swissinfo.ch asked its US facebook community what it thinks about the new “Obamacare” health insurance system, with its state-based exchanges and whether the Swiss idea to move away from their current system based on private insurance firms in favour of a single-payer public fund is wise. Here below is an edited selection of some of the 60-plus replies.
Charles Krueger: Obamacare is a vast improvement of the previous system, which was no system at all, and, along with federal subsidies, is working to reduce the cost of health care for the vast majority. But it's a hodgepodge, which was a political necessity…A single payer system would have been cheaper and simpler, however. We have such a system (Medicare) for those over age 65, which works well. Unfortunately, it wasn't politically possible to extend it to younger people.
William Spradley: Don't do it…I had an angiogram [coronary x-ray test] at Sonnenhof Hospital in Bern and they were fantastic. Even the food was much better. And the costs were relatively low. Stay away from single payer systems. Private works best.
Ben Finestone: If Switzerland's system isn't broke, why fix it? But if public opinion believes the government should be responsible for providing healthcare for its people through taxes than so be it.
Renée Niquette: I work in healthcare and a dual Swiss American citizen. Having lived and worked in Switzerland I say keep what you have. ObamaCare is not the answer. It has been more expensive, subscribers do not know what they have, physicians are having to limit the marketplace plans they can accept.
Lester Morris: It's so highly politicized here, there are no intelligent conversations happening. The US is no direction to turn for advice on this one. Too much anger, vitriol and lack of accurate data.
Brad McKenzie: It’s the best thing to happen to health care in the US. Affordable care should have happened a long time ago. As a small business owner for over 12 years we and our employees are able to cover our families and not go into debt paying the monthly premiums and co-pays for every visit. This is especially true for young families with children. No one should have to go bankrupt after needing medical care. Truly a benefit that is tangible for the middle class, young and elderly uninsured population. A positive change no question!
Pam Rass: The system here in the U.S. Is a dismal failure! Touted as coverage for "ALL" it's primarily for young people, it's pricey with limited coverage for mature Americans with pre-existing conditions. It's less expensive for us to pay as we go or go to Mexico for care!
Kristina Marie Leach: I was personally very excited that something was being done with our healthcare system until it all went through. I live in Eagle County Colorado one of the most expensive areas to sign up. I know many people who are just paying the fine for not signing up because it is a lot cheaper that way.
Paul Hartson: Go with single payer, medicare for all, what Obama had wanted. Private insurance is a sham! California exchange offers me HMO for $350 per month. Fortunately my employer has a less expensive option $52/month but I have to see a doctor across the border in Tijuana, Mexico for anything less urgent than a heart attack.
Joe Bklyn: I live in the US, and currently can't afford any of the exchanges under Obamacare. I spent most of my life in Switzerland where I never had such issues. For a few years I also lived in the UK where I had the NHS. Single payer is the way forward no matter where one lives. Obama is a good talker, but in the end all he wants is to enrich the insurers as they must have bribed the Demopublicans to no end
Serge Herzog: If controlled by the cantons, it may work. If run by Bern (central gov't), brace yourself for massive waste!
Walter Jenny Jr: Single payer is the way we should have gone, but the insurance industry managed to get involved and carve out a monopoly for themselves. I hope we will eventually transition to a single-payer system.