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IT'S TIME FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE

 
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 01:46 am
@roger,
roger wrote:

I have probably sounded like I disagree with that. I don't. The questions continue to be: who pays for it, how much it costs, what it is going to deliver, and what health care is going to be available ten years or so down the road.


sometimes the simplest solution is the best. if we were to do national health, the simplest way to fund it would be each individual pays a percentage in taxes for that coverage. we all pay one to one. given, we would probably have to kick in a substantial chunk of seed money to get the thing rolling but it would require a smaller supplemental each year if we do it right.

if you already have for profit insurance and you are happy with what you are getting, the amount you have payed in taxes for national health becomes a tax credit on your yearly return.

as long as the ability to move freely between the national health and for profit insurance (including the ability to move freely between the various for profit companies) is included in the program's charter, i don't really see a down side for the american people.
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 01:51 am
@spendius,
spendius wrote:

But you are suggesting that you can get something for nothing simply by using a form of words.


nope. there is no free lunch. something i've tried to convince republicans of for nearly 30 years.

and yes, for profit insurance is very expensive in the u.s.. why do you think that the insurance people are fighting meaningful reform, never mind national health, so damned hard ?

0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 08:58 am
@DontTreadOnMe,
DontTreadOnMe wrote:


sometimes the simplest solution is the best. if we were to do national health, the simplest way to fund it would be each individual pays a percentage in taxes for that coverage. we all pay one to one. given, we would probably have to kick in a substantial chunk of seed money to get the thing rolling but it would require a smaller supplemental each year if we do it right.

if you already have for profit insurance and you are happy with what you are getting, the amount you have payed in taxes for national health becomes a tax credit on your yearly return.

as long as the ability to move freely between the national health and for profit insurance (including the ability to move freely between the various for profit companies) is included in the program's charter, i don't really see a down side for the american people.



The problem with this is that advocates of health care reform are already very clear in their intent to severely regulate existing insurance schemes - both the for profit ones and the non profits. Thus the supposed "freedom" of Americans to "move freely" between national health and private coverrage will be at best an illusion in that the latter will be regulated and taxed to pay for the former.

The notion that "the simplest solution is best" has been used to foist truly horrible authoritarian tyrannies on mankind. What could be simpler than the Marxist Socialism in which the proletariat rules; the "people" own everything,; all those profit seeking corporations, each with their duplicative management structures are swept away; and the apparatus of the state itself eventually "withers away". It turned out that the void thus created was filled with a power-seeking party tyranny that both destroyed the economies of the countries it infected and crushed the lives of tens of millions. The cruelest irony was that it didn't even solve the problems that brought it to power, while it destroyed everything else.

I'm not forecasting doom here. Instead pointing out the fatuous absurdity of the argumnents being put forward to "reform" a system that doesn't really need it. Indeed most of the current distortions in the system are a direct result of existing Government programs (MEDICARE and MEDICAID) which already govern about one-third of all medical care in this country. We are being asked to accept more of the poison that caused the current disorder, and offered the absurd idea that it has become the cure.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 09:16 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:
Indeed most of the current distortions in the system are a direct result of existing Government programs (MEDICARE and MEDICAID) which already govern about one-third of all medical care in this country. We are being asked to accept more of the poison that caused the current disorder, and offered the absurd idea that it has become the cure.


Opinions differ, regarding the veracity of this statement.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 09:23 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob, You're able to see all the down-side because you personally don't have a problem with health care, but more companies and individuals are having a problem keeping health insurance. The increasing cost of health care creates a problem for most people, and your personal experience is the exception. Even those millions who do have health insurance do not have all the freedoms that are touted that the public health care will supposedly reduce. When people lose their health insurance completely, choice is moot. That's where a public health insurance system should kick in. Admittedly there are many issues that must be solved including waste and fraud, but we just can't sit by and let more Americans live without health insurance when most developed countries provide it.
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 09:51 am
The Canadian woman who allegedly had to go to the USA for cancer treatment is a fraud. Similarly, the Republicans who made her their poster girl are frauds.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/reality+check+reality+check/1783177/story.html
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:01 am
@Advocate,
Here are the essential paragraphs from your link:
Quote:
As CNN reported, McConnell recently made a speech to the Senate referring to the "bureaucrats who run Canada's health care system" and using the Kingston General Hospital as an example of the horror of Canada's health care. KGH supposedly had waits of 340 days for knee replacement and 196 days for hip replacement. McConnell also fussed that Ontario's wait time for breast cancer surgery is three months. CNN did interview Dr. David Zelt, KGH's chief of staff, who pointed out the wait times are actually 91 days for hip replacement, 109 days for knees, and that these aren't the average wait times, but the time that nine out of 10 people have had the procedure. Many have them done much faster. For breast cancer surgery, the wait time at KGH is 23 days, across Ontario it's 34 days.

Both CNN and McConnell made a big deal out of Shona Holmes, an Ontario woman who claims she was forced by Ontario's health system to go to the United States for life-saving surgery for a brain tumour. She claims that in 2005 delays in access to treatment at home made it necessary to go to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and pay $97,000 for her care.


Republican McConnell not only lied to congress about the wait times in Canada, but gave a an example of an Ontario woman who had to come to the US to have brain surgery and paid $97,000.

There are two important issues being lied about to Americans; the long wait times of a universal health care system, and the so-called "choice" that the Ontario woman made to come to the US for a $97,000 surgery.

Why can't people see through these lies? For one, waiting times in countries with universal health care isn't as bad as some would have us believe. The fact of the matter is, they all have better survival rates than the US. The second one is a doozy on the face of it; how many people can spend $97,000 for surgery?

Anybody want to buy a bridge in Montana?
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:17 am
@cicerone imposter,
I find it odd that we so complacently watch the ineptitude of government in managing things as diverse as the Levees protecting New Orleans; or the current rebates for "gas guzzlers" program; public schools; prisons; MEDICARE & MEDICAID; and all the rest -- all while assuming these chronic features of government will simply disappear when it takes over health care and the associated huge component of our economy it comprises.

The Congress is unable to avoid self-serving interventions by powerful committee chairmen to protect local car dealers in its "oversight" of GM: it will be similarly unable to avoid such corruption when it manages our health care. The demonstrable ineptitude of government in either controlling or accurately forecasting the costs of programs it manages will surely manifest itself in our national health care program. We will also likely see government action to promote unionism among health care providers, thus infecting them with the same disease that killed manufacturing in this country and that makes public education here so mediocre.

You are correct that I do enjoy good health care coverage. I have private company provided insurance, MEDICARE, and Military coverage. Both government programs "stand behind" my private care in the sense that they cover only what the private insurance won't pay and, even there, they don't pay much (my retired military coverage has never paid a dime). However, you are wrong in asserting that determines my viewpoint.

Like most corporations, my company self-insures its health care coverage. We pay an insurer to manage program claims, but our premiums are a direct function of the recent claims of our employees. Company costs are about 11% of our total salary costs - up from about 9% two years ago. We have carefully studied the increases, and to a surprising degree the increases are associated with two basic factors (1) new & advanced treatments that weren't available a few years ago; and (2) treatment of chronic diseases, often a result of lifestyle choices, such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. I don't see anything in the proposed government programs (apart from the rationing of care that will inevitably result) that will deal with these problems.

Companies are already beginning to find ways of encouraging employees to make wise lifestyle choices as a way of limiting future medical costs. Unfortunately in some areas government regulation limits our ability to take constructive action to encourage people to stop smoking. lose weight, or exercise through economic incentives or cost differentials. I doubt that the government will do nearly as well in its own programs.

The truth is much of the increasing cost of medical care that is so ballyhooed by politicians is the result of advances in the care available. Medical care is much more expensive than it was in the 1960s. However, it is also much more effective and deals with things that couldn't be addressed at all then. The only way government will "cure" this issue is to stifle the advances themselves.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:22 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
I find it odd that we so complacently watch the ineptitude of government in managing things as diverse as the Levees protecting New Orleans; or the current rebates for "gas guzzlers" program; public schools; prisons; MEDICARE & MEDICAID; and all the rest --

Don't forget the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite its testosterone-toting TV commercials, the US military is really just another lazy, inefficient bureaucracy. Not saying Blackwater's free-market mercenaries are any better. But America's defense budget can definitely use some drastic downsizing.

parados
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:23 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:
I find it odd that we so complacently watch the ineptitude of government in managing things as diverse as the Levees protecting New Orleans;
Yeah New Orleans would have been much better off if the federal government had not built levees at all.
Quote:
or the current rebates for "gas guzzlers" program;
Which worked so well the government wasn't prepared.
Quote:
public schools;
The federal government doesn't run public schools.
Quote:
prisons;
What problems do you think exist in Federal prisons?
Quote:
MEDICARE & MEDICAID;
Ineptitude? Do you know anyone that gets medicaid and medicare? Most of them are happy with it.

Quote:
and all the rest -- all while assuming these chronic features of government will simply disappear when it takes over health care and the associated huge component of our economy it comprises.
I don't know anyone that thinks health care will be perfect if government takes it over. Of course, you ignore the fact that a government take over is NOT part of the current proposal. Much better to stick to scare mongering than the actual facts, isn't it george?
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:32 am
@georgeob1,
Quote:

The truth is much of the increasing cost of medical care that is so ballyhooed by politicians is the result of advances in the care available. Medical care is much more expensive than it was in the 1960s. However, it is also much more effective and deals with things that couldn't be addressed at all then. The only way government will "cure" this issue is to stifle the advances themselves.


The truth is that another leading factor in the increasing cost of health care is the existence of insurance itself. Health care costs cannot rise beyond what the market will bear, and insurance allows the market to bear a very high price indeed.

There is also very little incentive for cheaper health care options to be developed. Why bother innovating procedures, techniques, products and business models which rely on cost savings, when a giant industry exists out there to support expensive treatments?

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:44 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

georgeob1 wrote:
I find it odd that we so complacently watch the ineptitude of government in managing things as diverse as the Levees protecting New Orleans; or the current rebates for "gas guzzlers" program; public schools; prisons; MEDICARE & MEDICAID; and all the rest --

Don't forget the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite its testosterone-toting TV commercials, the US military is really just another lazy, inefficient bureaucracy. Not saying Blackwater's free-market mercenaries are any better. But America's defense budget can definitely use some drastic downsizing.


I think that is inevitable under the current economic and political conditions. I also agree that both Iraqi wars were a waste. We would have been better off letting Saddam keep Kuwait so he could finance his continuing struggle with Iran. Afghanistan may have been another matter.

I'll agree that the military shares the brueaucratic elements that infect government everywhere. However, my subsequent (rather extensive) experiences with EPA, DOE, DOT, Interior Dept., the IRS and others have convinced me that, at least in the Navy & Marine Corps. , the standards of performance and energy of action are far, far greater than is found in most government activities.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:55 am
@georgeob1,
Generally, I believe meanwhile, no-one wants changes from an old "tradional" system to a new one.


Example: most people here want state owned railways and post back - the very same persons (and I'm rather sure about that, though I don't know it at all) who before wanted privatisation.

We've got (nearly) privately run prisons (instead of state run) here: they are , indeed, cheaper. But that's the only positive you can say about it.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 10:59 am
georgeob wrote:
Quote:
MEDICARE & MEDICAID; and all the rest -- all while assuming these chronic features of government will simply disappear


I have Medicare, and it's under Kaiser. I believe my physician is the best I've ever had private or public. Dr Bhargava was trained at Stanford, and her medical intervention on my behalf can't be classified as anything but excellent.

georgeob wrote:
Quote:
You are correct that I do enjoy good health care coverage. I have private company provided insurance, MEDICARE, and Military coverage.


You have double-triple health coverage; many Americans do no have any. You're not in the best position to understand what it means not to have health insurance.

georgeob wrote:
Quote:
but our premiums are a direct function of the recent claims of our employees. Company costs are about 11% of our total salary costs - up from about 9% two years ago.


From the National Coalitioin on Health Care:
Quote:
National Health Care Spending
In 2008, employer health insurance premiums increased by 5.0 percent " two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,700. The annual premium for single coverage averaged over $4,700.2

* In 2008, health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion, and was projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.1 Health care spending is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2016.1
* Health care spending is 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense.3
* In 2008, the United States will spend 17 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20 percent by 2017.1
* Although nearly 46 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.3


georgeob wrote:
Quote:
Medical care is much more expensive than it was in the 1960s.


That's the reason why more people goes without health insurance; the increasing cost prohibits companies and individuals from purchasing health insurance. Those who lost health insurance because they lost their jobs cannot afford to pay for COBRA because of its high cost.

The higher cost also includes many inefficiencies of the current system we now have; older workers are charged higher premiums, malpractice insurance is high in relationship to amounts actually paid for malpractice, and the high incidence of fraud.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 11:24 am
@cicerone imposter,
I don't argue with the notion that health care costs are rising. However, the notion that the vaunted efficiency and economic prowess of government is a cure, is something I find both absurd and astounding.

I also have the impression that the public is beginning to understand the real trade-offs here. Feedback from constituents is likely to be an interesting feature of the forthcoming summer recess for our Congressmen. (Mine, however is Fourtney Stark - he is quite immune to anyone's opinions.)

By ther way, Kaiser Permanente is the old employee health program instituted here by my old company - Kaiser Engineers. Government didn't invent that.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 11:28 am
http://tauntermedia.com/2009/07/28/unconscionable-math/

Quote:
Half of the insured population uses virtually no health care at all. The 80th percentile uses only $3,000 (2002 dollars, adjust a bit up for today). You have to hit the 95th percentile to get anywhere interesting, and even there you have only $11,487 in costs. It’s the 99th percentile, the people with over $35,000 of medical costs, who represent fully 22% of the entire nation’s medical costs. These people have chronic, expensive conditions. They are, to use a technical term, sick.

An individual adult insurance plan is roughly $7,000 (varies dramatically by age and somewhat by sex and location).

It should be fairly clear that the people who do not file insurance claims do not face rescission. The insurance companies will happily deposit their checks. Indeed, even for someone in the 95th percentile, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the insurance company to take the nuclear option of blowing up the policy. $11,487 in claims is less than two years’ premium; less than one if the individual has family coverage in the $12,000 price range. But that top one percent, the folks responsible for more than $35,000 of costs " sometimes far, far more " well there, ladies and gentlemen, is where the money comes in. Once an insurance company knows that Sally has breast cancer, it has already seen the goat; it knows it wants nothing to do with Sally.

If the top 5% is the absolute largest population for whom rescission would make sense, the probability of having your policy cancelled given that you have filed a claim is fully 10% (0.5% rescission/5.0% of the population). If you take the LA Times estimate that $300mm was saved by abrogating 20,000 policies in California ($15,000/policy), you are somewhere in the 15% zone, depending on the convexity of the top section of population. If, as I suspect, rescission is targeted toward the truly bankrupting cases " the top 1%, the folks with over $35,000 of annual claims who could never be profitable for the carrier " then the probability of having your policy torn up given a massively expensive condition is pushing 50%. One in two. You have three times better odds playing Russian Roulette.


Recission is a real thing and a shitty thing.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 11:33 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Quote:

The truth is much of the increasing cost of medical care that is so ballyhooed by politicians is the result of advances in the care available. Medical care is much more expensive than it was in the 1960s. However, it is also much more effective and deals with things that couldn't be addressed at all then. The only way government will "cure" this issue is to stifle the advances themselves.


The truth is that another leading factor in the increasing cost of health care is the existence of insurance itself. Health care costs cannot rise beyond what the market will bear, and insurance allows the market to bear a very high price indeed.

There is also very little incentive for cheaper health care options to be developed. Why bother innovating procedures, techniques, products and business models which rely on cost savings, when a giant industry exists out there to support expensive treatments?

Cycloptichorn


I fully agree. However corporations do pay attention to costs, and at the same time must keep their employees happy in a competitive labor market.

What makes you think that government "insurance" will do any better or in any way be a "cure" for these problems? The fact is that MEDICARE and MEDICAID have themselves already contributed significantly to the rise in costs. The much-touted government program to reduce the incidence of fraud in these programs, while at the same time unilaterally reduciung the fees it pays for services (thus motivating more fraud) is highly illustrative of the many contradictions inherent in the government proposals before us.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 11:58 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob, You're missing the big picture; government insurance will provide all citizens with health insurance.

You and I have satisfactory health insurance, but some 47 million Americans have no insurance, and added to those numbers are those with inadequate insurance. Most developed countries don't have any of their citizens go without health insurance - at less cost. There must be a solution there if we tried hard enough to solve it. Fear-mongering will never solve problems.
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 12:10 pm
@cicerone imposter,
with both Humana and HCA either headquartered or big footing louisville, of course mcconnel is gonna spin some good ol' fashioned bullshit to keep them happy.

0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 12:19 pm
@cicerone imposter,
The vast majority of those oft quoted 47 million are employed young people who choose not to pay for insurance and the poor who are already covered by MEDICAID.

The government "solution" to this problem is likely to add enormous useless cost to the system; restrict the delivery of quality care top those who enjoy it now; and deprive everyone involved of some degree of freedom of action.

I don't mind the argument that it may provide some access to coverage for some who don't get it now. However, the notion that it will save money and improve the average quality of care is contrary to common sense and experience.
 

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