The following is adapted from a Facebook link advocating single-payer health care that I posted last Friday. My motivation in posting it derives from several threads in which a friend, whose views I respect but with whom I frequently disagree, has expressed his opposition.
In asking friends to comment with their direct experiences with national health systems, my original hypothesis was that respondents would gush about how wonderful these systems are—not necessarily ideal, but a great improvement over the profit-driven model found in the US. My guess came close: There were more negatives than I'd envisioned, but most comments were favorable overall toward single-payer and similar systems.
General consensus, among those who have experienced it directly and the mostly American bunch whose friends and relatives have lived under it, is that the competence of those administering the system is an important factor. There are some not-so-good single-payer systems in existence, and they don't always fix the problems of capitalist health care immediately. Those stories of ridiculous waiting times in Canada may be somewhat exaggerated, but such instances do occur. The UK's National Health Service had problems in the early stages, but the people running that system have learned from earlier mistakes and put those lessons in to practice.
I'm still waiting for some respondents to reply as to whether they will permit me to repost their comments here, so this should be Part I of two.
I have a friend with libertarian sympathies whose reaction to any suggestion of single-payer health care is one of dread. He comments with links on my threads about the horrors of single-payer health care: patients & families losing control over their own medical destiny, patients who die waiting for promised treatment, etc.
This post is NOT—repeat NOT—an invitation to slag my friend, or libertarianism with a capital or lowercase L. So don't. That shit will be deleted with all due haste.
Instead, I'd like to see stories of experiences with health care in nations with single-payer or hybrid systems, positive or negative. I invite the following to address the issue.
Chris in the UK
I will relate my most recent experience with our UK NHS, which is easily the most serious medical experience I have had to date.
Tim, formerly in Canada
In Canada, several years ago, my ex-wife
Dan in Germany
Germany doesn't have a single payer system but everyone must have some form of health insurance. The big difference is that many insurance companies, like mine, are non profit organizations. I have immediate access to my general practitioner, or Hausarzt, and can make appointments with any specialist I choose. My total health care expenses in 2016 were 482 euro, less than most Americans pay each month.
Christine, who grew up partly in Norway and Japan
I have lived and traveled in countries with national health care systems. I and family members received excellent care at no cost. Nothing but good experiences!
Jorge, formerly in Mexico (definitely not single-payer)
My brother fell of the side of a mountain hiking in Mexico. This is Mexico so he got fired since he could not go to work. No work, no money, no insurance. He is alive. He did not have to pay anything.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.