A friend of mine was admitted to an area hospital with COVID. She has been there for almost three weeks.

She has gotten somewhat better, but she still needs to get better, plus therapy when she fully recovers from this terrible disease.

But the big problem is — not having any insurance. The hospital is ready to send her off but finding another hospital who will take a patient without insurance is impossible.

This country needs a program like they have in other countries where there's universal insurance coverage for everyone — even the poor.

I remember what the late, great consumer advocate Marvin Zindler used to say on ABC-Channel 13, "It's hell to be poor."

Stephen Tobleman

La Marque

Locations

Recommended for you

(29) comments

Carlos Ponce

"The CARES Act provides funds to pay medical bills for uninsured COVID-19 patients."

"Hospital Bills For Uninsured COVID-19 Patients Are Covered, But No One Tells Them"

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/10/22/925942412/hospital-bills-for-uninsured-covid-19-patients-are-covered-but-no-one-tells-them

Ellen Morrison

Your data is outdated, Carlos.

Bill Broussard

But the vaccines are still free

Carlos Ponce

"Your data is outdated, Carlos.

" You mean... NPR is wrong!!!!! What would Bailey say about his beloved NPR?

David Smith

It would bankrupt us.. because if it were free.. with Bidens open borders policy... that's exactly who would receive it.. the UNIVERSE

George Croix

Exactly.

We're more subservient when we're down and dependent. Some might assume that's the goal of this Admin., unless they're simply dumb by nature....

A policy paying able bodied and capable people to stay home and only consume while producing nothing of value would seem to be at odds with the concept of 'free' medical care, as somebody has to pay the bills, that somebody eventually reduced to the same economic level as the sit by and take in group, as profits from productive work outcome are replaced by taxes on 'Big Business' eating away at the ability to hire more if they would work, then, constant Catch 22....eventually, everybody equally screwed.

A word for that...starts with an S.....Soc something or other.....

Bailey Jones

Mr. Tobleman, Texas' ruling party doesn't care about the young, or the old, or the sick, or the uninsured.

Carlos Ponce

No, Bailey. As usual your partisanship obliterates truth.

Andrew Murton

As someone who lived under the British National Health Service (NHS) for over 3 decades before moving to Texas, I can't stress enough how great universal health care is. Knowing that you will get treated irrespective of wealth or employment status should be a human right. Until coming to the states I had never heard of someone becoming bankrupt because of a medical issue. I still find it odd having to make a payment when you visit a doctor or hospital.

Universal health care is also cost effective. The NHS, because of its size and unique status is able to negotiate hard the prices that they're willing to pay for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, and buy at scale. The tax we had to pay to cover the NHS (called National Insurance) worked out less as a proportion of my pay then what I pay now for coverage - despite care being free at the point of delivery in the UK unlike here.

It always amazes me that Universal Health Care is such an unpopular idea in the USA. Once you've lived under the system, you realize how truly great it is.

Carlos Ponce

"Britain's Health Care: So Bad, Doctors Don't Even Want To Practice There'

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/why-british-doctors-do-not-want-to-practice-in-own-country/

"Britain's Version Of 'Medicare For All' Is Struggling With Long Waits For Care"\

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sallypipes/2019/04/01/britains-version-of-medicare-for-all-is-collapsing/?sh=571165cc36b8

Andrew Murton

While I agree that doctors don’t get paid the exorbitant wages that their American counterparts earn, having lived under both systems, there’s no comparison - the UK approach is far more humane and preferable.

From my personal experience, my sister diagnosed with an astrocytoma received brain surgery within days of diagnosis at a world leading hospital (Addenbrooks at Cambridge University). Likewise, my farther received ICU care for two weeks following a heart attack and had an internal cardio defibrillator (ICD), fitted within a week of ICU discharge. Out of pocket cost to my family: $0. Yes, you may wait slightly longer for something non-urgent, but the care you receive is exemplary and free at point of care.

Carlos, if you’ve have had experience of both systems, please do share. I’d be interested to hear your informed opinion rather than regurgitated US articles designed to keep the status quo.

Andrew Murton

If interested, you may wish to read the international rankings of healthcare systems of high income countries by the Commonwealth Fund. The UK lost its top ranking this year, bettered by Norway, the Netherlands and Australia largely due to the impact of COVID, but has held the top spot on the previous two occasions. The US currently ranks last across the 11 countries examined.

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2021/aug/mirror-mirror-2021-reflecting-poorly

Carlos Ponce

I don't have personal experience but reports from people I know. The British system is not one to emulate.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, were you not the person complaining about your Brothers medical insurance. Andrew Murton is giving a first hand account about the British National Health Service, and all you want to do is say how wrong he is, because someone in your circle said so.

Carlos, try asking the 27.5 million Americans that had no health insurance during 2018, how they like our system!

Carlos, please explain how our drug cost is better then the British National Health Service?

The maximum cost of receiving any drug prescribed by the British National Health Service is $12. My wife takes one drug that cost $125 a month, our cost. Another member of my family needs a drug that cost over $1,000 a month, that they have to pay, if they want the drug.

I hope you do not need Ilaris, because the annual per-patient expenditure for Ilaris when used for SJIA can range from $379,000 to $462,000.

Demser tends to run anywhere from $96,000 to $472,000 annually per patient.

Folotyn runs from a low of roughly $345,000 to over $500,000 per year, per patient.

Carbaglu is running at about $200 per 200 mg tablet At a mid-point recommended maintenance dose (50 mg/kg/day), a 70 kg person would need roughly 3,500 mg per day, or 18 tablets per day ($3600 per day), which would run about $1.3 million per year.

Zolgensma's total cost was $2.125 million and is given as a one-time intravenous (IV) dose.

Hope no-one needs one of the above drugs, as most of us will have to do without!

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos, were you not the person complaining about your Brothers medical insurance." No, I was not. I was the one thanking Dr. Robin Armstrong for taking care of my brother. I never mentioned my brother's insurance.... just his condition.

Jim Forsythe

You talked about how Obama care did not cover your brothers medical cost, at the level you thought it should. Some people pointed out to you that Obama care had three levels, and that he may have the lowest level. I'm not going to look it up, but the date of the post was around 8/31/2020.

Carlos Ponce

No Jim, you're making things up. On August 31, 2020 my brother was covered by SSDI.

Jim Forsythe

I may have ben mistaken about the date, but not the discussion. Was he ever covered by insurance that some would say was tied to Obama care? Sorry about my mistake on date.

Carlos Ponce

My remarks about Obamacare was that is was "worthless".

George Croix

Our medical system in this country is so bad that people from all over the world come here to be treated because they are masochists who prefer to suffer…..and we have hordes exiting our lousy country daily….

Anyway, how much of my President’s 4 trillion buck Spend-o-Rama plan is dedicated to health care for all, and how much is dedicated to increasing his Party’s power base….

Follow the money to separate lip service from actual service…

I always enjoy hearing how people always came from a better place, but, they still came…..seems at cross purposes…..

Admittedly, that’s a bit of a simplification….

Charles Douglas

Mr. Croix> Right on! A good question is why leave a better place? Another question is, why not go to a better place? I hear people griping about America all the time, but you cannot drag them out of here with two giant BULL DOZIERS! Lolo.

Andrew Murton

The reasons people decide to emigrate from their country of birth are complex and multifactorial. It's not an easy decision! A main driver for me was that the type of research I wanted to perform could be done in the USA but not the UK. But I miss the UK approach to healthcare, among other things. In other areas US/Texas excel in comparison.

To suggest that the host country is going to be perfect in every way compared to their country of origin is shortsighted. Every country has faults. What's more important is that countries compare themselves to other nations and examine how they approach aspects pertinent to their citizens lives and learn what they can adopt to improve.

David Hardee

Both the USA and the UK have UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.

The perception that there is anyone that does not get medical attention in the USA is false. Effectively the only thing different in the USA compared to the UK is that in the USA there is choice. Appearance for medical attention in the USA is taken care of by the medical facility where the patient appears and the patience with insurance have a choice of where they want to appear and the only decision is related to the breath of the insurance the patient choose to purchase. Even an uninsured that appears anywhere will be service if critical. If not critical or after the critical is stabilized the uninsured will be render to an appropriate location that accepts the uninsured and or the network where the insured has chosen.

Most attractive about the USA system is that an individual can 1. depend on rapid medical attention if insured, where as in the UK the individual enters a que for attention.

Paying for the privilege of choice in the USA insured system compared to being at the mercy of random decision by a cue selective process in the UK or being uninsured in the USA is the only significant dichotomy and effective in actuality means both the USA and UK have UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.

Andrew Murton

The WHO define universal health care as "a situation where citizens can access health services without incurring financial hardship". On that basis, they do not consider the US to have universal health care at this time.

Your raise a couple of interesting points:

1) Ability to chose your provider. In the UK you have the legal right to choose where you receive your NHS treatment (https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/about-the-nhs/your-choices-in-the-nhs/).

2) Queuing. I agree that for non-urgent care there can be a wait required. However the counterargument is that there's no point having a short que if people avoid or delay treatment because of cost. In such circumstances it only favors the rich/well insured.

There are many differences between the UK and USA approach to healthcare - I whole heartedly admit that some of the things the USA does are better. But on balance, I much prefer the UK approach having experienced both systems.

If you're wanting to get a gauge of how fellow American's have found using the NHS, the following articles are an interesting read:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/07/opinions/single-payer-healthcare-beers/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/using-nhs-as-an-american-2016-10?op=1#on-the-whole-though-i-prefer-my-experience-in-the-uk-its-basically-free-its-included-in-my-taxes-which-for-most-brits-are-very-similar-to-the-rates-americans-pay-and-there-are-no-insurance-premiums-plus-theres-essentially-no-paperwork-and-the-wait-times-for-most-procedures-are-minuscule-most-importantly-though-i-can-get-the-antidepressants-ive-been-taking-for-10-years-from-my-gp-which-at-least-to-me-made-it-feel-as-though-depression-here-is-treated-as-it-should-be-like-a-valid-illness-rather-than-a-made-up-one-18

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/08/120148/socialized-medicine-giving-birth-experience-uk

David Hardee

I responded to Universal and proved Universal exists in BOTH UK and USA,

If you want to talk FREE then lets get real - economics - both systems are paid for by the aggregate of funds from some source. The USA insurance subscribers pay the total bill with the adjusted actuarial premiums EVENTUALLY the Taxes the US citizens augment the funds with social funds Medicare etc,.

The UK pays by Taxing only.

The amount spent differential is cause by the quality and expedience of service and the privileges of choice/quality/other considerations available at extra premium.

Nothing is free in either UK or USA. Neither is significantly different in services available but the individual patient has more options to control his medical services in the USA.

Andrew Murton

Apologies David, given that you used the term Universal Health Care (in capitals no less) which has a defined meaning, I was assuming your comment was in relation to it. Fair enough if you were discussing something else.

You are absolutely correct and as I made clear in my previous posts, the NHS is paid for by direct taxation. However, because the NHS essential provides all medical care in the UK (the biggest employer in the world after the US military), they can buy at scale and negotiate large discounts for drugs and supplies unavailable to other countries. Similarly, as there is no patient billing, administration costs are greatly reduced (no need for coders, billing departments etc.). This, in combination with lower wages for clinical staff, is how the NHS runs more cost effectively (although there's still room for improvement). I agree that there's a lot of redundancy in the US system which doesn't exist in the UK approach - this can be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective.

Having a single medical provider for a nation also presents other benefits. For example, with COVID, the NHS is providing all the testing, and as such they have been able to sequence new variants at a rate unparalleled by any other nation. They have also been able to perform random testing of the population to get a handle on the incidence of asymptomatic cases. Likewise, they have accurate logs of who has been vaccinated and who is a priority for vaccination.

To suggest that the NHS operates at a lower quality than its US counterparts and thereby saves money is incorrect and belies a lack of knowledge of the system. It's not founded in data or metrics (look up any league table and most will concur that the quality of care delivered by both systems are pretty much comparable).

Lastly, I hate when the GDN comments descend in to discord as it serves no one, but wanted to correct the factual errors made about the NHS. I'm happy to agree to disagree on the merits of each others approach to healthcare and as such wont be responding to further comments. Thank you for your perspective and I wish you well.

Paula Flinn

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Andrew Murton.

David Hardee

To my opinion you and I have no discord - our is a conversation seeking clear understanding.

Again we have move/expanded the issue to another element - management - in respect to best service for the citizen and those that pilfer.

Undoubted the USA has a cadre of the self interest administrators that abandon the citizens best Health program to exorbitant cost. Ergo what the entire spectrum of Health care is inflated.

That fact probably results in the UK being more efficient in totality. And the USA administration (bureaucracies) is repugnant for the waste (throwing money indiscriminately) as the solution. When and how the USA acquires better administration - another subject - for a different discussion.

Thanks Andrew for being a concerned citizen - UK's loss gave the USA a gain.

David

P.s. do you have dual citizenship?

Mary Gillespie

Mr. Murton is dead wrong about UK health care. I lived with NHS (British socialized medicine) for 5 years, and believe most Americans would find their health care totally amoral. Doctors don't treat the patient in front of them: instead, they treat a fictitious, average patient. It matters not that a strep test and round of antibiotics would prevent scarlet fever and heart damage in YOUR child - on average, so few people get heart damage with strep that it's cheaper to just NOT treat it at all. Go home and be miserable.

Metastatic melanoma? Too bad - no beta interferon for you if your county has already gone through its allotment. It's too expensive. They don't tell patients that, which is why Mr. Murton and his friends believe British health care is great. They just lie and say no further treatment is needed. They killed a woman in my Bible study with this lie.

Chest pain? All you get is a good listening with a stethoscope - even if you've already suffered a heart attack (when I lived there, 1/3 of heart attack patients NEVER saw a cardiologist). My friend in this situation took the next plane to New York and had triple bypass surgery within 3 days - something that never happens in the UK.

5 years after diagnosis, only 56% of British cancer patients are still alive, where as 65% of Americans live 5 years after a cancer diagnosis.

I've lived with "universal" healthcare, and I'll fight against it to my last breath.

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.