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American Health Insurance

Australian here. I've posted a few threads in the past about the Australian Medicare system and how our health care system works.

I was wondering how much your health insurance costs and what sort of benefits do you get from it? Do you get dental care included and what do you get? If you have a heart attack what happens? If you need to see a Doctor then how much does it cost and how does it work? How much does your medication cost if you need it? Can you really be refused health insurance if you are overweight or mentally ill?

An American friend of mine was trying to explain what she pays for health care per month and what it entails/provides and I just couldn't understand the whole mess. I was fascinated but it was just such an alien concept to me that it didn't sound logical.

It sounds really awful. It sounded like if you were poor you didn't seek medical attention and that nobody cares about anyone else in the US. It also sounded like medication costs hundreds of dollars a month.

Are you hopeful that Obamacare will radically overhaul your health care system?

So many questions! Thanks!

by Australianreply 5411/13/2013

Hi OP. New Zealander here and wondering the same thing. If you need a kidney but don't have insurance, do you still get one in the USA? Health insurance in NZ is available if you want to have your hip or knee replaced sooner than the couple of months you wait in the public health system.

by Australianreply 111/10/2013

STFU, OP. You're quite transparent. I'm so sick of the blushing, "I just don't understand why Americans...We have it so great here." Meanwhile, when you actually know something about these countries, you realize they aren't the utopias (esp. the systems) people like this make them out to be. I'll just bet it's going so great for you, that you've taken to providing advice to unfortunate Americans who just can't seem to figure it out.

by Australianreply 211/10/2013

You sound absolutely lovely R2 and thanks for your sparkling input.

However, I didn't say any of those things.

I merely asked if you guys can explain your system. How much does it cost and what do you get? Seems like someone from New Zealand would also like to know because we genuinely don't understand your health care system. I think R1 will agree that the concept is very alien to us.

So R2 - why don't you tell us about your health care policy and what it gets you. How much does all the medication you need to take for your obvious mental illnesses cost you a month???

by Australianreply 311/10/2013

OP - I think the better question is what do you in Australia and R1 from New Zealand get from the American health care system?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say just about everything.

I can't think of a single significant medical advance that came from or was funded by either Australia or New Zealand.

I will admit the best sex I've ever had was with a guy from Australia. But that's the only contribution I can think your country has made.

by Australianreply 411/10/2013

r2 Sorry - did not mean to be offensive or sound pretentious. I work with a number of American surgeons who are here for a year working in an NZ hospital. They tell me that there are changes coming for the way that they work and get paid as well as the way in which American's access health care. They are concerned and tell me that this is a really big deal in the US. The OP didn't deserve the response he received.

by Australianreply 511/10/2013

Please OP and R1 - give the innocent naivete a rest. Save it for the next time you are trying to get tourists to buy your drinks.

by Australianreply 611/10/2013

Jesus, no need to be so defensive!

Australian medical breakthroughs include the ultrasound, the 'bionic ear' and invitro fertilization

Currently they are at the forefront of AIDS research.

Australia has produced 14 Nobel laureates in medicine and physics (the highest number per head of population of any country)

by Australianreply 711/10/2013

Most Americans either have health insurance largely paid by their employer, or Medicare (retirement.). They receive the finest, timely care available in the world. It is fabulously expensive. The rest have Medicaid (wait in line care) if they're dirt poor, or NOTHING if in between. Not only that, paying out-of-pocket draws higher fees and drug costs, much, much higher. It is these people which Obamacare was intended to help.

Unfortunately, it was sold via the something-for-nothing myth which we Americans are always eager to believe.

by Australianreply 811/10/2013

r1 here. Thanks for the response r8 - that's great then. If nothing changes for the bulk of American's who are already receiving great healthcare, nothing to worry about. Guys I work with are worried that they will be doing more work with less resources and for potentially less financial rewards. We live in fear this side of the planet that our governments will want to have user pays only and slowly dissolve our largely public health system. In the 2020s, there will be a huge number of people reaching retirement age and they will be placing pressure on an already under resourced system. It's this group who would suffer most if we were to have a user pays system.

by Australianreply 911/10/2013

OP -- some of us have excellent health insurance paid for entirely by employers. I pay next to nothing for health care, but I also consume next to nothing (knock on wood). I can go to any health care provider I want without any kind of permission or referral. Basic visits cost me no more than a small co-payment, maybe $20. (And if I go to one of the hospitals owned / run by the health network my plan is apart of, visits are free.) Simple drugs are cheap or free. The most I ever paid was when I went to a therapist who cost $240 a session; I had to pay for half, because he was so expensive. My insurance paid the other half. I have a booklet that tells me what part of everything they will pay versus what I would owe, down to air ambulance in a foreign country vs in the US.

The upside to US insurance is, if you have a very generous plan, there is zero wait for treatment. There's no queueing. But I have no idea what my plan "costs." It's through my labor union, includes my pension, and is supposedly very generous. The downside is, a lot of people don't have it, or have very bad plans that are very restrictive.

Hope this is at all informative.

by Australianreply 1111/10/2013

OP and R1, instead of getting anecdotal testimonials, why not look this up? You both sound like intelligent fellows and there is no shortage of analyses that will explain the different kinds of managed care.

by Australianreply 1211/10/2013

Howard Florey - an Australian, invented antibiotics (penicillin) in the 1940s which was a turning point for modern medicine.

I'm sure the clap ridden posters at R2, R4 and R6 know this particular medication well.

by Australianreply 1311/10/2013

I read the article at the link R12 and then wanted to ask you guys what your experiences were.

Thank you R11. That's exactly what I wanted to know. I'm not sure if R1 agrees but the paying for your health care fund is something that doesn't happen down here - neither does managed care.

Not sure how it works in NZ but in Australia we all pay 1.5% of our taxable income to Medicare and then everything is free in the public health system. I also have private health insurance at the cost of about $1300 per year and this gets me free dental and elective surgery and a private room and doctor of my choice in a hospital.

Anyway - the majority of responses in this thread are quite bizarre. Stupid really. Sorry I asked.

by Australianreply 1411/10/2013

Yeah R8, except that the American health care system is ranked No. 38 in the world by the WHO. Just because it's the most expensive doesn't mean it's the finest.

Americans are so funny the way they know nothing about the world, assume they're the only ones who've ever contributed anything of merit to the world and think everything they do and have is without question the best. When will you people ever get a clear view of yourselves? Prickly arrogance is different from actual achievement and a long way from real intelligence.

by Australianreply 1511/10/2013

[quote]but the paying for your health care fund is something that doesn't happen down here - neither does managed care.

I meant the paying for it by your employer.

by Australianreply 1611/10/2013

One thing many Americans don't understand about health care in this country is that they are paying, even if indirectly, for the uninsured. Hospitals who treat people who can't pay pass off the cost to insured patients who have those generous plans mentioned above. And when those uninsured people get treated, because they don't get any preventive care, the condition they're being treated for is usually at a more critical stage requiring more expensive treatment. The uninsured basically get no preventive treatment because they can't afford it.

by Australianreply 1711/10/2013

Well, the biggest thing they don't understand R17 is that ultimately in their country health care is a commodity exploited and optimised first and foremost for nothing more than capitalist concerns. Whether you're a have or a have not - an issue of no importance other than a straw man argument used to deflect attention from those profiteering - is of no concern.

What Americans apparently aren't even capable of understanding because of their bubble-like existence is that civilised countries accept and acknowledge that as a species we will all require health care at one time or another; that it isn't a commodity but rather a basic requirement for human beings.

Americans will be the first to commoditise air.

by Australianreply 1811/10/2013

I have high hopes for the ACA. Yes, the roll-out has been screwed up but it will get better. I am 58 years old, have a pre-existing condition (asthma) and a job that pays well but doesn't provide insurance. My insurance is through my husband's job. My husband is 65 and was diagnosed with lung cancer in May. Thank dog he's on Medicare (using the health insurance for whatever Medicare doesn't pick up).

I can't wait till I turn 65 and can go on Medicare. I sure wish we had single-payer, but this is a step in the right direction. For all you young people out there bitching about Baby Boomers not retiring, this is why. We need health care. My husband and his boss have a deal that he works part time just for the health coverage for us and our daughter (an unemployed Millenial).

I don't recall what we pay every month. His employer pays for some, we pay for the rest. I was hospitalized earlier this year for a bad asthma attack. We paid $1,000 for a 4 day hospital stay. Everything else was covered by insurance. My asthma meds (and now husband is taking the same - Advair) can be expensive. I found it cheaper to order online outside of the US.

Our coverage does include dental.

by Australianreply 1911/10/2013

Yes but R14 you're showing why the Aussie system is not the free system you claim. To get out of the queue you pay extra insurance. And if you look more closely at your system and every other publicly funded program you also don't get the range of health care options you get on employer plans.

Most Americans pay into Medicare like you do for retirement care and about the same on contributions for employer insurance for the same benefits you get for extra insurance.

It's 15% of the country not covered before and that's a stupid policy choice given costs taxpayers pay for covering emergency rooms for primary care etc, but it's not the huge contrasts you claim for most of the country.

by Australianreply 2011/10/2013

R14 is distorting on multiple levels.

Everything is not free in Australia after the tax. Most Australians pay 15-25% of health care costs on initial outlays for things like GP visits, etc., until they cross a threshold.

"Everything is free"? Not quite. Free or subsidized in part. There's a big difference.

Prescription drugs are also not free either. Another lie.

And the government imposes a surcharge on people over certain ages and income thresholds and if they do not choose to privately insure.

by Australianreply 2111/10/2013

R20 - I didn't say our system was free - it isn't free. I clearly said we all paid 1.5% of our taxable income and then we can use it as much or as little as we like.

Although I also have private health insurance - it's mostly for the dental component and to satisfy tax requirements because I earn over 100 grand a year. I've never used it for anything but dental. It's there if I need it for something elective I suppose. We don't have employer plans so I can't compare ours with yours. I assume that the private health insurance component makes it comparable to an employer plan.

The two serious times I have used the hospital system - car accident in 2002(needed head surgery) and a heart attack last year (got a stent and 4 days in hospital) it cost nothing additional. (other than my 1.5% compulsory Medicare tax). I was happy with that.

If your employers are paying for it then you guys must be paying for it somewhere in your wages. Interesting that no-one knows how much you pay directly or indirectly.

by Australianreply 2211/10/2013

Notice how this pro-Australia website does the comparison, critical of the US, but is careful to put "free" in quotes.

And the AVERAGE cost for private insurance that R14 is carrying is higher than R14 claims, according to this - more like $1550 a year (AU$130 a month), and that's the average cost, so it's higher for many.

by Australianreply 2311/10/2013

Since I'm on disability, I was just enrolled in Medicare (which is for people > 65 and those on disability after a 29- month waiting period). It costs $104 per month, which is taken directly out of my disability payment of $2200 per month. It normally covers hospitalization (Part A) and outpatient (Part B i.e. Doctors visits, labs, X-rays) via a 80% covered/ 20% co-pay system.

However I pay $28 extra per month to be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), which is basically a HMO-type setup combined with a drug plan (Part D). The funny thing is that the Medicare plan I have is actually better than my prior employer-based health plan -- I get generic meds with no co-pay, primary doctor/ labs are without co-pay, all specialist doctors are $10, PLUS I get a gym membership for free.

I get to visit ALL of my doctors whenever....there are no restrictions. If I were hospitalized, I pay $100 per day for days 1-5, then nothing afterwards. ER visits are $50, however this is waived if I'm admitted to the hospital.

Everyone should have this.

by Australianreply 2411/10/2013

You're misreading and/or lying again, R22. Troll-dar yourself and see what you wrote at R14.

You said you pay 1.5% and then "everything else is free" in the public health care system.

It's not. Most Australians copay for many services until they reach thresholds AFTER the 1.5% tax, pay EXTRA for drugs, AND it's not a choice to avoid carrying higher insurance.

So you're wrong that's it's just 1.5% and wrong that the everything after that is "free". It's subsidized.

There's a big difference.

by Australianreply 2511/10/2013

Seriously R21! Stop making shit up.

I never said it was free - please actually read my posts thanks. I have very clearly said multiple times that we all pay 1.5% of our taxable income. We can then all use the health system when we need it for a many times as we need it. I also gave you two examples in my last post. So there was no expense to me APART FROM THE 1.5% MEDICARE LEVY THAT ALL AUSTRALIANS PAY FROM THEIR TAXABLE INCOME. Then you can use the system for free because you pay your 1.5% Medicate levy.

I didn't say prescriptions were free either. Prescriptions cost between $5 and $35 dollars depending on the medication. The rest of the cost is subsidised by the Federal Government. They all cost about $5 if you are a low income earner and have a health care card.

I pay nothing when I see a Doctor and as I said in my last post, I have private insurance because we do get a surcharge when you earn over a certain amount if you don't have it. I said I paid it for tax reasons and those are the reasons. I have never used it for anything but 100% of my yearly dental treatments.

by Australianreply 2611/10/2013

What OP and other non-Americans are not understanding in part is the particular demographics of the US and how that plays into its policy choices, even bad ones.

Of the countries that have more than 100 million people, truly universal health care is practiced by Brazil and Mexico. Japan's is not free for everyone, most pay 30% of their health care costs. China is struggling, and India, while vastly improved, has substandard conditions in public hospitals.

The US has more than 300 million people. Try to imagine the infrastructure required to process public health care for a population that size. Not a simple task.

Moreover, in the US, just under a third make over $100,000 a year, a much smaller number (under 10%) make over $150,000 a year, and then less than 5% make more than $200,000 a year. The AVERAGE household income is about $50k, which is hard to assess depending on where folks live as to what they make for their money. But the top third, living comfortably, frequently do not want to carry the rest and diminish their net income -- and that's where the political fight is.

Among those who do not have health insurance, it's mostly low-income folks but also people who are choosing not to take out low income insurance because they would rather take the risk of having no health care bills each year and figure out they will come out ahead unless catastrophe strikes. Those individuals will rightly have to pay the health care penalty now.

The poor are well-covered (. With the PPACA, that will be raised to 133% of the poverty line except in stubborn states that have refused to do it and are now also facing budget cuts for hospitals that give free care to low-income Americans. More than 40 million children are covered under CHIP. That's larger than the size of Australia.

The US also directly subsidizes public health care for more than 100 million people and indirectly subsidizes employer plans by excluding that from income and allowing employers to deduct it. Improving medicare income qualifying standards will allow more medicaid enrollment and should get the US over 90 percent covered -- close to 280 million people.

Just so you know.

by Australianreply 2711/10/2013

R25. I also signed R14 as OP. No need to troll-dar. You're putting words in my mouth and looking for a fight though aren't you.

There aren't co-pay thresholds. I think there is one for medication. Doesn't apply to me because I earn too much so I can't comment.

It IS a personal choice not to have health insurance - the Federal Government merely charges you more Medicare levy in your tax if you are over 30 or earn a lot. It's not smart to not have it though. I would rather have the private insurance for the same cost. I pay $1300 per year as I have said and I have also said I have never used it for anything but dental.

To clarify one final time - You pay your 1.5% Medicare levy and then everything else - Doctors and hospitals are at no charge - no extra charge - no bill - no nothing (this is what I mean when I say free). Semantics.

Prescriptions I have explained in my last post.

OK - I'm going to sign this OP again but do troll-dar the post just in case.

Love how you think you know more about the Australian health system than Australian's do by the way!

by Australianreply 2811/10/2013

OP / R26, calm down. You're also showing your stupidity.

Everyone KNOWS you wrote "Not sure how it works in NZ but in Australia we all pay 1.5% of our taxable income to Medicare and then everything is free in the public health system"

NO ONE is disputing that you said you DO PAY the 1.5% tax.

What R20 and I are telling you is that it's what you pay AFTER the 1.5% tax that you're lying about, as well as the mere 1.5%.

You WROTE "and then everything is free...."


You admit the prescription drug cost is extra, you admit you pay for extra insurance and "pay it for tax reasons" why -- as you've been corrected -- is NOT a choice but more tax than you claimed. As you now acknowledge, Australians over a certain age and income must pay more than 1.5% if they don't carry private insurance, the cost of which, as I wrote above, is more than $1500 a year.

You may not pay for doctors' visits, etc., but other Australians do, IN the public health care system.

You're either misinformed or deliberately distorting.

by Australianreply 2911/10/2013

You are misinformed OP.

Australian sources expressly say that you pay more than scheduled fees if your doctor charges a gap fee. See yet another source, this one from Australia.

Claiming it's a choice not to carry extra insurance is FALSE. It is Australian law that will impose a tax penalty if you don't. So if you don't you pay extra -- more than 1.5%.


by Australianreply 3011/10/2013

More for the OP.

The Australian government makes clear that while you get a "tax benefit" for carrying private insurance, you get a penalty surcharge if you don't if you're over a certain age and income.

See your government's health care official website.

Deliciously, as in the US, the links to the government system are broken.

by Australianreply 3111/10/2013

The sources do show OP is being too generous on his own system. The link above also seems to show for specialists, the cost is not 100% either.

But these oversimplifications are common in universal health care systems.

In Sweden, where we are covered universally, there are big gaps. If you get really sick, the system kicks into gear and takes care of you (although there is a report that if you get cancer and do not have private insurance, you will get standard drugs, but not the newer, more expensive, or possibly more effective drugs). Hospital shortages are huge problems in the summer because the government does not want to pay overtime. But wait times for surgery or non-serious can be long if it's not serious.

And I don't know for sure about Australia, but we pay a small amount for the first uses of health care each year, and for all prescriptions, so it's not free for sure (and most of us don't really know how much of our tax is paying for it). So to say it is free is not fair.

by Australianreply 3211/10/2013

Don't call me a liar R29...

I'm not going to go over it all again.

As I said - it's just nit picking and semantics on your part because you have a point to prove - that you're right and I am wrong and stupid as you have said.

I've explained it several times now. That's my health care experience in Australia. That's what I pay and that's what I get from what I pay because of the choices I've made (i.e the choice to have private health insurance which I don't have to have as I have explained - if I don't have it then I pay slightly more Medicare from my taxable income). Sorry it doesn't all match with what you Googled.

I'm sure there are other Australian's who have completely different experiences with our health care system but those are mine.

Good night.

by Australianreply 3311/10/2013

It's not nitpicking, R33 / OP.

It's right to criticize the US, which has huge problems.

What's obnoxious is to do so by presenting this utopian picture of the Australian health care system by claiming it's a minor tax and "then everything else is free".

That's a big claim which just isn't true. If you want to believe paying a higher tax for not carrying additional private insurance is just a choice and not an additional cost one way or another, on top of extra charges for drugs, specialists, etc., believe that.

But it's not what your own doctors and government says.

by Australianreply 3411/10/2013

I agree it's important not to say that universal health care is not free by any means, not just because of the taxes and extra private outlays.

But I come back to the size of the country and a fact I didn't mention before -- with a market that big and private insurance necessary for two-thirds of the country, it's a big market that the insurance companies don't want to give up.

When you have public, universal health care that people can get for lower cost, these fat cats that make money going into the insurance biz will have to be competitive and lower their rates, and their executives won't make as much money.

Add to that the costs on the system by absorbing the costs for the uninsured, and the much larger population of elderly and chronically sick, and it's no wonder the outlays for the US are so high.

The smaller countries with universal health care are much more efficient and competitive.

by Australianreply 3511/10/2013

I've had no insurance, shit insurance, good insurance and great insurance. I keep the same family doctor, whether I have to pay out-of-pocket or not. She's worth it. In network a visit is $30. Without insurance, I think her price is about $120 a visit.

On my last insurance plan, my employer took out $65 a week. I pay $30 for my primary, $50 for specialists, $100 for ER, and another $100 towards tests like ultrasound. I'm on COBRA now so I pay about $355 a month. I have to get referrals, which is a pain, but they've paid for everything else. All of the expensive treatment was preauthorized except for one ER visit, but they paid for that as well.

I've never had to wait more than a week to see any doctor. I did have some serious delays when I had to have medication shipped. By the time my doctor wrote the scrip and by the time it arrived, almost a month went by. I'm currently on another drug that gets shipped to my doctor's office, and there's always a delay with that one too.

If we did have a national plan, I think I would still pay for extra insurance. My mother was on Medicaid at the end of her life, and the paperwork was a nightmare. Try filling out forms when you have a brain tumor. I think she had to verify her income every six months or so. Also, she went to the drugstore to pick up a new prescription, and the pharmacist told her it would be over $2000. Turns out that Medicaid had dropped her and didn't even tell her - all because she got an automatic $20 raise in her social security. Other times they dropped her because the paperwork got lost in the system. Every time she got dropped, she got hysterical.

I also think she would have gotten better treatment if she had regular insurance. While her surgeons were great, her oncologist was a piece of shit. Better insurance might not have changed that, but I'll always wonder.

by Australianreply 3611/10/2013

Sorry, I forgot to mention in my previous post that I'm in the US, East Coast.

by Australianreply 3711/10/2013

I did not have health insurance till my late 30s. [R8] paints a rosier picture than the reality. We NEED ACA

I teach and had a student nearly die of a ruptured appendix because he could not afford healthcare even though he was in pain for a week. Fortunately he was near a hospital when it ruptured. Few people I know get health insurance before age 30. I was nearly 40 when I finally got it.

When you lose a job, you can keep your insurance for up to 18 months but you pay it yourself. This happened to me ten years ago, and my plan was $370, which was unaffordable since I had no income.

Some professions are off-limits to people with chronic conditions like diabetes. How? In some fields such as higher education or publishing, one must work as a freelancer before getting a full-time job. But since individual insurance, costs hundreds of dollars a month, few who are starting out can pay. (I know a young writer with a chronic condition who has been coming up against this in her search for a publishing job.)

This is changing with ACA (Obamacare). It is shocking to me how many people do not care about those who are bankrupted or die from lack of insurance--or at the very least the huge financial burden of uninsured who go to the emergency room for care. (Emergency rooms are not allowed to turn away patients, so they pass on the expense.)

by Australianreply 3811/10/2013

Oh yes, and even with insurance it is usually 3 to 8 weeks to see a doctor (longer for a specialist).

by Australianreply 3911/10/2013


What choice? Employers change plans in a search for the cheapest option. Doctors leave insurers frequently.

I have not been able to keep the same doctor for more than two years (often less) over the last ten years.

And the choice of health provider is always limited. I need to see an orthopedist and my Blue Cross gives me a choice of only 3 in within my county.

by Australianreply 4011/10/2013

r38 you are correct that ACA is needed but you're also painting a bleaker picture than reality.

If most people under 30 (or that you know) are uninsured it's not because they all can't. I'm 31 and worked my way through school I lived in a small dorm room with common showers, rode a bike, didn't have cable, etc. I got a job and lived in a studio and had employer health insurance but had money to pay off debt and savings for insurance if I needed it.

I have friends who are living without renter's insurance because they'd rather have spending money, and two acquaintances without health insurance bitching about the penalty because they say they're healthy and have the right to choose to live in Manhattan instead of Brooklyn, etc. All of them have iPads, iPhones, etc.

We need to be providing a public option especially for low-income people but we need that penalty as well.

by Australianreply 4111/10/2013

ACA will be a godsend for me. I haven't had insurance since I was kicked off my father's insurance, 11 years ago. It will be state insurance, which blows donkeys, but it's better than nothing. Beyond simple things like dental checkups and inhalers, I'll be able to get mental health care again.

I have several pre-existing conditions. Kaiser offered me the chance to continue my coverage back in 2002, but it was nearly $400 a month. There was no way I could afford it.

I'm glad that some of you anti-ACA posters have never been in the position where you'd need something other than private insurance, but there are lots of us that could use the help, for reasons more varied than "we prefer to love in Manhattan". Asshats.

by Australianreply 4211/10/2013

Who said I'm against the ACA? I supported it in my post for low-income people as well as for free riders.

Why you do you think Republicans and tea partiers are especially so against the penalty? They should favor anything other than public spending on emergency care.

You do need mental health assistance, R42.

by Australianreply 4311/10/2013


Seriously? It is hard to imagine anyone making less than $40,000 a year buying health insurance--and even then it would be a squeeze. It is not about "spending money"--it is about rent and food. (Renter's insurance? Really?)

In todays world--especially in New York--wages for entry level and freelance work is pretty low and have not kept up with inflation. And work contracts get shorter and shorter.

Back when I was starting out everyone wanted health insurance. (Hell, I had a friend who married another friend to get on his insurance.) Trust me, it is not about having extra money for luxuries. You do not get insurance because you cannot afford it. I guess, it is comforting to say that the uninsured choose not to insure themselves, but could afford it if they really wanted it.

If an iPad is $399 you could buy 10 or 12 of them for just one year of insurance.

by Australianreply 4411/10/2013

I live in NYC and don't make much more than $40K. I have renter's insurance, live in Bed Stuy, with two roommates, and pay for my own insurance with Freelancers Union insurance. It can be done.

I don't have enough money for retirement, but that's a different story.

by Australianreply 4511/10/2013

I am in a union so I have a very good medical plan, towards which I contribute $200 a month. I also have a semi-decent dental plan (good for basic maintenance but not much beyond that). I have zippo coverage in terms of corrective eyewear, which annoys me. I don't wear glasses for fun!

by Australianreply 4611/10/2013

For you, R44.

Unless you have two kids, maybe you live in the wrong part of the country.

Should we have the Affordable Care Act? Yes. For people with low-incomes, absolutely, especially with pre-existing conditions.

Why people would choose to live in NYC on less than 40,000 -- but plenty do out in the way outer boroughs. I have a friend who bought an apartment somewhere out in Brooklyn (Midwood?) on a 30-year mortgae (not smart to me) but can afford it with two kids. He's a freelancer and makes less than $40,000 I'm fairly sure.

Kid-free gay men could do it, lose a kid, get a roommate, and get insurance.

by Australianreply 4711/10/2013

After the Affordable Care Act, the more people that buy insurance on the exchange, the rates will come down, the Affordable Care Act will be hard to be repeal and those who have not bought will learn to do just what our friend in Australia is doing -- buy the insurance or pay the surcharge.

by Australianreply 4811/10/2013

Right and R20 ignores the fact that for him to jump the queue only 46 million Americans have to go uninsured. He prefers the "have/have not" paradigm because it what's best for him.

What's wrong with everyone having a safety net and those who can afford it taking supplemental private insurance? Or do you not feel as privileged if an 46 million people actually have some form of insurance?

by Australianreply 4911/10/2013

Who said I didn't think everyone should be insured R49?

I wrote that the policy choice not to cover those people is stupid. Guess you missed that.

What you also don't seem to understand is even in a system like Australia's if you want the better care you STILL have to pay extra.

No one here has written that everyone should not have basic public health care.

Calm down and see if you can understand the distinctions being made.

by Australianreply 5011/10/2013

OP The US goverment instituted wage freezes in wartime. One way to attract or retain workers was for employers to pay for employees' health insurance, which is how insurance brcame tied to employment.

Some people have excellent plans: employees of solid companies, members of powerful labor unions. Senators and elite civil servants.

Some people are on Medicare, public insurance for pensioners.Medicaid, for low-income.

There's s VA system for military families, as well as Tricare insurance.

Many uninsured get health care thru emergency/casualty rooms,ignoring thr bills.

Some people face medical bankruptcy.

There's fraud. Medical costs rise at multiple times the inflation rate.

Some health care is astonishing.

Some rehab places places seem staffed by ex-cons and immigrants, dedicated to identity theft.

But I also knew an illegal, undocumented woman who teceived state-of-the-art cancer treatment, at no cost to her, extending het life bu years.

It can be the best in the world, or you might see a dodgy doctor with a dodgy diploma from an unknowm college India or Nigeria.

Doctors practice defensive medicine, to thwart malpractice lawyers, who are some of the wealthiest people, biggest donors to Democrats.

In short, a once acceptable delivery system fragmented, broken, especially with the costs of modern medicine snd the new demographic profile of the US.

Germany does it better

by Australianreply 5111/12/2013

560 per month no dental

by Australianreply 5211/12/2013

R15 Your post annoyed me, but since it is so eurotypical I won't bother refuting it. See: facts, last 100 years, medicine.

And our health care is expensive because it is the finest, not the other way around and because it is capitalist. Our doctors get rich, and they like it.

by Australianreply 5311/12/2013

In America, health insurance is a status symbol.

by Australianreply 5411/13/2013
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