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Old Feb 3, 2013, 09:51 PM   #1
whoknows87
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Healthcare in America ......?

We often here that that our Healthcare in the US in unbeatable , Highly trained qualified Doctors, Latest Equipment , Scientific research , best Schools etc, is there any backing for any of the Above?

I have friends who Live in Canada and have nothing to say, but good things about their healthcare system Need I say they pay Zero for any procedure ?

A quick Question while I'm at it do you think the system is doing just fine here in the US ? Insurance you might have it , but guess what you will still make a high co payment here and there depending on what type of Doctor you see..... Last year my mother was hospitalized for about 10 days or so while the hospital was trying to stabilize her and come up with a diagnosis... she was taken to the hospital via Ambulance and was taken to the ER she was admitted right away no one asked for any insurance papers or anything at least for the first 10 minutes or so , then the papers started flooding.... fast forward after she is released and in good health the phone calls started coming in and the Insurance Bill Came in and all I could do was simply LOL a Bill that had a number a few 00s next to it......... Do they honestly expect people to pay their Medical Bills when they are simply outrageous and more than your yearly income there is something very wrong with this picture
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Old Feb 3, 2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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I'm generally a fiscal conservative and social moderate, and I think the healthcare situation in the USA is utterly ridiculous.

The healthcare mandate and healthcare exchanges will fail, and will not bring costs down because the insurance companies still have a profit motive.

The insurance companies need to ripped out of the equation altogether outside of people that choose to pay for it.

And every living soul needs to be taxed for healthcare for the widest pool of dollars. Absolutely nothing will change in terms of the largest consumers of healthcare. The children and old will use it most, and adults under 40 will be the lowest consumers.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by whoknows87 View Post
We often here that that our Healthcare in the US in unbeatable , Highly trained qualified Doctors, Latest Equipment , Scientific research , best Schools etc, is there any backing for any of the Above?

I have friends who Live in Canada and have nothing to say, but good things about their healthcare system Need I say they pay Zero for any procedure ?

A quick Question while I'm at it do you think the system is doing just fine here in the US ? Insurance you might have it , but guess what you will still make a high co payment here and there depending on what type of Doctor you see..... Last year my mother was hospitalized for about 10 days or so while the hospital was trying to stabilize her and come up with a diagnosis... she was taken to the hospital via Ambulance and was taken to the ER she was admitted right away no one asked for any insurance papers or anything at least for the first 10 minutes or so , then the papers started flooding.... fast forward after she is released and in good health the phone calls started coming in and the Insurance Bill Came in and all I could do was simply LOL a Bill that had a number a few 00s next to it......... Do they honestly expect people to pay their Medical Bills when they are simply outrageous and more than your yearly income there is something very wrong with this picture
I am in the US, and think the healthcare system is completely messed up (I wanted to used another word, but the filters here prevent that). My premiums...just the cost I pay to maintain insurance...for myself, my wife, and my 9-month-old son, amounted to over $15,000 per year. I just changed insurance to my union's plan, and dropped my cost to about $11,000 per year. The fortunate part about the new plan is that the more I work under the union, the more gets paid towards my plan. Unfortunately, I don't do much union work, so it doesn't help much.

Anyway, after that $15,500, I pay deductibles and co-payments, which last year amounted to around $7,000. So that was $22,500 I paid solely for healthcare last year, with the birth of our son being the only major contributing factor. My wife also ended up in the emergency room a couple of days after the birth. She sat there for most of the day, was given some pills, and the bill, after insurance, came out to around $1500.

And let me tell you, $22,500 is much more than my mortgage. It's more than twice all of my utilities and my HOA payment added together. And this past year, it was around 30% of my income. And people complain about taxes......

It's utterly ludicrous how much we pay for healthcare in the US. But there are many people who fight tooth and nail to keep it this way. One of my good friends, in fact, is extremely anti universal healthcare. In fact, he had a Facebook post about it the other day. His main reasoning is that he does not want to contribute one cent toward anyone else's bill. He wants to pay for himself and himself only. And that's great, if you can afford it. But I'd venture to guess that a large percentage of Americans who get their insurance though an employer couldn't otherwise afford it. He also says that if ever there is universal healthcare, he should get to dictate what people can and can't do with their lives, since he is paying for their insurance.

But the funny thing is...the people I see fight universal healthcare the hardest (at least amongst people I know) have employer-provided healthcare.

Healthcare in the US is one thing: a money machine.

I keep hearing "But with universal healthcare, your taxes will go up!!1!11!" Well, no ****, Sherlock. But, unless they are going up $15,000, sign me up.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by samiwas View Post
It's utterly ludicrous how much we pay for healthcare in the US. But there are many people who fight tooth and nail to keep it this way. One of my good friends, in fact, is extremely anti universal healthcare. In fact, he had a Facebook post about it the other day. His main reasoning is that he does not want to contribute one cent toward anyone else's bill. He wants to pay for himself and himself only. And that's great, if you can afford it. But I'd venture to guess that a large percentage of Americans who get their insurance though an employer couldn't otherwise afford it. He also says that if ever there is universal healthcare, he should get to dictate what people can and can't do with their lives, since he is paying for their insurance.

But the funny thing is...the people I see fight universal healthcare the hardest (at least amongst people I know) have employer-provided healthcare.

Healthcare in the US is one thing: a money machine.

I keep hearing "But with universal healthcare, your taxes will go up!!1!11!" Well, no ****, Sherlock. But, unless they are going up $15,000, sign me up.

Who does he think pays when someone without insurance goes to the ER? The healthcare fairy?

We are already paying for other people's healthcare with our tax dollars. Might as well just streamline the whole thing, eliminate healthcare being for profit, and make the same healthcare available to every citizen of this country.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:07 AM   #5
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The US healthcare companies need to get off the profit market, at least in part. Human health is nothing to gamble with and I find it irresponsible for a company to turn someone down just because they won't cover their care or procedures. I'm surprised they haven't been sued to bankruptcy by a terminally ill customer (unless it has happened before).

Then you wonder what the point of "we the people" is in this day and age.

I often hear that private payers don't want the government to supply the people with health insurance. I believe that's where the misunderstanding lies. In those cases, the government does nothing but *guarantee* its people *by law* their health is covered; it's the people who pay for it. The PPACA is just that, a law, not perfect but it's a start.

There are several universal healthcare programs, some of which sound like heaven but are heavy on taxation and won't guarantee extra treatment unless you pay extra or seek medical assistance abroad. (In most of these countries, you need extra insurance when traveling abroad!) Then there are other programs where the people are only partially covered but have the choice pay for their own, better coverage. Then there are programs where the people have to pay for themselves but are legally covered for most of their health needs - even on a minimum plan.

This is why I believe the healthcare debate in the US isn't going anywhere comprehensive because its people are too stingy and selfish to grant their fellow citizens the healthcare coverage everyone deserves - themselves included. Healthcare needs a level playing field because we all need it at some point. What surely could help bring the costs down are a healthier lifestyle, but the people seem to be too lazy to oblige.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:43 AM   #6
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The one thing (among many) that gets me with the Heath care bill that went through is all the "extras"

For example:
When I go to sell my house 3% on the sale of the house goes into the Health care fund. I did a huge double take when I read that part of the bill.

It's like they are putting the knife in slowly, taking the money in tax (which is guess I can deal with), but then when you go to sell your house they throw in the knife twist for free and laugh about the "extra" money you just gave them. I don't pay a mortgage on my house, property tax, do improvements, etc. so they can take $4,500 when i sell my house for $150,000. That is $4,500 is could put towards my next house, moving cost, painting the house, appliances for the house, and so on.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by samiwas View Post
I am in the US, and think the healthcare system is completely messed up (I wanted to used another word, but the filters here prevent that). My premiums...just the cost I pay to maintain insurance...for myself, my wife, and my 9-month-old son, amounted to over $15,000 per year. I just changed insurance to my union's plan, and dropped my cost to about $11,000 per year. The fortunate part about the new plan is that the more I work under the union, the more gets paid towards my plan. Unfortunately, I don't do much union work, so it doesn't help much.

Anyway, after that $15,500, I pay deductibles and co-payments, which last year amounted to around $7,000. So that was $22,500 I paid solely for healthcare last year, with the birth of our son being the only major contributing factor. My wife also ended up in the emergency room a couple of days after the birth. She sat there for most of the day, was given some pills, and the bill, after insurance, came out to around $1500.

And let me tell you, $22,500 is much more than my mortgage. It's more than twice all of my utilities and my HOA payment added together. And this past year, it was around 30% of my income. And people complain about taxes......

It's utterly ludicrous how much we pay for healthcare in the US. But there are many people who fight tooth and nail to keep it this way. One of my good friends, in fact, is extremely anti universal healthcare. In fact, he had a Facebook post about it the other day. His main reasoning is that he does not want to contribute one cent toward anyone else's bill. He wants to pay for himself and himself only. And that's great, if you can afford it. But I'd venture to guess that a large percentage of Americans who get their insurance though an employer couldn't otherwise afford it. He also says that if ever there is universal healthcare, he should get to dictate what people can and can't do with their lives, since he is paying for their insurance.

But the funny thing is...the people I see fight universal healthcare the hardest (at least amongst people I know) have employer-provided healthcare.

Healthcare in the US is one thing: a money machine.

I keep hearing "But with universal healthcare, your taxes will go up!!1!11!" Well, no ****, Sherlock. But, unless they are going up $15,000, sign me up.
Have you thought about looking into a HSA plan? It sounds like you use your insurance quite a bit and would benefit greatly from that.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macaroony View Post
The US healthcare companies need to get off the profit market, at least in part. Human health is nothing to gamble with and I find it irresponsible for a company to turn someone down just because they won't cover their care or procedures. I'm surprised they haven't been sued to bankruptcy by a terminally ill customer (unless it has happened before).

Then you wonder what the point of "we the people" is in this day and age.

I often hear that private payers don't want the government to supply the people with health insurance. I believe that's where the misunderstanding lies. In those cases, the government does nothing but *guarantee* its people *by law* their health is covered; it's the people who pay for it. The PPACA is just that, a law, not perfect but it's a start.

There are several universal healthcare programs, some of which sound like heaven but are heavy on taxation and won't guarantee extra treatment unless you pay extra or seek medical assistance abroad. (In most of these countries, you need extra insurance when traveling abroad!) Then there are other programs where the people are only partially covered but have the choice pay for their own, better coverage. Then there are programs where the people have to pay for themselves but are legally covered for most of their health needs - even on a minimum plan.

This is why I believe the healthcare debate in the US isn't going anywhere comprehensive because its people are too stingy and selfish to grant their fellow citizens the healthcare coverage everyone deserves - themselves included. Healthcare needs a level playing field because we all need it at some point. What surely could help bring the costs down are a healthier lifestyle, but the people seem to be too lazy to oblige.
What prompts companies to spend the R&D cash necessary to develop the next breakthrough drug if there is no profit on the other side?
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by whoknows87 View Post

I have friends who Live in Canada and have nothing to say, but good things about their healthcare system Need I say they pay Zero for any procedure ?
I live less than a mile from Canada and I can tell you from my experience that many of them do not like their system. Many work here in the states to get health care. Several local school teachers live in Canada and many of the local metal workers are just 2 groups. One big issue is the wait time for a procedure. They may have to wait a year or more to have something done.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:14 AM   #9
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I live less than a mile from Canada and I can tell you from my experience that many of them do not like their system. Many work here in the states to get health care. Several local school teachers live in Canada and many of the local metal workers are just 2 groups. One big issue is the wait time for a procedure. They may have to wait a year or more to have something done.
There are a good number on Brits living here in north GA and the ones that I have encountered are unanimous in their disdain for the universal system across the pond too, with the most often reason cited being the same waits for care that you mentioned.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by whoknows87 View Post
We often here that that our Healthcare in the US in unbeatable , Highly trained qualified Doctors, Latest Equipment , Scientific research , best Schools etc, is there any backing for any of the Above?
Plenty of backing for the above.

However, this does not result in better outcomes. Look at any survey of health statistics, infant mortality, lifespan - the US does not do well compared with other industrialized countries.

We have a SICKCARE system in the US. You get sick or have a problem, we are great. We need univeral HEALTHCARE to promote prevention. We need nutrition education and PE in schools through high school. We need universal prenatal care and universal vaccination program. The list goes on and on.

Most in Canada are happy with their system. So you have to wait for an elective knee replacement...this complaint speaks more to impatience than need.

In our DNA in the US we do a poor job of prevention (not just confined to healthcare). Yet the old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure is true. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." I would think health falls under those inalienable rights.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by whoknows87 View Post
I have friends who Live in Canada and have nothing to say, but good things about their healthcare system Need I say they pay Zero for any procedure ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuddyPaws1 View Post
I live less than a mile from Canada and I can tell you from my experience that many of them do not like their system. Many work here in the states to get health care. Several local school teachers live in Canada and many of the local metal workers are just 2 groups. One big issue is the wait time for a procedure. They may have to wait a year or more to have something done.
OP, I don't know where you heard that from or where your friends live, but our health care is not what your friends said.

The average Ontario wait time for emergency room is close to 6 hours. Unless you are dying, be prepared to wait a few months to see a specialist. Don't even get me started on home care and rehab facilities. Also, our health care is not "free", I think we spend 40% of our budget on healthcare. Our system is not bad, but it's not as great as your friends said.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:34 AM   #12
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The one thing (among many) that gets me with the Heath care bill that went through is all the "extras"

For example:
When I go to sell my house 3% on the sale of the house goes into the Health care fund. I did a huge double take when I read that part of the bill.

It's like they are putting the knife in slowly, taking the money in tax (which is guess I can deal with), but then when you go to sell your house they throw in the knife twist for free and laugh about the "extra" money you just gave them. I don't pay a mortgage on my house, property tax, do improvements, etc. so they can take $4,500 when i sell my house for $150,000. That is $4,500 is could put towards my next house, moving cost, painting the house, appliances for the house, and so on.
Not true.

Quote:
PolitiFact has previously pointed out that homeowners will not be socked by the tax even if they make sales profits of hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s because there’s a long-standing tax exemption on the profits from home sales. To be hit with the investment tax, you would have to clear more than $250,000 in profit off your home, which means at least $250,000 more than you paid for it. The ceiling is higher for a married couple. Married couples are not taxed on the first $500,000 of profit from home sales. And again, that's profit, not the sales price.
Link
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:55 AM   #13
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OP, I don't know where you heard that from or where your friends live, but our health care is not what your friends said.

The average Ontario wait time for emergency room is close to 6 hours. Unless you are dying, be prepared to wait a few months to see a specialist. Don't even get me started on home care and rehab facilities. Also, our health care is not "free", I think we spend 40% of our budget on healthcare. Our system is not bad, but it's not as great as your friends said.
As someone who has experienced the system in the US for 15 years and the UK for the rest of the time I think I am able to provide an informed opinion.

With regard to wait time for emergency room treatment I have not seen much better in the US. I was at a Yankee game with my son for example and he got hit with a fly ball and ended up in emergency. It took at least five hours to get treatment.

There is no doubt that there is a wait time in the UK and Canada for non emergency treatment. For example a Hernia op could involve a wait of four to six months. I had back surgery while in the US and I was able to determine what day the surgery would be done to suit my convenience. That would never be possible in the UK or Canada. However, my Annual premium in the US was about $14,000 per Annum.

It seems that there is a hugh disconnect between what the Doctors/ Hospitals charge and what the insurance company are prepared to pay and the patient often end up in the middle. My total cost for Surgeon and Hospital bills etc was some $250,000. The Insurance would only pay just over $100,000 and I ended up getting letters and bills and statements for the next year. There was also an excess I had to pay in any event.

In the UK you never see a bill and never have to worry about if you could afford the treatment. You might wait for it but the quality is excellent and everyone is treated the same.

In the real world nothing is free. You pay for this through your taxes. We do have a problem with what we call Health tourist. People who come here for the free health care service and I would like to see a way of stopping this, since it puts up the overall cost.

If I am going to have a planned procedure and have insurance I like the US system. If I am going to need emergency treatment or long term treatment then I take the Canadaian or UK system anytime.

Last edited by nebo1ss; Feb 4, 2013 at 10:01 AM.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 10:12 AM   #14
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With regard to wait time for emergency room treatment I have not seen much better in the US. I was at a Yankee game with my son for example and he got hit with a fly ball and ended up in emergency. It took at least five hours to get treatment.
Unfortunately, my circumstances have led me into a major ER (in the U.S.) several times over the last thirty years. Each time has been the same as far as this goes: unless you are actually in danger of dying immediately, like bleeding out, you can expect to wait a long, long time. And, it is enormously expensive.

In recent years, some large clinics have created an alternative: "Urgent Care". I think this was in response to the big push for HMOs back in the Clinton administration, but, I'm not sure. In any case, "Urgent Care" generally works a lot better because the people there are mostly there because they have a bad infection or are in agonizing pain or whatever. The biggest problem I see with it is that some people are starting to show up with possible life threatening emergencies (e.g. heart problems) because they know the treatment is often faster and better than an ER.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:55 PM   #15
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Most in Canada are happy with their system. So you have to wait for an elective knee replacement...this complaint speaks more to impatience than need.
You need to look into that more. A replacement isn't exactly elective. I don't think anyone says...huh...I think I should have my knee replaced, just because it will be cool. You shouldn't have to wait and suffer with a knee that bad for a year before the surgery. I am guessing you are quoting the now infamous one year knee surgery waiting list in Toronto.

In 2012 the average is 8.5 weeks between referral by a general practitioner and consultation with a specialist. I don't think I would want to wait that long for a cardiac consultation.

The Fraser Institute did a study and found many Canadians leaving the country for treatment in the USA.Link...on link. there are tons available.

and

Quote:
Canadians waited an average of 9.5 weeks, from an appointment with a specialist to receiving treatment in 2011
Quote:
Sick health care system made Canadians lose more than $3-billion in economic activity in 2011
Like I said, I live within sight of Canada and they come over here for 4 reasons...Wal-Mart, gas, health care, veterinary care.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 03:19 PM   #16
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Not true.



Link
Thanks for the link. So i guess this tax is most likely going to hit the more weathly. I see this also being a problem for anyone that own multiple houses and rents or leases them out. After the mortgage is paid off would not all collected money be considered investment profit. As soon as they hit that 250,000 mark they get taxed... again.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 03:35 PM   #17
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I see this also being a problem for anyone that own multiple houses and rents or leases them out. After the mortgage is paid off would not all collected money be considered investment profit. As soon as they hit that 250,000 mark they get taxed... again.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 11:28 PM   #18
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Have you thought about looking into a HSA plan? It sounds like you use your insurance quite a bit and would benefit greatly from that.
We hardly use insurance at all. We used it a lot this past year because we had a baby. But, other than that, we didn't even have insurance until the fall of 2010. I, myself, hadn't even been to a doctor in over 10 years before I went and got a physical last year.


But, to the point of other discussion above...if my choices were:
A - pay my taxes with a few thousand geared towards healthcare, never have to pay more out of pocket, but endure some long waits for specialty treatment...
B - pay 20% of my income in premiums, and more in deductibles and co-pays, with out-of-pocket amounts which could bankrupt me, but get faster treatment...
I'm going to choose A.

Really, I'd like a combo approach. I want universal healthcare for all, paid for through taxes. Then, if you have the extra money and you want or need specialized insurance and particular care, then you should be able to buy a private plan to do so.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 01:25 AM   #19
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Our healthcare system is probably the third biggest reason why I wish I lived in another OECD nation that has universal healthcare. Hell, Cuba has universal healthcare!

I think that the profit motive needs to be taken out of healthcare in the USA and the insurance companies be done away with. We need a national single-payer program and to reduce the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to birth and expand it to every citizen and permanent resident and take care of any foreign guests within our borders while they're here.

In my opinion, the Affordable Care Act (the angry righties call it "Obamacare") was not the healthcare overhaul that we deserve to get. Why? Because like Obama himself (and many other Democrats), it is too weak to do what really needs to be done. I hope that future legislatures and administrations can get something far more progressive enacted in the future.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 03:10 AM   #20
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You need to look into that more. A replacement isn't exactly elective. I don't think anyone says...huh...I think I should have my knee replaced, just because it will be cool. You shouldn't have to wait and suffer with a knee that bad for a year before the surgery. I am guessing you are quoting the now infamous one year knee surgery waiting list in Toronto.

In 2012 the average is 8.5 weeks between referral by a general practitioner and consultation with a specialist. I don't think I would want to wait that long for a cardiac consultation.

The Fraser Institute did a study and found many Canadians leaving the country for treatment in the USA.Link...on link. there are tons available.

and





Like I said, I live within sight of Canada and they come over here for 4 reasons...Wal-Mart, gas, health care, veterinary care.
You need to look at your sources. The flawed study you cite is more political than factual from a right of center libertarian think tank. A critique can be found here.

As for your flip response about knee surgery, it is elective, not emergent. The need for vast majority of knee replacements are foreseen months or years before they happen and can be planned for.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 10:24 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by samiwas View Post
We hardly use insurance at all. We used it a lot this past year because we had a baby. But, other than that, we didn't even have insurance until the fall of 2010. I, myself, hadn't even been to a doctor in over 10 years before I went and got a physical last year.


But, to the point of other discussion above...if my choices were:
A - pay my taxes with a few thousand geared towards healthcare, never have to pay more out of pocket, but endure some long waits for specialty treatment...
B - pay 20% of my income in premiums, and more in deductibles and co-pays, with out-of-pocket amounts which could bankrupt me, but get faster treatment...
I'm going to choose A.

Really, I'd like a combo approach. I want universal healthcare for all, paid for through taxes. Then, if you have the extra money and you want or need specialized insurance and particular care, then you should be able to buy a private plan to do so.
You sounds like you'd be the perfect candidate for a HSA plan. Lower premiums on the front end and you can tuck away cash tax free into the HSA so that if you ever have another big event (like having another baby), you'd have a pool of cash to pull from.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 01:37 PM   #22
VulchR
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A couple of things:

First, there is an OECD report on why healthcare is so costly in the US, and whether or not that additional cost is turned into better health. Interestingly, the US spends as much public money on healthcare as most countries with socialized medicine, but adds to it the costs of the private healthcare system. Prices are rather higher for most procedures in the US, so there goes the argument about the efficiency of the free market. The US spends the most on health care than any other OECD country, but the average life expectancy in the US is not correspondingly higher (the OECD report dodges this issue). While the OECD report does not mention this, life expectancy in the UK, with its socialized NHS, was actually higher than that in the US a few years back, and yet the UK spends about 56% of what the US spends per capita for health care. The US, with its private system, spends twice the average of OECD countries on administration of the health care system, and nearly twice as much as Canada with its socialized system. The idea that socialized health care is more expensive and less efficient than the US private health care system is not in line with the facts.

Second, I have lived in the US (my first 30 years) and the UK (the last 20 years). It is true that one has to wait for emergency procedures and physician consultations in the UK, as I have done on several occasions. However, I remember sitting with my father in a US hospital emergency lobby ('chairs') for 5 hours before he was seen by any medical professional. He sat under a sign that read 'Stroke: every minute counts!', and – you guessed it – he had suffered a stroke. My father chewed through $750,000 of his own (and then taxpayers') money paying medical bills before he died. Some of the care he was given was excellent, but some of it wasn't. You can guess what happened to him when he ran out of all of his own money and had to rely on Medicaid. You are fooling yourself if you do not think rationing of health care occurs in the US. It does, but on the basis of who is richer rather than who needs more care.

Third, my father died years ago but we are still sorting out the paper work, which includes instances of outright fraud on the part of many health care providers. And the number of forms I have filled out in 20 years of living here in the UK? Exactly 3, and all of them were about my health rather than my finances.

Fourth, socialized medicine does not provide 'free' care. It is paid for, through taxes. The prices for treatments and medicines are cheaper because the whole country can bargain with medical suppliers and pharmaceutical companies for cheaper prices on bulk purchases. Rich people in the UK do contribute more toward paying for health care in the UK, but isn't the same true for rich people in the US who pay disproportionately for the military, emergency services, schools, and other socialized services in the US? Why is providing health care so special that we leave it to wealth rather than a collective effort like we do for defense, education and emergency services?
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Last edited by VulchR; Feb 5, 2013 at 03:36 PM.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 02:55 PM   #23
samiwas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VulchR View Post
A couple of things:

First, there is an OECD report on why healthcare is so costly in the US, and whether or not that additional cost is turned into better health. Interestingly, the US spends as much public money on healthcare as most countries with socialized medicine, but adds to it the costs of the private healthcare system. Prices are rather higher for most procedures in the US, so there goes the argument about the efficiency of the free market The US spends the most on health care than any other OECD country, but the average life expectancy in the US is not correspondingly higher (the OECD report dodges this issue). While the OECD report does not mention this, life expectancy in the UK, with its socialized NHS, was actually higher than that in the US a few years back, and yet the UK spends about 56% of what the US spends per capita for health care. The US, with its private system, spends twice the average of OECD countries on administration of the health care system, and nearly twice as much as Canada with its socialized system. The idea that socialized health care is more expensive and less efficient than the US private health care system is not in line with the facts.

Second, I have lived in the US (my first 30 years) and the UK (the last 20 years). It is true that one has to wait for emergency procedures and physician consultations in the UK, as I have done on several occasions. However, I remember sitting with my father in a US hospital emergency lobby ('chairs') for 5 hours before he was seen by any medical professional. He sat under a sign that read 'Stroke: every minute counts!', and – you guessed it – he had suffered a stroke. My father chewed through $750,000 of his own (and then taxpayers') money paying medical bills before he died. Some of the care he was given was excellent, but some of it wasn't. You can guess what happened to him when he ran out of all of his own money and had to rely on Medicaid. You are fooling yourself if you do not think rationing of health care occurs in the US. It does, but on the basis of who is richer rather than who needs more care.

Third, my father died years ago but we are still sorting out the paper work, which includes instances of outright fraud on the part of many health care providers. And the number of forms I have filled out in 20 years of living here in the UK? Exactly 3, and all of them were about my health rather than my finances.

Fourth, socialized medicine does not provide 'free' care. It is paid for, through taxes. The prices for treatments and medicines are cheaper because the whole country can bargain with medical suppliers and pharmaceutical companies for cheaper prices on bulk purchases. Rich people in the UK do contribute more toward paying for health care in the UK, but isn't the same true for rich people in the US who pay disproportionately for the military, emergency services, schools, and other socialized services in the US? Why is providing health care so special that we leave it to wealth rather than a collective effort like we do for defense, education and emergency services?
Perfect response. This is what I have said, or tried to say, on several occasions. Why anyone sees the US system as the perfect system is beyond me.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 03:53 PM   #24
VulchR
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Originally Posted by samiwas View Post
Perfect response. This is what I have said, or tried to say, on several occasions. Why anyone sees the US system as the perfect system is beyond me.
Thanks. I just don't get it either. I think part of the problem is that there are so many snouts in the trough that they feed each other's imaginations about how much money they can extort from patients. I suspect this won't change until the baby boomers near the end of their lives and a larger proportion of the US population needs long-lasting care from the medical system. At that point it will become painfully obvious that the system is not available to the middle class for any extended period of time because it bankrupts them, that the system is drowning in the paperwork used to track the money rather than the patients' health, and that the medical industry in fact employs widespread fraud and monopolistic practices (I think the AMA in Atlanta was investigated in this regard already once).

To me the solution is simple: Make the US Public Health Service a public health service; in addition to having military academies institute a medical academy (NIH); enlist potential doctors to the PHS on the basis of providing training without cost (like the Army), but requiring service for a given number of years once they earn their MD; give all punitive damages in medical malpractice suits to a fund that helps finance the PHS; and use the leverage of buying for a nationwide health service to buy bulk medical equipment and medicines at lower prices. The US is such a great country that I fail to understand why people think we can't do this.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 04:06 PM   #25
Eraserhead
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The other thing that VulchR has missed is that you can still get private health insurance in the UK, and that it isn't really that expensive.
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