I was reading the comments to an article in the New York Times (please don't go out of business,) about getting sick on vacation and I was struck by the people who travel abroad and need to access emergency health care. There were 92 comments from readers about their vacations and what happened when they got sick.
The people who got sick in the USA talked about the expense of "out of network" fees or how long they waited in urgent care or emergency departments. About 90% of the comments were about getting sick in countries that have a single payer health system and how great it was.
Several comments had experience with Denmark health care; "Yes, in Denmark there are doctors on call who come to see the ill. He prescribed an antibiotic, said that if I didn’t improve he would hospitalize me, and left. No charge! I improved, my daughter took the ferry to Denmark, and we spent time visiting relatives. I was 65 at the time and never felt so sick before or after."
In Canada: "All of this with little wait time and not a penny cost except for parking in the hospital parking lot. Travel mileage and parking is tax deductible if you have to travel out of your own community. My prescription drugs are free as I am over 65 now. There is a $100 deductible charge annually for drugs.
There is never a wait time if your condition requires immediate attention.I would be happy to explain the above to any non- believer in the USA"
In Spain;" While traveling in Spain last year my 10 year old son had an asthma attack. Our state side medication gone, we walked into a local pharmacia which promptly supplied us with the medication for $3.
The same meds in NY would have required a doctor visit, a prescription and cost $40."
If you believe these experiences, you want to get sick in France, the UK, even Cairo, rather than the United States. There were a few horror stories about missed diagnosis and even a dirty hospital in Rome but overall the consensus was that it is easier, cheaper and quicker to access care abroad than in the U.S.
One comment; "As a physician, I would MUCH prefer to be a traveler in Canada or France than an uninsured -or underinsured - American."