Should the US have a national health service?

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Mike_Mothma:

    One difference in your arguments and my argument in favor of socialized health care: you can help whether or not you work and make money, whether or not you eat, whether or not you have a car. However, you can't help having health issues. No matter how well you take care of yourself, you are going to get sick at some point. Period.

    Besides, like having federally-funded education, highways, and military, having federally-funded health care would benefit society. Businesses would be able to run more efficiently without having to worry about health coverage for their employees; court dockets would not be so full without health-care-related lawsuits; and school systems would be able to eliminate one problem, that problem being children coming to school sick or injured because parents can't afford to take them to the doctor.
  2. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    anakin girl
    I don't disagree with anything you just said. But you didn't say anything about how a government-run system will solve these problems.

    Clever [face_mischief]
  3. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Darth Fierce: My belief is that just about anything has to be better than the system we have now. Aside from that--I've never known other countries, countries with socialized medicine, to have the problems I listed above. Canada's biggest problem appears to be having to wait in line, or drive somewhere, for non-emergency services. (And the big deal about that would be... ?[face_plain] )

    I am open to any solution that does not involve big-shot mercenary insurance companies taking advantage of the little man, which is the way I see our system as it is right now. If you have a solution other than socialized medicine that would solve this problem, I'm open to it.
  4. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    anakin girl

    "My belief is that just about anything has to be better than the system we have now. "

    But do you consider the fact that government involvement might be part of the problem? Health Care costs have increased eightfold since the inception of Medicare.

    "Aside from that--I've never known other countries, countries with socialized medicine, to have the problems I listed above. Canada's biggest problem appears to be having to wait in line, or drive somewhere, for non-emergency services. (And the big deal about that would be..."


    That's one side of the story. There's just as many stories about long lines for emergency procedures too, not to mention lack of technological advancements and the number of patients who come to the US for care.

    "I am open to any solution that does not involve big-shot mercenary insurance companies taking advantage of the little man, which is the way I see our system as it is right now."

    Don't be so prejudiced against private businesses. And I will suggest that, the government's current position of subsidizing a good portion of the country's health-care dollar, in addition to limiting the number of doctors, detracts from the competitive market, driving up prices.

    "If you have a solution other than socialized medicine that would solve this problem, I'm open to it. "

    Well, you won't be surprised to know I prefer a system which involves personal responsibility. When the government is paying 40% of the country's health care costs, and is covering only 15% of the population, something is wrong. What do you think will happen to costs when they cover 100% of the population? The costs will be way beyond what anyone can pay, with the exception of the "rich" taxpayers. Is that what you're going for? I'd rather see the government cover 4-5% of the population with basic needs as a safety net, with the rest contributing to a government-free competitive market of doctors and insurance companies. Why won't that work?
  5. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Darth Fierce: I'm going to have to do a hurried answer to this one because I've got to go to work, but here goes:

    I can see your point about the costs. One big problem with U.S. government is its red tape. Maybe because we're so big; I haven't noticed other countries having that problem.

    I know Canadians come to the U.S. for treatment, but I thought it was only those who had a huge amount of money to pay out of pocket and were impatient.

    As far as personal responsibility--I think people should quit smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating junk; not that I'm going to try to legislate any of that. However, even people who take care of themselves eventually get sick, so I'm not sure where personal responsibility enters into that.

    As far as insurance companies--I find them disgusting. They care more about their almighty profit than they do about human beings. And don't even get me started on HMOs.

    I'm not sure what a good solution would be--I would just like to see a system where anyone who is sick can go to a doctor without having to worry about what will and won't be covered, or whether or not they can pay.
  6. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    anakin girl
    OK, I tried to read that as fast as I could so I wouldn't hold you up. ;)

    I'm writing mine pretty quickly too here.

    Yeah, the red tape is part of the problem, but that might be mostly due to big government, not to big population.

    I'm sure there's some truth to what you say about Canadians coming here for health care. Some of it might just be the wealthy who don't want to wait in line, but then again, if their system truly is better, how convenient is it really to travel over here just because you don't want to wait for non-emergency care?

    I should have been more clear about what I meant by personal responsibility - I wasn't talking about smoking, etc. I was talking about people choosing their own doctors based on cost, skill, etc, and getting their own insurance, given that it needs to be made more affordable.

    HMO's surely have problems, but a lot of that could be said to be govt-related. And I don't know if you can go as far as to say insurance companies are disgusting. Yes, sometimes the person answering the phone asks about insurance before they ask if you're ok, but let's not overstate their insensitivity into a bigger problem than that.

    But yes, hospitals do refuse to give care without assurance they will be paid. That's driven by the high costs we've talked about, and if they didn't get paid, they'd have to shut down. Here's where you say if they were govt-subsidized, they wouldn't have to shut down, they'd always get paid. But I have a problem with that because if the hospital can stay in business no matter what, by endlessly drawing funds from the government, the amount of over-spending would be phenomenal, and the tax-payers have to pick it up.

    I'm with you that I want to see everyone get care without worrying if they can pay for it. I just don't think socializing it is the answer. Completely privatizing isn't perfect, I just think it's preferable.
  7. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    If cost is the issue, then how about removing artificial controls and let the free-market decide. :D

    You only have $10.00 to spend on that brain surgery, then Boudreaux's Brain Butchery run by Dr. "Poo Poo" Boudreaux, LBSMP (Licensed Brain Surgery Medical Practitioner) is your man to go to. He has a two-year medical practitioner degree from the University of Life Experience, where he took all classes as pass/fail correspondance courses and is licensed with the Bubba Board of Brain Surgery Medical Practitioners - members, 1.

    If you have $100,000.00 to spend, then Harul Vipatani, M.D. is your man. He's both a licensed and registered brain surgeon with the AMA.
  8. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Genghis: Would you let Bubba the Brain Surgeon operate on your head? Is it fair that someone with more money to spend should have a better chance at life?

    Darth Fierce: I'm not a good enough economist to know if socialization would work or not. I'm for any system in which compassion would be more important than the almighty dollar, and where everyone who needs treatment would get it.

    In Great Britain, you have a choice--you can use the socialized system (which is different from our Medicaid, because people don't have to apply and get asked embarrassing questions, including--I am not making this up--"where was your baby conceived?" to a pregnant woman) or if you have enough money, you can hire a private doctor. The rich have more choices there, but everyone is still taken care of.

    As far as rich Canadians coming here for treatment because they don't want to wait--you'd be amazed at how much the rich will pay for convenience.
  9. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Anakin_girl...
    "Genghis: Would you let Bubba the Brain Surgeon operate on your head? Is it fair that someone with more money to spend should have a better chance at life?"

    I don't think it's fair that a billionaire has the possibility of a better chance at life that I do. A chance at a better quality of life. Better transportation, better shelter, etc. Should we be required to redistribute our collective wealth among everyone so that everything is equal. [face_plain] I can't agree with that.

    (If it came to it, I could muster up more than $10.00 to my name to get medical service, so the answer would be no. But, I don't think that's the point.)

    There's nothing "fair" or "unfair" in our society about a rich person being able to spend more money on goods and services than a poor service.

    What is extremely unfair is requiring anyone to subsidize someone else's goods and services.

    Insurance is not the point - insurance is secondary to the whole issue, and is merely a symptom of the problem - increased expectations for medical care.

    "Before" if someone had some life-threatening "incurable brain disorder," they'd die. Now, medical technology has reached a point where it can save people that before would have died. People want to be saved, so will pay to be saved. However, that doesn't mean we're all entitled to a $5M dollar check from the government to cure our cancer.

    we are not all entitled through some god-given right to actually be saved, from everything. Diseases, afflictions, etc. happen - that's a fact of life. Some people make it and some don't. Money is not the complete equation. Beliefs, religion, faith etc. all have a role to play in medical care - something poor people always seem to have an abundance of.

    Now, if you want there to be some sort of "national pool" that people can opt into - a sort of National Medical Insurance Plan. Where you can decide to have $10 or $20 taken from each paycheck automatically put into the National Medical Insurance plan and you're covered up to some certain level of benefits, then I don't see how that would be a problem. Don't force it on everyone and don't subsidize it with others' tax dollars though. I'd agree there's definitely such a place for something like that.
  10. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Canada's biggest problem appears to be having to wait in line, or drive somewhere, for non-emergency services.

    This may be hyperbole that we Americans have been taught over the years so that we'll believe private health care's the only way to go.

    I know a lot of Canadians, and they have excellent public medical care, less waiting in line for appointments than I and other Americans are accustomed to, and some very good surgeons. There are some operations where the US is the very best place to go, so those who can will come here (but that applies to the whole world, not just Canada). But they are baffled by the stories we hear about long lines, subpar care, and lack of advanced services.

    Fierce, you said medical costs had risen 8 times over since Medicare began. Do you know if that's indexing for inflation? If not, I'd have to ask what hasn't risen that much in the past few decades? :) Everything but salaries, actually. College tuition and housing have both risen 10 times over in just the past 20 years, if you don't index for inflation. So then it would appear that Medicare - or some other factor not accounted for in the study you're quoting - is actually keeping medical costs from rising as much as most other "cost of living" bills.

    Sorry, I realize the study you read probably doesn't say whether it's indexed for inflation. I'm not asking just to be argumentative - I think it could make a big difference in how the numbers are interpreted, in this case.
  11. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Good analogy, Treecave - medical care and college tuition. :)

    College is not a necessary "cost of living" - it is a luxury, and only a "right" (i.e. free tuition to qualifying in-state residents) in very few states. And even then, usually one has to qualify/be accepted even to the state institutions.

    There are very few states that offer blanket free tuition to a resident. That is definitely not the norm. There most certainly are qualifying factors as well.

    Then there are state colleges and private colleges - no real difference to the medical industry. There's public healtehcare coverage - medicare and medicaid and private healthcare coverage.

    For the most part (but not all cases), the private universities are the best what they do and the public ones rank below them.

    I would not expect any major national subsidies to send every American to a high-cost private university who's tuition is $36,000 a year, for example. Just like I wouldn't expect any major national subsidies on health care for all people.

    And in fact, in many cases, some people don't even need to be going to college at all. :)
  12. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    genghis, very impressive how you conveniently ignored my mention of housing's rise of 1000% as well as college. Do you just follow me from thread to thread looking for ways to sort of verbally punch me in the arm? I think someone's got a big ol' hairy crush on me!

    [face_love]
  13. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Funny you mention that, since I've been posting in this thread long before you came. [face_plain] :p

    I think perhaps someone has a crush on me. [face_love] :p
  14. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    yes, genghis, we're the Leia and Han of the boards here.

    that must be it.

    anyway, your argument applied to my mention of college completely falls apart when applied to my simultaneous mention of housing costs.
  15. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Treecave...
    "yes, genghis, we're the Leia and Han of the boards here. that must be it."

    Then, I guess my response to you should be...
    "I know." :D :p

    It's a valid comparison between the two - education and health service and I didn't discuss housing at all.

    I note that shelter is generally considered a necessity for life. Education is not a necessity for life. Institutionalized health service is not a necessity for life.

    Education and health services are directly comparable - neither are necessities for life. Education and housing and/or health service and housing are not comparable.

    In fact, I think we've stumbled on another solution to the problem - Health Service Loans. Comparing college to health service, if health service is deemed by society to be important, why not allow for "lower cost" interest-rated "student loans" for Medical service.

    If you need $200,000 for a surgery, then try to qualify for a federal medical loan. That way, everyone can have access to quality service, but the cost is ultimately carried by the individual requiring such service.
  16. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Health service is not a necessity for life.

    Um, how do you figure? Or what do you mean by "health service"? I mean, lack of medical care can clearly cause death, so I assume you're not saying that "medical care is not a necessity for life".
  17. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Yeah, really.

    Your callous attitude towards the need for health care really bothers me, Genghis. You act like people are asking for socialized foot massages or something. Health care does mean the difference between life and death, and the rich shouldn't be allowed to live longer just because they've got more money; by doing that, you're telling the poor that their lives aren't worth saving since they can't shell out the almighty bucks.

    Treecave: Come to think of it, you're right; I know a few Canadians, and I've never heard one of them complain about their health care system. I've known a few to become appalled when told how ridiculous ours is.

    When I was in Europe, I was asked by a Swedish girl, "What do Americans do if someone is sick and can't pay? Leave them to die on the street?" I was embarrassed.
  18. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Well, I didn't even come in here to prove a point or anything... it's just that myth about horrid Canadian health care gets on my nerves. I think it's just spin that was put out by some Congresspeople in the late 80's and early 90's.

    It's even possible Canada had some problems in its healthcare back then, because all the Canadians I've known I met in the 90's. But I just wanted to present the alternate view - that most Canadians I know are surprised at how crappy the average person's healthcare is here in the US, with HMO's and so on. And some of them have experienced it firsthand in both countries, having moved to the US to get into the entertainment industry.
  19. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Can we all agree the current system is broken? Is lacking?

    Why not just have the HHS distribute a MSA voucher to those working class people who lack insurance(40+ million?) , and give the poor a lump sum non-transferrable check to pay for health care?

    Forget the HMO's, the employer pooling, over-regulation, over-litigious, system we currently have?
  20. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Treecave...
    I meant exactly what I said. "Institutionalized health service is not a necessity for life."

    That means that if my leg gets chewed off in a freak, rabid poodle attack, and is wildly spurting blood through an artery, it's meaningless whether or not I have a private HMO, a federally-subsidized public medical plan, private insurance, or a wad of 100 dollar bills equalling $2M in my pocket

    None of those are a necessity for life.

    What would be a necessity for life is stopping bleeding, keeping breathing, and treating for shock.

    Hardly things a federal bureauocrat in Washington D.C., sitting in his office reviewing expenditures of federal money for the month can help me with. [face_plain]

    That's what I mean when I say "institutionalized health service is not a necessity for life."

    The comparison which you pointed out involved shelter and medical service costs.

    A federally-subsidized medical plan is not a requirement for life.

    Shelter generally is considered a requirement for life.

    That's the difference.
  21. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    Genghis: Let's say you are in the situation you just described, and you have no money. After a lay person who knows first aid is able to stop you from bleeding and treat you for shock, who is going to follow up with you to make sure your leg doesn't get infected, or to make sure you don't get rabies?
  22. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Okay, some research on Canadian health care:

    CBC News

    "If we don't fix it, we're going to lose it."

    Canada's health care system is now bursting at the seams. Many people are heading right to emergency rooms with routine problems because they can't find a family doctor to look after them.

    Others occupy acute care beds when they could be cared for at home, if there was home care available. And still others have to travel south of the border for urgent cancer treatment because waiting lists are too long at home. "



    Following that is an interview with Federal Health Minister Allan Rock, where he calls for complete reform of the system. In his words, "And I always, I've always said that, that the public's prepared to support the single payer, public health care system as long as they believe it'll furnish them with timely access to quality care. And the minute they stop believing that, they'll demand access to private services. We can't let that happen."


    "Cancer care: A critical choice"

    It's 6:45 in the morning. Cedric Knight, 62, has prostate cancer. Bernice Shuster, also 62, has breast cancer. On their daily shuttle to the Cleveland Clinic. They're heading out on a trip no one wants to take.
    "For the past 27 years I've made my contribution to Canada and there was never a time that I needed help as I need now. And I had to go abroad to get it. Deep down inside of me I was hurt," Knight says.

    "You gotta make a choice. You either stay and wait or you go out of town and get it over with, so I had to make a choice," Shuster says.

    Bernice, Cedric and the other Canadians here are far from home. They've come to a foreign hospital, in a foreign city, in a foreign country, because their province, Ontario, the richest province in Canada, can't take care of them. They've come here for radiation treatment, leaving family and friends behind.

    "I miss my family, I miss the support of my family and I know they miss me and we miss each other, we do," Shuster says.



    anakin girl, that doesn't sound like an impatient rich person to me. I hope your Swedish friend, shocked by America's cruelty, has no plans to move to Canada anytime soon either. :eek: ;)


    "Nowhere else to go"

    There are 100 people taking up beds in this hospital who should be moved out. But there just aren't enough home care services or the long-term care beds available. Keeping them in here costs $182,000 a year per patient -- five times as much as extended care. It's one of the reasons for the crisis in the emergency wards; why there aren't beds for the emergency patients who need them. There also aren't enough nurses willing to do this kind of work anymore.

    Laura Kolny is a nurse who came back from retirement to help out, and she can't imagine how the system will cope as more people get older.

    "They're going to be really swamped and understaffed. And people are going to have to go -- there are going to have to be more doctors and nurses and more facilities -- more money spent on health care facilities," Kolny says.


    Treecave and anakin girl
    These are merely excerpts. I encourage you to follow the link and read the rest of these stories, especially the one about the cancer patients.

    I would think these articles put at least somewhat in question the opinions of your Canadian friends on their health care system. Do you have any research that backs them up?
  23. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    ShaneP: Can we all agree the current system is broken? Is lacking?

    I agree with this statement. It seems to be in rapid decline, particularly in the past few years.

    Genghis: A federally-subsidized medical plan is not a requirement for life.

    I can agree with this statement. However, I think when you read my comments, you're lumping "federally subsidized medical plan" in with "medical care". But anywho....

    Fierce, I wasn't offering an opinion, which I assumed you'd realize since I used such language as "I think this may be hyperbole" as opposed to "What a load!" People in previous posts told "stories" they'd heard about Canadian health care. I told stories I'd heard from actual Canadians. Perhaps all the Canadians I know who love Canada's health care just haven't had the right illnesses to find out its flaws. Who knows? Maybe there's no good healthcare system left in the world. But that doesn't mitigate the need for the US to come up with something good, or fix what we have - if the government's the problem, I thought the people were the government, so that should be fixable. If the problem is something else, I thought American ingenuity is supposed to be a force of nature. Don't read that as sarcasm - it's simply a polite challenge to a nation that has solved a lot of problems in the past, and should be able to solve this one.
  24. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Treecave, you said "that myth about horrid Canadian health care gets on my nerves. I think it's just spin that was put out by some Congresspeople in the late 80's and early 90's. " I did some research on the topic to try to get behind the myth and spin. I suggested the research can help balance the personal stories. Where did I go wrong?
  25. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    *sigh* Never mind.... I re-edit my posts too much. I had originally said it the way I just quoted in my last post, then I changed it to what you read, which does come off more declarative. That's what I get for posting when I'm in the middle of moving.

    So, ignore that part of my last post. The rest stands. Sorry.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.