Debate and Discussion

Health Care
seventy2 at 8:35AM, July 11, 2010
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There is always much Debate in The types of healthcare we should have.

I have been a part of all types. Privatized, Social, and Medicare (slightly social, government funded but accepted by almost all hospitals)

So far the Best healthcare i've been on is Privatized. at some point in my life, my mother worked for a hospital. We had amazing coverage and amazing time for appointments. when i'd complain of something, I'd be in the next day. (that may have been because she knew people in the hospital too, i don't rule that out)

When we were under medicare (the rest of the time i lived with my mother) the only time we got in quickly, was when one of my younger brothers was sick. (at this point they were very young)

Currently I'm under Social healthcare. Everyone pays the same, everyone see's the same set of doctors, unless it's truly an emergency, or something that needs more specialized care. (such as cancer and other life threatening things).

Appointments take minimum of a week. If you call, and you say you have to see a doctor today, they say “if it's truly that bad, go to the emergency room” (the emergency room is located in a regular hospital) When i injured my arm for example, it took 3 weeks to see a doctor. then the doctor had no clue, and just refered me to Physical therapy. Which took only another week for another appointment, but that was 4 weeks, and i could do no upper body work outs, or lift anything over 10 pounds. (with left arm only)
Specialists are even harder to come by, you have to have 2 out of 3 doctors agree that they can't do this without one. One of my friends child has problems, and he got the two thirds majority, but then a doctor reneged and said she never agreed to it. So now he has to start the whole process over.
Doctors recieve pay based on time not on skill. So of course there are going to be lazy people, but there are still good doctors in the mix. it's just hard to get them.

the only good thing i've had from my social healthcare, is that i haven't had to pay for any of it. which is good, because if normal doctors were this bad, and kept throwing me to the next doctor, i'd be beyond flat broke.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:30PM
ozoneocean at 9:16AM, July 11, 2010
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I don't really think anyone's personal experience of healthcare systems, be that private, public or a mixture of the two are in any way indicative of what you'll find anywhere else- in another country or even within the same country, same state, or same city. These things are highly individual and extrapolating from them is a very dodgy thing to do.

In Australia we have a mixture of private and public healthcare, both are heavily subsidised by the government in any case. You can enter most hospitals as a private or public patient. As a private patient you will pay more and be seen faster, in the same hospital
From personal experience (not something you should extrapolate from too broadly), always the most unhelpful, useless doctors have been what we call GPs (General Practitioner). These are the doctors who set up private practises in offices or together in private medical centres. Their training is very broad and general, and generally, in my own experience, they're not much use except to prescribe antibiotics or give you a referral to a specialist.

If I can conclude anything more broadly from that I'd say the trouble was that we have high, unrealistic expectations of what medical professionals should be able to do, and a doctor is more likely to get a better result with you if theyve known you for a long time so that they're more familiar with you and can better see what the problem is.

The specialists are always better and zeroing in on the problem, but that's hardly surprising.

————————————–

One thing for sure that I can say about your experiences Seventy is that it's not a fair comparison: Public healthcare only really works well when you don't have such a split and segregated two tier system. Which is logical- if there's a competing game in town that gets more funds, support and equipment, then the other will suffer. A lot.
That's like giving someone a race horse to compete in a horse race, but giving most of its food to all the other horses. So your social healthcare system is set up to fail from the start.

In the end though, healthcare all over the world is massively expensive to run, mainly because of the huge pay given to doctors and other specialists, but also because of the extremely expensive drugs and equipment they have to buy, not to mention the simple costs of basically being a sterile, medical hotel service to so many people. The trouble is deciding who pays. -and if you're not paying directly (in a public system) , then what's the fairest way to distribute the resources?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Product Placement at 10:29AM, July 11, 2010
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seventy2
So far the Best healthcare i've been on is Privatized. at some point in my life, my mother worked for a hospital. We had amazing coverage and amazing time for appointments.
So by saying that I assume you had such spectacular service because your family could afford it, right? What about everyone else? Is it fair to deny millions upon millions of people the right of basic coverage so that the well off can get a better service?

I've always been biased against privatized healthcare for a singular reason. Governments are supposed to think for their people. Companies are supposed to think about profits. Through that logic, which institute is more fit to organize what should be considered to be everyone's basic right.

In my opinion the two systems can co-exist in America so I find the debate about which is better to be a little annoying. You can have government run health care that allows privatized hospitals. By designing the tax system so that a person who opts to go for the privatized path, he is exempt from the medical tax. All he has to do is hand over a copy of his medical insurance contract and a proof of payments when he submits his tax report. Then, when disaster strikes, both government run and private hospitals can take all and any patient without worrying about payments. Later on they can look over his paperwork to figure out if the government or an insurance company should pay his bills.

Where I live our health care is totally socialized. Certain percentage of my taxes goes into maintaining our hospitals. Then, in order to minimize the amount that everyone needs to pay, all hospitals charges a slight service fee for anyone who checks in to mend a bruised wrist, get a flue shot, deal with an ingrown toenail and so on. This service fee is not high (around 20-50 bucks, depending on what you need to have done) and is there to prevent the system to be drained through thousand paper cuts. The rule of thumb is, if you can walk out of the hospital, the same day you checked in, you pay. If you need to stay overnight, it's free. Minors, elderly, disabled and those who have visited the hospitals enough times over the year and paid this service fee multiple times (I think those who have paid 100-150 $ in less then a year) will receive a free pass or discount cards.

Then when you get cancer, have a heart attack, end up in a car crash and break your bones you're rushed in and dealt with asap. No service fee. No medical cost. No hassle. The system was specifically designed to deal with these people.

Of course, the private insurance companies found a way to survive in this type of environment. Instead of offering health care coverage, since the government is monopolizing it, they offer people other alternatives like overseas insurance, when you're traveling abroad or sick leave “salary” where they guaranty you a certain percentage of your income for a certain amount of time, while you're unable to work due to your illness. I'm not gonna worry the least bit about the insurance companies once the Health care reform kicks in in the states.

I don't understand why you're so vary of going to the emergency room seventy2. The whole point of it is to take care of those who need to see a doctor now and can't/don't want to wait. It can even serve as a gateway to see the specialists sooner, since most of their time is devoted to attending people who come through there.

About a year ago, I had a bad case of the flu. I was bed ridden at home for 3-4 days and then started to feel better. About 2 days later I started getting chest pains and thought it was related to my back (have had experience of throwing something in my upper back, which caused on of my ribs to move and cause discomfort). The next day I visited a chiropractor and almost passed out. He called a ambulance which picked me up, diagnosed that there was something going on in my heart and committed me in the emergency room. In the emergency room I was diagnosed with a viral infection in my heart (thanks to the flu). I spent the night there and was then transfered to the heart wing where I spent the next week being monitored and cared for. During that time I was constantly supervised by a specialist who managed to reduce the swelling and kept me on anti-inflammatory drugs for the next 2 weeks. I then had to book appointments with him, where I visited him twice over the period of 3 months where he checked to see how my heart was recovering.

So out of this, how much did I have to pay?
Calling out an ambulance costs $40.
Spending a week in the hospital, all the examinations, meetings with specialists and medication I received during that time: $0.
Two weeks worth of medicine after checking out: $10.
Two follow up meetings with the specialist: $50.
I now have a 50% discount card if anything else happens to me for the rest of the year.

From this personal experience of mine, I can do nothing but give this system an arousing thumbs up. But like I said, it's my personal experience. Sometimes people have to wait wait and wait, be misdiagnosed somehow and become sufferers of malpractice or be treated by a nurse or doctor who's having a particularly bad day. This happens everywhere, no matter how “perfect” the health care supposedly it nad these are the people who say that the system is terrible and should be changed, because their personal experience from the time they visited was negative.

The healthcare system where I live is far from perfect. While it may specialize in treating physical ailments as speedily as possible, it sorely lacks in the mental health department. Hopefully it is something that will be eventually fixed but until then, cancers and heart problems will receive all of its attention, those damn attention hogging ailments.

In the long run what matters most is that the health care should be able to take care of as many people as possible as efficiently. It should always be open to a reform as long as it can be proven that the new way is beneficial to everyone. Someone who thinks otherwise and wishes to call me a Nazi because of that should take a long hard look at himself in the mirror.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
El Cid at 3:09PM, July 11, 2010
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Great post, PP. The only thing I'd criticize though is your assertion that health care is a right. It isn't a right. It's a service, and nothing more. And one way or another you pay for it. I'm pretty sure that when Seventy2 mentioned having “good coverage,” he meant that he has good private insurance, probably through his job, rather than that he actually can afford the out-of-pocket expenses, and that's pretty much the case with me too. I'm not by any means wealthy, but I do have decent insurance, and I've never had to pay more than a once-a-year $150 deductible, and that was for some pretty extensive dental surgery.

When you say your medical care didn't cost you anything, that's also not true. You (or if not you, then some other citizen) paid for it with your taxes, just as I pay for my coverage through medical insurance deductions from my paycheck (some of which also goes to our own socialized medicine programs). So in effect, we both have the same thing, except your money's going to a government bureaucracy and most of mine goes to a private bureaucracy. I can see the other point you were getting at, but personally I don't see a private bureaucracy as being any worse in practice than a government one, and Americans in general have a history of being averse to centralized control. Just my observations there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
seventy2 at 4:35PM, July 11, 2010
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El Cid

Mine is government controlled, contracted out to a Private company, but all doctors and medical workers in the facilities are government paid, Whether they are contractors, or military doctors.

I'm not a good debater, i just thought i'd get something started. I used my own examples, because I've had a diverse background of different medical healthcare.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:30PM
Product Placement at 5:02PM, July 11, 2010
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El Cid
Great post, PP. The only thing I'd criticize though is your assertion that health care is a right. It isn't a right. It's a service, and nothing more. And one way or another you pay for it. I'm pretty sure that when Seventy2 mentioned having “good coverage,” he meant that he has good private insurance, probably through his job, rather than that he actually can afford the out-of-pocket expenses, and that's pretty much the case with me too. I'm not by any means wealthy, but I do have decent insurance, and I've never had to pay more than a once-a-year $150 deductible, and that was for some pretty extensive dental surgery.

When you say your medical care didn't cost you anything, that's also not true. You (or if not you, then some other citizen) paid for it with your taxes, just as I pay for my coverage through medical insurance deductions from my paycheck (some of which also goes to our own socialized medicine programs). So in effect, we both have the same thing, except your money's going to a government bureaucracy and most of mine goes to a private bureaucracy. I can see the other point you were getting at, but personally I don't see a private bureaucracy as being any worse in practice than a government one, and Americans in general have a history of being averse to centralized control. Just my observations there.
And when did I say that I didn't need to pay for anything?
I
Where I live our health care is totally socialized. Certain percentage of my taxes goes into maintaining our hospitals. Then, in order to minimize the amount that everyone needs to pay, all hospitals charges a slight service fee for anyone who checks in to mend a bruised wrist, get a flue shot, deal with an ingrown toenail and so on. This service fee is not high (around 20-50 bucks, depending on what you need to have done) and is there to prevent the system to be drained through thousand paper cuts…
I'm fully aware of the fact that I'm prepaying for my service through tax money.

I've seen countless of times a case where the argument is made that if the government privatizes a certain service, it will save so much money and it will benefit the people. Then when a company takes over, it streamlines everything, in order to cut down cost and pockets the excess money. Of course they do that. They have shareholders to take care off.

There are certain things that I believe should be run by the government while other things are more suitable for private industries. Production of consumables, basic and luxury items, various service and similar things are ideal for privatized industries who excel in reacting to supply and demand and when the system works, prices will be kept low, via competitive marketing.

Then comes things that I consider to be essential to our wellbeing. To everyone's wellbeing. Effective policing, fire service and health care are examples of that. These thing should be everyone's right and the only way to ensure that is by having the government maintain these institutes. In order to maintain these services, it becomes everyones duty to chip in, through taxes. Yes, in a system like that, the taxes are higher, but you will be guarantied medical care when you need it. You are lucky that your job provides you with health care coverage but not all employments do. And what about the self employed? What about those who are between jobs?

Maintaining an effective health care is far from cheap but if the burden is shared by everyone, the burden becomes minimal. I say it's cheaper for the average person to include their medical services in taxes as opposed to paying for an insurance company that may or may not cover you when the need arrives. If god forbids, I will never find myself critically sick or injured and I can rest happy knowing that a part of my tax money will help save someone's life.
seventy2
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Stick around. You're bound to get good at it in the end.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
El Cid at 8:45PM, July 11, 2010
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You shouldn’t lump policing, firefighting, and health services in with each other. Police and firefighters are essential to maintaining a society so that it can function. Health services are a personal concern that could at best be considered a quality-of-life issue. They’re a luxury. Doctors don’t save lives; they prolong them, often well beyond their useful shelf-life has expired. Now that’s a great service to have available to you, but people who either can’t afford it or for whatever reason don’t have good enough or any health coverage are in no way entitled to it, and I feel no obligation to pay for other people’s luxury services. That’s about as simply as I can sum up my stance on the issue. I don’t view the government’s role as being everybody’s fairy godmother. I understand that people who feel otherwise believe they’re doing good, and utilizing the government apparatus to do so is an unparalleled opportunity to do such in a big way, but to me it all smacks of excess and abuse.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
Product Placement at 10:11PM, July 11, 2010
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How is it abusive to treat those who need healing? If you do not wish it, you have the right to refuse treatment but overwhelming majority will undoubtedly ask for it. A healthy nation is more productive. A pro-active health care that exercises premeditative care to improve and prolong our lives, benefits everyone. Sure, before basic health care, we had functional societies but with citizens with a 40-50 year average lifespan. Today, people at that age are still in their prime.

It was decided not long ago that education was everyones right, not luxury. I say that the same thing applies to medicine.

That is my stand on the issue.

I guess on those grounds we can agree to disagree.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
ozoneocean at 10:34PM, July 11, 2010
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El Cid
You shouldn’t lump policing, firefighting, and health services in with each other. Police and firefighters are essential to maintaining a society so that it can function. Health services are a personal concern that could at best be considered a quality-of-life issue. They’re a luxury. Doctors don’t save lives; they prolong them, often well beyond their useful shelf-life has expired.

Wow. I don't want to live in your personal reality.
You're wrong anyway, even in the US. As far as I know doctors in the emergency room can't refuse treatment to people, even if they do have to pay for it through the anus afterwards.
Still, the idea that social order and protection of property are more important than human life smacks of a particular sort of outlook…
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
MicMit at 11:04PM, July 11, 2010
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Personally I believe that both private and government options should be avaiable, but it's a fools dream if you're under the opinion that the two can and should provide equal service, it simply can't happen.

The whole reason to have private companies to provide competition for better prices and services. If suddenly faced with a system that provides the same service for nothing (directly, it is paid indirectly) then the the private companies have no room to compete except in as you say “overseas insurance” and very few people are going to have any need for that service. The private companies simply aren't going to survive with just that.

Health Insurance is not a necessity as is any other insurance, and nobody has a right to have it, nor should they be required to have it. The only exception i can think of is car insurance, but that's a reliability factor so the guy who just plowed into you can't just give you an IOU and slip away.

That being said, if you do choose to have health care you're going to get what you pay for. If you're going to have a government sponsored healthcare, you should expect the bare minimum level of care.

Think of it like the equivalent of the united states post office. It is arguably the worst delivery system in America, but it is the cheapest. Meanwhile other delivery businesses thrive because they provide a better service for a just a little more. (I'd also like to note that one turns a profit while the other doesn't, which is something to keep in mind)

Also in every circumstance i think of, where government fully takes over the the health care and insurance system, you will still find that the one's with the money will get better care. When everyone with the same problem gets put on the same waiting list, those with money will seek other means. For instance, many from Canada seek healthcare here in America because if they show the doctors they have the money they'll get care much sooner than in Canada.

If somebody has the money, has the means, in order to pay for the service they are in need of, why should they be forced to wait for the people who do not have the means.

You might argue that that system favors the wealthy, but I think you're ignoring a major element, which is they end up saving more lives. Health care procedures cost money, and doctors have to maintain their businesses. If they're busy pushing people through several levels of government bureaucracy more people end up suffering.


Which brings me to one last point, why must health care be so ultimately tied with health insurance? If you really want to make health care cheaper for more people, how about trying to actually make health care cheaper rather than figuring out how to get more money to the people for the same expensive services. At least in America, if you have health insurance they are unquestionably charged first, and the patient pays the difference. Yes, healthcare is expensive thus naturally we like to see the edge of taken off, but it's a double sided blade. Because health care is expensive, we use insurance, but because we use insurance doctors can then charge whatever they want because they know it will get paid by the insurance company, thus keeping health care expensive.

On the other hand, if we change up the rules, and instead encourage people to pay upfront out of their own wallet specifically on smaller things like check-ups and such, you will make doctors more competitive. Doctors won't have the safety net of insurance companies, so they will try to keep their prices as low as possible to bring in more patients. More steps will be taken to make procedures and machinery cheaper and more efficient. Ideally, this would lead to you only requiring health insurance come a day when you need major surgery, if not eliminate the need all together.


last edited on July 14, 2011 2:01PM
BffSatan at 12:36AM, July 12, 2010
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Oh, but don't you all know? Socialised health care makes you an Hitler.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
El Cid at 6:17AM, July 12, 2010
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Product Placement
…I guess on those grounds we can agree to disagree.
Agreed. I think when you have fundamentally different views on just what constitutes a right and what the role of government even is, it's impossible to come to any kind of consensus without first reconciling those basic tenets.

I will say however that I don't particularly mind having a government-run health care system IF only the people who opted to use it had to pay for it and if in some way it could be done without affecting the private health insurance industry with its gravitational pull. I'm not personally sure that this is possible, but if it were you'd hear no objections from me!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
El Cid at 6:18AM, July 12, 2010
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ozoneocean
Still, the idea that social order and protection of property are more important than human life smacks of a particular sort of outlook…
It's not a matter of them being more important, Ozone. It's just a matter of whose responsibility they are.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
imshard at 1:19PM, July 12, 2010
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I come from the thought that socialized heath care is yet another band-aid temporary fix to a broken medical system. Costs are too high, some personnel are overpaid, others hardly get paid at all and its stuffed to the brim with lawsuits both practical and frivolous, most regulations are conflicting and suffocating, and costs are artificially set too high BY LAW in most instances.

To me the real fix involves giving the involved companies and care providers power to reorganize themselves and drive down costs in a true competitive fashion rather than the bastardized system of set prices and regulation that gave us the current predicament. Honestly it all comes down to costs and if the costs were lower none of this would be a problem. There are better ways to lower costs than overreaching laws and current business practices which have consistently failed for decades.

In the US the new public health care bill was written with good intent I'm sure, but in the end its provisions mostly end up gutting existing insurance companies without providing for everyone's actual care. Predictions hold that even less people will be covered as private companies realize its cheaper to accept a fine to not cover their employees than actually buy coverage for them.
IF I were cynical I'd say that it was just a creative way to create a new tax under the guise of Fines, but I'm not ;).

As for public health care itself? In concept its nice, but I don't think its the duty of government to administer it. Sorry I just don't. Don't get me wrong; I'd love it if the countless poor and downtrodden could get health care, but its not the government's job. Also a system like public heath care created in wealthy small countries scaled up to 311 million people (official population, add ~20 million to account for immigrants), is a hard trick to pull even if you have unlimited resources.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:59PM
ozoneocean at 10:40PM, July 12, 2010
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As for public health care itself
The reality is Imshard that most wealthy 1st world countries in the developed world have public healthcare systems and those all work pretty well. Whatever “issues” and problems they have are small potatoes compared to the failings more broadly throughout the mainly private system in the US.
As far as I know the US is the only wealthy first world country that has such a majority private system.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
BffSatan at 11:46PM, July 12, 2010
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I find this debate hard to relate to. In Australia this isn't even a topic for discussion, liberal, conservative, pretty much everyone is against privatized health care. If someone like Glenn Beck showed up hear ranting about how socialising anything is equivalent to the holocaust, he'd be laughed off as a nutcase.
It's the same in pretty much every country with some form of socialised health care.
The only time ever in history for a nation to get rid of a universal health system was Australia, but we just brought it back a few years later.
Everyone in the world who has universal health care likes it. All it takes is a look at what other nations are doing for America to realise that it isn't the horrible thing it's been made out to be by the conservative media.

Honestly, it just seems crazy to even be having this debate. I'd feel the same as if this argument was about giving women the right to vote.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:21AM
mlai at 1:28AM, July 13, 2010
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@ MicMit:

On the other hand, if we change up the rules, and instead encourage people to pay upfront out of their own wallet specifically on smaller things like check-ups and such, you will make doctors more competitive. Doctors won't have the safety net of insurance companies, so they will try to keep their prices as low as possible to bring in more patients. More steps will be taken to make procedures and machinery cheaper and more efficient.
You fall under the uninformed impression that doctors are fatcats like bankers and politicians. Sure, some are rich, particularly the older ones. But the profession as a whole are service professionals. Doctors have traditionally been the class targeted by everyone from the government to the lawsuit-happy layman, because they happen to be the upper-middle class without the corresponding political clout.

How are doctors supposed to be competitive? Do they dictate the prices of medication? The cost of medical equipment? Do you know how much a filing cabinet costs just because it has the word “medical” in front of it? How about the cost of malpractice insurance, you think they dictate that? Why do you think many doctors work such long hours and see so many patients? You think intelligent highly-trained service professionals like to work at nights and weekends?

"Doctors won't have the safety net of insurance companies"? So you think insurance companies cuddle doctors too much? Have you been living in a cave? If anyone knows how to squeeze doctors dry it's insurance companies. Do you know that doctors hire dedicated staff whose only job is to haggle with insurance companies on the phone, all day long? Do you know that doctor who are too poor to hire such staff, devote a certain day a week to not working but just dealing with insurance companies so that he can get paid something (never everything) for his work?

You want prices lower? Target Big Pharmacy, Big Insurance, and Big Medical Equipment. But guess what, you won't get anywhere. Their Washington lobbies are too big for you.

Mostly I agree with IMShard.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
bravo1102 at 4:44AM, July 13, 2010
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As someone who has fought tooth and nail with health insurance companies, and know the alternative… Fighting an insurance company is a lot easier than fighting the government because you can always report the insurance company to government regulators. If the Government messes up your health care who do you go to? Ever try suing the government about health care? !lol

In the USA Medicare and the VA are government health care and neither system works well as private providers. Want to see pure apathy? Go to the VA for treatment. Announce to your health care provider that you are on Medicare. You can't fight them or appeal if you have no alternative. I can scream at my provider then threaten them with the NJ Insurance board and I get results. My docotrs all have large staffs who fight the Insurance companies for their patients. If it was one government administration? The MVC or DMV running healthcare, and in the USA that is how it would be. The Gov't takes over anything and it morphs into that.

I envy those of you in nations with first rate government health care but the USA could never administer it as well as Ghana let alone Australia. Mlai and imshard know what they are talking about as far as this goes in the USA. Iceland and Australia I envy you not having to deal with the idiocy that only an American beaurocrat can create. It was an American who created the term SNAFU and FUBAR to describe government administration.
It just wouldn't work in the USA.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
ozoneocean at 5:39AM, July 13, 2010
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bravo1102
I envy those of you in nations with first rate government health care but the USA could never administer it as well as Ghana let alone Australia. Mlai and imshard know what they are talking about as far as this goes in the USA. Iceland and Australia I envy you not having to deal with the idiocy that only an American beaurocrat can create. It was an American who created the term SNAFU and FUBAR to describe government administration.
It just wouldn't work in the USA.
That's because people are approaching it from the wrong direction. i.e corporate is the gold standard, government is inefficient and bad, profit is the only worthwhile motivating factor that can really exist etc.

I think you're right in one way: Americans in general come from a completely different perspective in the very genetics of their system. In a land where you even elect police officials in small towns… well, it's a very different sort of world.
In the rest of the world healthcare is only administered by the government in an overarching way. “Socialisation” is completely the wrong term and was obviously only used to create a certain sort of negative impression.

What it means on the ground in Australia is that individuals don't rack up personal costs that make them bankrupt when they have a sudden serious medical issue- or leave their families seriously in debt when they die. Healthcare is NOT free here, you can still pay and pay and it can be very expensive, but only relatively, not as expensive as a brand new car for example. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Product Placement at 7:57AM, July 13, 2010
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imshard
I come from the thought that socialized heath care is yet another band-aid temporary fix to a broken medical system. Costs are too high, some personnel are overpaid, others hardly get paid at all and its stuffed to the brim with lawsuits both practical and frivolous, most regulations are conflicting and suffocating, and costs are artificially set too high BY LAW in most instances.
I can't help smirk at this comment because where I come from the thought about privatized health care is pretty much exactly like that.

I was once married to an American. Her father was an accident lawyer. His job was to fight on the behalf of people who had been in accidents and had been refused coverage from the insurance companies that they subscribed to. In fact, he himself gave me examples of clients who just got themselves in an accident and contacted him just after or even before they call 911 because their experiences from previous accidents had made them firmly believe that they were going to have problems getting the insurance company to pay the bill. How fucked up is a system, where you need to call a lawyer before you contact the hospital?

Ozone is right. America is the only developed nation in the whole world that doesn't have a nation wide health care. Clearly the other nations must be doing something right, or they would have looked at embracing the alternative. I don't see why it shouldn't work in the states.
Of course, a government that can't run a proper health care will have a shitty health care and if the US government is going to half ass it, then you'll have yet another to complain about how shitty our socialistic ways are.

In all honesty though, this whole thing just rings of old anti-communistic propaganda. There used to be the times when the Kremlin from behind the Iron Curtain was the embodiment of all that was wrong with the world while the good old American Capitalism was the magic fix for everything. There are things that Capitalism can do better then Socialism. Then again there are things that Socialism can do better then Capitalism. To completely shut down one, in favor of the other is a mistake. It's inefficient.

And if the government is not doing its job right then by god, it should be fixed. It's “By the people. For the People” not “By the Government. For the Government.”
If America has lost that much faith in their leadership, then the solution isn't to sulk and think that they can't do anything right to begin with. To quote Peter Finch in the movie Network: “You've got to get mad”. You have to give the government a reason to fear you. To fear the wrath of the nation. You need a million man march, comprising of 10 million people. You need to say that the system is broken and that it needs to be fixed. Failure to do so will doom the nation for if the people don't trust their leaders then the leaders are not representing the people. This has nothing and everything to do with health care. This concerns every aspect of your society. The time to shake up governments has come.

And don't think I'm saying this only to sit quietly on my ass after a speech like that. I'm mad as hell at how piss poorly our banks did when they damn near bankrupted my entire nation in just 10 short years after being privatized and how my government utterly failed in preventing it. I am doing something about it. I am giving my leadership a reason to fear me. I and all like minded people have to band together and make sure that the system works, one way or another. I will admit though that launching movements like this is far easier in a small community like Iceland but the Strength of large countries like America is that you have plenty of people. You can make one heck of an impressive force if they answer the rallying call. If you can form a “tea party” out of all the socialist haters at a moments notice, imagine how large of a crowd you can form from those who are sick of the current system.

I'm going to stop now before I get really carried away and say something akin to “I'm Product Placement and I'm running for president.”
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
blindsk at 1:39PM, July 13, 2010
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Product Placement
I was once married to an American. Her father was an accident lawyer. His job was to fight on the behalf of people who had been in accidents and had been refused coverage from the insurance companies that they subscribed to. In fact, he himself gave me examples of clients who just got themselves in an accident and contacted him just after or even before they call 911 because their experiences from previous accidents had made them firmly believe that they were going to have problems getting the insurance company to pay the bill. How fucked up is a system, where you need to call a lawyer before you contact the hospital?

From my experience, I agree, insurance companies have always seemed to do more harm than good in this type of coverage. I think we can do without them in most emergency situations.

Whether you believe in statistics or not, most people won't find themselves in a life-threatening circumstance until much older (cardiac arrest). Insurance is nice to be able to depend on for those unfortunate cases. For everything else, it just seems to get in the way. I can't even call up my doctor and find out the cost it took to repair my broken leg (or other injury or concern).

The most common doctor visit is just a routine checkup. I'd like to treat visits like these much like I would when buying video games: support and buy from the service and quality I feel is better. Some might argue that services such as these will be extremely high cost. Maybe at first, but when people actually see a price tag on their visits, they'll give a little more thought as to which doctor to visit.

Call me anti-communist, but I do think this would boost competence a little. Am I paying the same money for some guy that can't get his prescription right as the guy in the other town is paying for the local miracle worker?

Anyway, my whole point here is that I'd like a little more freedom when choosing health care. There's a lot of transactions between the insurance company and my local health institution that I can never see, even if I ask. This is just the US though. Elsewhere I would hope the companies have a little more faith in their customers.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
imshard at 3:28PM, July 13, 2010
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imshard
As for public health care itself
The reality is Imshard that most wealthy 1st world countries in the developed world have public healthcare systems and those all work pretty well. Whatever “issues” and problems they have are small potatoes compared to the failings more broadly throughout the mainly private system in the US.
As far as I know the US is the only wealthy first world country that has such a majority private system.

Dodging my points again I see :p

Look the population of the UK is 61 million, Australia? 21 mill, Iceland? ~300,000. The US population is well over 320 million. Third largest population by country on earth.

And you're telling me that it should be just as easy for a government agency to not only manage, but pay for the care of that many more people? Let alone with the level of care, precision, accuracy, efficiency, and transparency that would be demanded for US citizens?
You may ask; What about the two larger countries that try it? China barely gets away with it and is widely known for its poor health services especially in rural areas. India struggles to provide even basic services and sanitation, while the wealthy and “Medical tourists” get all the advantage of whatever lower costs their system affords. And don't tell me we can afford it where they can't, we like our deficit spending right where it is thank you.

Truly I've studied the available information, I live with medical professionals, and I know firsthand how shoddy medicare and VA are already managed here in the US.
Besides having decided for myself that its not the role of government to provide this kind of service I know it would be a complete boondoggle.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:59PM
MicMit at 4:14PM, July 13, 2010
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"Doctors won't have the safety net of insurance companies"? So you think insurance companies cuddle doctors too much? Have you been living in a cave? If anyone knows how to squeeze doctors dry it's insurance companies. Do you know that doctors hire dedicated staff whose only job is to haggle with insurance companies on the phone, all day long? Do you know that doctor who are too poor to hire such staff, devote a certain day a week to not working but just dealing with insurance companies so that he can get paid something (never everything) for his work?

You want prices lower? Target Big Pharmacy, Big Insurance, and Big Medical Equipment. But guess what, you won't get anywhere. Their Washington lobbies are too big for you.

Mostly I agree with IMShard.

I didn't know about a lot of this, and I'll admit to fair amount of ignorance on the subject. My health insurance is still paid by my parents, so I have really no personal experiences to draw from, and I'm mainly working with what I've heard or read.
That being said, targeting the various medical industries does still fall in line with what I believe, and that's that we should be focusing on actual healthcare prices, and not necessarily health insurance.


I also have one question to the various people who live in countries that provide socialized healthcare. Has been profitable to your country, or at the least has it cut even? Because to me it makes no sense to provide a service to people, no matter what you're beliefs, that a country simply cannot afford. Perhaps in times of great surplus, a country may have extra money to throw around provide greater benefits, but that's not the case in America. We don't have any extra money, we in fact are massively in debt, and it makes no sense for us to take on more debt for service that we've managed to survive without for nearly 300 years.

At least here we have yet seen an idea that makes this profitable, so I want to know if that's not the case in other countries.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:01PM
ozoneocean at 8:28PM, July 13, 2010
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imshard
Look the population of the UK is 61 million, Australia? 21 mill, Iceland? ~300,000. The US population is well over 320 million. Third largest population by country on earth.
Oh pish Tosh Imshard! You know that's totally fatuous.

The US is an extremely wealthy country, far wealthier than any of those smaller countries -even if we measure things out relativity. And many, many times more wealthy than either India or China relative to population size.
As far as administration is concerned, your government manages collecting taxes well enough and that is the level that government intervention in public healthcare works. Hospitals and doctors etc. are not directly overseen by the government in good public healthcare systems.
MicMit
I also have one question to the various people who live in countries that provide socialized healthcare. Has been profitable to your country
We don't have socialised healthcare, we have Public healthcare.
Why would it be set up to provide a profit? I'm afraid your philosophy on this is at extreme odds with the very idea of this sort of system.

Haha, I don't think I can participate further in this, I'm not equipped to argue competing radically different philosophies that oppose each other on such a fundamental level. It'd be like trying to teach running to a fish. :)

All I can do is outline the philosophy (as I see it), behind public healthcare:
Good public health is a right, not a privilege. Public health is on the same level as police and fire services and on the same level of national importance as defence.- as such profit is not a motivating factor, but care is. That said, everything should be done to maintain costs at reasonable levels and systems should be reviewed constantly toe make sure there's no drop off in quality of care.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
Product Placement at 8:42PM, July 13, 2010
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MicMit
At least here we have yet seen an idea that makes this profitable, so I want to know if that's not the case in other countries.
Socialized health care is not designed to be profitable. It's design to share the burden of treatments amongst everyone. Thinking in terms of profits is corporate thinking.

Like I said before, governments are supposed to think for their people while companies are supposed to think about profits. A government is considered to be doing things right when the majority of people are happy. The more people are pleased with what they're doing, the better, since it affects if they get to keep their job. An insurance company is deemed successful if the income they receive from selling coverage is greater then the amount they need to pay out in treatments. The greater the difference, the better, since they have shareholders to think off.

A government running a social healthcare will allot a certain budget based on the estimated cost of running it. If it goes under that, the excess money is not considered to be profits. It's just surplus money that's used to pay down the budget in a department that went over its budget, pay down national debt or even put into tax refund. Therefore, you will never, ever hear about a government that's profitable. It just not designed to think like that. It's not supposed to think like that.
imshard
Look the population of the UK is 61 million, Australia? 21 mill, Iceland? ~300,000. The US population is well over 320 million. Third largest population by country on earth.

And you're telling me that it should be just as easy for a government agency to not only manage, but pay for the care of that many more people? Let alone with the level of care, precision, accuracy, efficiency, and transparency that would be demanded for US citizens?
And I suppose that the fact that this also means that you have the third biggest source of taxpayers is going to hinder you from funding it?
How on earth does the government maintain the school system? The fire department? The police? The military? Clearly, it can't since the states has over 300 million people.

But I digress.

It can do it quite easily. Why do you think your country is broken down into states? So that it can have a multiple bodies, dealing with all the localized issues. If UK can handle socialized health care with its 60 million citizens then California, the most populated state, with it's 37 million people, should be able to do the same.

And finally, I would actually call it quite the compliment if you're saying that China is able to run a barely functional health care. America's tax income from 2008 was 2.8 trillion dollars. China's income from the same year was “only” 924 billion U.S. dollars. That's three times less. China has just shy of 20% of the entire global population. It has over four times the amount of people in the states. It is still considered to be a developing nation. Yes, China has buzzing metropolis now but a good chunk of the country is still underdeveloped. India is even further behind. If they're able to maintain a health care, why can't you?
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
MicMit at 9:19PM, July 13, 2010
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MicMit
At least here we have yet seen an idea that makes this profitable, so I want to know if that's not the case in other countries.
Socialized health care is not designed to be profitable. It's design to share the burden of treatments amongst everyone. Thinking in terms of profits is corporate thinking.

Like I said before, governments are supposed to think for their people while companies are supposed to think about profits. A government is considered to be doing things right when the majority of people are happy. The more people are pleased with what they're doing, the better, since it affects if they get to keep their job. An insurance company is deemed successful if the income they receive from selling coverage is greater then the amount they need to pay out in treatments. The greater the difference, the better, since they have shareholders to think off.

A government running a social healthcare will allot a certain budget based on the estimated cost of running it. If it goes under that, the excess money is not considered to be profits. It's just surplus money that's used to pay down the budget in a department that went over its budget, pay down national debt or even put into tax refund. Therefore, you will never, ever hear about a government that's profitable. It just not designed to think like that. It's not supposed to think like that.

OzoneOcean
Good public health is a right, not a privilege. Public health is on the same level as police and fire services and on the same level of national importance as defence.- as such profit is not a motivating factor, but care is. That said, everything should be done to maintain costs at reasonable levels and systems should be reviewed constantly toe make sure there's no drop off in quality of care.
I may have phrased my question poorly. I was not insinuating that health care should exist for the sake of making profit. What I was saying was that health care costs money, a lot at that. I couldn't pull out the numbers right now, but I think it's safe to assume, just out of shear scale that it would be far more expensive than fire and police services. The costs from health care have to be paid from somewhere. That place is obviously from taxes. So I guess my question is, are the taxes covering the costs.
Because if it isn't, the only way for countries, especially now, to pay for it, is through borrowing. Excessive borrowing is what caused this economic mess.
This is not to say, that a system couldn't exist that pays for the costs, but I have yet to see it, and I'm curious whether such a plan actually even exists yet! Seriously I'm curious, if it does, then we can start to have a real conversation about a person's right to health care.
But for me, a simple fact remains: If you can't afford the good health care, you cannot get good health care, and this exists on all levels, from the private individual to the massive government.

Edit:
I also want to add there are actually great reasons that you want a government-run health care system to profit. Here's 3 right off the top of my head:
1. You can lower taxes. If their excess, rather than just letting it sit, you can give it back to the people. However on an individual basis this would probably not be much.
2. Expand the program. If you have extra money that is money that can be spent to provide even better health care
3. Move the money to other areas and services. This is money that can be spent expanding other programs and help pay off debts.
All end with benefiting the citizens of the country
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:01PM
Product Placement at 10:03PM, July 13, 2010
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I've mentioned before that public health care is run on tax income from the nation running it. The same is going to apply to the States.

Yes, public health care costs. There's no denying that. The money has to come from somewhere. That can either be achieved by reorganizing the entire national budget so that enough money is freed to be put into the health care or raise taxes. Possibly both. Borrowing the money is obviously not going to work.

I know, as soon as I mention the word “Tax raises” allot of people will groan. However, we're talking about a tax increase, meant solely for funding a health care. Aren't both companies and many individuals already paying huge fortunes into insurance companies? If that suddenly becomes unnecessary, then I wouldn't worry that much about the taxes.

This does raise one concern though. There already is an established, thriving structure of large insurance companies and privatized institutes that rely on the current system in America. Naturally, you can't go and just knock down the foundation of that just like that. It would destabilize the market, cause large insurance corporation to go bankrupt and make countless of people unemployed (just think about all the lawyers who'd starve (on second thought, don't. It might encourage you to wanting it more)).

With the health care reform underway, these questions that you're asking are being currently discussed. The government is trying to figure out themselves how to organize a low cost, effective health care service that is accessible to everyone. One hopes that they will look at their neighbors and see how they've managed to establish a medical system that doesn't burden them, financially or time wise.
Those were my two cents.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:53PM
ozoneocean at 10:15PM, July 13, 2010
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MicMit- The “profit” you're talking about is all about definition. Weather the costs are paid directly by fees, subsidised through taxes, or paid in full through taxes, it's STILL the same money, coming from the same source. The only avenues for “profit” are if you increase user fees, get in patients from other countries, or shave off costs from consumables and equipment. All those are temporary or very minimal.
Public healthcare simply spreads the costs more evenly across all the community. It cannot run on a profit -unless do a sideline in other services- like selling pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to foreign markets. It's a closed system.

Defence is a massive consumer of national wealth. In the US the military doesn't make any profit. Would you expect it to? The industries that supply it do… and then they don't. The fact is that you as a tax-payer are paying for a lot of (not all) the “profit” made by McDonnell Douglas, Bell Systems, Haliburton, Boeing etc.

Government doesn't have to borrow to afford health, they just have to make sure they have enough in taxes to cover costs. Like they do with Defence.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
blindsk at 1:13AM, July 14, 2010
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ozoneocean
Good public health is a right, not a privilege. Public health is on the same level as police and fire services and on the same level of national importance as defence.- as such profit is not a motivating factor, but care is. That said, everything should be done to maintain costs at reasonable levels and systems should be reviewed constantly toe make sure there's no drop off in quality of care.

That's a good point. I think it's valid to state that public health is indeed, a right.

But…profit not a motivating factor? I have to disagree on this point.

Personally, I'd love to be able to do what I can and provide aid to all people in need of medical attention. But I certainly don't have the skills to properly diagnose or treat patients.

Not to discredit the honorable women and men that do their part in their respective uniforms. Their services are invaluable.

But when it comes to practicing medicine, there's a great deal more discipline that go into the studies. In fact, it's considered a science. Because of this, I feel there's more dissonance between practiced and underqualified hands. Call doctors elitist pigs if you want, but I feel like there's a reason they're speaking out (at least in the US) against universal health care. The quality and incentive will just decline if the government takes over. As of right now, they have little way of differentiating the more qualified doctors from the less qualified ones with the bill. Insurance also does this.

This to me makes it difficult to put this in the same league as other public services. It isn't pretty, but I feel it's the option that will get the most out of providing sufficient health care. The institutions can do everything in their power, but you have to consider how things will end up on the smaller scale.

Providing equal health care for all is ideally an amazing idea, if it actually can be implemented.

Maybe one day the human race will evolve to act as a single unit.

For Aiur!

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
El Cid at 5:16AM, July 14, 2010
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blindsk
That's a good point. I think it's valid to state that public health is indeed, a right.
No it isn't! Based on what? Health care is a luxury that you're supposed to pay for. It is a quality of life issue. You do not need publicly administered health services for everybody in order to keep the population reasonably healthy through their productive years and you don't have a right to live to be ninety-nine years old. I definitely can understand why the idea sounds tempting, but that doesn't mean you should get carried away and start saying you have a God-given right to it! That just comes completely out of thin air. It's baseless rhetoric.

If you want to be in favor of something, that's fine, but be honest about it. Discuss the actual benefits of the policy insofar as utilitarian benefits like cost and quality of service, that kind of thing. Sell it honestly. Don't come out of the blue and start saying “This is my right and I demand what I'm owed,” when you really mean “this is something I want and I need to convince you it's the best option.” I much prefer your latter statement, that providing equal health care is “ideally an amazing idea,” which is a more accurate depiction of reality.

And I know you weren't personally advocating; I'm just trying to point out a pitfall of terminology. It's all too easy for people to fall into the trap of calling things a “right” which are in fact a privilege. We can't just call anything a right because we think it's a good idea. It distorts the dialogue.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM

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