In the U.S. I would have died. I'm glad we have Health Care here.
Where I live (Florida) ANYONE can walk into a public hospital and must receive treatment regardless of ability to pay. It's been that way as long as I can remember.
Not exactly. And there are other ramifications of this that are significant.
Although it's true that anyone can present themselves at *any* hospital in the US and that hospital is required to "stabilize" them that does not in all cases mean the same thing as getting the care that they need.
For example if someone without health insurance is having a heart attack and walks into a hospital then they are pretty much guaranteed to receive the proper care. They may in fact be "stabilized" and then sent by ambulance to another hospital that is willing to deal with "charity" cases but one way or another the person will in fact receive pretty much the same care that someone without insurance would receive.
Now change this to someone needing dialysis on a regular basis. Again this will be treated pretty much the same as the above case where the person will receive the dialysis they need on an immediate basis (again perhaps after being transferred to a more charity friendly hospital) however unlike someone with insurance they will not receive any followup care nor will they receive any consideration for the fact that it's inevitable that in a very short while they will need the same treatment again.
So without insurance the person is simply put back out onto the street and if they are able to make it back into the hospital the next time then fine, their life will in all likelihood be saved. However this is essentially like playing a game of russian roulette and sooner or later they don't make it back to the hospital in time, or they do make it back in time but because nothing has been scheduled the equipment may be in use and the person has to wait. In any case there is far a greater likelihood of premature death that directly correlates to the lack of insurance.
But the above isn't the worst case. The worst case is that you have a form of cancer that is inoperable but that responds well to any combination of radiation or chemotherapy. In that case you can certainly present yourself to the hospital but you most certainly are not in any way guaranteed that you will receive the radiation or chemotherapy that you need. You might receive it if you're lucky and if the hospital feels like it. But the hospital is in no way required to provide a very expensive long term treatment for your cancer. All they are required to do is to "stabilize" you which in many cases is to give you narcotics for any pain and then they're free to send you back out onto the street to die. And this kind of thing happens everyday in the US "the land of the free and the home of the brave".
One additional point and that is the argument that is made that it is someone's *choice* as to whether or not they wish to have insurance. This argument is made on the basis that no one should have a right to force someone to pay for something they don't want. However this is a very flawed argument.
As has been shown above someone without insurance will in fact *usually* receive care and if they can't pay for it then they will in effect receive such care for "free". However it's not free at all. *I* pay for *their* care both by being charged higher premiums to account for the higher costs that hospitals have to pass onto their paying customer because a certain percentage cannot afford to pay and *I* pay for *their* care through my medicare taxes because of the "extra" medicare payments to hospitals that subsidize a portion of non-paying patients.
So instead of being the victim because someone is "forced" to purchase insurance that they don't wish to have, people like this are really "freeloaders" on the system because they know full well they (usually) won't be turned away at the hospital when something catastrophic does happen to them. Plus when someone has no insurance what happens is the hospital emergency room effectively becomes their "primary care physician". Their kid has a cold and they go to the ER. This also happens thousands of times a day across the US.
So by people *not* being forced to have insurance you are forcing *me* to pay for *your* care in the most expensive way possible, the ER. Whereas by forcing you to have insurance we're merely forcing you to carry your own weight and I get the break of having to pay less for "primary care physician" level of care instead of ER level of care for those that truly can't afford it.
The people against this bill say that they object to having to pay for someone else. I happen to basically agree with that sentiment. However the problem is that everyone that is paying into the system is *already* paying for everyone else and is doing so in the most inefficient manner possible. Forcing everyone to have insurance is merely forcing the deadbeats to carry their own weight.
*amazed this thread has survived past the first page*