Healthcare

Ugg

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 7, 2003
1,985
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Penryn
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"The healthcare system is in crisis today. Social Security is not," says Henry Simmons, president of the National Coalition on Health Care in Washington. "Healthcare is a far more serious, immediate, and destructive problem than Social Security."
This group has some pretty big backers, including GM, GE, most of the telcos, etc. Also Bush the first.

How long can those lily-livered congressmen, avoid the issue? I know much of it has to do with Hilary. Any championing of her efforts is of course an endorsement of her and the Republicans of course don't want that.



On a side note, my sister and I have been plowing through website after website to find information for our parents about the upcoming Medicare Drug Benefit. Medicare's website is mostly useless and in many cases misleading. Nonetheless, we think we've discovered what we need for our parents (we hope). I've got tons of information that in the next few days I'm going to compile and post here. If any of you are eligible or have loved ones who are, be prepared for some big surprises, not least of all is the fact that this hand out to big Pharma and big business is more or less mandatory, not optional.
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2004
1,897
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Don't you get the feeling that big business is playing catch up at this point?

Where would we be if ideas like this were properly considered when they were presented years ago?

This should be a huge red flag for some.
 
We live in a free market economy but we can't buy imported drugs. If this makes sense to anyone, please let me know. If the US wants to save its economy, the value of its currency in particular, then it needs to move toward full blown socialized healthcare. Most European nations have this, and check out the value of the Euro. I would pay higher taxes because it would take a lot of taxes to get to the $400 a month that health insurance costs (plus the deductable).

"The president's agenda is not the agenda of the public," says Prof. Robert Blendon
Ain't that the truth.

There's also a split in the business community, in terms of the best way to cope with the healthcare problem. While many older-line companies that have unions are in favor of comprehensive government action, others believe in continuing to shift more costs onto employees,at the same time that the government offers tax breaks.
This is a growing problem- let the employees take care of it. It's nice to see benefits decreasing while wages can't keep pace with inflation.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
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Randy's House
I pay half of my insurance every month ($180.00) and my company picks up the other half. Not what I was promised, but that is another story.

This whole healthcare issue is a hard nut to crack. People in Canada who can affor dit come to the U.S. for healthcare, and many of us still desire socialized medicine, but then again, I have fridns in the UK who wait quite some time to get procedures (like a simple wart removal) done.

*shrug*
 

pseudobrit

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2002
3,418
4
Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
iGary said:
This whole healthcare issue is a hard nut to crack. People in Canada who can affor dit come to the U.S. for healthcare, and many of us still desire socialized medicine, but then again, I have fridns in the UK who wait quite some time to get procedures (like a simple wart removal) done.

*shrug*
John Kerry's plan maintained a free market system but used a giant (and optional) federal insurance plan.

We needn't have "socialised medicine" to make healthcare universally and practically available.
 
iGary said:
I pay half of my insurance every month ($180.00) and my company picks up the other half. Not what I was promised, but that is another story.

This whole healthcare issue is a hard nut to crack. People in Canada who can affor dit come to the U.S. for healthcare, and many of us still desire socialized medicine, but then again, I have fridns in the UK who wait quite some time to get procedures (like a simple wart removal) done.

*shrug*
There are people in the US who wait a long time to get a wart removal done because they can't afford to pay the doctor. I would gladly wait if it didn't cost me.
 

Xtremehkr

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2004
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Link

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.

With this article
How the rankings were determined
Top ranking, not top dollar

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."

WHO placed a great deal of weight on a country's fairness in financing its health care system. The United States fell way down the list on that measure, coming in at 54th, between the Republic of Korea and Fiji.

Surprisingly, Colombia took the No. 1 spot in the fairness category, with Luxembourg, Belgium, the small East African nation of Djibouti, and Denmark rounding out the top five.

WHO theorizes that a fairly financed health system ensures financial protection for everyone. Health systems can be unfair by either exposing people to large, unexpected costs they must pay on their own or by requiring those least able to pay for care to contribute more, proportionately, than wealthier citizens, according to the survey.

How the rankings were determined

WHO measured each nation's overall health system performance by its achievement of three goals: the provision of good health, responsiveness to the expectations of the population and the fairness of individuals' financial contribution toward their health care.

Health

Measured by life expectancy adjusted for the likelihood of a range of disabilities.

1. Japan: 74.5 years
2. Australia: 73.2 years
3. France: 73.1 years
4. Sweden: 73.0 years
5. Spain: 72.8 years

24. United States: 70.0 years

Responsiveness

Judged by a nation's respect for the dignity of individuals, the confidentiality of health records, prompt attention in emergencies and choice of provider.

1. United States
2. Switzerland
3. Luxembourg
4. Denmark
5. Germany

Financial fairness

Measured by the equal distribution of the health cost faced by each household.

1. Colombia
2. Luxembourg
3. Belgium
4. Djibouti
5. Denmark

54. United States

Back to top.

Top ranking, not top dollar

High spending does not necessarily translate into a better health system, says the World Health Organization. Among the 15 top-rated nations, the amount spent on health care as a percentage of the overall economy and on a per-person basis varied widely.

Health spending as Per capita
percentage of GDP spending Population
------------------ ---------- ----------
1. France 9.8% $2,369 59 million
2. Italy 9.3% $1,855 57 million
3. San Marino 7.5% $2,257 26,000
4. Andorra 7.5% $1,368 75,000
5. Malta 6.3% $551 386,000
6. Singapore 3.1% $876 3.5 million
7. Spain 8.0% $1,071 39 million
8. Oman 3.9% $370 2.4 million
9. Austria 9.0% $2,277 8.2 million
10. Japan 7.1% $2,373 126 million
11. Norway 6.5% $2,283 4.4 million
12. Portugal 8.2% $845 9.8 million
13. Monaco 8.0% $1,264 33,000
14. Greece 8.0% $905 10 million
15. Iceland 7.9% $2,149 279,000

37. U.S.A. 13.7% $4,187 276 million
Highest spending per capita: United States ($4,187)
Lowest spending per capita: Afghanistan ($2); Rank: 173
There are elements of truth to the claim that the US has the best health care. You just have to balance that out by recognizing that the best part of the system is incredibly limited in who it is available to. And for all the money spent, coverage is not even comprehensive.
 

tristan

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
765
0
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
I don't remember Kerry's plan, but I liked Howard Dean's plan - it let anyone buy into the federal employee's health plan at cost, and then it subsidized the premiums for very low income individuals. I thought it was a great solution, and it helped make me an early Dean supporter. (A Deaniac? What were they called?)

I do agree that health care is the biggest problem this country is facing, and education is a close second. I don't see how the baby boomers are going to get health care in retirement, and even if medicare picks up their tab, that'll bankrupt the rest of the country. I don't know why they're not screaming bloody murder about this. On the other hand, I don't think the answer is nationalized health care, but instead a regulated market solution.

BTW I wouldn't be surprised if in 2025 I'm getting taxed 50% to support the baby boomers pensions, health care, etc. When that happens I'll just move to Hong Kong or Singapore or Dubai I guess and leave you suckers to pay the boomer bill. :)
 

eva01

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2005
4,714
0
Gah! Plymouth
i work in a hospital and i can tell you that medicare sucks. every single test has to have a specific diagnosis or the patient has to pay 100% of the test, while the other health insurances will allow leway. We are ALWAYS calling drs offices for a diagnosis because the one we have doesn't work. and the price of these tests can vary from 9 dollars for a PT to well over 100 for a CRP and CA125

i had blood work done and the total came to 2,700+ thankfully i have BCBS
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
The idea that Canadians are streaming across the border to obtain routine medical services in the US is just ridiculous. Liposuction, tummy-tucks, and other elective surgeries for people who can afford them, perhaps -- but not routine services.

You want to talk ridiculous? My retired father, who is on Medicare, had cataracts in both of his eyes and was steadily losing his vision. He was signed up for one of those Medicare HMOs. The HMO would have covered correction in only one eye. That's right, according to the insurance company, he'd have to go blind in the other. So he re-enrolled in a conventional Medicare plan. The premiums are higher, but Medicare covered corrective surgery in both eyes -- thanks to which, his vision is better now than it was 50 years ago. The heavy glasses he wore every day for all of his adult life are gone, replaced by drug store reading glasses.

Health care should be about outcomes. It should be about making people healthy. The insurance industry has no interest in either.
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,825
432
Dornbirn (Austria)
so with all the cuts being made,reduced benefits and increased amount you have to pay with the last government austria still scores a 9th position ? believe it or not the politicians still comply about the whole thing and try to privatisize the whole thing more towards the US "model" *grasp* what a brilliant idea :rolleyes:

looks like the way of having an affordable federal program for normal protection (you need to have that over here) and additional private ones for those who want premium is the way to go ... that way most people are protected (99,5%) and those who would like single bed rooms in hospital simply pay something premium to their private insurance companies
 

mischief

macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2001
2,920
0
Santa Cruz Ca
IJ Reilly said:
Health care should be about outcomes. It should be about making people healthy. The insurance industry has no interest in either.
That says it all right there. That's exactly where essential services fall out of the idealized "free market" model.

When you have institutions whose proffits are inherently driven by "repeat business" in a market where there's very little choice over whether or not you can have to work done (see: racketeering) it's quite logical to expect that the customer will get routinely screwed.

This is exactly why Healthcare (and "correctional" facilities) should not be privately run.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
mischief said:
That says it all right there. That's exactly where essential services fall out of the idealized "free market" model.
We haven't entirely decided in this country whether health care is a right or a privilege. For most of the rest of the world, this is a no-brainer proposition, but not here. A year or so ago (before you started posting here I guess), this debate raged frequently. Back then we had one regular contributor who wasn't afraid to express the opinion that people who didn't have access health care probably didn't deserve access, and if they died from a lack of care, then so what. Perfect social Darwinism (the only kind of Darwinism some people believe in, apparently).

In any event, I've predicted several times on this board that we'd get universal access to health care in the US when corporations got together and demanded it, and not a minute sooner. Evidently, those wheels are now in motion.
 

mischief

macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2001
2,920
0
Santa Cruz Ca
IJ Reilly said:
We haven't entirely decided in this country whether health care is a right or a privilege. For most of the rest of the world, this is a no-brainer proposition, but not here. A year or so ago (before you started posting here I guess), this debate raged frequently. Back then we had one regular contributor who wasn't afraid to express the opinion that people who didn't have access health care probably didn't deserve access, and if they died from a lack of care, then so what. Perfect social Darwinism (the only kind of Darwinism some people believe in, apparently).

In any event, I've predicted several times on this board that we'd get universal access to health care in the US when corporations got together and demanded it, and not a minute sooner. Evidently, those wheels are now in motion.
I was in those debates. I've been around longer than U IJ :eek: , I just have long bouts of Reality intrude on my posting. ;) :D

I too have been predicting the inevitability of Universal healthcare... But I've also been predicting a last-ditch, entreanched resistance to it.
 

atszyman

macrumors 68020
Sep 16, 2003
2,442
1
The Dallas 'burbs
My predictions are always wrong but that never stopped me before so here goes:

I predict that the US will have Universal healthcare in the next 20-30 years. It will be a rough grind though if the GOP stays in charge.

Corporations are going to start demanding a solution since they cant compete on a global scale if they have to keep providing healthcare subsidies to their employees in the US. What I predict will happen will be the evolution of a pre-tax medical account coupled with the catastrophic insurance solution will come in first. This will effectively push the entire Heathcare burden on to the employees. Corporations will not pass their newfound savings onto the employees.

After a couple of years a "new" type of insurance will emerge for the routine medical expenses as an alternative to the pre-tax medical account. Now we have created two insurance industries out of one and shifted the entire cost on to the individual.

After a few more years someone will realize that no actual reform has actually occurred and that individuals got completely screwed for the benefit of big business. One of the political parties of the time will run with the promise of Universal Health care and sweep the elections controlling Congress and the Executive branch allowing for the passage of UHC.

Many more years down the road the opposition will try their best to dismantle the successful program pointing to it's cost and inevitable banruptcy. What happens next is beyond my ability to foresee.
 

tristan

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
765
0
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
Interesting prediction - I would have to agree, more or less. However, I don't think the US will stand for the following:

I make $100k a year, Joe makes $20k. Thus, I pay $10k/yr for health insurance, while Joe pays $2k.

That's how it is in Europe, they just hide it with tax rates. But I don't think that will fly in the US. I think there will be some premium caps, like the most I can pay is $6k, while the least Joe can pay is $2k, and the average is $4k.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,915
1,466
Palookaville
mischief said:
I was in those debates. I've been around longer than U IJ :eek: , I just have long bouts of Reality intrude on my posting. ;) :D

I too have been predicting the inevitability of Universal healthcare... But I've also been predicting a last-ditch, entreanched resistance to it.
In this forum? I joined about three years ago; don't remember you dropping in here until some time afterwards (one of those bouts of reality I suppose -- you really must watch those). Well you remember the health care debates anyway, and our resident proud cold-hearted SOB. Like Churchill said, "it doesn't take all kinds, there just are all kinds."

If the last few years are any indication, the entrenched interests resisting universal health care could be brought on board in a hurry if they are enriched in the process. Think Medicare drug benefit. This is the model which is likely to be followed, sadly.

I didn't say it would be good, just that it would happen.
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,825
432
Dornbirn (Austria)
tristan said:
Interesting prediction - I would have to agree, more or less. However, I don't think the US will stand for the following:

I make $100k a year, Joe makes $20k. Thus, I pay $10k/yr for health insurance, while Joe pays $2k.

That's how it is in Europe, they just hide it with tax rates. But I don't think that will fly in the US. I think there will be some premium caps, like the most I can pay is $6k, while the least Joe can pay is $2k, and the average is $4k.
hmm but somehow the US manages to have the highest rating from all countries in that study from the WHO (13.something percent compared to 9 i think in austria..)

the important thing with this WHO study is that they include things like those pesky 4.something you pay (depending on the "Land" = "State") ... for you whole family

at least no family member had to worry about medical bills or something so far and quite few have needed extensive stays (like my brother needed 4-5 weeks)
sure if you like to have those white fillings at the dentist, lighter glasses you pay more but it's not something you might declare personal bankrupt because of a freaking blood test

(funny news of the week: the city of Vienna is considering making DNA tests with dog...well excrements... to find out the dog to make the owner pay for not cleaning up after his dog... imagine _that_ )
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
3,993
Republic of Ukistan
tristan said:
Interesting prediction - I would have to agree, more or less. However, I don't think the US will stand for the following:

I make $100k a year, Joe makes $20k. Thus, I pay $10k/yr for health insurance, while Joe pays $2k.
Isn't that how you pay for "defence"? Why should you stand for a situation where Joe pays 20% of what you pay for defence? Outrageous!
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
skunk said:
Isn't that how you pay for "defence"? Why should you stand for a situation where Joe pays 20% of what you pay for defence? Outrageous!
I build my own fence. You like de fence? You build it yourself! Now defense spending... that's another matter, although I hear you Brits put a 'c' where the 's' should go. ;)