Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 07:08 am
As someone in the United States that can not afford both tuition for college and health care, I wonder why the U.S. cannot get on the boat with the rest of the developed world and offer health care to all of their citizens. I have read most of the argument for and against universalized health care, and the arguments against it appear to be little more than rhetoric propagated by the insurance and pharmaceutical industry. There is much chatter as well from people that seem to think that the government would not be effective at running a health care plan. Why is the government trusted with running the military, but cannot be trusted to run health care?

So I ask, why should we, or why shouldn't we have universalized health care so all Americans can receive the care they need regardless of pre-existing conditions. Other things to consider: is it moral for people to profit from health care? Why is health care in this country tied to employment? Why are people so concern with an increase in taxes when it means that there would be less out-of-the-pocket expenses associated with health care? What is the best form of paying for health care?
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richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 12:46 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;67316 wrote:

So I ask, why should we, or why shouldn't we have universalized health care so all Americans can receive the care they need regardless of pre-existing conditions. Other things to consider: is it moral for people to profit from health care? Why is health care in this country tied to employment? Why are people so concern with an increase in taxes when it means that there would be less out-of-the-pocket expenses associated with health care? What is the best form of paying for health care?


Hi there,

While I appreciate your sentiments, I have a different story. I (and others in my family) have not spent a dime on orthodox health care (e.g. MDs, etc.) during the last 25 years. We eat well, we do our exercise, and we get our rest. Now, I have a simple problem, subsidizing the health of others, who choose to stuff their face with Big Macs and Kentucky Fried, while sitting in front of a boob tube or exchanging the latest gossip over Facebook.

It may end up that I will have to subsidize others obese habits, but I rather not.

Rich
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 02:38 pm
@Theaetetus,
I understand your concern as well, because I only go to the doctor for emergencies. The last thing I want to do is help pay for people to continue shoving Big Macs in their face as they end up with serious health concerns.

My concern is for people, such as myself, that do take care of themselves, and then end up with a potentially deadly disease, and get stuck with choices like death or debt. Not to mention, worrying if I can even get the medical care I need. I cannot get health insurance because it is considered a preexisting condition so I am forced to either figure out how to pay for the care I need out of my pocket, which would drain my funding for my tuition, or very likely facing death. Good people that mean well die everyday because they cannot get the proper care that they need, because they either cannot afford health insurance or cannot get coverage from a health care insurer due to preexisting medical conditions.
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 02:57 pm
@richrf,
richrf;67414 wrote:
Now, I have a simple problem, subsidizing the health of others, who choose to stuff their face with Big Macs and Kentucky Fried, while sitting in front of a boob tube or exchanging the latest gossip over Facebook.

In the UK, where there is a national health service, people who indulge in unhealthy habits can find themselves being deprived of healthcare or recieving a second class service unless they change their ways. General Practitioners often refuse to refer patients who smoke to hospitals until they have quit for a period, for example.

Now I don't mean to debate the ethics of such a course - after all many smokers argue that as they pay extra tax on cigs they should receive health care as much as any other tax-payer, but it could be used as the basis of a national health care system which essentially states that one might only benefit from it provided one make a reasonable effort to be healthy.

Those denied NHS provision because of bad habits can still go private - but they have to raise the funds in order to do so.
0 Replies
 
RDRDRD1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 04:27 pm
@Theaetetus,
I think richrf sets up a straw man in arguing America isn't suited to universal health care because there are too many fat people. Americans pay more for health care, per capita, than any other nation and yet so many have only partial coverage or none at all. An obscene chunk of that money is siphoned off into administrative costs between physicians and insurers. Worse yet, being for-profit businesses, health care insurers are in a disgraceful conflict of interest with their policy holders. It serves their bottom line to deny coverage on the flimsiest of grounds or dictate that doctors use the least expensive medicines and procedures even if they are less effective.

The measure of any society is how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable. America's existing, hapless system is Social Darwinism writ large.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 09:10 pm
@RDRDRD1,
RDRDRD1;67483 wrote:
Americans pay more for health care, per capita, than any other nation and yet so many have only partial coverage or none at all.


Yep, and we are only middling in life expectancy when compared to the rest of the world. Canada and Japan have higher life expectancies with much less health care.

The moral is, don't worry so much about getting health care from a system that doesn't know how to care for health. I certainly don't. Haven't had insurance for over 27 years.

Rich
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 09:19 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;67449 wrote:
I understand your concern as well, because I only go to the doctor for emergencies... My concern is for people, such as myself, that do take care of themselves.
Don't you see the irony in this juxtaposition, though? Maybe you do take care of yourself, maybe you don't, but the whole idea is that taking care of yourself means that it's NOT the emergencies that bring you to the doctor.
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 09:24 pm
@richrf,
Well that's you, rich. I know if my family didn't have health insurance/coverage, I wouldn't be living in a home right now. Moral is, you never know what is going to happen to you. One minute, everything is going great, the next, somebody's convinced you're not who you say you are, everyone should be entitled to get help for what is least expected, unless they're asking for it.
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 09:46 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;67578 wrote:
Don't you see the irony in this juxtaposition, though? Maybe you do take care of yourself, maybe you don't, but the whole idea is that taking care of yourself means that it's NOT the emergencies that bring you to the doctor.


I haven't had to go to the doctor in 27 years, nor has my wife, nor has my son. If there was an emergency (e.g. I was hit by a car), it would be a tough call whether I would want to be taken to a hospital (180,000 people die each year in hospitals, in the U.S, from incorrect treatment - compare that to the so called swine flu epidemic which I think killed a couple of people), but if I did decide to go, I would just pay for the darn thing. In the 27 years that I have not paid for insurance, I estimate I have saved about $150,000, more than enough to have them sew me up, if they don't kill me first. Smile

The last thing on my mind is how to divert more money to the health care system.

Rich
0 Replies
 
RDRDRD1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 09:59 pm
@Theaetetus,
Actually richrf, it's not that we have "less" healthcare at all. We do have longer waiting lists for some procedures (and that is something we're working on) but we also allow the physician, not some insurer, to diagnose our maladies and prescribe the best-suited treatments or medications. My doctors never determine my medications according to cost and certainly never at the whim or insistence of some for-profit insurer. That which I need, I get.

Unscientific as this may be, I'd like to share an observation. In my retirement I've returned to long-distance motorcycle touring. A number of my trips have taken me through the United States. One thing that struck me on the streets of America was the number of people limping or hobbling down the sidewalks. Admittedly I spoke only to a few but they turned out to be people who needed but were unable to obtain spinal (back), pelvic/hip or knee surgeries. In my country those people, even if they live beneath a bridge, get the necessary surgery and I, like most of my fellow, well-off Canadians, willingly pay the extra taxes associated with that. In fact, survey after survey shows, we wouldn't have it any other way.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 11:12 pm
@RDRDRD1,
RDRDRD1;67585 wrote:
Actually richrf, it's not that we have "less" healthcare at all. We do have longer waiting lists for some procedures (and that is something we're working on) but we also allow the physician, not some insurer, to diagnose our maladies and prescribe the best-suited treatments or medications. My doctors never determine my medications according to cost and certainly never at the whim or insistence of some for-profit insurer. That which I need, I get.

Unscientific as this may be, I'd like to share an observation. In my retirement I've returned to long-distance motorcycle touring. A number of my trips have taken me through the United States. One thing that struck me on the streets of America was the number of people limping or hobbling down the sidewalks. Admittedly I spoke only to a few but they turned out to be people who needed but were unable to obtain spinal (back), pelvic/hip or knee surgeries. In my country those people, even if they live beneath a bridge, get the necessary surgery and I, like most of my fellow, well-off Canadians, willingly pay the extra taxes associated with that. In fact, survey after survey shows, we wouldn't have it any other way.


There are many alternatives. I teach people all of the time, how to get back to health with straightforward movement exercises, dietary changes, and lifestyle adjustments. Things that the doctors say there are no cures for. There are, they just never learned about them in their studies in school, which basically amount to learning how to do surgery and prescribe pills.

I have no need for pills or such. Haven't had one since I was 20 - over 37 years ago. However, doctors can make a lot more money by spending 3 minutes with a patient and charging them $150 for the privilege of getting some pills that cover up the pain, but in no way correct the root cause. Pharmaceuticals companies make a ton of money addicting people to pills that are doing nothing to increase health. Just covering up pain. The equivalent of cutting off the temperature gauge in a car, when it is alerting overheating. So what good is that, other than shutting down all feedback?

People get what they want. I have no problem with people living the kind of lives that they want to lead. If they want pills from a doctor, they can have them. If they want surgery, be my guest. I would just rather not participate. But if I have to I will. There are lots of things in life that I rather not do, but I am forced to do. My wishes vs. some else's.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 01:13 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;67578 wrote:
Don't you see the irony in this juxtaposition, though? Maybe you do take care of yourself, maybe you don't, but the whole idea is that taking care of yourself means that it's NOT the emergencies that bring you to the doctor.


I do see the irony in this whole post. I should have went in to the doctor long before my current condition became an emergency. I mean, I eat well, I exercise, and I do other things to help with my health, but because I don't go to the doctor when I first notice troubling symptoms, I may be dealing with lymphoma at a much more advanced stage than had I just gone to the doctor immediately after experiencing the first symptoms. I will find out for sure what is going on in the next couple of weeks, but had I taken care of it when I first noticed it, I would be much further along in the treatment phase if that is what is going to be necessary.

That is part of my issue with the lack of having health insurance. No one should have to decide between going to the doctor, and being stuck with debt due to receiving necessary medical treatment. Hell, some people end up being refused care and then die from totally preventable causes. It is actually very sad, and I think that people need to realize that funding everyone's health care, would be cheaper than funding whoever has health insurance. Not to mention, throwing out this notion of pre-existing conditions means no health insurance would go along ways to reducing people's stress levels.

---------- Post added at 02:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 02:13 AM ----------

richrf;67583 wrote:
I haven't had to go to the doctor in 27 years, nor has my wife, nor has my son. If there was an emergency (e.g. I was hit by a car), it would be a tough call whether I would want to be taken to a hospital (180,000 people die each year in hospitals, in the U.S, from incorrect treatment - compare that to the so called swine flu epidemic which I think killed a couple of people), but if I did decide to go, I would just pay for the darn thing. In the 27 years that I have not paid for insurance, I estimate I have saved about $150,000, more than enough to have them sew me up, if they don't kill me first. Smile

The last thing on my mind is how to divert more money to the health care system.

Rich


I used to feel the same as you did. But now I am faced with something that could very well be life threatening, and genetic at that. I can say that I have save much money by not purchasing health insurance, but now I am faced with maybe having to pay for cancer treatment with no way to do so (there are actually ways to pay for it, but that involves much paper work and other things that I could be spending my time doing much more constructive things e.g. going to college). It's not like my lifestyle led me to this condition, but instead, most likely a bad break in genetics. I hope you and your family continue to be able to go on without medical treatment, but I can tell you from my experience, that all it takes is on serious life-threatening illness, and you will wish that you didn't have to pay for it out of your pocket. It's one thing if your life leads you to the condition; but it is a total different situation when something that is beyond your control ends up causing it. If I was pushing 60 or 70 I could deal with the idea that I lived my life, but I am not even 30 yet. Too many young people are forced to face the same type of situation that I am, and it is not fair in a society such as our own.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 05:27 am
@Theaetetus,
richrf;67583 wrote:
I haven't had to go to the doctor in 27 years, nor has my wife, nor has my son...The last thing on my mind is how to divert more money to the health care system.
If you haven't gone to the doctor in 27 years, but you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, you're going to be diverting a lot of money to the health care system after your emergency visit for a preventable heart attack or stroke. If cost-effectiveness is your concern, then routine screening tests and doctors visits save the system a great deal of money and can save you both money and death.

RDRDRD1;67585 wrote:
One thing that struck me on the streets of America was the number of people limping or hobbling down the sidewalks. Admittedly I spoke only to a few but they turned out to be people who needed but were unable to obtain spinal (back), pelvic/hip or knee surgeries.
Interesting -- I've had uninsured and even undocumented patients get needed hip and back surgery in the US. Also, keep in mind that many orthopedic surgeries are performed at far higher rates than the evidence-basis would support -- I mean an article just came out a few months ago in Annals of Internal Medicine that showed no advantage to arthroscopic surgery for arthritic knees as compared with conservative treatment.
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 07:48 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;67618 wrote:



I used to feel the same as you did. But now I am faced with something that could very well be life threatening, and genetic at that.


There are some problems in health that are worse than others, but very often MDs, say something is "genetic" when they don't know what the heck they are talking about.

I had several friends that had arthritis as diagnosed by their physicians. I helped them get rid of it. Since, arthritis, according to physicians cannot be cured, then it could not have been arthritis. lol. Ditto for people that I have seen helped with a variety of incurable problems including schizophrenia and asthma. Often problems are diet related, and I have witnessed physicians fight tooth and nail against the obvious treatment - ie. change the diet!

It is a question of knowledge and incentive, and physicians are woefully short of both. But, even if they had the knowledge, I am not sure they would take the time. There is no money in curing.

I am 57 and still doing everything that I was doing at 30. Ditto for my family. It is not difficult, but it takes understanding of the human body and what it needs - i.e. fresh vegetables, lots of movement, clean air, relaxation and not so much "I gotta have this and I gotta have that". In ancient China, physicians were considered great if they prevented disease, not cured them.

But, most people I know, do not want to spend their time on their own health. They rather do something else and let a physician take care of their body and mind. It is simply not possible for someone else to take care of one's one body, but it is their choice. My choice is otherwise. I just would rather not pay for that service for someone else.

Rich
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 08:18 am
@richrf,
richrf;67652 wrote:
I had several friends that had arthritis as diagnosed by their physicians. I helped them get rid of it.
If you have the healing powers you advertise, then I would imagine that you are a multibillionaire. After all, when you look at the money put into arthritis therapies, like Vioxx, Celebrex, chondroitin, intraarticular steroids, arthroscopic surgeries, cartilage transplants, not to mention disability payments, you would stand to reap billions for yourself and save the healthcare system a tremendous amount of money.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 08:39 am
@richrf,
richrf;67652 wrote:
There are some problems in health that are worse than others, but very often MDs, say something is "genetic" when they don't know what the heck they are talking about.


Well, Hodgkin's Lymphoma runs in my family. I would have to say that is something influenced by genetics.
0 Replies
 
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 08:43 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;67659 wrote:
If you have the healing powers you advertise, then I would imagine that you are a multibillionaire. After all, when you look at the money put into arthritis therapies, like Vioxx, Celebrex, chondroitin, intraarticular steroids, arthroscopic surgeries, cartilage transplants, not to mention disability payments, you would stand to reap billions for yourself and save the healthcare system a tremendous amount of money.


It has nothing to do with healing powers. It is taking care of your body like you would take care of a car or a plant. People need to take care of themselves. But if they think someone has a magic pill to take care of them, so be it. No problem with me. People can go to their doctor or the local hospital all they want. I just don't want to pay for the silly exercise.

Rich

---------- Post added at 09:46 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:43 AM ----------

Theaetetus;67665 wrote:
Well, Hodgkin's Lymphoma runs in my family. I would have to say that is something influenced by genetics.


Everyone has a propensity for something. However, just because something has a propensity (everything does), doesn't mean it will happen. Nothing is certain, but I can tell you, eating Big Macs, while sucking down beer in front of a TV, is sure going to make it more certain.

The World Health Organization, has stated that over 85% of all health problems are lifestyle related, yet people in the U.S. continue to put tonnage in their bodies, while lumbering to their physicians to do something. And physicians are more than happy to oblige as people sink more and more into ill health. Interesting Play to observe.

However, if you want to believe that it is going to happen and in some way the physician's pills are going to prevent it, be my guest. Anyone can do anything they want with their body, as far as I am concerned. I just rather not pay for the experiment.

Rich
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 09:48 am
@richrf,
richrf;67667 wrote:
It has nothing to do with healing powers. It is taking care of your body like you would take care of a car or a plant. People need to take care of themselves. But if they think someone has a magic pill to take care of them, so be it. No problem with me. People can go to their doctor or the local hospital all they want. I just don't want to pay for the silly exercise.
There are chronic diseases whose underlying mechanisms are difficult or impossible to modify, and which are frustrating for both patient and doctor. Sometimes non-medical interventions help, sometimes they don't, but this is not in prinicple mutually exclusive with medical care.

HIV is incurable, yet I have a 22 year old patient who was infected at birth, orphaned when both parents died of AIDS, but she is completely healthy, takes her meds, and is going off to graduate school.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 10:59 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;67674 wrote:
There are chronic diseases whose underlying mechanisms are difficult or impossible to modify, and which are frustrating for both patient and doctor. Sometimes non-medical interventions help, sometimes they don't, but this is not in prinicple mutually exclusive with medical care.

HIV is incurable, yet I have a 22 year old patient who was infected at birth, orphaned when both parents died of AIDS, but she is completely healthy, takes her meds, and is going off to graduate school.


Yes, I agree, some health problems are much more difficult than others for the body to self-correct. Ultimately, we all die anyway. Is death an incurable disease. Some physicians believe so. Whatever.

I have not idea what is meant by incurable or curable. I have herpes simplex virus. I use to have breakouts all the time when when I was young. When I had one in my eye, in my twenties, the physicians told me that the chance of getting it again in my eye were very high. They poo-poo-ed my idea that it might be lifestyle related. I ignored their advice, their pills, their treatments, and just went ahead and changed my lifestyle. Less stress, very little meats, lots of veggies, less chocolate, less cofee, very little dairy, Tai Chi and yoga, dancing, etc. etc. etc.

I never had another outbreak in my eye. I rarely get any outbreak anywhere nowadays, and when I do, it is very mild and goes away quickly. I have and will always have Herpes virus. Am I "cured" of the virus? No. Am I affecting by it? Very, very little, especially when compared to my younger years. If I create an environment in my body that is conducive to its reproduction, then I will have problems. If I create a healthy environment, which is inhibits the growth of the virus, then I am fine. It is just like taking care of a car. Change the oil, clean gas, and a car can run quite smoothly for a very long time.

I am willing to make the change, because for me, being healthy as my age so that I can continue to dance, play tennis, play table tennis, go for long hikes, etc. is a fun thing to do and I would like to continue to do it. If others, prefer to go to the physicians and hospitals, that is fine for me. What I would like to do in my life has nothing to do with what others would like to do with their life. I just ask that I not be made to pay for their lifestyle and Life choices. If someone wants to go to the doctor, it is fine with me, but I would appreciate it if they would pay for their own lifestyle choices just as I pay for mine.

Rich
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 05:27 pm
@richrf,
I'm going to put aside the idelogical arguments against state health care, which are more or less the same the agruments against welfare, medicare, etc, etc. There are practical problems:

1. Is a statistical improvement in health worth sacraficing the health of those at the extremes, such people with rare or expensive to treat conditions who are simply sent home to die?

2. What are the dangers of giving the government control over every citizens health? I think its very possible that, post implementation of a national health care system, there would be a plethora or new regulations affecting diet, excersize, 'bad' habits, etc., simply because an individuals health could rightly be considered a public issue; i.e. to smoke a cigarette is to increase the burden on society, so society can justifiably tell you not to smoke a cigarrette. Imagine the totalitarian possibilities. And yes, I realize that sounds far-fetched at this point in time, at least to some of you, but there is a slippery slope here, as in many other areas of public policy. Precedents can be set and things can turn out very differently than the wide eyes idealists imagine.

2b. Two words, mental health. Imagine the possibilities. Might we have to pass a mental health test to own guns? drive? vote?

3. The most obvious problem, where's the money? The government is already burdened with so much debt, due mostly to social spending (which has really helped the poor right?), that the nation may well enter a period of bananna republic style default/hyperinflation. Is adding trillions of dollars of new liabilities really the best idea? How much of GDP should government activity represent? How much of the nation's wealth should we feed into the unproductive parasite of government? By doing so, we are preventing the future development which might actually improve the lives of people and allow them to afford their own health care, among other things.

Instead of instituting national health care, we should be reforming medical liability law, eliminating subsidies for insurance, pharmaceutical, and other medical related companies, and finally, eliminate (gradually) medicare and medicaid, which are nothing but state monopolies that make the insurance and other companies irresponsible. Also, I believe in the U.S. medical insurance cannot vary from person to person based on certain conditions, like obesity; that's insane, amounts to a subsidy of the ill, and needs ot change. Like everything else, medical costs would fall if we did away with our inflationairy monetary system, but that's another issue.
 

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