I’m English so I’ve been able to rely on the NHS, which, much to the surprise of many Americans I have spoken to is “free at point of service”. This doesn’t mean we get it for nothing, oh no, no, no. We pay a National Insurance contribution from our wages which means that when we need a doctor we go and see one or alternatively the doctor comes to us. It means that when we need a hospital we go to one. It means our medication and drugs and scans and tests and a whole battery of other things are paid for already because of our National Insurance contribution. It also means the unemployed are covered to the same level as everyone else
Over here, in the US, it is different. If you work for a good employer you may have an excellent health insurance package. A less good employer and a less good package and so on, but many people have no medical insurance at all and this causes fear. Even people with insurance policies are terrified of losing their home because of the size of the bills which very rapidly mount up. If you are too ill to work then you’ll lose your insurance through your employer just when you need it.
In England the parties are coming together to fight the proposed changes to the NHS, and with good cause too I think. For those of my friends in the UK who are in any doubt whether the NHS should be kept or privatised please read this blog by the wife of a cancer patient who, with colleagues, left his job as a matter of principal. For those of you who may not read it I’ve copied the horrifying bit below:
“He’s going to die from this, all because he quit his job almost 5 years ago. If he hadn’t walked out, he’d have insurance. He could have seen a doctor when he noticed something wrong. He wouldn’t be going to die.”
Please read the comment from nadeaucaron which explains just why her husband finds himself in this position.