Good health is precious. I mean, almost. In the UK, health care is free for everyone, and in the US many people cannot afford innovative medicines. Our correspondents report two extremes in health care.
30 million people are uninsured
The United States is one of the pioneers of innovative medicine in areas such as heart surgery or cancer treatment. However, many Americans will not benefit from this. The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world, and with about 30 million people, 11 percent of the U.S. population cannot afford health insurance.
USA Reporter, SRF
Matthias Kundik has been reporting from Miami in the US, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean since the fall of 2018. Prior to that he was a producer at Echo Der Jeet and a special correspondent in Egypt. Kundik studied history and political science at the University of Bern.
In most cases in the United States you will be insured by your employer if you work full time. However, SRF USA correspondent Matthias Kundik explains that one-third of employees are uninsured. Even insured people cannot see a doctor because the deduction amount is so high. So your own health is strongly linked to your job, says Matthias Kundik: “Anyone who loses a job will be without pay within two weeks, but without health insurance”.
Free maintenance requires a lot of patience
SRF Great Britain correspondent Patrick Woolzer said of the British Health Organization: “No one here should have to worry about health care costs. You can access doctors, hospitals and medicines.
A representative survey reveals that the NHS is more popular than Fish & Chips and the Queen.
The NHS provides care in the UK, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland It has a population of over 65 million and over 1.7 million employees. The size of this health system has its downsides, explains Patrick Wulsher: “This huge, bureaucratic tool leads to long waiting times.” In the UK alone, 6 million people are waiting for NHS medical treatment, which is projected to almost double by 2024.
UK Reporter, SRF
Patrik Wülser has been the SRF’s UK correspondent in London since the end of 2019. Wolsher was an African correspondent from 2011 to 2017 and lived with his family in Nairobi. He later headed the foreign department of Radio SRF in Bern.
Health is a question of money
If you want to avoid long waiting times in Great Britain, you have to dig into your pockets. Private insurance companies, hospitals and doctors serve as alternatives. An option not open to large sections of the British population, explains Patrick Woolzer: “Social divisions are so great in Great Britain that many cannot afford personal treatment.”
In the United States, if there are social groups, Americans without health insurance only go to the hospital in emergencies, so there is no access to immunizations. U.S. correspondent Matthias Kundick underscores this with an example in Houston (TX), where people in poor neighborhoods live 20 years shorter than those living in affluent areas.
Health costs are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States.
(Not) a reflection of society
Matthias Kündig sees a healthcare system that makes everything possible for the rich and leaves those who can not afford it as an appropriate response to American society: “The basic mentality here is that everyone can create it and those who can not do it are your own fault.”
Republicans are fighting a potential social welfare network because they fear that people will wander around the gamble.
In response to society, Great Britain correspondent Patrick Wulsher did not understand the basic idea of a social, egalitarian, free health care system in Great Britain: “The rest of British society is structured differently.” According to Wülser, there are still dozens of community classes and large sections of the community, for example in the school system, where one is far removed from the NHS’s egalitarian mentality.
SRF Global, Tuesday, February 15, 8:15 p.m .; ls
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