Brits freak out when told the price of health care in the United States

Let’s go over this again:


Do you (or any rational person) really care whether that money goes to a health insurer or the government? Of course not.

Quit lying about single-payer healthcare, pretty please.


The price is too damn high. I recently went in for a routine physical. Took 25 minutes. $1200. That’s what the clinic told my insurance company their services cost. Then nebulous “discounts” and they decide what they want to pay for. And even though by all accounts, my coverage should handle a yearly standard physical, I owe $30 for…something lab-related. They won’t say specifically. And this is for a health care plan that costs my employer over $400 a month (which is a steal, based on comments I’ve read) and leaves me with a $2500 deductible and $8000 out-of-pocket max (which, again, I understand could be much worse). It’s an absolute omnishambles.


Yeah all of the countries with national healthcare pay less in taxes for it then the same level of coverage would cost on the open market.

So yes your taxes will go up. But your payments to insurance companies, or the amount taken out of your paycheck by an employer will go away. And you’ll have more money as a result.

A major reason that Americans are so susceptible to this particular claim is that they don’t see what they spend on insurance. Most Americans get their coverage through work. Their employer takes their share right out their paycheck, and if they ever saw the costs outlined it was once in the five minutes they signed up.

So it seems very much like something they don’t pay for, provided by the employer as part of compensation. But to the extent employers ever provided the full cost of insurance, they don’t anymore. And that came out of pay anyway in the form of lower wages. But offering to take that away still feels like being asked to pay more, or taking away a part of some ones compensation. Even if it does the opposite.

I mean hell, even if that tax bill isn’t lower than the out of pocket for private insurance. And it might not be immediately. Businesses will be paying less per employee, and in the medium to short term that should lead to higher wages. So most people would still be better off. Again that won’t happen immediately, look at Trump’s tax cut and all the PR bonuses and stock buybacks.


The current prescription charge is now £9 per item, or you can pay for a prescription prepayment certificate (£104/year) that covers all prescriptions.

And yet the country seems to be sleepwalking into Brexit destroying the NHS through longer drug patents, losing EU27 staff, and higher drug costs,


The flip side of that is that, especially if you develop some kind of chronic condition, you could end up where, bluntly, displeasing your boss carries the death penalty (or at least corporal punishment). The “better” your current health plan is, the more grotesque, intimate medical leverage your employer wields over you.

As Clement Attlee (the British prime minister responsible for the NHS and much else besides) wrote, “a right established by law is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man”. Perhaps the fact that he boiled down the case for democratic socialism in such a concise, unmelodramatic way is why most of the media have spent the intervening decades trying to conceal his existence. As I was just spamming in another BB thread, that’s why I created a 3D printable pocket Attlee that I hope will go viral and elevate the world’s consciousness.


I like when that one guy asks “Why? Why!?” Hahaha. That’s cute.

It’s not even that. It’s extortion, with the slight, kinda, not really, appearance of health care.

True, but most states offer an ambulance “membership” or “subscription” for $100 a year that gives you all you can eat ambulance trips. I find myself in the back of an ambulance about once every two years (allergy-driven anaphylaxis) and I’m way ahead. That being said, finding $100 for the people who’d be hardest hit by a big bill isn’t easy, and I’d be happier to pay more through taxes.


I just get annoyed that people don’t think through the effects of decisions like charging for ambulances. In Ontario you call an ambulance if it’s a real emergency, but if it’s not you are supposed to get a cab, basically. Which made taxis part of our healthcare system. And the Uber comes along and starts threatening the taxi industry. And if you take an Uber to the hospital they are going to collect and retain the data about your trip to the hospital and it isn’t going to be covered by the same privacy laws that cover your medical records.

But of course all of these complaints seem like huge luxuries compared to people living just across the lake.


And when that happens…

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Another way to look at it:
Life expectancy, United States: 78.69 yrs and falling
Life expectancy, United Kingdom: 80.96 yrs and falling

2016 numbers.


What makes you think everyone wants to? :roll_eyes:

And the less said about how desperately the Republicans want to eliminate and/or privatize the constitutionally-mandated Post Office the better.

You could make the same argument about taxes. Nobody (well, almost nobody) is sitting there with a spreadsheet keeping track of every dollar the mean old government is sucking away from them. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what’s been taken out of my paychecks for this year without going to look it up, but I can absolutely tell you off the top of my head that health insurance costs my wife and I over $250 a month, even though it’s deducted (pre-tax!) from the same paycheck.

Statistically speaking, it absolutely will be lower. I ran the math a while back, and you would have to raise my taxes by 300% to match what I’m currently paying just for the insurance.


I don’t know if there is a math system known to man that can account for how absolutely fucked the American healthcare environment is. And at a minimum we do not have the major cost control vector used in other countries: a public hospital system. Shit Medicare doesn’t even have the legal right to negotiate drug prices. You can change the medicare thing tomorrow. But you aren’t going to gin up a public hospital system right way with a vote.

No legislation is a magic bullet, and given the way things go these days any single payer healthcare bill is gonna leave something out and need tweaking down the line. It really would not surprise me if the impact on people’s paychecks was initially close enough (in either direction, depending on the particular person) for the “its cheaper” to not become clear in the immediate offing. These are the sort of impacts that happen over time, and the sort of issues that take time to fix.

The “on day one less charge to the individual” and “your taxes won’t go up!” pitches are brick stupid because of that. Even should that pitch work, when things aren’t quite magic the day after the policy squeaks through. That then becomes the basis for attacking/neutering the new system.


To clarify: I did the math for what my health insurance costs me every year, and also checked what my taxes and deductions were for the same year. If every single cent of what I currently spend on health insurance were transferred over to government taxes, meaning absolutely no reduction in costs (something which even right-wing think tanks say is basically impossible), my taxes would have to triple, and there is no proposal on this or any other planet that is trying to credibly assert that such an increase would be necessary to fund such a program. It’s not even necessary in other countries with fully-nationalized health insurance.

And again: this was only the insurance cost. It excluded the $40 doctor co-pays, and the multiple $25/month medications, and the periodic $60 blood tests, and the $900 kidney ultrasound, and the $150 for a pack of six plastic CPAP nose guards every 3 months, which arrive at my house with an equivalent volume of plastic encasing them that can’t cost more than 6 cents to manufacture.


My wife’s parents found the loophole: delay treatment due to lack of affordable healthcare, then rack up a huge hospital bill, then die before the hospital can finish collecting!


See, there’s a loophole, there’s always a loophole!! Ha!!

That’s a terrible story. :worried:


I have the classiest self appendectomies. I always do them in the back seat of my Maybach limo with a Cartier pen knife. I use the only the very very best, most classy vintage wine for anesthesia. From France, even. My Doctor says they’re perfect self appendectomies.

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I have full insurance coverage through work. I pay ~$250 a month for it. I also have a $4500 deductible. It’s like not having insurance at all. Going to the doctor 4 times a year and not even meeting my deductible doesn’t feel like the system works.

Paying $200 a month for insurance and knowing for a fact that it’s only going to benefit me if I have only a moderate expense, more than an inhaler, but less than cancer, doesn’t feel like it works.

Most americans don’t have insurance like that. Millions. Most people have high deductible plans with unfunded HSAs they’re expected to pay into themselves, and premiums between 100 and 300 dollars a month. That’s fucking bullshit.


Yes. The correct bill would leave out the insurers and everyone else gets to have healthcare.