US Healthcare reform

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Eraserhead, May 30, 2009.

  1. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #1
    There is quite a bit of discussion on Obama's healthcare in a number of threads but there doesn't appear to be a single thread discussing this.

    Now obviously its a very bad situation that there are tens of millions of Americans (if not more) who either don't have health insurance at all or don't have adequate coverage. And it is also definitely clear that the Americans currently pay far far too much for healthcare as shown in the following graph from the Economist:

    [​IMG]

    Which shows that the British spend almost half of what the Americans do as a percentage of GDP on healthcare to achieve better results - and that the Americans spend significantly more as a percentage of GDP than other large rich countries (source).

    This should be a guaranteed money saver for the American people - if not for the government, but any shortfall for the government should easily be able to be made up with higher taxes that are less than their current spending on healthcare for the vast majority of Americans. But will that actually happen?
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #2
    There should be single-payer health insurance. It's so obvious that the only thing worth discussing in my mind is the best way to make it happen.

    Every congressman and woman that votes against it, should it come up for a vote, should agree to give up their government health care, since the "free market" is so obviously better. Ben Nelson (a Democrat no less) unwittingly gave away the game when he said that people would like single-payer insurance too much and it would be bad for individual insurance companies. Put the government in competition with insurance companies by offering more realistic rates and full coverage and we'll see how long people continue to pay too much for too little in return.

    Insurance companies have been cash cows for far too long, and at the expense of a lot of people.
     
  3. jabrowntx macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Until we get rid of the insurance companies, health care will always cost too much. There's too many people trying to take a cut of the $$. Of course, the US government has a very poor track record of oversight of any of their programs, so we're screwed either way.
     
  4. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #4
    If we're going to be screwed, better to have decent health care while we're at it.
     
  5. jabrowntx macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I agree, but I don't know that socialized medicine or any government controlled program is the answer. This issue won't be solved with a single solution.
     
  6. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #6
    Its been a superb answer for countries like France, which happens to be ranked by the WHO as having the best health care in the world. I'd be fine with paying higher taxes for good health care. One of the problems with Americans' obsession with individualism is that you commonly hear the refrain that people don't want to pay for other people's health problems. Well, when everyone's chipping in, everyone benefits, including you when you have that unexpected accident and now you're the one that everyone's thanking their lucky stars they don't have to pay for.
     
  7. Eraserhead thread starter macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #7
    And even they spend less of their GDP on healthcare than the US.
     
  8. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #8
    It should be telling that one of the reasons that our influence as a country is down is because France and other European countries are better prepared to handle a major downturn. Their citizens have a better safety net, and when trouble strikes, they can handle it for some time. Here, if you lose your job, you can be on the street in not too long a period of time if you don't have anyone to turn to.

    Sacramento was the scene of a Depression-era type shantytown that was only recently dismantled, as hundreds of homeless people people who had never been homeless before camped out together. Something tells me they don't have health insurance either. Guess who pays for it when they have to go to the ER for treatment?

    Ah, that's right. Us.
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Has anybody actually read any text of any proposals actually entered before Congress?

    A bit of a caveat, seems to me, is that some medical care legislation is in the stimulus bill. Why there? And what's it say? For instance, folks are sending this sort of info around the Internet:

    "Most of you know by now that the Senate version of the "stimulus" bill includes provisions for extensive rationing of health care for senior citizens. The author of this part of the bill, former senator Tom Daschle, was credited today by the Bloomberg news service with the following statement:

    Bloomberg: "Daschle says health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them."

    As a former senator, Daschle now is merely a lobbyist with his old buddies--which is not to say he has no influence wrt legislation he wrote. So, as usual, "Damfino."

    Seems to me that with the Devil always being in the legislative details, it doesn't matter if one is for or against governmental involvement in the world of medicine. Self defense against government, as usual, depends on knowing what's in the legislation--and how it will be interpreted by the bureaucracy.

    One common error in the earlier posts: There is no problem with medical care in the U.S., and little problem with access. The problem is in the payment system.

    'Rat
     
  10. Eraserhead thread starter macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #10
    I'd say the people without health insurance have a problem with access.
     
  11. Oneness macrumors regular

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    #11
    They go to the ER.
     
  12. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #12
    If Americans don't get the fact that they are already paying for other's health care, they are stupid. All those uninsured seek treatment through emergency rooms which is a major reason why health care costs are so high. If they had health care, they could seek treatment earlier at a lower cost or heaven forbid, preventative health care.
     
  13. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #13
    Ssshhh. None of that now. Wouldn't want to be making too much sense.
     
  14. Eraserhead thread starter macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #14
    Which is then vastly more expensive, as the ER is much more expensive to run than a GP's surgery and the problems are likely to be much more complex which makes them more expensive to treat, and the people involved won't have been as productive for a while which reduces your productivity.
     
  15. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Eraserhead, the problem with your analysis is that the cost of insuring everybody is far greater than the cost of treating only those who need treatment. That's how insurance companies make all that profit.

    'Rat
     
  16. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #16
    So why are so many countries able to do just that?

    People need treatments for things at various points in their lives. Preventative health care goes a long way toward ensuring that people need it less than if they don't have insurance and wait until a major problem develops.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    Reality does not support your assertion. Worldwide healthcare cost comparisons tell the opposite story.
     
  18. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #18
    Some of the popular criticisms of universal health care is that the quality of health care will suffer. A blog post was recently front paged on Digg that shows data comparing the US versus various universal coverage systems and shows they consistently pay less to be about equally (or sometimes more) satisfied.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2009/05/are_patients_in_universal_heal.php

    Some of the data graphs:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #19
    Um, no. The set of people who need treatment is largely invariant. The relevant questions are whether people who need treatment actually receive it, how much it costs when they do, and and the size of the risk pool over which the cost is spread.

    In short, the cost of insuring everyone is the cost of treating those who need treatment, by definition.
     
  20. Eraserhead thread starter macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    Interesting that the US government spends more dollars on healthcare than any other government on the list.

    Its worth noting that questions like the one on "ease of care" are very subjective and don't really say that much about the difference of quality of care between the countries.
     
  21. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Eraserhead's comment had to do with the way we do mandatory ER treatment at present, rather than an overall system. That usage is a small part of all patients, albeit non-pay has bankrupted numerous ERs and hospitals.

    Question: Given the hodge-podge we now have, what happens to health insurance companies and that segment of the workforce? They go to work for the federal government?

    As it is now, the employees pay IRS on their salaries. The companies pay corporate taxes, and retirement funds rely on profitability of the equities. Bankers need to be paid for the financing of the buildings. What process is proposed to pay for all these?
     
  22. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #23
    Do you think that the reform being considered results in a single public entity that replaces the private insurance companies?
     
  23. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #24
    Lots of things.

    - Some may bring their experience to bear administering a federal program, but of course if there were room for all or even a significant fraction of them, then the program could hardly claim to be more efficient.

    - There are plenty of remaining insurables, so existing companies can expand other insurance sectors. People less at risk of falling prey to catastrophic healthcare expenses may be persuaded they are underinsured in other areas, although in a more demand-elastic market they will find the audience less captive and the competition more fierce.

    - Many nations with universal single-payer systems still have room for insurance companies providing elective supplemental coverage. Again, they will need to run a tighter ship to make these supplemental offerings compelling.

    - Relieved of the rapidly increasing burden of employee healthcare costs, every other employer in the United States will find itself relatively flush with cash, money newly available to expand their businesses and create new jobs.

    - If individuals are relieved of the burden of absolutely needing to keep corporate job because of healthcare benefits, we will see a new wave of innovation and entrepreneurialism. Small businesses could experience a dramatic resurgence, because inability to pay outrageous small-group premiums will no longer be a barrier to attracting talent. Again, more jobs.

    It certainly is not as if all the people who currently peddle health insurance will suddenly become permanently homeless.
     
  24. walangij macrumors 6502

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    #25

    I'm quite disappointed in the way healthcare reform is moving...it seems to be more of the same because of all the lobbying going on that is affecting both parties. A large single-payer system is what we who have private insurance need in order to provide sufficient pressure and competition on the market which has been largely absent.

    I hate how private insurance can "pick and choose" who they'll insure and what they'll pay for in order to obtain the maximum profit. A good friend's mother died because her private insurance deemed her treatment unnecessary because it was quite costly. So after paying premiums and being healthy for 20+ years...all that money went not to helping her obtain the treatment she needed but just lined the coffers of insurance execs? WTF.

    Are there any middle to upper-middle class family really happy with their current insurance?
     

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