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Posted: 12/5/2007 1:09:54 PM EDT
Professor is using these articles to back up his claims about how our system is the worst;



Pride, Prejudice, Insurance

By PAUL KRUGMAN

General Motors is reducing retirees' medical benefits. Delphi has declared bankruptcy, and will probably reduce workers' benefits as well as their wages. An internal Wal-Mart memo describes plans to cut health costs by hiring temporary workers, who aren't entitled to health insurance, and screening out employees likely to have high medical bills.

These aren't isolated anecdotes. Employment-based health insurance is the only serious source of coverage for Americans too young to receive Medicare and insufficiently destitute to receive Medicaid, but it's an institution in decline. Between 2000 and 2004 the number of Americans under 65 rose by 10 million. Yet the number of nonelderly Americans covered by employment-based insurance fell by 4.9 million.

The funny thing is that the solution - national health insurance, available to everyone - is obvious. But to see the obvious we'll have to overcome pride - the unwarranted belief that America has nothing to learn from other countries - and prejudice - the equally unwarranted belief, driven by ideology, that private insurance is more efficient than public insurance.

Let's start with the fact that America's health care system spends more, for worse results, than that of any other advanced country.

In 2002 the United States spent $5,267 per person on health care. Canada spent $2,931; Germany spent $2,817; Britain spent only $2,160. Yet the United States has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than any of these countries.

But don't people in other countries sometimes find it hard to get medical treatment? Yes, sometimes - but so do Americans. No, Virginia, many Americans can't count on ready access to high-quality medical care.

The journal Health Affairs recently published the results of a survey of the medical experience of "sicker adults" in six countries, including Canada, Britain, Germany and the United States. The responses don't support claims about superior service from the U.S. system. It's true that Americans generally have shorter waits for elective surgery than Canadians or Britons, although German waits are even shorter. But Americans do worse by some important measures: we find it harder than citizens of other advanced countries to see a doctor when we need one, and our system is more, not less, rife with medical errors.

Above all, Americans are far more likely than others to forgo treatment because they can't afford it. Forty percent of the Americans surveyed failed to fill a prescription because of cost. A third were deterred by cost from seeing a doctor when sick or from getting recommended tests or follow-up.

Why does American medicine cost so much yet achieve so little? Unlike other advanced countries, we treat access to health care as a privilege rather than a right. And this attitude turns out to be inefficient as well as cruel.

The U.S. system is much more bureaucratic, with much higher administrative costs, than those of other countries, because private insurers and other players work hard at trying not to pay for medical care. And our fragmented system is unable to bargain with drug companies and other suppliers for lower prices.

Taiwan, which moved 10 years ago from a U.S.-style system to a Canadian-style single-payer system, offers an object lesson in the economic advantages of universal coverage. In 1995 less than 60 percent of Taiwan's residents had health insurance; by 2001 the number was 97 percent. Yet according to a careful study published in Health Affairs two years ago, this huge expansion in coverage came virtually free: it led to little if any increase in overall health care spending beyond normal growth due to rising population and incomes.

Before you dismiss Taiwan as a faraway place of which we know nothing, remember Chile-mania: just a few months ago, during the Bush administration's failed attempt to privatize Social Security, commentators across the country - independent thinkers all, I'm sure - joined in a chorus of ill-informed praise for Chile's private retirement accounts. (It turns out that Chile's system has a lot of problems.) Taiwan has more people and a much bigger economy than Chile, and its experience is a lot more relevant to America's real problems.

The economic and moral case for health care reform in America, reform that would make us less different from other advanced countries, is overwhelming. One of these days we'll realize that our semiprivatized system isn't just unfair, it's far less efficient than a straightforward system of guaranteed health insurance.



The Health Care Racket

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Is the health insurance business a racket? Yes, literally — or so say two New York hospitals, which have filed a racketeering lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group and several of its affiliates.

I don’t know how the case will turn out. But whatever happens in court, the lawsuit illustrates perfectly the dysfunctional nature of our health insurance system, a system in which resources that could have been used to pay for medical care are instead wasted in a zero-sum struggle over who ends up with the bill.

The two hospitals accuse UnitedHealth of operating a “rogue business plan” designed to avoid paying clients’ medical bills. For example, the suit alleges that patients were falsely told that Flushing Hospital was “not a network provider” so UnitedHealth did not pay the full network rate. UnitedHealth has already settled charges of misleading clients about providers’ status brought by New York’s attorney general: the company paid restitution to plan members, while attributing the problem to computer errors.

The legal outcome will presumably turn on whether there was deception as well as denial — on whether it can be proved that UnitedHealth deliberately misled plan members. But it’s a fact that insurers spend a lot of money looking for ways to reject insurance claims. And health care providers, in turn, spend billions on “denial management,” employing specialist firms — including Ingenix, a subsidiary of, yes, UnitedHealth — to fight the insurers.

So it’s an arms race between insurers, who deploy software and manpower trying to find claims they can reject, and doctors and hospitals, who deploy their own forces in an effort to outsmart or challenge the insurers. And the cost of this arms race ends up being borne by the public, in the form of higher health care prices and higher insurance premiums.

Of course, rejecting claims is a clumsy way to deny coverage. The best way for an insurer to avoid paying medical bills is to avoid selling insurance to people who really need it. An insurance company can accomplish this in two ways, through marketing that targets the healthy, and through underwriting: rejecting the sick or charging them higher premiums.

Like denial management, however, marketing and underwriting cost a lot of money. McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, recently released an important report dissecting the reasons America spends so much more on health care than other wealthy nations. One major factor is that we spend $98 billion a year in excess administrative costs, with more than half of the total accounted for by marketing and underwriting — costs that don’t exist in single-payer systems.

And this is just part of the story. McKinsey’s estimate of excess administrative costs counts only the costs of insurers. It doesn’t, as the report concedes, include other “important consequences of the multipayor system,” like the extra costs imposed on providers. The sums doctors pay to denial management specialists are just one example.

Incidentally, while insurers are very good at saying no to doctors, hospitals and patients, they’re not very good at saying no to more powerful players. Drug companies, in particular, charge much higher prices in the United States than they do in countries like Canada, where the government health care system does the bargaining. McKinsey estimates that the United States pays $66 billion a year in excess drug costs, and overpays for medical devices like knee and hip implants, too.

To put these numbers in perspective: McKinsey estimates the cost of providing full medical care to all of America’s uninsured at $77 billion a year. Either eliminating the excess administrative costs of private health insurers, or paying what the rest of the world pays for drugs and medical devices, would by itself more or less pay the cost of covering all the uninsured. And that doesn’t count the many other costs imposed by the fragmentation of our health care system.

Which brings us back to the racketeering lawsuit. If UnitedHealth can be shown to have broken the law — and let’s just say that this company, which is America’s second-largest health insurer, has a reputation for playing even rougher than its competitors — by all means, let’s see justice done. But the larger problem isn’t the behavior of any individual company. It’s the ugly incentives provided by a system in which giving care is punished, while denying it is rewarded.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:10:46 PM EDT
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


Exactly, it's going to be a long wait.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:11:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


Exactly, it's going to be a long wait.


Can the system correct itself, or will it just continue to get worse?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:13:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 1:16:57 PM EDT by DV8]
Have your prof take the class on a field trip to your local DVM. From there go to the local medicaid clinic.

I don't think you will have to work hard to draw any parallels after that.



If he still has doubts after all of that, take him to most any VA hospital. Get there early because the parking lots are completely full by 6am in most places. Bring a book too, because you are going to be waiting a while.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:14:01 PM EDT
CANADA.

That is the good example of how socialized medicine does not work. High taxes with terrible customer service. You are pretty likely to not "make it" waiting on socialized healthcare.

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:14:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 1:15:10 PM EDT by 30Caliber]
Remember how all the USPS removed all the clocks at Post Offices due to the high volume of complaints about long wait times. It'll be like that.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:15:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DV8:
Have your prof take the class on a field trip to your local DVM. From there go to the local medicaid clinic.

I don't think you will have to work hard to draw any parallels after that.


DVM?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:17:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By HighlandMac:
CANADA.

That is the good example of how socialized medicine does not work. High taxes with terrible customer service. You are pretty likely to not "make it" waiting on socialized healthcare.



He used Canada as an example because even if the Canadian service does not have the service the person needs (ie, care) they will pay for them to be treated in another country if possible.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:19:33 PM EDT
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:20:14 PM EDT
Imagine a healthcare system that combines the efficiency of the DMV with the compassion of the IRS.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:21:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By DV8:
Have your prof take the class on a field trip to your local DVM. From there go to the local medicaid clinic.

I don't think you will have to work hard to draw any parallels after that.


DVM?


Good catch...my digital dyslexia is acting up. DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) is what I meant.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:21:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


No.

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:22:47 PM EDT
I cannot undertake to lay my finger upon an article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. – James Madison

Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated. – Thomas Jefferson

When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else's money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn't care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else's money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that's government for you. – Milton Friedman

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. – Voltaire (1764)

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as caring and sensitive because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he'll do good with his own money – if a gun is held to his head. – P.J. O'Rourke

If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves. – Thomas Sowell (1992)

The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. – Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC

When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both. – James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

The welfare state reduces a citizen to a client, subordinates them to a bureaucrat, and subjects them to rules that are anti-work, anti-family, anti-opportunity and anti-property … Humans forced to suffer under such anti-human rules naturally develop pathologies. The evening news is the natural result of the welfare state. – Unknown

What's *just* has been debated for centuries but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn *belongs* to you – and why? – Walter Williams

The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace. – H. L. Mencken

There are people who think that plunder loses all its immorality as soon as it becomes legal. Personally, I cannot imagine a more alarming situation. – Frédéric Bastiat

Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone. – Frédéric Bastiat

We are living in a sick society filled with people who would not directly steal from their neighbor but who are willing to demand that the government do it for them. – William L. Comer

Public works are not accomplished by the miraculous power of a magic wand. They are paid for by funds taken away from the citizens. – Ludwig von Mises

The one with the primary responsibility to the individual's future is that individual. – Dorcas Hardy, Director, Social Security System

If you would not confront your neighbor and demand his money at the point of a gun to solve every new problem that may appear in your life, you should not allow the government to do it for you. – William E. Simon

We have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money. – David Crockett, Congressman 1827-35

You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money. – P.J. O'Rourke

The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people's money away quietly, and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly. – Thomas Sowell

Somehow, the fact that more poor people are on welfare, receiving more generous payments, does not seem to have made this country a nice place to live – not even for the poor on welfare, whose condition seems not noticeably better than when they were poor and off welfare. Something appears to have gone wrong; a liberal and compassionate social policy has bred all sorts of unanticipated and perverse consequences. – Irving Kristol

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. – Mark Twain

Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from. – Thomas Sowell

It's illegal to say to a voter "Here's $100, vote for me." So what do the politicians do? They offer the $100 in the form of Health Care, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, tobacco subsidies, grain payments, NEA payments, and jobs programs. – Don Farrar

I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds … I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution. – Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th US President

The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits. – Anonymous

We cannot restore traditional American freedom unless we limit the government's power to tax. No tinkering with this, that, or the other law will stop the trend toward socialism. We must repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. – Frank Chodorov
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:22:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DV8:

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By DV8:
Have your prof take the class on a field trip to your local DVM. From there go to the local medicaid clinic.

I don't think you will have to work hard to draw any parallels after that.


DVM?


Good catch...my digital dyslexia is acting up. DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles) is what I meant.


I was thinking of something like; "Doctor of Veterinary Medicine". I wasn't sure what you were talking about..
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:23:07 PM EDT
Here is the Federal Government's granted powers:


The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.


Show me medical welfare in there.

Oh, that's not important, you say? I disagree. I am in good company, too, it seems:



I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. - Thomas Jefferson
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:23:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Cpt_Kirks:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


No.



Fuck that. I paid for it!
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:23:56 PM EDT

It's illegal to say to a voter "Here's $100, vote for me." So what do the politicians do? They offer the $100 in the form of Health Care, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, tobacco subsidies, grain payments, NEA payments, and jobs programs. – Don Farrar


Thats a nice quote.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:25:33 PM EDT
You are deathly ill.

Do you want efficient, immediate care that you must agree to repay at the market rate?

-or-

Shitty care months or years from now that is six times the cost, purely because you personally are no longer responsible individually for the bill?



I don't know about you, but I'm willing to work out a payment plan.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:26:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

It's illegal to say to a voter "Here's $100, vote for me." So what do the politicians do? They offer the $100 in the form of Health Care, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, tobacco subsidies, grain payments, NEA payments, and jobs programs. – Don Farrar


Thats a nice quote.


americanrevival.org/quotes
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:26:55 PM EDT
The same group of people in charge of securing our borders will
be in charge of your healthcare system.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:28:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


Problem is that for all the overtaxing going on, the public coffers are in the red.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:29:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:

Originally Posted By Cpt_Kirks:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


No.



Fuck that. I paid for it!


No.

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:31:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Schulze:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


Problem is that for all the overtaxing going on, the public coffers are in the red.


The Europeeps (France, Germany, England) all operate in the red.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:33:56 PM EDT
Simple economics. When the marketplace is not allowed to place a value on a good or service, it will either be oversubscribed (and under supplied) or those responsible for that good or service will lower the quality of the product to match their compensation.

That and Krugman is a socialist idiot.

Our system is neither broken nor bad. I am 52 years old. I have always been able to attain whatever health care I needed assuming I was willing to pay for it. I have no right nor guarantee to health care. It is a limited resource just like any consumer good.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:34:03 PM EDT
I have a couple of questions about this:

#1 Will every low life scum sucking asshole that works for an insurance company become a govt employee or will they get fired.

#2 Will the rich be able to buy care outside of the system.

#3 When the govt begins to ration health care will productive members of society ( people like me who pay shitloads of taxes ) have priority or will that be given based on race?

#4 Will govt employees and govt officials be saddled with the same shitty care system?

#5 What if I die waiting for 'service'?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:41:10 PM EDT
When I lived in england, to get any help on the free medical care, you had to get on a waiting list. My mother in law had to wait 6 weeks to get her jaw fixed. It was misaligned and she was having all knid of toruble eating and what not. All because the jobs there dont typically offer health insurance and to get immediate care you have to have your own insurance.
on top of that, the care is not as good as what we get here.

Free health insurance is great for people that really cant afford it, but if you have a stable job and pay for health insurance I think we're better off the way we do it.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:45:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 1:46:35 PM EDT by 3500-LOST-POSTS]

Originally Posted By Partisan:
I have a couple of questions about this:

#1 Will every low life scum sucking asshole that works for an insurance company become a govt employee or will they get fired?

Answer: Obviously not. Some of them will simply become whiny health care consumers who think they are entitled to whatever they want whenever they want it. The rest will become democrats.

#2 Will the rich be able to buy care outside of the system?

Answer: No. The rich will be killed and eaten and all their stuff given to the whiny bitches who don't understand how wealth is created and earned.

#3 When the govt begins to ration health care will productive members of society ( people like me who pay shitloads of taxes ) have priority or will that be given based on race?

Answer: What does it matter? The rich will be dead and the former insurance company workers will be standing in line with you.

#4 Will govt employees and govt officials be saddled with the same shitty care system?

Answer: I hope not. I mean, they are smarter than you. We know this because instead of taking care of your own health needs, you are turning to any of a million Affirmative Action hires who you really don't want to stand in line with anyway.

#5 What if I die waiting for 'service'?

Answer: You will have the emotional satisfaction knowing that you cut your nose off to spite your face. The downside of course is that your drive to kill a very good health care system meant you bled to death with your nose in your hand....kinda like Michael Jackson.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:46:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By Schulze:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


Problem is that for all the overtaxing going on, the public coffers are in the red.


The Europeeps (France, Germany, England) all operate in the red.


And fine models they are!
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:47:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


I will put up retirement as case in point. Before Social Security, 95% of people worked untill they died, no retirement. Now 92% actually get to retire and do not have to live on dog food to survive. Is it perfect, no far from it.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:52:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 2:09:00 PM EDT by Partisan]

Originally Posted By MitchAlsup:

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


I will put up retirement as case in point. Before Social Security, 95% of people worked untill they died, no retirement. Now 92% actually get to retire and do not have to live on dog food to survive. Is it perfect, no far from it.


socialist insecurity is a good solution for a problem?????? WTF are you smoking??? ss is the worst solution of all. I get the shit taxed out of me so someone else can retire. In all probability I will get nothing back from ss. How is that a good solution? If I get anything at all I will have to beg some lying leftist asshole in congress. How is that a good solution? Great fucking solution. Come to think of it it will be like socialist medicine -- I'll get the shit taxed out of me to pay for someone else's medical care. socialism sucks O.K.?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 1:56:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Schulze:

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By Schulze:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


Problem is that for all the overtaxing going on, the public coffers are in the red.


The Europeeps (France, Germany, England) all operate in the red.


And fine models they are!


Oh, I agree.

But.. I don't know how governments can operate in the red at such a high % of their GDP.

And no one has given me an answer.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:32:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Partisan:

Originally Posted By MitchAlsup:

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


I will put up retirement as case in point. Before Social Security, 95% of people worked untill they died, no retirement. Now 92% actually get to retire and do not have to live on dog food to survive. Is it perfect, no far from it.


socialist insecurity is a good solution for a problem?????? WTF are you smoking??? ss is the worst solution of all. I get the shit taxed out of me so someone else can retire. In all probability I will get nothing back from ss. How is that a good solution?


It is a better-than-horible solution because, you actually do get to retire. Without SS; the average person, in all likelyhood, will not get to retire.

Do you want to be working when you are 77? When I was 24, I did, I thought I would want to work until I dropped over, simply because work was fun. Now in my mid-50s, it is not so much fun, and I look forward to not working (for someone else to generate income). Even after retirement, I have oodles of things to do--for me and my family--not for him because he pays. I suggest as you get within a decade of retirement age (65-ish) you may also moderate your tone.

But remember, these old codgers vote and in much larger numbers than any other class of citizens. There is a reason they vote, because the youngsters (like yourself) do not want to pay, yet if the system was shut down, they would be the ones suffering. So, they are simply voting for their own well being. You cannot blame them for that. Nor can you blame the senators and congresscritters, they are simply listening to their constituents.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:42:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MitchAlsup:

Originally Posted By Partisan:

Originally Posted By MitchAlsup:

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


I will put up retirement as case in point. Before Social Security, 95% of people worked untill they died, no retirement. Now 92% actually get to retire and do not have to live on dog food to survive. Is it perfect, no far from it.


socialist insecurity is a good solution for a problem?????? WTF are you smoking??? ss is the worst solution of all. I get the shit taxed out of me so someone else can retire. In all probability I will get nothing back from ss. How is that a good solution?


It is a better-than-horible solution because, you actually do get to retire. Without SS; the average person, in all likelyhood, will not get to retire.

I don't care what you do. That is up to you. If you want to save for your retirement then fine -- if not I don't care. The govt should not force me to save. The govt shouldn't tax the shit out of me and put all that money into a big pot where they mix it with someone else's money. I don't like sharing my money with other people. I earned it I should be the one spending it.

Do you want to be working when you are 77? When I was 24, I did, I thought I would want to work until I dropped over, simply because work was fun. Now in my mid-50s, it is not so much fun, and I look forward to not working (for someone else to generate income). Even after retirement, I have oodles of things to do--for me and my family--not for him because he pays. I suggest as you get within a decade of retirement age (65-ish) you may also moderate your tone.

Again it is not the govt's responsibility to do this. If you fail to plan then it is you who should bear the consequences -- not me. I don't want to and shouldn't be forced to subsidize your retirement.

But remember, these old codgers vote and in much larger numbers than any other class of citizens. There is a reason they vote, because the youngsters (like yourself) do not want to pay, yet if the system was shut down, they would be the ones suffering. So, they are simply voting for their own well being. You cannot blame them for that. Nor can you blame the senators and congresscritters, they are simply listening to their constituents.

Mob rule makes it right to steal from me? Tyranny of the majority. At one time the USA was a representative republic. Those days are gone. There is a lot of wrong in taking my money then making me beg to get a little of it back. I wish the govt would leave me the hell alone -- I'm responsible I'll be fine. That will also make other people responsible and that will be better for all

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 2:49:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By Schulze:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


Problem is that for all the overtaxing going on, the public coffers are in the red.


The Europeeps (France, Germany, England) all operate in the red.

Yes, and imagine how broke they'd be if they had to actually carry the cost of securing western Europe against the Soviet Union for 40 years.

Every "success" story involving socialized medicine generally involves a small country with a homogeneous population. (Read "common culture")

Watch European socialized medicine break as their population demographics continue to shift.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:16:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mnd:

Originally Posted By VooDoo3dfx:

Originally Posted By Schulze:

Originally Posted By nationwide:
Well, frankly we are so over taxed and guys like me (employed caucasion) receive nothing from the system compared to what I pay in.

Fuck it, give me Federalized health care.


Problem is that for all the overtaxing going on, the public coffers are in the red.


The Europeeps (France, Germany, England) all operate in the red.

Yes, and imagine how broke they'd be if they had to actually carry the cost of securing western Europe against the Soviet Union for 40 years.

Every "success" story involving socialized medicine generally involves a small country with a homogeneous population. (Read "common culture")

Watch European socialized medicine break as their population demographics continue to shift.


Ie; more immigration from Eastern/ME areas?

When do you estimate this will occur?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:20:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 3:26:20 PM EDT by nightstalker]
We should do first things first. People always say we need food, clothing and shelter.

National Food Program....no fatties allowed.

National Clothing Program.....yes, black does make your ass look bigger..

National Shelter Program....expand the GHETTO...we're movin' on up...you too Warren Buffett.

ETA and no whining about not having a choice you beggars.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:23:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By HighlandMac:
CANADA.

That is the good example of how socialized medicine does not work. High taxes with terrible customer service. You are pretty likely to not "make it" waiting on socialized healthcare.



Sweden is a good example of that as well. Everyone has the right to healthcare here but no-one gets it in time. People die waiting for the right treatment and the hospital staff is underpaid and flees the country.
Socialised healthcare sucks.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:23:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MitchAlsup:

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
Our system does suck.
But name one thing the government has gotten involved in and made it better??????????


I will put up retirement as case in point. Before Social Security, 95% of people worked untill they died, no retirement. Now 92% actually get to retire and do not have to live on dog food to survive. Is it perfect, no far from it.


Is it solvent? Where is the lockbox? Printing money is one fine program, I'll have to agree. So no one gets confused, the idea of saving money via SS was OK. Just as long as what you got back somehow related to what you put in and a fair interest on it's interim use.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:27:22 PM EDT
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1741315/posts

How to Cure Health Care (Milton Friedman Plan)
Hoover Digest ^ | Milton Friedman

Posted on 11/19/2006 4:24:42 PM PST by John Lenin

Since the end of World War II, the provision of medical care in the United States and other advanced countries has displayed three major features: first, rapid advances in the science of medicine; second, large increases in spending, both in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars per person and the fraction of national income spent on medical care; and third, rising dissatisfaction with the delivery of medical care, on the part of both consumers of medical care and physicians and other suppliers of medical care.
Ilustration by Taylor Jones for the Hoover Digest.

Rapid technological advances have occurred repeatedly since the Industrial Revolution—in agriculture, steam engines, railroads, telephones, electricity, automobiles, radio, television, and, most recently, computers and telecommunication. The other two features seem unique to medicine. It is true that spending initially increased after nonmedical technical advances, but the fraction of national income spent did not increase dramatically after the initial phase of widespread acceptance. On the contrary, technological development lowered cost, so that the fraction of national income spent on food, transportation, communication, and much more has gone down, releasing resources to produce new products or services. Similarly, there seems no counterpart in these other areas to the rising dissatisfaction with the delivery of medical care.

International Comparison

These developments in medicine have been worldwide. By their very nature, scientific advances know no geographic boundaries. Data on spending are readily available for 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. In every one, medical spending has gone up significantly both in inflation-adjusted dollars per person and as a fraction of national income. In 1997, the United States spent 14 percent of gross domestic product on medical care, the highest of any OECD country. Germany was a distant second at 11 percent; Turkey was the lowest at 4 percent.

A key difference between medical care and the other technological revolutions is the role of government. In other technological revolutions, the initiative, financing, production, and distribution were primarily private, though government sometimes played a supporting or regulatory role. In medical care, government has come to play a leading role in financing, producing, and delivering medical service. Direct government spending on health care exceeds 75 percent of total health spending for 15 OECD countries. The United States is next to the lowest of the 29 countries, at 46 percent. In addition, some governments indirectly subsidize medical care through favorable tax treatment. For the United States, such subsidization raises the fraction of health spending financed directly or indirectly by government to more than 50 percent.

What are countries getting for the money they are spending on medical care? What is the relation between input and output? Spending on medical care provides a reasonably good measure of input, but, unfortunately, there is no remotely satisfactory objective measure of output.

Ultimately, the purpose of this article is to examine the situation in the United States. I have mentioned the data on the OECD countries primarily to document the two (related?) respects in which the United States is exceptional: we spend a higher percentage of national income on medical care (and more per capita) than any other OECD country, and our government finances a smaller fraction of that spending than all countries except Korea.

Why Third-Party Payment?

Two simple observations are key to explaining both the high level of spending on medical care and the dissatisfaction with that spending. The first is that most payments to physicians or hospitals or other caregivers for medical care are made not by the patient but by a third party—an insurance company or employer or governmental body. The second is that nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely or as frugally as he spends his own. These statements apply equally to other OECD countries. They do not by themselves explain why the United States spends so much more than other countries.

No third party is involved when we shop at a supermarket. We pay the supermarket clerk directly: the same for gasoline for our car, clothes for our back, and so on down the line. Why, by contrast, are most medical payments made by third parties? The answer for the United States begins with the fact that medical care expenditures are exempt from the income tax if, and only if, medical care is provided by the employer. If an employee pays directly for medical care, the expenditure comes out of the employee’s after-tax income. If the employer pays for the employee’s medical care, the expenditure is treated as a tax-deductible expense for the employer and is not included as part of the employee’s income subject to income tax. That strong incentive explains why most consumers get their medical care through their employers or their spouses’ or their parents’ employer. In the next place, the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 made the government a third-party payer for persons and medical care covered by those measures.

We are headed toward completely socialized medicine—and, if we take indirect tax subsidies into account, we’re already halfway there.


We have become so accustomed to employer-provided medical care that we regard it as part of the natural order. Yet it is thoroughly illogical. Why single out medical care? Food is more essential to life than medical care. Why not exempt the cost of food from taxes if provided by the employer? Why not return to the much-reviled company store when workers were in effect paid in kind rather than in cash?

The revival of the company store for medicine has less to do with logic than pure chance. It is a wonderful example of how one bad government policy leads to another. During World War II, the government financed much wartime spending by printing money while, at the same time, imposing wage and price controls. The resulting repressed inflation produced shortages of many goods and services, including labor. Firms competing to acquire labor at government-controlled wages started to offer medical care as a fringe benefit. That benefit proved particularly attractive to workers and spread rapidly.

Initially, employers did not report the value of the fringe benefit to the Internal Revenue Service as part of their workers’ wages. It took some time before the IRS realized what was going on. When it did, it issued regulations requiring employers to include the value of medical care as part of reported employees’ wages. By this time, workers had become accustomed to the tax exemption of that particular fringe benefit and made a big fuss. Congress responded by legislating that medical care provided by employers should be tax-exempt.

Effect of Third-Party Payment on Medical Costs

The tax exemption of employer-provided medical care has two different effects, both of which raise health costs. First, it leads employees to rely on their employer, rather than themselves, to make arrangements for medical care. Yet employees are likely to do a better job of monitoring medical care providers—because it is in their own interest—than is the employer or the insurance company or companies designated by the employer. Second, it leads employees to take a larger fraction of their total remuneration in the form of medical care than they would if spending on medical care had the same tax status as other expenditures.

If the tax exemption were removed, employees could bargain with their employers for higher take-home pay in lieu of medical care and provide for their own medical care either by dealing directly with medical care providers or by purchasing medical insurance. Removal of the tax exemption would enable governments to reduce the tax rate on income while raising the same total revenue. This hidden subsidy for medical care, currently more than $100 billion a year, is not included in reported figures on government health spending.

Extending the tax exemption to all medical care—as in the current limited provision for medical savings accounts and the proposals to make such accounts more widely available—would reduce reliance on third-party payment. But, by extending the hidden subsidy to all medical care expenditures, it would increase the tendency of employees to take a larger portion of their remuneration in the form of medical care. (I discuss medical savings accounts more fully in the conclusion.)

Expressed as a fraction of national income, Americans spent a mind-boggling 17 percent of the national income on medical care in 1997. No other country in the world approaches that level of spending as a fraction of national income, no matter how its medical care is organized.

Enactment of Medicare and Medicaid provided a direct subsidy for medical care. The cost grew much more rapidly than originally estimated—as the cost of any handout invariably does. Legislation cannot repeal the nonlegislated law of demand and supply: the lower the price, the greater the quantity demanded; at a zero price, the quantity demanded becomes infinite. Some method of rationing must be substituted for price, which invariably means administrative rationing.

A look at the data is instructive. The effect of tax exemption and the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid on rising medical costs from 1946 to now is clear. According to my estimates, the two together accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total increase in cost. Tax exemption alone accounted for one-third of the increase in cost; Medicare and Medicaid, one-quarter.

Now consider a different breakdown of the cost of medical care: between the part paid directly by the government and the part paid privately. Government’s share went from an eighth of the total in 1919 to a quarter in 1965 to nearly half in 1997. The rise in the government’s share has been accompanied by centralization of spending—away from state and local governments to the federal government. We are headed toward completely socialized medicine and are already halfway there, if, in addition to direct costs, we include indirect tax subsidies.

Expressed as a fraction of national income, spending on medical care went from 3 percent of the national income in 1919 to 4.5 percent in 1946 to 7 percent in 1965 to a mind-boggling 17 percent in 1997. No other country in the world approaches that level of spending as a fraction of national income no matter how its medical care is organized. The changing role of medical care in the U.S. economy is truly breathtaking. To illustrate, in 1946, seven times as much was spent on food, beverages, and tobacco as on medical care; in 1996, 50 years later, more was spent on medical care than on food, beverages, and tobacco.

The Changing Meaning of Insurance

Employer financing of medical care has caused the term insurance to acquire a rather different meaning in medicine than in most other contexts. We generally rely on insurance to protect us against events that are highly unlikely to occur but that involve large losses if they do occur—major catastrophes, not minor, regularly recurring expenses. We insure our houses against loss from fire, not against the cost of having to cut the lawn. We insure our cars against liability to others or major damage, not against having to pay for gasoline. Yet in medicine, it has become common to rely on insurance to pay for regular medical examinations and often for prescriptions.

This is partly a question of the size of the deductible and the copayment, but it goes beyond that. "Without medical insurance" and "without access to medical care" have come to be treated as nearly synonymous. Moreover, the states and the federal government have increasingly specified the coverage of insurance for medical care to a detail not common in other areas. The effect has been to raise the cost of insurance and to limit the options open to individuals. Many, if not most, of the "medically uninsured" are persons who for one reason or another do not have access to employer-provided medical care and are unable or unwilling to pay the cost of the only kinds of insurance contracts available to them.

If the tax exemption for employer-provided medical care and Medicare and Medicaid had never been enacted, the insurance market for medical care would probably have developed as other insurance markets have. The typical form of medical insurance would have been catastrophic insurance (i.e., insurance with a very high deductible).

The Black Hole of Bureaucratization

Third-party payment has required the bureaucratization of medical care and, in the process, has changed the character of the relation between physicians (or other caregivers) and patients. A medical transaction is not simply between a caregiver and a patient; it has to be approved as "covered" by a bureaucrat and the appropriate payment authorized. The patient—the recipient of the medical care—has little or no incentive to be concerned about the cost since it’s somebody else’s money. The caregiver has become, in effect, an employee of the insurance company or, in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, of the government. The patient is no longer the one, and the only one, the caregiver has to serve. An inescapable result is that the interest of the patient is often in direct conflict with the interest of the caregiver’s ultimate employer. That has been manifest in public dissatisfaction with the increasingly impersonal character of medical care.

Some years ago, the British physician Max Gammon, after an extensive study of the British system of socialized medicine, formulated what he called "the theory of bureaucratic displacement." He observed that in "a bureaucratic system . . . increase in expenditure will be matched by fall in production. . . . Such systems will act rather like ‘black holes,’ in the economic universe, simultaneously sucking in resources, and shrinking in terms of ‘emitted production.’" Gammon’s observations for the British system have their exact parallel in the partly socialized U.S. medical system. Here, too, input has been going up sharply relative to output. This tendency can be documented particularly clearly for hospitals, thanks to the availability of high-quality data for a long period.

The data document a drastic decline in output over the past half century. From 1946 to 1996, the number of beds per 1,000 population fell by more than 60 percent; the fraction of beds occupied, by more than 20 percent. In sharp contrast, input skyrocketed. Hospital personnel per occupied bed multiplied ninefold, and cost per patient day, adjusted for inflation, an astounding fortyfold, from $30 in 1946 to $1,200 in 1996. A major engine of these changes was the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. A mild rise in input was turned into a meteoric rise; a mild fall in output, into a rapid decline. Hospital days per person per year were cut by two-thirds, from three days in 1946 to an average of less than a day by 1996.

Taken by itself, the decline in hospital days is evidence of progress in medical science. A healthy population needs less hospitalization, and advances in science and medical technology have reduced the length of hospital stays and increased outpatient surgery. Progress in medical science may well explain most of the decline in output; it does not explain much, if any, of the rise in input per unit of output. True, medical machines have become more complex. However, in other areas where there has been great technical progress—whether it be agriculture or telephones or steel or automobiles or aviation or, most recently,computers and the Internet—progress has led to a reduc- tion, not an increase, in cost per unit of output. Why is medicine an exception? Gammon’s law, not medical miracles, was clearly at work. The provision of medical care as an untaxed fringe benefit by employers, and then the federal government’s assumption of responsibility for hospital and medical care of the elderly and the poor, provided a fresh pool of money. And there was no shortage of takers. Growing costs, in turn, led to more regulation of hospitals and medical care, further increasing administrative costs and leading to the bureaucratization that is so prominent a feature of medical care today.

So much for input. What about output? What have we gotten in return for quadrupling the share of the nation’s income spent on medical care?

I have already referred to one component of output—days of hospital care per person per year. That has gone down from three days in 1946 to less than one in 1996. Insofar as the reduction reflects the improvements in medicine, it clearly is a good thing. However, it also reflects the pressure to keep hospital stays short in order to keep down cost. That this is not a good thing is clear from protests by patients, widespread enough to have led Congress to mandate minimum stays for some medical procedures.

The output of the medical care industry that we are interested in is its contribution to better health. How can we measure better health in a reasonably objective way that is not greatly influenced by other factors?

The least bad measure that I have been able to come up with is length of life, though that too is seriously contaminated by other factors—improvements in diet, housing, clothing, and so on generated by greater affluence, better garbage collection and disposal, the provision of purer water, and other governmental public health measures.

Expected longevity went from 47 years in 1900 to 68 years in 1950, a truly remarkable rise. From 1950 on, expected longevity continued to increase but at a much slower rate, reaching 76 years in 1997. For our purposes, it is of fundamental importance that, whatever its source, the increase in longevity did not have any systematic relation to spending on medical care as a fraction of income.

On the evidence to date, it is hard to see that we have gotten much for quadrupling the share of the nation’s income spent on medical care other than bureaucratization and widespread dissatisfaction with the economic organization of medical care.

The United States versus Other Countries

Our steady movement toward reliance on third-party payment no doubt explains the extraordinary rise in spending on medical care in the United States. However, other advanced countries also rely on third-party payment, many or most of them to an even greater extent than we do. What explains our higher level of spending?

I must confess that despite much thought and scouring of the literature, I have no satisfactory answer. One clue is my estimate that if the pre–World War II system had continued—that is, if tax exemption and Medicare and Medicaid had never been enacted—expenditures on medical care would have amounted to less than half the current level, which would have put us near the bottom of the OECD list rather than at the top.

In terms of holding down cost, one-payer directly administered government systems, such as exist in Canada and Great Britain, have a real advantage over our mixed system. As the direct purchaser of all or nearly all medical services, they are in a monopoly position in hiring physicians and can hold down their remuneration, so that physicians earn much less in those countries than in the United States. In addition, they can ration care more directly—at the cost of long waiting lists and much dissatisfaction.

In addition, once the whole population is covered, there is little political incentive to increase spending on medical care. Once the bulk of costs have been taken over by government, as they have in most of the other OECD countries, the politician does not have the carrot of increased services with which to attract new voters, so attention turns to holding down costs.

An additional factor is the tax treatment of private expenditures on medical care. In most countries, any private expenditure comes out of after-tax income. It does in the United States also, unless the medical care is provided by the employer. For this reason, the bulk of medical care is provided through employers, and private expenditures on medical care are decidedly higher than they would be if medical care, like food, clothing, and other consumer goods, had to be financed out of posttax income. It is consistent with this view that Germany, the country second to the United States in the fraction of income spent on medical care, has a system in which the employer plays a central role in the provision of medical care and in which, so far as I have been able to determine, half of the cost comes out of pretax income and half out of posttax income.

Our mixed system has many advantages in accessibility and quality of medical care, but it has produced a higher level of cost than would result from either wholly individual choice or wholly collective choice.

Conclusion: Medical Savings Accounts and Beyond

The high cost and inequitable character of our medical care system are the direct result of our steady movement toward reliance on third-party payment. A cure requires reversing course, reprivatizing medical care by eliminating most third-party payment, and restoring the role of insurance to providing protection against major medical catastrophes.

The ideal way to do that would be to reverse past actions: repeal the tax exemption of employer-provided medical care; terminate Medicare and Medicaid; deregulate most insurance; and restrict the role of the government, preferably state and local rather than federal, to financing care for the hard cases. However, the vested interests that have grown up around the existing system, and the tyranny of the status quo, clearly make that solution not feasible politically. Yet it is worth stating the ideal as a guide to judging whether proposed incremental changes are in the right direction.

Most changes made in the final decade of the twentieth century were in the wrong direction. Despite rejection of the sweeping socialization of medicine proposed by Hillary Clinton, subsequent incremental changes have expanded the role of government, increased regulation of medical practice, and further constrained the terms of medical insurance, thereby raising its cost and increasing the fraction of individuals who choose or are forced to go without insurance.

There is one exception, which, though minor in current scope, is pregnant of future possibilities. The Kassebaum-Kennedy Bill, passed in 1996 after lengthy and acrimonious debate, included a narrowly limited four-year pilot program authorizing medical savings accounts. A medical savings account enables individuals to deposit tax-free funds in an account usable only for medical expense, provided they have a high-deductible insurance policy that limits the maximum out-of-pocket expense. As noted earlier, it eliminates third-party payment except for major medical expenses and is thus a movement very much in the right direction. By extending tax exemption to all medical expenses whether paid by the employer or not, it eliminates the present bias in favor of employer-provided medical care. That too is a move in the right direction. However, the extension of tax exemption increases the bias in favor of medical care compared to other household expenditures. This effect would tend to increase the implicit government subsidy for medical care, which would be a step in the wrong direction.

Before this pilot project, a number of large companies (e.g., Quaker Oats, Forbes, Golden Rule Insurance Company) had offered their employees the choice of a medical savings account instead of the usual low-deductible employer-provided insurance policy. In each case, the employer purchased a high-deductible major medical insurance policy for the employee and deposited a stated sum, generally about half of the deductible, in a medical savings account for the employee. That sum could be used by the employee for medical care. Any part not used during the year was the property of the employee and had to be included in taxable income. Despite the loss of the tax exemption, this alternative has generally been very popular with both employers and employees. It has reduced costs for the employer and empowered the employee, eliminating much third-party payment.

Medical savings accounts offer one way to resolve the growing financial and administrative problems of Medicare and Medicaid. It seems clear from private experience that a program along these lines would be less expensive and bureaucratic than the current system and more satisfactory to the participants. In effect, it would be a way to voucherize Medicare and Medicaid. It would enable participants to spend their own money on themselves for routine medical care and medical problems, rather than having to go through HMOs and insurance companies, while at the same time providing protection against medical catastrophes.

A more radical reform would, first, end both Medicare and Medicaid, at least for new entrants, and replace them by providing every family in the United States with catastrophic insurance (i.e., a major medical policy with a high deductible). Second, it would end tax exemption of employer-provided medical care. And, third, it would remove the restrictive regulations that are now imposed on medical insurance—hard to justify with universal catastrophic insurance.

This reform would solve the problem of the currently medically uninsured, eliminate most of the bureaucratic structure, free medical practitioners from an increasingly heavy burden of paperwork and regulation, and lead many employers and employees to convert employer-provided medical care into a higher cash wage. The taxpayer would save money because total government costs would plummet. The family would be relieved of one of its major concerns—the possibility of being impoverished by a major medical catastrophe—and most could readily finance the remaining medical costs. Families would once again have an incentive to monitor the providers of medical care and to establish the kind of personal relations with them that were once customary. The demonstrated efficiency of private enterprise would have a chance to improve the quality and lower the cost of medical care. The first question asked of a patient entering a hospital might once again become "What’s wrong?" not "What’s your insurance?"
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 3:35:21 PM EDT
Look at how the VA hospitals are run. Look at how Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital ended up...

This is what is known as a "clue".
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:07:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/5/2007 4:08:21 PM EDT by Skibane]

Originally Posted By PAEBR332:
Imagine a healthcare system that combines the efficiency of the DMV with the compassion of the IRS.


+1.

Ever stood in line at your local driver's license office? Or at the county tax assessor-collector? Or tried to get a straight answer from the IRS on a tax question?

Why would anyone think that those are good models for health care?
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:11:13 PM EDT
As a ex memer of the UK...just mention the British NHS to him...they have waiting lists of years for some of the poor saps over there for transplants...they make the USSR look effecient
Why do Brits have bad teef?...NHS dentists... they might see you once a year if you are very very lucky
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:37:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fosters:
As a ex memer of the UK...just mention the British NHS to him...they have waiting lists of years for some of the poor saps over there for transplants...they make the USSR look effecient
Why do Brits have bad teef?...NHS dentists... they might see you once a year if you are very very lucky


The Brit press reported earlier this fall that Brits are resorting to pulling their own teeth because getting timely dental care in the UK is next to impossible.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 4:49:00 PM EDT
Everybody knows the government can do it better than private industry can...
TSA, Social Security, FDA greenlights followed by lawsuits... Socialized meds will just be a window to enable shitheads to buy more votes by giving ouf tax money away to poeple who don't take responsibility for themselves...
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:06:28 PM EDT
You guys ever see what happens when a Baskin Robins has a free ice cream cone day? People pile their whole family in their gas hog SUV and drive 50 miles to get an ice cream cone, just cause Baskin Robins is giving one away if you walk thru the door. That's for some stupid shit like an ice cream cone. Imagine how bad it would be if idiots of that caliber were giving something really important, like free medical care? They'd go to the hospital for a paper cut or demand an x ray for a stupmed toe. If you've got a serious problem, like an MI, you're just gonna have to wait until that papercut is patched up because we're all busy at the moment.

Anybody who thinks socialized medicine is a good idea needs to be taken behing the woodshed like ole Yeller and shot in the face. On the other hand, fuck it. Let socialized medicine happen. This country has needed to crash for a long time. If that doesn't make it happen, nothing will.
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:07:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 3500-LOST-POSTS:

Originally Posted By fosters:
As a ex memer of the UK...just mention the British NHS to him...they have waiting lists of years for some of the poor saps over there for transplants...they make the USSR look effecient
Why do Brits have bad teef?...NHS dentists... they might see you once a year if you are very very lucky


The Brit press reported earlier this fall that Brits are resorting to pulling their own teeth because getting timely dental care in the UK is next to impossible.


Don't believe everything you read

It's not brilliant but I see my dentist twice a year.

The biggest problem with the NHS is the mis-management (speaking from experience as my wife is a midwife). There are more non-medical staff working in the NHS than medical. Bunch of halfwits couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery.

Also the strain from immigrants coming here for free healthcare doesn't help. My wifes delivered an Africans twins who travelled from Angola illegally just to have her babys. She can now stay here because her kids were born here
Link Posted: 12/5/2007 5:22:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wyrleyite:
Don't believe everything you read


Does the NHS have long waiting lists for surgeries? Transplants? Etc. ?

Link Posted: 12/5/2007 7:30:00 PM EDT
From my classmates on our class discussion board..




Responses Author Date & Time 4 Dec 07 10:12

This is a pretty disturbing case study that to me signifies a very rapid on set of recession in this country. Companies are no longer finding it viable or profitable to continue operations in the United States and they are finding and using a variety of different reasons to state their claim. First off the fact that parts of this country are to under-educated to learn how to operate basic (or complicated) machinery, but regardless, if our country has fallen so behind in education that the ability to learn how to acquire new skills and complete both easy and difficult tasks to the Canadians is an abomination in itself. I have been to Canada. All they want is Maple syrup and hockey. The concept that business's such as the auto industry are moving operations more north for claims that "Japanese plants in Alabama had to use "pictorials to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech equipment.", is pretty sad.

Leaving that point aside, the more significant issue of how much more it costs for a company to operate in America just because of our health care costs is frightening too. If this nation ever wants to be considered as "economically free", there must be a change in the way that people receive and use institutions such as health care. While Canada will enjoy a growing labor-force from moves such as this and with nothing to worry about in the realm of health care as it is state-sponsored, America as a whole will suffer as tax payers will have to pick up the costs of workers who do not receive health care through their jobs. If this trend continues, it will only get worse for us as more jobs move out of the country to others with state-sponsored health care, we here in America can look forward to more jobs without coverage which means higher taxes to cover those who do not have it and can not afford it on their own. While this may or may not effect unemployment rates in the United States, it will certainly raise the cost of living and we will certainly see a huge increase in the amount of people in this country with out any health insurance at all, even though taxes for it will steadily rise.
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4 Dec 07 11:48 AM MST

In a word? ALOT. We are more or less "free" to persue whatever we want. keep in mind there are limitations, which seek to protect certain individuals from the actions of other individuals, such as crime or monopolies. That being said, these health care companies are companies which are hell-bent on gaining profit. This is not illegal by any means; any individual seeks to gain profit one way or another. the sad fact is that in order for these companies to gain the most profit, they seek areas to market and to operate that provide them with the best chance for the most profit. In this particular case, americans bite the health-care bullet, because canadas health-care system attracts these companies which profit off of their public health system. There is nothing illegal about this and americans cannot do much, aside from moving to quebec. The freedom that the companies have is the same freedom that we have to seek profit. the only way to prevent the inevitable is to reform our own healthcare system in order to appeal to these companie's interests in order to keep them here.
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5 Dec 07 3:36 PM MST

Economic freedom is dependent upon larger relationships and economic integration as you can see in the above article. So why doesn't America, the "greatest country in the world", switch to a system of universal health care which would not only treat all citizens of the U.S but increase economic opportunities such as that of the Toyota plant? America is a huge bureaucratic mess when it comes to government and if there was to be a switch to universal health care, the individuals that are part of that mess would have to hear it from health insurance companies that they would no longer be able to get away with ripping people off with health insurance. I mean you would think that if everyone had health insurance people would be able to do more for society because they are healthy. Then the government would respond by saying that it would only raise taxes, but aren't we already paying enough taxes i mean whats an extra couple bucks for something that would really help us as individuals. Obviously we are missing out on the economic side of things because Toyota refused to have their plant in the U.S despite the millions of dollars that we offered them, and now once again the people have to suffer because there are less jobs available and in turn taxes are going to have to fund those individuals who are collecting unemployment and medicad instead of funding universal health insurance. If the government was acting on the best interests of the people and not the elites, it would be clear to them that a circumstance like this would help people in all aspects of their lives and increase the countries economic well being as well.
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5 Dec 07 9:26 PM MST

Reality check... you don't want government involved in health insurance.

Have you been to Europe in their "health and economic" bliss? Its just that, bliss. People proclaim France, England, Germany as the "progressive future" of socialism and social welfare for all. Well... after traveling to Europe to see first hand how the universal health care system works, its crummy.

Think of a universal health care system as this;

The efficiency of the DMV and the compassion of the IRS. If that doesn't make you run away in fear of any type of governmental control of your health, I don't know what would.
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5 Dec 07 4:18 PM MST

To me this article is a direct representation of a simple fact that has been obvious to us as Americans for a long time. Our healthcare system is broken. Not broken beyond repair, but all the same broken. It may not be an easy task to undertake, but the current administration has decided to sweep the healthcare issue under the rug rather than take it on at all. In practice, the solution seems difficult and risky, but this article is the perfect example of yet another way our healthcare system is failing us. Not only are we paying too much for coverage and losing out on valuable job prospects with major companies like Toyota, but we also have tens of millions of people in our country who are uninsured. If a huge portion of our population cannot find employment and cannot afford healthcare...who foots the bill? Why can't we put our tax dollars to better use to create a national healthcare system so we can get past this issue and work on attracting jobs back to America. So the answer to the question is that economic freedom is very dependent upon the economic relationships that exist in our society. It is easy to believe that we are free to pursue means to survive and profit in our economy, but the reality is that the opportunities to do so are dwindling.
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5 Dec 07 5:34 PM MST

I don’t know if I completely agree with the previous comments but the article showcases the change to the economic participation standards. Since the move from agriculture to industry, health and education (especially education) have become more necessary than ever… to a degree where I can say that they should be held as a part of our unalienable rights as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Economically, a segment of the population receives a short-term gain at the risk of long-term damages to the economy. In the short-run it’s rational to make that decision because externalities from public education and healthcare take a long-time to actualize. The LR, we clearly see our tradeoffs—labor market appeal, economic diversity, and freedom. To solve this deficiency, all we need is to be in synch with today’s economic culture by recognizing education and healthcare as a criterion/right not luxury/freedom.
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