Doing things differently since 1984
I generally try to avoid politically charged topics on here, mostly because I think it’s unnecessarily divisive. Or, to put it more simply: I don’t like making people mad. More than that, I hate watching people alienate their family, friends, and neighbors over some opinion that they hold in way too high of importance.
So, that being said: I don’t want to cause trouble. If you don’t agree with me – I salute you. You probably have equally good reasons for your opinions as I do for mine. Feel free to present your across-the-spectrum opinions in my comments section (warning: though intelligent responses are welcome, personal attacks will be deleted). Or, if your tendency is more apolitical, feel free to browse through my other, nothing-to-do-with politics, posts.
See, you may not know something about me. I am an evil Communist. OK, not really. But, having lived in the UK where becoming ill or injured is purely a health crisis and not a financial one, I am an avid supporter of public healthcare. That’s right – tie me to a stake and burn me alive, I speak of evil sorceries. But just know that I have my reasons – I’ve seen it work, and I’ve seen the healthcare system here look like a patched-up 5th grade science fair project by comparison.
Now, I realize that supporting this cause is like voting for a 3rd party…. It’s not going to get me anywhere. Obama already proved that when he naively thought he’d be able to rally up support for what he also thought seemed like the best solution. Instead, of course, he ended up having to muddle and mangle his original idea to the nearly-unrecognizable Obamacare plan that is being debated in the US Supreme Court as we speak. (Do I like Obamacare? Undecided.)
I can understand the point of view of those who oppose public health care; like any other service, one must pay for it. Sure, we need health care to live; we also need food to live. That doesn’t mean food will be free. Health care is costly.
But that’s the problem, you see – health care, particularly in the US, is obscenely costly. We spend more money on health care than any other country in the world (except Malta…), including those who provide health care to all of their citizens.
I took my current job primarily because I knew it would finally offer real health care for my family. Then I found out… how much would it cost for my 4-person family? Over $450/month. Roughly 20% of my net income, before rent and food and bills and such. And even after that, I have deductibles, coinsurance pays, etc., which potentially come to an additional 15% of my annual income. So let me add that up: I am expected to pay 35% of my income to health care. I’m not making up these numbers… These are real dollar amounts, at a super-average job at a super-average company.
By contrast, in the UK I paid about 20% of my paycheck to the government – including income tax, social security, healthcare, whatever the heck else they wanted to do with it. Granted, people who earned more would have paid a higher percentage. But even if I wanted to count ALL of that toward health care (which is very unrealistic), that is a 15% annual savings. That’s CHEAPER! (For a country of people that will line up around the block to save 10¢/gallon on gas, you think that’d be enough said.)
As far as my experience, which included a 7-foot plummet which nearly broke my neck and landed me in hospital for three days, as well as the first three months of pregnancy, I didn’t feel like anything was lacking in quality.
OK, so I know that the US and the UK are different. Just because it works there doesn’t mean it will work here. We have more people. Our lawyers have itchy trigger fingers. Our government can never seem to plan any further than 4 years ahead (and spends accordingly). Our citizens are about as hard to regulate as a belligerent teenager. And, of course, the changeover would be very messy.
So is it worth the risk? If you’ve got yourself a great health care plan, and enough income to not have it be a major drain on you, probably not. (As a side note: Superior-quality private health care plans are also alive and well among the well-funded individuals of Britain) If you’re praying that you’re going to slip and fall on hospital premises so you can afford your medical bills, then perhaps a major do-over would be worth while.
In closing, I bring to you some INFOGRAPHICS (because I love them!):