Monday, April 06, 2009

Why UK Healthcare is Better

There is still a lot of discussion on Tom Harris' Blog about health care, where a lot of people without US experience are attacking the NHS. I gave my account of the costs involved with even a minor health scare in the US.

What you find the the US is vastly more paperwork, which is why health care costs takes up a much bigger percentage of the GDP than here.

Let me give you the kind figures based on a real case.=:

Three years ago as part of a standard check up my (US) doctor discovered he could not do the pin-prick test for TB (since the BCG we all got at university here in the UK makes us positive). So I had to have an X ray - as a separate private radiologists office. That showed some little nodules in my stomach. So my doctor sent me back to the private radiologists office for a CAT scan. That caused enough worry that I was referred to a hospital oncology department. There I had two more CAT scans with a five week gap to check whether there were any growths.

As it happened there were none, and the nodules were probably there because I have been HIV+ (probably) since 1985.

The first thing you should note is that the medical care was excellent.

The second thing is that no one without insurance would possible get that level of treatment.

And then you need to know the costs:

I was billed (part to be paid my Insurance, a copay by me for)

*Four physicians visits

*For the X ray (around $400) and for the expert radiologists reading.

*$4000 (four thousand) each for each of the three CAT scans, plus bills from the Hospital for seeing me (the hospital bill), a separate nursing bill, a bill for the radiological consultation after 4 weeks.

Altogether around $20,000 (of which I was supposed to pay perhaps $16,000) and, since I could not afford that, innumerable dunning letters.

Anyone who things that the US has an efficient system needs to rethink.

And when it comes to how you feel, not only do you have to spend time worrying about having cancer, but how you are supposed to deal with the bills that come every day.

The NHS is simply better.

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