My friend mevennen
has written a clear and succinct post on the benefits of a national health care system in the light of the recent death of Melissa Mia Hall in the USA, who stayed at home and died of a heart attack because she feared huge medical bills if she sought help for her chest pain.
I could post about why a civilised country without an affordable system of health care for all its citizens in no civilised country at all, but Mevennen has said it already. If you are American and if you are confused about the lies some of your politicians are telling you about British National Health please read this.http://mevennen.livejournal.com/828534.html?#cutid1
To Mevennen's excellent post I will just add that I have had private health cover in the days when I was younger and fitter and my business could afford the premiums. In all the time I paid the premiums I had a couple of eye consultations for which no treatment was required, a course of physiotherapy (after an accident) and one minor investigative (day) procedure in a very nice hospital with a private room.
Even though I had private health insurance I still continued with my excellent NHS GP at the local health centre as my primary care advisor and the initial go-to guy for any illness, infection, flu or accidental damage and also for regular well-woman screenings (which revealed my diabetes). The NHS also dealt with my medical emergencies because my private healthcare hospital didn't have A & E (ER) facilities. So the NHS saved my life when I had an anaphylactic reaction; fixed and strapped up my dislocated shoulder; x-rayed my leg when I tore a ligament and set my broken wrist and followed up with a course of physio.
When I turned fifty the private health care premiums rose beyond my ability to pay and so it was the NHS that continued to deal with my late onset diabetes and my hypothyroid condition with regular check-ups and daily drugs that come without even a prescription charge because without them I will die.
Along with the rest of the female population in my age group I also get regular breast cancer screening and (available for everybody at a certain age) a bowel cancer screen. I can also get basic dentistry on the NHS, and my husband still does, though I choose not to.
It was the NHS that dealt with the last stages of my father's bone cancer when the private medical insurance that his managerial job paid for said he was at the upper limit of his benefits and they wouldn't continue to pay for his treatment. The transition from private to public health care was seamless and he even continued with the same consultant onchologist - only now funded by the state (and his years of paying a small, regular amount of 'national insurance' into the system deducted at source from his wages).
The NHS has been good to me and mine and though I know the system isn't perfect I continue in good health while managing conditions that would have killed me twenty years ago had the care not been available at an affordable price.
The cost? A small percentage of income, which not only pays for health insurance, but also covers state pension contributions. As a self-employed person on a small income I pay less than ten pounds per month for all that. Even if I were unemployed or at home caring for a family or loved one and without income, I would still get all the health care benefits at no cost. I'm covered, cradle to grave. I will never have to choose between health and keeping a roof over my head.
Americans... ask your govenment why this system is not available to you.