Via BoingBoing, a
on SciAm by Kevin Zelnio on the horrors of living in the US without health insurance:
I tell my kids not to do things that I certainly enjoyed doing as a kid, like don’t climb high on trees, run a little slower on the trail, watch out for roots and stones! It’s not just the usual parental concern either. I’m consciously thinking “oh my god, I cannot afford to fix them if they get broke!”.
He talks about how his son recently developed pnumonia because they were put off visiting a doctor because of the potential cost and how a previous illness wiped out their saves:
The mindset of being uninsured is not , well... reassuring. It causes you to take risks that your peers do not need to take. It creates a perpetual fear that anything you do will eat up your life savings or kill you. Indeed, it has for us on one occasion. Nearly a decade ago when my wife was in constant pain for over a day, and after she could not take it anymore, I rushed her to emergency room. They had no clue, it was a worthless visit. They just looked at us dumbfounded and tried to get her to take antibacterials and be on her way. They even did unnecessary x-rays. All of that was of course billed to us. We had saved up for 4 years to visit her family in Sweden. Every last cent, about $4000 was wiped clean.
Sure, the NHS may not be perfect. And yes, some treatments may end up being rationed on the grounds of cost. But at least we're not (yet, at least) living a country where we have to measure everything we do against the cost paying for medical care if something goes wrong.