Who is telling the truth - socialized healthcare?

keepitlowJuly 20, 2009

Watched Sicko, a movie about the healthcare mess in the US. It showcased the success of the socialized medicine plans in Canada, the UK and France.

When you bring up this topic in the US, the politicians and TV shows say that these plans in these countries are a mess and no one there can get timely and decent service.

One relative said they had a friend in Canada that was elderly and could not get a knee replacement. She was kept on a waiting list for years. Is this hype or is specialized medical care for the elderly a problem?

Who is telling the truth?

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Hopefully someone from Canada will come on and answer. I bet OJ will. I'll be interested to see what he, and any others, have to say.

I just think that our US current medical system is so tied up into the insurance industry that it's going to take an act of God to get them to let up on the strangle-hold they have on us. I do not believe insurance should be a for-profit industry, especially since we are all scared to death not to have insurance.

When I was a young mother, we didn't have insurance. It cost $8 to go to the doctor. This was when I could earn $4 an hour as a legal secretary. That was around 1975. Now, I would probably earn $12 an hour as a legal secretary, but it costs between $75 to $145 to go to the doctor. You do the math. Somebody's making out like a bandit. You can bet all these insurance companies are running scared, trying to figure out some way they can cash in on a new government plan, like they did with the Medicare drug plan. There was so much hype about that, they were so "concerned" because not everybody age 65 and over signed up. Why should people who don't take many medications pay a premium every month for "insurance" that's not going to pay for the first several dollars' worth of prescriptions, then will pay a percentage for awhile and then stop if you go over? Only those who are taking lots of prescriptions would benefit from this insurance. There are lots of people 65 and over who take hardly any medication at all. They're not stupid, they figured out it was just another way the insurance industry could take advantage of them. I thought it was a pretty dirty deal.

This is how it's done: jack up the price so that when you need services you are hard-pressed to come up with the money to pay for it. In order to protect yourself from losing everything you have to high medical costs, you need insurance. What's next? Beauty shop insurance? Grocery store insurance?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 12:20PM
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A lot of countries have medical systems that seem to function just fine in addition to the ones you list. I'm not saying that we have to do things the same way somebody else does it but there is something to gain by looking at how other people solve problems.

The insurance industry is making plenty of money off of issuing contracts for services they have no intention of honoring when the time comes - that's not insurance!

We need to come up with a system that gives every citizen a basic amount of healthcare, anything outside the basics needs to be covered by insurance. The first step is to separate the idea that health insurance is health care, they are two different things completely.

If the politicians don't want to overhaul the system than I think we need a new "No Fine Print" law. Explain your service in three clear sentences, less than 100 words, or find another way to make your living. Doing business any other way is just scamming the public.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 1:37PM
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TJ, I like your No Fine Print law. I wish it would cover everything! Unfortunatly, Lawyers make the laws,contracts and ageements. I think all the ambiguity is there to confuse the public. Job Security for lawyers and judges.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 2:57PM
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I'm from Canada:

Do we have a few problems with our health care ---yes.
Our biggest problem is lack of doctors and that was caused by some dumb politicians cancelling spaces at medical schools a while back, but that is improving.

As for the woman who waited years for a knee transplant--that I don't believe, months maybe, because the worst cases are takn first. A while back it was worse again from lack of doctors, but again that is getting better too.

I can go to any family doctor I choose and if I am recommended to a specialist I can choose him too.
I pay a small fee in health care premiums. Most tests are covered--there are a few that are not covered but they are not expensive ones and there are others that are covered that get the same results.

MRI's, CAT scans and PET scans are covered but again those that are the most serious are taken first and your doctor decides if you are classed as urgent or if you can wait awhile. I was classed as the least urgent for an MRI recently and I got in with-in 3 weeks.
All doctors visits and basic hospital--ward rooms-- are covered as well as all surgeries and anything else in the hospital. Physiotherapy is not covered unless it has to do with a hospital stay.

I will never be thousands in debt because of medical problems like I know some Americans are.

If you want to know more about wait times or our health care check out the site below.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:21AM
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The reason I know this person didn't wait years for a knee replacement is that health Canada has specified times that it must be done in. The absolute longest she would have waited is about 6 months.

If she was at all interested in getting it done sooner you can find out exactly which hospital she could have it done in where the wait time is less.

My neighbor had his done a few months ago. He didn't like the wait times in our town so he went 250 miles away to Toronto and had it done in less than 2 months. You see you can go anywhere and your health coverage follows you.

I am a senior. I fell and broke my hip and had a hip replacement that same night.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:01AM
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My old father always says the only way to fix this crisis is to eliminate all insurance. The price for services would tumble.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:46AM
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Check out the link below and click on PJTV Undercover: Steven Crowder Investigates CanadaCare...Will ObamaCare Be Any Better? It's an interesting perspective....

I heard the author, a former Canadian, now practicing in the U.S, physician, talk about his book recently - "Code Blue: Reviving Canada's Health Care System" by Dr. David Gratzer.

On a personal note, I have family living in Canada. My elderly aunt fell and broke her knee and was taken to the Emergency Room. She spent 2-months being shuffled from Emergency Room to Emergency Room because there wasn't a room for her. It took them a month to decide to do surgery, and another month to recover and rehabilitate. I realize this doesn't sound even remotely possible, but this is just one of the many horrific episodes experienced by my aunts and cousins.

She later fell and broke her hip. Successfully had hip replacement surgery 2 days after the fall. It was the TWO secondary infections from the hospital that nearly killed her and kept her in the hospital for 4 months. From what I've heard, the public hospitals in Canada seem to be famous for those secondary bacterial infections caused by unclean conditions.

Wasn't it an undiagnosed and untreated patient with SARS, laying on a gurney in a public corridor in a hospital for 2-days, that was the reason for the spread of the disease in Canada?


Here is a link that might be useful: PJTV

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:49AM
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I checked out your site and what a farce. Pure sensationalism and a misrepresentation of our health care system. It used the worst case scenario in the province who has the worst health care delivery. Because while the basics are the same every province is different. He certainly did his hiomework on this one.

1-- He did not have a family doctor. If he did he would have called him and recieved faster treatment, because most family doctors have someone on call on weekends.

2-- Most walk-in-clinics are not open on weekends, but some are in every city. Much like drug stores. They picked the one that wasn't open.

3-- he went into the emergency department of a hospital with a minor ailment, the nurse asked him if he could move his wrist and he said yes, so she knew it wasn't broken. In a very large city in the USA just where would the hospitals put this patient. I'll bet it's on the bottom of the list.

Frankly I am sick and tired of Americans dissing our health care when half of your people have no health coverage and the rest pay big premiums to HMO's and have to use their doctors. I have a friend in the US who is $50,000 in debt, because the HMo doctors screwed him around for a year and he finally went outside the system to have something done. If our health system is so bad why does it have an 80% approval rating from the Canadian public.

Something to think about--Just how far do you think profit making HMO's would go to protect their profitable turf and how many people would jump on the bandwagon for an easy buck

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:02AM
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There was a great article in the NY Times magazine over the weekend about healthcare in the US and abroad. It was called "Why We Must Ration Healthcare". Even though I didn't agree with everything, I learned a ton about the healthcare system just reading the article. I linked it below, highly recommend reading it when you have a few minutes to spare.

Here is a link that might be useful: NY Times - Why We Must Ration Healthcare

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Superb article--The Unprejudiced-unbiased truth. It paints an acurate picture of those countries that have universal health care as compared to the States. No country is berated or made to look bad in hopes of swaying the readers opinion. It just lays out the facts.

Anyone who has questions regarding health care should read the whole thing. It answers every question one could have.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:41PM
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We were in Canada for a vacation shortly after the health care system went into effect. I don't consider a 16 to 18% tax on everything to be a small premium.

When France had a heat wave a few years back, 10 or 20 thousand elderly people died in nursing homes. That wouldn't be working for me either.

There was a scare a few years ago with an animal shelter. Some idiot had dropped off a litter of kittens or puppies, and it later turned out the animals had been exposed to rabies. Several people who were at risk had a series of rabies vaccines; a letter writer from Canada said the Canadian health plan would never cover such expenses, and implied it was a foolish waste of money and resources to vaccinate people because they were only exposed to rabies.

And speaking of shelters, as DH and I sat in Micky D's eating our taxed at 18% breakfast, we read in the paper that shelters were having a huge influx of animals surrendered, because with the new level of taxes, some people couldn't afford to keep their pets.

I live in a poor state with a lot of poor people. My neighbors aren't rich. But they are getting some kind of health care cause they're not dying.

Children are covered in our state anyway, by medicaid. I don't know anyone who has gone without care because they don't have insurance. One way or another, even our friends whose son almost died in a crash had a social worker approach them at the hospital and have the cost of treatments reduced, or written off. People around us who don't have insurance have money for a) beer b) dogs c)landscaping d) another kid e)another car.

Should people spend their money on health insurance instead of a pet? Well, I would. But I lack the hubris to think I know how someone else should live her life or spend her own money.

The hubs and I don't have an all-inclusive plan either. It's a catastrophic care only... we pay the first $10,000 of our medical expenses each year. that's 10,000 for each of us. That's our choice.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:59PM
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French system has been in red since 1988. Brits have more people dying of cancer than in United States. Many European countries are cautioning Obama to look before he leaps. He does not seem to be listening but Congress is, than god.

Here is a link that might be useful: Europe's free, state-run health care has drawbacks

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:10PM
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I'm not that old (late 40's) but I can remember back in my childhood before we had health insurance. My mom would call the doctor when we were sick and he actually came to the house with his doctor bag. After treatment my mom generally owed him less than $20.

Insurance is and always has been a scam. When we buy insurance we are betting that something awful is going to happen to us: car insurance (we're going to have an accident) House insurance (tornado, fire, etc.) Disability insurance (becoming disabled, obviously!) We pay high premiums with a small chance of collecting. Of course the insurance company doesn't free up ALL those premiums for payouts. How else do they construct their fancy office buildings, pay their employees and fund their pensions? Our premiums, naturally. Only a portion of it goes to actual healthcare. I'm all for going back to the old way.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 5:57PM
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The plan that is in the House is scary. They want to make it mandatory that everyone over age 65 must have a "end of life" consult to discuss withholding of antibiotics and denial of IV or tube feeding. It seems that they want us old folks to just go away and die so they can tax the h*ll out of our estates. Also after a certain date, all insurance companies cannot write any new policies. Anyone changing insurance will be forced to buy into the Obamacare. Why is it the congress is exempting themselves. If they don't want it, I sure don't.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:46PM
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Why would anyone over the age of 65 not want to have an "end of life" consult unless they thought they were either
a) going to live forever

b) leave it up to the family to wonder what the seniors options would have been if they had properly informed their family while they were still of sound mind.

What is the up side to not preparing for the end of life? I signed documents in my forties when I went for surgery to have a kidney stone removed. I'm not sure if it was mandatory but the hospital gave me the matierials and I thought it was a smart thing to do.

Perhaps if the same seniors would face the fact that they weren't going to live forever they might prepare their estates too, so that they wouldn't get the h*ll taxed out of them!

This isn't about the president. In his own words: "This isn't about me. This isn't about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking American's businesses and breaking America's economy."

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:06PM
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I'm 69 and in good health. I have a document giving my husband/daughter medical power of attorney. What I object to is that this would be mandatory with us not being able to choose what we want. I don't ever want some bureaucrat choosing whether I get antibiotics or not or if I should have IV or tube feedings. These are decisions that should be made by the patient and their family, not by strangers!

People should make decisions about their end of life, but it should not be shoved down their throat. I really worry that someday it will be considered wrong for people to live beyond their productive years. I can here them say "your grandma wouldn't want to live this way, so lets put her to sleep like some poor unwanted animal"

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 10:45PM
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I am 62 and I see nothing wrong with having an "end of life" consult. In fact, I have already given my doctor and my family members a document saying what I want done when I'm no longer able to speak for myself. I don't think that anyone would be allowed to make those choices for us, and I think everyone should make those decisions, even before they're age 65. You never know what tomorrow brings.

As far as rampant bacterial problems in hospitals, we need not look to non-US hospitals to find that! My DH needed knee surgery but we were absolutely petrified to have it done because so many people we knew who had knee surgery would come home with staph. Two men we know have had their knee replaced several times in an effort to kill the staph. One, an elderly man, has managed to be infection-free for about the last six months, but his original knee replacement was done four years ago. The other, a man about 60 years old, has not been so lucky. We saw him yesterday, and he looked terrible. There was a brace on his leg. We're afraid he's going to die. We have known several people who have died of staph contracted in American hospitals. One was a man who had a stroke, contracted staph in a VA hospital while being treated for the stroke, his temperature went unchecked past 104 in the night and he suffered brain damage. After a long struggle, he died, still in the hospital. Just this year, one of the ladies I used to sing in the church choir with had hip surgery and contracted staph right away. They took her hip replacement out and put her into a nursing home with no hip, to lie in a bed and wait for the staph to clear up so they could put the hip back in. I went to her funeral two months ago. There are many other examples.

My neighbor's son, age 50, who was in good shape and who still wore the same size clothes that he had worn in high school, suffered a stroke after his morning jog. They took him to their local hospital when he started losing his vision and could not stand up. The hospital ran tests and couldn't find anything wrong. Decided to send him home. He said, "BUT I can't see and I can't stand up!" They said, "Don't worry, we'll take you to your car in a wheelchair."

I have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. I've been to several doctors for treatment, and have been sent to two rehab places for treatment. That's been the biggest disappointment in my life. All these fancy vibrating machines and they talk down to you. Was I any better, did my muscle spasm attacks stop? No. I'm now retired and I garden and for the first time in four years, I didn't have a muscle spasm attack last spring.

I don't have insurance, I know it's a risk. I do have a nice car, a nice house. But I can't see paying $600 a month to some company that's going to deny me treatment for pre-existing conditions. What if I don't need treatment? I've thrown $7200 down the drain in only one year. If I need medical treatment, I can pay out $600 a month in payments for my medical bills, and try to negotiate. I will still be short $7200 at the end of a year, but at least I will be paying for services that I actually received. And there will be no one telling my doctor that he MUST perform this test and that test before he can do for me what he knew at the outset needed to be done. If you have insurance, and you look at your bill after insurance has paid, you will see that what your insurance actually paid was a small percentage of your bill. The remainder of the bill was "negotiated", and then you pay your 20% or whatever your contract calls for. If you don't have insurance, you get that huge bill and your doctor doesn't want to be "negotiated" like he would've been had you had insurance. Something is terribly wrong when a for-profit insurance company has that much power over your doctor, and when your doctor apparently is jacking up the cost of your care, knowing the insurance company is only going to pay a percentage, but giving you the same big bill when you don't have insurance.

A tax on everything you buy is a fair way to pay for insurance. Those who can't afford large premiums also naturally buy less. If you can afford to buy luxury items then you can also afford to pay the tax.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 10:09AM
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This is a topic that scares me as well. I'm just past my mid 30s. Last year I racked up a lot of medical bills due to my back suddenly going out for a reason that wasn't made clear until last month. Most were covered. Now I'm terrified of losing my insurance because I have a pre-existing. And I'm terrified of what the gov will do because, despite it being a little pricier then HMO and the cheapy BCBS PPO I've usually been given, I now have pretty good insurance and I don't want to lose it.

I read an article in the paper yesterday about a man who had exhausted all conservative treatments for a bad back problem. He got pre-approval to have surgery. He had successful surgery, then the insurance turned down the claim!!! They appealed and were turned down for various BS reasons 3 times! They finally got it resolved when they got the media involved. Absolutely ridiculous!

I used to think it was the doctors that were taking in all that money, but now I think it's the insurance companies. Granted, I have only anecdotal stories to base that opinion on. 2 friends who are doctors. Their debt is AMAZING. I cannot even fathom it. I didn't understand why they were still eating out at restaurants, etc. We were chatting one day and I realized just how much of their time is spent on work/research/learning. Most all of it. They eat out because there's no other way. And I am a person who believes most of us just don't try hard enough, we want the easy way. But these friends of mine, they really can't do the groceries, the cooking, the housekeeping. I'm going really off course here lol

Bottom line, we need better, but I'm afraid of losing what I have. We need preventive health care, not just expensive care after you are sick. But for that to work we need to have a healthier society, and that will take more then a government mandate.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:06PM
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I watched Obama on TV tonight. He hardly answered the questions. He kept going off on wild tangents regarding the stimulus bill and whatnot. At times he was just ranting. I really don't want the kind of care that they have in England. I read that women with advanced breast or ovarian cancer were denied some of the medication proven to help them because they cost too much. That is just plain cruel. In some parts of Canada if a woman finds a lump in her breast, it can take 6 months before she even gets a mammogram. They have that long a waiting list. How many doctors will accept the Obamacare insurance? I know many who will retire or go into research or some other field. I have been going to my GP for more then 25 years and he is taking no new medicare or medicaid patients. He keeps those of us that grow older and come under medicare but only his established patients.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 12:30AM
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Grainlady asked, "Wasn't it an undiagnosed and untreated patient with SARS, laying on a gurney in a public corridor in a hospital for 2-days, that was the reason for the spread of the disease in Canada?

And the answer is NO! Most SARS cases in Canada were in travellers to affected areas (the People's Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administration Region; the City of Hanoi in Vietnam; Singapore; and Taiwan), health care workers who cared for people with SARS, and close family members of people with SARS.

caavonldy saud, "They want to make it mandatory that everyone over age 65 must have a "end of life" consult to discuss withholding of antibiotics and denial of IV or tube feeding. It seems that they want us old folks to just go away and die so they can tax the h*ll out of our estates."

The best time to have an "end of life" discussion is when you are 18, with renewed discussions when you reach some milestones where life-stage diseases tend to kick in. We have the technology to keep a brain-dead corpse warm and oxygenated for several weeks ... but to be blunt, why would you want to inflict that on the body. It's as close to desecrating a corpse as you can get and not be prosecuted. It's a living hell for the family and the staff.

Read this, by a practicing physician, about the utter insanity of our current system: http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/2009/07/are_we_insane.php and be sure to read the comments from both medical staff and people who have had family trapped in the "we must do everything" system.

Is it "playing God" to withold or stop care? The "playing God" part starts with the first vaccine, medication or surgery you ever had. After that, it's only a question of when we stop trying to fight the inevitable.

What I object to is that this would be mandatory with us not being able to choose what we want. The discussion is mandatory, but I have read nothing that says treatment will be restricted. Right now, unless you have a living will, or an end of life directive, you don't get to choose. Unless you arrive at the hospital alert and oriented, you get whatever the on-call staff orders for you.

Many people do not understand the term "palliative care". It doesn't mean doing nothing. It means doing whatever it takes (pain meds, O2, etc.) to make the inevitable death as comfortable as possible, but not actively blocking death. If you are dying of liver cancer, why would you want to get antobiotics for a pneumonia? Is dying of liver cancer that much fun?

I don't ever want some bureaucrat choosing whether I get antibiotics or not or if I should have IV or tube feedings. These are decisions that should be made by the patient and their family, not by strangers! You already have it. It's called your health insurance company.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 8:30AM
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Good article.
The hardest decision I have ever made was to not let my husband be treated for pneumonia. He had advanced Alzheimer's. He ate pureed food and was in diapers.
We had talked about such an advent over the years and both had living wills and medical POAs.
I knew what he wanted and what I would want him to be brave enough to do for me.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 9:53AM
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I can't believe you americans and how you can screw things up when you are talking about Canada
evaf 555:
I sure don't know where you got that figure and how you thought that was for health care. There is no specific tax that covers health care except in general taxation. What you are referring to is sales tax and GST. The GST was put on to help pay down our deficit and the sales tax is a tax for the province--like in many of your States. The highest this combination of taxes has ever been for any province is 15%. In some provinces it is lower. In Alberta for instance there is no sales tax. The GST has in fact come down from 7% to 5% as our deficiut was paid down.

lazygardens-- Anybody in Canada can have what you called the end of life policy..Simply get a power of attorney for health and name someone who you think will follow your wishes as your"power of attorney"

I suggest you examine your own health care record before you start picking apart other country's.
Whoops your data is not for public record as ours is. Unless you've had a hip replacement you don't know your waiting time. You don't know how long things take and you don't know your record. I'll tell you what I do know from the scanty facts that were available.
Infant mortality is greater in the States than it is in Canada.
We live an average of 2 years longer than Americans.
Every person in Canada has health coverage. 14% of Americans have no health coverage.
You have to go to your insurance providers doctors. We can go to any doctor or specialist in the Province or Country.
The United States already pays much more for the health coverage they do have than any country with government health plans.
The insurance company's get rich and you pay.

It simply boggles my mind that people want to stay with the status quo.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 2:25PM
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I am under the impression that all Americans receive medical treatment whether they have insurance or not.

Medicaid is for the low income/indigent population and Medicare is for the elderly.

Our current system is not perfect, but it's the best in the world. Part of the problem is that American public is not satisfied with standard care. It wants the state of the art care.

IMO, our system started to go in the red when co-pay's were initiated. Then, just because it only cost a minimal amount out of pocket, the consumer wanted to get his money's worth out of the insurance premium he was paying.

Before long, patients were going to the doctor's office for non-neccessary visits and treaments and basically demanding tests and other diagnostic tools simply because it really didn't cost them much out of pocket. This way of thinking did nothing but bankrupt the system, and that's where we are now.

This proposed plan is nothing but rationed care. And it still will cost the public more than the current plan is costing. Anybody who thinks that we can get something for free is living in a fantasy world. Somebody has to pay and in the end then WE are the payers. It will cost us plenty in $$$, freedom of choice and the kind of care we will receive.

I just read that Senators and Congressmen pay between $300 and $600 a month for state of the art medical care with no restrictions as far as visits, treatments and medications. That's wonderful particularly since the American public is picking up the $2 million difference between the premiums they're paying and the actual cost of their policies.

Since the average salary of each of these politicians is around $185,000, tell me why the average worker earning far less than $185,000 is being forced to pay for this state of the art insurance for these people who are now attempting to take away our basic medical coverage?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Why has congress exempted itself from Obabacare? If it is good enough for the people that voted them into office, why is it not good enough for the congressmen. That is not a good way to treat the voters. What the Senate and the House have been purposing does not sound anything like what Obmba has been describing. The House bill prevents insurance companies from writing any new policies once Obama care is in force. That means that you cannot change insurance companies no matter what. If you move, you must take Obama care. You have NO choice.

My end of life plans should be up to me, my family, my doctor and our lawyer. I will refuse to participate in any mandated counseling session with a stranger. It makes good sense to plan ahead, but the government should not have the right to interfere.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 4:13PM
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Caavonldy, what is Obabacare?

And again, it is the end of life conversation that is mandatory, please quote where you heard that the government is going to end your life if you get sick after reaching senior citizenhood. I wouldn't be surprised to hear "FoxNews."

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:38PM
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"I am under the impression that all Americans receive medical treatment whether they have insurance or not."

One must have a very low income to qualify for Medicaid, particularly adults without dependent children. There are individuals working for low wages who do not receive employer-sponsored health coverage and do not qualify for Medicaid. There are also people who may have a small source of income from another source which is enough to sustain them day to day but is over the limit for Medicaid coverage. In my state, if these uncovered individuals sustain a life-threatening or other major illness and receive emergency care, they will be treated and the unpaid medical expenses can be used to try and bring their income down to the limit necessary to qualify for Medicaid. Of course, they are at their sickest when this occurs, because they have not seen a doctor for treatment in the early stages. We do have clinics that charge people according to their income, but there's not always much left over after paying housing expenses, food, etc. Treating people at their sickest is more expensive.
Yes, people do eventually receive treatment if they get sick enough, but not everyone has the financial resources to obtain routine and preventative treatment and it is currently NOT an entitlement in the US.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 6:57PM
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I equate basic medical care that allows one to be treated and cared for in order to be healthy and remain healthy with the right to eat and not go hungry.

If a family gets food stamps they go to a store and purchase food. They may buy hamburger, rice, macaroni & cheese, hotdogs, milk, fruit, etc.. They won't be buying filet, lobster, prime rib but they will be purchasing nutritious foods that will provide nourishment for the family.

To me, that's comparable to being prescribed medicine that is not the latest, most expensive new drug on the market. The standard medicine works and it keeps the cost down. What's wrong with that?

And lets's talk about transportation. Yes, everyone would love to own a car, but not everyone can afford one. Some people use public transportation, some ride bikes and some walk. Should everyone be issued a car, gratis of the government? I don't think so.

Clothing? Some people wear designer clothes and many don't. As long as our clothing protects us from the elements and covers our nakedness, doesn't it suffice?

Housing? Owning a home is/was the American dream but not everyone will ever achieve that dream. Many will rent; not buy. Yet, the housing market collapsed and so did many lending institutions because finances and incomes were falsified in order to make this dream come true for those who could not bear their share of the financial burden of home ownership. Look at where this country is now because of the attempts of some government groups to "level the playing field" without regard for the consequences.

America was founded on the premise of hard work leading to the reward of success. We were never told that the government would provide all we needed. We were told to strive for success by working hard and having goals. Now, by offering "freebies" to the people our government is taking away the incentives for working and saving. We are told to be passive and accept the government gifts rather than to become exceptional and become successful.

For goodness sakes, the government is attempting to brainwash us! Nothing is free!!! Somebody will end up paying the Piper and the only ones who will thrive are the government officials who are setting the rules and controlling the masses!

But back to medical care/coverage.

When a person goes to the ER for any treatment...major or minor...they are not refused treatment. Around here our ERs are filled with people with minor sore throats, rashes, etc. as well as with people with major problems. The truth is that not every ailment requires medical treatment and yet our country's population has a sense of entitlement when it come to treatment for every bump and scrape.

It's this sense of entitlement that is continuing to bankrupt the government and the ultimate result will be one of utter dependence on the system.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 7:58PM
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One hospital near here almost closed because so many illegal immigrants came to the ER for care. The voters in the area served voted in an election to charge themselves more for a special district to keep the hospital open so that no one who needed medical care would be turned away.

No where does the constitution give anyone the right to free medical care. We all have the right to keep and bear arms, but we don't get free guns. We have freedom of the press but we don't get free newspapers or cable service.

We do give food stamps, paid for by the taxpayers. Have you ever seen the baskets of food these people have? Junk food, candy for the kids, soda pop, potato chips and while I am standing there with my wheatgerm and hamburger, the people in front of me are paying for their stake with food stamps.

neesie, Obamacare is a term many of us hardworking taxpayers call that stuff Obama is trying to shove down our throats.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:15PM
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The reason why people with food stamps buy junk food is because many are undereducated and they do not know how to budget, how to cook, how to evaluate foods to get more for their dollar. I'm going out on a limb here in saying that many (but hear me, not ALL) of those folks are just not that intelligent. The mentally disabled members of our community get food stamps. The physically disabled members of our community get food stamps (and no I'm not saying they're less intelligent than the status quo). Before you judge someone because of what they buy with food stamps, consider this. I, myself, got in line behind a nice looking young woman in full make-up, dressed nice, with two kids in tow. Her shopping basket was full of sugary cereals, candy, that expensive Bisquik that's in the shake container, and other convenience stuff that I wouldn't even feed my DOG. She was not paying with food stamps and I'm sure she was intelligent enough but my point is you don't have to be using food stamps in order to buy junk at the store.

There sure seems to be a lot of mis-information in this thread and people who are jumping to conclusions and frankly sounding pretty frightened. In my opinion, America's health care is the worst, as it stands now. ANY change would be an improvement.

I watched Obama's address, and I didn't feel that he was trying to shove anything down our throats and I didn't feel that he was talking "around" questions. I wouldn't want his job for anything in the world. He inherits an absolute mess and every time he tries to do something about it everybody's acting like everything's his fault. He's in there trying, for heaven's sake. I suppose those who complain the loudest want another Bush in office.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 9:14AM
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"We do give food stamps, paid for by the taxpayers. Have you ever seen the baskets of food these people have? Junk food, candy for the kids, soda pop, potato chips and while I am standing there with my wheatgerm and hamburger, the people in front of me are paying for their stake with food stamps."

This type of talk is so despicable and abhorrent to me. I was going to make a snide remark right back about your "people" but I will refrain. To put it simply, stereotyping regresses society. I will take 1,000 junk food eating, food stamp recipients over one single judgmental, ignorant person any day of the week. Don't look to me in exasperation while you're rolling your eyes at the "food stamp people" on the check-out line. I don't sympathize with you, even though I am buying my own high-end groceries with cash as well.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 9:19AM
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Well said, Setancre. And thanks to oilpainter, too.

When a person goes to the ER for any treatment...major or minor...they are not refused treatment. Around here our ERs are filled with people with minor sore throats, rashes, etc. as well as with people with major problems. The truth is that not every ailment requires medical treatment and yet our country's population has a sense of entitlement when it come to treatment for every bump and scrape. Insured people are the ones with the sense of entitlement! The kids of the uninsured should suffer through their sore throats without medicine, miss more days of school because of illness so the insured can complain about how lazy they are! Their parents should be able to differentiate between diseases that need attention and those that don't!

And we or our insurance companies get billed for ER treatments after treatment.

There are many among us who yell about how much a car costs, that auto workers are too well-paid; we want our health insurance to be paid for by our employers yet somehow not built into the cost of the item; we shop around for the cheapest labor or item then and expect those being paid $10 an hour to buy their own health insurance that costs $6000 to $10,000 a year! And many companies now avoid the insurance issue by limiting employees to 35 hours a week!

It's appalling!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 10:53AM
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My daughter went through a period of time when she was only working part time. She had no insurance but did not qualify for medicaid. She did get food stamps. She used them wisely, fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, dairy products and low cost meats. No junk foods. During that time, she developed breast cancer. Under the MediCal rules, any women with breast cancer gets treated under the medicaid program at no cost if she is considered low or moderate income. She received prompt and state of the art care. I can see a need for some type of program for people with catastrophic medical needs but not free care for the everyday situations. No one should face bankruptcy because of an illness or accident. Young healthy people should not be required to buy into health insurance if the don't want it. Many have insurance available through their employment but they don't sign up because they don't want to pay their share of the cost.

If you really pay attention to what is going on in congress, you would see that the bills in both the House and Senate are nothing like Obama has been describing. This has been taking on a life of its own.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 1:52PM
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This is the primary problem with tinkering with the health care system (payment insurance is what it really is...) or any OTHER part of our society that is so widely used. Everyone has their own view on what should or shouldn't be an entitlement or what kind of practices should or should not be allowed. Some feel that healthy people who choose NOT to carry a health insurance policy should be allowed to make that choice (the proposed changes in the house bill will prohibit that choice by the way). Others feel that ANY infringement on the health choices we have today is not acceptable (rationing in any form will limit these "rights" as well).

My point here is that the issues involved are MUCH too COMPLEX to try and address in any meaningful way by rushing a program through congress simply to appease the ego of ANY bureaucrat INCLUDING a president. This is NOT a crisis, it is a political football that will have enduring consequences for us and our posterity and should be approached with the due care such issues deserve.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 3:29PM
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I can see a need for some type of program for people with catastrophic medical needs but not free care for the everyday situations. So an uninsured sick person should just do without, eh? Wow. What about a simple broken arm - a person could just hold it still for a few weeks and it would repair itself. No one should face bankruptcy because of an illness or accident. Young healthy people should not be required to buy into health insurance if the don't want it. Good grief. It is the very nature of insurance to depend on young, healthy people in the insured pool. It's because they don't use much health care as a group that they are necessary for the entire pool to be able to pay for those who do need care. You can't insure only sick people, and you can't allow people to opt out of insurance and expect it to work for anyone. And there are many kinds of illnesses - covering one kind of cancer is just plain mean.

Calling it "free" health care is ridiculous! We all pay for health care now, insured or not, every time we purchase anything made by employers who provide health insurance to their employees. It is part of the cost of doing business, and it is figured into everything, from cars to a pack of gum to computers to the internet. EVERYTHING. Plus, the very cost of insurance premiums and hospital/doctor care is predicated on covering the uninsured/indigent.

It is impossible to buy junk food with food stamps. One spends his/her own cash to buy junk food, using the food stamps for authorized food.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 4:32PM
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Having been on food stamps in my younger days (while serving in the military, as a matter of fact ...) I will disagree with the sentiment that it's impossible to buy junk food with food stamps. About all I recall being prohibited was beer and cigarettes.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 5:19PM
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For those that do not realize it we already have government run healthcare: it is call Medicare/Medicaid. The old and the poor get subsidized (not free) healthcare, what is the difference in letting all Americans into the insurance pool?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 6:10PM
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Now, THAT I would agree with -- as long as people were allowed to purchase supplemental insurance to cover more "exotic" treatments that Medicare might refuse to fund.

This is akin to the "Medicare for all" mentioned in the above referenced article.

What we DON't want is for the current research and leading edge treatment studies to dry up for lack of support. Private money is probably the only way to get stuff like that funded.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 6:31PM
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Food for thought, in the UK me and hubby where both paying for the NHS, through our taxes and a thing called National Insurance! and we where both paying no way near as much a month for both taxes and NI, as hubby on his own is paying here in Health Insurance! and the company he works for pays on top of that! (not talking tax as well)
I can tell you now as a nurse in the UK, yes during the Conservative (Thatcher/Major) years waiting lists mounted up, because they wanted a Private system and refused to pay the NHS the money needed and made essential services such as cleaners private so a ward manager could no longer work with their cleaner but have to except that A is done on Monday, b on tues, x never!, the Labour government had to play catch up for many years to undo 18 years of damage and they have done it in spades and I remember working the night of the 1997 election and jumping up and down, it took time but not only did it improve for patients it improved for staff as well, and Labour (Blair/Brown) only took about 7-8 years to start achieving results, and with that better results hospital aquired infection! just before I left the NHS last year, the government forced all the private companies to provide a deep clean of every hospital in the country, or risk their contracts, and they provided extra staff.
the day of ours the team turned up in our clinic 2 hours before knocking off, they didn't have a clue! I had mainly the private hospital cleaners, they cleaned the lower areas, then the walls then the lights??? any fool who has a mother knows you start at the top and work down! I remarked on my disatifaction to one of them, who was it turned out a professional self employed cleaner from Poland, he said "I keep telling them top to Bottom" at this point I had only remarked on what a crap job it was!
I refused to sign them off on the job, and wrote an e-mail to my boss about the halfassed job done, she complained higher and turned out that most of the nurses in the hospital had complained, so they where made to do it again!
next 3 months NO MRSA! (left at that point so don't know the figures now) so if you think private is great! fill your boot's they are only in it for profit and will only do what they feel they can get away with! and the privatisation of something simple like cleaning can have bad results.
that said I am not so worried about Cameron (Conservative Leader at present) getting in because he like Gordon Brown, (Prime Mister) has had a child die and has nothing but praise for the few years of care is son got under the NHS and admits wouldn't have got under a private system.
although not in this artical, he thanks the NHS
in case you are wondering Obama-Democrat- labour -Blair/Brown, Bush Republican- Conservative-Thatcher/Cameron
this is VERY simplistic! even Conservative would seen left wing to some Americans!

Here is a link that might be useful: David Cameron

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Obama was pushing hard for congress to sign a healthcare bill before going on the summer break. It seems he wanted to rush it through without time to read or study the bill and before the congressmen/women had to go home to face the voters. The voters are saying no, we want to read the bill. Don't want to buy a pig in a poke. Why is Obama so desperate to get this done now? What is he and Pelosi hiding? If it is such a good idea, why are they afraid to let us read and study it before our representatives vote for it?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 11:51PM
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It may sound paranoid to say you suspect they're "hiding something" but we have already seen the results of rushing bills through in the dark of night with the last omnibus bill -- they DID hide a boatload of pork in that legislation. So, YES, let's indeed be suspicious and READ and THINK about the issues this time around. If our representatives don't have the time or inclination to actually represent us, then let's put some people in there who WILL.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 8:16AM
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If you have insurance, you are already have your medical care decided by beaurocrats. They're called insurance company employees, and their job is to save the insurance company money by denying your care. "Sicko" is the story of people who DO have insurance and are either bankrupt or dead despite it.

I also have a major problem that businesses are responsible for providing the entire population with health care under our current system. It is businesses who cover most of the cost of health insurance to their employees. I am always flabbergasted that business owners would be against socialized medicine when it would relieve them of the cost of healthcare- the single most expensive employee benefit- and pass it on to the employee as a tax. As a future business owner, I would gladly pay more income tax on myself for a govt run program rather than pay for all my employees to have private insurance.

And speaking of efficiency, the private insurance companies spend on average 35% of your money on administrative costs. Medicare spends 2%. So if you think a govt run program is expensive, think about the multi-million dollar bonuses and paychecks insurance company executives receive. Do you think the govt would pay anyone that much? Heck, the President only makes a couple hundred thousand a year!

I would like to see a rationed national healthcare system, such as extended medicare but with lower out of pocket costs to participants with the option of choosing a supplemental insurance (for those things not covered) and the option to opt out completely in favor of private insurance. But you'd have to be covered by something. Private insurance companies would have to quit paying ridiculous salaries to reign in costs in order to become competitive.

The other side to the equation is our incredibly sue-happy society. It will not be possible to reign in costs when doctors are afraid not to practice CYA medicine in order to not get sued. Liability insurance costs have caused doctor and specialty shortages in some areas, driving up the prices of those doctors and specialists left practicing, and making their own liability insurance costs skyrocket (more chance of making mistakes when seeing 1 patient every 7 minutes rather than 1 patient every 15 minutes). Until there are limits on medical malpractice claims, it will be impossible for anyone to deliver efficient cost-effective care. Personally, I think the losing party of a medical malpractice suit should be responsible for both parties' costs. Under the current system, you can sue a doctor with a baseless claim and it will cost the doctor's liability insurance company a lot of money to defend that doctor (lost time at work, paying consultants, lawyers, etc.). If you had to think about the possibility of paying all that if your suit is found to be baseless, then you may not bring up that lawsuit, unless you had a really good chance to win. I believe that would help.

I am a veterinarian in part because I did not want to have to deal with letting people die or suffer because of their health insurance coverage or lack thereof.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Then we should call it what it is -- INSURANCE reform and TORT reform and focus there! I think these would be reasonable programs for the government to manage. Incidentally, most Americans would probably get behind such an effort and it would be a LOT more difficult for politicians to whip voters into a frenzy over these issues.
Different and possibly a more powerful set of LOBBYISTS though ......

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 6:28PM
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Well said, Meghane.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 5:02PM
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OP - Who's telling the truth? I don't know, even though I keep trying. With such a high percentage of our GNP tied up in health care, there are many groups trying to save/hold on to their piece of the pie.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 10:25AM
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The plan that is in the House is scary. They want to make it mandatory that everyone over age 65 must have a "end of life" consult to discuss withholding of antibiotics and denial of IV or tube feeding. It seems that they want us old folks to just go away and die so they can tax the h*ll out of our estates. Also after a certain date, all insurance companies cannot write any new policies. Anyone changing insurance will be forced to buy into the Obamacare. Why is it the congress is exempting themselves. If they don't want it, I sure don't.

What's interesting about this message is that virtually nothing in it is true, not even remotely. Most of it comes from an email that's circulating, but it started with a woman who's a very well-paid pharmaceutical lobbyist who sits on the board of a medical device company.

There is no requirement for you to have an end-of-life consultation. There IS a requirement that, if you choose to have one with, say, your doctor or social worker, Medicare will have to PAY for it.

Same with the nonsense about insurance companies not writing new policies. They just can't write new policies that don't meet the new standards (no denials for preexisting conditions, etc.)

I love listening to people squeal about not having time to read the bill. They do have time, BUT THEY AREN'T DOING IT. They find it much easier to tune into talk radio or read an email their brother-in-law sent them.

Personally, I don't think Obama went far enough. I prefer Medicare for All.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 12:53AM
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It is scary and amazing how mis-information gets spread around and how rigid some people are about hanging on to bad information even when the truth is right there in front of them.

Over the course of my life I have traveled to many foreign countries, sometimes to live there, sometimes to visit friends that lived there and other times just as a tourist. No matter what I say when I come back to the states MOST of the people around me just don't believe me. It's as if the bad info hangs on stronger than anything I can say. I've endured people telling me all about Asia's strange customs when they have never ever been there and I lived there for 8 years and don't get me started on what most Americans think of Mexico (a wonderful place as long as you get far away from the US border and stay away from touristy areas).

Anyway, my point is; there is a great big world out there full of happy, healthy people. A lot of them live in places where they have some sort of low cost or free healthcare. Their system is not based on insurance paying for care but on medical professionals providing health care. In some cases there are a lot of doctors and most of them do not make a lot of money (unlike in this country). In others, no one ever sues a clinic when something goes wrong (unlike in this country). I don't know who has the best system but it sure seems like the insurance industry is controlling ours.

Change will do us good.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 11:04AM
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Tort reform is mandatory to cut health costs. I worked in the Medical/Insurance field for 18 years. Malpractice insurance is sky high for docotrs.

At the time I worked for a cardiologist in AZ, Medicare was paying about 35.00 for a visit that usually lasted 15 minutes. That's 140.00 an hour. $291,000.00 a year.

He has licensing and continuing education fees, and must also pay for cardiac equipment in his office in order to evaluate a patient. He also must pay for his office rent, supplies, utilities (3 phone lines minimum), 3 staff to support him in duties (reception (for paperwork and payment), billing (for insurance billing and accounts payable and payroll), and a nurse (triage, testing, paperwork)). He also must pay an accountant to handle his taxes. On top of this, he must pay malpractice insurance. His premium -- with no claims against him in 5 years was 184,000.00 a year!

Yes he got extra monies for some tests, but many visits are bundled in free with the tests or procedures. Many visits are not even covered until the 30 - 90 day bundled in follow-up time period was over!

Medicare and Medicaid patients were the most insistent on getting EVERYTHING they wanted and heard about done NOW. We had people coming in to the office sking for the "purple pill" they heard advertised - not even knowing what it was for! They did not even ask for the costs for any test or procedure. They were covered, and they just wanted it.

Regarding Canadian care, all I can tell you is that there were LOTS of Canadians over 65 who travelled to the U.S. to be treated by the Urologists I worked for. They were ALL being treated for prostate cancer. From the date you initially see a Doctor in Canada and get tested for it, to the time when you have surgery or treatment, was a minimum 10 months to a year at that time!

First you waited to see the doctor, then you waited a month to have the rectal ultrasound to check for problems, then you waited 6 weeks to be scheduled for the biopsy. If it was a positive biopsy, you waited 6 months for the bone scan to see if the cancer had traveled to the bones. Then, you got on the waiting list for the limited number of treatment options (the US had 3 more, including seed implants, laser ablation, and cold ablation).

In the US it was 2 months tops for all the testing up until surgery/treatment.

Personally, if they have goverment care for everyone, it would be like an open bar at a wedding -- people would overindulge because they perceive it as "free". Let us all pay for our own, and we will limit ourselves.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Hello everyone,

Interesting thread. I'm an American who's lived, for extended periods, in various parts of Canada and the U.S. over the past 30 years, so I've personally experienced both sides. (I've learned firsthand how much HMOs can suck!) Anyway, I'll post a link to the best article I've found explaining the Canadian system vs. the U.S. Hope it's helpful.

(My two cents)

Here is a link that might be useful: Mythbusting Canadian Health Care

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 11:51AM
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The tort system represents about 5% of healthcare costs. A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine attributed 13%-16% of those costs to cases that were not founded. The survey found that one in six people injured by malpractice were wrongly denied compensation. The study further noted that most people injured by malpractice do not even bring a claim. So eliminating error from the present system (properly compensating those wrongly denied compensation, while denying recovery to those whose cases prove to be unsubstantiated) would raise the cost of the current system. Providing compensation to all malpractice victims would raise it significantly.

Moreover, you can't point to a single state - not even Texas where "tort reform" has reduced malpractice litigation to near zero - where that has translated into cost reductions. The most favorable thing you can infer from the "tort reform will cure healthcare costs" crowd is that they're misinformed. An awful lot of the most prominent voices are either health and insurance industry lobbyists, or are with organizations heavily funded by those industries - don't confuse them with disinterested observers.

If you really think that medical malpractice is at the core of the healthcare industry's problems, the most obvious solution is to go with a single payer, universal healthcare system. That way most of the future economic losses that are presently borne by the victim would instead be borne by the state, and not included in malpractice verdicts. Why, do you suppose, none of the lobbyists qua "tort reform advocates" acknowledge that fact - the factor that most differentiates our malpractice tort recoveries from those in other common law nations? Could it be... because it would put their paymasters out of business?

Incidentally, due to issues of distribution of care, although it's by far the most expensive system in the world we don't have "the best health system in the world". As of the last time the World Health Organization completed a ranking, as measured by outcome we rank 37th, placing us right between Costa Rica and Slovenia. Canada's #30 was not much better but it spends a lot less per person; the U.K. was at #18. France ranked #1, and Italy ranked #2. How about that.... (See 'Worlds Best Medical Care?', New York Times, August 12, 2007).

Consider also the comments of former Cigna PR executive, Wendell Potter, on Bill Moyers: Visiting Tennessee, where volunteer doctors organized an event to provide free medical care, "But what I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls. Or they'd erected tents, to care for people. I mean, there was no privacy. In some cases-- and I've got some pictures of people being treated on gurneys, on rain-soaked pavement." That doctors can provide quality care under such circumstances is a testament to their dedication and skill, but it's a scathing indictment of the notion that the current U.S. system is "the best in the world".

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 10:15PM
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This excerpt from your link makes ME believe we NEED tort reform more than ever -- (perhaps the proper reforms in the INSURANCE industry as well !!)

"Payment of claims not involving errors occurred less frequently than did the converse form of inaccuracy nonpayment of claims associated with errors. When claims not involving errors were compensated, payments were significantly lower on average than were payments for claims involving errors ($313,205 vs. $521,560, P=0.004). Overall, claims not involving errors accounted for 13 to 16 percent of the system's total monetary costs. For every dollar spent on compensation, 54 cents went to administrative expenses (including those involving lawyers, experts, and courts). Claims involving errors accounted for 78 percent of total administrative costs.

Conclusions Claims that lack evidence of error are not uncommon, but most are denied compensation. The vast majority of expenditures go toward litigation over errors and payment of them. The overhead costs of malpractice litigation are exorbitant."

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 7:22PM
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"It is impossible to buy junk food with food stamps. One spends his/her own cash to buy junk food, using the food stamps for authorized food."

Absolutely not true.

It may vary from state to state, different areas may have different overseers for the program. But in our state, food stamps may be used for any food "suitable for human consumption." That includes candy, soda, and lobsters. They may not buy hot, prepared food, (cooked chicken from the deli, cooked lobster, hot sandwiches from the sandwich shop).

You are likely thinking of WIC, which does provide vouchers for specific basic items: milk, formula, cereal, eggs, cheese and peanut butter.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 9:48PM
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As I read the entries, I am amazed by the amount of misinformation/disinformation and outright shortsightedness of some people. Even in the face of someone from Canada (e.g., Oilpainter) dispelling the Canadian health care boogeyman hip-replacement myth (how many times have I heard that before), some people are still stuck to their false beliefs.

1: Health care in the U.S. is a for-profit system. The insurance industry & big pharma are here to make $$$. They quite frankly don't give a d*mn about your health. If you are still clueless about this, watch 'Sicko' or read/watch Bill Moyer interviewing former health insurance executive Wendell Potter: Wendell Potter on Profits Before Patients

2: If you are afraid of the boogeyman (socialized medicine), you should also be afraid of the police, military, firefighters, teachers, post office, postage stamps, street lights, roads, the sidewalk, parks, public transportation, marriage license, birth certificate, etc.

3: Single payer universal health care is the only option for our health care 'system.' For more information about single payer universal health care, check out this excellent site: Single Payer FAQ

4: The 'Obama Plan' is NOT single payer, socialized medicine, or anything that would solve the U.S. health care problem. It is, in short, a give-away to the insurance industry & big pharma.

5: The massive health bill in the House (H.R. 3200) is presently nothing more than a continuation of the same thing ~ corporate health care that makes $$$ out of people's poor health/misery while giving the facade that big pharma will come out with the next magic pill to cure everything. The Weiner Amendment would replace this hideous bill with single payer universal health care (H.R. 676). It already made a HUGE hurdle by getting through the House Energy & Commerce committee and some time in September, it will be debated on the House floor and brought to a vote.

6: If you care about having access to health care, go to Health Justice to find out ways you can get involved. If you are happy with the way things are, just do nothing and corporate health & big pharma will take care of you.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 2:10PM
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I'm an American but have lots of family in Canada. My Mother here in the US and my Aunt in Canada both needed hip replacement surgery. My Mother got in in 10 weeks and owes a ton of money in bills not covered by Medicare. My Aunt got in in 9 weeks and owes nothing.

All health care should be non-profit and I mean real non-profit. There should NEVER be insurance executives like UNITED HEALTHCARE's that make millions and millions of dollars when anyone is not covered for care. We pay NOW for all the uninsured. That's partially why health care costs are so high. The costs are shifted so we already pay for the people who show up in the ER for Strep Throat because they have no regular doctor.

The US does not have the best healthcare in the world. Not even close. There are options. TJ Reid a journalist went to 10 countries and looked at their different systems. None are perfect but most are better than ours.
My brother has MS. He bought a cheap high deductable individual plan - well guess what - he can not get coverage from any other insurance with this preexisting condition and he is paying more than $12,000 per year for medications. It is destroying his family. This could happen to anyone - as could a job loss. It is an illusion that if you have insurance you are safe - it could be gone tomorrow if your job was.

Healthcare has become a Medical Arms Race. All the hospitals competing only drives UP costs in healthcare. It makes every system/hospital have to have the latest and greatest to compete but that technology is incredibly expensive.

We have given this country away to the huge business interests and made ourselves so dependent upon that model that we can't let them fail. There are huge companies that don't pay their employees enough or keep the hours just below benefit levels so those employees go and get the state plans for low income or go without. WE ARE SUBSIDIZING billion dollar corporations this way as well. Also nuts! We need to collaborate, we need to get rid of FOR PROFIT health care, we need to cover everyone for care. We need to do what we can to help our own health but also realize that we do not have total control of illness happening to us. We can have a combination of government coverage and private insurance - other places do it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 1:01AM
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I've got family on both sides of the border. One of them deliberately up and sold everything in the US after having a member of her family get leukemia. They moved to Canada. They were well insured in the US but just couldn't stand it. The system.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 5:25PM
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What happens when there is blatant malpractice? Can a doctor or nurse be sued under Obama's plan? Would it even be legal to sue a government employed medical provider? I understand that there are many frivolous lawsuits, but sometimes they are appropriate and absolutely 100% necessary. Who will oversee the quality of our health care providers?

I worked as an RN at a veterans hospital. The paper work was horrible and I was appalled at the general care that was available to the patients. Then, I went to work at a private hospital and was shocked by the difference. The care at the private hospital was far superior to the government run hospital. It made me sick to know that our veterans were getting such second-rate care.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 8:35PM
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Medicare for all Americans or Medicare for no one.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 5:30PM
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In the 70's we knew a family that came from New Zealand. Don't know about what their health care is like now, but back then one of their kids needed a tonsilectomy. The poor child had to wait 2 years with sore throats and illness but yes the operation was finally done. Is that what we're facing?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 2:24AM
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pekemom--you are clutchimg at straws. It didn't matter what kind of health care you had then. That kid waiting for a tonsilectomy had nothing to do with health care and everything to do with doctors. They had just discovered that the tonsils served a purpose.My sisters and I all had them out at the same time. Only 1 sister had a problem but the doctor suggested we all get one so we did.

That was the exact time my son was little and needed a tonsilectomy. The doctor wouldn't do the operation until it got so bad it affected his hearing. With-in a few weeks he was in the hospital. It was the doctor not health care.

I remember when health care cime to Canada. We were fearful too. But you know for all intents and purposes we only switched health insurance companies from for profit to the government nonprofit. Good health care that doesn't leave you in the poor house

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 7:33AM
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You're right oilpainter, I did not know the whole story, only the way they told it to me, they said there was a long waiting list. Never was in New Zealand so I can't say how things really were.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 4:50PM
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ilene in neok, your example of costs out of control is SPOT ON. I always wonder where all the money is going for basic office visits. $60/5 minutes equals $720/hour. The office I occasionally go to is always full of patients, most on some sort of group health plan. It would be better to scrap all health insurance for anything below $1K-$5K (or whatever reasonable amount based on income) spent by the average patient and then we would see prices come down for basic services. Guess what, people might start shopping prices for health care when they have to come up with the full amount and not just a copay.

Emergency and heart surgery will always be pricey, but that is what insurance is for (rare events that strike the average person). It is a necessary expense for most people who try to balance the risks in life.

Many people confuse health insurance with health care. Insurance is not health care, it is just administration and overhead and profit margins that gets between the provider and patient.

A single payer system, public or private, that keeps overhead expenses extremely low would free up so much more money for actual health care. One pool of insured, versus the thousands we have today, would be much more efficient at spreading risk. Those who are 45-64 years old with a chronic, but manageable, health condition would not face huge premiums under a single payer system. This would be a great encouragement for people of all ages to become business owners or entrepreneurs (if they so desired) and not have to rely on the group health plan that a large employer provides. Considering that most large employers have been the first to embrace outsourcing to third world nations, isn't it about time we tried to promote small business is this country?

I have been on private health insurance, groups plans and uninsured at various points in my life. I find the group plans to be much better for the consumer, albeit not sustainable in the long-term in their present form. Medicare, even with its low overhead, may not be sustainable given that our country has a huge national debt and no piggy bank to fall back on. I guess we could auction off our federal properties if we had to (heresy, I know).

A reasonable comprise concerning cost control and health rationing would be to have independent panels make the decisions and not those who are elected. I'm sure this has already been done in many other countries that have some form of single payer system.

Those employed in the health insurance industry could be retrained in other health care areas where there will be plenty of new jobs based on our aging population.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 4:08PM
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It's hard to tell who is telling the truth because the bill is massive, or bills, as there seems to be three of them? None of the politicians involved seem to be willing to answer anyone's questions, just spew out insults.

Anyone see Barney Frank's townhall meeting? If American citizens re-elect these people next time around they only have themselves to blame.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 1:34PM
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I agree with kathgrdn. Barni Franke is acidic to say the least. I can't believe the arrogance of our current President, Nancy Pelosi, and Robert Gibbs. None of them answer any question that is asked! They are all down right rude! They all need to be voted out!

Has anyone figured out how this President plans on paying for this health care plan that is being shoved down our throats? It is written in this bill that the government has the right to dip into our bank accounts without our permission! They are going to take money out of our accounts to pay for this attrocity!

Yes, I agree we do need a better health care system.But the one being proposed is not what we need! One of the reasons this country is so strapped right now is because we are footing the bill for millions of illegal aliens. This has to stop! American citizens can only afford so much, and right now, too many of us are hurting and suffering and will not be able to pay for this current Presidents agendas!

FYI: Politicians have their own health care insurance, which the voting public is not included . When this President and his family sign on for the same health care he is prosposing for us, then I might consider going along with it, but then and only then!

Our children, grandchildren, and great grand children are going to be paying for these debts. Outrageous to say the least!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 5:36AM
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Oh, my. I saw the entire B. Frank clip and though his response was gentlemanly. She was a kook telling lies, for pete's sake, and intended to provoke him! Please tell us you don't support that kind of tactic.

Serious debate is welcome on both sides, but please, no vitriol or lies. None of us here really know the facts and figures, so all we have is our gut feelings, and that won't reform health care! Who here thinks it DOESN'T need reforming?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 11:45AM
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"When this President and his family sign on for the same health care he is prosposing for us, then I might consider going along with it, but then and only then!"

I would also like to see the President, Senators, Congress, and all federal/military employees lead by example and be part of any proposed new health plan.

vinh, thanks for the link about the Single Payer proposal from Physicians for a National Health Program. I am surprised the President has not gotten behind this, especially considering that many providers back this proposal. I agree with what PNHP proposes.

The only negative some people might have with this Single Payer System is philosophical. They would say it was forced upon them and not their choice. Fine, allow them to continue with their higher cost, private or group health insurance plan. If Single Payer was implemented properly, I believe most people and employers would shift to it because it will offer the same benefits at a lower cost. Its hard to argue against efficiency and volume of scale.

The health insurance companies are now trying to preserve their existence using traditional scare tactics. Pharma seems to have changed course from 1994 and wants to be part of any new health plan. I hope something positive comes out of this debate.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 12:07PM
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why don't you take a deep breath and quit believing all the lies. There is nothing in the proposed bill that allows the gov't in to your bank accounts without your permission. That is one more Republican lie, as is paying for illegal aliens. The bill is also not going to "kill grandma". I am stunned what sheep the american people have become!
I guess if you repeat things often enough, people will believe anything you tell them. Barney Frank did A GREAT JOB!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 4:21PM
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"There is nothing in the proposed bill that allows the gov't in to your bank accounts without your permission."

Technically correct- but they will take your money just the same. It's called taxes.

I remember a time when health insurance was cheap - it covered all tests and hospitalizations. The "big stuff." One had to pay out of pocket for doctor visits, childhood immunizations, and even prescriptions. Major medical would pick up a percentage if they went past a set limit. Then the HMO's came in vogue. People started to expect to pay a health insurance premium and have all services and meds covered. It's easy to see why costs have escalated. That doesn't even include the fraud the exists in the system.

I have always believed that health care insurance should be just like car insurance - it should cover the big, unexpected stuff.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 12:16AM
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I have deliberately been avoiding this thread for days because I knew I'd have to post again and nobody seems to be listening so to me it's just wasted effort. But I made a mistake and read some of the posts and now I have to post.

I have been around the block a few times. I remember when not everyone had insurance and yes, insurance was for the BIG things. You paid for an office visit out of your pocket, and you filled out your own paperwork if you had something big happen, and then gave it to the doctor to fill in his part, and then you were the one who sent it in and bird-dogged it. That was back in the day when I could make $4 an hour working as a secretary and a visit to the doctor cost $8. Something's really gone wrong, now, when a doctor can charge you TEN TIMES what you make an hour for the privelege of you seeing his (or her) P.A.

Yes, doctors have expenses and overhead. But they also have big huge houses and expensive cars. I remember when a doctor drove the same kind of car his patients did and he didn't have a trophy wife.

But, that aside, DancingQueen is right in that insurance should not be a for-profit business. I have seen people lose their jobs for minor infractions when their presence on the company insurance increased the company's group insurance premium, be it because of their physical condition or their age. COBRA is the cruelest joke in America. No one who loses their job can afford to make the payments, and even if they did, it's only temporary. I've known some people whose insurance company cancelled their policy because they were getting too expensive to cover. Others are dealt with more simply: just up the premium till they can't afford to pay it.

It all comes down to money, doesn't it? Those who have insurance, whether it be through the company they work for or Medicare or whatever, are scared to death they might have to be taxed more than they already are. I didn't hear anybody squawking about all the pork-barrel projects in each and every bill that gets passed. Now THAT's something to get up in arms about. You don't want to pay for health insurance but you'll help pay for a bridge to nowhere and hundreds of thousands of other projects. Any lawmaker who refuses to sign a bill until it includes one of his pet projects should be tarred and feathered and run out of town.

So let's have some common sense here. Aren't we even a little bit embarrassed to let people in other countries see us running around like Chicken Little? Educate yourself and quit listening to all these people that are using scare tactics and passing out mis-information like candy! They have their own agenda. Maybe it is that they, themselves, are stupid and scared (two conditions that are a real one-two punch). Or maybe they're mad because Obama got elected, for whatever reason, and don't want him to succeed at any cost. Or maybe they're being paid by the big insurance companies to spread fear. Think about it, these big insurance companies have so much to lose. Yet they're making noises like, "Oh, yeah, Mr. President, we'll cooperate.... we'll do anything we can...." then by the back door they'll grease somebody's palm that doesn't look like they're connected to them to scare the bejeezers out of uneducated people and make them think they're going to have their hands in our bank accounts, deny us medical care when we're old, and drag their feet in providing care otherwise.

A very wise man once told me that it is human nature for people to fear change. Even if their current situation is horrible, they are familiar with it and that's why they fight change even when they know it will make a lot of things better. We are in that mode now, friends.

You're afraid Government-run healthcare will ruin us? Good Lord! What do you think the big insurance companies are doing? If you actually trust them, then I'll be willing to bet you've never been in a position where you actually had to depend heavily on your insurance company. They don't give a Rat's You-Know-What about you except whether or not you make your premium payment on time.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 2:59PM
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We already have government run health care here in the US. It is called Medicare and Medicaid. It is NOT socialized medicine because most of our doctors are NOT employed by the US or state government. I supposed you could call the VA socialized medicine because I think the US government pays thier salaries.

Incidentially, if you listen to just one side of the aisle, you are NOT adequately informed.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 5:44PM
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caavonldy, can you please post a link for the information you described? I have heard the same thing but I think it's just propaganda put out by the republicans to scare people. I've not been able to find a link to the actual bill with that statement in it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 12:07PM
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I see the new changes virtually the same old crap as our current system except it forces more suckers who can't afford it into an overpriced system.

Personally, I think it is unconstitutional to force you to buy something from a profit motivated corporation.

Socialized or not health care in the western world is severely overpriced in comparison to income growth of the populous and the only way to really lower prices is to eliminate insurance which is the guilty party to higher prices, deregulate the industry and legalize drugs but that will never happen.

The problem with our health care system and pretty much of most of the economy in the USA is it has turned into almost entirely into a solely predatory system in a span of 30-40 years.

We manufacture very little for export except agriculture (i.e banana republic) and print funny money to pay for it backed by the war machine that allows us to do that.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 1:33PM
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nothing to add to any arguement, just in Oct I got injured at home , not impressed by the US hospital, but since then constant harassment from their lawyers, to Blame some one! who is me! I fell over! I did respond once properly, and obviously this highly effective private system they lost my reply! I am really annoyed by this intrusion into my private health, and I say private health as in private to me, not the organization, and the letter are getting progressively more aggressive.
that said they did pay, but then the Hospital has been sending me demanding letters for payment ever since, I know they have been paid, but they threatened me with legal action in March when I knew they had been paid in Jan! this system is corrupt! and I told them so, thay said oh it's administrative error!, oh! a month after I pointed it out before! Hubby just had a kidney Stone, Will like to see if they try that trick again!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:42PM
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Republicans always trying to pull same Fear Uncertainty Death card to scare blind into keeping same dysfunctional high profit system.

I am really not impressed with US system period. All it does creates conflict btw insurance companies who are trying to enrich themselves and doctors who want another million $ house trophy wife etc. Customer treatment is a side-effect.

As someone who experienced both systems no way I could say US is better.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 4:34PM
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Intresting thread. I heard a few truths but mostly lies told to uneducated and ignorant Americans by mainly the republican conservative party. Who has a big ax to grind.
The Republican party is in fact mostly funded by the medical insurance and pharma companys. Thus their intrests lie in protecting these companys,and they do it very well.
It is a fact that not just Canada has a better health care system (It is only just a little better) The truth is the whole industrial world has a much better health care system than the US AND IT IS ALL GOVERNMENT REGULATED. The US is rated 37th in the world. Cuba is rated 38th.
You poor silly American sheep. You deserve what you get.LOL

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 3:47AM
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A Money Saving Tips Forum is where Americans come to find out how to save money.

When people become uninsurable medically, they have a permanent problem.
Societies all over the world have faced this problem.
Except here.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 9:57AM
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Difficult situation here in the USA for medical care. I think the problem has always been too few people want to pay for it, and we are over charged for services we receive.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 8:47PM
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Well said totsuka. The problem has grown expotentially worse with the entitlement folks and rapid immigration. To further complicate it, many people have very unhealthy lifestyles and basically don't know how to live in a responsible and wholesome manner. There are society problems here that go beyond government......the government has simply taken this oppurtunity to exploit some.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 10:03AM
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"Socialized medicine" means a lot of different things. The system in Canada is different from the system in England, they're both different from the system in France, and all three of those are different from the system in Switzerland, and all four of those are different from Japan, and...

So that's why you get different answers when you ask about "socialized medicine." Because it depends what country you're talking about.

I've lived in both England and France; I don't like England's system. (That being said, all I had was the basic NHS--millions of people in the UK pay a little bit to have a supplemental policy from organizations like BUPA, and I understand that NHS+BUPA is definitely better than NHS alone.) But anyway... from my experience I don't like England's system, but I love France's. And what I know of Switzerland's--a dear friend of mine is a neuropsychiatrist there, so I have some insights from her--sounds good too.

Here's what's great about the system in France: everyone's insured and you can choose any doctor you want anywhere in the country; I never had any problem seeing a generalist doctor the same day I called for an appointment or a specialist within a week (Britain's NHS actually sends British patients to France to get surgery when the NHS is backlogged). Every prescription med on earth is available there for about 1/5 to 1/6th of the price it is in the States, and that's the price BEFORE you get reimbursed by your insurance. And their healthcare is cutting edge: world's first face transplant, world's first hand transplant, they were the first to identify the AIDS virus, they came up with the drug cocktail that turned AIDS into a chronic illness instead of a death sentence...

The way it works in France is that there is one huge insurance company, which is owned by the taxpayers, that provides basic coverage to everyone (everybody legal, anyway--not illegal immigrants). Then there are a bunch of smaller companies that offer optional supplemental policies that give you perks like higher reimbursement rates and coverage of things the basic insurance doesn't cover. The main insurance company reviews things every year or so and sets maximum prices for everything--doctor's visits, hospital stays, prices of each drug--and will not reimburse doctors/hospitals at all unless the doctors/hospitals agree to charge no more than that maximum price. So it's kind of like how insurers here set a "usual and customary" price for everything, and they cover only that amount--except in France, the doctor can't then turn to the patient and say, "Ok, I charged $500 and your insurer paid the usual and customary price of $260, so now you owe me $240."

And why does this work? Why are doctors not impoverished there? Because they have almost none of the overhead that doctors have here: there's one main insurance company for every patient, and the paperwork is almost nonexistent, so doctors and hospitals don't have to hire a ton of administrators to deal with all the different insurance policies. This difference is HUGE. When I lived there, every doctor in the country filled out the same form at the end of your office visit, and it took literally about 10-15 seconds to fill out; then you mailed that in and in a couple of weeks you got a check in the mail reimbursing you. Right when I left, they were switching to a system where you had a card that the doctor simply swiped in a machine like a credit card machine, and then, instead of mailing in the form and waiting for the check in the mail, you only had to pay the difference between what the insurance covered and the total price. (A visit with a generalist cost about $22 at the time, vs. about $40 for a specialist, and you paid 35% of that.)

So I mean... JUST PICTURE THIS... the DOCTOR took 15 seconds to fill out a form or swipe a card, and that's how he or she got paid. Whereas here, the doctor has to hire one or more secretaries to print out forms, take patients' payments, submit claims to insurance (and learn each insurance company's particular requirements), haggle with the insurance when they refuse to pay or don't pay enough, update patient information every time they change insurance companies... The difference in overhead cost is huge.

Also, you don't see hospital administrators and insurance company executives earning $500,000 a year like some of them do here. Patients aren't paying high salaries to anyone but the doctors and nurses themselves. Also, everyone has health insurance and lawsuit payouts aren't like they are here, so doctors don't need much in the way of malpractice insurance--if a doctor's mistake leaves you injured or sick, you're already covered because you already have comprehensive health insurance.

So in short, in the French system, the money spent on health care actually goes to health care, instead of to administrative and overhead costs and gigantic salaries for administrators and executives.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 11:14PM
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**The plan that is in the House is scary. They want to make it mandatory that everyone over age 65 must have a "end of life" consult to discuss withholding of antibiotics and denial of IV or tube feeding.**

That is a lie--I wish you hadn't believed it. Have you been to the hospital lately? ALL patients get the end of life consult--when they ask you if you have a living will, when they have you fill out a form to say whether you want to be kept alive artificially, etc., that's what that is. It has nothing to do with the health care bill, except that the health care bill wants all hospitals to follow the same rules on this.

I've been to the hospital way more than I would've preferred in the past ten years or so, for my mom, myself, my husband, my grandparents, my in-laws... Every one of us, if we were an inpatient or if we were going into surgery, had to fill out those forms. The hospital needs them so that it will have instructions, from you, on what to do if something terrible happens--they need to know whether you want them to keep you alive like Terry Schiavo or not; they need to know whether you've named someone to make decisions for you if you're in a coma, so that they know whose instructions to follow if you do end up in a coma; and so on. That's just common sense.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 11:26PM
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It's difficult to pay for social programs when there is uncontrolled immigration. The reason is obvious.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 7:01PM
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There is massive immigration in other countries too. Uncontrolled, illegal immigration. What about looking at what those systems do? Anybody willing to look into it?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:35AM
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**It's difficult to pay for social programs when there is uncontrolled immigration. The reason is obvious.**

I assume you're talking about illegal immigration, since you used the word "uncontrolled." If you are talking about illegal immigration, it's a little puzzling--it's not as if illegal immigrants qualify for Medicare/Medicaid, food stamps, or any other form of welfare I can think of. And in countries with universal healthcare, they don't qualify for universal healthcare.

So I'm a little puzzled here... not seeing the connection.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:21PM
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Consider also the comments of former Cigna PR executive, Wendell Potter

Having been on CIGNA "health insurance" for several years, during which time we had to fight for every penny they paid for services rendered, I honestly can't put any trust in anything TPTB at Cigna might say -- including the remark referenced above.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 3:36AM
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If you are wondering what the Health care plan will cost, besides increased taxes and many more government agencies, you can refer to the letter from the CBO to Sen. Evan Bayh (D). This is from the CBO folks not Fox News, Glen Beck, Rush or Sarah Palin.

Scroll to pay 26 where you will find:
Single person making 44K will pay $6400. My family of five was paying $7600 for private insurance and we have a son with a preexisting condition. We recently switched me and the kids to my company's group plan but my 48 y.o. husband pays about $2100, not $6400. The government believes singles can afford 14% of their income for health insurance.

However, it gets worse! Take a family of four making 90K, which isn't a bad income but with a federal, state and local taxes, mortgages, property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, food, vehicle costs, home repairs and raising two kids there isn't much left over for most people. Well guess what? The government thinks this family will suddenly be able to pay 14K for insurance! That's right 16% of their income, plus increased taxes to boot.

What will happen? Why lots of these people won't be able to just absorb insurance costs doubling or tripling and they will default on their already devalued homes.

This is not a good solution folks.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 11:46PM
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You might want to check out Snopes

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:00AM
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The Snopes letter is not the same letter I have linked to. I linked to one from the CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO), not a doctor from Indiana.

I have a suggestion for you, if you are going to comment on the veracity of a post, please have the class to read the link.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:07AM
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Your letter is dated 4 or 5 months before the bill passed, and it was changed many times before it was voted on. Got anything more up to date?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 12:34AM
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Let me get this straight, I link to a legitimate letter estimating costs, you link to a completely different letter to "disprove" me and now I have to offer more proof? Wow.

How about you show me the lower improved costs? You can't because they are higher.

Even Nancy Pelosi admitted they didn't know what was in the bill, they needed to pass it to find out what was in it. If I said something like that at my job I'd get fired. So you honestly believe that you can insure millions of additional people, create tens or perhaps hundreds of new government agencies and make services less expensive without a sacrifice in quality. It defies logic.

The system we had in place needed improvement, however, this is not it, not during the current economic times we live in.

Also, if it so wonderful, why won't congress and the first family take this coverage and why has the administration handed out over 700 waivers so cronies so they don't have to follow the expensive and onerous rules? One of the biggest beneficiaries of the waivers is the SEIU, who just happen to be big time Obama donors. Pay to play baby, pay to play, regulate your enemies, give your donor friends a pass .

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 1:00AM
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**Also, if it so wonderful, why won't congress and the first family take this coverage**

That's sort of a confusing question--it seems like you think the new law creates new insurance policies that we all have to switch to, or something? And so you're wondering why Congress and the first family don't switch to the new policies? But the law doesn't do that. There is no coverage that Congress or the Obamas, or you for that matter, could switch to. The only new coverage options are the state-run exchanges for people with preexisting conditions who cannot get insurance on the private market, and a few new options for low-income people. But if you don't have a preexisting condition that has prevented you from getting insurance, or if you aren't low-income enough, you don't qualify for those new options. So there's nothing that Congress, the first family, etc., could switch to. Under the new law, you just keep your existing insurance (or move to whatever other policy your employer offers that you want). And so does Congress and the first family.

What the law does is (1) change the rules for insurance companies so that your existing insurance is more reliable, (2) requires everyone to have health insurance, and (3) creates more options for lower-income people and for people with preexisting conditions, so that such people can get insurance more easily (through state-run exchanges, Medicaid and so on).

So in other words, the coverage you have under it is the same as the coverage you have now--and the coverage Congress and the first family have is the same as what they have now--except with better rules: now your insurer can't cancel you for getting sick, can't exclude your kids for pre-existing conditions, as of 2014 also won't be able to exclude adults for pre-existing conditions, has to let you keep your children on your insurance until they're 26 if you want to, can't impose a lifetime cap on benefits, and so on.

As for the waiver, I really have a problem with Fox News and others leaving out a few critical details, like the fact that McDonalds, Universal Orlando (the theme park), and other very mainstream companies got it (and you can google "McDonalds political contributions" to see that most of McDonalds' donations went to Republicans), and the fact that the waiver only lasts for one year. Apparently the purpose of it is to let part-time lower-income workers keep their extremely basic plans, which do impose a lifetime cap on benefits, while the details of their new plans get ironed out and the new system gets up and running. Most employers don't offer such bare-bones plans, so they don't need a waiver.

I'm also a little confused by what you said about creating dozens or hundreds of new federal agencies. Here's an article (link below) that clarifies that.

I took a look at the letter you posted, but there's no sense in responding to it because it's not talking about the law that actually got passed. It's talking about certain things that, at the time the letter was written, were being considered. I'm just going to stick to the law we actually have, not a 15-month-old letter about other possibilities.

But I do want to point something out--you were comparing the price projections on page 28 of the letter to your own insurance premiums in 2010. Those price projections were for 2016. Even assuming those projections turn out to be correct--which would be a total fluke, since they were based on things that did not end up being passed in the actual law--it doesn't make sense to compare your price in 2010 to a projected 2016 price and then say, based on that, that the new law is going to increase your costs.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:35AM
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PS I forgot to mention that what creates the savings is the requirement that everyone have health insurance. The only way that insurance costs can be kept down--regardless of whether you're insuring health, your car, your home or whatever--is if low-risk people have insurance too. If the only people who buy insurance are the people who need to start using it immediately, insurance is going to cost a lot.

So the new law requires everyone to have insurance one way or another--whether through their employer, through a self-employed or student policy, through Medicaid or whatever else. The law doesn't tell you where to get it; that choice is yours. But you have to get it unless you have a religious exemption (some religions prohibit insurance--so for example, Amish people who live in Amish communities won't have to get it).

That way, a lot of people who are low risk will have insurance. Some of them will need it--I actually know two people who both had fairly minor accidents in their twenties when they didn't have insurance, and ended up over $30,000 in debt. Most of them won't need it, just like most of us never actually use our car insurance or homeowner's insurance, and that way, costs are kept low and the insurance is there if god forbid we ever do need it.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:45AM
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As a Canadian, it always amuses me to hear Americans lambaste "socialized" medicine by using the Canadian system as an example, citing anecdotal evidence of their neighbour's cousin's horrible experience. But you don't hear us Canadians complaining about our health service. I would think that should weigh more heavily.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 8:43PM
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It is true that they aren't complaining.

Canadians have a different system in each province.


When people become uninsurable, it's permanent.
In Canada can people move to another province when they are uninsurable?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 10:14AM
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I don't know of uninsurable people. We don't think of it as insurance. It's universal care. You don't lose access by getting cancer or becoming an alcoholic.

You can move and seek a slightly different coverage in a different province if you want. They're not that different but with unusual conditions maybe one would better serve you than another.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Somebody has to pay for it. We have 45 percent of Americans that don't pay any Federal Income Taxes right now. A good first step would be to lower that to Zero!. Yes, Zero percent. Then start to deport more illegal aliens. They are not needed and too expensive to support. Answer these two problems before demanding a single payer system in the USA.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Most of the people who do not pay income taxes are those with the lowest incomes, including many elderly social security recipients.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Nope. President Bush raised the level so I think it is for a family of four, 40k and no federal income tax. That is a big change and really hurting the country. Everyone should pay something.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 4:19PM
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Are you looking at an example like this? I'm also assuming that the wage earners pay social security and Medicare taxes.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 8:22PM
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I asked "When people become uninsurable, it's permanent. In Canada can people move to another province when they are uninsurable?

A response from tomgyrll (Fri, Feb 18, 2011) answered the question almost completely.

For the purpose of digging deeper to get clearer answers, I'll rewrite that answer to see if I have understood it correctly.

Please confirm or rebut.

The rewrite:
"I don't know of uninsurable people. We don't think of it as insurance. It's universal care. You don't lose access by getting cancer or becoming an alcoholic or whatever. When you move you AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE THE SAME COVERAGE that everyone receives, in that province, which has a slightly different coverage from each other province. You can move if you want to and NOT LOSE COVERAGE. There are no insurability questions asked, so you are automatically insurable by definition, because you are Canadian. That is it. No surprises. From province to province, the definitions of coverage are not that different but with unusual conditions maybe one would better serve you than another.

I'm not aware of anyone moving to another province to get different free treatment. Has anyone seen this?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 11:33AM
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