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hobsen
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Pardon me if this has been discussed on other threads, but the essay seems moderate and timely.

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2010-03-21-1.html

Edited to add the link...

[ March 26, 2010, 12:08 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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John Brown
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I am angry, because of what I fear about what this new law and healthcare push may do.

I don't want poor people having to go around with cleft lips. I don't want poor people dying because they can't get anti-biotics. I don't want people suffering. I want children to have food.

However, I resent being FORCED to pay for other people's bills. I fear that's exactly what this law will do. It will FORCE me to pay someone else's way. Not just the poor, but idiots who elect not to take care of themselves. And freeloaders. It will FORCE me to pay for things I would never give my relatives money for--sex change operations, abortions for convenience, plastic surgeries for vanity, etc.

I fear it will force me to adopt behaviors I don't want to via fines and jail time. Hounding me with the IRS and whatever else it can. I don't smoke. I don't drink. But will this law end up telling me I can't eat a Twinkie, that I've bought too many chocolate chips? Is it going to FINE me because I enjoy a McDonald's hamburger!!!

I fear this will lead to health rationing. Death panels. And ultimately to a government telling me how many kids to have. Why wouldn't it? Where are the protections against that logic being built into this?

Finally, I fear this will only increase debt and taxation by the federal government. Slowing our economy. Making us more unstable.

So I fear a lot. And it makes me ANGRY that this has been foisted on me through a trick in the senate. It makes me ANGRY that these people think their causes MUST be mine. If I want to help the poor, then I'll decide when and how I'll help them given my circumstances.

You bet: this law makes me fearful, resentful, and angry.

If small business owners didn't like their insurance rates, then why in the #!$# don't they band together into a co-op and become their own insurance? Why don't they use alterantive methods like the company featured in John Stossel's "Sick in America"? Why the heck happened to solve your own blankity-blank problems?

If insurance companies drop people when they get greviously sick, and that's a breach of the basic promise, then fine, write a law preventing that. One dinky law.

If insurance companies don't want to take people with pre-exisiting conditions, why should they? That makes no sense. But we could still cover them. I'm sure a majority of Americans would be okay with some type of welfare for those who meet certain pre-existing conditions. Or give people MASSIVE tax incentives to contribute to charities focused on this. There are plenty of good-hearted people in America who will freely give when they see a need. We didn't need this behemoth law.

[ March 27, 2010, 09:20 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
There are plenty of good-hearted people in America who will freely give when they see a need.
You know, that is really obviously not true.

There certainly are some or maybe many good-hearted people in America who freely give. But there can't be plenty, because the need in question has existed for an awfully long time, and people were not giving enough.

Let's be honest. By and large the good people of America, while acknowledging that many people have inadequate access to health care, choose to buy a newer fancier TV or high-tech new bed or send the kids to summer camp rather than freely give to those in need.

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John Brown
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What was that specific need again?

Where are the thousands of children dying because they can't get to a doctor? The wounded who were turned away and not treated? Where are they all? The children contracting terrible diseases because mom and dad had no money to innoculate? The epidemics ravaging the poor?

Where are they? I don't remember seeing the lines of people losing teeth, suffering from broken limbs, not being treated for heart attacks.

Was that the problem we were trying to fix?

There are cetainly poor people who have a hard time making ends meet. As I said above, there are all sorts of simple methods for raising the money to help them out. It doesn't require a law like the one the Democrats foisted upon us via a senate trick.

When the American people see a need, they act. Look at 9/11, hurrican Katrina, Haiti. We give more money to charities as a % of income than any nation on this earth. Free will giving. I simply do not share your cynicism about the American people. Democrat, Republican, Independent, athiest, religious--when there's a need people step up to the plate.

If we look at the Mass. experience it was found that a huge part of those not insured had perfectly good access to health care--they simply decided not to get insurance. It wasn't the poor. It was middle class folks who simply didn't want it.

So again, where was the crushing health access problem, the thousands, no millions, of people suffering, dying, having their limbs rot off, unable to get diabetic medication. Where are they all?

I don't see it. So when you say the American people would rather buy a new TV than help, perhaps it's because the acute need really isn't the crisis some want to lead us to believe.

[ March 28, 2010, 04:42 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
So again, where was the crushing health access problem, the thousands, no millions, of people suffering, dying, having their limbs rot off, unable to get diabetic medication. Where are they all?

I don't see it. So when you say the American people would rather buy a new TV than help, perhaps it's because the acute need really isn't the crisis some want to lead us to believe.

Oh good lord.

There are certainly people who are unable to obtain prescriptions they need to be fully healthy. There are people who go into bankruptcy to pay medical bills for surgeries they had to have to live. There are people living with untreated conditions that are inconvenient, painful, or humiliating but not lethal who can't afford to see a doctor. Et cetera.

I understand that you personally might not have any experience with this, but it exists, and there is need. Middle-class Americans in general have not, obviously, felt like the need justified them giving up their hard-earned iPods, which sort of is my point.

You want people with limbs rotting off and epidemics ravaging the poor, you by and large have to leave this country. Americans in general are also not willing to give up their 2008 SUV or Prius in order to help with that, though need clearly exists and is (even by your definition) acute.

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Shrewed
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Despite what is oft-reported, the Tea Party people are not angry simpletons. The large majority are legitimately concerned about the fact that the government has an ever increasing role in making the decisions in their homes. The current administration has promised to decide for every American how much medical coverage they need, how much energy they can use, and how much they should expect to earn.

I am appalled to hear OSC complain about the fact that he had trouble getting health care for his special-needs child. How many of his readers have taken family vacations to France, New Zealand, and the several other destinations that OSC can afford? I fully understand that he worked, and sacrificed, to earn the money he makes and I don't begrudge it. BUT, now that the elitists are done enjoying their opportunities to succeed or fail on their own merit, they are stripping those rights away from other Americans. Does anyone honestly believe that while they are "spreading the wealth around" there will be any left over for YOU to travel to Copenhagen, Afghanistan, or wherever YOU choose to go? OSC makes a good point about insurance, that most of the premiums paid don't go back to the people who paid them. That is exactly why it is immoral to forcibly extract these payments from them, especially for something as variable as a person's health.

I understand that OSC did not choose to have a child with great needs. But, thankfully, he was brought into a family that valued him and could afford to pay the costs. In addition, OSC has commented in other places about the enormous charity that he received, and the strong bonds it has created. These bonds don't form with a paid caregiver, funded by the government. How can they when the family becomes dependent on the assistance, but has no individuals to thank for it? We certainly have not seen a "Pay it forward" attitude in regards to Social Security, Medicare, or the Prescription Drug benefits. Instead, we have furthered an 'entitlement' mentality, where the recipients claim that they payments they made into the system are theirs to reclaim.

So, no, I am not mad. I am a member of my local Tea Party because I am sickened by the direction this country is heading. People are deciding that they "love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom". Our government has started with small threads, promises of assistance for only the most disadvantaged. From there they have used ropes to bind the elderly, unemployed, and seriously ill to the government. With the most recent Financial, Environmental, and Health legislation they have strong chains to use against Americans.

If you are content to have a government ensure you experience neither serious failure nor great success, then you qualify for the ire of Samuel Adams.

"Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

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Shrewed
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
There are certainly people who are unable to obtain prescriptions they need to be fully healthy. There are people who go into bankruptcy to pay medical bills for surgeries they had to have to live. There are people living with untreated conditions that are inconvenient, painful, or humiliating but not lethal who can't afford to see a doctor. Et cetera.

Again you make extreme generalizations that simply are not true. Prescriptions do not make people "fully healthy". Doctors 'practice' medicine because there is no specific cure that works for every illness or every person. People who support this have the idea that ObamaCare has promised them HEALTH. In truth, he has simply mandated that everyone (except those in Washington that choose not to opt in) be forced to have the same level of care.

There is never a guarantee that spending more will produce better results, but that is the only option that government has. Doctors prescribe medications because they have a chance of helping. Sometimes treatments as radical as chemotherapy are prescribed even when the odds that it will help are minuscule, but no other options are available. It is likely that ObamaCare will increase costs exponentially and results will remain flat.

We accepted a small increase in our premiums because we knew we were covering catastrophic illnesses; even cancer in lifelong smokers, lost limbs of thrill-seekers, and care for the morbidly obese. We accepted it, or we opted not to be insured. BUT, we had the choice. When the natural consequences are removed, the Government will be forced to manage our activities also, to ensure the natural consequences of what they consider to be poor decisions are not able to be brought into play. That is the only option they have to reduce their costs.

It is a statistical fact that the liberals donate FAR less to charity than those opposing this bill. It is as easy to project OpsanusTau's deficiencies in charitable giving on the rest of society as it is for JohnBrown to assume that others in society will help others as he does.

We are not measuring the intangible benefits to society that come from the natural compassion that people feel when they see suffering and the bonds that are developed by personally sacrificing to benefit another person. It is a common fact, though, that increased taxation increases resentment. The benefits of charity die when it becomes compulsion.

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John Brown
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quote:
There are certainly people who are unable to obtain prescriptions they need to be fully healthy. There are people who go into bankruptcy to pay medical bills for surgeries they had to have to live. There are people living with untreated conditions that are inconvenient, painful, or humiliating but not lethal who can't afford to see a doctor. Et cetera.
There's a difference between 5,000 people who can't get medication and 5 million.

Who isn't getting their allergy medicine because of poverty? Their insulin? Their Prozac? How many? I'm sure there are people who don't. But are we talking a few hundred, a few thousand? I'd have to assume that if there was a huge amount of suffering, we'd have heard it.

I'm not saying there aren't people in America who suffer. I know some who do. What I'm saying is that there is no crisis (please supply the data from the CDC etc. if I'm wrong). There ARE indeed people who need help. But there are plenty of ways to help them without resorting to something like this new law.

[ March 29, 2010, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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Delbert H. Hall Jr.
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After reading OSC’s article, Anger Doesn’t Work, I felt somewhat chastened because I think he is correct in his practical assessment of what reality is since Obamacare has become law. I admit that I am angry and that is a bad way for me to be. Anger is counter-productive. Besides, I happen to think the progressives are looking for an excuse to impose martial law and to shut the opposition up.
I happen to believe that our constitution was inspired by God, and I do indeed believe that socialized medicine is contrary to that constitution and is therefore inspired by Satan. However, I agree that what OSC had to say about republicans having to choose between being right and governing. I say this though I’m not completely enamored of the republicans being myself a libertarian.

I do sympathize with folks who do not have health insurance. I, unfortunately, am one of them. I don’t have health insurance and am unemployed as well. I am obliged to take advantage of the local free clinic, which by the way is not government supported (at least not up to this point). My wife had to have two surgeries for which we accepted charity. I find no shame in receiving charity even though I certainly wish I did not have to accept it. The fact that the charity my wife and I received did not come from the forcible extraction of funds from someone by the government does make a difference to me.

The thing for me is that I do not find a government takeover of health care to be “charitable”, and I am not willing to grant that the progressives in power are doing what they are doing because they care about the people. I think it is more of an arrogant and narcissistic adherence to a cause rather than to the people the cause is supposed to serve. It’s the self-image of being a condescending parent they are in love with. Besides, there were plenty of true believers in the old Soviet Union that were willing to sacrifice all for the sake of "social justice", but that doesn’t make communism (or its intermediary, socialism) any more palatable to me.

The thing that tears at me is that people have died to secure the liberty we had enjoyed and now we are behaving like Esau and selling our birthright for a mess of potage. Esau said, “Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? I ask you, is this the attitude we should have toward liberty? I do understand that to have to suffer pain or chronic illness for extended periods is more difficult to bear than a quick death, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Having said that, I also feel (from a philosophical standpoint), that those that died for liberty will have done so in vain if we give up liberty to extend a life that will end regardless. Death does come to everyone and preserving freedom for the generations to come is the least we can do in memory of those who died to secure it for us.

I want there to be more charity in the world, but I do not find myself able to trust the government with the kind of power Obama has acquired with his executive orders and czars (not to mention what I see as the underhanded way congress has pushed Obamacare through). Maybe some think that Obama is a just and fair ruler, but what will be the nature of his successor? With that much power in place, will the next ruler be like Stalin?

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TommySama
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"I happen to believe that our constitution was inspired by God, and I do indeed believe that socialized medicine is contrary to that constitution and is therefore inspired by Satan."

I'll be honest, I've never heard this take on Nietzsche. Very interesting.

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hobsen
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The opinion that the Constitution was inspired by God is something I have heard occasionally from Mormons, and perhaps from members of oher sects. No doubt some Mormon authority said something of the sort, and it is compatible with the ancient Christian teaching that God generally supports civil government, in the sense of preferring it to lawlessness. I do not think it is intended to mean the Constitution is inspired in the same sense as books of the Bible, but there is a view that God prefers democratic government to dictatorship or the divine right of kings, which is essentially the same religious viewpoint expressed in the Declaration of Independence. That viewpoint was not incorporated in the Constitution, but it does not seem to contradict anything in the Constitution either.
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BackBlast
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Anger doesn't work... I disagree with this generalization. It is over generalized and, well, wrong.

When enough people are angry, someone can come to town that can direct and fuel that anger to specific objectives... This can and does happen.

Observe, the war in Iraq. I believe that the actions were more or less motivated by the anger present in the populace over the attacks on 9/11.

Anger may not appeal or be effective on all people or in all situations, but it certainly works on some people at least some of the time.

As to health care and associated baggage. I object to being made a slave for others wants or needs. Yes, I get angry over it - though I try not to act out in anger or use anger to fuel actions.

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TommySama
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"but there is a view that God prefers democratic government to dictatorship or the divine right of kings, which is essentially the same religious viewpoint expressed in the Declaration of Independence."

It doesn't surprise me that people in democracies try to tell us that God <3s democracy. Ignoring the last few hundred years, I am pretty sure that every single government/tyranny has been justified by God/Zeus/Raptorjesus.

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PSRT
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quote:
I'd have to assume that if there was a huge amount of suffering, we'd have heard it.
If you haven't heard about it, you haven't been paying attention.

On the other side of this, a lot of the suffering that doesn't occur is because we treat ANYONE in an emergency room. But who pays for this? Tax payers. and that emergency care is far more expensive than treatment in a clinic or a primary care office, through the channels that people with insurance can go through.

Basically, extending health insurance to everyone is going to reduce the cost to taxpayers for paying for everyone's health care.

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Shrewed
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
On the other side of this, a lot of the suffering that doesn't occur is because we treat ANYONE in an emergency room. But who pays for this? Tax payers. and that emergency care is far more expensive than treatment in a clinic or a primary care office, through the channels that people with insurance can go through.

Basically, extending health insurance to everyone is going to reduce the cost to taxpayers for paying for everyone's health care.

Oh, NO. You bought into this lie. While it is more expensive to treat people in the emergency, the cost under the current process are FAR less than what will be spent when everyone thinks they are entitled to visit any doctor for any potential malady.

This is verifiable simply by viewing the difference in health care under our current system and the the health care provided by ANY country currently using a socialized model.

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AbominableDyllis
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I think OSC entirely missed the point in his last article. The point is not that these angry responses did or did not happen, the point is that the media has run away in its reporting of them with not an ounce of documented proof. OSC seems to lay the blame for angry irrationality on the reactions of those protesting Obamacare to the accusations of violence simply because one woman had an irrational moment, but forgets about the irrationality on full display by the mainstream media. Not one amount of video evidence of one of these congress members being threatened, spit on, or racially slurred has surfaced. No video or sound recordings of anyone being threatened, except for the pro-life democrat senators who were threatened by the usual pro-life extremist crazies.

When did it become standard practice for the Media to operate this way, to report repeatedly, without anything to go on but a few politicians' words, incidences of "extremist behavior" which many eyewitnesses claim to have not happened?


For that matter, if eyewitness accounts are the only sources available for documentation in these alleged instances, why are not the large groups of people present used as sources? In the days of cellphone cameras and the internet, why only the words of the politicians with no video evidence surfacing? No one else finds this at all fishy?

I'd also like to know why these politicians had these "triumphant entries" so to speak into their offices the day after the bill passed. It's almost as if they were asking to be yelled at by the protesters. Pelosi, et al made these non-standard walks as they entered their offices surrounded by body guards. Why wouldn't she use her usual tunnel entrance, especially in light of all of the anger surrounding this bill she was so key in getting passed? What was the motive in these members of congress making the display they did? One can only speculate. My theory is they wanted to paint the protesters, who hold legitimate reservations about this bill, as crazy, violent, and hate-filled.

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TommySama
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quote:


I'd also like to know why these politicians had these "triumphant entries" so to speak into their offices the day after the bill passed. It's almost as if they were asking to be yelled at by the protesters. Pelosi, et al made these non-standard walks as they entered their offices surrounded by body guards. Why wouldn't she use her usual tunnel entrance, especially in light of all of the anger surrounding this bill she was so key in getting passed? What was the motive in these members of congress making the display they did? One can only speculate. My theory is they wanted to paint the protesters, who hold legitimate reservations about this bill, as crazy, violent, and hate-filled.

"Damn whore shouldn't have been outside in the first place if she didn't want to get raped."
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PSRT
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quote:
This is verifiable simply by viewing the difference in health care under our current system and the the health care provided by ANY country currently using a socialized model.
You mean how we pay about two-three times more than all of those countries, per capita? And how we get, at best, equal care compared to people in those countries.

Yeah dude, joke's on those countries with socialized medicine! They're paying too little!

[ April 06, 2010, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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Shrewed
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
You mean how we pay about two-three times more than all of those countries, per capita? And how we get, at best, equal care compared to people in those countries.

Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, would disagree with you on the level of care available under a socialist health care system. He chose not to wait for the inferior care of the Canadian system, but set up an appointment with an American doctor. In so doing, he avoided having his breast bone broken, and instead had a heart procedure performed by going through a small hole under his shoulder. This procedure may have been more expensive, but the recovery time was far shorter, the procedure far less invasive, and the life-extending effects far better.

I would like to see the numbers behind your assertion that Americans pay 2-3x what other countries pay for health care. Are you comparing this to the degraded care received in countries like England? Or perhaps the communal style care of countries like Cuba? Or, is it simply neglecting to factor in the cost to taxpayers and doctors that are not directly itemized to the procedures studied?

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Michelle
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quote:
However, I resent being FORCED to pay for other people's bills. I fear that's exactly what this law will do. It will FORCE me to pay someone else's way. Not just the poor, but idiots who elect not to take care of themselves. And freeloaders. It will FORCE me to pay for things I would never give my relatives money for--sex change operations, abortions for convenience, plastic surgeries for vanity, etc.
*snort* Well, if that's really your concern be at ease. Medicaid is in such a sorry state that anything more complex than a sore throat is only treated after six months to six years of jumping through hoops. The whole system is so twisted with red tape, while deprived of good physicians, that most people on medicaid give up long before ever getting treated. You should be more like me, and offended that the government is robbing us to pay for that type of crappy service. Health care, indeed.
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Michelle
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quote:
It will FORCE me to pay for things I would never give my relatives money for--sex change operations, abortions for convenience, plastic surgeries for vanity, etc.
Oh, and I think our government only pays for sex change operations if you lose your house in a flood.
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LetterRip
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Michelle,

quote:
Medicaid is in such a sorry state that anything more complex than a sore throat is only treated after six months to six years of jumping through hoops.
I'm fairly sure you are a Christian, so why do you engage in bearing of false witness?

LetterRip

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
This procedure may have been more expensive, but the recovery time was far shorter, the procedure far less invasive, and the life-extending effects far better.
Well, American health care is great if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, it rests on the premise that excellent health care is only available if you can afford it.

There's a very moving short story by Ursula K LeGuin about this sort of thing.

[ April 15, 2010, 10:56 PM: Message edited by: OpsanusTau ]

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Michelle
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Michelle,

quote:
Medicaid is in such a sorry state that anything more complex than a sore throat is only treated after six months to six years of jumping through hoops.
I'm fairly sure you are a Christian, so why do you engage in bearing of false witness?

LetterRip

Please... My niece waited two years without seeing an endocrinologist when it was suspected she had hypothyroidism. First step, is to see the primary. The second step is the doctor must write an order of referral to see a specialist, naming the chosen specialist in the referral. The primary gets out his trusty yellow pages of who is in the system for whatever HMO the patient is in (amerigroup, etc) Third step is the patient sets the appointment.

The primary can takes anywhere from three to six weeks for the first available appointment. Even though you wait weeks, you will wait further, because they always overbook. Expect anywhere from an hour to a two hour delay once arriving at the doctor's office. Once he writes the referral, you then learn whether or not the order is bogus when you set out to call this specialist that was supposedly in the system. If the number is bad, or the doctor no longer practices, you must make another appointment with your primary for another name, and a new referral. They can not give you a new referral without an appointment. The referral must be given by hand. I guess there are doctors out there that skirt this requirement, unfortunately my niece's physician wasn't one of them. My niece went through over a year of this game, back and forth to the primary. Finally, she got a referral to a doctor who ran a special clinic in a local hospital. Since the clinic was in high-demand, my niece waited around four months to get the initial appointment to be admitted into the clinic, then each appointment there after for testing diagnostics was scheduled a few weeks apart.

I would say this was a lot of hoop jumping for a teenager who needed just .05 micrograms of synthroid daily.

The final straw -- the prescription from the specialist is only good for a year -- she had to start all over at the primary's office the following year. After six months, of repeating the same process, she did give up and lives life now, as an adult, with her condition untreated.

I'm not a christian, by the way, but there is no need to make up what I have seen time and time again.

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Shrewed
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Well, American health care is great if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, it rests on the premise that excellent health care is only available if you can afford it.

What a very weak argument. You will afford it only if it is a priority to you. When some people can afford it, then it remains an option for all people.

Think of it like a Tesla Motors vehicle. It may not be a priority for you to own one. But, if you ever have a strong enough desire and motivation, you have the option to pay the exorbitant price because others have kept the company going when it was not important to you. Not everyone who wants one will get one, but chances are greater that the price will come down as long as the government doesn't force them out of business in the interest of fairness or subsidize the business at taxpayer expense.

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LetterRip
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Michelle,

my apologies for the false impression of your religious beliefs.

As regards your actual statement - I've done a bit of searching and apparently some states pay such a small percentage for reimbursement to doctors that almost no doctors will see medicaid patients in those states, so perhaps your statement is merited for your state.

LetterRip

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
What a very weak argument. You will afford it only if it is a priority to you. When some people can afford it, then it remains an option for all people.
[LOL]
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PSRT
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quote:
Think of it like a Tesla Motors vehicle. It may not be a priority for you to own one. But, if you ever have a strong enough desire and motivation, you have the option to pay the exorbitant price because others have kept the company going when it was not important to you. Not everyone who wants one will get one, but chances are greater that the price will come down as long as the government doesn't force them out of business in the interest of fairness or subsidize the business at taxpayer expense.
So why is it that every first world country with heavier government involvement than the United States has cheaper health care, available to more people?
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Funean
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No, wait, this is excellent news! I had *no* *idea* that all I had to do to be able to afford things was to make them a priority! Who knew that I could stretch my paltry income to cover all the things I need and want, all by "making them a priority."

Someone's been reading "The Secret."

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Shrewed
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
So why is it that every first world country with heavier government involvement than the United States has cheaper health care, available to more people?

Easy answer: GOVERNMENT DEBT!

What evidence do you have that the health care in other countries is equivalent to the health care available in America, or that it is "cheaper"?

A more accurate assessment would clarify that the cost borne by the recipient is lower, but the overall costs in the system are greater due to the number of participants and layers of bureaucracy. The patient gets the impression that the costs are lower because the government has taken on the payment. The government, however, is NOT COVERING the payments which is why they are all running unsustainable deficits.

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Chris W.
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quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by PSRT:
So why is it that every first world country with heavier government involvement than the United States has cheaper health care, available to more people?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Easy answer: GOVERNMENT DEBT!

What evidence do you have that the health care in other countries is equivalent to the health care available in America, or that it is "cheaper"?

A more accurate assessment would clarify that the cost borne by the recipient is lower, but the overall costs in the system are greater due to the number of participants and layers of bureaucracy. The patient gets the impression that the costs are lower because the government has taken on the payment. The government, however, is NOT COVERING the payments which is why they are all running unsustainable deficits.
------------------------------------------------------------------

A good example of this right now is Greece. Many of the benefits the Greece people enjoyed without paying for has resulted in massive government debt. And since the government is rescinding many of those privileges, the people are rioting.
Has the government ever managed money better than the private sector? EVER?

[ April 23, 2010, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: Chris W. ]

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Frumious B
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A couple of quick comments. I don't come to Ornery often, so I apologize if what I say has been covered elsewhere.

quote:
I would like to see the numbers behind your assertion that Americans pay 2-3x what other countries pay for health care. Are you comparing this to the degraded care received in countries like England? Or perhaps the communal style care of countries like Cuba? Or, is it simply neglecting to factor in the cost to taxpayers and doctors that are not directly itemized to the procedures studied?
The cost of healthcare in the U.S. compared to other countries is generally calculated as percentage of GDP. The U.S. spends about 17% of it's GDP on healthcare, while the next highest industrialized country (Germany, I think) spends about half that. These numbers are quite fluid and often disputed, but no one questions that the U.S. spends much more per capita than other industrialized countries.

One of the problems with comparing the cost of care in the U.S. to other countries is that it doesn't take into account the much higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes (associated with obesity) and COPD (caused mainly by smoking). These diseases are very expensive and have high morbidity and mortality rates. Correcting for this, the individual, per-disease costs of healthcare in the U.S. are not much higher than elsewhere.

The other big question, of course, is the quality of the healthcare. Quality is generally measured in outcomes for specific diseases and life expectancy. Supposedly the U.S. ranks #37 worldwide for it's quality of healthcare, right above Fiji. There are a lot of problems with these measurements, and if you read the WHO report from 2004 (I think) you'll find that for almost any specific disease process including almost every form of cancer the U.S. has among the lowest mortality rates. That means that when someone is being treated for a disease, they will fare better in the U.S. than almost anywhere else.

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Frumious B
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In terms of the health care debate in general, the issues are much more complex than simply whether or not people should have access to healthcare.

For one thing, I'm not even sure what "healthcare" means. In Germany, massage therapy and herbals are part of "healthcare." If I remember right, membership to gyms is part of healthcare in Scandinavian countries (though I might be confusing that with somewhere else). Does "healthcare" include acne medication? How about viagra or levitra? Does it include removal of birthmarks?

Additionally, how many of these diseases like diabetes should we be treating when they are being actively fed by the person themselves? The vast majority of people with diabetes are still eating junk food, even while their mecical bills (often being paid by taxpayers) are hundreds of dollars every month.

Funean,

"No, wait, this is excellent news! I had *no* *idea* that all I had to do to be able to afford things was to make them a priority! Who knew that I could stretch my paltry income to cover all the things I need and want, all by "making them a priority."

I think what Shrewed is saying (and I apologize to Shrewed if I'm misstating your position) is that people often spend money on things like TV's, cell phones, and gaming systems even while they bemoan their inability to pay for healthcare. And while I'm not sure that everyone on medicaid falls into this category, I can state without hesitation that it's the rule, rather than the exception.

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
There are a lot of problems with these measurements, and if you read the WHO report from 2004 (I think) you'll find that for almost any specific disease process including almost every form of cancer the U.S. has among the lowest mortality rates.
The real studies point in the other direction, such as this one out of the Harvard Business Review

Here's a decent survey paper that includes references to WHO studies showing that health Care in America is by far the most expensive in the world, while the health outcomes (including mortality) are below average for the industrialized countries.

We had a thread about this a few months ago in the Forum; even if you don't like the WHO study (because it involves as part of the measure an assessment by "health professionals" that some don't want to believe), there was also a Harvard Medical School study that tracked how highly residents of about 50 countries assessed the quality of their own health care, and the US was below average on that count as well.

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
One of the problems with comparing the cost of care in the U.S. to other countries is that it doesn't take into account the much higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes (associated with obesity) and COPD (caused mainly by smoking). These diseases are very expensive and have high morbidity and mortality rates. Correcting for this, the individual, per-disease costs of healthcare in the U.S. are not much higher than elsewhere
Why is it that the United States has higher rates of chronic diseases? Genetically, Americans are not unique - we come from all over. In terms of smoking and drinking, Americans are not the biggest consumers in the world. So how do you explain the greater incidence of chronic diseases in Americans? One hypothesis that leaps out at me is that we have a unique approach to providing health care, and so if we have a unique set of health outcomes (such as the highest level of chronic diseases), I would first look at how inadequate initial care might lead to an increase in chronic disease.

Also, I have not seen the evidence that supports the final sentence here.

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Greg Davidson
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Finally, they had a special free clinic in Los Angeles for basic medical and dental care last week. They interviewed one of the doctors on the local news radio, and she said that treating people in Lose Angeles was just like treating them in Guatamala or any other poor country with inadequate basic care - there were simple ailments that had been allowed to fester for years and could be remedied with basic care.
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Shrewed
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Finally, they had a special free clinic in Los Angeles for basic medical and dental care last week. They interviewed one of the doctors on the local news radio, and she said that treating people in Lose Angeles was just like treating them in Guatamala or any other poor country with inadequate basic care - there were simple ailments that had been allowed to fester for years and could be remedied with basic care.

Isn't that disgusting, since we have ALREADY been paying taxes to allow the poor and needy to get free health care. What some people want is to put ALL of the responsibility for their own health onto the backs of anyone that will take it.
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Greg Davidson
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? This you find disgusting? I don't understand why free medical care for a day disgusts you, that strikes me as an odd response.

And we do not have free medical care for all in the United States, so I don't understand your phrase that we had "ALREADY been paying taxes to allow the poor and needy to get free health care"?

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Blayne Bradley
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When did this forum end up becoming the Loony Bin?

Anyways, proud Canadian here from Quebec which has the most screwed up dysfunctional healthcare system in the most heavily taxed province in all of Canada and lolwut I am damned proud of my free socialized healthcare where the only time I pay for it is in my taxes.

socialized healthcare > privatized.

As for constitutionality of it read the damn preamble.

quote:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That seems to be sufficient to my eyes.

Also easy fix to government debt, y'know that massive glass canon military that is overbloated and unneeded and is more then the military budgets of every other country in the world combined? Yeah I think a 90% decrease could fix that.

[ May 28, 2010, 11:00 PM: Message edited by: Blayne Bradley ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Shrewed:
Despite what is oft-reported, the Tea Party people are not angry simpletons.

He didn't say they were simpletons. He said that their anger discredits them, and makes them unpersuasive.
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