""As a percentage of salary I pay no more for the best health insurance here in the states than you do for NI.""
Rubbish also, your employer also pays, and often more than the employee.
""No hospital is allowed to discharge patients - no matter their financial condition - if doing so would endanger their life.""
True, but in a narrow sense, indigents get few transplants or new hip/knee joints
""No major population area is without a hospital designated as caring for the indigent."", also true, but if you look at the death rate of these near-bankrupt hospitals you wonder if they are hospitals or hospices.
""Under the recent health care legislation, no insurance company is allowed to terminate coverage because of previous health history or refuse it because of pre-existing conditions.""
AHH, welcome to the death of 1000 cuts, as you try to find a number wherein payment follows in the
huge book of treatment codes.
You speak like a former UK resident??
That said, the USA pays a huge cost for their BAD HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. True, they also have the best of treatments, but only for the rich or covered. Those not covered die 8-10 years earlier than the rich and covered. The rich and covered live as long as Canadians, but not as long as Japanese. Those not covered drag the entire USA age at death stats far down.
As another said, the insurance companies, lawyers, and doctors waste about 40-50% of the US health $$. Eliminate that wasted $$ = a solution.
I am in Canada, and the system works, elective procedures are last in line, critical work is at the front of the line. That said, the Canadian system is riddled with union feather beds - sweepers at $28/hour plus $12 in benefits for example.