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U.K. Healthcare vs. U.S. Healthcare

Updated: Jan 28

From a Facebook conversation regarding Sander's Medicare for all proposal:

N.L. "I have always been a proponent of healthcare for all. However, I always felt that if healthcare is provided by the government for all, those above a certain income level should be made to pay for private healthcare, and if their politics leads them to choose the government provided care they should be made to pay extra into the system. As a UK citizen I know the cost of a government universal healthcare system is enormous, and we are entrenched in our “rights” to our healthcare, but the US could devise a totally new system based upon the values and rights that many countries worldwide have."

V.L.H. "N.L., has analysis indicated that the amount U.K. citizens now pay for U.K. universal healthcare is greater than what they paid for healthcare prior to universal healthcare, or greater than what they would pay for private healthcare as U.S. citizens do? I presume you're aware that U.S. citizens pay MUCH more for healthcare per capita than most industrialized Western nations. As long as all citizens are paying an equal share in taxes for universal healthcare, I can't justify charging those with higher incomes additional when actually using universal healthcare. However, if those with higher incomes pay more tax relative to how much they consume and uitlize the benefits of U.S. institutions and infrastructure, then the issue of them paying more to use universal healthcare becomes rather moot, don't you think?"

N.L. "I'm not sure of the exact figures for before our NHS was created. It came about in 1948. Before that I gather it was a case of the rich being treated as they wished, either at home or in private locations, and the poor relying on a volunteer system of treatment. Us Brits are very protective of our NHS. It is constantly underfunded and the government is always having to add funds to keep it from collapsing. This has of course lead to the growth of the private health system which is more efficient. I cannot see why this type of system could not work in the US. After all, because the government funds a universal healthcare system it also gets to control and cap the cost of medication which is so needed in the US. Also, because there is a universal healthcare system in place it makes no sense for the private healthcare system to charge sky high prices as they would price themselves out of business. This in turn keeps monthly premiums for healthcare insurance “reasonable."

V.L.H. "It may be a question of semantics, but, if the government, (the public's employees), is putting money into the U.K. healthcare system it is British citizens' own money they're putting into it, and that would merely be in addition to what the public already put into it which is a practical way to balance accounts without overfunding it initially. However, I don't follow the logic that because the public has to periodically top off the funding for their healthcare, with their own tax money, that it necessarily "lead(s) to the growth of the private health system." As I've suggested, a private healthcare industry could always coexist with universal healthcare because there are always those who want a better quality of many things than others and those who can afford that difference. But I don't see that universal healthcare invariably begets a private healthcare industry. More significantly, it glaringly appears from the U.S. healthcare system, as an example, that private healthcare is definitely not necessarily 'more efficient.' A healthcare system predicated on the amount of profit the industry can make by keeping you healthy and alive determines whether they will try to keep you healthy and alive, or not, doesn't meet my requirements for healthcare. I cannot accept that when insurance companies routinely deny patients as much healthcare as possible, while pharmaceutical companies have paid physicians to create a nation of opioid addicts and to overprescribe antibiotics to the point of creating antibiotic-resistant diseases, and when superbugs like MRSA are rampant throughout the nation's hospitals, that the private healthcare system is 'more efficient.' I believe that staking one's health and life on whether one generates enough profit for the industry with their ill health is risking one's life unnecessarily. I believe that it is the public's prerogative to spend as much of its money to stay healthy and alive as it considers necessary. If it doesn't do so, then its government would likely spend that money on a priveleged few people without public benefit. #UniversalBasicHealthcare and nothing less. But, allow all others to seek all the extra healthcare they desire and can afford.


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