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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-12-2006, 07:11 PM   #21
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by macdaddy
Sorry to hear about your experience Marshac.* 1. Depending on what state you were in, and her income, she may have qualified for state aid?* In some states this is very easy to get and the hospital will help you get it.* 2. Isn't an abscess bad enough to cause that kind of pain considered an emergency procedure?*
She belongs to a special group of individuals who are not eligible to receive any form of social assistance, regardless of income or need- she is a student.

As for the ER- this is one of the reasons why insurance/medical costs are so high- ERs are legally required to render services regardless of the ability to pay, so they pass some of the treatment costs onto people who can. What's the old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Simple conditions go untreated due to a lack of affordable medical access, eventually they land in the ER.... and the cycle repeats.

Doesn't the fact that you're somewhat advocating abusing the system by providing false information just scream "something is wrong with the current system"? I'm not advocating Cadillac coverage for everyone by any means- just some base level of coverage that anyone can access so that simple injuries or illnesses don't develop into serious conditions necessitating expensive ER visits.
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-13-2006, 04:41 AM   #22
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

Marshac, I'm so sorry about your fiancee's painful experience. You are 100% right. There was an article in The New Yorker that talked about basic care and prevention in pretty much these terms. Those who delay getting small things taken care of end up costing everybody a heck of a lot more when those small things turn into big things, not to mention the unnecessary suffering.

Bad tooth => abscess => infection* => invalidity* => loss of job* => loss of house* => welfare

That's an extreme case, but millions and millions of people are in the position of being too "rich" for Medicaid yet too poor to pay health ins. premiums.

I have arguments with my Republican sister about this all the time. I think capitalism and free markets are fine when you talk about almost anything besides health care. Your house, your clothes, your food, your car, are all choices. Your kid's cancer is not a choice. You are not going to shop it around to the lowest bidder.

Even the Brits, who invented the "stiff upper lip", are not as cruel as we are in this country. Yet we are willing (hypocritically) to pull out all the stops for a case like Schiavo's? Where would she have been if she hadn't had family/insurance footing the bill for all those years and willing to keep on maintaining her ad infinitum? It would have been a non-issue since she wouldn't have been kept around long enough for anyone to make a stink about it. This goes no matter what opinion you hold about the outcome.

There's a lot of info in the article about comparative spending and statistical results, for example:
Quote:
Switzerland, Japan, Austria, and Finland all have more MRI machines per capita
Quote:
The United States spends more than a thousand dollars per capita per year—or close to four hundred billion dollars—on health-care-related paperwork and administration, whereas Canada, for example, spends only about three hundred dollars per capita.
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-13-2006, 08:10 AM   #23
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina


Bad tooth => abscess => infection => invalidity => loss of job => loss of house => welfare

That's an extreme case, but millions and millions of people are in the position of being too "rich" for Medicaid yet too poor to pay health ins. premiums.
People also seem to forget that just because you are poor, that does not mean you are eligible for medicaid or welfare. If you have no children, and are not disabled, odds are that no matter how poor you are, you will not be eligible for medicaid or cash assistance.

You can go to the hospital and get emergency treatment, but you will owe for the treatment. Try to negotiate rates when you are sick and wanting treatment now.

Minnesota has a program for very low cost health insurance for those who are not eligible for medicaid and cannot afford insurance on the market. The program is MinnesotaCare. It mostly covers middle age and older single people who have few assets, and are not eligible for medicare yet. Often people on the program have chronic diseases that impair their ability to earn a good living, but don't make them disabled under social security standards. However, any poor person without insurance can be covered by the program. Very good program that our esteemed governor keeps trying to cut.

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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-13-2006, 08:15 AM   #24
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

One area to investigate is the availability of medical grants. There may be a better term than that, but I've seen that one used heavily. Some people and organizations set up medical trusts to pay the medical bills of self supporting people who cannot afford medical care. When my brother in law the idiot had a car accident with no medical insurance, his mom the nurse found grants to cover almost all of his medical and recovery costs. Probably helps a lot to have someone plugged into the system.
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-13-2006, 09:11 AM   #25
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

A little history might help. Looks like the Republicans, in cahoots with the AMA, defeated Harry Truman's national health proposals in 1948.

http://www.bookrags.com/history/amer...lth/sub11.html

Defeat.

When the Republicans took control of Congress in 1946, they had no interest in passing national health insurance. The president focused more attention on the issue as the 1948 election approached. After Truman's surprise victory, the AMA thought the end of the world as they knew it had come. It assessed each of its members an additional $25 solely for the purpose of fighting national health insurance. Its battle in 1949 cost $1.5 million, at that time the most expensive lobbying effort in American history. "Would socialized medicine lead to socialization of other phases of American life?" demanded one pamphlet. It answered, "Lenin thought so. He declared: 'Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the Socialist State.' " (The Library of Congress was not able to locate this quotation in Lenin's writings.) Even though the administration insisted that national health insurance was not "socialized medicine," the AMA campaign was so successful that even supporters of the bill identified it as socialization and therefore tantamount to communism. Public support dropped rapidly, and as anti-Communist sentiment rose later in the decade, national health insurance all but disappeared from sight, defeated by the AMA's considerable wealth, prestige, and publicity and by support from businesses that did not want the additional costs of health insurance. From that time public policy on health care fragmented, and each government health agency pursued its own special agenda. A unifying national health-insurance proposal was down, but not out, and would appear again from time to time in the decades to come.
Sources:

"It's Socialized Medicine, All Right, Says AMA of the Truman Proposal," Newsweek (17 December 1945): 84+;



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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-13-2006, 12:33 PM   #26
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

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Originally Posted by Martha
You can go to the hospital and get emergency treatment, but you will owe for the treatment. Try to negotiate rates when you are sick and wanting treatment now.
I know from personal experience that many (I would say most) doctors will cut a break for people who don't have insurance and who contact them and ask for help. So many doctors who work in the ER see patients who they know will never pay - who never even make an effort to pay - and who aren't grateful for the free care that they receive. So when one of them sees a patient who is grateful and would like to make an effort to pay something, it is usually a breath of fresh air. I have seen them slash anywhere from 20% to 80% of the bill and usually any kind of payment plan is fine. The bottom line is that for a bill under $1000 they aren't going to make much sending it to collections. (And there is always the fear that if they go after a patient with a collection agency, the patient will get pissed off and sue them for malpractice in retaliation - which would cost ~ 10k just to have dismissed from court.)

Most doctors make about $150/hour. Routine procedures are affordable for people. It's only when you start to have surgeries with multiple doctors and anesthesia or when you use the latest technologies for cutting edge stuff that it becomes very expensive. (Or when the hospital bills you $5k/night for a bed - although insurance usually only reimburses them about 30% of that and that's all you would have to pay also, but still pricey). Ironically, I think one way to bring down medical costs would be to have patients pay out of pocket for procedures and only have insurance cover serious illnesses and accidents.
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-13-2006, 01:00 PM   #27
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

Yeah, the doctors often are a small part of the overall bill. Hospital overhead is BIG.

I know someone who does collections for hospital bills for a living. Yes, they do still try to collect from those who don't pay. They will even garnish wages. Sometimes they settle and sometimes they don't.

It is not much of a solution to the health insurance problem to say that you might be able to cut a deal with your providers if you can't pay for your health care.
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes
Old 02-19-2006, 09:32 PM   #28
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Re: Looking into the future - Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkW
Marshac,

-- You need to use comparable populations or stop using numbers. Almost all the folks in Medicare are over 65, while the Canadian figures cover the entire population, young and old alike. I'm not surprised that medical care for people over 65 costs 3 times more than the population as a whole.
aside from the issue of the age of those covered, and adjusting numbers for population size, the simple fact is that procedures, drugs, and care are just plain cheaper in Canada. A hospital bed costs a fraction of what the same bed would cost in the US. I had to get a physical exam for my sons for immigration purposes (long story, but due to a hole in the law, they didn't derive Canadian citizenship from my Canadian birth). Looked at 3 designated practitioners in the US--approximate cost was $450 US per exam. The same exam in Canada cost $150 Canadian. This is typical.

This is, I think, a byproduct of having the government involved in the medical system. The downside of this is that doctors in Canada will often try to move to the US where they can raise their prices to whatever the market will bear, something they cannot do in Canada.
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