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Wed. Jun 29th, 2022

Byzantine health plans. Impoverishing deductibles. Exorbitant drug costs. Soul-crushing surprises lurking in the fine print.

The American health care system is — to put it mildly — totally perplexing, an exercise in patience and a test of financial resilience.

And that’s for its participants.

So imagine what the system must look like to people from other countries, especially those with universal health care, where citizens don’t live in fear that the next bout of the sniffles might somehow lead to bankruptcy.

In the video above, we gathered people from around the world and introduced them to the American health care system. We presented them with dizzying examples of insurance plan options. We showed them how much medical services cost. And we revealed some of the survival strategies of the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured (drug purchases in Mexico, GoFundMe campaigns, consultations with “Dr. Google”).

Their reaction? Astonishment, horror, anger and disgust.

One woman spoke about intensive care she received as a child in Britain to treat a brain virus. “All for free,” she recalled. “I couldn’t have survived if I was in America.”

Check out previous episodes of ‘The World Reacts’

What Does America’s Coronavirus Response Look Like Abroad?

What Do U.S. Elections Look Like Abroad?

More from The New York Times Video:
Whether it’s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest style trends and scientific developments, New York Times video journalists provide a revealing and unforgettable view of the world. It’s all the news that’s fit to watch.


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10 thoughts on “What Does U.S. Health Care Look Like Abroad? | NYT Opinion”
  1. Hi! I'm Chai, a producer on this video. Before making this piece, I thought I knew a lot about American healthcare but was shocked by a number of things we researched.
    Would love to hear from you all on what surprised you the most in this video.

  2. My healthcare system here in Canada has its issues we have to work out and improve upon, but this is just nuts. How do you get into a hospital down there? Wrestle the chained tiger guarding the entrance?

  3. americans who watch people die because they couldn't afford healthcare:

    "weLL thEY sHoUldVe WoRkEd HArDeR"

  4. I am poised to have to find a new job in the middle of pandemic. This means I will lose my health insurance, and having multiple chronic conditions, this is something I cannot do. It also means that my doctor may not accept my new insurance, and I have to find a new specialist to treat my condition, even if I do not like them because of the fact that my new insurance is not accepted by my old doctor.

  5. urgent problems of 2021: Climate Crisis, Wars, Pandemics, rising Gini coefficient, etc.
    conservative parties: Universal healthcare is the devil. Change my mind.

  6. I paid only RM 2 for my cavity treatment(government dentists clinic) which is only usd 0.50 cents and its still good for 16 years.

  7. Dutch healthcare system works with a mix of private insurrance and payed out taxrevenue and a small percentage from employers. Everybody must have insurrance. If you can't afford it, the government pays into it. The government negociates medicineprices and procedure costs. Insurrance cost between 100 to 150 euro a month per adult. Kids are free. Insurance is build in steps.

    1: basic: the GP is completely free.
    All hospital procedures, most meds and a bunch of (mental) therapies are included, but with a copay of max 385 euro a year. This is all the same for ALL insurrances. Only the price of it differs somewhat 100 – 120 euro.

    Step 2: extra insurrance for specific treatments, certain meds, dental, or luxury which are not included in basic. There are a range of options to choose from. This adds 5 to 40 euro a month to basic.

    So allthough most is payed via tax and government there is also room for personal choice and affordible for all. My partner and I are healthy and have only basic insurrance. My partner has a little extra for dental problems. The kids are free. Whole family pays about 250 euro a month. No worries at all.

  8. My classmate used to live in America for the first six years of her life. A few months before she left, she witnessed a car hit a guy who was on a motorcycle. Everyone called 911 immediately, but the motorcyclist kept telling them not to because he couldn't afford an ambulance.

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