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#1 of 38 Old 04-16-2008, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see here and there on threads, for example the travel thread that it's "better" across the pond (or in Australia, Canada, & other Industrialized nations). Better health care, better time off, better child care options, better Maternity leave, better fish & chips : I have this personal fascination with Sweden and what I have heard about it both politically & culturally, combined with the fact that I'm of Swedish descent. I keep telling DH we should up & move to Malmo...

Example, Health Care: I keep hearing from family (Americans) that it's really not better elsewhere because once medicine is socialized you just end up on a waiting list for anything out of the ordinary. That it sounds all nice & lovely, but in real practice it sucks. Some of my family members have lived out of the US for 2-3 years (Portugal, England,). And some of my Canadian relatives tell me the Canadian Health Care system is horrible, but yet they still moved back there and are enjoying the Maternity leave.

My question is, for people who have lived both in the US and in other Industrialized nations for a significant period of time, how do you feel they compare? What is better, and what is not so great?
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#2 of 38 Old 04-16-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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I don't have a clue. Have always lived here in the U.S.A. But am interested to hear what others have to say...

:

I would love to try REAL fish and chips.

The local Catholic church has a fish fry evey Friday during Lent, but I don't think that's anywhere near the same kind of thing.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#3 of 38 Old 04-16-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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I have lived in the US most of my life, and in the UK for three years - my dh is from the UK.

NHS is better than US insurance hell.

And I speak as someone who always had insurance through good jobs. I currently am an employer who offers insurance to our employees.

NHS is better than US insurance hell.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#4 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 12:08 AM
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most of my friends who are x-pats love the health care systems in other areas.

one of m friends moved to NZ just for the maternity care (and, of course, her DH is from there as is his family). she highly recommends it because it has so many benefits: HBMW care is standard; after birth you have a nurse practitioner who is your special person to call with any baby-related questions from lactation issues to sleep issues to daiper issues and just to call and talk if you need to (i think that lasts 6 months to a year?); and any emergency care that you need is completely paid for, in full, no matter what it is (her son was born premature, he had to be airlifted to another hospital. she and her other son followed as dad went with the new baby. they paid for all of the flights for the family as well as all of the care of mother and baby). i don't know what maternity leave is there because she works part time as a yoga teacher (independent)--so could be anything for all i know.

personally, i would move to sweden in a heartbeat. i really love stockholm, but malmo is so close to copenhagen--which i love! malmo is nice too, but i like copenhage more. i'd live there in a heart beat.

or NZ.
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#5 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 12:28 AM
 
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I have lived in the US most of my life, and in the UK for three years - my dh is from the UK.

NHS is better than US insurance hell.

And I speak as someone who always had insurance through good jobs. I currently am an employer who offers insurance to our employees.

NHS is better than US insurance hell.
Must have improved drastically since I was there, then. NHS sucked rocks when I lived in the UK, and everyone I know who still lives there tells me it's much worse now.

In the US I've always been priveleged to have good health insurance, and I must say that I have found the treatment to be a 1000 times better than NHS. A 12 month wait for a colonoscopy compared to a 3 day wait - I'll take "insurance hell" any day. On the other hand, if I was uninsured, I'd rather be on the NHS.
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#6 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 01:25 AM
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I have lived till age 21 in UK and the rest here. UK National health service is better. Private insurance, deductibles, HMO's and trying to figure it all out and paying Co-pays sucks big time.
I'd rather pay a bit more in taxes each week and not have to worry about it.
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#7 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 01:43 AM
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i'll be honest, i find the insurance system here to be terribly flawed and frustrating.

basically, all of the criticisms that people have about various forms of 'socialized' medicine are the same criticisms as here: lack of choice of care providers and styles/types of care, long waiting lists (i'm sorry, but people DO wait for various treatments here--at least in my area. you have to schedule a cardiology appointment at least 7 months in advance, and for most folks, it's far more!), and it's expensive and they often refuse to pay for things even though it's what the doctor/patient want and need. . .

i figure if the hassles are basically the same, why not just have everyone covered and pay for it via taxes instead of this methodology with crazy insurance that isn't standard and that not everyone has access to?
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#8 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 01:53 AM
 
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Well I can complain but really I can't
Healthcare all systems have their systems but no one asks me for a credit card going into a hospital...most things are covered some things aren't (boobjobs I am on my fourth child, I have a free midwife for my home birth AND an OB (cause my GP is a nutter) ...

There's no forced vax at birth....actually a lot of those extra vax you have to pay for...I am more apt to get sulpha than antiboitics from my gp...I begged for a section with baby 2...who was almost 11 pounds and my doctor gave me a pep talk not drugs or a section...

but you will wait if you aren't a priority...there aren't may ways to jump queue...so your ingrown toe nail surgery could get bumped if the operating room is needed for a heart operation type thing....

1 year maternity leave paid...good portion can be used by other parent.(its not 100% paid in most professons the government will kick in 55% to a max amount and some employers will top up to 100% ) Our jobs are fully protected on Mat leave...if you would have been promoted, given raises then they have to...you choose to go back to work or not but for that year your job is protected.

disabled are also protected under the law..

perscription drugs are cheaper, but generics and variety is harder to come by as the government won't allow 45 types of the same pills.

The government does control prices to keep them reasonable on certain goods...but our taxes are high..our university college tuition is low,

Same sex couples allowed to marry and have full rights of parenthood including birth certificates without adopting their own kids...

my doctor can order any test for me she wants...no one will question her well maybe if it was for a prostate test

8 might be enough
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#9 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 02:09 AM
 
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I am an American who has been living in Canada the last almost five years. I am a BIG fan of universal health care -- I had exceptional treatment in my "high-risk" twin pregnancy and our kids get in to the doctor on the same day if they are sick and most of all, EVERY SINGLE PERSON has the same care -- doesn't matter if they're rich or poor.

I wasn't working when I had my girls so didn't get the year mat leave, but my husband was able to take a fully paid 17 week parental leave. I had excellent (and expensive) health care my last 7+ years in the U.S. through my work, but we had nothing but catastrophic insurance the years before and it was terrible. So scary to not be able to go to the doctor when something is wrong because you don't have any money.

There is a lot I miss about America and Americans, but I have grown to appreciate the different priorities here... it seems like the good of the community is valued more than the good of the individual in many ways. Here's a small example. I have good friends in the U.S. and Canada whose kids have peanut allergies. In the U.S., my friend runs into "we can't adjust our snack schedule because of your kid" all the time. In Canada (or at least in my town), they just don't allow peanuts in the classroom/lunchroom of a kids with allergies, no matter if you wanted to bring your grandma's peanut butter cupcakes for your LO's birthday party. OK, that's small, but kind of illustrates the bigger picture. All people in the group are valued -- rich or poor, allergic or not -- and so the needs of the group are considered and not just the needs of an individual (who has access to power, money, people, etc.).

The flip side of that is that I don't think people are as quick to speak up for themselves, to protest, to draw attention to wrongs being done, etc. (again, just in my experience and a huge sweeping generalization of a country...) I worry a bit that if we stay here for the long term, my kids will be polite and kind and thinking about each other, but perhaps not as assertive (and I think assertive is a good thing). So I can't say one country is better -- both have their strengths and weaknesses for sure. But for this point in my life, this is a good place to be.
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#10 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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I lived in Australia for several years and had a baby there (my husband is Australian). I think it's probably a toss-up. There are parts of the healthcare system that I preferred - never had to pay anything for the kids, a small fee for me, my VBAC was highly encouraged, great hospital care for my son who was hospitalized several times. I also loved my GP and the fact that we all went to her. On the other hand, I do feel like some things were skimped on (certain tests for pregnant lupus patients, etc.) that were standard care for my first son. Also, my FIL was denied certain treatments for his prostate and pancreatic cancer that are standard in the U.S. (he's now deceased - although his situation was grim no matter what treatments he got). We have a friend there who just had to wait over 6 months for surgery for some torn tendons in his ankle - he hasn't been able to walk without crutches for that long.

Culturally, Australia was surprisingly similar to the U.S. People weren't any more enlightened or progressive than Americans. The same old same old.

There were things about Australia that I loved - beautiful landscapes, a closer connection to the land. There were things I hated - I found a lot of stuff (city planning, the way people took care of their homes) to be messy and slapped together. The Indonesian and Thai food were fantastic, but the fish 'n chips was entirely overrated .

I don't know - I could live either place and be happy. No place is perfect.
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#11 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 02:28 AM
 
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I live in the Great White North.

I don't think I could handle private health care. I think the idea of people not having access to medical care is sickening.

So in that respect, I would never want to live in the USA, even though it is far superior to Canada in many, many other aspects.
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#12 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 02:30 AM
 
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The flip side of that is that I don't think people are as quick to speak up for themselves, to protest, to draw attention to wrongs being done, etc.
I totally agree with you there. I think that since your country was founded on independence, and independent thought, you have a long history of standing up for yourselves. Canadians? Not so much. We still bow to the Queen, for goodness sake's. Not that there's anything wrong with her.

See? There I go being the polite Canadian, not wanting to put down the Queen.
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#13 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 04:12 AM
 
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Jean, I wished I would have had this information for you earlier. Right now I'm watching Frontline on my local PBS, and it's all about medical systems around the world. It's pretty interesting. Maybe it will be repeated when you can watch it.

Sick Around the World
T.R. Reid examines the health-care systems of countries including England, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland for ideas on how to improve care in the U.S.

-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#14 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 04:27 AM
 
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Example, Health Care: I keep hearing from family (Americans) that it's really not better elsewhere because once medicine is socialized you just end up on a waiting list for anything out of the ordinary. That it sounds all nice & lovely, but in real practice it sucks. Some of my family members have lived out of the US for 2-3 years (Portugal, England,). And some of my Canadian relatives tell me the Canadian Health Care system is horrible, but yet they still moved back there and are enjoying the Maternity leave.
Those downsides are true, however compare them to the American downsides. If you've got one of those wonderful $$ jobs that covers all your health insurance needs and none of this makes an uncomfortable dent in your take-home income, and if this job ended you'd be sure to get another one that was just as safe, and you're reasonably happy with the job itself, then the American system is better!

Since relatively few people are in that position, usually the socialized system is better.

It varies of course based on country, region, speciality, and all kinds of little details.

I read an article in an English magazine about how wonderful it is to give birth in the US, because there's a hot tub and all sorts of other luxurious details. Is that what every American birth is like? Certainly not. Turns out the author's husband was working for Microsoft. Yeah, ain't America grand.
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#15 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 06:47 AM
 
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Hi. American living in Norway here. Our health care has been fine. We get what we need, when we need it. Yes, there are waits, but I had to wait to see specialists in the US too, like 6 months to see an allergist, who was not covered by my insurance, so I never went. My daughter and I see the same GP, we like her, but could see someone else if we didn't. Our Dr. is in a group with a ped, so she can get a very quick "specialist" second opinion if anything complicated ever comes up. Another reason I like this practice. We have small co-pays for things, then when our family deductible is met (it's low, equivalent to a couple hundred dollars or so) everything will be free for the rest of the year, including prescriptions. Everything for children is free, including dental care until 18 or so. Hospital stays are free.

I had to take a neighbor to the emergency room the other day for a cut that needed stitching up. She did not have to wait very long (10-15 minutes), they treated her and it cost her around 60 dollars US. (Yes, the Dr. gave her the bill right there, before she left!)

I have been on both sides of the US health care system. I have had great insurance, crappy insurance and no insurance. This system wins hands down. Knowing that we will have medical care NO MATTER WHAT is a huge relief to me. Knowing that EVERY parent here can take their child to the doctor without worrying what it will cost means a lot to me. Knowing that elderly or retired people do not have to worry about rising medical costs on a fixed income means a lot to me. No place is perfect, this system is not perfect, but so far for us, we have been satisfied.

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#16 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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I've not lived abroad, but I have to say that for someone like myself the US system of health care really sucks. I got sick with this chronic illness and was uninsured but making too much to qualify for state medicaid. In the beginning, it started with a stroke which got me transferred via ambulance from my local hospital to the big university hospital 2 hours away. There, they did an MRI and admitted me for 2 days. Almost $20k worth of bills.

Then, it appeared as though I had pneumonia. Local hospital stay through the ER (because I didn't have a family doc with no insurance), and another four day hospital stay with another $20k or so of bills. Didn't get better so they did a bronchoscopy, biopsy, a whole slew of labwork trying to figure out what was wrong,CT scans, nuc med studies, you name it! By the time it was said and done (7 hospital stays later), I had well over $100k in medical bills.

Now, I have been diagnosed with a chronic lung condition. Even if my dh or I ever get a job where insurance is provided (which is doubtful), I would not be covered because it's a pre-existing condition! I'm now on about 20 different meds, including a chemotherapy agent, but no new insurance will cover them. Thankfully, with all the above, my dh took enough time off work that our income dropped enough that I qualify for state aid and I am on disability. I shudder to think what would happen were that not the case. Were I one of the middle class uninsured (rather than a poverty-stricken uninsured lol) I would have seriously been bankrupted and without care.
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#17 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 10:29 AM
 
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Now, I have been diagnosed with a chronic lung condition. Even if my dh or I ever get a job where insurance is provided (which is doubtful), I would not be covered because it's a pre-existing condition!
I don't know if this is standard policy, but every group insurance I've ever belonged to has said that if you're coming from an individual policy or no insurance, your pre-existing conditions won't be covered for the first year, but will be covered after that. If you're coming from another group policy, I think they have to cover all pre-existing conditions.

I agree with all of you about universal health coverage. Even though I've had mediocre to good experiences with both the U.S. health system and a socialized system, I'd pick the socialized or universal system every time. Being one misstep away from not having health coverage and currently paying more each month for (group!) health insurance than we pay in rent is unacceptable to me. It's even more unacceptable to me that there are people out there who don't even have the options I do.
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#18 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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I'm an expat American living in London. One of the reasons we're staying here is for the health care and maternity benefits. I haven't had a problem with the NHS care yet, and they do make provision for a pretty wide range of treatments. I can ask my GP and she will refer me (for free!) to the homeopathic hospital for treatment. If my DP decides to have hormone therapy (he's a transgender guy who hasn't "fully" transitioned yet - no surgeries or hormones), that will be covered on the NHS. I can have a homebirth no problem, and both DP and I will get some pretty sweet maternity/family leave benefits.

While I hope to never need it, the social support system is much better than in the US. Here, no one gets cut off after a 2-year lifetime welfare cap. It's not perfect, but it's at least an improvement. And I like having some civil rights. It's nice to have the legal protection of being able to marry/civilly partner my DP and will be nice to have his name on our children's birth certificates. People here are more eco-friendly, if not really 'crunchy.' BFing and CDs don't seem as 'un-mainstream' as they do in the US. Then again, that may just be the middle-class folks I'm around...

That said, I think the English state educational system is way, way inferior to that of the US. Luckily DP is a Montessori teacher so we will get good schooling for free.

Oh, and as far as the fish and chips...you're not missing much, really!

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#19 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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When I lived in southern Europe, I wanted to stay there forever (Sadly, visas only last for so long).

Where I was, there was a feeling of enjoying life, enjoying each other, not being so competitive, living more mindfully, of being able to walk the streets in safety. I lived in a country that was 98% Catholic, yet everyone was completely accepting of me being an atheist.

In my country, the U.S., the "land of the free," I don't find it to be so free as other places I've traveled and lived. Americans are generally less tolerant, much less accepting.
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#20 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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In my country, the U.S., the "land of the free," I don't find it to be so free as other places I've traveled and lived. Americans are generally less tolerant, much less accepting.
ITA.

I live in Germany where there is supposedly a generous health care system, maternity leave, you name it. It all depends on what end of the stick you are on. I pay over 500 EUR a month for health care - state health care, and I have to wait a long time to see specialists. Children and privately insured people get appointments right away.
I pay about 50% to the state in taxes, and the cost of living is HIGH (like in Sweden). We can't afford to buy a house.
Maternity leave is okay - 67% of our salary paid for 12 months. BUT, after 12 months you are required to go back to work 40 hours a week. Finding day care for children who are 12 months old is really really hard.
Plus, with this generous maternity leave in place, any young woman who is of child bearing age has a hard time finding a job (because you can't get fired for getting pregnant so a woman on maternity leave costs the company a lot of money).

The grass is always greener on the other side. We're moving to Canada in July, and so I'll get to see the health care system there. Though I think any socialised health care system has got to be better than the HMOs in America.

Single mama to a 5yo and 8yo

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#21 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 06:59 PM
 
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I live in Canada, and also lived for a while in the States.

I replied on the other thread about the Canadian medical system, so I'll just briefly say that I've always been quite happy with it. It fully paid for a great home birth, the times a family member has had to go to the ER the waits have not been too-too long (I mentioned that once dp got injured at a dinner party and was back with stiches before dessert), family doctor is fine with not vaxing, and so on. We could use more family doctors, and I would like more of an emphasis in the funding model on preventive and alternative care, but, oh well. I feel very lucky.

I did not get a paid mat leave because I was a student, but dp was able to use all the time (instead of us splitting it between two parents). He had just been laid off, and when he combined unemployment insurance time with parental leave time, he was able to get paid 55% of his wage for a year to stay home with our baby. The two of them have also greatly benefitted from government-funded early childhood centres, with drop-in playgroups galore.

Nothing's perfect. I actually enjoyed living in the US for a while when I was young and single, other than the hospital bill I couldn't afford to pay. But I don't think I would consider moving back now I have children.
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#22 of 38 Old 04-17-2008, 07:29 PM
 
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I'm an American and have lived in Canada since 1998. I really don't have any complaints about the health care system here, I don't find wait times to be that unreasonable.
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#23 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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I was really impressed with the Singapore system. Medical school is heavily subsidized, and in return, doctors work in public clinics for a certain number of years. The clinics are also directly subsidized and so are public hospitals. We used the ER and it was fast and cheap. Everyone pays something, but it's completely reasonable. There are also more expensive private options, but even those are so much cheaper than the States, it's ludicrous.

It was very close to my ideal system - private care available, good public care that is integrated with medical education, low cost but nothing free to user to prevent abuse and encourage responsibility. I would just add on better disability and mental health services.
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#24 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 05:46 AM
 
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I doubt the fish and chips in Malmö are better than in the States, but it's a great city anyway. As zoebird said, it's really close to Copenhagen where there's lots more to do if you're in the mood for that, but Sweden is a lot cheaper, and Malmö has a lot of its own charm. I'd live there in a heartbeat except the commute for DH would really suck!

Socialized medicine, in general, tends to be great for routine stuff, and really big emergencies, but that stuff in the middle is where you get the waiting lists and headache. A friend of mine had a problem with one of her ears making her effectively deaf in that ear until she could have surgery on it. Because it wasn't considered a life or death emergency, she was told she would have to wait several months for the surgery. That sucks. OTOH, I am regularly seeing doctors and midwives during my pregnancy, including a bunch of extra testing because of a bleeding disorder in my family, and it sure is nice to get that all taken care of in a timely manner and never have to pull out my wallet. So there are ups and downs regarding the healthcare.

The biggest difference between life in Denmark and life in the US, IMO, is that Danes mind their own business and Americans don't. I mean this in a broad, political sense and also in an everyday sense. I've known some people to interpret this as Danes being rude, but personally I am quite happy to not have strangers rub my pregnant belly, or have people tell me I can't be in a store because of my bare feet even though they affect no one other than me.

I also love love love not having to own a car.

ETA: Forgot to mention the standard 5 weeks vacation time. Love that, as well as all the paternity leave DH will be getting!
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#25 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 06:27 AM
 
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I am a Canadian living overseas. I am in a country with the free healthcare but I am not eligible due to being on a tourist visa. I am missing our free healthcare. We are on my DH's American insurance and well everything is a fight. While my DS and myself were in Canada we ran everything not covered by the province through my awesome work insurance. I never had to think about whether or not we should go to the dr due to money. We have to pay upfront here and then get reimbursed and they don't reimburse us the amount they originally say. I am thankful that we are healthy because I am always asking myself if I want to pay a dr's bill and I think that I will let things slide more here just because I don't want to pay. I can't wait until I return to Canada for the insurance aspect.

Mama to two loqacious and bouncy boys.
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#26 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 09:17 AM
 
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I'm an American expat in England and am eternally grateful for the NHS. It has its problems, absolutely, but compared to the years I went in the US without any health insurance, it is a godsend.

I love America but when I go back for a visit I find myself cringing and somewhat horrified at how much people seem to think they 'need' and how BIG and how consumer-focused everything seems. Jaws drop when ppl find out I don't have a microwave, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, air conditioning or car and live in a tiny house where one of the bedrooms is 6x7'. I get asked all the time how I do it or they make jokes about me living in the Dark Ages. :

When I visit America now, I become so saddened when I watch tv and see all of these commercials for presciption drugs (ask your doctor if Blahblahblah is right for you!), credit cards, loans, and all of the ways you can be a better, richer person through THINGS. Not that there's none of that here but it's to a much, much smaller degree and it's not in your face at every breathing, waking moment. For those reasons, I don't think I could move back. I desperately want to be closer to my family but I refuse to bring my daughter up in a place that allows millions of people to die or go untreated from having no health care and allows its citizens to dig themselves into holes of enormous debt because they've got them believing that they need the bigger car, bigger house, better clothes, more gadgets, flashy lifestyle, etc..to be living the 'American Dream.'

To me, the American Dream died a long time ago and I find that very, very sad.

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#27 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 10:06 AM
 
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I love America but when I go back for a visit I find myself cringing and somewhat horrified at how much people seem to think they 'need' and how BIG and how consumer-focused everything seems. Jaws drop when ppl find out I don't have a microwave, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, air conditioning or car and live in a tiny house where one of the bedrooms is 6x7'. I get asked all the time how I do it or they make jokes about me living in the Dark Ages. :

When I visit America now, I become so saddened when I watch tv and see all of these commercials for presciption drugs (ask your doctor if Blahblahblah is right for you!), credit cards, loans, and all of the ways you can be a better, richer person through THINGS. Not that there's none of that here but it's to a much, much smaller degree and it's not in your face at every breathing, waking moment. For those reasons, I don't think I could move back. I desperately want to be closer to my family but I refuse to bring my daughter up in a place that allows millions of people to die or go untreated from having no health care and allows its citizens to dig themselves into holes of enormous debt because they've got them believing that they need the bigger car, bigger house, better clothes, more gadgets, flashy lifestyle, etc..to be living the 'American Dream.'

To me, the American Dream died a long time ago and I find that very, very sad.

Yeah, that about describes it for me too...... :


With regards to health care, I am quite happy with the Australian public health system, although I have not had a life-threatening condition to test the system, thank goodness!

I was also quite happy with the NHS system when we lived in the UK, and at the time it suited my needs perfectly. ANd I was only a temporary resident so I reckon they were very gracious to provide full free health care for me & my DD....

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#28 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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I'm an American expat in England and am eternally grateful for the NHS. It has its problems, absolutely, but compared to the years I went in the US without any health insurance, it is a godsend.

I love America but when I go back for a visit I find myself cringing and somewhat horrified at how much people seem to think they 'need' and how BIG and how consumer-focused everything seems. Jaws drop when ppl find out I don't have a microwave, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, air conditioning or car and live in a tiny house where one of the bedrooms is 6x7'. I get asked all the time how I do it or they make jokes about me living in the Dark Ages. :

When I visit America now, I become so saddened when I watch tv and see all of these commercials for presciption drugs (ask your doctor if Blahblahblah is right for you!), credit cards, loans, and all of the ways you can be a better, richer person through THINGS. Not that there's none of that here but it's to a much, much smaller degree and it's not in your face at every breathing, waking moment. For those reasons, I don't think I could move back. I desperately want to be closer to my family but I refuse to bring my daughter up in a place that allows millions of people to die or go untreated from having no health care and allows its citizens to dig themselves into holes of enormous debt because they've got them believing that they need the bigger car, bigger house, better clothes, more gadgets, flashy lifestyle, etc..to be living the 'American Dream.'

To me, the American Dream died a long time ago and I find that very, very sad.

I don’t find this to be the case (then again, I'm not an ex-pat) I have plenty of European friends who have to have the newest car, gadget, expensive clothes (even in their home countries) and plenty of Americans who live and think like you. I think its individual IMO. Its quite disheartening that we seemed to be painted with the same brush a lot of the times.
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#29 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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I don’t find this to be the case (then again, I'm not an ex-pat) I have plenty of European friends who have to have the newest car, gadget, expensive clothes (even in their home countries) and plenty of Americans who live and think like you. I think its individual IMO. Its quite disheartening that we seemed to be painted with the same brush a lot of the times.
I agree. I've lived in Ireland and the UK, and there are just as many materialistic, keep up with the Jones' types there as here. In fact, they are worse in some ways - in the last few years English and Irish people seem to have lost the ability to discuss anything but real estate and home improvements. It gets old...
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#30 of 38 Old 04-18-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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I don’t find this to be the case (then again, I'm not an ex-pat) I have plenty of European friends who have to have the newest car, gadget, expensive clothes (even in their home countries) and plenty of Americans who live and think like you. I think its individual IMO. Its quite disheartening that we seemed to be painted with the same brush a lot of the times.
Oh, I know that it happens here too, I just think that it's to a lesser degree and with different things. The competitiveness and consumerism exists but it doesn't seem to be corporate-and-government-sponsored on every television station, KWIM? It just seems so much more in your face in America, at least in my experience. I fully acknowledge that this may not be the case for everyone.

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