Democrats & Liberals Archives

The myth of America’s private health care system

All this blather about the evils of socialized medicine and a government controlled health care system illustrates the utter ignorance of the facts surrounding this issue. If you listen to the goofballs spouting this nonsense; it’s as if there isn’t a problem with our health care system at all.

Let’s look at some of the facts surrounding America’s health care system today.

Currently, in the US, people are either covered by health care insurance or not. According the government statistics (link):


• 61% of Americans have Employer-Sponsored, group health plans.
• 18% of Americans are uninsured.
• 16% of Americans are on Public Health insurance plans like Medicaid.
• 5% of Americans have Non-Group, Private health plans.

In 1984 the combined number of Americans covered through Employer-Sponsored, group and Non-Group health plans (ESGP) was 76.5%. For those not counting; that means the number of people getting health care through their employer has dropped by over 15% in 25 years. (link)

Where did they go?

It appears that the people previously covered by ESGP either went uninsured or went to public health Insurance plans because their respective percentages rose during the same period. The number of uninsured has grown to 18% n 2007 up from 14.5% in 1984.

Why did they leave?

It appears the reason for the drop-off in Employer-sponsor group plans (ESGP) was the large increase in costs associated with such plans. ( Link). Since costs have increased, substantially, for ESGPs over the past 25 years. People have had to make tough decisions about whether to put food on the table or pay for health care for themselves or their family.

People dropped off of ESGP and are either uninsured or covered by a government plan. Is that clear?

Now let’s take a look at those lucky enough to be a part of ESGP.

Republicans have claimed Obama’s Health Care plan will put “Bureaucrats” on the spot for making health care decisions. They’ve been trying to scare Americans into accepting Status Quo for Health Care by claiming that Big Brother will be your Doctor and Americans will lose their freedom of quality health care. The Republicans have presented this myth that ESGP programs are private insurance programs that give the people the freedom of health care.

What a crock.

Employer-sponsor group plans (ESGP) are not private; they are managed. These managed programs provide health care at a cost directly to the consumer either by paycheck deductions or by co-pay or by percentage deductions; or a combination of all three.

ESGP are not private insurace, they are managed by plan administrators and are closely monitored. Most ESGP are broken into three types: HMO, PPO & POS. Managed Healthcare Plans are types of health insurance policies that help employers offer their employees discounted medical insurance services by negotiating reduced charges with hospitals and physicians. But let’s remember something: both POS and HMO require some sort of approval before health care is provided.

Cost-cutting is king for managed health care plans. ESGPs manage to the bottom line, not the quality of health care. How ESGPs save money and cut costs is by transferring the costs more directly to consumer (or employee) by increasing co-pays and paycheck deductions; it’s sort of like a slow-bleed.

But what about that claim that some bureaucrat will be dictating your health care?

For ESGPs, plan administrators routinely administer care from their cubicles and phone lines. Those plan administrators decide which tests are approved and which are denied; they make these decisions every day. What’s the difference between some plan administrator working for ESGP making the decision for approving your treatment and a government bureaucrat?

Since the fear mongers use long wait lines as a tactic, let’s take look at wait times.

According to a recently published USA Today article wait times in the good ole USA, with most of Americans using the ESGPs, has increased and is continuing to increase at alarming rates.(link).

Average appointment wait times in days for five medical specialties


• Boston: 50 days
• Philadelphia: 27 days
• Los Angeles: 24 days
• Houston: 23 days
• D.C.: 23 days
• San Diego: 20 days
• Minneapolis: 20 days
• Dallas: 19 days
• NYC: 19 days
• Denver : 15 days
• Miami: 15 days
• Portland: 14 days
• Seattle: 14 days
• Detroit: 12 days
• Atlanta: 11 days

But what about all the noise about the quality of health care? Will a government supported plan produce quality less than with an ESGP?

If that were true, then with people on Medicaid, the Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals would be different or would produce a level of care lower than those under an ESGP. With Medicaid, the Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals are all the same. So how can anyone, in their right mind, claim that health care quality would suffer?

For anyone familiar with ESGPs, everyone knows that you’re at the will of the negotiated plan. The employers negotiate based on getting the best possible coverage for the lowest possible cost. These characteristics are competing not complimentary. The notion of freedom under ESGP is laughable.

It’s time that America has a health care plan for everyone. That produces quality health care to benefit its citizens, not the profits of health care providers.

It’s time that America gets the health care it deserves.

Posted by john trevisani at June 20, 2009 9:17 AM
Comments
Comment #283298

John excellent work. This misinformation campaign by the repubs is a typical assault on the intelligence of the American people from the right. They are consistent in their “make our weakness their weakness” approach on any issue. Unfortunately it is effective as faux news ratings show. Thanks for presenting an alternative to the propaganda.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 20, 2009 10:51 AM
Comment #283300

We should just go to the Scandanavian style system with managed care and limited lawyers. you cannot jump the chasm in two hops. If people demand universal health care, this is the best we can get.

The worst we can get is what is evolving now in America. We will have the same crap going on, it will just cost 1.5 trillion dollars more. AND we already spend more for health care than any other country in the world.

Let’s just stop fooling ourselves. IMO, the Obama administration is pushing toward socialized medicine. They are just doing it in secret. They should come out into the open and we should support him.

We really cannot have a half way system. We can shorten the painful adjustment if we just go for it now. That which cannot be avoided must be welcomed.

Posted by: Christine at June 20, 2009 11:59 AM
Comment #283304

Yeah, reminds me of the time when my nephew-in-law posted on his facebook page that “I hate socialized medicine”. I asked him what he meant by that, he said Obama’s going to take over the medical system and make it socialist and he hates the idea of that.

I pointed out to him that unless he is independently wealthy and pays all his own medical bills (he doesn’t) or if he has foregone medical insurance coverage (he hasn’t), he already participates in a socialist medical system. He and my niece shortly before then had had a baby, so I asked him if there was some problem with the process. No, he said, everything went fine and the coverage was pretty good; the claims were mostly paid on time and without a lot of bickering on the part of the insurance company.

So I said, then really you have no complaint with “socialized” medicine; what you’re really worried about is “nationalized” medicine, which some other countries have tried with varying degrees of success. Yeah, he said, that’s what I’m worried about: Obama is going to nationalize medicine and that will be bad.

I said, unless you know something I don’t know (this was before the bank bailouts and the auto manufacturer bankruptcies, not that it matters), Obama has no plans to nationbalize the medical system, where did you hear he was going to?

He said, I’m hearing it from my family and friends and on the internet and on the TV and radio commercials on Fox and on Rush.

I said, I’m not hearing such things from any credible sources. I’m hearing that he wants to provide a nationalized, federally administered health insurance provider that will enable people who cannot get insurance any other way, either because they are unemployed, or poor or have some pre-existing condition for which they’ve been refused coverage at a reasonable premium by the for-profit insurance companies, but that’s nowhere near nationalizing medical care.

He said, well won’t that put all the for-profit insurance companies out of business?

I said, not unless they insist on collecting the obscene profits they are used to doing by refusing to cover pre-existing conditions, doctor-recommended expensive procedures and people who are unemployed.

I don’t think I convinced him at all that Obama has no such plans to “nationalize” medicine, but this is a good example of the misunderstandings being caused by the right’s disinformation campaign.

Posted by: daniel defoe at June 20, 2009 1:01 PM
Comment #283305

In 2004 I had a heart attack. I had just switched jobs. My previous employer (who I worked for as a temporary situation) no longer carried health insurance.

Even though, my new employer stated my insurance started on my first day of employment, when I had the heart attack after my first week, did a complete turn about. First, when I called from the hospital, I was assured my insurance was in effect. A few days later the hospital informed me it wasn’t. Upon my dismissal from the hospital, my employer sent underlings to collect my company truck. When I called my boss, I was informed I had been fired.

I was now stuck with a S40,000 bill and no job. I didn’t fill prescriptions, didn’t attend any aftercare sessions or rehab. While I was weak for a period, I guess my heart attack was relatively mild. I don’t really know. I couldn’t afford aftercare.

Then, at first I was honest about the heart attack when I began looking for work. I quickly realized I wouldn’t be hired, if I was honest about it.

It turned out fine for me, except with lots of bills to pay over the last five years. It certainly wasn’t ideal. I’ve worked for 30 years, never drawn unemployment. Yet, the second I became ill, I was anathema to employers, driven to poverty, unless I lied and was able to do my usual excellent job, and would have quickly become homeless. Sadly many Americans who believe they are insured, quickly find they really aren’t.

I don’t smoke, I’m within the normal weight range on doctors charts, and I get more exercise than a lot of people I know. I do have some family history of heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Since I work in a construction related field, frequent job changes are rather common. You go with who has the work.

An interesting article was in today’s Washington post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/19/AR2009061903583.html?hpid=topnews

The article avoids the real issue, however. It is the perversion of the market created by the insurance industry. This screams for a single payer system that can refocus the market to it’s needs. There isn’t a shortage of family doctors, there is a bias against them. An oncologist can be a family doctor. There simply needs to be a market that refocuses what pays and what doesn’t. The need will be filled. Retraining sure, a few seminars in the Bahamas and, voila, a family practitioner.

The fear mongering among doctors worrying about their next yacht payment is a bit absurd. Nice try guys, I hear India may be hiring specialists who don’t want to serve the market that exists, but want an easy job with high pay and no hassles. Oops, they don’t pay as much. Perhaps you guys should look into Wall Street. Damn. No jobs there either. Oh well. I can’t wait for the Proctologist standing on the corner with a sign stating “will examine you for food.”


Posted by: gergle at June 20, 2009 1:02 PM
Comment #283306

WINGNUTS: ” bla bla bla socialized medicine…bla bla bla communism…bla bla bla FEAR.”
These objections are baloney. WE already HAVE socialized public education, fire departments, police departments, and other services, all of which work just fine thanks.
And will it cost “1.5 trillion MORE”, in ADDITION to what is already being spent? If we did have socialized medicine, people (and companies) wouldn’t have to fork out all those dollars a month to private insurance companies for dubious coverage. If you deduct THAT, it starts to sound a lot better. Let’s see…if 66% of the people are on employer-based health plans or private ones, and there are 300 million people in the US, that’s 200 million people on these plans. Times the per-person charges for insurance (I don’t know what the average is), that’s a LOAD of money. Let’s say it’s $200 a month per person. Why, that’s $40 BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH! $480 billion a year. (no wonder the private insurance companies are in a state of panic!!) Now you put a reasonable cap on malpractice suits and the like, and do something about the hospitals charging $12 for an aspirin, and the situation starts to look better, huh?

Posted by: capnmike at June 20, 2009 1:09 PM
Comment #283307

Christine: “the Obama administration is pushing toward socialized medicine. “

Christine, we already have socialized medicine. If you have insurance, that’s a socialistic system where insureds pay into a pool from which claims are paid. Unless you have a doctor on your payroll, you share that doctor with other patients who all ultimately pay him for his services. Unless you won your own hospital, you share it with other patients. The whole US medical system is a socialized system already.

I think what you’re afraid of is a nationalized system, one that is completely controlled by the government. But I’m not aware of any plans, (intended or unintended) to do such a thing. If you know of such plans, post some information on them.

Christine: “we already spend more for health care than any other country in the world.”

Yes, mostly because the insurance companies are for-profit and their first emphasis is on making huge profits, not on providing excellent, cost-effective care.

If I was Obama, I would either totally outlaw for-profit medical insurance or place limits on the profits the for-profit insurance companies can make. I mean, let’s face it: ultimately all they do is shuffle papers relating to medical service delivery and do not per se do anything to improve health.

But that’s the reason we spend so much on health care yet have relatively lower life expectancy and quality of life compared to other countries.

Christine: “…limited lawyers.”

Not a good idea in my opinion. Unless you’ve been in the position of having been harmed by a medical professional failing to do what he/she knows he/she is supposed to do, you aren’t really in a good position to propose getting lawyers out of the system. Try googling “Robert Courtney” for information that personally affected me.

Posted by: Daniel Defoe at June 20, 2009 1:13 PM
Comment #283308

Gergle, I can sort of relate.

I too had a coronary infarction, in July 2008. But I was a lucky SOB in that I just happened to be employed at the time and covered by what I would call a Cadillac policy. I never even saw a bill for any of the procedures or hospitalization, it was all paid in full, no questions asked.

Today, my cardiologist tells me there is no reason I shouldn’t live as long and as full a life as I would have had the CI not occurred.

I’m sorry you had the bad experience you had.

“It is the perversion of the market created by the insurance industry.”

YES, you are so right about this. I’ve been saying it for years.

Posted by: Daniel Defoe at June 20, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #283311

My husband is retired military. We have Champus (now Tricare) insurance.

I have the standard version which means I can see any doctor I want, with no required referral. I chose that for my breast surgeon and for my chemo doctor.

My husband has the HMO version, and plays hell getting referrals. His primary care doctor is actually now a Nurse Practitioner. This is one way we could go to help with the shortage of doctors.

Nurse Practitioners are great, and work under the direct supervision of physicians. They have excellent training. There are ways to accomplish what we want.

JMHO

Posted by: womanmarine at June 20, 2009 1:43 PM
Comment #283317

Christine,
In 2008, the combined total for employees w/families spent an estimated $809,176,200 (http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml) for premiums just alone. If you estimate the additional out-of-pocket expenses for each family at around at $1000 per family per year, you can add another $273,993,000 for a total of $1,083,169,200 that families already spend each year for their current health care.

Do you think you’d pay about $5000 a year per family in taxes for a government supplied plan?

Posted by: john trevisani at June 20, 2009 3:16 PM
Comment #283321

Contrary to the ”factual’ information presented in this artice, there are non governmental options for individuals who are not offered employer offered health care.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 20, 2009 4:00 PM
Comment #283322

Daniel D

Did you read what I wrote? I am not afraid of a socialized system or a nationalized systems. I called for a Scandinaivian style system, which is both nationalized and socialized.

What I fear is the half way between.

John

See above. Go all the way. Let’s not pretend. I lived in Norway. It worked okay. But it is a different system. We cannot just scale up our system. I am sorry if it is too revolutionary an idea, but I don’t think we can jump this chasm in two hops (sorry to overuse the old saying, but it makes sense here.)

If we go with a scaled up system of what we have now, i think I will pay a lot more than $5000 in taxes to support it.

Let’s be 100% clear. Health care costs money. The demand for health care is almost limitless. We have to ration it. We can do it with price, waiting lines or choices. I prefer to make informed choices. That might mean that I won’t get that expensive surgery when I am 80 or that the the badly premature baby won’t be saved. Don’t duck the hard choices just because they are hard.

The Scandinavian systems do not cover all the same things ours does. BUT they live longer. Maybe we are doing TOO much.

Posted by: Christine at June 20, 2009 4:35 PM
Comment #283328

Rhinehold:


Contrary to the ”factual’ information presented in this artice, there are non governmental options for individuals who are not offered employer offered health care.

5% have Private Insurance. It’s in the original ‘article’. But feel free to point out the inaccuracies. Oh… with citations of course.

Otherwise it’s just another drive-by comment.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 20, 2009 8:04 PM
Comment #283333

John, I intended to convey that I agree with your original post, as well as the follow-ups, for that matter. Sorry that wasn’t clear…

Posted by: Daniel Defoe at June 20, 2009 10:33 PM
Comment #283334

Daniel,
It’s all good. i understood your point and your opinion.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 20, 2009 10:44 PM
Comment #283339

Health Care…If we go into a hospital with no medical insurance, can we be turned away? Laws say no, Hospital Lawyers claim its all to a degree…I have wonderful insurance…and i would love for everyone to have the same coverage…i would also love to see everyone working as hard as i do for that coverage…Due to my fathers health i pay over 1500.00 a month for his PPO plan…he was given 6 months to live…10 years ago…if i were to get this same health care for free would i work as hard…no, why would i…i build water pumping stations for the government to bring water from one part of the state to others whom would otherwise see harsh droughts…would i wake up every morning at 4a.m. and work 16 hour days if i didnt have to? If you dont have insurance, DO YOU? Benefits are just that, Benefits for putting in the work others arent willing to do…If i could go to college…have all my medical care paid for…and work at starbucks 3 hours a day i would…what is the answer…i dont know…i’m torn from both sides…like i said my biggest customer is the Government…i can tell you from experience they do nothing but waste money…they are over budget on every project i have been on…This most recent one being supervised by 8 state inspectors is already 2 years past the time line due to them not getting the permits and over a million over budget on the electrical portion alone…now this makes me fear that where they can not handle a 30 million dollar pumping station for one city…how could they handle a multi trillion dollar project for the entire nation… These are just a few of my concerns…i dont belong to any Political party because unlike ppl wanting “change” i truly believe in Change…not following what one party or the other has believed in for the last 250+ years…In closing i do hope we solve this horrible problem…and i do hope for change…

Posted by: Big C at June 20, 2009 11:27 PM
Comment #283347

Hmm, Big C.

On all the pump stations I’ve worked on it’s the contractor’s responsibility to get permits.

Cost overruns aren’t paid, except for design errors and changes…. often caused by Architects contracted by the government. Sometimes these errors are back charged to the faulty parties. Inspectors have little or no power to cause delays or fix them. Projects beyond schedule dates, that are the fault of the contractor, are charged liquidated damages, meaning every day the contract is delayed the contractor or bonding agency owes money to the government.

Based on your statements you have little understanding of inspection protocol, or government contracting, and I suspect, even less understanding of a single payer healthcare system.

Posted by: gergle at June 21, 2009 1:22 AM
Comment #283348

Christine
“We really cannot have a half way system. We can shorten the painful adjustment if we just go for it now. That which cannot be avoided must be welcomed.”
Wow! I’m with you. We should immediatly go to a single payer system. Political considerations dictate otherwise,unfortunately. The BHO appraoch is a good path forward, at this point anyway. If the public insurance proposal goes down to defeat then the reform will be meaningless.
As it stands,the employer mandate is also a vital part of the solution if we ,as apparently are going to,keep employer provided health benefits as a foundation of the system.As it is now,irresponsible employers gain a competitive advantage by not offering benefits to the workers. As people do,sometimes their workers get sick. The cost of their care is covered by the high cost paid by employers that do act responsibly toward their workers through high hospital cost. How fair is that?No wonder the fewer and fewer employers are offering benefits.Its a decending spiral and the only way to stop it by requiring health coverage as part of any employment compensation with severe penalties for those that try and get around it. I don’t like it. A single payer system would be better but again, politics is the art of the possible.

Posted by: bills at June 21, 2009 1:25 AM
Comment #283349

ALL
Part of reforms taking place is a factual study of comparitive treatment efficacy, in other words, what treatments work better than others and which ones don’t work at all. Clearly ,treatment payments by the government should not include paying for wasteful, ineffective and even dangerious unnecessary procedures. Whats the Republican take?

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/taking-the-hypocritical-oath/

Posted by: bills at June 21, 2009 1:38 AM
Comment #283350

It’s interesting to me that at some point in our recent history large numbers of people have decided that their personal health was a matter to be attended to by government.

This is a very novel idea in the history of civilization. Ancient Rome or ancient Egypt at the heighth of their power never dreamed of such of a thing. Our founding fathers never dreamed of it. I’m not sure where such an idea even first appeared? Does anybody know? My guess is that it was either during the early years of Stalin’s Russia or the early years of Hitler’s Germany. In the US, it’s all part of a general drift toward an all powerful state. Few seem to remember that a government powerful enough to give you everything you want and need can also take away everything you have. The faith that there’ll be more giving than taking seems unshakeable, even though totally unsupported by the history of governments.

Posted by: Paul at June 21, 2009 1:39 AM
Comment #283352

Paul
Every other first world country has some form of government health care. These are democracies with vibrant private sectors and individual rights. They also pay a good deal less than we do for what is often better care. The decision to do this is not particularly recent. Its a realistic ,proven approach.

Your question is an interesting one. When was it decided that the government should supply education,or fire departments, or sewer systems. I am sure they had them in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. So? It should be noted that ,under US direction, the Iraqis have government health care. It just makes more sense. The only reason we do not have it is because of the amount of money being stolen from Americans being used to corrupt officials and manipulate public opinion with fear tactics to perpetuate a system that has failed, a systems that functions to enrich a few rather than deliver health care.

Posted by: bills at June 21, 2009 4:48 AM
Comment #283356

What Bill S. just said.
But, here is the stake that threatens the heart of the problem: “It is the perversion of the market created by the insurance industry”.
I have experienced, *personally*, multiple times, medical care providers who offered to take 30-40 PERCENT LESS for their services because I had a large deductible to fulfill. If I wanted to pay them directly, rather than process the claim through my insurance company. I have had my insurance company request all my school, legal, and psychological records……all records, because they wanted to weasel out of paying for an operation. Making a bundle supervising and administering medical care is incongruent with medical care. The whole idea, in my mind, violates what Hippocrates had in mind when he stated “First, do no harm”. In the abscence of responsible action, harm is the inevitable result. When medical decisions are made on a business/profit basis, the insurance company is going to come first.

I predict that there is approximately the same odds that the sun will no longer rise in the East, as the insurance industry will let their golden goose go. I desperately hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. Too bad for all of us.

Posted by: steve miller at June 21, 2009 8:34 AM
Comment #283359

“Health Care…If we go into a hospital with no medical insurance, can we be turned away? Laws say no, Hospital Lawyers claim its all to a degree…”

We hear this quite a bit when discussing health care. Some have taken this to mean that emergency room staff must treat less intensive health problems, which is not the case.

“If you’re not having an emergency, then the hospital emergency room does not have to treat you.”

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/KnowYourRights/KnowYourEmergencyRoomRights.aspx

Posted by: j2t2 at June 21, 2009 10:08 AM
Comment #283360
But the Times/CBS poll found 85 percent of respondents wanted major healthcare reforms and most would be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure everyone had health insurance. An estimated 46 million Americans currently have no coverage.

Seventy-two percent of those questioned said they backed a government-administered insurance plan similar to Medicare for those under 65 that would compete for customers with the private sector. Twenty percent said they were opposed.

Wide support for government health plan: poll

I’m with them.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 21, 2009 10:31 AM
Comment #283369

As someone who works in the health care industry, I see both sides of this argument. Where I am from people go to our ER for the stupidest things, from the necessary to I have a tooth ache. As was stated in an earlier post, ER’s should be used just for that reason. Emergencies.

I work in one of the few Dr’s offices that still takes any and all insurances, other than when a panel is closed for a particular insurance, our doctors see anyone. We also offer a sliding fee for those who do not have insurance, it is based on income and number of people in the household. I see the abuses everyday. Those that are on the managed care or medicaid programs have no limits on the number of times that they can be seen. They will call because they have a “cold” and want something for it. Whereas those who do not have insurance or pay for our insurance would go to the local CVS, Walgreen’s, etc and buy something over the counter, they get it for free, no copay or anything. They also have access to massages, acupuncture, chiropractic, dietary education, etc.

If they have the medicare managed care same thing, but they have copays of 3.00. Now I still haven’t figured out why the senior citizens would have a copay and those that are perfectly healthy people, who could go out and find a job, do not. But I digress.

The use of PA’s/Nurse Practioners is getting to be the norm in any office. The difference being from the number of years that they train is so slim that in most cases the only difference is what scripts they can write. I know in my office our Practicioner is in some cases more popular than the physicians and is just as busy.

Even with me working in a doctors office, my deductible is outrageous, for my husband, daughter, and myself, I pay about 500.00 a month for my health care and have an annual deductable of 5000.00. Yes, I am lucky in the aspect of if I use my offices network of about 35 different offices with different specialties, I pay no copay. But if we go out of the network, I have a 25.00 copay, and they do reimburse us for the first 2500 towards our deductable (with proof of paying the money.)

What is really the kicker though is the insurance companies, we pay all of this money for premimums and they still feel like they can tell us what can be done or meds we can take. The hoops that someone has to go to, to get the medicine that the doctor feels that we need, is just ridiculous.

It is not going to get any better until there is some regulation on the insurance and pharmacutical companies. The insurance companies just keep raising the cost of the policies and what the pharmacutical companies charge outrageous prices for medications. I can understand when a medication is fairly new on the market they have to recoup some of the costs of the medications, but to have them have thousands of dollars profit on a single pill is just unbelievable.

I know our office is implementing Electronic Medical Records, while costing a small fortune to start off with in all of the offices, in the long run will lead to less mistakes, more accurate care by the physicians and more efficiency by the entire staff. If every office, hospital and pharmacy were to do this it would eventually cut down on costs everywhere. Fewer phone calls by the pharmacy to the office because they can’t read the doctors writing leads to less mistakes. If they were all linked together a person could be in Maine, while their doctor is in California and in an emergency their records are just a button away, every drug they are taking, to every surgery they might have had is right there so that the physician taking care of the patient has everything he/she might need.

Posted by: Sherri at June 21, 2009 6:35 PM
Comment #283371

Sheri,

While I agree that the pharmaceuticals and insurance industry need regulation, a single payer system is the only answer that makes sense of a way to do that. It is going to be politically difficult, and an interim step may need to be made. I’m not sure how your statements support anything else.

As to patients abusing services, with a single payer system Nurse Practitioners and others can become more effective at being available and screening, and most importantly, patient education. As I noted above, more GP’s are needed.

With all due respect, a toothache can be extremely painful and may require opiates. Getting those on a Sunday may only be achieved at an ER. I often have trouble making same day appointments, even if I am in extreme pain. I’ve never used an ER for that, but I have had bad tooth pain and usually try to keep some heavy painkillers on hand for something like that.

Posted by: gergle at June 21, 2009 7:06 PM
Comment #283386

I understand what you mean by some people abusing the system, but like gergle said about toothaches. I have taken extra strength pain killers, and they usually don’t do anything for it. I have had tooth aches were I almost passout from the pain. On the other hand, I have had a half severed finger, and a glass shredded leg, that although extremely painful. Was not nearly as bad as 2 toothaches I have had.

Posted by: kodossupreme at June 22, 2009 4:30 AM
Comment #283395

“he already participates in a socialist medical system”

Actually, he voluntarily participates in a social medical system that himself and others use their freedom of choice to be a member of. In a socialist medical system, that choice is made for them and they are forced to participate in what others have deemed is best for them.

“I don’t think I convinced him at all that Obama has no such plans to “nationalize” medicine, but this is a good example of the misunderstandings being caused by the right’s disinformation campaign”

Information is not disinformation simply because one does not understand the information or because of where it comes from.

Would healthcare for all be a tax-funded welfare program? Yes.
Would the people have the freedom to choose whether to participate or not? No. The choice is made for them by the “state” and they have no say in the matter. Losing that freedom is why your NIL hates socialism.

Nationalized (fill in the blank) is the end goal of socialists, who want the “state” to control and distribute how they see best. The individual liberty to make that choice for oneself is totally removed from the equation.

The only “myth” of America’s private health care system is that it is somebody else’s responsibility to provide it for you.

Posted by: kctim at June 22, 2009 10:23 AM
Comment #283419

kctim,

So which socialized programs do think we should therefore eliminate and which should we retain?

All or nothing thinking is a bit juvenile, don’t you think? It may win an argument, but at what cost?

Posted by: gergle at June 22, 2009 6:15 PM
Comment #283429

I also meant to add to my prior statement by saying hospitals are also someplace where fees need to be regulated. For example, my husbands boss and his wife were in Aruba recently and she had a mild MI, she was in the hospital for three days, her total bill, hospital, doctor, etc. was 78.00, and she said she had better care there than she would have had at home. The bill for my daughters knee surgery, operating room only was almost 2000.00. Not counting doctor, anesthesia, recovery room, etc. now IMO, there is something drastically wrong with that picture.

I myself do not care which way this goes, it is a system that needs fixed, making it easier, less expensive for those who do not have health care to get it and keep it. If a person has had issues in the past, I do not believe prior problems should be held against someone. If a medication has been on the market and the money spent on research has been recouped, it should be lowered in price and made easier for someone to get that medication, it should not be allowed for countless years to be high priced.

Posted by: Sherri at June 22, 2009 8:19 PM
Comment #283430

kctim:

The only “myth” of America’s private health care system is that it is somebody else’s responsibility to provide it for you.

You’re wrong.

i wrote about the myth of the private insurance system.

The Republicans routinely repeat that we have a private health insurance system in this country. There are only about 5% of the people that have coverage is considered to be private. The vast majority is employee sponsored coverage.

Get it right.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 22, 2009 8:33 PM
Comment #283431

Question, of the 18% of Americans not insured how many work for a company that offers insurance and don’t take it?

Posted by: jjk0091 at June 22, 2009 9:05 PM
Comment #283435

jjk0091:
The government data does not indicate the how the individuals became uninsured. However, in other studies, such as the NDHC article, there are sources that show the correlation between increased costs and declining participation in health care programs.

Posted by: john trevisani at June 22, 2009 10:01 PM
Comment #283454

Gergle
Any program which infringes on the rights of another should be eliminated. I am naive enough to believe any will be, seeing how we are now a dependent society, but if we are to be free as our founders intended, that is what would be done.
You could start with SS.

John
Private insurance begins with the individual, not a company. The myth that private insurance is somebodys elses responsibility does not mean it is not available.

Another thing is that you voluntarily sign up for an employee plan. That is, you make the choice, not the govt. Many people consider the freedom to do that as a private thing between them and the company they are dealing with.

Yes, it is more convienent to ignore freedom of choice when discussing this, but there is no way to “get it right” when we do.

Posted by: kctim at June 23, 2009 9:37 AM
Comment #283455

kCtim:
i realize that, with regards to you, i’m just urinating into the wind, but really… do you really believe the stuff that you post or are you just assuming the antagonist position just to get a rise out of people. Honestly, if it were the latter, i would have much more respect for your posts.

But i’m going to assume that you’re serious; care to answer a personal question or two?

- Is your current Health Care Insurance a PRIVATE insurance plan? By PRIVATE: you are not a part of any group plan. If you do have PRIVATE health insurance, can you describe what were the steps that you needed to go through to obtain the coverage (physical, health history, etc..)?

Posted by: john trevisani at June 23, 2009 9:49 AM
Comment #283458

kctim,

I am naive enough to believe any will be, seeing how we are now a dependent society, but if we are to be free as our founders intended, that is what would be done.

Well, at least you acknowledge your naivete.
As I said, all or nothing thinking. When you’re ready to deal with the real world, call me.

Posted by: gergle at June 23, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #283461

KcTim:

While where you work may allow an employee to choose to be part of the health plan or not, many companies do not/cannot offer this option by requirement of the insurance company. The insurance companies, as part of the group deal with a company require that all employees be part of the plan. Keeps the group bigger, more income, and spreads the risks wider.

Just thought you should know.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 23, 2009 12:12 PM
Comment #283462

John, of course I believe what I post. I do not post to “get a rise out of people,” either. I realize individualist thinking such as our founders had is not the “cool” thing today, but I do appreciate you being serious.

Yes, I do have a health “insurance” savings (plan) in which I am not a member of any group plan. The steps I took to obtain such a thing is called SAVING, which I have done since I was old enough to work.
Thats kind of what I mean when I say it begins with the individual.

Gergle
I actually meant to put a “not” in there, not naive enough to believe things will change. I realize too many people “in the real world” are too afraid to embrace such freedom because of the responsibility that comes with it.

WomanMarine
That is interesting info and if a company forces its employees to be part of their plan then they are just as wrong as the govt will be when they force us to be part of their so-called plan.
Luckily, I have not had the chance to make that decision with any company I have worked for, but I can assure you that I would not work for them. Just as I refused many offers to work at Ford here in KC because they require you be union.
Thank you for the info.

Posted by: kctim at June 23, 2009 12:34 PM
Comment #283470
All or nothing thinking is a bit juvenile, don’t you think? It may win an argument, but at what cost?

Actually regaining our freedoms? I know, silly concept for many and not much of a benefit for those so willing to give theirs up…

Posted by: rhinehold at June 23, 2009 3:27 PM
Comment #283475

Apparently, its a concept that is out dated, Rhinehold. It’s now easier for those willing to give their freedoms to just ignore those facts rather than face them.

Posted by: kctim at June 23, 2009 4:34 PM
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