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Customer Discussions > Health forum

Should we have free healthcare in the U.S.?(and is it possible?)

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Initial post: Jan 26, 2009 6:04:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 8, 2009 12:55:25 PM PDT
Matthew says:
I don't know about all of you but I'm pretty fed up with the way the medical system works in general. That includes insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and even how expensive it is to just go see a doctor. Peoples' coverage is dropped left and right because their illnesses cost too much. Many uninsured don't receive the care they need. One person in this discussion said that it cost them $4,000 a year to insure their child who might see a doctor once for a checkup during that time. That's ridiculous. People are going bankrupt, having their credit ruined and losing their homes because of their medical bills. No one in "The Greatest Nation in the World" should have to choose between receiving the medical care they need and paying their rent. It's capitalism run wild and it needs to be put in check.

Now get me straight - I don't wanna see the doctors and pharmacists go out of business and I think they should be paid well, but I don't think there need to be huge corporations profiting at every turn when it comes to our medical system. All it's doing is jacking up the prices and sucking us dry. I think we could have better care that costs less if we would just set up a single payer system and pay it all through taxes so it's "free" at the point of delivery. What do you think?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2009 8:39:27 PM PST
Glit says:
I'm not sure that we could ever have entirely free health care. However we could work more towards affordable health care for everyone. There are several problems with "free" health care. Doctors are smart people, the certainly deserve to live a comfortable life for the great service they do for us all. They attend expensive colleges, and take far more classes than most people, and they have to be able to afford to pay off their student loans. In addition to that malpractice insurance has become excessively expensive in many places because of frivalous lawsuits. (that is not to say some malpractice cases aren't legitamate, but many aren't and that hurts the whole system) We would have to do something about the secondary education system(Alot of countries pay for this as well. Some European countries even give full time college students a sort of stipend to stay in school), at least in regards to doctors, for health care reform to really be feasible. Secondly we would have to find another way to deal with malpractice cases. Canada's healthcare isn't free, but it is far far cheaper than our own because it is run by the government as a public service not a business. The quality of care and drugs used are the same as in the US. It is possible, but many things need to change.

No one should have to fall through the cracks. No one should suffer and die simply because they are poor. In addition to that if we could provide everyone with affordable preventative care, I believe we may save some money in the long run. If we can spend billions of dollars on a war to "save" another country, why can't we spend it to ease the suffering of our own people...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2009 8:48:43 PM PST
directions says:
No not free healthcare. But healthcare for all. With a sliding scale premium. Google "Medicaid Buy In for Working People with Disabilities". I recieve that. I have to work (I telecommute part time, I am homebound from a physical disability) to recieve it and of course have a qualifying disability and eventually a premium will be phased in. Naturally I have no problem paying that. That is one example of a government healthcare plan that works and doesn't burden taxpayers. Another good bill is the "Community Choice Act" that will redirect Medicaid dollars from nursing homes to living in the community with a home attendant and save taxpayer's dollars (proven). President Obama has pledged to sign that into law. Naturally, most people aren't eligible for these specific public health care plans. But there should be a workable and realistic way to expand them with a sliding scale premium. That's one goal, the independent living movement has been working on for years but it shouldn't just be for people with disabilities. It should be for everyone.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2009 9:05:57 PM PST
"Free" healthcare means lousy healthcare. It means long waits for substandard treatment, like waiting a year to get your needed hysterectomy instead of scheduling it for next week like you would in the U.S. It means staying in a crowded ward instead of a private or semi-private room. It means fewer good doctors and nurses because the best ones will want to leave the profession. It means having little or no compensation if the doctor screws up. It also means high, high taxes because "free" healthcare isn't really free, is it? But because of the bureaucratic inefficiencies and corruption, you get less for the money.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2009 11:17:36 PM PST
directions says:
Yes that's what I've read about some countries with free healthcare systems. On the other hand having some people with no health care coverage not only increases the chances of long term illness and even death among these people, it also can easily spread easily preventable diseases among the population. Look at what happenned when the national health care system broke down in post Soviet Russia and the massive diphtheria epidemic that followed. Now I am no advocate or communism or the mediocre health care they had for everyone (as opposed to quality health care for some and none for others) but wouldn't there be a way to have a national health care system with a sliding scale premium as I suggested?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 6:29:09 AM PST
We have semi free health care here, in Australia, to certain people and it works quite well. No one dies waiting for care, that is for sure. I think sometimes Americans have a defeatest attitude to health care reform, all too hard. I think with a bit of negotiation and sensible conversation, it is possible to keep everyone happy. Or if not happy, happier than they were.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 9:59:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2009 10:00:25 AM PST
What other countries have, and I am confidant that this is to what you refer, are situations where health care is free at the point of delivery. In the UK, my original home, workers pay a percentage of monthly salaries into National Insurance, from which are funded Hospitals, Doctor, and specialist clinicians, etc. [not dentists of opticians!]

Routine visits to GPs [PCPs] are not chargeable, neither are ER visits, hospitalisation regardless of length of stay, operations and other procedures as inpatient or outpatient, neither are they billed for ambulance services.

The result of this system - undeniable socialist in principle and practise - is that no one need going to get medical or surgical assistance from professionals on acount of the cost. Furthermore, those who have retired from work make no further contribution to health care costs, unlike the US where almost $200.00 each is taken every month from my wife and me to help pay for our Medicare costs.

In the UK, once a person reaches retirement age, 65, they no longer have to pay any prescription charges, and the same applies to thos with certain chronic conditions and the terminally ill.

There is a lot of ancient gossip about NHS horrors, but the present government over the course of ten or so years has upped the funding and provided more specialists and nurses, so that waiting lists that were once many months, even years, are reduced to a very short and reasonable time.

This system provides for the poor, the outcast, the homeless, the mentally ill, the vulnerable, and every other unfortunate who needs medical assistance to alleviate their conditions and diseases, and raises the level of life expectancy, rids bad areas of hiome-grown diseases, and improves the quality of life for all who take advantage of it.

Whilst it is true that some irresponsible people abuse the system, this abuse is not of such an order that it deprives others, and the overall operation of this Health Service is a blessing and a boon to the whole nation.

I heartedly recommend it to the US.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 10:36:17 AM PST
Abz says:
I think the better question to ask is what is healthcare? How do people perceive it? Because if it is about letting someone else tell me if I healthy or not and its about waiting from my body to decay only to go to a physician so they can medicate me and "treat" me then forget it. I moved from Los Angeles to a more seemingly rural part of the country. Buffalo NY. I notice the difference in attitude when it comes to health. The elderly here are living longer and are on their feet spry and healthy. there is less opportunity to run to a fast food place. Because life is slower here they cook more at home. Living in Los Angeles (for about 26 years) the culture is innundated with unconscious messages that you should end up in a home and someone else take care of you. AND. It's big money. Many of my relatives run home cares and its just sad really. To see people only in their 70 and 80's look so bed ridden and abandoned by their families hoping and wishings someone would visit them. It's draining on the health of my relatives who run these types of facilities. They when they need the assistance of a hospital, it's just as disconcerting to watch them treat the elder like a number. The hospital is concerned with the level of insurance you have because it can only cover so many days. They. Need. To. Get. Paid.

This is not a simple problem with a simple solution. Education is the way to make it work. Empowering people to take care of themselves would hit more at the root of the problem then being concerned with universal health care. I cringe (silently) at physicians and health practitioners who provide health recommendation when you can see they themselves don't follow it by their attitude, their own obesity, their own lack of compassion toward the patient.

No I don't think free healthcare would work unless you hit at the emotional root of the problem. This shift in belief that "someone else will take care of me." You TEACH others take care of themselves (on all levels emotional, mental and spiritual) and then free health care can be implemented with a level of responsibility and accountability and hopefully with a level of compassion. No. Not an easy fix but I still believe in possibilities. But it's gonna be work!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 11:23:57 AM PST
A Johnson says:
Medical care is a scarce resource and will be rationed somehow. In countries with "free" health care, it is rationed for everyone by government bureaucrats deciding what care will be provided to whom, in what priority, and at what level of inconvenience, delay, etc.

In this country, that kind of rationing is applied to poor people, but middle class and rich people's health care is rationed by price.

As a middle class person, I appreciate that I can get in to see a doctor at my local family clinic this afternoon with a wait measured in minutes, or if I need, say, a knee replacement or a CT for lung cancer screening, I can get it done almost immediately (tomorrow or the next day for the CT, two to four weeks, for the knee replacement). My time and convenience are worth money to me, and by paying money for a decent health insurance plan and going to doctors whose practices depend on me, not the government, I save myself a lot of time, aggravation and sometimes pain.

I also do not like being treated as a child by my government, and I know that once the government controls my health care, it will also claim the right to control all health-related areas of my life, sooner or later. Let's not forget that the big argument of the government's tobacco lawsuits was how much money tobacco use cost state governments and the feds in Medicare and Medicaid expenses. Fast foods are already being targeted, and no doubt the Nanny State will eventually progress to protecting us from sodas, red meat, alcohol, non-organically grown vegetables, sugar, white flour, and whatever else some busy-body do-gooder decides can harm us.

There's a price to be paid for health care. Measure it in dollars, convenience, time or freedom, but there will always be a price. It will never be "free."

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 12:19:35 PM PST
directions says:
I think there's a big difference between ending all forms of government health care such as Medicare and Medicaid and regulating any excess spending they have. They shouldn't have control over us as you state. We, the taxpayers should have control over them but they do make sense such as the free flu shots paid for by Medicare because it reduces the number of people who are infected and although "the flu" sounds like a minor matter, 36,000 people die of influenza each year and if everyone were vaccinated yearly that would go close to zero. Surely that would be beneficial to society.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 9:45:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2009 9:46:42 PM PST
M.G. says:
I absolutely do not think it will work. I was raised in a country with 'free' healthcare and would not wish it on anyone. Moreover, the US government is failing miserably at everything they control and yet there are people who would entrust our healthcare to them? If you ever had a problem with a government agency and tried to solve it, I doubt you would be so naive as to let the government design and be in charge of any system. It really is a fair, 'feel-good' solution, but it works only in practice. Check out 'Uninsured in America' video on YouTube.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2009 10:19:42 PM PST
happytobeme says:
From the perspective of a Registered Respiratory Therapist working in a hospital setting. Its a business. It is no longer a noble profession. It all about the numbers and profit. I work for a not for profit institution and they are quite profitable. There are currently shocking numbers of people with no insurance. If you think you get the same quality of care as someone who has insurance you are sadly mistaken. Doctors offices are refusing medicaid patients. Hospitals are discharging patients early and people are dying. Budget is all we hear about. Cutting staffing at the expense of the patients lives. Have there been enough tragic deaths from neglegance and cost cuting measures? What exactly is it going to take for people to take notice and realize that the current system does not work? The incidences on the news recently are happening everywhere. They are just not reported and are usually covered up. Healthcare workers are going to have to speak out and tell the truth about what is going on.

Is Government involvement the solution? Your guess is as good as mine, but at least we will be trying something different. I worked in the VA system for about 6 months. That was about all I could stand. Our soldiers deserve so much better. If that is an example of government run healthcare. I think I am going to have to move to another country.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 7:32:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2009 2:04:27 PM PDT
Puppluv says:
My edits since last time...I agree with all of you who say "free" isn't "free" at all. We will pay no matter what - there will be costs hidden all over the place, like taxes etc.

I have since seen hearings on this matter in Washington and although some of it sounds good..some of it scared me worse.

When I say"rationed" I don't actually mean some people get some care and others don't - or that the government is actually calling my doctor and micromanaging - or that someone with cancer will be treated better than someone else with the same cancer. Each person with cancer will get the same treatments decided upon by the government to be the "best" treatment for that particular cancer-making the treatment "equal". That sounds good and on the surface - because a poor person or unemployed person deserves as much of a chance to survive as someone who has a job that provides insurance. BUT.....when you are sick today, and you try every common, "best" treatment for something and it doesn't work, some doctors will say "there's nothing else I can do for you" while others will read up on your illness, your specific symptoms that may be different from others with your illness, they look at your history, they have the freedom to use thier immense amount of knowledge to craft a treatment plan that may a different from the "best" plan that has not worked, based on your body, your immune system, your background etc. It could save your life or give a quality of life that helps you to contribute to society and family, and feel like a productive worthwhile person-instead of a sick, miserable, barely gets through the day, eventually depressed person.

During the hearings I saw, they said that a board of appointed health professionals would decide the "best" courses of treatment for illnesses and doctors would be "encouraged" to follow those treatments plans and there would be financial or other repurcussions if they chose other forms of treatment that were not "considered to be the best course of treatment" as determined by the board. In an effort to make sure patients are getting the "proper" treatment equally.

None of the standard "best" treatments has worked for me, and certainly have not made for a decent quality of life. Once I found several doctors in the specialties I needed that were each willing to research me, my health issues, my background, symptoms, etc. and work on each area until we found what works or what helps etc., I found hope that one day, they will get me better and each small improvement will eventually become big improvements etc. I don't want to be painted with a broad brush of what is "best" for "everyone", I want a doctor who has the freedom to practice medicine
by finding what works for each individual patient. That won't be done if there are penalties for doctors who don't do what the government wants it to do.

There are certain antibiotics that I have no reaction to - never gets me better - others work the first time. But other people in my family have best results with the one that never works for me. Many years ago I had a doctor who gave it to me everytime I got sick. No matter what I said, it was determined to be the best antibiotic for that so I had to take multiple runs of it before getting another antibiotic. I switched doctors and the first time it didn't work and I explained it never does, he went with a different one from then on, any time I got sick. My care was based on my body. It was long ago and for that once a year "it's going around the office" illness but it mattered that he didn't continue to lecture me on the "best" course of action when by experience, he had actually witnessed with me, it wasn't best for me. It is still micromanaging because people wway on high who are politial appointees are deciding what treatments are "best". Can they be bribed or "convinced" by pharmaceutical companies or special interest groups to decide what is the "best" course of treatment - absolutely. They might even believe it's the "best" way. But if it's not best for you, every doctor in the system you go to will say the same thing... treatment is A, B, C. After that, you are on your own.

Will they not get paid? Will they have to file forms and more forms to explain why they tried something different with each patient? Nobbody is "calling" and micromanaging with hands-on from Washington but every decision they make is determining a course of treatment for millions of people without every knowing them. Less and less doctors will be willing to try another course of treatment after the "best" and "determined to be best" don't work. They will do what many doctor's have done to me - "there's nothing I can do for you" now that you've tried XYZ.

Will there still be private health insurance? Certainly not for long. They can't compete with free and the few that still exist will be available only to the rich, it will be even more exclusive than it is now - which is already very bad. Will employers have a health plan that they pay half etc when you can be covered by the government? No Way, it's finally the excuse they've been looking for to not have to pay premiums on employees, it would save them a fortune and not have to give anyone a raise.

Why can't they just find a way to have private insurance available to all US citizens at a sliding scale based on the policy you choose - that you can take with you if you leave a job, your employers still contribute to a generic plan and if you have insurance, that money automatically applies to the premiums if you don't get insurance, you don't get the insurance allocation. Why can't we do things a piece at a time and see how it works? Why does it have to be all the way, fast and furious, with basically no input from the American people? Why throw it togather so fast without working out the potential ups and downs? Implement test programs etc. Success being determined by patients - not politicians?

I don't know the answer but I want everyone to have reasonably priced, portable health insurance whether healthy or disabled, employed or not. And I want it to to completely non-political. Politicians go with the polls which can change based on one single news story that gets big coverage. My health should not be political.

Here I was buying a birthday present for someone and saw this thread on the page and had to comment........Sorry for the length but I've got lots of thoughts and none of them organized....

Having had major health problems (but eventually determined not life threatening) over the last 6 years (in my 30's), I have to say I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT "FREE" HEALTH CARE. Even with the highest PPO plan (which we eventually had to reduce to a lesser PPO Plan just to afford it) We almost went bankrupt twice - so you would think I would be all on board for free medical care. However, it's bad enough when a profit making company beaurocrat is deciding what your health care needs are and what is/is not covered - the last thing I want is to have the government deciding what I need, what improves my quality of life and if it's "worth it".

The only place there is more red tape and complicated rules and regulations that don't make sense is in government. I don't know who is the worse choice to make these decisions but I do know one thing - right now I have the option to decide what coverage I am willing to go broke trying to pay for, or if I want to risk a cheaper HMO and it's "assigned" doctors to be able to have better food or clothes or pay channels on TV, or a bigger house. If government gets involved, there will only be one level of health care - even if I can pick my doctors, what they can do to help me will be decided by the government and the government alone - at least right now, I decide what doctor is good for me, listens to me, cares about me- the doctor decides what medical plans he will accept-many times based on their willingness to treat a patient, I decide what medical plan I can pay for and then choose to pay out of pocket for the many things that have helped me but the government hasn't decided if it specifically works for my particular ailment yet so my insurance won't cover it.

At least the decisions are left to me and my doctors as much as possible. SHOULD I BE ABLE TO GET ANY HEALTH PLAN I WANT OR ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR, BY ANY INSURANCE COMPANY IN THE USA-NOT JUST WHAT MY EMPLOYER/SPOUSE'S EMPLOYER OFFERS? SHOULD I BE ABLE TO GET A HEALTHCARE PLAN EVEN IF I HAVE PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS-YES! ABSOLUTELY!! That's where the system should first be modified/changed/improved - affordable plans that actually cover your illnesses that anyone can apply for whether you work or not, if you are self-employed, if you work part time at Mcdonald's - there needs to be afforable premiums for a variety of plans that are not dependent on your employer.

Every year, the employer lessens the plans available and increases the cost - I am getting totally ripped off and have less choices all the time. But choice is the point-there's not much of a choice but I can make the choice.

If the government gets involved, there will be no more choices for anyone about anything relating to their own personal health care. Have you ever been to a public walk-in clinic? I have and they are absolutely horrendous-filthy, hours and hours of waiting and nobody cares what's wrong with you, they just want to write a prescription and get rid of you. The government could make all kinds of requirements of you that you don't agree with and there's nothing you can do because your healthcare requires it. The government has immediate access to everything you tell every doctor forever. It's almost impossible to keep national security secrets these days - will they care about your personal medical records? Not a bit. Do I really care if the government sees my medical records? No, I actually don't - but some people might want some privacy and there certainly won't be any if the government has access to everything.

CANADA has waitlists of months and months to get many medical tests because the system can't handle the number of patients. That can be life and death. There are actually Canadians who have free health care and drive down to the US to pay out of pocket to get timely medical care or treatments that although legal are not covered by government free health care so is not readily available. Here, if a treatment is safe and legal but your health insurance doesn't cover it, you can still get the treatment, by another doctor or under a new health plan (after a lengthy search for one), or pay out of pock and it's just more expensive.

Here I can choose a place that can't fit me in for 3 months or 6 months because the doctor is fabulous or the testing facility is clean and friendly or for a serious matter that could be more urgent I can give up the comfort and great doctor to get the tests quickly or an appointment quickly to make sure it's not something serious and see the fabulous doctor later when I can get in.

For healthy people, with no problems, maybe free health care would be ok, waiting for tests that are routine, walkin clinics being the norm etc. but most people eventually have something wrong that needs treating and there are usually multiple options for that treatment. If the government is your health insurance, you don't have anyplace to go if it's not covered, treatment options are limited to what the government says on a given day - maybe even determined by who is elected to office and then it changes in 2 or four years, depending on who makes those decisions and runs the health care system (who appoints a person to the job, or by confirmation hearing, or election or regular application for employment).

99% of the time, you get what you pay for and "Free" doesn't get you much. "free gifts" aren't usually something worth a whole lot. When I shop, I don't just shop by price, I shop by quality vs. price, sometimes going with the cheapest, generic item if I'm broke or the quality doesn't matter is the best for me. But if it's an important item that needs to last, I might go with the middle of the road price to get more for the money, and sometimes the middle of the road is better quality than the highest price because you're paying for brand. But free is almost always pretty low quality-because the someone who decides on the quality of the free item is the person paying for it - and they don't want to spend $10 per giveaway if they can pay $1 and get the same PR out of it. After all, what can a person expect out of a "Free" gift anyway? If I'm paying for my medical treatment, I decide what it's worth and what I can afford, and I try to take better care of myself to reduce my medical costs because it's my money I earned to pay for it. If it's free, I get one level of care only, and the government-who doesn't know me decides what I am "worth".

If ink cartridges and paper were free for my printer instead of $20-40 and up, (and I didn't care about the wasted resources), I would print everything I like on the internet, endless drafts of documents etc. because I'll never run out due to my inability to spend $40 every week for printer supplies. Instead, I try to make them last because they're so darn expensive. I would admittedlt use the ink and paper to a higher capacity and some people would just waste tons of paper and ink. But I would bet the quality goes down because a third party paying the bill is not going to give away the high quality ink and paper, their going to keep finding ways to make it cheaper and cheaper with lesser and lesser quality.

I wouldn't have thought free health care could ever be a bad thing until I got sick and realized how very important it is to have the freedom to make decisions about my own body, treatment, quality of life etc.

We desperately need more affordable options for health insurance, at every lever of coverage, that is not dependant on your employer or pre-existing conditions but please, not free, and not government.

Thanks for the question to the amazon community...Sorry to go on at such length but obviously it's an issue that concerns me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 11:57:34 AM PST
I note your comments, but have to disagree with you on certain points. These include:

1. The notion that 'free' healthcare is 'rationed for everyone by the government' is not accurate. What is true is that free healthcare is made available to everyone by the government. There is a vast difference between access to necessary health care being 'rationed' - a statement that sends the wrong message, viz., that sick people will not receive the care they need - and necessary health care being made available to everyone regardless of their ability to pay for it at the point of service.

2. You describe yourself as financially able to buy into a medical care plan that swiftly attends to your medical/surgical etc., needs, whatever they might be. What you fail to mention is the plight of those who are unable to buy into an insurance plan because of poverty. It is the care of the poor, elderly, and vulnerable that need universal health care even though they can not afford to pay for it.

3. The philosophy of 'the weakest to the wall' is not only inhuman, but also outdated. The degree to which a society is civilised or not rests largely on how it treats its poor and unfortunates. Those societies that leave their elderly, frail, poor, and children of the poor to starve to death in the streets has a long way to go to become civilised in any sense of the word.

4. The argument that universal health care will turn the government into an ogre that micromanages every aspect of your life is highly misleading. Citizens of modern European nations that have had health cares in place for more than a half century experience nothing like what you suggest is inexorably the logical consequence of government participation. It does not happen. It is sad to note that I have listened to that unjustified claim for most of my life, from British Tories to their US counterparts, and it is a plain nonsense, and what they claim will happen has not happened.

5. The sad plea that by establishing universal health care the government is acting as a nanny for idiots is also untrue. It is uttered as if it were true, but that shows nothing except the utterer has a dearth of ideas and expressions and has not looked at the evidence. Restating fears that others have is not healthy. British Tories ran the National Health Service in the UK for eighteen years at a stretch, before the socialists got into power. The Tories policy is that those who can afford health care can have it when they wish, but that the poor will have to wait at the back of the line and if there is space, time, and funding, then they get attended to. Heart operations, joint replacements, and many other surgical procedures that are deemed necessary by GPs and specialists had to wait for a long time, and many succumbed to death cold grip before they got halfway up the waiting list.

With the advent of the Socialist Blairite government, the severe cuts that Tories had imposed for almost a score years were reinstated, and additional funds for more hospitals, nurses, doctors and specialists were invested in the medical well being of every citizen regardless of their ability to pay. Waiting lists were reduced to, at the most a few weeks, and many within a few days of their referral.

6. In cases where those that can afford to jump lines or have their surgeries, etc, done at hospitals of their choice, they can still use their private health insurance plan, so nothing changes for them. The real change is the people who have no independent coverage have ready and unquestioned access to medical assistance for all their ills. It is well enough for those souls that are safely secured in a lifeboat, but what about the poor souls struggling in the water who have no chance of being rescued or aided? Is our humanity grown so cold, so selfish, that we are unwilling to reach out to them and rescue them?

7. The Tobacco Lawsuit example is a very poor case to use in support of arguments against universal healthcare, because the two are not comparable. Government failure in one case does not mean that they will fail in every case they turn their hands to. If that were otherwise, then everyone that had ever failed at anything would never attempt anything ever again because it would be futile. Non-sequiturs do nothing other than muddy up the water.

8. There IS a price to be paid for healthcare, as you say, it is not free. But what price do those that have no healthcare pay? Disease, deformity, malnourishment, ill-housing, poverty, and deprivation also have a price. Measure it in broken bodies, early death, foul living conditions, abuse, spurning, loss of human dignity, abandonment of the aged, the veterans, the sick children, and lack of education, &c.

9. It is high time that everyone realised that taxation and education are provided for by law. Healthcare, even the most fundamental kinds, are not. The only reason not to opt for a universal health service in any country including the US is selfishness. And selfishness is a pretty tawdry reason to not do, or to do, anything from which those most in need of benison are prevented by their fellows.

With every good wish.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 12:13:47 PM PST
"Doctors offices are refusing medicaid patients."

At least in IL, it's against the law to refuse medicaid for routine care.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 12:35:48 PM PST
Perhaps if you could place yourself in someone else's mocassins for a year or so: for example, someone poor and in ill-health, you might just change your mind. The notion that universal health care alters mindsets from independence to dependence is not borne out by experience. It is nevertheless an anxiety that some entertain about others taking unfair advantage of the system, or else an empty and commonly used slogan from those who fear change.

You are quite right in saying that there is no such thing a free healthcare anywhere in the world. The employed pay for it as a percentage of salary, and then are able to obtain the benefits therefrom when they need it. This includes their immediate family also. The deduction is called "National Health Service Contributions" and that mean that if you work you pay into an insurance scheme.

You are correct to some extent when you say that education is required. But even well educated people become sick through no fault of their own, so lack of education cannot be blamed in all cases, and probably is only responsible for a very few cases.

Health care is everyone's concern. Let us hope - and work - for better days when no one hasd to choose between eating or buying essential medicines, etc.

Best regards

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 12:37:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2009 12:44:02 PM PST
Perhaps you have not noticed, but the government has changed. Intelligence is now available in the Oval Office after an eight year absence.


"Change that Matters to YOU"

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 12:43:09 PM PST
I'm Canadian and I can assure you that you are exaggerating the amount of wait lists we have here. My nephew had a stroke the other day and he has been in the hospital since November. What did it cost? Nothing out of pocket, just in tax which we all share. Easier for millions to share the cost than putting the burden on one family when someone gets sick. There are wait lists for elective surgery for hips and knees and the government is working on that. Educate yourself! Get the real facts! Americans need to realize that the rest of the world went to publicly funded health care for a reason ... it works!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 12:43:28 PM PST
Be Hopeful wrote:

"At least the decisions are left to me and my doctors as much as possible."

No offence, friend, but in those countries of the world that have Free at the POint of Service universal health care systems, all decisions are left up to the patient and his/her doctors. No government official intervene between the sufferer and health care professionals.

The role of goverments regarding this issu is to ensure that every one with needs has ready access to the help, treatment, medicationsm, etc, that will get them fit and well again, without having to worry about how they are going to pay for it.

As far as I can read into your post, you want every benefit that a state welfare system offers and the two things you object to - free and government - are really not in the picture, so you really are ready for socialised medicine. Good for you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 12:49:28 PM PST
I don't understand why when people talk about universal health care they always bring up poor people as a reason. Trust me, the "poor" can have all of the "free" health care they want in this country. I went through graduate school with two kids, my wife stayed home, and we were living under the federal poverty limit. I got all of the free milk, cheese, subsidized rent, and FREE health care that I could handle. There isn't even a co-pay. We also never had a problem find a doctor which we got to choose. In more socialized countries you don't get to choose your doctor. Again, poor people in the US have tons of state and federal programs available to them if they want it.

The problem is the next group up. Which are the people who make too much money so they aren't classified as "poor" by the government anymore but they still can't afford health insurance. We had some friends like that. He was making $50,000 a year but was self employed and couldn't afford health insurance. The state had a program for children's insurance that he used and premiums were based on a sliding scale. The problem was there was not program for him and his wife.

If we are going to solve this problem we first need to define the problem. We hear lots of reports about how many people, children especially, are without health insurance. You never hear analysis of who this people are and why they don't. I think you would find that most aren't what you would consider "poor" and most have made a conscious decision not to buy health insurance because their house is too big, they wanted nice cars, etc. I personally think if we are going to force everyone to have health insurance we do Hillary Clinton's plan - we force everyone to have health insurance.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 1:34:19 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 16, 2010 4:37:24 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 5:00:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2009 5:36:24 PM PST
happytobeme says:

Think again dear. Hospitals and urgent care centers are the only ones "legally" obligated to "minimally" treat you regardless of your ability to pay. Physicians and specialists are not obligated to treat you. There are physicians that are refusing medicaid patients. Start calling doctors offices and see how many tell you that they require a payment up front for services or insurance. Medicaid is not allowed. Do you see where this it going? Medicaid patients are visiting the emergency room in alarming numbers for routine treatment because they are having some difficulty getting into the few physicians left that accept medicaid.

So now hospitals are faced with this problem. The rediculous number of medicaid patients comming into the emergency room for routine reasons. Guess what hospitals are doing about this? They are reprimanding ER physicians and forcing them to discharge patients early and skimping on lab and radiology test just to get them out of the door. Medicaid patients do not get the same care in the hospitals or the doctors offices. I see this everyday. Patients being discharged that are still sick. They are given pain medications to mask the problem and sent out of the door. They sometimes return in a few hours, days, dead or dying from heart attacks, stokes, bleeds and so on.

Physicians have a right to get payed for services. Medicaid takes too long to reimburse. They are and they legally can refuse anyone who does not pay. Even our government can be refused if it does not pay.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 8:51:44 PM PST
Ryan says:

Many of your points are correct. The answer to this issue does not come from gov't sponsered health care or "universal coverage". The answer starts with patient education and physician protection. These go hand in hand. The US has seen an alarming decrease in the numbers of people wanting to enter the medical profession. This stems from a realization that when medcial training is complete, there will be a huge debt (100-200k), a decreae in repayment from both gov't and private insurances, and outrageous malpractice premiums. On top of this, the brave souls that do become MD's don't go into primary care and instead specialize knowing that they will be paid better and have less obligation to see 15 patients an hour! Therefore there is now a critical shortage of primary care providers that leads people to go to ER's for routine care, further driving up healthcare costs. This is where education comes in. The ER's should be reserved for emergent and urgent care, not primary or convenience care. Furthermore physicians need to know that a "lottery payout" malpractice suit is not going to be filed for every bad outcome. Does malpractice occur, unfortunately yes...but so do bad things happen to good people. Things that are no fault of anyone's and our country needs to learn that bad outcomes don't equal payouts. On a side note the recent USAir landing inthe hudson proves that Americans feel that with every bad thing that happens compensation is due. Instead of thanking the stars and USAir for hiring a great pilot that saved dozens of life, the passengers are asking for more than the $5000 UsAir is offering in compensation.
Enough rambling, to wrap up, the answer to preventing a healthcare collapse is for the governemnt to not pay for care, but to educate the public and incentivize preventive care. Also, there needs to be incentives and protection for people that are willing to sacrifice by going into primary care. With more primary care physicians, better healthcare would be available to all. MD's could spend mre time with each patient and not be expected to see a quota of patients each day. ER's would be less crowded. Preventive care would improve. With this in place to government could maximize the current Medicare and Medicaid programs and give MD FAIR repayment to make it able for this new group of priamry care providers to make a living.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 9:07:54 PM PST
You seem sure of yourself, however, there is no evidence of what you describe here in Canada.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2009 9:19:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2009 10:21:27 PM PST
Matthew says:
I agree with you Ryan. I've heard that in the UK(I think) the more patients doctors actually cure the more money they make(this includes incentives for preventing future disease). They don't have 3 houses and 5 cars but they live very comfortably. I think it's a great system. Here the money is in the treatment, not the cure, so that's what the doctors here concentrate on.

I read a book not too long ago(Fit for Life, A New Begenning by Harvey Diamond) that was talking about a nutritionist who worked in a hospital in conjunction with doctors and reversed heart disease in 100% of the patients he helped simply by telling them to eat more fruits and veggies and lay off the animal products(basically). The doctors would send their families to him but not their patients. They were embarassed that this guy was curing them with broccili and oatmeal when all that their schooling and millions of dollars worth of equipment was doing was draining their bank accounts. When the nutritionist wanted to go about planning the diets of all the heart disease patients in the hospital whoever was in charge refused and now he doesnt work there anymore. This was at a very large, well known hospital where somewhere around 50% of their revenue came from their heart disease patients. This wasn't his only example of this happening either. Sad but true.
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