. I've had multiple CTT scans, MRI scans, and so many tests and doctors that I can't keep track. There was one extraordinary example.The accident happened in rural Ontario and I was taken to a local hospital where doctors saved my life. One night, as I was recovering there, I developed an extreme case of bleeding ulcers. The next morning a helicopter flew all the way from Toronto for no other reason than to bring medication to stop my bleeding. I cannot calculate the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has taken to keep me in good health, And it is ongoing. Do I worry about my health, yes. Do I worry about the cost, not one second. This is Canada's universal health care.

  • Health care should not be a choice between life and bankruptcy #DAresists #Medicare4all

    If we lived in the US prior to the ACA, we would either be bankrupt or my husband would be dead or in assisted living and in pain for the last fifteen years. He was diagnosed with an aggressive prostate cancer in 2000, herniated a disc in 2001, needed a hip replacement in 2007, and has had radiation for the cancer and multiple operations related to his knees, hips, back, and other problems. The bills would have been staggering in the US. He received all the care and treatment he needed and is still at home and as comfortable as possible at the age of 88 thanks to Alberta Home Care, who sends assistants twice a day to help with dressing and showering and an RN every two weeks to check up on him. I cannot tell you how important it is to know that his needs have been and will be looked after without the prospect of losing our life's earnings or selling our house. I also cannot believe that people in the US don't understand that they spend far more per capita even now on health care for much worse outcomes. Wait times can be long sometimes, yes, but they are determined by need, not the size of the wallet. I trust that I will get critical care immediately if necessary. And no, they don't do death panels here. That only happens in the US or third world countries when people can't afford to pay. Please, please, come to your senses, look abroad and see what has worked elsewhere. Canada's system is not perfect - I'm not sure any system can be perfect - but it is better than the US by a long shot. I sincerely hope, for the sake of most of your populace, that you are able to join the rest of the civilized world and provide basic health care to all. And it isn't just my husband. Here's my husband, a best friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, and his wife with MS, all of whom have received good and compassionate care because of this health system.

  • tagged Melissa Demian's A Tale of Two ER Visits #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 02:07:26 -0400

    A Tale of Two ER Visits #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Trip to the ER (or A&E as it's called here) no. 1: New Year's Eve 2012, struck down by the norovirus that was all over the UK that winter. Received excellent care even at my very busy local London hospital. Hospital bill: zero. Trip to the ER no. 2: summer 2013, a visit to my parents in Boston, severe gastroenteritis the day after I arrived. Received so-so care, a lot of unnecessary tests. Hospital bill: $7,000, which I spent the next two years fighting, eventually with the aid of legal representation. Did my excellent care in the London hospital come out of the slightly higher taxes I pay here in the UK? Yes. As do roadworks and other infrastructure improvements, firefighters, policing...I have no problem with this and I have no idea how any rational person, desirous of living in a civilized society, could.

  • tagged Jessica Hitchenor's Multiple Sclerosis in the UK #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 02:03:16 -0400

    Multiple Sclerosis in the UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I've lived in the U.K. For fifteen years. Ten years ago my balance on my right side became strange so I booked an appointment with my GP. I was referred to a neurologist who then gave me numerous tests including an MRI, lumbar puncture, blood work and more appointments. Ultimately my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis was declared. Over the years I've received great care including regular consultant appointments, blood tests, MRI's, related dr appointments and prescriptions. All of the cost of these amounts to my yearly contribution of £170.00. I know this because being self employed I see what I pay when I register my taxes every year. The cost of prescriptions is £8.00 each which is very reasonable. Now that I claim disability allowance my prescription charge is 0. These prescriptions are not generic labels. Last year I opted for a new immunotherapy drug which cost me nothing. I'm told the cost of the drug is approximately £74,000.00. Because I've had that treatment , I now have monthly blood work, MS nurse appointments for the next three years all no cost to me. That's not to mention my usual bi annual neurologist appointment and an MRI every four month again, no cost to me. My illness is chronic. I've been told by friends who've gone through heart problems, cancer and other emergencies. They all receive care immediately and have excellent after care. I don't know where I'd be without the NHS and my main feeling about it is to be grateful. I watch my family in the States go through hoops of insurance, HMO's, PPO's, co pays and prescriptions costs that are soo high. When you are ill all these extra worries seem inhumane and cruel. I love the NHS. It does work. If everyone pays a little in, the system can work.

  • tagged Robert Kerr's How easily it works in Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 02:00:37 -0400

    How easily it works in Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Recycling my 30-second pro-single-payer [Canada] vid from when I was urging it on Obama 8 years ago:

    #DAresists #Medicare4all Text of my 30-second vid: "I am an American in Canada. We have single-payer health care — provincial government. All I need is this card. Universal coverage. No paperwork. No premiums. No claim forms. No deductibles. No co-pay...."

  • tagged Roger Watson's The best system in the world #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:21:47 -0400

    The best system in the world #DAresists #Medicare4all

    17 years in the UK and I've had kidney surgery and have suffered a heart attack. For the latter the treatment was immediate, of course, but also the followup care was terrific. For the kidney stone surgery I had to wait four months but I wasn't critical and it was very successful. Since I've turned 60 all of my medications are now free. Great system! #DAresists #Medicare4all

  • tagged Doris Sisk's #DAresists #Medicare4all I love the NHS! with approved 2017-09-21 00:20:35 -0400

    #DAresists #Medicare4all I love the NHS!

    I get so fed up hearing conservatives in America lament about how terrible national health care is! I have never had to wait for an urgent appointment and can be seen the same day, if needed. I have been hospitalised twice since living in England and both times I have received exemplary care. There are some differences in the style of room. In the US hospitals have become such big business that they tend to look more like spas! Here in the UK the hospitals do not look as glitzy. And I was in a ward, rather than a private room. Truly, it, too, was a wonderful experience as the other ladies were all very supportive of each other. It is amazing to go to the doctor and not have to hand over any money. Yes, our taxes are higher than in the US, but I receive quality health care, consistently and worry-free care to boot.

  • tagged Eric Britton's American Trained NHS GP #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:18:47 -0400

    American Trained NHS GP #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I am a GP in the British NHS. I went to one of the best US medical schools and prepared to work in the US system but then I fell and love and moved across the pond. The best thing about the NHS from my point of view as a physician is that I can be honest with my patients about what they need, what they could have and what I wouldn't do without cost coming into the conversation. The degree of trust they have in me and my profession is the highest of all professions in the country, over priests and rabbis. I treasure that. Yes we don't always have access to the "newest drug" but I have learned that the newest is not the best and sometimes new means untested and actually dangerous. As a patient I the sense of security I have that I don't have to worry about whether my condition is covered or will I go bankrupt from a treatment. Do we have problems, yes but no more than the US. I think it is good that elective surgery can't happen the day of diagnosis. A cooling off period to consider the options is good. I have never had to wait in an emergency and the care I get overall is pretty good. Not perfect but no worse than the stories I have heard from my colleagues and family in the USA.

  • tagged Dara Schlissel's Universal healthcare is key to LIFE #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:18:04 -0400

    Universal healthcare is key to LIFE #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have several non-life threatening pre-existing conditions. They are inconvenient, at times painful, and at times wholly disruptive. They come with risks down the road. When I was in the US for a few years I was silently suffering — even with the ACA, my deductible was significantly higher than the cost of regular specialist checkups and screenings. The cost of my meds was literally prohibitive. Back in France, I am free to get the care I need, even as a freelance writer. I pay into the system and the value I get for my payments transcends any desire to have a market-based "freedom of choice" because I have the quality care and peace of mind that allow the rest of my life to continue normally. That's Real freedom of choice — the choice to have a LIFE. There's a reason people say "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." Health and the care required to maintain it are fundamental to our existence, and France among many other countries in our world gets it. Moral arguments aside (there's no shortage of those) the US could be so much more if it cared about its human capital as much as its capitalism.

  • tagged Patrick Marcato's Malaysia healthcare advantages #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:15:20 -0400

    Malaysia healthcare advantages #DAresists #Medicare4all

    As a teacher in Malaysia, I have experienced their healthcare system. It is the same model we have the USA with both private and government healthcare. However, healthcare is much cheaper and much quicker as doctors from other countries are allowed to practice in Malaysia. I could see a doctor in 5 minutes if I needed it in a non emergency situation. Prescriptions are much cheaper as well. My medication costs 1/5 of the cost in the USA. It just proves that prescription drug companies are trying to gain every cent from Americans. I can be in and out of a doctor's office in 30 minutes with a medication I need for 50rm. Last time in the States, there was a waiting period of 1 month and I was charged 400$ USD for a 30 minute visit and 100$ for the medication. America needs to learn from other nations on how to be more effective with not only the structure of healthcare but how to not let drug companies hike the prices of medications.

  • tagged Pamela Manning's Pneumonia recovery, without debt recovery #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:13:59 -0400

    Pneumonia recovery, without debt recovery #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Not so long ago, we had two small children, the youngest 9 months old,. Winter was nearly over when the baby came up with a strange cough, then his breathing wasn't right. In the wee hours of the morning, off to the hospital we went -- his lips were blue by the time we entered the Emergency Room. We were surprised when he was diagnosed with bronchiolitis -- no, we didn't have asthma in the family... We were able to focus on our baby's health, and the pediatrician team's care, because my new home country has Medicare for everyone -- 2.2% of our income tax goes to fund the Medicare levy, Australia's universal healthcare. Having had an autoimmune disorder in my early twenties before moving abroad, I'd experienced first-hand NOT HAVING health insurance -- as a recent college graduate awaiting my first career break. That illness cost me many thousands of dollars, once I was well. I had put off going to get treatment, because of the cost, further endangering my health. I was fortunate, I recovered, and had a supportive family & friends -- and I lived near one of the best research hospitals in the US. Once I was able to return to work, it took me 4 years to pay off my medical debt -- while watching friends buy cars, houses, travel, or investments. More than ten years later, having moved overseas and married, I was able to take our baby home from the hospital, without the shadow of financial stress. Winter continued, and between work commitments, and young children's pre-disposition for bringing home viruses -- I came down with pneumonia. Our local doctor advised my husband to take me directly to the hospital. Dropping the 4 year-old and the baby at the neighbour's on the way, off we went. I was in the hospital for four days, my husband bringing in the baby every 6 to 9 hours for a feed -- mastitis was a threat, with bacteria strong in my body, so it was essential to keep up the breastfeeding, for everyone's sake. Once again, I was lucky, I lived in a metropolitan area, with excellent medical support -- again, we left hospital to concentrate on our family, no bills overshadowing my recovery. Within a week or so, my husband also came down with pneumonia -- caring for the children, and me, and trying to go to work, took its toll. Once again, we sought treatment because it was easy and not a financial choice between paying a doctor's bill, or for electricity, food or keeping a roof over our heads. As our family grew up, my husband and I were able to contribute more to universal healthcare coffers, through our growing incomes. We feel blessed to do so. Our young people are now also tax-payers. They see the doctor when they need to, instead of waiting until a condition worsens or becomes debilitating -- like I did. As a parent, I am especially glad that my young adults have access to universal healthcare -- as they work up to five jobs weekly to pay for their education and build their careers, and their independence. So c'mon my Fellow Americans, supporting universal healthcare is like supporting the building of roads and infrastructure and schools -- it benefits Everyone, every day, no matter what our stage of life, or health score. In most Western countries, it's been substantively proven that universal healthcare is profoundly more efficient at providing quality medical care than privatized medical services -- check the annual survey done by The Economist. All Americans deserve affordable, achievable, accessible healthcare. All Americans deserve to leave the doctor's office, hospital or Emergency Room, without the shadow of financial burden. Our neighbours, aunts, sisters, uncles, brothers, nephews, children -- don't ask to have multiple sclerosis, ALS, cancer, or other debilitating conditions; our children don't go out of their way to get bronchilitis, asthma, leukemia, broken arms, cuts needing stiches. This all just part of life, and so should a percentage of our income taxes to fund universal healthcare. Good healthcare for all means a healthy society, workforce, quality family life, quality time to devote to the community as well as personal goals. Stop lining the pockets of private insurance companies driving up costs. Thank you for reading.

  • tagged Connie Borde's #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:06:40 -0400

    #DAresists #Medicare4all

    France Our famously high-rated and humane French health care system could serve as a model for a country like the USA. While it is not completely single payer, it is a universal system that gives government control over its parts, notably private insurance and drug costs that kick in in addition to government guarantees. The Obama system was a great beginning toward this goal, one that could be streamlined and simplified to hold down administrative costs and maintain high quality care. We have to fight to keep it.

  • tagged Sara Page's Breast cancer shock #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:06:23 -0400

    Breast cancer shock #DAresists #Medicare4all

    When I lived in America, I had been relatively healthy and luckily never had any major medical issues. I have now been in the UK for over 11 years. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, thankfully caught early enough by mammogram and I was diagnosed as curable. The treatment, care and support I received from the NHS during this difficult time has been absolutely incredible. I was offered everything I needed - surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Herceptin injections (for a full year) and I also made good use of the cancer support center at the hospital and still do. They offer everything from a comfortable place to chat and have tea, to counselling and complimentary therapies for both me and my husband, all free of charge. I even received a medical card which enables me to get any and all prescriptions I need free of charge for a good many years. When I went for my call-back mammogram before I was diagnosed, I was taken to a room and asked about my status in the UK. I told them I was not only married to a Brit, but that I also became British (dual citizen) in 2011. Out of curiosity, I asked just how much it would be if I had to pay for this mammogram and they said that alone would have cost around £350. I can't imagine what the total bill would have been if I'd had to pay for all of my treatment! I am still getting support and check ups and I have not had to pay a single penny for anything. Although my cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock, I am so very grateful that I got ill here in the UK and not in the US as I would not have been able to cope with the huge cost a cancer diagnosis can incur.

  • tagged Eric Mayer's A medical exile? #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:06:07 -0400

    A medical exile? #DAresists #Medicare4all

    As a Type 1 diabetic, living in Italy has been good fortune. All my health care needs are met, and I pay very little for that care. Taxes are steep, but they are predictable, and I don't worry about a medical emergency bankrupting my family. Sadly, the prospect of returning to the US feels fraught with the "pre-existing conditions" provision, which has to be one of the most cynical and immoral policies in a civilized society. How odd that as someone born and raised in the US, and for 30 years a taxpayer there, I may be a medical exile from my homeland.

  • tagged Robert Kerr's Universal Health Care in UK #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:05:43 -0400

    Universal Health Care in UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I support universal health care. I and everyone I know in the UK have benefitted from it. I had one child in an NHS hospital and benefitted enormously from the in-home aftercare the NHS provided. I had a home birth with my second child and again, fantastic aftercare which I know my sister in the US with her two expensive caesareans did not have. I've had operations on the NHS, my children have their vaccines, etc etc. I've got friends who've had cancer and don't have to worry that if it comes back they won't be 'covered' for further treatment. How cruel and heartless would that be? In a civilised country, taxes should pay to take care of the population as a whole - access to health care should be a right, not a privilege. A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Jennifer Grigg

  • tagged Juliette Siegfried's Healthcare shouldn't be a worry for anyone #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:05:28 -0400

    Healthcare shouldn't be a worry for anyone #DAresists #Medicare4all

    It breaks my heart every time I see a health-related GoFundMe campaign, particularly for CHILDREN. Having lived 14 years in Europe, I finally get it. Little by little, the heavy burden of healthcare was lifted from my body and mind as I adjusted to the reality that healthcare would always be there for me, no matter what. My colonoscopy was 100% free. And also for my daughter: when she was in the hospital, I worried about her, not about her bills. We never got a bill. From a distance, I now see health care in the US as an albatross, along with credit card debt and school loans, dragging anyone not wealthy down and chaining them to the US and to jobs they may hate or situations they cannot escape. I know it's hard to believe, Americans, but it IS possible. The money IS there. They find trillions for defense, and they can find the funds for this. Don't believe the hype that it's "not possible here" or "too expensive" or "poor quality". Those are all lies. I wouldn't have believed it myself until I left the USA for long enough to really experience healthcare in two other developed countries. It can be done - but you have to believe it or it will never become a reality!

  • tagged Julia Bryan's Universal health care in the United Kingdom #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:05:10 -0400

    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 Robert Kerr's Health Care in New Zealand #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-21 00:04:52 -0400

    Health Care in New Zealand #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Last year I tore my ACL skiing in New Zealand while there on a working holiday visa. After a trip to the physio I learned about ACC; a program that provides healthcare coverage to everyone within the boundaries of New Zealand if they are injured in any type of accident. At the time I was 25 and had just lost my American health insurance the month prior when my dad lost his job. So my options were to stay in NZ and have knee surgery done without having to pay anything out of pocket, or return to America for surgery and be in debt thousands of dollars. As a recent graduate I was not too keen on adding medical debt on top of my student loans. I was due to leave New Zealand in 10 days and had no intentions of staying but obviously I had to for the surgery. It took me a while to get over how insane it was that I couldn't return to my OWN COUNTRY to have surgery where I'd have my family to take care of me. Lucky for me I had an incredibly generous group of Kiwis who got me through this difficult situation, both physically and emotionally. -Kaylyn Hobelman

Regional Vice Chair & Communciations Director at Democrats Abroad