Australia has much better healthcare than the United States, even President Donald Trump can agree on that. I wanted to get a better understanding of how different it is from an Australian who has had some exposure to the U.S. healthcare system after working and living here for just under a year.
Eliza Wellington, a 25 year old Account Manager in New York City, shared her experiences, thoughts and opinions in regards to the healthcare system here in the States and it’s quickly understood not to be the most positive. She states that “Australia’s healthcare is phenomenally better than the experience, at least that I’ve had, with American healthcare.” While standard office wait times remain comparable and tests and services received are the same, the way things are paid for, how much they cost, and how your healthcare is provided to you varies in a number of ways. While Australia also has public and private healthcare, the difference is that every citizen, permanent resident, and even certain visa holders are covered by the public system. Here in the U.S. we have Medicare and Medicaid which is essentially only for low-income earners and elderly people, which leaves a large portion of the American population responsible for their own healthcare. Full-time employees in the U.S. generally obtain healthcare through their employer, which leaves another gap for families and individuals who only work part-time. Australians on the other hand go “private” solely to be covered for more things such as dental and optometry.
Another major difference is the cost. Not just the plan, but the co-pays and other fees not covered by your insurance and how those things are covered. Wellington explained that back home [Melbourne, Australia] if you go into the office and your insurance covers X amount and you still owe Y, you pay then and there and that’s it. She says she is frustrated by “all of these extra bills that come weeks, sometimes even months, later and I don’t even know what they are for.”
While it’s not new that healthcare, as well as who has access and what it costs, is a hot topic in politics there can certainly be stronger conversations had and steps taken to move into a more inclusive direction.