OK, so granted Michael Moore isn't the best spokesperson for most discussions I still have to give big kudos to him for his film on Universal Health Care.
Jason and I just finished watching "Sicko" and I have to say that we really agree with the message. Universal health care is such a great system to have and I really don't understand why the US has gone so far from caring for its people (on so many levels). Because we live in the UK, we have experienced first hand the benefits of such a program. There is absolutely no fear of medical bills and all are equal--rich, and poor alike. It is unbelievable that one of the richest nations, the US, can ignore such a massive problem and go to great lengths to make sure its citizens fear a universal health program. With such wealth, I feel that the level of health care or lack of it for many Americans is one of biggest follies and sins of the US government.
They have a wonderful program here in the UK and we have been very pleased with our doctors. We live one minute walking from the ER and had to take Soren a few months ago. During our visit the doctors and nurses even encouraged us to stay longer to make sure everything was OK. There was no stress that we weren't going to afford something and the doctors always showed that they were there for our best interests. They will even do house calls when situations require it. . . again, free of charge. If you take a taxi to the ER they will even refund what you spent on the taxi! All medication costs the same-- $6.50. If you have a medication that is, lets just say 500 dollars in the states, guess what you pay? Yep, $6.50. This eliminates the drug pushing that is constantly going on in the states all over the TV. "Ask your doctor about this drug. . ." was such a common phrase from commercials and is absolutely absurd. . . Legal drug pushing. Doctors in the states actually get bonuses for having patients use certain drugs. Scary.
When insurance companies wrongfully deny patients they will spend billions settling out of court so that their cases don't become public and this keeps them rich beyond belief and not having to change their ways.
After seeing the documentary, I spoke with some of my Scottish friends about the differences with the US and UK health care systems and they couldn't believe what I was telling them. One of the fears that is pushed in the US is that with a socialized program there will be horrible waiting--this has not been our experience. There are signs up in the ER that say, "if you have been waiting longer that 15 min, please let a nurse know." I have been told that in very difficult situations (like specific rare treatments) one may have to wait but they is no question as to whether someone will be treated. In the US, in my opinion, the waiting seems much worse. At times a patient is waiting to know if treatments will be covered by insurance or if they can pay the deductible. They don't even know if they will be helped.
With the socialized program here, one can also have private health insurance as well. So, if you aren't satisfied with the government program you can pay for something more. It is a win, win situation. I don't think I know anyone with private health care though--it seems like most are happy with the government program.
Doctors are encouraged to help their patients stay well with incentives to the doctor for those patients that quit smoking and the like. They live well although they may not have the massive wealth that doctors acquire in the states. They live a good life and focus on getting people well. They would probably make about 200,000 pounds (400,000 dollars) per year (I'm guessing). Not bad.
It seems to us that universal health care is the most ethical and reasonable option for a health care system. Jason told me that he had recently read a news article about a bill that had been passed to provide universal health care to children in the US, but that it was expected that it may be vetoed by the President. We are really hoping that Moore's new movie will encourage enough interest and debate that universal health care will be provided for everyone in the US.