- CRITTER TALK
- SCI/TECH/OTHER STUFF
Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for a candid view of NHS…warts and all. It sure beats what we DON’T have here in the USA.
You estimate NHS levies a trivial tax on your salary each month. For comparison, I pay 14% of my gross billing (I’m an independent consultant) for health insurance with a $5000 DEDUCTIBLE before I get a penny of reimbursement. In other words, in addition to the $600+ per month I pay for my insurance premium – a total of $7200 per year – I must also pay the first $5000 in medical expenses I incur before I receive any benefits. $12,500 per year in out of pocket medical costs before I get any relief whatsoever. Mind you, if I were to have a heart attack or some other “catastrophic” illness, my expenses would be essentially capped at that $12,500 level…plus some modest add-ons…so that I don’t lose everything I own to a major illness or accident. That’s what the $7200 per year buys…catastrophic healthcare coverage.
Moreover, our health system is geared to gouging every possible nickle they can out of patients. A recent article in Time Magazine points out just how bad the system is. One example is that hospitals routinely charge patients $5 or $10 for a single aspirin or ibuprofen. We can buy a bottle of 100 pills for less in a drug store. And where they really gouge us is with expensive tests, such as CT scans, in which they will perform the test multiple times, and bill many thousands of dollars for each test, when in many cases best-practice guidelines do not dictate the test at all.
Furthermore, charges will vary from hospital to hospital in the same city. One hospital might charge $3500 for a procedure and the next might charge $23,000 for the same procedure. The way hospitals get away with this is by recruiting providers to sign exclusive contracts with docs, other medical professionals, ambulance companies and so on. Docs must struggle for “admitting privileges” to send patients to a particular hospital, and so the hospital will demand that the doc’s patients are sent there and only there.
Healthcare in the USA is a racket…a way for big corporations, both for-profit and non-profit, to bilk the maximum amount of money from patients. In many smaller communities, the CEO of a “non-profit” hospital with be, by far, the highest paid executive in the community.
And, insult to injury, Consumer Reports just came out with a scathing review of hospital safety. This focus on money has led many hospitals to become lax on sanitation, so hospital acquired infections are rampant, and readmissions for hospital acquired complications are VERY common. US hospitals are VERY dangerous place to be.
I realize that you did not say all is well in the NHS, but you did express respect and admiration for a system that actually tries to place patients’ health first and does a reasonable job of managing costs and limiting the egregious profits enjoyed by US healthcare industries – from pharma to equipment to testing labs.
Your message belongs in the hands of our healthcare reform advocates.
We’d like to hear from you. Do you live in the UK? If so do you agree with the assessments laid out in this and the preceding article? Do you live in the US? Would you like to see nationalized health care, available to all, at little cost?