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"Sick Around the World" -- Frontline
Old 11-10-2009, 06:25 PM   #1
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"Sick Around the World" -- Frontline

PBS here is re-running "Sick Around The World" on Frontline tonight. The show is hosted by T.R. Reid and looks at healthcare systems in several different countries. This first aired last year and I thought it was well done -- and I really enjoy T.R. Reid. You might want to check it out if you didn't see it the first time around.

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Old 11-10-2009, 07:21 PM   #2
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PBS here is re-running "Sick Around The World" on Frontline tonight. The show is hosted by T.R. Reid and looks at healthcare systems in several different countries. This first aired last year and I thought it was well done -- and I really enjoy T.R. Reid. You might want to check it out if you didn't see it the first time around.

Coach
Thanks for the heads up. I watched it first time around and will enjoy watching it again.
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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I watched it last night for the first time. My first feelings were how terrific other country's plans were in some cases and hope fur the U S. But then the feelings of outrage for how far we have fallen behind and how we are failing struck me. We could, and should, do so much better. The argument for government controlled healthcare was pretty well presented. For most of my life I would never have considered it but after watching that I think I am changing my mind. Think of how much energy we could put into other problems if we didn't have to worry about our healthcare. Think of all of us out here that are in a job only for that reason. If the system changed overnight there would be abundant jobs for the next generation, thousands and thousands of us would retire today. I would welcome someone setting me straight about that program as presented. It was hard to believe but somehow I think it is accurate.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:34 PM   #4
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An interesting takeaway was the suggestion that England and Japan, I believe, needed to charge MORE, partially to offset costs, and partially to discourage overuse. The Japanese doc told of people coming to see him just to visit...
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:29 PM   #5
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I also thought it was a very compelling case for an overhaul of our system. I am afraid we're going to just institutionalize the current scattered system, which will only cost more without any improvement in results. I'd highly recommend folks watch it, you can see it online anytime using the link above too - you don't have to catch in on PBS.
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:40 PM   #6
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I think the thing common among all 5 countries, the UK with it's government run Health Care, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan with their government regulated private insurance companies is that all the insurance companies have to be non-profit and I can't see that ever becoming a reality in the US.

I always thought that the Japanese were so long lived because of their diet and healthy lifestyle but they visit the doctor 3 times more often than folks in the US, have 4 times as many MRI's per person etc.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:36 AM   #7
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Our biggest expense right now is paying for the insurance premiums; although retired, it's like still being in the rat race. I'm incensed that 20 or 30-somethings are making decisions about what the insurance company will pay for.

I feel like we are having to pay off the insurance cartel just so they keep the wolves from the door! I would welcome a government option, and gladly pay more taxes. At least I can see where my tax money is going.

Another thing...I believe that is a national security issue to have effective plans in place in case of a pandemic. I don't want to pick up the latest bug at the grocery store just because the person ahead of me couldn't get treatment, for example, for drug-resistant TB!!!
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:26 AM   #8
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At least I can see where my tax money is going.
You can?

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Old 11-12-2009, 09:44 AM   #9
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You can?

Well, I can't see any advantages right now...except for the health care enjoyed by our elected officials. I'll bet they don't have Blue Cross.

I have friends in Canada who are incredulous at the hysteria that is taking place right now, instead of sitting down at the table and working on solutions for me, one of millions who have similar feelings to the situations.

Sorry if this sounds political...you can just kick me out.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:52 AM   #10
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Well, it is political, and that is the problem. Politics controlled by money and greed. There are millions fed up. I am fed up with even watching the government access channel and having to look at all the expensive haircuts in congress. They spend more on haircare than we do on healthcare. Doesn't seem possible but I bet I am not far wrong.
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:02 AM   #11
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Sorry if this sounds political...you can just kick me out.
Or direct you to a link where we are currently discussing the political aspects of health care reform in the FIRE Politics forum.

House "Affordable Health Care for America Act"
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:03 AM   #12
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Well, it is political, and that is the problem. Politics controlled by money and greed. There are millions fed up. I am fed up with even watching the government access channel and having to look at all the expensive haircuts in congress. They spend more on haircare than we do on healthcare. Doesn't seem possible but I bet I am not far wrong.
See:

The Betrayal - Timothy Egan Blog - NYTimes.com

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Old 11-12-2009, 01:18 PM   #13
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Would somebody, in a few simple words, easy to understand for the likes of me -i.e. Spanish- the main basic reasons why Obama project of universal healthcare finds such an opposition, even by some of his Democrat pals?
I know there is a thread that thoroughly dealt with this topic, but, frankly, the more you elaborated on the subject the more I got lost
My friends who know about my USphilia tease me all the time on how such an obvious issue like universal healthcare can be questioned....
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:31 PM   #14
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Would somebody, in a few simple words, easy to understand for the likes of me [explain] the main basic reasons ... universal healthcare finds such an opposition
I'm standing in that same queue.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:10 PM   #15
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Could it be because the solutions put forth by both parties mostly reward their political contributors...
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:18 PM   #16
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Would somebody, in a few simple words, easy to understand for the likes of me -i.e. Spanish- the main basic reasons why Obama project of universal healthcare finds such an opposition, even by some of his Democrat pals?


....


My friends who know about my USphilia tease me all the time on how such an obvious issue like universal healthcare can be questioned....
I don't think that there is such a huge opposition to universal health care. I think there is opposition to the current proposals. Many of us have little faith that the current proposals will actually solve the problem. Many of us fear that the costs will go out of control, and there will be no other option than what could end up being a poorly run government program.


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I know there is a thread that thoroughly dealt with this topic, but, frankly, the more you elaborated on the subject the more I got lost
That actually shows you understand the problem better than you think!

It *is* confusing! Bills must pass both the House and the Senate, then must be signed by the President. The current bill is over 1,000 pages, and it is in a form that will probably not pass the Senate, so then the modified version (if the Senate can pass anything at all) has to go back the the House. There are many details and complications in the bill.

So, "Universal Healthcare" may not be "the devil", but "the devil is in the details".

Now, complicating the issue (this is just my opinion), is that the US is a large and diverse population. I don't know, but that might make it harder for us to come to common solutions than it is for smaller countries. I could be wrong about that, but it is my impression.

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Old 11-12-2009, 03:19 PM   #17
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Could it be because the solutions put forth by both parties mostly reward their political contributors...
That too! (see my previous post) - ERD50
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:47 PM   #18
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Would somebody, in a few simple words, easy to understand for the likes of me -i.e. Spanish- the main basic reasons why Obama project of universal healthcare finds such an opposition, even by some of his Democrat pals?
- In addition to the things already mentioned, I'd add three things:
-- Americans, historically, have not trusted big government solutions. This may be changing, but our recent election may indicate it may not be. If Americans culturally were predisposed to collectivism (high taxes, a high social safety net, reduced individual ability to take risk and reap the reward, etc) then I'm sure we'd have universal coverage by now.
-- This is a BIG, expensive issue. The things our government is supposed to do are outlined in our Constitution, as clarified (modified?) by later Supreme Court rulings through the last 200+ years. There's only the slightest hint that the federal government should be in the business of providing health care. One of the biggest undeniable roles of government is national defense, and we spend less than 5% of our GDP on that. So, a proposal that has the federal government directing the distribution/spending of 16%+ of our GDP without a very clear constitutional reason is cause for concern among some (but probably a minority of) Americans.
-- This is a one-way street, and we want to get it right. It is permanent. We know from experience that once these kind of government programs are in place, they are impossible to rescind or change significantly. This is known among liberals who favor the plan (which is why they are applying tremendous pressure to push it through quickly, even if the public backlash costs their party control of Congress in 2010. Once in place it cannot be undone) and conservatives (who know that if a crummy plan is put into place we'll be stuck with it forever). We have some big programs that are far more expensive and giant than they were ever supposed to be, and a lot of people are afraid that we can't afford one more botch-up. If the program starts out huge and unaffordable, what will the future hold?

I'm sure most Americans want everyone to have the ability to get basic medical care. We want to do it in a way consistent with our values and our view of how the world works.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicente solano View Post
Would somebody, in a few simple words, easy to understand for the likes of me -i.e. Spanish- the main basic reasons why Obama project of universal healthcare finds such an opposition, even by some of his Democrat pals?
I know there is a thread that thoroughly dealt with this topic, but, frankly, the more you elaborated on the subject the more I got lost


My friends who know about my USphilia tease me all the time on how such an obvious issue like universal healthcare can be questioned....
A lot would have to change for us to adopt a system like the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, etc. There are a lot of uninsured in the US, but most Americans have health insurance and while it's costly, it's a devil they know that seems to provide acceptable care. Opponents need only raise the spectre of longer waits and restricted choice of doctors to scare the populace into accepting the status quo.



If we collectively thought we would get costs comparable to other developed nations, the universal care plans of all other developed nations cost about 30-40% less than we are already paying for our "broken" escalating system, we would be pounding down the doors of our Congressmen. But our Congress has not made anything less expensive that I can think for about 50 years, and based on this decades long track record, the mainstream population believes (me too) that instead of reforming our health care system to be anything like the cost effective systems of all other developed nations - our bozos in Congress will simply
  • institutionalize what we have to protect the outsized (compared to other countries) profits of insurance companies, administrators, providers and many others - and protect the lobbying income stream Congress gets from them
  • and add the uninsured to our tab.
I could go on and on, but just for starters the problems we'd have to confront include (in no particular order):
  • lifestyle (obesity, smoking, drugs)
  • high cost and profit for intermediaries (insurance)
  • excessive profit for some product and service providers
  • administrative burden (millions of microplans)
  • high charges for specialized services
  • forced use of expensive specialized facilities for routine medical needs (emergency room)
  • multiple regulations around the country
  • punitive legal awards
  • diagnostic overuse (expensive tests even for routine matters)
  • treatment overuse (especially end of life)
  • excessive unproductive labor vs technology
  • plus significantly/ironically, excessive usage
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:32 PM   #20
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Midpack wrote:But our Congress has not made anything less expensive that I can think for about 50 years, and based on this decades long track record, the mainstream population believes (me too) that instead of reforming our health care system to be anything like the cost effective systems of all other developed nations - our bozos in Congress will simply
  • institutionalize what we have to protect the outsized (compared to other countries) profits of insurance companies, administrators, providers and many others - and protect the lobbying income stream Congress gets from them
  • and add the uninsured to our tab.
I could go on and on, but just for starters the problems we'd have to confront include (in no particular order):
  • lifestyle (obesity, smoking, drugs)
  • high cost and profit for intermediaries (insurance)
  • excessive profit for some product and service providers
  • administrative burden (millions of microplans)
  • high charges for specialized services
  • forced use of expensive specialized facilities for routine medical needs (emergency room)
  • multiple regulations around the country
  • punitive legal awards
  • diagnostic overuse (expensive tests even for routine matters)
  • treatment overuse (especially end of life)
  • excessive unproductive labor vs technology
  • plus significantly/ironically, excessive usage
Midpack,
Thank you for your thoughtful post. In our community, a group of doctors is considering opening a low-cost community clinic...cash n' carry. I don't know about Medicaid. One solution for the health care issue may, indeed, have to come from local sources. It sounds third-world to me, but these days, maybe that isn't such a far stretch. The fly in the ointment, I heard, is fear of litigation.
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