Should the US have a national health service?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darkside_Spirit, Nov 14, 2001.

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  1. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    "That is why, if I don't achieve my 'American dream' of becoming a Hollywood writer by the time I turn 26, I will move to a country that has socialized medicine. If I can't succeed in America's dog-eat-dog world, I'll move to a world that makes more sense to me. "

    You go, Emuboy! I agree 100 percent. (Of course I'm already over 26--I guess it's about time for me to get the hell out of here...)


    "I think most people would be more patriotic if they would actually travel overseas."

    Joey: Umm...not. I have travelled overseas, and my experience did nothing but show me the faults in my own country. The only reason I still live here is because I'm married to someone with a severe case of Homebody Disease, for which there is no cure in our healthcare system.

    When I was living in France, I was asked by a Swede, "What do you do in the United States if someone can't afford to pay when they're sick? Leave them on the street to die?" I was embarrassed.

    I agree with A_T60 and Lil Wookie. Our system is great if you're rich. If you're poor, unemployed, or employed with a company that doesn't want to pay for coverage, you're screwed.

    I passed out one time when my blood sugar dropped too low. I was visiting my grandparents, and when my grandmother called several doctors, she was appalled to find out that they all asked, not "How's the patient?", but "What kind of insurance does she have?"

    I've also dealt with uninsured children on my job. One 11-year-old girl has been walking around for a couple of weeks with either a bruised or broken tailbone because her grandmother will not take her to the doctor because they don't have insurance. This is just one of many examples.

    I think it's disgusting that our system allows people with no money to suffer for something they can't help, when that something is perfectly preventable, and other countries have proven it to be preventable.
  2. PadmeSkywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 4
    It's quite appalling how the person who has the final say over what health care a person receives or what test can be run on them is not a physician, but an insurance company.
  3. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    grr. no message. posting problems.
  4. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    okay, how did that post FOUR times? [face_blush]
  5. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
  6. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    These boards sure are fussy sometimes...

    :(
  7. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Darkside Spirit:
    "In education, there are public schools funded out of tax money so that everyone gets a decent education."

    Yeah, and since the public school system is working so well...

    "A corrupt government is better than rule by businesses. "

    mmmmmm [face_plain] That's pretty suspect, Darkside.

    JediLeiaSolo
    "If you get insurance through an employer, your premiums and copay are often much less, but the price is tripled if you try to get health coverage independently. It's insane."

    Yes, and that's because there is no competition. The majority (yes, the majority, to the tune of 85%) of Americans do have medical insurance through employment. The only competition among insurance companies is for the other 15%, who admittedly can't afford it. On the other hand, if you open the competition to include the entire population, the prices would have to come down.

    "I come from a family chock full of medical professionals: they all think a socialized system is the way to go"

    I'm sure you're being honest, but I'd rather see a comprehensive survey rather than the opinions of a few people. I've heard the opposite.

    Emuboy
    "If I don't achieve my 'American dream' of becoming a Hollywood writer by the time I turn 26, I will move to a country that has socialized medicine. If I can't succeed in America's dog-eat-dog world, I'll move to a world that makes more sense to me."

    So America's dog-eat-dog world is unbecoming to you, and doesn't make sense, but yet if you can profit by it, it's AOK? That's not very objective.

    anakin girl
    "The only reason I still live here..."

    blah blah blah :p You choose to live here, period.

    "Our system is great if you're rich. If you're poor, unemployed, or employed with a company that doesn't want to pay for coverage, you're screwed."

    You skewed the argument. You talk about the rich and the poor, but what about the majority who exist in between?

    -------
    Two more points:

    1. People may not realize that, since 1965 when the government instituted Medicare, health care costs have risen eightfold. When companies know the government will pay whatever they ask for, guess what happens to the cost? And you want the government to pay for MORE?

    2. Statistically, our two biggest health problems in this country, by a good margin, are heart disease (including obesity), and cancer. Isn't it somewhat hypocritical of a society addicted to fast-food, cigarettes, and one which avoids exercise like the plague, to demand a system where someone else should pay for their healthcare? Hypocritical may not be the right word... how about convenient?
  8. Cailina Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 1999
    star 4
    You need to be approved to get certain treatments?

    You need approval to get treatment in the US too. I need approval to see a psychiatrist and my health insurance only covers a couple in our area and they're all booked for a really long time. Not to mention I really ought to have a wider selection since I need to find one I feel comfortable with.

    I still had to wait for doctor approval for specialist visits, and sometimes would have to wait to get an MRI.

    Exactly.

    The majority (yes, the majority, to the tune of 85%) of Americans do have medical insurance through employment.

    Do you have a reliable source for these statistics? I know a lot of people w/o health insurace at all.

    Isn't it somewhat hypocritical of a society addicted to fast-food, cigarettes, and one which avoids exercise like the plague, to demand a system where someone else should pay for their healthcare? Hypocritical may not be the right word... how about convenient?

    What about those of us who don't eat fast food, don't use cigarettes, and do exercise frequently?
  9. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Darth Fierce:

    Alright, alright, I choose to live here, for whatever reasons.

    "Yeah, and since the public school system is working so well... "

    *blows raspberry*

    Don't get me started on private schools.

    My husband's father pulled him out of public school to attend Catholic school when he was in fourth grade. He hated it so he only stayed one year. When he left public school, he was ahead in reading; when he returned, he was behind.

    "Isn't it somewhat hypocritical of a society addicted to fast-food, cigarettes, and one which avoids exercise like the plague, to demand a system where someone else should pay for their healthcare? Hypocritical may not be the right word... how about convenient? "

    I can see your point, and I certainly think Americans should take better care of themselves. However, I have to agree with Cailina. I'm a vegetarian except for eating fish. I don't eat fast-food, I don't drink alcohol, I don't smoke, and I exercise four times a week at least. My only bad habit is my excess consumption of coffee, which I would give up if it threatened my health. I would like the government to pay for my health care, but I'm no hypocrite.

    On a side note: one of my pet peeves is to see people complaining about how bad they feel and how sick they've been, while at the same time they're smoking, eating junk, and refusing to exercise. That's one of those times when I want to say "Just shut the f*** up. Geez."
  10. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Cailina

    The National Academies
    Nearly one of every five Americans - an estimated 44 million - is uninsured.

    White House
    There are approximately 44 million people in the United States who are uninsured

    Don't mistake my point, however. I'm not saying 85% (or I guess 80%) is an OK number. I agree everyone should be insured, I'm just explaining why it's so expensive under our current system for the other 15% to get insurance, and why nationalizing is not the answer.

    Your complaints about waiting lists and restricted choice of doctors are legit - but explain why nationalizing is what will solve the problem.

    Waiting lists... do you know any unemployed doctors? Ever heard of any? The market demands indicate that we need more. Do I have to tell you which institution stops that from happening? ;) mm-hmm [face_mischief] And why can't a lot of people choose their own doctor? Oh yeah, that pesky government again. Hey I know, let's get more government involvement!

    Cailina and anakin girl
    About trying to stay healthy: Right, I'm on the same side as you on this. I'm pointing out some things that would reduce overall health care costs. Sure, we'll all need health care regardless, and there's plenty that can happen to you even if you exercise and eat well. But if everyone followed the same habits you have, we'd need less overall, and then could better afford to provide for the unlucky ones.

    anakin girl
    Well, the public school system is a subject for another thread, but, despite the fine efforts from teachers like yourself, you know first-hand the problems that exist in that area.
  11. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    We already have a National Health Service, and it's called the Public Health Service. It's located in the DOHHS.

    Well, in Sweden for instance, they are now dismantling government distribution and privatizing the area of Primary care. In the U.K., they've allowed more flexibility and choice among services for the people. And, Germany is also cutting costs.

    These countries have discovered the great inefficiency of giving medical services to government bureaucrats. Compliance costs in these nations are huge. Mounds of paperwork are required for doctors who should be treating patients. The last thing this country needs is a single-payer system.

    Does the HMO/Insurance system in the U.S. work great? Not by a long shot. The Greens are right about that. Well, who created the HMOs? The National Government.

    What could work is a system based on MSAs for every working American. And, continue the HHS programs of WIC,Medicaid, and Health services for the poor. Eliminate Employer pooling, HMOs, and make the MSAs 100% tax-deductible.
  12. Jedi_Nailbiter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2000
    star 4
    Someone just watched John Q.
  13. Mike_Mothma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 2
    America is a very wealthy country. Why can't we afford national health care? I would rather we diverted money going to other programs (like missile defense) into a national health care system. So what if our taxes are raised a bit? Every single American deserves to have health care! We all want to work (well, most of us) yet what if we become unemployed, or can't afford health insurance because our salary is too low? I currently don't have insurance, and it bothers me. I would not mind paying taxes for a program that would allow me to be treated if I became ill or had an accident.

    However, I know in my heart that America will never have this sort of health care, because the selfish conservatives would never allow it to happen. Not when there's money to be made. HMO's are there to make money, it's a simple capitalistic ideology. Health care is a business, just like any other in America- ruthless and greedy.

    People who argue against national health care often site other countries such as Canada and the UK. They have a good system, but they just don't have enough money to support it. America HAS the money to do this! We have great health care for those who can afford it. The best doctors come here because they get paid big bucks for it. Someone asked a question earlier about how many Americans are going to Canada for treatment. Actually, I know of many Americans who have gone to Canada for laser eye surgery--- why? Because it was cheaper than the US.

    What if there were a compromise: we could have a private health care industry, with a public health insurance policy. I liked the analogy made earlier regarding public vs private schools. Our taxes pay for public schools. If you don't want your kids to go to public, and if you have the money, you can send them to private. Why can't this work with health care? With a social system, everyone gets medical attention who needs it. If you don't wish to pay taxes for the national system, than perhaps you could get a tax break by purchasing your own private insurance and medical care? Why can't that work?
  14. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Mike

    "I would rather we diverted money going to other programs (like missile defense) into a national health care system."

    The taxpayers pay 40% of all medical bills right now. That's aside from what insurance pays, mind you. 40% isn't enough?


    "So what if our taxes are raised a bit? I currently don't have insurance, and it bothers me. I would not mind paying taxes for a program that would allow me to be treated if I became ill or had an accident."

    You're willing to pay higher taxes to get health insurance, but you won't use that extra money you've got to buy insurance coverage for yourself?


    "Every single American deserves to have health care!"

    We agree! Now tell me why it has to be supported by taxes.


    "We all want to work (well, most of us) yet what if we become unemployed, or can't afford health insurance because our salary is too low? "

    Getting your own insurance is too expensive? Maybe this is why: 1) 80-85% of Americans are covered, 2) the government is currently picking up 40% of the tab. So the incentive for prices to fall is...


    "because the selfish conservatives would never allow it to happen."

    You had to get a dig in there, as usual. Nice.


    "HMO's are there to make money, it's a simple capitalistic ideology."

    And why do we have HMOs? Government regulation! Which side are you on?!?!


    "just like any other [business] in America- ruthless and greedy. "

    Sorry you are under that gross misconception/generalization.


    "America HAS the money to do this!"

    "America" has no money. Perhaps this is a not-so thinly veiled way of saying you expect a certain part of the population, i.e. "the rich", to subsidize health care for the entire nation?


    "The best doctors come here because they get paid big bucks for it."

    Nope, the best doctors come here to get educated, then leave to work in places with less government control. Not to mention the government limits the number of acceptances at medical schools. Perhaps if we had more than 500,000 doctors here, costs would go down.


    "Actually, I know of many Americans who have gone to Canada for laser eye surgery--- why? Because it was cheaper than the US. "

    Do you have a price comparision? That's a tough one to buy. Although it's also unfair, because your friends got their surgury partly at the expense of the Canadian taxpayers.


    "If you don't wish to pay taxes for the national system, than perhaps you could get a tax break by purchasing your own private insurance and medical care? Why can't that work? "

    A mix of government care and private care? Great! Wait... isn't that what we have now? Cool! When do we get the tax break?
  15. Yodave27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2001
    star 4
    Well there is one aspect you are forgetting and that is the doctors. If we switch to a natioal health service the doctors will get paid ALOT less. Ok you say what's the big deal?
    Well becoming a doctor is one of the hardest things in the world. It requires ten years of education after high school. It's not easy, I should know, I'm in a pre-med program now. If doctors didn't get paid alot of money, alot of people who would have made great doctors would never become one. The US has the some of the best doctors in the world. If they became subsidized (like teachers) there would be alot less of them and the quality of doctors would diminish.
  16. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
  17. Mike_Mothma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 2
    Darth Fierce, I apologize for making generalizations. I often criticize people for being too general-- I suppose I should practice what I preach. It comes from frustration. However, is it not true that corporations are in business to make money? BTW: I do NOT support forcing the rich to pay for everyone's health care. I'm tired of that accusation. I'm talking about every taxpayer sending in their fair share.

    Anyways, I can't print any figures for you regarding laser eye surgery, but I know of at least three people who had it done in Canada for about half the price that it would cost in America. I am from NY state, where Canada is within driving distance.

    Another point: do you know how expensive independent health insurance can be? Taxes would not cost that much, and the HMO's are marginal at best in their medical coverage. HMO's may have been subsidized by the government, but they are NOT the type of program I am advocating here.

    Yodave: you nearly prooved my point- that it all boils down to money. In America, aspiring medical profesionals must go to school for at least a decade, and pay for it! In countries such as Canada and the UK, if you are a good student, you are rewarded with free tuition. Most people that I am friends with from the UK never had to pay a cent for college. The same should be true here in America. If the goverment rewarded future doctors for their hard work in school (with free tuition) than they wouldn't have to worry about paying all of those loans back, and could afford a slightly lower paycheck. They make plenty of money now as it is.

    EDIT: No, 40% is NOT enough. I was in a terrible accident last summer, which caused some head trauma. The hospital bill was over $10,000, and my student insurance had just run out a few weeks earlier (I was in grad school, but then graduated thinking that I could survive a few months without health insurance). 40% would cover $4,000, leaving me with a $6,000 debt for something that was completely out of my control. Now I must try to be a productive citizen with a large debt over my head (which I still haven't come close to paying off). In the end, if I can't afford to pay the bill, doesn't the hospital get screwed? If the government covered 100% of the medical costs, than the hospital would be better off, correct?
  18. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    MM, our health system is NOT a free-market one. It's a highly regulated one with government-created entities known as HMO's.

    Why not just have the HHS give out to the poor ,in one lump sum-payment, a non-transfferable check to pay for health care? Then, take the rest of the people who don't have insurance and WANT it, give them a 100% tax-deductible Health-Savings Account?

    No rationing, no big bureaucracy, no National Health Board making descisions better left to individual doctors, no waiting lists, no technology lag, no stacks of paperwork, and no damn long lines. :)
  19. Mike_Mothma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2001
    star 2
    I'm not sure I follow you Shane P. Could you be a little more specific?
  20. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Mike

    Apology accepted. We're all guilty of that sometimes.


    "Is it not true that corporations are in business to make money?"

    No doubt. But that, in and of itself, is not an evil concept. Not every company is Enron, and even so, we need better controls to stop that type of thing from happening. But without corporations making money, we have no economy.


    "I do NOT support forcing the rich to pay for everyone's health care. I'm tired of that accusation. I'm talking about every taxpayer sending in their fair share. "

    You may not intend to support that, but indirectly, you are. Because it's the "rich" who pay the taxes. If every taxpayer is going to pay their fair share, why can't it just go to insurance, and leave the government out of it?


    "Another point: do you know how expensive independent health insurance can be? Taxes would not cost that much"

    Why would taxes cost less? I submit that, without any government control at all, independent health insurance would become cheaper, whereas if it all comes from taxes, costs would continue to increase as they have, eightfold since the inception of Medicare.

    As far as education, I agree it needs to be more accessible and less expensive. Although, you can't ignore the fact that there IS an awful lot of government assistance for college students. Supposedly, at least... I don't know where the money is really going, which is the whole problem here.


    "No, 40% is NOT enough. I was in a terrible accident last summer, which caused some head trauma."

    First and foremost, I hope everything is OK. I'm sorry that happened to you.


    "The hospital bill was over $10,000, and my student insurance had just run out a few weeks earlier (I was in grad school, but then graduated thinking that I could survive a few months without health insurance)."

    With all due respect, and I really am sorry that it wound up costing you, that was a decision, and a risk, you took on your own. I know it may have seemed like a hassle to get insurance for such a short amount of time, but that was the decision you made. The problem is, we can't create a system that would reward people who decide to decline coverage for periods of time, because such a system would go bankrupt.


    "40% would cover $4,000, leaving me with a $6,000 debt"

    Right, but I was saying the 40% was a lot when you add insurance on top of it, which unfortunately you had declined. When you consider that, getting 40% when you declined coverage isn't really all that bad.


    "If the government covered 100% of the medical costs, than the hospital would be better off, correct? "

    But the government wouldn't be paying it, it would be the taxpayers. If the hospital knew taxpayers were suddenly forced to pay 100% of their bills, what do you think would happen to their costs?
  21. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
  22. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    [up.gif]

    I hate to see this one slip away.
  23. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    anakin_girl...
    "I would like the government to pay for my health care... "

    Let's take that argument about our own pet likes that we think the government should pay for further. Health care is irrelevent if I'm not eating. I would like the government to pay for all of my food. Health care is irrelevent if I don't have shelter. I would like the government to pay the rent on my apartment. I wouldn't be able to get to my job regularly without transportation. I would like the government to pay my car note. The government passes all sorts of public decency/nudity laws, yet does not give me any money to purchase my clothes. They should start buying my clothes, and as my job has a dress code, I'd like the government to buy all my suits and ties as well. To help reduce the overall medical costs by being healthy, I think the government should pay the membership fees to my gym... And hey, what's with this whole work thing anyway. I'd like to not have to work, and have the government pay for everything I'd like as well. [face_plain]

    The government isn't responsible for any of that, including providing health care. [face_plain]

    Mike_Mothma...
    "I would rather we diverted money going to other programs (like missile defense) into a national health care system."

    (Sarcasm on) Because everyone knows treatment is much cheaper and efficient than preventive care. [face_plain] Gee, let's let everyone get nuked by a terrorist or rogue nation - but hey, at least we can treat everyone who's gotten radiation poisoning. [face_plain] (sarcasm off) The costs to a national health care system of even just a major city or several major cities like New York or Los Angeles being hit with a WoMD that a missile defense system would have protected against would be staggering - it would break that national healtehcare system.

    I'd much rather a nuke gets stopped before detonating near American soil than having the peace-of-mind in knowing that while me, my friends and family are all painfully vomiting up our insides because of radiation poisoning while dying a slow, horrible death, at least the government will foot the bill. [face_plain]
  24. Coolguy4522 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2000
    star 4
    I do not think the US should have a NHS. When I look at Great Britain's system, I see lots of problems. It seems to me that it has taken so much money and it doesn't work as well as the US system. I also think that the free market that America has is much better than a socialist system, but the free market does need some reforms.
  25. Shi-Bandarr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 4
    All I'll say is this.

    I pay my taxes and this money goes to help those people who are underprivlaged and can't afford to pay for their medical expenses. I have no problem with this because millions of children need this. At the same time I make too much money to qualify for those programs and don't make enough to get private medical coverage. My employer doesn't offer medical, so what is a guy in my situation to do? I am truly very healthy and have always been blessed in that respect, but if something major were to happen, I would more than likely "die on the doorstep." I personally wouldn't have a problem paying more taxes if I knew that I would be covered.

    I don't know much about the medical industry, but there's a heck of a lot more to this whole debate than coverage. Something must be done to totally revamp the system. The cost of malpractice insurance can't be helpful and neither can the drug companies bottom lines. These costs have to go somewhere and it comes right down to the patient to offset everything. As an example, my friends father went in for a hernia operation recently and when he got the bill there was a charge on there for a disposable razor to the tune of $12. I can buy a pack of a dozen for less than $2. The hospitals have to charge this much because of unpaid medical bills by people who are billed for services and more than likely malpractice suits. It's all funneling down to the patients. The entire system is screwed. It's not all about having the coverage it's about totally revamping the system and that cost alone is what is probably keeping NHC from being realized.

    Like I said before, I know literally very little about this debate but, I think that something must be done and quickly.

    Edit: One more thing, this can not be about capitalism versus socialism. Just because the U.S. is a capitalist society does not mean that it can't take ideas from other systems. If we are so shortsighted, that we can't take a good idea from something else, then we are doomed to failure eventually. Things grow and change and we must grow and change with it. The smartest people in the world use every resource afforded them, how dumb would it be to ignore a good idea?
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