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Old Aug 21, 2013, 02:58 PM   #1
lannister80
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Living in a country with universal healthcare

There was a post on Reddit this morning (r/askreddit) entitled:

Redditors who live in a country with universal healthcare, what is it really like?

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/co...ith_universal/

Tons and tons and tons of replies. Yes, I know each and every one is an anecdote (which is not "data"), but I thought it would give people on this forum some "personal experience" with what it's like to actually live with that system.

I get tired of the same old "My grandma had to wait 2 years to see her GP about a goiter" stories I always see tossed around, thought this would be some food for thought.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 03:40 PM   #2
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It must be awful to live in a country with universal healthcare. My evidence is all the people rising up in the streets protesting their healthcare coverage.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 03:44 PM   #3
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It's interesting how many people in this say things like "how Americans defend that s****y system is beyond me" or "that is ********d!" or how they are generally mindblown that we actually have to pay thousands of dollars for basic services even while paying thousands of dollars for insurance.

Yet, all anti-universal-healthcare Americans seem to know scores of people living in those countries who hate the system or have all sorts of stories about how bad it is.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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As a red blooded American living in the Deep South (red state FTW), I'm against anything that benefits me. I'd rather spend $400 a month for insurance and, yet, for some reason, still have to mortgage my house if I happen to break my arm than...GRRR SOCIALISM!

I mean free healthcare for the rich or poor? Who do you think we are? Jesus? Comeon. The Good Book says we can never attain that level of purity and goodness, so...hell...we're not even gonna try. If you can't pay, you can go linger and die in a ditch somewhere. God bless.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 05:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by samiwas View Post
It's interesting how many people in this say things like "how Americans defend that s****y system is beyond me" or "that is ********d!" or how they are generally mindblown that we actually have to pay thousands of dollars for basic services even while paying thousands of dollars for insurance.

Yet, all anti-universal-healthcare Americans seem to know scores of people living in those countries who hate the system or have all sorts of stories about how bad it is.
THIS THIS THIS. That's what I'm getting at...everyone in these countries loves their healthcare system!
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 06:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by samiwas View Post
It's interesting how many people in this say things like "how Americans defend that s****y system is beyond me" or "that is ********d!" or how they are generally mindblown that we actually have to pay thousands of dollars for basic services even while paying thousands of dollars for insurance.

Yet, all anti-universal-healthcare Americans seem to know scores of people living in those countries who hate the system or have all sorts of stories about how bad it is.
Huh?

One doesn't have to have anecdotal stories to understand statistics.

The median wait time for an MRI in Canada is 11 weeks.
The median wait time for an MRI in the United State is hours.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 06:09 PM   #7
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The median wait time for an MRI in the United State is hours.
Provided you write them a very big check when you walk in the door.

And I have very good (and expensive to me) health insurance already. But that was my recent experience.

----------

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Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
It must be awful to live in a country with universal healthcare. My evidence is all the people rising up in the streets protesting their healthcare coverage.
Yeah, and when they're done with their little protest-riot against said healthcare, they get whisked off to the ER and patched up for free.

Ingrates!

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Old Aug 21, 2013, 06:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ThisIsNotMe View Post
Huh?

One doesn't have to have anecdotal stories to understand statistics.

The median wait time for an MRI in Canada is 11 weeks.
The median wait time for an MRI in the United State is hours.
Source, please.

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Old Aug 21, 2013, 06:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ThisIsNotMe View Post
Huh?

One doesn't have to have anecdotal stories to understand statistics.

The median wait time for an MRI in Canada is 11 weeks.
The median wait time for an MRI in the United State is hours.


So I can call my doctor and say, "I want an MRI" and I can get one in a matter of hours?

What health plan do you have?

It certainly is waaay faster than mine.

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Originally Posted by bradl View Post
Source, please.

BL.
Yes. Please.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 07:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ThisIsNotMe View Post
Huh?

One doesn't have to have anecdotal stories to understand statistics.

The median wait time for an MRI in Canada is 11 weeks.
The median wait time for an MRI in the United State is hours.
And yet the average lifespan for Europeans is longer than it is for us in America. It's a similar story with some of the Asian nations. There's a bit of debate over the statistics regarding deaths of newborns (the USA reports it a bit differently than Europe), but there are indicators that we fare poorly by comparison there, too.

You can gloat about being able to get an MRI quickly, but what does it matter if in the long run your health isn't any better for it? Not to even speak of going bankrupt in the process...
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 08:04 PM   #11
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You can gloat about being able to get an MRI quickly ...
He can claim it, but he he hasn't yet provided evidence to back that claim up.

I'd wait for some proof before giving him any credit for something to gloat over.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 08:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ThisIsNotMe View Post
Huh?

One doesn't have to have anecdotal stories to understand statistics.

The median wait time for an MRI in Canada is 11 weeks.
The median wait time for an MRI in the United State is hours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradl View Post
Source, please.

BL.
Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post


So I can call my doctor and say, "I want an MRI" and I can get one in a matter of hours?

What health plan do you have?

It certainly is waaay faster than mine.

----------



Yes. Please.
For the above interested: the median waiting time for a diagnostic service (which includes MRI) in Canada is 2 weeks, not 11 as the poster above claims.
Source: Health Canada (Government Department), 2010 Healthcare Report p. 35

On a similar note, the median wait for an MRI scan in the UK (another government-run universal system, more so than Canada) is 1.8 weeks. It has held steady at this wait for around four years.
Source: UK Department of Health, NHS Diagnostics Waiting Times p. 2 & 4.

I do however concede that if you have the money on hand to fund the scan then, in the United States, you are more than likely able to get an MRI the same day by buying your way to the front of the queue.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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Last edited by AhmedFaisal; Nov 16, 2013 at 05:38 PM.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 08:51 PM   #14
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I do however concede that if you have the money on hand to fund the scan then, in the United States, you are more than likely able to get an MRI the same day by buying your way to the front of the queue.
But there's no queue here for the simple reason that the quicker they see you the quicker they can empty your wallet (before you shop around or change your mind)
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 08:55 PM   #15
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I live in Canada and, for the most part, I think our healthcare system is great. I have my main doctor which I book appointments with for physicals etc then a walk-in clinic for a quick check-up or certain prescriptions. The only nuisance I recall having is a long wait time in the emergency room at a hospital but that was a while ago and the province was working on improving that.

My dad was passing a kidney stone last week and being able to get an ambulance to our house without paying was great (heard prices can be around $1000 in some states).

I always thought that the system in the States would be good for those who have money, but otherwise I think it's a bit of a crutch on the lower-middle class.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 09:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Renzatic View Post
As a red blooded American living in the Deep South (red state FTW), I'm against anything that benefits me. I'd rather spend $400 a month for insurance and, yet, for some reason, still have to mortgage my house if I happen to break my arm than...GRRR SOCIALISM!

I mean free healthcare for the rich or poor? Who do you think we are? Jesus? Comeon. The Good Book says we can never attain that level of purity and goodness, so...hell...we're not even gonna try. If you can't pay, you can go linger and die in a ditch somewhere. God bless.

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Old Aug 21, 2013, 09:30 PM   #17
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It's like a free ride when I've already paid!
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 09:58 PM   #18
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He can claim it, but he he hasn't yet provided evidence to back that claim up.

I'd wait for some proof before giving him any credit for something to gloat over.
I sent a patient to get an MRI today and it was started within 30 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. This was a charity referral to boot.

This is the norm for the clinic I'm rotating at FYI.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 11:37 PM   #19
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I dislocated my shoulder wake-boarding at the Han River in South Korea. It hurt A LOT. An ambulance + a whole team of healthcare providers (about 5+) + general anesthesia + 3 x-rays + pain killers for 1 month cost me 100 USD. And that's all I could remember because they put me under really quickly after noticing I could no longer bear the pain.

There are pros and cons to every healthcare system. I minored in Public Health as an undergrad and after researching the qualifications of many systems, I was quick to determine that the US healthcare system plain sucks.

I'm doing a radiology rotation now and the vast, vast majority of films and studies come back negative. Sure you can get an MRI in a couple of hours here, but remember it will cost you because in our system, doctors practice defensive medicine so they are liberal in ordering films, which ends up increasing costs. And depending on your plan and what type of imaging you require, wait times can last many months in the US. To echo previous posts, sure you can get an MRI in two hours, but you need to hand over an arm and a leg.

ETA: I also just finished my OBGYN rotation at a hospital. The times I had a chance to peak at some bills infuriated me. $20k for a 3-4 day stay following a c-section?! My guess is that even after insurance kicks in, they would still end up paying about half. This is the very reason why millions of Americans file bankruptcy.

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Old Aug 21, 2013, 11:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLC Flyfishing View Post
I sent a patient to get an MRI today and it was started within 30 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. This was a charity referral to boot.

This is the norm for the clinic I'm rotating at FYI.
Context is all...
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 11:48 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by SLC Flyfishing View Post
I sent a patient to get an MRI today and it was started within 30 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. This was a charity referral to boot.

This is the norm for the clinic I'm rotating at FYI.
Yes, please provide context.

Are you suggesting that I could walk into your clinic, ask for an MRI and in 30 minutes receive one?

----------

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Originally Posted by vega07 View Post
To echo previous posts, sure you can get an MRI in two hours, but you need to hand over an arm and a leg.
Again, please provide context for this service. Isn't the patient referred by their primary care physician?

Did they get in to see their doctor "in a couple of hours"? Or did they likely have to make an appointment days or weeks ahead of time? We they then referred to your facility within a couple of hours? Or did they likely have to make an appointment for the MRI days or weeks ahead of time.

I don't know how your facility operates, but in my years as a patient, I've had to go through these steps to receive like treatment. Please correct me if my experience is not the norm.
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Old Aug 21, 2013, 11:53 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by lannister80 View Post

Redditors who live in a country with universal healthcare, what is it really like?

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/co...ith_universal/
Hey, thanks for posting this. Excellent.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 12:10 AM   #23
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Again, please provide context for this service. Isn't the patient referred by their primary care physician?

Did they get in to see their doctor "in a couple of hours"? Or did they likely have to make an appointment days or weeks ahead of time? We they then referred to your facility within a couple of hours? Or did they likely have to make an appointment for the MRI days or weeks ahead of time.

I don't know how your facility operates, but in my years as a patient, I've had to go through these steps to receive like treatment. Please correct me if my experience is not the norm.
From what I know, you can get an MRI in a couple of hours if you're 1) self-pay or 2) arrive at the hospital for acute care and require imaging services in-patient. But #2 will cost you, depending on your co-pay and deductible. The only people served well who require #2 are those who are low-income and thus have Medicaid or another county-sponsored insurance, the elderly (Medicare), and the military. These groups of people have no out-of-pocket expenses. If you're not in one of these three groups, you're pretty much out of luck.

But yes, with your PCP you'd need a referral, and then you'd need to wait days to weeks depending on your plan (how long it takes for them to accept the request), your region (how saturated your local imaging centers are), and the type of imaging you require (e.g. x-rays generally take less time for approval than MRIs and CTs).
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 12:12 AM   #24
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Yes, please provide context.

Are you suggesting that I could walk into your clinic, ask for an MRI and in 30 minutes receive one?
I am rotating in Family Medicine at a community health center at the moment. These are clinics for uninsured/underinsured folks. The way it works is the patient comes in with a complaint, if an MRI or other imaging study is needed we ask a case manager to find us a place to provide one. When that's arranged, usually within 30 minutes, we send them to the hospital that has agreed to do the study; we get the results later that day or early the next.

So from needing imaging (MRI, CT, US, X-ray etc) to Radiologist report on my desk within 8-12 hours is the norm.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 12:13 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by SLC Flyfishing View Post
I sent a patient to get an MRI today and it was started within 30 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. This was a charity referral to boot.

This is the norm for the clinic I'm rotating at FYI.
If US medical students are sending people for MRIs I've got a pretty good idea why you have such an expensive and inefficient healthcare system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ugg
Context is all...
The most important factor is if it changes clinical outcome. If I wait 2 weeks for an MRI as opposed to same day am I going to have a worse outcome. The answer is usually no.

As someone that lives in a country with UHC if my case is urgent (say a stroke) I can absolutely get an MRI the same day.

You can refer for an MRI privately in australia and have it done the same day as well. The benefit of a UHC safety net is that the service is available to all, not just those who can afford it.
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