Are “all you can eat” buffets strictly American?

Do you have “All you can eat” buffets in your country?  Since the AMA has brought the “obesity disease” into the news, eating habits are in the forefront of my mind.  I am wondering if America is the only place that has these all you can eat buffets everywhere.  As many of you know, its very, very common in America to have unlimited refills on soda (coke etc) but its also common to have all you can eat too  and there are many variations:

  • All you can eat salad.  Even restaurants that are not all you can eat very often have unlimited salad bars which means you can go back for as many refills as you want.  No big deal you say, its good for you?  Guess again!  Unfortunately in America the “salad” you find at a salad bar is  rarely healthy, the iceberg lettuce is sometimes the only vegetable and its just used as a decorative bowl to pile your macaroni salad into.  The things in a salad bar most commonly are simple carbs with lots of creamy fat and cheese.  Some examples of restaurants with all you can eat salad are Wendys, Sizzler and Olive Garden.
  • All you can drink sodas.  As Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban made famous, yes, in America virtually every restaurant will refill your soda-pop (coke, etc) free as many times as you want.  All other beverages are charged per glass.
  • All you can eat buffet, also called smorgasbord.  Kings Table and Royal Fork are two examples but virtually every town has a locally owned “Smorgy-Bobs”.  These places are self service buffet style, where you can go back and refill your plate as many times as you want and stay as long as you want.  Usually these smorgasbords are very inexpensive and the food quality is what you would expect – lots of spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, pizza, fried chicken, etc.  Usually the only thing not self service is the roast beef (most expensive thing they offer) where staff cuts you a modest piece.  One exception to the low quality buffet is Las Vegas where they have mastered the art of the high quality buffets.  Not only are they all you can eat but the quality is often equivalent to the best table service restaurants.  Of course, the casinos subsidize the meals just to get you in the door in hopes you will gamble there.
  • Free bread.  Virtually every restaurant in America gives free bread with the meal but my guess is that this is done in other countries as well.  The bread can be plain, deep fried, or cheese covered.

Does your country have all you can eat restaurants or all you can eat salad bars?  

Is the “all you can eat/drink” thing a significant factor in causing the American obesity epidemic? If so, should it be taxed like the NYC Bloomberg soda ban?  Where does one draw the line with the “nanny-state”?  We force motorcyclists to wear helmets and automobile drivers to wear seat-belts to save lives, but yet we allow people to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol but tax it heavily. Yet other risky and dangerous behaviors are neither taxed nor illegal.   Which camp does “all you can eat” belong in?  How does one determine which risky behaviors are personal choice, which are illegal, and which are legal but taxed?  Is it based on the cost to taxpayers where there are various cost thresholds for legal, legal but taxed, and illegal?  How do you reconcile personal freedom and choice with personal responsibility?  Do we just allow all risky behaviors but require people to buy risky-behaviour insurance?  To get into the all you can eat buffet or ride your motorcycle without a helmet you have to show proof of insurance?  I don’t have the answers but I sure have lots of questions.  Its time for a national dialog.

View from my table at my recent trip to Olive Garden where they have all you can eat salad and fried bread sticks:

All you can eat buffets

 

Thanks to AskScooby member MicSS for this great topic!

70 thoughts on “Are “all you can eat” buffets strictly American?”

  1. Yup, we have all you can eat here in The Polders.

    Though I must say that the salads offered are usually actual proper salads.

    This effect is mostly outdone by all the creamy ice and deserts which tempt your willpower to breaking point!

    By the way: collective healthcare does not just pay for individual patients. It also pays for lots of prevention and research for which the funds would otherwise be unavailable.

    This religious like belief in the infalllibility (sp?) of The Market is just as stupid as that in other mythical things.

  2. Human beings have the natural right do whatever it is that they want to as long as they are not restricting the freedoms of others in doing so. So basically helmet laws, seat-belt laws, selectively high taxes that attempt to punish “dangerous things” (like cigarettes and alcohol) and this absurd notion that we would in any way involve the government in our nutritional choices: are all anti-liberty. If you claim to be for liberty, then don’t advocate trying to protect people from themselves… Whether we like it or not we are ALL responsible for ourselves on an individual basis, this is natural law that we cannot change. So we better recognize this law and start living in accordance with it. We better start honouring our own strength, development and personal responsibility, rather than sit back and throw it away by thinking we can create a “government program” to fix it for us. Nature will only laugh and punish us for our laziness and self-entitlement attitude, rather than reward us for our courage and hard effort. Government perpetuates problems in attempting to fix them. Have we not learned to break this vicious cycle by now?

    1. I would agree with you except I have to pick up the tab for the uninsured that get head injuries from not wearing a helmet and all the ailments that come from the obese. If they paid for their own health care then I wouldn’t really give a flying donut what others do to themselves.

  3. Human beings have the natural right do whatever it is that they want to as long as they are not restricting the freedoms of others in doing so. So basically helmet laws, seat-belt laws, selectively high taxes that attempt to punish “dangerous things” (like cigarettes and alcohol) and this absurd notion that we would in any way involve the government in our nutritional choices: are all anti-liberty. If you claim to be for liberty, then don’t advocate trying to protect people from themselves… Whether we like it or not we are ALL responsible for ourselves on an individual basis, this is natural law that we cannot change. So we better recognize this law and start living in accordance with it. We better start honouring our own strength, development and personal responsibility, rather than sit back and throw it away by thinking we can create a “government program” to fix it for us. Nature will only laugh and punish us for our laziness and self-entitlement attitude, rather than reward us for our courage and hard effort. Government perpetuates problems in attempting to fix them. Have we not learned to break this vicious cycle by now?

  4. I live in sweden and All you can eat buffet do exist here, I usually only eat the salad at a buffet. “All you can eat salad too”, but the salad is pretty good.All you can drink sodas at a restaurant I have never heard of, and I know very few adults who drink soda at all. I rarely had free bread.

  5. disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

    Well, Mexico learned so well from USA on being fat we have surpassed the States in national obesity levels, and this includes buffet restaurants. Most of them are Sirloin Stockades, Chinese buffets, or Korean sushi and food buffets. The former have some actually good salads and the latter are actually pretty good. Chinese buffets… not so much.

  6. As someone who works as a grocery store, i can tell you that 95% of the time those who are seriously obese are on government assistance, food stamps, and 90% of those are litterally buy 20 microwave pizzas at once. I would say the biggest thing causing obesity is lack of education and honestly government assistance, can’t really blame restaurants.

  7. I am absolutely disgusted with myself after a night out of debachury and the next day a treat with an all you can eat, i gained 10lbs and threw a months worth of work down the shitter. Feels bad man.

  8. In England we have a family restaurant called Harvester that has both unlimited soft drinks (cola, sprite etc) and all you can eat salad cart too. As mentioned in the article, there’s always been 2 types of pasta on the cart whenever I’ve visited, and all the sauces too ( Interesting to note whenever my dad had the Red Devil sauce on his salad, he would never finish his main! ) but there’s always lots of fresh organic stuff. Harvester also do small bread rolls that are difficult to cut lol, and I’ve never had free bread in any other restaurant- the idea is strange to me! The options in Harvester are white, or brown if you want to be healthier lol, and most certainly not cheese or deep fried! Garlic bread is a fairly common side though in a lot of restaurants.

    The was-rival Beefeater restaurants do unlimited seasoned/chips (like fries but super chunky) with some meals, I don’t remember about soft drinks there. TGI Fridays does unlimited soft drinks like Harvester does. Independent Chinese restaurants have done all you can eat buffets where you serve yourself sorta thing since I can remember. Recently I’ve noticed thai/viet/laos or other asian restaurants doing all you can eat buffet too. Pizza Hut has had an all you can eat 12-4pm since the 90s, but it seems to me they only put out the less popular pizzas ( lol )!

    A little off topic but I wonder if other countries have this thing:
    A big thing here all the pizza establishments do, chains like Papa Johns, Dominos, Pizza Hut, and small local takeaways/deliverys is Two For Tuesdays, where it’s buy one get one free any size pizza on a Tuesday.
    Dominos started it I think and the others have followed suit, but now Dominos does midweek resuce service 4-6pm mon-fri, where you get 50% off only pizza over £15 (any large pizza, or medium with a fancy crust) so it’s even easier for people to get unhealthy food!

  9. I live in Houston,Tx which is the state in America with the biggest population of obese people, yes we have all you can eat buffets and the famous “Everything is bigger in Texas” saying’ also most restaurants have the normal size(which is already big) and the “Texas size”, and school serves pizza,fried food milk and juice only, no wonder we are the fattest nation.
    I am currently overweight, working out and learning about nutrition everyday, great site.

  10. You’re question was whether this phenomenon of “all-you can eat” buffet’s are strictly found in the U.S. The answer is no: it does exist in other places in the world. The difference I suppose is that it isn’t as prevalent as it is in the United States. I’m writing this from Lebanon (not Oregon), and “all you can eat buffets” are present here but they are limited. That doesn’t mean we don’t have obesity. In fact, being clinically overweight has been on the rise here, despite the fact that we supposedly enjoy the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Should citizens pay into a system that covers the costs of treating other citizens suffering Obesity or Obesity-related health issues? I think it boils down to what you consider is in the common good. From my time spent living in the U.K., I think state coverage for health and education is a boon and should be basic. It might not be right for the U.S., but it has worked in other parts of the world.

  11. Unlike the other Dutch guy here, I am unfamiliar with all-you-can-eat buffets in the Netherlands. Nevertheless I found some statistics on being too heavy, provided by the Dutch government. According to one of its websites, 60% of Dutch men and 50% of Dutch women are too heavy. In other European countries it is even worse, for example in Spain 70% of men are too heavy.

    In the USA however, according to that same site, 75% of men and 67% of women are too heavy, but these percentages haven’t increased anymore over the past 10 years.

    P.S. “too heavy” is defined here as a BMI>25

  12. There are all you can eat restaurants in Canada – where we have universal healthcare – but I don’t believe these eateries are the main contributor to obesity. Folks are getting too fat because of their daily choices and I doubt anyone goes to an all you can eat joint every day. People need to stop consuming soda, and pre-made processed foods. It’s the daily eating of hidden sugars, trans fats and processed ingredients that continue to make people fatter and sicker. I believe all ‘junky’ and processed foods should be heavily taxed for the sicknesses they cause and to make healthier food choices seem less expensive. That should direct the masses towards better choices… maybe also a greater emphasis on educating kids in school about proper eating would help reduce obesity too.

  13. Poland here; soda refills are popular in some restaurants but they arent everywhere. I have never seen a allyoucaneat buffet, never, ever. Only on special events, like opening of a new restaurant they do that. Some of the better restaurants always give a lot of free bread – its normal, white bread, eventually the dark one. The worse ones give a 1-2 loafs to your meal, or something like that. Im just giving out information. Bye.

  14. On the subject of salads the idea of pasta salad, potato salad, macaroni salad etc. is all nonsense. A salad is fresh or cooked vegetables, dressed and possibly accompanied by meat or fish something similar. A serving of gunky pasta or potatoes is not salad. Also, Jello Salad? Don’t be ridiculous.

  15. In the UK there are lots of all-you-can-eat establishments, including Pizza places, Chinese food etc. These places rely heavily on greasy carbs like noodles or pizza crust to fill you up for little cost to them. I have never seen a place that offers all-you-can-eat organic fillet steak from a high welfare, sustainably farmed heritage breeds of cattle.

  16. There are no “all you can eat” buffets in Israel. “All you can eat” is only found in hotels for tourists (mainly American). They are breakfast buffets, but they are very healthy. They mostly contain healthy salads. They are also vegetarian; so only fish, eggs, and milk products are offered in the way of protein sources.

  17. What I found when going to an all- you-can-eat fat farm, that’s it’s an almost guarantee to eat too much. Heck, who doesn’t want to get their money’s worth. And of course most people feel the need to “sample” the whole bar. Then of course there’s dessert ; got to have some of that, right?
    Personally, I visit those fat farms when on vacation so the damage done from pigging out is not beyond repair.

    But Scooby, I’ve got to agree with you and all your points.

    Thanks

  18. Great article, I personally believe that if we tax this food heavily then it couldn’t possibly end up being “the cheap option”, and many issues in regards to user pays complaints would be reduced, such as with the taxation of smoking in countries such as Australia.

  19. In Australia we do have all you can eat restaurants.
    We don’t have soda refills, it’s pay by cup. I’ve seen one place that does it hat I know of- an American place, TGI Friday’s.
    And pubs have salad bars, there are some garden salads, coleslaw, pasta salads, and potatoes usually as well as other vegetables. You can have as much as you want from these.
    Pretty much all restaurants give a free bread roll and butter.

  20. Even when I go to an “all you can eat” anymore, I rarely eat enough to get my money’s worth. It took me half a century to learn to eat for my well being and not for the pleasure of tasty food. Most buffet food is pretty mediocre anyway. Or, it’s been left out on the buffet line too long.

    I’d rather spend my money now on small portions of mind blowingly excellent, but healthy foods on an occasional basis than go on a fat and calorie laden “stuff a thon.”

  21. Here in Mexico (Mexico City) there are all you can eat buffets and all you can drink sodas, the restaurant services have similar international stantandards and you can find chinesse food buffets or free bread in some places, every Burguer King have a machine to refill your soda the times that you want and some Mc Donalds as well. Althought i think it’s only part of the problem, but the main causes of the overweight and obesity are the terrible habits of the mexicans and the lack of healty food, a combination between an unhealthy lifestyle, lack of information and healthy food of restaurants and food establishments. As result Mexico is the number one soda consumer and the number one country in childhood obesity.

    1. Majority of mexicans are overweight, drinks lots of calories and make little physical activity. It’s so common when you are having lunch to see all people drinking soda and eating on the streets all kinds of garbage.

      The ancient cultures that inhabited this part of the world were one of the most healthiest in histoy of civilization; they had lots of protein from beans, corn, insects, etc. and made lots of friggin exercise.everyday; they even showered and brushed their teeth unlike the europeans. What happened? Not only we have obese adults but whenever you see a kid they are chubby and loathe any kind of exercise. Mexico is not that far away from the morbid obesity in the States.

      1. Yeah, the junk food/fast food is everywhere while the healty food is only available on markets to prepare at home. It’s consecuence of the enormous influence of U.S.A. in the mexican and latinoamerican cultures, several companys sell indiscriminately their products and we are raised with a mindset of consumism. I think Mexico is the worst case but i suposse the other latinoamerican countries suffer for the same. That, plus the lack of education about the eating and excercise habits has caused the “big” problem that U.S.A. and Mexico have in common. Even I’ve noticed the lack of knowledge in the people who do excercise, the majority I observed don’t know how to loss weight or gain muscle properly, only do random excercises but ignore what they are doing. We need a spanish Scoobs.

        1. disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

          Oh, just tell me… I think about 75% of those who work out in Guadalajara are cardiobunnies, 20% are curlbros who don’t know how to lift properly, and only 5% are people who actually know their way around lifting. You see all-female cardio gyms everywhere, spinning gyms, but you really need to fumble around to find a good lifting gym.

          On the other hand though, lifting gyms are always crowded, but then again, most of the regulars can’t even into lifting. At all the gyms I’ve been to I’ve been literally the only one who deadlifts. In fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say someone here learned to lift from the internet because they deadlift.

        2. disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

          And the broscience… oh, the broscience… a good friend of mine who used to be the ottermode of all ottermodes, going as far as crossing a 15 km long ocean bay, said I was supposed to do cardio because if I kept lifting my fat would become impossible to get rid of…

        3. disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

          The one thing that makes me still keep my hopes is the fact that my college has managed to push the physically active population to over 50%, and that my college’s trainers and coaches are semi-competent at least, very good at most. We need to spread the word about fitness here… we need something like Nerd Fitness, or you, someone who gives no-bullshit, straightforward, correct and non-broscientific advice.

  22. This type of restaurant is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. An obvious example that springs to mind is Toby Carvery. Harvester also have a salad bar which is “unlimited”. While I often see very large people at these eating establishments, I don’t think that the unlimited food option is to blame, If the argument is that people will eat more because its “free” I don’t think so, because I think you can get fatter for cheaper if you go to a supermarket and buy a metric ton of iced cream.

  23. Greetings from Lithuania! No all you can eat or drink atleast in the region where I live. But I see lots of people who are overweight or have illness because of their eating habbits. The reason for this is that most people no nothing about nutrition. Every person should be thought this at school! I am still at gymnasium but no one ever told me what is healthy and what isn’t! Everyday (till summer) I saw young people eating procesed food on brakes. They aren’t kids who get impressed by comercials. Next year will be the last year at gymnasium for me and some of these persons. They will take these bad habits to university and will keep eating unhealthy. School is the place where obesity starts and not at the all you can eat restaurants.

  24. As a general rule, you won’t find “all you can eat” restaurants in Europe. The only ones that have it tend to be American franchise outlets. Probably the single greatest difference between the US and Europe is portion size. Portions over here are minuscule compared to American ones, and doggie bags are unheard of. Then again, Europeans tend to be smaller in size than Americans (I’ve never met a tiny American. Even when they’re thin they’re tall), so perhaps we’re doing something wrong.

    1. speak for your own country.. lots of places have all you can eat offerings in the Netherlands. They also tend to be asian. Same goes for ‘taller’ americans. I feel tall when I am in the States. The Dutch are the tallest people on average in the world.

  25. I dont know about the rest of the finland for sure but atleast in my city there are 2 of those “all you can eat” buffets, tho the other company is marketing itself quite alot, and mostly toward young people, I’d guess them can be found all around.

  26. Italian speaking here. We DO have all you can eat, but we DO NOT exaggerate with it. Or better: for us, these restaurants, are made for special occasions, or at least, no more than once in a couple of months. Most of them are asian (especially Japanese) but the quality standards are pretty high! At least we are Italians, we know what eating GOOD food means! And I’m not talking about “good”=tasty (well, not only that), but good=healthy.

    All you can eat (asian) buffets are around 10/12€ per person at lunch and around 20€ at dinner, so they’re not so cheap, especially for students like me, but there you can find very good food, especially fish and shellfish (and gorgeous sushi). And we don’t expect nothing less, so are rare the deep fried stuffs, that are eaten only by children (adults that go there know the value of money). We have a centuries-old food culture, and we’ve learned since the kindergarten what’s good or not for healt. We have a very large choice, including junk food, that we use if we want to do something stupid (or if we ARE ignorant).

    Anyway we like to have everything on the table of choices and we are able to choose all of them (once in a while) because of pregress formation: so for us is “also poison can be good, but cum grano salis”!!!

  27. Yes, we have “all you can eat” here in Sweden as well, mainly in places with “asian” food (deep fried stuff) and some pizza places. At some places you have free refills of soda too, but I’d say that people use that opportunity very sparsely.

  28. they have lots of buffets in Canada. there might be more in Toronto than anywhere in the US I’ve ever traveled to. do we count though? since nearly everything about our culture is the same

  29. I think Indiana has more buffets per square mile than anywhere else in the country! I find it ironic that the advertisement at the bottom of this page is for coupons for – a buffet!!!! Ha! I go once or twice per year to them with family and always load up on grilled chix and broccoli. Keep it simple!

  30. Hey Scooby! I lived in Japan for about a year when I was in college on an exchange program. There they have ‘tabehodai’ restaurants that do all you can eat and ‘nomihodai’ (usually bars) where it’s all you can drink, usually alcoholic beverages. They’re different though in that they’re usually timed, and often it’s not self-service. When we’d go out for nomihodai you’d pay for 2 hours and after that they’d cut you off. Also, you had to order drinks from your server and you could only get one at a time, and the server would only come by every few minutes so it wasn’t REALLY all you could drink. Realistically if you slammed every drink immediately and ordered another one as soon as possible, you’d probably get in 10 drinks before your time was up. That’s not even remotely healthy but it’s probably better than refilling your Coke 10 times with dinner . . .

    The tabehodai restaurants I tried actually were self-service buffet style, but they were timed too, and a lot more expensive than American buffets. $30 for 60 minutes and they’d cut you off. Plenty of time to destroy your stomach if you were so inclined though.

    There’s a ton of fast food restaurants in Japan but free refills on soda is rare. Still though I do remember going to a few different places where there would be soda fountains that customers could just go grab refills if they wanted to.

    Bottom line is that if you wanted to, you can abuse your body with ‘all you can eat’ in Japan pretty easily, but it’s less common and more expensive.

  31. I’m an expat Australian in Tokyo.

    There are some places that have salad bars and drink bars; but US style all you can eat places are fairly rare.

    Some restaurants have tabehodai (all you can eat) and nomihodai (all you can drink) but they quite different, it’s time limited one or two hours, it’s table service and not cheap. There are usually rules too, eg, you are served an entire course and you have to eat everything on the table, ie you have to finish the salad before you get more meat.

    There is a Sizzlers near my house, one of only seven in all of Japan.

  32. We have it in Brazil too but there are two kinds: 1 – you go to a buffet where you pay by weight, if you pass like U$ 12 (+- 700 g), you can go by the economic all you can eat. Usually people stick to paying by the weight. 2 – Rodizio, which is a Brazilian invention where you have the most expensive and obscene variety of food specially grilled meat and cost like U$ 50 per person, so not a daily option. NEVER all you can drink. Actually there is where restaurants make a lot of money over here.

  33. “All You Can Eat” is quite common in Germany, especially for asian food and at breakfast places. Free soda refills is something that has been introduced just a few years ago. But none of those things are seen as a root cause for obesity here. Government health programs and similar institutions (“Deutschland bewegt sich” for example) focus on encouraging people to work out more instead. Nutrition is almost completely left out of the discussion. Quite interesting compared to the American discourse on obesity, I think.

    By the way: If you look at Germany at the beginning of the 20th century or at poorer European countries even today, you will see that in poor societies “All You Can Eat” buffets are often reserved for special occasions like weddings etc and people will literally eat until they can’t move anymore. That’s a common cultural practice in societies where people are generally underfed and it can be traced back to the Middle Ages at least. I find that an interesting point.

    1. Yes, more and more “all you can eat” asian food.. deep fried that you dont even see what is inside.. “they say its pork”.. ;).. But you are completely right.. such places are to go once. twice a year or so..

  34. Oh dear.. In Portugal you’ll pay for the bread.. And yes, we have “all we can eat” we call it “rodízios” and its mostly a place where you go to experiment a large variety of foods at once.. the diference is that all we can eat, is much less than all americans can eat =P..

    Great post scooby.. I too can’t figure out government laws..

    1. Great to see another person from Portugal here. And yes I confirm that we do have “all you can eat” buffets. Every place I’ve been in though you pay for the bread and you pay for each soda, generally since customers are eating plenty they’ll need some drinks to wash it down with and as some people say “that’s how they get ya” since the drinks aren’t cheap.

      1. Yeah.. i’ve thought myself to dont drink when i eat.. it comes in handy in such situations =P.. you have a name that is far from portuguese ;)..

        Bet hey, so do i..

        regards :)

        1. In Australia, All You Can eat buffets are quite rare. A place called Sizzler(s) is one chain that offers but others thank god are few and far between. There was a big bacteria scare at one of these joints some years back and put alot of people off but you do see the obese parading through with regularity sadly.

          1. I concur about the relative lack of such places in Australia. During the 90’s Pizza Hut was famous for it’s all-you-can eat, but then about 15 years ago almost all of it’s sit-down stores closed suddenly.

            I didn’t realise there were any Sizzlers left in Australia. Looking at their website, it seems like they’re only really left in Queensland and WA.

            There are also other places that do all-you-can-eat, but they’re not that common. Hungry Jacks (aka Burger King) and Subway do all you can drink soft drinks in some stores, but I’ve not seen it elsewhere.

          2. Yep, I know of a couple of all-you-can-eat Pizza Huts which are still open in Australia, but they are only kept open by a small number of obese customers in general and are extremely rare. It’s not really something that would be easy to find, or that most people would go to except as a novelty.. Subway and Hungry Jacks (Burger King) do have the all you can drink soft drink at some stores, but I doubt its abused as heavily as in the US..

    2. disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

      >rodizio
      Like the Brazilian ones? I just remembered there are a few of these in Mexico. They’re expensive but oh dear god how delicious they are.

  35. Another reason why universal healthcare in America is a terrible idea – I don’t want to pay for people that are overweight, smokers, drinkers or people that ride without a helmet/seatbelt. You wanna be an idiot? YOU pay for it!

      1. sure about that? my sister lived in Montreal a bit with her fiancee… different world than here and doesn’t really “work” when compared to what we have in the northeast.

    1. So what happens if you get some terminal disease and your health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of treatment? Just die? Also remember everyone starts at different points, this idea of equal opportunity in a capitalist society is rubbish. Also consider those who are disabled etc We have universal medicare in Australia and I am so proud that we don’t let anyone die because of how much money they have, or don’t have. It truly is the sign of a compassionate, reasonable and caring society. I have been extremely grateful to have been able to pay taxes to contribute to our society.

      1. Bob the answer is no. It’s been illegal for almost 3 decades in the US for hospitals to refuse treatment to people in emergency situations, regardless of their ability to pay. It’s called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. The difference is that if you have no insurance, you end up with big bills, but the same thing happens to anyone in any situation where something expensive happens and they have no insurance. That’s partially what bankruptcy law in the US is for: giving people in hopeless financial situations a way out and a chance to start over.

        What exactly do you hear about us in the US anyways? Listening to you guys it’s like you think we have people dying on the sidewalks outside of our hospitals because we’re such an uncaring, uncompassionate society and we refuse to help sick people. Give us a little credit.

        1. This is correct. You wanna see places where people are dying on the streets? Try Cuba, China, Venezuela, and all the other so-called socialist countries. The only reason the Nordic countries have a UHS that ‘works’ is because they have a wealthy government that isn’t as evil as other wealthy governments (like is those aforementioned countries…). But this comes at the cost of your personal choices and ability/freedom to become wealthy yourself. How many millionaires do you know of in Norway? And they’re a pretty wealthy in GDP measurement, but in personal wealth measurement? Maybe when they travel abroad because their currency is so strong…

    2. so true Joe. Health insurance is a *good*, not a right or an entitlement. You take your own risks, you pay for it. Things happen, people get diseases and it’s not their fault – but if you think that anything changes with a national healthcare system for the better, like the quality of care being fantastic or pre-screenings for cancer, etc. magically just appearing out of nowhere to keep you from getting sick or jumping on medical conditions early, think again.

      best way to stay healthy is to live healthy and get regular physicals. this includes annual mole checks at a dermo, prostate exams for men, and physicals from your general practitioner. i’d be all for a program that covers those basics *only* as long as we start cutting some of the insane spending down in DC, but why nationalize something – take a look at anything that’s nationalized, even unofficially, from food production to food screening to anything you can think of like crop production by big agrifarms. smaller/local is always better. keep it at the state or town level to determine what people have the “right” to with the tax dollars that are kept in-state. i don’t trust uncle sam to run my healthcare program. if congress & the president won’t sign up to the healthcare plan they want us to be on, i don’t know why you’d want to either.

    3. disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

      Mexico is a failing country and despite that we still manage to scrounge up the resources to give painful but effective healthcare through the IMSS.

      Americans have all the money in the world and are the most powerful nation in the world, and they don’t have healthcare “because it’s communist”.

      Suck it, gringos.

      1. And people call us racist? How come so many of you are snagged by border patrol trying to sneak into my HORRIBLE country? It must not be that bad…..

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