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Off topic: "Sicko" and "US-translators"
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:26
Flemish to English
+ ...
Sep 14, 2008

"The hospital bill is 36,709$, Jack". A phrase out of the mouth of a middle-class unensured woman in Canton, OH (a typical US middle-class-melting pot). She could not afford health insurance. There are people who pay health -insurance, but denied an intervention from the insurance, because an army of bureaucrats is looking for arguments not to have to pay them.
I wonder how US-translators cope. Translation is not a top-job and the average income from a US-based translator is about $60,000.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Middle class Sep 14, 2008

Williamson wrote:
...unensured woman in Canton, OH (a typical US middle-class-melting pot).


What is the American definition of "middle class". I'm under the impression that the middle class in the UK is quite affluent. Is the US middle class the same as the UK worker class?


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Tatiana Lammers  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Pray to stay healthy Sep 14, 2008

My husband and I have the cheapest health insurance, we try to stay healthy, eat organic food, exercise and pray we stay healthy and do not need to see a doctor.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Stay healthy Sep 14, 2008

For many years I had to pay too much for health insurance that did not cover much and had high deductibles. For routine care we would go to Mexico which is 5 minutes away and much cheaper. Fortunately we were able to stay healthy until reaching age 65 at which point we are now covered by Medicare which is sponsored by the government as a benefit of having worked all those years.

So in the US you cannot afford to become unhealthy until age 65.


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:26
Russian to English
+ ...
U.S. Middle Class Sep 14, 2008


What is the American definition of "middle class". I'm under the impression that the middle class in the UK is quite affluent. Is the US middle class the same as the UK worker class?



Excellent question, Samuel. This Wikipedia link gives a good rundown on class in America as far as categorization by income goes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States#Social_class

The glib answer for 2007 was $35,000 - $75,000. To complicate matters, however, other factors have a bearing on class, such as education, type of occupation, family background, etc. For a more nuanced discussion of class, see this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class_in_the_United_States

As for me, I retired with a pension plan that features excellent health coverage. I'm worried about my kids, though. As a society, we really need to do something about the problem .


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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
English to Italian
My thoughts Sep 15, 2008

Like Tatiana, I have the cheapest insurance (it's a PPO plan, HMO is too expensive) that I pay out of my pocket. The company I work for offers insurance plans, but they are more expensive, so I keep mine, but I am not a happy lark, let me tell you. At the moment I passed from $ 148.00/mo to $192.00/mo. When I turn 40 the monthly premium will go even higher.

And Like Tatiana, I try to keep as healthy as possible, but still, I can't accept the fact that there is no universal health care in this country. I find appaling the fact that 41 millions Americans are uninsured because they CAN'T afford it, and that many many people must end up saying like we are doing now: I pray to be as healthy as possible. This is something which is totally unacceptable in a modern and civilized country like the US.

In Italy we have public health care that we citizens finance with a part of our salaries. This public health care system has some faults (long waiting times for example), I am not saying that it's perfect, but it allows people to seek health care when in need, mostly for free. Just an example: this past winter my father was hospitalized for 1 1/2 months, poor man. The medical staff ran dozens of tests and check-ups on, and do you want to know who much was the bill? ZERO, null, nada, nichts. Should we think of how much would it have costed in the US? Thousands and thousands of dollars. And this thought makes me shiver every time I don't feel well or I have a small ailment.
I'm even thinking that if I ever feel really sick and need medical treatment, I'd better get a ticket to Italy and get help there, it would be cheaper for sure. Or, as Henry said, cross the border and go to Mexico to seek help there. But WHY should people do this? This is beyond me and every time I think about it, it makes me angry.

I think that a country like the US should grant free or low cost universal health care to all those people who have medium to low income (which is the most part of the Americans).

I have heard that Medicare for those who are not retired is very hard to get, basically you have to be on the brim of poverty or have no property whatsoever in order to be accepted. The paperwork and the bureaucratic course are extremely complicate. Is it true?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
True Sep 15, 2008

"I have heard that Medicare for those who are not retired is very hard to get, basically you have to be on the brim of poverty or have no property whatsoever in order to be accepted. The paperwork and the bureaucratic course are extremely complicate. Is it true?"

That is called Medicaid, not Medicare. In essence you must be totally indigent and/or permanently disabled as I understand. The requirements vary, and it is true that it is quite complicated. Basically you would have to be a welfare recipient of one kind or another.

You would not like the conditions that would make you elegible for it.

So you must stay healthy until age 65, or if you die before that age, let's hope it is a sudden death with no final medical expenses to eat up your estate.


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Michael Barnett
Local time: 15:26
English
+ ...
A Canadian doctor's comment. Sep 15, 2008

I thought "Sicko" was quite excellent and very eloquently portrayed the need for major health care reform in the US.

There was one scene that annoyed me a bit though. That American woman with breast cancer drove to Canada to receive "free" health care. Actually, the care is only "free" to Canadian citizens, who actually pay for the care with their taxes, which are considerably higher in Canada than they are in the US. To obtain the "free" services, she must have attempted to fraudulently use a Canadian's health care card, which looks something like a credit card, and has no picture ID. As you recall, the clinic she visited called the police, probably tipped off by a discrepancy in the birth date on the card and the woman's apparent age.

Had she succeeded, the fraud would have resulted in either the doctor not being paid for his work, or the government health plan absorbing a loss. It was equivalent to using a stolen credit card.

When approached by visiting foreigners, Canadian doctors are obliged to bill the patient just like they do in the US. For the past several years though, unless the foreign patient is presenting with an acute urgent situation, we have have been advised by our malpractice insurance provider not to treat foreign patients for ongoing care, because they will not defend us in a US court in the event of subsequent litigation. It seems that malpractice awards in the US are far higher than in Canada, so our malpractice premiums are not sufficient to buy coverage for US patients. We would have to buy separate, additional malpractice insurance from a US insurer. I looked into the cost - about $20K/yr - far too much for the volume of American patients I see.

I suppose Michael Moore can't cover all the details in a 90 minute film.

Michael


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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
English to Italian
scary Sep 15, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

So you must stay healthy until age 65, or if you die before that age, let's hope it is a sudden death with no final medical expenses to eat up your estate.


This is really really scary. What if you don't have an estate? I know the medical facility can't refuse to assist people who don't have health insurance.

I haven't watched "Sicko" because I'm sure it'll freak me out with these stories about seriously ill people who can't get the assistance they need because it's too expensive and they can't pay for it.

Gosh....


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:26
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The American dream: a nightmare ? Sep 15, 2008

Now I know where to classify translators:
"Semi-professionals and craftsman with some work autonomy; household incomes commonly range from $35,000 to $75,000. Typically, some college education."
A working-class here is something to be..
*-*-*-*-*-
An American, I met in Brussels told me that America is for the "healthy and the wealthy". An acquaintance of my mother realised the "American dream" (home in Yorba Linda, Ca, has his own boat, trailer, ....) owns a block with 80 flats and derives income from the rent of these flats), but for those who don't, nothing may go wrong.

Best of both worlds : The NHS has its defaults, but with the Eurostar Brussels is just 1.15 minutes aways. In Belgium, you choose your own doctor and hospital bills depend upon how much you earn. There is a system of a "maximum invoice" and the more you earn, the less you will be reimbursed.


"I think that a country like the US should grant free or low cost universal health care to all those people who have medium to low income (which is the most part of the Americans)".

A fat elephant does not know that there are hungry donkeys too.
The man or woman (?) in the White House rules the U.S. and the world. He or she can change the system. Politics are forbidden on these fora, but if I were an American translator (clerical, lower middle class), I would vote for whoever can change the healthcare system and introduce obligatory universal healthcare with your contribution depending on your income.

Just asked this questions, because I am weighing my options where to live in this world.

One the other hand, if you want to make a U-turn at my age, in the US/UK, this is culturally acceptable. In red tape countries it is not.




[Edited at 2008-09-15 07:22]


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:26
German to English
It's all relative Sep 15, 2008

Here in Germany, I pay the equivalent of around USD 700 per month for private healthcare insurance (I could opt into the statutory health insurance system, but the premiums would be higher and I'd get fewer benefits). My premiums are partly tax-deductible, and there's a "no claims bonus" system if I don't claim in a particular year (refund of between 2 and 3 monthly premiums). Health insurance here certainly isn't cheap, but it's just one of the things you factor into the cost of living. The treatment I'm currently undergoing will probably end up costing around EUR 15k, and my deductible is EUR 350. So the insurance is certainly worthwhile (plus, it will cover the new glasses I'll be getting soon).

My son lives in the United States, so I'm well aware of the situation there. In MA - where he lives - health insurance is now compulsory, but it's not cheap, either, so eats up quite a lot of his budget.

Williamson wrote: Best of both worlds : The NHS has its defaults


The NHS in England seems to be pretty awful, according to the medics I know there. It's somewhat better in Scotland, but not much. It certainly doesn't stand comparison with continental European countries like Germany, France and the Benelux.

One the other hand, if you want to make a U-turn at my age, in the US/UK, this is culturally acceptable. In red tape countries it is not.


Not quite sure what you mean there. We can surely change our lives at any age, and I don't know of any country where it would be "culturally unacceptable" for me (aged 50+) to do that.

Robin


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:26
German to English
+ ...
Oh, yes they can! Sep 15, 2008

First of all, Robin, I hope your treatments go well and that you are back to optimum health very soon!

Liliana Roman-Hamilton wrote:

This is really really scary. What if you don't have an estate? I know the medical facility can't refuse to assist people who don't have health insurance.

I haven't watched "Sicko" because I'm sure it'll freak me out with these stories about seriously ill people who can't get the assistance they need because it's too expensive and they can't pay for it.

Gosh....


My sister-in-law's doctors started refusing her treatments when she couldn't pay. It does happen. She had ovarian cancer. For many people it ends in bankruptcy, which is also more difficult to do now, of course.

We have had health on our side, so we paid less than $700/mo. for a PPO for a family of 4. However, we paid through the nose because the deductible was high - essentially we paid that money per month, then paid for all of our visits to the doctor out of pocket on top of it because we hadn't reached the deductible ($4,000 for the family). Due to my husband recently accepting a full-time teaching position, we switched to an HMO that covers a lot more - we now pay less per month and only pay a co-pay per doctor's visit, which will end up costing less overall. Now we're crossing our fingers that we don't develop anything that requires visits to specialists, because those visits have to be approved by the primary care physician in an HMO situation.

I imagine this system is as convoluted and complicated to understand for those not in the US as VAT in Europe is for me! In Germany, I liked paying my money each month and then presenting my health card to the doctor, which literally took care of everything, no questions asked. I never saw a bill and paid a minimal amount for each prescription. It was great.

PS Liliana, I have also avoided watching Sicko for the same reasons.

[Edited at 2008-09-15 12:59]


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Jean Martin  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:26
Member (2004)
Italian to English
The NHS is not awful Sep 15, 2008

As a UK citizen and fierce defender of the NHS, I feel I have to respond to the slur.
Yes, it has its flaws , particulary as regards waiting times for routine operations, but my experience has always been very positive in cases when I or my family has needed urgent/long-term medical intervention and the GP system is, in my opinion, second to none.
The crucial factor is that it is free at the point of delivery and so I know that, whatever my financial circumstances, my medical care will be provided free of charge, no matter how long or complex the treatment.
What other system can provide such an assurance.
Long live the NHS


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:26
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Summary Sep 15, 2008

With "Sicko" I meant the U.S.-healthcare situation (wealthy and lucky-ones only), not the film by M.Moore which dealt with the same subject. Basic content : 9/11 -firemen and aide workers who could not get any treatment for ailments as a consequence of their effort to help others. MM took the to Gitmo to get first class aide. When they were refused entry, he took them to Cuba where they got free help. There was also a scene with a man condemned to die because he needed a liver (?) transplant, had insurance, but the bureaucracy of the insurance company turned him down. Both MM and the man went with a hearse and coffin to the company. The man finally got word that he was going to be reimbursed. He had the operation and is still alive.
There was a scene about the NHS where the cashier reimbursed people for travel costs. Unbelievable, you actually received money to go the hospital.
He also examined the French health-care system.
*-*-*-
A U-turn: attend an education in a totally different direction than the one you are professionally active at present and start a career at age 50.
In some countries people prepare for retirement at age 55.
As long as I am healthy, I will not retire.


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sarandor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:26
English to Russian
+ ...
Universal health care Sep 15, 2008

is the answer, but I am amazed at how many people are opposed to it in the U.S. I am fortunate to have health insurance throgh my husband's employer, but many of my friends have no insurance at all. My husband has been recently diagnosed with diabetes. If we didn't have insurance, the cost of diabetic supplies would have cost us hundreds of dollars per month. Now we have to be very careful when considering new jobs - we NEED A GOOD insurance, and this limits our job options since not every employer in the U.S. provides health benefits. You can forget about buying a comprehensive health insurance on your own - its cost is way out of reach for middle-class families. My father-in-law, a retired police captain, calls the idea of universal health care "socialist" (meaning "communist"). In his opinion, we have the best health care in the world, and people from all over come here to be treated. Granted, he is insured, always had insurance, and everything is OK in his little world. People like him (and I like him as a person) see any change as a threat, so I am not optimistic that universal health care is going to happen here any time soon. Eventually, yes...

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