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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 07:37 PM   #121
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

You honestly see no difference between a government program, and insurance you privately contract?

And, I'm not as sanguine about the efficiencies of a government program.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 07:47 PM   #122
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Neither am I. But what we've got now is pretty dang inefficient AND we're still paying for the uninsureds health care, only in the worst and most expensive way.

I guess if your tack at this is that having the government do anything is bad, even if its worse and costs more to do it differently, then theres no point in the discussion.

I cant see that its about cost when you're footing the bill for the last minute care and health care insurance costs are skyrocketing.

I cant see that its about bureaucracy given my first hand experience with the shenanigans that go on between me, my doctor and my insurance company, many of which I've chronicled here. Even I cant shine a cynical enough light on this to say that a govt program would be worse, or even the same. And I hate government programs.

I just got the paperwork for my wifes last doctor visit. Her doctor sent a three page form to the insurance company, billing 25.00. The insurer kicked it back with several other forms stating that they would only pay $24.88. I am not making this up. The doctor had to send another form back okaying and accepting the lower payment. Then the insurer sent us the roll up explaining what was billed, why, what they paid and why, and noting that we would not be responsible for the residual 12c.

Perhaps a standardized government driven program to provide basic health care would produce a situation more stupid than this.

But I doubt it.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 07:55 PM   #123
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa


Oh, well. I think I get the picture here.
Me too.

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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 07:55 PM   #124
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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I guess if your tack at this is that having the government do anything is bad, even if its worse and costs more to do it differently, then theres no point in the discussion.
That is not my tack, and I've made that clear.

The choice is not between a dismal current system (itself partly a function of poor existing government policy) and a lousy government system ... we can find a better way than either, and there is current evolution to do so.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 08:05 PM   #125
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

I guess I dont see that. Looks like devolution to me.

I see higher costs, more severe filters on who gets acceptance, employers cutting the benefits, and I'm *still* paying for everyone to get taken care of via the worst possible care provider at the highest possible cost: the emergency room.

Enlighten me as to the evolution thats going to solve this in my lifetime.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 08:55 PM   #126
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

CFB, please read my posts above.

Folks open to non-Democratic party solutions can find plenty of diversity of opinion on the 'net ... for another example see http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/pubaf...5/atlas05.html, and you can find a large number of related studies and articles by running a search on health care.

Quote:
The isolation of the consumer from paying for health care and the inordinate amount of control that government exerts over health-care costs represent a startling exception to the free market system that has served us so well in every other major service industry. This should lead us to ask the question, on what basis does "government" become the solution for escalating health-care costs? And why, when it has failed to rein in those costs in the past, should we expect even more government control to be the answer today?
We've beat this one to death, and it's clear we're not in an exchange of ideas.* Let's move on.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 09:21 PM   #127
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

I read your posts. A lot of supposition with no actual path from where we are to "the solution".

We dont rely on "free markets" for things we've already decided as a society to "own". We educate our children, we provide roads and police the unlawful, we protect the country from threats, and we treat sick people who walk into a hospital.

Unless you'd like to see everyone getting their health care at walmart, you might rethink this 'free markets' idea.

Oh and I'm sorry, are you lumping me in with democrats? Bite your tongue. My droppings are more politically conservative than you are.

So Charles, may I interpret your stance to indicate that you will decline to accept Social Security and Medicare benefits when you're eligible, as thats just a democrat instituted government run piece of coercion?

Sorry, i'm grumpy. I cant believe you just implied I was a democrat :P
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 09:26 PM   #128
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Unless you'd like to see everyone getting their health care at walmart, you might rethink this 'free markets' idea.

Oh and I'm sorry, are you lumping me in with democrats? Bite your tongue. My droppings are more politically conservative than you are.

So Charles, may I interpret your stance to indicate that you will decline to accept Social Security and Medicare benefits when you're eligible, as thats just a democrat instituted government run piece of coercion?

Sorry, i'm grumpy. I cant believe you just implied I was a democrat :P


CFB - sorry to interrupt, but Ralph Nader's on the phone. Something about a donation.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 09:31 PM   #129
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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So Charles, may I interpret your stance to indicate that you will decline to accept Social Security and Medicare benefits when you're eligible, as thats just a democrat instituted government run piece of coercion? cfb
I'm sure he will have it rationalized, & justified by then. They made me pay taxes now they owe me. IT's MY Money. I paid for it blah blah blah blah. Because he stands to gain from it , see.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 09:36 PM   #130
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

That'd be a lousy rationalization since social security and medicare benefits are not "your money being paid back".

But I'll let him speak for himself. Perhaps he does indeed intend to refuse receipt of those programs.

I like Ralph Nader a lot. He keeps preventing the demo's from having a better chance at winning the presidency. We'd probably be in our sixth year of President Gore right now :P :P
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 09:38 PM   #131
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

CFB, perhaps you are grumpy ... that was not my implication. *Not at all interested in your droppings ... the world isn't entirely liberal / conservative.

Ironically ... folks are now getting their health care at Wal-Mart ... but I'm sure some here can tell us how that is terrible as well ...

Are we switching to ad hominem from straw man ...

Let's move on, friends ... this is becoming plenty acrimonious, and the debate is nonexistent.* There is no apparent interest or appreciation of other perspectives.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 09:44 PM   #132
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Yep, it sucks. I just took my pharmacy business away from them because they couldnt reliably hand me a bottle of pills.

So in the free market model, the rich will be serviced by high end private medical clinics, the middle class will pay out of pocket at walmart for their four minutes with a doctor and the related bottle of pills handed out (eventually), and everyone else is SOL because the hospitals will close down. Why keep the doors open when the only 'customers' you have are the indigent with a medical problem and no money.

Think of how well education would work in that model. Oh yeah, we tried that. The rich got educated, the middle class got a sixth grade education if they were lucky, and the poor went to work at the age of 12.

Quit reading the anti-liberal rants and ask a doctor where this train wreck is headed and when its 'due'.

The insurance model doesnt work for health care. A free market system will only work for the thick of wallet.

Any system with a well defined set of 'haves' and 'have nots' gets really ugly eventually.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 10:15 PM   #133
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

If a guy agrees to pay the insurance company for insurance, then his money becomes the insurance company's (in exchange for their service of paying specified expenses if they arise), and it's their money they're using to cover other people, not yours. If you set up a tax to pay for your new government health care system, and someone like Charles disagrees with it and wants no part of it, he's not free to shop at a different insurance company or skip out on it altogether -- that doesn't get him out of paying the tax. You're coercing people, on pain of heavy fines and prison sentences, to give over their property for the sake of your health care plan, which presumably you think is "good." You're not necessarily wrong, but you are coercing people to do something that has a serious and possibly unwanted effect on people, even if you don't personally mind it.

I'm a bit surprised to see so much socialism in the good ol' U.S. of A. I guess I'd just assumed that I could leave Canada for a country that wholeheartedly embraces free markets, free individuals, etc. Maybe it'll only be for the warmer weather.

Oh, and as for my personal opinion: I think that there's merit in the claim that a free market can result in outcomes that are unpalatable for other reasons, like poor people not having access to any service, but I also think the other side of that equation is true, and perhaps overlooked in America: living in a place like Canada, where most private medicine and most private post-secondary education is banned, I can see that there are even deeper problems that affect all strata of society, including (if not especially) the poor. I think there are good idealistic reasons to want to help everyone, and good idealistic reasons to treat everyone justly, but that neither fits the real world as well as a mixed solution. What that mix would be, exactly, could be argued all day.................

Oh, and if I said anything stupid here, well, I've had a few drinks again. Someone send me a private message if it starts to sound like I'm doing long-term damage.....
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 10:27 PM   #134
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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Originally Posted by Cool Dood
Oh, and as for my personal opinion: I think that there's merit in the claim that a free market can result in outcomes that are unpalatable for other reasons, like poor people not having access to any service, but I also think the other side of that equation is true, and perhaps overlooked in America: living in a place like Canada, where most private medicine and most private post-secondary education is banned, I can see that there are even deeper problems that affect all strata of society, including (if not especially) the poor. I think there are good idealistic reasons to want to help everyone, and good idealistic reasons to treat everyone justly, but that neither fits the real world as well as a mixed solution. What that mix would be, exactly, could be argued all day.................
CD, you make some good points. The solution will not be simple. Canada has more experience than we do with universal coverage, and it is not all positive. I really appreciate hearing about how that system affects every-day folks. You've seen the havoc that the US system can cause to early retirees, but our system has its pluses, too.

Personally, I favor gov't tax-based coverage for catastrophic care starting at a pretty high annual deductible, like $10,000. The free market can insure that first 10K, or the wealthier can assume that risk themselves if they wish. I envision some type of "means testing" so that those who truly cannot affort that first 10K get some type of subsidy. This is not original to me, but is one widely discussed plan.

How would that sit with you as someone accustomed to cradle-to-grave coverage and its associated taxes?
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-12-2006, 11:06 PM   #135
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Personally, I favor gov't tax-based coverage for catastrophic care starting at a pretty high annual deductible, like $10,000. The free market can insure that first 10K, or the wealthier can assume that risk themselves if they wish. I envision some type of "means testing" so that those who truly cannot affort that first 10K get some type of subsidy. This is not original to me, but is one widely discussed plan.

How would that sit with you as someone accustomed to cradle-to-grave coverage and its associated taxes?
Well, not only do I not want to position myself as an expert on the issue, I don't think I really even have much original insight on the matter, so don't take anything I say too seriously.

It seems to me like the expenses involved in verifying whether people are able to afford the $10K, or for that matter even determining what it menas to be able to "afford" it, would probably outweigh the savings which might already not be that big -- you've already mentioned (and I think I have too) how quickly the costs of medical service can skyrocket, so that in many cases the $10K would be insignificant.

I have no problem with setting out certain areas of coverage -- which would include all necessary care -- and certain standards of coverage -- again, anything necessary -- and providing them all through government funding to anyone who asks. To me, the major sources of harm in a government-funded medical system are aiming for a single standard of care for everybody, and two (a corollary), legally banning market services.

Tracing out all the direct and indirect harmful effects of that, or another, strategy are pretty complicated, but I'll gladly get into it tomorrow or later -- got to hit the sack now.

Again, I really don't think I'm very knowledgeable on the subject or have significant insights to offer -- I'm only answering because you asked, but you probably shouldn't conclude much based on my opinion!
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-13-2006, 06:24 AM   #136
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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Originally Posted by Cool Dood
To me, the major sources of harm in a government-funded medical system are aiming for a single standard of care for everybody, and two (a corollary), legally banning market services.
Since Americans are not only allowed, but indeed encouraged to buy Medi-gap policies, I see little danger in what you fear. IIRC the govt is paying for almost 50% of health care now, and what you fear has not come to pass.

The only way I can see to get the current mess fixed is for elected govt workers (chiefly Congress) to lose their govt-supplied health benefits and be forced into the individual plan market like so many of their fellow Americans.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-13-2006, 06:35 AM   #137
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Thanks, CFB, for taking my points and bashing Charles over the head with them running with them.* *

Quote:
If you don't at least see the reality of effectively stealing from many to pay for the few you wish to help, and that is a fact in any government scheme of health care, then I don't know how to help you.* At least recognize the financial reality of what you propose.
Ok, there is someone here who doesn't recognize "financial reality" and it's not Rich, or Martha, or CFB.

I think the libertarians among us are tricked into thinking that we are talking about a closed system: if I have two apples and you take one by force, that's stealing. We can all agree on that.

The more interesting and complex question is, how did you "come by" said apples? Maybe you took a (gov't. subsidized) bus to work, driving on a (gov't. subsidized) road. You got your education at a (gov't. subsidized) school, protected by (gov't. subsidized) police and firefighters. Your apple-pie way of life is guaranteed by a huge (gov't. subsidized) defense force. The crap you buy at Wal*Mart is made by 'others' who work 'somewhere else' for pennies an hour, the land you live on in the US has been stolen from the Indians, but this all somehow is your personal due; YOU "deserve" it. You are the pinnacle of human evolution.

If you were to REALLY live in a world where all the amortizations weren't in place, break down all the political and social barriers, and it was really, globally, dog-eat-dog, and the devil take the hindmost, where would YOU be? It's the "blunt and inefficient tool" of government that has given you the house you live in and the tenor of life you lead in the US.

There isn't a finite supply of money or a finite supply of services to dole out, no matter whether you use the yardstick of "merit" or that of "need." A just society, IMO, doesn't only use one yardstick or the other, but attempts to strike a balance, leaving enough security in the system to support the society as a whole, and leaving enough incentive in the system to encourage growth.

Since neither money nor services are finite, our choices are really far greater than we perceive them to be. You can argue for some choices that you want to make personally, rather than collectively, but in reality 99% of the important choices have already been made for you -collectively- and not only by government... they've also been imposed by market forces. I have a hard time trying to find a decent piece of hardware in any hardware store. They're all cheaply made, of soft metal, full of burrs, because they're all made in China; "the market" has spoken. The tyrannical "majority" has decided that we shall have crappy .03 screws instead of decent .10 ones. The "market" says that someone with a certain statistical predisposition will pay 2x as much for health insurance, even if in reality they stay healthy their whole life and in fact don't "consume" an increased share of health services!! Is that "fair"?

Returning to 'choices', there's no intrinsic reason why government insured health care has to be sub-standard-- just spend exactly per capita what we are spending now and that's already double what they spend in Britain or Japan. (And, as in those countries, you would also be perfectly free to buy extra insurance or pay out-of-pocket* in the parallel private system.) Why all the hand-wringing? Where's the "can-do" American spirit that put a man on the moon? If it were the national priority we could get it done.

Charles and the Cato people are right in that regulation (of the market system) sucks up money. Take away the regulation-you save money. Now take away the market-I think you could save even more. We pay collectively for roads and police because it's cheaper than building our own and hiring personal bodyguards. Providing basic health care across the board should see the same economies of scale, why not?

We used to just accept the inequities in the system and now more and more Americans are thinking and speaking out about it.. I think that's healthy, not "tiresome and useless"!

I'd agree with astromeria if the Congress weren't already a "millionaire's club" and they weren't already so far from the reality of most working Americans..
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-13-2006, 07:38 AM   #138
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

Medical resources are finite. There are only a certain number of doctors and as far as I know they have the same number of hours in thier day as everybody else. There shouldn't be a reason for substandard gov't health care but it is sub-standard. As I have pointed out in other posts I had to go to the private sector to have old injuries fixed that were improperly done in the military. I have also received sub-standard care form the VA hospital located within 50 miles of, I assume, the one Rich has spoken highly of in Tampa. (if I assumed incorrectly I'm sure Rich will straighten me out ) The government hasn't shared information about diagnosis and treatment for new illnesses between different sections of a hospital (family practice and flight medicine), let alone across county lines or state lines. Let the government prove they are capable of running a wealth redistribution network by fixing welfare, social security, medicare, and medicaid before giving them another one to screw up. Do you give the incompetant employee in your office more responsibility, tell them to straighten up, or let them go. We've told the gov't to straighten up so what is the next step.
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-13-2006, 09:26 AM   #139
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

lets-retire, I'm sorry about your bad experiences. But they should be addressed at the source, even via the legal system if necessary. People can also receive poor care when the providing entity has a profit motive to withold treatment in order to make their quarterly "numbers". Let's be clear, also, that we are not necessarily talking about government being the physical provider of health care services (like with the VA), but that the gov't. could be a "single-payer" insurer of services, paying private doctors and hospitals as it does with Medicare.

How are medical resources finite? We can train more doctors and PAs and nurses and technicians. We can pay them what we wouldn't be paying the insurance adjusters and claims rejectors handlers and CEOs. To use a tired phrase, we can try to "think outside the box". Someone on another thread was bitching about a couple hundred dollars for lab tests, yet many families spend that kind of cash at the drop of a hat for an X-Box or getting their car detailed. Where there's a will there's a way.

Social security, medicare, and medicaid are not only the most popularly-supported of all government programs, they are also seen objectively as the best-run and most efficient. Whether Medicare has enough money to pay for the services people need is an accounting question and a matter of political will, not an inherent limitation of the system.

If you were to take a survey today and ask the public point-blank how to divide up the public "pie" (neither raising taxes nor lowering them), do you think they would opt for the status quo?

From the Economic Policy Institute:
http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issuebriefs_ib135
Quote:
According to a March 1999 Fox News poll, the public prefers funding Medicare over tax cuts by a wide 65% to 25% margin. And the sentiment on Social Security vs. tax cuts is even more lopsided: a July 1999 CNN/Time poll found 74% wanting to use the budget surplus to stabilize Social Security, compared to just 21% who preferred a tax cut.
To make things worse, currently the debate is erroneously framed in a way that lumps Social Security and Medicare (which are independent stand-alone insurance programs, not government "handouts") in with other goverment spending of which defense is fully 50% (some argue up to 80%).* Poor Al Gore got whomped on because he tried to explain this in a way the "average person" could understand (the infamously ridiculed "lock-box").

Bush in his 2006 SOTU: ""Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending. . . . This year, my budget will cut it again."

Moral of the story:
We "can afford" to kick Saddam Hussein's ass.
We "can afford" oil & gas subsidies and no-bid contracts to Halliburton.
We "can't afford" nation-wide prenatal checkups or hospitalization for the working poor.

Choices, just choices.

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Re: Americans want universal health coverage
Old 06-13-2006, 09:47 AM   #140
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Re: Americans want universal health coverage

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Originally Posted by ladelfina

Ok, there is someone here who doesn't recognize "financial reality" and it's not Rich, or Martha, or CFB. (big snip)
Ladelfina, thank you for eloquently stating what I wanted to say but couldn't find the words for! And, you did it without rancor! Good job.

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