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Well, folks I admit it.
I am one of those "socialist" Germans. I was born in 1967 and until 1992 I lived in Germany.

Healthcare in Germany is pretty simple. Everybody is covered by the government. Doesn't matter who you are, where you live or how much money you earn, if you are sick you go see a doctor.
My first notion that there was a problem with the american healthcare system came when I was watching CNN one day in the late '80s.
A couple, husband and wife, were on TV asking for donations because their little daughter needed a liver transplant. I was a little surprised about that, so I asked someone if the parents needed extra care for after the transplant and to my shock and surprise I was told that: "No they need this money for the operation." I was appalled and asked: "So, if they can't get the money together they will let this child die?" The reply was: "Nah, someone will step up and help." At the time I thought: 'What a screwed up system where people are forced to go on TV and beg to save their childs live.'
I can tell you that all the time I grew up and lived in Germany there was never a question about healthcare. You pay taxes and this is one of the perks.
People also talk about rationing; never have I experienced or even heard of any rationing.
Let me give you some examples:

My grandmother had two hip replacements several years apart. Each surgery was followed up by six weeks of rehab in a great facility. Seeing as how she lived during WWII she rarely threw out food even if it wasn't fresh anymore. She would cut of the end that had gone bad and eat the rest. I don't have to tell you what happened. She made herself sick numerous times and every time an ambulance would take her to the hospital where she was treated and treated well. No rationing here.

My mother had her gallbladder removed, she had her thyroid gland removed and a total hysterectomy to stave of cancer (still cancer free) and various other smaller surgeries. Nope, no rationing here.

My brother fell from the back of a truck a couple of years ago and cracked his skull open. According to him, no test was to good or to expensive to make sure he hadn't suffered any brain injury. Nope no rationing.

Not to mention my visits to the hospital and doctors office throughout growing up.

I could go on and on, but never mind.

People in Germany have great healthcare without rationing and no one ever goes into bankruptcy due to medical bills. As a matter of fact, I was shocked to find that this happens here in the US with regularity.
Easily treatable conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, can lead to catastrophe here, because folks don't have access to medical support. I honestly didn't know that one can loose a limb from diabetes, because we don't lack medical assistance in Germany. As a matter of fact my stepfather has diabetes and in Germany it's at most an annoyance due to the dietary restrictions. Never thought it was a big deal.
Then I moved to the US. Usual story; met a servicemember and got married.
At first we still had coverage, at least for him, thru the military. Once he got out though things change dramatically. They offered him COBRA, but it was just unaffordable. He got lucky and found an employer offering coverage.
Then a couple of years later we got divorced. I had been diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells while he was still in the military and with that I wasn't eligible for coverage with most insurers and the ones who would have covered me were asking astronomically high premiums and unaffordable.
Fast forward a couple of years and by now my pre-cancer is just cancer.
I am not sure just how bad it is now but, two or so years ago I went to a clinic that charges on a sliding scale. Let me tell you, that nothing makes your heart sink faster than asking the doctor "How bad is it?" and she just gives you a sad look and shakes her head side to side.
I am not complaining, because I made my bed and I am sleeping, and most likely will be dying, in it. God knows I could have gone back home after the divorce or any time, but I didn't. I stayed here fully aware how it will end. So no, I am not complaining, but I know for certain that, had I got on a plane back to Germany, I wouldn't be in the boat I am in now. As a matter of fact, I could fly back right now and, even after having been gone for over 20 years, get of the plane in Frankfurt and go directly to hospital and receive treatment.
To sum it up:
Don't let anyone tell you that Universal Healthcare leads to rationing or that the doctors wouldn't work as hard to treat you because they make less money or whatever. By the way if your doctor is more interested in making a profit than your health, get a new doctor.
Take it from someone who has lived with both systems and believe me that what I left behind in Germany is the better system.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is difficult, if not impossible, without your health.
So, get on board with Obamacare, even though it's not Universal Healthcare, because health is a basic human right and needs to be available to all, not just the privileged few.

Originally posted to CT Smarter on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 03:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Global Expats and Community Spotlight.

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