Health Care - Human Right or Just Another Product?

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    Jan 09, 2009 11:09 PM GMT

    Having spent about half of my life in or around the UK and half in the US (and having trained as an economist), I've been watching the debate shape up in the States over what to do about health care. In the past days I've heard noises from lots of politicians about the features they imagine in a reformed health care system. To me, this seems like talking about the trees before you think about the forest.

    When the UK opted for its National Health Service, it did so from the ideological premise that health care isn't like other goods (e.g. cars) that you should have only if you can afford them. The US takes this 'socialized' view of many other services (public education, fire services, police, etc), but not for medicine - at least not yet. Unless you are old or very poor, must either pay for the medical treatment you get or pay for insurance to cover the expense for you.

    So what do you think? Is medical treatment something everyone deserves without paying for it (or for medical insurance) directly out of pocket?
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    Jan 10, 2009 3:11 AM GMT
    WOOOOOHOOOO there sunny jim... socialised health care.. that's like communism.. we can't have that.. cause.. thats baaaad hahaha
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    Jan 10, 2009 3:23 AM GMT
    I have a friend who's a surgeon in Germany, he makes a liveable wage, but it's not anything spectacular. In America, if you're a surgeon you're living large in terms of materials at least. There's a reason why everything is priced so high, and that's so all of the top dogs can get a big fat paycheck. If we had a National healthcare system, doctors would probably be making no more than they do in any other public service profession that's overseen by the government.
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    Jan 10, 2009 3:27 AM GMT
    What I find remarkable about this debate is that people fail to consider that the most expensive people to cover, the very poor and the elderly, are already on nationalized health insurance. Everyone added on after that is chump change. What is in the debate far too much is this notion that national health care is a disaster. Frequently they will talk about long lines for the use of machines in Canada, ignoring the fact that the quality of life is better and infant mortality is lower in Canada. Implicit in that argument is that more coverage = more access = long lines. That's right, keep those lower-middle income people away from my machine!

    It makes me cry with frustration.
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    Jan 10, 2009 6:17 AM GMT
    Recent economic studies present the argument that what separates industrialized nations from the less-developed is the existence of *intangible* infrastructure such as law/order, anti-corruption, a basic sense of safety, etc. Safe environments foster social welfare and growth. Who knew? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if a terrorist kills you or if you die of cancer because the end result is the same: the nation loses a productive citizen. At the very least, a nation should, if taking the above into account, provide for military protection and basic medical services. We just have to define what constitutes "basic."

    Either we should have dirt-cheap health care which all citizens can afford privately as a product, or we have to socialize it because all citizens MUST have access to health care if we want a strong economy.
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    Jan 10, 2009 10:43 AM GMT
    Runninchlt saidI have a friend who's a surgeon in Germany, he makes a liveable wage, but it's not anything spectacular. In America, if you're a surgeon you're living large in terms of materials at least. There's a reason why everything is priced so high, and that's so all of the top dogs can get a big fat paycheck. If we had a National healthcare system, doctors would probably be making no more than they do in any other public service profession that's overseen by the government.


    animanimus saidup to a point, as a matter of humanity, medicine should be a utility, available to all to reduce suffering with mediocre care. but no profit-motivated system--nor from what experiments we've seen in socialism, them either--can afford the absolute best care in the world for every citizen.long-term. especially not when people insist on extreme measures, life support, all that. so i can see a hybrid of basic care for all with optional, additional private insurance for very best care.


    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    Go learn about how the rest of the world provides health care for it's citizen instead of making assumptions and listening to stupid politicians who are being paid to make it all seem bad and undoable
  • HereNBoston

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    Jan 10, 2009 11:08 AM GMT
    You can't really compare the US health system to any other in the world though. we have different issues to tackle. If anything the systems we have in place needs to re-prioritize. The system as it is now will pay 500,000 dollars for a lung transplant, but won't cover a kids heart medication.

    inequity will exist regardless because people will be denied treatment based on cost. the rich of course will be able to afford private pay. while people in the US like the idea of something like NHS, i think they wouldn't want to let go of the idea of having everything done to save a loved one, not just whatever is cost effective.