Just Because Something Is Free, Doesn’t Make It Good For You

20170528_211323I work as an English tutor online, and I am constantly preaching about how necessary public healthcare is to a country and a government. One student who agree’s with my views even went so far as to say “Healthcare is a human right, not a human option”.
In the past I’ve compared the US and UK health system, and determined that, overwhelmingly, the UK system is better. UK residents get free birth control, free cancer treatment, free check ups, free everything. When I first encountered the NHS (National Healthcare System in the UK) I thought it was a miracle! People weren’t going bankrupt because they got in a car accident. Medical debt was unheard of.
However, after being a user of the NHS for three years, my opinion has been changed, somewhat. I used to herald the NHS as a wonderful, flawless system. But, not paying, comes at a cost. Sure, I can go to the doctor and be told I have a benign tumor. It isn’t deadly, but it needs to be removed. Then, I can wait 6 months to a year before it’s gone! Imagine living with a growth that is uncomfortable, painful, for an extended time because you simply can’t get an appointment. This is not an exaggeration, I have a colleague who lived through this exact situation. They are still waiting for surgery.
Another issue is that when there is an outbreak of the flu, or some illness, suddenly the entire system is functioning beyond max capacity. This week, it has been reported that in the West Midlands, people are waiting more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. If your father had a stroke, and had to wait 30 minutes, would he survive? What if a teen attempted suicide? 30 minutes is more than enough time to bleed out, or die from overdose.
It is not just an issue within the ambulance service. Doctors from around the country have written to the British Prime Minister to complain about the hospitals being so full that people are lying on the floor in hallways. Some people have even died because they couldn’t get medical treatment (in the hospital) in time. Issues like this sound like they belong in 3rd world countries. Not the UK.
The NHS is great. It is better in most ways than private healthcare. However, the downside to free is that you pay with your time. In the US, I wouldn’t die on the hospital floor. I would get seen, and treated. Then I would have to sell a kidney later on to pay for the medical debt I incurred.
Sometimes Free healthcare means you miss out on the CARING part.

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