Sticker Shock Sydney

Oct 4th, 2009, 01:45 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
I won't go into the pros and cons of the Australian V American system except to say that as I have a Senior Consultant Physician as my husband, who incidently spent two years in North America doing some postgrad studies and two other close family members who are 1/ Specialist Surgeon and a 2/ Consultant Paediatrician who spent time in the UK and Canada and I was a nurse both in North America, UK and Australia so perhaps I may have a bit more insight into the systems of these countries than most people. I am aware of the pre-med system of the US as I am of the "now" Queensland system of pre-med degrees. Having worked with many people in the field I think that when they are very, very good it matters not what their pre-med system was, its more to do with the person themselves and I do not agree with Neil about a Liberal Arts/Humanities pre degree being beneficial in medicine, all it does is cost a lot of money and delay the earning capacity of the student and time would be better spent in areas of medicine which are in desperate need of people. My husband for instance put himself through medical school by working as a nurse, now that was helpful to both him and the system, likewise areas of geriatrics, and mental health would be a great start.
There is little difference between most Western Countries and the end result in a medical degree. The difference between doctors is more to do with the initial selection criteria. A friend of ours, a Chinese doctor, is getting out of medicine because his father insisted he did it. He hates it and is going to do a degree in IT. He tries very hard not to show people that he has no heart in his job but sometimes it does not work. So when you get the right candidate who will go that extra mile it certainly shows and no amount of any other degree will change that.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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LynAK, JoanneH may well be a nice person, but with respect that's not the point, and I fear you're being too kind.

To lay it out straight, I simply DO NOT BELIEVE that she had those conversations. That's because - as the Australians on this thread have been trying to say - they are patently, literally, unbelievable.

I'd challenge anyone to get into a conversation with any random group of Australians and find even ONE who knows ANYBODY who's (a) gone to the US for medical treatment or (b) felt any need to.

This is not to say that nobody has ever done it, but that they are so few that your chances of running into one on a short visit to this country would be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

There can certainly be delays in elective and non-urgent procedures if you don't have private health insurance. But the quality of the care when you get it is first-rate. And if you don't have private insurance the reality is that you're highly unlikely to be able to afford any treatment in an American hospital or clinic.

Sorry if I sound a bit stroppy, but I simply can't let weird and laughable statements like the OP's go unchallenged.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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Regrettably, I and my family & friends have had more than enough reasons to sample the Australian health system. We have several health professionals within our group, including 2 surgeons, a consultant physician, a naturopath with a MD and one of the IVF pioneers. Interestingly, not one of those professionals has suggested the US as a source of treatment for any of the rest of us. And there have been some quite complex problems, so you might think the option would have been discussed. One of the surgeons recently lost his wife to a brain tumour.
I rather think he might have taken her to the moon, much less the US, if he'd thought she would have had any better chance of survival than she did here.

The only conversations I've heard regarding US v's Australia for all but the most obscure treatments, usually featured on 60 minutes or some other tv show, is advice to Australians to make sure to have ample travel insurance to cover if travelling to the US, because the cost is so prohibitive.

I'm not denigrating the quality of the US health system for one minute; I don't have any experience of it. More interestingly, if 'the dogs are barking' as JohannneH's post implies, the numbers of Australians rushing off to the US for treatment, I'm surprised that none of our group has encountered any of them.

Johanne, I think you may well be the victim of some Australian leg-pulling if all these strangers are telling you this tale.
Bokhara2 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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I believe that the quality of American health care is indeed very good - if you can afford it, and that's how this discussion started off. The debate was over equity and affordabilty, not the respective merits of the care you receive in each country, which I think is comparable, as for other developed nations.

JoanneH expressed shock at Australian prices, and my and several others' responses were aimed at putting things in context; in particular pointing out that many other factors have to be taken into account in judging living standards and quality of life, not just the price of consumer goods.

One of these factors is the availability and cost of medical care and pharmaceuticals. In seeking to defend her country's system JoanneH unwisely chose to attack the Australian system, and adduced false information to do that. Unfortunately, as we all know, when you find yourself in a hole there's always a temptation to keep digging.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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It is possible, though, that there's truth behind people visiting the USA for treatment, and I'm thinking cosmetic surgery. I've no way of knowing this, it's just a hunch.

Apropos of nothing, Aus is billed as having the best quality of life anywhere, after Norway, which is in No 1 spot. I'd doubt that our indigenous population would agree, though.
Peter_S_Aus is online now  
Oct 5th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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Peter, there must be something good happening in Norway to propel it to No 1 spot despite the weather and booze prices.

Cosmetic surgery? Could be, probably for vanity purposes rather than medical need though.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Neil, perhaps it IS the booze prices that make it a better place to live.
I'm sick of the drunks on our streets, our cricket team sporting VB logos on their caps.
Peter_S_Aus is online now  
Oct 5th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Hmm. I thought Brazil was tops for cosmetic surgery? Unless you are in Miami or Southern California perhaps.

Oh dear, I must be tired and cranky, that was kind of mean, and I have no facts at all upon which to base my assertion. Oh geez, and I have plenty of people I know and like in socal and florida, so now I have to take it all back because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. If I was a wise woman I would not push submit.

Sooooo, back to the sticker shock thing, I really think that quite often it is apples and oranges to compare. There are so many things to consider. For example, the area I currently live (in the US) has a very low cost of living. For me, NY, Chicago, DC, San Francisco are all very expensive cities to visit (but I love them all so I don't care).

I honestly don't think Sydney was more expensive than those places, especially when you figured exchange rates and the factors of economies of scale. I did notice the difference (increase) in prices between two visits separated by a few years, but I just didn't really think it was out of line. But again, basically I just think it is very hard to do a one-to-one comparison. You've got things like no tipping and having the costs presented to you right up front (no hidden costs), what I felt were lower lodging costs compared to NYC and Chicago, etc etc.

Plus you have the whole tourist activity thing vs living in a place. I know that when home we don't go out to eat that much. If we are traveling we eat out every night. Sure it feels like we are spending more in restaurants...because we are! There are just so many things you do when you are on vacation that you don't do in day to day life, and to try to extrapolate cost of living based on a tourist experience I just don't think works.

Well, now that I have offended people and had a little rant, time for bed. I promise to be a nicer, more gentler person in the morning.
Toucan2 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 08:52 PM
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Neil, it may be the price of fresh and smoked salmon.
Saltuarius is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 09:14 PM
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Thanks your many mean and somewhat hateful statements about me….I am not a liar, drunk as was suggested and I did have these conservations with people. NO I did not speak with every person in Aust or Tasmania where I am now. However when 3 nurses and a doctor made the same statements I took them at face value. I never said your system was bad I simply asked the question which was based on what I had been told by some health professionals. Someone asked what was the illness from the discussion it was basically cancer related illness. I never stated our doctors were better or worse than yours, or that our lifestyle etc was better. I still feel from my own experience that food, goods and services are quite high as compared to USA.

Thankfully I have met several wonderful folks along the way or my impression of your country’s willingness to have civil discourse without personal rancor would be quite different.
JoanneH is offline  
Oct 5th, 2009, 09:29 PM
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This could really get up my nose.
OP said
The fact is, it does not happen. This is not mean or hateful, it is simply pointing out an area where the OP has been given poor info.

I'd take the "if your system is so great" as an implied criticism, but maybe I'm just thin skinned.
Peter_S_Aus is online now  
Oct 6th, 2009, 12:53 AM
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It really depended on the question. If I asked people if they "would" go to the USA for treatment if they had a severe illness I am sure that they would say yes. However if I asked them this " would you choose to go to the USA for treatment for a condition that could be treated in Australia, would you go to the USA for treatment"?, then I would expect a resounding NO. So it the answer depends on the understanding of the question in the first place and the Australian's answer to that they would not upset a visitor from the USA and say of course they would go to the USA. I don't think Joanne is a liar Neil, I suspect that there has been a little misunderstanding in all this as is so easy to do when one is in another country - either they don't understand you properly or vise versa. For instance, cost nothwithstanding and the price of travel etc I most certainly would have medical treatment in the USA. If I had the opportunity of getting the same treatment in Australia then I would most certainly have it here as I would still be solvent and probably better quicker seeing that I have private health insurance here in Australia and could get whatever I needed done within one week for comparably little cost and also a 5 star stay in hospital.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Jul 1st, 2011, 07:39 AM
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i know this is an old thread. Just wanted to say as an update for medical in US. massachuettes now has gov run insurance whether people beleive it is or not. they require that all people have it and will hit you on your tax return if you don't, unless you are low income then they say you can't afford it and they have programs you can chose from at low cost to subscribe to. my father who still wasn't old enough to get medicare but was on SS was able to get a plan for 10 dollars(us) per month. and that is alot less expensive than the 200 per month my mom pays medicare out of her SS.
Like i said i know this thread is old, but some seem very interested in the medical in US
pollyanna01 is offline  
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