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More Food For Thought

The Dangers of Health Care for All

by Grant Lawrence     Page 1 of 1 page(s)

www.opednews.com

  A conservative group plans on spending 20 million to scare the American people into believing that universal health care coverage is bad.

A former health care executive from the Health Care of America, Richard Scott, is launching the multi million dollar ad campaign this coming Tuesday. The group he is heading, "Conservatives for Patients Rights," will be extolling the benefits of free market capitalism in health care on radio, TV, and in print.

There is real danger in everybody having health coverage and Mr. Scott wants to make sure people are aware of that.

Suppose everyone were to have health coverage then there would be more healthy Americans living longer. Of course that is a real danger to conservatives who would just as soon shoot people as to have them healthy.

In America it is not wrong for people to have guns to shoot people but it is wrong for people to have adequate health care coverage unless they are wealthy.

Of course, the group Conservatives for Patients Rights think it is OK that millions of Americans have filed for bankruptcy because they didn't have health insurance or adequate health care coverage. Conservatives are just upset that there might be a central authority that can tell people that they have to have health care coverage. Conservatives only like central authority when it is coming from a monopolistic business entity and they only like welfare when the money goes to corporations.

As the number of underinsured Americans has nearly doubled in the last few years to 25 million and the number of Americans with no health care coverage has risen to nearly 45 million, I am sure this free market conservative message will gain a lot of support among the American people.

Americans should be shaking and trembling over the possibility that a socialistic program like Universal health care might come to America. After all, conservatives hate social security, medicare, and disability benefits for others. They just put up with these solialistic programs when they themselves are collecting from it.

The message that health coverage for all is a real danger and we need more of the same "free market" principles that have contributed to the average American's life expectancy to be ranked 42nd in the world, even though the United States presently spends more than any country in the world on health care. Also, the American free market health care system is presently ranked right behind the Cuban communist system.

But thankfully there is a conservative group out there willing to spend millions to warn people that insuring all people adequately is bad.

Conservative Americans will hopefully continue to unite behind the message that we need more of the same in American health care. The idea that we need the same free market principles in health care that has killed and bankrupted millions of Americans will likely continue to contribute to the growing distaste to these principles among the American people. After all, these same "wonderful" free market principles have not only destroyed American health care but it has done a pretty bang up job on the economy too.

JojoWazoo JojoWazoo 46-50, F 40 Responses Mar 10, 2009

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Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate the benefit of your thoughts. You are absolutely right. Having worked in healthcare for the past nearly 23 years, I can tell you that the current system we have does not work. Our ER's are clogged with people who have no insurance, no money and minor illnesses. I think it's a crime that a basic thing such as healthcare is used as a profit making venture. We have people who get paid to deny claims to pad the profits for the shareholders. This is reprehensible. If there were more preventative programs it might not be so bad but there isn't. <br />
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Citizens are howling at the moment about a $1 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes. This money will be used to help finance the much needed Children's Health Insurance Program. I understand that this is another "sin tax" but the people who are doing things detrimental to their health should pay more since they will be requiring more healthcare services in the future based on their poor choices. That's another story, I'm sure I'll get flamed about that!<br />
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As for the levees. You don't have to apologize for your astute observations. You are 100% right and what happened in New Orleans, La and Mississippi was a crime against humanity. What unfolded there and on TV screens all across the world was shocking and pretty much avoidable if the government had done what it was supposed to do. The total ineptness of the Bush administration has been a stain on my country from day one, Hurricane Katrina being just one example. <br />
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Again, thank you for your thoughts. It's enlightening to get another perspective on issues such as this.

*blush* <br />
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JojoWazoo, my host here on this thread, thanks for being such a gracious host. I honestly think that the liberal Americans who vote "democrat" have a very difficult task trying to counter the very emotional arguments being put forward by Republicans.<br />
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Healthcare is one of those areas where it is only too easy to raise the "socialism" thing. Because, essentially, the costs of universal healthcare are so great that I can't think of a single country that can pull it off without some form of government intervention.<br />
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But in some countries, basic healthcare is thought to be a right. Is it "socialist" to expect your government to build roads, provide school buildings, and maintain levees so that they don't fail when there is a hurricane. With respect, I didn't understand Bobby Jindal's comments on "Big Government" failing Lousiana in some way by not allowing unlicensed boats to do rescue work. If only Government had been big enough for the job of maintaining the levees. Hope this last remark doesn't offend anyone.<br />
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The appeal to the emotions, to the instincts, is very powerful, I wish you all the best of luck and my best intentions. If the Obama Administration puts more money into the most basic public health care, people will start howling that he is promoting "handouts".<br />
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To those people, I would say that every dollar spent intelligently on the most basic kind of primary health care may take more than a dollar from the "pie" which the insurers and HMOs can eat. My government puts economic pressure on health insurance companies by providing good cheap polyclinics and screening and follow-up programmes. We cover 80% of the most basic healthcare costs and the cost to the taxpayer is maybe 3 - 5% of the annual budget. If we didn't spend on basic care, we'd be in a camel clutch perpetually with the insurers trying to beg them for money to cover expensive things like diabetes complications, dialysis, transplants, and long-term care.<br />
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Phew, that was a vent! Thanks again for being a gracious hostess.

Hi Andrew! Thank you for your great informative post on Universal Health Care. The conservatives want to paint it as socialist but the military already enjoy such a system. So do our members of Congress. I appreciate your thoughts on this and how you so carefully laid it all out. You are right, it's all in how phrases are fr<x>amed. I will go on from here trying to change the phrase when discussing this matter!<br />
Thanks!<br />
Jojo

Hey, dedre, thanks for bothering to read that incredibly long post! I just couldn't resist trying to give Democrats on EP a few ways to rebut some of the wilder emotional arguments being put forward by Republicans. <br />
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The Obama administration is not being "socialist" on health care. In my humble (foreign) opinion they are seeking to address some important market distortions which emerged during GWB's two terms.<br />
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I don't see the US departing in a major way from using market forces to allocate health care coverage. But anything Washington can do to restore the function of "the market" ought to make it more feasible to cover more people, better. <br />
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There is a degree of "no-bid" allocation which could never be imagined in, say, my little country. A bit like what is emerging now on the issue of defence costs for the war in Iraq.<br />
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Take the example of kidney dialysis costs. An individual or an employer dealing with a private HMO as just one unit -- one person or one employer -- doesn't have the bargaining power or the statistical ammo to challenge the HMO on issues such as how the costs are arrived at.<br />
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On the other hand, a Government might have reliable stats, such as nationwide stats for kidney dialysis and transplants, and independent actuarial figures, that it could use to construct solid arguments for telling the HMO, "There is no way you can be charging this much and covering so few people!" or "We'll take these figures, but you'll have to cover *this* much more of the costs of kidney transplants and the cost to the economy caused by those extra deaths."<br />
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Or else call their bluff with something like, "Fine. Then don't provide this aspect of public health insurance. We trust our figures and we'll do it ourselves." Last resort, of course!<br />
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Well, I think that is still a market system at work. The market system begins to fail when the HMOs become like a cartel, and there isn't enough accountability.

Thanks Andrewpenney, I did not realize the fallacy when I started to reflect on Universal Health Care and Government Health Care.<br />
In actual honesty, yea I treated both terms as the same (guess I just didn't give enough thought on it), as Universal Health Care without direct government influence , to me, sounds like way too much work I'd be surprised to see it here in the (generally) lazy US.

Hello. I've been following this thread, all your posts are fascinating to me, it's been a real education. I hope you don't mind if this foreigner joins the discussion.<br><br />
IMHO think that the best thing liberal Democrat-leaning Americans can do to get decent healthcare to more people is to STOP mixing up the words "Government Health Care" and "Universal Health Care".<br><br><br />
What you want is Universal Health Care. By using the word "Government" you are feeding Republican fears that all the healthcare budget will simply be handed over to the Government, which will be able to decide how you are treated.<br><br />
Universal Health Care seems to be closer to what I understand the Obama Administration to be trying to implement. It is not free healthcare. Nor is it socialist. Universal Health Care is a complex system based on: Co-payments, enforced savings for medical care (direct from payroll), private and public health insurance, means-tested safety nets for those who genuinely are in need, and a LOT of free market competition.<br><br />
If you get the elements right, and the Government knows what it is doing, you can get really good value for your money. The Government will not interfere with the market, but will stick to doing what it does best:<br><br />
Eg. gather and analyse data in order to make keep the market functioning as well as it possibly can. Yes, strengthen the market.<br><br />
Instead of forcing individuals and firms to try and negotiate on their own with the private insurers, the Government takes the lead in leaning on the insurers on behalf of the health care needs of the population as a whole, which the Government is in a better position to know than any individual citizen. Sort of like a "group discount", for the public health insurance component.<br><br />
Through legislation, the Government can also force health care providers and the private insurers (who supplement the public insurance, that's where the choice comes in) to be transparent, which I believe is good for competition.<br><br />
I would actually say that Universal Healthcare is based on a very high level of individual responsibility for the costs. In Europe, this is reflected in relatively high personal income tax rates; in Singapore, in substantial payroll deductions (although each person's deduction belongs to him or her and doesn't disappear into a common fund).<br><br />
If you want to see a good example of how "Universal Health Care" might work, here is an article on how it's done in my country, Singapore:<br><br />
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2008/01/singapores_heal.html<br><br />
Everything the Conservatives in your country seem to be against is actually market-friendly, it is meant to keep distortions out of the market. But I must say that we spend a lot of money on preventive care and screening. The system is not perfect (the comments to the article raise good points), but I'm happy with what I have at the moment.<br><br />
Good luck, American friends!

Actual story aside, the comments remind me of my first girlfriend, who was canadian...initially I just had a one-night stand with her (first time ever, and on shrooms).<br />
A month later, she's living with her mom down here in my state, and convinces me to make a relationship outta it. Turns out also, just as a bonus 'perk' she had breast-reduction surgery. <br />
When I mentioned canada and it's healthcare, she basically stated (and I heard it from many of her friends in a similar explanation) that yea, it's cool and great and you don't have to worry about expenses; but it's government. She said to imagine our DMV, with all of it's "who-give-a-****-about-the-customers-time" attitude, and apply that to a hospital.<br />
Yea it may have it's plusses, but it definitely has it's drawbacks as well.<br />
Besides that notion, if healthcare becomes a government thing, does that mean all doctor's certs and training would be government-controlled? That thought scares the **** out of me as well.

I think its pretty obvious that private corporations do a far, far better job at handling healthcare than government. Government screws everything up! You wouldn't have the waste fraud and abuse in healthcare today if you had AIG or Lehman Brothers or Citi Bank running things!

Good thought provoking insight. I don't think that allowing Washington bureaucrats to "fix" anything is the solution. They have made more of a mess of what ails us. (No pun intended)<br />
If common people can come together with ideas and solutions, surely things can be worked out.

I only wish that the single payer advocates weren't being squeezed out of the debate by the MSM and yes the Obama administration. It is the most equitable and cost effective solution to the health care crisis in America. It has proven itself to be effective in other countries. No it is not Nirvana but it is certainly much better than what the US has. What the US has isn't socialism or a free market system. It is monopolism run amok. If we truly had market forces at play, there would be a single standard set for entry into medical schools and then there would be as many as trained as met the standard. Clinic and hospitals could be constructed in areas where there was a there was a market need. Since there would be more doctors, clinics, and hospitals there would be serious efforts to bring down cost. Medicine would be imported from countries that sold it more cheaply (just why doesn't so called Globalism apply to medicine anyway?). Doctors wouldn't mind policing their own ranks since they would be looking at competition rather than other members of the country club. The only problem with the free market is that the greed heads really hate it and eventually destroy it. Obama and others are wanting the people who have a vested interest in a broken health care system to try to come up with solutions to fix it. It just won't work like that. I would rather put my trust in the Washington bureaucrats this time. Of course this issue always needs to have this link also.<br />
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=sicko%20the%20movie&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=sicko+&hl=en&emb=0

Thank you all for your comments. I agree with Saratoga girl<br />
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It's the same thing they did with NCLB and the many other unfunded mandates. I still say it all comes down to the nocon manifesto "The Project for a New American Century." If you haven't read it, google PNAC and read their diabolical manifesto. It will make your blood run cold.<br />
I feel like a mad woman when I talk about it but it's there for the reading.

very informative jojo!

There is no system that is perfect for everyone. Regardless of what is chosen or implemented, there will always be some people who are dissatisfied. That is the way it is when you try to draw up something that a few million people have to abide by!

Ya, "to the highest bidder" sounds much more ethical...

---The healthcare system of any country should benefit ALL residents equally, not just those who can "contribute back". Profits have no place in a space reserved to keep everyone healthy and contributing in their own way.---<br />
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From each according to their ability. To each according to their need.

Speaking of stamps, no one seems to be stressing out over government management of our mail (USPS). Or are conservative groups pushing for private corporations to take over that as well?

OK, I give up. I'm out of stamps, so you will all have to stop by here to collect my money.

I agree totally with stevester...we need a well-trained, well paid, impartial civil service in this country, under competent management. Then we will have good government services. of course, that is ideologically unacceptable to the right-wing, so....

One thing that gets me about the US type of government is the practice u have of getting rid of a mass of your civil servants each time a new party takes control. U must lose masses of experience and expertise. In the UK the civil service is impartial and delivers to whatever incoming government. This at least gives continuity of delivery and experience.

You get the government you vote for. There are varying degrees of competency. <br />
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I'll never understand the rationale behind voting for government representatives that hate government and think government is evil and incompetent and wasteful and corrupt and should be limited.... If you haven't noticed, I just listed some of the core campaign messages of the republican party. <br />
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Theirs is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's as if they're saying to the American people: <br />
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"Vote for me! I hate government. Government messes everything up. Elect me and I'll prove it!"<br />
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The most disgusting example of this came in Jindal's speech that he gave after Obama addressed the nation. He pointed to Hurricane Katrina as proof that the government is horribly bad at helping people. Well, duh. The last administration placed FEMA under the control of Michael Brown, of "Yer doin a heckuva job, Brownie" fame. Brown had no experience with emergency services management. His previous experience was being the head of the Arabian horse association. <br />
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So when Jindal pointed to FEMA's deplorable response to Katrina, he was really saying that FEMA under George Bush was incompetent, not that FEMA is inherently incompetent.

I think it is so fascinating when the right-wingers starve the federal agencies of enough money to do their jobs properly and then stand and say, "See? They can't do anything right!" This is a deliberate policy and if you don't think it is, go read the right-wing articles about "starving the beast" and see that it is!<br />
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The government workers would be perfectly capable of running health care well if they are sufficiently funded and trained. Of course, look for the neo-fascists to attempt to starve health-care agencies of needed money and then stand there and point as usual.

I agree, the U.S. medical system is a mess. Even so, I can't wrap my mind around the idea that it will get better when it is run by a bunch of government bureaucrats. In my experience, anything the ferral government touches... it breaks. If you don't believe me, go take a ride on a train.

That's a great idea! We have a surgeon that operates at my hospital. Everyone knows he's a hack and no one does anything about it! It's appalling and when you see him on call, you just want to scream "NO!" and go running for the hills. Now why don't his peers police him and the many more like him?

Who needs to worry about healthcare problems with 5.5 million dollars? Did he amputate the wrong limb or something?

The frivolous lawsuits are easy to solve. Doctors need to open up so that their results and any actions against them or praise for them is available to all. That way someone can make a knowledgeable choice about the doctor they are engaging and insurance can know what to charge or not charge them for malpractice.<br />
Right now it is impossible to know if your doctor is good or just a terrible hack. Education can go a long way to reduce these lawsuits and then payouts can be capped depending on the transgression because everyone will know the level of risk that they face!

Come on down! Good luck finding a job......Tort is another problem here. I have seen some terrible things happen by ****** doctors. I don't believe they police their own, but at the same time, it is way too easy to sue with frivolous lawsuits. This in turn raises malpractice insurance which increases doctor's fees. (I'm not saying your case is frivolous, I don't know the nature of it and it's not my business) There are hundred's of problems but there are simple solutions too, Everyone just wants to make them harder than they have to be. When people don't have insurance, they charge the people who do have insurance more to cover costs. I don't believe rationing is the answer either, there are some people with serious health issues, like diabetes, heart and lung disease, MS and other debilitating problems. Healthcare down here is about as expensive down here. Part of the problem is duplication of services and as I said before, healthcare for profit. Again, no ones health should revolve around a profit.

I have heard good and bad things about Canadian healthcare. mostly good.<br />
Here in the good old USA we have wait times for the ER up to 10 hours sometimes. Our ER waiting rooms are clogged with people with non emergent patients waiting to be seen because they don't have the money to access a regular doctor or Urgent Care physician. We have to triage people according to their symptoms and emergency. The Ambulance brings 'em in the back door too! Some people even have the gall to, after seeing the wait in front, to go home and call the Ambulance to take them to the ER. Non -emergent? The EMT's walk them through the ER and back out to the lobby to wait! :-) Now, they just created a $300 Ambulance bill and put an unreasonable burden on the EMS system. Would universal healthcare solve this problem? I think so, because everyone would have access to a doctor or clinic without fear of not being able to pay the bill. It's pure and simple! Also, preventive healthcare would vastly improve our society immensely.

That is incredible. As a Canadian, we have had a universal health care system for ages. To my knowledge...Our health care system is just recently becoming more like the USA (private clinics, etc).

You probably pass my Governor taking a bus of senior citizens to Canada to pick up affordable medicine. Wave to Brian Schweitzer next time. <br />
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Your horror stories don't match the experiences I've heard from other Canadians, who view our system as bizarre. I'm not saying you're not telling the truth, I'm just saying that I hear many experiences from Canadians because we're pretty close to the border and the Canucks come down to look at and buy RV's from my employer. For the most part they take healthcare for granted, and when they come to the US they purchase temporary insurance in case something goes wrong while they're visiting.

The affordable part went to the wayside because of 'profit' As soon as you are beholden to shareholders, there has to be a profit or you'll be shown the door (with your golden parachute, of course).