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Health Care Reform
Posted: 16 September 2012 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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damon you are creating a false argument. There is no real difference between eradicating bad behavior and incentivizing good behavior as far as i can see in this discussion. This is an argument just for the sake of arguing. My point is as valid regardless of which way you word this statement.

I dont know where you got the idea that a universal health care plan “locks us into a one size fits all” approach. Medical care under such a system is as personal as medical care under the current system but it is done in a less wasteful manner. There is also no reason to believe that a privatized system is any better at enacting the sort of “good behavior “incentives than a universal care system. You can have universal health care AND put those sort of incentives into play as well. Your comment also does not address the fact that other countries which have instituted this approach have better health care at half the cost. So under the current system you may be paying for the bad behavior of others AND inefficient use of medical care as well.

You are correct that the idea is to get everyone on the medical rolls so those who are relatively healthy pay for more care than they use while the less healthy individuals pay for less care than they get but that is the idea behind ALL insurance. The whole purpose of insurance is to create a pool of shared risk so that no single event is devastating to any one person in the pool. That can only work if most of us in the pool don’t have to draw on its services. The only way to avoid this is to not participate in insurance at all but this is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the idea that “I am healthy so i don’t need insurance” is foolish.  EVERYONE gets sick eventually. Your premise that good habits are all you need to stay healthy is fundamentally flawed. Age or genetics eventually catch up with everyone even if you do everything right. Secondly when you do get sick enough( and you will) to end up in the ER and and you are uninsured the rest of us will end up paying your bill. Therefor those who say they are healthy and don’t need insurance are really just saying ” I dont want to pay in to the system. I will just use it and have everyone else pay for it when i need it”

Your opinion about exposure to cold making you more susceptible to catching a cold is a commonly held belief but no matter how vehemently you believe that, the science does not support it (THIS is just one of many studies done on this subject over the past 50 years) . I know its difficult to give up long held beliefs but this has been studied numerous times and there is no evidence that exposing an individual to cold makes them more susceptible to viral infections. There are several reasons for this misperception. First, more colds do occur during the colder months, most likely because we spend more time together in close quarters among other reasons. Secondly, cold weather may make the symptoms more noticeable. Aches, chill, and runny nose can be more severe when it is cold so we notice them more. Finally, exposure to cold does seem to reduce immune response in some ways but this does not seem to translate into more viral infections as mentioned above.

As far as your illness and your response to Oscillococcinum let me point out a few things. I dont doubt that you got better an hour after taking the remedy but I seriously doubt the remedy had anything to do with it. First of all, while I can’t say for certain , it sounds unlikely that you had the flu since vomiting is not a common symptom of influenza in adults. Illnesses that cause vomiting are commonly mislabeled as flu by the public. Most of these illnesses are caused by other viruses and many of them are commonly called “the 24 hour bug” because the often resolve in 24 hours unlike the fu which frequently takes 7-14 days to resolve completely. I can also be nearly certain that the Oscillococcinum had nothing to do with your recovery for several reasons. You state that you felt miraculously better within an hour yet physiology does not allow for this no matter what miracle drug you took. Medication takes time to be absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Most drugs take 30-60 minutes to be absorbed. once absorbed they need to be distributed around the body. Even if the drug was capable of completely and stopping viral replication in its tracks instantly ( very unlikely) you would still have to rid the body of all the cytokines ( interferons mostly) that are responsible for your symptoms and stop the production of more cytokines by all the activated white blood cells. It is incredibly unlikely a single drug would have all three of these completely separate and unrelated functions and even if they did it just couldn’t work that fast. I think you got better because you had something other than the flu and the viral infection had followed its natural course.  Can i say that for sure? Of course not, but what you are proposing makes no sense physiologically. At any rate we have already gone through a period where people used these sorts of remedies.. a hundred years ago, and we know how well that worked. The infant mortality rate was very high and the average life span was much shorter. It would certainly save us a lot of money if everyone relied on this sort of treatment instead of modern medicine but the price in lost life would be huge.

[ Edited: 16 September 2012 05:08 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 16 September 2012 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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  I *especially* don’t want to subsidize someone else’s bad health choices, when I’m a damn sight healthier than the average person, and that’s what the health mandate is all about, unfortunately.  Its modus operandi is to get everyone on the rolls so that the people who are healthier can subsidize those who are less healthy, and those who can’t afford health insurance at the going rates

You may be healthier than the average person right now and that’s due as much to luck as it it to your choices.  I’d guess you have access to decent food, the education to recognize it, (likely because you were able to attend a decent public school).Because we have a government run Center for Disease Control which functions pretty well, we’re not exposed to many contagious diseases that people in third world nations are exposed to.  By the luck of your genetics, you weren’t born with, and haven’t developed some sort of inherited medical condition, and you haven’t developed cancer, or, apparently, haven’t had to work in a job that exposed you to dangerous substances or conditions, and no one rear ended you in your car today.  I congratulate you on your health and good fortune. But, if you had any sort of condition from causes such as these, it wouldn’t be you fault and I would want you to have access to decent medical care. 

And even so, if we’re lucky, we’re all going to get old.  And as we do we will start to require more medical care.  All of us, with only a rare exception, will get sick, eventually develop an expensive terminal medical condition, and die.  There is no way that a hardworking lower class, or probably even a middle class individual can save and maintain the resources to afford decent medical care for that part of their life.  There’s no way a hardworking lower class person can earn enough money to pay for decent care for a child with an expensive medical condition, or a parent with severe illness or Alzheimer’s disease.  Socializing our medical system is a way that we all, rich or poor, can have access, maybe not to the best care, but to decent, compassionate health care.

And here’s where we, as a society, must make a choice.  Do we commit to the idea that we will try to ensure that everyone will have access to health care, even some who we may feel are undeserving, recognizing there will be some corruption and waste? Or, on the other hand, do we accept that some people, particularly children and the aged,  will, through no fault of their own, live lives of suffering and misery, endure agonizing curable diseases, and dying unattended and in pain.  Are we willing to live with people with untreated communicable diseases in our midst?  Are we willing to support a profiteering insurance industry? 

For me, it’s not a hard choice.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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asanta - 16 September 2012 03:25 PM
damoncasale - 16 September 2012 08:36 AM

I had a fever and chills, then, and I had vomited a couple of times.  By the time I realized what it was, I was already a day into the symptoms and I was bedridden at that point, not able to get up and having to sleep most of the time.  Within one hour of taking Oscillococcinum, my flu symptoms were entirely gone, and all I had left was a mild cold that I got rid of in a couple of days.
Damon

...and of course you are absolutely positively certain that your symptoms would NOT have subsided if you hadn’t taken a medication proved to have absolutely NO active ingredients. Anecdote doth not evidence make. Thou shalt have a double blinded study and method of action beforeth thou shalt claim truth. smile

Isn’t that basically what I said, in the part you didn’t quote?

Damon

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Posted: 16 September 2012 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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macgyver - 16 September 2012 05:01 PM

damon you are creating a false argument. There is no real difference between eradicating bad behavior and incentivizing good behavior as far as i can see in this discussion. This is an argument just for the sake of arguing. My point is as valid regardless of which way you word this statement.

What I meant was that, in the example I originally gave with the two-tiered health plan, people still had the choice NOT to change their unhealthy habits by paying for the higher tier of the plan.  The healthier lifestyle was incentivized by providing access to a lower-cost tier that required certain lifestyle changes.  The purpose of creating the two-tiered plan wasn’t to eradicate all bad behavior, otherwise the higher tier wouldn’t have been an option.

That’s all I meant.

macgyver - 16 September 2012 05:01 PM

I dont know where you got the idea that a universal health care plan “locks us into a one size fits all” approach. Medical care under such a system is as personal as medical care under the current system but it is done in a less wasteful manner. There is also no reason to believe that a privatized system is any better at enacting the sort of “good behavior “incentives than a universal care system. You can have universal health care AND put those sort of incentives into play as well. Your comment also does not address the fact that other countries which have instituted this approach have better health care at half the cost. So under the current system you may be paying for the bad behavior of others AND inefficient use of medical care as well.

Actually, I’ve recently been reading articles about the long waiting times for receiving various procedures in Canada and the UK, both of which have a form of universal health care, as I understand it.  The health care might be “free” (meaning, it’s covered by their tax dollars) but you get what you pay for in that kind of a system.

I would actually prefer what’s called a boutique-style health plan, where I can pay a certain amount per month and have 24/7 access to a general practitioner if I need one.  But since I would so very rarely use the service, I’d like to get a lower rate, just like one can get auto insurance at different rates depending on one’s driving record.

Anyway, my opinion (and yes, I admit that it’s my opinion, based mostly on my own personal experience) is that a national solution is more inefficient than one which is handled at the state and local level.  Granted, the previous system (e.g., before the ACA) was inefficient too, but I just think a national system locks us into a one size fits all mentality.

What I mean by that is, say we’re a resident of New York and we don’t like the high property taxes, high rent, high cost of doing business, etc., then we have the option to move to another state with regulations that are more to our liking.  States are then free to compete for residents by changing their regulations to be more favorable.  I’d like for that to be the case with health care as well.

macgyver - 16 September 2012 05:01 PM

You are correct that the idea is to get everyone on the medical rolls so those who are relatively healthy pay for more care than they use while the less healthy individuals pay for less care than they get but that is the idea behind ALL insurance. The whole purpose of insurance is to create a pool of shared risk so that no single event is devastating to any one person in the pool. That can only work if most of us in the pool don’t have to draw on its services. The only way to avoid this is to not participate in insurance at all but this is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the idea that “I am healthy so i don’t need insurance” is foolish.  EVERYONE gets sick eventually. Your premise that good habits are all you need to stay healthy is fundamentally flawed. Age or genetics eventually catch up with everyone even if you do everything right. Secondly when you do get sick enough( and you will) to end up in the ER and and you are uninsured the rest of us will end up paying your bill. Therefor those who say they are healthy and don’t need insurance are really just saying ” I dont want to pay in to the system. I will just use it and have everyone else pay for it when i need it”

Prior to the ACA, and I don’t know if they’re still allowable under the ACA, there were health plans that covered hospital stays, surgery, etc., if your out-of-pocket expenses for a particular stay went above, say, $5000.  That’s like getting the minimum allowable auto coverage on a clunker where you don’t care if you total the car, since it would be cheaper to replace it than to fix it.  In my case, and at my age, I don’t need a lot of coverage because I’m healthy, so I should have the option of choosing coverage that suits my particular needs.  Will those needs change as I get older?  Of course they will, but I just don’t think national health care is the answer.  We don’t have national auto insurance, so why should health care be any different?

macgyver - 16 September 2012 05:01 PM

Your opinion about exposure to cold making you more susceptible to catching a cold is a commonly held belief but no matter how vehemently you believe that, the science does not support it (THIS is just one of many studies done on this subject over the past 50 years).

I speak from personal experience, not based on a scientific study.  The only time I got sick in the past 10 years was when the weather got really cold and I had been pushing my body too hard.  Just speaking from logic, and physical law, it takes energy to keep a human body at an equilibrium temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and just like your house’s air conditioning or heating, it takes *more* energy to keep it at that equilibrium if the outside ambient temperature is colder.  If your body’s energy resources are already depleted (because of not enough sleep, in my case), then your body’s natural defenses to ANY kind of germ or virus, not just a cold, could conceivably be impaired.

If me having an opinion that contradicts the scientific study you quoted bothers you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

macgyver - 16 September 2012 05:01 PM

I know its difficult to give up long held beliefs but this has been studied numerous times and there is no evidence that exposing an individual to cold makes them more susceptible to viral infections. There are several reasons for this misperception. First, more colds do occur during the colder months, most likely because we spend more time together in close quarters among other reasons. Secondly, cold weather may make the symptoms more noticeable. Aches, chill, and runny nose can be more severe when it is cold so we notice them more. Finally, exposure to cold does seem to reduce immune response in some ways but this does not seem to translate into more viral infections as mentioned above.

Until about six months ago, I was living with a friend, his wife, and their son.  They were CONSTANTLY getting sick, due to various reasons.  I never caught anything they got.  It was only when my system was overtaxed from lack of sleep and colder weather that I finally got sick with something that none of them had at the time.

macgyver - 16 September 2012 05:01 PM

As far as your illness and your response to Oscillococcinum let me point out a few things. I dont doubt that you got better an hour after taking the remedy but I seriously doubt the remedy had anything to do with it. First of all, while I can’t say for certain , it sounds unlikely that you had the flu since vomiting is not a common symptom of influenza in adults. Illnesses that cause vomiting are commonly mislabeled as flu by the public. Most of these illnesses are caused by other viruses and many of them are commonly called “the 24 hour bug” because the often resolve in 24 hours unlike the fu which frequently takes 7-14 days to resolve completely. I can also be nearly certain that the Oscillococcinum had nothing to do with your recovery for several reasons. You state that you felt miraculously better within an hour yet physiology does not allow for this no matter what miracle drug you took. Medication takes time to be absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Most drugs take 30-60 minutes to be absorbed. once absorbed they need to be distributed around the body. Even if the drug was capable of completely and stopping viral replication in its tracks instantly ( very unlikely) you would still have to rid the body of all the cytokines ( interferons mostly) that are responsible for your symptoms and stop the production of more cytokines by all the activated white blood cells. It is incredibly unlikely a single drug would have all three of these completely separate and unrelated functions and even if they did it just couldn’t work that fast. I think you got better because you had something other than the flu and the viral infection had followed its natural course.  Can i say that for sure? Of course not, but what you are proposing makes no sense physiologically. At any rate we have already gone through a period where people used these sorts of remedies.. a hundred years ago, and we know how well that worked. The infant mortality rate was very high and the average life span was much shorter. It would certainly save us a lot of money if everyone relied on this sort of treatment instead of modern medicine but the price in lost life would be huge.

I acknowledge that you are much more knowledgeable about human biology and drug response than I am.  Nevertheless, whether I had the flu or a 24-hour bug, I’m not the only one who has used Oscillococcinum to the same effect.  When my cousin lived in colder weather (until just recently), she would often get sick with the flu or whatnot, and taking Oscillococcinum would reduce the length of her symptoms from weeks to days.  I understand that homeopathic remedies aren’t necessarily scientifically validated, but irregardless, I still want the choice of how I care for my own health.  I want more choice, not less, and I feel like the explicit requirements of the ACA limit my choices a lot more than I would care for.

Damon

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Posted: 16 September 2012 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Jeciron - 16 September 2012 05:35 PM

And here’s where we, as a society, must make a choice.  Do we commit to the idea that we will try to ensure that everyone will have access to health care, even some who we may feel are undeserving, recognizing there will be some corruption and waste? Or, on the other hand, do we accept that some people, particularly children and the aged,  will, through no fault of their own, live lives of suffering and misery, endure agonizing curable diseases, and dying unattended and in pain.  Are we willing to live with people with untreated communicable diseases in our midst?  Are we willing to support a profiteering insurance industry? 

For me, it’s not a hard choice.

If those were the only two choices, I might agree with you, but I prefer to consider a whole range of possible ways of solving the health care issue.  Another option would be to allow states and local governments to decide how to pay for the care of the chronically ill, elderly, etc., rather than mandating it at the federal level.  Here in Florida, there’s a program where you can get access to basic care through the state by applying for a six-month program (which you need to renew in order to stay on the rolls for) where you can get care at either free or very affordable prices, depending on one’s income.  I like that that’s an option, and at one point a family member of mine had to make use of that.  An in-law who is diabetic has been on that program for some years now.

I’m all about having MANY choices to choose from, and not artificially limiting those choices in order to “put everyone on the rolls”.

Damon

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Posted: 17 September 2012 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Damon you have basically stated that science and facts wont persuade you about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to medical treatment. You have taken a religious approach to this subject ( “I believe what I believe so don’t bother me with the facts”) so lets leave that subject behind for now.

Getting back to health care, you need to be careful what you read when you read about this subject. It sounds like you’ve been watching a little too much of Faux News or reading the writings of its contributors. First of all Canada and the UK have better health outcomes than the U.S. so any anecdotes about people having to wait a long time for care have to be viewed in that light. It may be true that they have to wait longer for certain non-urgent procedures like an elective gall bladder surgery but if it doesn’t change the outcome it doesn’t matter. On the other hand everyone is insured. If you’re part of the 30% of uninsured Americans you may have to wait much longer for medical care and for things where waiting makes a big difference.

Let me make a suggestion. Instead of reading other people’s opinions about the how happy Canadians and Brits are with their system talk to them. Get a first hand account. There are many places on the internet where you can get in touch with people form other countries. I would stay away form political sites or medical sites since many people there will already have an agenda. Instead talk to people on sites that are completely off this subject. I used to go to the Science Friday talks regularly in Second Life and met a lot of intelligent people from Canada and the U.K.. Time and again when I’ve broached this subject I heard the same thing. They were happy with their system and couldn’t understand why an advanced country like ours couldn’t do the same for their citizens and left many of them without medical care or deeply in debt. They never had to wait for anything important.  Their systems aren’t perfect but the numbers don’t lie. They are getting better care overall for half the price that we pay. You may want to take a look at THIS SITE to learn a bit more about these health systems from another source.

You also mention that you think a national system would be less efficient than the current private system but the numbers dont back that up. Medicare costs have risen at a slower rate than private insurance costs and medicare only spends about 2% of expenditures on operating expenses while private insurance companies spend 15-20% ( look HERE for documentation). A system run at the state level would not have the same efficiencies of size that a national system would since you would need 50 separate agencies instead of one. It also would not give you more choice as you propose since very few people would have the option of moving from one state to the other just to get a different kind of insurance. Employment and family would restrict such movement and why should we force people to make that kind of life changing choice just to get care. State run plans would also not address the issue of universal coverage since this battle would have to be fought 50 separate times in 50 states and would not be won in all of them. In short there is no advantage to make this a State mandate and many disadvantages to that approach.

I think your concern about choice is perhaps misplaced. Very few people in the U.S. currently have any choice about their health insurance. You either have none or you have what your employer gives you. That’s not much of a choice.  Almost no one can afford to purchase health insurance on their own today and very few companies will even sell to individuals. Some employers may offer 2 or 3 plan options at different prices but even there you are simply paying less but getting a more limited group of providers to go to. In exchange for all that choice you are paying twice what the average individual in every other industrialized country is paying for their health care and getting more but worse care ( meaning worse outcomes). That said there is no reason why different options couldn’t be provided in universal health care plan. Some countries such as Germany have a system that is more of a hybrid where everyone has to be covered and the finances are run through the government but individuals are covered by private insurance companies which have to compete for business. There are many options that could be looked at. There isn’t only one way to set up universal health care. We in the U.S. have the luxury of examining dozens of other systems around the world where they have already done this. We can pick and choose what works best and make an even better system here if we could get past the politics and the misinformation campaign.

Nothing is worse than seeing the fear in a parents eyes when they know their job hangs by a thread and their child’s health care is at risk because of that. I don’t see how any of us can defend this system. We are all one pink slip away from seeing our family cut off from access to health care.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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FWIW macgyver is absolutely right. I have lots of friends and family in Europe and they are all in complete agreement that the US system is absurd and unethical. Their comlplaints about local medicine are basically the same as one hears in the US; which is to say, some have good doctors, others have annoyances. But nobody has to worry about paying for medical care of any sort, which takes an enormous burden off.

Nobody there I’ve heard has any significant concerns about wait-times. I know from getting medical care here in the US that sometimes I have to wait weeks or months until the doctor I want has a free moment, so the notion that we are somehow wait-free is also false.

There are also private doctors for those who want to pay, BTW.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

Damon you have basically stated that science and facts wont persuade you about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to medical treatment. You have taken a religious approach to this subject ( “I believe what I believe so don’t bother me with the facts”) so lets leave that subject behind for now.

I’m only saying that what works for me, works for me, and I’d rather not be forced into a system that doesn’t work for me.

macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

Getting back to health care, you need to be careful what you read when you read about this subject. It sounds like you’ve been watching a little too much of Faux News or reading the writings of its contributors. First of all Canada and the UK have better health outcomes than the U.S. so any anecdotes about people having to wait a long time for care have to be viewed in that light. It may be true that they have to wait longer for certain non-urgent procedures like an elective gall bladder surgery but if it doesn’t change the outcome it doesn’t matter. On the other hand everyone is insured. If you’re part of the 30% of uninsured Americans you may have to wait much longer for medical care and for things where waiting makes a big difference.

Let me make a suggestion. Instead of reading other people’s opinions about the how happy Canadians and Brits are with their system talk to them. Get a first hand account. There are many places on the internet where you can get in touch with people form other countries. I would stay away form political sites or medical sites since many people there will already have an agenda. Instead talk to people on sites that are completely off this subject. I used to go to the Science Friday talks regularly in Second Life and met a lot of intelligent people from Canada and the U.K.. Time and again when I’ve broached this subject I heard the same thing. They were happy with their system and couldn’t understand why an advanced country like ours couldn’t do the same for their citizens and left many of them without medical care or deeply in debt. They never had to wait for anything important.  Their systems aren’t perfect but the numbers don’t lie. They are getting better care overall for half the price that we pay. You may want to take a look at THIS SITE to learn a bit more about these health systems from another source.

I’ll take you up on that suggestion, as I don’t mind seeing other success stories, but note that because other countries aren’t organized the way ours is (with states that delegate powers to a central government, that is), they can’t necessarily do things that we *can* do.

macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

You also mention that you think a national system would be less efficient than the current private system but the numbers dont back that up.

No, no, PLEASE don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t like the current system either, and I agree that there is profiteering going on by insurance companies.  But I just think that nationalizing health care is the wrong answer.

macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

Medicare costs have risen at a slower rate than private insurance costs and medicare only spends about 2% of expenditures on operating expenses while private insurance companies spend 15-20% ( look HERE for documentation). A system run at the state level would not have the same efficiencies of size that a national system would since you would need 50 separate agencies instead of one. It also would not give you more choice as you propose since very few people would have the option of moving from one state to the other just to get a different kind of insurance. Employment and family would restrict such movement and why should we force people to make that kind of life changing choice just to get care. State run plans would also not address the issue of universal coverage since this battle would have to be fought 50 separate times in 50 states and would not be won in all of them. In short there is no advantage to make this a State mandate and many disadvantages to that approach.

First of all, I understand that Medicare costs are rising more slowly, but rising costs are *still* rising costs, and the goal is to lower costs overall, correct?  That can only be accomplished by, for instance, more preventive care and more health education.  We can complain about the inefficiencies of having 50 separate agencies instead of just one, but if our founding fathers were worried about the inefficiencies inherent in such a system, they would’ve opted for more centralized government.  I agree that there would be inefficiencies, but imho, that down side is far outweighed by the upside of each state being more beholden to the people it serves.  Not all states would want to do things the same way, anyway, and I’m all for freedom of choice—even in government.

macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

I think your concern about choice is perhaps misplaced. Very few people in the U.S. currently have any choice about their health insurance. You either have none or you have what your employer gives you. That’s not much of a choice.

That’s very true, and even auto insurance (to use my previous analogy) offers more of a choice.  That’s why I think nationalizing health care is the wrong way to go.  We should head in the direction of more choice, not less.

macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

Almost no one can afford to purchase health insurance on their own today and very few companies will even sell to individuals. Some employers may offer 2 or 3 plan options at different prices but even there you are simply paying less but getting a more limited group of providers to go to. In exchange for all that choice you are paying twice what the average individual in every other industrialized country is paying for their health care and getting more but worse care ( meaning worse outcomes). That said there is no reason why different options couldn’t be provided in universal health care plan. Some countries such as Germany have a system that is more of a hybrid where everyone has to be covered and the finances are run through the government but individuals are covered by private insurance companies which have to compete for business. There are many options that could be looked at. There isn’t only one way to set up universal health care. We in the U.S. have the luxury of examining dozens of other systems around the world where they have already done this. We can pick and choose what works best and make an even better system here if we could get past the politics and the misinformation campaign.

I agree that there are multiple ways to set up a universal health care system, but that still ends up with the problem (in my view) that people in California are going to be offered pretty much the same choices as those in Florida, or New York, or wherever.  Obesity rates are different in different places.  The availability of, say, therapy for people with autism is different.  Different states should be able to target their care to the most pressing health needs in their own state.  Plus, I’d like to be able to pick and choose what goes in my health care.  Although I’m not against providing “family planning” services as part of health care, my dad, who is Catholic, is totally against that.  He shouldn’t be forced to buy a product that doesn’t fit his needs, for instance.

macgyver - 17 September 2012 05:59 AM

Nothing is worse than seeing the fear in a parents eyes when they know their job hangs by a thread and their child’s health care is at risk because of that. I don’t see how any of us can defend this system. We are all one pink slip away from seeing our family cut off from access to health care.

I’m not defending this current system.  I just think there’s a better way to fix it.

Damon

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Posted: 17 September 2012 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Just to add to the concert: I know the health systems of Ireland a bit (it’s OK), of the Netherlands (perfectly OK), and of Switzerland (more than perfectly OK, and therefore very expensive, but hey, we also earn a lot). I am totally astonished when I hear what is going on the USA. Be glad you have Obamacare now!!

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GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 17 September 2012 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Well there you go. From GDB’s lips ( or fingers) to your ears ( or eyes). A voice of first hand experience.

I don’t want to write another dissertation on this so I’ll try to keep my response short. Choice is a not the real argument here. You can follow your hearts desire and take all the herbal remedies you like no matter what system we have. This is an out of pocket expense and a universal health care system will not stop you from using your own money to purchase your own choice of OTC remedies. When you have no insurance though you have no choice at all and thats the situation that a large portion of the population finds itself in. If providing health care for them means there might be less choice for the 70% who are currently insured I think that is a small price to pay. On the other hand, the portion who are insured do not really have much choice anyway as I have already outlined. If your dad worked for almost any major employer in this country he would be insured under a plan that covers reproductive services whether he liked it or not, and since its part of the compensation package he is paying for it one way or another.

You are correct that any system we put into effect is not going to make everyone happy. No system ever does, but we live in a democracy and that means we agree to put things to a vote and sometimes we have to go along with things we may personally disagree with for the greater good. I completely disagreed with invading Iraq but we elected the government we have and as a country thats what we agreed to do. A universal health care system will most likely hurt me financially as a physician but I agree with it because its for the good of everyone even if it means I may have to make a sacrifice. Its the right thing to do.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Well, I don’t think we’re going to gain anything by continuing.  We’ve each pretty much stated our respective positions, and although there’s been a little give-and-take, we both seem to be sticking to our guns, so to speak.

By the way, I didn’t realize before now that you are a physician, so that helps to put in a better light your assertion that universal health care is “the right thing to do.”  I disagree, but at least we can agree that the current system is broken.  If we can at least agree on that much, then even though we have vastly different ideas on what the right solution is, we’re seeing the same problems.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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you may be right damon but try to read some of the stories at the link i put in the post above. learn a bit more about how other countries handle this and talk to people who live there. If nothing else at least you will feel more educated about the whole subject. Listening to self proclaimed pundits , TV shows , and reading books on the subject usually exposes you only to people who already have a set agenda. This whole subject has become so politicized that very little of what you get form the media is factual anymore.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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macgyver - 17 September 2012 08:37 AM

you may be right damon but try to read some of the stories at the link i put in the post above. learn a bit more about how other countries handle this and talk to people who live there. If nothing else at least you will feel more educated about the whole subject. Listening to self proclaimed pundits , TV shows, and reading books on the subject usually exposes you only to people who already have a set agenda. This whole subject has become so politicized that very little of what you get form the media is factual anymore.

There is a lot of truth to that, which is why I’ve often used myself or a friend or relative as an example rather than speaking in terms of things I don’t know about from firsthand experience.  I only know what I would prefer, and having come from a family that makes poor health decisions all of the time (not to mention poor financial decisions, poor child-rearing decisions, etc.), I know that there’s a lot of ignorance out there.  That ignorance can easily lead to greater health care costs, costs that would be unnecessary if the people involved knew better or were more informed about better lifestyle choices that they could make.  Because I’m the top earner in the family, I get family members occasionally coming to me for help with this or that thing, but they’re not interested in hearing advice which would prevent the kinds of problems they often have in the first place.  It’s always easier to hear that kind of advice from someone who’s more objective than I am in regards to my own family, basically.

Anyway, I’ve distanced myself from being the go-to person for shouldering the health care costs of my family (among other things), and I feel much the same way in regards to participating in a system that *requires* my participation in order to function effectively.

I guess it’s all a matter of personal experience and perspective.  You’re a physician, so I’m guessing you see things from the perspective of wanting to provide the most care to the most people.  I’m someone who has tried to rise above and beyond where his family is willing to go, so I see things from the perspective of not wanting to pay for other people’s ignorance, willing or otherwise.

Anyway, I’ll take a look at specific health care policies for other countries when I have the time.  I plan to write about “health care” at the beginning of civilization in the book I’m writing (in addition to climate change, etc.) so naturally I need to educate myself about the modern health care systems, too.  smile

Damon

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Posted: 17 September 2012 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I don’t want to write another dissertation on this so I’ll try to keep my response short.

Macgyver,  Thank you for the dissertations.  I’m sure they require a good deal of thought and research.  I learn a lot from them.

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Posted: 17 September 2012 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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damon I can appreciate your where you are coming from. Knowing someone’s background does help one to understand their position. To be perfectly honest nothing annoys me more than people who sponge off the hard work of others when they are perfectly capable of contributing themselves. I think its a mistake though to assume that such people would make up a significant portion of the participants in a national health plan and it would be a shame to let such presuppositions undermine something that could in reality benefit us all.

The fact is that the current system already allows us all to be taken advantage by such individuals. There are lots of people who currently elect not to carry insurance and then receive services from the ER or walk into a doctors office like mine giving false information only to disappear after receiving treatment never to be seen again and never paying their bill. The cost of that ends up being passed on to the public at large in one form or another. Many of these people have good jobs and an income that would allow them to pay these bills. They just choose not to.

A universal health plan might actually cut down on the amount you would have to pay for such people since participation would be mandatory and payment could be linked to income. I dont think it would be that difficult to devise a plan that would prevent most people from taking advantage if the will is there to do this.

[ Edited: 17 September 2012 01:34 PM by macgyver ]
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