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.

  • 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

  • A Worldwide Perspective #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Politicians who argue either the pros or cons of the health care issue, invariably up the English system. I am an American who has been working abroad for 45 years on three continents. I have seen and used a lot of medical systems, and in my opinion the English NHS system is the absolute worst. As I understand it, this is essentially the same system Bernie Sanders proposed. I can only think the British system is so often used as a benchmark because these politicians only speak English and do not know others exist. I would like to describe the most copied medical system in the world, which is also the oldest. It was founded, along with the oldest social security system in the world, in 1874, not by a radical left wing do-gooder, but by an ultra-right militarist, none other than Otto von Bismarck. It has been of course been modernized, but has been fundamentally the same for 143 years. In my opinion Germany has by far the best medical care in the world, and I have seen a lot of them. I conceived and developed a number of large medical computer system in various countries. No matter what you use as a benchmark of medical quality, e.g. life expectancy, infant mortality, maternity deaths, patient satisfaction, etc., the United States ranks right down there with third world countries. Yet the United States pays more for medical care than any country in the world. Never-the-less politicians often say we have the best medical care in the world. Here are the basic points of the German system. 1. It is insurance based. 2. Has little government involvement. 3. Many private insurance companies successfully compete against the many participating companies 4. It covers everyone in the country by payroll deduction. 5. Care is all inclusive, outpatient, hospital, dental, pharmacies, home care for elderly and disabled, etc. 6. It costs a fraction of what the United States pays for medical care and gives better service. Yet, it seems our politicians have never heard such a system exists, and in fact has existed for almost a century and a half. I think this system would satisfy the most conservative Republicans, while providing more, and better, care than the far left-wing Democrats want or expect. Here is how it works from the government and the insurance company’s point of view The German system is insurance based. There are many private health insurance companies in Germany that successfully compete with the many insurance companies in the government sponsored system. Everyone must have health insurance, but can choose the company they prefer. If they chose the government plan they can choose the provider they like. Every employed person has the fee, a percentage of salary up to a maximum fee, deducted from his or her salary each month. Therefore, low earners pay less than high earners. The employer matches this, and pays directly to the insurance company, not through the government. Non-working spouses and children are covered under their spouse’s plan. Children are covered until the end of their education. If no one in the family is employed the insurance is covered by social services. The patient does not pay directly for any of these services, and doctors do not even need to waste resources dealing with the insurance companies themselves. Each state in Germany has an association to which doctors submit their bills every quarter. These associations submit the bills in bulk to the insurance companies, collect the money and deposit it in the doctor’s accounts. These associations also negotiate terms and conditions. In addition each medical specialty has its own association which negotiates terms and conditions. Doctors can elect to work outside of the government sponsored system, and rely on privately insured patients, or they can take both private and government sponsored patient. Here is how it works from the patient’s point of view. I receive a health care card, with my photo, from my chosen provider. I present this card to my doctor once a quarter, if I make a visit that quarter. I can go to any doctor I want. If I don’t like the doctor I can simple go to another one, with no need to even inform the insurance company, much less the government. I can visit any specialist or dentist I want, without a referral, and simply present my card. Unlike what the senator you interview said, I have never had to wait long for an appointment or an operation, even routine non-urgent ones. I pay nothing for any of these services. However, there are some procedures and laboratory tests that the scientific community agrees are not efficacious, and they are not covered. If the patient believes they work and wants them, he can obtain them from his own doctor, and pay it himself. I have done this a few times myself, but noticed no benefit at all. Private insurance companies do cover some of these services, to better compete against the government supported system, but a disadvantage of private companies is they usually require the patient to pay his bills himself, and reclaim the money. Government sponsored patients pay nothing for care. Inpatient hospital visits are by referral and are fully covered, including the complete cost of drugs, laboratory, radiology and other services, with one exception. It is assumed that the patients must eat, weather he is in the hospital or not. They are charged a very nominal fee for meals per day up to a maximum number of days. Other outpatient services, such as physical therapy, laboratory work and prescription drugs are covered, but the patient pays the first $3 for outpatient physical therapy and the first $5 for a drug prescription, up to an annual limit based on his or her salary. Some drugs are exempt from this fee, and some people, such as people with serious disabilities and low income people are exempt. The pharmacies are required to use the lowest cost approved manufacturer for each drug dispensed. Special care is provided for the disabled and the elderly. Wheelchairs, home visits for physical therapists, doctors and other home care providers, rebuilding showers and toilets, and installing elevators, etc. in private houses is subsidized. Assisted care homes for the elderly are subsidized. Conclusions So the government is not much involved in the day to day operation. Naturally it sets the rules, makes sure the rules are followed and avoids costs getting out of hand. But health care givers and insurance companies work within the rules and go unhindered about their daily business. The result is everyone has good quality health care from doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmacies of their own choice. No one has to worry about not getting needed care, or going bankrupt from medical costs. Infant mortality is lower, longevity is higher, people live better lives, patients are more satisfied and costs are significantly lower. This system more or less answers every criticism even the most conservative Republicans have, while providing far better universal care than the most left wing Democrats want. It is amazing that our politicians do not appear to even know such a system exists. One last comment. One often hears write your senator. That is a useless exercise. I sent this same information to every senator and representative on the health committees, and never got one reply. However, now that they have my E-Mail address they besiege me for donations. I would suggest that Republicans and Democrats, stop quibbling about trivialities, which they appear to know nothing about anyway, and send a bipartisan delegation of experts to Germany to learn how this system works. It should simply sail through congress and everybody will be better off. On a related subject, most representative and senator’s internet sites have fixed formats that requires a U.S. Address and telephone number and will not accept messages without it. There is no possibility for an American abroad to send a message. Also many will not accept message unless the address is in their own district. This includes Paul Ryan. I think as leader of the house, he represents us all and is obligated to accept messages from the entire U.S.A and from Americans abroad. Regards, William McCreight

  • Strong endorsement based on experience in Germany #DAresists #Medicare4all

    As a freelance professional who has lived, worked and paid taxes in Germany for forty years I cannot understand why many U.S. Americans do not appreciate the advantages of universal health care. I am covered, my pregnancies were covered, and my children are covered until they reach the age of 26 or start working and earn their own money. I do not have to worry about getting sick and not being able to pay the bills. Expensive treatments are just as much part of the care as simple vaccinations, preventive checkups,operations etc. Paying into health care has been worthwhile from day one.I cannot imagine living in a country where it is not available. Maria Lanman

  • Perspectives from a lifetime of coverage in Algeria and France #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I have been under universal health care coverage for nearly all my professional career, first in Algeria, and now in France. I have had some harrowing experiences on the health scene, less by questions of policy coverage than by circumstances which necessitated health care. I was nearly always taken in and cared for without question, and indeed without personally incurring expenses. In Algeria public health policy had covered all my immunizations yithout my having to advance even the slightest payment. I once broke an ankle wnile playing basketball with fellow teachers, and although I had to drive to the nearest hospital thirty kilometers away I was properly examined and treated without having to pay. I did have to insist on being cared for, when the opening hours at the clinic expired, but I prevailed, and did not have to pay out of pocket. Near the end of my sojourn in Algeria, I was stabbed in the back in downtown Algiers, and I was taken into emergency care at first and then into intensive care with securitz guard, all without any outlay on my part. To the contrary my care was considered as a responsibilitz of the country because of the "indignity" of having been attacked on the street of the nation's capital. Laterm during my retirement in France, I was covered by the nation's public health care system, but did pay for enrolment in the health care system, a rather nominal sum, but less than the care yould have cost in the United States, although that cost was covered by employer's health care. I have been in relatively good health, but asthmatic and diabetic, for which I receive medication covered at 100%, and see the doctor as needed, usually without an appointment, without undue waits and no payment other than the nominal €23 for the visit, which is, incidentally repaid by my mutual health care policy! I am totally happy with this system, and would not willingly submit to the US health care system in its current disorderly state. Rev. Dr. Hugh G Johnson (BA, STB, MDIV, MA, PhD)

  • 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

  • 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

  • Perspectives from England and Wales #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I've lived in the UK since 2003 and now have citizenship. I'm covered by the National Health Service, the universal health care system which has been so disgustingly misrepresented and lied about by so many American people and politicians. The NHS, like any other system, has its problems. Things do go horribly wrong sometimes and make the news (just like in the States), but less is said about the millions of people who go through their lives receiving excellent free-at-the-point-of-service health care. I live in England but close enough to North Wales that my doctor is in Wales and I'm therefore covered by the Welsh system. My experiences with the local doctors and hospitals, in England and Wales, have all been hugely positive. I love the NHS! I don't even pay for prescriptions because I'm over 60 and because prescriptions in Wales are free. People under 60 pay National Insurance each year, which goes to support the NHS. I'd happily continue to pay that even though I'm over 60. I'd also happily pay a bit more income tax to support the NHS, which is under threat from the Tories, who seem to want an American-style private system of insurance companies, etc. Some people do buy private insurance here, or go private for a particular treatment, but the NHS, struggling though it is at the moment, is always there when you need it. I will probably retire in a year or two. One thing I will never have to worry about is being driven to bankruptcy or starvation because of medical bills. Hope this helps. Dugie Standeford

  • Great Experience with Universal Coverage in Ireland #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I live in Ireland and have access to low-cost universal universal healthcare. Ireland is a little different as we are on a two-tiered system - public and private - and the public option isn't free (unless you have a medical card) but it is very cheap. If I go to the doctor, it cost me €50. If my doctor refers me to a specialist on the public option, it is free. Same for emergency room. I once had to go to the emergency room and have X-rays - that cost me only €60 total. We also have a prescription scheme here that caps the amount you pay for prescriptions at a certain amount each month. Once you hit that amount, if you need to fill more prescriptions within that month, you don't have to pay for them. This is useful for expensive birth control and other types of medication. I hope this helps! Hilary Gray

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