They are wrangling in Congress right now about universal healthcare. Everybody knows that the current American system is broken, but there is a lot of disagreement about how to fix it. Personally, I think that what we need is a single payer, government run system or what a lot folks are referring to rather stridently as " socialized medicine".
They say it like they are discussing Armageddon. You would think that Joe Stalin was going to come back from the grave and throw them all into prison or something. " You won't get to choose your doctor" they say. Well, do you get to choose your doctor now? is my response. Not if you have an employer funded health insurance plan. Your employer chooses your doctor not you and if you lose your job( as millions of Americans are in the process of doing) you won't have any insurance at all. Get a grip folks. The only people doing well under the American system are the insurance companies and big pharma.
I had a personal experience with socialized medicine a few years ago in Iceland. I sprained my ankle very badly( I'd like to say I did it hiking a difficult mountain pass, but I actually fell off a curb in Akranes)In any case, it was a bad sprain. My foot was the size of a basketball and I couldn't walk.
A friend took me to the local hospital. We walked in and within ten minutes I was seeing a very nice, white coated, English speaking doctor. There were no forms to fill out, no releases to sign. He examined my foot and sent me down the hall, where a nice technician(also English speaking) took four x-rays of my foot and ankle to make sure no bones were broken. Next, the doctor bound up my foot with some very tight supportive bandage, told me no bones were broken but I should stay off the foot and take ibuprophen. We shook hands and off I went to pay the bill. I was worried because I didn't have travel insurance and was wondering about the cost. I handed over my credit card. The total charge for everything, including the four x-rays was $50.00. The x-rays and emergency room visit in my home town would have been five times that amount, and I had no insurance at the time. It made a believer out of me, I can tell you.
47 million Americand have no health insurance, and the number is growing as jobs are lost. Many more are under-insured. The leading cause of bankruptcy in the USA is medical bills. People lose their homes if they get cancer or have a heart attack. It is crazy. The United States spends more on healthcare per capita than any other developed nation but we are at the bottom of the list when it comes to infant mortality and life expectancy. Medicine is not a business. It is not about profit. It is about people.
Let's hear it for socialized medicine