Healthcare Stories

Health care stories from abroad

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their universal health care story. As you can see from the very many stories in the pages below, many Americans living abroad feel strongly about this issue. We believe that our stories will make a difference by showing the many sides of universal healthcare - from an average check up, to a hospital stay, to stories about our lives being saved thanks to universal health care.

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We'll share these stories with Congress to help in their fight for affordable healthcare for all Americans. 
Please note that the stories below are all user submited and reflect individual opinions. 

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Emergency lifesaving treatment as a student in Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

When I was 18 during my freshman year at UofT, I started to have really strong, constant stomach pain and vomiting. It was really frightening, and for two days the doctors didn't know what was wrong with me as it worsened and worsened. It turned out my appendix had exploded, but because they couldn't see my appendix on their instruments they hadn't known what was wrong. I spent a week in hospital, had life-saving surgery, and was readmitted once when there was residual infection from the pus that had filled my abdomen. And even outside of the in-hospital procedures, there was one post-surgery medication that cost almost $1000 per bottle; if I lived in the United States, I would have had to pay for that out of pocket. And I couldn't have paid for it out of pocket. If I didn't live in Canada, I might not have been able to afford to be alive. And my whole extended family is full of stories of life-threatening situations that are treated simply and at no cost; from cancer and thyroid problems, to autoimmune diseases and mental illness. As a dual citizen of both Canada and the US, I can really see the difference between the two countries. Ill health comes for everyone, and a country that takes care of its people is one that provides health care for all. I would like my American family to be cared for just like I am here. Love, Miranda Alksnis


A Veteran and Cancer Suvivor #DAresists #Medicare4all

I am an Amry Veteran who moved to my Wife in Sweden following the completion of my service. It was while living here, that I was diagnosed with cancer. Recently uneployed and with an infant at home the news was initially devistating. However the Swedish medical system not only treated me with incredible care and expediency, they did so completely without cost to myself. I am now three years cancer free and well into my five year treatment plan. I have had many MANY MRI’s, CAT Scans and other diagonistic treatments that would have likely been prohibitively expensive in the states. I have often reflected as to what would have happened had I faced the same situation in the States. Unemployed with a Cancer Diagnosis. I honestly cant think of a way that it wouldn’t have bankrupted my family. Setting us back years if not permanently keeping us in poverty. However because I had the fortune to be treated in a country with Universal Healthy Care I am now happy and healthy. I am Currently pursuing a degree (free of charge) and my family is in a good way. Because the country I live decided to invest in people and not insurance corporations I have been given the opportunity not only survive but thrive. I urge every member of congress to invest in the American people and to serve them like I did during my 8 years of military service. Please, this is more important than politics and more important than money, this is peoples lives. Please vote down the draconian healthcare reforms being pushed right now and stand with the American people and help ensure to no American is forced to choose between healthy care and being able to provide for their families. #DAresists #Medicare4all


Great Cancer Care Coverage in Hong Kong #DAresists #Medicare4all

Member of DA Abroad for over 20 years. Born in Milwaukee, WI - 1940 Last residency in USA = Bucks County, PA - 1975 Since then I have resided in Hong Kong, with a 6 year + residency in Ho Chi Minh City until 3 years ago - now retired in Hong Kong living on USA Social Security plus various hourly teaching sessions at both HK Gov & Private schools. Totally dependent upon HK Gov Medical services My story: The Gov Medical series here are patterned upon the UK National Health Service (NHS). Everything is based upon our HK ID cards, which contain a photo and ‘smart chip’ containing our fingerprints along with other data. We must always carry our ID’s and present it at every clinic / hospital visit. All fees are in USD Dollars, based upon an exchange rate of $1.00 USD = $7.80 HKD. It costs $6.50 to see a General Practitioner at a clinic. EVERYTHING is computerised and when one visits a doctor, he or she will take a moment to review one’s medical records. This is so efficient that if one has been scheduled to see a specialist just AFTER taking a FREE scheduled X-Ray, it will be available for viewing by the Doctor within minutes. A specialist Doctor (Oncologist, Urologist, Ophthalmologist, etc. costs $17.30 for the first visit and if he/she suggests a follow up visit, the ensuing visits will costs $10.25. The vast majority of prescribed drugs are FREE or a small token fee of $1.25. I was diagnosed as having Prostate Cancer a year & a half ago. It began with a GP suggesting that I have my prostate checked. (I was 75 years-old at the time.) The first GP visit cost $6.50. The urologist (manual exam) cost $17.50. A further exam (Ultra sound plus tissue samples) cost $17.50. I was given the choice of surgery or Radiology; I chose the latter. I was told that I would have three tiny gold dots placed into the Prostate to provide an exact target for the Radiology treatment. That cost $19.50 INCLUDING an overnight stay in the hospital. I was then booked for an MRI, CT Scan and later a Bone Scan. All of these were FREE. I then began a series of 38 daily Radiology treatment; Monday to Friday, not on weekends at $10.25 each. The Radiology equipment was state-of-the -art, from the USA. At the end of the treatment, I saw both an Urologist ($10.25) and Oncologist ($10.25), as these were follow-up visits. My cancer condition, based upon (FREE) blood tests went from 14.8 to 1.6, which the Oncologist considers as ‘cured’. So this quality medical experience only cost a total of $470.00!


A Tale of Two Nations: Struggles with Crohn's Disease #DAresists #Medicare4all

I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at the end of my sophomore year of college, in 1998. The disease has no cure, and while it can be managed, it is at times excruciating --- both due to the physical manifestations and symptoms, but also for the mental anguish involved. It takes a toll, especially on youth. I had never given a thought to insurance or deductibles, never given a thought to chronic illness or preexisiting conditions. Health insurance was a nightmare. I will never forget my doctor telling me after I was diagnosed that I would have to find a job after college with a corporation or somewhere with a large coverage pool. In essence, Insurance would determine my fate. My fate and freedom were tethered to health insurance. It would tell me when I had to leave graduate school, where I could work ---that I had to, because of a malfunctioning protein, find a job, indeed career, almost solely based on health insurance.

I'm fortunate I had parents who had the resources and wherewithal to do things like hire attorneys and file complaints with the state insurance commissioner every time I was denied medication and treatment – what happened to the folks pre-ACA who couldn't do these things? At one point, when my doctor prescribed an expensive miracle drug fresh off FDA approval, he was forced into sending pleading faxes to the insurance company, lobbying on my behalf. The profiteers and money makers were clearly in charge --- telling the doctors what they could and could not do and prescribe. Like some sort of modern iteration of the greek gods, I can only think the insurance bureaucrats must have enjoyed the trials and tribulations they insouciantly and nonchalantly doled out, all to maximize profits for their corporate shareholders. There was the time I had fasted for 24 hours in preparation for a test, only to get to the hospital and have the nurse tell me that when she tried to run a pre-approval, insurance wasn't going to pay for the test. There was the time I had my expensive infusion of medicine at the hospital and insurance had changed the rules about where they would pay for patients to have it done. There are dozens more of these „There was the time“ tales. Every time I got something in the mail from insurance it meant I would be out a few hundred or thousand dollars or have to make fraught phone calls. It was stress on top of stress. And I had the best, most expensive, most premium, top tier insurance offered by my employer.

In 2007 I quit my teaching job and moved to Germany, my (German) fiancee/soon-to-be-husband and I agreeing that things would likely be better for me here, both for a saner and slower pace of life as well for the universal healthcare. After getting into the insurance system upon marriage( for which my husband pays a small percentage of his salary that is matched by his employer) I was almost immediately able to visit a leading university specialist through a call from my then-new General Practitioner (with whom I have ALWAYS, without exception, gotten a same day appointment, likely within an hour of when I call, for matters both minute and more serious)The specialist put me on a similar (exceedingly costly) medical regime to what I had back in Kentucky except that instead of insurance rigamarole like EOBs and copays and deductibles I get, every two months, a 10 euro invoice from the clinic pharmacy. I pay 60 euros a year for infusions that total approximately 42,000 euros each year. I recently paid just 5 euros for antibiotics, and my three year old son, like all children under 18 in Germany, gets all of his medication for free. All his appointments are free. Furthermore, I think back to my pregnancy --- a time when I have never felt more supported and cared for by a medical system. Me --- a foreigner whose German is pretty dubious at times --- getting better, more reliable care than I had ever had in my native country with seemingly the best of everything.  I had a midwife I saw with no out of pocket costs from 12 weeks of pregnancy to three months after delivery, as well as two Ob/GYNs (my regular one and a specialist for potential complications). There were never bills in the mail for any of these services (I suppose they were simply sent straight to insurance and because the health insurance industry is so heavily regulated in Germany and not dependent on turning a profit, they just pay for things. No quibbles, no arguing).  Our almost weeklong hospital visit for our son's birth consisted of free buffets 3 times a day and sharing a room with my new baby and husband. At the end of the 6 days we went to the hospital discharge area and paid 60 euros for everything and we even had free parking at the hospital. That was it. And that's the beauty of healthcare here in Germany --- that really is it. There are no hidden charges anywhere, no traps set by bureaucrats, no bankruptcies looming for a devastating illness that could come out of nowhere. You start to feel safe with this kind of system.  

To this day, though, when I receive mail from our insurance company here, I still shudder and open it nervously, expecting denial of coverage or trickery and an obscure reason why they don't want to cover something. It always ends up being a customer satisfaction survey, a free stress-reduction massage, or a reminder about free prevention programs. I am a refugee of the American Healthcare system, pre ACA. I don't say that to denigrate the experiences of true refugees from war torn countries who are in imminent daily danger of death, and I am fully aware of the privileges afforded to me as a white middle class American --- namely, I am considered an expat, as opposed to an immigrant or a refugee --- someone who moved to Germany voluntarily. But I felt as if my well-being and life were in danger under the old health insurance system and it seems it would be doubly so now. It struck me as a good idea to move here in 2007, but it's a necessity to stay here now. I'd never get insurance again. It bears saying again: I am a refugee of the American Healthcare system.



I am a US citizen and as an adult, have now lived and received healthcare in the US, UK and GERMANY. I recently--of my own stupidity--broke my hand by tripping on my stairs. A common household accident that could happen to anyone, but resulted in a broken hand which required surgery. I have normal, public healthcare--no special private or additional insurances. I first went to the emergency room on a Sunday, where I was seen within 15 minutes, had an XRAY and was deemed likely to need surgery. However, as the hospital that I went to were not Orthopaedic specialists, they wanted me to go to Charite, which was the large hospital in Berlin. I called Monday for an appointment and got one for Wednesday. The person I saw at Charitie was a surgeon who confirmed I would need surgery--and I was booked for the coming Monday with the SAME surgeon who saw me. The experience was fantastic care from start to finish. I had a private room, excellent care, and literally someone checking on me every 5 minutes. And after 2 emergency room visits, 1 splint, 2 day/1 night stay in the hospital, 1 cast and 5 meals later, the grand total that I had to pay out of pocket was THIRTY EURO. Nothing. Easy the same experience in the states with insurance would have been 10K out of pocket. There is no system that is perfect, but by and large I am happy to pay into a system that I will hopefully not need often, but when I do it does not bankrupt me or other people. I fully support the introduction of a universal healthcare system for the US. Bernie Sanders, let me know how I can help :)


No healthcare worries at all since moving to the UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

I moved to the UK on April 4, 2010 and have lived here since. From April 4th onward I stopped worrying about health insurance coverage, premiums and health care costs, all due to the UK's National Health Service. What was once one of the largest sources of stress and concern in my life disappeared literally overnight. The US could have this too - after all, most developed economies in the world provide health care for their citizens. Healthcare for all isn't radical. It's obvious.


One foot on each side of the border #DAresists #Medicare4all

So MANY stories! I moved to Canada almost thirty years ago, married a Canadian. But I live in a border town, work in the US, own property in both countries, pay income tax, property tax, sales tax, etc in both countries. I would not be able to move back to the US side, even though it would make life more practical for me, due to the cost of health insurance. Ontario spends about $3,300 per capita per annum, and I'd be paying that in just a few months in the US! Before the ACA I wasn't able to move back at any cost, as Crohn's and Melanoma are the two likeliest things to kill me. I was a single parent in grad school in Virginia before moving north. Many years later my little girl adopted in Canada was struck with a potentially fatal illness at age five. We could focus just on her recovery, no insurance forms, no co-pays, no deductibles, no pre-existing conditions for the rest of her life. She got better. I shudder to think what would have happened if the same thing had happened to my son in Virginia. On a vacation in Mexico a few years ago, I cut my finger rather badly. Found a clinic, was treated very nicely, given a local anesthetic and antiseptic treatment and four stitches. When I asked where to pay for the treatment, they looked at me astonished. Eventually they figured out how to give me a bill, and I paid it in cash in local currency without damaging my vacation budget. It was eleven dollars. On a vacation and work trip to Thailand, my little girl caught a cold, which proceeded to pneumonia. She was seen by the head pediatrician in the outpatient clinic at the hospital, given blood tests and x-rays, percussion therapy, antibiotics, a follow up visit and more percussion. Total cost: under $200. My mechanic has his own small shop in Canada, his lifelong dream. He employs seven people, mechanics, apprentices, office clerks. It's a sole proprietorship, and I know he takes very little for his own pay out of the company, trying to make it work. If he had to cover his employees' health care premiums he would have to close his shop. This health care fiasco in the US is hindering economic growth. Would-be entrepreneurs with great ideas cannot afford to leave jobs that provide health care coverage, and new entrepreneurs cannot afford to add staff. It's a real drag on the US economy!


15 Years of Great Coverage in the UK #DAresists #Medicare4all

Dear Julia, I am a US citizen who is living in London because my husband of nearly 14 years is British. A very persuasive argument for convincing me to move back to London was the NHS. We met while I was teaching in France on a Fulbright Exchange and lived in London after marrying, which is how I learned how much better life is with universal healthcare. Although I talked my husband into living in the US with me, we found our health insurance payments were overwhelming--approaching the cost of our mortgage, although the standard of care was not better than the care we received when living in London. We knew how great the NHS is, and appreciated the excellent care we received when my husband was hospitalized for pneumonia for 17 days treatment at Kingston Hospital here in the U.K. As I looked at retirement and the end of my employer sponsored insurance, the cost of and quality of healthcare was daunting, so we returned to London. I have many friends who have expressed envy at my choice. I cannot accept the heartless sacrifice of lives in the USA that is required to fund the profits of the healthcare and insurance industries. My own two daughters from a previous marriage struggled to find any healthcare after they grew too old to be covered by my plan. In their twenties, neither was able to find an employer who offered health insurance or an affordable plan until the ACA was passed. As a result of this healthcare, each daughter was able to receive treatment for problems that had worsened for lack of treatment. I worry about how they will suffer if the Republicans are able to repeal the ACA. When I look at the healthcare available to so many countries, I am distraught that my daughters, and now my grandson, will face lifelong struggles to remain healthy as well as possible bankruptcy and financial ruin just because we are all Americans, born in the richest, most powerful nation on Earth but seen as nothing but consumers. I hope my thoughts on this life-or-death issue are of some assistance in any appeal you can make to our legislators. I have called and emailed my home state's senators to thank them for fighting each of the continual attacks on the ACA, and have contacted through phone calls and postcards other senators to ask them to reject the Cassidy-Graham bill. Kind regards, Debra Daniels


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”.


Advocacy from years of experience in Canada #DAresists #Medicare4all

As an American who has lived my whole life in 🇨🇦 and having first hand experience with universal health care as the sole way to deliver quality health care I fully support this measure. Vaibhav "We shall overcome, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" Martin Luther King Jr. 1968


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.


I never have to worry alone #DAresists #Medicare4all

I'm an American living in the UK. My story is simple. Whenever a health problem arises - or I start worrying about a strange ache, I don't have to worry. And we all know worrying makes your health worse. I go to the doctor and most of the time, I'm ok. Sometimes I need a blood test. It's all free. I pay for this through my national insurance - and so does everyone in this country. Because we don't pay and indebt ourselves, we go to the doctor at the right time and we prevent conditions from worsening. It makes sense and it's what right. 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' - but only if you're rich? America, time to grow up.


I still have cancer, but no payment worries #DAresists #Medicare4all

My residence is in Switzerland, where I was diagnosed several years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, for which I've gotten superb care at what is probably the best hospital and with some of the best doctors in a country with sky-high medical standards. I've had lots of tests; antibody treatment; surgery; many scans and X-rays; and radiation treatment. All this isn't cheap. It's the first time in my adult life I've needed sustained medical care. And my perfectly ordinary, basic Swiss health insurance has paid for almost all of it without a fuss. Wait -- there was one fuss: my wife and I spend considerable time in France, but my Swiss insurer at first didn't want to pay for my regular treatments there, which would have either trapped us in Switzerland or cost me a serious amount, more than just pennies. But with a little help we discovered that Swiss law requires them to pay for those treatments in France (where, incidentally, they're a lot cheaper!), so we weren't trapped in Switzerland. I know that my care is covered by my basic insurance, and I can switch insurers if I want, so although I still have the problem of cancer (along with some other things related to being a mature age, like cataracts -- now solved by the standard surgery), I don't have the problem of worrying whether I can afford to pay. My insurance, by the way, costs $435 per month, and luckily I can afford that. Just for your information: my antibody treatments cost about $3400 each in Switzerland; the identical treatments about $960 each in France; and in the USA a few years ago, $11,000-$18,000 depending on where. Same brand-name medicine, same method. What's the lesson here? I never cease being aware of the injustice when others can't afford care, or may not even be able to get to it. I'm damned lucky. I'm still alive. And my T-shirt says so.


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!


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.


Single Payer Works for Trauma #DAresists #Medicare4all

I live in London, and earlier this year, I was sexually assaulted by a stranger. Without hesitation, I went straight to Accidents and Emergencies, where I was dealt with quickly and compassionately by the nurses and doctors on call, even on a busy Saturday night. Most importantly, they immediately alerted and referred me to a free weekly counseling service, which helped me work through near-constant feelings of guilt, trauma, and thoughts of self-harm that came up after the incident. In the US, my insurance would not have covered this counseling, or would have partially covered it, leaving me with a copay of at least $100 per session, which many people can't afford, especially not as an ongoing service. Thanks to single-payer healthcare, I was not only aware of the help I could receive, but I wasn't afraid of sacrificing my financial security for my mental well-being. I love the NHS!


Perspective from Israel #DAresists #Medicare4all

Thanks for the e-mail. Living here, universal health care seems such an obvious feature of life. Doctors fees are much less since I think they have to participate in the health plan to get tax breaks, and also they do not have to hike up their fees to cover malpractice insurance. At any rate, at my age, I need to see several doctors, and each one costs $5 per visit, and the health plans do not seem to be suffering financially. In the States, my experience is that a routine visit costs $150-200 and the service is worse in the US -- most of the work is done by a nurse practicioner who might be only marginally qualified (the one I saw did not know how to remove a bandage) whereas in Israel you see the doctor directly. There is competition among the health funds here, and this seems to me a good thing, to avoid complacence. Sincerely,Louis Rowen


A week in the hospital with no bills #DAresists #Medicare4all

About 3 years ago, I broke my leg skating. This resulted in an ambulance ride to the hospital, emergency surgery to install a metal nail and screws, and a week's stay in the hospital. How much did I end up paying for all this? Nothing, it was completely covered by insurance, I paid nothing out of pocket. Just imagine how much this would have cost in the US, even after insurance. Think about the deductibles, the copays, the time off work.


Many experiences 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. Long live Bernie Sanders!


German health care - AOK #DAresists #Medicare4all

I live in Germany, where I worked for 25 years. I am now retired and have full health care coverage for me and my family. Last week my wife woke up in the middle of the night with severe chest pains. I drove her to the emergency room in the local hospital. (only because it was quicker than waiting for an ambulance.) She was admitted immediately and began numerous tests, blood pressure, EKG, blood makeup, Xrays, Ultra sound and more. She stayed for three days, two nights, for observation. She was given various medications during her stay. Luckily it was determined to be a sever asthma attack with shortness of breath and a panic reaction. Today I received the Hospital invoice. 10€ a day for a total of 30€. When we were raising our kids, the Kinderartz (pediatrician) came to our home, and within minutes of a call, when we thought it was am emergency. Ambulance rides, free; Doctor visits, free and never any wait, other than the usual Doctor office wait. A few months ago I had a Hiatal Hernia. Diagnoses, MRI for confirmation, prep, surgery, recovery with 3 days in the hospital, again total cost was 30€. I can't afford to retire in the USA. I'm stuck here in Bavaria. Prost!