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Health care in America
marymary100 - 2-1-2008 at 12:33

During an August 2007 Democratic presidential debate in Illinois— retired steelworker Steve Skvara asked a crucial question. "After 34 years with LTV Steel, I was forced to retire because of a disability. Two years later, LTV filed bankruptcy. I lost a third of my pension, and my family lost their healthcare," he said. "Every day of my life, I sit at the kitchen table across from the woman who devoted 36 years of her life to my family, and I can't afford to pay for her healthcare. What's wrong with America, and what will you do to change it?"

What health care should be available to all Americans, regardless of income?


Quaver - 3-1-2008 at 00:45

People of America or the world should be entitled to free complete first class promt healthcarekewl_glasses

I hope it will be sometime in the future;)


marymary100 - 3-1-2008 at 00:47

Another woman made the point that her sons are good enough to go and fight for their country as both a serving in Iraq at the moment but she is not entitled to adequate healthcare. I wonder why she thinks that when scholar assures us that everyone is regardless of income?


scholar - 3-1-2008 at 01:24

What, exactly, is meant by "entitlement"?

Health care must be paid for. Nobody will be a doctor, if they don't get paid sufficiently well. The equipment, facilities, support personel, and medicines all require money.

There have been quite a few union-business contracts that have made a stupid deal--instead of having money set aside for health care reimbursement (out of the company's reach), and expecting the value of that money toward health care, the union got a promise of health care coverage (but no actual money), so that the future depended on the financial health of the company. Can anyone really expect a bankrupt company to reimburse for health care? Of course not.

Some other companies (General Motors, for one) have struggled mightily to keep making good on promises to reimburse health care that they cannot really afford. It puts them at such a disadvantage that the whole company could collapse under the weight of its obligations, because no one would buy the cars if the added cost of all the health obligations were added to the price.

I don't say the worker shouldn't get health care. But, there has to be a better plan to pay for it. His union spent his dues without looking out for him, and didn't keep health care reimbursement costs separate from the company's funds.

The government is presently taxing the public too much, and the present social security (pension and disabilitiy) and medicare obligations are greater than the money which comes in to pay for the programs. For government to be able to do more, it has to cut unnecessary programs, and get more effects for less money. Government-run medical programs have spiraled out of control (such as medicare and the Veterans' Administration). The greater-efficiency methods of private competition need to be enlisted to minimize the costs.


marymary100 - 3-1-2008 at 02:24

Another statistic I heard yesterday was that 9 months of the funding for Iraq in 2007 would have funded healthcare for all in the US for the entire year. It depends what your priorities are I guess if this statistic is true.


Quaver - 3-1-2008 at 03:34

Perhaps some sort of cheap compulsory state health insurance?


scholar - 3-1-2008 at 03:43

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
It depends what your priorities are .
Saddam and his sons had rooms for rape and torture. They used poison gas on their own people. One means of death was to throw victims into a chipper--if you were fortunate, you went in head first and died more quickly. If not, you felt your body being ground up from foot to head.

This has been eliminated forever, they have died for their crimes, and the people of Iraq have a democracy.

What priority do you place on freedom from rape and being torn into pieces?:)


Quaver - 3-1-2008 at 03:47

Quote:
Originally posted by scholar
This has been eliminated forever, they have died for their crimes, and the people of Iraq have a democracy.

What priority do you place on freedom from rape and being torn into pieces?:)

It may sound selfish, but healthcare for mum & dad?:D (My Mum/Dad have healthcare though;))


scholar - 3-1-2008 at 04:03

Quote:
Originally posted by Quaver
Perhaps some sort of cheap compulsory state health insurance?

I think Romney's plan involved requiring everyone to have private health insurance, which his state (Massachusetts) would subsidize for people who were too poor. Since the insurance was private, companies would compete against each other. If one gave a worse value, or worse service, they would lose customers as people would transfer to another company that gave a better value.

I have no doubt the cost excessive awards for lawsuits inflates the cost of health care, because it makes higher malpractice insurance costs necessary--that needs to be fixed.

The costs of proving drugs to be sufficiently safe and effective are very high--that should be addressed.

Companies that produce vaccines can be sued for huge amounts, but they make very little on each vaccine, so the profit is hardly worth the risk--that should be fixed.

If people could buy health insurance across state lines, it would be a HUGE savings (because some states load up their local health insurance with expensive mandatory requirements).

Something can be pieced together, carefully, and additional improvements can be made.


scholar - 3-1-2008 at 04:16

Quote:
Originally posted by Quaver
It may sound selfish, but healthcare for mum & dad?:D (My Mum/Dad have healthcare though;))
Government reimbursement for health care for old people is in place in the US. It is called Medicare.

It has been a disaster, as far as fraud and waste is concerned. Some doctors have billed the government for hundreds of procedures per day, on behalf of medicare patients. If a doctor can charge for something he can do "on the cheap," (it costs him little time and he makes a big profit), he'll be happy to do it. If a patient needs a procedure that pays a small amount but the cost in terms of office time is really much greater than the government is willing to pay, no doctor will want to do it and take the "loss."

There is also the problem of timely reimbursement. The State of Illinois does not have enough money to pay its bills, so it makes doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies wait until there is money available (but the politicians' paychecks are always issued on time!). In Illinois, if the doctor is paid within 90 days of the time the bill is turned into the state, it is considered caught up.

There have been proposals to improve Medicare to get a better value, but most of the people who use it don't worry as much about the waste and fraud as they worry about a better system being more complicated. The Bush administration advocated making the improvements voluntary, so that people would not be frightened that they might lose something.


marymary100 - 3-1-2008 at 10:45

Part of the problem is the litigious attitude that so many seem to have in America. Doctors' malpractice insurance helps to bump up the cost of treatment to patients.

I was in an HMO in the US when I lived there which itemised bills which they had covered. Some treatments would have been excluded. My friend and colleague became very ill and they cancelled his insurance and he was sacked from his position because the school was unable to fund his healthcare. It became a cause celebre in the 90s in the area. He eventually won his case but only after taking legal action. Someone else employed him and his wife's insurance covered much of his treatment but it was a very worrying time for them all.

When someone is ill they are at their most vulnerable. It is indefensible that treatment is down to having the "right" insurance. My friend died a few years later and spent the last three years of his life in a state of bitterness because of all they had put him through.

For me healthcare for all citizens born in a country (or working long-term in a country) is a right and we all have a responsibility to fund it. I would never deny a bone marrow transplant to someone just because they had insufficient funds.


LSemmens - 3-1-2008 at 11:37

Quote:
Part of the problem is the litigious attitude that so many seem to have in America. Doctors' malpractice insurance helps to bump up the cost of treatment to patients.

This seems to be a common concept by outsiders. In OZ, this also appears to be slowly pervading our society, too.