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Private v. Social Medicine

Obamacare

During a recent trip to rural Virginia, I came across this amusing skeleton. A funny insult to the Affordable Health Care Act, more commonly known as "Obama Care." Grammar Nazis - perhaps you'll be amused at the incorrect English on the skeleton's sign? :) And who said freedom of expression is dead in America? It's a favorite hobby of most Americans, and the American press, to constantly criticize Obama and our government policies. Absolutely no criticism of Putin, or his policies, by Russian press or his fellow politicians. Maybe it's there, and I just miss it? If so, please send me examples of articles in Russian press which criticize your fearless leader or his policies. I will be interested to read them...

Yes, my current President is considered a raging socialist by many Americans. I don't understand anything about socialized medicine in Russia, or even America's version of it. I haven't studied the provisions of Obama Care closely enough to comment on it, because it impacts me in absolutely no way. I've always had health insurance through my employer, as many Americans do. People dependent on Obama Care are those working part-time jobs where benefits aren't available, the self-employed and those without jobs or falling into lower income brackets. I'll try to write a post about how my insurance works in the future. In general, I have a $25 USD co-pay for almost all doctor's visits and procedures. As a single person, I contribute $90 per paycheck toward my health insurance payment, the rest is covered by my employer. This equals $180 each month. When I wasn't an attorney, I paid much less (on average only $20 or $30 per paycheck). Thus, the higher your income is, the more your employer will likely require you to contribute. Insurance charges soar if an employee wants to have their entire family covered under the policy, including a wife and multiple children. Usually, I can get an immediate appointment with my primary physician (even same day), and see a specialist within a week. I don't believe medicine/health care is really "free" in any country. The average person always pays somehow, through taxes or other avenues.

Maybe some of my readers have medical coverage under Obama Care? If so, they can explain how it works in the comments. How does medicine work in Russia? Can you go to any doctor, or only those working for the State? How long do you have to wait for an appointment, or to schedule a major surgery? What happens in emergency situations? Is it free to take an ambulance and receive immediate medical attention at the hospital? Do you trust Russian doctors and medical care? I've seen some recent posts by Russian bloggers about medical reform in Russia, but I don't understand what changes are trying to be implemented.

Educate me please. :)


Comments

( 142 comments — Leave a comment )
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kremlin_curant
Feb. 12th, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC)
I was unemployed since October 2013 until April 2014 and received Metroplus medical + dental + vision insurance since 1/1/2014 under Obamacare. I myself choose Metroplus, it costed around $90 per month for me. But I never used it. In May 2014 new employer gave me Aetna insurance and I gave up Obamacare.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC)
It's still expensive! And how much do you pay now for the Aetna plan? Or, your employer covers all the costs?
(no subject) - kremlin_curant - Feb. 12th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
yokalamane
Feb. 12th, 2015 04:35 pm (UTC)
"the higher your income is, the more your employer will likely require you to contribute"
Not really. It doesn't matter what your salary grade is, the cost schedule is the same for the entry level associate and for CEO.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
Re: "the higher your income is, the more your employer will likely require you to contribute"
This isn't true in my profession, or most big law firms. So, I guess it depends on your profession. I worked as both a receptionist and paralegal in a big firm before I became a lawyer, and paid much, much less for insurance in both of these positions.
10_4
Feb. 12th, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
I makemake way too much to qualify. I don't need obamastinkincare, but that a-hole now forced all of us (including me) to buy insurance thru the overregulated exchangeexchange, meaning I have to pay about $1000 per month now instead of $400ish I paid last year. Not to mention, the new plan is waaaay worse than the previous.

You can keep you insurance my ass... :(
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 04:47 pm (UTC)
$1,000 per month! I assume this is a family plan? Mine went up a little bit also, but not so drastic.
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yarowind
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:01 pm (UTC)
>>Absolutely no criticism of Putin, or his policies, by Russian press or his fellow politicians. Maybe it's there, and I just miss it?

In internet - a lot. For example
http://www.gazeta.ru/comments/column/bovt/6387665.shtml

Edited at 2015-02-12 05:02 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
Very good, thank you! How about on the TV?
(no subject) - yarowind - Feb. 12th, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - svat_vladimir - Mar. 17th, 2015 10:17 am (UTC) - Expand
sineglazzka2301
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:11 pm (UTC)
In short, all people in Russia are supposed to be covered by State insurance policies. So theoretically I can go to a GP or a specialist within a week. But in fact it hugely depends on the city, on the nature of your illness and many other things. Free medicine is always time- and nerves - consuming. It works more or less for children - they really get much medical surveillance for free. But if you want to save your time and enjoy a better atmosphere in a hospital, you can go to a private one.Insurance is not very popular, only big (and often international) companies offer it. In case of emergency, basic treatment will be done free, but most further treatment costs money.
As for me, I don't have any insurance except the State one, so when I visit private clinic (and I prefer to do this because I hate long queues in State clinics) - I pay. Many doctors work both in State and private clinics at the same time.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
How much does it typically cost to see a doctor at a private clinic?
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pin_gwin
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:12 pm (UTC)
For me it became lower in my paycheck contribution but much higher out of pocket contribution and deductible, the employer kept older plan, like your's, but it truncated certain benefits the way that moved me to the new one.
What I see as a huge change for good in Obama Care is that insurance can not be denied based on person's health conditions. But I still believe that there should be a basic level of medical service, provided to all citizens, like in Canada.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
My price stayed the same, but I think my deductible also has increased. :( I need to call to figure this out because I'm scheduled for a cortisone injection in my back soon, and don't want to receive a surprise bill!!
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kazantsev_av
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC)
How does medicine work in Russia?
In Russia medicine is declared free, however it's not true. There is an income tax of approx 3-4% that goes to medical system, and everybody has "free" insurance which is accepted by government hospitals. However, even with this insurance there are paid services provided by government hospitals.

Can you go to any doctor, or only those working for the State?
You can go to any doctor. If you go to a state doctor it'll be probably free (at least visit), but you need to see your physician first before going to any specialist, and for both you need to schedule an appointment. If you decide to go to private doctor, it will be much faster and you'll get a better service (at least you'll be treated well). Many big employers provide a private insurance to their employees as a benefit.

How long do you have to wait for an appointment, or to schedule a major surgery?
I can't comment regarding government hospital, but for a private doctors appointment is usually scheduled within a week (depends on a specialist), and surgery within a month (depends on an insurance company).

What happens in emergency situations? Is it free to take an ambulance and receive immediate medical attention at the hospital?
Yes. You don't need any insurance for this.

Do you trust Russian doctors and medical care?
It depends. I don't trust physicians in a government hospitals because they're not interested in treating you well: they have very small salaries, a lot of patients and paperwork. Many government hospitals are in a horrible conditions. Many private doctors tries to pull out of you as much money as they can. However, there are definitely decent doctors, and if you know somebody who knows such a doctor - you're in luck and can worry no more.

Edited at 2015-02-12 05:17 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the detailed response! It's very informative. The wait times are shorter than I expected.
(no subject) - kazantsev_av - Feb. 12th, 2015 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Feb. 12th, 2015 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
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elena_88888
Feb. 12th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC)
Any criticism of the regime is forbidden, moreover it's not allowed to criticize Putin 'cause he is a Deputy God on the Earth in Russia...
As everywhere there are some doctors kissed by God and there are some doctors who just get their salaries... Of course I prefer first ones and try to get there. By the way my father was such and he operated as me as my mother (not every doctor can operate his relatives)...
And in Belarus you can call a first-aid ambulance and if it is emergent situation they take a patient and get him to a hospital that is on duty this day/night. As for visit to a doctor I need to make an appointment and there are a lot of factors when I can get there, 'cause I try to choose for a time when I already leave work (evening or day-off), doctor's schedule and scheduled time.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 06:03 pm (UTC)
I think "connections" help in any country. The more people you know in higher positions, the better. Well, I hope this new peace plan reached last night in Minsk works. We will have to wait and see, but it didn't work last time so I have little hope now...
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a_nimaida
Feb. 12th, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to read the post ..and already know that the end of topics you write about Russia again.
strange ....
in each topic .....

you are not interested in writing about other countries?
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
If I visit other countries, I will write about them. :) For instance, I wrote a lot of reports about Israel and the West Bank a few months ago. But, now I'm living in America, and primarily traveling here and in Russia. And, of course, all my readers are Russian speakers, so I sometimes ask them questions so they can educate me. Because I don't understand medical care in Russia.

Edited at 2015-02-12 06:22 pm (UTC)
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mjol1nir
Feb. 12th, 2015 07:06 pm (UTC)
It is prohibited in this country to criticize Fuhrer.
Сensorship.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 12th, 2015 07:09 pm (UTC)
It often appears my Russian readers live in alternate universes, although they are located in the same country. Some people tell me in the comments that criticism of Putin is rampant; others say it never happens. :) I guess it's the same as all countries. Everything is a matter of perception.
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rise_man
Feb. 12th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC)
Generally speaking
Russian Press is not allowed to criticize of mr. president. It seems to be strange, but It seems to me that I could explain .
peacetraveler22
Feb. 13th, 2015 02:12 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm mostly following RT online and on Facebook, and their main job is to criticize the USA and most Western European nations. :) And to read the comments on their page is really mind numbing.
(no subject) - rise_man - Feb. 15th, 2015 11:57 am (UTC) - Expand
margo_de_mtl
Feb. 13th, 2015 03:00 am (UTC)
In Canada, you don't have to pay if you need to see a doctor, but if you are unemployed or if your employer does not offer any insurance plan, you still have to pay premium for public prescription drug insurance which is around 600 $ per year. If your employer does offer a group insurance plan, that's when it gets tricky. You must join the plan whether you like it or not. Frankly, I would prefer to go with the public plan, but I can't. So I have to pay 55 $ per paycheck (+ optional dental insurance) in a country with a supposedly social medicine :) And I am not even a high-income earner :)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 13th, 2015 02:12 pm (UTC)
Interesting! It's good to have a better understanding of how "socialized" medicine works in different countries. Thanks! :) And, as I said in the post, I don't think any medicine is truly "free." Your comment proves this. :)
eugenius_uk
Feb. 13th, 2015 01:00 pm (UTC)
The skeleton is ridiculous. For people under Obamacare, there is hardly ever choice between it and some better insurance. The choice is between Obamacare and nothing at all.


peacetraveler22
Feb. 13th, 2015 02:11 pm (UTC)
This was my understanding as well, but people will never be entirely content with government. Some people don't want strong social systems. They have no desire to have their taxes support the less fortunate. I think this mentality exists in all countries. And it's almost impossible to find a healthy balance, because most governments (even in the USA) are lazy and inefficient, which results in many people abusing the system (esp. welfare, food stamps, etc.).
(no subject) - eugenius_uk - Feb. 13th, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Feb. 13th, 2015 03:58 pm (UTC)
I think that almost everything has already been said about Russian healthcare :)

I only can add that for children doctors are not only free but also physicians visit children at home.
You don't have to drive a sick child to a hospital in simple cases like cold, flu, stomach pain, etc.

Of course it is possible to criticize Putin, at least in Internet.

www. echo. msk. ru - this is a strong anti-Russian resourse and also a popular radio in Moscow.

www. novayagazeta.ru - this one is also quite radical. A newspaper.

www. gazeta. ru which you probably know about is also oppositional. Especially check their columnists.

peacetraveler22
Feb. 13th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
Everything is possible on the Internet...it's the Wild West. :)) I was mostly speaking about criticism on TV, or major television news casts.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Feb. 13th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
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yacc11
Feb. 13th, 2015 04:43 pm (UTC)
>Absolutely no criticism of Putin, or his policies, by Russian press or his fellow politicians
You must be kidding :) There're a lot of opposion sites and there's opposition's press and TV.

About healthcare - there're three types of healthcare : State insurance, Private insurance and pay yourself :)
For instance I have private insurance and my employer has paid a half of it. But I can use State insurance as well. To use State insurance all you need is to be a resident of Russia. Private insurance covers some cost of services at private clinics. In my case that means that I have XX money to spent to medical services and if more money is required than I have to pay by myself or go to the State insurance :) And there're some limitation - for instance private insurance in stomatology does not cover any prosthetics. Below the limits it looks like 'free' - you don't need any money to visit a doctor :)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 13th, 2015 04:51 pm (UTC)
Okay, well I'm glad to hear there is rampant criticism. Some people in the comments said there is none, some said there's a lot. So, it seems people are living in different Russia's. :))
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