How would you feel about socialized medicine?


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Clean97GTI
May 27, 2005, 06:28 AM
First off, this is not firearms related, however the description of this thread says other civil rights. Lock/Delete if you feel its not proper here, but I believe this to be a valid thread and topic.

The first thing that pops into the minds of many is that socialized medicine is a trap and it rarely works as well as it should. The costs are high and freedoms robbed.

Well, I have a new idea...sorta. I was debating with a friend of mine about wasteful government spending. He mentioned programs and agencies we fund that really benefit citizens. When I asked which ones, the first one he mentioned was NASA. He believes we should continue to fund NASA and space exploration. I disagree and feel that those billions of dollar could be better spent developing one of the best social medicine programs in the world.

So, my idea is that we axe wasteful programs (remember, NASA dug a couple $140,000,000 craters on Mars not too long ago) and divert that money into a social med program. You are already being taxed X ammount anyway, why not put it to better use? We could lose wasteful things like Medicare and Medicaid or streamline them into the new CHS (Citizens Health Service)
Doctors would contract with CHS at a reasonable rate (docs gotta make a living too) as well as nurses.
Drug companies would be required to provide drugs at a reasonable cost (or they don't get the contract) Either you deal with the citizens as a whole or you deal with the few rich folks who will go to you directly.
Basically, we do what Canada does except better. The insurance companies go away and your taxes don't change much if at all. The medical savings account some had proposed wouldn't be needed and could be diverted into this fund. It must be sacred though. Congress can't touch it...EVER!!! The Senate nor The Prez, nor any court should be allowed to dip into the CHS fund. We can't ruin this thing the way we did with Social Security. Oh yeah, services to non-citizens would only be offered in VERY special circumstances. We're not here to play free clinic to the third world, let the UN have that mess.

What do you think? What would you add or subtract?

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Khornet
May 27, 2005, 06:40 AM
No governmemt give-away program EVER stayed within bounds. No doubt similar good intentions surrounded the founding of the British and Canadian systems, as well as America's Medicare.

Repeat after me: Any government program which takes money from Peter to give to Paul can count on Paul's votes to take ever more money from Peter. And the politician will use Peter's money to buy Paul's votes.

All entitlement programs, however well-intentioned, ultimately do only one thing efficiently: they buy lots of votes.

ANd if you take the King's shilling, you must dance to the King's tune: if gov't money is spent on your health care, then gov't will assume the right to restrict any of your behaviors which might increase health care costs. Like smoking. Or alcohol. Or seat belts. Or fatty foods.

Or gun ownership.

Wiley
May 27, 2005, 06:46 AM
You keep using the word 'reasonable'. Define it.

Show me any government program that has outperformed what the private sector can do and I might listen.

Post office? FedEx/UPS puts them to shame. Medicine? The US has the best medical delivery system in the world. Bar none! Education? The private schools/home schooling are by any measure, better.

Khornet
May 27, 2005, 07:17 AM
the govt is a political animal. Therefore any program it administers will be governed not by efficiency, not by fairness, not by fiscal resposibilty, but by politics. Witness the current flap over closing of excess military bases. Here in NH my senators are working fevrishly to prevent the closing of the Porstmouth Naval Shipyard. Not because it is in the best ineterst of the nation's defense, but because their constituents demand it.

garyk/nm
May 27, 2005, 08:02 AM
Anyone who has belonged to an HMO has already experienced the kind of treatment you would recieve under Socialized Medicine. No thanks. Accountants have no business deciding courses of treatment and neither do politicians.
How would you feel about socialized medicine? :barf:

beerslurpy
May 27, 2005, 08:11 AM
Socialized medicine doesnt work because of free riding and the fact that there is no incentive to keep costs down.

The future is with a mix of traditional chinese medicine and modern western medicine. Accupuncture plus a week of herbs is like 50 bucks. And it works fast. If youre feeling bad and a normal doctor tells you "oh theres nothing wrong with you" the chinese guy will immediately realize whats wrong and fix it. The chinese are far from perfect, but 2000 years of practice have given them a system of medicine that is both cheap and supremely effective. The sad thing is that it is slowly dying out in china. I hope that we can keep it alive in this country.

Waitone
May 27, 2005, 08:11 AM
We have major problems in healthcare (and they are scheduled to get profoundly worse in the foreseeable future) simply because there is a third party (be it govt or insurance) standing between service providers and service consumers. Ain't nuthin' gonna get better until that is fixed. Tweak the system all you want. Won't help. :scrutiny:

shermacman
May 27, 2005, 08:17 AM
Government medical will be the same as:
Government public housing
Government welfare
Government border security
Government food stamps
Government public transportation
Period.

Why would it be any different? What business model of a government program would be comparable?

Igloodude
May 27, 2005, 08:27 AM
The first thing that pops into the minds of many is that socialized medicine is a trap and it rarely works as well as it should. The costs are high and freedoms robbed.

Well, I have a new idea...sorta. I was debating with a friend of mine about wasteful government spending. He mentioned programs and agencies we fund that really benefit citizens. When I asked which ones, the first one he mentioned was NASA. He believes we should continue to fund NASA and space exploration. I disagree and feel that those billions of dollar could be better spent developing one of the best social medicine programs in the world.

You haven't explained how your solution gets around the "costs are high and freedoms robbed" image.

How about we axe both NASA and government entitlements?

MikeIsaj
May 27, 2005, 08:30 AM
I would expect socialized medicine to run about as efficiently as socialized anything else already does. Do you like welfare, social security and the EPA? If so, you'll just love social medicine.

foghornl
May 27, 2005, 08:57 AM
Been in an HMO. If this is what "socialized medicine" is even remotely about, I'll pass...thankyew very much.

I've seen the Canadian example of SocMed...again, I'll pass, thanx.

Was visting Niagra Falls last summer...native Canadian bus driver guide says "...Yes, we have free medical care. Our Sales Taxes are 15%, but our health care is free...Maybe you will live long enough to get in if you're sick. Just hope the sales taxes don't go up to 19%, as is being bandied about . . ."

Art Eatman
May 27, 2005, 11:10 AM
NASA is the only fedgov program that ever returned a profit to the public at large. About a 10:1 ratio, which is better than most private-sector endeavors. The spin-offs are too numerous to mention, and the downstream derivatives of those spin-offs are legion.

Think "medicine", for one thing. Think "computers", for another. Just the forcing of mini- and micro-technology by weight-saving needs led to a helluva lot of what enables today's world--including the home computer and thus the Internet. What money do you think paid for the R&D to allow changing from vacuum tube computers to silicon chips?

Even the disaster of Chafee/White/Grissom created a dividend: Nomex, which not only keeps car racers alive in fires, but is sorta helpful to your local fire department as well.

And a helluva lot of money went into R&D in metallurgy and plastics--which has given us multitudes of modern materials we now use in place of steel or bakelite.

Yeah, fedgov does waste a lot of money. Gripe about it all you want. But at least learn a little more before knocking the only profitable endeavor the tax money went into.

Art

Khornet
May 27, 2005, 11:21 AM
do you mean profit as in NASA brought in more revenues than it spent, or do you mean the spin-offs were beneficial to the US? Because if it's the spin-offs, they were an accident and not part of a deliberate govt program. Beneficial yes, but not by desighn.

Mr. X
May 27, 2005, 12:15 PM
Was visting Niagra Falls last summer...native Canadian bus driver guide says "...Yes, we have free medical care. Our Sales Taxes are 15%, but our health care is free...Maybe you will live long enough to get in if you're sick. Just hope the sales taxes don't go up to 19%, as is being bandied about . . ."

What is it with Canadian bus drivers? Last time I was in Canada, Vancouver specifically, around 10 years ago, the bus driver loved socialized medicine because it was "free." :rolleyes:

At least your bus driver was way smarter.

Standing Wolf
May 27, 2005, 12:21 PM
The only three things government consistently does well are:

1. Tax the commoners.
2. Infringe the rights of commoners.
3. Look after the interests of government.

Zrex
May 27, 2005, 12:22 PM
Socialized anything = theft and redistribution of wealth.

Sean Cloherty
May 27, 2005, 12:31 PM
Tanstaafl.

lee n. field
May 27, 2005, 12:34 PM
Doctors would contract with CHS at a reasonable rate (docs gotta make a living too) as well as nurses.

Why do you expect the gov't to make reasonable judgements?

What's a reasonable rate? The whole system is disconnected from any kind of market feedback. Everything gets out of kilter fast.

Kind of like what we have now, except that right now it's mostly employer funded medical insurance insulating the end users from costs.

I'm speaking here as someone who's had health insurance 3 years out of the last 15. I've seen what COBRA insurance costs. If I to pay for my family to be insured I'd be paying out half of take home pay. So my family is covered by a patchwork. Kids in college, covered by whatever their college does. Kids at home covered by Kidcare (medicaid), which may or may not be there next year, depending on vagaries of gov't. Wife covered by some sort of arrangement with SS disability, ditto. And I worry, and go to the countyhealth dept. clinic, take my vitamins and hope nothing serious goes wrong.

nico
May 27, 2005, 12:35 PM
The future is with a mix of traditional chinese medicine and modern western medicine. Accupuncture plus a week of herbs is like 50 bucks. And it works fast. If youre feeling bad and a normal doctor tells you "oh theres nothing wrong with you" the chinese guy will immediately realize whats wrong and fix it. The chinese are far from perfect, but 2000 years of practice have given them a system of medicine that is both cheap and supremely effective. The sad thing is that it is slowly dying out in china. I hope that we can keep it alive in this country.
It's funny you should mention that. I had a class this past semester with a professor whose main area of research is studying the science behind traditional Chinese Medicine and how it can be incorporated into or used in conjunction with western medicine.

On topic: socialized medicine would most definitely not be a good thing and, as Art pointed out, would be removing one of the few good government programs if done as you described. One of the biggest problems with your idea is the use of the word "reasonable." What is a reasonable fee and who decided what it is? The biggest problem with HMOs is that administrators are the ones who decide what "reasonable" is. For example, my dad is a dentist. He charges about $600 or $700 for a root canal. Most HMOs would pay about $150-$200 for a root canal. If he participated with any HMOs (he won't for this reason) their fee would barely cover the cost of materials for a root canal. That doesn't even take into account the facts that he has to pay his employees, rent, and for all the equipment he uses to do a root canal ($30,000 chair, $1500 instruments, etc.).

Because of all these factors, practices that participate with a bunch of HMOs generally have lower quality equipment and staff (because both are cheaper) and patients are run through them like an assembly line, with the doctors spending as little time with the patients as possible. The craziest part about the whole situation, is practices that don't accept HMOs generally have lower standard fees because they're not trying to recoup the money lost to treating HMO patients.

It's the same thing with drug companies. Profitable drugs, like Viagra, make it possible to conduct research into cures for rare diseases (which aren't profitable because the market is small) and to provide those drugs for lower prices.

Maybe I'm just touchy on the subject because I'm about to start dental school, but the idea having someone who knows nothing about my profession dictate what a "reasonable" income for me is annoys me as much as having someone tell me what a "reasonable" number of guns is. I just spent 4 years busting my butt to get good enough grades to get into dental school. Starting in August, I'll be taking 24 credits, which will increase by a few every semester, topping out at 37 credits by my 8th semester, all the while paying ~$30,000/year. When I get done in 4 years, I'll be 26 and $120,000+ in debt so I'll be damned if I'm going to work for what I could make with a B.S. or M.S. in biology.

::steps off soap box:: :)

rick_reno
May 27, 2005, 12:38 PM
Should this be "How DO you feel about socialized medicine?" It's already here.

Zundfolge
May 27, 2005, 12:43 PM
NASA is the only fedgov program that ever returned a profit to the public at large. About a 10:1 ratio, which is better than most private-sector endeavors. The spin-offs are too numerous to mention, and the downstream derivatives of those spin-offs are legion.
So just imagine how much more profitable and beneficial NASA could have been if it wasn't run by a government bureaucracy ... If space exploration where privatized we'd have several space stations, probably a moon base and maybe even people on Mars (and who knows what technological advances would have been made while working on those projects).


Free markets are ALWAYS better then government bureaucracies ... doesn't matter what the subject is.


Oh, and NEVER NEVER EVER use the word "reasonable" when proposing government policy.

What's "reasonable" to you might be "treasonable" to me ... remember to some people "reasonable" gun control is a total ban on all civilian gun ownership, while to others (like me) "reasonable" gun control is repeal of every gun law on the books.

boofus
May 27, 2005, 12:45 PM
How can people trust the government to take care of its entire civilian population's medical needs when they drop the ball on military veterans so frequently?

The fedgov doesn't have a very good track record when it comes to taking care of their heros, much less mere civilians.

bedlamite
May 27, 2005, 12:54 PM
If I didn't regularly hear horror stories coming out of Canada about a 6 month to a year wait to see a doctor, I would only be rabidly against it.

TallPine
May 27, 2005, 01:01 PM
I think socialized medicine is a great idea!

While we're at it, let's have socialized food, too. After all, food is a basic "right" of all people - you can't live without it, right? Food stamps are just a partial solution, like Medicare/medicaid. Get everybody in the system and it will work better. Your taxes will only go up "a little" and you can just walk into the [government run] grocery store and pick up whatever you want at "no cost." Also, this enables the government to only supply you with the food that you "need" and that is "good for you" which also will save money in the socialized medicine system. Food that is not processed and labeled by the federal system will be forbidden, of course, and anyone found consuming or possessing black market food will be arrested and imprisoned. Provisions of Patriot Act VI will help enforce the "War on Food."

:neener:

Iain
May 27, 2005, 01:14 PM
I've had a long discussion with Khornet (which I'm not sure I ever thanked him for, his patience was exemplary) and others over this. The thread will be locked away in RT.

Suffice it to say that I am pretty torn on this. There are problems with our health system for sure, but I can tell you from experience that when you are inside it, and the doctors know you, things can move pretty fast. I've rung my specialist doctors and mentioned that something totally unrelated is going on and been offered appointments for that week, even the same day (I've not usually taken them, except when I got a lab laser shone in my eye several years ago) If I ring up with some concern related to my condition I will be seen asap.

On the other hand - the system generally stinks for doctors. I'd not want to be an NHS doctor.

There is good medical research done here, despite what is sometimes alleged.

Whatever you do there is always going to have to be some sort of net.

Nightfall
May 27, 2005, 01:30 PM
How would you feel about socialized medicine?The same way I feel about socialized anything: :cuss:

autospike
May 27, 2005, 01:47 PM
How would you feel about socialized medicine?

SICK

Kim
May 27, 2005, 01:54 PM
If you want a country full of angry people go for it. I am a physician and I see angry medicaid and medicare patients daily. Nothing ever makes them happy. If one little thing is not covered they are pouting and griping. They overuse the system badly ------why not it is FREE. They only way in the end to keep them from doing this is to ration health care. This is done is some very suble ways. The government decides what is covered is a obvious way. Since the government is in control they decide where the technology is and therefore limits care. They decide the standard of who gets the high cost things like TPA,Cardic cath, CABG etc. Plus do you really want a bunch of unionized physicians taking care of YOU. Cause that is what will happen. Like I've said the physician will work his 8 hours and take his ball and go home and there will be the death of any compassion that is left in the medical field. It has already happend to some extent. Think about the great unionized public school teachers and how hard it is to get rid of the bad ones. Plus you will see a mass exit of physicians that will retire real quick-------me included.

Kim
May 27, 2005, 02:00 PM
One thing I also find interesting is the food stamp program. Let's say you get 300.00 a month food stamps. You take those to a grocery store and you buy 300.00 worth of food at market price. Now medicaid and medicare are not run this way. They pay way below market price(really there is no market price in medical care because of these programs). What would happen if those food stamps worked as the government run health care systems do now. Let's see. A person brings in 150.00 in food stamps and gets to walk out with 340.00 of groceries and since 40-60% of the stores customers have these food stamps what does that do for the prices for everyone else( those who pay cash and those that now have food insurance brought on the private market). I think you all know the answer and the cure for this and it is not more of the same. :scrutiny:

Zundfolge
May 27, 2005, 02:08 PM
Another problem with Socialized Medicine.

If the government is paying for your health care (which means your fellow citizens are paying for your health care) then you give the government the right to make health decisions for you.

That would include things like eating meat, driving a convertable or motorcycle, owning guns, spending too much (or too little) time in the sun, sitting too close to the TV, not drinking your required 8 glasses of water a day, etc.

If government pays for the upkeep of your body, then they own it.

There is no way that freedom can exist under any form of Socialism.

Justin
May 27, 2005, 02:33 PM
Public health?

"To call something public is to define it as dirty, insufficient, and hazardous. The ultimate paradigm of social spending is the public restroom."

-P.J. O'Rourke.

Khornet
May 27, 2005, 02:35 PM
Good to hear from you. How have you been?

chaim
May 27, 2005, 02:36 PM
Maybe I'm just touchy on the subject because I'm about to start dental school, but the idea having someone who knows nothing about my profession dictate what a "reasonable" income for me is annoys me as much as having someone tell me what a "reasonable" number of guns is. I just spent 4 years busting my butt to get good enough grades to get into dental school. Starting in August, I'll be taking 24 credits, which will increase by a few every semester, topping out at 37 credits by my 8th semester, all the while paying ~$30,000/year. When I get done in 4 years, I'll be 26 and $120,000+ in debt so I'll be damned if I'm going to work for what I could make with a B.S. or M.S. in biology.


Nico, very well said.

One of the things keeping me from a doctorate program in psychology was the idea of another $100-150K in student loans only to have HMOs nickle and dime me, and worse having some MBA with a nursing degree second guess me on treatment for a patient (or in psychologytalk, client) they've never met. If/when I do get a doctorate in psych I definately plan to work either within the schools (school psychologists make more to start anyway) or as a professor full-time so I can have a part-time practice and be able to afford to turn away anyone with an HMO (or maybe go without taking anyone who wants me to deal direct with their insurance).

At least in the current system, a practitioner can refuse to handle any HMOs, or another popular alternative, refuse any insurance coverage (you can still go to them and use your insurance, it is just they don't participate directly- they would be out of system providers). With many/most socialized systems you have little choice but to work with the system.

shermacman
May 27, 2005, 03:56 PM
To quote P.J. O'Rourke again:

"If you think medical care is expensive now, wait until it is free."

DMF
May 27, 2005, 04:09 PM
I received treatment through government run and funded healthcare for almost a decade, as a member of the US military. I can tell you while occasionally I received good care, the truth is the vast majority of the time it was horrible compared to private care. Also, keep in mind as a a rated officer in the Air Force, I was receiving MUCH better treatment than the average military person. So that experience has made abhor the idea of socialized medicine.

The truth of the matter is, while people don't like to admit it, is health care is a business. As a result of investors seeking profit we get better health care. New medicine, cures for diseases, new surgical procedures, etc, etc, have for the most part been the result of innovation driven by people in search of profit. Take away the profit motive and not only will the quality of care decrease, but you will see little to no innovation in medical science.

If you think the government will fund that innovation with your tax dollars you are sadly mistaken. Very little in the way of technology innovation (medical or otherwise) has ever come from a purely government run program. Before people begin to refute that argument consider this, most innovations funded by the government were developed by people hoping to make a profit based on the government contract. Competition for the contract breeds innovation, reduces cost, and creates a better product.

Sure there are examples of waste in that process, but the same is true in purely private sector enterprises. However, the market forces driven by seeking profit cause the system to correct itself.

See Adam Smith's Nobel Prize winning theory of the Invisible Hand.

Gordon Fink
May 27, 2005, 04:22 PM
Socialized medicine is a big mistake for reasons that are almost obvious. Just look at the states that have “successful” public health-care systems for examples. I think the solution to the problem is actually much simpler.

A self-funded public insurance company operating within a free market should resolve most of it. Insurance is by nature a collectivist enterprise, so a social-capitalistic approach should be effective. The public corporation would offer lower prices, while the private insurers could charge higher prices for superior service—after they figured out what superior service was, of course.

~G. Fink

Kingcreek
May 27, 2005, 06:54 PM
SOCIALIZED MEDICINE
Healthcare with the efficiency of the United States Postal Service and the compassion of the IRS (or BATFE)...
NO THANK YOU

Deavis
May 27, 2005, 07:04 PM
Wiley:
Post office? FedEx/UPS puts them to shame

Be careful there chief, last time I checked, UPS and FedEx would not deliver anything to your door for 37 cents. UPS and FedEx are prime examples of companies who "cherry-pick" their service, just like the doctors who would cater to the rich in the post's example. Try to get UPS and FedEx to deliver to a rural address. Not to mention the US Mail handles more packages in 4 months than UPS does all year (according to the numbers the PO publishes). Many government programs suck, but the U.S. Mail does a pretty amazing job and is self-funded. Sorry to go off-topic.

316SS
May 27, 2005, 07:04 PM
Gordon Fink wrote:

The public corporation would offer lower prices, while the private insurers could charge higher prices for superior service

By public you mean government-administered? Why need the government be involved? There are already relatively inexpensive (second-rate quality) healthcare providers in the private sector, around here its Kaiser Permanente. How does involving the government add value (Hint: it doesn't)?

Kim wrote:

Let's see. A person brings in 150.00 in food stamps and gets to walk out with 340.00 of groceries and since 40-60% of the stores customers have these food stamps what does that do for the prices for everyone else( those who pay cash and those that now have food insurance brought on the private market).

You mean 40 years of Medicare has driven up the cost of healthcare for the rest of us? Huh. I guess you can't get something for nothing.

Iain wrote:

Whatever you do there is always going to have to be some sort of net.

If you mean "safety net" (i.e. socialism) I hope you're wrong. If you feel people who can't pay for healthcare are entitled, you pay for it. Funny thing is, the left seems intent on spending *my* money. No thanks.

316

Joejojoba111
May 27, 2005, 07:26 PM
In some areas of economics they refer to 'market failures', things where the free market can't or won't meet demand. This is one of the oldest and strongest principles for the very existence of government, along with protecting from external threats.

If you can demonstrate a market failure then you can convince a lot of people.

One thing about healthcare, the money gets spent one way or another, and in theory the government should be able to do it more efficiently than the company that has to do it, plus make a profit on top of that.

But that just doesn't happen in real life, maybe there is no best way.

Gordon Fink
May 27, 2005, 07:34 PM
How does involving the government add value…?

It doesn’t. In this case, it would reduce costs by increasing competition. Medical services are vastly overpriced, due to both insurance chicanery and attempts at socialized medicine.

~G. Fink

Iain
May 27, 2005, 07:36 PM
If you mean "safety net" (i.e. socialism) I hope you're wrong. If you feel people who can't pay for healthcare are entitled, you pay for it. Funny thing is, the left seems intent on spending *my* money. No thanks.

What is your realistic alternative?

Deavis
May 27, 2005, 08:13 PM
Gfink:

Medical services are vastly overpriced, due to both insurance chicanery and attempts at socialized medicine

Can you expound upon that a little bit? I think that is a pretty big statement that isn't very well supported. Insurance and socialized medicine have effects on health care costs but they are only part of what makes medical services so expensive. How many other professions operate on such a strict set of procedures like a doctor?

Does your mechanic toss his torque wrench after every car he works on? Does your plumber use parts made out of some of the most expensive materials available? Does you AC man have 8 years of incredibly expensive schooling and 4 years of interning on his resume? Do any of those guys have millions of dollars in insurance in case their service doesn't work out exactly right?

Not to mention, the technology in the medical industry is amazing from an engineering standpoint. If you know anything about how an MRI works, you can quickly appreciate why those machines cost so much to purchase and operate. The simple fact that you can get an "open-air" MRI is a tribute to millions of dollars in R&D.

So, to say that insurance chicanery and socialized medicine are the only reasons that healthcare is expensive is a bit topical. I've got a friend who had an emergency appendectomy done and the cost was over $20,000. Is that expensive, yeah, but is it better than dying, don't you think?

I think there are many ways that we could reduce the cost of medical care but there are some limitations. Just like when Continental throws away a perfectly good and expensive bolt because it has seen 15 hours of service, a doctor can't take shortcuts. Servicing something that cannot fail is expensive.

Art Eatman
May 27, 2005, 09:09 PM
Khornet & Zunmdfolge:

(I wandered off to go slave over a hot backhoe. :) )

I should have been more specific about NASA and spinoffs. Obviously I should have said spinoffs. One can say such are accidental, but all R&D in high tech leads to such accidents. Remember, the silicon chip lay around for, what, three decades before somebody figured out a use for it? Same for lasers: "A solution awaiting a problem."

Anyhow, at the time NASA was started, there was no pool of money coupled with the desire or need to go into space for commercial purposes. It was a Cold War deal from the git-go. Forget everything else about JFK: Thanks be to his memory for NASA.

Lemme put the whole federal deal into another perspective: Those programs which are technical in nature provide more public benefits than any of the non-technical or "social" programs. I'm thinking here of the direct or accidental benefits to farming from USDA R&D at ag schools, e.g. Or, for that matter, the non-social aspects of our "beloved" Center for Disease Control. Lots of our tax dollars go into support for R&D in the arena of wildlife management, as to necessary habitat management or protection.

When the results of this stuff is disseminated into the private sector, that's when there are both deliberate benefits and all these "accidents" which result from cross-fertilization of ideas.

Contrarywise, most social programs dole out fish.

As for socialized medicine, I merely note that as the federal government has increased its involvement with the general world of medicine, the costs have risen. Full socialization, asided from any problems of quality, would probably be the finishing touch insofar as economic viability of the country.

Aw, heck, I'll continue with this off-topic, off-thread nattering:

If we pulled completely out of the mideast, the federal deficit would still be around 400 billion bucks per year. The "rich" don't have an extra 400 Big Ones. The national savings rate is near zero, which means that while the GDP is $12 trillion, we're spending $12.6 trillion per year. Anybody noticed what's happening to the buying power of the dollar, compared to other currencies? Or to goods and services right here in the US?

Fine. Socialize medicine. Rob Peter, pay Paul, and go broker quicker. Hey, when you're booked on the Titanic, why go steerage?

Art

Sir Aardvark
May 27, 2005, 09:49 PM
I work for Kaiser Permanente - for those of you who don't know, Kaiser is one of the largest, most successful HMO's, and pretty much invented the idea; they are widely proclaimed as being the "model" that the gov't. would use if medicine were ever socialized.

The basic tenet of HMO's is: "The more medical care you give, the LESS money you make".

This is opposed to Private Practice's tenet: "The more medical care you give, the MORE money you make".

At Kaiser you will expect:

Poor access to services, ranging from 4 weeks to over 3 months just to get an appointment.

Long wait times when you arrive for your appointment. This is because patients get really P.O.'d that they have to wait for weeks to schedule thier appt., so they cajole thier physician into ordering thier study STAT, so now it's an unscheduled add-on for that day's schedule. 30-50% of the work you do in a day can be add-ons - this is on top of an already full schedule.

Hurried, rushed employees who don't have time for you. When you are supposed to do 12 hours of work in an 8 hour day, you don't have much time to socialize.

Physicians who are under pressure to meet certain cost saving criteria, thus limiting your access to necessary care.

I could really go on for hours about this, but I'll spare you the rest of the HMO bashing.

For Private Practice you can expect:

A Market Driven process where the needs of the customer are put first, 'cause if you don't like the service one place gives, you can take your business elsewhere.

Extra tests and procedures ordered, sometimes unnecessary, because the MORE you do, the MORE you make. (I, myself, would rather err on the side of caution and have a very thorough workup done than not enough; but there is a limit).

Once the Gov't takes over health care you will have NO choice on where to go for service (the only thing keeping HMO's as honest as they are now, is the fact that people still have somewhat of a choice of where to go) - we will turn into Canada and Britain - just check out thier stellar health care systems for a shocking comparison.

Fletchette
May 28, 2005, 02:14 AM
I think the analogy of socialized medicine with NASA is a good one - notice how NASA hasn't landed on the moon lately? NASA has actually lost capability in the last three decades. They cannot even get an existing spacecraft (Shuttle) to fly as often as they did 20 years ago.

Expect the same with the medical sciences if the government starts controlling it.

fallingblock
May 28, 2005, 05:13 AM
Certainly hasn't impressed me. :eek:

The staff at public hospitals are generally overworked and abused by the system...

and as a result are often recruited from the lowest level of medical competence. :uhoh:

The quality of healthcare is seldom equal to that of the private system, while the cost of "free" service provided is actually higher once wastage and inefficiency of government bungling and pork-barreling is factored in.
Steal from the productive to deliver substandard care to the poor?

Socialised medicine? :barf:

Byron Quick
May 28, 2005, 05:51 AM
Sorry, but you need to do some major research on your background research.

Those two $140,000,000 craters on Mars that you referenced. Straw dog argument. Every penny of that money was spent in the USA not on Mars. No one lives on Mars...therefore there is no where to spend or waste money there.

The space program to date has given us entire technologies that have ripened into mature technologies. Ironically, given your wishes, especially in our current medical technology.

Telemetry in cardiac wards? Developed by NASA.

Ask an electronic engineer just how much of a CT scanner, a MRI, or an ultrasound machine is built with technology developed by NASA. Next ask if it would be possible to build it without that technology. If he says yes then ask him how many tractor trailers it would take to hold what is now in a medium sized room.

The hardware is not the biggest expense to NASA's budget to date. The lion's share of the budget has always been spent on the research necessary to develop the best hardware. And that research has paid for itself many times over and is still paying dividends. Big ones.

I'm an emergency nurse. The day the US socializes medicine is the day that I either retire or change career paths.

You also need to do some nuts and bolts arithmetic. Compare NASA's annual budget with the nation's annual expenditure on healthcare. You're going to have a mighty anemic national health care system if you divert NASA's budget into it. Basic arithmetic will introduce many pie in the sky schemes to the cold, hard reality of won't work and never could. Even if it could work...it would be a very poor trade and a terrible day for the future of technological industry in this country...including a terrible day for the future of medical technology in this country.

Oh, yeah, one more thing...without the microminiaturiztion of electronics developed to boost the capabilities of limited booster payloads...items like desktops computers and laptops would not exist...neither would the Internet.

Gee, just think, if you could have gotten this wonderful idea passed forty-five years ago then we wouldn't have CT scanners, MRI's, telemetry, personal computers, or the Internet. We wouldn't have the jobs in those industries, either. Gee, I reckon those destitute unemployed people (who are now employed in industries that wouldn't exist under your Utopia) would really need socialized medicine. :rolleyes:

c_yeager
May 28, 2005, 07:25 AM
The two basic ideas behind your proposal have some problems.

Drug companies would be required to provide drugs at a reasonable cost (or they don't get the contract) Either you deal with the citizens as a whole or you deal with the few rich folks who will go to you directly.

The problem here is that actually MANUFACTURING ans supplying the drugs isnt the expensive part, its develping them. If there isnt a big payoff for coming up with something new, companies are NOT going to spend the bucks to do so. This system only works if you dont ever expect any new drugs to become available.

Drug companies would be required to provide drugs at a reasonable cost (or they don't get the contract) Either you deal with the citizens as a whole or you deal with the few rich folks who will go to you directly.

This is the same problem really. Doctors go to school for a insane length of time before they can actually enter the work force. The standards for doctors in this country are VERY high. This means that many of our best and brightest become doctors, this is good for everyone, and also why we tend to have so many excellent physicians. If you take away the prospect of getting rich, our best and brightest become lawyers instead, now we have crappy doctors.

One of the most telling indicators of the quality of the Canadian system is this; where do RICH Canadians when they REALLY need a doctor? They come to the states. Even government officials avoid the public Canadian system. This tells me that it isnt a system that i want. America leads the way in a lot of the biggest develoments in medicine, much of this is because of the fact that it is not a public service. That does come with some dissadvantages, but i believe that they are far outweighed by the quality of the end-product.

To get a good idea of how a government run healthcare system works, you can just walk into a VA. Do you REALLY want all of our hospitals to work like that?

saltydog
May 28, 2005, 08:39 AM
I would think it would only matter if you already had health care insurance or not. I can't wait for everybody here to turn 65 and then present this thread again. :uhoh:

nonquixote
May 28, 2005, 08:58 AM
Another argument in NASA's favor: I see space exploitation as being crucial for the long term viability of our species. Unless we can institute Zero Population Growth, switch all consumption to renewable resources, and eliminate pollution, our quality of life is going to decline, and probably at a rapidly accelerating pace, until it will be unsustainable. Space exploitation can bring new resources and clean energy to our planet to allow time for technological development to possibly solve the above issues.

Also there is the fact that humankind currently has all it's eggs in a single basket, which can be destroyed at any time via a calamity either astronomical in origin or man made. And while it may seem unlikely to happen in the next year, or the next millenium, eventually it will happen. It would be good to have at least some eggs in another basket when that happens.

As a person who leans libertarian, I do feel that space exploration/exploitation could probably be better managed by private industry, but so far no one has been willing to step up to the plate, because the initial investment is enormous, and direct profits might be far down the line. As with the military and certain other programs, I feel that the space program belongs in the public domain, at least for now, and needs to be properly funded. The fact that without the space program our nation's economy/infrastructure would be a shadow of what it is now is a nice side benefit.

Nonq

cracked butt
May 28, 2005, 09:08 AM
The problem here is that actually MANUFACTURING ans supplying the drugs isnt the expensive part, its develping them

A bit off on the first half, but dead on on the second.

Manufacturing is very expensive and mainly due to government policies and oversight.

In order for even an existing drug to be manufactured at a company, the company has to have all of their systems validated before they can even start. This means there has to be careful document control, carefully documented and scheduled maintenance, every parameter of the reactors and process equipment has to be qualified within limits. Intruments have to be calibrated against NIST (national institute of standards and technology) traceable standards, employees have to be documented as trained to carry our any and every procedure, There has to be a quality assurance system in place to catch and remedy any errors, Quality control has to have all of their analytical equipment calibrated and needs to validate and prove that their analytical methods are correct and stabile. All of this before you even start to make a drug.

Once you make a drug, you need to do a series of at least 3 batches in a row that turn out more or less perfectly for the FDA to validate the company to sell the drug. The initial validation batches may take months, but the FDA's approval may take a year or more. So its very possible that you have a very good drug that you want to produce, but it will take you 10s of millions of dollars just to get the equipment, the people, the paperpwork, and the first couple of batches run (btw raw materials for a large batch of active ingredients might cost in the $millions themselves) then you have to sit and wait for up to a year or more before you can sell any of the material and possibly make a profit. This is why big pharmaceutical companies rule the industry- not to many people have $100 million lying around that they are willing to spend building a pharmaceutical company that might take 7 or 8 years to start to turn a profit.

GT
May 28, 2005, 09:46 AM
Here's a radical idea...

There's nothing "wrong" with the healthcare system we have in the US.

There are absolutely areas that could be improved:
The system could be moved to a more market based system and away from the quasi-welfare system we have now.
Health insurance should no longer be anything to do with your employer, and thereby tax credits should be given for buying your own health insurance (sucks to be self-employed right now).
The sheeple should be encouraged to purchase catastrophic health care and not expect to have every aspirin pill "for free".

But basically the system isn't broken.

Any attempt by govt to "fix" it is simply a power grab.

The English system does function, albeit at a lower level of efficiency, but, under "New Labour" is slowly sapping the life out of the UK.
Americans often don't appreciate how big the UK is for being so small; it takes a surprisingly long time to see the results of bad policy. Just wait a few more years.

What's the "realistic alternative" to making people pay?

Well, there are a lot of charities. These worked fine until the govt got into the charity business and many still do. Seems to be a stigma to receiving charity but none attached to getting Social Security (ie: welfare for old folks). And don't give me the "I paid my money in and I want it back" argument it just doesn't wash. FDR simply taxed everyone, scammed them and put a huge number of people on welfare - pretty smooth operator.

I know Americans are very generous people, and would be more so if their tax dollars weren't being spent on endorsing the lifestyles of the lazy, the stupid and the relentlessly poor (there are no poor people in the US except those that insist on being poor - poor people are those that live in shanty towns with open sewers, not those that only have 3 color TV's instead of 4 - and bear in mind, "seniors" spend more on beer and cigarettes than they do on prescription drugs).

Additionally, "poor" people already get free service for emergencies.
Show up at the emergency room with a gunshot wound and you will be treated. Then you just don't pay. Works every time.

Don't fix it or radically change it... just tweak it. And keep the govt out of it as much as possible. Their responsibility is just to regulate and oversee, not to provide freebies on other people's dime.


G

Khornet
May 28, 2005, 10:44 AM
you obviously never received NAVY medical care, or you wouldn't have such a low opinion of military medicine. There ain't nothing harder-working than a Navy doctor, corpsman, or nurse. Yes, even twigs and dental too.

In any case, I'm not sure that it's correct to characterize military medicine as socialist. Military medical care is not given because it's a human right (it's not), or as a benefit to attract employees, or even out of kindness, though there is plenty of kindness in military medicine. Military medicine exists for the same reason navies have shipyards and armies have ordnance units:to make sure the equipment or warrior who uses it is in optimal operating shape to deilver the highest possible yield for the investment.

nico
May 28, 2005, 10:58 AM
Extra tests and procedures ordered, sometimes unnecessary, because the MORE you do, the MORE you make. (I, myself, would rather err on the side of caution and have a very thorough workup done than not enough; but there is a limit).
I'll add to that in a lot of HMO contracts, which are signed between the doctor and the HMO, the doctor isn't allowed to offer services which aren't covered under the HMO's policy. ie: if a person needs a denture, and the HMO doesn't cover dental implants (most insurance doesn't), it would be a breech of contract for my dad to tell the patient that an implant is an option (as opposed to a denture).

Also, it's unethical for a doctor (physician or dentist) to give a different standard of care for HMO patients and non-HMO patients (unfortunately, it still happens sometimes), so at a mostly-HMO practice everybody gets the same crappy standard of care. Luckily for me (and my dad), HMOs haven't gotten their hands into dentistry in the same way they have with medicine, and the ADA is working very hard to make sure they don't.

Any attempt by govt to "fix" it is simply a power grab.
I completely agree. It'd just be another case of screwing one segment of the population (the evil rich doctors) to get votes from another. The thing is, the "other" segment of the population would be getting screwed (even more than usual) in a socialized medicine scheme too.

gc70
May 28, 2005, 11:14 AM
What is your realistic alternative?People get sick and die. Or individuals can freely contribute to charities that can fund medical care.

I simply do not comprehend the concept that every single individual has some sort of God-given right to reach into the collective pocket of society and extract unlimited amounts of money to fund the most extravagent possible medical efforts.

Waitone
May 28, 2005, 11:18 AM
You're right, but government sees healthcare as a way of wielding tremendous power. And for that reason we will see socialized healthcare in the USoA. Since US based corporation compete globally with foreign based corporations who do not pay for private healthcare systems, the change will come sooner rather than later. We live in a time where government thinking supports whatever corporations want.

Iain
May 28, 2005, 11:32 AM
People get sick and die. Or individuals can freely contribute to charities that can fund medical care.

I simply do not comprehend the concept that every single individual has some sort of God-given right to reach into the collective pocket of society and extract unlimited amounts of money to fund the most extravagent possible medical efforts.

I have to fundamentally disagree.

I've edited this post

In my estimation that is not a realistic alternative - it isn't because people will not accept it.

That isn't because everyone wants something off everyone else (although that may be true) it will be because people will not accept getting sick and dying of quite treatable diseases purely because they lack the money.

I'll admit - on this issue I have socialist tendencies.

CarlS
May 28, 2005, 12:04 PM
I want socialized medicine about as much as I want a repeal of the Second Amemdment. There is no Constitutional guarantee of medical care, retirement, minimum wage, housing, etc. The Constitutions protects our right to persue these things for ourselves. The governemnt has no business being involved. It is vote buying, plain and simple.

I resent funding medical care for people who chose to waste their money on pleasures of the hear and now, elected not get an education or aquire vocational skills and then want me to finanace their health care. They had the same opportunities and options as I had. If one makes poor choices, one should take the consequences of those choices. That said, I do not object to my tax money helping the truly disabled.

Iain
May 28, 2005, 12:07 PM
That said, I do not object to my tax money helping the truly disabled.

Ok, I think you're going to need to define this.

Wheelchair, paraplegic... etc.

CarlS
May 28, 2005, 12:19 PM
Ok, I think you're going to need to define this.

Wheelchair, paraplegic... etc.

A physical condition that truly prohibits a person from earning a living and thus being unable to pay for health insurance.

Art Eatman
May 28, 2005, 12:25 PM
saltydog, I'm almost 71. You've seen my views on this subject.

Before I got old enough for Medicare, I had a health insurance plan. It was a bare-bones deal: Major stuff only. No coverage for sniffles, stubbed toes or cosmetic surgery. It increased in premium cost with age, but it cost me $160/month at age 64...

But most people seem to think The Company or The Gummint oughta provide an MD for every ouchie known to homo sapiens. TANSTAAFL.

:), Art

Iain
May 28, 2005, 12:28 PM
Well then, we agree in part.

I'd have to add that there are people who do work that would never be able to meet the full costs of healthcare that is on-going. I won't be able to in a few years time, I'll still be working, but I'll never have a chance to be able to pay for my medical expenses. I doubt I could ever pay back the costs I have already incurred. The future may well hold a double heart-lung transplant.

Waitone
May 28, 2005, 12:42 PM
One of the problems we face in the USoA is because of the historical development of health coverage and tax law we tend to confuse insurance with pre-paid medical expense. The equivelent would be for auto owners to pay for auto insurance such as radiator flush, oil change, paint touchup, battery change, serpentine belt change, etc. Stuff that you know is going need fixing is covered by "insurance." Let's face it, the human bod needs periodic maintenance. Do those items really need "insurance?" Or should we be concerned about a catastrophe and insure it to the hilt.

Once again, I think the mess we are in is a direct result of the government "helpin" us.

gc70
May 28, 2005, 12:49 PM
That isn't because everyone wants something off everyone else (although that may be true) it will be because people will not accept getting sick and dying of quite treatable diseases purely because they lack the money.I have charitable tendencies, but I also have serious concerns about where the government would draw the line on universal healthcare.

If someone shows up at the hospital with a broken leg, then certainly fix it.
If someone shows up at the hospital with alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver, don't even think about whining for a liver transplant.

Drawing the line between the extremes is difficult, even more so because government programs are subject to political campaigning and hounding by the media. Of course, the horrendously expensive treatments and the statistically futile cases are just the extreme types that are the perfect grist for media sob-stories.

Unfortunately, medial progress is complicating the problem. If "people will not accept getting sick and dying of quite treatable diseases" what happens as more and more diseases become treatable at some (astronomical) cost?

Waitone
May 28, 2005, 01:19 PM
Drawing the line between the extremes is difficult, even more so because government programs are subject to political campaigning and hounding by the media. Of course, the horrendously expensive treatments and the statistically futile cases are just the extreme types that are the perfect grist for media sob-stories. Just wait until we drop the pretense of private insurance and adopt socialist health rationing just about the time Baby Boomers hit the skids. We spend time talking about the disaster called social security and ignore a real calamity brewing. If government pays for healthcare of boomers and there are too many boomers to afford and government can only ration healthcare, then the stage is set for our society to begin making decisions like those of Nazi Chermany. Where you gonna draw the line. 75 years of age and 15,000 healthcare points? Then 10,000 healthcare points? Or do you move it to 72 years and 20,000 points.

Years ago I worked for a large corporation that was self insured to a point then a stop loss policy kicked in. Great insurance right up until you posed a danger of piercing the limit, then strangely enough you became a bad employee and had several reprimands. You went from "leaping tall buildings in a single bound" to "tripping on the curb outside the building." You were "moved" out of the company because your performance deteroriated over time. . . . .which just by coincidence tracked you or your family's medical expenses. Seems my performance deteriorated about the time my wife approached $50,000 in expenses because of her 2nd case of cancer. Strangely enough other employees had similar experiences following bypass surgery or mastectomies and chemo. Imagine the probabilities. :scrutiny:

Art Eatman
May 28, 2005, 03:42 PM
Leave government-caused cost increases and reduced power of the dollar out of the argument for the moment:

"Used to be", certain diseases and certain operations were beyond the cure-capability of medical knowledge. So, health insurance costs could be lower, back before transplants and brain-cancer surgery. And back then we took it for granted that for some problems, all that could be done was to make the dying as painless as possible.

Today's insurance premium--regardless whether it's Gummint paid or privately paid or whatever--has to cover such things as CT Scan equipment and all the other high-tech stuff. And, of course, the costs of the educations of those on the doctor/nurse end of things. But, we're saving folks who would once have died.

I guess one question--which isn't new, actually--is about how far do we go to save everybody from anything? Seems to me that folks who want "socialized medicine" don't want any limits to the spending. My question is the usual: What happens when you run out of money? I'm not sure I'm ready to believe an answer along the lines of, "Oh, that can't happen."

Art

Deavis
May 28, 2005, 04:10 PM
Funny story, I was talking to this cousin of my girlfriend, the last time we went over for a family gathering, about socialized medicine. She was all in favor of it because she said then everyone would get great medical service. I told her that was very interesting. I asked her what she thought of the current system. Get ready...

She had a problem with her leg and went to the regular orthopedic. He took some x-rays and said it was probably muscle and gave her some pills and told her to come back in a few weeks if it wasn't better. She then decided that wasn't good enough and went to her family doctor. He gave her some exercises to perform and told her the same thing, more tests if it didn't go away. So she decided to go to a alternative medicine practioner. Apparently he worked miracles with his mumbo jumbo or whatever he does. It helps if you realize it was 2 weeks later and the pain was gone as guessed by the first two doctors.

So, what was her view of the situation? She said doctors are lazy and just want to hand out pills. The insurance companies forced her to go to doctors that wouldn't take a personal interest in her. She thinks that everyone deserved the same sort of personal attention and healing that the alternative medicine doctor gave her. Without socialized medicine people would just be wheeled in and out like she was at the first two "real" doctors by their evil insurance companies.

I asked her if she realized that socialized medicine would actually involve much less time at the doctor, less tests, and more pills. Not to mention that alternative medicine would not be covered and multiple doctor visits would be disallowed. The response was, of course, was predicatble.

"That wouldn't be the way it worked, people in charge wouldn't allow that to happen because they weren't money hungry insurance companies."

Yes... people in Canada don't come here for healthcare and Britain has the best medical care in the world. I said, there isn't a soul in this country who works hard and pays for insurance that would give it up for socialized medicine. Funny, all the people there with jobs and that were older just nodded in agreement. Socialism, no matter what it is applied to, is about making everyone equally miserable.

Deavis
May 28, 2005, 04:14 PM
Art:
I guess one question--which isn't new, actually--is about how far do we go to save everybody from anything? Seems to me that folks who want "socialized medicine" don't want any limits to the spending

Some people just aren't willing to accept the fact that their life is actually worth a finite amount of money and that amount is FAR less than they think it should be. If you want to know how much you are worth, just go ask your insurance company, they'll tell you how much each piece of you is worth. If you don't have insurance, well...

That "If it saves one life" speech is hollow. Some lives aren't worth saving, especially the ones that won't even try to save themselves by getting insurance.

444
May 28, 2005, 07:46 PM
I didn't read the whole thread: I hope I am not just repeating what has already been said.
A lot of our legal system runs on the idea of lawsuits, fines, or some method of taking your assets. If you have any assets, you are at risk. On the other hand, if you don't have any assets, you can laugh at a whole lot of the "system". Medical care is no different. We have, what I would call socialized medicine right now. If you have no money, you still get the same medical care, at the same medical facilities, in the same timely fashion as anyone else. THe only difference is that you don't have to pay for it. AND, there is nothing society can do about it. They can send you a bill and you don't pay. They can put it on your credit score and you don't care. They can't keep you from coming back either. And, since it is free, why drive there or bother you family and friends ? Call an ambulance to take you to an emergency room for a headache. You might even be seen faster because of it. The ambulance bill ? I can't pay it, I don't have any money. And you can't do anything about it.
One key point that many people miss is that they want to blame the rich: they have access to all the best of everything because of their money. That is true, but the poor have access to it also. The only people missing out are the middle class who are also paying for it out of their pocket as well as providing these medical services to the poor themselves since they are the nurses, the lab techs, the ortho techs, the OR techs, the paramedics, the ER techs etc. And if at any time the poor don't think they are being treated up to their high standards, they sue you for your assets. They just don't realize this is a mistake because they can now be held accountable for their actions since they have something worth suing for (what used to be someone elses assets that they sued for).

TimH
May 28, 2005, 10:13 PM
I'll bet that if the US ever does have socialized medicine, none of the government officials like congress will have to live with it. It will just be the commoners like us.

R.H. Lee
May 28, 2005, 10:18 PM
I don't see much difference between .gov and insurance companies providing medical care to tell you the truth. Each of them charges whatever they feel like and provide as little service in the form of benefits as they can. Now, I'm sure you 'free market' types are gonna say you can always shop around for medical insurance. Yeah, right. They all operate the same. It's like one big cartel.

nico
May 28, 2005, 10:48 PM
Riley, the difference is private companies can't tell ever doctor that they have to accept their brand of insurance. As it is now, doctors have some choice as to which insurance plans they are willing to put up with.

cracked butt
May 28, 2005, 10:49 PM
I'll bet that if the US ever does have socialized medicine, none of the government officials like congress will have to live with it. It will just be the commoners like us.

Darn toot'n

I really really really reaaaaally doubt that Ted Kennedy uses a HMO for his health care even though he was the author of the original bill to allow HMOs. :banghead:

nico
May 28, 2005, 10:59 PM
I really really really reaaaaally doubt that Ted Kennedy uses a HMO for his health care even though he was the author of the original bill to allow HMOs.
I never knew that. If that's true, where the hell do the Dems get off blaming the Republicans for the problems caused by HMOs?

Art Eatman
May 28, 2005, 11:20 PM
rileyMc, I'll repeat, rephrasing: I shopped around (Okay, so it was my wife who did the actual shopping.) We saved a ton of money, that way.

:), Art

mountainclmbr
May 28, 2005, 11:30 PM
Hillary understood very well with her Hillarycare push that if the government controls health care then they can totally control you...with a 5-year felony penalty for circumventing the government plan.

If the government is responsible for your health care, then anything you do related to your own health can be regulated by the government. What you eat, your exercise, your travel even what you express about what you think. If it has the potential to cost the government money due to contrived or real risks of treatment, it will be in their interest to regulate it.

No one can give away my God-given rights but me. I don't care about their silly bills or speaches on C-SPAN. I would ask these socialists to move to Cuba or North Korea, but they are not interested in "living" in a communist/socialist society. They are dedicated to being the ones imposing their will to feed their egos that are so oversized that it prevents even the belief that there can be a God above them.

R.H. Lee
May 29, 2005, 12:14 AM
I'll repeat, rephrasing: I shopped around (Okay, so it was my wife who did the actual shopping.) We saved a ton of money, that way.
Right, Art. What you would have how is a Medicare supplemental. There are several standard plans, A through J, I think. None but the top 2 or 3 are very expensive, because they only pay the portion Medicare does not pay.

If, however, you must cover yourself from square one, you'd find most insurers would charge you about the same amount (and it would be high), as the risk is based on commonly shared actuarial tables.

MillCreek
May 29, 2005, 12:14 AM
A poster above reported on his USAF service and his belief that the military medical system provided two tiers of care: one for officers and a lower level of care for enlisted.

I asked my wife about this. My wife spent twenty years in the Navy in military medicine. She retired as a Chief corpsman, and did three duty tours as an IDC: an independent duty corpsman, much like a sea-going physicians assistant. An IDC provides the medical care at remote shore stations and the smaller ships such as destroyers, frigates, and submarines. So before she moved into healthcare administration, she spent a lot of time with hands on patient care.

Generally speaking, at least as far as the Navy is concerned, she said there was no way that she or her colleagues provided a higher level of care to officers and a lower level of care to enlisted. There may be certain procedures that an officer is more likely to get; she cited a flight physical or laser eye surgery to a pilot as an example. But even that is more due to job duties than rank.

But when it came to general or specialty care, performing surgery, prescribing medications or ordering tests, the clinical condition of the patient, not their rank, dictated their care. She recalled that probably the only thing that was different was an O-6 and above probably did not have to wait for an appointment, at least as a matter of course! At a couple of her duty stations, she would have O-5's and above come to see her in preference to one of the family practice physicians.

In terms of allocating scarce military medical resources, such as surgeries (since there is a finite number of surgeons who can do certain procedures), precedence would be given to the warfighters first regardless of rank, then urgent clinical need, then less urgent clinical needs, then elective procedures. If demand exceeds capacity, then the patients are sent out to the civilian market.

I work as an administrator at a large civilian multi-specialty clinic in a Pacific NW port city hosting a Navy base. I can tell you that over the past couple of years, as more physicians and corpsmen have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, more of the military patients and dependants back home are being referred to us given the shortages in military medical staffing. We certainly provide the same level of care to all active duty and dependents.

Perhaps the USAF medical system would be different, but in speaking with my healthcare colleagues at McChord Air Force base south of me, it sounds pretty similiar to the Navy.

316SS
May 29, 2005, 01:06 AM
Iain wrote:

What is your realistic alternative?

Realistic? I have none. Sadly, a morally and idealogically acceptable (to me) alternative is decidedly unrealistic. Namely, the abolishment of all government-administered social welfare programs. While we're at it, Social Security needs to go too. Why unrealistic? There is moral, and there is politically expedient, and never the twain shall meet. Not while politicians continue to purchase votes with my tax dollars.

316

Byron Quick
May 29, 2005, 05:12 AM
would think it would only matter if you already had health care insurance or not. I can't wait for everybody here to turn 65 and then present this thread again.

I'm only 51. But 11 years ago, just after I graduated from the Medical College of Georgia's School of Nursing, I was hospitalized for surgery to remove a spinal cord tumor. Without insurance of any description. I was numb from the level of my nipples on down. Numb enough for minor surgery.
My neurosurgeon's prognosis was,"You might get better, you might get worse, and you might stay the same."

Two out of those three meant that I would never work again and that I would be unable to ever repay my bill to the neurosurgeon and the hospital.

Maybe the hospital went above and beyond because I was an alumnus of the hospital...I don't know. But my destitute butt had his surgery performed by the Head of Neurosurgery at one of the top teaching hospitals in the US. And then I was sent to the Neuro ICU. From there I was sent to a private room at my surgeon's orders. Five days later, I was discharged. And presented with a bill for thirty thousand dollars. Which I cheerfully paid. With gratitude.

Guess what? I would have cheerfully paid three hundred thousand dollars and worked as an indentured servant to the hospital for twenty years for the results achieved. I can walk. I can work. I can function as an able human being. Thirty thousand dollars. My friends, that was one hell of a bargain.

saltydog,

I'll see you. And call. I've stared more serious health issues in the face than most of the elderly. Both with insurance and without insurance. Latest was a cervical spinal cord tumor this past March. Last year I had a stroke. I have a problem with Social Security, Medicare, and other programs of that ilk.
It reminds me of a car theft ring that steals your car several times over the years. Then one day the ring's members come to make amends to you. By giving you a car that they stole from someone else. The money the government took from me for Social Security has been spent as fast as they stole it. I am uncomfortable with taking money from them as my just due while knowing that they are stealing it from someone else to give to me.

What am I going to do? I'll pay my own way or check out. Simple as that.

"Is life so sweet or peace so dear as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? I know not how others may choose...but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry

I'm a health care professional. I've seen the hells that people and their families have put them in in pursuit of the Holy Grail of life at any cost. It's not for me, my friend, for I'm not that scared. Death will come for us all, no matter how much money we may have or spend to avoid the inevitable.

Kim
May 29, 2005, 03:21 PM
NINO------Oh yea Teddy Kennedy was a big pusher of HMO's way back when (the early 80's). Does that really surprise anyone. It is like Ronald Reagan said---------Democrats believe that if it moves tax it, if it slows down regualte it, if it stops subsidize it. Government ALWAYS leads to more Government.

GT
May 29, 2005, 09:15 PM
I never knew that. If that's true, where the hell do the Dems get off blaming the Republicans for the problems caused by HMOs?
You ARE kidding me right?


I would think it would only matter if you already had health care insurance or not. I can't wait for everybody here to turn 65 and then present this thread again.
Well, I have to say that the "elderly" in the US today are the longest-lived, most free, most potentially happy and the richest group of people in the history of all time.
Spending more on beer and cigarettes than prescription drugs does not gain them much sympathy from me.
Although I have to also admit that having any ailment stilll sucks.
But since the US govt puts all seniors on welfare by fiat and makes us their indentured benefactors through mandatory high taxes I think they have no excuse, on their part, for not having used their lives to amass enough money/property/insurance to cover their old age in reasonable style.
Newsflash: you tend to get sick when you get old.


I'll admit - on this issue I have socialist tendencies.
Sorry to use you as a stereotype Iain, I am sure you are a great guy, but this is why I dislike most English people. They have had their mediocre Socialist system for so long they really believe that it is good to be mediocre and that anyone that says otherwise is hard-hearted and unreasonable.
There is NO REASON why anybody else should pay for my medical problems unless I contract them to do so (insurance) or unless I beg for their help (charity).
Hell, if you like using other people's money for your stuff then just go out panhandling. No different to getting handouts from the govt. except you have that awkward face-to-face moment as you take their money under false pretenses. The got. makes it so much more... civilized... so British!
(disclaimer: I was born an Englishman and lived the first 25 years of my life in England. Can't stand the place.)

Get the govt out of healthcare and watch it get better, cheaper and faster.
Seriously.

G

Skunkabilly
May 29, 2005, 09:20 PM
I don't know, but I don't want a checkup at the dentist to become like the DMV.

Ky Larry
May 29, 2005, 10:15 PM
I beleive socialized medicine would be like V.A. medical care.Health care would become a political football. You would wait months to see a doctor.
You would have to travel hundreds of miles to see a specialist. You would spend hours filling out forms. The red tape would be overwhelming. Anything the government touches turns to political horse pucky.

nico
May 29, 2005, 11:47 PM
I never knew that. If that's true, where the hell do the Dems get off blaming the Republicans for the problems caused by HMOs?


You ARE kidding me right?
No. I never claimed to know a lot of the politics surrounding HMOs. But, seeing the dems criticize the repubs when one of their top guys helped create the HMO system seems pretty hipocritical.

Iain
May 30, 2005, 06:03 AM
Socialised healthcare is a political football. I'm not denying any of the problems with it, I'm also not arguing for it to be in place across the board.

GT - I've had worse said to me don't worry. Nothing mediocre about the healthcare I have received since I was 14, owe my continued (and phenomenally healthy) existence to Birmingham Heartlands Hospital CF Centre.

I tend to think that there has to be some sort of structure in place for those who could never afford to meet the basic costs of their healthcare. It's all well and good to say that anothers healthcare is never your responsibility, and from a purely theoretical standpoint I understand the point. It doesn't match up with my reality.

You could argue that charity is the way forward. Reckon it would work to a certain extent too, then again last week on my work I saw a car deliberately drive through a large puddle in order to soak two elderly men, one in a wheelchair.

In another thread I saw a member ask another member with Crohn's Disease, who admitted he had run up $2m in medical bills, what he felt that everyone owed him. I figure that at the very least he is owed an existence that is slightly more comfortable and worthwhile than he would have if everyone took the angle that his health is not their responsibility.

I guess all this comes from my personal situation, I'm not looking at one operation that will cost as much as a house and make me all better. I'm looking at 50 years of healthcare that will probably run to the total cost of a house yearly. That is my reality and it doesn't square 100% with the ideologically pure position.

Again, I'm talking about healthcare for those that could never afford what they need through no fault of their own. When I say 'need' I really mean need, for me the three-weekly infusions of immunoglobulins are not a luxury, I'd have died by now without them, you can't get pneumonia 7 or 8 times a year with CF and expect to be hale and hearty.

So there we go, personal and emotive, and as far as I'm concerned, the reality of it all.

spartacus2002
May 30, 2005, 07:38 AM
I experienced socialized medicine in the military. Good care -- if you didn't mind waiting 4 weeks for an appointment.

No thanks.

Norton
May 30, 2005, 07:57 AM
The federal government already runs a socialized health care system and it's the one that provides care for dependents of active duty military personnel. As a military husband, I have free health care through the military but will soon be opting out into a private HMO contracted by the government where I will have co-pays at a very reasonable cost, but will at least receive timely care.

Disclaimer: I want to say up front that the actual doctors and corpsman that I've dealt with in the military healthcare system are FIRST RATE, but the "system" is simply not working for me as a dependent.


Here's what I get for my "free" healthcare:

I get to call my so-called primary care physician at the local installation who is a different person every year or two. Sometimes they are civilian contractors, sometimes active duty, other times reservists.

I MAY get an appointment within the next month.....case in point when I had a lump appear under the skin on my forehead for no apparent reason and explained that I had a history of skin cancer and other cancers in my family. Four weeks from call to initial appoinment.

Same case: Primary doctor, after a 3 week wait, sees me ( I took a whole day's leave for this mind you) for 10 minutes and says, "Yup something there.....let's get you to Bethesda (Naval Medical Center) to see the dermatologist.

Fast forward three more weeks of worrying about this lump.

Another day of leave, and a 1.5 hour drive to Bethesda in rush hour traffic. Go to dermatology clinic, doctor looks at it and in 15 seconds says that it's not in the skin, but on the bone and therefore is not a dermatology case :banghead: On the plus side, she excised a little blue nevus (like a mole) from my brow to save me the trip later on.

So...back to phone with primary care to get approval to set up appoinment with neurosurgery at Bethesda NNMC.

Another three weeks of worrying.....another day of leave.....another trip 1.5 hours around the beltway from Annapolis to Bethesda. Get to neurosurgery clinic and they ask for my MRI film :confused:

No one told me to get an MRI before coming :cuss:

Back to Annapolis....get an MRI through private contractor (the next day I might add)......get expedited appoinmtment with neurosurgery (two weeks later).

Another day of leave....another 1.5 hour trip.....

Neurosurgeon looks at MRI film for 15 seconds and says, "This is nothing....it is a normal protrusion in your skull that has will appear to grow or recede based on your body weight and water content.........it is part of the aging process that you will have small protrusions of bone appear on your skull".

Good news but took me the best part of 3 months to get to that point. If it had been sonething serious I could have died before anyone got down to the actual business of treating me.

Why should I believe that if this is the best that the government can do for the dependents of those actively serving our country that they will be able to do anything better when trying to provide for 250 MILLION people? :cuss: :fire:

Marko Kloos
May 30, 2005, 08:25 AM
I grew up in a country with socialized medicine. I greatly prefer private health insurance...it's faster, more efficient, less bureaucratic, and ultimately cheaper. (Remember, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, and the "free" health care will have to be financed by higher taxation somewhere else.)

If the government pays for your health care, then the government gains the right to be able to tell you what you can and cannot do with your body. Why would anyone want that?

Khornet
May 30, 2005, 08:48 AM
is the fact that no one has a right to something which must come from the sweat of another's brow. Period. You may disagree with that, but it's the truth.

The rights of man are not material rights, they are freedoms. They are essentially negative: the right NOT to have govt control your speech, the right NOT to have govt search you or imprison you without just cause, the right to defend yourself without the leave of govt, etc.

You cannot establish rights to material things without abridging the rights of man. Once you give material 'rights' primacy over the rights of man, there is no limit--none--to how far the majority can go in suppressing your rights.

As for the poor, uninsured,etc., we docs do now what we always did:treat the patient and accept that we will not be paid. We are not saints, so there's a limit to how much we'll do for free. But when govt fixes how much we can be paid, you can bet that amount won't be very motivating. And then you'd better hope that we ARE saints, because only extraordinary charity will make a man work harder than he has to day in and day out if it gets him nowhere.

Byron Quick
May 30, 2005, 09:29 AM
In another thread I saw a member ask another member with Crohn's Disease, who admitted he had run up $2m in medical bills, what he felt that everyone owed him. I figure that at the very least he is owed an existence that is slightly more comfortable and worthwhile than he would have if everyone took the angle that his health is not their responsibility.

Let's see what the list is thus far:

1)neurofibromatosis...two spinal cord tumors removed, two peripheral nervous system tumors removed, and one more that will need to be removed at some futute date. Plus whatever more that the disease produces.
2)diabetes...one stroke affecting balance and my left eye.
3)Hypertension...complication of neurofibromatosis, four medicines and it's still too high...it's beginning to affect the kidneys.
4)arthritis...just hurts thus far.

The government would not be responsible for any children of mine who inherited neurofibromatosis. Besides, I had enough integrity at eighteen when I found out I had neurofibromatosis...to decide not to get anyone pregnant.

You know what anyone else owes me for my health care? Not one penny. Not even at the cost of my life do I have the right to demand that government force others to care for me at gunpoint. Now if a group of altruistic folk want to take me under their wing when I get so that I can't work...I'll be grateful. But I'll never demand it as my due for it is not. I am not owed anything by any person, organization, government, or society because I have serious health problems. Neither is the guy with Crohn's Disease. Neither are you. Just had a cousin born with CF. He's not owed anything either.

About the only thing I know how to do besides being a nurse is being a bill collector and repo man. That's work that was driving me crazy. On the first day that socialized medicine becomes a reality in the US...well, I'll be going crazy again for I won't be a nurse.

Glock Glockler
May 30, 2005, 10:08 AM
In another thread I saw a member ask another member with Crohn's Disease, who admitted he had run up $2m in medical bills, what he felt that everyone owed him. I figure that at the very least he is owed an existence that is slightly more comfortable and worthwhile than he would have if everyone took the angle that his health is not their responsibility.

That would have been me who posted that, and I stand by it :)

Ok, since you don't like the free market approach, which would incluse a massive reduction in the cost of healthcare because govt intervention would be cut to a minimum (see Hegel), let us look at it from the socialist angle. If someone is going to run up 2 million in medical bills, what do you think the chances are that they will ever repay that 2 million to the healthcare system, or even 2 million in total revenue in his whole life? It will not be very common that many people will gross that much, so what benefit does "society" have if they spend 2 million on 1 person's medical bills when he will only return a fraction of that back to society? It would seem he is a net loss to the hive.

Ok, why should we stop just with people in our own country? If someone is entitled to medical care simply because they exist we should provide medical care to the entire planet, right? Should we intervene in every country and pay for their care, no matter how costly it is, or no matter how we bankrupt ourselves in the process making that continued intervention impossible?

Also, just how much care should we give them? I remember a poster complaining in a thread a while back about how his father's health insurance was as expensive as his mortgage payment, even though his father was 92 and was in and out of the hospital constantly. Who will decide, by what criteria, how much, and in what order, someone will get treatment? Personally, I don't see much point in keeping a 90 year old alive through costly medical intervention unless they are still producing something incredible, maybe a new formula for infinite energy or real lightsabers.

Do you want the govt to decide who will live and who will die? Maybe your family and friends might have been able to pool together and get enough money to pay for your medical care, I have seen many churches do exactly that many times, but now they cannot do so because the govt. is already taking all their money leaving them with almost no disposable income.

I suppose the scenario of people being charitable on their own is impossible because you saw some thugs splash 2 old guys with water. You guys seem to like that kind of reasoning, I remember several years ago in England how 2 POS kids abducted a 5 year old then took him to a train track and beat him to death. From what I understand these 2 maggots are unfortunately still drawing breath but I guess it does prove that all people are bad and that maybe you evil people dont deserve to defend yourselves. Maybe a brutal death by the hands of a thug is deserved unless the govt decides otherwise, and your draconian gun control is therefore quite logical.

Art Eatman
May 30, 2005, 10:56 AM
No, RileyMc; lemme try again: I had a bare-bones deal. Car wrecks, cancer, heart attacks, strokes. The stuff you can't afford from your own pocket. Hospital in-patient stuff, mostly, and some out-patient surgery. I'd pay for my own colds and sore throats and stubbed toes and suchlike, or various pills and potions. No coverage for a nose-job.

Medicare Supplemental (Plan B) ranges in coverage from just the balance of a bill--the deductible--on up to medications and nursing care at various levels. The optional sub-plans within Plan B are the same for any insurance provider, and the costs are the only variable. The best $/month deal is through the NRA.

Kim & nico: Y'all are sorta into a chicken-and-egg argument. As the feds got more involved in medicine, costs rose. As costs rose, folks in the private sector came up with the idea of the HMO. THEN Congress got into the act. I won't go further except to say that I think Congress could break an anvil with merely the use of a rubber tack hammer.

:), Art

Fletchette
May 30, 2005, 01:43 PM
From Zundfolge:

Another problem with Socialized Medicine.

If the government is paying for your health care (which means your fellow citizens are paying for your health care) then you give the government the right to make health decisions for you.

That would include things like eating meat, driving a convertable or motorcycle, owning guns, spending too much (or too little) time in the sun, sitting too close to the TV, not drinking your required 8 glasses of water a day, etc.

If government pays for the upkeep of your body, then they own it.

There is no way that freedom can exist under any form of Socialism.

Excellent point. How can you resist the government when they control your medical care? Ans- you can't.

R.H. Lee
May 30, 2005, 03:01 PM
Car wrecks, cancer, heart attacks, strokes. The stuff you can't afford from your own pocket. Hospital in-patient stuff, mostly, and some out-patient surgery. All of those are covered by Medicare. Your medicare premium is deducted from your social security check. The various optional supplemental plans pay the 20% Medicare doesn't cover.

Iain
May 30, 2005, 03:57 PM
Ok, well I've started something here anyway. I figured that these threads are all well and good when they are theory, but reality often does not square.

Hands up who thinks that charity would cover the cost of healthcare for those that could not afford basic healthcare - I'm not talking keeping 90 year olds alive, I'm not talking liver transplants for alcoholics - I'm talking basic simple, I was born this way and there is nothing I can do about it, I can't afford IV's, X-rays, hospital stays in the quantity that I need to do ok.

I'm uncomfortable with this, despite what some seem to see as an 'English mentality', I don't like the welfare state or government control. Some people just plain need some help though. I work for a charity (my way of trying to put things back) that helps people with disabilities, some of these people have no-one and nothing and conditions like Multiple Sclerosis to boot. Where would they be?

So again, in the absence of govt tax deductions from the pay packet, and the arguably reduced cost of medicine as a result, and the morally pure state that would exist - are people with basic straightforward treatable diseases and conditions who cannot pay going to get any help? If doctors cover some of the cost by treating those who can not afford to pay then they are doing so by charging those who can afford to pay. You pay one way or the other, and if I understand what Riley is saying then you aren't paying for as much via insurance as you think you are anyway.

Excuse me for being cynical about insurance companies too. I tried to get standard travel insurance for a coastal sailing trip in Greece last year for one week. I can run over a mile (don't train for it either), I weight lift, I require few drugs and no oxygen and the premium was $400. I'm a bad risk, and as far as my health is concerned you might as well insure the Titanic because I'm going under. The free market is great, but it chooses it's risks, as it should, and some people are always going to be bad risks. That's not always their fault.

I'm not changing anyone's mind I know, and I'm definitely showing myself up for the Englishman that I am in your eyes. That's ok with me. I went to university, I work and I'm healthy (and I'm not having any kids) - I got the chance to do that, and hopefully more.

http://www.cff.org/special_people/index.cfm?ID=5544&blnShowBack=True&idContentType=771

Eskimo Jim
May 30, 2005, 06:10 PM
Clean,
I'll admit to not reading your post thoroughly however your title says enough.

I am absolutely against just about any government monopoly. There is very little that government should provide.

Would you want some beaurocrat dictate to you what you can charge for the services that you provide? Whatever your job is right now, and what ever you are paid to do that service, would you want the government to decide that you should be paid less than what you are making right now and require you to work more hours a week?

No one has any RIGHT to tell you how much you can charge for the service that you provide!!! YOu can charge as much as you like. The only restriction on charging whatever you like, is the market for your skills and talents. Will someone pay you $500/hour for yoru skills? If your skills have enough demand, yes they will. If they cannot or won't pay $500/hour for your skills, talents and services then you have to charge less or don't provide the service etc.

I"ll stick with capitalism. Capitalism has worked for this country and others for several hundreds of years and it will keep working unless socialists succeed in changing it.

-Jim

Art Eatman
May 31, 2005, 12:21 AM
RileyMc, at the time I signed up for that policy, I was five years too young for Medicare. I was only 60.

I was trying to point out that there are reasonable levels of coverage out there that don't seem to me to be unduly expensive. $140 a month at age 60 (Premiums rose slightly with my age.) for individual coverage is cheap, compared to what people (much younger than I was) say that health insurance costs them as individuals or families who aren't in a group plan.

Overall, as a society we've brought this on ourselves. We've demanded full bells and whistles coverage for no or low personal cost, and TANSTAAFL. When a car company spends more on worker health insurance than it does on steel, something's gone wrong, somewhere.

Art

Ron_Miami
May 31, 2005, 02:57 AM
I've seen public housing.

I really don't want to see public medicine.

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