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BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?

artbrooks 13 Jul 09 - 07:20 PM
Emma B 13 Jul 09 - 07:04 PM
DougR 13 Jul 09 - 06:44 PM
Royston 13 Jul 09 - 06:27 PM
Art Thieme 13 Jul 09 - 06:24 PM
Emma B 13 Jul 09 - 06:19 PM
VirginiaTam 13 Jul 09 - 06:16 PM
Rapparee 13 Jul 09 - 06:14 PM
gnu 13 Jul 09 - 05:53 PM
Royston 13 Jul 09 - 05:36 PM
artbrooks 13 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM
Barry Finn 13 Jul 09 - 05:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Jul 09 - 02:57 PM
Royston 13 Jul 09 - 02:52 PM
Stringsinger 13 Jul 09 - 02:43 PM
artbrooks 13 Jul 09 - 02:30 PM
Royston 13 Jul 09 - 02:23 PM
gnu 13 Jul 09 - 02:23 PM
DougR 13 Jul 09 - 02:11 PM
VirginiaTam 13 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM
Royston 13 Jul 09 - 01:58 PM
gnu 13 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM
dick greenhaus 13 Jul 09 - 12:56 PM
Royston 13 Jul 09 - 12:48 PM
daylia 13 Jul 09 - 12:30 PM
daylia 13 Jul 09 - 12:08 PM
VirginiaTam 13 Jul 09 - 12:08 PM
Little Hawk 13 Jul 09 - 11:39 AM
Ebbie 13 Jul 09 - 11:03 AM
theleveller 13 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM
daylia 13 Jul 09 - 10:22 AM
Rapparee 13 Jul 09 - 09:58 AM
Barry Finn 13 Jul 09 - 02:05 AM
Peace 13 Jul 09 - 01:38 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jul 09 - 01:23 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 12 Jul 09 - 11:43 PM
Maryrrf 12 Jul 09 - 11:07 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 10:27 PM
Maryrrf 12 Jul 09 - 10:15 PM
Art Thieme 12 Jul 09 - 10:13 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 09:59 PM
Bobert 12 Jul 09 - 08:55 PM
Peace 12 Jul 09 - 08:26 PM
mmm1a 12 Jul 09 - 08:24 PM
daylia 12 Jul 09 - 08:19 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,mg 12 Jul 09 - 06:51 PM
Little Hawk 12 Jul 09 - 06:44 PM
Ebbie 12 Jul 09 - 06:26 PM
Rapparee 12 Jul 09 - 06:25 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:20 PM

Doug, the plan envisioned by Mr. Obama and the Democratic side of Congress includes "keep your current insurance plan if you like it". If various Senators and Congressman like their plan (and it's ok but not great - I was on it for years), than they can keep it. So, by definition, they will be participating in whichever plan is signed into law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Emma B
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 07:04 PM

Royston, your ebullient panegyric is incommodious :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: DougR
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:44 PM

gnu: I certainly will tread lightly from now on. I do not wish to run afoul of your mother.

Royston: I am no different that any other U.S. citizen who receives a check monthly from the Social Security Administration. The cost of my participation in the Medicare program (which is part of the Social Security Administration and is available to all retired citizens who have paid into the program)is deducted from my monthly SS checks. My private insurance company is paid by Medicare to administer the plan I am affiliated with. There are lots of companies to choose from. My plan also offers a dental plan (an extra $38.00 per month paid by me), and a prescription drug program. I take only generic drugs and they cost $3.00 for a one month supply. Sometimes I order drugs from the Veteran's Administration because they allow one to order three months supply at one time. The cost is $16.00 for a three month supply).

Art: One of my concerns about the various programs being kicked around in Washington is that members of Congress will not be participating in whichever plan is signed into law. It seems to me if the program is good enough for the constituents, it should be good enough for employees of the government.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Royston
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:27 PM

Oh Em,

I am truly in awe of your sagacious perspicacity.

And I am not taking the P!

Thank you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:24 PM

While I had my private health insurance:

1) As diagnosed by Chicago neuro-hotshots physicians, I had TEN f-ing years of spinal and neck surgeries all through the 1990s. These symptoms, after I finally got to Mayo Clinic for another expert opinion in 1997, were correctly, at long last, diagnosed as MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS!!!

2) So much for the American health system being good if you have privately paid for health insurance. I still had it then. It paid for this trip to Mayo just fine---even though the damn guys at Columbus Hospital in Chicago missed the diagnosis by the distance from here to the moon! (My opinion.)

3) At Mayo clinic, I had yet another neck surgery to fix something the earlier surgeons messed up.

4) While recovering at Mayo Clinic, I had a MAJOR exacerbation of my, as yet undiagnosed, MS. I was literally paralyzed.

5) After TWO Months as an inpatient -- St. Mary's Hospital at Mayo Clinic, and after 3 MRIs, a spinal tap, and other diagnostic stuff---on the last day I was there in that hospital---I finally got the diagnosis FOR SURE.

6) Mayo Clinic was the only place that suspected, or even MENTIONED, MS as being my problem!!

I've told this story in other threads here--so I'm sorry to repeat myself. There is more, but that's it for now. I'm exhausted!

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Emma B
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:19 PM

This is not intended to 'knock' America but,
any discussion of healthcare in the developed world ought to begin with a plain fact

Among the OECD's 30 members -- which include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom -- there are only three lacking universal health coverage.
The other two happen to be Mexico and Turkey, which have the excuse of being poorer than the rest (and until the onset of the world economic crisis, Mexico was on the way to providing healthcare to all of its citizens).

The third, of course, is America.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a study Health Care Reform in the United states
documented the gross "discrepancy" between the enormous amounts that Americans spend on healthcare and the value received for that expenditure, the study found that the United States ranks poorly among OECD countries on measures of life expectancy, infant mortality and reductions in "amenable mortality," meaning deaths "from certain causes that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective healthcare."

Although the public share of health expenditure in the United States is much lower than any other OECD country except Mexico, the public expenditure on healthcare is much higher per capita than in most OECD countries.
So Americans pay a lot more in taxes devoted to medical care -- not including insurance premiums, co-payments, fees, and other health costs -– than taxpayers in those 27 countries that have universal coverage.

The supposed downsides of universal coverage, such as lack of access to sophisticated medical technologies, are belied in many of these countries.

For instance Japan has lower per capita health expenditures than the United States (and universal coverage,) but its citizens have greater access to MRI machines, CT scanners and kidney dialysis equipment than Americans do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:16 PM

The point is that far more US citizens work wage jobs with companies that do not have health insurance option. There are more people working those jobs than most middle and upper socioeconomic classes think or want to believe.

And more will be as the higher end jobs melt away in the recession. And Don't be surprised when companies decide that 30/70 split on heath care costs is too expensive and decide to do 50/50 or 60/40.

The US government has to reign in the big hospital corporations and pharmaceutical companies. It's their greed that has caused the insurance to go up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 06:14 PM

Ron (not his real name) is the husband of one of the women who work here. During the Namtime Ron was a "black" sniper in Laos and Cambodia as well as in Vietnam. He was shelled and suffered three concussions. He was literally sprayed with Agent Orange AND Agent Blue.

Now, after long battles with the VA and with the learning that comes with the passage of time, he is considered 100% disabled. He has:

*90% hearing loss
*Type II diabetes
*PTSD at the worst level
*a suspected brain tumor
*one leg shrinking (it's 1.25 inches shorter than a year ago)
*peripheral neuropathy

All of these are being treated by the VA...now. But he left Vietnam in 1970. It took from 1975 to 1998 to get his PTSD affirmed and treated, the diabetes was confirmed in 2002. There were similar timescales for the other things.

Why?

Because the VA had to learn that PTSD wasn't something that would cure itself. It had to learn the AO caused Type II Diabete and peripheral neuropathy. Then it had to get Congressional approval to deal with them! It's like calling a committee meeting to discuss how to deal with the fire under your desk.

Troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan have the benefit of the battles fought by the Nam vets to get chemical poisoning and PTSD recognized (and the fight is still going on).

In the meantime, a lot of good people died....


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:53 PM

Easy lads... easyyyy.... fact is, there is a division between rich and poor (a different discussion?), but singling out particular divisions does not address the basic question of human compassion being either desirable as a goal or undesirable as a greed.

Both have a cost. Who do you pay? Good or greed?

It appears it depends on how "good" off you are and how much you can afford your greed. If you are well off, you can sleep well at night. If not, lack of sleep will kill you quick. Little solace, except it's cheaper.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Royston
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:36 PM

Artbrooks,

How much do Congressmen pay themselves each year?

How much does a clerk in a Federal office take home?

What is your point?


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:27 PM

Barry, you do know that Members of Congress pay exactly the same (generally about 1/3 of the total cost)for their health insurance as any other Federal employee, don't you? With exactly the same co-payments and deductibles?


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 05:03 PM

Rap, comment about the VA. My Father & my step father both went to the VA & both never came out.
My brother's been going since he came home from Viet Nam, they still haven't figured out what's wrong with him. One of my best freinds as a young'un also went into the VA after he came home from Viet Nam, they couldn't figure out his problems either so as soon as he got out he killed himself, he couldn' take the pain & the uncertinally any longer.
These (with the exception of my brother) all happened at main Boston facility in Jamacia Plain.

Most people I know consider the most important part of their job & of keeping their job, the medical coverage & even then they are afraid that if something happens as it nearly did to me they are in fear of losing their home, being let go at work (even thought that's illegal), not being able to afford the cost if it turns out to be long term.
Many here in the US "work for coverage". Olf people who should be trying to take it easier. I guy I used to work with was unemployed for a while & lost his insurance. He found out he dying from cancer & is trying to go back to work to cover the medical bills he's already incured & to try for future coverage, he has no future.

The poorer folks make decisions almost daily weither to spend money on food or meds & which of those they need to cut back on without causing them the worst of problems which oly leads to worstening their health conditions.

Any laaarge company that is self insured has only to go be federal regs & doesn't have to comply with any state regs which gives them, usually the lesser stringent & cheaper regs to go by. They don't have to cover kids after the of 18 or 19 unless they're in college & then only up till (I think 23). Some states have moved that age to 25 reguardless if they're still in school.

Old folks & young adults are the most underinsured after the poor.

Kennedy, Clinton & Obama had very good propsals until they started hitting the "StonedWalled" consertivites. Damn Congress for thinking they are better than the rest of us & that they deserve a "free for
them but not for us" (we pay their coverage with our tax dollars but they don't want us to pay for ours from that same tax revenue, fuck them) medical insurance plan that the rest of us are going to die for.

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:57 PM

Doug's story there confirms what no one disputes - medical treatment in the States is as good as it comes - if you can get it paid for through insurance.

But the other stories in the thread show what happens when that isn't the case, and it's a picture that really does show the USA system as it operates today in a very bad light.

If it ain't broke don't fix it, as they say - but the corollary of that is, if it is broke, do fix it. And isn't that supposed to be the American Way?

As to quite how you do it, no doubt there is room for disagreement and discussion - but I can't see how any one can disagree that it does needs to be fixed and fixed without any further delay. Not if they want to be able to look themselves in the mirror and not be embarrassed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Royston
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:52 PM

DougR,

Nobody doubts that the US system has world-leading medical services. The debate is about access to those services.

You get great healthcare...only because you are able to pay for it and because insurance company actuaries have calculated that you are a "good risk".

Now the experience of others is that they are in a vicious circle of not having enough money to buy in to the best the system can offer or to buy in to it all.

Worse than that, some of the people least able to pay (because their health issues may exclude them from the best sectors of the labour-market) have the most serious need for high quality healthcare. Because they have needs, the insurance companies react very quickly to make darn sure they are priced out of the system entirely.

Your "comfort" in the status quo is only as real as your next premium-payment. In an economic downturn that is affecting all layers of society (save for the usual winners), how safe, secure and "free" do you really think you are?

The point of the European model is that taxes pay for all emergency medical services. There is NO private provision for emergency treatment. That is deemed sacred, it cannot be left to "the market".

Beyond that the NHS provides a standard of guaranteed care, free at the point of need or consumption, to every citizen. And that is world-leading care for ALL our medical needs.

For non-emergency medical need, there is a thriving private healthcare industry for cash-buyers or those who choose to take out insurance cover.

The benefits of this are that private provision can get you treated more quickly than in the NHS (if your condition is chronic as opposed to acute) and it can get you treated in better comfort and conditions. That is the only difference. In Europe you insure for a gold-star service. The state provision is still pretty darn good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:43 PM

As it has been pointed out time and again, the Corporate Bureaucrats stand in the way of
the doctor's decisions and the patient. Government could do a better job than what we
have now.

The US could use a little more socialism like France and England particularly in health care.

Medicare and Social Security are not really going broke like some of the Republican defenders of rich corporations claim. Taxpayer money is getting eaten up by unnecessary foreign
invasions. It could be spent on American healthcare for all.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:30 PM

Doug, almost all of the discussion I have heard on single-payer comes from the right, in the process of saying that this is what the Administration and the Democrats are after. What Mr. Obama has said is that, if we were starting from the beginning, we should seriously look at single-payer but, since we are not, we should fix what we have and make the existing system work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Royston
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:23 PM

VT,

What I said about petrochemicals in earlier post. Maybe it is a conspiracy. Sell us stuff and gives us jobs making stuff that make us sick. Then make more money on our suffering.

I'm with you on that one. Pharma companies finding chemicals then inventing conditions to go with them - ADHD and some other "psychological" conditions being prime examples.

Then we get into the question of should we really trust Pharmaco's to develop a bloody cure for anything. Take RA for example. Arguably one of the most common and debilitating autoimmune conditions. A range of very expensive treatments, I'm sure. How could a capitalist ever consider looking for a cure? They'll never do it.

Look at HIV - the medical industry have now developed hugely expensive treatments that can keep 10's of millions (and increasing in the third world) patients kind-of-alive for almost a complete human lifetime. The incentive for Pharmaco's to develop a cure is...what? Can anyone see a motive for them?

Sorry, this seems to be thread-creep.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:23 PM

Doug... "It seems that our health care system in the US is taking some pretty hard knocks on this thread."

That viewpoint is yours. I am only proferring simple arguements against user pay medical care. Others are doing the same.

My viewpoint is that the US (richest country in the world, leaders of the free world... give us your poor... whatever) system of health care seems antiquated and cruel.

Now, if you don't like my viewpoint, you tell Mum. But, be careful because she's getting pretty good with her cane.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: DougR
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:11 PM

It seems that our health care system in the US is taking some pretty hard knocks on this thread. I think the major problem with our system is cost, not quality of care. Since some of the folks have shared their medical experiences, I'll offer a recent one I had to support my POV.

On March 17 (yep, St. Patrick's Day)of this year, around 2:00 AM I was awakened by an extreme case of indigestion. I have been plagued with that problem for many years but about two years ago my doctor prescribed a medication (which costs me $3.00 for a month's supply)had cleared up that problem so I was a bit concerned. Then I felt a tightening in my chest. I took my blood pressure and it was way above normal. I decided that to be on the safe side I should go to the nearby hospital and have them take a look at me. I awoke my wife and we drove to the emergency room at Scottsdale Health Care. I was tended to immediately (it was not particularly crowded that time of morning). My blood pressure was still a bit elevated so they decided to admit me to take some tests (cardiac catheterization). The Cardiologist saw me that morning and also suggested that I take a Stress Test and they scheduled one. The result was abnormal so Angioplasty was recommended.

I had Angioplasty in 1993 which revealed that I had about 80% blockage in a artery on the back side of my heart. They weren't doing stents in those days, and because of the location of the blockage, a balloon was not considered as an alternative so they did nothing.

The new Angioplasty revealed that I had NO blockage and my arteries were normal. Even the blockage found in 1993 was not present.

I was released on the 21st of March and the total bill was $28,000+.
My out of pocket cost was $50.00.

My coverage: Medicare administrated by a private insurance company (HMO).

What's not to like about our health care system? In spite what Ebbie posted earlier, not all right wingers hate Medicare and Social Security.

I realize this does not address the problem for those who do not have health care, but I hope the Administration and the Congress can address that problem without screwing up the current system

Many of you (Certainly Ebbie)are of the opinion that we can "have our cake and eat it too." In other words, if a single payer plan is adopted, and we are satisfied with our current plan, we will have the option to keep our current plan. I don't think that will happen. If a single payer plan is adopted it will drive the private insurance companies out of business. We will have no option because there will be no option.

Art: I don't know where you have been but if you have not heard discussion, even encouragement for a single payer plan for the US, you are on a different planet than I am.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:07 PM

Royston

There are Christian charities in really poor areas that provide clinics. My younger daughter Hilary had to use them ("Jesus loves you sermon" included) until she had worked long enough for current company. Now she has moderate bit of health insurance subsidized by the company. Given her preexisting condition (she has auto immune problems too - liver, ovaries and thyroid) she cannot get full health insurance, even if she and or her company paid for it.

I worry myself frantic about her and lack of care, when her problems worsen.

My mom has coverage through her medicare and because she worked for the US Federal government for 27 years and because she is widow of service man. Still it is not ideal care and it costs her more than she can afford.

My siblings, cousins and their families have no coverage whatever, as they are non-salaried, wage workers or self employed. Particularly bad in Hopewell, Virginia area as the chemicals from the number of factories there have so poisoned my the environment and close and extended family. There are lots of health issues and they are worse with each subsequent generation. I imagine many residents of Hopewell and surrounding areas experience above average health care issues.

What I said about petrochemicals in earlier post. Maybe it is a conspiracy. Sell us stuff and gives us jobs making stuff that make us sick. Then make more money on our suffering.

Don't even get me started on the mortuary lobby in the US. Talk about ghouls.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Royston
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 01:58 PM

Gnu,

"Free". Good point. It is not free.

On the other hand, neither is fire protection. Good point.


In the European model it is Free at the point of consumption or need so that anyone can access whatever healthcare they need without being put to proof of entitlement and without being tested for ability to pay. Now that is true "freedom".

So, where is the balance? Which is what this thread is about.

My mother would say that we should look after each other... but... I am repeating myself. Sorry.


You make a good point. We should all care for and about each other. When it comes to providing modern healthcare to an entire population, we have to club together and create a structure for healthcare and we each have to pay for it according to our ability to pay. It's called government and taxation. With my taxes I buy civilisation.

To my thinking, I cannot regard my life as civilised or "free" if I live in a society where one single person has to live in fear that they cannot access the most basic mechanisms for health and security that my, and our, labours are all directed at achieving and advancing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 01:02 PM

"Free". Good point. It is not free.

On the other hand, neither is fire protection. Good point.

So, where is the balance? Which is what this thread is about.

My mother would say that we should look after each other... but... I am repeating myself. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 12:56 PM

And as for the (by now) threadbare argument by the far right-"Would you like to see your health care run like the Post Office?--I can only say 2 things. 1) I think the USPS does a damn fine job and 2) if there was no Post Office, Fedex and UPS would triple their rates in a flash. Nobody's trying to force you to use a national health care service; it would just be nice to have the option.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Royston
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 12:48 PM

VT, I didn't know that about your family and I am so sorry to hear about your daughter.

I've come very late to this thread and I am so shocked and saddened by the terrible experiences people have had. Doesn't that amount of sadness and fear answer the original question?

One gets the impression, correct me if I'm wrong, that a growing number of people in the USA seem to be living in a state of fear and terror about illness and medical misfortune that only exists today in the worst of third world countries? Shouldn't all citizens of all developed nations find it shocking that "We" allow this situation to exist?

I know that some humanitarian relief organisations have projects in the USA because of the extent of healthcare denial. Take a look HERE


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: daylia
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 12:30 PM

omigod Virginia Tam, I am so sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your precious daughter    words just seem so useless I cannot even begin to imagine the devastation, your grief and anger at the whole damn f'n system!!!!   Wishing you and yours every good and healing thing you can possilby imagine,

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: daylia
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 12:08 PM

Agreed, LH and Ebbie. Nothing is "free" as the gov't money comes from taxes (which are among the highest in the world here in Canada) and it's wisest to get second, even third opinions before making final decisions re expensive dangerous drugs/treatment.

But I'm not so sure my repairman's experience has nothing to do with public health care. If new state-of-the-art technologies like MRI imaging were not 'free at the point' but billed to the patient instead, as is common in the US, how many family physicians here would put a patient through an ordeal like this without even bothering to do a relatively simple, inexpensive thing like an old-style eye checkup first??

I would like to think, not many. If any!


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 12:08 PM

My 23 year old daughter (in the US) was worried about costs of her health care. Her condition (adrenal dysfunction) dictated that she go immediately to emergency room for saline drip and cortisol injection and monitoring, if she ever caught cold or flu.

She was constantly worrying about how to pay for the last hospital visit, god forbid future ones. The last words her father heard her say were "If Loki (boyfriend) has given me his flu, I'll kill him." 40 minutes later her dad found her unconscious. A couple of hours later after repeated attempts to get her heart going and keep it going, the doctors gave up. No more Andie.

If there had been public health care in the US, maybe she would not have hesitated to go to hospital as soon as she felt the slightest bit ill. If she were not afraid of the costs she might still be alive.

One the other side of the coin - I am living in the UK with moderate rheumatoid arthritis. Treatments used so far have not made any improvement to my condition or quality of life. There are stronger treatments, but my current level of inflammation do not put me in the category to receive these.   

So in answer to the question by OP... there should not be a price on health care or quality of life. However, even with the public health care system there is a price, if your illness doesn't tick the right boxes for best care to optimise quality of life, then you must go for private care, if you can afford it. But still I would rather the public system than the mercenary capitalist system in US.

I read somewhere that the highest grossing industry globally is petrochemicals and the second highest health care, phamaceuticals and insurance. It is all about money in the end.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 11:39 AM

Good story, Daylia. You have just nailed why I don't have as much faith in the judgement of M.D.'s as most people I know do. They are known to make mistakes in diagnosis and they often prescribe unnecessary and very expensive drugs.

That's not a problem of a public health system. It's a problem of the M.D.'s themselves. They aren't necessarily as all-knowing as people imagine. I think it wise to also get examined by some alternative practitioners before going off on a course like your friend did and getting fleeced by conventional medicine.

Get more than one opinion, in other words. Then decide what to do. The M.D. may be right. He may not be. They're not gods.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 11:03 AM

It would be silly to think that it's free. Government has no money that does not come from the people. But 'free at the point' is the point. In a sense it's the same as a retirement plan- you put money forward for the day that you need it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: theleveller
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 10:46 AM

Good in parts. It just depends which part of you needs treating and which part of the country you live in.

Oh, and it certainly isn't free. We pay compulsory National Insurance contributions along with our income tax Pay As You Earn deductions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: daylia
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 10:22 AM

Geez, reading the stories here from Rapaire, Art, mmmla etc my heart really goes out to you    =[   and I feel fortunate that I'll probably never be up against anything quite like this, living here in Canada. But you know what they say about the grass being greener. THis little story, from the fellow who cleans/repairs my fireplace every year, is an example of the fiascos that can be created by "free" public health care, and might help some of you to feel a little better about your own health care system

A couple yrs ago, he started noticing a "hole" developing in the vision field of his left eye. Everything else seemed normal, except this worrisome little "hole" (round area where he could see nothing). His family doctor sent him to a neurologist. So he took a few days off work (unpaid, he's a private contractor so no "sick days") to travel to Toronto for consultations, MRI imaging and CAT scans (very expensive tests, as Art has mentioned, but "Free" in his case as it's paid for by the gov't).

Neurologist told him the tests were inconclusive, but judging by his symptoms he had multiple sclerosis - a most frightening, and stressful diagnosis. He was retested several times over the next year, and the diagnosis was always the same. None of the scans showed conclusively that it was multiple sclerosis, but that was the only explanation for his symptoms, according to this specialist.

He was prescribed an intensive drug therapy program for multiple sclerosis, to the tune of about $350/month. By now the poor guy was just beside himself. He could not afford the $350/month, was losing weight, losing his life savings with all hte days off work + travel back and forth to TO for more and more tests/consultations. And the "hole" in his vision was getting larger all the time. He had no idea what to do ...

till finally one day he mentioned his troubles to a customer like myself. The customer looked at him and said "Have you ever gone to an good old fashioned eye doctor?" Well, no. In over a yr of investigating this hole in his vision, not one of the doctors/specialists/neurologists he'd been sent to had ever just tested his eyes!

So he made an appt with an semi-retired eye doctor right here, in his home town. This doctor did a few tests, and the next day gave him the results --

He did not have multiple sclerosis. There was nothing wrong with his brain/neurology, and he did not need be on $350/month worth of dangerous drugs for the rest of his life. What he DID have was a tiny tear in the retina of his left eye. The tear gets larger in the spring/summer when the light changes, and it worsens under stress. Treatment: wear dark glasses or sunglasses in summer, and avoid excessive stress!!

Unfortunately, this kind of false diagnosis/unnecessary drug therapy is not uncommon here in Canada. ANd there's no way people like my furnace repairman can hope to get any compensation from the neurologists/specialists for their false diagnosis and all the pain and suffering, loss of time/money it cost him for the "Free" tests and consultations. He;s just some little nobody, they are the powerfully rich and respected ones with the BMW's and the mansions overlooking the lake ...

anyway, there it is, the other side of the coin. "Free" doesn't guarantee anything comes without a HUGE pricetag. Or that its helpful. Or even just "what the doctor ordered".

Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 09:58 AM

FORTUNATELY, my brothers and I are (or can become) Disabled Veterans and use the VA Health Care System if we need to. There's a VA Clinic in the town each of us lives in, and full-blown VA Hospitals only a couple of hours away. I'll use it if I have to, but I'd rather they'd work with the people with TBI, multiple amputations, and so on. My ticket in is only hearing loss and (I contend) AO exposure. But our wives are NOT eligible....


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 02:05 AM

I'm a citizen in the US. I'm on medicare & pay in for the most coverage I can get which is taken directly out of my SS Disability cks. I'm also covered by my spouses employer. When I was healthy I had my own coverage which covered my wife & kids.
Now my wife can never leave her job (unless she gets a better one which has better medical coverage) because my medical/pescription costs are killing the both of us. The classification between 1, 2 & 3 tier drugs is a joke when you need some of the 3 tier drugs because there is no equal & I end up paying 50% of the cost as a co-pay which for some of my drugs come to $75 a month.
Art, I can fully well understand how it's killing you.
Around the end of August I drop into what's called a donut hole. That's where I pay 100% of my prescription costs last till the end of the yr. My secondary insurance kicks in for only some drugs, other drugs it refuses (so why do I have them in the 1st place? Cuz I'd be dead without it).
Yup, it's not bad here in the states until you really need it. You may get the up front services like transplants, surgery, rehab, reconstruction etc taken care, if you have coverage & only then if you've got the "right" kind of coverage but it's that lifetime stuff that comes afterwards that they beat you to death with.


Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 01:38 AM

Hear,hear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 01:23 AM

There are certain essential public services which MUST be run by a government, not by private industry, because a government dispassionately serves ALL the people, not just the people who can pay. It doesn't do it for monetary gain, it does it to maintain a well-functioning society.

A health care system must serve all the people. Same as a police force, a legal system, and an armed forces. They are there to serve ALL the people, not just the people who can afford to pay them a fat user fee.

How would you feel if your house caught fire...and the fire department arrived to put it out....but they wouldn't do so until you paid them $35,000 dollars! That wouldn't be just or fair, would it? They'd be crooks if they did that....or they'd be "businessmen".

Well, thank your lucky stars that your taxes pay for the fire department and that it's provided by those taxes, because by God if it were not...and if you weren't rich...well, you could just sit and watch your house burn to the ground.

If the police were privately owned, they would also protect only those who could afford to pay their protection fee. And that's how it works for the Mafia. They have their own little private army, and those guys serve only the people who pay them. That's what your police would be if they weren't provided by taxes and government. They'd be a private army, and they'd be the enemy of most of the population.

That's the state of health care in the USA. It's been handed over to profit-seekers, corporate robber barons, and such profit seekers have no business running a vital public service which is needed by everyone in the whole society.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 11:43 PM

There is another active Mudcat thread on Michael Moore's movie Sicko. If my friends in the USA would take the time to rent and objectivly watch this it would answer many questions that they might have. No system is perfect but by degree the one which is universal for those who need it should be supported by all. Tomorrow your fortunes may change and you may find yourselves among those less fortunate. I have seen statements that people don't trust government, but does that mean that you are more willing to trust insurance companies to show more compassion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 11:07 PM

Yes Art and I must have been posting at the same time. These occurences are not uncommon, and people who have done everything right, been financially prudent, worked, saved, and lived responsibly and within their means for their entire lives can be ruined by a health crisis. It is heartbreaking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 10:27 PM

So is Art's.

ANY ONE of us in the US could have this happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 10:15 PM

It's entirely possible to have good insurance in the United States, and have access to very good heath care, the best doctors, etc. only to lose all this if you get seriously sick and can't work, because your insurance is tied to your job. Then the cycle begins, you lose your job, you lose your insurance (yes in many cases you have the right to keep the insurance you had with your job, but only IF you can continue to pay the premiums, which might be difficult if you are sick and not working.) Once the group insurance through the job is not an option, forget getting any kind of remotely affordable health insurance if you have a pre existing condition. So the downward spiral begins. mmmla's story is illustrative and happens every day. It's a national disgrace.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 10:13 PM

I'll try to explain what went down for us:

We bought health insurance at a time when people were hospitalized for almost everything. While in the hospital, tests were run. When you were released from the hospital, you either, at least, had a diagnosis in hand -- or you were treated and cured. Very little was done on an out-patient basis back in the 1970s and '80s.

As a result of how things were in this era, the policy we had covered hospitalizations, yes, ---but not out-patient tests and procedures. These were out-of-our-pocket expenses.

Seemingly, all of a sudden, EVERYTHING changed with no warning. Most everything medical bbegan to be done on an out-patient basis. If you went into a hospital it was an emergency, or for specified surgery---and they tossed you out very quickly.

THAT is why I went broke. All the pre-admission outpatient tests, including CAT scans etc, were now paid for by me. THIS next statement IS TRUE: I had to show up at the CAT scan facility at Diversey and Sheridan Road in Chicago) with a cashiers check for a thousand dollars BEFORE they would take any pictures! I had insurance---but nothing was covered!

Buying a new policy, with more coverage, was impossible because we (CATCH 22!) both had pre-existing conditions now. And if you had pre-existing conditions, no insurance company would sell you a new policy unless you could pay a premium that had gone up by a factor of five -- or more.

I hope I'm making this clear!? Thanks, Mudcatters, for listening. It feels good to get it out.

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 09:59 PM

My wife fell and broke her right hand. We were told by the EMTs to go to the Urgent Care center. An x-ray was taken but no break was seen; they splinted the hand and sent her home.

A week later she was called to the hospital. A radiologist had looked over the x-ray and had seen a break extending back from her middle finger. By then she'd worn the splint for a week and, with her other medical things kicking in, now had a frozen finger.

Okay. She went to an orthopod who specialized in hands. No sweat -- the break was healing nicely and he wrote a prescription for PHYSICAL therapy.

It was coded for OCCUPATIONAL therapy.

OT got her three visits to the therapist. PT would have gotten her at least 12 weeks. When she discovered this, she asked that the mistaken code be changed. "We can't do that! It would be fraud!" was the reply. "No it wouldn't," replied my wife, "it would be correcting a mistake." "It would be FRAUD!! What are you, a lawyer?"
"Yes," my wife replied, "I am. Are you?"

To make a long story short: according to the hospital we owe about US $5,000; we are contesting it and will continue to do so. She still has limited use of her right hand. Now we pay for her to go to a physical therapist, at $50 per visit, three times a month. It helps her, but the hand still has limited use.

Would a nationalized health care system have prevented this? Probably not. But as long as ANY system cares more about CYA than about the patient that system is less than satisfactory.

(Our hospital has been put under new management; the county no longer runs it. Things are slowly improving. When in the past you could get a job as a receptionist or insurance filer until you got married (yes, I'm picking on women here, but that's because of the Dominant Culture in this area) you now have to actually DEMONSTRATE you can do the job.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 08:55 PM

Well, well, well...

Lets examine some of the myths about nationalized health care:

Myth #1: It is rationing...----------- Well yeah, it is... What we have now is severe rationing with 50 million people in the3 country having to use ERs for their health care... ER physicans come from all fields of medicine and aren't the folks who you need being your primary physican...

Myth #2: You won't be able to go to "your doctor"... No, in most cases you will... Not that "your doctor" is so great but that is a different story...

Myth #3: It's too expensive... Okay, lets looks at the facts... The US, with it's corrupted health care system, spends 17% of it's GNP on health care toady and isn't in top 20 in terms of life expectancy or infant mortality....

Myth #4: The government be making your health care choices... No, not really... But in some areas, yeah, it will... If you are 101 years old and year heart is failing they prolly won't authoize a heart tranplant... Right now these deciions are being made by folks who only have bottom line profit (for them) in mind...

Myth #5: Now is not the time... Wrong... With the US spending so much of it's GNP on health care there is no better time for it to make changes that will make it's economy competetive with countries who have allready bitten the bullet and are now spending alot less share of their GNP's on health care...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Peace
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 08:26 PM

There are levels of care involved, also. Some situations require basic care. Othere need more elaborate set ups to benefit the patient. Know a fellow who had to drive 260 km (520 km return) for kidney dialysis. Three times a week. What's happened now, three years later, is a bus that goes thru certain bigger centres and the dialysis is done on the bus. I expect three or four people at a time. Saves that fellow about 1500 km of driving per week.

Easier for the patients, easier on gas and the environment, and the people who do the travelling on the bus seem to enjoy it.

Canada's north hurts for Doctors and Dentists. Usual set up in communities is a nursing station. There are BSNs there (community health nurses who have science degrees in nursing) and they run the stations. A doctor visits about four times a year. Emergencies can involve planes, helicopters, jet boats, cars. There have been emergencies involving phones or radios. Ya do what ya have to do.

But the service is free. Dentist is usually in three times a year. More urgent cases are flown to hospitals that can handle the surgery/problem.I expect it's still much less expensive than building and staffing hospitals all over everywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: mmm1a
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 08:24 PM

I guess I'll put in my 2 cents. Being that this is a subject I have alot of interest in. I am all for a national health plan, being as I am one who would be greatly affected by it. 6 years ago I had health insurance and was satisfied with it. But then my employer and doctors decided I could no longer work because of my back. So no more insurance. I don't qualify for medicare either. At the time my husband was working for Amish and had no health insurance, but made fairly good money so we were in the process of looking for coverage privately. He then had a major heart attack and ended up after all was said and done with 60% of his heart gone , not functioning at all and of the 40% left only 17%working . I had to fight like hell to get medicaid, after fighting and getting medicaid, they covered everone til we were able to get social security disability. At that time they decided that my husband and kids would be covered but I no longer would be, their reasoning was we made too much money. My husbands spend down every month was 700.00 His medicines cost around at that time 3 to 4 hundred.so most of his expenses were out of our pocket with no money left for mine. The county We live in has no free clinic. I was told that I could get a job and get insurence for all of us. YeaH RIGHT no insurence would ever cover my husband. and every penny I would make would increase his spend down. Talk about being in a rock and a hard place.... Oh by the way We live in Indiana . Our governor is Mitch Daniels worst thing ever to happen to any State ..Thats why I say and would have has a bumper sticker

      DITCH MITCH

Ok rant over but when you hear about national health care keep in mjind those of us who are not totally in proverty but sure do got one foot in.

mmm1a


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: daylia
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 08:19 PM

some insights into Canada's doctor shortage

"The country has approximately 15,000 too few doctors, a figure roughly double the total number of students in all years of study at our 17 medical schools combined. At a doctor-patient ratio of just 2.3 per 1,000 population, we are 24th on the list of 28 industrialized countries. Approximately 1.5 million Canadians cannot find a family physician as a result.

..The doctor shortage began in the mid-1980s .. at the same time the last Trudeau government passed the Canada Health Act, which forbade user fees, balanced billing by doctors and private clinics and hospitals. Immediately, doctors began moving to the United States by the hundreds every year ..approximately 12,000 Canadian doctors have moved south. According to another article in the CMAJ last winter, "this is the equivalent of having two average-sized Canadian medical schools dedicated to producing physicians for the United States" every year for 25 years. Add to this the way politicians and bureaucrats deliberately reduced the number of medical school graduates -- the number fell 14% between 1991 and 2000 -- and it is easy to see why there are too few doctors in this country."

The doctor shortage is a very complex, ongoing nationwide problem. Ontario is hard hit, having the largest and fastest growing population + recent history of gov't cutbacks to education and public health care system (remember Harris?) Physicians get higher pay and better working conditions elsewhere. If they don't leave for the States, they leave for other provinces. And of those who choose to stay, less than 3% opt for positions in smaller towns/rural areas (ie the most underserviced places)

more info here


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 07:14 PM

I agree with all the, mg.

Some of the best treatment I got in the Army I got from medics, not from MDs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 06:51 PM

I don't understand why there is not a call for a massive return to a public health system, which would be one-payer, to supplement those who have insurance and probably eventually to replace insurance-based programs.

Public health clinics staffed by PACs or nurse practitioners could probably handle 75% at least of care. Public health hospitals, such as we used to have, should be reinstated.

If certain medical professionals were given free education and licensed perhaps to only practice in public medicine there would be no problem with meeting demands. They keep saying a problem oft he nursing shortage is a lack of nursing instructors, so duh..let's start recruiting and training them right now. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 06:44 PM

Doug, it is true that there is presently a shortage of doctors in Ontario (I don't know about the rest of the country). I don't know why that is, but I doubt that it's because of our socialized national health care system, because that's been in place here for a long time. The shortage of family doctors, on the other hand, is a rather recent phenomenon. I would have to assume that fewer students have applied for doctor's training in the last 20 years, and I don't know what would have caused that to happen...it's still a very lucrative job, to say the least. Doctors and dentists in Canada are extremely well paid people.

The place that trains and exports the most medical doctors per capita is Cuba, and they have donated medical assistance to many other countries. A very large percentage of Cuban doctors are women. Most Canadian doctors are men, going by my experience.

A common myth spread by those who oppose the socialization of medicine in the USA is that you will be unable to choose your own doctor under a socialized health system. This is utterly untrue. Canadians choose their own doctor just the same as Americans do. If you like a doctor you choose him or her as your doctor. If you don't, you find someone else. It's entirely up to you who your doctor will be.

In my case, I chose a naturopath. He isn't covered by our national health insurance, because he's not an M.D. That's okay with me. I like his approach better, and it hasn't cost me anything I can't easily handle. If some health issue should arise that he cannot deal with, then I'll take it to an M.D. and I'll be covered by our national health plan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Ebbie
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 06:26 PM

"I think we have a pretty good record of helping people out when there is a need." DougR

Strangely, contrary to how we like to think of ourselves, the US doesn't donate NEARLY as much to disaster-stricken areas of the world, per capita, as many other poorer countries do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Nationalized Healthcare, good? bad?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 06:25 PM

When I began my current job in May, 2003, the City paid 100% of the medical insurance for me AND my wife (and my family if I had had one). There were $10 co-pays, a maximum we had to pay before the insurance kicked in, vision and dental were and are voluntary -- but 100%?!?!?!?! I hadn't heard of such a thing in years!

Now the City pays 100% for me and 90% for my wife. Co-pay has gone to $20, we pay $10 for up to 90 days or 100 each generic drugs and $30 for name brand. Dental and vision are still voluntary; we have to pick up the first $500 each ($1,000 total) of the med costs.

My upcoming rotator cuff surgery SHOULD cost me less than $500 out of pocket.

Between FY2009 (current fiscal year) and FY2010 the city faced a 13% increase in med costs; they were able to argue it down to 0%. Nevertheless, over the 6 years I've now been here the City's medical insurance costs as risen a total 57% -- that is just the City's costs, it does not include the amount contributed by the employees.

This include police and fire, which are high-risk jobs, but no more so than some in other industries.

ALL employees are mandatorily covered. They need not cover their families if they don't want to do so.

When (If) I retire, the whole thing changes. Right now I can't afford to retire, mostly because of the medical coverage.


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