What are Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare compared to the UK's NHS?
I'm from the UK and here we have the NHS which is where you pay taxes to have free healthcare. Our health isn't really free but it's payed though tax so everyone gets it. But in America you have to pay.
I'm autistic so I don't really understand this but my Dad says in america if your sick you die and doctors don't care. That sounds so mean. But when I look if that's true I read about Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare but my dad says they are crap but he won't tell me why. What are they? and are they a little similar to our NHS?
Please make the answers easy to understand.
- CliveLv 71 year agoFavourite answer
Nothing in life is ever free! The correct term with the NHS is "free at point of use". So as you know, it LOOKS free when you need it. Just saying that to avoid Americans commenting on it.
What they have in the USA is no system at all. Imagine a Britain with no NHS, just doctors and hospitals where you have to pay every time you use them. This gets expensive (it's the most expensive health care in the world because doctors charge so much) so you want to have insurance. Poor and old people get paid for by Medicare and Medicaid, taxes pay for those, and the "Obamacare" law has made it compulsory for everybody else to have health insurance.
So one big difference is that in the UK, taxes pay for your health care unless you choose to "go private", but in the USA, unless you are entitled to Medicare or Medicaid,,you have to buy insurance. If taxes look higher in the UK, which they aren't particularly, it's because they pay for more!
So you have insurance, and that will pay your medical bills. To keep it simple, let's forget things like excesses and exclusions in the insurance policy. Insurance pays the bills, but these can be big bills and so the insurance costs a lot too.
The real issue is the amount American doctors charge. They charge a LOT and this makes Medicare, Medicaid and insurance expensive. The enormous difference with the NHS is that the NHS itself employs and pays the doctors and runs everything, so it can control what doctors get paid. Doctors can work privately like all American doctors do, but they won't make a living unless they have a lot of rich patients willing to pay for it. The NHS pays a good wage to doctors, but it won't make them millionaires.
And that is the biggest cost. If you can control what you pay doctors, you can have an NHS to cover everyone.
Now here's a bit of economics. Chemists and hospitals buy drugs from drug companies. One individual customer can't bargain much. But if the whole NHS says "we want 1 billion Ramiprils, can we do a deal?", you bet they can come up with a discount! We have a monopoly buyer situation. If the company says no, who else are they going to sell to? So that keeps costs down too. (I mention Ramipril because I have to take it every day for high blood pressure, lots of older people have that, so I'm sure the NHS actually does need billions of them.)
Your Dad is wrong. Of course doctors will treat you if you're sick. Any doctor is sworn to preserve life and that's why American doctors won't do lethal injections. The problem comes with who's going to pay for it. In the UK, the NHS just pays. In the USA, you're reliant on doctors doing some charity work. This reminds me of my Mum, who was born before the NHS started in a charity nursing home.
The NHS is a very different way of running things. And a very good one too. StephenWeinstein is right - if the USA actually had an NHS, it could probably do it just for the amount it already spends on Medicare and Medicaid, But it won't do that because all the doctors and health insurance companies will scream, and they bribe the politicians not to do it.
- Anonymous1 year ago
No NHS is better than all of them.
Medicare (just for the elderly) and Obamacare generally have premiums. Obamacare has different levels of coverage and can have very limited coverage in some areas.
Obamacare just helps people pay private insurance companies premiums for low income people and instituted basic level of care.
Medicaid provides low level care and many doctors, pharmacies and providers do not take it. It's for poor people. It also has long waits.
Private insurance is very expensive and comes at different levels of coverage.
Workplace insurance varies as to coverage and not given to all employees.
- BillLv 61 year ago
Americans do not have public health care system
if you cannot afford it you die , so you dad is right
why don't they have it --because Americans worship the dollar GOD and if money is involved it is all for the rich only
- StephenWeinsteinLv 71 year ago
They are somewhat similar, but they are provided to only some of the population, mainly the poor and the elderly, which ironically makes them cost more than it costs to provide NHS to everyone. The U.S. spends about twice as much to provide healthcare to some as other countries spend to provide it to all.
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- oldprofLv 71 year ago
Your dad is wrong. The MDs in America are typically caring and excellent medics.
Our problem is that we have millions of uninsured Americans who cannot afford even basic medical treatment. So they are at risk of dying for the lack of medical treatment.
True we have MDs who will not care for anyone who cannot pay. But I'm guessing your Brit MDs would not be happy to provide medical care if your government stopped paying them. And to a point we see in the news often where our MDs provide medical care for free, as charity.