+
If Americans understood how absurd our system is, we'd all be demanding universal healthcare

Healthcare dominated much of the Democratic debates this week, and for good reason. Multiple polls show that healthcare remains Americans' top concern.

My teenage daughter recently had some blood work done, and the total cost was more than $1000. After insurance, we have the honor of paying $200. For blood work. For nothing to be wrong.

Was the lab testing her blood with gold and platinum? Were they sending it to space and back? I mean seriously, how on earth could blood tests cost $1000?

Meanwhile, in other countries, we have people giving birth, having surgeries, fixing broken bones, as well as basic blood work, for no out of pocket cost whatsoever.


I wrote an article last year about an American man's experience in a Taiwanese emergency room. He'd hurt himself shortly after moving to the country and wasn't yet covered under the national healthcare plan. Being an American, he was terrified of what his E.R. bill was going to be without health insurance. His total bill? Around $80 USD.

Every time that story gets shared on Upworthy, the comments section is filled with hundreds of stories like this. Some traveler broke their ankle while galavanting around Europe, with a subsequent E.R. visit that in total cost less than a typical American emergency room copay. Some expat living in another country had to have their appendix removed and their out-of-pocket costs were a tiny fraction of what we would pay here, even after insurance.

RELATED: He went to the ER in Taiwan, then his "Horrors of Socialized Medicine" post went viral.

Several months ago, a story shared on Facebook about a woman getting a breast lump checked out in Iceland went viral. Since she wasn't Icelandic, she had to pay cash for the visit. A doctor's appointment. mammogram, and ultrasound cost her less than a trip to Starbucks. No referrals. No waiting.

People in other developed nations don't go bankrupt from medical bills. People in other developed nations don't feel like they need to weigh the cost-benefit ratio of going to the doctor. And when I say other developed nations, I mean every other developed nation. We are literally the only large, rich country without some form of universal healthcare.

And does this lack of universal healthcare save us money? Nope. We pay more per capita for healthcare than citizens in any other developed country by far. We pay more, we get less, and not everyone even gets covered. The more you learn about healthcare systems in other places, the more ridiculous ours becomes, and the more the push for universal healthcare makes sense.

Sure, other countries pay somewhat higher taxes than we do, but they generally don't pay insurance premiums or have high out-of-pocket costs. And our health insurance costs keep climbing. This year, the average total cost of employer-provided health coverage passed $20,000 for a family plan. That's the cost of a small car, every year, just to have health insurance.

That. Is. Bananas.

I hear some people say that our medical services are far superior to other countries, which is a questionable stance considering the fact that our health outcomes are actually below many other comparable countries. We have more disease burden, more preventable deaths, and more medical errors than many other OECD countries. Our maternal mortality rate has more than doubled in the past 30 years. We do a few things very well—if you have a heart attack or need a complicated surgery, our doctors are highly skilled. But it's not like our general medical care is superior to other developed nations.

I also hear people say that people have to wait for medical care in these other countries. While that's true for some elective surgeries, adults in most comparable countries actually get to see their doctors more quickly than we do in the U.S. And it's not like people never have to wait for non-emergency surgeries here too.

But the argument I really don't get is "Why should I have to pay for someone else's medical care?" Because anyone who pays into insurance is paying for other people's care. That's literally the way insurance works. Of course, you benefit as well, but that's no different than a tax to cover healthcare, only then everyone is covered.

One argument I've heard is that that we can't compare other countries to the U.S. because our population is so large. But this argument makes no sense. The U.K. has ten times the population of Finland. Canada has ten times the population of Iceland. And they all manage to provide healthcare for all of their citizens.

RELATED: Guy gets taken down by Twitter after comparing universal healthcare to charity

And yes, of course we'd be paying more in taxes. Does that mean we'd actually have more money coming out of our pockets than we do now? Not likely. What if we took the gargantuan amounts of money we already throw at at insurance companies and for-profit health systems and put those resources toward a system that works for everyone, like they do in other countries? So many Americans are so allergic to the idea of taxes that they are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face on this issue.

We can argue all day long about whether healthcare is a basic human right, but I don't think we even need to get into that. We can also argue all day about what version of universal coverage will work best here, but we have plenty of examples to analyze and compare. What's no longer a question, in my opinion, is whether or not we should do it. Universal healthcare simply makes sense, and we're long past the era when we can pretend that it doesn't.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Grab your boost of serotonin here.

Polina Tankilevitch/Canva

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Holy moly—it's fall, y'all!

As pumpkin spice swoops in and we start unpacking our cozy sweaters and cute boots, we can practically taste the seasonal change in the air. Fall is filled with so many small joys—the fresh, crisp smell of apples, the beauty of the leaves as they shift from greens to yellows, oranges and reds, the way the world gets wrapped in a warm glow even as the air grows cooler.

Part of what makes the beauty of fall unique is that it's fleeting. Mother Nature puts on a vibrant show as she sheds what no longer serves her, inviting us to revel in her purposeful self-destruction. It's a gorgeous example of not only embracing change, but celebrating it.

Keep ReadingShow less
via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


A dad from Portland, Oregon, has taken to LinkedIn to write an emotional plea to parents after he learned that his son had died during a conference call at work. J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, encouraged parents to spend less time at work and more time with their kids after his son's death.

Keep ReadingShow less
via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


Keep ReadingShow less