Hijack the Hijack: Medical care and misconceptions

raekAugust 6, 2008

Wow ladies, we maxed this one out! This is my to be contiunued post.

Wry...No offence taken to the Libertarian comment. I actually agree with much of the Libertarian political positions (not all), but many of their ideas. I like that they stand for limited government and a true focus on what our founding fathers entended for our country.

Obviously Public roads, police, etc. are necessary and it would be financially daunting to have private security for all private citizens who coul afford it. However, the function of government should be limited and it shouldn't be up to taxpayers to support the masses. I've read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and agree very much with her political viewpoints and I'm impressed that you have researched both sides of the issue. Many people tend to only take into account viewpoints that support their already made up minds. Please don't think of me as a Ron Paul supporter though...I think many of those people showed themselves to be pretty out there. I think there is a proper role of government and I don't believe in anarchy and I don't think all government should be abolished. I would just like to see the federal government limited in its power and more powers delegated to the states, as the framers intended.

No worries about the median post...I've been feeling a bit ornery myself...It's kinda fun when the debate gets heated. ;-)...I guess when we get tired of the debate, we will have to agree to disagree.

ima...I agree that food stamps should not be allowed to purchase junk food, but as far as the extra tax...you know that might cost people who work for Pepsi and the other places if they are taxed extra just because it's not something that is healthy for you. Again, I don't think it should be the function of goverment to mandate what we should and should not put into our bodies.

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raek, I agree with wrychoice, I disagree with the political philosophy of the authors of the article you wrote, and don't agree with their solutions. But I would also point out that they made all the exact same arguments against our current system that I have been making all along. It doesn't work well, and it doesn't work well for all the exact reasons they point out. Ironic that we are in total agreement about the problems and total disagreement about the solutions, but we sure are.

kkny, i'm not necessarily opposed to toll roads, used properly. I would agree there is no need to drive into Manhattan, and DC and its burbs has pretty good public transportation as well (at least for the time being), so if tolls were targeted to primary commuter routes and we made a long-term dedication to maintaining public transportation systems, I think toll roads in and of themselves could be a good idea. I'm not so sure about the idea of privately owned public highways, though, which is what's being proposed. I suppose it's not fundamentally different from privately owned utilities which we already have, but I'm still not sure it's such a good idea.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 10:29PM
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Oh pass the Tylenol....Cant we all talk about socks again........

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 11:04PM
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"and DC and its burbs has pretty good public transportation as well (at least for the time being)"

You're kidding me right?

DC does not have good public transportation from the burbs. Not in the least.

Most people commuting into DC are from the outer burbs. The toll roads from VA are pretty much up to $5 now. The price is expected to soar with gas.

Not to mention you sit in traffic while you pay.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 11:08PM
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Dotz?? Can you recommend a good pair of "medical socks" ... I fear I will end up with vericose(sp?) veins like my mother!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 8:05AM
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I'm a huge Ayn Rand fan. I agree with everything that you said, Raek. Objectivism rocks. LOL

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 8:34AM
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Its funny that Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged are turning up now. Actually, IÂve read almost everything IÂve found by Rand and Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books. I think the idealology behind her writing is great; in a perfect world.
I think universal healthcare is so heated because it involves so many complex issues, and at the heart of it, itÂs what people believe. ItÂs hard to argue with beliefs because everyoneÂs entitled to Âem.
I agree to disagee.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:03AM
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LOL They have procedures for that now .....But I dont know what health care system will pay for it..May be elective....

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:24AM
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I am Canadian by the way.

What an exciting discussion. Medicare hrmph. I guess most areas have been discussed except stealing from the poor to help the rich, which is exactly what is happening regarding our health care. US and Canada are the worst culprits.

In Canada a physician will be educated and trained almost fully subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, including the person who works for minimum wage scrubbing floors. Do they get benefit from their money? NO, because after graduation that doctor will be recruited to the US because they can make more money of course. Can you blame them? I can't.

Many rural hospitals have been transformed from clinics into community health centres mainly due to lack of doctors, funds, and most of those centres are NGOs.

We in Canada are stealing doctors from third world countries, most notably Africa. Politicians view that as real coup. How so? Many people ponder why is it that Africa is so underdeveloped and they cite tribalism as the cause. Hmmmmmmmm? They just aren't picking up a mitt and getting into the world economy. Right!

I do not think for one minute health care is a basic right. What about the people in Africa? Where are their basic rights? We in the western world are about to receive a lesson in hard knocks. You know, it is more than passing strange people will pay $3,000 a year to insure their car, but are up in arms if they are asked to fork over a few bucks to insure their health.

It is an ugly reality that people who have more money are healthier. What are the determinants of health? Income and social status number one. Now who would have ever thought that status was so important to overall health? And, which came first income or social status, obviously income. Because we accept that income is the yardstick to measure of the value of a person.

I always get quite a chuckle when people discuss their income as though it is some kind of indication of working harder mainly. Some people forget that there is a large measure of luck involved in earning high incomes. Granted you have to work hard as well, but working hard will not guarantee it for you.

By the way our medicare system is in huge trouble, and unfortunately the bureaucrats aren't acting smart enough to avert the crisis.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:47AM
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I am not sure where you get your statistics from, Colleen. They are sadly out of date.

There are 70,000 ( give or take a few hundred) practicing physicians in Canada.

In 2002, 225 doctors left Canada for the United States.

In 2003, 147 doctors left for the United states.

In 2004-2005, less than 120 each year left .

2006 is the last year that stats are available. In that year, more doctors returned to Canada from the USA, than left to go there, by about 35. Of course, that may have been spurred by the disgust of a lot of people for the Bush administration, and could have been a one time anomoly.

In each of those years, the number of returning doctors, who had previously moved to the states, was greater than 75% of the number of those who left. Statistically, 70 percent of doctors who leave Canada return within five years. The grass isnt exactly greener.

The top reasons that doctors give for returning, the higher crime rate in American cities, the burdensome paperwork involved in private practice, the restrictions on treatments by insurance companies, and the number of default cases that have to go to collections, and the crazy cost of malpractice insurance.

You are partially correct in your assumptions though. More of the doctors who leave and then stay away, are specialists.

There was a time in the 1970's, when there was a mass exodus of doctors from Canada. There was another smaller exodus in the mid 90's. But since 2000, there has only been a small trickle of doctors leave, and most of those come back.

My own family doctor when I lived in ONtario, moved to New York State in the late 90's, with his American born wife and four children. He was back within two years. Apparently living in a gated community and dealing with insurance companies who decided what treatments he could or could not offer his patients, was an antithesis to all he had been taught in medical school.

Two of my siblings are doctors. Both remain in Canada, even though one of them is married to an American. One of the two practiced in Germany for a few years immediately out of medical school.

Its worthwhile to also note that the United States is facing a shortage of physicians. Apparently American doctors are being lured away as well. The United States projects a shortfall of 82 thousand physicians this year. Of course, that most likely is caused by the high cost of medical school in the USA, and the extreme cost of malpractice insurance. The United States health care system, dollar for dollar, is extremely inefficient. Bureacracy rules, and lobbyists pretty well set health policy.

Whatever the problems that Canada has with its medical system, doctors leaving the country isnt a big part of it. Changes are needed. I, for one, think there should be a user fee, or an opt out ability. I think the number one thing that p*sses me off about Canadian health care is the inability to get private care if desired. But the premise, that health care is the right of everyone is something I truly believe in, and so do most Canadians. That is why it is self destruction for any politician who advocated privatization in Canada.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:05PM
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Geez, I ain't that old Kathline:P

I see that you are partially right, and I am glad that I looked a little deeper as I was basing my comments on mid nineties in Saskatchewan where I lived at the time and where they was a very serious problem.

Another interesting thing to note is that more and more doctors are females who aren't prepared to put in the long, long hours, so patient care actually is declining which is of course their perogative. Also average age of physicians is increasing.

A two tiered medicare system isn't going to ever be allowed in Canada at least not in the near future and yes any politician who has raised it has seen the results of their efforts at the polls.

And I was looking for data, but on a superficial level didn't find it. Do you know happen to know the percentage of provincial and federal tax dollars go to support health care? Last I saw 97.6 billion from all levels of government, and would you also happen to know how many units of service is provided for that cost, minus administration of course. With a population of 33 million that amounts to $3,174 for every man, woman and child living in Canada. Of course not everyone uses the health system.

As the percentage of the general population ages those costs are going to rise hugely, unless of course our immigration policies change.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:57PM
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It's been a few days & I've been very busy...only now getting a chance to respond. Sorry to say I have only vague memories of my reading of The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged. First read them at the behest of a fellow I was dating in college back 35+ years ago (that really dates me now, doesn't it!) --- he was an economics major...I was in Social Studies Ed and had been required to take several economics classes which I enjoyed. Anyway, he was an Ayn Rand fan and a Milton Friedman/Chicago School of Economics devotee. I, on the other hand, was more enamored of Keynesian economic thought, so he & I had some interesting discussions...alas, the relationship did not last...not to say this is true of all fans of Rand's Objectivism, but his infatuation with Ms. Rand's philosophy really meshed well with and supported his narcissism...I was lucky to get out of that relationship.

Thanks for the debate!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 10:54AM
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LOL Wry...I think there are Narcissistic people on both sides of the arguement. I hope his personality doesn't color your opinion of all Rand fans.

I heard an analogy yesterday about Atlas Shrugs...There was a man (a politician, I think) who suggested that Baby-Boomers should wait a few more years to retire because if they do, it would account for a significant amount of tax dollars going into the system that will not be there otherwise. The analogy was that the Baby Boomers retiring is essentially the same as Atlas Shrugging and allowing the weight of the world to roll off of his shoulders. I guess the burden will then shift to my generation and that of our children. It's just a legacy I would like to keep off of the shoulders of my children if I had the option. I will vote to try to keep it off, but I'm not very optimistic about the state of the union we are leaving to our children. (Yes, I don't have any now, but would like to have some one day.)

The debate was good. I'm tired though. I'm agreeing to disagree :-)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 4:10PM
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Hey all...I was just wondering if the consensus is the same now as it was in August of '08.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:19PM
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What's the question?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:30PM
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This was the original Post...

Not at all stepfamily related, but Stargazer hit a nerve.
I HATE the term "socialized medicine". What a ridiculous, fear-mongering phrase.
Tell me, honestly, which you think is better:

a) You have to pay thousands of dollars a year for insurance, in addition to your taxes. You can probably get essential or non-essential surgeries right away. A large number of your fellow citizens don't have the money to get insurance and are deprived of proper medical care.

b) Your health insurance is included with your taxes, and therefore is dependent upon your income. You may have to wait a year to get a non-essential surgery, but essential surgeries will still be very prompt. Everyone in the entire country, regardless of the financial situation, has access to proper medical care.

No medical system is perfect, but I like the security of that I cannot be denied health care because I cannot afford it.

Here's an example of why I like our system:
About 20 years ago, a friend of my family had a triple bypass surgery. It cost him $2.55 (he wanted to upgrade his hospital lunch one day because he didn't like the free option that day). A few months later, on an airplane, he met a guy from the States who had the exact same surgery. He inquired of our friend "Can I ask how much yours cost? My insurance didn't provide me full coverage, so I had to pay some of my own costs."
He chuckled about the $2.55 bill the hospital asked him to settle upon going home, and he thought his seatmate was going to punch him... The other guy's cost $66000 and some odd. They had to sell their house and move in with their kids to pay for it.

...it seemed as though most were in support of a government takeover of health care. The question is if most of the people who felt that way then, still feel that way today.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 3:36PM
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I am in support of health care overhaul. I don't think what's just been passed is the answer but we have to start somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 4:36PM
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I don't remember participating in this thread in 2008 -- though I probably did because as a self-employed person, health care has been a HUGE issue for me for years.

Point 1 - Under our current health care system, no matter how much money I throw at the problem, I am simply not able to insure my family's financial security against medically-induced disaster. And since I have a disabled child who will probably need some level of help forever, that is a HUGE problem. Why can't I insure my family's financial security against medically-induced disaster? Because if I get sick enough, or my husband or son gets sick enough, the insurance company will find a way to rescind our coverage. And right now, it's legal.

Point 2 - The most reliable information I can find indicated that 30-35% of our healthcare dollars go to cover the costs/fees of insurance company administration. You know -- The people who invent the red tape procedures they throw at doctors and customers making them jump through hoops to get paid/reimbursed. The same people who sit on 'medical review boards' second-guessing your doctor's recommendations and insisting that you don't really need the (expensive) treatment or (brand name) medication your doctor feels is best for you. But then, since lots of folks eventually give up (I do, for small amounts) -- that practice makes sense. I'd rather that money go to pay the doctors, PA's and nurses who actually provide the care.

Point 3 - It may not be perfect in Canada, but the parts of the system I've encountered have been pretty darned good. One Saturday morning my MIL fell and broke her clavicle while vacationing with us in Toronto. Of course we brought her to the emergency room. Three hours later, we were seen by the triage nurse and sent back to the waiting room. (Oops! That's the American version!) Three hours later, she had been screened by the nurse, promptly pulled in, X-rayed, seen by the doctor, splinted, prescribed-for, handed a copy of her X-Rays for follow up with her regular doctor, given her full and complete bill (under $500, which we paid on the spot) and discharged. Surely that's not what we want for Americans!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 4:38PM
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My DD22 gets Universal Care as everyone else in UK, DD is college student and gets it even though she is not permanent UK resident. She never waited in any line for any reason, gets prescription with no problem and a lot of different medications are just free or inexpensive. She also had to be taken to emergency room due to a concussion and was treated immediately. Their dental care is bad though. But other medical care is fine.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 6:21PM
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Does anyone really know everything that is in the bill that has been passed?

We are now covered under my husband's plan... but it is taking a HUGE chunk out of our budget, which is already tight. We have a family plan & SD (a minor) and my DS (a full time college student) are covered. DD is not covered, she is 19 and not in school.

My concern is that I am a small business owner (at the moment, no employees.. just me & DH on the weekends) and in the next month, I will need to hire at least 2-3 employees. Our gross is down 60% of last year, if I am required to pay health care benefits for my employees, then I will probably not hire anyone and work 16 hours a day to do it all myself. I am already working 10 hours a day because business is so slow, I'd have to borrow capital to pay wages & workers comp.

On the other hand, it seems like a good thing that my daughter, who is 19 & not in college, could be covered under my husband's group policy.

I guess if I ever get time off from work, I should download and read the entire bill.... maybe by the next election!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 7:09PM
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I am under impression that your DD is eligible only if she is your dependent? She can be on your policy until 26 if she is either in college or your dependent? Am i correct? I am looking in a new law too and seems confusing.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Finedreams...from the information I have seen, adult children under the age of 26 do have to be dependents in order to qualify for coverage under their parents plans.

Ima...I'm attaching a link to an article that does a decent job of explaining how the Healthcare bill will affect individuals.

My biggest concerns in all of this is
1) How business and therefore the economy and jobs will be effected by the changes.
2) How premiums will be effected especially given the fact that the mandatory fine for not buying insurance is so much cheaper than buying insurance would be. I think that many healthier individuals will opt to pay the fine and then insurance companies will be forced to accept them once they do get sick, therefore driving up costs and the premiums for people who are already covered. The CBO estimates that premiums will increase by 13% by 2016.
3) How taxes will increase to pay for the entitlements and what the tax increases will do to business, jobs and the economy. Several companies have already announced expected losses due to the heath care overhaul.
4) How health care providers will handle the influx of new people into the system and what that will do to waiting lines and availability as a whole.
5) I'm concerned that there is a reason that the largest portions of the bill do not go into effect until after the next presidential election. I feel that if it is a matter of such great importance, that it should go into effect immediately and I feel as if there are political reasons for its delay. I'm also concerned that those who wrote the bill and voted for it are not subject to it. I feel that if it's good enough for us, it should be good enough for them.
6) I'm concerned with how the cuts in medicare funding will effect those who are currently covered under medicare. If Doctors are forced to accept a reduced rate of pay in addition to all of the red-tape involved in processing medicare payments, that the number of doctors who accept medicare will decrease as a result.
7) I don't understand why student loan legislation was included in this bill and how that will effect student lending.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:05PM
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HEY!! That's my original post, Raek.
And keep in mind that I am a Canadian who is quite happy with our healthcare system, flaws and all.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:34PM
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It doesn't take much to figure out that if businesses are forced to cover employees, they will have less employees with likely lower wages and/or the cost of coverage will be passed on to consumers in the way of higher prices on goods/services.

I'm a small business owner (I own two small businesses) and in a good year, we would employ 10-15 people. In this economy, we are going to try to get by with 3-4. If we have to pay for health insurance for employees (in this bad economy), we won't hire or try to get by with 1.

In big business, I don't know if it's just a coincidence but my son works for Wal Mart. The week the health care bill passed, he says his store let go of nine people... then dropped everyone down to 8-12 hours a week. One guy that commutes 30 miles, got one 4 hour shift. If it's not a coincidence, I'd really hate to see what large (and small) companies do when it's in effect to cover everyone.

I worked in social services for 10 years and the (lack of) care provided to those that have government benefits based on need. Doctor's offices refused to accept Medi-Cal so recipients were forced to see the few that would take it or go to clinics where there are long waits and mediocre care. Twenty years ago, Medi-Cal was reimbursing 49 cents on the dollar. Doctors (clinics) and hospitals that are forced to take Medi-Cal seem to be crowded, dirty & sub standard... at least that has been my experience. Before I married DH, I went two years without health insurance & I would have qualified for Medi-Cal based on my children's deprivation of a parent, but instead I found a doctor and was a cash patient because it was too much paperwork & red tape to go through to get a card for free sub standard care.

If I get a minute tonight, I will read the link. (I responded without reading it so maybe it may change my response later)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Yes ceph, I know.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:29AM
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"I'm also concerned that those who wrote the bill and voted for it are not subject to it. I feel that if it's good enough for us, it should be good enough for them. "

Agreed. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC 5th District) suggested this idea, for a 28th amendment to the Constitution, in a letter to President Obama, Sen. Richard Burr, and Sen. Kay Hagan on November 10, 2009.

Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives, and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:28AM
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First of all, if someone is young and healthy and doesn't want health insurance (maybe they get sick once a year and it doesn't benefit them to pay for a policy), why should they HAVE to buy it? The answer is that those young and healthy people spending $X,XXX a year on health insurance, but only using a very small amount of it, will be paying for the people who use more than their $X,XXX of health insurance. How is that democratic?

Let me put it this way...say you take great care of yourself. Don't smoke, don't drink alcohol, workout, take vitamins, get plenty of rest, go to your wellness exams, blah, blah, blah. Your neighbor, on the other hand, stays up late, parties all night, smokes like 2 packs of ciggarettes a day, drinks like a fish, never works out, smokes something out of a pipe, and has already had a heart attack or two.

It's his right to treat his body however he wants.....right, but still pay the same amount of insurance premiums you do?

I believe our health insurance industry needs reform. How about starting with taking the government's hands out of it?

The government isn't a business. Businesses create jobs and produce something, whether it be a product or a service. The government creates jobs, sure, but doesn't produce a single product or service. Yet they suck the money out of the businesses that DO produce a product or service in the form of regulations, taxes, and CAFE standards.

Here's my other major problem with this whole 'health care' reform:

I know a girl who is 29, married and has 3 kids. Her last 2 kids were very pre-term due to her hereditary high blood pressure (which she knew about after the 1st one). She doesn't plan to take any precautions to not get pregnant again, even though she would be risking her life and the baby's if she did. Not my problem. I love her and I would never want anything to happen to her or a baby of her's, but ultimately it's her decision.

Also, she is receiving Medicaid for herself and her 3 kids and lying to get it. She sent an e-mail out about how she can't wait for universal healthcare (but aren't we really talking about health 'insurance' and not 'care'; let's face it...we can get health 'care' in any emergency room in the US). Her point is that her family can't afford $200/month for insurance, and she asked "how are we supposed to afford health insurance?" I answered her back and said "It's all about priorities...you have 2 vehicles, a motorcycle (that has been wrecked and repaired), 2 laptops, and 2 flat-screen TVs. If health insurance was a priority for you, you would give anything to have it, and maybe forgoe things that aren't essential to living."

She is representative of SOOOOOO many people! Cell phones, fake nails, expensive hair-dos, cars, computers, iPods and what-not are a bigger priority to them than health insurance. And these are the people that are screaming for universal health insurance when they already have it! See, they have this misconception that it will bring their standard of care up. But in reality, it will bring everyone else's down to their level.

My parents, my sister and her family and my brother all have Tricare (military insurance). You can't find a doctor, dentist or pharmacy within 20 miles of my house that accepts it. Why? Beacause they never pay what they say they will, and payments are 6 months behind.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Ashley...I completely agree with you. I think if Government would stay out of it completely, or be in it only for the sake of regulating and making sure that the insurance companies do what they say they will do. We would be better off. I also believe that government could get involved in the form of tort reform. I think that a good bit of the reason that the cost of health care in general is so high is because of the enormous premiums that are being paid to malpractice insurance companies by doctors. If we had tort reform, those premiums would be reduced and doctors could charge less and still have their expenses covered.

I think that government mandates on what must be covered under health insurance is part of the problem with high premiums in the first place. If a woman has no intention of ever having children, or cannot have children for that matter, if she buys insurance then she must be covered under that policy for pregnancy. Also, if you do not drink, if you buy insurance, it must cover you for alcohol treatment. That is why premiums are high and they are getting ready to go even higher, esspecially for young, healthy Americans.

"First of all, if someone is young and healthy and doesn't want health insurance (maybe they get sick once a year and it doesn't benefit them to pay for a policy), why should they HAVE to buy it?"
...I agree that they should not HAVE to buy it, but I think if they get cancer or some other condition while they are not covered, then they should also not complain when the insurance companies will then not accept them as customers and will not cover their pre-existing conditions.

I just feel that people don't understand the purpose of insurance in the first place. We don't expect our car insurance companies to pay for maintenance on our cars. We only expect them to pay in the event that something unplanned happens (an accident). If we treated car insurance companies in the same way we treat health insurance companies, car insurance would be extreemly expensive as well.

You are right, people just don't want to give up their luxury items in order to pay for their health insurance. They expect the taxpayers to pick up the tab for them.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 11:40AM
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Being healthy/living clean does not mean you will not get sick. So many use the emergency room as a doctors office and we end up paying for that too.

I think incentives for being healthy would be great. They make money, and interest on the money we pay in. How about paying out dividends for those who live a cleaner lifestyle. Exercise credits, etc...?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 1:21PM
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