The latest vote to pass health care reform in congress has failed. Do we need to drop the issue or negotiate a new one?
scrap it, go back, try it again as Insurance ompany Reform laws.
Give it teeth, make it work at street level for real people.
You might find the following article interesting. It articulated the problem in a way I haven't been able to so far. What we have in the US today is a monopoly of providers of heath care who enforce a price floor on the costs of healthcare, but there is no ceiling, which is why the cost is spiraling out of control. If you really want to fix healthcare, get rid of the monopoly first.
No problem, Misha. I'd written about our current system before, but hadn't connected all the dots and linked it with economics. This article does that wonderfully.
Time to drop it; it is a disorganized mess and that nobody understands...not even those who created it. I wonder why the president would want to rush an approval on something in two weeks that nobody understands; what is really in there?
SCRAP IT! Anything created that fast and with little to no real info on it and wth that big of a financial burden on the American People...should be an obvious answer!
It needs to be scrapped. We do need a cap on malpractice and throw a bit (?) of tort reform in there. That would make a huge difference in health care costs. And encourage insurance companies to offer less expensive coverage to the uninsured and/or under-insured.
We have the best health care system in the world and it is NOT the problem. Insurance fraud and inflated malpractice premiums are the problem. And insurance companies themselves, like the government, have become as greedy/corrupt as the government. If it is not broken, do not fix it! Fix the areas around it that need mending.
Blimey. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
I'm not opposed to tort reform, but medical malpractice costs are small part of health care costs. Reform or even elimination of medical malpractice lawsuits would contribute little to curbing skyrocketing health care costs.
We may have the "best health care system in the world" for the richest Americans and for middle class employed Americans fortunate to work for the government or companies that provide good health care insurance coverage. The rest of us aren't participants in the "best health care system in the world"--the poor, the unemployed and those who have insurance coverage so riddled with loopholes in their coverage that they can't afford to use it. This shows up in the statistics that rank the United States 47th in the world on the quality of health care. This is because of the people who don't get preventive care, physical checkups, pre-and post-natal care, etc. They drag down our statistics on life expectancy and infant mortality.
As you may know medical bills are the foremost cause of bankruptcy in this country. Reform is badly needed in our health care system and in our bankruptcy laws that were written by Wall Street banksters.
Medical bills are the single largest reason for bankruptcy in the United States.
Have you ever seen the picture "Sicko" by Roger Moore I think his name is, but any way it compares the health care system of Canada and the United States. Its really an eye opener. In Canada a person does not have to pay for any type of health care or drugs. They can choose thier own doctors and hospitals. Theres no long waiting for services or rooms. Its a great health care system. Theres no reason that the United States could not do the same.
Canada delivers better health care results at lower cost. (It's Michael Moore. Roger Moore played 007. His latest movie, "Capitalism: A Love Affair" is worth seeing.}
Well, actually we do have to pay for drugs. Luckily I have a drug plan through work. Sometimes there are waits for beds. But...all in all, it is great.
With the NHS, you pay sometimes. In-patients never pay for drugs in hospital. Some out-patient prescriptions are free for everyone, such as contraceptives. For other out-patient prescriptions, there is a charge of about £7 per go, which you don't pay if you are under 18, over 60, unemployed, pregnant, had a baby within the last year, or various other exclusions.
I think the whole idea needs to be scrapped! The government will never be able to pay for it which is why they want a mandate to force people to buy insurance. That is a big problem since the constitution does NOT grant such power to the federal government.
What needs to be done and what can easily be done is to allow sale of insurance across state borders. You can also force insurance companies to cover people regardless of existing condition and not allow them to drop you for something previously undisclosed. This of course will add to insurance costs.
The other thing that can be done easily is to cap malpractice insurance. This will help reduce costs.
I agree that the government having the power to require insurance or face a penalty is a bit extreme. To force someone who cannot afford the coverage now is like adding fuel to the fire so to speak. Requiring people to be covered with pre-existing conditions must have the bean counters running through the halls like their hair is on fire.
Allowing competition to span states borders sounds good but don't we have a problem with that in some states with auto insurance. It did not reduce the costs to so many that states had to set up their own insurance funds to try and rectify the problem. Even then the premiums would make a Mongol cry.
The government in charge of a vast amount of tax dollars to manage the program also scares the snot out of me because of their looting social security with complete abandonment.
This is a complex issue we cannot ignore as other countries such as Japan and Canada have health coverage from the government that reduces their goods they sell to us. We ship jobs overseas as the costs are too much to produce products here.
We are in a spiral and with no palatable plan it is going to sinks us all.
I don't get why need to create a new system instead of fixing the current one. Makes no sense. Let's create two systems that basically don't work well and then what? They'll say we need some sort of government program to oversee both systems. Then we'll need more government programs to oversee those programs.
It never ends. Even when it doesn't work.
But how do you get a for profit organizations such as HMO's and insurance companies to agree to regulations that restrict their profits? They would soon tire of the endless negotiations and opt out.
Rather than having it operate as all our government programs do we ned to find a new way to make this something we can all afford without restricting our benefits.
I know the slime in DC will put their screwed up stamp on another bill.
We already have government backed health care. Its called Medicare and Medicaid they are both poorly managed and rampant with fraud and abuse. Why would anyone think that government somehow now has figured out what the problem is and how to fix it?
Government healthcare, Great! As long as they pay for it. Otherwise no!
It's certainly a very difficult time economically to try to get a hugely expensive measure like universal healthcare up and running - regardless of whether you agree with the policy or not, the timing couldn't be worse.
It's still surprising to read how many in the USA are opposed to the policy. Here in the UK, the NHS is almost a religion - it's almost considered bad manners to criticise it.
That doesn't stop me though - I think it's a terrible system - but here people seem to value equality of healthcare over excellence. Health outcomes for many diseases lag behind the best in the world, but since everyone gets the same mediocre treatment, people put up with it.
I'm not saying the present system in the USA is perfect - but I'm not sure you'd want to replace it with the system we have here.
Perhaps there's something better than either out there somewhere?
The whole idea of a mandate for health insurance is something the health insurance industry has fought and spent millions of dollars to get into the bill proposed by Senator Baucus. It's a scam and is detrimental to uninsured Americans. Drawing a parallel between health insurance and auto insurance is foolish and infantile.
Government run health care can be effective. It works for both US Military Veterans (like myself) and the elderly (in the form of Medicare and Medicaid).
It will keep competition in the healthcare industry strong. Just like the US Postal Service keeps UPS, FedEX, and DHL competing strongly for our business. If other countries can have effective, efficient and affordable healthcare provided by the government then so can we.
It's sad to know that our health care system ranks 37th in the world. For example, we have the lowest life expectancy rate in the developed world and the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. We can do far, far better.
Expand Medicare to every American so we can all be healthy.
That's a load. Military, active duty and retired comprise about 26 million. They can draw on the resources of the other 275 million Americans out there. Actually the number is lower. Military vets and active duty can only rely on 175 million people for resources since 100 million people are on Medicare and Medicaid. At least those were the numbers in 2005, the number is higher today. Actually that number is even smaller since about 75 million people in the US are minors and don't support government programs through taxes. So now we're down to 99 million people supporting 26 million vets and active duty personnel. That is actually doable. Heck the military put their lives on the line for us, so the least we can do is pay for their medical bills especially when the military may have been the cause of those injuries or illnesses in the first place, that's fair. But you cannot add another 40 million people to the dole without the system breaking down. Then you'd only have 50 million workers supporting a combined dole list that is 176 million strong. How is that supposed to happen exactly?
Government must assure at least all the fundamental needs of people.
I found this article and the website interesting. I wanted to reply here, but the reply became too long, so I converted it to a hub about the problems as I see it of applying the principles of the von Mises school of thought to health care.
The US is the only rich country that doesn't have universal health care. It isn't that hard to do- plenty of tiny European countries are up to the job. The thing is, you will never know if you are capable of making it work until you try. If you get it right you will quickly become like every other nation where it exists- a lot more relaxed when illness rears its ugly head. You might also feel more virtuous. Turning a blind eye to the unnecessary suffering of others (the uninsured in this case) is definitely bad for the soul.
The US could be like every other Nation, woo hoo, stand up and cheer for mediocrity!
Mediocrity would be a vast improvement over our current system.
I have no idea who you're trying to respond to.
Oh, I see your point. Anyone who thinks improving one of the world's worst healthcare systems is a good idea must be a liberal....
OK, I'm now a liberal.
Don't have any valid argument left and resorting to broad assumptions? Poor thing
I agree. In Switzerland, they are forced to pay for their insurance, but I have met people from there and most of them are proud of their system and can hardly criticize the government for forcing them to take their health seriously. Yes it can be pricey, but it also goes by the wage you earn I believe.
I for one don't think our system is all that bad, but then I have insurance. I have also accessthe the "public" system through the VA so I can speak from personal experience.
I will agree that reforms need to be made, but I am strongly opposed to any government takeover! Government care is the worst care and if they take over they will claim power over your decisions on behalf of the taxpayers. Even liberals can not deny this!
Cost will always be an issue, but who will provide care for less, the government? Or private corporations? Who will provide a higher quality of care?
If the VA is any model then I have to put my trust in private corporations that operate for profit. The VA does a great job of controling costs, but the tradeoff is denial of and or rationing care. That policy, nearly cost me my life. The VA provides care based on data they collect and a board of doctors recommends the approach. In my case a pill I had been taking (at 9 dollars a piece) was seen as too expensive and not necessary according to the data they collected. That decision almost killed me.
That's what you can expect on Obama care, and worse, because they will want yuo to quit smoking, lose weight, eat a certain diet, etc and they will be justified in this because it will save taxpayer money! These issues are some of the same issues experienced by countries that have government care. There's more but I don't want to ramble!
The answer, worldwide, seems to be that the government does. Every other developed country has some form of national health coverage. And they all spend a lot less on it than you do in the USA, and mostly live longer, healthier lives.
I wish the Americans who are so opposed to your system could spend a few months with real Britians and see how well the system works. The access to medicine would boggle their minds. It's so hard for me to fathom when I'm there, that you don't have to worry about what health insurance your employer provides. Or if you get sick and lose your job, you can still afford medical treantment. Or in my case, I have access to health insurance in Massachusetts, that I would have no where else in this country because of my state's liberal health care polices. So I will always live here to be self-employed.
Please don't confuse us with facts. Either submit hyperbole based on irrational fear or stick to your own side of the pond.
Real God-Fearing Americans
What is your income tax rate(average) in the UK?
I don't know the average - there are graduated rates. You pay nothing on the first £6,500-odd, 20% on the income between £6,500 and about £37,500, and 40% above that. You also pay council tax to your local authority based on the value of your home in 1991 - ours, in central London, is about £1,500 a year.
So, not a lot of difference in tax schedules. However you mention that the UK spends half as much per person on health care. Based on the stats now, extrapolate that out considering that the US has 300 million people compared to the UK's 70 million. The US does not do socialism well! We are rugged individualist at heart. That trait is not specific to a political party. That's not going to change. No social program is going to change the hearts and minds of the American people.
By the way if you look at the WHO, you will note that the UK's stats are only marginally better than the US. Also we have socialized medicine for about 80 million people. Look at those numbers, its obviously mismanaged. Who in their right mind would allow a program this poorly run be expanded. The US doesn't need a universial health care program. It needs Medicare reform. When thats fixed(and it wont) maybe the people could get behind the idea of socialized medicine. I never will, but thats just me. We have socialized education and its a disaster, we have social security, its a disaster, we have tried socialism lite and it doesn't work in our culture. Why would we want full on socialism.
TV tax, Gardenhose Tax to mention a couple.
We do pay other taxes, too - Value Added Tax on things you buy (excluding food, children's clothes, books, and things like that). We pay car tax yearly, but I understand you pay something similar in American on car licence plates? And television licence, for the BBC, which is about £110 a year.
You say that the UK's stats are only marginally better than the USA's are. But we spend half what you do in GDP terms, and less than half in actual cash per head. That indicates a massive failure in the US system, surely?
It represents a failure if we are getting the same level of service. Look closely at the statistics. America is FAT! No amount of health care is going to fix that! How ever it will run up your cost. There are TWO health care systems in America. A private one and a Public one. To illustrate my point, only compare your system to America's Public system. Ours is horrible! When you see how poorly it operates, you can clearly understand why so many Americans are against expanding Public health care. If the government has the answer, then prove it by fixing what is currently out there. If they would, there would be lots of people screaming for a Public Option.
Living a healthier or longer life has nothing to do with socialized medicine.
Thought this was interesting
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article … s-IMF.html
Pretty telling isn't it? Pretty much tells me that while it may seem like a good idea on the surface, its unsustainable.
That's the Daily Mail. Facts entirely accidental.
But even taking what the IMF has said, it's true, we are in massive debt. Over the last decade, the Labour government hasn't saved enough during the good years, and has bailed out the banks in these not-so-good years. But the debt's not because of the NHS - we spend less than half as much per person on health as you do in the USA.
We live longer. Fewer babies dies in infancy. So it doesn't look as if we do get "half the care".
Have a look at this American woman who gave birth unexpectedly to a very premature baby in London:
"But more to the point than the cost of the care, was the value that was placed on our tiny son's life from the moment we walked, dazed and panic-stricken through the doors of University College Hospital. The goal of every person who attended to us, every moment that we were there, was to save this baby and offer him the best medicine had to offer."
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-leary … 64454.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-leary … 64454.html
Like I said, living longer has nothing to do with socialized medicine. Like the paper you pointed out to me not usually printing the truth, thats how I feel about the Huffington post!
Although you'll note that I went on to deal with the issue substantively.....
No you didn't, you went on with a tale from an American who was taken care of by a British hospital.
Then you can apologise?
I will apologize I thought you were talking about the Huffington post one. I sincerely apologize to you!
LG, there are also other circumstances to take into consideration. It might be that Britons live longer because of dietary differences. There is mounting evidence that some of the additives in our foods that are only used in the US like HFCS is causing an explosion in the rate of diabetes, which would in turn have an effect on the longevity of Americans. Likewise I'm not sure how much trans fat is consumed by people in the UK, but it is pretty significant here, which has been linked to heart attacks and hardening of the arteries.
http://www.divinecaroline.com/22177/807 … d-pyramid-
The preceding link talks about some of the controversy surrounding the food pyramid, which is the government's recommendation on what people should eat. As such the food pyramid did not take any of Professor Atkin's research into consideration, which has been shown to reduce weight and help control blood sugar better than the food pyramid. If you'd like to experiment, you try eating 8 servings of bread and pasta a day and see how much your weight fluctuates.
This sort of thing is exactly why I'm opposed to government involvement in anything. Sooner or later any government program becomes not about what it was established about, but perpetuating the program and politics.
so how do you explain then, the longer lives, the lower infant mortality rates and overall better health of Canadians as compared to the US if we are receiving half the care? It just doesn't add up.
What are you all so afraid of? It seems to me that Americans are drowning in fear and most of the time, you're not even sure why. Your media is so sensationalized and so hell-bent on getting the drama, or making it, at any cost, that you don't know whether you're coming or going. I'm not trying to be mean, its just how I see it.
SCRAP THE CRAP! You know to those people who still want "free" health care, you can still have it. Gather yourselves into a single community. Pool your resources and buy a hospital. Run it how you think is best. Let us know how that works out for ya.
In fact there used to be a lot of public hospitals around the nation. What happened to them? Federal Regulation!
Extremely wealthy liberal communities could have eutopian health care systems, why don't they? There is nothing wrong with a single community doing whats best for their community. There is everything wrong with a single community deciding whats best for every community.
I eat lots of complex carbs, and my weight stays pretty much the same. I find Atkins' ideas pretty unsound, personally.
Perhaps so, but it has been shown in controlled laboratory experiments to have lots of benefits for people. You just might be one of the lucky ones on the high end of the metabolic spectrum. I wish I could say the same, but I've had a lot of success controlling my blood sugar using quite a few of Atkin's ideas.
I mean the government dietitians are the same ones who say that eating eggs will give you high cholesterol. I find that pretty unsound, personally.
Sadly no, I put on weight easily if I'm not careful. But complex carbs (such as, say, oats and brown rice) and great to fill you up and give you long-term energy.
I agree with you about eggs, but I think a high-protein, high-fat Atkins diet is very unhealthy indeed.
I actually have to be careful about ketoacidosis. Both from the Atkins diet and diabetes. I've since found that eating a diet that scores low in the glycemic index is much better than the Atkins diet and is very different and much much better than what you find the Food Pyramid trying to push down our throats. A Mediterranean diet has also found to be better for you than Atkins and comparable to a low glycemic diet.
I still say that part of the reason we have a shorter lifespan than the rest of the world is due mostly to our diet, not the quality or quantity of our healthcare. In fact, I'd go so far as to say a poor diet will overwhelm any health care system, socialized, cartelized or free.
I will go further and say that our health care system manages to keep us alive longer than we would have under another!
Yes, and if people are unaware, Atkins, the company, went bankrupt a few years ago.
So the company can't run a profit, that doesn't mean the science behind their studies is bad. Nice strawman by the way.
Twas not a 'strawman,' sir, simply a turn 'o phrase. Or to put it plainly, it was just a basic statement.
For the record, I also think Atkins is unhealthy, as do quite a few physicians. And MY weight is always basically the same, eating grains.
...You do realize some of that has to do with genetic strains and what people can actually tolerate, right? IE, those of European descent have more tolerance towards complex carbs and dairy products, etc, because they have had thousands of years of agrarian culture.
Unless you happen to be Spanish or Mexican. They too have had thousands of years of agrarian culture. Sorry but you need to do better than that.
Spanish people are of European descent, surely?
Yes, but the genetic marker that indicates a predisposition for diabetes is present in the Spanish people as well as Mexicans. My mother's family is predominantly Spanish in descent, although we have a very few ancestors of mestizo blood.
This is based on research done by a nutritionist on native American cultures living in mestizo areas: The desert contains highly nutrient rich foods, ie, a Cholla plant has something like 80% more calcium and other nutrients than cow's milk. What she and others have found is that those who evolved in regions of so-called 'scarcity' do better eating the regional foods they evolved in. This is why native American cultures have such a high incidence of diabetes. Genetically, they cannot handle low-nutrient abundant food stuffs.
When put on a native foods diet, their weight and diabetes stabilizes.
Should not be so snitty, there, LDT, . Sometimes you do learn a few things from other people, ya know. And we know each other already, too...just telling you.
Thanks for the find, I'll have to look into it. I'd just like to remind you that most Mestizos trace their ancestry to the Valley of Mexico which was as agricultural as any you'd find in the Old World. High in carbs and grains, in other words. That's why tortillas are a Mexican and not Spanish ingredient.
Yes, as corn is a product of the New World. Of course, corn strains have been enormously mutated. I live in the area, , lol. Written a few articles on it, even...
Did you know that suagaro nectar and prickly pear blossoms also HELP in some way chemically, to alleviate diabetes? It's cool..
The suagaro nectar, is it sweet? If so, I may have heard of it being used as a sugar substitute. I hadn't heard about prickly pear, I'll have to Google it.
Personally I used to drink massive amounts of soda. I mean scary amounts. To this day, I'm convinced that HFCS was a major contributor to my diabetes. So yeah, I do have something of a personal grudge against agencies like the FDA that should have banned those things, but due to the corn lobby they use that rather than sugar. It's funny to see that Coke and Pepsi in the UK, for example, uses sugar rather than HFCS, guess they don't have much of a corn lobby there.
But that's why, in general, I don't agree with government backed anything, much less healthcare. The real problem with healthcare is the cost. You don't control rising healthcare costs by paying for it, you lower costs by increasing the supply of healthcare. It's that simple. But that's the one thing you never hear anyone ask about. Why do you think that is?
mmmm. Though you have valid points (you always do), I wouldn't be so quick to name just one source (Govt) for these issues.
US Govt. and US industry are in bed together. Such was and is always the case. Case in point, that corn syrup. And I'm SURE that the soda was the problem for you. 100+ calories a can. Scary. Take that times however many you drink per day. Anyone would have a problem... I only drink diet and have since forever.
And since you ask the question...Why do YOU think that is, concerning your last thought?
Sure they are. Our economy is set up along a National Socialist model with the government grouping industries into cartels and syndicates. By doing this it grants industries protections against competition. Likewise the government becomes beholden to those industries against the interests of the people, at least in the US.
Oh no my dear, I was drinking multiple 20oz and 44oz a day at my worst. We're talking almost half of my caloric intake a day. Nationally people are getting about 20% more calories in their diet than they did 30 years ago. Yep it's from soda. And people wonder why diabetes is exploding in this country.
To answer my own question, you don't hear about it because if any work were done to eliminate barriers to entry and allow market forces into healthcare, well that would mean that doctors would actually have to *gasp* work and that would cut into their tee time. The AMA determines who can and cannot be doctors, who can teach doctors and who cannot, and are empowered by the several states to determine what "proper medical practices" are. In other words the AMA exerts a monopoly over healthcare. Anytime you have a monopoly, you have runaway costs. That's why in the business world, monopoly is their version of a four letter word.
Ugh. Asperatame. Something else the FDA screwed up on. There's a soda out there flavored with Stevia. It's expensive as anything though. Hopefully they can expand their production lines and get the costs down, that would rock. It's very tasty. I hear even Coke and Pepsi are coming up with their own formulation for using Stevia, but we'll just have to see if they screw it up or not.
They are! Wonder where you heard that, LDT, ?
And with your above argument, you always want to drag the market into it. Not all forces are market related. But around, and through, you do have a point about presumed privilege, basically. We'd disagree on how that should be addressed. The difference between a left leaning and right leaning libertarian.
I rather think as von Mises did that economics is a subset of what he called praxeology or the study of human action. I actually came to the Mises institute from a historical perspective, so much of what the institute writers talk about I understand from my readings of history. So from that perspective, studying market forces is studying the decisions people make. History is a way of studying human action throughout recorded history and makes things clear that would otherwise be clouded.
Which is why I find myself in such disagreement with the President on so many things. Many of his plans have been tried in the past and they failed then, they're not likely to start working now.
Heh, I've always found the concept of a left or right leaning libertarian a bit funny. I tend to follow the natural law school of thinking when it comes to society. I find that it's very compatible with a libertarian perspective and you don't have to do any intellectual acrobatics to get things to fit.
The difference between left and right leaning libertarians is that to you, libertarianism follows a capitalist philosophy. This idea was developed here in the US. In Europe, however, it was a different story.
Left leaning Libertarian recognizes that one's degree of freedom and choice IS affected by one's economic and social status. It is perhaps a difference sometimes suggested by "free creativity" in a society in preference to "free enterprise."
And I don't have to do mental gymnastics to get there. To me, it seems natural based on what I've seen/read/believe.... In general, it is not believed that this state is possible for humanity, but that we must go there to reach our true potential and birth right as sentient and free beings. It cannot be about materialism.
That does sound very European. I've never liked the idea that people are limited by their class or economic station. I've recently met a very smart man who grew up in the projects of Chicago. His mother was a crack addict, his brother wound up in a gang, but he got out that life and is now pursuing a Master's degree. Class and station didn't determine anything for him, his actions did. That's one reason Europe lost people like Carnegie and Tesla, both of whom did great things for America and both of whom started out with nothing.
What exactly is wrong with materialism? I know millions of people in the shanty towns that surround Mexico City that would love just a fraction of the material wealth we have here in the States or that Europeans enjoy. Besides by figuring out better ways to make products and services we make them less and less expensive and thus are able to increase the standard of living for even the poorest nations. Surely that is an avenue worthy of exploring.
I mis-wrote, lol. I had to move my laptop (excuse). I meant to say that most left leaning libertarians realize that the state we are looking for is one for the future... Because just as you say, they are huge amounts of poor people (I know: I support a little girl in India whose family lives on $40 per month and uses a public latrine).
But past alleviating these things, there really is no need for alleviating these things. That is to say, what if everyone were 'rich' and could only be 'rich?' What is our purpose then? Also, why aren't, even now, drug dealers (who make quite a bit of money) as respected as writers, teachers, or doctors? Left leaning libertarians believe in the worth of work taken on for its own sake and creativity in that work for all.
And yes, there are many who do not let class or economic station limit them. For those (who often have wills of steel and, lol, humongous student loans, too), there are many others (and SO many through history) who ARE limited. Because let us face it, environment...and say not having adequate food to eat...or a mother not having adequate food to eat does produce actual physical limitations.
You make the mistake many do and equate money with wealth and not production. It's increased production that makes us more wealthy. Look at the industrial revolution. Many people today give it a bad rap because it ended the cottage industry and put those people out of work. Many of them wound up moving to the cities and working for the very factories that put them out of business. Yet consider the fact that these workers became the seed of a an entirely new middle class. Sure they started out with nothing and had to scrimp and save, but save they did. So much so that the average person in 1900 lived in luxury compared to the average person in 1800. The industrial revolution lowered the prices of many goods and services to levels in which even the poor could afford them. While India has a massive underclass, we're seeing the same economic forces elevating people's standard of living there. It's interesting to note that the rise in the standard of living coincided with the abandonment of socialist economic policies. Much the same thing is happening in China as well.
It's a bit of an historical irony that as once collectivist states are liberalizing that once liberal states or collectivizing.
So you believe Europe has abandoned 'socialist economic policies?' huh. And I see you looking to the past, not the present a lot; not the future. What I'm saying is...when the need for material comfort of all kinds becomes sated, what then?
I also ask, when is enough enough? It has been shown in research that happiness increases due to wealth up to the point of the $50,000 per year range. After that, there is no effect. At least not on the non-narcissistic, in general. ...and we are back to Maslow's definition of human needs.
No, Western Europe, at least was at one time as lassiez-faire as the US. Not anymore. They've become more collectivist, even more so than the US. And if I look to the past, it's because it paints quite an interesting picture of the future. Let's just say that I'm less than impressed with the caliber of world leaders today. They're much as they were in the age of Greece, Rome and the dynasties of China for that matter. Concerned only for themselves and if their policies provide an unintended good, well so be it.
As for when enough is enough, well that would depend on the person, my dear. Everyone has a different idea about what constitutes enough. Personally, I'd like to see enough so that my family is safe. So that we don't have to worry about the stupidity of others ruining us. Look up Bill Bonner. He's the CEO of a company that writes about finance. He's created, from scratch, a company that makes about 40 million a year.
You're right about Maslow's needs, but what you don't consider is that people's definition of those needs may differ from one another. I see great wealth as a protection against the calamities of fate. By amassing wealth, I will be able to better control my destiny and those I am responsible for.
Collectivism destroys. Why not just pas into law that everyone makes $50,000 a year then? If that is what people need to be happy, then why not do it? Because it all goes back to the old "they pretend to pay us, we pretend to work". Socialism is just a politically correct term for communism. The end result of either system is the same.
Still don't understand this idea of money as the measure of everything. Good conversation, fine food and the odd night in the taverna are far more important than this accumulation of capital.
Maybe Greece is different, because of the historical 'village' culture and mentality, but left-leaning libertarian sums Greeks up very well.
'Tis a happy country
Not sure whether you were including the UK in your Industrial Revolution thing, but people were no better off in 1900. It was only during the social reform movement of the early Twentieth Century, guaranteeing basic rights, that things became any better. Victorian England is not a good advertisment for Laissez-Faire capitalism.
Until the first world war, it was still common-place for the young working-class lads and lasses to go into service as servants to the wealthy. The teenagers that signed up so eagerly to go to the trenches were desparate to escape a life of unending poverty, and near-starvation. So much for the free market economy raising living standards.
Sadly, the liberal reforms of the early twentieth century had a sinister undertone. A third of the young men electing to join the army, during the Boer War, were turned away for health reasons.
Can't have half of a nation's men unfit to fight, so things changed
I'd heard that story too, but whatever the motivation to start social change, it was still very much for the best.
Agreed - things certainly began to improve during that period and the country moved into a new era. It was a fascinating period of history
Things improved because of expanded production. The 19th century was dominated by a few industrial powers. The UK primarily and France to a lesser degree. By the end of the century, they were joined by the US, Germany, Italy, Japan. All these countries contributed to global industrial output and massively lowered the cost of living for millions of people.
That's why things began to improve.
Sorry Sufi, but in regards to the UK, those people were better off. The proletariat wouldn't exist without the industrial revolution. I just don't have the words I guess to explain the idea I see in my mind.
The Industrial Revolution had the effect of making goods cheap and accessible to most people. In fact, due to industrial processes, new markets were constantly sought for the output of industrial capacity. Thus the standard of living of even the poorest was uplifted by industrialization.
It comes down to production. If you produce more, you're able to support more people and meet more of their wants and needs. If you do things to reduce production, you'll start to see reductions in productivity and the standard of living. Look at China during the Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot's Killing Fields. In those cases you had a forced removal from the cities and people were made to farm. Most of these people didn't know the first thing about farming. That's why there was famine. Russia under Stalin did just the opposite. They took people off the farm and forced them to work in a factory. Same problem. Until we started backing them, the Russians couldn't make stuff to save themselves.
It comes down to choice. By allowing people to choose what they want to do, they generally do a better job than they would if they were forced to do something they didn't want to do. Look at volunteer vs conscripted military forces. Volunteer forces kick butt. Why? Because they believe in service, in that case the morale is to the material as three is to one.
Sufi, those workers in the UK during the beginning of the industrial revolution had it hard, don't get me wrong. But they started from nothing. If it weren't for the industrial revolution and free trade that lowered the cost of things like food, see the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. Interestingly enough, Marx was opposed to the repeal because then manufacturers could "drive down the wages of workers". There was no evidence that worker's wages were driven down due to cheap food. Wages are a function of supply and demand for certain types of works, something Marx totally missed. Indeed cheaper food was good for workers because it increased what we now call disposable income. Thus they were better able to meet their wants as well as their needs.
Not the workingman's speech recorded by Cobden and the effects of increased corn production in the United States and it's effect on the affordability of food.
That is what people don't understand. If you want to make things more affordable, you have to repeal anything that is keeping the supply down. It's been shown time and time again that this is the one way to make everyone better off, not just a select few.
Straightaway, you are off on the wrong track – ‘most people’ is not ‘all people.’ This is the problem, LDT - I understand that you have read a lot of economics, but your tendency to address every single issue in broad, sweeping macro-economic terms often misses the point. Even assuming that you are correct, how do you address the issue of those who do not fit into the model? A historian must look at case studies as well as the broad picture - history is also about the lives of individuals, not about whether they fit into some simplistic model of classic economics.
I cut this section down because it has nothing to do with the Liberal Reforms and the failure of Laissez-Faire capitalism. I understand choice - in those times, people had the choice between work in the countryside and starve or move to the slums and starve.
I am no Marxist, so I am not sure what that is doing in there. I understand supply and demand well – I also don’t believe in it. Economies are naturally chaotic in nature, and to believe that every commodity has some magical equilibrium point is a very simplistic view – it disregards the complex interactions and dynamics that make up even a small economy.
Try thinking of the global economy like the global weather and oceanographic system – now you see why I reject the tired old economic ideas. Climatology has improved since the 18th Century - maybe you could update your economics models
Going back to the original point, I said that Laissez-Faire failed. I did not say that capitalism failed. If Laissez-Faire had worked, there would have been no need for the Liberal Reforms. The very fact that we are having this debate proves that point – you are no further towards convincing me otherwise.
To save time, let us assume that I think that the law of supply and demand is over-simplistic bullshit. That should save a lot of pixels
The fact that you don't like it doesn't mean it's not true.
Of course, there are a few entirely admirable people who overcome the absolute worst start in life to do remarkably well. But they are the exception, not the rule.
Even Stevia may have its issues. But yes, aspartame is awful stuff that should be banned.
I couldn't have a diet soda even if I wanted to. My body is very sensitive to artificial sugar and caffeine... I get a big headache if I have either. (Yes I've gone through 4 years of college without caffeine)
I've drank so much diet soda that I think I've developed an allergy to aspartame. At the very least I find myself awake at four-ohmygod in the morning,unable to sleep. If I don't have any soda that day, I sleep like a baby at night.
I don't think Stevia has any issues. It's native to South America and indigenous people there have used it since time immemorial as a sweetener with no ill effects. That's the sort of long term study I can really put faith into.
But is what is in soda pure stevia? Like straight outta the plant and put in the can?
lol. I know. And I know the debate on it pro & con, too. However, I am addicted. I've been drinking it since I've been 15.
Which is part of the reason why its so bad. The addiction. And what is the pro of diet soda?
Get off it! Just wean yourself off, back away from the diet soda...
It is a good source of water. And aspartame has a bad rep, but I've yet to see a really solid case study that it causes brain cancer, neurological problems, and kidney disease.
It's actually the dark coloring in sodas that is very, very bad.
And...I have weaned myself off it now and then. Whenever I stress, though, I'm drinking it. I also like the little bit of caffeine...not as much as coffee. Too much coffee makes me sick.
So then drink water for a good source of water. As far as aspartame, its not goin in my body.
You also say you drink a diet soda when you're stressed, that probably attributes to your addiction to it as well. Diet Pepsi has about half as much of caffeine as a cup of coffee (black) and Diet Coke a little more... so it just depends on how many sodas you have.
I happen to like the carbonation part of soda.. so I drink seltzer water or club soda.
Yes, I do drink seltzer sometimes, or tea...tea is healthy with the tannins. But the stress...well, jobs will do that to you.
Yeah but tannins aren't like amazing for you. They actually decrease the absorption of iron. But tea for the most part is healthy, as long as you aren't sweetening it with artificial sugar
As far as stress with jobs, I understand, I have two of them.. but for the most part they're a lot of fun
I don't think we have it it anything here in the UK. Certainly not in Coke / Pepsi etc (I don't drink either, but I checked after someone else raised the issue of corn syrup a while ago here on hubpages). We do eat sweetcorn, though, as corn-on-the-cob, or sweetcorn in tins.
HFCS is a processed form of corn syrup that as far as I know is only used in products sold in the US. You guys are smart, you use regular old sugar. The problem with HFCS is that is spikes your blood sugar much more than regular old sugar and your body converts it to fat much more quickly than just about anything else you eat or drink.
Yeah and quite a few physicians prescribed Vioxx too. Oops. Just because they have a degree that doesn't necessarily mean they know what they're talking about.
Anyone who answers yes to government run healthcare needs to go use a county hospital first.
I used one and it was disgusting. The wait was long, the equipment was old, they didn't wipe down anything between patients and the doctor (only one on staff at the time) was rushed.
If you don't think government run healthcare won't decrease your care, then you are mistaken. I was also a military dependent and the wait to get basic healthcare was long.
The government is inefficient at running most things so don't think it will change with healthcare. It won't.
Again, go use a county hospital, which is paid for pay taxpayers for people with no insurance, and tell me what you think.
I've used National Health Service hospitals here in the UK, and am perfectly happy.
Me too, but then we have a level playing field here. Everyone is given care, and we don't have to go cap in hand to get it. Thank goodness.
That's the UK. Don't think the U.S. can drastically change it's government/state run hospitals on a dime. And it will cost a good dime.
It's like if the U.S. decided to change the drinking age to 16 or 18 like the rest of Europe. All hell would break loose here.
It's not possible.
Why is that exactly? I think whats more dangerous is that 18 year old american kids take the risk to drive up to canada (quebec, alberta, or manitoba) to get hammered, and then drive back again to the states. Its not impossible to change laws and sometimes its better to make changes. You want to tell an adolescent that theyare allowed to drive, have sex, get married, etc at the age of 18, but NO BEER! come on now, thats just throwing a red blanket in the face of a bull. havent you all figured that out by now. lighten up. and change is good sometimes. embrace it.
ledefense- Have you read the book sugarbusters? I am reading it now per suggestion from my nurse practitioner, I like it, it makes sense.
No, but I imagine it's based somewhat on the glycemic index. Thanks I'll have to check it out.
This is a really tough issue. Things cannot remain the same. People worry about government people deciding if people live or die; that's what insurance people do now. This is done to people who believe they are well covered. If they are suddenly hit with a high cost illness you can bet a team of contract experts will be looking over the fine print to find a reason to drop them; it has happened many times before.
Clamping down on the insurance companies should be the first step but something more has to be done. It is easy to weigh the costs and the government problems when you're not the one working and barely making it and without health coverage.
re: diet sodas.
I switched from diet carbonated sodas to diet Hawaiian Punch. It's great! And it has lots of vitamin C.
Real fruit juice has a lot of calories. Tea has caffeine, which I'm not supposed to have. I do drink lots of water, but it gets rather boring.
V8 Splash is yummy. And you can get tea without caffeine. Green tea is my favorite.
I don't drink lots of fruit juice, but from time to time have a glass 1/3rd fresh orange juice, topped up with fizzy water. It's lovely!
As for tea, try roboois, camomile, peppermint?
Sure, but tea has no vitamin C. I love diet V-8 Splash!
As for the health care bill(s), maybe they should start over and compose a bill with straightforward language that everyone can understand.
An extract from a biography about Aneurin Bevan (who introduced the National Health Service):
"There was a strict rule in Nye's Ministry that any unsolicited gifts sent to him should be promptly returned. On one occasion, and only one, an exception was made. Nye brought home a letter containing a white silk handkerchief with crochet round the edge. The hanky was for me.
The letter was from an elderly Lancashire lady, unmarried, who had worked in the cotton mills from the age of twelve. She was overwhelmed with gratitude for the dentures and reading glasses she had received free of charge.
The last sentence in her letter read, "Dear God, reform thy world beginning with me," but the words that hurt most were, "Now I can go into any company." The life-long struggle against poverty which these words revealed is what made all the striving worthwhile."
Scrap it. They need to fix what is wrong with health insurance, they don't need to destroy the health care system we have and rebuild it as something that won't work.
This isn't about the health care system, it's about how it's funded. You have an expensive, greedy, and discriminatory middle man in the form of the insurance companies. If legislation were introduced to ensure that they offered affordable policies to every member of society, could discriminate against nobody on the basis of pre-existing conditions, and had no deductibles etc, then you would come much closer to the healthcare on offer in other Westernised nations.
Very true. The insurance companies are parasites. They perform no necessary or useful function that can't be performed better by a government single payer universal system like Medicare.
Very Marxist of you. Where exactly do you get the idea that government does anything better than private business? These are the same people that ran the banks into the ground, bailed out GM and the auto industry, can't seem to educate kids anymore and , oh yeah, are about to turn Afghanistan into another Vietnam.
Are you sure you know everything you think you do?
I am entitled to my opinions as you are.
I base my support for single-payer universal insurance on my own quite favorable experience with Medicare. Do you think Medicare is Marxist? That's ridiculous. I support our democratic, free enterprise system and a generous social safety net as well and sufficient regulations to assure that the market delivers honestly it's promised benefits without self-destructing as it very nearly did last year. There is no conflict. I am not a Marxist. You appear to me to be a doctrinaire libertarian, social Darwinist. Your privilege. It's a free country.
Because people's satisfaction with (government-run) Medicare is substantially higher than it is for private health insurance.
Pointing out government's failings as a way to set up a government/bad private/good dichotomy is pointlessly reductive. You ignore private companies' failings and incompetence (and when it comes to health care, their incompetence is legendary), maybe because you have an axe to grind with government only.
I'm pretty sure he's a Libertarian which isn't all bad. If memory serves, like Ron Paul, he's skeptical of U.S. interventions in other countries.
Maybe because government has never run anything within the budget it sets for itself, or the billions wasted, or the fraud that runs rampant within the system. No government cannot operate anything better or more efficient than private industry, it never has!
By those who do not fit into the economic model I assume you mean the lower classes of society? Your implication is that because they are lower class, something artificial must be keeping them there? In most cases you'd be right. Most societal constructs are there for keeping "people in their places", so to speak. Giving people the right to own capital and conduct their business as they see fit allows the greatest amount of wealth to be created and allows the greatest amount of freedom to people. Noninterference in the marketplace keeps people accountable and holds down the nonsense people in power get up to.
By allowing people to accumulate capital, you give the lower classes the means to uplift themselves. Whether or not they do so is entirely up to them. It's not so much ignoring the individual as it is giving the individual the ability to succeed or fail.
Actually I came to economics from a historical background, which is why I hold many of the beliefs I do. When you look at what happened in history and apply economic thinking to it, you find that the classical economists really had a point. As for updating my thinking, well I might, except for the fact that contemporary economics is based on the writings of John Maynard Keynes, who himself ignored two centuries of economic thought and research when he wrote his General Theory. Sometimes we move backwards not forwards in our thinking, Keynes epitomizes that.
I'd also like to submit that you don't know why we abandoned free market principles and capitalism in general. It wasn't due to any failure, but a sincere desire to increase the material wealth of the world by some and a way to control the economy of the world by others. For an example of the latter, you might want to read up on the Progressive movement in the US and Europe during the early 20th century. You might be surprised at what you find.
I put in Marx, because he was anti-anything that would help the working person. Well anti-anything that wasn't part of his Manifesto. I person who was sincere about helping the poor would back actions that would help them. Marx was more interested in the accumulation and use of power, nothing more nothing less.
Sigh. I know the global economy is complex, Sufi, I'm suggesting that it's more complex than either of us can understand. If we, two arguably bright people, can't put our minds around the complexity of it, how can either of us possibly believe that there are people who can not only understand it in all it's complexity, but exert influence over it such that everything is "fair". That's the big problem with socialism. No accountability. At least in a free capitalistic society there is accountability. If I screw up and piss people off, I lost customers. If I do that enough, I go out of business. That's the ultimate in accountability.
Back to your Liberal Reforms. I call them Progressive Reforms and with good reason. Read some of the period pieces on Progressivism and see if that matches up with the mythology that has been handed down to us about the early 20th century.
I like your agrument. It poses not much. And, I say that only because you expressed a thought pattern, but really didn't say anything valueable.
If you are looking for an answer to whether or not, Capitalism has failed to meet the needs of society? Then, you've grossly misunderstood the most recent happening events.
Socialism is not the answer. But, neither is communism. I vote for Citizenryism. Protect the citizens against Business.
Do not let business maintain it's hold on Congress. Obama cannot fight the good fight alone- breaking the status quo in Washington isn't easy.
Business has had it's hands around the throat of this country for longer than I care to remember.
You want a better society? You want better reforms?
Well, be honest with the citizens. Make sure citizens are put into a position, where they have multiple opportunities. Make them see that true wealth is for every person, regardless of age, gender or color.
You must tell the citizens to the truth about how to make a good life, the American Dream, and show them the door of opportunity, so they can walk(put effort forward to getting) and receive it.
Common-sense says, "WE THE PEOPLE" must take America back, from being held hostage by "Business".
Where is American quality in products nowadays?
Where is American value for the money?
The HUGE conglomerates continue to do business as usual, while the citizens are the ones who suffer.
Remember, How are you suppose to get ahead?
Business MUST grow at 10-20% each and every year(as I stated in one of my hubs)
You as a person, who works a job or has a career(fancy word for job), can only grow your earnings(income) by 1-3% per year.
If YOU cannot compete with their earnings? How are you ever going to get ahead.
They increase prices every year. At a 17% higher clip than you earn.
So, even tho your income goes up by say 3%? You are still paying 17% higher prices and trust me, it will eat away at your life.
It will price you out of the marketplace, sooner or later.
Thanks for playing.
Sigh, sigh sigh. Again, study Progressivism. What we have is not capitalism but corporatism.
It'll never happen. What incentive does government have to actually do it's job? Do the citizens give politicians enough money to run an election campaign? No. Who does? Business. Then our "elected representatives" pay back that money with preferential treatment in legislation that they pass. You really want to fix things? Get the government the hell out of the economy, they've screwed it up enough.
Since when is the government so all seeing and all knowing that it can tell us how to live? Especially since they can't seem to run the economy worth a damn.
Remember, life is not a zero sum game.
Wow, that' was pure Keynes. But Keynes was an idiot. The only reason a company is forced to raise it's prices is because of inflation. Because the government prints more and more money and/or makes more and more credit available, prices rise and supposedly so do wages. What Keynes didn't seem to understand is that even though I may, as an employee, get a raise each year, that doesn't mean that the raises of employees will be reflected in the price of a good or service. Perhaps I got a raise because I found a more inexpensive way to do business. In that case, the some of the increased profit goes to the employer and some of it goes to higher wages. Or it could be that I've found new customers which means we made more sales this year. In that case part of the increased profit goes to the employer and to myself. In neither case do you have to raise the price of the good or service. Finally, the owner can *gasp* forgo some profit in order to keep an exceptional employee. Smart businesspeople do that from time to time, don't you know.
Are you sure you know everything you think you do?
The studies by Booth and Rowntree showed otherwise - the vast majority of people living below the poverty line did not earn enough to cover the basics. Therefore they had no capital to accumulate, so I cannot see how your vision of a wonderful free-market society, where everybody has plenty of cake, comes from. Nothing to do with 'entirely up to them.' Again, you do not look at the entire picture, couching everything in sweeping economics rather than looking at the structure of Victorian society in England.
I have little faith in your idea of accountability - I still do not buy into the idea of supply and demand leading to better conditions for all. Profit drives capitalism - not necessarily a bad thing, but it naturally encourages greed and unethical behavior - 'To him that hath most, more shall be given.' I share your hatred of corporations and their stifling of entrepreneurs but, sadly, I believe that exactly the same will happen in unregulated free markets. Greed and domination seems to be an inbuilt human trait.
I read about the progressives, and I still believe that social pressure was the greatest force behind the liberal reforms. As for controlling the wealth, I am pretty sure that every -ism attempts to do that. Extreme socialism, free marketism, Plato's Benevolent Dictatorism and every other -ism seem to end up with people being shot in the back of the head. I guess that I am pretty pessimistic about the whole thing - so far, the only system that I believe works is having a dynamic balance between all of these extremes. Whether that will continue - I know not.
Still not buying the accountability thing - in a small market, I could believe that, and live that every day. Sadly, in a world economy, it is all about leverage and perception, smoke and mirrors. I still have not seen a decent argument stating that corporations will not rise in an unregulated free-market and, I spent a long time inside corporations and met many incompetent, nasty, and borderline sociopathic people. Much the same as your story about working with the kids, but with a different bogeyman. Ultimately, the global economy is a chaotic system - look at oil prices - nobody can understand it or predict it, so we have to do the best job we can
I read a little about that one - the idea that it was to preserve the status quo against a potential socialist revolution. If you are thinking of something else, find some links and I will certainly have a look. On that particular score, I am from an area with a strong Quaker heritage, and find it difficult to believe that men like Rowntree had sinister ulterior motives
PS - it is far too long since we had a good discussion!
I've just gone to http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/ to find out exactly what Obama's new health policy is going to entail.
It sounds horrendously complicated. I don't like the idea of health insurance per se anyway. Insurance is fine when you're insuring against something that's very unlikely to happen, like your house burning down, but not so great when you're insuring against a near-certainty like illness. In order to make any kind of profit, health insurance providers must either charge high premiums, impose high excesses, and/or find ways to worm their way out of the "deal" when somebody starts to cost too much in healthcare bills. I know that Obama claims his policy is going to stop all that but in doing so, it will be necessary to impose a load of regulations on insurance companies that won't actually help matters. In any case, there is bound to be a high proportion of people who can't afford the premiums, even after they've been through the confused.com-style "Exchange" process. So they will still have to be subsidised by the government. And in order to get government funding for their healthcare, they'll presumably have to undergo rigorous means testing. So really in effect, it's a sneaky way for the US government to keep tabs on America's poor. (Makes me wonder why Gordon Brown didn't think of it first. He's probably salivating at the very idea.)
Our national health service in the UK is deeply flawed, but it seems preferable both to what the US currently has and what Obama is planning to introduce.
"Insurance is fine when you're insuring against something that's very unlikely to happen, like your house burning down, but not so great when you're insuring against a near-certainty like illness."
In the U.S., medical bills are the leading csuse of bankruptcy because a week or two in the hospital or extended treatment can easily run up a bill of $100,000 to $200,000. Thes bills are staggering for ordinary people in ways comparable to having one's house burn down. Insurance is necessary for the same reason as home owner's fire and liability insurance. Forty million people lack health care insurance. A few more millions have insurance that is so riddled with minimums, co-pays and exclusions that they may as well not have insurance because they can't afford to use it without bankrupting themselves. The current proposals for reform don't contemplate insurance payments for minor medical expenses. I have been covered by Medicare for several years and have found that it is highly satisfactory. It pays 80 percent for covered procedures and services. The simplest solution for the U.S. would be to phase in an extension of Medicare to cover the entire population starting with coverage of the unemployed, the poor, pre-and post-natal care and so forth until everyone was covered. Unfortunately that doesn't appear to be in the cards yet.
Then why do governments all over the world administer various types of national health care which cost a fraction of what the USA spends on health care? Is it only the USA that has incompetant government?
If you don't have something nice to say you shouldn't say anything! I lived in your country for quite some time and is truely a beautiful place but, you haven't cornered the market on effective or efficient government.
Because other countries do it doesn't make it efficient, we have socialized medical care here its called Medicaid and medicare, both programs are horrendously over budget. Our government is like the high school kid who thinks if "I still have checks I must have money" all governments are incompetent ours is just bigger!
Of course not. And the NHS is a long way from perfect, as indeed is our government. So what?
You chose to single out our government as being incompetent, attitudes similar to yours and a majority of our 'so called allies' is exactly why we need to pull back and just take care of ourselves. Lets face it when you're as screwed up as we are we should mind our own buisness and work on our problems. Europeans are much better equiped to handle the worlds problems anyway.
I think you misunderstood my point. I think governments can set up and deal with national health care programmes. They do all over the world. So I don't see why the USA can't. All the Americans who seem to think it can't be done ascribe unique incompetance to the American government.
We've always gone our own way, LG. Heck when we became independent, many great minds back in the Old World figured we'd be disunited, weak and easy pickings forever because we started a nation without a monarch, shared religion or other trappings of nations in Europe at the time. We've had a long history of doing things people thought impossible and it's a testament to that fact that the rest of the world has followed where the US has lead for so long.
One of the main reasons we've been able to buck the system is because we don't rely on government. Look at the people who waited for the government to do something about Katrina or build a new skyscraper on the ruins of the World Trade Center. That's why we consider our government incompetent, indeed even criminal. There isn't anything that the government can do that we the people can't do better.
No Government has established that any of them can do a descent job!
They are all heavily influenced.
They all have their hand in the cookie jar, per se.
They all manipulate their citizenry.
They all try to convey confidence, but are not trusted.
So, what makes you think Government can operate anything?
It's proven it can maintain programs, such as the Employment program, the Minimum wage program, Social security(riddled with abuse), Medicare and Medicaid(riddled with fraud abuses).
ALL of these programs have managed to stay running, how ever, if you want answers to how effective they are really?
Medicare and Medicaid have racked up OVER $40 Trillion in subsidizes, which is still owed.
So, seriously folks, healthcare reform must happen. It will bankrupt America if something isn't done.
As someone else said earlier, there are MILLIONS of people, TENSs of millions of people who don't have coverage, but do get sick and visit hospitals. Most, believe or not, are homeless individuals and families.
America has a 12.5% homeless rate. A Poverty level at 13.5%.
Both continue to RISE each year. In 2006, the homeless rate was 12.3%. In 2007, it increased to 12.5%, an increase of .2%.
Yeah, I know? It doesn't sound like much, but DO THE MATH?
There are roughly 350 Million citizens. Not including illegal immigrants, which is about 500,000 or more.(remember, they need medical help to and places cannot turn them away, which means more bills not getting paid.)
If you do the math, it comes out to be about 700,000 citizens. At .1% of 350 Million is about 350,000 people, so double it.
If you didn't notice or do the other math equation- 350 x 12.5% comes out to ?
When you get that number, don't be surprise....it's over 40 Million people.
I agree it's a huge problem and it would be better handled if we focussed on America only. Close our borders lets close our universities to foreigners and take all that money and the money we would save on military expenses and fix it. You can't just spend money like we can make more! Oh, I forgot thats what were doing.
And stop sending your products to other countries, stop all imports?
She was not attacking the US, she was just commenting on what you all were saying about how the government can't handle health care but saying that other countries do manage it.
Well we should only trade with countries straight-up. number one. We can handle anything just fine. I personally sick of the critisism and lack of respect we get from the world. We don't go out and try to screw up! Even Bush! We were attacked and a despot declared war on us! We were attacked! Please allow that to sink in. There is no limit to what we should do. The fact that our friends criticise how we handle our buisness is a load of crap! Then the world court wants to bring our people up on charges are you serious! If you don't have the guts for a fight get out of the way and shut-the-hell-up! It's not your buisness! Why don't you go run your mouth at N. Korea, Iran, Somalia or China! Those are our problems and do you sugest we give them a hug and a kiss and all will be ok? Please stop!
No more tax payer funds for scholarships or assistance. No sharing tecnology with potential enimies. Look we are so screwed up why in the hell would they want to come here for school anyway? They'll get a much better education in Europe.
I'm being sarcastic. I just want the criticism of us to stop. We're not perfect but we're along way from the piece of crap our friends imply we are.
They usually hate us until the Marines show up to bail them out.
No one is implying you are a piece of crap. No one attacked the US in this thread. As I said, Londongirl was just stating what others had said (Americans) about how governments can't run anything. She was also being sarcastic.
The US isn't the only country that gets criticized.
You know and I know we get more than our fair share.
And that is just because you put yourself out there more...it's only normal. Not necessarily right...but normal.
Didn't sound like you were being sarcastic to me.
Alittle gratitude and support would go along way. Everybody knows damn well we're the first to arrive when the crap hits the fan. We never put alimit on our support and help. We're good people and we deserve our friends support. The world court crap is an insult by the same people we call friends.
In the case of the UK, we have been extremely grateful over the years. But the idea that the USA is the first to arrive is a bit odd - after all, the rest of the world thinks the dates of the World Wars are 1914 to 1918, and 1939 to 1945.
Come on LG, 1914 Europe wanted to go to war, you should know that. As for 1939, well we tried to warn you about a Carthaginian peace, but we were told to go home and tend to our knitting, so to speak. The UK made a mistake in disrupting the balance of power by joining the Triple Entente and not telling the Germans about it. Had Germany known, the Great War may never have happened. An entire generation died when you abandoned your historical non-intervention on the Continent.
Likewise we, too, have repudiated our historical non-intervention in the Old World. At least by holding back we can choose the time and place for greatest impact and end wars much more quickly than would otherwise have been the case.
I agree with a lot of what you say. But what I wrote was in the context of replying to a post saying that the USA is always first on the scene.
I like to think that's because you're a bright and intelligent person.
They probably should have added the caveat since the end of World War II the US has been first on the scene. I'd add for better or worse, mostly worse. But what do you expect, it's not like we teach history in this country anymore.
Weren't the French in Vietnam first?
Technically Yes, but it was called French Indo China or something like that!LOL So get your story straight!JK:)
No the Frenchies were trying to reclaim their colony. We became involved after the partition of the country and the Communist North was trying to absorb the non-Communist South.
Ah - but instead of "great minds think alike" it could well be "fools seldom differ"?
How about because they were offered an opportunity. I have friends who work in labs and they are doing some amazing things for US universities. And the research brings money and recognition to the universities. Its called learning from other cultures and creating diversity as well. Universities wouldn't be the same without the diversity, knowledge, hard work, etc. of students from other countries.
You have to tighten our belts somewhere. If eveybodies pet project is exempt then we'll go bankrupt. Hey they can come here but they pay for it. You have middle class families in America who can't afford college but yet we take taxpayer funds at state universities and hand out educations. That middle class family is helping to fund someone elses education and can't send their own kid. Now thats fair!
I'm assuming it is the same in the US as Canada in that foreign students pay about twice the tuition as domestic students. I'm sure most of them are not there on scholarships. If you ban them all that would cost you more money.
At private schools it is the same amount. Public schools it is at least twice. At the state university in my state, in-state tuition is about $12,000, out-of-state is about $22,000, and international is nearly $32,000.
I don't want that to change. I enjoy seeing how well the worlds athletes do that train here. It's just become fashionable to slam us and that crap has got to stop.
So basically no one is allowed to criticize the US and they should be allowed to do whatever they want whenever they what where ever they want without anyone batting an eye? No country is perfect or above criticism.
No, we suck, we never do any good around the world, we just try to spread all of our wacky beliefs like freedom. We deserve all that others can throw at us, maybe I can come live in Canada...whatchathink?
No thats not what I'm saying. It's become a past-time for the liberal countries of the world and it's the same with our media because they want to seen as enlightened as well. There nothing wrong with being an American and we don't have to be just like the Germans, Dutch, Danish, English, French, Italian, Spanish or Swiss. We don't, and alot of us refuse, have to be part of a one world govenment.
what does being liberal have to do with it?
Ok professors (or teams, departments etc.) are given grants for their research. It could be from a company, from a university, or from the government. NSF and the NIH funds a lot of research. The grant money is spent on the research and to hire graduate students or postdocs. Usually the professor hires the postdoc or grad student. If from outside the country: Postdocs are on worker visas. Grad students on student visas (usually). They work a certain number of hours in the lab towards the research and their grad courses are paid for, usually 6-9 credits which is 3 classes/semester. You can also be a grad student and teach a course to earn your hours for tuition payment.
Point being that whether you are from in the country or out of the country you work for your tuition money, it doesn't come for free. And the work that you do is towards a goal, and for recognition of the University and ultimately for the US. Additionally, I have had many friends, both students that come here from other countries and American students who travel to other countries and study abroad is an amazing experience that benefits both countries and works towards providing an understanding that you so desperately believe doesn't exist. I have not met an exchange/study abroad student that did not appreciate studying in the states and go home with stories of their positive experiences here.
A big reason why I chose my university is because of the diversity. A lot of that has to do with our population of students from other countries. (And that we're in South Florida)
But sure go ahead, take away student visas, isolate us... that'll make us safer.
I'm familiar with the funding process my son an undergrad is a TI and is currently working on a research project for the Navy. I also know funds are made available for deserving grad students and they are expected to contribute time and effort to support themselves. No problem, the issue is when our institutions , military, food, technologies, money and man power are taken and never considered before critisism is leveled at us. My son has been offered an opportunity to do his grad studies at a university in Ottawa and if that is what he chooses great but I can promise you he would never critisize Canada because we raised him better than that. I think our friends and neighbors need to come correct with us and stop the back stabbing.
It goes both ways, too - there were lots of American undergraduates at my university, University College London, mostly on what was called a "year abroad" programme.
Apparently you didn't read my whole post. Its not like the students come here, work their asses off, learn our language/culture, make friends, contribute to their university and our country and then go home and say "HEY EVERYONE THE UNITED STATES SUCKS!!!"
It is quite the opposite.
And if you knew about the funding you wouldn't have made the statement that universities are handing out educations.
Then where does the agnst come from where does the criticism of our forgien policy come from and why is the world court wanting to prosecute our citizens?
Well it comes from someplace. Look you and UW are very intelligent and your arguements are delivered with alot of thought and passion. You have my respect and some of your points have alot of merit. I'm a homer and I know we try and we also have become the big brother no one wants, until.
Some of the criticism comes from an objective analysis of the undesirable consequences of some of our policies for other countries and the world. I assume you're not suggesting America right or wrong! Always right! (Upon reflection, maybe you are!)
No but when we send our kids it better be all for one and one for all! We bad mouthed a whole generation that for right or wrong they went they fought and they died. And whole lot of hypocrites insulted their efforts and should be ashamed and they weren't conservatives either.
Thank you for saying that. I just make it a point to not talk about things I don't know about. You don't find me over in the art or history forums. Bring up university and I'll discuss. I find it more respectable to admit when you don't know something and learn from everybody else, that's why we're here isn't it? Sometimes its more important to shut up and listen to what other people have to say, ya know? Yes my posts can be passionate at times, but it just comes from experience.
You didn't know fully about the research grant system or you wouldn't have blamed universities for "handing out" educations. And maybe you've never met exchange/study abroad students and don't know their attitudes toward the US, so you blame them for negativity towards the US. And that's cool. We can't know everything.
My point was to say if they can't show a little more respect thenwe don't need them. I would never deny a person an education or an opportunity no matter where it came from. the free world needs to back-off a little. I do know about athletic scholarships awarded to deserving forgien students.
You are a smart lady no doubt! You'll be somebody great some day!
But what makes you think they don't show respect in the first place? And it isn't only athletes that are rewarding of an education in the US.
Their behavior at the UN, World court and the leaders. I'm not opposed to any one coming here legally and taking home a good experience and if my son goes to Canada I hope he learns about their culture and brings that home. My wife's American and she attended the University of Cambridge and she is so proud of her degree, the document is truely beautiful.
AGAINST. This ObamaCare is completely for power and people are falling for it to
I wonder why you'd say that. I'm covered by Medicare, and it works just fine. Just about every other civilized industrialized country in the world has some form of government health care. The costs are lower and the results better.
You can't prove costs are lower because no doctor publishes what they charge for things. What you mean to say is that it works for you so it must be good for everyone. I beg to differ.
You can look at what percentage of GDP a country spends on healthcare, though, and the absolute amount, too.
Yeah but that still doesn't tell you what that money is spent on. There's a difference between paying more GDP because of rising costs or because of R&D costs or some other factor like an increased number of elderly. You really can't make a ration decision about things unless you know the cost.
Research carried out in universities or by companies doesn't count as healthcare costs.
My point is that without some fee for service system, you can't say for sure what the costs are. Can you tell us what your pregnancy cost? How much were the visits, treatments, tests, drugs, etc? How do you know the NHS didn't get hosed by practitioners? How do you know that the NHS offers doctors the correct rate for procedures?
And no, we also pay more money because of drugs. I'm a proponent for getting rid of the formulation monopoly drug companies currently enjoy. Make them compete in the free market and you'll get lean mean companies that develop inexpensive drugs. We also pay to subsidize the costs of drug for most of the rest of the world too.
By restoring market forces to healthcare, we'd see a massive drop in cost and increased accessibility to healthcare. Like I said, I'm glad you like your NHS, but I still think there are less expensive alternatives for the US.
I can't, because it doesn't work like that. The NHS isn't charged by the midwife, blood lab, health visitor, surgeon, hospital ward, and pharmacy. They are all employed by or run by the NHS. There isn't the sort of financial transactions here that you seem to envisage.
I do know one of the drugs I had when I was in labour (for sickness) costs £100 a dose. I only know that because my mate is a doctor who trained at University College London, where my son was born. But £100 is what the NHS pays for that drug, and then it's administered by the NHS.
But the costs for applying the research into usable treatment is part of the cost of healthcare. Research is only the beginning, development has its part to play as well.
But LDT, surely (because it has been stated and restated here, often times by me) you know that Medicare carries with it private options, right? Nothing is stopping a retired person from purchasing extra insurance coverage! Or special Humana Gold Medicare with all the private bells and whistles (which, I might add, some seniors find is often NOT the best option for them.)
What does that have to do with knowing what your healthcare costs are? Just so you know I'm not a big fan of third party payer systems.
My rebuttal was in response to the "it works for you," it might not work for everyone blurb.
That still doesn't change the fact that third party payer systems distort the market and cause prices to rise.
And can you show some proof on that, ? And precisely what are you talking about with 'third party' payer systems?
I think the posters' from various countries (and they are most probably from the upper income brackets, too) satisfaction with their public option systems seems to say something.
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/Hea … ustry.html
If you'd like more proof, there's plenty of it out there. Oh yeah, you might want to start with Adam Smith so you get a good foundation in economic thought.
Wow, LG that's kinda complex. OK let me ask you this. Since the UK runs the entire health industry, how do you know your tax monies are being spent wisely and not frittered away? What sorts of policies does the NHS have in place to assure people that their money is being spent responsibly?
Only the NHS - private hospitals and GPs can do as they please.
In the NHS, hospitals and primary health care trusts run the individual servces, is that what you mean?
That's not strictly true in the case of GPs. There are restrictions on what drugs they can prescribe on the NHS, based on the drugs that NICE (the government-run National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) says are cost-effective:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/pers … worse.html
There has to be a lid on spending, even though it's not popular. Of course the big pharmaceutical companies are very adept at getting these stories into the media.
The lid on spending needs to be done by the individual otherwise you have de facto death panels.
That's a bit of an extreme statement Led. These people are not being denied care or medication. They just aren't automatically given access to new, expensive drugs. As we've said many times on these forums, this does not preclude patients from obtaining prescriptions which can be filled privately. I don't think that in any way equates to a death panel!
Yes it does because you're taking the decision away from an individual and giving it to someone else. Many doctors in the US since the advent of HMO's have not been able to breach certain treatments with their patients because of cost controls put in place by HMO's. In fact, how can you say that government run insurance can help the cost problems when HMO's can't? HMO's were set up to control costs by evaluating high cost treatments and determining if the use of the treatment would help a patient or not. Government run healthcare is HMO writ large.
Sorry, I wasn't clear - I meant that the govt. is only involved with the NHS, private hospitals and private GPs do their own thing.
Do private doctors and hospitals see patients on the NHS?
Not usually, no. There are some private hospitals, but more often, there is a private wing of an NHS hospital.
Most private doctors are also NHS doctors with a private practice on the side, I think.
Sometimes the NHS contracts out, but it's the exception, not the rule, as I understand it.
Interesting. So it would seem that doctors supplement what they make from NHS with private practice. Do you know of any studies which have contrasted costs and benefits of NHS vs private practice? Also do private practitioners accept fee for service or do they do the whole insurance thing?
Private doctors accept payment both directly and through private health insurance cover. Health insurance is available in the UK for those who want a faster service, or swisher hospitals. Mostly those covered would typically use the NHS for day-to-day requirements, but would use the private doctor for faster access to a specialist or a surgeon. As LG says, these doctors often have a foot in both camps, so you're not getting a 'better' doctor, but you are seeing him quicker.
One of my grandmothers had a private knee replacement operation about 10 years ago. She could have had it on the NHS, with a 12 week delay, and choose to have it privately. Same surgeon, same hospital, different wing of the hospital, fresh flowers all the time, more paintings on the walls, and more TV channels on offer.
Some doctors do - I don't think it's a majority, though. It tends to be more senior doctors, in my experience. But if you pay for private medical treatment, it's often with the same doctor and at the same hospital as NHS treatment would take place.
Private practitioners do both. You can go and see a private GP or private doctor and just pay for whatever it is as you go along.
You can also have private health insurance. It tends not to cover, say, emergencies such as falling over in the street with a broken leg, being carted off in an ambulance, and going to Casualty to have it set.
The main insurance company I'm aware of it BUPA - there are others, but I think they are the biggest. In BUPA's case, you get in touch with them beforehand, and they authorise treatment and give you a number. You then give the reference number to the doctor, who is paid by BUPA. The patient knows in advance whether his insurance covers him or not.
For example, as I understand it, BUPA doesn't cover normal, healthy pregnancy. So if you want private medical care during pregnancy, you pay for it. But if you pay for private care during pregnancy and end up needing an emergency casaerian section, then BUPA would pay for the section, as it's medically necessary not elective.
There is often an insurance excess - the amount not covered by insurance, that you pay first. The higher the excess, the lower the premium. I know my parents' BUPA coverage has an excess of £500 per person per year - so each calendar year, they pay the first £500 (about $750) of any claim they make.
There isn't the co-pay thing that I've heard discussed on these forums, at least with BUPA. So if my Dad has treatment costing £10,000 in one year, he pays £500 and BUPA pays £9,500.
In terms of charges and costs, though, you can find out what those are. There is a private maternity hospital in London called the Portland hospital - favoured by pregnant Spice Girls, footballers' wives, and foreign patients. They charge just short of £8,000 (about $12,000) for a private pregnancy, including scans, blood tests, delivery of the baby, hospital stay, usual ante-natal and post-natal care, that kind of thing.
Private pregnancy care is not something I've experienced personally - my son was born in University College Hospital, an NHS teaching hospital in central London, near where we live.
We did choose to pay for a private room for 3 nights after Isaac was born, which was larger, had an en suite bathroom, and meant my OH could stay for longer hours. That cost £60 a night, as I remember, but was in the NHS part of the hospital.
Hmm. Sounds like the people who get private health insurance get screwed. I mean I want insurance for when I break a leg and have to go to the Emergency Room (Casualty in British parlance, I guess) and it sounds like your excess is similar to our deductibles, the amount you have to pay before your insurance begins coverage. Do you know what your father pays in premiums over, say, a year?
It sounds like the NHS hospitals don't track expenses? Do they put out a, I don't know, yearly report or something detailing costs, wait times, etc.? I'd also be curious as to how your private hospitals keep pregnancy costs so low compared to the US. Is there a subsidy perhaps?
I'm also wondering how we'd figure how much more you pay in taxes with NHS and how much you'd pay without it. My concern about that is not so much what is done with the money, but what could have been done with the money had it not gone to pay for NHS.
@Ralph, Medicare is going to go broke in seven or eight years, how can you expect to add 20-40 million people to the rolls and expect to keep the system solvent. All of the nonsense going on in Washington is just a way for the government to take over the healthcare industry. That's why our "representatives" are debating a 1500 page bill that many of them haven't even read.
But you don't need insurance for breaking a leg and being carted off to Casualty. There are very few private casualty departments, if any, so the insurance would be a waste of money to cover it. If you ring the emergency services (999 call) and ask for an ambulance, the ambulance service is part of the NHS anyway.
My parents have a joint policy, rather than individual ones, and it also covers my brother, because he is under 25 and still in full-time education, and he lives with them. But it doesn't cover my sisters and me, because we are over 25, and don't live at my parents' main home.
I think they pay about £2,000 a year for the two of them (aged 60 and 62) and my brother. They have a 20% discount through the Bar Council, which negotiated a bulk discount for barristers.
By comparison, OH and I pay £740 a year for our BUPA, including Isaac, but we are 30 years younger.
I thought £8,000 sounded like a lot for a normal pregnancy, to be honest! Private hospitals aren't subsidised at all. They offer treatment at the same prices to anyone, UK or EU or other. If the pregnancy ends up in a complicated section, they charge an extra £3,000 for that, I think.
Hospitals, trusts, and the Department of Health correlate and publish endless reports, statistics, costs, etc.
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsand … /index.htm
The total NHS budget this year is about £90 billion, or $135 billion.
AGAINST. This ObamaCare is completely for power and people are falling for it to
What most of the people responding here seem to fail to realize is that the proposed national healthcare option is not the taking-over of the healthcare system as a whole. Instead, it's adding a payer that will act as a base for those who can't afford private healthcare. In a sense, it's akin to the relationship between the USPS and the private shipping companies (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc).
I don't know if those of you who have health insurance have noticed, but private insurance, even through an employer, is expensive as hell. My husband and I pay roughly $300 a month ($450 on three-check months) for "good" insurance from a "respectable" insurance company after his employer (which is well-known for taking care of its employees) pays its share, and we still have a $2500 deductible (which means that the $2000 bill I got slapped with from my doctor for prenatal care and delivery has to be completely paid out of pocket, and it's going on this year's deductible, even though I'm not due until May of next year, which means any costs incurred from, say, complications at delivery, will again fall back on us).
And quality? Last time I was pregnant, I had morning sickness really bad, and at one point, I had to go to the emergency room because I couldn't hold anything at all down and was in a state of dehydration and starvation. I spent three hours waiting for a doctor, who did nothing more than tell me that the hospital we were at couldn't/wouldn't treat me and that was only after my husband tracked someone down to get information out of them (we were new to the area and only knew of the children's hospital, so we went there, expecting to either get helped or be immediately directed to another hospital) because I was pregnant, even though we told them that when we checked in. When we checked in was when we should have gotten directed to the hospital I should have gone to. I then had to wait another hour to get a bed and get fluids (and that was with the other hospital supposedly telling them ahead of time that I was on my way in).
And so many Americans seem to think that we have the best healthcare system in the world? If that was truly the case, then I really feel bad for others. It seems to me, though, that WHO feels otherwise, considering they rank us 37th. Granted, when it comes to things like cancer centers and heart centers and the like, we are, as far as I know, top notch, but when it comes to general healthcare, we are severely lacking, in my opinion.
Also, those using the VA system as an example, let me point out that the VA system is not just a payer system (which is what is being proposed and what Medicare/Medicaid are), but also a care provider. Most people can agree that the VA system as a care provider is severely lacking and itself is in need of an overhaul. However, I have a friend that works in healthcare billing and deals with the VA payer system, as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies and he's said several times (specifically in regards to the single-payer issue) that the government payer systems are the most efficient and cost-effective payers. Private insurance companies, on the other hand, try to drown their payees in paperwork and do everything they can to not pay.
In regards to the fraud issues in the government payer systems versus private insurance companies -- this stems from the fundamental differences in payment practices between the two systems. As has been mentioned, private insurance companies work on a "deny first" system. This pretty much means that they'll deny any claim that doesn't fall, letter for letter, under their policies (in some cases, they have even gone as far as re-categorizing certain procedures so they don't fall under the claimant's benefits policy, and thus denying them the coverage). The government payers don't use a "deny first" system, so can be, therefore, easier to file fraudulent claims. Both of these situations are far from ideal. On the one hand (deny first), it's part of the reason for the high medical costs and out of pocket expenses. On the other, the frauds, on a larger scale, will also result in higher costs to everyone. The solution, then, would be to put measures in place to weed out fraudulent cases, without going to a deny-first system.
I have a number of friends who are from countries that have some sort of national healthcare system in place, so I asked them about their systems. They said that everyone has healthcare available through the government, and those that can afford it are free to buy private insurance and/or go to private healthcare facilities. They described the national option as a sort of "health safety net," and can't fathom what it's like for Americans, who don't have such a safety net to fall back on when they hit on hard times. In regards to the quality of care and all the videos of the Americans that oppose any sort of NHS system because of "how bad X country's (usually Canada's) health care service is" is pretty much a load of bull. People are treated in order of severity, so yes, that means the guy with a sprained ankle is going to have to wait longer than the guy with a railroad spike through his abdomen (yes, it's hyperbole, but the point is that one is a real emergency situation, while the other isn't, and of course the one that isn't an emergency is going to have to wait).
And "death panels"? We already have them. They're called private insurance companies. And that doesn't include the people who forgo going to see a doctor until it's too late because they had too little or no insurance and couldn't afford the bills, nor the people that are stuck going uninsured because no company will insure them because of "pre-existing conditions."
Now, do I think that a government healthcare system is the best option? At this point, not really. I think other things need to be done first, or in addition to supplying a base healthcare service for those that can't afford private insurance. Such things would include restrictions on health insurance companies ability to deny claims based on things like "undisclosed pre-existing conditions" or to deny coverage altogether because of things like "pre-existing conditions" (and for the record, pregnancy is considered a "pre-existing condition" if a person tries to get insurance herself after she finds out she is/might be pregnant, which effectively means that she probably won't have adequate prenatal care, which can lead to problems in the pregnancy). Tort reform and malpractice caps are also needed, since more than half of the cost of doctors is in things like malpractice insurance. However, if some form of national healthcare is the chosen method to spur some of the changes in private companies, thanks to the introduction of competition and also fills in the gaps that exist in our current healthcare system (again, in a similar manner that the USPS competes in some areas with the private shipping companies and also fills in some of the gaps), then I'd support it as long as it's done responsibly, efficiently, and in a cost-effective manner.
Ouch - hyperemesis gravidum is a whole lot of no fun, you have my sympathy. I had it too, and it was horrible!
And your experience makes it all sound worse. When I had it, I went to the GP, waited 10 minutes, got told I was dehydrated and sent, chit in hand, to the hospital. I got to the obstetric ward, where they were waiting for me, and was on a drip pronto.
Yeah, it sucked, but it made the three bags of IV fluid that much sweeter when I finally did get them, though. Ah, liquid heaven when you're in that state, that's for sure.
What you don't seem to understand is that sooner or later the payer will wind up taking control of the healthcare system as a whole. Look at housing. Fannie and Freddie were supposed to help people qualify for home loans and back credit risks so banks didn't have to carry those risks on their books. Now they pretty much control the housing sector in this country. Banks aren't loaning money for people to buy homes, now Fannie and Freddie are. Government takeover of the housing sector. That's how the federal government accumulates power over time.
The problem of healthcare is the cost, not who pays for it. Simply paying high costs isn't going to fix the problem, you have to find out why costs are so high. Once you know that, you can reasonably find ways to bring those costs down. Otherwise you're just abetting the problem and making it worse.
It's true that cost is a big problem. My understanding is that part of the program will be efficacy studies of procedures, tests and drugs and putting the clamps on the ones that don't work or those that are unnecessary. That should be done with Medicare. Costs vary all over the lot from community to community and doctor to doctor. Costs in some communities such as McAllen, Texas where "profit-centered" medicine is the rule, are double or triple the costs at Mayo Clinic where doctors still practice "patient-centered" medicine. Unfortunately, profit-centered medicine is spreading as more doctors own the hospitals, labs and radiology facilities. Of course they follow your rules of self interest and the market and the result is higher costs and worse results for their patients. Efficacy studies and cost controls should be instituted regardless whatever else is passed.
Ralph, I have to wonder if you are aware of the shortage we have of doctors in this country? In 1900 we had a population of about 100 million. We had half a million doctors. In 2000, we had about 300 million citizens and only 600,000 doctors.
The situation is more dire than that, however, when you consider the fact that there are many more specialties in existence today than there were a century ago. Personally, I think we'd need about a million and a half doctors to equal what we had in 1900.
You equate "profit centered clinics" with high costs, but the true driver for medical costs is the monopoly alloapthic doctors have on the medical field through the AMA. It is this monopoly which keeps many costs high for medical care, not "profit centered clinics". Indeed I think that profit centered clinics can tell us much more about the true costs of healthcare and what people are willing to pay for it, both data which we absolutely need to know if we're going to make rational decisions about healthcare.
In short, it's the monopoly allopathic doctors enjoy that is the problem.
Yes, I'm aware there is a shortage of primary care doctors in this country and a surfeit of specialists.
Profit centered doctors and hospitals are a huge driver of health care costs. Apparently you haven't read my hub entitled Mcallen's Medicare Pig Trough or Atul Gawande's New Yorker article on which my hub is based. I urge you to read my hub and the entire Gawande article.
It's the doctors gaming the Medicare system that is the driver of costs, not profit centered providers. The reason you see so much waste in McAllen is because most of the people in McAllen use Medicare to pay for their medical expenses. That is exactly what happens when you lose the fee for service system and install some sort of a third party payer.
Look, if people are made more responsible for the costs of basic health care, the costs of basic health care will have to come down. Doctors need to eat, pay bills, just like everyone else and they'll have to make their prices affordable in order to get as many patients as possible so they can turn a profit. There is nothing wrong with that.
They can, and do, also take charity cases for those who cannot pay. Much like lawyers taking cases pro bono, doctors too, give free medical care. They do this even though they don't have to because we have a shortage of doctors in this country. That's why a first step needs to be an elimination of the AMA and the monopoly it represents. The demand for primary care providers is there, the supply will soon rise to meet that demand and cost, as a consequence of increased supply, will fall. It's all very simple.
The astonishing amount spent on healthcare in the USA can't just be down to that. We have approximately the same number of doctors per head in the UK, and similar in Canada.
How does this monopoly actually work - via an accreditation system? (Call me squeamish, but I wouldn't want to be treated by a doctor who *didn't* have universally-recognised credentials.)
Look at shipping. FedEx, UPS, and DHL are doing just fine, even with the government-run USPS around.
Banks aren't loaning money for anything right now (you can't even consolidate student loans through a private bank right now, they've all frozen that service). That argument doesn't really work at the moment.
You seem to forget that they also relinquish their control when necessary, too. The airline industry, for example, used to be under government control. They've since deregulated it when it proved to no longer work under the government.
Indeed, there needs to be a way to bring the costs down. I believe I mentioned a few options with that. And actually, having another payer in the mix can help to lower the costs. A good chunk of the costs of healthcare is also in dealing with the insurance companies. Insurance companies say "we will pay X amount," which is usually a low-ball number (ever notice those random "discounts" on your explanation of benefits?), so doctors compensate by charging more so that they can actually get a fair price. The insurance company then turns around and charges the policyholder based on other expectations, which may or may not actually include coverage of the provided care. The policyholder is then stuck with the bill. To add to it, they postpone payment to the care provider for as long as they can get away with and continue with inefficient systems so that they can get more money out of policy holders and pay less to doctors. Get a payer (aka insurance provider) that will actually work out fair price and actually cover what it says it will cover and pay doctors in a timely fashion and suddenly the competition starts opening up and the private companies are forced to change or risk falling. I'd love to see a private company do that, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
Yeah, but the USPS is having it's own problems. Not exactly a poster child for government intervention in anything at the moment. Not only did they get the forever stamp which basically lets them raise rates whenever they want, they now have to cut a day's delivery from the week. Last time I checked UPS and FexEx would never do something like that.
Banks are holding on to their money so they don't go insolvent when the next wave of loan defaults hit. We aren't anywhere near the bottom of this fiasco.
You may have a point about the airlines, but the very fact that they had to sell of the airlines just goes to prove the private sector runs things better at a lower cost than a public entity.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of third party payer systems. Insurance of any type needs to be for catastrophic situations only. The only way things will be fair is if doctors publish what they charge for things and let people explore their options. If you knew how tightly regulated the market was, you'd understand why things are the way they are.
USPS is having problems because it doesn't get government funding, but is subject to unfunded regulations. It's the primary reason for both the cutting back of days and the introduction of the forever stamps. Then there's also the fact that the current Recession is cutting into everyone's operating budget and something needs to give somewhere. While FedEx and UPS may not cut out a delivery day, they will cut staff and run on an over-worked skeleton crew.
That said, my main point with the USPS is that its existence didn't run the free market options out of business (which is what many people are fearing will happen with a government healthcare option).
And a side note, what do you have against the forever stamps? People don't mail things as much anymore, anyway, which means those who only buy stamps once every year or three are actually saving money, and those that buy stamps before the prices go up will also be saving money in the long run (since the forever stamps are sold for the current price of stamps). The USPS raises rates on pretty much a yearly basis as it is.
As far as the government selling the airlines, what's your point? Companies sell off all the time. Yes, the government decided it was better off selling the airlines. On the same token, WaMu felt it was better to sell to Chase, and Circuit City tried to sell to a number of people (including Radio Shack and I think Blockbuster), but eventually fell. These are free market examples of company caretakers not being able to handle the companies. And then you have the monopolies and oligopolies going on, such as Microsoft (yes, the DOJ deemed Microsoft's 90% market share to be a monopoly), and ATI and nVidia (who recently went through a class action lawsuit for using their oligopoly to fix prices). Does that mean the free market doesn't work and everything should be turned over to the government? No, and on the same token, the government selling a company to (or back to) the free market does not mean it's never suitable for running any kind of business.
What I'd like to see are more tiers and alacarte options in health insurance. For example, have a "basic" tier that would only cover physicals, checkups, and maybe hospitalization. Each tier would cover more things and you could add alacarte options, such as cancer coverage if you're at risk.
Dude, you need to check yourself. I mean if you believe that the USPS gets no federal funding, you're nuts. The reason the USPS is having so many problems is because fewer and fewer people are using mail than they did in the past. Less customers means less money. The big mistake they're making is through the forever stamp. In return for creating that, the USPS also got the right to raise rates when and as they wished. Before they had to get Congress to approve any rate increases, now they don't need it. Only a government agency would raise rates to save itself when a private company would be lowering rates to entice people to use their system.
That is why a government run healthcare system won't work. Every government agency out there complains that their expenses are going up and they fight for a larger slice of the pie. Heck the government hasn't kept its hands out of the Social Security till, it'll be bankrupt by 2017 or so. All the Social Security Trust Fund has in it are IOU's from the government. Do you really think they're going to honor those? What makes you think, given that little fact, that the government is going to keep their hands out of the healthcare till. They'll use it just like they've done every pool of money they've gotten their hands on from the income tax to Social Security, namely to buy votes.
If you want to see more options you need to get rid of the government regulations already in place that is impeding the supply of healthcare providers. That will drastically reduce the cost of healthcare and increase the number of people who have access to healthcare in one fell swoop.
And you need to check yourself. The USPS hasn't received funding from taxes since 1970ish, thanks to the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. Postage prices have, thus far, remained stable in regards to things such as inflation (and have actually risen more slowly than inflation).
About.com has a pretty good outline of what the USPS is and what it can and can't do. The USPS website also has information on the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which limits the USPS's ability to raise rates. They introduced the Forever Stamp to help control cash flow (particularly around the times of rate increases), and to hopefully phase out the 1 and 2 cent stamps.
Social Security is also currently having issues because there are currently more beneficiaries than there are people paying into it. The funds are currently depleting and things don't currently look good because of simple economics. This is also the primary flaw of the Social Security system.
You also realize that even banks just rotate through money and that while you technically have access to all your money, it doesn't necessarily even mean that a given bank branch even keeps the amount of money you might have in your account, right? Instead, the money gets used for things like loans. If the bank fails, the only reason why you get to keep your money is because of the FDIC. Without that, you'd lose all your money (ala the pre-Great Depression bank system).
The cost of healthcare has less to do with the number of doctors available (though I do agree that we need more, however, the shortage is not just because of restrictions on things like certifications, but also because there's a shortage of medical field professors in college and therefore severely limited enrollment rates), and more to do with the way health insurance companies run and give doctors the run-around. As I've said before, the health insurance companies run in such a way as to get as much money from the payer as they can while paying as little as they can to the doctors. Then, there's also the fact that we're a sue-happy nation, and so most of a doctor's cost is in malpractice insurance, paying for lawyers, and paying settlements.
That said, remember that the proposed government healthcare will not replace private care. If rates get too high under government care, you can bet that people will start going back to private care. As it stands right now, though, roughly 20% of Americans aren't insured at all. The point of the government healthcare is to provide that 20% with insurance that the vast majority of them currently can't afford with the private-only setup that we have. And no, it's not all illegal immigrants.
I reckon government backed healthcare is a fantastic idea. In the UK we have it and we also have one of the best health care systems the world has ever seen.
That's a feeling, not backed up with fact. The fact is that you don't know what the alternatives are, so how can you make a judgment call?
The same way you make the "judgement call" the other way. You don't know what the alternative is anymore than he does. You just can't accept the fact that some folks are quite happy with a UK model.
There is the back up - UK is number 18, USA is number 37
The top two both have free health care - from there my geographic knowledge is limited.
Do you bother to read, Nellie? I've outlined several times what should be done to decrease cost and increase access to healthcare. I've even written a couple of hubs about it, if you'd like to know more.
I don't really care what the UK does. I'm glad that there are people happy with the system, but I sincerely believe there are better ways to fix our system without the cost and inefficiency of giving control to the government.
Cirdon wrote that the government sold off the airlines. Why was that? People didn't want to fly government airlines because the government ran it like crap. It was a jobs program for bureaucrats, nothing more. Look at AT&T. They used to be a government granted monopoly over the telecommunications industry in this country. Before the breakup, they phones were clunky pieces of crap and service was terrible. After the breakup, the cost of local and long distance telephone service dropped like a rock. I'd suggest you do some reading on government sponsored monopolies and why they've been reviled throughout history. The East India Company is an example, to get you started.
Although, one downside with the UK health system is we have about 400 administrators per every one doctor. Not the best use of resources but, hey, they've always fixed me up when I've needed it.
I heard a Congressman on the radio this morning who is proposing a simple "government option" feature: Allow all Americans the choice of enrolling in Medicare and paying a premium to Medicare just as they would with a private insurance company. I guess that's too simple and, therefore, wouldn't work even if, by some miracle, it were adopted.
If the USPS is so self-sufficient, then why are they calling for a reduction in the number of days they deliver mail?
The postal system is one in which the demand is falling. Unless the USPS gets rid of many of the sinecures they operate and become lean and mean, they'll go out of business. Oh wait, they're a government agency and thus, too big to fail, so they'll get a bailout from the federal government. They wouldn't want people to think that they're incompetent or anything, especially when they're talking about increasing government bureaucracy over every aspect of American life.
The problems with the banks is that they're fractional reserve. In this type of system, banks take your money and use it to originate loans. You have no say with what they do with your money, and banks can and do make more bad loans that good loans which means they go out of business. Can you think of another business in which you allow your property to be used without your consent? It's theft, pure and simple.
In a fully reserve bank, on the other hand, your money is safe. You merely pay a fee for the storage of your money and, often times, a fully reserve bank will allow you to put money in a general funds account which will earn you interest, with the caveat that you may lose your investment. Which is great, because then you decide how much to risk your wealth, not some banker.
The FDIC is an illusion. The FDIC is running out of money now, there's no way the FDIC could have handled something like the Depression. Wait until Bank of America and other national banks fail. You'll see how much of an illusion the FDIC is.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of third party payer systems in the healthcare field. They distort the market and drive prices up. That's the main weakness of socializing the costs of anything. One of the reasons health insurance is taking a beating in this country is because there are increasingly more unhealthy people compared to healthy people. Insurance relies on healthy people subsidizing the costs of unhealthy people. If you have more unhealthy than healthy, well see the section above about banks and bad loans.
And no, when the government issues healthcare, they will be able to run it at a loss because they can make up funding by either selling bonds, much like businesses, or, more likely given the aversion many foreign investors are taking to the dollar these days, printing more money. No business can do that and that is why government run healthcare will, over time, supplant private healthcare.
Paul Krugman, high priest of govenrment economists, proclaims this himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7WNxrySFQA
You don't control costs by paying for it, you have to influence the supply of a good or service. In 1900 we had a population of 100 million and about 500,000 doctors. In that time our population has tripled, yet we only have about 600,000 doctors practicing today. It gets worse when you consider the fact that we have many more specialties and far fewer GP's than we did a century ago. We need to triple the number of doctors to reach parity with what we had in 1900.
Don't expect the AMA to get behind that. They're the government sponsored monopoly behind keeping the number of doctors low. It maximized their income, don't you know.
I'm all for immigration, but not with welfare being what it is today. Rather than get immigrants who will work, they'll get welfare and why would they want to work, when they can just get something for nothing. Dems want this because they'll increase the number of voters they will control because they control welfare. You're supposed to be a historian, ever read about the early Progressive era.
Remember what I said about anti-trust, it's always been used by the losers in the marketplace against the winners. Note especially the support of Wilson toward Jim Crow laws to protect white workers against less expensive black labor. Before you start harping about "sweat shops" what alternative did a black laborer have? By entering the labor market, they had a chance to improve themselves. Denying them that entry to protect white workers, made them, in effect, second class citizens. Heck you probably believe that Hoover was a bastion of laissez-faire capitalism. Do you really know what you think you know?
I never said the USPS was currently self-sufficient. Yes, one of the links I posted claims that, but I recognized before that that currently isn't true. It's not true because of a rule the legislation passed regarding retirement funding or something like that (basically, they gave the USPS an unfunded mandate). Combine that with the decrease in demand, and they're forced to make cut-backs somewhere. Since delivery is where most of the costs are, it makes sense that if they're going to make cuts somewhere, it's going to be with the delivery portion of their services.
And as for the "no one else shuts down for a day each week," line. That's blatantly untrue. Manufacturing plants will routinely shut down for multiple days or even weeks at a time when there isn't enough business, putting everyone affected effectively out of work for that time.
Being a government agency has no bearings on the "too big to fail" idea. The recipients of the bailouts were all private industries. I don't necessarily agree with the bailouts, but I also see why they were done (and in the case of Obama, he was in a lose-lose situation, if he hadn't done anything, he would have been criticized by the country for not doing anything to prevent the recession, even though there's no way he or anyone else would have been able to stop it).
You control costs by introducing competition, and that is all the proposed government healthcare plan is going to do. If you don't like the government option, get private insurance. It really is that simple.
"But I don't want to pay for something I'll get no use of out of." That, unfortunately, is how current insurance works, anyway. For example, we pay in the ballpark of $300 to $450 a month for insurance for the two of us. Our plan (which we don't have an option about, as we get our insurance through his employer) has a $2500 deductible. Since we are both healthy, we pretty much never reach that (even with me being pregnant, we haven't reached that). For all intents and purposes, we don't get much use out of our insurance, yet we still have it in case something happens that would require medical care that would otherwise bankrupt us (that, of course, doesn't guarantee that our insurance will pay for enough of it for it to not bankrupt us anyway).
Also, homeowner's and vehicle insurance work the same way. You pay a monthly premium that is supposed to cover a certain amount in case something happens.
You're also right, we do have a lot more unhealthy than healthy. That goes to show that there are more problems than just the healthcare system (for example, one of the main causes of obesity in this country is the abundant use of High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is so unhealthy because it's as simple of a sugar as you can get, so it takes pretty much no energy to convert it to fat).
Actually, by opening a bank account and depositing money, you're giving them consent to use the money as they see fit. The caveat is that you still have access to that money. As Felicity said, it's a scary thing when you really think about it. And (back to my point about the banks) banks are private institutions.
A government-run healthcare option can't really run at a loss, for the same reason why the institutions that are running at a loss will eventually fail. However, a government-run healthcare option, in and of itself, is more than capable of not running at a loss. The question then becomes can the US government create it so that it can operate at least at a break-even state? Whether or not it can remains to be seen, but it seems to me that they're sincerely trying (they've been working on cutting the fat from a lot of areas in order to minimize the financial impact on citizens).
My point is and has been that while government-run institutions aren't perfect, neither are free market institutions. It doesn't make either less valid when the circumstances call for one or the other. Yes, the government sold off the airlines when it decided that it couldn't handle them anymore, but on the same token, WaMu (a private company) sold to Chase because the owners of WaMu couldn't handle it anymore, either. Whether they're private or government-run, companies get sold off and acquired all the time. The government doing the same is no different than any other business doing it (because, ultimately, that's what the government has become).
Anti-trust laws are designed specifically to protect companies from getting steamrolled by more powerful companies. It's not far off from the reason we run as a Republic and not a true Democracy -- to protect the minority from the whims of the majority.
I love the theory that a Government run system cannot operate at a loss. Money just does not concern liberals does it? As long as they get something that someone else pays for they are pretty happy, no Government agency can run anything better than private industry!
I recommend actually reading what I've written (and even better, the whole conversation), before passing the judgment that I'm an "Evil Liberal."
No institution can run at a loss, that's why there are predictions that Social Security will be bankrupt in less than a decade, and why Medicare will be bankrupt soon, too.
I've seen private companies run themselves into the ground faster than a government agency ever has (even with loans to both institutions), but that doesn't mean that private industry doesn't work.
Yes, private industries that are poorly managed run themselves into the ground. The difference is all government agencies are poorly managed and all government agencies have unlimited funds to keep the illusion of competence going.
Hi Tex! You're a man that loves statistics and pols. Washington Post says 57 percent of Americans want a Puplic Option. Do you respect what the majority of the country wants? They are aware of all the facts stated here by all of you that are against the public option; but we still want it.
The too big to fail idea was imperfectly expressed. Let's just say that government is so inefficient at things that they have to maintain the image that they can do no wrong.
Manufacturing my shut down from time to time because of slow work, but that's due to the failure of the company to find enough demand for its services or demand for its output of manufactured goods. If that condition continues for too long or becomes more or less continuous, then the company will fail. As they should. To allow such an inefficient producer to continue in business would be detrimental in the long term to the health of the economy. By letting them fail, you go through a little pain now to save a lot of pain later.
You also admit that the government gives unfunded mandates to public entities. Show me a private company which can do that. That is how the government operates at a loss and drives private companies into bankruptcy.
You mentioned homeowner's insurance. Which is used to pay for catastrophic damage to the house. Would you use it to pay for routine things, like a dripping faucet or blown fuse? Hell no, your rates would skyrocket if you did that. Why is medical insurance any different. Why should we use insurance to pay for routine stuff? Wouldn't that money be better spent on things like, oh I don't know, surgery or battling cancer? How much do we waste on routine medical care that should be paid for by the individual. A little pain now saves a lot of pain later.
Nice to see you can be morally ambiguous. Would you allow the owner of a self storage company use the items he kept in storage for you without your consent. After all he could put in his contract that he gets use of your items while you store them with him. Would you allow such a thing? Why is money any different? You only have access to that money if the bank doesn't screw up and have too many defaults on their loans. Which, history has shown, happens more often that not. Ever wonder why bankers lose their customers' money?
Are you really a historian? I have to ask because you don't seem to know the history of things like East India Trading Company or the AT&T monopoly or the effect of the FCC on early radio and TV. Can you tell me of a successful government enterprise that hasn't been run into the ground? If government run enterprises do things so well then why did Communism fail? When private businesses fail and get sold to other private businesses then the new business will have to run things at a profit in order to make sure their investment was wise. That's why they buy only the assets of a company, not the liabilities.
Good companies don't need that kind of protection. Did Wal-Mart use antitrust in the 1980's when they were a regional retailer? No. They competed against Sears and Target and KMart and buried all of them. Sam Walton knew what he was doing and started with only $5,000 of his own money and a $20,000 loan from his uncle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Walton (Oh darn, Wikipedia again, you'll note I hope the sections labeled citation needed, that tells intelligent people that there isn't any proof out there for that particular claim. That's more than I've ever seen from scholarly papers.)
He didn't need the SBA, anti-trust, welfare, corporate welfare, or any of a plethora of government programs to get started and succeed. Interestingly enough he graduated as an economics major. He made his mark by controlling his costs, keeping prices low and thereby increasing his sales volume. How did he do this? Buying in bulk from wholesalers and passing the savings on to his customers. Oh yeah, he also stayed open later than his competitors both during the off season and Christmas. He didn't compete as much as he did things better than other players in the field. It's not enough to compete, you have to do things better.
He even got screwed and forced out of the store he helped build. But he took those lessons and used them well when he opened his own stores. The rest, as they say, is history.
I never said I was historian. I don't even know where you got that idea. Yes, I know about the history of some things, but as I am not a historian, there are gaps in my knowledge.
Manufacturing shut-downs are not solely the fault of the company. Yes, they may be unable to gain enough customers, but that's not always their fault. In this economy, even the usual big spenders are cutting back. If there's no current market, then no amount of marketing will allow for constant profit without some cutbacks. Genie garage doors is a prime example of a company that is otherwise extremely successful that has had to do shutdowns because of the current market. Now, obviously, the company may fail, regardless of who (if anyone) is at fault if those conditions remain the same, I'm not denying that. However, you seem to be implying that any failure to turn a profit is because of shortcomings in the company.
A private company giving unfunded mandates (essentially to itself)? Sure.
Circuit City, before it fell, launched a service it called Firedog. Firedog was Circuit's answer to Best Buy's Geek Squad. However, it was riddled with problems, not the least of which being that they didn't actually give their techs any tools to work with. Many stores (particularly the older ones) didn't even give the techs a designated spot, separate from the sales floor (yes, that means computers that customers owned were sitting out where the general public could access them). All the tools that were used were things that the techs could find. In the case of software tools, this was often software they could find for free on the Internet (Adaware, Spybot, Mbam, etc., which, by the way, isn't exactly legal, as the free licenses are only for personal use, not commercial). Many stores didn't even have the budget to keep even a single tech at the bench the whole time the store was open, but yet the techs were expected to produce turnaround times that were competitive to Best Buy's times. The techs were also expected to sell like salespeople, but were only paid marginally more than the sales people. They were effectively salespeople who happened to be able to work on the computers, instead of being what they should have been -- techs who happened to be able to sell when they had a chance.
I know a number of people that would love to just have "catastrophic health insurance," and I would love to see more tiers in the health insurance structure (I think I touched on this earlier). The fact of the matter, though, is that currently doesn't exist (at least not in all places). As I've mentioned, I'd love to see current laws changed so that things like cross-state competition can happen. However, if a tiered architecture doesn't exist in any health insurance company's plan now, why would it exist then?
I never said I agreed with the concept. I just pointed out that technically speaking, when you open an account with a fractional reserve bank, you do consent to them using your money. I don't like it any more than you do, but that's how it is.
That said, different things operate in different ways. For example, you wouldn't want to buy a car if the title actually stated that you didn't really own the car, just the right to drive it as much as you want (note: we're not talking about leasing, here, where it's understood that you don't actually own the car). Yet, that's how proprietary (not licensed under the GNU GPL or similar creative commons license) software works. You don't actually own the software that you paid $20, $50, or even $500 for, you just bought the right to use it on the number of computers specified by the license (usually 1) that came with the copy of software that you bought.
The rest of the world's government-run healthcare systems seem to be pretty successful, from the accounts I've seen here and elsewhere. As I said before, a government-run institution in and of itself is not doomed to fail solely because it's run by a government. The question is whether or not the specific government in question can successfully run the institution in question. In the case of the American government, its ability is questionable, at best. But why is that?
It is, at least in part, because the people making the laws are puppets to the large businesses, lobbyists, and special-interest groups. It's a nonpartisan issue, too. Both groups are in that trap. The businesses, lobbyists, and special-interest groups are what fund their campaigns, so they cater to them before they do their job as intended -- serve the people. Because of that hold, the lawmakers tend to try to put various "pork barrel" measurements into the laws.
Communism fails because it's an entire socio-economic system that is unsustainable on a large scale. Communism fails because everyone is treated "equally" instead of based on merits and the work they do, which gives people no incentive to advance. It fails at the most crucial level -- the working class.
We're not talking about a government takeover of the healthcare payer system, though. We're talking about the government creating another competitor in the market. Its success or failure remains to be seen.
Sears, Target, and KMart weren't acting in an anti-competitive manner against Wal-Mart, though. There are also some fields in which Wal-Mart wasn't even competing with them. For example, Sears doesn't sell groceries. On the same token, Target, KMart, and Wal-Mart, don't sell their own line of tools (or at least, not any tools with the reputation of Craftsman).
What would you propose a company do against another company that is actively working in an anti-competitive manner?
You seem to make a lot of assumptions about me. I'm actually in the boat that Wikipedia can be as credible a source as any encyclopedia, particularly in casual debate such as this. In many cases, it's even one of the only neutral sources of information on a particular topic that one could find on the Internet without having access to special interest professional sites (which are often subscription-based). Often, it's still best to have other sources to back up what Wikipedia says, but sometimes that simply isn't possible, and besides, it's best to do that with any source, anyway.
Now, if you were citing Conservapedia, I would have to laugh at you.
Oops, sorry I've been having another running discussion with someone else.
Part of a businessperson's job is to correctly forecast the market. If you can do that, your business succeeds. If you can't it fails. You don't want someone who can't forecast the market or someone who takes insufficient precautions against the market turning on them to continue to run a business. It's a waste of raw material, capital and labor. All three of those things could be put to much better use by someone who knows what they are doing.
And Circuit City failed. Which is exactly as it should be. Look at the USPS and the problems they're having. Ever stop to consider why Postal revenues are falling. Email is only a part of the reason. The Post Office doesn't innovate like UPS or FexEx. They don't have to because they are the only organization that can legally send 1st class mail. What's funny about the whole situation is that because of innovation the USPS monopoly on 1st class mail means nothing. Heck they can only compete with UPS and FedEx because they use their revenue from 1st class mail to subsidize the costs of their package mailing business.
The reason you don't see tiered care or anything even close to innovation is due to the regulation already in place to "protect" us from evil companies. Consider that as an insurance agent you are limited to whatever state you reside in. If you want to sell insurance to someone who lives in another state, you have to get a waver. In essence you have to pay again in order to do that. Insurance companies are given monopolies over states, much like cable companies do. That's why cable rates are so much higher than dish companies.
I don't really agree with proprietary software. Which is why I "illegally" download stuff. I'll buy it if I like it and support the people who made it, otherwise what's the point. That's the brilliance behind iStore. You no longer have to suffer with buying an entire CD of music, you can pick and choose the music you want.
And yes, we are talking about government takeover. "Reform" is just the first step to single payer and single payer will take over the entire system.
As for anti-competition, well you need to define it better. "Dumping" for example is an excuse used by high price competitors to justify why they're losing in the market rather than an inability to compete effectively. Now barriers to entry is a real anti-competitive process which can only come about using governmental authority.
Again, even though "anti-competitive" practices were used against Wal-Mart they still dominated the industry, so much so that alone, Wal-Mart caused the big screen TV industry to cut their prices. This benefited customers as they were able to afford big screen TV's. That in the end describes the success or failure of a business. Are you able to meet the needs of your customers at the lowest price?
Sorry bout the Wikipedia thing, I was arguing with someone who's rather snotty about "proper sources" and got my wires crossed. I'm glad to see you understand the utility of Wikipedia.
OK, so I've read the article. I can well believe the author is right about the ulterior motives behind the founding of the AMA. But from what I read, the establishment of the AMA also ensured that there was a universally-accepted standard of medical qualification in the US. Call me naive, but I think that's a good thing. When I go to a doctor, I want someone with a real medical degree, including a substantial amount of clinical experience. Not someone with huge gaps in their knowledge, or a fraud posing as a doctor.
The section about unnecessary surgical procedures is interesting. In a private healthcare system, I would imagine there are a lot more such procedures carried out than in a government-funded one - simply because there's a financial incentive to do so.
"In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls."
Back to TODAY, a large number of people change their minds after seeing just how despicable the insurance companies really are. People are even willing to accept the part of the plan that forces everyone to get coverage.(that was part of the poll)
Not to mention the biggest disqualifier of all, results that do not fit predetermined political positions.
People changed their position after seeing the insurance companies' phoney report. Nobody likes to be made a fool of.
by Susan Reid 7 years ago
If you are insured through your employer, the answer is no. If you are an individual or small business owner, please share your thoughts.Did you know there will be online health care insurance marketplaces (exchanges) in every state?Is your state running its own exchange ... ...or is it...
by MikeNV 11 years ago
How many of you would accept a 21% cut in pay if you didn't have to? Doctors don't have to. How many. Leave your comment if you are willing to accept a 21% cut in pay.I just read this rather interesting comment..."OBAMA-CARE KILLED MY DAD ---- Obama just cut Medicare...
by Holle Abee 11 years ago
I thought this article was interesting, especially since it appeared in the NYT. According to this guru, costs will INCREASE, not decrease. This is the same guru that democrats hailed as wonderful when he challenged Bush. Don't worry, though, costs will increase by only a few billion, and what's a...
by theirishobserver. 11 years ago
Good morning,Democrats and Republicans agree -- the health care status quo isn't working for the American people.Health insurance is growing more and more expensive by the day. Too many of us can't afford it -- not middle class families, not businesses, not the Federal Government. Insurance...
by The Shark 5 years ago
I'm not afraid of it. But I'm not in favor of it. The government screws up a lot. You can't always trust them when it comes to money. I would like the government to stay out of it as much as possible.
by Sophia Angelique 8 years ago
Robert Reich is a past secretary of labor. He writes awesome books - although I do disagree with some of his stuff. He is an economist, and yes, he truly gets it! Anyway, to quote from the article below:"That means wage gains are likely to come out of profits -- which, in turn, would affect...
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