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  • Cost and Consequences of Government Health-Care Decision Making

    Several leading European and Canadian health economists, physicians and scholars — in Washington recently for the Galen Institute’s conference, “Lessons from Abroad for Health Reform in the US” — met with analysts from the Heritage Foundation and other conservative think-tank leaders.

    They wanted to explain why Americans should be concerned when officials push for government-controlled, universal health care coverage that includes innocuous-sounding but largely intrusive and prohibitive health measures.

    “We were told single-payer health care would be a true liberation for Canada when they enacted it 40 years ago, and the opposite has become true,” says Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Canada.

    Not only do Canadians face extraordinary wait times to get specialized treatments (the average wait time from getting a referral from a general practitioner to receiving a treatment was 17.3 weeks in 2008), but they also have limited access to new drugs, thanks in part to the country’s “comparative effectiveness” body known as the Common Drug Review, says Brett Skinner with the Fraser Institute.

    In Switzerland, “compulsory health insurance has moved the objective from being access to health care and quality of care to largely cost containment measures,” says Dr. Alphonse Crespo, an orthopedic surgeon who also runs research for the Institut Constant de Rebecque in Switzerland.

    Next door in France, government policies are undermining patients’ choice of care and the private sector’s involvement in health care delivery. “France is on its way to joining the nationalized health care system of the United Kingdom,” says Valentin Petkantchin with the Insitut economique Molinari.

    British oncologist Dr. Karol Sikora says greater government control over the health care system is a bad idea for any industrialized country. “Americans may want some form of universality in health care, but entities like NICE [Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] are nothing more than government-inspired, political rationing tools,” says Dr. Sikora, who has seen his cancer patients receive newer, more effective drug treatments over others simply based on their where they live.

    “Having seen firsthand over many years just how inhumane this system can be, it is remarkable that other countries would even consider it,” Dr. Sikora says in his latest paper presented at the Galen Institute’s conference.

    But indeed, Americans could face similar problems in securing high-quality health care of their choice based on the ongoing efforts in Congress and the Obama administration to centralize health-care decisions making in Washington. The many well-documented experiences of patients in countries that are America’s allies and friends certainly attest to that.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    34 Responses to Cost and Consequences of Government Health-Care Decision Making

    1. Stephan, Atl says:

      The greatest issue here is that the current ruling political class is so ego maniacal that they just assume the failings of other countries systems could never afflict them.

      Quite simply, they think that "this time it will work" never mind that nationalized health care has been a complete travesty EVERY time it has been tried.

    2. john tonner st.catha says:

      i note your comments. the system here is not perfect but 40years ago there was endless collection companies chasing people for their doc. bills.now there are none and all doctor accounts are paid. doctor's no longer have bad debt accts. heard on one of your programs that 120 people per hour file for bankruptcy in your country because of medical bills. my own experience in travelling in the states when i had to visit a doctor a referal from the hotel i had to be veted by one of the doctor's staff, then seen by the doctor then shown in to another person office re the fee and fee had to be paid first before release of the perscription . i was not impressed. a one payer method use in canada is a vast improvement over what existed prior to that. from my end of the telescope your system is very expensive on the payments that people have to pay and ins. co. and drug co. have too much influence. in my view health coverage is not a service that can be denied. it is not the same as getting your car repaired. however it seems to be viewed that way in the good old usa. regards john tonner

    3. Joe Seely, Malden, M says:

      Here are the changes we need here:

      1) open up interstate competition

      2) eliminate employer deduction and institute personal deduction

      3) institute "guaranteed issue"

      4) cap rates insurers may charge

      5) allow reimportantion to force pharma companies to stop selling in bulk to socialized states

      Combined we would get rid of mandates and involve consumers in pricing decisions, driving down costs. We would increase access to insurance by eliminating "cherry picking." And we would help to equalize drug price discrepancies between the US and other countries.


    4. John, Greenwich says:

      Healthcare is one of the major structural problems facing the country at present. Republicans and conservatives don't have any plan which addresses macro and micro cost issues or access. McCain's plan had more holes than swiss cheese which is why he couldn't clearly explain it. I'm afraid Heritage is one of the organizations that's responsible for creating this vacuum on the right. They need to wake up to the fact this country wants effective solutions and competent governance not ideology. Until this message gets through to the GOP it will be a long time before they get back into power.

    5. Peter Marks, Princet says:

      Speaking as one of the "uninsured", I would like to suggest that the problem is not access and affordability, but fairness.

      The simplest and best modification of the present system would be one that entitles all patients to cash discounts, equivalent in amount to those received by Medicare and other third party payors. Unlike third party reimbursements, cash payments cost doctors nothing and are approved instantly (i.e. no forms to fill out, no identication cards to submit). Cash payments do not prompt notices that patients may receive a bill. They avoid the need for enormous back office staffs. They make perfect sense for routine appointments and would encourage people to use the much costlier third party payor system solely to insure against catastrophic illness and injury (preferably with policies that are freed of needlessly broad and burdensome state-imposed coverage mandates).

      There is no conceivable justification for imposing inflated prices on those whose treatment costs the medical system the LEAST.

      As a postscript, let me note also that it is not helpful that today we view as "rights" cures that 50 years ago were viewed as miracles.

    6. Jennifer, Rockledge, says:

      john tonner st.catharines ontario canada writes:

      "heard on one of your programs that 120 people per hour file for bankruptcy in your country because of medical bills."

      That was an error John…here's a good article to clear up all the fallacies linked to that statement.


      With that said, my husband is English (now an American citizen). His back has been out for 3+ weeks now. As it turns out, his back problems are linked to a pulling of ligaments in his hip area from when he was in his 20's (he's 38 now). If the problem had been properly addressed when the initial accident occurred (the doctor in England just told him to rest until it felt better), he wouldn't be having the problems he is having today…and it is now a life long problem.

      My husband's mother had to have a hernia fixed. She was in pain for 5 years, because her condition was not life threatening and thus she was put on a waiting list.

      These aren't horror stories and I'm sure stories like my husband's can be found here in the U.S. as well, but there is so much more to be said on the issue.

      The complaints by some about the drug companies are a bit shallow. A new legislation that was in the omnibus bill is worded in such a way that not only increases the amount the drug companies have to reimburse Medicaid, but also may allow for foreign companies to sell drugs in the US. Before you start to applaud, America leads in the world in cures…this is achieved by charging for not just the producing of the drug, but the research that made the drug available in the first place. If American drug companies have to start selling their drugs at a lower price to compete…no more research for cures and new drugs.

      There are so many problems and unseen problems by rushing into all the changes that are now happening. People are not taking the time to really think about and investigate what might happen to X if we change Y.

      Right now America is the leader in innovations…it would be a shame to throw it all away.

    7. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      To start with, McCain is a Democrat posing as a Republican and he isn't even close to being a Conservative – let's get that straight. Point number two, John, you are correct in that the Republicans have no viable plan for health care. The Conservatives, on the other hand, have called for Tort reform for years. If Tort was scaled back, there would be no need for such exorbitant malpractice insurance. That alone would bring down the cost of health care considerably. In other words, no one needs $50 million just because the scar from your surgery is slightly above the bikini line.

      Along with that, you need a change in the way that research is funded in order to help push along new procedures and practices. There is a lot that can be done for the health care to manage costs without the Government getting involved. It simply requires the Medical industry and the Practitioners to all work together.

    8. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Why shouldn't health care be treated as a commodity?

      Insurance should only exist for catastrophic illness or major health event. For the rest the patient should be able to buy directly from health care providers.

      A doctor who wants to charge a flat fee of $70 per patient per month for any number of visits is barred from offering such a program by the government and their insurance lobby.

      Any tax payer must be able to deduct all medical expenses at the top before the government gets its hands on his/her paycheck taxes.

      Eliminate or minimize to insignificance trial lawyers raping the system for personal gains.

      When the Obama administration becomes the single payer, forget about your health, especially if you are a senior citizen.

      Mr. Tonner of Canada whose posting appears above doesn't tell you what happens to senior citizens in Canada. I know of a documented case (relative of my wife)of a Canadian senior citizen was told in a round about way that they would no longer provide the more up to date medicine to combat his cancer as it was determined to be more expensive in consideration of his age. Or how about, while visiting Vancouver in 2007, I came across a big headline about all the pregnant mothers going to Washington state because there were not enough beds particularly for premature and difficult births?

      Socialism is a mentally contrived plague. It will zap vitality and let the people under it whither and die.

    9. Drew Alpers Travers says:

      I am so tired if hearing my fellow Americans, say that the government is responsible for their health care. I cannot find that paragraph in the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. Does anybody know why health care has become so expensive, thus making insurance premiums sky rocket. Here is a start…we have become a society that wants something for nothing. We look at every mistake made by a doctor as a chance at their money. If we could realize that doctors are people too, they feel pain, they get sick, to include cancer, they have bad days both at home and at work. And because of people like you who file a lawsiut the minute they make a mistake, every doctor has to pay anywhere from $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 a month in melpractice insurance. Just think if the people in this country would quit suing doctors. After all they call it the practice of medicine, and they have to keep learning every day. Maybe we could make some legislation on that.

    10. jacksmith says:

      Finally, the time has arrived to fix Americas Healthcare crisis, and Americas healthcare knightmare. Hundreds of thousands of you are killed needlessly every year by your healthcare delivery system in a rush to profit. And because of a rush to profit Hundreds of thousands more of you are needlessly dying from treatable illness that people in other developed and civilized countries don't DIE! from. Rich, middle class, and poor alike. Insured, and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies.

      Additionally, thousands more of you are driven into financial ruin, and bankruptcy just because you, or one of your loved ones got sick or injured. And all of this is happening at a time when America spends twice as much of it's GDP (Gross Domestic Productivity) on health care than any other country in the developed world. Individual Americans spend about ten times as much on health care as any other people in the developed world. This is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. AND IT MUST END!

      But before we can truly fix this healthcare crisis and disgrace, everyone needs to clearly understand what the problem is. And everyone needs to clearly understand the real enormity of the problem. The problem is that HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL DELIVERY IN AMERICA IS SEVERELY CORRUPTED AND COMPROMISED BY GREED! AND THE PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MOTIVE. And it is corrupted, and compromised IN EVERY ASPECT, AND EVERY PLACE OF HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL DELIVERY. Unfortunately for all Americans, compromised healthcare ALWAYS results in needless suffering, injury, disability, and or death. Which is exactly what is happening now in America in shocking numbers.

      Health care is NOT! a private for profit business. Healthcare is an essential public service. Like police, and fire. And healthcare is also a human right! PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTHCARE IS AN OXYMORON, AND AN IMMORAL AND UNETHICAL PERVERSION OF HEALTHCARE AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

      So how do we fix this healthcare disgrace? I believe the fix for Americas healthcare disaster is essentially the same thing that every other developed country in the World has essentially done. "NOT FOR PROFIT, TAX PAYER SUPPORTED, SINGLE PAYER, AUTOMATIC, FREE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. Essentially HR676 (enhanced, and expanded medicare for all). Just like every other CIVILIZED! country in the developed World has. There is no other way to truly fix and reform our current disastrous healthcare delivery system.

      All Universal health care systems work best when everyone participates. But I know that the healthcare lobby, and some politicians will try and undermine "Not For Profit, Tax payer supported, Single payer, Automatic, Free Universal Healthcare for all" by falsely claiming that it will limit your choice, and require you to participate.

      So, I propose that everyone be included in the national plan unless they choose to opt out. If you opt out and need medical care the national plan will insure your provider that they will be reimbursed under the rules for members in the national plan. But those who opted out, and their insurer will be responsible for the FULL! cost to the national plan for providing your care if you or your private insurer fails to reimburse the provider or the national plan in a timely manor to at least the standards of the national plan.

      Including reporting you to credit agencies, withholding of taxes, leans, and garnishment of wages for unpaid medical bills. Just like you have now under private for profit healthcare, and private for profit health insurance.

      Further, people who opted out will be required to provide proof of financial responsibility for future illness or be required to participate in the national plan. And everyone with children will be required to participate in the national plan. Or provide proof of insurance coverage on each child to the standards of the national plan. It will be against the law to report anyone in the national plan to a credit agency for unpaid medical bills.

      Frankly, only a dope would want to opt out of the national plan and opt to keep our current disastrous private for profit medical, and insurance plans. But they will be free to choose. The most important thing is that the vast majority of Americans that want the protection, benefits, and higher quality of a universal national plan have that choice.

      You see, one of the most important aspects of a universal healthcare system is easy access, and patient protection. This is accomplished by having a single payer without a conflict of interest in patient care. And by having a payer who has the power to enforce minimum standards of excellence in healthcare delivery for everyone in the plan. This is much of what Medicare does now for senors. "Aeger Primo" (The patient first). Unfortunately in our healthcare system the patient comes last. We are just a peace of meat to them. Cash cows to be slaughtered for profit.

      So this is IT! my fellow Americans, My fellow human beings, My fellow World Citizens. And my fellow Cyber Warriors. :-) The time has come. D day. H hour. HEALTHCARE REFORM THIS YEAR! Let no one stand in our way. Contact your representative and tell them you want "Not For Profit, Tax Payer Supported, Single Payer, Automatic, Free Universal healthcare for all. And tell them you want that choice now. Tell them you want President Obama's budget passed as is, without delay. President Obama's budget is brilliant. And exactly what is needed now.

      President Obama, and his allies will need all the support you can give them. The healthcare lobby will try to take out his people if they can, like they did with Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer. And they will try to neutralize President Obama's popularity, and political power. Or they will try to take him down someway. Don't stand for it. If they attack him. Go after them ten times harder and remove them from office. We had an election. And you the people chose President Obama's leadership, and change agenda. Let no one in government disrespect the will of the American people and remain in office.

      To President Obama, his Cabinet, the Congress of the United States, and the Supreme Court. I have noticed for some time a disturbing tendency for key members of your bodies to come down with illness, or medical problems at critical legislative times. This may just be coincidence. But I can tell you that there are a million subtle ways to medically injure someone just by doing nothing when something needs to be done. Or by doing things to someone when nothing needs to be done except to give them reassurance. I know for a fact that there are those that would have no qualms about hurting any of you to preserve our current disgraceful medical status quo.

      So, I recommend as a matter of national security that you enlist the help of a friendly power to regularly review, and oversee the medical care you receive from your local regular healthcare providers. Briton, France and many other countries have excellent medical providers. As well as Canada. Briton, and Canada may be less of a language barrier for Americans.

      Let's get this healthcare reform done now my fellow Americans. This year. Take no prisoners.

      God Bless All Of You

      Jack Smith — Working Class :-)


    11. Barb -mn says:

      A person's health care is their own. The expense is also. People who are responsible make rational decisions. If you're child had an earache that you could trace it to and it's at your expense you would care for it instantly. Care by instinct. psst government is trying to take that away.) When anything to do with a person's healthcare is free it is (if not immediately), eventually taken advantage of! COSTS: 911- AMBULANCE-PARAMEDIC PARAMEDIC-AMBULANCE PARAMEDIC-ER/ DOCTOR/ NURSE/ TESTS ETC. COSTS, COSTS, COSTS, ENDLESS COSTS!

      Too much government indoctrination. Spoiling society into thinking they don't have to do things for themselves so don't even think about it. Here's government money THAT NOBODY BUT THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS COVERING to pay for your government healthcare responsibility. Don't worry if government doesn't trace all those millions. They'll cover and look away as usual. This is extremely dangerous. Amongst everything else the government is putting on the people.


    12. Evan, NYC says:

      I had to have physical therapy, which was covered under my insurance. So imagine how surprised I was when my insurer denied all the bills, with a code that made no sense at all. I called them and they explained that "this is one of their most common denials". Fortunately, the physical therapist had a solid billing department that was able to deal with it, and the company eventually paid… but not without wasting money on unnecessary bureaucratic paperwork. I am a healthy educated guy with an injured knee and a cooperative provider who was willing to push paper for me. But if this company does this for the frail, the sick, and the less fortunate, it is easy to see how American paperwork burdens transfer costs from insurers to patients.

      I have had healthcare in Canada and here in the USA, and I haven't seen much here that justifies keeping our archaic, paper-intensive and occasionally bankrupting health care financing system. The quality in the USA isn't all its cracked up to be, and I hope that the Obama administration can fix the financing.

    13. Jessica says:

      I am speaking as someone who watched her 52 year old father die of cancer and watched the bills pile up day after day, even though he had health care "coverage." Every day I argued with the morally repugnant insurance representatives, who were trying to milk every dollar they could from us, refusing to cover emergency surgeries and pain medication.

      Health care should — as EVERY OTHER industrialized country, most of whom have far better health care outcomes (lower infant mortality, higher life expectancy, better outcomes on many types of cancer, seems to get except us — not be a privilege for the wealthy or those lucky enough to end up with great plans, or to not lose their jobs. Making health care decisions — as anyone who has done it — is not a "rational" market-based decision, and should never be. Have you ever "shopped" around for health care plans, when you're trying to decide between food for your family or gas for your car? It's a confusing nightmare and insurance companies have every financial incentive to make sure that consumers DO NOT understand how they're being taken advantage of. When insurance companies or drug companies are privatized, with so little regulation, their interests are about PROFIT, plain and simple — trying to get more money out of consumers, either by denying as many people coverage as possible or charging as much as possible for drugs (far more than in other countries) or trying to sell them misleading plans.

      I have relatives in Canada and England. I watch as none of them have ever declared bankruptcy (as we nearly did) when they got sick. They have wonderful doctors and don't have to navigate among greedy insurers who care primarily about profit. Yes, other industrialized countries have longer wait times for elective procedures; this is true. But I don't understand how this is not a suitable compromise when MILLIONS and MILLIONS of Americans are uninsured and MILLIONS more THINK they are insured, but they are horribly uninsured.

      Wake up, America. This is the moral issue of our time. We have thousands of people who literally die because they can't afford to see a doctor, to get regular checkups, who lose their homes because an insurance company has dropped their coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Read the Newsweek article about how easily health care disasters can hit home. We are the health care disgrace of the industrialized world.

    14. H. Rearden, Plymouth says:

      To Jack Smith – Working Class

      Who will be your doctors in your grand plan? Physicians sacrifice years, sometimes more than a decade, to do what they do, and they come out with on average $200K in loans. Are you expecting them to work for a low federal wage? Do expect them to sacrifice years of their lives to then relinquish their minds to a government board to make medical decisions? If you expect to have excellent medical care from altruism alone, I think you find yourself mistaken. The profit motive is why we have so much innovation and have made so much progress in medical therapies in the past century. What new drugs or treatments will be developed under a bureaucracy? In all this talk and writings about healthcare reform, no one seems to mention the doctors. They aren't as replaceable as you think.

    15. mike baker Dallas Ce says:

      There's nothing that more government and higher taxes can't fix. Maybe the folks who run Fannie and Freddie can learn to do for Health what they did for Housing. But please Obama, make it voluntary!

    16. Donna, Houston says:

      Honestly I believe the insurance companies themselves are partly to blame for the high costs of medical costs. Why are insurance companies making huge profits…Healthcare is healthcare…it should not be called or managed as INSURANCE! It is not like having car or home insurance. You cannot possibly INSURE your health. You require HEALTHCARE. The soaring costs of medical costs seemed to start occuring when the HMO's, PPO's and such started taking over as our CHOICES. What happened to walking into the DR. office and paying your $30 office visit…Now the Dr's have to charge triple that in order to even get that back from INSURANCE. Insurance companies should not be skimming off the top of patient and doctor costs..Period..

    17. Dennis W., Orlando says:

      During the televised debates Barack Obama wished that every American could have the same health coverage that he has along with all of his House and Senate buddies. I would be very happy with that kind of government health care.

    18. Tim AZ says:

      This may come as a shock but we are all going to die at some point. There are no provisions anywhere in the constitution requiring govt. to ensure a certain number of days or quality of life to anyone. I have'nt seen or read of a human being yet that has had the ability to control one of these elements of life let alone both. I too have no health insurance. I am not arrogant enough to believe that my neighbor or anyone else owes me health care or any other entitlement. I take care of myself the best I can all the while remembering that my life here is only temporary just as everyone's is. You people need to spend more time enjoying life not obsessing about its end.

    19. Joanne Tellez Giron says:

      Jack Smith….we, now, have excellent doctors,dedicated professionals who have paid very dearly in student loans. Where do you think our future doctors will come from? When government gets involved there will be chaos. Read "Cancer Ward", by Alexander Solzinitzen. I admit that it is pretty extreme….but you need to open your eyes.

    20. Joni, Homer, Alaska says:

      The Federal Government should be responsible for only three things:

      1. Protect the citizens from outside threat – A well trained and well supplied military.

      2. Protect us from each other – A well trained and well supplied police force.

      3. Providing a well built and well maintained infrastructure to promote commerce.

      EVERYTHING ELSE, education, health care, land management, energy management, job creation…

      EVERYTHING should be up to the individual states and the citizens thereof. Individual motivation, individual liberty, individual responsibility.

      This is "the Land of the Free", NOT the "land of the freeLOADER". At least, that's what it SHOULD be.

    21. suek, So Cal says:

      >>If Tort was scaled back, there would be no need for such exorbitant malpractice insurance. That alone would bring down the cost of health care considerably.>>

      Additionally, if a doctor has made a mistake serious enough for some of the high dollar awards that have been made, maybe that doctor shouldn't be practicing.

      And maybe there should be an increase in schools that train doctors… although I understand there is a shortage of nurses, due to the fact that practicing nurses are paid about 2/3 of what teaching nurses are paid. Seems a bit out of line, doesn't it?

    22. Pingback: We Need To Reform Reform « Justbkuz

    23. Mike, Sacramento, Ca says:

      I am so sick of all of the people that are trying to destroy the country that I love with the socialism that I hate. Pay your own way and wake up to what is just politics as usual. Obama wants to bankupt the country, he believes that successful people do not deserve what they have earned. The Dems know that if they can get enough people on the dole they can win every election because of all of the free loaders. The illegals do not have any problem getting free health care here. Wake up and pay your own way, be grown ups, I guess you will not be happy until America is no longer America, once it is gone, it will stay gone. Why do you come here if you believe that the country that you came from is better? Mike

    24. Barb -mn says:

      People please. Many have had unfortunate issues with private insurance. Don't put your lives in the hands of government. especially to think the government will heal your wounds. It will be much WORSE!! It is or was up to government to oversee private insurance issues. The trouble people have faced with private health insurance was the government's neglect to do their job. Let the free market work as GOVERNMENT DOESN'T!

      Much of the issue are foreign born doctors who refuse their own business as they fear being sued for any malpractice etc.

      Obama says you can keep your insurance and your doctor as he has or will create the monopoly. When I go to the doctor and someone else is getting it for free tells me there is government intervention! PEOPLE WON'T BE ABLE TO AFFORD PRIVATE INSURANCE! …the government refuses to hold people accountable to themselves! but they take advantage of those that do. government wants to take your personal responsibilities away…with the money of others. It will collapse much!

    25. Doc Bob, Houston, Te says:

      In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

      – Voltaire (1764)

    26. Marshall Hill MI. says:

      In the U.K. it takes an average of 18 months to get to Physical Therapy.So now this leads to the

      Crippling of many!This is no system to be proud of!

      Many of our LIB Politicians (Kerry-Kennedy) have

      said our system is bad.Did Kennedy go outside the

      US for his Medical Treatment? (Hell NO)

      How can Kerry care either way,he has the Heinz

      Fortune to back him up!

      Do not be fooled by these Charletons!

      We should have the same Health Care as the Politicians are getting on our Dime!

      This also eliminates the need for any Planning

      or Study,just Implement Immediately!Thus saving

      us more Money!

    27. Sundowner04, TN says:

      Can anyone tell me ONE thing the government has EVER gotten their hands on that actually is working (and not just a bloated, bureaucratic nightmare)?

      To think that the government will be as successful with nationalized healthcare as they've been with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., etc. is to live in some kind of fantasy world where "the government will get it right this time".

    28. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Health Care is something that always requires immediate attention. Government by example is never immediate. How could those two entities ever mix?

      They cannot is the answer unless you are a freeloading socialist and even then you better think about it, because even you are better off under our current system even though all of us that,"Work", are paying for you!

      If we all truly want reasonably priced medical care, we must limit malpractice suits and eliminate frivolous suits altogether. That is half of this Nations Medical/medicine costs.

      No-if the Government ran crime, even it wouldn't pay!


    29. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      I am a veteran, and the VA is one of the biggest socialist medicines in the country. Treatment is slow, results of the treatment or test is even slower. I have had several test in the past months and still do not know the results or what treatment will be needed. I knwo that the VA is necessary for the treatment of our war injuries, and waiting is just part of the game for the government, so to get what is needed I must play the game.

      What part of the game are you willing to play when it comes to treatment for you family, especially when the treatment is necessary for life. Will you be willing to wait weeks, months, or hear some one tell you that treatment is not approved, or there is not money in the budget for that treatment??? Sit back on your hind end and let the dems and obama institute socialixed medicine, it will be to late then. I hope my children and grand chrilden never have to be subjected to this type of medicine.

    30. Jerome Zacny says:

      In 1968, there were well over 100 insurance companies competing in the national group medical insurance market. Today,there are fewer than a dozen. Seems kind of odd, doesn't it, that with all of those obscene profits that health insurance companies are making there are so few in that business today?

      There will always be those who feel the world owes them a living, and a comfortable one at that. Despite our arguements to the contrary, we will never be able to disabuse those who feel that way of that notion.

      While I have read the Constitution from cover to cover and have studied Constitutional law, nowhere in that document do I see the words "healthcare" or helath insurance". I have seen the references to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But I am relatively sure that the framers did not mean to imply that the inability to live forever, or the inability to freely do whatever you want, or the inability to achieve happiness were somehow violations of the Constitution. These guarantees were that your life and your liberty could not be taken from you without due process of law. And while the Constitution guaranteed one could pursue happiness, within the limits of the law, there was no guarantee that the government had to provide you with that which would make one happy.

      To those who would assert that failure to provide 'free', universal healthcare equates to a "crime against humanity", I submit they have never seen a real crime against humanity, i.e., the holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia, the genocide in Darfur, et al.

      The U.S. has the best health care system in the world, hands down, bar none. Yes, there are many uninsured:

      Some because they are illegal aliens in this country. To these I say, go back to your own country of origin and complain to them.

      Some because they don't want to pay the cost of insurance. To them I say, you chose not to be covered.

      Some because they they can't afford it. To them I say, apply for Medicaid, goverment housing assistence, food stamps and for job training, all of which are available through existing government programs.

      While these may not be the answers that people want to hear, they are nonetheless answers.

      To all of those who feel that the government should provide for all of the basic needs of individuals, food, shelter and healthcare, I say

      send your names and social security numbers to the Department of Health & Human Services and to the Treasury Department, so they will know who to bill. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    31. Dave, Bellingham, Wa says:

      Dennis W., Orlando, wrote: “I would be very happy with that kind of government health care.”

      The problem is that he does not have “… that kind of government health care.”

      The members choose from a menu of private plans, none of which is “government”.

      The difference with Obama’s proposal is that he includes a government-funded plan that would compete with private plans. Eventually, the government plan would squeeze out the private plans by underpricing the coverage, and single-payer would be a fait accompli.

      Health insurance should be like car insurance. We should take care of our own maintenance, and we should carry a policy to take care of catastrophes. Coverage mandates should be abolished.

      This would abrogate the prepaid-healthcare model and remove insurance company overhead and profit from basic care, as well as the cost of that model that’s borne by health care providers.

      The retail pricing model for basic care needs to be overhauled, so that cash payers would receive the pricing now enjoyed by insurance companies.

      Medicare whould be folded into this model, and a backstop program, something like Medicaid but with the new pricing model, would act as a backstop.

      With the new model, consumers will purchase levels of coverage based on cost and on an available array of services. Basic policies would be available that eliminate specific coverages, including those most expensive and open-ended, like mental health, substance abuse, chiropractic (a coverage I picked just to elicit comment).

      The pricing signals embedded in my model would reduce the capacity-utilization problems that plague the present system. Consumers, responsible for paying for maintenance, would visit the doctor less often, perhaps, but perhaps not: office calls would fall in price (and in cost to the provider), and the health-care consumer would pay for the time spent by the doctor.

      What a concept!

      I do think that some kind of tort reform should be enacted to reduce capacity utilization on the provider level: there should be fewer defensive tests and greater awareness on the part of consumers of the costs of technology and of sophisticated procedures. This might be done with co-payments for those kinds of tests. It’s well known that clinical outcomes do not necessarily improve with increased testing. The expectation that every negative outcome is the result of malpractice and should be compensated for econimically should be rethought, probably in statute.

      Several commenters here have recommended variations of what I think will work very nicely.

      With this in place, we have still not dealt intellectually with the rationing issue. With single-payer, rationing will be by bureaucrats who enforce wait times and denial of service based on cost. With my plan, rationing will be based on price signals, but the present situation, in which half of all health care expenditures occur in the last year of life, might be revisited.

      I watched my mother die of lung cancer. Every penny spent on surgery and followup therapy was wasted. After her surgery, she spent her remaining days in pain and misery, incarcerated in various facilities at great cost.

      There should have been a better way.

    32. Pingback: The Real Cost Of Free « Vets On The Watch

    33. Frank, Dallas says:

      I'm not too sure that all the money spent by the medical industry (lobby/bribe money) is a good thing? Does that not distort the market for healthcare? Managed care and drug makers are now going to see that large corporations are also going to object to their ever growing consumption of GNP. Its going to happen sooner or later and the system will morph into something different. Just as, say Obama got elected.


    34. Rory, Missoula, Mont says:

      I was talking to some folks that had just left the UK this past month. They told me that they the UK had just past a reform that any woman older then 50 that has breast cancer will not get treatment. She will get counseling to help her til the end comes. Because they feel once a woman reaches 50 and gets breast cancer she is not worth saving I guess. And this is one of the countries that we are pattering our supposed health care reform system on.

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