Monday, January 25, 2016

"Like trying to settle in Stalinist Russia": A British expat complains about "the horrendous bureaucracy that accompanies the American health system"

A Daily Telegraph writer who moved to the US two years ago is only now starting to get grips with the health system. David Millward tells British readers about one vignette after another
which illustrates the horrendous bureaucracy that accompanies the American health system. I moved to the US two years ago and I am only now starting to understand how it works. I knew I needed insurance and I knew health was expensive, but I was completely unprepared for its complexity.
It is not, as I soon learnt, just a matter of paying for health insurance and going to the doctor when sick. Patients have a choice of policies, in fact rather a lot of choice. … Wading through the fine print [of 89 different policies] was a miserable and time-consuming process even with the aid of a spreadsheet.
Ruth Margolis chimes in on America's "predictably incomprehensible forms" along with other examples of "lunacy":
 … when my fiancé and I moved from London to New York in 2011 because he’d got a job there, we weren’t expecting our lives to be overtaken by killer paperwork. The complete absence of humour or flexibility exhibited by anyone behind a desk or at the end of a “help” line only made the form filling and hoop jumping worse. It was like trying to settle in Stalinist Russia. Multiple times in those first few weeks we’d look at each other, then at the growing pile of semi-literate documents on our friends’ spare bedroom floor, and feel ready to give up.

Signing up for the internet, dealing with the US health care system – even renting a flat – were all soul-crushing experiences.
Personally, I cannot tell to what extent any of this is due to the statism inherent in the East Coast's blue states (the states mentioned, after all, are Maine and New York) or to what degree Obamacare has made this better or worse. But maybe some readers can testify here…

(Meanwhile, Sophie Pitman shares some top tips for drafting a personal statement fit for an American admissions officer…)

Update (for the New York Crank—see comments section):

Note to Americans Who Believe Europeans' Health Care System Is the Way to Go

More on health care here:
And if you have some more time…