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Beavah

Health Care Policy

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Who cares when you can just print money?

 

If I was Barrack Obama I would put more resources into building more printing presses.

 

We should also stop printing small bills. Only print twenties and above.

 

I don't understand how we have money problems.

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If socialized medicine is so wildly unpopular and delivers such terrible results, why hasn't any nation that has it, move away from it? Where are the protests in the streets? Where is the debate in their houses of government? Show me a nation that wants to get rid of their socialized medicine and maybe we can have a debate.

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I thought we were having a debate, or at least an intelligent discussion. But I don't have to first show you a nation that wants to get rid of socialized medicine in order to express my opinions. I'll go back to my generational arguement. Or, more to the point, the frog in the pot arguement. A frog in a pot of water heated slowly, won't jump out and ends up being boiled, but a frog dropped into boiling water is going to try to jump out.

 

After a while, a society gets used to the notion of socialism and socialized medicine. After a generation or two, they accept it because they haven't experienced anything else. The fact that there are no riots or debates in government doesn't mean things are as good as they can be. Surely, that is not your yardstick for measuring success, is it?

 

Once the structure is in place it strikes me as being difficult to go back to the free market system, or something close to it like we have now.

 

This frog does not want to be boiled.

 

 

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Today on the news I heard the president of an insurance company called Healthnet arguing for major reform in our health insurance system, including more (and different) government involvement. He said something along the lines of (I'm paraphrasing now) "the markets don't reward broken sectors of the economy" so we might as well make changes while the opportunity is ripe. Kind of interesting that even a for-profit health insurer doesn't see the current system as either desirable or sustainable.

 

Anyway, for those who want to look at some actual information, rather than conjecture about what various other countries have, you might enjoy this series from NPR last summer. They took a look at health care in several comparable European countries. I like the reports; they include both good and bad features of each system.

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91972152

 

Be sure to check out the comparison chart, here: http://www.npr.org/news/specials/healthcare/healthcare_profiles.html

 

Of course, if some folks want to continue to debate based on gut feeling, hey, be my guest. And for those who take a hard-line "personal responsibility" approach to the fact that 45 million of your fellow Americans have no health insurance - yeah, let us know how you feel in the event of a major infectious outbreak. Germs are notorious for not respecting people's senses of personal responsibility. There's a good reason why we talk about PUBLIC health.(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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Gern,

France was having major financial problems before this depression started due to socialized healthcare. They actually had researchers exploring the US model of healthcare, i.e. mixed government and private insurance, as a possibility of solvign their economic problems.

 

Also in Canada there are people who want private insurance and sued the Canadian government for the right to have private insurance. It went all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court, which sided witht he plantiffs statting that the Canadian Public Health service is killing folks.

 

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LisaBob:

Thanks for posting this.

 

I remember hearing the segment comparing MS patients in the UK and US. The American lost his job (couldn't work because of the disease), lost his insurance (couldn't pay the COBRA payments) and then his house. Two years later he was finally eligible for Medicaid.

 

The British woman had some problems getting the government to pay for one of her meds but once the government decided they would they reimbursed her for her out of pocket expenses. She needed to make appointments well in advance but could get immediate care in case of emergency and she had to pay for physical therapy (about 30/week).

 

The American said that two years earlier he would have been against universal heath care but now he is for it.

 

Interesting that of all the countries in the chart we have the lowest life expectancy and pay the highest percentage of GDP on health care.

 

Hal

 

 

 

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At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, said the gentleman, taking up a pen, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.

 

Are there no prisons? asked Scrooge.

 

Plenty of prisons, said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

 

And the Union workhouses? demanded Scrooge. Are they still in operation?

 

They are. Still, returned the gentleman, I wish I could say they were not.

 

The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then? said Scrooge.

 

Both very busy, sir.

 

Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course, said Scrooge. Im very glad to hear it.

 

Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude, returned the gentleman, a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?

 

Nothing! Scrooge replied.

 

You wish to be anonymous?

 

I wish to be left alone, said Scrooge. Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I dont make merry myself at Christmas and I cant afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.

 

Many cant go there; and many would rather die.

 

If they would rather die, said Scrooge, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides excuse me I dont know that.

 

But you might know it, observed the gentleman.

 

Its not my business, Scrooge returned. Its enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other peoples. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!

 

I don't think anybody could get this much clearer than Charles Dickens did.

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But what was it the gentleman proposed to Scrooge? Did he propose they pester the government to help the poor? He proposed they step in and provide private charity.

 

That is part of personal responsibility - to help the poor.

 

It is a shame that in these days we make the governement the primary source of aid to the less fortunate.

 

Hopefully we all teach our scouts that THEY should exercise personal responsibility and THEY should help the less fortunate as they are able and should not wait for the "government."

 

That is the ideal that America was founded on.

 

 

 

 

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The comparison between the multiple sclerosis patients in the UK and the US is not as much about the health care system as the work environment. MS is a variable disease where some have relatively minor intermittent neurological symptoms to a debilitating illness no matter how the patients are treated. So to compare the outcomes and attribute them to the medical care is a TOTALLY false argument. It has no meaning. NPR is a fan of socialism and slant their coverage to reflect those values. I have been under socialized medicine and later have worked in both systems. The country was horrified at the problems at Walter Reed - that is socialized medicine.

 

As to the argument of countries leaving socialized medicine, many have cut back or are considering a more free market approach. To draw a conclusion that because people are not clamoring to get rid of socialized medicine means that it is good then the Russians who wish to return to a totalitarian dictator led communist state.

 

The argument comes down to are you for freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility versus government control of our lives with socialism or communism, loss of freedoms (which Bush certainly dramatically moved forward), and no responsibility for our actions.

 

This country is dying. I can no longer provide high quality care for my patients due to government intrusions. It will only get worse.

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A long time ago, well, the late 60's it was. A gentleman in England came up with a way to make x-ray pictures which had been digitized into a picture that would show cross-sectional anatomy. He worked at EMI (Electrical Musical Instruments, they recorded the Beatles before Apple)which unerstood computers and images. Hounsfield won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979 for his invention, a Computerized Axial Tomographic Scanner (CAT Scanner)

 

Very few English medical eqipment companies make CT scanners, none have many innovations, there is no market for them.

 

There was an imaging technology that was around for a very long time, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) it was heavily studied at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The name seemed to put many people off and so the technology was retitled Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), I guess taking nuclear out meant it was less scary, even though the resonating of the nucleus of the atoms in the foundation of the images produced.

 

Again, not a whole bunch of innovation in Scotland relating to the use and manufacure of MRI equipment. That comes in the US where the companies might expect to sell a few. With socialized medicine, innovaton of equipment and techniques slow down

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vol, have you really looked at that series? One reason I found it interesting is because it DID discuss the drawbacks in other systems. No system is perfect and I think nearly everyone agrees that our current system is far from perfect. What I understand to be a common criticism of the way we're currently doing things is that it is such a mish-mash. Gov't regulations that do exist are frequently patchwork and have been put in place largely as a reaction to a specific set of instances, rather than a broad plan. Add to that the typically incremental nature of policy change in the US and what you get is a system that meets relatively few people's actual needs or desires, but that lingers on until it is so clearly broken that practically everybody screams for change. And I think we're about at that point now.

 

Personal responsibility is no bad thing and you're right that this is one of the values that has made our society great. On the other hand, using the mantra of "personal responsibility," as some do, to ignore the suffering of others, and also to ignore the cost to the rest of society that comes with having so many people who lack access to basic health care, is deplorable and short-sighted.

 

 

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Vol

I think if you re-read my post it only referred to the financial outcome, not the medical outcome. Both patients were doing well at the time of the interviews. You would know that if you actually listened to the interviewed rather than writing off the source because of a perceived bias. "Freedom, liberty and personal responsibility" are hollow words when one is to ill to enjoy them and "high quality care" means nothing to those that don't have access to it.

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Nobody says we should ignore the suffering of others.

 

We just do not think that the federal government is the best to help out by any measure, whether financial, moral, or constitutional.

 

Some do not think private individuals, charity, and local governments are not good enough to do so. Only the federal government can save us.

 

As vol_scouter puts it, it is a choice between responsibility and government control. I want responsibility and liberty.

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Hal,

 

The financial outcome was due to the loss of employment resulting in the inability to obtain insurance coverage. That is not fairly all relating to health care since the employment component is not the problem with the health care arena.

 

Most states require automobile insurance for everyone who owns a car. Most states then have hard lines companies for those at greatest risk. By requiring everyone who owns a car to have insurance, the risk is spread over many people. A similar program would likely be a good idea. The insurance should all be individual, no group plans, so that the risk is spread among everyone in society. Group plans must be outlawed so that the companies are responsive to the needs of the insureds rather than the company. State and federal governments can supplement those who can not afford the insurance out right. I care for people everyday who have no third party payor that I know will never pay anything for their care. I am sympathetic. Right now, if I am out sick for more than 90 days, I will be fired. Like most Americans, we will be in financial trouble quickly thereafter. I understand. More direct government regulation will only make the care worse 9as it already has) and the costs to increase.

 

Lisabob, I did listen to some of the reports but not all. The comparisons that I heard were between different ideas of socialized systems. I true market system was not considered when I listened. It was well done for what it covered. Like much of NPR stories, the issue I have is with what is covered and subtle slants. In some ways that is more dangerous than out and out lies told on the networks. While true some of the 'fixes' were for a problem, the fixes seldom have fixed the problem addressed or the fixes caused different worse problems. re-read my posts about physician report cards.

 

I work in medicine and I am heart broken that it is being destroyed. As others have pointed out, new medical innovations come mainly from America because of profit motives. Medical improvements cost money and socialized systems do not want to pay more because health care is already breaking the budget. Human nature always wins in the long term, so we will end up in the same place. Wait until a few years when a loved one is dying from an infection that there are no antibiotics to treat because all of the drug companies went out of business because they were no longer able to make a profit. When that occurs, think back to this time and the warnings against a socialized system that has never worked and will never work.

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