Universal Health Coverage

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    Dec 22, 2007 5:46 AM GMT
    After reading most of the presidential candidates health plans for the future they ALL promise to reduce the price of health insurance. BUT WHY is it that being the strongest, richest country in the world, we cannot offer FREE universal health insurance? Many countries around the world offer this basic need, countries like canada, england, france, germany, shit even what we call "third world countries" have cuba, and costa rica. I know that the government wants to protect the economy as well and is basically a slave to corporations but WHEN is our government finally going to say, "fuck you guys we need to take care of our people."

    Is it too much to ask? how does everyone else feel?
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    Dec 23, 2007 3:57 AM GMT
    Of course we should have it, and twice it came close to being enacted. The first time, under Truman (!!), the second (I think) under Nixon. Just in case anyone thinks this is some radical new idea.
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    Dec 23, 2007 4:16 AM GMT
    A good idea, though just to point out that nothing is free. You can pay directly or pay for the government to fund it, for which some have an issue, but either way you pay, and healthcare, particularly good healthcare, is not cheap -- both labor intensive and use of the latest technology and latest innovation.

    Certainly the current system is very chaotic and inefficient with multiple layers, and one in which the government already pays, directly or indirectly, 50% or so of the costs. Also it may overall be cheaper to have universal healthcare, we already spend more per GDP than any other country, and certainly the insurance industry makes money and spends money on maintaining itself, and there all whole industries on billing and processing claims that consume resources that a universal health care would not, or require to a lesser extent with harmonization across the board and greater standardization.

    Actually our current situation is a result of historical happenstance and neither a free market nor individual approach -- big business provided much of the early insurance. As one of the richest societies we can do better than the current situation and really what is wrong with being a caring providing society?
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    Dec 23, 2007 4:19 AM GMT
    Actually, FDR wanted to include it in the social security act, but the nation's doctors -- the people who take the Hippocratic Oath -- protested and FDR decided he wouldn't risk rejection of the social security system by appending universal health coverage.

    Doctors also fought Medicare tooth and nail but it was adopted under LBJ's administration despite their howling. As I recall reading, Truman, who did indeed advocate for universal health care, was the first person to sign up for Medicare.

    Were it not for the objections of doctors, there's little doubt universal health care would have been adopted long ago.
  • Timbales

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    Dec 23, 2007 4:29 AM GMT
    Call me pessimistic, but I really don't see it working here.

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    Dec 23, 2007 4:33 AM GMT
    What's the alternative? The system is going to collapse soon enough.
  • Timbales

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    Dec 23, 2007 5:03 AM GMT
    I don't have one, but if universal healthcare is so great why do all the countries that have it also have private practices?
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    Dec 23, 2007 5:25 AM GMT
    Most of those private insurance plans, in Australia anyway, cost very little and are good for expediting care. Their cost in no way compares to insurance in America. I don't really see what they, or private practices that don't accept insurance, have to do with providing the entire population health care. The city supplies me water but I can buy bottled water and, as far as I know, I could dig my own well.



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    Dec 23, 2007 5:35 AM GMT
    Though might be digging a while there OW in drought stricken Georgia.
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    Dec 23, 2007 6:01 AM GMT
    LOL...I already tole you we got plenty Co' Cola.
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    Dec 23, 2007 6:03 AM GMT
    i'm all for UHC
  • metta

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    Dec 23, 2007 6:16 AM GMT
    The health care lobby groups have way too much power in US politics. We would of had it long ago if it was not for them.
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    Dec 23, 2007 6:20 AM GMT
    anyone ever played current shadowrun? notice any similarities to modern corporations and governments?
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    Dec 25, 2007 1:03 AM GMT
    So basically what everyone is saying that our government is sucking the balls of corporate america. therefore making corporations happy, but what about the reason this country exists, what about the people?! Are we just suppose to stand by and watch more families fall into bigger debt because they cant afford health insurance. i know that some people are skeptical about this whole thing but isnt being human caring for others. the church preaches helping others, and good will and such. how can these so called conservative christians allow this to happen to a LARGE portion of the voting population. what are other's thoughts?
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    Dec 25, 2007 1:08 AM GMT
    Timberoo saidI don't have one, but if universal healthcare is so great why do all the countries that have it also have private practices?


    In european countries, like France and England, doctors are compensated by the government if they are able to successfully treat a patient for something curable. for example if a doctor is able to convince a smoker to stop smoking and to stop it successfully then the government increases his/her pay the same is true of people who are over weight, and more examples are endless. so basically there are countries who not only offer free health coverage but also compensate their doctors, what an interesting notion. people caring for other people...weird.
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    Dec 25, 2007 2:22 AM GMT
    ...whatever system is eventually adopted, the current one or one that provides Universal Health Care, I hope I don't have to subsidize poor and costly health due to obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyles, unprotected sex, etc.....and I certainly don't want to subsidize families who have more children than they can afford to support...

    I don't advocate for the current system; however, I agree with Timberoo in that I don't see it working here as it does in some of the Nations used for comparison....It's really too simple to make comparisons without factoring in a more comprehensive cultural, economic and demographic base of influence.

    Some of the Nations used for comparison have education levels far higher than ours....

    I am all for UHC, but I'd like to see our Nation's inhabitants get off their lazy asses, learn science, language, nutrition and exercise, and stop being dumb and expect a few to subsidize the many...

    Our safety net of entitlements is extensive; and, in one century, we have doubled the average man's lifespan in this Nation -- not bad in my opinion...

    Before I support UHC, I want to see handguns outlawed, fast food diminished, smoking eradicated and healthy foods required in school/government programs, to name a few...

    UHC is something not to be entered into lightly, it should be given thorough study, and if, a sound, reasonable and holistic system is identified, I'm all for it....
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    Dec 25, 2007 2:47 AM GMT
    igz3112 saidSo basically what everyone is saying that our government is sucking the balls of corporate america. therefore making corporations happy, but what about the reason this country exists, what about the people?! Are we just suppose to stand by and watch more families fall into bigger debt because they cant afford health insurance. i know that some people are skeptical about this whole thing but isnt being human caring for others. the church preaches helping others, and good will and such. how can these so called conservative christians allow this to happen to a LARGE portion of the voting population. what are other's thoughts?


    I have several things to say. I find atheists to be more socially caring than Christians when it comes down to walking on the actual street. In Florida several cities have made it illegal to hold gatherings and hand out food. There is naturally more to the story but simply put, giving food to the homeless is a crime. Corporations are gaining more and more power to gain the profits of eminent domain to steal property and power from rightful owners. Much of America seems entirely asleep until something happens that directly impacts someone. Only then do they wake up and react.
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    Dec 25, 2007 2:55 AM GMT
    veniceman said
    Some of the Nations used for comparison have education levels far higher than ours....


    how dare you! america is better than everyone! < /frothing RW >

    [quote]I am all for UHC, but I'd like to see our Nation's inhabitants get off their lazy asses, learn science, language, nutrition and exercise, and stop being dumb and expect a few to subsidize the many...
    [...]
    Before I support UHC, I want to see handguns outlawed, fast food diminished, smoking eradicated and healthy foods required in school/government programs, to name a few...[/quote]

    While I fully agree with your first statement, I am very much against outlawing handguns. Have you noticed the trend that overall there are more shooting deaths in areas where guns are outlawed?

    The health of Americans can be vastly improved with two simple things, exercise and healthy eating. Unfortunately easy money by way of fast food is all too tempting. It seems more desirable to be a greedy person seeking richness than it is to help our fellow Americans in whatever way.
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    Dec 25, 2007 3:08 AM GMT
    Veniceman--

    You don't want your tax dollars to subsidize fat people or smokers?

    Golly, I don't want MY tax dollars to support police protection of your property. I mean, I don't own much, I'm not materialistic by nature--and I'm not claiming that as a virtue, it's just me--so I don't own a house, I rent; I drive a decades-old heap of a car, and I have been shedding possessions over the years rather than acquiring them.

    So why should my tax dollars go to pay for the police to show up when your fancy house has been robbed? What about when your new car has been vandalized? I mean, seriously, the hell with you, go out and hire a private security guard and stop SUCKING UP MY TAX DOLLARS.

    Or, alternatively, recognize that we live in a country where we DO subsidize each other all the time, do it with good grace, and stop whining.
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    Dec 25, 2007 3:34 AM GMT
    JP: your subsidizing the same police that show up when your rented apartment is robbed or your beat up old car is vandalized.

    The problem with fast food in this country and obesity in general is that it is cheaper and easier to eat poorly than to eat healthy. cheap foods are loaded with calories, while healthy low calorie foods (fresh vegetables anyone) are much more expensive.

    I think there is a problem with the statement that we live in the richest strongest country in the world when the dollar is worthless, and we have been stuck in an ever losing war for the last 5 + years. In fact when was the last time that the US actually won a war.

    UHC would be great but in the society we live in is not likely to work well, though the current system isnt working well either. I am for universal healthcare trust me I would love it seeing as how expensive insurance is (being a student and all). I think we need a system though that is geared at getting people healthy (no more smoking, less obesity) in order for it to work.
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    Dec 25, 2007 5:07 AM GMT
    JP,

    Take another look at my earlier comment..."I'm all for UHC...," but let's rationalize it and build in safeguards to make it sustainable (unlike Social Security, which is on the verge of creating a generational divide like we have never seen).

    Whining? I don't think so...it sounds like you (figuratively) are coming to me asking that I pay for your health care because you can't/won't pay for it (could that be you whining?)...all I'm asking is that you meet me half way by changing/adopting some behaviors that will lower the costs for both of us.

    When you pose all-or-nothing solutions without room for compromise, you get nowhere, which is perhaps where we are with the current health care system.

    Your comment about subsidizing my protection by the police based on material possessions makes no sense...Take a look at Chungo's reply...And, yes, we subsidize things such as education, etc., BUT we do NOT "...subsidize each other all the time..." We supplement government's role through the charitable sector to create a fairly good, but not perfect, safety net. Charity is a trait that Americans are very good at.

    The way to meaningful and successful UHC is by finding the middle ground, give-and-take, weighing the pros and cons and developing as much of a win/win solution as possible.

    For example, the HIV/AIDS response by this Nation was/is largely a prevention & care model. It may not be perfect, but it works in terms of the prevention & care approach.

    I am suggesting that UHC should have an aggressive prevention approach (obesity, smoking, substance abuse, unprotected sex, etc.) to ensure a strong system of care.

    I think we're closer to agreement than disagreement on this issue.
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    Dec 25, 2007 5:37 AM GMT
    Firefighter,

    Your point is well taken...

    I may have jumped the gun on "...outlawing guns..." but willing to do anything to supplement the efforts already out there, at least, to the degree of implementing very strong gun control laws.

    Wouldn't you agree that guns in the hands of kids, and adults, reached critical mass years ago?

    I grew up with guns and enjoyed them, but got rid of mine long ago to avoid potential misuse, like shooting smokers so I don't have to pay for their health careicon_lol.gif

    Education and prevention can only do so much. I wish I had the answer to this one, but in the meantime, will keep fighting the fight.
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    Dec 25, 2007 5:55 AM GMT
    venice, hahahah, well i'm not akin to shooting smokers either but being highly reactive (think allergies) to most cigarette smoke it sure tempts me. for some gawd awful reason smokers seem to think it's their God given right to poison me (literally).

    as for guns and saturation, like any method of madness, it's a matter of responsibility and maturity. sometimes i feel like it's Darwin in Vegas winning every other hand but i still wouldn't take away any man's right own and carry a weapon. i think our biggest current problem with a lot of things in today's world (America) is our rush to place the blame with everyone but our own selves. we need to start taking the stand and accepting the consequences when we're at fault.

    until we do that i don't think any particular problem will have an easy or simply defined solution.

    UHC is impossible in our current way of life. the _huge_ medical and insurance industry is too powerful to be felled in a simple swoop. and with the government as incredibly slow as it is, even were the industry to be cut down like that, nothing would come into place before billions of people were horribly affected.

    it's a beautiful concept and i fervently hope for such things. i'm more than willing to have my taxes go almost entirely to healthcare and education rather than military. i think it's a crying shame that nearly 1/2 of our taxes go to the war machine.
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    Dec 25, 2007 6:48 AM GMT
    My point (for what it's worth) is that anytime anyone says "I don't want my tax dollars subsidizing x". it's a result of decades-long conditioning by the right that says, essentially, FYIGM.

    There was once a consensus in this country that we are all at some level responsible for one another. Don't like your tax dollars paying for a ridiculous war in Iraq? Vote for people who will end it, or better yet, not start it. Don't want to subsidize people who smoke? Fine, why should I subsidize your cancer treatments or your angioplasty?

    You think this is an overreaction? Hardly.
    We agree that AS A SOCIETY we do some things collectively or we don't. But you can't, like Ron Paul and his gang of idiots, have it both ways. You want to pay for health care for some people and not others? Fine, I don't want to pay for the paved roads in your gated community. Or for the sewer lines that extend to them. You can live in an area where those things already exist.

    We can play this game forever, but you can't argue that some things are worth paying for and not others without some political consensus.

    Oh, and Chungo? You're a law student, you should be familiar with Richard Posner's cost-benefit legal theories. Sure, the police protect my apartment, but if someone with a lot of stuff pays the same taxes I do and receives more protection, I'm still subsidizing him, because I don't have much to steal and nothing very attractive to vandalize (including this nearly eight-year old computer).
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    Dec 25, 2007 3:55 PM GMT
    JP,

    You said, "My point (for what it's worth) is that anytime anyone says 'I don't want my tax dollars subsidizing x,' it's a result of decades-long conditioning by the right that says, essentially, FYIGM."

    Come on, give us a little credit for being able to disagree without being "...conditioned by the Right..."
    Is everyone who disagrees with you a Right Wing Conservative? What purpose does it serve to label people by their views -- Isn't our Nation divided enough? Can't we debate facts and issues, without being put into a political box or engaging in class baiting?

    I don't have a problem with your statement "...we are all at some level responsible for one another..." However, the more important part of the equation is that we are/should be resonsible for ourselves.

    I expect to pay my fair share for police protection, etc. And, I don't have a problem subsidizing the protection of others who may not be able to afford it; however, I do expect that my neighbors will lock their doors when they are away, and actively participate in neighborhood crime watch programs (Prevention!) -- this is the kind of give-and-take and meeting half-way I am talking about.

    It's not about "...paying for some and not for others.." It's about creating a UHC model that attacks causal factors for bad health in addition to providing for care.

    My original post was about not subsidizing poor health behaviors/choices, it had nothing to do with leaving people out of the system. Again, look at the HIV/AIDS model -- we provide care to individuals regardless of their unsafe practices (i.e. unprotected sex, drug use, sex workers), but we also engage aggressive PREVENTIVE measures to reduce the risks.

    We can/should provide the same level of preventive measures for smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, etc. as part of a comprehensive UHC model. It will be better and more sustaninable in the long run. Until then, I don't want to see one flawed system exchanged for another flawed system.

    Have a safe and healthy holiday season.