Why doesn't the US have national health care?

@rosie_123 (6118)
February 16, 2007 3:03pm CST
OK - this is a question that has been bothering me since I started with MyLot, and have read so many posts where people say they can't afford to go to a Doctor. Tonight I read a sad thread started by sunnypub, who has suffered a recent bereavement, and I hope I am not offending him by starting this. You see the thing is - I am from the UK, where medical care is free. In this country, no one has to worry about paying medical bills - if you are ill, you go to the Doctor, or Hospital, and you will be treated for free, regardless of your age, employment, or financial status. I know it is the same in Canada too, and certainly there are reciprocal agreements for all European countries through the EEC. The NHS was already up and running long before I was born, and I cannot imagine living in any other way. OK we do have some private health care providers here, so that if you want a non-urgent operation done quickly, and the NHS wating list is too long, you can pay, privately, but no one EVER has to refuse medical treatment on the grounds of money. So I am truly horrified by some of the stories I read here about US citizens. I can imagne such problems in the s-called "third world" countries, which is why we see so many chsrities here to help medical care in these countries, but the US is a huge and wealthy place, with more than enough money to spend on arms, and wars etc. So why doesn't it do something to help it's own people stop living in fear, and get the treatment that every human being deserves. Why should Americans have to suffer and live in fear, perhaps even die, because of money? Are there any political parties that have tried to fight for this? What are the arguments for and against? I am really interested. Thanks.
12 people like this
28 responses
16 Feb 07
I hear what you have to say and I agree with you. Sadly, I can't provide you an answer. I only lived in the US for two years and wasn't ill during that period, other than the common cold you catch in the winter. I come from France, where healthcare is the same as in the UK, more or less. Since I came here, I've been told that you have to pay for opticians and dentists, which isn't the case in France. However, you pay for much less medication than we do. But then again, I'm under the full cover because I'm a full time student under 19, so maybe I'll have to pay for some things later on... At least, I understood that I got a free check up with Specsavers because I was under 19 and I also got my pill for free because I'm a student, whereas you have to pay for that one in France.
2 people like this
@rosie_123 (6118)
16 Feb 07
I think us Europeans take our healthcare for granted until we go somewhere else. Thanks for responding.
@lpetges (3036)
• United States
16 Feb 07
well being here as a student in the USA, i am thinking its a free scholorship or something like that. we always as americans love to give our money to other countries and unfortunately, don't have enough for our own. i would love to be from another country, and then come to America and not pay taxes for several years, get some free education and special grants for starting my own business. I am not against others coming here, i am just sick of my taxes paying for it!
1 person likes this
@not4me (1713)
• United States
16 Feb 07
I think it's because people we elect for positions in our government like padding their own pockets and putting money towards wars and other thing before they take care of their county first. Every time a new president is elected they always go on about better health care but after they are elected they put it on the back burner. I think our government is insane for not doing this sooner. Make the taxes a sliding scale or something to each person pay but make the rich citizens pay higher taxes. While they are at it they could afford to pay more towards basic military salaries. Nothing like protecting your country yet living below the poverty level!
2 people like this
@minnie_98214 (10572)
• United States
16 Feb 07
Because we have a stupid president lol. They just cant agree on anything. Out government is to split up and well argumenative. Sometimes i think they argue just for fun.
2 people like this
@shambuca (2560)
• United States
16 Feb 07
I have no idea why- I wish we did- it is so stinking expensive even with health care I hate it. Mys sister an niece went to Italy this summer and my niece got sick and the care was free- i thought how wonderful!!! I will keep checking back to see what others have to say about it! Thanks for posting this one!
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
16 Feb 07
You are welcome. I just hope people are not offended by it. It was never my intention to be "anti-American" or start any kind of "flame war", I just feel so sorry for all the poor people here who seem to be suffering unnecessarily.
1 person likes this
@shambuca (2560)
• United States
16 Feb 07
don't worry i don't think anyone will take it that way- you are right so many people are suffering because they can't afford health care. Example- my husband is allergic to poison ivy and came in contact with it over the summer- i took him to the hospital because it spreads really fast when you are allergic- we were there an hour, the dr saw him gave him a shot and a prescription, a month later I got a bill for my deductable it was 100.00, however the actual bill was 750.00, thank god we had health care. 750.00 for a shot and prescription thats ridiculous!!! And you wonder why people suffer with what they have in stead of going for help.
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
Oh my - that is absolutely unbelievable! So expensive!
@blueskies (1186)
• United States
17 Feb 07
There is definitely a healthcare crisis in America. It's my feeling that we haven't made any progress in the pursuit of a national healthcare plan because: 1. Americans immediately balk at the idea of more taxes for any reason at any time. 2. Our government is in bed with the pharmaceutical and health insurance companies. Unless we can take away the privatized companies' power over our government (in terms of campaign donations, etc), we will be unable to get bills drafted and passed through congress in support of national healthcare. Our senators and congressmen will not vote for a plan that endangers their jobs. Unless the American people wake up and realize that they can't blaim all their problems on the government (we do elect these people, after all), then change simply will not occur. We need more forward-thinking Americans who are able to step back and look at the "big picture".
• United States
17 Feb 07
You ask a good question and I wish I had the answer to it. I need dental help (impacted wisdom tooth) and other medical treatments that I cannot afford without insurance. Since I can't bear my own children, I can't get any state supported medical insurance. I have it for my stepson, but can't get it for myself. You also asked about political parties. Our parties need to be done away with completely. There are crooks in both major parties to the point where we must go to extremes to even gain a little info on the smaller parties. If it were up to me, there would be no parties, just people who run for office unlabeled. The only one I know of who is saying all the right things--and actually meaning them, is Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. Everyone is saying "Who???" right about now. Anyway, he's the guy that's out to put America back the way it was before the Kennedy's got killed off. Families & small businesses were prospering and the world loved us instead of hating us. I could go on and on, but now is not the time or the place. Wish I could answer your questions better tho.
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
You have answered them very well indeed. Thank you for taking the time, and trouble to do so.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Feb 07
Thank you, Rosie. I appreciate the vote for best response :)
@wsue1023 (1396)
• United States
16 Feb 07
It's complicated, but there are some drawbacks to socialized medicine and it's enough to scare many people into being against it. You'd have far less choice of doctors, hospitals, and the like. If you had a flop of a physician you might be stuck with him. You might know something is wrong, that he/she was wrong and die before you could get the help you needed. The government would determine what tests they'd you could have, what meds you really needed, and you'd probably not get the same quality of healthcare. There'd be less incentive for doctors and hospitals to excell at what they do which would result in an overall decline in the quality of healthcare for all of us. Socialized medicine would also increase the scope of government and many want the govt to be less a part of our lives, rather than more a part. Big govt isn't something I want. I'd rather they stay out of my health care decisions and let me be. You know in this country if you don't have health insurance and have a baby for example the hospital has to treat you and you're not responsible for the bill... if you can't pay. That's pretty good if you ask me. The people that are really suffering are those with lousy insurance, but honestly I don't know how much better they'd be with socialized medicine. The only time you hear about socialized medicine is when we're approaching a presidental election. The democrats always promise it, never deliver it, thank God for that.
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
It is interesting to read an opposite viewpoint from my own, and most of the other people here. From my point of view, I wouod say there is noting wrong with someone keeping a private medical plan if they prefer and can afford it (thus keeping the Governent out), but I cannot see how anyone can justify letting old people, and sick childrem suffer for the sake of money. After all, there must be plenty of people working on low incomes, or unemployed, who just literally can't afford insurance, and as someone bought up in a country with National Health Care, I just find that so wrong. Thank you for taking the time to respond anyway.
• United States
17 Feb 07
I'd rather have far less choice of doctors, and hospitals, than no choice at all. What do you suggest we do to fix this problem? Lloyd
1 person likes this
@vmoore709 (1102)
• United States
17 Feb 07
I personally don't agree with changing our healthcare system too much. We have government programs for those people that cannot afford to pay for healthcare. If the people in those stories would go and get the government issued insurance they would not have a problem. If we change our ways now it will be a mess. Doctors in this country are too greedy to change their ways and a good part of the country does not want to pay more taxes to support the effort.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 07
UNfortunately some people make too much money to get goverment insurance and not enough money to get private insurance, that is the problem!
1 person likes this
@shaz6611 (951)
• Australia
17 Feb 07
I am from Australia and we have a similar health system as they do in the UK in that regardless of income, status etc, if you are ill you go to the doctor/hospital. I have friends in America and have seen first hand how people avoid going to the doctors or they get medications from a 'friend'. I often wonder how America's health system came to be like this. I think the government should spend a few billion of those billions of dollars they spend at war on a better health care system. Can't they see that people are dying because they can't afford the care, we are not talking about a 3rd world country here. I'm sure they must turn a blind eye to it all.
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
Great post - thanks! A friend of mine recently married an Australian guy, and moved to Sydney, and she is very impressed by your health system there.
@MrNiceGuy (4147)
• United States
17 Feb 07
The country has never had a national health plan because our country has hated taxes since it was created. We wanted nothing to do with taxes and wanted a hands off approach to the economy. We decided to let health care develop on the free market and as they say, capitalism always produces the best product because of competition. We pay less taxes so we have a free health care market. It is subsidized with money for the needy and elderly through tax dollars, but it isnt actually paid for or organized by the government. But it is notable to recognize that the US has the most advanced technology and many of the smartest doctors and minds. Our money in health care means that our product is very good. People from Canada come to the US to spend their own money to get a procedure in a timely manner. I know British people that say our system is much more efficient since it isn't run by the government.
1 person likes this
@urbandekay (18311)
21 Apr 07
I don't think that is generally the view here in UK all the best urban
@albert2412 (1782)
• United States
17 Feb 07
We do not have national health care in the US because we can not afford it. We spend so much money defending the rest of the world we have little money left. Also, we have many illegal people in the US and we provide their children with free education, free lunches, and free health care. We also educate people free in our universites very often. We have little money left.
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
The UK take in more asylum seekers, and refugees than the US per head of population (I know we do - it is my job!), and we have a National Health Service. As for defending the rest of the world - my immediate reaction to this is half of them (Iraq, Afghanistan etc) definately do not want to be "defended" - but thanks for your response anyway. Always nice to read different viewpoints.
• United States
16 Feb 07
We don't have national health care because we don't have our priorities in order. The conservatives complain that having national health care is living as a socialist. They use examples of people in Canada having to wait a long time for treatment. I really don't think they care about anyone but themselves. As long as they are covered, the hell with everyone else. The cost of the insurance policies if you buy it privately is very expensive. I find the politicians to by hypocrites because they have the best health care coverage, paid for by the taxpayers, but they don't want it for the general population. The democrats propose it every election cycly but nothing is ever done. Lloyd
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
Thank you for your great response.
• United States
16 Feb 07
here in this country nothing is free. we pay for everything they can think of. we have medical bills that are so high. my mom owes a few thousand dollars to the hospital. she can't afford it. everytime you go to the doctor or hospital here you have to have a insurance card. that's expensive too. my coverage is $200 plus a month and i'm 18 years old. US government doesn't do anything about it because they are greedy. they'd steal anything from anyone. i agree with this discussion completely since i'm an american citizen and never heard that there is free medical care out there. i don't think any political parties have tried to fight it because as i said they're greedy and don't care what happens to us. they just want their money.
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
17 Feb 07
That is so bad. Thanks for your response.
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
16 Feb 07
Yes, our health care is a national disgrace. There is however change coming. For the first time EVER business and labor unions have joined forces and formed a cooalition that is committed to lobbying for a National Health Care plan. The leader of the was the head of my union when I was a caseworker here in Prennsylvania and he is very committed to this.
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
16 Feb 07
That is very good news. Hope something can be done.
@sweetlady10 (3617)
• United States
16 Feb 07
This is really pathetic that citizen of one of the richest country of the world is not getting enough health care facilities. General people are just scared to go to doctor because of money. Lots of people goes to country like India for treatment as they can get good treatment in low cost. Nobody will deny the fact that any country need a good budget for defense and border security etc. But I guess US is spending in those catagory way more. And the war issu is there, because of it whole economy is getting affected. In between all this no money in the budget for general people. But this is the time to do something about this very important issue of health care. Otherwise general people of USA would may suffer as like third worlds people, as far the health care concern.
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
16 Feb 07
Thanks for your response.
@ebfh2006 (176)
• United States
16 Feb 07
I don't know. I have heard many reasons ranging from taxes will increase dramatically, to the American medical association would lobby against it because doctors would not be paid as much. It is absurd that our tax dollars pay for a war which we should not be in, but not healthcare for our neediest citizens.
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
16 Feb 07
Looking at it from the outside, I would agree. Our Doctors here are not paid any less, and no one has to suffer. Thanks for your response.
1 person likes this
@polano (3)
• United States
20 Jun 07
It is really difficult to understand why a rich country like the United States has no comprehensive health insurance for its residents. In other developed countries, like Europe, residents are accorded free health insurance. Although, the respective government has to offset this by deducting so much from your take home pay in the form tax payments. If I recall it right, a co-worker of mine( an American) once told me that he would cross to Vancouver, Canada, because every resident is accorded free health insurance by the government. Perhaps, it is only fitting to consider the business aspects on the issue. In America, health insurance coverage is a big business. The only drawback is that the high monthly premiums are too much for ordinary workers to bear. This is the reason why the uninsured Americans and other foreigners have no choice but to live with it.
@Kalikala (433)
• United States
16 Apr 07
I think it is really screwed up that we don't have free health care. I know so many people who just stay sick because they can't afford doctor bills. Here a visit to the emergency room costs anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. There are finally a lot of perscription medications available for $4 in generic versions, but this is still pretty new. I'm so happy that I can get my allergy medicine that cheap now, but my other one is sitll $60/month. There are signs up in the hospitals that they can't refuse to treat you on the basis that you can't pay, but I don't know how they actually deal with those situations.
• United States
17 Feb 07
It's kind of funny i found this one. Last night i got a huge bill for a emergincy room visit that was suppose to be covered by my parents insurance. We've been fighting it, of course, but jus the fact that the bill was suppose to be covered has really driven me nuts. I have recenlty changed to my own insurance and they have treated me so well, but i'm paying an arm and a leg every month for it and am still having to pay medical bills for a recent surgery and such. I'd love it if we had medical here for everyone because so many people need it. My grandparents are having such a hard time and it scares me to think of what will happen to me when i'm older. I work for a company that has just started up and it's to expinsive for them to try and give us medical coverage that i had to go out and buy my own coverage. My boss's brother came from Korea and even there, if you own land/home you have medical. why does the US have to be so cheap!!!
1 person likes this
@hinocki (670)
• Italy
17 Feb 07
Becouse all the money are redirected to military force. It's the address of the Us president and parlament
1 person likes this