The difference between the United Kingdom and the American Health service: Why I’m Pro National Health Service (NHS)
By Amanda Nelson
Imagine that you get sick or hurt and you need to see a doctor, but you do not have any access or limited access. Well, that’s my situation. For those of you who do not know, I am an American. I live in a city called Pensacola, Florida, and I have no income and no medical health insurance and have limited access to health care.
In the United States, according to www.healthcare.gov, “Everyone who can afford health insurance either privately or through the help of an employer must have a health insurance plan or pay a fine when you file your taxes.” There are a variety of different companies that offer different plans of health coverage. Each one is different.
As for dental and eye care you either have to buy a separate health insurance package or buy services and equipment yourself.
For three years, from 2014-2016, I had private health insurance. When I had insurance, which I paid for through my savings account, I paid a monthly premium each month, and because of the health insurance package I chose I also had to pay a co-pay for my appointments and any prescriptions I needed. I was able to use my package to cover my needs up to a number of times in a number of ways, from Emergency Room visits to medicines. Because of the fact that I had no income and the prices of the premium, I had to cancel my insurance in late 2016.
According to www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip, There is a government program called Medicaid; this program is to help people who have disabilities or who qualify based on income who may not otherwise have a way to have a health insurance package. Even though this is a federal government funded program, it differs from state to state on the requirements to get assistance. I have applied for this service and I was denied.
When I first came to live with my extended family they went and spoke with a lawyer on my behalf who stated that I would never be able to receive any benefits of any kind because of the qualifications the government has set. I am sure I am not the only person who is in this same situation.
I have tried four different health clinics that are either low cost or “free.” I was turned away from three of them because of the fact of who I live with, who provides my every need, or because I have the inability to pay or to prove where I live.
The last clinic I tried they stated I had to prove that I had no income, where I lived, and then they stated that the waiting time was five months. A lot can happen in five months.
At the time that this article is written, I have not seen a dentist in over a year, both a general doctor and my vision specialist in three years. I may not get a state grant to see my vision specialist in November or new glasses. I currently have a medical condition that is bothersome; and I wish it would go away. One of the best resources I have at this time are the pharmacies, and over the counter medicines.
For those of you who would want to know about emergency care, I would be able to get care, however I would not be able to pay the hefty price tag that would go along with it.
I have looked at a clinic that wanted $419.40 a year plus a $12.00 co-pay per visit, and a $25.00 application fee. Even though I have some savings left over from school, this is something I cannot afford at this time. This clinic only provides very basic medical care. The blood work prices ranged from $27.00 to $170.00 per blood test. The vaccines ranged from $89.00 to $245.00 per type of vaccine and per number needed.
I have continued to look at different resources that would be able to provide me with basic health care. However, when I read their requirements on their websites it can be confusing to me. Furthermore, my personal situation makes things a little bit challenging. I am sure there is a clinic that I can be seen at or perhaps a service that I do not know is available to me.
Across the pond, in the United Kingdom, they have a service called National Health Service (NHS), According to, www.NHS.UK, The National Health Care Services offers a wide variety of services including Emergency Room care, general health care which can be provided through a General Practitioner or nurse, mental health care and end of life care. The care is free at the time the service is used to those who live in England and Wales (plus Scotland and Northern Ireland). The citizens of the united kingdom and other countries that have similar programs are charged for their health care when they pay their yearly taxes. There are only a few things, such as prescriptions that people have to pay a small co-pay for. I know the National Health Service is not perfect, no health care service is.
I personally do not live in The United Kingdom nor have I visited there, however I have many friends over there and I have gathered a wide variety of opinions about the National Health Service.
I feel sad that I live in a country that provides limited basic health services to those who have limited income. I feel that all people, myself included, should have access to basic health care.
I worry about my living situation and my health; things can change in seconds. I am thankful for my health and support that I do have.
With all the time I did researching and talking to people from the United Kingdom I feel the United Kingdom has better health services than what America can provide.
I feel that if America would adopt a service similar to the health service in the United Kingdom, then everyone, no matter if they could afford it or not, we, as a nation, would be better off as a whole.