As you know I’ve always been an advocate of the National Health Service. I think it’s a fair way to allocate funding for illness and a sign of a civilised society.
Let’s talk about funding for a health service for a moment. I’m originally from the US but now live in the UK. I currently hold down a decent full-time job. Last year I had 3 days off work sick. I am a productive member of society. Technically speaking I ought to be able to afford any sort of health care payments. So why do I prefer NHS?
I dislike ambiguity in my life. For example, Helios and I have a mortgage that we pay every month. When we took out the loan, I insisted that we have a repayment mortgage at a fixed percentage rate: I wanted to be sure that we know what the outgoings are every month and that the flat would be ours at the end of the term. A state-funded health care system provides me with the same concrete certainty: I know what I must pay every month and I know that my policy will cover me throughout my life at a rate that I can afford.
I am not at the mercy of an insurance company that can change my status from “healthy” to “unhealthy” on a diagnosis and therefore require me to pay more in premiums than I cannot afford. Although I am a productive member of society, I have a number of chronic illnesses. Since 2005 I have had three laparoscopic surgeries and a raft of prescriptions to treat PCOS, Insulin Resistance, Endometriosis, Depression and lichen planus: a stress-related skin condition. Had I remained in the US, I cannot imagine being able to afford adequate healthcare despite the fact that I am healthy enough to be a productive member of society.
A state-funded health service ensures that everyone has the health care they need in a reasonable timeframe. People who are less healthy are not penalised for their situation. Everyone pays what they can reasonably afford. Everyone is covered no matter what their condition. It’s concrete coverage.
A state-funded health service ensures that my money isn’t going to greedy corporations. I compare insurance companies to banks: they’re only out for themselves. How can anyone afford adequate healthcare when insurance companies are essentially middle-men who get paid to ensure sky-rocketing prices?
In the National Health Service there are no hidden extras: I go to the doctor when I need to, as often as I need to and walk out the door after the appointment. No need to stop at reception and get out my credit card. I go to the pharmacy and pay a flat fee for each of my prescriptions. When I compare this with the US system, many insurance policies require patients to call to authorise appointments and treatment and, to add insult to injury, only cover a percentage of treatment. To my mind, what is good for insurance companies is bad for patients.
The last time I mentioned the NHS I had a number of volatile comments. I was surprised at the venom I instigated: as if I didn’t pay for healthcare. Please remember that I pay for my health care. I pay my taxes. My country has cut out the middle-man of the insurance industry and my taxes go directly to the NHS. I do not begrudge paying taxes when I know that my tax money is funding projects that I am happy to fund: the NHS is at the top of that list. Thanks to the National Health Service, I am not over-burdened financially and am a successful member of society.
I think the US system is fundamentally flawed. How would I have coped with all my health problems if I had to pay a bill on top? It’s an extra stress that those of us with chronic illnesses do not need. Please remember that I have illnesses. I didn’t ask for my health problems. Thanks to my steadfast National Health Service, I will remain a positive member of society for many years to come.