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.

Would you like to add your story? It's not too late, here's how: Take a selfie with our selfie card (or draw your own!), then add your picture and story in the texbox. You can also make a video and send in the url (just add the link in the textbox). 

We'll share these stories with Congress to help in their fight for affordable healthcare for all Americans. (Read our press release here)

Please note that the stories below are all user submited and reflect individual opinions. 

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Cancer is bad enough.... #DAresists #Medicare4all

...Without having to decide to die of it rather than have treatment. My son-in-law have is receiving treatment for his second round of lymphoma. That's two six-month periods of treatment with all the follow-ups and dozens of tests in less than two years. All treatment including medication--covered. If Canada didn't provide this medical care, he and my daughter would be bankrupt. And he doesn't have to worry about losing future coverage for having a pre-existing condition. He received world class care and didn't have to wait. I wish that for every family.

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#DARESISTS #DAresists #Medicare4all

I have osteoporosis, and have received free care for two broken wrists and total hip replacement for a fractured femur. Our only out of pocket expense was the cost of an ambulance ride to hospital. X rays, orthopaedic geriatric and physiotherapy consultations and associated hospitalization has all been paid for throw provincial health care. My husband has received cardiac care and consultation, hernia repair, and other routine medical care at no personal cost. There is no way we could afford to return to the USA in our late 80's.

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#DAresists #Medicare4all I'd rather be in Canada where healthcare is concerned

We live in Canada and are so lucky to have the health care we enjoy. It isn't free as we've paid for it on a weekly basis throughout our working lives. We are retired now and can still visit the doctor as needed. My husband recently made such a visit as he was experiencing periodic pains in his chest. He was scheduled for a cardiac stress test almost immediately at no cost to us. I dropped him off and picked him up 3 hours later. When he got home he looked this test up as he was curious as to what it might cost in the US and found that it would be $3-5,000 or more depending on where in the US he was. I have no idea if any health plan in the US would cover this test or what the co-pay would be if it did and I'm glad to be here where I don't have to worry about the cost when testing is needed.

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We Need Universal Healthcare #DAresists #Medicare4all

My family is enrolled in Medicaid because my parents do not make enough to support us 3 children. We don't want to be on it, but we have to. No one should have to worry about having a basic and decent healthy life. Without Medicaid, I don't know what would have happened when I broke my arms or when my brother had to get stitches for his forehead. People die across the globe because they don't have access to simple and basic medicine. How can the United States of America even consider making some of its citizens worry about surviving and having access to simple health services?

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Lower Premiums, Higher Level of Covered Care #DAresists #Medicare4all

My monthly premium, even with additional services riders, is approximately 2/3's the cost of my premiums as a U.S. Federal government retiree. I have an annual deductible, but no copays for professional visits, medications, and/or diagnostics. Overall, my cost of care is approximately 1/2 of what it was in the U.S. I recently had a total knee replacement with all the pre-care, surgery and 4-day hospital stay, and post-surgical rehab covered through my insurance premium--no extra costs!

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Another Health Story #DAresists #Medicare4all

My husband and I retired to Baja California, Mexico 10 years ago because we simply couldn't afford to retire in the US, especially since neither one of us had health insurance and had been without it for almost 20 years previously. We found that the Mexican socialist system of universal health care took care of all our needs. We have had two major operations here, performed skillfully by well-trained doctors, and paid cash for both of them - combined cost $18,000. Those operations in the US would have ruined us financially. We'd be bankrupt. Here's an important fact to note. There are millions of other senior citizens like us who have retired to Mexico and other Latin American countries. Every year we get our social security checks deposited in our bank accounts in the US. Then we go to the ATMs in these foreign countries and we withdraw that cash and spend it in these other countries, NOT IN THE UNITED STATES! Can you even begin to estimate how much of that money could be stimulating the American economy, instead of Mexico's? And most of it is because of the insanely high cost of medical care in the US. Add to that the low wages and poor prospects for owing your own home or retiring on an income that's affordable (the cost of food alone is at least 4 times higher in the US than in Mexico), and you have a truly nonfunctional system. It works great for the 1% at the top, but the rest of the country is going to hell - or to Mexico - and lest you think we are suffering here, let me assure you that we are living in a beautiful location that is much safer than our former home in the US. Not all stereotypes are true. That's our story. Thanks for listening.

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I have zero health insurance... #DAresists #Medicare4all

I have zero health insurance and returning to the USA would be of no help.

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Health care is important in all countries of the world .... #DAresists #Medicare4all

Health care is important in all countries of the world and not just in the United States and he shows human Governments towards their people and not only that but the State reduce health care disbursements and reduce chronic diseases and thinking people advises health programmes and will cost less and have to be Everybody can get it for free and there are a lot of programs you can use to live healthy and healthy food and I support health care because I can't stand seeing anyone lying on bed and cannot enjoy this beautiful life and man deserves to be used in the service of peoples development

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I confirm that I strongly support universal health care. #DAresists #Medicare4all

The answer to the question if every American has the right to Health Care is self-evident. It is clear that the our government is in the pockets of the pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies. The question we need to be addressing is why every everything to do with health care in the US is priced exponentially more than in other countries. We may not be able to get to this question, however, until we address the issue of campaign finance reform.

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Let me put my support for universal health care this way.... #DAresists #Medicare4all

I sometimes think about returning to the USA to live but always reach the same negative conclusion that I do not wish to endure the unnecessary costs and complexity of the American medical system. It's a decisive consideration.

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Healthcare in Alberta Pt. 1 #DAresists #Medicare4all

My family moved to Canada May 29,1975, due to my husband’s work. We thought we’d be here 10 years, it’s now 42 years and counting! Several things helped to keep us here besides my husband’s job. The most important influence was the healthcare program. We were a family of 6, with 2 boys, and 2 girls. Immediately prior to moving to Canada we had formally adopted our second daughter. That very summer we discovered that Beth, (2nd daughter), wasn’t hearing us as well as our older children. We took her to the hospital and the doctor determined Beth needed tubes put into her eardrums to release pressure buildup on the inside of the ear. This happened twice. Well, that was a new experience! NO CHARGE! That floored us. We paid for every little and big thing medically in the USA. Every quarter we paid, as a family, about $130.00 for Healthcare. My hysterectomy cost me $5.00 for the paperwork! Both girls had tonsil/adenoid-ectomies - No Charge! I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from surgery to my right shoulder, (arthritis), when my oldest son, in high school, walked into my room to tell me he, too, was in the hospital recovering from an emergency appendectomy! He had driven himself to the hospital due to the pain!! No Charge for either of us. Not to be outdone, our second son eventually had arthroscopic knee surgery twice, but several years apart. No Charge. My turn to have a total right knee replacement due to arthritis. No Charge! Physic was also covered by Alberta Health

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Healthcare in Alberta Pt. 2 #DAresists #Medicare4all

Ten years later, 2017, I now have a new replacement of my left knee. Why? Arthritis, of course. So, I’m now bionic!! No Charge! My seven physio treatments following surgery - No Cost! The three further treatments my physiotherapist requested of Alberta Health were approved, No Charge! My husband enjoyed having Kidney Stones so much that he was hospitalized 5 times. Rarely did they pass on their own. Sometimes they used a lazer to break them up. No Charge!!! Our children are grown and have their own families. My husband and I are seniors. Our medications never cost us more than $25.00/prescription, and usually much less. An exception would be a medication which is not listed under Alberta Health. If the drug is needed, by Doctor’s request, our Pharmacist can contact Alberta Health, explain the situation, and the drug could then be added as a medication I need. All our hospitalizations, ambulance rides, No Charge! We no longer pay into Alberta Health. We never had the need to buy extra health insurance. American Congress, it doesn’t get any better than this. Your families across America could pay into Health Care by the quarter, at a rate determined by the family’s size and ability to pay. The top 2% can easily pay their own way and not draw on the monies needed for low income, working poor, and middle class. As I sit here in Edmonton, AB, Canada, I just shake my head at the cruelty of the Republican Party and what it is willing to inflict on the American People. None of that is necessary, and it certainly is not humane. America is not, and never has been, a leader in the field of Health Care. You are waaay behind the other free democracies of Europe. You, Republicans need to work with the Democrats to come up with a Health Care Plan as Great as the one I enjoy in Edmonton. If Canada, with more land, but fewer people, can do this the USA Should be able to do it. SHOULD, but NOT WILLING to, because of your silly politics and politicians. You put yourselves in the way of your Constituents, and Cooperation. I Believe America CAN do this. If you WILL do this, is the question.

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#DAresists #Medicare4all

My family moved to Canada May 29,1975, due to my husband’s work. We thought we’d be here 10 years, it’s now 42 years and counting! Several things helped to keep us here besides my husband’s job. The most important influence was the healthcare program. We were a family of 6, with 2 boys, and 2 girls. Immediately prior to moving to Canada we had formally adopted our second daughter. That very summer we discovered that Beth, (2nd daughter), wasn’t hearing us as well as our older children. We took her to the hospital and the doctor determined Beth needed tubes put into her eardrums to release pressure buildup on the inside of the ear. This happened twice. Well, that was a new experience! NO CHARGE! That floored us. We paid for every little and big thing medically in the USA. Every quarter we paid, as a family, about $130.00 for Healthcare. My hysterectomy cost me $5.00 for the paperwork! Both girls had tonsil/adenoid-ectomies - No Charge! I was lying in a hospital bed recovering from surgery to my right shoulder, (arthritis), when my oldest son, in high school, walked into my room to tell me he, too, was in the hospital recovering from an emergency appendectomy! He had driven himself to the hospital due to the pain!! No Charge for either of us. Not to be outdone, our second son eventually had arthroscopic knee surgery twice, but several years apart. No Charge. My turn to have a total right knee replacement due to arthritis. No Charge! Physic was also covered by Alberta Health

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What can Ecuador teach the US about healthcare #DAresists #Medicare4all

Yes we have universal health care here in Ecuador and even the poorest is received at either the public hospital and health care system. In addition there is the Ecuadorian Social Security System (IESS) for those who voluntarily subscribe or those subscribed through their employers. On paper it is great - until you have to use the system! Although there is some level of care for everyone there are serious problems too! There are shortages of doctors, nurses and administrative staff and since there is a parallel system of lucrative private hospitals and doctors operating private clinics, the good, well trained medical and laboratory personnel tend to migrate to these private institutions in the major cities like Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, leaving smaller and rural areas without good private care nor with decent government operated facilities. So while I applaud a government run health care system providing services for ALL, all the time, without a parallel private system, it needs to be universal, efficient, employing the best medical and administrative people. Will this be possible? Look at the Veterans Administration for an answer to this question! So if we can't run the veteran's administration correctly, how will we do it for the entire nation? So it is not so simple, requires a lot of planning, mammoth resources, a steady supply of well trained medical and administrative personnel and huge outlays for hospitals and related medical infrastructure, unless we simply nationalize existing private facilities and convert them into government institutions. The transition from what we have today to a public system will be a complicated and difficult task.

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Share your story of universal health care in France #DAresists #Medicare4all

My husband and I have lived in France for ten years. We couldn't ask for better healthcare than that provided here. A regular doctor's visit costs only the equivalent of $27.00. We pay approximately $2400.00 per year for the two of us and that is based on our income; this covers 70% of our healthcare expenses. You can also buy a supplemental private policy to cover the remainder. If you happen to have a chronic costly condition like cancer or in my case Macular Degeneration, all costs are covered 100%. Emphasis is placed on preventative care. Flu shots, colonoscopies, and mammograms are provided to all. Everyone in France pays for healthcare according to their income. Those that cannot pay are covered as well. Drugs are significantly less costly than in the US. Hospitals and clinics are extremely efficient and well-run. We have never had to wait for an appointment or treatment. American citizens deserve this same kind of healthcare. If they had a better understanding of how it works they would demand it.

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Let's hear a round of applause for French medical care #DAresists #Medicare4all

Let's hear a round of applause for French medical care and socialized medicine. After my major surgery, my favorite husband bailed me out of the hospital for 26 euros and brought me home. For the currency-conversion challenged, that's less than $26 US dollars. The bill covered a private hospital room from Sunday afternoon to Thursday morning; five days of 24-hour nursing care, highly competent and genuinely kind; five days of 24-hour nurses' aids and orderlies, discrete and tactful; two surgeons, including bed-side visits before and after the surgery by both of them repeatedly to offer good humor and reassuring reports; one anesthetist; operating team nurses; operating room; recovery room; meals; medication; cleaning staff capable of discussing current events and world travel; sheets, towels, and so forth. Turns out that the 26 euros was for the phone and tv. Really. Everything else was covered by our excellent Secu, which apparently is still not run by the greedy and rapacious. And when I returned home, I was visited twice daily by registered nurses who checked on my progress toward recovery and offered nursing care.

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About 20 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. #DAresists #Medicare4all

Very quickly I was seen by a cancer specialist. I had a tumour removed and received radiation treatment and was placed on a daily medication. About 10 years later, during my annual checkup, which included a mammogram, cancer was again found in the same breast. The next day!! I was given appointments in the same week to see the same cancer specialist and the same cancer surgeon from 10 years ago. I would have been operated on in that same week, but there was a week's delay because there wasn't a slot in the operating rooms. I received follow up care at home and also post op treatments. There were also treatment medications to take and some that were used daily for many years. I had the peace of mind that I needed to help me heal because ALL OF THIS WAS AT NO COST TO ME!! This also includes my annual checkups, not only for the cancer, but preventative injections for flu, shingles, etc. Two years ago, my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He also received timely topnotch care with the most up to date treatments and medications and continued follow-up. Again there was no cost to him!! We are grateful for our Canadian health c

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I had to quit my job in northern California... #DAresists #Medicare4all

I had to quit my job in northern California to bring my husband to Mexico for dementia care. There was no way we could afford care in the U.S. I had to leave my family and friends to come down here and oversee his care. I gave up my Plan F supplemental health insurance because of the cost and the fact that it does me little good down here in Mexico. I may get a high-deductible supplement to Medicare and use medical flight insurance but that only works if I can be stabilized and then sent home by plan in the event of illness or accident. That won’t work for my husband because a trip for him is next to impossible at his stage of dementia. I fail to understand why our insurance carriers will not pay for care in a country where medical care is much less expensive than at home. I suspect they have agreements with health care providers in the U.S. and gain some financial advantage since it’s always about money in that industry. There was a time when I believed in free enterprise in the health care system but judging the behaviors of drug manufacturers (who charge more to all Americans than to residents of other countries) and by the exorbitant costs of health care that will break the bank of all but the richest Americans, I have begun to consider the philosophy that health care should be a right rather than a privilege. This is from someone who traditionally has paid out of pocket for much of my health care and that of my family; not because we didn’t have insurance, but because we chose to use alternative medicine, which is seldom covered by insurance policies but which serve us well.

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My wife and I are seniors and have Medicare, but have never used it. #DAresists #Medicare4all

This is not because we have no need for it, but because Medicare does not work outside US borders. So we have paid 'out of pocket' for four (4) operations for my wife and four (4) for me. We did not realize, when we went to live abroad, that we would lose this insurance, even though we both are fully vested in it, So now, even living in Mexico - as we do - which is a little cheaper than at home, we have to be very careful with our income from Social Security. Now we are facing another operation (for my wife's meningioma, but we have been postponing it because Medicare does not pay. Going back for the operation to the States is impractical and expense, even with Medicare because then we face the 'out of pocket' expenses Medicare demands, plus travel for us both, and lodging and food for me. I do not know if, and how many, other countries do that to their citizens, but it stinks. A single payer system would cut out the profit motivation in healthcare within the US, and probably would allow Medicare to pay out whereever US citizens are and/or live.

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