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OT: Universal Healthcare

okay, so help me out here...

my feeling on U.H. is:

1. More Bureaucrats - The government bureaucracy is already way too big, why make it WAY bigger with U.H.? Because they have done such a good job with ____?
2. Higher Taxes - "free" healthcare is just taking money from me and giving it to someone I don't even know in Alaska who is pretty much where I am at - why do we need more of that? I am lower middle class.
3. Policed Charity - Isn't State enforced charity a Marxist principle? - (I think charity should come locally and from the heart, not the point of a gun.)
4. Let me BUY your vote - This just feels wrong in a campaign, it seems like "hey blue collar worker - vote for me and I will force the rich people to give you their cash - remember, me = cash"

am I missing something here people please help me understand, I really want to know why so many think this is a good idea...

Fri. May 9, 5:37pm

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I'm with you 100% but I'm afraid there are a lot of people that support U.H.

They don't look at all the failed government programs mostly becuase it is kept very hush hush. More government is not the answer because I believe they will just mess it up!!! Let me spend my money how I choose, I don't need the government to spend it for me!

*And I'm lower middle class, pay for my own healthcare*

Friday, May 09, 2008, 6:55 PM

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I have some experience in this area, in the healthcare industry. It is a complex problem. In general, socialist models don't work, and free market ones do. But there is a role for the government to provide gaps where the market does not work.

The reality of healthcare is that it is already controlled by the government. They set prices for Medicare and Medicaid, and these prices are followed by the insurance companies.

There are issues with both access to care, as well as quality of care. Quality of care is an equally big problem as access to care is, but VERY FEW people talk about it. There are good doctors and ones with lesser ability and experience. There are excellent doctors who are hard to get to sometimes, and who increasingly DON"T TAKE INSURANCE. No amount of universal coverage is going to get you to see these guys. You have to pay market rate. Which is more than the insurance companies reimburse them. And it is often well worth it.

There are wide variations in medical quality in hospitals and institutions as well. Hospitals like to market themselves as being universally great, and while there are top notch hospitals, care levels vary widely even within departments

The difference in the qualtiy of medical care between rich and poor is surprisingly small. Rich people get killed by the medical system just like poor people do.

As doctors and hospitals get exposed to people shopping for higher levels of quality care, they will be forced to improve their services. I think this might be happening. However, many doctors and hospitals hide behind insurance companies.

Most doctors think that medical care is a basic human right, and most are very caring people. The challenge from a policy perspective is to craft rules that maximize the positive effect of the free market (this will improve quality) and at the same time ensure people have access to care. My thinking is that widening existing medicare and medicaid services to children and the low income at the state level is a good idea- maybe with some federal funding. If we can fight trillion dollar wars, I think it might be possible to find a few dollars for this.

The other big issue in healthcare is prevention. People need to be humanely incentivized to make better health choices. Doctors need to do a better job at this as well. Too often they just throw a perscription for a symptom, rather than explore the underlying causes. Often poor diet is at the root of many health problems, and we tend to exacerbate things by just having people take pills. Often a heavy dose of fruits and vegetables can do wonders- but most doctors do not think that nutrition can play a role in disease reversal. Some guys like Mehmet Oz and Joel Furhman are leading the medical community in pointing out how food can cure disease. Dr Fuhrman has cured Lupus in several patients recently with his diet, to the total disbelief of other doctors. They still don't believe it.

A lot of what I have learned about the medical field has come from working with doctors in the context of PEERtrainer, in particular the ones who founded Oxford Health. It is a very broken system right now, but there are tons of doctors in this country who take their oath very seriously. The biggest problem that I became aware of was the one of medical quality. It is a major issue. Our healthcare system basically kills the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people each day via preventable medical errors.

pt co-founder

Friday, May 09, 2008, 7:00 PM

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I would love UH! I have been without healthcare for about 5 years. My husband and I are finally getting healthcare through his job, but that's still going to cost us. I think UH works in other countries. Why not ours? Always knowing that you and your family are completely taken care of in a time of need, that sounds amazing! I'd be willing to pay into that.

Friday, May 09, 2008, 7:55 PM

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PP - you are very silly. Did you read my questions ?


Sunday, May 11, 2008, 10:31 PM

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Hi OP I wrote this on another thread:

am Canadian and our health care system is excellent, I truly believe in it.

When my sister had cancer she was getting chemo at a cancer centre in Toronto called Princess Margaret. Her husband's family were from the US, and they insisted she get a second opinion from a top Cancer Hospital in New York. They believed that Canadian health care must be inferior because it is socialized.

The physicians in New York examined my sister and told her that not only do the agree with everything the Oncologists at Princess Margaret had diagnosed her with - they also told her Princess Margaret is one the leading and most respected Cancer Hospitals in the world.

And it was 100% covered by our system. Seriously, there are no cons to socialized health care. Only pros.

And just to add: what is that stuff about Marxism and being held at gunpoint?

Do they honestly have you that brainwashed?

Sunday, May 11, 2008, 11:28 PM

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1. More Bureaucrats - The government bureaucracy is already way too big, why make it WAY bigger with U.H.? Because they have done such a good job with ____?

Yes - but if the beaucracy works, then why not?

2. Higher Taxes - "free" healthcare is just taking money from me and giving it to someone I don't even know in Alaska who is pretty much where I am at - why do we need more of that? I am lower middle class.

Yes. Definately higher taxes. I know its tough for you to understand - but people pool money together for each, it makes sense. EVERYONE needs health care -- rich and poor - not just people you don't know

3. Policed Charity - Isn't State enforced charity a Marxist principle? - (I think charity should come locally and from the heart, not the point of a gun.)

Its not charity - its a SYSTEM. and WHA??? A gun? Everyone benefits. Why the gun toting?

4. Let me BUY your vote - This just feels wrong in a campaign, it seems like "hey blue collar worker - vote for me and I will force the rich people to give you their cash - remember, me = cash"

Huh? Do middle class people really feel this victimized and threatened?

Sunday, May 11, 2008, 11:34 PM

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How Can You Not Want Universal Healthcare?

It’s interesting because all of the points that have been made against it is the result of fear mongering. Universal healthcare is beneficial to society as a whole.
I am a Canadian, now living in the States, and it disgusts me every time I have to go to the doctor and dole out the $25 co-pay. There is no reason that UH can not be established here (and no there is no "gov't controling the individual" in managing it). It is the health insurance companies that inspire the fear mongering, because they are making a fortune off Americans - do you even realize it?
What needs to be done is to de-allocate funds from the military, that alone will be enough to provide healthcare to everyone without raising taxes.

Take Canada and the UK as examples
You get superb care under the UH plan, no you don't have outrageous wait times. No, the equipment is not antiquated; in the UK you are entitled to FREE medication.

What is everyone so afraid of?

OP you must be living in a cold war bunker to spout those kind of views

Monday, May 12, 2008, 9:26 AM

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I agree 9:26!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008, 9:59 AM

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Daddy will take care of me....

I really do appreciate everyone's input (on both strings) but people are not really addressing the PHILOSOPHICAL issue I am trying to raise here:

I really appreciate 11:34 actually looking at my questions a bit:
(1. Buraucracy DOESN'T work, 2. why should I be forced to be responsible for some slacker I don't know and can't know or HOLD accountable? 3. Yes a GUN, you don't pay your charity - off to Jail, 4. no, but poorer voters are hearing - vote for me - I will give you $$$ - which is true)

I do not want
1. A much bigger goverrnment (the government is NOTORIOUS for waste people! )
2. Another government program to "help" by redistributing wealth
3. A philosophy of "everyone ELSE will take care of me" replacing, "this is America - if YOU work HARD you can make it!"

Let me put it more simply - We already have a great deal of money forcibly taken from us and a lot is "spilled" as it is passed around... should we have more of this... IN AMERICA ? ?


Monday, May 12, 2008, 10:32 AM

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Frankly, I think we NEED a little forced charity in this country. don't delude yourself into thinking that most people give as they should. They don't. People hold onto whatever they have, no matter how much of it is surplus to them when others are in need.

I'm middle class, I have health insurance, and I see no problem in sharing the wealth with those less fortunate. I have students with teeth rotting in their heads, asthma and other chronic illnesses unchecked because their parents work at some mini mart that doesn't offer health benefits and can't afford to pay out of pocket. They're limited by their job choices and I don't think they should be penalized for that. Is that the child's fault?

Monday, May 12, 2008, 10:34 AM

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pp- good question - no not the child's fault it is the parents, and if I bail them out, it is enabling
I just don't think it is the government's job to abolish poverty.

...and Americans are extremely charitable! We already givie in the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS !

Monday, May 12, 2008, 11:37 AM

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Not Always Crystal Clear

What about the average person trying to hang onto what they have and barely making it due to gas prices going up, food prices going up, and not having enough $ to pay for their health insurance anymore.
What happens then?
Well, those are lovely new tanks, Hum-vs, and aircarft the americans have bought .... I paid for it but I don't get to play with any of them ??????? Its my $$$, shouldn't I get a say in how it is spent?

Oh and what about my $$ going to education, day care services .... pre-school, after school programs .... don't I get a say. I DON"T EVEN HAVE KIDS - why do I have to pay for other peoples?

At least UH would be something everybody could use, including myself.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 11:54 AM

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Exactly PP, why do you want to give MORE of your money to things you have NO control over? More government involvement = more taxes and more of your money being spent FOR you. You don't get to choose!

Monday, May 12, 2008, 12:19 PM

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For those of us who are not from the US and have UH, we do not think of this as forced charity. Or charity, period.

We think of it as a system that works for everyone.

I realized reading through the healthcare threads how different Americans think - so health care probably would never work there.

That isn't a judgement, its an observation.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 12:32 PM

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A lot of people are misguided about universal healthcare

There was a great program on PBS' Frontline called "Sick Around the World" (see link below). I encourage everyone who thinks they know both sides of the story to check out that program, to at least get an idea of what you're talking about.

I recently waited six hours with horrible back pain in an emergency room. I pay for my health care. If this was truly a "free market" system, when those who paid would get quicker service, right? If you pay for something, rather than have someone hand it to you for free, you expect to get better, quicker service, eh?

But we don't have a health care system in America. We have a health care _market_. We are consumers of a product. Period.

You might be anti-bureaucracy, but keep in mind that with things like insurance, it's cheaper if everyone chips in to help lower costs.

Lastly, please be aware there is a difference between socialized medicine and universal health care.


Monday, May 12, 2008, 1:03 PM

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What is the scope ?

12:32 - thanks for the perspective...I

You state: "we do not think of this as forced charity. Or charity, period. We think of it as a system that works for everyone."
-okay, exactly - you don't "think" of it that way, but that is what it really is. Isn't it?

I think philosophically the scope of the government should not be to make people give their money for that - we all need police, fire, diplomacy etc...but where do you draw the line - I would say WAY before making me buy a bunch of doctor visits and whatever medicine for everyone else - what is next ? food for everyone, clothes for everyone, a house for everyone - we all "need" that too (even more) ! !


Monday, May 12, 2008, 2:27 PM

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But we're not talking about people trying to milk the system. We're talking about working class people who go to their jobs every day without fail and earn an honest living for their families. Not everyone chooses, or can afford to go to college, so the career paths are limited. "Bailing them out" implies that they're snickering while they take your money, and that's not the people I'm talking about. It's very elitist to think that based on economic level that some people "deserve" health care because they were lucky enough to get a job with benefits and the other people are just SOL.

And while I do acknowledge that we give billions, I was merely responding to the poster who said that it should be up to the individual to contribute, but let's face it, most people wouldn't choose to. Most people would choose a Wii for their kids than to give somebody money for health care. If people gave on their own, there wouldn't be a need to UT. Same as if the government said, "Hey, whoever wants to contribute to the maintenance of the roads, chip in here" Most would walk right by it, so it's built into our taxes because it's a necessary cost. I believe this to be a necessary cost.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 2:55 PM

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okay 2:55, but if I have a necessity but I don't have enough money to buy it myself, then the government should "buy it for me"?
I just don't understand that - why shouldn't they buy my food and clothes and house too? Just because I can't make those things myself and PB&Js would be cheaper if we all bought it together?
or because we are obligated as nice people to make a system to stop people from ever going without anything that they need?

I am not trying to be rude I really want to know, and I am finding this discussion enlightening so I appreciate the insight...

Monday, May 12, 2008, 3:05 PM

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If you have never lived in a country that has UH, then you don't see how it works. It is not about paying for your neighbour it is about paying for yourself. I HATE HATE going to the doctor here in the States, because everytime I do, I have to fork out money for a visit, and this is on top of the plan that I have at work which I also have to pay into.
In Canada, I go to the doctors whether it be for an annual checkup, or the flu. What do I pay? Nothing. I have a mammogram, what do I pay? Nothing. I get cancer (god forbid) I have surgery, I have chemo, I have radiation, and what do I pay? Nothing. Would anybody like to venture what the price tag would be here in the States?

As I keep saying, de-allocate from other areas like the stupid military!!!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008, 3:22 PM

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To answer you question, 2:27, we pretty much draw the line at health care. Its pretty clear. Where I draw live, dental is not covered by UH. How could you possibly be afraid of buying other people's clothes? Who does this?

Are you saying what we "thiink" isn't real? How could you know this?

A lot of people from countries with UH believe it is better for EVERYONE and better for medical research.

My parents, husband and I are pretty well off with professional jobs. And we all think its GREAT to have UH.

I don't understand why that offends people so much.

Seriously, guys. I respect that maybe this system may not be right for your culture/country, but it works for us. Don't apply your mentality to other countries, because the way of doing things, thinking, living can be different in every country

Am I saying its better or worse than what you have? How can I know? Does it work for me, my peers and family and my community? YES.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 4:00 PM

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3:22 - You either buy private health ins. for yourself or are taxed for government health ins. for everyone - either way you don't "pay nothing"

4:00 - I am not saying I am afraid of buying other people's clothes, I am saying if the PRINCIPLE is taxing everyone for what evryone needs, than where do you choose to apply that principle?
As far as "thinking" - whatever your perspective - the reality is that with UH the government is forcing you to be charitable by purchasing medical care for people you don't know whether you want to or not.

woohoo I love this discussion, I know I am still arguing, but I am very gald for the input and I value the other ideas.
I really feel like I can understand the mentality a little better for UH, although still no philosophical reason...

Monday, May 12, 2008, 4:25 PM

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I PHILISOPHICALLY believe that all people have the right to equal health care regardless of their job.

I PHILISOPHICALLY believe the system moves us ahead as a nation in health and research, therefor its not charity, it actually benefits everyone

Monday, May 12, 2008, 4:29 PM

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The governement IS supposed to BE THE PEOPLE. SO how is UH "purchasing" health care for others. We ALL USE IT.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 4:32 PM

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4:29 - A "right" is something you are morally entiteld to like life (the gov. shouldn't kill you for no reason) liberty (the government shouldn't imprison you for no reason) and the pursuit of happiness (the gov. shouldn't STOP you from being able to live a happy productive life for no reason)
How are you born with the moral right to be provided with free bandaids?

4:32 - it is "purchasing" because you are taking money out of your wallet and paying a doctor with it - either privately or corporately - if corporately, then you are purchasing something that you will share which is definitely "purchasing" a medical service for someone else.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 5:08 PM

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4:25 - First of all I know how the system works I am a freakin Canadian. At least my tax dollars were going towards something that I could use, unlike in the almighty States. So when I said I pay nothing it is in direct reference to the procedure that I received. I did NOT get a bill after the fact stating that my stupid insurance company will cover a portion and I am responsible for x- amount.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 5:33 PM

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5:33 I do not understand your words "the procedure that I received" ? what does that mean?

- if you pay (gov.) now or pay (hmo) later -you still pay.

Do you think it is free because it is your tax money?


Monday, May 12, 2008, 5:42 PM

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I agree, regardless of how you pay for it you are paying for it somewhere, taxes, etc.

Let me put a twist on this for some of you: I work in social servies in an inner city. To put it blunt I work in the projects. They are government funded, government run programs that are EXPENSIVE. Guess what? When they were created they were meant to be TEMPORARY. But since those that live there have figured out that they can live for free, collect food stamps to eat for free - A majority of them never get out of the system!!! Why should they? I work with generation after generation of families that abuse the system. They get kicked out of one facility and move to another. If you don't challenge anyone to be better or to strive for more it's human nature not to do it for yourself.

Before everyone jumps all over me: I know it works for SOME. SOME people benefit from the program for a short time and get back on their feet and move on with their lives. But those people are a minority. But look around if you've been to any big city. The projects aren't going anywhere because we've enabled the people that live there for so long they no longer know how to take care of themselves. Can't hold jobs, drop out of school, join gangs. And this is because it is the way they grew up, it's a way of life there. Their parents did the same thing so they don't know any better!

My point is that all this government interference is perpetuating the cycle. At some point people have to take care of themselves. Unfortunately it is not the right of everyone in America to health care as a previous poster stated.

Monday, May 12, 2008, 6:14 PM

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Americans are so brainwashed. The rest of the world giggles

Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 7:47 PM

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You are so right 7:47

Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 7:52 PM

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wow, insightful

well 7:47 I think it is pretty amusing that instead of arguing with the basic idea (that we don't want the government taking our money and spilling it all over as usual as it goes around the table for free bandaids) you resort to childish taunts. Want to join the discussion instead? I would love to hear how you actually argue what you think, because I want to understand a diferent perspective, which is why I started this nice thread.
I think there are some decent logical arguments above as to why UH is a bad idea here but the other side has presented little logical argumentation or engaging debate.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 8:08 PM

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6:14 In total agreement! My Nephew is in the system with 4(one just born) Children getting free Healthcare & Housing. Do you think these children are taken to the Dentist/Doctors? NO!

I don't hear from any of the folks with UH that are dissatisfied?

Britain's Department of Health reported in 2006 that at any given time, nearly 900,000 Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals, and shortages force the cancellation of more than 50,000 operations each year. In Sweden, the wait for heart surgery can be as long as 25 weeks, and the average wait for hip replacement surgery is more than a year. Many of these individuals suffer chronic pain, and judging by the numbers, some will probably die awaiting treatment. In a 2005 ruling of the Canadian Supreme Court, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote that "access to a waiting list is not access to healthcare."


Tuesday, May 13, 2008, 11:21 PM

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No answer yet to the QUESTION...

I still don't hear a logical answer from the pro UH side to the basic question - (Why do we "want the government taking our money and spilling it all over as usual as it goes around the table for free bandaids")

...even Habib, who is obviously quite intelligent states:
“The challenge from a policy perspective is … to ensure people have access to care.”
But that assumes I want the government to be responsible for free band-aids which I don’t
“If we can fight trillion dollar wars, I think it might be possible to find a few dollars for this.”
But that is like saying, “well our family budget is WAY over this month and we’ve spent money on the wrong stuff – screw it – let’s go out to eat…”

Can I get a good logical rebuttal here ?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 11:21 AM

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I don't think there is a logical answer to this question. I definitely understand and appreciate the power of free markets, free people, encouragement of capital formation etc. There is a logic to that approach, and this country is living proof of that thesis.

The reality however is that there are many who view healthcare as a basic human right because of the life and death aspect of it. It is an emotional thing, a values thing. Many doctors I know, and many healthcare executives think there is something to this. So to rephrase slightly, the challenge is helping hone in on the access part of the equation--- without having the anti-markets bridgade destroy the vibrancy of the system. The free market is needed to improve quality of care- I don't think any sane person would dispute the power of the markets to improve products, services, pricing.

What I am arguing here is a nuanced approach, that blends both values, logic and also reality. I also wanted to highlight the quality issue, because very few people discuss it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 11:33 AM

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I think there is a very logical rebuttal. Too many people posting here seem to believe that being uninsured is something that happens to someone else -- someone unworthy, someone unproductive, someone too lazy to get a job.

This is not in fact the case. There are other threads on PT started by people trying to get health insurance, who were working, contributing, taxpaying people. And they couldn't afford the very limited insurance options they had. The hitch is, if you are self-employed or working for or running a small business, you cannot get the big group deals on insurance. In some areas there are organizations which are helping the self-employed and startup small businesses band together to get group coverage. In other areas this doesn't seem to be possible.

Entrepreneurship is a major source of innovation and continued economic growth in the United States. Many programs exist to encourage it. Yet these are all business programs, and fail to recognize that the biggest impediment to people who want to step out and innovate is often that they know that they will end up uninsured or paying four times as much in premiums for radically reduced coverage, at a time when they are often also voluntarily taking a pay cut to get started.

Many of the Americans with no coverage or inadequate coverage are smart, hardworking, middle-class people who are taking on a huge personal economic risk. Universal healthcare would end the penalization of the very people who are doing the most for our long-term economic development.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 11:49 AM

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On the topic of what seem like incredibly long waits for procedures in countries with socialized medicine, I am really jealous of those of you in the United States who can get timely care.

I live in Oklahoma, where there is a physician shortage. A little more than a month ago, I developed acute, truly incredible pain, which became worse and worse as I waited... ....THREE WEEKS... ...for a doctor's appointment, despite my desperately communicating how much it hurt, to more than one physician! It's not as if things are so great In the United States, folks. There's a reason why healthcare costs are driven up by people ending up in the emergency room for relatively minor problems -- or things that could have been relatively minor if they had been treated promptly.

Be honest, the waits here are just as bad as what you are quoting in other countries.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 11:56 AM

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people seem to think that they get an insurance card and all is well. That is not the case, it is an illusion. What I want personally is the ability to buy true insurance- a low monthly thing that protected against catastrophe. And the rest, i'll pay out of pocket, ideally this is tax deductible. But you will find the major insurers do not offer this kind of product at a market rate. There is a reason for this- they want to discourage the adoption of Health Savings Accounts and preserve the cash cow of people paying insurance companies for both insurance and also bill payment.

Image paying someone 25% extra to pay your cable bill. This is what insurance companies do essentially. They do negotiate on your behalf, but this just serves to lower prices which drives out the best doctors from your network.

There is no free lunch here. A socialist system, which is what many on the left want, would simply drive the best doctors out of the system entirely. Most of the great ones are already gone from our existing partially socialized health system.

The ideal health care system, imho, is a robust market in true insurance (for high $ catastrophe), health savings accounts, combined with a robust free market where doctors and hospitals are at the mercy of discerning shoppers.

In addition, this would be augmented by an equally robust state and local effort to ensure people got both insurance and access. We already spend huge amounts on medicare and medicaid. This would address the philosphical/moral part of the equation. Everyone would be happy- the government would do its job and the private sector and markets would work their magic.

Democrats will not let this happen however, because they want more unionized bureaucrats to augment their power base.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 12:08 PM

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thanks for the great thoughts y'all, it looks like mostly anti UH support here...

so 11:49 - you are arguing for UH in saying that because someone is a entrepeneur and in that aspect is supporting the general ecomony that everyone else in the country should therefore be obligated to pay for their healthcare?
- suspect reasoning, but NOT a justification for UH because it would be cheaper & simpler to just give federal dollars to entrepenuers to offset healthcare costs in response to that reasoning. That would be a justification for a Federal Insurance Funding for Entrepeneurs Program, not UH - Right?

11:33 - "there are many who view healthcare as a basic human right because of the life and death aspect of it. It is an emotional thing..." I agree, but first - should government be run on vague feelings or clear logic? and second - food and shelter and clothing are life and death things too, but I don't hear people asking the gov. to buy those things for them.
- but I do appreciate your insight into the idea behind it all...


c'mon people, you can do better than that - bring it on! Let's debate...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 1:48 PM

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I think this whole question needs to be looked at differently. There are a lot of assmptions made when people talk about insurance. In the minds of many, insurance equals health when in reality it is a financial arrangement that allows some access to the medical system.

I think we need to look much broader and not be blinded by this narrow business agreement. What are the steps we can make collectively to bring about better health for all of us?

There are some really exciting things happening on that front. With the advent of social media we are actually talking with each other about those kinds of things. Heath professionals provide some very specific solutions to very specific problems but the reality is WE collectively (that means everyone) hold a bigger vision and we need to talk with each other about that vision.

We do that here on this website.

Doctor's appointments last 10 to 15 minutes and problems are the focus. In community, we can deal with the broader life based issues that truly have the real impact on how healthy we are.

I am convinced that we can shape how medicine is practiced if we do this with each other. Medical professionals work from an algorithm for diagnosing PROBLEMS with health. That is what they are trained to do. We, on the other hand, can talk with each other about things that may fly under the algorithm radar. For example, what was your experience with a particular medical procedure? What was the long term outcome? When populations of consumers compare notes there can be a tremendous impact that may not be seen in a traditional medical setting.

So we need to be doing what we are doing right here. What makes a big difference in how you are feeling, how your energy level is.?

Do I believe in universal health insurance? You bet I do...we are as strong as our weakest links. We need a critical mass of healthy people to make our society work. So the basics need to be covered for everyone, just like universal education and protective services like fire and police. Do these institutions work the way they should? I don't believe they do because we look at the wrong things....we need a much broader vision.

Someone keeps using the word bandaid here. Bandaid seems to be a good word for the way MOST things are working these days. We need to work a lot broader and not just carp with each other about the details and the dollars and cents. Health is so much more than that.

BTW...kudos to Habib for joining in here. Peer Trainer is a good example of the kind of "public heath initiative" we need.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 1:59 PM

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ha ha H2 you are very funny, intelligent thoughts and very interseting indeed (especially regarding preventative healthcare...), but you are still just DEFLECTING my question istead of answering it.

(The thing is I don't want to "collectively" pay for some doctor to spend 15 minutes talking to someone about how they should go for a walk and quit smoking & eating double cheeseburgers which is what you are really talking about when you say, "deal with the broader life based issues")

You say, "So the basics need to be covered for everyone, just like universal education and protective services like fire and police." - but WHY ? ?
Why should I pay for someone elses doctor visits? Should I pay (throught the wasteful government) for their "basic" food and shelter and clothes too?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 2:30 PM

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Very quick answer is you live in society. We would not have roads or bridges or cars for that matter if we did not come together and collectively work for them (money is ONLY liquid work exchange...a forum for exchange).

Health care IS collective too. No matter how things are set up, universal or not, we pay for them. WE are as good off as our neighbors, our communities, our states, etc. If people are in bad shape we all pay. It shows up on other fronts if we aren't covering basic health. There are parts of the world where whole generations have been lost to AIDS because the collective health of the population was not being looked after.

8:08 you are too stuck on the details. Get your eyes out of your wallet and tell us what you would do to make a difference in the health of the people in this nation. Debating has a place but it needs to build to vision or it is a total waste of time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 3:11 PM

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thanks for answering 3:11, very interesting thoughts thank you... I really feel as though I am learning a lot...

but your answer is inaccurate - you state:

"We would not have roads or bridges or cars for that matter if we did not come together and collectively work for them"
- but that is soft thinking - there is a HUGE difference between directly purchasing goods from each other and handing over $ to the government for them to redistribute and spill our "collective work" for us as they see fit.

and you state, "If people are in bad shape we all pay." That is also soft - there is a HUGE difference between a general impact of societal ills and an obligation to have teh government "look after" (prevent) bad things from happening and people from making bad/selfish choices

Can you argue with my simple statement of what UH really is?

My vision is a world in which to a greater extent individuals, families, neighbors, and communities help each other locally and that impulse is not removed by free handouts from a Robin Hood government for every little thing.

I guess that is my real problem is that the UH system is part of a machine that undermines true connecting and enmeshing charity and local love - as 6:14 pointed out.

what will I do ? ? volunteer locally, take care of my family and neighborhood, run a Biggest Loser contest at my office and give to LOCAL charities out of the goodness of my heart like most Americans ($300 BILLION in '07) , not having it squeezed out of me like socialists do. UH is a love killer, motivation killer and money waster.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 4:06 PM

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I know I'm going to be torn up by the almighty OP for not contributing an opinion to her little debate here but I'll explain. Why would I? I've read this entire thread from beginning to end and all I've seen is you simplifying/misunderstanding the arguments of people who are for Universal Healthcare and letting all those that are con UH slip by un-attacked. How can it be that only those who are pro UH use faulty logic? Why would I waste my time explaining myself to you just to be torn down and asked how this justifies band-aids again? Learn how to moderate a debate or keep your comments to yourself. There are so many great opinions here, a real discussion might imerge if you'd quit pretending this is all abut you, OP. Do you even realize how many people are reading this?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 5:25 PM

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ha ha - 5:25 I love it, I am being nice - I just am wanting to have people actually answer the question - that is all. I know I am posting a lot, but hey, weigh-in on it and talk back - I am not being rude or slinging insults or anything. People can take my responses as they will. I am just not satisfied with the non-answers to my question that I am getting. I would hope that a "rebuttal" on a pro UH justification would help us all to strengthen and broaden our opinions on this critical national / international machination.
Can't PT be a forum for a fun debate?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008, 5:39 PM

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On describing UH as 'charity'

Let me give you this easy scenario (fictional dollars)

Sally is a waitress. Her salary never tops 15k. She says tax toward UH
Jane is a lawyer. She make 300,000 K and pays more toward UH. Not half her salary, just higher percentage than Sally.
Sally is in good health most of her life.
Jane gets ovarian cancer at age 40. She receives 3 different types of chemo and radiation.
Her medical bill is hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe more.
Sally has really not taxed the system much.

You, OP, are basing you "philosophy' on the notion that only poor people get sick, and rich people have to help them.

And perhaps where ever it is you live poor people are indeed the sick ones and rich people are in perfect health.

Hmmmm I wonder why.

Thursday, May 15, 2008, 12:16 PM

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that is an interesting scenario, thank you.

That is a very good idea, however, as stated by the World Health Organization: "People further down the social ladder usually run at least twice the risk of serious illness and premature death of those near the top."

I am not rich at all, I only have school debt, but you are right,
I do not like the idea of people with more money than others having their money taken away and given to other people for individual personal services of this type. Especially since lower income people usually have more health risks associated with poor CHOICES, like smoking, drinking, and generally refusing to make healthy lifestyle choices. So the government is taking your money and helping/enabling bad choices with no accountability.

Thursday, May 15, 2008, 1:43 PM

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talking it out...

astonishingly, Air America (liberal talk radio) was / is such a shocking failure and financial joke because any truck driver with an eighth grade education and a cell could mentally wrestle the show's host to the mat using simple straight talk.

hmmm... I am getting the distinct impression that the reverse principle is at play here...

oh and 5:25 – “How can it be that only those who are pro UH use faulty logic?” – Apparently because starting UH in America just doesn’t make sense when you talk it out.

Thursday, May 15, 2008, 3:43 PM

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1:43, While that's an interesting headline, why is it true? Here's one reason: (see link).

The survey, conducted nationally among cancer survivors, asked them when they had sought treatment for symptoms, and if not immediately why not. While "fear" is the leading cause of procrastination, 12% delayed seeing a doctor because they were uninsured or had other insurance problems.

We all know that cancer can be expensive to treat, and very very expensive to treat if it progresses. Delaying diagnosis costs us all money in the end. And just think -- this is a survey of survivors. How many people died because they delayed going to the doctor because of insurance problems? Of course poor people are going to be sicker if they delay getting treatment.

One of my friends, who is covered by her husband's insurance, discovered a breast lump that turned out to be an aggressive cancer. I have no doubt that she is alive because she took immediate action. I truly shudder to think what might have happened if it had turned up before she was married, when she was not so well-insured and might have had second thoughts about going to the doctor.


Thursday, May 15, 2008, 4:14 PM

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The WHO or Forbes are not the places where you want to base all of your health research.

Most "first world western" countries have UH. It works very well. Amazing medical research that contributes to the planet comes out of Europe, Australia and Canada...just to name a few spots.

Costa Rica has UH! (now that is heaven...gorgeous beaches, people, weather...and UH!)

I have never lived in a nation without UH - so I do not want to judge. But from what I am reading from the OP - who is clearly against it, his/her hatred (and I use the word hate on purpose) is based on some fear of poor people taking his/her hard earned money.

It seems like the OP has a fear that people are taking advantage.

But I am being completely and utterly honest with you - it works for all. I wish I could give you all a 5 year pass in what its like to live in a place with universal healthcare, or see what its like to have a loved one gravely ill and having the amazing priveledge of only thinking of them and never EVER bothering with bills or massive medical admin, because they have a card.

I have experienced all of it. All of us that live with UH are so thankful and happy - even the upper class.

Thursday, May 15, 2008, 7:41 PM

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omg, I just read this exhausting thread. One person is dominating the conversation here saying no, and wrong...and I am being nice. I am not hearing much more than that.

No and wrong is not any kind of solution to our health care crisis. Holding a biggest loser contest at the office doesn't help much either. Charity? How are you doing to do that? Tell me how you are going to fix the health care crisis we are in.

Move ahead to something that is truly helpful if you are going to dominate this thread or give other people a chance to shape this into a truly useful conversation.

Here's a concrete suggestion OP...wait for fifteen written responses before you chime in again...then when you do offer something that is truly useful. Editorializing with the same comments is killing the forum.

Another possible suggestion is for the rest of us to ignore you repetitive comments.

This is an important question many people are thinking about, not just one person's gig.

Friday, May 16, 2008, 1:29 AM

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Yes, the OP seems angry and reactionary. Its kind of scary

I am suprised anyone would be so "against" the actual concept of UH.

I can definately see American's saying - "this just won't work in our country - fiscally or socially" but I don't understand getting so caught up in the actual concept.

Something that is so good for the people of a country - proven by studies, life span etc - why get so caught up?

France provides the best health care in the world - and they're UH

The real question should be: How can the health of the people of America truly improve?

Friday, May 16, 2008, 4:58 PM

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I pay taxes for schools I don't use, Police that have never been in my neighborhood and a fire department that has never had to stop my house from burning down. I do it gladly. I pay taxes for a lot of things I'll never use, but that other people need and use daily.

That's how society works. Those who have try and help those who have not. Because in the end, it's not all that hard to suddenly find yourself with nothing.

Why should I pay taxes that help support someone I'll never meet? Because they are doing the same.

If you've got heath coverage through work, you're already paying a tax to a private organization. One who's business goal is to provide you as little coverage as possible and to fight you every step of the way when you make a claim.

Friday, May 16, 2008, 5:16 PM

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