A lot of Americans are not in favor of an UK-style healthcare system and that is very evident. I think that it can do a lot for many of the disadvantaged people in the States and bring the quality of life up for the 46 million Americans that do not have/cannot afford healthcare.

I thought I could talk about how the NHS works over here as most of you will not use their services because you have the hospital on the base. This is mixed with research and personal experience both as a patient and working for the NHS .

First I will start off with the first time I had to deal with the NHS . As you know, I spent 10 years in the United States Air Force and my husband is English. In 2008, two weeks before our wedding, my husband had a horrific work-related accident. A 2.5 ton cherry picker fell on his leg and broke it. He was rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital in an ambulance and went straight into surgery (if you would like to see the gory pictures contact me- he loves to share!). He spent 8 days in the hospital and was out of work for 6 months while he had physical therapy to get to as back to normal as it was going to get. The doctors were amazed that he was even able to keep his foot (they said it was one of the worst breaks they have seen where the person did not lose the limb). I am very thankful for all the response and assistance that he received. Guess how much we paid? Nothing! An accident like this could bankrupt a family in the USA when you total the doctor's visits, ambulance ride, surgery and the fire truck that also came to the scene.

The NHS is relatively new. It was created in 1948 and was created to bring good healthcare to all. A lot of the NHS runs just like the military hospitals. You have to be referred to see a specialist.

You don’t have to pay for your hospital visits. You do have to pay for your prescription but it is a set fee of £7.10. There are certain groups of people who do not have to pay for prescriptions such as pensioners, pregnant women and low-income earners. It is the same no matter how much the drug costs.

You sign up with your local surgery (doctor’s office). Sometimes they have catchment areas but in my case, I was allowed to join my husband’s surgery because he belonged there. If you require an appointment, you call and schedule and more often than not you can get a same day appointment if you call first thing in the morning.

The great thing about the NHS is everyone gets treatment regardless of the amount of money they make. Just imagine the millions of Americans that are debating on getting something looked at but are not sure if they can afford the costs. You can have private insurance which might get you your own room and some other benefits but that is for people who can afford it, but it is comforting to know that if I am sick I have nothing to worry about whether I am in or out of work especially due to this recession. I know things have changed with the implementation of 'Obama Care'.

I have a friend who thought he just had a cold that he couldn’t kick and it was around the holiday season. He went in and they diagnosed him with Leukemia. He immediately went to the cancer ward in Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and began his treatment- he couldn’t even go home to pack. Two years later, he is finishing off his treatment and getting back to his life.

I will be honest, I think Americans would benefit from a healthcare system like this. We hear horror stories of football stadiums being filled when doctors are offering their services for free. Also it will drive the healthcare insurance down because hospitals charge those with insurance more to make up for all the people who go bankrupt and are unable to pay for their services. It could also reduce the infant mortality rate, at the moment we are below Cuba.

In the US, 1 in 3 children aren't covered by medical insurance. 52 Million Americans do not have coverage whilst the US spends more on medicine, they get the least. 60% of bankruptcies are due to medical bills and the courts are filled with people suing for medical expenses, it doesn't happen here.

You do have waiting times for non-emergency surgeries and if you get private healthcare, you can get them taken care of sooner.

We also get to see the dentist on the NHS, although I go to a private one because I joined my husband’s dentist’s office. You get all necessary dental treatment covered if you fall into certain groups. Otherwise dental treatment has a graduated scale based on the service you need. For more info, check out this website.

A friend of mine posted an article that I would like to share that shows that the US is the worst at preventable death simply because people do not have access to healthcare. I just hate to see progressive countries like Canada, where everyone has healthcare and in the States where we are the #1 country and we have people dying needlessly. I have heard the argument that the politicians who will draw this up will have their own healthcare. Isn’t it better for everyone to be able to get treatment? That is life, if the ‘rich’ don’t fly in the same part of the plane as we do, they don’t live where we do, they do not wear the same clothes brands as we do and so if they can afford to upgrade themselves, let them waste their money but we should not hold this principle while people are dying when they do not have to.

This article is a good description of the NHS.

All the Best!

American to Britain