Amanda Palmer Unleashes The Voice Of The People About Health Insurance Via Twitter

from the it-all-comes-together dept

As mentioned, last week, we held an all day brainstorming event, bringing together artists and entrepreneurs to talk about the challenges and opportunities that we all face, and to see if there are ways to help each other. I'll have a full writeup on that later this week, but one point that was raised by some of the musicians at the session was that "success" can mean different things to different people, and one full-time musician pointed out that just being able to afford her own health insurance was a kind of "success," in that it showed she'd been able to earn enough to cover that bare minimum of "necessities." So it's interesting to see, just days later, that Amanda Palmer is making a lot of news today with her fascinating #InsurancePoll campaign, which she started after reading Nicholas Kristof's story about his college roommate, who has prostate cancer and is in bad shape -- in large part because he put off going to the doctor since he didn't have health insurance. In response, Amanda realized that many musicians, similarly, do not have health insurance, and she tweeted about it:
most small-to-mid-level musicians i know don't have health insurance. some musicians find tricky ways, some pay, most take the risk & pray.
when i was in my early twenties, buying my own insurance would have been equal half my rent. it just didn't seem like an option. my parents had just watched the death of my step-brother (uninsured when stricken with a disease) almost destroy the family bank, and so they DEMANDED i get insurance.
we fought.
they offered to pay half.
i agreed.
i was lucky.
many aren't.
From there, lots of other people responded with stories about their own health insurance situation, and she decided to ask people more directly about their own health insurance situation with a quick poll question:
The end result was tons of people responding, most using the #InsurancePoll hashtag.
That seemed quite interesting to Amanda, who got a volunteer to start tallying up all of the info. And she noticed some of the commentary, which noted that people in various countries were somewhat unaware of how things were elsewhere:
people OUTSIDE the US were looking at all the tweets from the US and feeling really, really, really bad for us. and some younger tweeters (teenagers, i can only assume) were shocked that we americans don't have what they have (the NHS was getting a lot of love and support from the brits, especially seeing as it's under threat).

people INSIDE the US couldn't believe what people OUTSIDE the US didn't KNOW. this is the amazing power of twitter sometimes. we all think we share common knowledge, and then something like this pops up and BAM – you see a whole bunch of people in different countries shocking the hell out of each other. we all know that lance armstrong doped, that lady gaga gained weight, , etc….but tons of people in the UK/Finland/Australia/etc don't know the extent to which US people FREAK OUT on a daily/monthly/yearly basis about insurance. how much it changes our lives. and how EVERYbody has a story.
No matter what your stand is on health insurance or healthcare, you can't deny that this bit of information sharing is both powerful and impressive. Amanda and the volunteer are going to tally up all the data and release it when it's ready, which should be interesting as well. While this is hardly a scientific or randomized survey, it is interesting information that is making more people aware of the situation that others are in. When you think about the power of social media to even create such a discussion (outside the normal realms of political fighting), it's really amazing.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    John Doe, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

    I love talking to people from other countries and finding out what things are like where they live. But all of this "info" has to be measured against a whole and not just tidbits. Take healthcare for example. Many people in the US think we should have the same healthcare as Canada, Britian, etc. What they don't consider is the tax structure, governance and market setup each of them have. For example, would a Canadian model work in the US w/o the burdensome tax structure?

    But back to the point of the article, the internet really has made the world smaller. I pray this would lead people to learn about and accept others. In fact, I think people tend to enjoy meeting people from around the world, I think it is governments that hate each other.

     

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      Gregg, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:58am

      Re: I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

      Hi, I'm Canadian and I have Health Insurance. I also pay taxes, and the increase in taxes that we have over American's is not large at all. Here is a link to the tax brackets in Canada http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html

      keep in mind there is both Provencal and Federal taxes, so add them together. I'm incorporated, so my tax bracket is %16.5, I would recommend everyone to incorporate themselves!

      I do not get why so many American's are so upset about having a real healthcare system for the USA. I have met many American's who are so vehemently against it! but then I have met some American's who have been screwed over by their health insurance and owe tens of thousands of dollars! these people are begging for health care. So I guess as long as you are healthy, you don't need health care.

      We all get sick and we all die, so no one stays healthy forever.

       

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        John Doe, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

        I am not against reform, just the reform we have now. It was passed by one party, who didn't read it. It doesn't solve the real problems at all and still leaves 2/3 of the uninsured, uninsured. No plan to pay for it was put in place either.

        Also, on you taxes, are you counting the VAT taxes you pay? When I was on a photo forum years ago, all the Canadians were trying to figure out how to buy camera gear in the US and get it into Canada w/o paying a huge tax bill.

         

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          Berenerd (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

          Being from Massachusetts, I am for Obamacare 100% Is it perfect? nope. Do I feel some changes are needed? yep! But its a HUGE step in the right direction. now if only the GOP would actually talk seriously about it perhaps it could all be worked out. Sadly, I see very few people on the GOP/Tea Party side willing to talk about it unless its their way and their way only. Sadly, on the Democrat side its the same way, only I agree with them more than the GOP side on this.

           

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          Andrew F (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

          Interestingly, Obamacare is bipartisan in a way. Its essential elements were invented as a Republican alternative to Hillarycare. Then the Democrats adopted it, and the Republicans screamed bloody murder.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 3:43pm

        Re: Re: I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

        Well, maybe because my dialysis racks another $22,000 onto my back bill every month? That includes some medications, supplies and experts (doctors, nurses, nutritionists). My healthcare (Medicare) covers 80% of these, the rest is my burden, but it doesn't cover psychological or dental or even vision/hearing at all. Now, I'm not exactly for the systems in place in other countries, mostly because I wouldn't wish that tax burden on anyone, but there are people like me who could certainly use a LOT of extra help. (Try finding a job with a physical disability and no extra training in this economical climate.)

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

      Re: I am sure there are lots we don't know about each other

      For example, would a Canadian model work in the US w/o the burdensome tax structure?

      What do you mean by burdensome tax structure? By most accounts, the Canadian tax system is much simpler than the U.S. system (fewer deductions, no sales or income taxes below the provincial level, etc.).

      The taxes aren't that high either. I paid about $17,000 tax on $80,000 of gross income last year (~22%), with no significant deductions/credits beyond tax-deferred retirement savings (RRSP); and that amount includes health care. (To be fair, I should mention that my province, Ontario, does not have a balanced budget. But neither do most U.S. governments, IIRC.)

       

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    The US healthcare system really does need serious reform when you have people who go bankrupt after a major illness and I cannot understand why so many people oppose Obama's plan. I interact with Americans all the time and one recurring theme is their jealousy over our NHS. Sure, it's not perfect and needs reform (not reforms the Tories have planned) but I would not swap it for anything, even if it does mean slightly higher taxes.

    Anyway, without the Internet I would have no understanding of healthcare systems elsewhere and so I can be very proud of the NHS.

     

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      John Doe, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      Several problems with Obamacare. First, congress exempted themselves from it immediately. If it isn't good for them, why is it good for us? Second, they have granted hundreds of exemptions to other groups as well. Third, it will cost an estimated $2 trillion over the next 10 years, only covers 1/3 or less of the uninsured and there is no plan on how to pay for it.

      I do agree though, that reform is needed. I don't agree that Obamacare is the needed reform.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:44am

        Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

        The GOP has been selling Americans a pile of croc about Canadian and British healthcare systems to try and turn them against Obamacare. (No they're not perfect, but they're a damn sight better than than the overpriced rip-off system you have now.)

        It's 90% GOP political disinformation with a purely political agenda, ignore it and SUPPORT OBAMACARE!(aka Romneycare!)

        Once you have it you'll never want to give it up!

         

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          John Doe, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:53am

          Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

          So you can't disprove any of my statements and expect me to just jump on board? Citation please...

           

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            Gregg, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

            Re: Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

            Even in Canada the most conservative of the conservatives (that would be Tea Party people to American's) would not walk away from our Healthcare system. Sure, there is always room for improvements and you have to watch for fraud and abuse....just like every system including the Tax Revenue systems!

            Think of healthcare as a citizen benefit? people love jobs with benefits right?.. so up here we just call the same thing "Social Services" yep... that evil McCarthyism word!!!

            There are many rich Canadians and Brit's, and even they say that healthcare is needed and should not be scrapped.

            your GOP Tea Party peps are selling you a crock! Go ahead and keep listening to them, you'll soon find yourselves more broke than Greece! and without any social services at all.

             

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              Schoen (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

              "Go ahead and keep listening to them, you'll soon find yourselves more broke than Greece! and without any social services at all."

              So we prevent going broke by providing more social services or is it that we are going to go broke anyway, so we might as well speed it up and provide social services?

               

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            Berenerd (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

            Re: Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

            Quote your source of where less than 1/3rd of the current uninsured would be the only ones covered?

             

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          Richard (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

          Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

          Actually the US healthcare system is a threat to all the better systems elsewhere. It encourages the development of hugely expensive drugs and treatments that cannot be afforded by NHS style systems causing them huge difficulties in rationing. Without the US system these treatments wouldn't exist - the research resources would go elsewhere.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

            Re: Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

            So the Pharma industry has found a way to use the broken US system to do damage to the working systems that pay them less?

             

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            G Thompson (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 9:28pm

            Re: Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

            Of course it does, the amazing US system is exactly the reason how the Cervical Cancer vaccine was invented...

            Oh wait...

            It was invented in Australia and not funded by an American style system at all and instead we have free healthcare for all.. Damn hey!

            Your healthcare system encourages price gouging by US Pharma companies that get most of their R&D from Universities and other non profit organisations at the expense of your own citizenry.. Great lurk if you can get it.

             

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          Yakko Warner (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

          Anytime someone responds to criticism with no more content than "it's all lies, ignore it!", it makes me want to pay more attention.

          If you have a real argument, make some real points. If the critiques are invalid, explain why. I'm not going to stick my head in the sand and pretend there's no opposition.

           

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          Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

          The GOP has been selling Americans a pile of croc about Canadian and British healthcare systems to try and turn them against Obamacare.

          And Michael Moore wasn't doing the same thing in the other direction, that Cuba is better than the U.S.A.? Really? Either side can come up with outlier instances that support one system or the other, but like someone mentioned above...there are a lot of influences on how implementation may work in one place and not another. Local governance can know and help their constituents better than some one-size-fits-all system.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

            Re: Re: Obamacare/Romneycare, what's the difference?

            I'm not a huge fan of Michael Moore either, but unlike the GOP, what he showed you was essentially the truth about how universal health care works to the benefit of ALL the people in those countries that have it. If the Tea Party and other ultra-conservatives spent less time spreading false panic about "reds under the beds" you might all be able to see the wood for the trees.

             

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        The eejit (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re:

        See, here's the thing: Republicans proposed Obamacare back when Clinton was in office. To oppose it now means that you have shifted to the Far Right of most countries ideologies as a poltiical party.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re:

        The core principle of Obamacare is that everyone has to have insurance. I honestly don't see what the fuss is. If we compel people to insure their cars, how can this be objectionable? If the only ones buying policies are the sick and aged, the system doesn't work.

        Just because Congress is exempt, doesn't mean the program is bad. It is currently working pretty well in Massachusetts.

        I agree that it has to be coupled with tax and fiscal reform. Simpson-Bowles is a good roadmap for the way forward. And those families who earn more than $250,000 per year- who have been substantial beneficiaries of previous tax cuts and loopholes need to step up and do a bit more. Rescinding the Bush-era tax cuts means they pay a higher rate of dollar 250,001 and up. Their rate below $250,000 stays the same. See like a sane road to take instead of the fiscal cliff.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      Because Obama's plan isn't NHS. It's a pork-laden, ill-thought-out, lied-about terrible piece of legislation that basically gift-wraps a bunch of money to special interests and doesn't benefit the public. It exacerbates the current problems and introduces a whole bunch of new ones, all while costing everyone more money.

      It has some great ideas - they sound great when you read a bullet point list of what's in the plan. But the way the implementation is specified in the details it's really bad news.

      Despite weakly opposing it originally, I now wish they would have just pushed through actual single-payer healthcare. It would have been some serious pain in the short term, but in the long run I think it would be best for everyone.

      The worst part about the whole thing is that since it's got Democrat "accomplishment" written all over it, it's going to be up to conservatives to change it and the odds of that going well are pretty low.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      People on the right oppose it because Socialism. People on the left oppose it because it's a handout to insurance companies.

      John Doe: Why would congress want to downgrade to a purchased insurance plan when they have fully socialized health care?

       

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        Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Socialism gets a bad rap but there is a lot of good stuff in there.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Don't get me wrong. Social health care is definitely the way to go.

          It's a tough sell in the US because entrenched interests will spin it as "removing choice" or some other nonsense.

           

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            Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's sad that so many people can be brainwashed in this way. Many people would probably see social healthcare as Communism or some bollocks.

             

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            Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's sad that so many people can be brainwashed in this way. Many people would probably see social healthcare as Communism or some bollocks.

             

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            Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's sad that so many people can be brainwashed in this way. Many people would probably see social healthcare as Communism or some bollocks.

             

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              Teaman, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 10:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Believe me, it isn't the socialism that scares people, it's the fact that it's the only choice. The government is the only government, and if they become socialist, which does give them more control over your life, then you have to be socialist. If it doesn't work out, then your screwed. The fact is people aren't afraid of socialism, it's the government running the socialism that scares them.

               

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                bratwurzt (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 2:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yeah and having just 2 political parties helps alleviate that fear. Socialism has to be run by the government - but make your government transparent and less bloated (military budget!!!) and presto - working socialism. You don't believe me? Check Sweden and Denmark.

                 

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            Schoen (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think the "removing choice" is the smallest thing for people to get over. I think the real issue is that citizens do not trust the government to do it right, and in the end would just create a bigger problem than we face today.

             

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      PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      There are plenty of reasons why people oppose the PPACA (That's "Obamacare") ranging from the highly intelligent to the stupid. (Similar to the reasons why people support the PPACA) I can give you my reasons which are obviously on the highly intelligent side of this.

      I oppose it because it forces you to pay for more healthcare than you need and it forces you to pay for healthcare through insurance even when not sensible. This ends up raising the cost of healthcare.

      Here is an example: birth control mechanisms. (Let's set aside their therapeutic use for a moment which is a completely different issue) Your consumption of birth control isn't linked to a "risk". It's a regular expected expense. In fact, the birth control pill is something you have to take every single day. You can't get further away from "risk" than that. And yet, the Obama healthcare plan mandates that your health insurance (which you are required to carry) must cover birth control. If it does not, you will have to pay a penalty. (or tax if John Roberts happens to be reading)

      Now, you might say, who cares? Women having birth control is good. Sure it is. But you have to wonder about the incentives. Having birth control covered by health insurance means you don't pay full price at the point of purchase. All other things equal, that pushes you towards the higher priced version whether it is worth the higher price or not. That means birth control is more expensive than it otherwise would have been. And of course, you do pay full price because that means premiums and/or taxes go up to compensate. That's just one of many such products which are not risk-related but which the Obama healthcare plan forces you to purchase bundled with your insurance.

      Now, before I'm accused of being some retrograde opposed to women being able to chose when they have kids, I am not. I think it's a jolly-good thing that women have access to birth control pills. But I would rather the price of birth control not be artificially inflated just so the Democrats can score cheap political points with women voters.

      Then you have the more general issue of younger folks. People in their 20s. People in their 20s often do not buy any health insurance, or they buy a catastrophic care plan. (in case they get hit by a bus or something similar happens) That makes a lot of sense. People in that age group are highly unlikely to need the full array of medical services that somebody older might need. Also, those people don't have that much money to spend on health insurance. (When we were in our early 20s, my wife and I purchased a bare-bones $~100/month plan for instance) Such plans are not allowed under the PPACA. (Well, you can have them if you are willing to pay the penalty on top of that.) In fact, the current average healthcare expenditure of somebody in their 20s is significantly lower than the new required plans will cost. Let me be clear on that one: Under the PPACA, people in their 20s must spend more on insurance plans than they currently spend on healthcare.

      Now, somebody is bound to jump in and point out that this is all BS because the PPACA also provides subsidies. So even if the true cost of healthcare for a 20-year old will go up, if the 20-year old is poor, they will get subsidized and so they won't pay as much and too bad for the richer 20-year olds, they can afford it. (Too bad also for everyone when the total price of healthcare goes up.) But that's an inconsequential argument. The subsidies are completely separate from the individual mandate and community rating. The PPACA could have simply said: we know it's hard for poor people to afford healthcare. Here is a voucher. Go buy the health insurance you need. Or expanded medicaid. Or any number of schemes to allow people who need insurance to get it without creating all of those perverse effects in the healthcare market. But instead, they went with a plan that had some good parts, but whose central provision is a terrible idea. That's why I oppose the PPACA. (There is more, but I have to do some work.)

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 6:06pm

      Re:

      The troubling part with the Obamacare is the "mandated" part of off it. Which promotes an untested common solution for everybody without regard if it will work for all or in all circumstances, that is a plan for disaster.

      The American government culture seems to believe that mandating is a solution for everything, it is not.

      Maybe Americans will be better off having their own healthcare cooperatives, for that to happen Americans need freedom to experiment and be networked and exchanging information.

      Canada and the UK have universal healthcare programs by the government that work they found a way, there was not many lobby groups or they weren't strong enough to manipulate the process in those places, in the US that is not true at all, companies would turn any universal healthcare into a nighmare. Americans need to learn how to do it for themselves so they don't get dependent on others, because when you do, you always get screwed.

      Healthcare is an important safety net for everybody, but it shouldn't in the case of the US be done by the government, which is susceptible to special interests lobbies, the American government doesn't listen to the public and even woirse doesn't care to see what happens to the public and propose changes, thus it doesn't have the credibility necessary to put anything in place.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:37pm

        Re: Re:

        I laughed when I read, "The troubling part with the Obamacare is the "mandated" part of off it.Which promotes an untested common solution for everybody without regard if it will work for all or in all circumstances, that is a plan for disaster."

        I'm from Massachusetts, and we call that "Romneycare."

         

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    lfroen (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Oh, look!

    Another post about incredible Amanda.
    Wannabe singer have something to say about ... wait for it ... health insurance!
    Now, I understand that you don't have to be field specialist to express opinion. But from all random people with opinion about random subject you choose _this_?!
    Does she has some valuable insight? Experience to share? What do you mean "no"?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:38am

      Re: Oh, look!

      I take it reading the article is too hard and you went straight to the comments based on the headline.

       

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      Mike D, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:43am

      Re: Oh, look!

      The point of the story isn't heakth insurance. It's the fact the internet makes the world smaller. It also is neat someone with no pony in the race is looking at things and bringing them forward.

      How are things under your bridge?

       

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      Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:31pm

      Re: Oh, look!

      Srsly. Care to explain why she can't talk about health insurance? Why she can't be politically active?

      But more importantly, care to address the point the article made? Hint: social media empowering discussion of political realms amongst regular citizens and devoided of political bias towards lobbying. Forget Amanda and focus on the point.

       

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        lfroen (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

        Re: Re: Oh, look!

        Of cause she can. But why is this interesting in any meaningful way?
        Point of article is not "social media blah blah", but "Amanda Palmer something".
        Why "forget Amanda" if she is the major point here? All this stuff boils down to "Indy artist Amanda is fantastic in one more way", and forget about insurance or whatever she was talking

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 6:07pm

        Re: Re: Oh, look!

        It's like you talking about anything. Why should anyone care what a little Brazilian snot thinks about life?

        If the point of the article is "the internet makes the world smaller" it's a long way to go to make that point. If it's a point about health insurance, I would rather hear it from someone in the know, in the industry or perhaps someone studying the field. Having a musician tell me about health insurance is somewhere between bad PSA and low end comedy.

        The world is better when Amanda tells you what to do, right?

        *sigh*

         

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          Ninja (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 3:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh, look!

          Keep missing the point. It's not Amanda Palmer, it's whoever. I guess we have never seen any music with political background right? No, no band ever did music precisely to criticize politics, society and others right?

          And she is NOT telling anyone what to do, she merely started a poll and sparked a discussion about the issue among the ones that are really impacted by policymaking, the people.

          Seriously, some1 studying the field or an industry member? I know what I need, not them for God sake.

          Keep resorting to ad homs and prejudice, maybe it will turn your failed point into a valid one right?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2012 @ 7:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, look!

            "Keep missing the point. It's not Amanda Palmer, it's whoever. I guess we have never seen any music with political background right? No, no band ever did music precisely to criticize politics, society and others right?"

            Yeah, the only thing missing here is, well, music.

            Most artist gets laughed at when they try to get involved in politics, very few of them pull it off. AFP has more serious issues in her own world to deal with, without trying to tell the rest of how to live.

            "Keep resorting to ad homs and prejudice, maybe it will turn your failed point into a valid one right?"

            This from the guy who claims every post that doesn't agree with the Techdirt line is from a "troll"? How stupid are you?

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    That's the ironic thing about how different the healthcare systems are in the US and every other first world country, that people can't imagine doing it another way.

    I found one story amusing a few years ago when a VERY conservative British politician appeared in a US political ad saying "Britain's health care system is HORRIBLE, don't support Obamacare!" (even though Obamacare has almost nothing in common in with Britain's healthcare system).

    This caused little notice in America, but a HUGE backlash in Britain, with even conservative leaning media owned by Rupert Murdoch running scare stories that "Conservatives are going to take away your government run healthcare and leave everyone to die who can't afford health insurance".

     

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      The eejit (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:00pm

      Re:

      We can't forget the infamous "Death panels!" scaremongering. Because Americans don't have that already. (Hint: they're called health insurance companies

       

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        Mason Wheeler (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Exactly. See, that's the thing I've never understood about the whole debate.

        The way I see it, we can have the health care system managed by corporations, or by the government. And, on a separate axis, it is possible for the system to work well, or for it to not work well.

        If it is run by the government and it works well, everyone's happy, except for a handful of far-right nuts who think it should be run by corporations on principle. Let's just ignore them.

        If it is run by corporations and it works well, everyone's happy, except for a handful of far-left nuts who think it should be run by the government on principle. Let's just ignore them.

        If it is run by the government and it works poorly, as a citizen of a republic, I can vote out the decision makers and get things changed.

        If it is run by corporations and works poorly... I'm screwed, because I have zero power to change things unless I'm an influential stakeholder, in which case I'm (practically by definition) wealthy enough to afford health care that actually works well.

        When you look at it that way, it's pretty simple.

         

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          Christopher Best (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If it is run by the government and it works poorly, as a citizen of a republic, I can vote out the decision makers and get things changed.

          Then why does Medicare/Medicaid still suck?

          I agree with the principle on a local level: The utility company in my home town is run by the local government. If it does a bad job, the city council and president will pay the price. It really doesn't work like that on the Federal level, however...

          If it is run by corporations and works poorly... I'm screwed, because I have zero power to change things unless I'm an influential stakeholder, in which case I'm (practically by definition) wealthy enough to afford health care that actually works well.

          This is an artifact of a lack of competition, not corporate control. In a healthy market, if your insurer sucked you could go elsewhere. But the insurance market (much like the wireless telecomm and internet markets) is completely broken, due to too much of the wrong kind of regulation and not enough of the right kind of regulation. Leaving us with a small pool of huge, entrenched providers who can capture the regulatory mechanisms put in place to keep them honest...

          Going to a SINGLE provider across the entire country would just exacerbate the problem. What incentive is there to improve services when your "customers" have nowhere else to go by law? What reason is there to cut costs when your funding is the government's magic money printer?

          The real solution to all this would be taking steps to encourage competition in the marketplace, including competition from non-profit providers (my car insurance, for instance, is a non-profit co-op). That would provide a natural incentive to cut costs and improve services. Germany has a model like this, as far as I understand, and it seems to work pretty well.

           

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            Berenerd (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Medicare/caide sucks because it affects a minority. Minority can't get enough votes to get it fixed (though it has gotten better in the short 37 years I have been alive).

             

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              Christopher Best (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Okay, then why does Social Security suck? Why does the IRS suck? Why are our roads awful and our bridges falling apart (DoT)? Why does the TSA still exist? etc, etc, etc...

              Because for every informed individual who realizes how mismanaged and/or incompetent these organizations are, there are five or ten who support them "Because we need them!" Well, except maybe the IRS. I can't explain that one.

              And I'm not sure the "minority" card works for Medicare and Social Security--the elderly are probably the most active voting bloc in the US.

               

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          Gunntherd (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Please name or reference one thing the government has ran that actually ran right? Please.....just one.................

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            NASA

             

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            akp (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Let's see, no department is perfect of course, but here are a few that I don't hear a lot of complaints about:

            FEMA
            OSHA
            IRS
            EPA
            National Park Service
            Our various military branches are pretty effective
            Army Corp of Engineers
            Federal Highway Administration
            FAA
            Dept. of the Treasury
            Bureau of the Census
            FDIC
            National Endowment for the Arts

            I could go on all day. Are mistakes made? Of course, you anti-government types never seem to want safe water, roads, satellites, clean air, energy efficient homes, laws or any of the other things a civilized society can expect from their government.

             

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              PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              We seem that way to folks like you who are under the mistaken impression that all such things can only be provided by the government and that they can be efficiently provided by the government. (by which I mean neither over-provided nor under-provided)

              Who in their right mind would buy unsafe water? What makes you think people would not try to save money by having energy-efficient homes? Why would telecommunication companies not build and launch the satellites they use to make lots of money? (hint: they do)

               

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                Niall (profile), Oct 18th, 2012 @ 5:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                People who have no access to clean water, who can't go miles to get it, and who can't afford to drink Perrier?

                People who can't afford the downpayment on making a home energy efficient, or more likely are renting from someone who doesn't care?

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Where have you been? The department of the government I hear the most complaints about is the IRS. The fact is, many of these agencies do screw up, but most people don't really talk too much about them, because they don't hear about the screw ups. That's why you don't hear complaints, not because they don't do anything stupid, but because no one knows it.

              Also, what do these organizations have to do with safe water, roads, satellites, clean air, and energy efficient homes? If you actually new any conservatives and listened to them, you'd know that, most, don't have a problem paying for things that benefit everyone(i.e. roads, water, etc), but they don't like things that benefit only one group, but are paid for by everyone. They also don't like government organizations that don't give you a choice, so if they screw up, your screwed(i.e. insurance).

              It's funny, several hospitals in the U.S. have stopped accepting insurance, and stopped paying their malpractice insurance, and the patients costs have GONE DOWN. One elderly man got a doctor to come to his home and give him a physical, and it only cost $80. That wouldn't be possible if the government forced the hospital to accept only insurance.

               

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          akp (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is what I've been trying to tell conservatives for a long time.

          Somehow they don't think they're *already* subject to a huge bureaucracy managing their health coverage.

          If I have to have an inefficient bureaucracy, I'd rather it wasn't also a for-profit industry.

          I just can't understand how a for-profit company can possibly have the public health as a priority. That's not how it works. The only way you make any money as a for-profit insurance company is if you *deny coverage* to those requiring the most expensive care: The really sick and injured.

          Yes! Let's make all our huge profits off the backs of people who are dying! Really seems like the Greater Good there, doesn't it? /sarcasm

           

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          PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If it is run by the government and it works poorly, as a citizen of a republic, I'm screwed, because I have zero power to change things unless I'm an influential lobbyist, in which case I'm (practically by definition) wealthy enough to afford health care that actually works well. (When was the last time you cast the deciding vote in an election?)

          If it is run by corporations and it works poorly, I can go look for a different corporation to provide me with healthcare or found a corporation to provide it better making millions of dollars in the process.

          When you look at it that way, it's pretty simple.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 6:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "If it is run by corporations and it works poorly, I can go look for a different corporation to provide me with healthcare or found a corporation to provide it better making millions of dollars in the process."

            My internet service sucks. I should be able to go out and get better service from a competing service, right? Except I can't, because corporations realized a long time ago that the biggest profits come from collusion, not competition.

             

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              Teaman, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Obviously you weren't aware that much of the reason people don't have choices when it comes to internet and insurance, is the government.

              An internet company has to get approval by the government before they can enter a market. My area didn't have high-speed internet for years, because the company in this area sucks. However, the government turned away several companies who wanted to build here, which would have provided competition.

              It's the same with insurance, you can't get out of state insurance, because of the government, which lessens competition. You can complain all you want about lobbyists and greedy corporations, but claiming that the government, the group causing these problems, is necessary and would do a better job is ridiculous.

              What we need is less government, so when a company offers a better deal, they can actually serve an area, and we can get their services instead. Forcing the other companies to compete or die. I can't stop paying the government, and voting them out isn't always an option.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2012 @ 4:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The context was about something that the government runs and has run well.

                Your examples are about the government *preventing* certain others from running things, not the government running things.

                So, although I agree with you in that they are great examples of where the government should butt out, they are not relevant to the original statement.

                 

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              PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 11:44am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You're quite right. Sometimes when corporations run things, you don't actually have other options and you are stuck with something crappy for a while. When the government runs things, you are always stuck with whatever they give to you. Sometimes, you get to opt out. (though you of course still have to pay for the crappy service you're not using.)

               

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:43am

    Don't worry, Amanda! Thanks to the new healthcare reform bill, if you don't have insurance, you get punished!

    So those musicians, and everyone else out there, best get your ass working under the 1% so you, too, can "afford" the mandatory health insurance.

    Welcome to the US of FU.

     

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      Berenerd (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      Glad someone gets their information from Fox News. Not from Fox News? Where did you get this information from? Curious because I want to point where they are wrong and point to the actual text of the bill. kthx.

       

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        Christopher Best (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

        Re: Re:

        There was a Supreme Court case over this: the "individual mandate". You are subject to a penalty if you do not purchase insurance. No one, even the bill's most ardent supporters, denies this.

         

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        Teaman, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:11pm

        Re: Re:

        They may have gotten their news from Fox, or any other news organization for that matter, but at least they watch the news. I don't know how you missed the Supreme Court case on this, but you don't pay your insurance they tax you, or fine, or whatever they decide to call it this week. The fact that you not only attacked the person by bringing up Fox news, but didn't pay any attention to the facts, leads me to believe you are liberal, and will be voting for Obama. God Bless America!

         

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        Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Oct 17th, 2012 @ 7:01am

        Re: Re:

        Late to the party, but my question to you is: HOW IN THE HELL COULD YOU MISS THE NEWS?

        There was an outcry when the bill was passed into law regarding this, and when SCOTUS rules *IN FAVOR* of the punishment without healthcare, the country again started object.

        In 2014, you will see a change in your tax paperwork, as you will be required by law to provide your health care information.

        ON YOUR TAX FORM.

        And if you don't fill it in, you get slapped with a fine.

        Seriously, maybe you SHOULD watch Fox News, even if I wouldn't watch this pile of shit "news" station if it were the last one on earth.

         

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    iambinarymind (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

    The issue is government intervention (i.e. force/coercion). All so called "regulations" disrupt the market/destroy incetives/pervert pricing/benefit the few that employ said force/coercion. The power to regulate is the power to grant favors.

    All socializing healthcare via government regulation/force to provide so called "free" healthcare does (such as in Canada & the UK) is transfer the higher costs to extremely long wait times and forces even less personal choice in who you can do business with (in Canada it is illegal to see a doctor that is not your assigned Primary Care Provider).

    If one wants a real solution, I highly recommend the four following steps advocated by economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe in his article "A Four-Step Healthcare Solution":

    1. Eliminate all licensing requirements for medical schools, hospitals, pharmacies, and medical doctors and other health-care personnel. Their supply would almost instantly increase, prices would fall, and a greater variety of health-care services would appear on the market...

    2. Eliminate all government restrictions on the production and sale of pharmaceutical products and medical devices. This means no more Food and Drug Administration, which presently hinders innovation and increases costs...

    3. Deregulate the health-insurance industry. Private enterprise can offer insurance against events over whose outcome the insured possesses no control...

    4. Eliminate all subsidies to the sick or unhealthy. Subsidies create more of whatever is being subsidized...

     

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      akp (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

      Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

      So that would let me:

      1. See a bargain-basement "doctor" who got his "education" online and doesn't sanitize anything.

      2. Let said "doctor" prescribe something that hasn't been tested or proved, based on his anecdotal belief that it works. Actually, it's just bathtub mint julep, but it totally worked for his other two patients. Trust him.

      3. Try to get my now de-regulated health insurance to pay for these "experimental" treatments from "internet doctors," while they come up with all their own arcane criteria on what's covered and what isn't. (So, just like now)

      4. Now that I'm sick, and maybe even sicker from the pills that are cut with heroin or arsenic to dull my pain (and cut costs!), and my "insurance" won't pay, I can also expect my government to let me twist in the wind with no recourse until I die a painful death.

      Yep, sound like great reforms... Do you have a petition I can sign?

       

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        PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

        Re: Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

        You mean to say that if there was no government-licensing, you would just go hire the cheapest doctor without any regard to their competency? That sounds suspiciously like you getting what you deserve.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

          Yeah! Fuck those poor people or the people incapacitated due to illness or injury or the children without any choice where they go or the elderly! And those kids whose parents can't afford any health care now, they'll be able to go to a plumber who does surgery in his spare time because, "It's all tubes, right? I've got a plumbing license, which is more than I need to practice medicine." (God forbid he damages someone's property.)

           

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            PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 3:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

            You're right. I have a better idea. Let's prohibit anybody who is not in the top 10% of doctors to practice medicine. I mean, we don't want anyone getting shoddy quality. Nobody but the richest will be able to afford doctors, but hey, fuck the rest of us right? Quality is important, and if that means people die or can't afford surgery at that quality level, who cares?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2012 @ 3:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

              And YOU can totally decide, if a doctor is competent or not ...

              If you want to see, how an unregulated "health service" would look like, just look at the "food-supplement" industry.

               

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                PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 11:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

                Of course I can. I would not do it personally obviously. I would look up the doctor's credentials, reviews, certifications by third-party organizations, etc... In other words, I would outsource it to competent third parties.

                WRT the food-supplement industry, I don't see your point. Are you claiming that consumers in that industry are dropping like flies? As far as I can tell, people who consume food-supplements are quite happy with what they buy. I for one participate in that industry only in a limited manner because I want a high degree of certitude WRT the effects of the products I purchase. So I do more research. But others are quite happy with the placebo effect or with taking a higher risk and so do less research. I get what I want, they get what they want, everyone is happy. What's the problem?

                 

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

      Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

      This is a lolbertarian nightmare. I'd do a point-by-point rebuttal, but your answer to any argument I make is going to be that the market and contracts will solve it. You'd have everyone rely on the court system to regulate health care after the fact, and that unlicensed people will have to pay some weregild for their malpractice.

      Each item in your four point plan is a recipe for disaster, and would cause death and misery.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2012 @ 12:57am

      Re: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution

      Just a quick note: The "higher costs" you refer to don't really exist. On average, Canadian and British citizens healthcare costs are about 50-75% of that of Americans. As for "extremely long wait times"... I'm afraid that's more disinformation. There's a handful of horror stories, as there are with anything, but typically 'wait times' are fine.

       

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    ChrisB (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    This...

    > "in large part because he put off going to the doctor since
    > he didn't have health insurance"

    This is why the Canadian system is cheaper and has better outcomes than the American system. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Paying for insulin is cheaper than supporting an amputee. Unfortunately, America is full of amputees (figuratively), so it may be more expensive in the short term to switch.

     

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    Ugh, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    How much lint is your belly button?

    "...you can't deny that this bit of information sharing is both powerful and impressive."

    Powerful and impressive? How about sad. There have been about 3,942,145 articles written regarding health care delivery systems over the last four years. To think that it takes another 140 character tweet for folks to realize that there are a number of differing implementations around the world speaks to a larger failure of education and communication.

    Stop examining the products from the navels of you and your friends! Learn something about the broader world. But be forewarned, it may take more than 140 characters.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    yes, but who will think of the unemployed statisticians ? ? ?

    /sarc

    you all have missed the real story:
    "VOLUNTEER" ! ? ! ? ! ?

    um, didn't all of techdirtia agree that if amanda palmer has one penny left to her (or her husband's) name, she should spend it all on 'experts'* ? ? ?

    isn't exploiting fans -like- THE worst ? ? ?
    will no one think of the statisticians whose work she is undercutting ? ? ?

    /sarc

    *(Expert: someone who knows more and more about less and less, until they know absolutely everything there is to know about nothing at all.)

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

      Re: yes, but who will think of the unemployed statisticians ? ? ?

      By using volunteer pollsters she's doing something incredible -- finding a way to devalue pollsters even more.

       

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    Gott Zero, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 3:44pm

    US health care

    Health insurance in the US isn't really the problem, it's a symptom. The problem is that there is NO health care system but a Medical Industrial Complex (MedIC). This has led to exorbitantly high costs with little or no control over them and diminishing access. The US has the most expensive and least accessible health care in the "developed" world, making it more like a "third world" country. Until the people (and the politicians) can deal with the massive vested interests in MedIC, and get rid of them, it will only get worse, with individuals and companies suffering under this untenable burden.
    The British must take note of this and defend against the back-door privatization of the NHS that is on-going and accelerating under the current government. If you don't stop it, the UK will have a US-style health care disaster on its hands.

     

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    DMNTD, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

    backwards

    If there is no choice in a system and you are a criminal for not having it, then you do not live free. Simple as that. I can't believe how many shills just account that "it's not the removal of choice" that bothers me. Well it bothers the hell out of me!

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:19pm

    I grew up with government-run medical care

    My father was career military (US military). Our medical care was provided for us. It was great not having to worry about how to pay for it.

    Because of my personal experience, I'm all for a single payer system. But it doesn't have to be that if we can come up with a system that is more affordable. My health insurance premiums have been going up every year since I started buy my own insurance (about 20 years now). So if what we have had is so great, why were my premiums going up every year when I am healthy and rarely go to the doctor? You can't blame Obamacare for my rising premiums.

    The reality is that our health care system doesn't work very well. It keeps costing us more money. Other countries are able to provide more services at less cost, so let's not delude ourselves into thinking we don't need to fix it. At the rate we are going, the few people who can afford health care will pay a lot of money for it, and everyone else will do without. It's going to collapse because it's too expensive. Actually the whole concept of insurance isn't really a good one for health care. The principle behind any kind of insurance is that you have lots of people paying into the pool, but only a few people needing to use it. But most people need some sort of health care. If you want to have people actually pay for the health services they use, then drop insurance altogether and make everyone pay out of pocket. And then when someone gets cancer, tough luck if they aren't rich.

     

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    Eric Blair, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

    Just give me access to low cost testing

    Outcomes are controllable when you know the inputs and what happens with the inputs.

    Get me low cost testing and I'll figure out my healthcare for my own darn self.

    $1500 for a blood test and the "Doctor" to spit back at me what is from the blood sample report - why should I want to be a part of that system?

    (and we all get to die. Some of us faster than others. And if the "GMOs are scary bad" people are right the faster will happen with unaccountability to the cause of the speed.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 9:05pm

    "people OUTSIDE the US were looking at all the tweets from the US and feeling really, really, really bad for us."

    They don't feel bad for you, they would have to CARE about you before they felt bad.

    It's not that we all dont know that the US healthcare system is screwed..

    we just dont care.. you caused it, you live with it.. (or not live, as the case may be)..

    it's just we cant be sad about you not having healthcare, when you spend all your (borrowed) money on fighting losing wars.. you've made your choices, you will live (and die) by those choices...

    you want healthcare, but you want tax cuts as well, and you want to spend more than you earn (borrow the difference off china), and you want to fight losing wars all over the world, spend billions a month of that... then you wonder why basic services suffer..

    just give the debt to your kids at least then you dont have to worry about it. LOL

     

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    Rekrul, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 9:30pm

    Quite a few years ago, I exchanged a bunch of emails with a former C64 pirate/cracker who lived/lives in Finland. We started out discussing computers, but then started talking about other stuff. He'd seen the American show Cops, and thought that the officers in the show were putting on a tough guy act to help scare people into behaving and that they were probably much nicer off-camera. I had to explain that the reverse was true and that the cops were on their best behavior while being watched.

    He told me that in Finland, the cops are much more mellow. Being drunk in public isn't/wasn't a crime and that cops would just escort a drunk person home to make sure they're safe. He also said that public urination wasn't a crime, since the national pastime was drinking. Or at the very least, cops didn't usually arrest people for it.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:53pm

    A big problem is tying insurance to a job

    There are lots of problems with the US system. One is having employers providing insurance that doesn't easily transfer. And if private insurance companies are allowed to reject people with pre-existing conditions, then if you leave a job where you are insured and try to get insurance on your own, it can be hard.

    The Obamacare version is basically the Republican version of health care, but now they don't like it because Obama has adopted it. But basically if you want to cover health care costs via insurance, you have to get lots of people to buy the insurance to raise the money to cover sick people. Otherwise insurance doesn't work. The other options are to have people pay out of pocket (which is great for healthy people but not workable for sick people) or to have a government-run program.

    The out-of-pocket system appeals to people when they are young and healthy, but if they had an accident, got cancer, had kidney disease, etc., and were told they weren't going to get treatment unless they raised the necessary funds, they would likely freak out.

     

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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Why are so many Americans content with socialised roads, socialised fire departments, socialised army, socialised police force, socialised refuse collection, socialised intellectual property protection, socialised building regulations, socialised parks...

    but when it comes to socialised healthcare - oh no,can't have that, can't have someone benefiting from my comparatively small tax contribution (Thanks to my highly paid accountant - worth every cent)!

    Here's a thought, next time you get burgled or mugged, or just ripped off in some way... consider if you lived in a coutry where your assailant had their basic necessities taken care of, would they have ended up taking from you?

    How many crimes in the US are crimes of desperation and necessity, compared to other countries? I'd like to see some research on that.

     

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      PrometheeFeu (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

      Re:

      You're right. Americans are so irrational. And don't get me started on Americans' opposition to socialized food and socialized clothing.

       

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    Kevin (profile), Oct 22nd, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Australia the best balance

    Back in 1972 the then Labor Government introduced a bill that would tax every wage earner 1.5% to fund a public health system.That is around $AU900 per year for the average annual income of $60k.
    The system is called medicare and guarantees low cost health care.
    How it works is the Government pays the bulk of a medical bill with the patient making up any difference between the set schedule fee and what ever a practitioner charges, this is called a gap.
    For low income earners, including pensioners and those on welfare many clinics bulk bill Medicare. That means the patient pay nothing up front. if payment is required up front 100% is refunded.
    Citizens can also take out extra private health insurance should they choose to be treated in a non public hospital or have a private room in a public hospital and a choice of their own treating doctor.
    The downside of this system is the strain on public hospitals and most often a long waiting period for non emergency treatment. Selective surgery may have a 12 month or more waiting period.
    Many privately owned rural hospitals also treat public patients if is no nearby public hospital
    Overall the two tier system works reasonably well and provides a high quality health system for all.

     

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