Food For Thought.

i don't know about the systems in countries that have them (foreign to the USA) but reading about the problems scares me. Much study is needed and the one who actually pays (the patient) needs to be in on the decision making.

i think it isn't a health "care" crisis, it's a health insurance issue. All the illegals, young people who don't want insurance, and the self-employed who can't afford it or don't want it. There is no crisis. Everyone, and I mean everyone, get care at any hospital.

i don't believe there is a way to provide all care to all people, regardless of ability to pay. Government intervention and high taxes/fees on salaries or workers would never generate enough money. Wage and Price controls, freezing them to control inflations didn't help.


The Problems with Socialized Health Care (Nightmare headlines from around the globe)| 3/07/09

The Problems with Socialized Health Care


Australia's universal health care scheme is relatively new (introduced in 1983, which built on the 1974 Medibank program). As with all socialized health care systems, there is a mixture of public versus private care (approximately 30% of Australians also retain private health insurance). As a result, the private patients receive better care than their medicare counterparts.


The salary caps and artificial increase in demand for care that always occur in a national health care system are resulting in predictable physician shortages.


Mental patients face bed shortage
- Clara Pirani, July 4, 2005 []


Public patients wait longer for surgery
- June 29, 2005 [The Sydney Morning Herald]


Painful wait for care
- Luke McIlveen, February 17, 2005 [Herald Sun (Australia)]


Hospitals crippled by poor planning
- Ruth Pollard, December 1, 2004 [Sydney Morning Herald]


Operating theatres shut to save cash as thousands wait for surgery
- Nick O'Malley, November 23, 2004 [Sydney Morning Herald]


Private funds creating 'two-tier' health system
- David Uren, November 3, 2004 [The Australian]


Great Britain
Great Britain's National Health Service (NHS) was created on July 5, 1948. As with all government programs, bureaucrats underestimated initial cost projections. First-year operating costs of NHS were 52 million pounds higher than original estimates1 as Britons saturated the so-called free system. Many decades of shortages, misery and suffering followed until 1989, when some market-based health care competition was reintroduced to the British citizens2.


Unfortunately for those requiring care, a mostly socialist health care system still has problems. The articles and commentaries in this section identify some disasters caused by government intervention in the British health care system.


Only five out of 51 hospital trusts pass hygiene test, say inspectors
- Sarah Boseley, November 24, 2008 [Guardian Unlimited]


Heart patients dying due to poor hospital care, says report
- Sarah Boseley, June 8, 2008 [Guardian Unlimited]


NHS dentistry loses almost a million patients after new dentists' contract
- David Rose, June 6, 2008 [The Times]


Private healthcare managers could be sent to turn round failing NHS hospitals
- Philip Webster, Political Editor, and David Rose, June 4, 2008 [The Times]


Cancer patients ‘betrayed’ by NHS
- Sarah-Kate Templeton, June 1, 2008 [The Times]


NHS scandal: dying cancer victim was forced to pay
- Sarah-Kate Templeton, June 1, 2008 [The Times]


Pensioner, 76, forced to pull out own teeth after 12 NHS dentists refuse to treat her
- Olinka Koster, March 26, 2008 [Daily Mail(UK)]


Dental patients face care lottery
- March 26, 2008 [Metro(UK)]


Lung patients 'condemned to death as NHS withdraws their too expensive drugs'
- Jenny Hope, March 24, 2008 [Daily Mail(UK)]


Women in labour turned away by maternity units
- John Carvel, March 21, 2008 [Guardian Unlimited]


Health inequality has got worse under Labour, says government report
- Andrew Sparrow, March 13, 2008 [Guardian Unlimited]


Angry GPs reluctantly accept plan for weekend and evening surgeries
- John Carvel, March 7, 2008 [Guardian Unlimited]


NHS chiefs tell grandmother, 61, she's 'too old' for £5,000 life-saving heart surgery
- Chris Brooke, February 28, 2008 [Daily Mail(UK)]


Patient 'removed' from waiting list to meet target
- January 31, 2008 [The Scotsman]


One in eight patients waiting over a year for treatment, admits minister
- John Carvel, June 8, 2007 [Guardian Unlimited]


Audit Office asked to investigate record £500m NHS underspend
- John Carvel, May 30, 2007 [Guardian Unlimited]


The drugs the NHS won't give you
- May 11, 2007 [Telegraph UK]


UK lagging behind on cancer drug access, study finds
- May 10, 2007 [Guardian Unlimited]


One in six trusts is still putting patients on mixed-sex wards
- Daniel Martin, May 10, 2007 [Daily Mail(UK)]


Specialist stroke care 'lottery'
- May 9, 2007 [BBC News]


Smokers and the obese banned from UK hospitals
- May 2, 2007 [Healthcare News]


Cancer patients told life-prolonging treatment is too expensive for NHS
- Lyndsay Moss, February 13, 2007 [The Scotsman]


UK health service "harms 10 percent of patients"
- Kate Kelland, July 7, 2006 [Reuters]


5,000 elderly 'killed each year' by lack of care beds
- June 26, 2006 [Telegraph UK]


Dental Socialism in Britain
- Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., May 9, 2006 []


Pay for nurses and surgeons doubles NHS overspend
- Beezy Marsh, Patrick Hennessy and Nina Goswami, April 23, 2006 [Telegraph UK]


The money addicts: it's your cash they are gambling with
- Patience Wheatcroft, April 23, 2006 [Telegraph UK]


NHS chiefs get luxury car deals
- Daniel Foggo and Steven Swinford, April 9, 2006 [The Times]


Secret NHS plan to ration patient care
- Nigel Hawkes, April 7, 2006 [The Times]


British Healthcare To Be Rationed
- April 7, 2006 [United Press International]


British body rejects EPO drugs for cancer patients
- March 17, 2006 [Reuters]


National Health Service - Grappling with Deficits
- March 9, 2006 []


Hundreds wait to register as another dentist quits the NHS
- Martin Williams, September 23, 2005 [The Herald (Scotland)]


Life-saving cancer drugs 'kept from NHS patients by red tape'
- Sam Lister, September 20, 2005 [The Times]


NHS slides into the red despite record increases in health care spending
- September 20, 2005 [Telegraph UK]


Alzheimer's sufferers hit by further delay in NHS approval for vital drugs
- Michael Day, September 18, 2005 [Telegraph UK]


We all pay a price for our 'free' NHS
- John Smith, August 19, 2005 [The Scotsman]


2,000 British doctors out of work
- August 14, 2005 [The Washington Times]


UK health 'unsustainable'
- August 14, 2005 [Finance24]


NHS faces rising bill for negligence claims
- Ben Hall, August 8, 2005 [Financial Times]


British boy to go to India for operation
- August 5, 2005 [United Press International]


NHS failed to stop doctor raping scores of women
- Lois Rogers and Jonathon Carr-Brown, July 31, 2005 [The Times]


Top crimewriter funds drugs for cancer victim refused by NHS
- Martyn Halle, July 8, 2005 [Telegraph UK]


Report says NHS is mired in huge debts
- David Simms, June 25, 2005 [ABC Money (UK)]


U.K. set to restrict smoking
- June 21, 2005 [The Associated Press]


NHS ‘fund bias’ against men may cost 2,500 lives a year
- Sarah-Kate Templeton, June 19, 2005 [The Times]


Doubts on funding NHS 'monuments'
- Nicholas Timmins, June 10, 2005 [Financial Times]


17 million reasons why we must improve hospital meals
- June 7, 2005 [Cambridge Evening News]


Figures show more patients waiting for operations
- June 3, 2005 [Guardian UK]


Scarcity of NHS dental treatment is revealed
- Celia Hall, May 19, 2005 []


Why NHS Opposes 'Treatment by Demand' for the Dying
- Stephen Howard and Jan Colley, PA, May 18, 2005 [Scotsman]


800 queue for NHS dentists
- May 5, 2005 []


Hundreds more heroin addicts to be given a fix on the NHS
- Nic Fleming, April 25, 2005 []


British health service facing nurse exodus
- April 25, 2005 [United Press International]


About 400 patients a year in Scotland succumb to MRSA
- April 25, 2005 [Scotsman]


NHS debts soar to over £1bn
- Karyn Miller, April 24, 2005 []


British taxpayers foot $26.5 million bill for abortion tourists
- April 18, 2005 [Catholic World News]


U.K. Liberal Democrats Would Raise Taxes to Pay for Health Care
- Reed Landberg, April 14, 2005 [Bloomberg]


Number of NHS Bureaucrats 'Rising Faster Than Health Staff'
- Joe Churcher, March 22, 2005 [Scotsman]


'£500m hole' in hospital budgets
- Celia Hall, March 21, 2005 []


1,000 Scots desert NHS every week
- Murdo Macleod, March 5, 2005 [Scotsman]


British NHS facing financial crisis
- March 3, 2005 [Washington Times]


NHS drugs regulator to withdraw approval of Alzheimer's treatment
- Nicholas Timmins, March 2, 2005 [ - Financial Times]


NHS waiting list rises
- February 11, 2005 [Guardian UK]


Tumour patients hit by NHS shortages
- Jo Revill, February 6, 2005 [Guardian UK]


NHS financial crises set to outlast winter
- Mike Waites, February 4, 2005 [Yorkshire Post]


NHS 24 'priority' callers wait four hours for advice
- Caroline Wilson, January 14, 2005 [Evening Times (UK)]


'No strategy' on NHS waiting time
- January 14, 2005 [BBC]


Output figures show NHS decline
- John Carvel, October 19, 2004 [Guardian UK]


Heart patients die on waiting lists
- Peter Sharples, October 18, 2004 [Manchester Online]


£25bn overspend feared for NHS computer network
- Karen Attwood, October 12, 2004 []


Gaps in care cost £7bn, says charity
- John Carvel, October 4, 2004 [Guardian UK]


NHS excluding poor people, UK
- September 15, 2004 [Medical News Today]


Smokers 'should not get NHS care'
- September 6, 2004 [BBC News]


Waiting list row blights Brighton
- John Carvel, September 4, 2004 [Guardian UK]


Patients are denied the last rites under data protection law
- Elizabeth Day, July 25, 2004 []


Shortage of dentists to double by 2011
- John Carvel, July 24, 2004 [Guardian UK]


Britain's stiff upper lip gives way to a snarl
- Sarah Lyall, July 18, 2004 [The New York Times]


Hospital Overcrowding A Cause of Superbug Infections
- John von Radowitz, July 1, 2004 []


Hospital Crisis: Fallen Angels
- Lindsay Mcgarvie, May 23, 2004 [Glasgow Sunday Mail]


Study finds British hospitals are still austere, cold, smelly and poorly maintained
- May 6, 2004 []


Hospital bathrooms and showers: a continuing saga of inadequacy
- Andy Monro, MRCP & Graham P Mulley, DM, FRCP, May 2004 [Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine]


Majority back public smoking ban
- March 24, 2004 [BBC]


Discrimination Rampant In British Health Care
- Peter Moore, November 17, 2003 []


PERIPATETICS—To the Medical Socialists of All Parties
- Sheldon Richman, September 2003 []


Creeping Privatization?
Shortages of skilled workers, low morale, long queues for services, crumbling facilities and corrupt practises.
- Roland Watson, August 6, 2001 []


The World's Worst HMO
- Stephen D. Moore, November 24, 1999 [Random Thoughts]


Socialized Medicine in Great Britain: Lessons for the Oregon Health Plan
- Professor John Spiers, March 18, 1999 [Cascade Policy Institute]


The Sickbed Which is Socialized British Medicine
- December 23, 1997 [NCPA]


The British Way of Withholding Care
- Harry Schwarz, March 1989 []


Other European Countries


Only six potency pills per month to be covered by Social Insurance Institution
- August 13, 2004 [Helsingin Sanomat]


Hospitals on the verge of a breakdown
Switzerland’s hospitals may be the envy of the world, but rising health costs and patient numbers are increasingly putting the system under strain.
- July 24, 2003 []


Sweden Edges Toward Free-Market Medicine
- A. Wess Mitchell, August 31, 2001 [NCPA]


Netherlands aims to tackle health divide
Socioeconomic inequalities remain similar to those in the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries, despite a sustained effort over 20 years.
- Tony Sheldon, October 13, 2001 [British Medical Journal]


A Hard Lesson About Socialized Medicine
Europeans are now learning some hard facts of life about socialized medicine: there's no such thing as a free lunch.
- September 23, 1996 [CATO]


Paying The Price For Drugs In Europe
Whether they admit it or not, those who advocate 'making drugs more affordable for American seniors' are actually headed down a slippery slope to price controls, free-market analysts charge.
- Stephen D. Moore, July 21, 2000 [NCPA]


The Cuban Government has implemented a two-tiered medical system (e.g. "medical apartheid") that caters to foreign tourists while denying native Cubans access to basic medical necessities (at least it is "free" to them). This attempt to draw foreign dollars is one of many programs that were necessary once the Soviet subsidies ended in the early nineties.


Castro's Diet and Exercise Plan
- Ronald Bailey, September 25, 2007 [Reason]


Castro says still in full control after fall
The Communist dictator received prompt medical care to repair his shattered kneecap. He even used his cell phone from the ambulance. If only his countrymen had similar access to service and "evil" capitalist technology...
- Anthony Boadle, October 22, 2004 [Reuters]


La Lucha: The Human Cost of Economic Repression in Cuba
- Patricia Linderman, May 2000 [FEE]


Bad Cuban Medicine
Begging for medicines is common in Havana - next to begging for money to feed children, it is the most common plea...
- Larry Solomon, April 15, 2003 [Capitalism Magazine]


Parliament unanimously passed the Canada Health Act in 1984 and established a single-payer, publicly-financed health care system. To ensure a true government monopoly (is there any other kind?) Canadian provinces outlawed private health insurance.


Chaoulli v. Quebec UPDATE (June 9, 2005): In a 4 to 3 decision, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down Quebec's law that prohibits private medical insurance.


Surgery postponed indefinitely for 1,000 Kelowna patients
- Cathryn Atkinson, April 8, 2008 [Globe and Mail]


Majority of Que. dentists quit health-care system
- March 27, 2008 []


Why Ontario keeps sending patients south
- Lisa Priest, February 22, 2008 [Globe and Mail]


Will Socialized Health Care in the US Kill Canadians?
- Don Surber, March 3, 2008 [Acton Institute]


Wait times for surgery, medical treatments at all-time high: report
- October 15, 2007 [CBC News (Canada)]


The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care
- David Gratzer, Summer 2007 [City Journal]


Cancer patients question why PET scan not covered
- May 28, 2007 [CBC News]


BC Medical Association: Waiting Too Long for Hip and
Knee Surgery Costs $10,000 Per Patient-Maximum Wait Times Should Be No Longer Than 6 Months
- June 28, 2006 [CCN Matthews]


Ont. physician turns away patient for being 55+
- March 17, 2006 []


Canada inches toward private medicine
- Rebecca Cook Dube, August 8, 2005 [CS Monitor]


Doctor defends private cancer clinic
- Gillian Livingston, July 15, 2005 [Canadian Press]


Dogma trumps truth in health-care issues
- D’Arcy Jenish, July 7, 2005 [Ontario Business News]


Why Canadians Purchase Private Health Insurance
- Walter Williams, June 20, 2005 [Capitalism Magazine]


Doctor welcomes health ruling
- June 9, 2005 [CBC Montreal]


Patients shouldn't wait more than 8 weeks for cardiac defibrillator: experts
- May 24, 2005 [Canadian Press]


Grads fail to slow doctor shortage
- Jennifer O'Brien, May 21, 2005 [London Free Press]


Free Canadian health care comes at cost
- April 10, 2005 [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]


Canada's drug tab reaches $22 billion, report suggests
- Sheryl Ubelacker, CP, April 6, 2005 [London Free Press]


Canadian health care is free and first-class -- if you can wait
- Beth Duff-Brown, March 19, 2005 [The Associated Press]


Pediatricians, parents warn of shortage of community-based care for children
- Colin Perkel, March 4, 2005 [The Canadian Press]


Access to specialists difficult: study
- February 16, 2005 [CBC Calgary]


Doctor shortages, frustrations vary from region to region, survey shows
- February 15, 2005 []


Montreal leads the country in offering private health care
- Aaron Derfel, February 12, 2005 [Montreal Gazette]


Canada falling short on medical imaging
- February 9, 2005 []


Creative incentives required to retain older doctors
- Dr. Charles Shaver, January 20, 2005 [Toronto Star]


MRI gap defies cash fix
- Mark Kennedy, January 14, 2005 [National Post (Canada)]


A boy's plight, a nation's problem
- Lisa Priest, January 13, 2005 [The Globe and Mail]


Where's proof private clinics cost more?
- Tom Brodbeck, December 4, 2004 [The Winnipeg Sun]


Surgery backlog tops 5,500 at kids' hospitals; One-year waits common
- Aaron Derfel, December 3, 2004 [The Gazette (Montreal)]


Hospital wait lists to get worse, Carriere says
- Chris Traber, November 14, 2004 []


Frustrated patients can't handle ER waits
- Jennifer Stewart and Jeffrey Simpson, October 28, 2004 [The Halifax Herald Limited]


Private medical clinic opens in Montreal answers, "an ever-increasing demand from the public for greater accessibility and quality of health services."
- October 13, 2004 []


Canadians have higher death risk than Americans after heart attack: study
- Sheryl Ubelacker, September 20, 2004 []


Canadian medical tourists in India
- Jeremy Copeland, September 20, 2004 [CBC News]


Doctor shortage cripples Canada's free health care
- Clifford Krauss, September 18, 2004 [Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune]


Canada's Once-Proud Public Health System in Crisis
- David Ljunggren, September 14, 2004 [Reuters (Ottawa)]


Hospitals to cut, again
- September 5, 2004 [Toronto Star]


Canada's Medical Nightmare
- Robert J. Cihak, M.D., September 1, 2004 [Health Care News]


Canada faces shortage of doctors
- August 19, 2004 [MSNBC]


Canadians losing faith in health system: poll
- August 16, 2004 []


Ontario hospitals a health risk
- Michael Hurley, August 8, 2004 [Toronto Star]


Need surgery? Here's how long you'll wait
"It's inhuman. The quality of my life is horrible and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it."
- Jason Fekete, July 28, 2004 [Calgary Herald]


Docs, nurses fed up
Canadian doctors and nurses are fed up with inter-governmental "bickering" that is dragging out wait times and causing more pain and suffering for patients.
- July 28, 2004 [Winnipeg Sun]


Free Health Care? some cases, patients die on the waiting list because they become too sick to tolerate a procedure.
- Walter E. Williams, July 24, 2004 [CATO]


The truth about Canada's ailing health-care system
All the major candidates in Canada's recent national election acknowledged that the country's health-care system is failing Canadians.
- Robert J. Cihak, July 13, 2004 [The Seattle Times]


Health-care crisis looms, even with new money
Canada's health-care system is "five to 10 years" from the breaking point -- even with cash injections from government, says the new president of the B.C. Medical Association.
- Doug Alexander, July 5, 2004 [Vancouver Sun]


Emergency room delays a strong campaign factor
"Go into the emergency room — it is the most pitiful piece of work you ever seen in your life."
- David Bruser, June 22, 2004 [Toronto Star]


Canadian Health Care in Crisis
Analyst visits NC to describe how single-payer health care really works in practice.
- Donna Martinez, June 17, 2004 [Carolina Journal]


Quebec cancer patients sue over wait
Women waited months for radiation; lawsuit could cost system $50-million.
- Ingrid Peritz, March 11, 2004 [The Globe and Mail]


Health care: no waiting lists
'You get knee surgery within two days ... try and get that in human hospitals.' Canada's [private] pet health-insurance industry is projected to grow at roughly 50 per cent a year...
- Robert Scalia, November 30, 2003 [Montreal Gazette]


For some, surgery abroad a welcome answer
- Daniel Girard, November 29, 2003 [Toronto Star]


Canadian Doctors Eyeing United States
- Clifford Krauss, October 17, 2003 [The New York Times]


The Top Ten Things People Believe About Canadian Health Care, But Shouldn’t
- Brian Lee Crowley, October 9, 2003 [Mackinac Center for Public Policy]


Canadians' health at risk, CMA says
- Valerie Lawton, September 26, 2003 [Toronto Star]


Burnout is now doctors' ailment
Almost half of Canadian doctors say they're burned out, emotionally exhausted and blame medicine for putting a drain on their family life.
- Karen Palmer, August 20, 2003 [Toronto Star]


New MRI clinic in row over poaching
While she insists she's not making any money off the venture, she says it provides an income allowance for her and her husband, the other principal in the company.
- Theresa Boyle and Robert Benzie, July 28, 2003 [Toronto Star]


Price Controls and Overall Drug Spending
The Canadian system, however, tends to push up overall spending on prescription drugs, despite the low prices for some brand name ones.
- John Melby, July 2, 2003 [Buckeye Institute]


Gore Endorses Canada's Medical System
- William L. Anderson, November 29, 2002 [Mises]


How Good is Canadian Health Care?
- August 2002 [Fraser Institute]


Canadian Health-Care System Is No Model for Prescription Drug Reform
- May 1, 2001 [Mackinac Center for Public Policy]


The Ghost of America's Health Care Future Lives in Canada Today
- James Frogue and Robert Moffit, December 25, 2000 [Capitalism Magazine]


Socialized Medicine: The Canadian Experience
Explores several lessons that can be drawn from the Canadian experience with socialized medicine:
Socialized medicine, although of poor quality, is very expensive;
Political compromise is the result;
Socialized medicine is both a consequence and a great contributor to the idea that economic conditions should be equalized by coercion.
- Pierre Lemieux [The Freeman]


Canadian Health Care
...if Canadians knew as much as they think they do about the economic and moral workings of Medicare, they might not be as enthusiastic as they are about their cherished right to 'free' health care.
- Andrei Kreptul, August 30, 2000 [Mises]


When Patients Become Victims - The Crime of Government-Run Health Care
- Merrill Matthews Jr., Ph.D. and Kerri Houston, May 1, 2000 (PDF format)


Socialized Medicine Leaves a Bad Taste in Patients' Mouths
- Lawrence W. Reed, February 23, 2000 [Mackinac Center for Public Policy]


Canadians Dissatisfied With Socialized Medicine
- January 26, 2000 [NCPA]


Memo to Al Gore: Canadian Medicine Isn't Cheap or Effective
- William McArthur, former chief coroner for British Columbia, January 28, 2000


Loved to Death: America's Unresolved Health-Care Crisis
As Canada's national government slashes spending on medical care in order to reduce the deficit, local provinces are reducing medical staff. In Ontario, pregnant women are being sent to Detroit because no obstetricians are available. Specialists of all kinds are in short supply. Patients have to wait eight weeks for an MRI, ten weeks for referral to a specialist, and four months for heart bypass surgery.
- Michael J. Hurd, November 1997 [Liberty Haven]


Is Canadian Health care a Good Model for the U.S. to Follow?
- Michael Walker, August 1994 [Liberty Haven]


Health of the State (commentary by a cancer survivor)
I tell you this not to alarm you, to elicit sympathy, or to bore you. I tell you because the episode has been, for me, a salutary lesson (just in case I needed one) in why the government should not be allowed anywhere near a syringe, a dressing, a scalpel, an oxygen mask, a tissue sample — anything to do with health.


Michigan Shouldn't Copy Canada's Health System
- Lawrence W. Reed, July 29, 1991 [Mackinac Center for Public Policy]


Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


Russia's Health Care Is Crumbling: Dire Lack of Funds Creates Sick, Dwindling Populace And 'National Emergency'
- Jeanne Whalen, February 13, 2004 [Wall Street Journal]


Capitalism Comes to Russian Health Care
With the "free" government-run health system in Russia in a state of collapse, an increasing amount of health care is being provided by for-profit clinics and hospitals.
- Michael Wines, December 22, 2000 [New York Times]


Russia's public health care system is crumbling
- Rob Reynolds, November 13, 1995 [CNN]


Socialized Health-Care Nightmare
In contrast to the impression created by the liberal American media, health-care institutions in Russia were at least fifty years behind the average U.S. level.
- Yuri Maltsev and Louise Omdahl, November 1994 [Liberty Haven]


New Zealand
New Zealand's Ministry of Health is the New Zealand "Government's principal agent and advisor on health and disability."


On the waiting list roller-coaster
- Martin Johnson, March 20, 2008 [The New Zealand Herald]


No charge for trips to emergency department
The figures show most people who arrive at the emergency departments don't need to be there.
- Alison Brown, December 17, 2004 [Rotorua Daily Post]


Surgical waiting lists numbers come under twin attacks
- November 15, 2004 []


Hospital Waiting Lists Under Serious Pressure
- October 26, 2004 [Scoop New Zealand News]


Hundreds on waiting list as hospital pleads for help
- August 23, 2004 [The New Zealand Herald]


Private hospitals offer help with waiting lists
- August 12, 2004 [The New Zealand Herald]


Alarm over GP shortage
- July 5, 2004 [The New Zealand Herald]


Hospital urges patients to stay away unless really ill
- March 6, 2004 [The New Zealand Herald]


U.S. health care problems caused by government intervention
All of the pervasive problems within the U.S. health care system are a direct result of statism. Unfortunately, most Americans buy into the feel-good soundbites and look to the socialist utopia to provide answers, not understanding that additional government intervention always worsens the problems.


Not even the so-called experts who villify capitalism understand the difference between Statism/socialism and liberty (see Dr. Arnold S. Relman's For-Profit Health Care: Expensive, Inefficient and Inequitable, in which he refers to "HMOs that would be paid by the government" as "care under the private system").


"War on Fat"
Creeping socialism gives government bureaucrats the power to pry into your eating habits for "the public good".


Deadly shortage
The federal ban on profit incentive is killing those awaiting organ transplants.


Entitlement programs eating up U.S. budget
- Stephen Ohlemacher, December 27, 2005 []


New York Medicaid Fraud May Reach Into Billions
- Clifford J. Levy and Michael Luo, July 18, 2005 [The New York Times]


Bad Medicine
The blame for the inadequacies caused by government’s intrusion into health care and other industries does not lie solely on the shoulders of politicians and bureaucrats; it also lies on the masses.
- Emiliano Antunez, June 24, 2005 [Strike the Root]


Medical trade is rife with inefficiencies, health secretary says
- Dave Murphy, May 25, 2005 [San Fransisco Chronicle]


Wanted: Scientific Reason for FDA's Gay ***** Ban
- Aubrey Noelle Stimola, May 23, 2005 [American Council on Science and Health]


Clinton, Gingrich Team Up on Health Care - Kevin Frekin

Check out the wait times Canadians have to endure for their “free” health care and keep in mind that Alberta is one of Canada’s wealthiest provinces.



Josie06 Josie06
56-60, F
112 Responses Mar 8, 2009

Re Undertone's list (three comments ago) - many of those things seem like good ideas. A lot of it is done here in Australia. Guess you need to think about what you actually want Government to DO in society (if not look after the poor and disadvantaged on your behalf)?

When you think of government health care and that as way to control costs:<br />
<br />
The government thinks nothing of paying $3000 for a hammer and $6000 for a toilet seat. I read where each haircut given free to members of congress amortize out at about $1300 per cut.

That is one disturbing list there Undertone...<br />
<br />
"PG 476 19-20 Chapter 35/ title 44, (Privacy of personal records) shall not apply Home Medical Services. ACORN ACCESS"<br />
<br />
The above does not surprise me at all.

On that last point, don't forget the fear of litigation that also drives over-servicing the US. If Australia was a more litigious society, we might have more of the same problem.<br />
<br />
Thankfully, not :) The Aussie system really is pretty good... and it would have been interesting for Josie to also include some headlines about the US health care system in her survey!

I think providing health care should be the duty of the government and should be completely free. You cant put cost benefit analysis on people's health. But i firmly believe that efficient use of the medical system and its assets are important to provide a good health care system. But unnecessary items like nose jobs and boob jobs should be charged to the last cent. What i mean is importance should be given to critical care, research and training facilities.

No Josie, you'd rather have the GD idiotic, money grubbing INSURANCE companies running it...into the ground.<br />
No management?<br />
Tell that to the Military you love so well.<br />
Or the highways, freeways, Air Traffic Controllers, shall I go on, fool?

What we need is a system WITHOUT the GD idiotic power hungry US Government RUNNING IT! They have NO management ability and should not be in charge of Any One's life.

What we really need is an NHS with zero insurance companies.<br />
How do we know this is better?<br />
Because those nations which have them ALL outlive Americans!

Josie, your research is very extensive and compelling in the aspect of a social health care system from other countries. I agree that in order to move forward, learning from the mistakes and trials of others if a logical manner to approach anything.<br />
<br />
While keithseeker has made a good point about Medicare and Medicaid, we can not forget the one thing that must be considered. The corporate pharmaceutical companies are in control of the cost and supply of medication to every part of the planet. Do the hospitals in the USA have different sources for supplies than those in Canada, Australia or any place else. That would be hard to believe. <br />
<br />
Second the government need to propel business and continue the support of corporations that create and or maintain wealth for the nation, is more likely the cause of the push for a social system in the medical field. Pharmaceutical companies and oil companies are two major money makers in the corporate world. While the promise of a managed health care system would lead some to feel that the government has taken an appropriate step, there may be some in the VA system that feel that system may be a guide for what is to follow.<br />
<br />
Three, while the bill of rights and the second bill of rights both give American's the right to health care, there does not appear to be any place that I have found so far pertaining to the government forcing American's to purchase any service or product without written law.<br />
One article I did read (sorry for not having a resource to follow) states that it is akin to the government fining American's for nothing more than being law abiding citizens.<br />
The voice of the American people is being sidestepped, or taken as a pretext to something the government and corporation's see as another means of increasing their coffer's with.<br />
The genetic engineering of humans was outlawed, but the engineering of plants was somehow overlooked. Now there are corporation's that own the rights to the production of food because they have a patent on a seed!!!! Is this something American's were given the chance to vote on? And if it was do you think that vote made any difference?<br />
<br />
While the need to fix the health care system is of utmost importance, I feel steps made in this aspect would do more for Americans than creating a national health care system.<br />
<br />
People have a tendency to take advantage of things and alter them to better suit they're needs. Medicine is no exception. Take for example the vanity operations that take place by the thousands, maybe millions every year. The breast implants, the face lifts, reconstructive surgeries because someone doesn't like how they're nose looks, and so many other such procedures.<br />
<br />
While there is a huge wealth of knowledge of different procedures and diagnosis available, it would seem that such information is not used to it's fullest. Which means that no matter how much money you throw at any one study, practice or business, it will never reach it's peak performance if it does not take advantage of knowledge.<br />
<br />
While I agree that a national medical system would be wonderful and help improve life for many, imposing fines on those who don't need medical coverage now is like getting into a restaurant and being told your paying extra because the guy that came in after you may not be able to pay for his meal.

I lived in Canada for three years. The process was slow, but my kids got proper attention. I hate the idea of health care bureaucracy, but the truth is insurance companies are bureaucracies too. My daughter was in hospital three times in the last two years. She needed a check-up before she went back to college. <br />
She also needed to see the doctor who performed the operation, so that her progress could be monitored. The insurance company BCBS only allows for one well care visit a year. Because she needed the examination three days before the due date, she was denied. The stonewalling and push back from the insurance company was unbelievable. So let's sum up here. The difference between government health care and private health care is that you pay a lot of money to get pushed around by private insurance companies.<br />
I am sure someone can print an equally impressive list of ways in which insurance companies deny coverage ( and reward their employees for doing so) for the sake of pure profit.

What I can say is this: No country has a perfect health care system, although France is pretty close. They even provide nanny's for new parents for the 1st YEAR! That's pretty amazing.<br />
What I can tell you is that I don't have any insurance. I can't afford it and my company doesn't offer it. If they did I maybe could afford it, but I have cervical cancer and that's a preexsisting condition, so it wouldn't help me. I have several problems and because I can't afford to go to the doctor, you know MY doctor I have to go to the hospital where they're going to bill me a couple thousand dollars which I'm not going to pay because if I could afford a couple thousand than I'd buy health insurance, but they won't insure me because of my preexsisting conditions.<br />
What I know is that I'm 30, I'm a single mom and I work for a living. Everyday I wonder if I'm going to die from cancer because I can't afford the treatment and then I wonder who will take care of my son then I worry what happens if my son gets sick. My credit is ruined because of my hospital visits and I can't even get cheap car insurance cause hey, they run your credit now (has nothing to do with my ability to drive), but that's a story for another day.<br />
I'm just 1 of the 400,000 who don't have insurance. I know everyone has a story, but for me Obama's plan is the only way not just for me to be insured, but for me to LIVE! My son deserves a mom and it would be a shame that because some people are selfish and don't care if their neighbors are uninsured that he's going to be without me.

i know and realize our healthcare in the US needs change. i am not sold on the idea that government is the only way to go.

Multiple studies indicate that hospital care in Canada costs approximately 40 percent less per patient than in the United States. <br />
<br />
The primary reason, however, that the Canadian system is less expensive is that providers are reimbursed by a single source: the government. This significantly reduces administrative costs; Canadian health care providers do not need to determine patients' insurance coverage or prepare detailed bills for private insurers, and charges need not be attributed to individual patients.<br />
<br />
As a Canadian, I will be the first one to admit that the system is not perfect. However, I will tell you that when someone I know need care, they received all the care they required, at no cost. <br />
<br />
That includes terminally ill cancer patients, cardiac patients, joint replacements, transplants etc.<br />
<br />
Recently I had a minor accident that required 7 stitches. My wait time in emergency: 25 minutes; Cost $0.00.<br />
<br />
I have a sister who had Cancer. She was immediately scheduled to get chemotherapy. Today she is now cancer free. Her treatment costs $0.00.<br />
<br />
People complain about the system and you always read the horror stories but you never hear anything about the positive side of the Canadian Health care system. <br />
<br />
Why are drugs cheaper in Canada than the US? They are the same drugs, manufactured by the same companies in the same manufacturing facilities but sold for 20% to 40% less in Canada.<br />
<br />
Part of the reason drugs are cheaper in Canada is due to regulatory oversight that prevents overcharging for these drugs. <br />
<br />
The American HMO's, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies all have a vested interest in ensuring that socialized medicine doesn't happen in the US. They spend vast amounts of money lobbying politicians and funding studies disproving the economics of socialized medicine. <br />
<br />
Yet everyone of those companies regularly turn out record profits. And the American people are funding those profits.<br />
<br />
It is with great bewilderment that the rest of the world watches the US paranoia over socialized medicine. When I talk to Americans they have these wild stories about the Canadian health care system that I have never heard or experienced. <br />
<br />
If you are an illegal alien, then you are not covered. Health care is a great motivator to ensure that people live in Canada legally.<br />
<br />
It may not be a perfect system but it is a great system and we work hard at improving the system every day.<br />
<br />
I can tell you that I am proud to live in a country where every citizen is covered under the health care system.

#1 - military-industrial complex will agree ... but will not short the troops in any way.<br />
<br />
#2 - i can agree, the problem is that is not where we are at, nor are we anywhere near self sufficiency with fossil fuels or green fuels. Much more work needed here.<br />
<br />
#3 - Mj has many uses in studies i've read, if we treat it as alcohol with age restrictions, etc and for driving offenses ... i'm fine with that. Prostitution would see safer environment for the ladies (and gents) involved. With taxes and health checks (like in Europe) the pimps and bad influences would be gone.<br />
<br />
#4 - Made the Dem comment to reflect the opposite side of your Pubbie comment, that's all. i too prefer no politics in a church or it's property.<br />
<br />
#5 - No not the military ... that is a legitimate Constitutional expenditure by Congress ... as is national security, foreign affairs, etc. Other things, such as entitlements entitlements are not. Entitlements and schools (to name just two) should be at the State & Local level not the Federal. It is there now by the fed power grab and they dictate the rules and shove it down to the states and locals as unfunded mandates.

Josie- <br />
<br />
Like I said on #1, we could easily cut our military budget in half and our soldiers wouldn't suffer. Soldier's pay and benefits aren't the expensive portion of our military spending and wouldn't have to change one cent. Our military industrial complex is a growth industry, just like every other industry, it shows progress by continuing to grow. This growth is unnecessary, as like I mentioned, we aren't in competition with anyone but ourselves. Hello, the cold war is over, people. <br />
<br />
On #2, if we funneled the money we're dumping into occupying Iraq into alternative energy sources, then we could have already been energy independent. Too bad we were being led by the short sighted idiots that would rather flush money down the drain trying to protect our oil addiction. If one didn't know any better, one might think that the last president and friends were a bunch of oil men. Wait a minute...<br />
<br />
Glad you agree on marijuana, and I can't really care one way or the other with prostitution. I'd rather not have ****** on every street corner, but I can see how much we waste trying to stop the oldest profession. <br />
<br />
On #4 I don't know why you would try to imply that I'd be in favor of letting 'democratic' churches slide just because I like their recommendations. I've made it quite clear that I hate all churches, and I don't want any mingling between church and state done on any side. If there is, then tax the hell out of them. That goes for the 'black' churches that no doubt supported Obama. $crew them all. <br />
<br />
On #5 I think your goal of starving the government of taxes can be admirable, depending on where the starvation occurs. For instance, I think it would be horrible to keep our current military budget and then shut down funding for education and entitlements across the board. (which we all know would be the first things that most conservatives would want eliminated)

#1. Cutting the military budget must be done wisely to protect our soldiers, sailor, airmen and Marines. Looking out for their pay (they do not need to be on food stamps and qualify for welfare as they did under Clinton), health care, insurance, etc. Plus research on weapons to keep our military in the front of the field. This is one of the very few legitimate Constitutional expenditures of a federal government - national defense.<br />
<br />
#2. i'm torn on this one cause at times we will have legitimate interests in other nations. The Middle East for their oil until we can become self-sufficient.<br />
<br />
#3. Marijuana and Prostitution should be legalized. Marijuana has some positives and negatives, but if you drive under the influence you should get a ticket just like alcohol. Ending prostitution would put many a pimp out of business and maybe get better safer conditions for the girls. Just don't let the government run it.<br />
<br />
#4. If churches say "Vote for Pro-Choice candidates (Democrats) let them have exempt status? <br />
<br />
All politicking should be out of churches. Period. No candidate should be giving sermons or talks, like Clinton or Kennedy, in a church. Hire a hall for that.<br />
<br />
#5. Change the income tax to a consumption tax at the federal level (FairTax) and abolish all the other taxes. Force Congress onto a diet of less taxpayer money.

Keith- <br><br />
<br><br />
No, I'm saying that a government system with safeguards would be better than just a private system + Medicare/Medicaid. I concede that government programs have a legacy of being inefficient, but in my mind the solution to that isn't to reduce government's role but to improve it. <br><br />
<br><br />
I think an increased government system will, at the end of the day, be required if we are to seriously improve non-coverage in the system. I am not 'against' doing the things you suggest, for they will probably help tremendously. I just don't think those improvements, even in a best case scenario, will be enough to address several key areas. <br><br />
<br><br />
For instance, I think our system has a fatal flaw in that people get their coverage through their employer. I think that's a bad idea for the employee, who loses their coverage when they lose their job, something that's happened 4,000,000 times in the past year. <br><br />
<br><br />
It's also a bad idea for the employer, who has to deal with the massive expense of providing a health plan to their full time employees. To illustrate how much businesses hate this, many businesses try to get around it by cutting people's hours to a point where they are considered part time. <br><br />
<br><br />
I think that our healthcare system is also bad for our economy, because during hard economic times such as now, responsible people who have done nothing wrong are one serious illness away from losing their homes and going bankrupt. Talk to people in other countries and they repeatedly say they admire so many things about America but are confused why we don't view healthcare as a right, and that we must stress a lot about it. <br><br />
<br><br />
So it took a while, but I think we've finally reached the crossroads. I agree with you on your ideas on innovating the private sector. We disagree on if this will be sufficient reform. You agree with me that government programs are going to have a role to play, but we disagree to what extent. <br><br />
<br><br />
You favor a system of almost entirely private sector for-profit healthcare, while I support an expanded government plan. You say that my idea is too expensive and not sustainable, and if we are going off of today's expenditures I would say you're right. So we'd have to find a way to pay for it. I would propose the following in order to pay for it:<br><br />
<br><br />
1: Cut our military budget in half. We'd still be light years ahead of any other country. <br><br />
<br><br />
2: Quit policing the world and expanding/protecting our empire. Sometimes (like in WWII) there is a need for our military might. Policing a civil war between Sunni and Shia doesn't qualify. <br><br />
<br><br />
3: Legalize and tax marijuana, like tobacco and alcohol. <br><br />
<br><br />
4: Tax churches, since they insist on telling their congregations to vote for pro-life candidates (Republicans)<br><br />
<br><br />
5: Change the tax code back to the same levels we had in the 1990's and re-instate the estate tax. <br><br />
<br><br />
These things would pay the bills, and we'd just need people like you to be a watchdog on oversight to make sure that the government systems were working efficiently.

So if I am reading you correctly...a government system, no matter how bad, would be much better than a private system that has built in safe-guards? Not sure I know what your business background is but the one thing that our government has done poorly for all these years is develop real contracts with clear expectations. What if the government established the expectations and allow the legal types of the world develop an incentive based contract that would ensure all the things we have been talking about. Would that suffice? I somehow believe that no matter what, you would want a government program no matter what. Am I misreading you?<br />
As far as the private sector wanting to build a system that would meet the needs of all..where is the incentive? Where are the expectations? I am not discounting anything that you have stated and know you have hit major issues and concerns. I just look at the past performance of government in this area and they have failed. I have few problems with government providing the expectations (as long as they make sense...yes I know...a whole different issue). I have a few more problems with the government legislating this but that might be needed (as long as it makes sense). Don’t believe a single payer system is the way to go and I agree with you that the private sector must play a role. However, I think the role should be much greater than the governments role.

*shrugs* Sure, it seems like it would be easy enough to improve on our current system by making those changes. And yes, we could funnel those savings towards trying to bring down our infant mortality, increase life expectancy and find some way to get the uninsured and underinsured coverage... but the reason I keep going back to a nationalized health plan is because I still think that it will be needed. There's just not going to be a lot of profit to be made from getting the uninsured poor health coverage. If there were a profitable way, then wouldn't our capitalist economy have found it by now? The only feasible way I see is to increase the pool from which premiums are coming in from, and that is why a nationalized system that everyone buys into would work best for providing the most coverage to the most people. Just like other countries, we wouldn't scrap the private sector, there would still be need for them to insure procedures that are too rare and expensive to provide to the masses. And given people's strong knee jerk gut reactions to anything appearing to be "socialist", the private sector would probably need to be much bigger and more prevalent than it is in other countries. People would still be able to look at those options if they were interested, but a national system that everyone takes part in would make us (as a nation) much more protected. If people are just dead set against it then they should be able to opt out of paying in any increased taxes and just go it alone like they are now.<br><br />
<br><br />
I think our work based coverage system is flawed. It's bad enough to get a pink slip during a recession, but it makes it devastating when a family's sole provider not only loses his income but also his health coverage. It's a shameful double whammy. COBRA coverage just adds insult to injury, because the premiums are about 3x the premiums they were paying when they actually had an income. How are they supposed to afford a higher premium on no income? It's a sad, desperate, system. Additionally, it would be a boom for the economy if employers weren't saddled with this big liability of providing healthcare to their employees. This would be a huge weight lifted off the back of employers, especially smaller businesses like the one I work at (family owned RV dealership). <br />
<br />
<br />
But if people are in love with it they should be able to continue that, if that's what they want. They would just forfeit any coverage they would have through the national plan. Somehow I think the national plan would end up being the national democratic healthcare plan, since the Republicans who are scared of government or just plain disgusted with government probably would opt out.

Wasn't trivializing health care and foreclosure...just saying lets not build a new insurance program based on that issue alone. The overall percentage of that as it relates to all mortgages is very small But again...don't we have to fix what is already up and running. I think you agree with that concept but sometimes you seem to keep going back to a nationalized health plan. If the current systems were “fixed” and that “saved money” was put back into those systems and provide coverage for those without, would that be something that might work in your opinion? Of course would still need to work on mortality issues especially for infants but that could be accomplished with some of the “savings”. Or is it an all or nothing government issue with you? For example, if the government could develop a contractual relationship with the private sector (based on those saved dollars) to improve services and provide coverage to those who don’t have it, would that take care of the issue? And yes I know there are a lot of what if’s but could that be the genesis of something far superior to what is already in existence?

Keith- <br />
<br />
It does provide more clarity, thanks. And I didn't mean to say that you were ignoring the 800 pound gorilla, but I wanted to point out that you were trivializing the role of healthcare costs in foreclosures. <br />
<br />
Also, I didn't mean to dismiss wait times as irrelevant, but I was acknowledging up front that wait times for major procedures is one area that our system outshines others. Another area is the profit that doctors can make here, but again if you look at wealth you have to factor in healthcost. A doctor may make less in another country because they are taxed more, but then they get services there that they have to pay for here, so that evens out. Citizens in other countries are more wealthy individually though (in my opinion), because their governments mandate greater time off/vacations/leave/etc. At least from what I've seen and heard, I've never been a doctor in European countries so I can't speak from experience. <br />
<br />
Making congress enroll and deal with medicare/medicaid is a nice idea. But if the government were able to create a sustainable balanced budget AND offer a plan to most if not all Americans like they currently give our senators, I would view that as a good thing. I believe we could afford it if we weren't dropping hundreds of billions occupying countries and policing the world, and if we changed our tax rates back to the "socialist" levels of the 1990's.

VendettA...have I ever said don’t look at the 800 pound gorilla? I have never said that and have provided some examples of how to “right the ship”. Not sure why you can’t understand that. I am really at a loss for that. I did agree that medical problems play a role in the does living beyond ones means. Lot of factors related to foreclosure issues.<br />
It was a nice tagline...thank you. When you compare quality of services and medical expertise, lets be careful not to mix apples and oranges which is what some studies do. Why leave out wait time? Isn’t that a huge issue to focus on? All of the major innovations in the health care field have come from the US. Change the system too much and that goes away (unless the government funds research which has tons of problems associated with that). Most of the expertise in medicine does reside in the US as compared to other countries. Why do you think many of the top notch doctors come to the US? One is the opportunity to make advances in the field and the second is the money (people are greedy...what can you say). Now if you want to discuss mortality ratings and what not...that is a whole different story. Of course a lot of the issues related to how lazy and overweight we are as a society has nothing to do about that. That is not strictly a health care issue but does have a huge impact. Preventative models can and should have an impact with that and I believe there are ways to bring about change with is a key one as well as making kids more active by getting them involved in activities (along with their parents). How many parents take that much concern with their kids weight and activity levels? We have turned into a society that someone else will deal with “my kids problems” and “others will take care of my problems”. A totally different issue but has impact on this whole discussion of health care. Infant mortality is dismal and a major problem here. I agree with that one but again lets look at the preventative aspect of pre-natal care and how we have done a terrible job. Could the private sector do something about that better than the government? Of course they can. The real question is how do you fund something like that.<br />
Medicare and Medicaid the only attempts...but what huge attempts they have been and covers millions and millions of lives (with major problems based on mortality, other metrics and cost). Josie provided some information related to other attempts. The same health plan that Congress gets for everyone would break the I would suggest that all of Congress get enrolled in Medicare and/or Medicaid and then lets see how quickly they realize there is a problem and fix it! However, the fix needs to be carefully planned out. Would the savings from fixing these programs then cover everyone else? Probably not all of it but I believe a majority of it. At that point begin to look at how to further improve the health care system via the private sector. Again, most of what is needed is preventative plans for “future” generations and for most people right now. Get some of that correct and lots of future problems disappear. I fear that people will still fall into the cracks regardless of what is done. But if the financial issues are resolved it allows for further exploration of new and creative plans. I sound like a broken record but I think government can be the driving force behind it but should not administer it based on previous failures. By employing all of the things that I have said here and in previous posts I truly believe that the health care system in this country would be improved dramatically. However, if we allow the government to continue, we will still have major mortality issues, still have millions not covered and continue to waste billions of dollars. Hope that provides more clarity.

Medicare: In 1945 President Harry Truman sent a message to Congress asking for legislation establishing a national health insurance plan. Didn't happen then.<br />
<br />
Medicare's Controversial History: The idea behind Medicare grew out of the movement for government health and retirement insurance that spawned Social Security. However, a national health care plan felt like Communism to some, so the program was initially met with resistance. Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. When Medicare went into effect in 1966, over 19 million people enrolled [Ref]. (See<br />
<br />
<br />
Federal law mandates that states run Medicaid programs, and also sets minimum eligibility ... the largest unfunded mandate by the federal gov't and requires a lot more and deeper analysis.<br />
<br />
Medicare falls into the same unfunded mandate category.<br />
<br />
<br />
Congress has overstepped their authority ... and violated States Rights in this area. The Feds set all the rules and expect the States to foot the bill. <br />
<br />
Laudable ideas yes ... mismanaged by the Feds, that's a yes too.

Keith- <br />
<br />
Here's a study you can read conducted over 4 states, just so you know it's not just me and the Tribune that think healthcare is playing a huge role in the foreclosure crisis: <br />
<br /><br />
<br />
<br />
From the paper:<br />
<br />
<br />
"Half of all respondents (49%) indicated that their foreclosure was caused in part by a medical problem, including illness or injuries (32%), unmanageable medical bills (23%), lost work due to a medical problem (27%), or caring for sick family members (14%). We also examined ob<x>jective indicia of medical disruptions in the previous two years, including those respondents paying more than $2,000 of medical bills out of pocket (37%), those losing two or more weeks of work because of injury or illness (30%), those currently disabled and unable to work (8%), and those who used their home equity to pay medical bills (13%). Altogether, seven in ten respondents (69%) reported at least one of these factors."<br />
<br />
<br />
I'm not saying it's the only reason. I worked as a mortgage officer at a credit union during the housing boom, and I was frequently undercut by the predatory mortgage brokers which were the first to go under. I realize that the standard story of people getting in over their head does play a part in our current narrative. However, only a fool would ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room that's wearing the banner "healthcare". <br />
<br />
You say:<br />
<br />
"Our “strange work-place” insurance has resulted in the best medical services, highest quality care, and innovations in the health care field of any other country."<br />
<br />
And I'll return the compliment you gave me and say: nice tagline. I guess my question would be, since we have the best medical services, highest quality care, and best innovations in the health care field... why is it that when you compare the US to other country's using any metric you want (besides wait times) that we come up severely lacking? Forget #1, why aren't we at least in the top 10 of categories? Would all of that be fixed if we adopted your suggested tweaks? <br />
<br />
To my knowledge, Medicare and Medicaid are the only attempts of our government at getting involved in the healthcare sector. And yet you make a statement that we must seek (primarily) private sector solutions because it is the key to quality healthcare and that a socialized model doesn't work. When did we try a socialized model? If we can find a way to provide the same healthcare plan that senators and representatives get to the public, then why can't we try that? We can do that in addition to what you are suggesting.

So how much and what kind of incentives does the private sector need and who is going to provide those incentives?

VendettA...let’s not forget my statements about more preventive services which is one of the big issues. Further, I also stated by implementing basic things in the current programs you probably would not need another insurance program. To spell it out more clearly, the monies saved could be utilized to provide the needed services elsewhere. Incentives to the private sector would bring about the changes needed.<br />
Stop with all the people losing their homes because of medical expenses. I had asked you before for numbers and all you provided was that the Chicago Tribune went to a foreclosure court and that was the major reason. I stated that it does have an impact but lets not build a new wasteful program based on no real information about home foreclosures. Please use a little logic in your thinking.<br />
Research has shown for a long time that most people do not seek out a primary care physician and would rather utilize an urgent care or emergency room for basic problems. I mentioned about visiting physician programs which could assist with this process because they visit the patient in their homes. In my State, we have an agency that started this service over 15 years ago. They are now in 5 states and continue to grow. Not to mention that these doctors also provide services to the indigent at no cost but lets not get into how some people help others because they want to. As I stated before one of the major problems they face is no codes related to their service for the Medicaid patient. Change the coding system to allow this and a large group of people are not utilizing ER’s for basic care. This results in massive savings and those dollars can be redirected back into the system. At that time you can then look at eligibility criteria and bring about needed changes. However, I have problems with the government doing this because they have proven that they cannot. Further, provide incentives to the private sector that includes covering the uninsured and you have potentially solved the problem. In my State, Obama’s health care forum hearings started yesterday. Amazing how the topic related to the need to bring in the private sector and provide incentives to them. Do you think the great Oz has finally seen the light? I do doubt that because it goes against his basic beliefs that government should do all. I hope he might understand the concept and not let ideology stand in the way (and yes I did attend it and participated with my government is evil approach to things).<br />
My “ideological reluctance and theoretical fear is more important than life and death issues facing millions”..nice tag line..are you running for office? Again and I get tired of you not fully understanding basic business principles...fix what is wrong with the current insurance systems (i.e. Medicare and Medicaid), save the billions that can be done, redirect the dollars to providing better care, improve preventative models (a private sector concept) and more people are covered without putting out more money for programs that are inefficient.<br />
Our “strange work-place” insurance has resulted in the best medical services, highest quality care, and innovations in the health care field of any other country. As I stated before, universal health care is great for basic health care needs (i.e. colds, cuts, etc...). However, these systems do poorly when it comes to greater medical needs. Surgery means a very long wait list, the quality of care becomes questionable, and the patient suffers. So, is it better to have people die because they have to wait for surgery or because the secondary illness they picked up in the hospital (because of the poor care) so that we can have a universal health care system that will be expensive and not do the job? Step out of the box for a minute and stop trying to say that the private sector is evil. They are the key to quality health care in this country not government run programs. Not an irrational fear of socialism...just a reality that it doesn’t work. Further, this country is a Republic and I again say review that concept and go from there.<br />
Rush is harmless but I do agree that most people in this country are sheep. Look at any election in the past 40 years. Money buys elections because money buys face time in the media. Not sure why you have a hard time with that. It has been a reality of our time...actually starting back with Nixon when his upper lip sweated on TV. Mainstream media does have a liberal bias (i.e. NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc...) just like some others have a conservative bias (i.e. FOX, etc...). Again since Rush is making a boat load of money he must be connecting with a large group of people. Remember that the rich do not like to give their money away for nothing. A profit is made by selling advertizing for the Rush’s of the world. If the liberals cannot compete maybe few people want to hear what they have to say. You may want to think about that. I again make the claim that the media in our country is a joke. You cannot get an unbiased story from any media outlet in our country. The line has been crossed between entertainment and news. It is too bad because most people believe what they read or see on TV without asking any questions. As a society we have because lazy, overweight, self-centered, entitled mentality people. It really is a shame. Our schools preach things they have no right to (i.e. morals and values) and students continue to decline in academics.<br />
I apologize for the Iraq I reviewed things it was someone else who said it was a war and not you. Now when you say puppet government don’t you mean the previous one??? It’s a joke son...relax.<br />
Oh by the’s your ice for a might like it.

BRAVO Vandetta. I only wish I could be so succinct!

keith-<br />
<br />
Ok so this will be long. <br />
<br />
You write:<br />
<br />
"if you take the fraud out of Medicare and Medicaid, streamline the overall process, make records electronic, and bring the private sector and patients to the table then maybe you don’t have to roll out another program"<br />
<br />
Those are all fine, but I don't see how doing those things, in the end, drastically improves our country's system. They will all have positive impacts, but again, it seems to ignore inconvenient realities such as the uninsured, the underinsured, the people who lose their family's healthcare coverage when they happen to be one of the millions getting laid off, and the people who are losing their homes and going bankrupt because of medical expenses. All of these issues seem to be very serious and completely ignored by those things you mentioned. And why? Because you don't want to chance inching towards socialism, and you have no faith that government can work.<br />
<br />
So your ideological reluctance and theoretical fear is more important than life and death issues facing millions. How many are uninsured? How many are underinsured? How many are unemployed, and therefore without coverage because of our peculiar work-based system? Of these millions that fit these descriptions, how many are literally forced to exploit the ER, and in doing so succeeding in simultaneously bogging down hospitals AND running up tabs which get paid by the general public eventually? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you (or maybe just Josie) seem to be very against the notion that your hard earned money might go towards some deadbeats care. Isn't that what happens when an uninsured deadbeat continually runs up ER bills? <br />
<br />
Why force people into our strange work-based insurance program which is peculiar to the US? Is it because we are afraid of government control and think that if we want to be a capitalist society we need to treat healthcare not as a right but as just another product, like an xbox? Is it a carryover from a cold war era mentality that socialism and communism is evil? I do not understand the irrational fear. <br />
<br />
I never said I was scared of Rush. I’m scared that too much of the public accepts his propaganda as valid news. Dismiss it as entertainment if you want, but it’s not harmless. You say I have to ask myself why so many people listen to crazy right wing radio, and I told you why in my last post. They own the airwaves. You don’t seem to grasp how much of a media empire Murdoch controls. If you want to be scared of something, be scared about media consolidation. When media consolidates under government control it becomes propaganda for the government, and that precedes the type of society that you seem so scared of. Olbermann and Maddow cannot counter the bully pulpit that is commanded by Rush, O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, Cavuto, etc. You said it’s the same on the liberal side, but I’d be interested in comparing the misinformation spread by liberals vs conservatives. I would be unafraid to compare track records, for Keith and Rachel are not the ruthless liars that are employed by Fox. <br />
<br />
As for Iraq, I have always maintained that it is an illegal occupation and not a war, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about when you said I changed my stance. We are not at war, war was never declared. With whom are we at war with? Terror? No, you can’t declare war on a tactic. Iraq? No, we’re busy setting up a puppet government there. Al Qaeda? No, if we were going after Al Qaeda then we never would have invaded Iraq, since they weren’t there until after we set up shop.

I've actually learned some things with my open mind by seeing another point of view other than my own. I guess with you, I just need to bow down to your superiority and agree to disagree with you. That's about all I can do since we seem to want to hurl insults at each other, so since I can't get through to you, and You can't get through to me, at least on this subject, I will not bother anymore. Please don't hesitate to speak your mind when I have commented anywhere. That's what EP is all about. Have a good weekend. LOL

Wow...someone has issues...get a grip JoJo. It is clear that you are unable to understand a conceptual fr<x>amework and must therefore disagree with someone’s ideas. Have no problem with strongly opinionated woman but since you think you know everything about everybody, how could I say anything different. Is there a need for you to exert yourself above and beyond? Is<br />
there some deeper issue lurking behind all of this? I do have a problem with narrow and closed minded people who are unable to understand theories and concepts. I have no problem with people who have different political ideas and enjoy a good discussion with them. Unfortunately, you appear unable to have discussion about this issue. Your vast experience as a RT in numerous settings provides you with an overwhelming intellect that is matched by no one! We should all just listen to what you believe and never question. You have no intention of learning anything. You already believe<br />
that you are always right. No need to apologize for anything that I have done. I stand by my views and will continue to do so. I could care less what you do or don’t do. I like how because you don’t agree with someone and they don’t back down, you consider it bullying. Nice touch but only reflects more on who and what you are. I will always express my views on anyone’s stories that I have time for. Open your might be surprised that they are other ways to look at something.

Before you apologize for what you call "my shortcomings'" apologize for yours first. You are also narrow minded, Keithseeker for you only agree with that you say and not someone else's opinion. Since you think and say it, you must be right, right? Do you have a problem with a strongly opinionated woman? Seems to be a real problem with conservatives. Stand by your man and be quiet. I thought EP a place to write about things and learn. Apparently, you do not approve of learning and can only be condescending when you feel you are superior. Bullying seems to be your MO. good luck to you. You don't have to reply to my posts anymore. I'm not going off into some corner to cry. I have my ideals, opinions and I will continue to offer them when I see fit to. Have a nice life.

JoJo...first off VendettA and myself have had a number of on-going discussions in numerous stories. We both have respect for each others stances. Last time I checked, VendettA is a big boy and can stand up for him self very well. <br />
The discussion is still great but you apparently can’t handle other viewpoints. Further, if you don’t like viewpoints that are different than yours, don’t comment on them.<br />
You made the statement the government doesn’t administer these programs and that BCBS did. This was in reference to “how hospitals have ripped up Medicaid”. You may want to read what you write from time to time. You apparently didn’t know that earlier. The Feds fund the States for Medicaid.<br />
And yes you do preach to people...I have seen it in other comments you have made. No big deal...that’s just who you appear to be. You have always had a rather narrow minded approach to things. My take is that is how some liberals deal with life. Talk about not being able to handle the heat.<br />
Profit can have a place in the health care field but again you are unable to see how and would rather have the government role out another large program that will not work and drive the country deeper into debt. Never said it would be socialism if the government did enact another insurance program. Fix what is already in place before another big ticket item is enacted. Are you able to understand that concept? From reading your comments I’m not sure if you do. You give it lip service but you go back to everyone needs coverage. Again, if you take the fraud out of Medicare and Medicaid, streamline the overall process, make records electronic, and bring the private sector and patients to the table then maybe you don’t have to roll out another program.<br />
Reality is that the government is intruding more and more into peoples lives. The movement is far away from what the republic is suppose to do. Understand that concept and you might understand the bigger picture.<br />
Sorry Josie...things shouldn't get this way and I apologize to you for the shortcomings of others. I<br />
don’t have a problem with VendettA but I do have a problem with this other person. I will attempt to restrain myself in future comments on your stories from now on as they related to this person.

Keith isn't attacking. He has some valid points and valid questions. Many of the same i have.<br />
<br />
If someone believes they are under attack it can usually be attributed to not being able to answer the question or understand why it was asked. Sorry, i don't mean to offend but this has been my experience in dealing with others.<br />
<br />
i think you've got Keith all wrong and might try to understand where he is coming from and why he might feel different from others.

I wasn't preaching to you, Keith. We were having a great discussion going on with Josie and you came on attacking "V" and being very condescending to him about his comments and views. Go back and read the comments and transpose the names and see what you think then...........<br><br />
<br><br />
I am very well aware that Medicaid is meted out by the states. The states are going bankrupt as a result. SCHIP in my state has been not properly funded but our Governor can spend 20 million on a Go Fish Georgia initiative and then threaten to close state parks. It's all convoluted and wrong. I am not disagreeing that something does need to be done. I'm just merely stating that Profit has no place in the health care setting. it would not be socialism to institute a government program for all Americans.<br><br />
I'm sorry you can't take a little heat. You can dish it out but you can't take it. My narrow mind is speaking from experience here, not conjecture. glad you can have a real discussion with people without insulting them. Not cherry-picking the definition at all. That is what it is and the reality is that this is suppose to be a republic. You may want to explore what that concept really means. If you view that as condescending then so be it. I never presumed to know everything about health care...providing some clear examples of initiatives that the private sector has taken and some of the problems that exist. A lot more can be done by the private sector to further improve things. You stated that when you run things with incompetents and cronies they are going to fail at every turn. Did I ever disagree at that? No I did not. Again, the concern is that if the government cannot control their programs why expand them? A rather simple concept that no one here has yet to provide any real solutions. We can compared experiences all day long. Reality is that you have a very narrow and specific viewpoint and anyone who disagrees is wrong. The government does administer the Medicaid and Medicare programs. They are federal programs. BCBS has more to do with Medicare than Medicaid in a majority of States. Most states have Qualified Health Plans (names vary from State to State) that the States award contracts to managed care agencies. The Feds fund the States Medicaid dollars. The Feds do not fund BCBS directly for Medicaid. Since the government is responsible for the dollars, don’t they have a responsibility to ensure the dollars are being utilized properly? It appears that you believe more government programs administered poorly is the way to go. As I have numerous times here fix what is wrong first then look at the need to proceed. I would be against another government administered program for health care. The current ones are a mess.<br />
Maybe you shouldn’t judge people so quickly when they bring up opposing views to yours. Look at yourself first and don’t preach to me.

Those are great questions, Saratogagirl! That's what we want to know! As long as there are profits equated with people's health, the system will always be screwed up. Profit has to be taken out of the system. Call it what you want but nobody's health and well being should be based on whether a profit stands to be made. It is reprehensible.

PS> you do have a couple of good points. We just will never agree on this topic.

I am just a little bit befuddled here... why is it so important to try and retain a system that is the most expensive in the world, yet fails to deliver the best service in the world? Why is it so important to try and retain insurance companies whose first response to almost any request for reimbursement is to say "no," since their primary goal is to maximize profits for their shareholders? Why is it that our veterans get government health care and our politicians can qualify for government health care... but the average person has to go begging for it? Why is the United States the last developed nation on the planet that believes that health care should be denied people on the basis of their income?<br />
<br />
Just a few essentially basic questions.

I find it totally astounding to read your disgust of government intrusion in our lives when we had the most intrusion pushed on us these past 8 years even before 9-11:<br />
<br /><br />
<br />
Keithseeker, I still think you like to cherry pick your definition of "Socialism" and are very condescending in your writings to try to prove your point as being right. The Government has not been doing a great job at many things. To think we had the largest government expansion since FDR that past 8 years is telling, when it was stocked with incompetent people to run agencies. Our civil rights were curtailed and the neocon manifesto is to drown the government and as Grover Norquist put it to "Make Government so small, you can drown it in a bathtub." Seems like opposite statements but when you underfund everything, even mandates, and run them with incompetents and cronies, they are going to fail at every turn.<br />
<br />
You are presume to know everything about healthcare but I have also worked in the trenches for the past 22 years in a Hospital setting and 8 years before that in EMS. I have seen what is going on. I work in the ER's, CCU's, ICU's and step down units. I know what goes on in healthcare from an experienced view, not a condescending birds eye view.<br />
I know about reinbursements, DRG's, and how hospital's have ripped up Medicaid (Columbia/HCA) in 1997 and how some greedy physicians scam the system too. The Government doesn't administer these programs, BCBS does it for the Government and they are inept at it too. That would be a start. Find someone who can administer the benefits without all of the fraud, waste and PROFITS!<br />
PROFITS is what it all comes down to. And duplication of services. I remember in the 1980's when there were only MRI suites in certain areas. People had to travel to cities for MRI services. I can't tell you how many people I transported for MRI services. Then a local hospital got one, then they all had one. What was the cost? How did they pay for them all? Now it's Pet Scan technology. What's next? I worked for HCA for many years, for profit and I saw how people are treated without insurance. Not by the care takers but by the administrators who have to look at the bottom line and report profits to their share holders. How about the ****** equipment we had to work with, It's too expensive to buy newer more up to day stuff with the newest modes that we know work to help wean people off of the ventilators sooner? Nada, too much money, the shareholders won't like that! So, Keith, learn a little yourself and don't be so condescending when someone who is being sincere tries to bring up some points.

Let’s remember one thing that drives talk radio...profit. Did you ever think that because a talk show can draw the people in to listen and sell commercials is why they are successful? Just because the liberals don’t have anyone that comes close to a Rush doesn’t mean you change the rules (i.e. possible changes in Fairness Doctrine). Further, since the number of listeners are so great maybe more people share those beliefs of the Rush’s of the world. If that is true than the current Administration is going down the wrong road. Something to think <br />
I believe Rush is nothing more than entertainment...just like the liberal talking heads (and there are a few of them). What did Olbermann do before MSNBC? Wasn’t he at the desk of ESPN? We continue to blur the line between news and entertainment. Why be afraid of Rush? I think the 90% is much higher but again that is what people listen to. You really have to ask yourself why? If he wasn’t bringing in the listeners, you wouldn’t have signed another $100 million contract. Since you hint at how the rich like their money do you really think they would pay out so much of their own money?<br />
Nice idea to freeze all funding and call time out. Again, that is part of my argument of health care (and many other areas). Fix what is wrong before we expand the government role. I don’t see that happening with the current administration (or any previous ones). What I continue to hear is spend more money and that will take care of the problems. That is what has to stop and it won’t under the current administration and congress.<br />
So now it is an occupation in Iraq? That is a change for you. But yes, we are in two countries and things will get worse on the global scale as the middle east heats up even more and Pakistan and Iran ready to explode. Won’t mention Russia and North Korea but watch them in the months to come. Add to that the world wide economy and yes any President right now would have a ton of problems. However, please remember that some of these things have been brought on by ourselves (i.e. NAFTA, de-regulation of the banking system...both under Clinton and supported by republican and democrats, demanding that banks provide higher risk loans, etc...). Again my anger towards our government that allowed these things to happen. Please remember that I do not agree with Obama’s policies and campaign bs (some of which he has already broken). Again, all politicians do this but don’t try to said that this guy is that much different than the rest. Sorry but he is proving that he is like the rest so far. <br />
As far as the pharmaceutical companies, remember the amount of free medications that they provide. Are they spreading the costs worldwide? Not as much as they might be able to but again you might be surprised at the free medications provided from each of them. Where I work we look at $2 million a year and many, many programs, systems and individuals tap into these programs.<br />
I know you so enjoy my stories, so here is another yes I stole it. A third grade teacher wanted to teach her class about the upcoming 2008 elections and wanted to elect a class president. Came down to two students. On the day of their elections, both students were to give a speech. One came prepared and talked at length about what he would try to do for his fellow classmates. He didn’t make any promises and said that he would work hard for all of them. The next student stood up and said, “Everyone will get ice cream everyday.” That was it. Guess who won the election. This kid has a future as a politician in Washington. <br />
So’s your ice

Our system is broken and has been broken for decades but especially since they deregulated the insurance and pharm industries and allowed the greed to flourish.<br />
There are also issues with us paying all the research fees instead of spreading those costs out over all the more wealthy countries that benefit from our drugs.<br />
There should be a right to health care for all and it should have been done before the country was bankrupted over the last 8 years.<br />
Insurance companies should not be able to jack prices up for all employees of a company because a few employees are heavy hitters... This is why I don't have health insurance corrently... They priced themselves out of my range.

keith- <br />
<br />
I realize that many of the views I described do not apply to you personally, but there are quite a handful of members here who repeatedly post articles and stories and comments which do back the line of thinking which says that any and all government is bad, and that since anarchists and libertarians don't get elected into national office, they go with Republicans. And yes I will bring up the "Rush's" because there is no counterweight to him on the liberal side. Conservative talk radio dominates airtime, probably to the tune of 90% of all talk shows. This is due to concentrated media conglomerates which shouldn't be allowed to be so centralized. Who compares to the airways influence that Rush has? No one. <br />
<br />
You're right that liberals choose democrats as the lesser of their two evils just as conservatives do with republicans. I didn't say that, but I thought it was pretty obvious. <br />
<br />
I would argue that the conservatives that hate the government and want it reduced to the most basic of services and to stay out of the way on everything else, that they are not fighting for an efficient government, they are fighting for reduced government. It is why they vote to cut, not maintain, but cut funding for everything. I understand (and agree, to a large extent) with your comment that simply throwing money at a problem will not automatically improve it... but I would go further than that and say that the opposite is almost always true as well. That if you starve any program of funding (as the conservatives love to do) that it will become even worse than it currently is. Perhaps our middle ground would be to keep funding for programs at a certain level and demand improved efficiency with the funds that a program currently receives. This isn't what happens, though. Liberals push for more funding to offset reductions in funding by conservatives. Who started it doesn't matter, what matters is that the increased efficiency never comes because programs are caught in this funding limbo, never knowing whether their funds will be decreased by the conservatives or increased by the liberals. We need to freeze it and call time out. <br />
<br />
You and I disagree about the current administration. That's fine. Obama did know, to a large extent at least, what he was walking into. While all presidents do inherit problems, however, I think it's ridiculous not to note the scale of the issues that awaited him. Most presidents that walk into a recession can simply have the FED lower rates to stimulate lending and heat up the economy. This recession is so much more severe than that. Our economy is seriously f*cked up right now, and it's no exaggeration to say that this is the worst it's been since the Great Depression. Add to that our occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, our growing healthcare crisis, an environment left in smoking ruins by the most anti-science anti-environment president in history... and yes, I'd say that Obama is inheriting a situation far worse than any president in recent times. <br />
<br />
Yes, Bush did have 911 occur within his first year of office, but even that wasn't as bad as all of these things going on because that event caused everyone to put aside their stupid political arguments. We weren't republicans or democrats, we were Americans. Of course, all of that was flushed down the toilet by our "uniter, not a divider" president... but that's another story.

All I can say is, I cannot afford to go to a hospital without filing for bankruptcy.<br />
<br />
Even a long waiting list to me would be better than never at all.

My whole argument here is that we do not need more government intrusion when they have proven they cannot get it right currently. I agree that the private sector has problems as well but I have seen and been involved in plans that benefit both patient and the private sector. Again, maybe a system that offers incentives to the private sector may be the way to go. I just don't want the government doing it.

Keith, very good. Very, very good.

Keith,<br />
<br />
Thanks for the response.<br />
<br />
I'm not sure exactly how the private sector is doing any better than the government programs, having had my own experience with them on pre approvals and claims processing and services that aren't covered. Maybe both need a lot of work.<br />
<br />
I think if the private sector were doing such a great job there would be far less call for government intervention. There isn't really anything stopping them from developing a better model. Why don't they do it?

Outercalm...these two programs are riddled with fraud. Have been for a very long time. Although the government does “audits” on providers (i.e. those who bill those insurances) they do not have the capacity to do a good job at it. As for Medicaid, the government has allowed for “waiver” services but puts the responsibility for auditing on the States. Some States do a **** poor job at this and the government has done little to resolve this. This has resulted in certain populations not qualifying for needed Medicaid reimbursable services. One example is in many States children who need residential services (i.e. out of the parental home for a period of time) cannot utilize Medicaid dollars because the various States will not enforce an audit rule in places where seclusion and/or restraint may be used on a child. All the States have to do is investigate when a report is made to ensure abuse is not occurring. When the State refuses to do that, Medicaid dollars cannot be utilized and children may not get the needed services. <br />
For years many have discussed the need to reform both of these systems to look at appropriate services that are reimbursable and minimal changes have occurred. One great example is visiting physician programs. Due to the Medicaid rules these service providers cannot bill for their services. These are programs that provide services in the person’s home including diagnostic testing. This can have a huge impact on emergency services and people utilizing Urgent care and emergency rooms for routine care. Huge cost savings if done correctly. Another is the need for quick turn around of claims to providers. Medicare can take over a year to process hospital claims for a variety of reasons. Some of it is providers screwing up because of the complicated rules. Some is that the payment process can be delayed by Medicare. This has improved dramatically in the last few years (due to BCBS changing certain things) but can still be problematic with complicated medical cases. This then impacts on the patients hospital days they have available. This can result in the patient being “approved” for a hospitalization but finding out later that they did not have any days available. So the tracking of services needs to improve greatly.<br />
Coordination of both insurances which should result in timely payments and tracking of services. Streamlining the process related to codes and submission. Although a great deal of work has been done in this arena over the last 10 years much more needs to be done. Some projections place savings just from cracking down on abuse of the system to be in the billions of dollars. Just a few quick examples...many other things can be cited as well.

VendettA...I agree with the concept of efficient government and I too loathe incompetent government. But efficient government does not have to intrude into peoples everyday lives, does it? By saying that conservatives tend to vote republican can one say that by being liberal one would vote democrat for the same reason(s)? <br />
How can one say that in their push for smaller government they push an agenda of hatred and fear of government? And please don’t bring the Rush’s into the discussion because I can turn the same argument around on liberals (i.e. without big government people will never be taken care of, without big government people will never get a “fair” opportunity, etc...). Have programs with good intentions been put forth by our government? Of course but the question is have they worked? In most cases one could easily argue no. I understand how all people can bring fear into any debate/discussion/conversation. The real question is how valid it really is? How do you even measure something like that? All political parties have used that tool for a very long time. It tends to work (i.e. a vast majority of campaign commercials and approach over the last 200 years) and it will unfortunately never go away. Again I ask the question if government is incompetent (and you think it is at times) is the solution really to make government bigger? Allow government to intrude even more and screw things up more? <br />
Why do you assume that efficient government cannot be a limited government as well? The prime example is this whole discussion here. Should the government be in the middle of health care? Based on their track record I would say until they fix what they have, they should not expand it. Allow the private sector to develop a better model and provide incentives from the savings the government could have if they did a better job with Medicare and Medicaid. I never said that government is doomed to fail. I have been concerned over the waste in our government for decades. I am concerned that they cannot fix major programs. According to you, why shouldn’t we just over throw the government since we are so dissatisfied...oh wait Jefferson and others at that time did think that could and should happen from time to time. I was in my State capital yesterday dealing with legislatures. I was amazed at the concept of throwing more money into systems that don’t work. “If we only had more money we could do a better job.” I heard that a lot. When I asked the question of fixing the systems that need to be fixed, everyone agreed that Medicare and Medicaid need to be fixed. However, no practical solutions were offered up beyond more money. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that more money will not fix a broken system. I offered up the idea of incentives and none of them (republican and democrat) could understand the concept. When provided with clear examples of what the private sector is doing they didn’t get it. Sorry I am off topic here.<br />
I disagree that the current administration and congress are different from the ones we have had over the last 30 years. Still have some today from 30 years ago! Obama is proving that he is a skillful politician. Campaign promises already broken and he will break more. Just like every other politician. The concept of tax and spend and grow government will not make things better. It will continue to have a negative impact on our economy, place us deeper in debt, and allow inflation to run over us. With fewer billionaires left in the world...who will we tax??? (and yes that’s a joke). Obama knew what he was walking into and I don’t want to hear that line of crap. Every president has walked into messes from the previous one (yes even the second Bush). As I have said before, the President has limited power in our country. Nice to blame Presidents for what happens but they get a lot of help from Congress (both good and bad). Can’t we help those less fortunate and still have limited government? I think we can but the government does have to play a role. Not from a legislative role but from a moderator role and possibly providing the proper incentives.

Keith,<br />
<br />
You have pointed out that Medicare and Medicaid are poorly run programs several times. Can you give some examples?<br />
<br />
I'd be interested to hear peoples opinions on why they are good or bad.

Those are good comments, keith, and they do much to clarify your opinion of government. Thank you. <br />
<br />
I guess what I would say is that I am a fan of efficient government and that I hate incompetent government. Most people don't believe that distinction is possible, but I do and here's why. <br />
<br />
Conservatives tend to be republicans, whether by choice or a lack of choice. Many people who believe in small government support republicans because in their eyes the party is the lesser of two evils. <br />
<br />
My major problem with conservatives and fans of Reagan (and believe me there is not just one problem I have with them) is that in their zeal for pushing for smaller government (a decent goal) they end up pushing an agenda of hatred and fear of government, and an argument that government cannot do anything well. I've said this elsewhere, but I don't understand the rationale behind electing officials to run government that intrinsically hate government and believe it will always fail. To me, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's as if Republicans are saying "Government is incompetent and wasteful. Elect me and I'll prove it!" <br />
<br />
My question to republicans and libertarians is - If you view government as intrinsically incompetent, wasteful, and doomed to fail at everything, how can it ever succeed under your rule? Why not push for EFFICIENT government, instead of limited government?<br />
<br />
Our current administration and houses of congress are the anti-thesis of the type of rule that we've had for almost 3 decades. Clinton was the only democrat in that time fr<x>ame, and I would argue that he was more conservative than liberal. We have tried having government run by people who hate government for 3 decades, why not give the people who want efficient government a chance? Obama's been in office for just over 50 days and he's strolled into a burning building, and people who have been programmed to hate government (apparently not you, keith, but all of Reagan's fans) have attacked his policies unrelentingly. I just want people to have a little perspective. If we take steps towards a more socialist system in order to help the least advantaged among us, it doesn't warrant comparisons to Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.

Let’s define some terms.<br />
Socialism refers to a board set of economic theories of social organization advocating public or state ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and a society characterized by equality for all individuals, with a fair or egalitarian method of compensation.<br />
Egalitarian is defined as a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights.<br />
Let’s also be very careful of lumping communism and socialism as being the same. They are very different. Since the government wants greater control with industries (i.e. banking, health care, etc...) how far are we really? Easy to move from control to nationalization. History points out a few examples. Has nothing to do with FOX News or Rush (both have some bias just like every other media outlet around). What I am concerned about is the death of the Republic and from the comments made it is clear that most people don’t have a clue about that. Reality is that movement has been made by the government in this direction for some time now. Why are you so afraid to admit that. This is what you want. Government has intruded into a vast majority of areas in people’s lives for some time now and want to keep increasing their intrusion, especially the current Administration and Congress. It is a political approach to things but it does bring about great changes in what the Republic is suppose to do and eventually will be the end of the Republic.<br />
VendettA...wouldn’t expect anything less that a smart-*** comment from you and lack of suggestions from you. You have two major “insurance systems” that the government runs and are doing a terrible job at it. Yet instead of providing any real solutions you state that we must have more government intrusion. We must expand the role of government so that they can create a much larger problem that will not work. If you actually read some of what I wrote you may find a few suggestions that I already made. Step away from your anger and read what people write. I have commented on such a small percentage of your comments on EP...did it ever cross your mind that maybe I haven’t gone after some of your comments because I might be in agreement with you at times? I know that concept is difficult for you to handle but quit making assumptions about what people think based on a handful of comments. Do I think our government is screwed up? Yes I do and that is something we actually agree on (and there have been many other things we have agreed upon). However, here is where we differ greatly...I do not believe you allow a government with a proven track record that sucks to continue to expand (intrude) into the lives of its people. Fix what is wrong first then and only then tackle the greater issues at hand. Do I think government should do more than military, police/fire and post office (even though technically the post office is an independent agency of the government)? Of course I do. Does that make me a closet fan of government? You tell me since you think you know everything about people based on a few comments. The difference is how much the government intrudes upon our lives. The term socialism and the direction of our government does **** me off (as it does you at times). If you want a socialist government then move to one. You have for some time talked about how evil the business world is and how government should play a greater role in our lives. Your opinion but again the difference is how much intrusion.

I get so weary of reading about the "Socialism" scare. I posted and article about it on my blog. It seems it's part of the Foxitis disease.<br />
<br />
The conservatives want to call everything "Socialism."<br />
and "Communism". The Republican and Conservative right in America now liberally apply these words to anyone who is center and center left, including all Democrats and President Obama. You can see/hear this happen with regularity on Rush Limbaugh's radio show, and on the website Free Republic . In fact, the owner of Free Republic recently issued a missive warning the site's members to stop writing posts threatening President Obama and said missive was laced with proclamations that Obama is a Communist or Communist sympathizer. You also see this on Fox News all day long.<br />
Here is a generous hint to my right wing friends. It is impossible to be a Socialist or a Communist if one is not calling for the nationalization of ENTIRE industries. Now, I know socialism and communism are big words that right wingers may not understand, so I will make my hint even easier to comprehend (note: comprehend means "understand"). If a government or a leader of a government is not taking over COMPLETE OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF EVERY BUSINESS that has a certain function (i.e. does similar things), then you do not have a government or government leader that is Socialist or Communist. There is a similar relationship with property rights. If a government or leader is not advocating or actively taking private property rights away from people, you don’t have a Socialist or Communist government or leader. (Unless it's Eminent Domain which the conservatives do seem to favor).

As far as being compared to Marx ... if he uses his words and rhetoric the comparison is valid.

Openness. Accountability. Great words ... <br />
<br />
For business a great headache to everyone else (profit and non-profit business). The wonderful Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.<br />
<br />
And with little or no meaning to the government.<br />
<br />
The President-elect promised a 5 day waiting period before signing bills and to post them on the Internet for public comment. His promise was he "will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days."<br />
<br />
As President ... <br />
<br />
1. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009: passed in the Senate on Jan. 22, 2009, passed in the House on Jan. 27, and signed by the president on Jan. 29. Posted on the White House Internet page on January 29, 2008.<br />
<br />
2. An expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health coverage for low-income children. He signed it on Feb. 4, 2009, just hours after it was finalized in Congress.<br />
<br />
Neither received the promised 5 day period for public comments. Neither were emergency legislation in any way, shape or form.<br />
<br />
Wonderful words ... broken promise.<br />
<br />
Government is not the be all, end all ... government is not the answer to every ill facing society.<br />
<br />
But in the mind of this Administration, it is. The Only Answer.<br />
<br />
GDP socialized????? This has nothing to do with the GDP.<br />
<br />
Business is being socialized. Government ownership of what was once private assets. AIG. Banks. Government ownership moves the assets from the private sector to the public sector and does so at the expense of investment. <br />
<br />
Massive spending hikes (thus increasing the gov't %age of GDP) in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1970s all failed to increase economic growth rates. However,in the 1980s and 1990s gov't decreased spending, the federal government actually shrank (decreasing the gov't %age GDP shrank) the economy enjoyed its great­est expansion.<br />
<br />
Wow! Whoda thunk it.<br />
<br />
Also, government ownership of business is nationalization. Truman tried it with the steel mills and was shot down by the USSC. i'd hate to guess what this USSC would say.

Josie, <br />
<br />
No, Jojo didn't say that you were 'wrong' to cite conservative sources. <br />
<br />
Here are her exact words to you in a different thread:<br />
<br />
"Josie posts links to all conservative articles, of course they are skewed toward the argument.<br />
<br />
Josie, Your words are not falling on deaf ears, we just see different sides of the issue. What's right to you is wrong to me, it doesn't mean either of us is wrong. I just want my point of view heard too."<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
She's just pointing out that we're presenting different sides to an argument. That's reasonable, yes? <br />
<br />
Yes, I know that the healthreform website comes directly from Obama. I thought it might be useful to look at exactly how he's going about it. It's nice to have the process opened up to the public, and that is how he is doing everything, including the stimulus bill. You can see where every penny of the stimulus bill is going. Openness. Accountability. Instead of just saying Obama's taking over everything with the government, it might be handy to actually look at what is being proposed and debated.<br />
<br />
As for the socialism business... yes the government is infusing money into the banking system and big companies like AIG and Lehman. Yes this constitutes a "step" in the direction towards socialism. But tell me, how many industries are there in the US? How many insurance companies? What percentage of our GDP will be 'socialized?' Like I said before, the government could nationalize the entire banking system and we STILL wouldn't be close to socialism. But that won't stop the chicken littles from comparing Obama to Marx...

i have been told my choice of a conservative, right leaning publication was wrong to make a point. Would not the same be true for a left leaning one.<br />
<br /> ~<br />
"... by the Commonwealth Fund, a liberal New York think tank, ..." (BusinessWeek, May 19, 2003 -<br />
<br />
<br /> ~<br />
"In December 2008, the Presidential Transition Team invited Americans to host and participate in Health Care Community Discussions to talk about how to reform health care in America. ..." <br />
<br />
This one put together by President Obama's Presidential Transition team ... do you think they had an agenda to push?<br />
<br />
<br />
<br />
Socialism is an economic system in which all the means of production and distribution are wholly owned and controlled by the state. The government takes all the crucial decisions such as what goods and services are to be produced, how they are to be produced, in what quantities they are to be produced and at what prices they are to be sold.<br />
<br />
The federal government is moving in this direction, and the movement has been slow till now. An 80% share of the government in AIG and a share in the nation's banks in exchange for a bailout (read money) is an indicator. A Healthcare Czar and the government determining "Comparative Effectiveness Research" (CER) is a step in that direction. <br />
<br />
Just a few examples of of inexorable movement in the socialist direction, which has been happening for years just the train has started moving faster now.<br />
<br />
<br />
The signs are there for those who WANT to see them. <br />
<br />
Words have meaning and the WORDS have been said ... for those who want to HEAR ... and not obfuscate or change decade old meanings.<br />
<br />
Associations tell a story on the character of an individual also ... Alinsky, Soros, Frank Marshall Davis, William Ayres of the Weather Underground, the New Party. But we are not listening to those with the current President either.<br />
<br />
<br />
Karl Marx, the father of “SOCIALISM” explained exactly what socialism is ... “From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need.”<br />
<br />
According to Marx, the father of socialism, this is the definition of socialism! Yet Obama and Biden stand bold faced and proclaim before the world that they are not selling socialism. The world knows what they are selling. But many Obama supporters don’t know and don’t seem to care. (Read the entire JB Williams article at <br />
<br />
WORDS have no meaning today, other than the meaning of the moment. And with each moment, it changes to fit the moment. But no one wants to HEAR, so many are in jubilation mode.

keith-<br />
<br />
Bravo on the work on the front lines. I hope you didn't feel snubbed when Sebelius was named to be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. You ask me how I would solve Medicare/Medicaid along with trial lawyers. I already told you that I don't claim to be an expert or even in the healthcare field. Good thing Obama isn't asking me and instead is looking to people who actually do know about these issues. It's neat to have a president that actually listens to different ideas. I don't have soundbite answers, but I can read. I think these two sites had good info: <br />
<br /><br /><br />
<br />
You're the healthcare guru, what would you suggest? <br />
The articles at commonwealth do advocate both public and private sector ideas, so you might think they're valid.<br />
<br />
You have complained about Medicare and Medicaid and indicated that they need to be fixed. These comments fit right in with every other comment you have made the last few months, that government is bad bad bad. Government screws up, government is too big, government is corrupt, government is taking over our lives... In case you're wondering, THAT'S where I got the idea that you aren't interested in fixing these programs, but that you'd rather use them as scapegoats to argue against any further government action. Given the entirety of all your comments I've ever seen of yours, is it unreasonable to assume that you are simply opposed to government programs beyond basic necessities such as military, police/firemen, and the post office? I made an assumption based on your comment history that you are opposed to government programs. Was it a horrible misdiagnosis? Are you a closet fan of government programs?<br />
<br />
I took great care not to mention how your fearful comments re: socialism sound just like so many other republicans/conservatives on this site, because I've witnessed how much those terms **** you off. I'm sorry that you find those terms offensive, but may I ask where you differ from them? On every policy stand I've seen you take you have lined up in march step with conservative republicans that are only interested in opposing Obama. If it walks like a Republican and it talks like a Republican...<br />
<br />
You say we're close to a socialist state? Why do you think that? For some on here, the cover of Newsweek is all that it took to convince them that Obama's trying to engineer a socialistic coup.

VendettA...glad you picked up on that point of arrogance but for you it comes from many posts over the last few Just because you have fried a few brains cells doesn’t mean you can’t be productive. Just tooted my horn in the previous post because you made a silly statement about your wife working in a medical billing center. Again, reality is so what. That has no place in the discussion. I can make statements because I have made change within the system and have improved the lives of individuals. I have been on the “front lines” dealing with legislators and trying to make change and bringing about change. Arrogant statement? Not really...just a reality of what I have committed my life to for over 30 years.<br />
Here is a bit of reality for you. If you look at my posts I have said that Medicare and Medicaid need to be fixed. They are both government programs. Since I believe they need to be fixed seems like I am in agreement that government has a role in it. But you have yet to answer the question posed. How will you fix Medicare and Medicaid? That is the primary issue here right now. If the<br />
government cannot fix those two very large “insurance systems” how the hell can they expand into providing more insurance for others? A very simple concept. So by having another poorly run government program which will go broke in a few years is far better than fixing what already exists? If those two programs were reformed, billions of dollars would be available for expansion (if that is what is needed but I am not necessarily in favor of that). Take those savings and<br />
continue to work with the private sector (they are not as evil as you make them out to be) and provide incentives to provide a better system. Again, it is the private sector that has lead the way in innovation in the health care industry not the government of any country.<br />
“Any solution that involves the government in any way is something that you are philosophically and pathologically opposed to.” A rather silly thing to say since you don’t have a clue as to what my beliefs really are. Here is an example of some of your make way too many assumptions. Others have tried to say that to you in other stories but you get caught up in the passion of the fight. You have labeled me a republican and a conservative in other posts and are<br />
attempting to do the same here. Is that what I really stand for? You don’t have a clue but you assume. I have watched you do that many times with many people. You jump to conclusions based on partially information. It is a shame because you lessen the value of your arguments at times.<br />
The issue of a socialist society does play a role here. Every step further down that road brings us even closer. We are not a billion miles away from it. We are much closer than you think. Sorry but that scares me. Government has a role but in this country based on what it was founded on, government has gone too far<br />
So, no clue as how to reform Medicare and Medicaid. No clue as to how to deal with the trial lawyers. No clue as to how to provide incentives to the private sector. No clue as to how a health care system should run. Try coming at things from a business approach (which doesn’t mean profit) and see how bad the government has screwed things up. How can you demand a national health care system when you cannot look at the major problems right before you.

keith-<br />
<br />
I'm not on drugs, they're bad for brain cells. Et tu? <br />
<br />
Allow me to set up this mirror and step out of the way so that you can see how your statements of my arrogance also apply to you. Your last post drips with arrogance and condescension, does it not? lol. You were the one that started tooting your horn several posts ago about your vast knowledge of the healthcare system because of your experience. Since I am not in the healthcare system, I am reduced to reading and providing information that I deem credible, and also whatever info I get from my wife and friends (like Jojo) that are in the healthcare system. I'm re-reading my last post to see where my arrogance is amazing and I'm just not seeing it. My arrogance detectors must have been saturated by your most recent post. <br />
<br />
Please leave the "socialist society" claim out of this. It's just too absurd. We're a billion miles away from being a socialist society, and even if Obama did everything he wanted, with no compromises, we'd still be millions of miles away. Even if we nationalized the banks we'd still not be anywhere near a "socialist society." <br />
<br />
You say that the private sector has provided solutions, but the government has not. Then what are Medicare/Medicaid? If these programs are not attempts at solutions, does that mean they are only problems? <br />
<br />
Here's some of your words: <br />
<br />
"Please show me where I said to get rid of those programs."<br />
<br />
"anytime government has been turns out problematic for the consumer. Government intrusion has no place...government over-sight is problematic as well...I do blame the government for not doing their job. Doesn’t mean you get rid of a program. Maybe you get rid of the government"<br />
<br />
And you wonder where I get the idea that you want to get rid of these GOVERNMENT programs? Any solution that involves the government in any way is something that you are philosophically and pathologically opposed to. When it comes to healthcare, the private sector had its chance, and it has failed. Same goes for trickle down economics and deregulation. Epic fails. <br />
<br />
What will "I" do about trial lawyers? "I" wouldn't have a clue.

VendettA...are you on drugs young man? “People who are fear-mongering about government intrusion between a patient and doctor (that would be you and josie)”...I guess I missed where I said that. Reality is that there is a big difference between the two..anytime government has been turns out problematic for the consumer. Government intrusion has no place...government over-sight is problematic as well. Government monitoring..maybe. Again, if you want a socialist society fine...move to one! That is not what we have here. If you have read any of my posts, you will clearly see that I know problems exist. I have not defended the current system. I have stated look at fixing the current problems first. You might also see that the private sector has been providing solutions. The government has not! Glad your wife works in a medical billing center but reality what? I have been involved in the health care field for over 30 years. Want to make a guess who might have a little more insight? I have been involved in state of the art programs. Want to guess who might have more knowledge about this issue overall? I have implemented electronic record systems long before the government even considered making it mandatory. Want to guess who might have a better handle on all of this? At times, your arrogance is amazing. Because you say something it must be right? Give me a break. You make assumptions of what people believe and run with it. You take things out of context and try to build your points around them. Josie already said don’t always clearly read what someone writes at times. You are a very knowledgable person but you do yourself a disservice at times when you do things like that.<br />
How will you fix Medicare and Medicaid? Try answering that question first. Please show me where I said to get rid of those programs. A simple suggestion...fix the current programs before tackling a much larger and potentially more dangerous issue. As for the statement that BCBS runs Medicare..who pays them to do that? Oh yeah...the government who does not monitor or audit what they should be. What will you do about the trial lawyers? They play a huge role in all of this. What role will the private sector play and how will it be funded? These are the issue that need to be looked at before the government runs off and makes things better. I do blame the government for not doing their job. Have said that for a long time. Doesn’t mean you get rid of a program. Maybe you get rid of the

Issues were thrown at me and I ran? I've been here this whole time, keith, and the three of us (jojo and josie and I) have been making all different sorts of points. But I don't want you to feel left out, so I will address you directly while you're here. <br />
<br />
Do I think that profit should have a place when it comes to healthcare? No. I've said this before in this thread. People who are fear-mongering about government intrusion between a patient and doctor (that would be you and josie) have no problems having an insurance company between a patient and doctor. What's the difference between the two? Well the government's role in that situation wouldn't be to turn down as many claims as possible due to pre-existing conditions or whatever other way they could weasel out of it. That's what insurance companies do. My wife works at a medical billing center, so I know that's exactly how it works. That's what you get when you put a for-profit entity between a patient and doctor. <br />
<br />
Are there problems with Medicare/Medicaid? Of course! There's problems with everything and every business, public or private. Are the problems with Medicare/Medicaid so bad that we would be better off if Medicare/Medicaid no longer existed? Not a chance. You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater. How about fix the problems instead of throwing your hands in the air and blaming it all on that old standby boogeyman: the Government...

I guess I wonder why VendettA does not like to deal with the issues thrown at him. Again, it is a case of him running away from the issue. <br />
Health care can be about profit because we live in a capitalist society. Is it right? In some cases yes it is. In others no it is not. It can be right when the proper incentives are employed to have them provide the appropriate levels of care. There are those groups in the US that do this. <br />
There are mobile clinics that are in most urban areas that provide basic check-ups and assist with medications. The main problem with it is that most people want to go to an ER and not these mobile clinics. Where I live the hospitals sponsor these mobile clinics. Still haven’t seen anyone attack the trail lawyers. Still haven’t seen anyone discuss how to resolve the Medicare and Medicaid problems. All I see is that the government must provide health care. Short sighted viewpoints that will result in major problems which will make our current situation look minor.

Coming from a country that you have a choice of private or public health, I think that a government health system is the best way to go. If you have an emergency it is delt with straight away, if you are private they send you away to a private hospital, public patients only have to wait if it is an elective surgery and if you do not want to wait you can pay for it. The system here in Australia is a good one do not believe all the things you read. I believe the government has a responsibility to look after the health and education of its country men as we look after the country through taxes.

JojoWazoo, that's all i'm trying to say ... affordable for all. Affordable for all doesn't mean have a certain few pays for the others. <br />
<br />
Is it fair if 10% of my income goes to healthcare for me and my family to have to pay an additional 1% or 5% or whatever percentage for someone else? No, it is not. If i want to donate my income to a charity i do it through my church or by writing a check.<br />
<br />
If govt starts paying for it then govt also decides who gets what treatment and when treatment is no longer financially feasible. It's the way the government system works, AKA Medicare.<br />
<br />
The Constitution does not guarantee health care coverage for any citizen.<br />
<br />
If we did this making healthcare a right ... then food is a right. So everyone must give up money to buy others food. How ... well, just add another 'tax' to take care of this right.<br />
On and on, ad infinitum.<br />
<br />
If something, anything, doesn't work we can not continue to raise taxes in the hope of having it work. It may never work.<br />
<br />
What about the millions of citizens under the age of 25 who CHOOSE not to buy health care or be covered; should they be forced to have it when it is there choice not to? Should they choose to forgo it on themselves but have to pay it for someone else?<br />
<br />
These are questions that must be addressed. No one wants too, they just want to tax in hopes of making, at this point, an unknown PLAN work. And you develop a plan and put it before the taxpayers to vote on BEFORE you appropriated any funds for it. <br />
<br />
We must remember that healthcare is not free. It costs money to have doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical tests, surgery, medicines and routine care. Medical professionals are highly trained and deserve to earn a good wage. Companies that develop new drugs and new technology deserve to get a profit from their ideas, hard work and risk taking.<br />
<br />
A simple economic fact: When something is free people don't use it wisely and you'll end up with shortages. Possibly, right back where we started from.<br />
<br />
We do need less greed (lower costs) from drug companies, doctors, and politicians. And insurance companies. Yes, Change is needed! We just don't know and have figured out that CHANGE as yet.

Don't worry, I'm stockpiling my ammo and dry and canned goods! <br />
There has to be a way to make it affordable for ALL, not just affordable for a few. Unemployment shouldn't be a factor at all, everyone should be guaranteed proper access to the healthcare system without fear of cost. And there shouldn't be any profits involved for anyone.<br />
<br />
One more thing. Who do you think administers medicare? it's BCBS! They make money off of administering that mess. They make a profit too. And then there is fraud by greedy doctors or Columbia/HCA back in the late '90's and that's only the tip of the iceberg. Take away profits and the crooks go away.

And only Universal Healthcare will save America from alls it many many ills!<br><br />
<br><br />
Thank you for that commercial.

wishing for a depression? whatever. <br />
<br />
The only folks wishing and fighting for a depression are the ones fighting tooth and nail against government intervention into the economy and healthcare, because they are too scared of the big bad government. The same people who supported outrageous spending during the Bush terms but now suddenly have seen the light and will fight with all their power to stop Obama from upgrading our healthcare system. <br />
<br />
Use whatever measurement you want to, and the US healthcare system is pathetic next to the rest of the civilized world. Life expectancy, infant mortality, etc. It's all of them "SOCIALIST" European countries like Sweden and Denmark that kick our a$$. <br />
<br />
Oh no, we'll do anything to avoid admitting that our system sucks and that we could from older, wiser countries. <br />
<br />
It's no wonder that most of the world has come to resent our posturing. We're constantly patting ourselves on the back for being the greatest country on Earth and the rest of the world is scratching its head and asking "where do those conceited idiots get that idea?"

If the health insurance business is cleaned-up and made more affordable and portable ... unemployment would be figured in, as opposed to COBRA.<br />
<br />
We are in a recession. It has not reached a depression as yet ... and not another Great Depression as you might be wishing for.

When discussing healthcare in the US, unemployment is not the issue.... until a person is unemployed and loses their healthcare. Then it is the issue. And like I said, 3 straight months of over 650,000 jobs lost... <br />
<br />
But don't worry folks, this is just a recession (according to those American heroes that are bravely blocking Obama's policies) He's just trying to use scare tactics to put the nation in a panic to make us into a socialist country. <br />
<br />

Who do you think will pay for the ones that go to the Hospital and can't pay? You still will pay. And private insurance is honest and can be trusted? They only care about their bottom line, and that will raise prices.

You're exactly right but you know how we get off on these other tangents during these discussions. :-) There are so many facets to the problem, we can't even begin to solve the whole problem without micromanaging everything else.<br />
<br />
The BLS numbers are misleading though when you look at the whole picture. We're bleeding jobs at an alarming rate.<br />
As "V" said before, the formula was changed about a decade ago so probably the numbers during the great depression were closer to right.<br />
<br />
I'd also make a comment about COBRA. COBRA is the insurance that is offered to a person when they are let go from a job that provided them health insurance coverage.<br />
So, now we have a person who has no job, and no insurance because the premiums are in excess of at least $350.00 per month and that's not for the family, just single.<br />
Unattainable? You bet. Then you get a new job (if you can) with insurance and you have the year or so to wait before they cover pre-existing conditions. Fair? Hardly.<br />
<br />
Just as an aside: Do you know how many people I treat in the ER for acute asthma attacks because they don't have insurance and can't afford the medication? Do you know how many people die each year from untreated asthma, a totally controllable disease? People should not have to choose between food and healthcare/medicine.

Forget that comment about me having to dig, Jojo just posted the info.

Right, wrong or indifferent it is what we have to work with. Unless you or someone else calculates it "correctly" and then applies it retroactively. If it is wrong then the unemployment rate during the Great Depression must have been higher than the "government" calculated too.<br />
<br />
Unemployment is not the topic at hand, it maybe an aggravation of the situation but not a sole deciding force in determining a solution.<br />
<br />
The mechanism that delivers health insurance and health care is where the changes must be made. The front end where the engine is ... not the back end where the passengers (consumer) get on board.

Josie, I think those numbers are misleading because according to those statistics (Which are reported by the government) they fail to take into account the people who are unemployed and are no longer counted as looking for a job. Here's an excerpt from an article I posted on my blog the other day:<br />
<br />
What if I told you the unemployment rate last month was 14.8 percent?<br />
<br />
Well, in a way it's true. In another way, it might be an overly conservative estimate. While we're wringing our collective hands now that unemployment topped 8 percent, it's important to know where those numbers come from.<br />
<br />
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency within the Labor Department that reports on the unemployment rate, has six statistics measuring peoples' involvement in the labor force. The U3 is the official unemployment rate, arrived at by sample surveys of approximately 60,000 Americans each month.<br />
<br />
Furthermore, some people who are not paid are still counted as employed. A person who helps out with a family member's business for free without getting a paycheck is counted as employed. A person who has a job but is on unpaid leave is still considered employed.<br />
<br />
The unemployment rate may just be one of the least dependable economic indicators available. Economist Dean Baker suggested we should use employment rate, since it's easier to count workers, who have a better-defined status in the workforce than the unemployed.<br />
<br />
Despite its authoritative name, BLS has been a victim of political posturing for decades. Every president since at least Kennedy has fudged the country's economic numbers to make their administration look better.<br />
<br />
The last one to radically change the unemployment outlook was Clinton, who excised from the equation "discouraged workers" who had been frustrated with the labor market for more than one year, eliminating millions from concern in one move.<br />
<br />
When you consider that the "gimmicking" of the federal deficit goes back to Johnson, Obama's plan to represent the deficit in its true shamefulness is downright shocking in its innovation. Tell the painful truth about our debt? Wow. Why don't we just come out and say how many people are unemployed while we're at it?<br />
<br />
The reason we don't lies both in bureaucracy and the media. Economics reporting is quickly being revealed to be the most fraught and inaccurate available (thanks, Jon Stewart). And the media blindly reports the favored number (the U3) from BLS that is released officially each month. As a result, few truly know what an unemployed person looks like.<br />
<br />
BLS doesn't count unemployed people who tell the agency they scoured the want ads, who are engaged in job training, or who check Internet job sites daily. You have to make concrete, measurable steps toward gainful employment: knocking on doors, sending out resumes.<br />
<br />
What happens when there are no unlocked doors, and no addresses to which to send one's resume? When jobs disappear, do unemployed people become invisible?<br />
<br />
What kind of sense does it make to spend time and sometimes money on trying to get a job if there are no jobs out there? Workers who feel this way are defined as "discouraged workers" and are not counted as unemployed by BLS.<br />
<br />
What about the laid-off worker who took a part-time job hoping it would turn into something full-time, or just to try and stay above water until they could find something more permanent? While they might not consider themselves fully and gainfully employed, BLS's official statistic on unemployment doesn't make that distinction.<br />
<br />
BLS's U6 statistic -- where I got my scary 14.8 percent stat earlier -- does count these people, but as mentioned earlier, they only count discouraged workers from the past year. Anyone who's been paying any amount of attention to this economic crisis can tell you it is more than a 12-month fling.<br />
<br />
Clearly, while the U6 number might be a more accurate measure of national economic misery, it's also less politically palatable. What if I told you the unemployment rate was closer to 20 percent? According to John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics Web site, the unemployment rate is already more than 18 percent when you add back in those workers excluded since the mid-1990s.<br />
<br />
As is pointed out here, maybe the entire idea of relying upon percentages is the problem in the way we measure the effect of unemployment:<br />
<br />
A vastly more interesting and important comparison is of actual total human beings without jobs or who are severely underemployed. The number of people affected at the peak of the depression was 13.5 million unemployed vs. today's official number of 11.6 million. Eleven million six hundred thousand human beings unemployed is within a dangerously short distance of the worst number the Great Depression ever printed.<br />
<br />
Absorbing fully and unflinchingly just how bad our labor force is faring in this downturn may not seem like a fun way to spend the weekend. And my lack of economic expertise may allow you to write this whole article off as manic speculation. But the next time someone tells you unemployment today isn't anywhere near what it was in the Great Depression, remind them that 18 percent is not that far from the 25 percent rate at the peak of the Depression, and most experts say things will get worse before they get better.

"Health problems are behind half the bankruptcies in this country, and three-quarters of those bankrupt people had health insurance when they got sick." says Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine who has just written a powerful story about her own family's experience with the broken health care system. <br />
When we hear from people who are worried about whether we can "afford" health care reform, we're reminded that: We can't strengthen household income and restore consumer confidence, so long as health care costs soar and people are being be wiped out by medical bills. Health care reform will be a big step forward to get our economy going in the right direction. <br />
<br />
I have my own healthcare financial nightmare. I didn't have to file bankruptcy and was lucky (well, I lost my beloved husband so I wasn't really lucky) but it could have been devastating financially, especially since I worked so hard to be able to keep our home and keep our heads above water. We went through 1.5 million in a lifetime cap of health insurance in the early 1990's and still had $660k in medical bills upon his death. When the insurance ran out, we got "Sorry, no bone marrow transplant, you have no insurance." So, "Houston, we have a problem."

Not all unemployment rates are the same. I'll have to dig to find the source, but the way we calculate our unemployment rate now is different than it was a decade ago. They changed it to make it look better than it was, since it doesn't take into effect people who have been unemployed too long and it also doesn't take into effect the different definition of employment. So in reality our unemployment rate (currently at 8.1%) is really more like 10%. So when it reaches 10% it will be more like 12% or 13%. <br />
<br />
The depression was at 25%. Some areas of the US are already past 15%.

It is projected by that the unemployment rate by December of 2009 will be 9%. Yes that is high, but it also means that 91% of Americans are employed. *gulp*<br />
<br />
Annual Unemployment Rates January 1993 - January 2001 (<br />
1993 6.91 6.91 Clinton<br />
1994 6.10 6.1 <br />
1995 5.59 5.59 <br />
1996 5.41 5.41 <br />
1997 4.94 4.94 <br />
1998 4.50 4.5 <br />
1999 4.22 4.22 <br />
2000 3.97 3.97 <br />
2001 4.76 4.76 Bush, G.W.<br />
2002 5.78 5.78 <br />
2003 5.99 5.99 <br />
2004 5.53 5.525 <br />
2005 5.08 5.08333333333333 <br />
2006 4.63 4.63333333333333 <br />
2007 4.61 4.60833333333333 <br />
2008 5.76 5.75833333333333<br />
<br />
<br />
i do not know anything about COBRA so that should be discussed by those that have had to use it.<br />
<br />
<br />
As i have said before i do believe we have a health insurance problem. We differ greatly on the mechanism(s) to correct it.

With the exception of a few companies that are chains or based out of another state, none of our local employers ever offer any kind of benefits. About 2/3 the jobs in this area are paid as "independent contractor" or cash draw which really means "Off the Books" so we don't exist as employees and cannot collect unemployment. Arizona is a right to work state, meaning employers can hire/fire at will, no reason.

Jose, You have some great statistics and bring up good points.<br />
Do you think if we stopped sending aid to every damned country in the world with money we don't have, could we pay for some kind of system to make sure everyone has some type of coverage? If our government went belly up and our monetary system was changed to the AMERO, would all of our debt be wiped out?<br />
<br />
Here you go. Here's how to get Healthcare for all:<br />
<br />
Five Steps to Socialized Healthcare<br />
Published<br />
by<br />
Adam Pieniazek<br />
on September 20, 2008<br />
in Government<br /> <br />
<br />
1. Stop paying medical bills.<br />
2. Bad debt increases for hospitals and insurance companies.<br />
3. Big health insurance companies fail.<br />
4. Government steps in, bails them out.<br />
5. Bam, socialized healthcare.<br />
<br />
Repeat as necessary until government simply owns medical industry.<br />
<br />
Yeah, That's the ticket! LOL

Another thing to consider is how bad our healthcare crisis is about to explode: look at the unemployment numbers. <br />
<br />
For 3 straight months we have lost over 650,000 jobs. Since people get their healthcare coverage through their employers in our nifty system, the loss of any healthcare protection hurts worse than the loss of income, since an unemployed person can at least get unemployment to help a little bit. <br />
<br />
The unemployed uninsured have to get coverage through the rape known as COBRA. Every month we're seeing 650,000 more unemployed, uninsured families... <br />
<br />

Josie,<br />
<br />
You asked above <br />
<br />
"Why should anyone have to pay for themselves and their family and pay for someone totally unknown to them."<br />
<br />
I do this now as part of my employer sponsored group policy. Many in the group have worse health than I and my premiums contribute to their use. Most years I don't come remotely close to using what I pay in premiums.

sharpening razor and pouring glass of water to swallow 152 pills...I'd hang a rope but the beams in this rental are weak.

Medicare rate in the US is 15.3%. This includes Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program and Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) program are financed primarily through employment taxes.<br />
<br />
<br />
Tax rates as a percent of taxable earnings (1990 and later)<br />
Rate for employees and employers, each pay 6.200 (OASDI) 1.450 (HI) 7.650 (Total) <br />
<br />
<br />
Rate for self-employed persons they pay 12.400 (OASDI) 2.900 (HI) 15.300 (Total)<br />
<br />
Medicare and Social Security in the US is heading to the bankruptcy heap. The government already owns it and will, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, be bailing it out ... could be 10 years or 40 depending on which report you read.<br />
<br />
Another question to ponder is: Can the USA go bankrupt when the national debt interest is too high to be paid?<br />
<br />
3% sounds like a wonderful figure, especially if it goes solely to medical benefits.

How horrifying... I mean, think about the insurance companies... they gotta feed their kids, too.

I live in Australia......and I remember what it was like BEFORE 1974. You had to have money before you got sick or no treatment.<br />
<br />
Now....our system works....choose your own doctor, pay nothing at the clinic or hospital. We are all taxed 3% for medicare.<br />
<br />
In the past 6 years I have been admitted to hospital for surgery and treatment 8 cost at all.

JojoWazoo, i agree that profit should not be the motive. i also believe putting government in charge will not get rid of that profit motive.<br />
<br />
i have seen the military system get better over time. Hope it continues that trend.<br />
<br />
From all i've read active duty get a freeze on rates. As do retirees (Military Retirees Health Care Protection Act) get a freeze on rates. This is good. <br />
<br />
i've also heard, though not from military or retiree organizations, that Tricare rates will raise or be cut out of the budget totally. i pray this is completely wrong.

All I know is, I would seek regular check ups and preventative maintenance on this aging model if we had universal healthcare. I haven't been able to afford health/medical insurance since college when it was at a student discount. That is the main reason I have studied alternatives, herbs, supplements for 20 years and am careful about how I eat. My only choice is to stay healthy.<br />
<br />
Yes, other countries have system difficulties but every citizen still gets healthcare. If I ended up in the ER here, I'd get symptoms taken care of. But if there was a condition or cancer found, I'd be ******. No insurance company would take me on as a customer with a pre-existing condition and the hospital would have no obligation to treat it.<br />
<br />
Paying for insurance endlessly and with rising rates does not serve me if I place a claim and it is summarily refused to be paid by the insurance company.<br />
<br />
Watch the indie film: "Sicko" by Michael Moore. Explains the plight of the insured who don't get claims covered and the profit-drive of the insurance companies deciding not to pay if it takes profit from them. Corruption prevails.<br />
<br />
We kept filing and refiling for my husband to collect his SS disability benefits while he was injured from work and incapacitated. A newbie in some office revealed that they "lose" your claim and AUTOMATICALLY DENY the first 3 attempts to claim. After each denial we refiled until he no longer qualified to claim and returned to work, 18 months later. Never received his benefits. And each denial was not in any timely manner, dragging out the process. They won.

Me, I'm envious of the healthcare that is provided to our senators and representatives... you know, the ones who are largely against providing the same care to us "lower" people.

The problem with healthcare is PROFIT! Healthcare should not be a for profit entity. Nobody's life and health should be equated with profit. Insurance companies and for profit hospitals have to show a gain for their shareholders. This is reprehensible. There should be no profit in the equation. It's not just Insurance companies, it's the whole system. We have nearly 50 million people without healthcare in the USA. This is unacceptable.<br />
<br />
I work in healthcare. Everyday, I see what happens in a system where people do not have proper access to the healthcare system. You can say "They can go to the ER" all you want. They do, believe me, they do. Then they become a burden on the ER system what is there for EMERGENCIES, not for a clinic for people who can't afford to go see a physician. They don't have $100 at their disposal to see a Dr. so they go to the ER and run up a $1000 bill, not to include the ER Doctor and Radiologists bill. And, if they're admitted, that's a whole other story.<br />
The people who do have insurance are overcharged to help pay for the people who don't have any so no matter how you look at it, we're all paying for indigent healthcare whether it's through medicaid or medicare or private insurance with exorbitant medical bills. There has to be a better way.<br />
<br />
For all of the "National Healthcare" detractors, what do you think our military and their families have? Does it work for them?

VendettA12 you said: "If you like your employer based healthcare, have at it. And if we go to a universal healthcare system, you are still free to get additional insurance (as in other countries) for special and very expensive procedures or risks that might not be covered."<br />
<br />
Your statements advocates that some people paying twice. Because they do in other countries. And that makes it alright? i think not.<br />
<br />
One systems is a better way to go, then all receive care. Why should anyone have to pay for themselves and their family and pay for someone totally unknown to them. That's not right or proper. That's what you advocate along with the Federal government telling everyone how they will do it; how they will pay for it; what they will receive; and on and on.<br />
<br />
The government needs to get off the bus and regulate from the outside. Just as the police regulate your driving from outside your car.