Europeans Appear Unimpressed With Our Beautiful American Health Care Choices

Europeans Appear Unimpressed With Our Beautiful American Health Care Choices

On Tuesday, on the AskReddit forum, someone posted a question asking Europeans, "What's an American problem you're too European to understand?" This is a fairly popular question that gets asked every few months or so, and every time, it gets a little depressing.

Sure, some of the answers are just amusing. People in England are very concerned about why we do not always have electric kettles (I have actually always had an electric kettle!), all of Europe is very confused about the fact that our toilets have so much water in them, they don't understand how our various measuring systems work, they are often very concerned about our lack of bidets and curious about why everyone on television and in movies needs to be perfect looking.

They don't understand why the tax isn't included in our pricing, they don't get tipping culture, they don't get why we're so comfortable with violence but so freaked out over swear words and sex. They would also like to know why we have two whole Dakotas, which I think is fair.

Also fair is the fact that non-Americans are straight up bewildered by our labor laws and the cost of higher education in our country, and our health care. And that's when it gets depressing.

This one killed me:

While watching Chelsea vs Manchester United yesterday on NBCSN, during halftime there was a Good Rx commercial where the guy is asking a woman if she would like to fill her prescription, he pulled up the phone and showed her that the same pill can cost from $10 to $90 depending on the area. And that Good Rx can help her fill the prescription with the cheapest prices.

Now someone please explain to me how in the ever loving fuck is it possible for a drug to cost 10x more depending on your location !? Don't they have constant prices like in the rest of the civilized world !?

Edit: the answers to my inquiry are even more fucked up. What the fuck America!? You're getting robbed in broad daylight.

LOL of course not. That would be communism! So someone explained to him that also too, the insurance company decides how much a prescription should cost you and how much of it they think you will need. This, too, surprised the Europeans.

Are you saying that the insurance company decides how much you'll need, rather than an impartial doctor?

This led to several Americans explaining their stories of their insurance companies deciding they don't actually need medications and services that their doctors have said they needed.

Indeed. I'm in the middle of a mess right now over this exact thing!

My neurologist says I need 3 a day. Insurance disagrees! I'm sure it has nothing to do with how expensive the drug is. They must have a team of neurologists going over my records and finding a better treatment plan! /s


Going through something similar. My Four year old daughter has cancer and needs anti-nausea meds on the reg. The insurance will only cover so much of what the doctor will prescribe. How are you going to deny a child medication when she literally can't stop throwing up? This fucking world man..

Choices, am I right? But if insurance companies agree to cover you for everything a doctor says you need, they might not make a profit!

Another answer that I always see on these threads is the classic "OH MY GOD YOU PAY SO MUCH FOR AMBULANCES! THAT IS INSANE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?" because, shockingly enough, people think it is messed to charge $5,000 for a ride to the hospital, particularly when the person often has no choice. This is generally followed up by many stories from people who paid ridiculous amounts of money for an ambulance they were in no position to refuse. And then something like this:

My sister had an epilepsy crisis while on a school trip in the middle of the French mountains. They sent an helicopter to get her to the nearest hospital. My parents had to pay a whooping €3 or something which was the cost of the parking while they waited to pick her up. The helicopter ride and hospital treatment were free.

Ha! Do you know how much an air ambulance costs here? A median of $39,000! Although it can go up to six figures. Imagine that! You have some kind of emergency in an area that can't be accessed by a regular ambulance, or you live in a rural area so far from the nearest hospital that you, or your kid, can only take an air ambulance and will die otherwise. And boom. You're in an absolutely crushing amount of debt. And these people in France just get to go for free.

Here's another thing they don't get about our health care system:

Having to take out a second mortage because you twisted your ankle in the wrong state.

Yes, that certainly does suck. But hey! We have so many choices!

I thought I was going into labor in my home state and freaked out. Not because baby would've been 6 weeks early, but because my insurance wouldn't have covered me out of state...

Well, that would have been pretty scary because without insurance, a regular vaginal birth can cost $30,000, and a C-section can cost $50,000.

I can't imagine having to pay to have a baby. I'm Canadian, 2 baby's born in hospital, epidurals and the whole works. All I paid for was the fast food my husband brought me because I didn't like the hospital food.

But choices!

I will NEVER understand why you guys allow children to not be guaranteed free health care and dental care! Why aren't you up in arms over this, protesting in the streets? They're CHILDREN, why on earth would a rich country not guarantee free health care to all children?! I don't get it.

Yeah, well, me neither. But this seems like the right answer:

We can't protest in the streets because we simply don't have the time. Nobody can afford to take the day(s) off work to protest. And if your employer finds out you /are/ protesting, they are very likely to fire you.

True. But also most people just don't really care about this stuff until something happens to them or someone they love. One of the good things about Americans is that we are mostly a deeply optimistic people, but that often means that we think nothing bad can happen to us unless we "do something" to deserve it — at least until it actually does.

The other thing foreigners can't get over is the fact that not only can people be fired for no reason here, but that the company that fires us does not have to continue paying us for a certain amount of time until we find a new job. They also don't get why we don't have mandated paid sick leave or paid vacations or maternity/paternity leave, and they don't get why we don't take the paid vacation days we do have. They don't understand why we have to pay so much for school and why we have to pay so much for textbooks on top of that.

But hey, they're probably just jealous of our freedoms.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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