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> Universal Health Care, a good idea or a bad one?
Would you support Universal Health Care in the US?
Would you support Universal Health Care in the US?
yes [ 41 ] ** [42.71%]
no [ 35 ] ** [36.46%]
sitting on the fence [ 20 ] ** [20.83%]
Total Votes: 107
  
DreamPipEr
post Jul 27 2004, 03:33 PM
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Cyan's Casual Conversation thread on whether we have health insurance got me thinking about the idea of Universal Health Care in the US.

Nighttimer made the following remarks:

QUOTE
To my mind the right to health and healthcare is a fundamental and basic human right.  The fact that 44 million Americans are without healthcare is a national shame and scandal.

http://covertheuninsuredweek.org/media/doc...ease050504.php3
http://www.everybodyinnobodyout.org/FAQ/fq...htm#thatserious
http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html

Bush's inaction on this issue for the last four years is one of my primary reasons to oppose his reelection.   I couldn't disagree more with you Dontreadonme.
The American people deserve healthcare coverage just as good as our leaders in Congress receive.

For anyone who thinks national healtcare is too risky to implement I hope you always have insurance if your child wakes up at 2:00 a.m. with a temperature over 100 degrees and all you have in the house is a half-empty bottle of Robitussen.

unsure.gif


Julian said:
QUOTE
I checked "other", since I live in Britain so I am covered by the National Health Service. I pay for it out of my taxes, but it is free at the point of delivery.

The constraint on resources means that sometimes I might need to wait a while for an appointment - perhaps a day or two to see my GP, or an hour or two if I visit a hospital ER without a real emergency. For elective surgery I might need to wait up to six months depending on where I live and what condition I have (This used to be potentially much longer, but the current government has tried hard to cut waiting times. Sometimes the emphasis has been too much on this and not enough on quality of care, but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule.)

I'd guess that over 90% of patients have a completely satisfactory experience, which most likely compares favourably with the private US system. And all this happens on a rather smaller percentage of GDP invested in healthcare than the USA.


Mrs. P said:
QUOTE
QUOTE(nighttimer @ Jul 26 2004, 07:38 PM)

Bush's inaction on this issue for the last four years is one of my primary reasons to oppose his reelection.   I couldn't disagree more with you Dontreadonme.
The American people deserve healthcare coverage just as good as our leaders in Congress receive.


We would go bankrupt if we transitioned to universal health care and didn’t adopt the no-fault style policies of Europe with them, and I would certainly not look to Kerry to change any of this. The primary spokesperson on behalf of the trial lawyers is the "Center for Justice and Democracy”, heavily funded by the trial bar, whose president is Joanne Doroshow (a Naderite), and was started with seed money by Michael Moore, who is on the board. Which candidate do you think this group endorses? And Edwards his running mate? Some of Edwards's biggest wins came from cases suing doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies for medical malpractice.

There might be a lot of talk and “feel your pain” sentiments during the next four years if Kerry becomes president, maybe even a team of 500 lawyers paid to analyze the possibilities (sound familiar?), but nothing will truly be done to cover American healthcare, and no measures toward tort reform (the root of the problem), will be made.


Questions for debate:
1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?
2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?
3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?
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Cube Jockey
post Jul 27 2004, 04:31 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?
Yes, that is one of the large government programs I would like to see implemented, along with some significant reform of the industry.

There are over 43 million Americans who lack health insurance (and some estimates put that number as high as 85 million) - source

I belive that access to Health Care is a basic human right, and it is really sad that so many Americans cannot afford healthcare. The United States is the only industrialized country without some form of universal healthcare.

2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?
3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?

I'll answer two and three together.

It is a very realistic goal, and we have several countries we could look to as a model such as Canada and several European countries.

From The American Medical Student Association
QUOTE
MYTH: It would cost too much money.
FACT: A single-payer universal system would cost no more than we're already spending on health care, according to studies by the Congressional Budget Office, the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Lewin Group, and the Boston University School of Public Health. The GAO estimates if the United States changed to a universal single-payer system, it would save in the short run: $34 billion in insurance overhead and $33 billion in hospital and physician administrative costs. This savings would come from providing timely care to those who would otherwise delay care, thereby becoming sicker and more expensive to treat.
          The cost of serving the newly insured would be about $18 billion. The cost of providing additional services to the currently insured-due to elimination of co-pays and deductibles-would be about $46 billion.

MYTH: It is socialized medicine.
FACT: A single-payer universal health plan is not socialized medicine. Under socialized medicine, the government owns the hospitals and clinics. Doctors and nurses are government employees. A single-payer universal health plan preserves private ownership and employment. It has no more in common with socialized medicine than does Medicare. What's unique about a single-payer universal health plan is that all health-care risks are placed in a universal risk pool covering everyone.

MYTH: Americans would pay more.
FACT: Several studies show costs for middle-class Americans would not increase. All but the poorest Americans would pay more income tax, but in most cases the tax would be equal to or less than what they currently pay for health insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles, which would largely be eliminated. Money to take care of the currently uninsured would come from money saved by eliminating private insurance overhead costs and by spending less on high-tech equipment that duplicates or exceeds what's needed in any geographic region.

MYTH: The United States has the best health care in the world.
FACT: The United States has higher infant mortality, higher surgical mortality and lower life expectancy than Canada. The United States has a much lower rate of access to primary care doctors than Canada. Canada has the same acute care bed-to-population ratio as the United States. Patient satisfaction, quality of care and outcome of care in Canada equal or exceed that in the United States, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office. For this lower quality, Americans pay 40 percent per capita more than Canadians do on health care.


Finally and probably most importantly:
QUOTE
MYTH: U.S. physicians don't want a single-payer universal health plan.
FACT: Despite pervasive negative spin, 57.1 percent of U.S. physicians believe a single-payer system with universal coverage would be the best option for the United States, according to a 1999 New England Journal of Medicine survey.


This group, Working People.org, has some good ideas on how it might be implmemented, and actually universal health care has been tossed around since the 1950s, but it has never been implemented.

QUOTE
But denial of service by HMOs is really just a small part of the overall problem. When an individual lacks health insurance, the consequences are often severe.

One of the great myths in healthcare is that, whether covered or not, Americans have access to care when it is really needed. In a recent study focusing on working-age adults, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, chartered by Congress, concluded that "working-age Americans without health insurance are more likely to:

    * Receive too little medical care and receive it too late;
    * Be sicker and die sooner;
    * Receive poorer care when they are in the hospital even for acute situations like a motor vehicle crash."

The Institute used 130 related research studies to conclude that:

"The health and length of life of working-age Americans would improve if they obtained coverage. Like those who are now insured, the newly insured would use preventive services more often and would be less likely to delay seeking care, thus making early detection and treatment of problems more feasible. The best health outcomes are possible only if the uninsured obtain coverage before the onset of any illness or injury. People without health insurance often go without appropriate care.
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logophage
post Jul 27 2004, 04:39 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?

Despite my libertarian tendencies, I have come to the reluctant opinion that there should be at least a minimal level of guaranteed health care for everyone. I'm not sure about UHC though; this may be too extreme.

2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?

I don't see any substantial difference between government-administrated insurance and private insurance. I consider my money for private insurance as a tax (whether it's called that or not). My money still goes into a pool which if everyone in the pool were to tap into, the insurance company would go bankrupt. Insurance companies know that this is statistically unlikely, thus they have a money making proposition. A government-based insurance scheme would work equivalently. In other words, my insurance money is paying for other people's health care because I'm a relatively healthy adult. This is absolutely no different from a tax.

That said, I think a government-based health insurance program could work, or rather, could work as good as anything else. To be honest, this isn't saying much as there's ample evidence of the insurance industy not working. Eh...I don't have a good answer on what the best scheme would be. Probably some experimentation is in order. Or if there are any economic game theorists lurking on this forum, they could probably discuss different systems (pros & cons).
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overlandsailor
post Jul 27 2004, 05:58 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?

Depends. Single Payer? as in the Government? No. I have however been reading alot of Radical Centrist theory lately. One interesting idea is to make A minimum level of health insurance mandatory as car insurance is. Means tested of course so that those below a certain income level would be paid for, partially or in full (dependent on income) by the US government. Better health insurance can be purchased as better car insurance can.

New America Foundation on UHC

The idea is that it allows for the continued competition in the health care system and the financial incentives that have driven medical innovations to date. Without these incentives why would anyone do the work? Are there really that many Doctors / Scientist you can think of that are that selfless? Selfishness is human nature. Capitalism uses that to the betterment of the society.

I have not made up my mind on this one just yet but it is very interesting and it seems much more realistic, practical and possible then the single payer model. It is the first idea to date that seemed realistic, fair, and American enough for me to even consider supporting it.


2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?

Without socializing America, we could never afford it and once socialized the financial motivation for innovation and invention are gone. However, the idea I mentioned above it really interesting.

Almost every innovation in America can look to Capitalism as it's primary reason for existing. Most people want to improve their financial lives. So they work hard to create things that make America better and stronger because they get paid very well to do it. Wages, royalties, profits or whatever. Sure capitalism has it's problems as well, that is what reasonable governmental regulation is for.

As for Socialism's failings, consider the Israeli Kibbutz (Kibbutz), one of the purest forms of Socialism in the world. Most are truly controlled by the community and not a corrupt central leadership. I visited one when I was in Israel while serving in the Navy. Many Kibbutz, like the one I visited, are failing today because the young are either leaving, or not excelling. After all, why do all the work to become a doctor if your going to live like a farm hand? Be a farm hand, or do the work to become a doctor and then leave to follow the capitalist dream. This is the primary problem facing the Kibbutz and it is the primary problem facing socialism. Where's the motivation?

The Radical Centrist Idea linked above, though I am still not quite a supporter of it yet (but I am Darn close), is the best solution I've seen so far because it ensures that all are protected without abandoning what is most responsible for the growth of America. That be Capitalism and the human nature of greed.
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AuthorMusician
post Jul 27 2004, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE
1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?


Absolutely. Having gone through a very long period of unemployment, and having a condition that should be monitored, and having been forced to seek out homeopathic bandaids for it -- hell yeah.

QUOTE
2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?


The concept is very realistic for those who have gone without health insurance and been treated like DIRT by the system we have in place now. However, due to the tendency for the people of this country to follow the propaganda promoted by the corporate interest (profit) in health care, the acceptance of the realistic concept is highly doubtful.

I think enough people have to feel the failure of our system directly before change comes about.

QUOTE
3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?


The pros involve getting needed medical attention when circumstances such as extended unemployment strike. Another pro involves the use of the medical system to catch chronic disease before it can get to the really bad stage. And another pro will be the reduction of bankruptcies due to catastrophic illness hitting a household. This will have the side benefit of reducing family stress, and thus very likely reduce the occurances of broken families.

In other words, UHC supports true family values.

The only con I can see is the real con job of the HMO types. They will make less profit. Then all these fancy new health facilities that many of us can't use will have to be built more modestly. And executives of the HMOs will lose their cash cows.

The added tax burden will be a con that will be offset by removing the pressure of the insurance company's need for profit. But I bet if UHC ever happens here, this whole thing will be corrupted by corporate lobbyists. So that's probably the biggest con. First the influence of corporate money has to be taken out of politics.

Let's just say I'm thankful for homeopathic medicine. Guess the next step will be to figure out how to do home surgery. Just kidding. unsure.gif

This post has been edited by AuthorMusician: Jul 27 2004, 06:28 PM
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Christopher
post Jul 27 2004, 08:43 PM
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I realize that I will pay more in taxes for UHC, but how much would businesses SAVE if all of that was removed from their hands? I often hear that Medical insurance can either stagnate or even cripple many small business, so would it be more of a benefit to business if UHC was the way?
Is there an option for a 1/2 and 1/2 kinda deal. UHC for things like coughs and colds and flu and certain medical conditions, diabetes and such and seperate insurance for surgeries?
What are some options?
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Ultimatejoe
post Jul 27 2004, 08:56 PM
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In Ontario we employ a single-payer system, with OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) being paid for with our taxes. What this means is that any listed medical service bills the plan directly. However, not all services are listed. Those that aren't are covered by private insurance or personal expense.
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deerjerkydave
post Jul 27 2004, 09:05 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?

No. The idea is noble, but I can't agree with its socialist implementation. The freedoms and rights lost in such a system are of greater detriment than the absence of doctor prescribed health care for the few.

The 15% without regular health insurance are not health-care-less. Free medical clinics are available all over where doctors and nurses contribute in a charitable way. It is not as fast or convenient, but it is available nonetheless. Also, no patient who arrives at any hospital in need of medical attention is turned away.

2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?

Very real, as long as we have politicians and a majority of citizens who believe in socialism.

3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?

Pros: 15% of Americans who don't pay for health insurance now get it at tax payer expense.

Cons: The loss of freedom and rights, the additional cost of an enormous government oversight bureaucracy, and the inability for patients to sue the government for grievances (whereas now they can sue private insurance companies). These are large pills society has to swallow to provide for the few. The sum of the pros and cons produces a net loss to society.

This post has been edited by deerjerkydave: Jul 27 2004, 09:07 PM
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Gray Seal
post Jul 27 2004, 09:19 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?

I have information from two Medical Doctors locally on their insurance. One (dermatologists) pays $200,000 per year from a practice which generates $500,000 a year. The other is a obstetrician who pays $450,000 per year for insurance.

I do not support UHC. It is an intrusion which is not necessary. I do not need for government to demand my money and have a third party decide how much I need to spend on my health care and what sort of delivery system I can have. UHC does not address the insurance problem caused by legal medicine nor the excessive procedures induced by legal medicine. We need to go after the problem and not create another.

2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US?

Can it be done ? Yes. Is it the best way to deliver service via socialism ? No.

I have no problems with people who like the idea voluntarily joining such a plan. It should not be mandatory. I am sure such a plan is available where you could pay extra on your premium to cover you when you are unable to pay. If you prefer the government running such a system other than the private sector, you should be able to join such a voluntary system.
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Cube Jockey
post Jul 27 2004, 09:25 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Jul 27 2004, 02:19 PM)
I have information from two Medical Doctors locally on their insurance.  One (dermatologists) pays $200,000 per year from a practice which generates $500,000 a year.   The other is a obstetrician who pays $450,000 per year for insurance.

I do not support UHC.  It is an intrusion which is not necessary.  I do not need for government to demand my money and have a third party decide how much I need to spend on my health care and what sort of delivery system I can have.  UHC does not address the insurance problem caused by legal medicine nor the excessive procedures induced by legal medicine.  We need to go after the problem and not create another.

I'm afraid I don't understand your point here Gray Seal. It seems to me you are against Universal Health Care due to malpractice insurance?

If that is the case I'm not sure how that is even a relevant argument against Universal Health Care, unless you are arguing that it is a good thing that people don't have insurance because that means they can't sue.

This debate isn't about medical malpractice, it is about health care for everyone and the two really are in no way related.

QUOTE(deerjerkydave)
Cons: The loss of freedom and rights, the additional cost of an enormous government oversight bureaucracy, and the inability for patients to sue the government for grievances (whereas now they can sue private insurance companies). These are large pills society has to swallow to provide for the few. The sum of the pros and cons produces a net loss to society.

So many things wrong with this statement here, where to begin.

First, the idea that the bureaucracy would cost more is a MYTH.
QUOTE
MYTH: It would create a huge bureaucracy.
FACT: Experts say the employer-based managed-care system is already a huge bureaucracy. It consumes 9 to 15 cents of every health-care dollar. Medicare, a single-payer plan for seniors, spends only 2 to 3 cents of every dollar on bureaucracy.

If you have ever called an insurance company to find out if not only the doctor is covered that you want to see, but also the facility where he does the work and the specific procedures this fact is self evident. Often when you call the hospital they'll give you the exact opposite answers or tell you to call the insurance company. The Insurance system that we have today is a complete and total bureaucratic nightmare.

Secondly, patients do not often sue insurance companies, unless they happen to be disputing coverage. What does often happen is patients suing doctors or facilities for medical malpractice. The lawsuits that are filed against insurance companies are because their published coverages and their actual coverage frequently differ. In countries with UHC, this is not a problem.

As I have said in my previous post, the cost difference between what the government pays now and what it would cost is negligible. If you believe otherwise please post some facts to refute the sources I cited earlier.

This post has been edited by Cube Jockey: Jul 27 2004, 09:35 PM
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DreamPipEr
post Jul 27 2004, 10:02 PM
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First an anecdotal story-

My initial feelings on UHC stemmed from my own experiences with French and German medicine. I broke my ankle while on a trip to France (this was when I was going to school in Germany). I was immediately taken to a French ER where they took the necessary x-ray’s and the outcome was that my break wasn’t bad, a cast would be sufficient, and they supplied me with needles that I need to inject myself with daily for the entire duration of having to wear the cast. NEEDLES, INJECTING MYSELF?? To say the least I didn’t understand then, nor do I understand now what these injections were supposed to do. We (the friends I was traveling with) drove straight back to Germany and I visited the German ER to have their doctor’s look at my break. After many hours of waiting I finally saw a doctor, they took the cast off (because the French x-rays I had weren’t good enough?) x-rayed me and came back and told me that if I didn’t have an operation that there was a good chance I wouldn’t walk again, the best worst case scenario was that I would have a severe limp. They admitted me and I got my hands on a telephone to call my parents. We decided to go with the operation. According to the German rules for patients who have an operation I was required to stay in the hospital for 10 days! 10 days? Seem extreme for simple operation putting pins in your ankle? You bet their rules were the exact opposite extreme for American hospitals where they will kick you to the curb if they can. I suggest that somewhere in between is probably sufficient. So waste v savings which is better? My recovery time till I could put weight on my ankle was about 2 ½ months. During that time I had to make regular visits to the ER. I never had my own doctor, never met the doctor that performed my surgery, and there was not one doctor that I connected with in regards to my treatment and recovery, I didn’t feel that there was any accountability for the doctor’s care. I felt like a number with a file. When I returned home and visited my orthopedic in the States, I showed him the x-rays and asked him if he would have recommended surgery like the Germans or no surgery like the French. He said that without a doubt the type of fracture I had did warrant surgery. Whether the outcome without surgery would have been as severe as the German doctor described was questionable but the end result is he would have gone for it.

I should have numbered the debate questions in a different order so I will answer in the order I wish here! biggrin.gif

1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?
For now I am on the fence leaning to non support.

3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?

Pro-
Risk pooling the entire nation to negotiate a reasonable rate of coverage,
Everyone will have coverage regardless of their individual financial status, and
Removing employer from the rate negotiation.
Con
R&D may suffer,
Possible waste in resources,
Government in my doctor’s office,
Lack of choice in medical provider,
Becoming a number, and
Government replaces employer in rate negotiation

I am sure there are more pro’s and con’s but these are the ones that come to mind.
2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?
I think it is unrealistic, for the time being, if a plan could be made that addresses my concerns, most importantly do I want the government making decisions on who and what when it comes to my health care? I would, though, be more agreeable to some sort of “basic needs” coverage but am uncertain as to whether this should be handled on the state level. I lean towards the state level. Some states have better Medicaid plans then others. But really why not allow for a basic needs coverage that you can buy into, individually? I hold my state of New Jersey directly responsible for my lack of coverage. It is unreasonable that a catastrophic insurance policy ($10K deductible and 50% coverage) for an individual should cost about $750 a month if you want to have a Medical Savings Account of which you need to put additional money in the account for the “tax” free status. It is unreasonable that my state regulates who I can shop from in order to have this coverage; they removed all competition from the equation and left me without insurance. But that is a matter for me to take up with my state or for me to leave my state if they don’t get their act together!

This post has been edited by DreamPipEr: Jul 27 2004, 10:49 PM
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Gray Seal
post Jul 27 2004, 10:26 PM
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Cube Jockey, the reason I brought up malpractice insurance and legal medicine in the UHC debate is for the need to define the problem which needs to be fixed. Health care is expensive and its cost is continuing to rise at a high rate. As insurance is a major component of health cost would it not be prudent to address it? UHC does not address it. Therefore, UHC is not a good solution. Eliminate the cost of insurance to health care providers and the cost of health care will drop greatly, I would expect in half. With that, health care will be affordable and still be everyone's individual decision.
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Hobbes
post Jul 27 2004, 10:33 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?

Only if it can be implemented in a way that does not increase my taxes. I have enough trouble paying for my own family's health insurance, and I am not anxious to increase that burden.
2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?

It is only realistic if it can be shown to be of benefit to both sides--both those paying for and those receiving the benefits.

3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?

To me, the biggest pro would be that it would eliminate the inefficiency in the current system for dealing with those that have no insurance. Currently, if you have no insurance, you are forced to go to the emergency room for treatment. This rules out any preventive care, clogs up the emergency room, and still places the onus for payment of these services on those who do currently have insurance. So, there is considerable savings to be had if this problem were dealt with more efficiently. The other main pro, even if you currently do have health insurance, those circumstances could easily change, and it would be nice to be able to maintain coverage.

The main con, of course, is the additional cost. If the system can't be set up so that the overall cost comes down, then there's not enough incentive for change.

This to me is a classic issue where people clearly side on the left and the right, and where the merits of both seem pretty clear. I don't think there's a lot of argument against NT's assertion that health care should be a basic right (why should a child go untreated if its parents are out of work?). On the other hand, those on the right, I think, have a valid stance that it's hard enough to pay for their own insurance--footing the bill for someone else is too big a burden. However, I don't think this precludes a solution. There are benefits to be gained from implementing some form of UHC. Some form of that should be able to show a real benefit to all parties. But getting there would require politicians on both sides to turn their backs on some cherished principles and PAC's. Not sure that will ever happen.
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Cube Jockey
post Jul 27 2004, 10:37 PM
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QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Jul 27 2004, 03:26 PM)
Cube Jockey, the reason I brought up malpractice insurance and legal medicine in the UHC debate is for the need to define the problem which needs to be fixed.  Health care is expensive and its cost is continuing to rise at a high rate.  As insurance is a major component of health cost would it not be prudent to address it?   UHC does not address it.   Therefore, UHC is not a good solution.  Eliminate the cost of insurance to health care providers and the cost of health care will drop greatly, I would expect in half.   With that, health care will be affordable and still be everyone's individual decision.

Ok, well I can see your point now. However, I think the problem with insurance premiums may be a moot point. It is my understanding that the health insurance industry would basically "go away" and the government would replace them under the single-payer plans. By definition those plans require the government to be the sole source of funds for medical insurance.

If you want to check out Kucinich's proposal on his website, it is as good as any and explains things fairly well. It is more in depth than what I have quoted below and worth a read.

QUOTE
My plan is called Enhanced Medicare for All -- a universal, single-payer system of national health insurance, carefully phased in over 10 years. It addresses everyone's needs, including the 45 million Americans without coverage and those paying exorbitant rates for health insurance. This approach to health care emphasizes patient choice, and puts doctors and patients in control of the system, not insurance companies. And it does not cost any extra money. Coverage will be more complete than private insurance plans, encourage prevention and include prescription drugs, dental care, mental health care, and alternative and complementary medicine.

This plan is based on a bill I introduced together with Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, H.R. 676. Under this plan, individuals would not have to pay premiums, deductibles, or co-pays. Other candidates would leave the insurance companies in charge. Right now, the insurance and the pharmaceutical companies own us. We need to take our health care system back.

Health care is currently dominated by insurance firms and HMOs, institutions that are more bureaucratic and costly than Medicare. Right now, private companies are charging about 18% for administration, while the cost of Medicare administration is only 3%. People are waiting longer for appointments. Fewer people are getting a doctor of their choice. Physicians are being given monetary incentives to deny care. Pre-existing illnesses are being used to deny coverage. It's important to understand that insurance companies make more money by NOT providing health care. A single-payer system can save money by investing in preventive care, as well as by cutting out the insurance companies' profits.

Over time, my plan will remove private insurance companies from the system -- along with their waste, paperwork, profits, excessive executive salaries, advertising, sales commissions, etc -- and redirect resources to actual treatment. Insurance companies do not heal or treat anyone. Physicians and health practitioners do.

Non-profit national health insurance will actually decrease total health care spending while providing more treatment and services -- through reductions in bureaucracy and cost-cutting measures such as bulk purchasing of prescriptions drugs. A study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Public Citizens found that health care bureaucracy last year cost the United States $399.4 billion. The study estimates that national health insurance could save at least $286 billion annually on paperwork, enough to cover all of the uninsured and to provide full prescription drug coverage for everyone in the United States.


This is actually one of the few things I completely agree with Kucinich on.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Jul 28 2004, 01:16 AM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Jul 27 2004, 03:37 PM)
QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Jul 27 2004, 03:26 PM)
Cube Jockey, the reason I brought up malpractice insurance and legal medicine in the UHC debate is for the need to define the problem which needs to be fixed.  Health care is expensive and its cost is continuing to rise at a high rate.  As insurance is a major component of health cost would it not be prudent to address it?   UHC does not address it.   Therefore, UHC is not a good solution.  Eliminate the cost of insurance to health care providers and the cost of health care will drop greatly, I would expect in half.   With that, health care will be affordable and still be everyone's individual decision.

Ok, well I can see your point now. However, I think the problem with insurance premiums may be a moot point. It is my understanding that the health insurance industry would basically "go away" and the government would replace them under the single-payer plans. By definition those plans require the government to be the sole source of funds for medical insurance.


The costs of insurance coverage are hardly moot, because they are a reflection of the costs of health care. Though 'the government' would pay under the Universal healthcare system, the government will be getting its funding for these payments from the people. How will the costs be contained? Losses paid for malpractice cases have increased 1300 percent since 1975-over twice the rate of medical-care inflation. More than half of all doctors have been sued for malpractice. In critical states like Pennsylvania, only two malpractice insurers remain, down from ten five years ago.

For this reason, billions are spent on defensive medicine, hospital in-house lawyers, and lost time that those doctors have to spend with lawyers instead of with patients. As it stands now, our public spending on healthcare (as a percentage of GDP) basically matches the UK and Australian public expenses at 5.8 percent..while those countries’ populations receive universal care. Total spending per person in dollar figures, is the highest in the world by far.

How have things gotten so out of control? Hypothetical example: Jill breaks her toe and goes to the emergency room. The doctor treats the toe injury. Later, Jill learns that she is pregnant, but loses the baby due to complications from a venereal disease. Jill sues the first doctor for not running a diagnostic test for venereal disease while she was in the emergency room for her broken toe. She is awarded thousands through the court system. Afterwards, every doctor within the hospital tests every woman (ages 13-55) entering his/her emergency room for treatment, regardless of the ailment, 160 dollars extra to screen for venereal disease. The insurance companies pay and pass those costs to the consumers.

The above scenario of Jill (not her real name) actually happened at a hospital where I once worked. If it were limited to the one person, it would be inconsequential. Unfortunately, there are thousands of such cases throughout the country, raising the cost of medicine through defensive testing, and malpractice insurance coverage through the roof. That’s the exact reason most Euro systems have some variety of no-fault.

I actually placed myself on the fence for the debate question about healthcare. We need to address the underlying reasons for skyrocketing costs first. If there isn’t some sort of tort reform, any system of universal healthcare will be unrealistic and eventually bankrupt us. Preventative medicine SHOULD, and could save costs for everyone longterm, but not without this reform.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Jul 28 2004, 01:18 AM
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Cube Jockey
post Jul 28 2004, 01:36 AM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Jul 27 2004, 06:16 PM)
The costs of insurance coverage are hardly moot, because they are a reflection of the costs of health care. Though 'the government' would pay under the Universal healthcare system, the government will be getting its funding for these payments from the people. How will the costs be contained? Losses paid for malpractice cases have increased 1300 percent since 1975-over twice the rate of medical-care inflation. More than half of all doctors have been sued for malpractice. In critical states like Pennsylvania, only two malpractice insurers remain, down from ten five years ago.

Mrs. P I'm not arguing that we should not reform the whole idea of medical malpractice, but I still maintain that is not really a valid reason to argue against Universal Health Care. It is almost a straw man argument, medical malpractice is bad so therefore we shouldn't have Universal Health Care.

The Universal Health Care plans do not replace medical malpractice insurance, none of them propose methods to handle it. Furthermore it is a constant in the equation, if you went with UHC you'd still have to deal with medical malpractice, if you stay with the status quo we still have problems with medical malpractice.

There are several problems contributing to higher healthcare costs today, malpractice suits are a very minor portion of that - Healthcare costs are up. Here are the culprits.
QUOTE
• Drug companies spend roughly as much on advertising and promotion - $20 billion a year - as they do on research and development of new drugs.

• Overall, American pharmaceutical firms employ one sales person for every physician in the country. They also pick up the tab for doctors to attend seminars promoting their products, which happen to take place in desirable locations, such as Florida and the Caribbean.

• New technology - from diagnostic devices to surgical techniques - accounts for more than half the rise in total healthcare spending in the past three years, says Andrew Tilton, an economist at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank in New York.

• Despite rising costs, profit margins on healthcare products and services, including health insurance, have been going up - rapidly - rather than down. Mr. Tilton says mergers have increased providers' pricing power.


Is Universal Health Care a panacea? No it isn't, but it is a large step in the right direction. There are of course a number of problems with the industry in general.
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nivekelly
post Jul 28 2004, 02:53 AM
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QUOTE
# Near-Universal Health Care Coverage, $895 Billion
# Mandatory Funding For Veterans Health Care, $211 Billion
# Allow Medicaid To Pay For More Alternative Care Outside Of Nursing Homes, $200 Billion


hmmm.gif Universal health care is FAR too expensive for America to implement in a short period of time as John Kerry proposes. Yet, the benefits of having every single American insured through health insurance is simply wonderful. But, will it have the effect it had on Canada and Britain, lowering the level of quality health care in the country?

-Britain and Canada have lowered the quality of their health care system: "According to the WHO, Britain has the equivalent of 3rd world cancer care."---"People in Canada have had to go to vets in order to obtain MRIs because of the long, sometimes endless, waitlists."

Universal health care would be the best thing America could do, yet there are a few questions that must be considered.
Is there a way for America to implement this budget-efficently?
Is there a way for America to implement this without diminishing the quality of healthcare, as demonstrated in Canada and England?

If this is possible, then I believe America will be far better, a fully insured nation.

This post has been edited by nivekelly: Jul 28 2004, 02:54 AM
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stehenallein
post Jul 28 2004, 05:06 AM
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Universal Health Care cannot, and should not be considered until our country's health care program is corrected. Health Care is now the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It is responsible for approxamatley 100,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. So with that said, why has our government spent, and continued to spend over 1 trillion dollars a year for a health care system that is far past broke? With a family health care plan for a family of 4 costing somewhere in the ball park over 600-800 dollars, American families can be making decent wages, and still have a hard time making ends meet. There is an old adage, "If its not broke, don't fix it," and its apparent that those who can afford high cost health care, like politicans who can change things, don't see a problem. But there is another adage, "A hog gets fed, and a pig gets slaughtered." For these reasons, and more which can't all be explaned in this forum, the concept of a UHC system is quite un realistic at this time. It won't work, you can put gas in a car that has no engine and expect to drive it, and you can't pour billions of dollars to fun a UHC system to operate in hospitals that can't function.

This post has been edited by stehenallein: Jul 28 2004, 05:08 AM
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amf
post Jul 28 2004, 12:34 PM
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QUOTE(stehenallein @ Jul 28 2004, 01:06 AM)
Universal Health Care cannot, and should not be considered until our country's health care program is corrected.  Health Care is now the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in the United States.  It is responsible for approxamatley 100,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.  So with that said, why has our government spent, and continued to spend over 1 trillion dollars a year for a health care system that is far past broke?  ...    For these reasons, and more which can't all be explaned in this forum,  ...

First of all, do you have a good link to where you got your facts from? Both the 100,000 number and the 1 trillion number are highly suspect (the entire government budget is just over 1 trillion, so not sure how the government spends ALL of its money on health care).

As for why you can't explain something on AD... just wow. Didn't think there was ANYTHING short of something anatomical or involving profanity that couldn't be explained here. hmmm.gif
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mindmesh
post Jul 28 2004, 01:52 PM
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1. Do you support an effort for Universal Health Care (UHC) system in the US?
Not at all. In theory it would be nice, but in theory public education, welfare, Medicare, and social Security would work as well.

2. How realistic is the concept of UHC system in the US? Why or Why not?

The concept of UHC is unrealistic at best. Why you ask? Because we have a thing called illegal immigration for one. We would end up spending Billions on providing health care to those that do not pay taxes for it. If our health system is the problem than why do so many come to the US for treatment? If you want to talk about health care for our low income elderly, children of low income families or TEMPORARY care for the unemployed, thats fine. They are our past and our future but every American between has an opportunity to get health care. They just need to work. I know how expensive it is, I pay for it. But that doesn't mean that our current system can't be fixed. My personal fix is not to cap the amount someone can sue for, but how about allowing a jury to decide and then have a board of Doctors, Lawyers, and average civilians decide if the amount was fair. How about making it so that doctors are held responsible if they do something blatantly wrong. Maybe they should lose their jobs, or have to put up as much as they possibly can to cover the judgements. If a cop shoots an unarmed man they can be held accountable, why would we expect any less of our doctors?

3. What are the pros and cons of UHC in the States?

The Pros would have to be that all are covered.
The Cons would be more wasteful bureaucracy, Degradation of our health system, Higher Taxes, Supporting Illegal immigrants, ect.

Our government just like all others, fails miserably when they tell us how to spend our money. They should give us the FREEDOM to decide where our hard earned $$ are spent and not dictate to us who we have to support. I have a hard enough time supporting my family as it is. I can't imagine how much harder it will be after the government starts this infinately costly tax program. Look at Social Security. Talk about a failed program. Look at MediCare.. How about our Welfare system. We can't do Socialism right.. Nobody can... Let people decide where they want to spend their money and stop trying to dictate to me that I must support anyone besides my family. That is what charities are for..


Sorry, it just upsets me to think that I have to bust my hump working everyday so that I can support every un or under-educated person in the country. I don't make much money, but I don't want hand-outs either. Once a program like this starts it never stops, It never changes, and it always fails us.

This post has been edited by mindmesh: Jul 28 2004, 02:03 PM
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