TCS Daily


Universal Suffer-age

By Tom Elliott - October 3, 2007 12:00 AM

No matter how chippy the Democratic presidential primary eventually becomes, at least the candidates will always be able to agree on the nation's pressing need for "universal" health coverage. This is an issue Democrats love, and no wonder why: Polls show Americans rank health care as their second-highest domestic priority and they trust Democrats over Republicans to manage it. Fully 44 percent of Americans now support a "free" national health-care system, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.

This preference can largely be traced to the growing practice that equates the success of health-care systems with the percentage of people insured. And as even newborns will scornfully remind voters by primary's end, "47 million Americans lack health insurance." A seemingly easy fix, it's little surprise Americans are becoming more favorably disposed to universal coverage.

These plans -- specifically those of Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama, John Edwards and Gov. Bill Richardson -- rely heavily on "preventive care," cost-controlling programs intended to lower costs by improving society's general health.

Clinton has said, "My plan also has a prevention initiative, requiring the insurance industry and public programs like Medicare and Medicaid to promote wellness." Richardson points to New Mexico's "regulated vending machines in schools" as a possible national model to fight childhood obesity; he also suggests federally-funded "weight-loss counseling." Edwards envisions legally requiring American women to undergo regular mammograms. And Obama has already warned ominously: "The way Americans live, eat, work, and play have real implications for their health and wellness."

Should any of these plans become law, what were once eminently personal decisions would no longer be personal at all -- but matters of federal law.

This idea that government has an obligation to ensure its citizens' health and fitness has grown more ubiquitous since Mayor Mike Bloomberg began championing it in New York City. "All these deadly menaces result from our choices, both as individuals and as a society," Bloomberg has said, "to ignore or encourage life-threatening risks" such as "tobacco addiction, unhealthy nutrition and excessively sedentary lifestyles."

Bloomberg believes "Public-information campaigns are insufficient. In the realm of public health, law really does the work."

When Bloomberg is challenged on whether its really the business of City Hall to abjure New Yorkers from smoking, eating fatty foods, using baby formula, drinking whole milk, or electing not to get circumcised, he responds that, left unbanned, taxpayers could end up footing the bill for these unhealthy habits.

Nowadays, Bloomberg is but one of many politicians marching under the banner of "public health":

-- New York City Councilman Joel Rivera wants to modify zoning laws so that impoverished neighborhoods (presumably with higher rates of obesity) would only be allowed a minimal number of fast-food franchises. Gotham is also attempting to require restaurants post menu items' calorie counts.

-- Former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer sued nine fast-food companies to force them to label their fries containers with the words: "This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and/or birth defects."

-- Senator Joe Lieberman and current California Attorney General Jerry Brown have called for a "fat tax" on high-calorie foods.

-- Having bullied smokers outdoors throughout the country, many locales are now going further. San Francisco has banned smoking in parks; Washington state banned smoking 25 feet from entrances, exits, and windows that open. West Lafayette, Ind., banned smoking within 15 feet of ATMs and bus stops. And higher taxes on cigarettes have been proposed in every city or state facing a budget crunch.

-- New York City has created a database to track those afflicted with various diseases, including noncommunicable ones like diabetes. Doctors are legally required to contact authorities whenever they discover their patients have AIDS, syphilis, and other maladies.

It may sound far-fetched that such radical intrusions into Americans' personal lives would ever be permitted on a national level. Yet two presidential candidates, Edwards and Gov. Mike Huckabee, already advocate enforcing a national smoking ban. Delegating greater responsibility to the government is a bad bargain that will inevitably lead not to better care, but to increased coercion.

Implicit in universal coverage is the unavoidable reality that qualified doctors and health-care professionals will inevitably be preempted and co-opted by politicians and bureaucrats, groups currently viewed almost as favorably as cancer. Don't like your benefit structure? Have fun lobbying both houses of Congress for minor revisions.

The last few years have demonstrated that rare is the place politicians are unwilling to tread in the name of public health. Universal coverage will complete this governmental mandate to control American lifestyles. Before making such a calculation, voters might consider a warning of British politician and novelist Bulwer Lytton: "Democracy is like the grave -- it perpetually cries 'give, give,' and, like the grave, it never returns what it has once taken. Do not surrender to democracy that which is not yet rip for the grave."

The author is an editorial writer with the New York Post.

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249 Comments

long-suffering
It's amusing and sad for us guys overseas, who used to look up to America as one of the few countries advocating freedom, now turn more and more to such statism. After all those years of fighting the cold war against totalitarianism, then winning, now making itself ever more less free; how ironic is that? And because of so much state sponsered propaganda, the gullible people believe this crap about them being just simple sheep who need a good shepard to look after them. In this instance, say the post office, or the dept of agriculture could ad an extra wing to do health. Or perhpas the HUD, the ones who I those quaint ghettos they call 'projects'.

This is just so scary. I mean, now it's not as though insurance companies ever make decisions like
And insurance companies are just so amazingly flexible and helpful to scared, desperate patients. They would never say something like "we found you have a pre-existing condition and now must deny your claim."

Things are so good now. The idea of everyone having health insurance is so frightening.

I was hoping that this was another satire piece ...
then I checked the newspaper

scary
Yeah, that's what I mean. People have been so affected by the propaganda that they're scared of everything and thus demand that a big-brother nanny state let the suckle the rest of their lives. But when you say the sarcasm 'things are so good now'; who actually said that? Most people say the system is not good and should be changed. Scared rabbits like you want more nanny care, and libertarians want more freedom to sort out our own health care. Nobody likes the socialism-lite current mixed system. Re prexisting conditions. How does it compare with all of human history in all countries. Say your condition is to be born blind, or got blind. Before, relatiaves, friends, the church, you village, a benevolent society, the community trust, etc. might take care of you. So now you want a coercive state to use force to take our money to help your relatives out; nice guy.

Horrors!!! horrors!!! "Big brother nanny state."
Why deal with the details of proposed plans when you can run in a circle shouting "big brother nanny state" instead???

What's particularly silly is you say other people are creating scare tactics by pointing to conditions that actually exist for many people -- denial of care by insurance companies, refusal to insure people with pre-existing conditions and you are calling factual recital of these problems scare tactics. And then you shout "big brother nanny state" instead of discussing concrete proposals.

>So now you want a coercive state to use force to take our money to help your relatives out; nice guy.
For someone who complains non-staop about ad hominems, maybe you could think of making an argument instead of a personal accusation.

Why bother?
No matter what solutions are proposed your going to advocate state care anyway.

I have decided you must work for Government. That would explain your total lack of understanding of markets and non-governmental solutions.

There are proposals for non-governmental health care. How about cash only doctors and eliminating the employer based plans?

How about a return to what insurance was meant for, catastrophic care?

Oh, I forgot, if little Billy has a splinter he needs free care.

State care???? who's advocating "state care"
What's on the table are mixed private and public systems to make sure all Americans have insurance. Nobody's taking over hospitals. Nobody's putting all the doctors on the public payroll.

>How about cash only doctors and eliminating the employer based plans?
How do cash only doctors help people without cash?

>How about a return to what insurance was meant for, catastrophic care?
How about being able to buy insurance if you have a pre-existing condition.

>Oh, I forgot, if little Billy has a splinter he needs free care.
It's more about little Billy getting regular checkups. He can already get
a splinter or a bullet pulled for free at the emergency room. Costs much more, but I guess you love to pay taxes to do things the wrong way.

Cash only
Cash only Doctors are typically 30% less and you can still submit to your insurance.

Did I say there are not problems, no I did not. The current system sucks but there are solutions such as assigned risk pools and ending employer based plans in favor of private group plans funded by employer outlays.

Want higher care, buy a more expensive plan, less, pocket the difference.

Sorry, since when am I responsible to make sure Billy gets a checkup? Is that not his parents job?

Funny how generations have survived without me funding little Billy.

Still doesn't speak to the problem
I mean, sure:

>Cash only Doctors are typically 30% less and you can still submit to your insurance.
If you have the cash and if you have the insurance.

>Did I say there are not problems, no I did not. The current system sucks but there are solutions such as assigned risk pools and ending employer based plans in favor of private group plans funded by employer outlays.
Nothing has been stopping such programs from being established before. And this works well for wealthier people, not so well for working people mking little money.

> Sorry, since when am I responsible to make sure Billy gets a checkup? Is that not his parents job?
This is the second time you've brought up the same non-argument. You are now paying if little Billy shows up at the emergency room and his parents don't have enough money. You don't like paying taxes? Then why not go for a much more efficient way to use the money.

>Funny how generations have survived without me funding little Billy
Generations have survived without you doing a damn thing. Why not stop putting yourself at the center of the world and look at the issues.

What is scary is your stupidity
>"And insurance companies are just so amazingly flexible and helpful to scared, desperate patients."

They are for millions of their customers. Only an idiot would throw away a system that helps so many based on the scare tactics you spew forth.

>"They would never say something like "we found you have a pre-existing condition and now must deny your claim."

And socialized medicine would never suggest not covering those who were obese... oh wait, that happened in England. Nor would they suggest allowing doctors to decide if a child born with severe disabilities should be allowed to survive based on the "drain" that child would inflict on society... oops, England again.

Nor would there be rationing, shortages, worse outcomes, or government interference between you and your doctor. Right?

>"Things are so good now."

For a majority, yes. I have (Tlaloc) posted the breakdown of those 47 million uninsured and the actual hard luck cases are far smaller than you, and your leftist ilk, make them out to be.

>"The idea of everyone having health insurance is so frightening."

No. The idea of the government managing healthcare is extremely frightening. Do you actually look at what these politicians are saying? Mandatory preventive medicine? Including mental health?

Giving the government so much power over your very well being is unconstitutional. Not to mention extremely idiotic which is most likely why you endorse it. You simply have no grasp of the concepts upon which you pontificate.

This is far more silly...
>"What's particularly silly is you say other people are creating scare tactics by pointing to conditions that actually exist for many people -- denial of care by insurance companies, refusal to insure people with pre-existing conditions and you are calling factual recital of these problems scare tactics. And then you shout "big brother nanny state" instead of discussing concrete proposals."

When have you ever discussed a concrete proposal?

So now tell us all which proposal you endorse. Perhaps you have devised a plan of your own? Please be complete and provide how it will be funded and how you will force people to comply with your preventive measures.

I anxously await your proposal.

Concrete proposals?
I've brought up in some detail the proposals by Clinton, Edwards and Obama. All of them seem to speak to the issues.

> Please be complete and provide how it will be funded and how you will force people to comply with your preventive measures.
The plans carry funding proposals. Motivating people to do preventive medicine is a part of most health plans that cover preventive medicine, because insurers save money by doing so. Since basically the only argument you seem to have is "government force! bogeyman!" I can understand how you want to mis-state the problem and set up straw men, but government compulsion to do preventive care isn't on any agenda I know of. But if you can document it, why don't you?

Why are they going tot he Emergency room?
Why are they showing up at the Emergency room anyway? Imagine my surprise thinking Emergency room means "Emergency". I stand by the assertion, it is not my responsibility to pay for routine care. It is the parents.

You made the comment nobody is proposing state care, well what exactly do you call Universal Coverage as proposed?

I don't measure my compassion by the size of government and the amount of taxes I pay. In fact I am fed up with this entire notion that so many are suffering in this nation and only the government can save them. Do I think people need help? Sure but the portrayal is a scene out of the third world and this is sophistry.

Do I think health care needs change, yes. I am not going to support state run socialized care. It is a joke in the UK and it is a joke in Canada.

In the UK I used to see doctors immediately and with no wait. Why? Because I paid cash (I was not on the NHA). Is this fair? I loved it but it was sad to see the masses in waiting rooms for hours because they had "free" care. Free care tot he cost of a nominal 57% tax rate (and that was just VAT and income taxes).





47 Million
Yes, the 47 million include those between jobs and college students who can buy it via the University but choose not to.

I find it interesting that it goes up every year. I also find it interesting that the one time I took my daughter to the Emergency Room on a Sunday with a super high fever (per my doctors advice)it was filled with people who obviously didn't need to be there.

Kids with colds, etc. No broken arms, no accidents, just the usual doctor stuff. I overheard the doctors talking. While I understand the need to worry about your kids going to the E Room for general care is absurd and a waste of time and money.

When I was a kid Mom used to just keep us in bed. I think she took us to the doctor maybe 3 or 4 times my entire life. Why? My parents took care of me and she didn't run to the doctor for every sniffle.

I had to be pretty sick to get a doctor visit?

So why the E Room for sniffles?

My kid had a 105+ fever, certainly not a sniffle.

So...
which one's plan are you endorsing? Will any of them do?

Here is something straight from Hilary's plan. Notice how little she gets to specifics:

>"Insurance and Drug Companies: insurance companies will end discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or expectations of illness and ensure high value for every premium dollar; while drug companies will offer fair prices and accurate information."

So government will enforce how insurance and drug companies run their businesses? Do you endorse this? Please include in your endorsement how one determines a "fair" price or ensures "high value". Will this be the same "high value" that government provides us with its other services?

>"Individuals: will be required to get and keep insurance in a system where insurance is affordable and accessible."

So forcing people who don't desire insurance is "choice"? Considering that one in three uninsured lives in a household earning more than $50,000 a year and one in seven comes from a household earning more than $75,000 I would say they have the right to buy or not buy insurance.

Please tell me why you endorse forcing insurance on these people.

>"Providers: will work collaboratively with patients and businesses to deliver high-quality, affordable care."

Are providers currently NOT working collaboratively with patients? Where is the proof of that? And if proven to not be happening, how do you enforce it?

What kind of bureaucracy will be required to enforce these rules and monitoring? Will the government be checking out your medical records to do so?

>"Employers: will help financing the system; large employers will be expected to provide health insurance or contribute to the cost of coverage: small businesses will receive a tax credit to continue or begin to offer coverage."

In other words, businesses will be forced to cover their employees. How will this dampen economic growth? What studies have been done to determine the effects of this?

>"Government: will ensure that health insurance is always affordable and never a crushing burden on any family and will implement reforms to improve quality and lower cost."

Once again: how? This is a statement, not a plan. Hilary's plan is a mere outline with no actual policies outlined or detailed. It is a blank check for government control over your healthcare and a prescription for bankrupting and degrading the best healthcare system in the world.

>"The plans carry funding proposals."

Tax the "rich"? Force funding from businesses? Quite the interesting funding proposals.

>"Motivating people to do preventive medicine is a part of most health plans that cover preventive medicine, because insurers save money by doing so."

Already being done. Some people do not wish to partake. This can be seen in the fact that so many don't take advantage of government plans that are "free" and for which they qualify. What Edwards and Hilary are outlining is mandated physical and mental checkups. That means government oversight.

>"Since basically the only argument you seem to have is "government force! bogeyman!"

No. That is the strawman you prefer to joust with instead of directly answering any evidence presented to you. By the way, "government force" is not a bogeyman.

I find it funny that you apply that very argument to all things Bush but have no problem giving power over your healthcare to a system that elects such a person. Do you want GWB in charge of your healthcare?

>"I can understand how you want to mis-state the problem and set up straw men, but government compulsion to do preventive care isn't on any agenda I know of."

Strawmen are your tactics.

>"But if you can document it, why don't you?"

I have, as Tlaloc, done so extensively. Go here:

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070902/D8RDHQE80.html

You said you endorsed Edward's plan. I guess you didn't read the fine print did you? I doubt you have read anything on this matter at all.

Too funny!
This statement says everything about LeMule that we already know:

>"Then why not go for a much more efficient way to use the money."

Yes. The government is one of the most efficient money managers around, is it not? So very Clinton-esque: "We would give you back the budget surplus but you would only waste it."

Funny, but rather sad and pathetic.

Again, unclear on the concept
If you would take off the ideological glasses and just look at the facts of the situation, maybe you could think the thing through instead of just spout rightwing slogans.

>Why are they showing up at the Emergency room anyway? Imagine my surprise thinking Emergency room means "Emergency".
They are showing up at the emergency room, sometimes, because what could have been treated easily and cheaply as prevented by a timely visit to a clinic.

> I stand by the assertion, it is not my responsibility to pay for routine care. It is the parents.
Except if the child shows up at the emergency room, it becomes your (the taxpayers) responsibility. Blaming the parents doesn't change this situation or improve it.

>You made the comment nobody is proposing state care, well what exactly do you call Universal Coverage as proposed?
"Insurance." maybe you've heard of it.

>I don't measure my compassion by the size of government and the amount of taxes I pay. In fact I am fed up with this entire notion that so many are suffering in this nation and only the government can save them. Do I think people need help? Sure but the portrayal is a scene out of the third world and this is sophistry.
you have millions and millions of people without insurance. the US pays the highest percentage of GNP of any country in the world, and you still have lousy public health numbers and daily stories of people dying slowly because they can't afford drugs or an operation. If you close your eyes, you can ignore this, but it is an election issue. Vote the other way.

>Do I think health care needs change, yes. I am not going to support state run socialized care. It is a joke in the UK and it is a joke in Canada.
Actually, it's a joke here too, just a joke on a different set of people. But why not go to Germany, say, and see how big a joke it is there.

>In the UK I used to see doctors immediately and with no wait. Why? Because I paid cash (I was not on the NHA). Is this fair? I loved it but it was sad to see the masses in waiting rooms for hours because they had "free" care. Free care tot he cost of a nominal 57% tax rate (and that was just VAT and income taxes).
And you can still do that here under any proposed health plan, on the ame terms. But if you don't have the cash here, how long will you wait for an appointment?

Look at the numbers
You're financing the most expensive way to give medical care to low-income people - not Medicare (which has very low administrative costs) but emergency room care for conditions that could have been treated early and cheaply.

Speaking of cheap, generic cheap anti-government rhetoric doesn't speak to the issue. Right now, the insuranc industry spends billions of dollars not on health care but on disqualifying people from health care and denying claims. Is this efficient? the US heealth care system spends twice as much per capita as most other countries, and gets pooreer results overall. Is this efficient??

Very good point
My family is the same way. I have four kids and we have made ER visits maybe 18 times in 18 years; (14 of those for my wife and me. 1 for a car accident, 3 when she had a miscarriage and appendix problem and adhesions 8 different times when her "Morning Sickness" got out of control and 2 for my gall bladder before it was removed). The four for my kids were 1-to get the tip of my oldest daughter's finger sewn back on when she slammed it in a camper door, 1-to get same daughters compound fracture of the ulna a radius operated on (she landed wrong playing "Kill the guy with the ball" with the boys at the football field in the 6th grade), 1-to get next older daughters leg sewn up after she landed on a broken bottle jumping off a fence with a friend and 1-last year to get the baby's lip sewn up after she jumped off the couch with a baby bottle in her mouth.

With those ER visits, the only other doctor visits we make are/where pre-natal, baby delivery, well-child, vaccinations and physicals. Even when I drove a rusty nail through my hand working on the house (make sure you clean up the crap you tear out before you get on the ladder, just in case you fall), I just cleaned it, wrapped it up and made sure my tetnus vaccine was up to date (it wasn't and I had to go get the shot the next day).

With everything, we've probably average around $6,000 a year in medical bills in that time. Nothing to sneeze at, but not unmanageable even without insurance. The problem is that we couldn't pay off the $8,000 and $10,000 bills all at once and (perhaps this is an issue just where we live) couldn't afford to pay them off at the rate the hospital demanded either so they were turned over to collections. Believe it or not, we got a better payment plan from the collection agency!!

To me this (and non-unified billing) is the biggest problem with the medical establishment today. Gone are the days where hospitals and clinics will accept $5, $10 or $20 a month payments on any bill over $500. (My mom paid off pre-natal, delivery and post natal care for four kids, five major family hospital stays, and two surgeries with $5-$25 a month payments in the 60s, 70s and 80s. None of those facilities would take those kinds of payments anymore, even for a proceedure that cost less than $1,500.) Generally, they want the bill paided off in a year (some will accept a little more time on a larger bill, but not all); sorry, I can't afford a $400 a month payment, let alone $1,500 a month. So my credit takes a major black mark, but the collection agency will take a $200 a month payment. This is such BS, but it is the way it goes.

What are your problems here??
I mean, you ask all these rhetorical questions, but the answers are hardly scary.

>So government will enforce how insurance and drug companies run their businesses?
They do now, in many ways. Lots of business are regulated. Is the idea that we know that insurance companies have the best interest of sick people as their main priority (as opposed to making money) so we don't need to worry?

>So forcing people who don't desire insurance is "choice"?
They have a choice of what insurance to buy.

>Considering that one in three uninsured lives in a household earning more than $50,000 a year and one in seven comes from a household earning more than $75,000 I would say they have the right to buy or not buy insurance.
Except they and their children then tun up in the emergency room where the taxpayers wind up paying much more. Is this the way you want to contribute?

>In other words, businesses will be forced to cover their employees. How will this dampen economic growth?
Right now, the costs of employeer covered health insurance is crippling lots of business and making it hard for them to compete overseas. This would level the playing filed by expanding the risk pool.

>Once again: how? This is a statement, not a plan. Hilary's plan is a mere outline with no actual policies outlined or detailed.
The statement is part of a seven point plan, which proposes ways to divert money now being wasted to help improve health care. I can understand why you want to sloganize.

>is a blank check for government control over your healthcare and a prescription for bankrupting and degrading the best healthcare system in the world.
If it's the best healthcare system in the world, how come so many people have to choose between prescriptions and food? How come we have such high rates of prevantable disease. It's certainly the best system for health insurance companies. Is that what you're talking about?

>Already being done. Some people do not wish to partake. This can be seen in the fact that so many don't take advantage of government plans that are "free" and for which they qualify.
Not so many, and the number is decreasing. Why is this a counter-argument? Is the idea that, because some people make wrong decisions that we shouldn't or can't encourage people to make right ones?

> find it funny that you apply that very argument to all things Bush but have no problem giving power over your healthcare to a system that elects such a person. Do you want GWB in charge of your healthcare?
He just vetoed a plan to extend healthcare to more children, so no. Is there some reason why you trust insurance companies more than (say) Medicare? Has Medicare enslaved its beneficiiaries?

Regarding mandatory preventive care - some insurance companies have it as a requirement, I believe. Sauce for the goose...

horror nanny state
I didn't make an ad hominem against you because you always advocate for more statism, nowadays. But against me you say my present day comments or opinions are not valied because of my past, about 60 years ago; that's different, right? But how can you say I'm not discussing concrete proposals, when I am recommending a complete separation of health and state, in the same manner as separation of church and state? And in addition I made concrete suggestions about how people can get some help.

Thanks for pointing out the problem
This is exactly the point

>. I also find it interesting that the one time I took my daughter to the Emergency Room on a Sunday with a super high fever (per my doctors advice)it was filled with people who obviously didn't need to be there.

Some did, many did not. But they were there because they don't have insurance and they don't have cash and the ER is the only place that will treat them. That's the problem. Blaming the people who show up given this circumstance doesn't solve this problem.

I see you've given up trying to argue your case
I mean, sure, insurance companies work well for millions of people. They don't for millions of others. Ignoring the second category doesn't make it go away.

>Nor would there be rationing, shortages, worse outcomes, or government interference between you and your doctor. Right?
Depends. Haven't heard of that happening much in Germany or France. But i have heard of people being denied all kinds of care for all kinds of reasons by insurance companies.

>>"Things are so good now."
>For a majority, yes.
But a very large miniority is not doing well. Your self-servign statistics don't change this situation.

>No. The idea of the government managing healthcare is extremely frightening.
The government is not managing health care. It is not running hospitals or pressing doctors into service. It is arranging insurance, as it has done for seniors with Medicare. What is this so threatening?

>Giving the government so much power over your very well being is unconstitutional.
Ah, now you're the expeert on law too. Thank you.

Sorry, that was an ad-hom
What you wrote was:

>So now you want a coercive state to use force to take our money to help your relatives out; nice guy.

You were accusing me of advocating this to help my relatives, not because of the politcies.

>But how can you say I'm not discussing concrete proposals, when I am recommending a complete separation of health and state, in the same manner as separation of church and state?
So we stop licensing doctors and hospitals, stop regulating drugs, close county hospitals, end Medicare and Medicaid and end all government support for medical research. Great ideas. Take them to the voters. But wait - I fdrgot - you don't believe in voters deciding anything.

Wal Mart
Has clinics. it is like 60-80 bucks. Get real, it is called priority.

If you kids needs a doctor visit then do without the flat screen TV.

Man, it ain't that much money.

As to Universal Care, it is not insurance dummy, it is fully taxpayer funded health systems in which the entire thing is state funded, a dream for every aspect of your life, and thus every aspect of care is regulated.

Is there any expansion of government you do not oppose? Some us want solutions that extend freedom. No Universal plan extends freedom. It removes it. it removes chice.

Look at the proposal. Mandatory care? Limitation on coverage based upon weight, smoking. Now how is that more freedom. Of course in your molecule sized brain this all makes perfect sense since to you since freedom is apparently a alien concept.

Lets suppose Gay sex is responsible for most AIDS cases and lets suppose AIDS is a expensive health care cost. So is the state going to ban Gay sex?


How about skydiving or racing. One of these days your Ox will be the one to get gored and then you willbe the first to bellyache.

I can still do it under the proposals? Really, you know this? Ha, try doing tha tunder medicare. if a doctor accepts payment in lieu of Medicare for patients over 65 he loses the right to service medicare patients for 2 years. Since any doctor will tell you they cannot make money on Medicare they are screwed. Most limit Medicare patients and many GP's will not take them.

I don't know about the wait. I have never been unemployed or without cash.

It is called WORK.



re, sorry
Why would you say that I don't believe in voters deciding?
I've never said that, and I don't mind if they keep voting all the time, as long as the guys they vote in have no power to do anything. And yes, since I'm a libertarian, I don't want the state to intervene, interfere, distort, or have anything to do with medicine, education, agriculture, etc. In this manner corruption is not possible, nor special interest groups lobbying crooked politicians. If the government has nothing to do with those things, some people would still be doctors, build hospitals and school, grow food, etc. Governments distort all those things to match their own, separate agendas a la Public Choice Theory, if you even know what that is. But frighful, brainwashed statists like you like to enslave yourselves to predators.

Again, you're wagging your finger instead of focusing on the problem
Saying parents are bad parents becuse they're scrimping on health care for their kids doesn't solve the problem of kids not getting good health care. It may make you feel better and more responsible to call them names, but that does nothing for the kids. In fact, preventive care provided by insurance does help, and it helps more than treating the kids in the ER for preventable diseaeses.

You want to reduce this to your own ideological prejudice, instead of looking at what works. What we have doesn't work.

and as for the gay sex thing
>Gay sex is responsible for most AIDS cases and lets suppose AIDS is a expensive health care cost. So is the state going to ban Gay sex?

first of all, it banned gay sex for many, many years. That didn't stop gay sex. in fact, we do have laws about certain public healh problems and communicable diseases - remember the story about the lawyer with resistent TB and the plane ride?

>How about skydiving or racing. One of these days your Ox will be the one to get gored and then you willbe the first to bellyache.
How about riding motorcycles and wearing a helmet. Go bellyache about that. You don't like government doing anything. Noted, but note that it makes your criticisms of (quite mild) government actions not believable.

Except you won't let the vote on anything that will cost you anything
> don't want the state to intervene, interfere, distort, or have anything to do with medicine, education, agriculture, etc.
fine. others disagree. So you won't accept the results of those votes, even though they respect constitutional boundaries. Go change people's minds.

>But frighful, brainwashed statists like you like to enslave yourselves to predators.
What we need are brave Nazzis like you to protext us from the state. Sure.

A lot of problems with this discussion
I've talked to many health care professionals (doctors, nurses and pharmicists) and their opinions are (surprisingly to me) as varied as those in the general public. but there are a couple of points all agree on: 1. Medicare and Medicaid payments often don't cover the costs of the aministration, paperwork and overhead the program requires to be able to accept these programs. (one of the reasons a few doctors and for-profit private hospitals are not accepting these programs) 2. Insurance companies have become even worse (in some case) and hospitals almost need an expert with each major insurance company just to be able to properly bill the company. Most insurance companies and the two government programs have time limits or claims; it isn't a big deal if everything goes through the first time, but that generally happens less than 60% of the time. Still, if you get your "denial" back in a timely fashion, the time limit often doesn't come into play to get a second "fixed" billing out. If the insurance company is late getting back to the medical provider or a third billing is needed, then things can get dicey. One medical facility administrator I talked to said that about 5%-15% of claims are not paid because of this. He suspects some companies do this on purpose to avoid paying claims or to delay payment for whatever reason. He told me the facility ends up having to "eat" 75% of these as the patient was insured and the insurance company says they can't be held accountable if the facility didn't obey the rules.

Point three - greed: Another thing driving up the price is pure greed. In the words of one of my doctor friends, "Any doctor making $1 million a year or more should be barred from practicing medicine, this person is just in it for the money and, to me and many others, that is a violation of the hypocratic oath." He and others decry the cost of medical equipment (from surgical gloves to CAT machines), medications and just about everything associated with medical care. They also claim that the whole idea of corporate medicine is a flaw in the system. Others disagree on some aspect or another, but even pharmicists think the cost of any medication on the market should be under $1 a dose after 5 years. And hospitals that charge 10-times their costs for every consumable, for their bed space.
Point four -feedback: Here's what has really created the problem. We'll used hospitals as an example. If, over the last 10-years, your administrative costs have doubled (almost all of it in billing and bookkeeping overhead costs), your expenses (for purchase and maintenence of equipment) have tripled, etc. how do you make that up? You charge more for your services, order unnecessary tests (MRIs, CAT scans, etc) and bill for them, charge 10-times your costs for consumables, etc. Then, if your a CEO here, you add a bit more to show a healthy profit and get a nice performance bonus.
Medical professionals argue that, in a single-payer system that is properly administered, doctors will still be well paid, just not filthy rich in a handfull of cases, CEOs will also be well, but won't have those big "golden parachutes" and bonuses, (they may be done away with completely) and administrative costs should be reduced by 70% or more overall (no longer a need for billing professionals, the facility will be paid based on the established criteria; big facilities should be able to cut billing overhead by 90% and even ultra-small facilities should see a 50% or more reduction.)

But who foots the bill and how do we pay for it without completely destroying the system we now have? Therein lies the question no one can answer. That is the reason we have these rediculous "Universal Insurance" scams being discussed. It is the worst of all worlds, according to every healthcare professional I know. No reduction in overhead or expenses for the providers, (because of multiple companies involved) no reduction in cost by doing away with a need for profit margins for investors, etc.

So, from what I have seen, it would appear we need to consider going one of two directions.

Direction 1 - no more government medical programs or governmental interference beyond quality oversight. Yep, good-bye CHIP, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. This will decrease medical costs and it should also decrease significantly insurance costs and some of the over-burden on medical facilities to handle insurance claims. If the government want to help out, provide every facility with upgraded medical equipment every 5-years, this would further reduce expenses as doctors would be less inclined to order excessive use to pay for the purchase of this equipment, and the costs of the tests would go down to just operator expense and a profit margin.
Upside-Medical and insurance costs should go down 20-50% with a possible decrease in taxes to pay of rgovernment programs, the positive feedback would reduce costs even more.
Downside - Expect 20-30% of the population to be unable to get medical attention, initially, as they won't have, or won't be able to afford, insurance. In a totally open market, these people, largely, won't receive medical attention. In less than 10 years the number will drop to 5%-10% who really just can't afford it or are just plain dumb. That will still leave 15-30 million unable to get medical attention. Many will get by without it, but a percentage of these will die simply because they are poor.

Option two- 100% Government run healthcare: To operate the system exactly as it is now, this would cost an estimated $2 trillion a year. That ain't happening!! At best, the government can afford just about $200 billion without a massive tax increase (and there would still be a tax increase). Even at that, expect a program cost,initially, of around $800B growing to $1.1-$1.3T within 5 years. Still, this will reduce overall expense by 70% initially and 40%-50% in the long run. Their are some possible options for individuals to "opt out" and for facilities and doctors to "opt out" which could reduce expenses further and not degrade service for the more wealthy. Still, any system of government run, universal, "Free" healthcare will automatically see some degradation of services and will not be as inexpensive as initially expected and advertised.
Upside - All people will get emergency services and have access to needed services without the burden of trying ot pay for insurance or to pay for the care. Overall healthcare costs will go down and uniform care will be available.
Downside - say good-bye to getting to see a specialist on demand, get a non-emergency operation in anything like a reasonably short wait, major increase in taxes, especially sin taxes (look for tobacco taxes, alcohol taxes, gun and ammunition taxes, fuel taxes, and just about any other tax to go up; either that or look out for a General Sales Tax of 15% or more on everything.)

Nope
No, your right. In fact, I even object to helmet laws and I always wear a helemt. It is a matter of Freedom and responsibility is it not?

No, didn't stop the plane ride and TB should be very rigourously controlled irrespective of so called civil rights simply due to the extreme danger to society. If someone is detained at the border with TB, they are deported or hosspitalized, no exceptions. Spreading a disease like TB in the name of PC is fatal.

As to AIDS, I never stated it could be controlled did I? I stated they can deny care based upon behaviour, in fact, can they not?

The point this is a pandora's box and with state care the potential is endless for control. Look at the UK with denying treatment to a guy for a ankle due to smoking. Unrelated, yet a control strategy. Fat, no care. California must label French Fries as a cancer agent. I mean, it is crazy.

The Daily Kooks.

My point is where do you draw the line? Liberals like you, I think well intentioned, think the lines are based on common sense but in reality there is someone who's line is farther South than yours and it keeps growing, like a cancer, until freedom is a memory.

I oppose measures, not based upon intent, but upon the knowledge men will take advantage and usurp power at every turn.

If you think Hillary Clinton, for example, is a honest and well intentioned politician then you road is well paved. She is about power and control.

Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, not that Hillary has any.

So you don't have a problem with the principle you just object ot specifics
Thanks for making it clear

And how do YOU argue your case Lemuel?
Why NearNoad? What better arugment than the Gun NearNoad? And Mr. Lemuel has plenty of them.

We already have socialized Medican.
If you can walk into any ER and get free care then it is socialized. If you accept this, then you must get rid of the hypocrisy of both government controlled and employer funded medical coverage.

It cause MUCH more cost. I can't see any realistically changing the free ER care, so the only path is true Universal coverage. We must be pragmatic.

GOVAGS!!! GOVAGS!!! under the bed! with mind control devices!
put on your tinfoil hat and run! It may be too late!!!

Numbers?
I see them everyday. You have yet to throw any into the ring.

>"You're financing the most expensive way to give medical care to low-income people - not Medicare (which has very low administrative costs) but emergency room care for conditions that could have been treated early and cheaply."

As I have told you before, and this is something you could confirm for yourself if you really had an interest, Medicare has such low "administrative" costs because they license insurance companies to do the actual administrative work. The low costs you trumpet is the actual government workers, not the money they are spending on letting others do the actual work.

I should know. I was on the team that got my insurance company approved to administer Medicare.

So yes, Medicare is efficiently run if you admit that the reason is due to them letting private companies do their heavy lifting for a profit.

>"Right now, the insuranc industry spends billions of dollars not on health care but on disqualifying people from health care and denying claims."

What an idiotic claim. You are actually saying that more is spent on denying than on paying claims? This is laughable. Provide evidence or just shut up. Please.

>"the US heealth care system spends twice as much per capita as most other countries, and gets pooreer results overall. Is this efficient??"

Again, laughable. Our cancer outcomes are top-notch and our access to healthcare services are second to none.

Our healthcare is like a divorce: why is it so expensive? Because it's worth it.

naazi...again?
There you go again, when you have no argument it's the reductio ad hitlerum. Which in fact is phoney anyway, because I'm about as opposite as can be, whereas you remind me of those guys a lot. They used to say, "wenn nicht willig geht, brauchen wir gewalt", something like if they don't do it willingly, we'll use violence. I hear you saying the same thing here, all the time.

Except...
regarding Medicare's use of private insurers - if you can show that a lower percentage of total medicare expenditures go to medical care private insurance dollars, you'll have a point. But I don't think you can.

This is a mistatement:
>"Right now, the insuranc industry spends billions of dollars not on health care but on disqualifying people from health care and denying claims."

>What an idiotic claim. You are actually saying that more is spent on denying than on paying claims? This is laughable. Provide evidence or just shut up. Please.

I did not say "more money" I said, "billions of dollars." Do you deny that insurance companies spend billions of dollars on investigating and, often, denying claims.

>gain, laughable. Our cancer outcomes are top-notch and our access to healthcare services are second to none.
Our cancer outcomes are good. Our access is not good, and our preventive care is crummy. Yes, the upper 50 percent of our population receives excellent medical care. The bottom 25 percent do not.

We're talking about government
Taxes aren't voluntary. For taxes, "wenn nicht willig abbezalt, brauchen wir gewalt." That's the only way government works, and it's true everywhere. Except where people bribe government officials to avoid paying taxes. Maybe you prefer that.

You don't want government except for your own personal interests -- to make sure people pay you - that's understandable, but it's not justifiable. But the violence issue is a total fraud in this context.

Problem communicating complicated thoughts...
to one ill-equiped to understand them.

>"They do now, in many ways. Lots of business are regulated. Is the idea that we know that insurance companies have the best interest of sick people as their main priority (as opposed to making money) so we don't need to worry?"

With the weight of government regulations on the healthcare industry driving prices up, wouldn't a more revolutionary vision for healthcare be LESS regulation?

But this does not feed into your obvious anti-capitialist views so it must be shunned. Yes, government always puts the interest of the people before itself. Right?

>"They have a choice of what insurance to buy."

But not the choice not to buy.

>"Except they and their children then tun up in the emergency room where the taxpayers wind up paying much more. Is this the way you want to contribute?"

Those people, for the most part, actually pay their bills. Hospitals pursue them over the illegal alien who has no intention of every paying.

>"Right now, the costs of employeer covered health insurance is crippling lots of business and making it hard for them to compete overseas. This would level the playing filed by expanding the risk pool."

And taxing those businesses, under Hilary and Edward's plans, will not hinder their growth? How about removing a business owner's inability to pool his risk with other business owners or allow him to shop for insurance companies outside his state? Would that not be more economically feasible?

When you start with the premise of insurance companies = evil and government = good you miss a whole lot. Not to mention the fact that you don't know anything about this topic.

>"The statement is part of a seven point plan, which proposes ways to divert money now being wasted to help improve health care. I can understand why you want to sloganize."

Very funny. Once again it is interesting that the private commerce, under incredible government regulation, is now "wasted" money. It may sound like a slogan but you have not once posted a coherent plan nor have you ever proven the government to be an efficient purveyor of any resource.

>"If it's the best healthcare system in the world, how come so many people have to choose between prescriptions and food?"

Touching. What percentage of the population has to do this? Try to think instead of playing the violin.

>"How come we have such high rates of prevantable disease."

Because alot of people live unhealthy lifestyles. Duh. Because alot of people choose not to see the doctor. Duh. Say it with me: personal responsibility. People have the right to smoke, drink, and be unhealthy.

But the fact is that once you have a illness diagnosed you have far better access to the resources required to treat it and far better outcomes than in socialized healthcare systems.

>"It's certainly the best system for health insurance companies. Is that what you're talking about?"

Just the best system for innovation in all areas of healthcare. That's all.

>"Not so many, and the number is decreasing. Why is this a counter-argument? Is the idea that, because some people make wrong decisions that we shouldn't or can't encourage people to make right ones?"

What evidence have you provided to show that the number is decreasing? Considering how well read you are on this topic, please forgive me if I don't take your word for it.

The point, since you obvious need it explained to you, is that people make choices in regards to their healthcare that are not beneficial to them. Considering the current benefits of living a healthy lifestyle that constantly bombard us through the media, how would the government change this? It has nothing to do with encouragement.

What these plans call for is mandatory preventive care. Since you are endorsing them that is what you are calling for as well. So outline the penalties for not taking part in a federally mandated system.

>"He just vetoed a plan to extend healthcare to more children, so no."

"The children!" you cry. Yet you would place your healthcare plan in the hands of a government that could be led by such a person. With all the evils you lay on GWB's shoulders, does my distrust in government mandated healthcare still sound like a mere slogan?

>"Is there some reason why you trust insurance companies more than (say) Medicare?"

Yes. Insurance companies try to reduce costs and one of the most effective ways of doing this is to provide incentives to live a healthy lifestyle. I have seen the markets adjust far faster and more effectively than any government bureaucracy.

Hell, my company even allows you to claim your "domestic partner" in your benefits. The bonus we received that year was particularily nice since people were quite happy to be insured by such a "progressive" company.

>"Has Medicare enslaved its beneficiiaries?"

Yes. It takes your money for years and offers very little in return. Privatizing it would increase its effectivness and reduce the costs.

>"Regarding mandatory preventive care - some insurance companies have it as a requirement, I believe. Sauce for the goose..."

I believe you are wrong. Which company mandates preventive care? Many offer reduced rates for regular checkups but I have yet to see one that forces you to do so. Please provide evidence for this wildly inaccurate statement.

Sauce for the goose indeed!

Still not looking at the big picture
>With the weight of government regulations on the healthcare industry driving prices up, wouldn't a more revolutionary vision for healthcare be LESS regulation?

This would be much more convincing if more regulated countries (i.e., France and Germany) spend much less money on medical care than we do.

>But this does not feed into your obvious anti-capitialist views so it must be shunned. Yes, government always puts the interest of the people before itself. Right?
The idea in a representtive democracy is that government represents the interest of the people. It is not "anti-capitalist" to point out that industry does not represent the interest of 'the people" but of certain people - the owners of the industry. What's complicated here??

>>"They have a choice of what insurance to buy."
>But not the choice not to buy.
As for auto insurance. Yes, you can not operate a car. But you can't not show up at the emergency room if you're in critical condition.

>>"Except they and their children then tun up in the emergency room where the taxpayers wind up paying much more. Is this the way you want to contribute?"
>Those people, for the most part, actually pay their bills. Hospitals pursue them over the illegal alien who has no intention of every paying.
So they wind up bankrupt or losing their house, and still not able to afford the cost of a chronic disease. Is this really a good thing?


>>"Right now, the costs of employeer covered health insurance is crippling lots of business and making it hard for them to compete overseas. This would level the playing filed by expanding the risk pool."

>And taxing those businesses, under Hilary and Edward's plans, will not hinder their growth? How about removing a business owner's inability to pool his risk with other business owners or allow him to shop for insurance companies outside his state? Would that not be more economically feasible?
That certainly could be part of it. But the fact of health costs pressures on companies is real. Why are you against business?

>When you start with the premise of insurance companies = evil and government = good you miss a whole lot.
Except I don't. I start with the premise, "insurance companies out to make a profit." I don't regard profit as evil. You on the other hand do start out iwth the premise government is evil, insurance companies are good.

> Not to mention the fact that you don't know anything about this topic.
And you have a vested interest, which is showing loud and clear.

>>"The statement is part of a seven point plan, which proposes ways to divert money now being wasted to help improve health care. I can understand why you want to sloganize."

>Very funny. Once again it is interesting that the private commerce, under incredible government regulation, is now "wasted" money. It may sound like a slogan but you have not once posted a coherent plan nor have you ever proven the government to be an efficient purveyor of any resource.
Money _is_ wasted if it's for health care and is instead spent denying claims (that saves the insurance company money) or figuring out who not to sell health care insurance to. Again: we spend twice as much per capita on health care than any country in the world, and sitll have millions unemployed.

>>"If it's the best healthcare system in the world, how come so many people have to choose between prescriptions and food?"

>Touching. What percentage of the population has to do this? Try to think instead of playing the violin.
What percentage or number would be acceptable to you? 1 million? 5 million. This isn't an uncommon story, and it's not "playing the violin" to point it out.

>>"How come we have such high rates of prevantable disease."
>Because alot of people live unhealthy lifestyles. Duh. Because alot of people choose not to see the doctor. Duh. Say it with me: personal responsibility. People have the right to smoke, drink, and be unhealthy.
"High" in this case means higher than other countries that spend less money on health care than the US. Maybe you think that peoplle in (say) France don't smoke.

>But the fact is that once you have a illness diagnosed you have far better access to the resources required to treat it and far better outcomes than in socialized healthcare systems.
If you have money to pay for it. Otherwise, good luck.

>>"It's certainly the best system for health insurance companies. Is that what you're talking about?"

>Just the best system for innovation in all areas of healthcare. That's all.
And the Easter Bunny will bring us all good things.

>>"Not so many, and the number is decreasing. Why is this a counter-argument? Is the idea that, because some people make wrong decisions that we shouldn't or can't encourage people to make right ones?"
>What evidence have you provided to show that the number is decreasing? Considering how well read you are on this topic, please forgive me if I don't take your word for it.
Assume it's the same or larger. Why does this change the point??

>The point, since you obvious need it explained to you, is that people make choices in regards to their healthcare that are not beneficial to them. Considering the current benefits of living a healthy lifestyle that constantly bombard us through the media, how would the government change this? It has nothing to do with encouragement.
If you look at what's done in other countries. you can get an idea. For one point, if someone doesn't have a doctor (lots of people don't) they don't hear about what they have to do, and arent' aware that they may be (to take a very common example) borderline diabetic. You're well read: read up on the epidemic growth of diabetes. In the U.S. Not in Europe. Not in Canada.

>What these plans call for is mandatory preventive care. Since you are endorsing them that is what you are calling for as well. So outline the penalties for not taking part in a federally mandated system.
What are the penalties for violating any law.

>>"He just vetoed a plan to extend healthcare to more children, so no."
>"The children!" you cry.
You have smething against children? You don't think preventive care for children is a good idea?

> Yet you would place your healthcare plan in the hands of a government that could be led by such a person. With all the evils you lay on GWB's shoulders, does my distrust in government mandated healthcare still sound like a mere slogan?
as opposed to what? To placing my trust in people making money out of selling health insurance??? Particularly considerting the track record.

>>"Is there some reason why you trust insurance companies more than (say) Medicare?"

>Yes. Insurance companies try to reduce costs and one of the most effective ways of doing this is to provide incentives to live a healthy lifestyle. I have seen the markets adjust far faster and more effectively than any government bureaucracy.
Another effective way is to deny claims. Another effective way is to not write coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

>Hell, my company even allows you to claim your "domestic partner" in your benefits. The bonus we received that year was particularily nice since people were quite happy to be insured by such a "progressive" company.
Great. You're the best.

But...
>"if you can show that a lower percentage of total medicare expenditures go to medical care private insurance dollars, you'll have a point. But I don't think you can."

This very statement shows your ignorance of how the system works in the first place so I will let it stand. The dollars presented by Medicare enthusists does not include the dollars funneled through private administrators.

But don't take my word for it. I just work for one of those private administrators.

>"I did not say "more money" I said, "billions of dollars." Do you deny that insurance companies spend billions of dollars on investigating and, often, denying claims."

No, not "often" denying claims. A huge majority of claims are approved the first time around. 87% in my companies case. Even the holy institution of Medicare investigates claims to insure that they are real and properly billed. That, my ignorant friend, is called "administration".

>"Our cancer outcomes are good. Our access is not good, and our preventive care is crummy."

First statement correct. The rest is wrong.

Our access to services is excellent. Take a look at the rationing schemes in France, Britain, Canada, and even Cuba. Do you call a six month wait for an MRI good access?

As for preventive care, we are number one in diagnostic technology. The fact that people don't take advantage of it is not the problem of the healthcare industry. You don't seem to be understanding that little part of the equation. There are not sheep we are talking about, these are people who have the right to live their lives any way they wish. That doesn't mean they will do so wisely.

>"Yes, the upper 50 percent of our population receives excellent medical care. The bottom 25 percent do not."

Save me the "two Americas" crap. Even our poor have far better care than middle income people in Europe. Please try to provide realistic numbers in the future.

If someone would like to pose a more informed view of healthcare, preferably based on reality, I would have no problem entertaining their comments.

As for LeMule, you can lead a Mule to facts but you can't make him think. Good day.

The surest sign of dumbness is bragging about how smart you are.
>>"if you can show that a lower percentage of total medicare expenditures go to medical care than private insurance dollars, you'll have a point. But I don't think you can."

>This very statement shows your ignorance of how the system works in the first place so I will let it stand. The dollars presented by Medicare enthusists does not include the dollars funneled through private administrators.

Fine. so add the Medicare administration and the private admiinstrator costs. What's the total? Is it a higher or lower percentage than in private insurance plans?

>>"I did not say "more money" I said, "billions of dollars." Do you deny that insurance companies spend billions of dollars on investigating and, often, denying claims."

>No, not "often" denying claims. A huge majority of claims are approved the first time around. 87% in my companies case. Even the holy institution of Medicare investigates claims to insure that they are real and properly billed. That, my ignorant friend, is called "administration
Of course it is. The problem is, private administrators have an interest in denying claims, even legitimate claims. Your company by your say-so denies about 13 percent - that's "many," if the company is big. Other cmpanies I believe deny many more. It adds up. Not to more than money spend on health care -- I never claimed that - but certainly to billions of dollars.

>Our access to services is excellent. Take a look at the rationing schemes in France, Britain, Canada, and even Cuba. Do you call a six month wait for an MRI good access?
What if you don't have money to see a doctor for a chornic conditions. What's your term for a wait that is indefnite. You think this doesn't happen? As far as rationing schemes in France - that doesn't happen, to my knowledge. In the US, the rationing system is different - but it exists here too:
http://www.ncpa.org/w/w50.html

>s for preventive care, we are number one in diagnostic technology. The fact that people don't take advantage of it is not the problem of the healthcare industry.
It may not be a fault, but it's a weakness. For some reason other countries provide more and better preentive care. Is this because people in other countries have healthier habits or care moer?

>>"Yes, the upper 50 percent of our population receives excellent medical care. The bottom 25 percent do not."

>Save me the "two Americas" crap. Even our poor have far better care than middle income people in Europe. Please try to provide realistic numbers in the future.

Call it crap, but it's the case.
but here are a bunch of studies of various aspects
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=364436

Here's a head-to-head comparison of rich v. poor in US/Canada

Rich and poor

It has become increasingly apparent, as data accumulate, that the overall improvement in health in a society with tax-supported health care translates to better health even for the rich, the group assumed to be the main beneficiaries of the American-style private system. If we look just at the 5.7 deaths per thousand among presumably richer, white babies in the United States, Canada still does better at 4.7, even though the Canadian figure includes all ethnic groups and all income levels. Perhaps a one-per-thousand difference doesn’t sound like much. But when measuring mortality, it’s huge. If the U.S. infant mortality rate were the same as Canada’s, almost 15,000 more babies would survive in the United States every year.

If we consider the statistics for the poor, which in the United States have been classified by race, we find that in 2001, infants born of black mothers were dying at a rate of 14.2 per thousand. That’s a Third World figure, comparable to Russia’s.8

But now that the United States has begun to do studies based on income levels instead of race, these "cultural" and genetic explanations are turning out to be baseless. Infant mortality is highest among the poor, regardless of race.

Vive la différence! Genetically, Canadians and Americans are quite similar. Our health habits, too, are very much alike -- people in both countries eat too much and exercise too little. And, like the United States, there is plenty of inequality in Canada, too. In terms of health care, that inequality falls primarily on Canadians in isolated communities, particularly Native groups, who have poorer access to medical care and are exposed to greater environmental contamination. The only major difference between the two countries that could account for the remarkable disparity in their infant and adult mortality rates, as well as the amount they spend on health care, is how they manage their health care systems.

The facts are clear: Before 1971, when both countries had similar, largely privately funded health care systems, overall survival and mortality rates were almost identical. The divergence appeared with the introduction of the single-payer health system in Canada.

The solid statistics amassed since the 1970s point to only one conclusion: like it or not, believe it makes sense or not, publicly funded, universally available health care is simply the most powerful contributing factor to the overall health of the people who live in any country. And in the United States, we have got the bodies to prove it.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/article.asp?ID=1503

>If someone would like to pose a more informed view of healthcare, preferably based on reality, I would have no problem entertaining their comments.
The surest sign of dumbness is bragging about how smart you are.

GOVAGs already control minds (near education monoploy) and trying hard to get into our bedrooms.
But that is not what we are discussing. Don't evade the issue.

The issue is the basis for the Right you claim on my money to pay for your Health Care needs.

GOVAG EMERGENCY!!! FOIL HATS DOWN!!!
>The issue is the basis for the Right you claim on my money to pay for your Health Care needs.

THE GOVAGS ARE IN YOUR HOUSE. THEY ARE SPYING ON YOU! FUN AWAY!!

Big picture?
>"Great. You're the best."

Indeed I am. That is the main goal of our country to allow those who master their craft to profit from it. I have turned my skills towards the healthcare field and have made a nice living for me and my family. That is nothing to apologize for except in the little minds of anti-capitalist leftists who believe Big Government will save themselves from themselves.

So please tell me what area you apply your "talents" to that allow you access to a "big picture" in regards to healthcare.

I have worked with healthcare professionals in the US, Canada, Britain, as well as conversing with professionals from all over the world.

I have dealt with the healthcare system in three countries, from providers to the insurance industry, and have dealt with government regulations and controls at each level.

But indeed, this is not a badge of expertise but rather my evil intentions of maintaining the status quo where I can continue to deny healthcare to children willy-nilly.

I will speak to those that provide intelligent discourse rather than the ignorant rants of the Troll with Many Names. He is an excellent example of what a little knowledge can accomplish.

Once again, good day.

Actually...
the surest sign is speaking of that which you have no knowledge. An example for the kids:

>"Your company by your say-so denies about 13 percent - that's "many," if the company is big. Other cmpanies I believe deny many more. It adds up. Not to more than money spend on health care -- I never claimed that - but certainly to billions of dollars."

No. We do not deny 13%. We pass 87% automatically. The last 13% have errors, are flagged for fraud, or require human eyes to look upon them for a myriad of reasons. My company denies an average of 0.5% of the claims of which 25% of that 0.5% are fraud cases.

Most of the denials are cosmetic surgeries that members try to pass off as required. Sorry but your girlfriend's, if you ever actually possessed one, enhanced boobs are not something we need to pay for.

This is why you should shut up. Your words keep revealing the depth of your ignorance.

Bragging doesn't make your points, but I can certainly see why you're running away.
We are not worthy!!!!

The US spends much more per capita than other countries, and doesn't have as good public health results. You can blame this on people with bad habits, if you think only americans have bad health habits.

Don't let the door hit your butt on the way out, and have a good day.

Your company is not the only one around
A recent poll found a rather different picture:

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Todd Robinson doesn't need Michael Moore to tell him the health insurance system in the United States is in crisis.

Bailey Robinson's parents battled their insurer over coverage for his rare genetic disorder. He died in 2005.

The Robinsons say their insurance company refused to pay for $200,000 worth of medical bills. The company stamped "denied" on bill after bill, refusing to pay for countless medical services right up until the day Bailey died in 2005.

The Robinsons are not alone. Tales of frustration with insurers abound. In an Internet survey that included 1,000 consumers, nearly one out of four said he or she had had a legitimate claim denied by their health insurance, according to PNC Financial Services Group.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/07/19/patient.insurance/index.html

Lemuel once again evades the issue
What is the basis for the Right you claim on my money for your Health Care needs, other than the fact that you can get away with it becuase you have the Guns?

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