With the Oct. 1 deadline for open enrollment in Obamacare just days away, the pro- and anti-Obamacare chatter has elevated to a roar.
Just two days ago, the Obama administration released data addressing the cost of premiums in the 36 states that have opted to launch new healthcare exchanges.
On one hand, Obamacare proponents are proud that the data shows that most individuals will be able to pay around $100 per month for a policy, and some even less, depending on qualification for tax subsidies.
Proponents also stress the benefits of ditching the concept of "preexisting conditions" as a bar for coverage.
On the other hand, those against Obamacare point out that many individuals, especially those who do not qualify for subsidies, are looking at significantly more expensive premiums than they are currently paying.
For instance, Wednesday's data shows the average premium for a 27-year-old nonsmoker must shell out $163 per month for the lowest-cost "bronze" plan (just catastrophic coverage), $203 for the "silver" plan (more coverage), and $240 for the most comprehensive "gold" plan.
As a recent member of that demographic, I can report that I was paying $75 per month via Golden Rule insurance for catastrophic coverage - considerably less than the lowest-cost Obamacare plan.
With the epic healthcare debate swirling, we wanted to hear more from our overseas Money Morning readers who have had experience with nationalized healthcare.
Via our Money Morning Facebook page, we asked readers who have already lived (or currently live) with nationalized healthcare in other countries to tell us where they live and what they think of how it works in their countries.
The following is a compilation of the top responses:
[Please note that some were edited for length and ease of reading; the original posts can be found here.]
- Mike Sheehan: Australia. Lived here for forty-or-so years. Generally the healthcare system is top class...there are times when the system is bursting at the seams. We have access to most of the up to date diagnostic tools and these are available to everyone in the public system. However, at times the waiting times can be over long.
- Pete Delgado: I am familiar with Great Britain. My mother is British and we lived there for many years while my father served in Vietnam.
- Katerina Hejndorf: Hi, I live in Denmark and we can all use hospitals and doctors for free. Good to know, that no one is left on the street. We do pay more taxes, but it's worth it. It's a human system that benefits the country as a whole.
- Ruben D'Errico: Dear Money Morning, I write from Italy, where healthcare is "free" for almost everyone.
- Duane Roberts: Germany, I live there for five years and was impressed how the richest to the poorest person was taken care of. The United States can learn from this country but this country doesn't have an open mind and [doesn't] think about the people, only about making money off of the peoples' health insurance.
- Jonathan Aureli: Italy.....failure. Second rate care for all citizens. If you have the money then you can see a private doctor.
- Lee Muntean: I lived in Romanian under "Universal Healthcare" only they did not use such a fancy word. It was called Social Medicine. Same thing. I lived there since I was 12 yrs old. I needed medical care a few times.
- Carol Venson: I was working in Canada, two separate times, under a working visa, I was covered by their national health plan. Needed emergency care one time, no waiting excellent care and no cost just present national health card for service. The other time had elective surgery, was asked what day I wanted to come in, no wait no problem and excellent care.
- Celeste Goh: I did my schooling in Australia. I was hospitalized at Royal Melbourne and I only paid for the medication that they sent me home with. It was top notch and the nurses took fantastic care of me. The public hospital was good enough for me.
However, Japan's social/health insurance was a nightmare. Public hospitals and dentists were horrid. (I lived there for 4 years.) If I had gotten seriously ill, I would have flown home to be treated.
- John Dille: NO FOREIGN COUNTRY, BUT THE UNITED STATES NAVY!!! My family and I got the best medical care that we have ever received while I was in the service... way back in the 1970's!!! I can only hope that military personnel still get excellent health care, but I have my doubts!!!
OUTSIDE OF THE SERVICE, WE HAVE MOSTLY DONE WITHOUT MEDICAL CARE OF ANY KIND... we could not afford anything but the very basics...Even WITH insurance through employers, a simple trip to any medical facility... just for tests or simple procedures, ends up costing 2 or 3 weeks pay or more... AFTER INSURANCE HAS PAID ITS SHARE!!!
Health care in America has become a privilege of the rich... all others are welcome to do without!!! THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS IN THAT SITUATION WOULD PROBABLY FIND ANY NATIONALIZED HEALTH CARE MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO NOW!!! Of course, all the brain washed Republicans would deny that possibility, BUT if they had access to such health care for a few years, they would almost certainly come to love and depend upon it as much as old farts like me love and depend upon Social Security!!!
GIVE ME BIG GOVERNMENT, ANY DAY, AND GET THE CORPORATE THIEVES OUT OF MY LIFE... PLEASE!!!
Medicare is funded by a 1.5% taxation levy. You can decide to have private health insurance which gives you access to the Doctor and Hospital of your choice and is quite popular.
I have had two children who spent weeks in Intensive Care in hospital for basically zero cost to me. In Australia this is regarded as a right and has been instrumental in the generally high standard of health. We could not imagine life without it.
Unfortunately, my grandmother and uncle both became victims of the British healthcare system. My grandmother was denied a hip replacement and died in the hospital because she was unable to go home due to a broken hip, but unable to get surgery. She got very depressed and over time wasted away and died.
My uncle scheduled a visit to a heart specialist and died of a heart attack 3 months before the scheduled visit because the wait time at that point for the specialist was about 6 months.
This kind of system just provides higher costs, longer [wait] times, and poorer quality with respect the private system; the public healthcare benefits are public money and "tickets" that have to be paid depending on the level of income of the person requiring treatment.
One incident in particular was a visit to the Dentist. In a Socialized Universal Healthcare System if you need dental work you just go to a Dental Office sign in and wait for your name to be called. That is exactly what I did at nine yrs old.
Because it is a Government Run System there are no [repercussions] for mistakes made by the Dental Office or Dental Assistant. She started working on one of my teeth and then hit a nerve to where I flinched. She dropped the drill in my mouth to where it cut my tongue in several places.
I tell people all the time I tasted Universal Health Care, Social Medicine literally. Private Medicine is always better.
Our healthcare system in the US is not perfect. Yes it needs some changes to be made. But [definitely] not Obamacare or Universal Healthcare. We need to restructure the way people are charged for procedures and medicine and make it affordable. I'm defiantly against Universal Health Care or Socialized Medicine.
This all was given to an American worker in Canada. People need to stop listening to the propaganda from our corporate insurance carriers, who would have you believe the service is terrible in Canada. Also you might want to know that Canadian doctors perform surgeries in Michigan in our hospitals which they have rented from us to help with any delay for Canadians that live nearer to Michigan hospitals than any in Canada.
Nothing is perfect anywhere, but no one in Canada is going bankrupt from medical bills, please remember this when you want to criticize Canada. I will always respect them for the wonderful care that I received there, oh, my care occurred in Ontario and Quebec if you are interested.
A big "thank you" to our readers who participated - your first-hand experiences are fascinating.
It's clear the success of nationalized healthcare depends on the country, and the government, and the patient...so here's what to do now:
No matter how Obamacare affects your health, it will undoubtedly affect your wallet.
We've found a way to make money from the shift in our nation's healthcare process. You can get the details here.
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