Universal Healthcare

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by JesseJames, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Does it really work? Should the government provide universal healthcare for everyone? Even if everyone pays more tax for it?
     
  2. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #2
    Just take a look at Canada, England, and Europe. When the get sick they come to the US, because we have the best healthcare in the World. As currently proposed it would be a colossal mistake. The government is good at defense and infrastructur, but not much else.
     
  3. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    I think it's more correct to say that the government is less bad at defense and infrastructure. However, they're quite good at taking care of government officials--i.e., anyone important in the three branches--but not so good at taking care of veterans.

    We need good healthcare for everyone but until they remove the profit, and therefore, the fraud, it will not happen properly.
     
  4. db2guru macrumors newbie

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    #4
    First, since all evidence points to the fact that it has failed in all cases that I can think of, ie. USSR, GB, Germany, France, Canada, there is little to recommend that it would be a success anywhere else. The countries that adopted socialized medicine have been bankrupted by it. The highest priority in those countries is to find a way to cut back on the availability of care to control the costs. In those countries there exists a parallel health care system for "the rich" who can afford to pay out of pocket expenses, or those patients go to countries where they can buy the services they want.

    Second a government program is *always the worst* option because, since it precludes any hope of competition, you are guaranteed to get only the most mediocre services for the highest costs. For every dollar dumped into the black hole 20% will be consumed feeding the beast that administers the program. As complaints about the sorry state of affairs mount the solution is always the same: more tax money is needed to fix the problem. No competition is a bad thing...

    Third, these programs are a disaster for young taxpayers. Insurance costs are minimal for the young wage earners. It costs a fortune for old pharts (like me). And it is the old pharts that need 98% of the expensive care. So, what you will get is another wealth transfer program that moves money from one group of citizens (the younger wage earners) to another group of citizens (primarily the retired and elderly) through a program that skims 10 or 20% of the money and distributes the rest in a non-competitive environment. Since this is exactly how the social security system works, you have a pretty good example of how this would work. This cost of this one program could make Social Security look like chump change. Would I like to have all the 20-somethings chip in for part of the cost of my health insurance costs? You betcha. Why should I have to take responsibilty for my own life if "the government" provides it?

    Fourth, there is already a system for health care for indigent patients. It is regulated by the same folks who think "universal health care" sounds like a good idea. Of course, by moving everyone into the same system the average care will average downward to that of the indigent health care system.

    Fifth, assume that the costs of the healthcare system last year were X dollars. Do you really think we can provide MORE care next year (all those newly insured are going to start soaking up more care dollars, not fewer), while at the same time hiring TENS OF THOUSANDS of new government employees to administer the program, and that the total cost will be LESS than X?

    Sixth (and now I will shut up...) , try to remember this: there is no "government provided" anything. "Government provided" means that you and your neighbors are footing the bill plus some extra needed to feed the beast to administer the program.

    If you believe so, I have this bridge for sale....
     
  5. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #5
    Just because Canada et. al. didn't do Universal healthcare right doesn't mean the US can't. There is no excuse for every person in the US to not have health care *somehow* I don't care how!
     
  6. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Matthew Miller has an interesting idea about universal health care. First of all, it won't be socialized medicine--there will still be a free market for health care. One big difference is that risk pools will only be by age and gender. One problem is that right now, health care providers are trying to make plans really affordable for the people that are the least likely to need it (because profit margins are the highest there), but the prices are through the roof for those who need it the most. Eliminating most risk pooling will combat that, since providers won't know who is unlikely to be sick.

    The other aspect of this is to make a basic health care plan available to all people by means of a sliding scale of payment to consumers--this as opposed to a tax credit.

    I'm glossing over a lot of the fine details, but he goes over it in very fine detail in his book "The Two Percent Solution", and his idea had bipartisan support.
     
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #7
    imo, the gov't could take a giant step simply by:
    1) guaranteeing that anyone who wants coverage can get it, and
    2) guaranteeing a reasonable price for that coverage

    i've never thought it was a good idea to replace the existing private system; it should be supplemented.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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    #8
    Ask anyone in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan... you name the country, whether they'd prefer to drop their health care system in favor of ours. I'd be surprised if 0.5% would be in favor.

    The cost factor of a government program is a phony argument. The administrative overhead costs of the Medicare system is far lower than the private insurance system, where between 25-35% of the health care dollars are wasted.
     
  9. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #9
    1 We spend more per capita on healthcare than any other nation, despite the fact that...

    2 we're not all insured and...

    3 we ignore health problems because of cost

    Everyone says that there's an influx of people from nations that have national healthcare, but I don't see their proof.

    What's more, even if our systems did create the best doctors and medicine in the world, what would it matter if only a few can afford it? How is that good for the average American?
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #10
    This is one of the more insidious bits of anecdotal evidence used to argue against universal access to health care. No doubt it's true that some well-off Canadians go south for treatment, but it's certainly also true that a much larger number of Americans now go both south and north to buy their prescription medicines. What's also true is that the Canadians who come south for treatment aren't doing so because they won't get treatment in Canada, but because they might have to wait longer then they'd like for elective surgeries. Now, if you want to hear anecdotes about denied and delayed treatment, talk to an American with an HMO plan.
     
  11. miloblithe macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Russian doctors pioneered several methods of medical treatment, for example the method of extending bone length by breaking the bone and re-setting it somewhat farther apart then it was to begin with--a treatment used for children who are born abnormally short. Americans went to Russia for this, and other treatments. Does this mean Russia has a better health care system than the US?

    As several have mentioned, this kind of eveidence is very misleading as to the question of how effective a health care system is. If some foreigners come to America to seek expensive, specific types of treatment, that does not prove we have a better _system_ of healthcare, but rather that we are better at providing that particular treatment, at a particular cost, to that particular person or group of people.

    There is no single statistic or set or arguement that can really prove how effective a health care system is. Jananese people (an many others) live longer than Americans, have better infant mortality and death in childbirth rates, and so on. Does that mean that the Japanese health care system is better? There are a lot of other factors involved, diet being an obvious one, and crime rates being another.

    The best argument, it seems to me is that some services do not respond as well to others to the market. IJ Reilly's point about the overhead costs of medicare vrs. those of a private insurance company fit well into this argument. A private insurance company's goal, like that of any company, is to maximize profits and reduce costs. A government healthcare agency's goal is to maximize healthcare and reduce costs. Which sounds better?
     
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #12
    in the past couple months, someone posted a study that ranked countries' health care. iirc, france was #1 and the US was either #14 or #54. who was that and can we see it again?
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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    #13
    That was probably my doing. Several months ago, I posted an article from the LA Times showing that US per capita spending on health care was 2-3 times higher than all other western nations, but was well down the list in effectiveness, when measured by infant mortality rates and life expectancy.

    That thread:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=55564
     
  14. wwidgirl macrumors member

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    #14
    This is purely personal experience but I really wouldn't trade the system here (Canada) for the American health care system. It works for me. If you have coverage, then you get extra benefits, such as: dental, eye-care, massages, prescriptions, etc. However, the basic coverage is enough that if you're sick and you're poor you will still get taken care of.
     
  15. miloblithe macrumors 68020

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    #15
    That does sound like a system that makes a lot of sense. Another key is encouraging (and paying for) people to take effective, preventative measures in their health that are cheaper in the long run.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    #16
    yeah, like HMOs were designed to do. i think they became a little too concerned w/ profit along the way.

    boy, how cynical have i become when it's difficult for me to imagine insurers and drug manufacturers being more concerned about service and care than profit.
     
  17. amnesiac1984 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I agree, I was rather disillusioned with some of the posts claiming the US health care system to be the best in the world and I couldn't believe that people believe that BS. The UK's may not be perfect but it provides for a lot more people than the US and France and Germanys' (i think) system are second to none.
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    oh, didn't you know? we have the best of everything over here. hands down. no questions asked. that's why we have so many immigrants. because everything is better.

    /sarcasm

    the factors as i see them:
    1. from birth, americans are indoctrinated into the "everything is bigger and better here" dogma*
    2. most americans haven't left the country**
    3. many americans are wilfully ignorant ("France? how could *FRANCE* have the best healthcare? they can't even win a war!")

    * i'm sure that most of the rest of the world does that too, but i feel americans win the International Selfishness and We Can Do No Wrong Awards

    ** i saw a statistic some time ago. i believe that is was only 7% of americans hold a passport, and the percentage of those who travel overseas is even smaller.
     
  19. Neserk macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    *laughs* I hear it all the time...

    I believe you are correct. When I've made observations that are critical of the govenrment I've been told to leave. :rolleyes: I guess superconservatives leave problems instead of trying to fix them.

    When I disagreed with the war in Iraq and criticized Bush I was told I was unpatriotic and should leave the country. Apparently superconservatives aren't allowed to criticize their leaders, either.

    The whole *America is the best country in the world* brainwashing makes me sick. Shortly after Bush became reigning dictator I received (it was given to me at a fair) a sticker that said "world citizen" I think the world would be much a better place if people would view themselves as part of the whole world rather than a citizen of just one country. The egomania here is scary.



    I've been to only 3 other countries (Canada, Mexico, & Israel). Not by choice. I would love to do *more* world traveling (speaking of passports, I need to renew mine). I would also like to reside in another country for at least a few months if not longer. What an experience that would be! My husband would like to go to France (he speaks French, although badly, apparently) and Ireland (he is Irish). There is an exchange program through Fulbright where teachers switch classrooms for 6 weeks to 1 year. Most of them are for highschool teachers and college professors but the UK does exchange programs for elementary school teachers...

    ... sorry you got me dreaming again :D
     
  20. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #20
    age 40, healthy, blue cross w/ medium coverage 400+/mo??

    what do you think?
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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    #21
    I'd like to have the option of buying into Medicare. Even if it meant paying as much as a 10% payroll tax, I'd probably be dollars and coverage ahead.
     
  22. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #22
    my monthly premium costs me between 1/3 and 1/2 my monthly pre-tax earnings. i also pose the "what do you think?" question.
     
  23. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #23
    I have Federal Blue Cross for just myself, it's $105/month.
     
  24. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #24

    I'm happy to say I now have health insurance. Kind of. I have that insurance you can get when enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program. It costs $270 from Feb 1-August 27th. Mostly it covers me if I die :D Actually, it has some benefits which I'm very greatful for. And if I don't mind taking a day off of work I can go see the doctor between 9-11 am Monday-Thursday for free... of course it costs me to take a day off :rolleyes:

    Well, *something* is better than nothing...
     
  25. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    A couple of things to chew on:
    Is America's Health Care the Best?
    Medical Economics, March 5, 2004, by Joan R. Rose

    A new study by The Commonwealth Fund found that, from patients' perspective, the US often performs relatively poorly. Based on patients' perception of care they received, The Commonwealth Fund ranked five English-speaking nations--Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States--on six criteria: patient safety, patient-centered care, timeliness, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity. Even though the US spends more of its national income on healthcare than the other countries, it ranked last or next-to-last on most of those measurements. One exception was timeliness of hospital admissions and elective surgery, though New Zealand outperformed the US in terms of prompt access to primary care physicians and specialists.​

    And:
    The world's health care: How do we rank?

    The United States spends a great deal on health care but gains too little, says the World Health Organization.

    By Susan Landers, AMNews staff

    Health care in the United States is second to none. Right? Well, not according to the World Health Organization. A recent WHO survey ranked the United States 37th in overall health system performance -- sandwiched between Costa Rica and Slovenia. This dismal showing occurred despite the fact that the United States spends more on health care -- 13.7% of its gross domestic product -- than any other of the 191 WHO nations.

    WHO named France as the nation that provides the best overall health care to its citizens. The other countries that round out the top five are: Italy and the tiny nations of San Marino (also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino), Andorra (or the Principality of Andorra) and Malta.

    How are these findings possible? After all, foreign heads of state who could get health care anywhere choose the United States.

    It's all in how and what you measure, say many health care experts.

    "The United States at its best has as good medical care as you'll get anywhere in the world. It really is superb," said Herbert Pardes, MD, president and CEO of New York Presbyterian Healthcare Network.

    "But one of the problems is, while we have health care at the very best, we don't have all of our citizens covered for health care when they should be," he said. "We have 44 million Americans without coverage."​

    In my opinion, as long as money is no object, you can receive the best medical care available here in the U.S. But does this mean we have the best healthcare system? I doubt it. It costs too much, and it doesn't guarantee coverage.
     

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