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Non-Americans: what are your thoughts on our healthcare debate?

Discussion in 'The Breakroom' started by ErnestS, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. ErnestS

    ErnestS Loaded Pockets

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    The healthcare debate is a pretty heated subject here in the States, and I am curious what others in the world think of the situation. For those of you outside of the US, what are you thoughts and observations on our discussion? Also, what kind of experiences have you had with your own country's system?

    This thread isn't meant to argue about the merits or disadvantages of a public healthcare system. I realize that both sides have their arguments and talking points. I am simply curious about what others outside the US observe and experience. :)
     
  2. illusion

    illusion Loaded Pockets

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  3. Valerian

    Valerian Tea-powered admin

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    I don't think that's what he means. I think they have some sort of health care reform in the planning stage (or maybe underway). Something to do with insurance and/or public health care, perhaps. Dunno.

    I guess we answered the OP's question, too, us non-American don't know anything about their hot debate. So maybe someone could briefly summarize the whys and why nots for us?
     
  4. MagnaWolf

    MagnaWolf Loaded Pockets

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    The debate, for me, seems a little weird. The people who would get the most benefit from a change in healthcare policies are the ones that are protesting against it. All this talk about "death panels" and "socialism" seems to me more of repeating the talking points from the rich. And another thing: I keep hearing a lot of people using my country (Sweden) as an example of communism. That bugs me. Sure we may pay high taxes but I don't have to worry about going broke if I get sick or injured. Just my 2 cents.
     
  5. muskrat72

    muskrat72 Loaded Pockets

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    Magna, I will formally apologize for those Americans that have slandered your countries namesake for the purpose of gratifying their political agenda. These individuals that are debating the healthcare reform are usually misled into believing that our president is trying to change America into a socialist state. Personally, I do not see the problem with his plan.
     
  6. nbmaine2007

    nbmaine2007 Loaded Pockets

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    Look what the government has done with social security...do you really want them involved in healthcare? I don't really see how the discussion needs to go any further than that. The #1 reason that health care/insurance is so expensive is because of government regulations. To think they're going to fix it is a joke. The country is bankrupt now. This will push us over the edge and we'd soon be a 3rd world nation. The government never does anything more efficiently than the private sector. Nothing.
     
  7. nbmaine2007

    nbmaine2007 Loaded Pockets

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    Essentially, we have probably the best healthcare delivery system in the world. However like anything else, you pay to have the best. So it's very expensive. We don't wait for care, we don't ration care, and we keep unhealthy people alive much longer than they'd live in many other countries.

    The root of the major discussion in DC now is related to those without insurance. There are estimates that 45 million people in the US do not have it. However of that number, there are studies that show that about 1/3 are illegal immigrants, 1/3 are eligible for a government program now, but just have not bothered to apply, and 1/3 are true uninsured Americans. But of that group, many just choose not to have insurance. They'd rather drive a new car and get manicures than pay monthly for insurance. Kind of their choice. Some are 22 years old and think they're bullet proof, and they'd rather put the $250 (or whatever amount) per month that it would cost for insurance towards other stuff.

    So the debate in DC is regarding the best way to fix the system. Obama has said many times in the past that he wants a Canadian like, single payer (Medicare for all) system. Now that he's President, he's downplaying that because he knows it's not popular. So now they are trying to get a government plan in place for those 45 million (or some of them) and the government plan would compete with the private sector (yeah right, who can compete with the goverment. They set the rules and have a check book with no limit.) so people would have a choice. And his plan is to slowly move more people to that system so that we have a Medicare for all format.

    So what it really comes down to is the government planning to spend TRILLIONS of $ in order to insure what many really amount to 10 million people or so, and to "fix" the system and control costs for the rest of us. It just doesn't make any sense. Unfortunately many people in the US fail to look and see that government cannot run programs efficiently. Both parties. And while there most certainly are not "death panels" in the bills being drafted, the fact of the matter is that down the road the government will have to ration care. They've done it with social security. They will run out of money, and then people of certain ages/sickness will not be able to get the care they they would need to keep them alive. Again, look at social security. I'm paying more into the system now than people who are retiring today at age 65. However, I can't get my full retirement until age 67 and I'm not forecasted to get 70% of my original intended benefit. And that % will continue to go down, or they'll continue to push the age up. They ration benefits because they ran the system into the ground. It's a ponzi scheme.

    So that's a brief overview from my perspective. The system needs some fixing, and it's just too bad that those in DC couldn't work together to fix it...because the fact of the matter is, it wouldn't be that hard at all to get it done. They just won't put their personal agendas and interests aside long enough to do what's best for us.
     
  8. sbillard

    sbillard Loaded Pockets

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    Seen from France I don't understand your problem with having a centralized care system ? Here we have social security for all, and if we want more care coverage we have what we call "mutuelles" (mutual insurance companies) which are private cooperatives. When I need care a part of the bill is paid by social security, and a part by my "mutuelle". There are some cases where I have to pay, but most of time, health cares are covered 100%. Each citizen is covered at least by social security.

    I do not agree that private is always more efficient than public (nor do I think that too much state is good). But that is another story.
     
  9. ErnestS

    ErnestS Loaded Pockets

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    If we have the "best healthcare delivery system in the world", why are we ranked 37th in the world for healthcare? Also, I'm not sure that we keep "unhealthy people alive much longer" than in other countries. In most countries (including many in the developing world), you are provided medical treatment regardless of your citizenship, and your doctor doesn't worry whether they will be reimbursed for their services.

    Also, as much as I believe in our capitalist system, I am not quite sure that our medical system should be a "for profit" enterprise. After seeing my Aunt die of ovarian cancer after the insurance company refused to pay since she did not declare a childhood illness, I have become increasingly suspicious of our system. After trying to battle it out with the insurance company for a month, she chose to refuse treatment rather than making our family pay the unbelievable cost.

    I guess I also find it strange that our one of examples of a "socialized" medical system is the military TRICARE system, which I think a lot of active duty military members find quite adequate for coverage. I know that when I was in military, I was very happy with the level of service that I received, and the comfort of knowing that I didn't have to haggle my treatment cost with an insurance company. I know that veteran service has been under a lot of scrutiny lately, but hasn't that been due to the privatization of treatment for vets?

    With the rising cost of heathcare treatment, I think it is in our best interest to see what others in the world are doing to make their system work.
     
  10. nbmaine2007

    nbmaine2007 Loaded Pockets

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    I like my odds here in the good old US:

    Cancer 5-year survival rate (%)
    United States / Europe

    Prostate Cancer
    99.3 77.5

    Skin melanoma
    92.3 86.1

    Breast
    90.1 79.0

    Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
    62.0 54.6
     
  11. ErnestS

    ErnestS Loaded Pockets

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    I wonder if this takes into account those who needed treatment -- but were denied by their insurance.

    I don't dispute that we have the means of providing great medical treatment. I just wonder how many people outside of an employer-sponsored insurance program are denied coverage (when they need it the most) since they don't have the backing of a large company to advocate on their behalf.
     
  12. ssmtbracer

    ssmtbracer EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    :iagree: could not have said it better
     
  13. nbmaine2007

    nbmaine2007 Loaded Pockets

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    It's awful the situation with your aunt. But it's a rare, rare example. People who have insurance, and have had it, and answered the questions appropriately when they applied for it, are not denied treatment for cancer. It doesn't happen. Situations where people wait to apply, or don't disclose something when asked on an application, can definitely put people in a bad situation.

    But yes, that study is people (regardless of insurance or not) and survival rates. So the fact that not even 1 of 100 people in the US will die from prostate cancer within 5 years of detection and 22 of 100 would die in Europe, that's quite a difference. Unfortunately, we pay for that success rate...a lot.

    You're right that those people outside of employment based coverage can get in a bind. They don't buy coverage until they need it (personal decisions) and then it can get tricky. But at the same time, people don't want a mandate that all citizens buy coverage. We find that unconstitutional, but we'll turn around and put our hands out to the government.

    The solutions are out there, but I refuse to believe that this government (or the previous administration) can run healthcare for all cheaper or better than the current system we have. I'd like to see the folks in DC fix social security and medicare, and prove to us that they can, before they get control total healthcare.
     
  14. MinorCuts

    MinorCuts Empty Pockets

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    Reform also needs to include the costs of medical care. Why does it cost so much in the U.S.? One major medical problem sends most families into financial ruin, even with insurance as it is now. Why are prescription drugs cheaper in Canada and Mexico? People used to go to Canada and Mexico to buy their prescription meds because they are substantially cheaper. When Uncle Sugar found out how many people were doing this (rephrase: when the pharmaceautical companies realized how much money they were losing, they complained, I mean lobbied the government to a put stop to it), they made it against the law to purchase these meds from outside the U.S. Thus we are forced to pay the higher prices by our own government. I think that there needs to be some form of reform in the medical fields, pharmaceautical companies, etc., to reduce the costs of medical care. To be honest, I don't even know what the current plan is because of all of the crap the news media is putting out. What are the specifics? At this point, I think the government is rushing into this too fast. Like others have said, the government cannot manage "ANYTHING" effectively. I don't think I want them to manage "MY" healthcare at this point in time. Take the time and plan it all out first and then the most imporant thing, let the citizens vote on whether they want national healthcare or not. This is being forced down our throats.
     
  15. scríbhneoir
    • Administrator

    scríbhneoir Uber Prepared
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    Some thoughts from another thread here:

    And from here:


    From England:
    Woman told to wait for crucial treatment

    "Eric Low, Myeloma UK chief executive branded the delay “'utterly irresponsible'”. He said: “'This is probably the worst example of PCT commissioning we have ever come across and it is having a devastating impact on the myeloma patients concerned.

    “'NHS Barnet has a responsibility to all patients, including myeloma patients, to make timely decisions on individual cases but appear to be ignoring requests for a drug that will halt the progression of an aggressive cancer.'”

    Dr Andrew Burnett, NHS Barnet’s medical director, said the trust was identifying what savings could be made from its current health care expenditure to fund the treatment — an estimated £800,000 each year.

    He said: “'We appreciate that someone being ill is stressful and a great worry for both them and their families and that what may seem to be a complex bureaucratic process concerning their treatment is not something they would wish to have to deal with. “However, NHS Barnet is responsible for the health and healthcare of all people registered with Barnet GPs — some 350,000 people — and seeks to use the resources made available in the fairest way for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of people.'”

    Statements like the above concern many of us in the US. We don't have the money. Where is it going to come from? Who is going to make such decisions?

    Another perspective from a doctor, with more perspectives from responses:
    Doctor speaks out at a town hall event

    That the system is broken is undeniable; but what we "need" is not a new replacement system that we cannot afford, and that most don't want, which is so often compared to the system of the UK and Canada, which are encountering their own funding and rationing issues. We need to fix our system within the principles of a true free market, not corporate fascism. Our system worked in the past, and we need to return to less government intervention that helped make our system so expensive. That is what so many of those against the plans under consideration/debate wish our representatives to do--address the issues that made it so expensive, not create another program that we cannot pay for without further debasing our already fragile dollar and economy.

    America's Socialized Health Care, by Lawrence Wilson MD
     
  16. nbmaine2007

    nbmaine2007 Loaded Pockets

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    Great points, scribhneoir. The tort reform issue is key. How come nobody in Congress is talking about that? Hmm, could it be because many of them are attorneys? Or friends of attorneys? Or they plan to work at a lawfirm as an attorney or a "consultant" when out of office? Again, people in DC looking out for themselves and their cronies instead of us. They're the crooks here. They're the ones making the system more expensive. But they'll deflect that and blame insurance companies and those nasty profits. We need government reform in this country more than we need healthcare reform. The past 15 or so years of government spending and increasing the size of government and social programs is not sustainable.
     
  17. illusion

    illusion Loaded Pockets

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    interesting read!
     
  18. jeeves3443

    jeeves3443 Loaded Pockets

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    This is what I meant by, "We need to actually REFORM health care. Not the way we pay for it."


    It's a relief to know someone with (at least some) political gravity is thinking with some rationale.
     
  19. tso

    tso Loaded Pockets

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    i guess it depends on ones definition of interesting ;)
     
  20. scríbhneoir
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    scríbhneoir Uber Prepared
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    No baiting.
    :peg2: