Your health is already being rationed, But for profit...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by freeny, Aug 19, 2009.

  1. freeny macrumors 68020

    freeny

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    http://amfix.blogs.cnn.com/2009/08/1...-as-it-sounds/

    In the debate over health care reform, we keep hearing the word “rationing.” For Republicans, it’s been one of the top talking points. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, “…rationing is underlying all of this. …If you don’t get health care when you need it, you know, ultimately it’s going to affect your life.”
    Prof. Peter Singer says rationing is already happening in private health insurance companies.

    Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, says rationing isn’t as scary as it sounds. He joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

    John Roberts: When you talk about rationing health care, what specifically is it that you mean?

    Peter Singer: Firstly, it’s the public part of health care that I’m talking about. I’m not talking about stopping people paying for whatever they can afford to pay for or paying for whatever extra insurance they can pay for. But if you have public funds going for something, you want and the taxpayer wants to get good value for that public funds.

    So that means you’re going to have to say, look, at the margins, if there’s a very expensive new treatment or new drug that perhaps doesn’t do any good anyway – perhaps there’s no good scientific studies that show it’s going to help you significantly – we’re not going to provide that. We’re going to say, we want to get a certain standard of value for money, just like you would if you’re shopping at the supermarket. That’s rationing.

    Roberts: Rationing goes on all the time, in the corporate world, it goes on in our personal lives. It’s sort of a cost-benefit analysis – is it worth spending the money on this? Why is rationing such a dirty word when it comes to health care? Is it because people want this care and they can’t get access to it?

    Singer: I suppose people are reasonably worried about the idea that their doctor may say to them, “This is something that’s good, but you can’t get it. You can’t afford it.” But, of course, we have a health care system where there’s 45 million uninsured Americans who can’t get it. There’s also people on Medicare and Medicaid who know they can’t get everything because they have quite high co-pays they can’t afford. So we’re already rationing health care and in a way that I think is not the best way because it means there are really effective treatments that could make a big difference to people and they can’t afford it. And we should change that.

    Roberts: Kathleen Sebelius, the current HHS secretary, before she was the governor of Kansas was the state insurance commissioner. Talking about rationing, she says she “…saw [rationing] on a regular basis by private insurers, who often made decisions overruling suggestions that doctors would make for their patients.” We talk about rationing potentially in the framework of a public option when it comes to health insurance, but is it not true that rationing is already taking place?

    Singer: Oh definitely it is. After I wrote the New York Times article, I had a letter from someone who had multiple sclerosis. And he was both a British citizen, but living in America. And he was saying there were treatments like physical therapy that he was denied by his private insurance company, which were very effective and helpful, that he could get for free on the British National Health Service.

    Roberts: Talk about this idea of best practices, which President Obama has brought up several times in town hall meetings. It begs the question — what is the price for a life? What price do we put on life? A Washington Times op-ed said, “Rationing takes place when people want more health care than is available and thus cannot get the care they need.” Is it the care they need, Peter, or is it the care they want?

    Singer: This is the problem that if you have a system where if somebody says “Oh, I’ve heard of some treatment” or a doctor even says “Maybe this could help you,” perhaps to give the patient some hope, but it’s an expensive treatment and there’s no really good evidence it’s going to do them any significant good, then there is a question as to whether we should be providing that treatment. It’s not the best use of our funds. That’s always the question. How do we most effectively use the money we have and the resources we have to improve people’s health?

    Roberts: Again, back to this idea of it being in a public plan where there’s rationing. Is it not true there’s rationing in private health care plans right now? How many people have had arguments with a bureaucrat and a health care provider at a health insurance company who have said no, we’re not going to pay for that treatment?

    Singer: Yes, absolutely. And that is rationing. In a way, the private insurance companies have to do that to keep their premiums down. If they don’t do that – I mean their premiums are already rising – but they’ll rise even faster than ever. And we’ll end up with bankrupt plans.

    Roberts: The president keeps telling us that cost containment is one of the big must-haves when it comes to health care reform. The only way to get the deficits down, the overall debt down, is to reform health care. Where is the cost savings in rationing? Particularly if, and it’s not the case all the time, but we hear some of these horror stories about people who were denied care at the outset only to get it later but in that time the disease progressed to the point where it becomes so much more expensive to treat them.

    Singer: Right. So there is a saving in providing the basic treatment for everyone. And then they’re not going to get to a situation where they don’t go see a doctor and things get worse. But another area of saving is in the costs of pharmaceuticals. We can see the same drug that we’re buying in the United States is on sale for much less money in Britain because the British National Health Service says we will not provide that at that price. So the drug manufacturer brings down the price for Britain but doesn’t bring it down for the United States. Because we still don’t have that kind of scheme of saying, sorry, that’s too expensive.

    Roberts: The same thing just north of the border in Canada, which is why so many people go across the border. But we hear that the reason why the drug is so much more expensive in the United States is because the research money is needed to develop drugs like that.

    Singer: Well, the drugs are being developed for everyone: Canadians, Britains, and Americans. If the drug companies can sell them for less money across the border, they can sell them for less money here.

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    So in reality, the Republicans argument is really just political.
     
  2. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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  3. maestro55 macrumors 68030

    maestro55

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    I have recently hit the local paper this this short thought:

     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Don't they lynch you in Texas for making such "socialist" comments? ;)
     
  5. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    The link is broken.

    As lee says, this isn't much news for people who have dealt with private insurance denying coverage. For the rest of the US, I hope it could actually get people to open their eyes and use reason to combat the scare tactics.

    I´m glad to see CNN actually do some actual interviewing rather than use twitter to have the public report the news. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    It is kind of puzzling why drugs are more expensive here than canada even though we develop them here. A lot of insurance companies are dicks about denying coverage, that should be taken care of, the insurance companies should not be dictating to the doctors, neither should congress. I don't think switching to a public plan is going to save us much, in fact after looking at the budget for medicare it could put us in the dumpster. Then we can do some real rationing when our government is out of money and no one will lend to them.
     
  7. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    not so puzzling really;

    article

    In the US they're pretty much free to charge whatever they can

    well they don't "really"....they just tell the doctors what the insurance company will pay and if the doctor wants to make other arrangements with the patient for payment, that's between the doctor and the patient

    edit; of course if the patient doesn't have the cash sitting around........good luck getting the doctor to do the treatment for free! :p
     
  8. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204683204574358590107981718.html

    Oh well, guess what, its government run and is just as evil as those privates, actually its worse because no one stands for us.
     
  9. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    Again?
    Pray tell, who stands for us in the private health sector?
     
  10. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    No one at all. And that's just the way they like it.
     
  11. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

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    I doubt it. I pay my National Insurance contributions and when I need the doctor I go to the doctor. If I have an earache I don't pay anything but if I have a serious illness which requires expensive medicine I still don't pay anything!
     
  12. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    Oh, trust me. I realize that.
    I've answered this question of Shivetya's a few times now, and he just ignores it and wanders off to another health insurance thread to post the same accusation again, and again.
    I just finally want him to answer who he thinks stands up for us in the private health sector.
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    Pricing is also set on what people are willing to pay, if the Canadians aren't prepared to pay as much as the Americans they'll pay less.

    Its also true that McDonalds meals are cheaper in Japan than the US, even though it is an expensive country to live in because McDonald's has stronger competition there.
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    I answered him with several examples of just how that isn't the case and he ignored me too.
     
  15. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

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    Demand is inelastic when it comes to drugs though, when mcdonalds raises their prices I can tell them to piss off. When my arm gets cut off and I need drugs there really isn't a choice.
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    Not really, as there is almost always a choice about which drug to offer for a given condition.
     
  17. stevegmu macrumors regular

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    That's just it. We do all the work. That 1st pill cost $2 billion- not to mention the $ 1billion set aside to cover the forthcoming lawsuits. Canada buys generics made in India, Pakistan and China- countries with little to no regard for trademarks and copyright law.
     
  18. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    All western countries respect copyrights and patents...
     
  19. stevegmu macrumors regular

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    India, Pakistan and China are Western countries?
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    The countries you accuse of buying these drugs are.
     
  21. iBlue macrumors Core

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    O RLY?! I would be very interested to see where you got this little gem of "information".

    I decided to look at the manufacturer of all the medications I have received in my evil socialist Britain and each and every one of them is from a reputable pharmaceutical company, mostly local (such as GlaxoSmithKline). We're just not taking it up the pooter in costs because, *GASP*, we have a public option - options mean competitive pricing.
     
  22. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    It's great to have you back.
     
  23. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

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    And if health care is a privilege and not a right, as many Republicans (like Rep. Zach Wamp) are stating, what does it matter if the government rations it? It's not like they are infringing on a persons right.

    Take your money and not give you the product? That's what many insurance companies do already.
     
  24. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    It is? Really? ;)
     
  25. stevegmu macrumors regular

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    I don't care if it is rationed. I'm not on Medicaid, nor will I be using the forthcoming public care. My problem with the grand plan, is that my insurance company will be forced to cover everyone and anyone who wants insurance- at the same cost as anyone else- thus making my rates, and everyone else's skyrocket. While I don't think an insurance company should deny any service to an established member, I don't think they should be forced to take on new members who are already sick, and will be require expensive treatment.

    O RLY?! I would be very interested to see where you got this little gem of "information".

    I believe I mentioned Canada, not England.
     

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