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Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 4:20 PM


Because this is a forum for those with a liberal bent, I thought it might be fun to begin with a discussion about universal healthcare. Feel free to start your own thread.

This is an article by a conservative about why we should have universal healthcare (can you imagine?) .

This isn't a case of preaching to the choir. Feel free to disagree with anything posted.

Just so you know, so far I am generally in favor of such a system, at least to a degree.

Goddess28  (Level: 92.6 - Posts: 5235)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 4:45 PM

I must admit that I don't know alot of the details of the proposed plan, and while I try to find out you just can't trust anything out there. I do know that I have a child with a terrible condition and he cannot be treated because he is too old for my insurance, and has none of his own. The costs are obscene, and neither of us could afford it even if he didn't have a preexisting condition. That is one reason I am for this care plan, preexisting son who is only 20 will spend his life fighting for medical coverage or going broke without it. I dont know if the current plan is the right one for our country, but I am feeling a bit selfish at the moment.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Fri, 8th Jan '10 11:17 PM

I've been spending my breaks at work today looking for an article I saw in the local paper here that gave a good summary. If I find it, I will post it here. If anyone else knows of a good summary on the current version, I'd be delighted to take a look at it. I do remember though that if passed it wouldn't effect us until 2014.....

Abbyr  (Level: 86.8 - Posts: 2266)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 12:35 AM

Maybe I'm just tired tonight, but I had no luck finding a good summary. I'll search again to tomorrow afternoon if no one else posts one by then.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 1:41 AM

Here's a part of what I read in my local paper, though it is short it is very informative in the sense that it tells how the health plan will effect each one of us. Worth a read. It's a start anyways.

P.S., there's a blue link at the beginning of the article titled health care reform bill, and it's a link to the actual bill itself. Considering that the bill is 2,074 pages, I'm not sure I'd recommend reading it!!

Oogie54  (Level: 208.9 - Posts: 1120)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 12:02 PM

Even with inevitable flaws and red-tapism, it is at least a start in universal health care.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 12:46 PM

Best summary I could find:

Though this was published in late October, I'm pretty sure, though not positive, that all of these things remain in the bill. If anyone knows differently speak up!

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 4:43 PM

BTW, it is interesting to note that several states have sought nullification of this newest reform at a state level, Arizona being the first to do so.

Probably not the greatest source on the planet, but I'm out the door to work, and it is fairly informative.

Calamari  (Level: 12.4 - Posts: 249)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 10:53 PM

These are helpful links, Jeremy! Thanks.

I've been in a quandry about the Health Care bill as well. One the one hand, I'm concerned about the length of the bill and whether my representatives have actually read the thing. I'm worried about how quickly it is passing through the legislature and if it is the best of all possible outcomes.

On the other hand, Fred and I will be losing our Cobra health care coverage in April, and I'm not sure we can afford insurance at all. I am not eligible for coverage with my current employer (too few hours) and Fred has just started his own company.

I'm crossing my fingers in hope that the bill is a good one and will help us out soon.

Calamari  (Level: 12.4 - Posts: 249)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 10:54 PM

I'm would love to hear input from the Brits and the Canadians who already have government supported health care.

If anyone has said anything in Trivial Tangents, I missed it because I avoid that cesspool like the plague.

Abbyr  (Level: 86.8 - Posts: 2266)
Sat, 9th Jan '10 11:54 PM

I live in Alberta, Canada. Each province receives transfer funds for health care from the Federal government and delivers it to the citizens of their province. I think it is a little different in each province. Here in Alberta, it covers doctor visits, hospital stays, all medical tests, emergency room hospital visits, and things like immunization and flu shots at no cost.

For things like chiropractors and counseling, a certain number of visits/year are covered (not sure how many) and after that you have to pay. When I needed physiotherapy, I went to the hospital physio department and it was free. However, going to an independent physiotherapist will not be paid for by the government.

One important thing it does not cover is prescription drugs. It also doesn't cover dentist visits and eye exams. However there is a government insurance plan (Alberta Blue Cross). Most employers offer these as benefits for yourself and your family.

For someone like me who does not have employee benefits, I can pay for it as an individual (but at a group rate). It costs me about $400/year and the insurance pays 80% of the total cost of my prescriptions which is taken off right at the pharmacy. It works out very well for me.

We can choose our own doctors. There are NO death panels. We receive very good care, however sometimes it is slow. For example, you can't just make an appointment to see a specialist. You have to be referred by your family doctor first. If you are very ill, seeing the specialist is arranged quickly. It is not so quick for things that aren't life threatening and waiting times can get ridiculous. If you have the money, there are private clinics where you can get anything done with little wait time.

I have always been thankful we have universal health care. I never had to worry about my children getting sick and not being able to go to the doctor. My son developed asthma at age two. He's an adult now, but when he was a child he was always going to the doctor or being hospitalized and his drugs were so expensive. It would have ruined us financially without universal health care. And because he had such wonderful care and his asthma was so well managed, he now has few problems with the asthma.

I more than likely didn't answer everything, but I'll try to answer any questions.

Oogie54  (Level: 208.9 - Posts: 1120)
Sun, 10th Jan '10 12:24 AM

Thanks for the input Abby, and Katy I also have reservations about the bill, but am keeping hopeful that the balance of it will serve as a springboard for whatever issues arise in implementing it. The cost has always been a point of debate, but I really believe doing nothing would be far more costly. The cost of indigent care has actually pushed many small town hospitals to the point of bankruptcy and surely adds to the price of everyone's health costs, so hopefully those paying into the system will alleviate at least some of that. And if a greater percentage of the population has coverage and uses preventive medicine, then overall health care costs should be lower right?

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Sun, 10th Jan '10 3:03 AM

"then overall health care costs should be lower right?"

Here are "some" of the arguments I've heard in this debate (would love to hear any I'm missing):

1) It would lower administrative costs

2) Lower the cost passed on to the insured by the uninsured visiting emergency rooms

3) Preventative care cheaper than emergency or advanced stage illness care

4) Similar the the argument about every dollar spent on education yields two dollars for the economy in return, the health care
argument says: "“Comparing the costs and benefits shows that extending insurance coverage to the uninsured would be a good social investment. For every dollar spent, the benefits would be about $1.50”

5) Would help the middle class by cutting their expenses

6) Fewer bankruptcies due to health care costs

BTW, for those of us still trying to make up our minds about the current bill, there appears to be some good news. A research team composed of researchers from Harvard and USC has decided that it will save Americans money as well.,0,1333736.story

Of course, criticisms are important as well. I thought at first that this group might suffer from the absence of opposing viewpoints, but they are so easy to find on the web, if it cuts out the name calling we can just use those.

The trick for me next I suppose is to continue to try and make up my mind about who is right. Still, the ethical argument is pretty appealing to me........

Mplaw51  (Level: 184.4 - Posts: 1581)
Sun, 10th Jan '10 9:14 AM

I agree with you, Oogie, that it's a good starting point. The two MD's that I see with any regularity both agree that this reform is necessary.

The nullification article is concerning to me. For those states that may pass this on referendum, there are plenty of people who will be against it. That's an obvious statement but why are their rights being taken? Seems like there's a bit of hysteria on the part of lawmakers about this. That seems over the top to me. (I'm even more concerned that NJ is thinking about it. Christie was not my man and NJ is in big trouble as it is.)

It's been proven that people are going broke over medical bills. Our current medical system isn't working. Clearly we have no collaborative effort for the betterment of all Americans. My husband is self-employed and our health insurance is through my employer. I work for a private non-profit so it pays for me and I pay for family. I'm happy that I can do this because paying privately is crazy money. My sons are no longer eligible and have no insurance through work. I'd like to see that change.

Your links were great, Jeremy. I appreciate this opportunity to say ANYTHING without any bombastic blah blah tossed back! Such a relief....

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 14th Jan '10 12:49 PM

For those of you like the current bill, and see it as a step towards universal coverage, there might be bad news on the horizon.......

Luvnmexsun  (Level: 147.4 - Posts: 711)
Sat, 16th Jan '10 11:06 PM

I am SO very sorry I missed this discussion, because, of course, I have much to say! LOL...

Anyone still interested in starting this up again?

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Tue, 19th Jan '10 2:20 AM

Yes Sun, I would love to!

Mplaw51  (Level: 184.4 - Posts: 1581)
Tue, 19th Jan '10 6:35 AM

I just received an e-mail from Money Hacks. I'm not sure what his politics are, so I'm not sure I'll keep receiving these messages. I think he may be a nut! In any case, today's message had a graph that shows that we (Americans) pay more for pharmaceuticals than anyone else. I'd cut and paste but all you'd end up with is the message that asks, "would you like to sign up for my e-mails?".

I think the point is well taken without the graph. I'm hopeful that universal healthcare can stop the spiraling cost of drugs. What drug is on the formulary, what drug is not on the formulary? Does it come in generic form? Will your doctor let you use it? My insurance uses a tiered system and I can spend $10 for 30 days, or $20 for 90 days on generics, $15/30, $30/90 or $30/30, $60/90 depending on generic, formulary or non-formulary.

I don't consider myself unhealthy but I have asthma and take daily medicines for that. I have chronic migraines and take medicines for that. I have hyperthyroidism and take medicine for that which caused high cholesterol and I take medicine for that. I'm post menopausal so my bones need that medicine because of my thyroid condition. WHEW! Many of these are not on the formulary, which of course changes all the time. The insurance companies have deals with pharmaceuticals and some drugs are pushed more than others. My primary said, "If I said to you take this drug, I'm getting a kickback from the pharmaceuticals, I'd lose my license. The insurance companies are doing just that with their formularies".

I'm very lucky to have health insurance and I pay handsomely for it, gladly I might add. The deals the insurance companies and the pharmaceuticals have are putting a stranglehold over the business. This is helping to drive the cost up as much as anything else. Research is important but shouldn't come at the expense of the consumer. It should be funded in another manner.

My two cents! Time to get ready for work. Have a nice day, it was lovely to have a three day weekend.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 21st Jan '10 3:46 PM

"I'm very lucky to have health insurance and I pay handsomely for it, gladly I might add. ".

I thought I would add to the discussion "some" factors which are involved in our skyrocketing health insurance costs, because they are out of control and my Personal Finance Textbook listed some factors as to why:

50% of Americans recieve government entitled healthcare through Medicare or Medicaid, and many more have private insurance, so doctors/hospitals feel no need to show restraint in medical billing.

Healthcare has become sophisticated, (equipment, drugs, etc.) and therefore costly.

Malpractice suits have skyrocketed, and these costs are passed on to patients.

Any more?

Oogie54  (Level: 208.9 - Posts: 1120)
Thu, 21st Jan '10 9:41 PM

Pharmaceutical cooperations make billions of dollars promoting their new products through media ads.???? Why can a company promote a product that must be prescribed by a physician? The consumer cannot diagnose their ailment, consult their knowledge of pharmaceutical products and it's contraindicative effects to arise at a proper medication for treatment, yet we are bombarded with ads advising us to consult our doctor to"see if brand xyz is right for you". To me this unethical and speaks to the nature of the power that drug manufacturers have in this country, and a huge reason they do not want health care reform of any kind.

Mplaw51  (Level: 184.4 - Posts: 1581)
Fri, 22nd Jan '10 6:30 AM

You hit the nail on the head! I imagine that the pharmaceuticals are lobbying hard against universal healthcare. I honestly feel that it's a large part of of the problem. I'm not naive enough to think that the government run insurance programs aren't problematic because of the fraud component, but payment policies brought on fraud. Not condoning it, just saying. The M.D's are getting very little for their services because the government defines what the "usual and customary" fee is and then pays a percentage of that.

Insurance companies do the same thing if you go outside of network. If a doctor charges $1000.00 for a procedure that your provider says should be $400.00, then pays 80% of that, you're left paying $580.00. I never go outside of network, far too costly.

Insurance companies have a fiduciary duty, if you will, to protect it's customers and we're caught in the crossfire of their bottom line. Tip of the iceberg, the relationship with pharmaceuticals is unethical and why hasn't it been investigated instead of assuming this is a great marriage? They must be a powerful group.

Have a great day, glad it's Friday!

Oldcougar  (Level: 228.1 - Posts: 1935)
Fri, 22nd Jan '10 2:08 PM

I looked up the top 25 money making corporations a few weeks ago. All of the pharmaceutical companies were on it. Most of the rest were oil companies, with Walmart & Sears thrown in for good measure.

Oogie54  (Level: 208.9 - Posts: 1120)
Fri, 22nd Jan '10 9:07 PM

The drug companies "got it good", most of their research,and new development of drugs is done by universities for a grant, and they reap the billions in sales.

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