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No. of Recommendations: 82
I'm an American living in Europe. As an adult, I have been in both the US and European healthcare systems. The European systems (they vary somewhat across countries) are better, full stop. The US system is an admin nightmare. A huge % of US GDP is tied up in healthcare, and it's wasted on admin people who add zero value in the process.

Quick story from Europe. I had a medical emergency about 4 months ago. The details are below (I'll try to be brief):

1 - Worrying symptoms involving coughing up blood briefly and some chest pain (I'll spare you all the details) one morning after returning from a long business trip. Call my personal doctor. Nurse answers. Hands me to my doctor (yes, I spoke to my doctor right away, and yes, I have a doctor, not a team of corporate doctors that rotate in and out). I'm in a different city from her, about an hour away. She suggests I go to the emergency room where they can do more complete testing. I take the metro, somewhat worried...

2 - I explain my symptoms at reception and show my insurance card. She tells me to wait. 20 minutes later, a nurse calls my name and I go back (they bring a wheel chair for me, which was strange). Once back, 4 doctors are all over me. Asking questions, etc. They decide to do an EKG, chest X-rays, and blood work, among other analysis. Various doctors are around me during this process, one doctor remains throughout.

3 - Blood work comes back in 90 minutes: all OK. EKG fine. Chest X-rays come back in 30 minutes, fine. Doctors think I should be fine, but of course I need to monitor the situation and return if symptoms return. I'm in the hospital for 2.5 hours from start to finish, including the waiting. They performed a battery of tests, and I received the results on the spot.

4 - My bill for this was 0 USD. Zero. Z-E-R-O. No haggling with various healthcare providers because one of the doctors was not in my network, no minimum payment, nothing. No stress while going through this about the cost, etc. Just me focusing on my issues with a handful of doctors. Yes, there was stress related to the potential seriousness of my illness, but not about how this could potentially burden me or my family.

Can you imagine this situation in the USA? The stress of possible financial repercussions? The weeks or months or even years of calls to resolve all the individual bills that would come out of this visit? 4 doctors in an emergency room, blood tests, etc. It would be a total mess! But why? What value would all of that admin headache add, other than to suck out as much money as they can from me or my private healthcare provider? What value that I didn't get in Europe, with zero headache?

And think about the Americans who - knowing this - just decide to stay home. To hope everything will be OK. How many people die because of this in the USA each year? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? In one of the riches countries in the world? It's a disgrace. And absolute disgrace.

And people really try to defend this immoral, wasteful system?!? Say it's better than Europe? It just boggles my mind.
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