The United States of America is one of only a few modern countries that does not provide publicly funded health care for residents. There are many who do receive such a benefit, but it is not universally available as it is in countries such as France, Great Britain or Canada.
Instead, many Americans pay for their own health insurance policy, or receive insurance as an employment benefit. Many others have no health coverage. These people pay for medical services as they are required.
President Obama has declared that public coverage for more Americans will be implemented. He has received a lot of opposition to the plan. Whether the plan works out in the long term or not, it has certainly divided American politicians like few other issues ever have. Even with the Obama changes, however, the president's plan only provides policy coverage for 95% of the population. That means that over 15 million people will still be without coverage when President Obama's health reform is fully implemented.
The history of debate on the issue of public health insurance goes back a long way. The current American patch work of private and employer funded plans seems to date to the President Nixon era in the early 1970's. Nixon then declared his reluctance to support public support for the bulk of the country. Thus for about 40 years, private companies have offered their policies to Americans.
This has resulted in a large patchwork of policy agencies. Federal employees receive medical coverage through various plans. Military, government employees, and those on social assistance are covered. Politicians have extensive use of medical care. As well, many state agencies cover care. There are a lot of different ways in use to fund medical services in the United States.
In British Columbia, Canada, the latest government figures have been published for the cost of public health care in the province. Government paid costs amount to about $3600 per year per person. BC is one of the few provinces to charge a monthly fee for public health insurance, $54 per person. Therefore the total health care costs for people in BC is about $354 per month. Taxes cover the real cost of health care. A person earning $119,000 per year pays $9,887 in provincial income tax. Federal income tax would amount to about $20,000. Food, prescription drugs and insurance premiums are not subject to taxes.
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Comments on Medical Services
Many people have had their say on the state of medical care in the country. Here are a few notable quotes:
I find it very annoying and discouraging that our leaders keep implementing policies that sound good but don't improve the health care situation in this country. Meanwhile, too many people do without adequate care -- and costs just keep on rising. - Tembrooke.
I'm one of those people without health insurance. It's a method of the haves making sure the have nots die off faster. Since you have to wait five hours in the clinic, that you still have to pay for by the way, I wont go and made the entire family swear not to take me unless they really know I'm dying!
When I was 25, I got a piece of wood stuck in my foot and had to get a shots. It was from walking bare foot on really, really old hard wood floors. I waited about five hours, Dude looked at my foot, gave me a shot and said I had tiny splinters in it that would work out on it's own. Fast forward 3 months later my foot still swollen like a balloon. I got mad and squeezed my foot as hard as I could. Hurt like hell. HA HA Ha! A piece of wood as wide as of one of those tooth picks with the square end shot out of my foot. About as long as a tooth pick too. My foot got better the very next day. All that limping for three months and pure pain could have been prevented. Not to mention puss.
I have worse ones then this from my experience from just being in the health clinic waiting rooms, but this story is mine at least. Most people don't know that you have to be on deaths door to be accepted by Mr. Friendly family doctor in order for him to treat you if you have no insurance. - Morgannafay.
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Current Coverage Issues
With the United States emerging from the economic impacts of the financial crisis, it seems to be back on track, generally. The country has implemented Obamacare and more people than ever are having their medical services covered.
As expected, many people are still not protected. Many others are still distrustful of the government. They resent being told to purchase their own policy. Unfortunately, the anti-Obama rhetoric continues. Despite the progress that has been made, a core group of politicians, and their supporters, will oppose anything that President Obama implements, or plans.