Socialized Medicine Redux

Recycling is good, isn’t it?

In the spirit of conservation, I’m going to conserve some energy by recycling most of a previous column. With the Democrats dead set to add healthcare to the growing list of industries they have destroyed and then nationalized, it’s timely.

President Obama and his minions, not content with merely bankrupting us, are now going to kill lots of us as well.

Socialized medicine is a disaster everywhere it has been implemented. The combination of bureaucratic inefficiencies, indifference and incompetence, the increasing cost of diagnosis and treatment, an aging population and doctor shortages have turned it into a nightmare for consumers and doctors alike.

I know more about socialized medicine that anyone else you will be speaking with on the issue. I am the only person you will talk to who has literally experienced socialized medicine cradle to grave – an untimely grave. I grew up in Canada. My Father died in Canada. I have two brothers still living in Canada.

The Canadian system – the model socialized medicine advocates most often point to – is now a train wreck.

Forty years ago, when I was a child, the model worked. Everyone got taxpayer provided basic medical services and preventative medicine and it was inexpensive. If your kid broker his arm or you got in a car wreck, you didn’t have to declare bankruptcy to pay your medical bills. If you got cancer or some other horrible disease, you died because there was no cure and little treatment beyond the prescription of opiates for pain relief.

Today, thanks to medical science, most of the things that would have killed us quickly forty years ago are treatable – if found early, but at a tremendous cost. A cancer that would have killed you outright in six months can now be cured – provided you have good health insurance or a couple of hundred thousand dollars. The array of medicines and machinery that has been developed in the last forty years is formidable. Even the cost of “routine” medical care has skyrocketed. The broken arm that cost $120 forty years ago now costs $6000. A routine delivery that cost a couple of hundred dollars is $8000.

The inevitable outcome of rising healthcare costs is rising health insurance cost and/or coverage limits. Canada has attempted to control the cost of its program by limiting coverage and limiting what providers are paid for healthcare services. The result is that the Canadian system has essentially become a system that covers only catastrophic injuries and illnesses and does an absolutely horrible job of it.

Limiting what doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for healthcare has had three deadly outcomes:

First, a shortage of doctors. Why go to medical school for umpteen years if you’re going to wind up making less than a plumber? This is not an exaggeration; in Canada a good plumber makes more than the average doctor. With a limited number of doctors, and an acute shortage of specialists, you wait longer to see a doctor. A lot longer. The wait can range from weeks to months (it’s usually a few days here, but can be the same day if your doctor thinks you need to see a specialist fast). As any doctor will tell you, the longer you wait for treatment of a medical condition, the greater your chances of dying.

The second deadly outcome of cost control is service rationing. If your hospital can’t charge enough to buy that fancy new MRI machine, there’s going to be a long line for the hospital that did manage to sneak one through the budget process. It takes a certain amount of time to perform an MRI and there are only so many hours in a day and only so many MRI machines. In the United States if there is a shortage of places to get an MRI done, some entrepreneur will open one and charge what the market will bear. In Canada – even if you were allowed to after the extensive bureaucratic permitting and authorization process – it wouldn’t pencil. If the government decides what it will pay for a patient’s use of an MRI – or any other – machine and it’s not enough to cover the cost running the machine, hospitals aren’t going to buy them.

The third deadly outcome is unavailability of service. What if no hospital in your area has an MRI machine? You either get in line for the one 600 miles away or you do what smart and/or wealthy Canadians do – you go to the States.

The stories of Canadians dying while waiting for routine diagnosis, treatment and surgical procedures are not apocryphal. I know, my father died from socialized medicine. His death certificate lists cancer, but that’s not what killed him. In the summer of 1987 my 62 year old father went to his GP for his annual checkup. He was pronounced in excellent physical condition with the exception of a tiny shadow on his x-ray. An appointment was made several weeks in the future for more x-rays. When the x-rays eventually came back an appointment was made several weeks in the future with a specialist. When the specialist reviewed the x-rays he made an appointment several weeks in the future for more diagnostics…etc. The short story is that it was a year before he was diagnosed with cancer and that he died an excruciatingly painful death three months after that. In the United States the diagnostic process my father went through would have taken a month, at worst. In the United States the cancer from which my father died had an 80% survival rate in 1988. I have been told by medical professionals that, given the early discovery of the shadow on the x-ray, my father would have easily been one of the 80%.

Socialized medicine is a great service provider if you are young and healthy. If you break an arm or have a kid you don’t go broke. If, however, you break your arm really badly of your kid has health issues, you’re screwed. If you are old or suffer from a chronic condition – make a will. As bad as the worst HMO is, socialized medicine is a thousand times worse. My youngest brother, who still lives in Vancouver, Canada and earns a middle class income, travels to the US for his health care and pays out of pocket.

If you want your medical system run like the DMV, support the Obama healthcare plan. If you think Medicare is an efficient and cost-effective service provider, support the Obama healthcare plan. If you hate your parents, grandparents and children, support the Obama healthcare plan. If you want a system that works for patients and is sustainable in the long run, make a different choice.

In closing I want to address a note to all those misguided pundits who will assert that socialized medicine, in spite of its worldwide failure, just hasn’t been done right:

Why aren’t you getting your health care in Canada?

A second note to all those “experts” who will spew facts and figures to prove the case that socialized medicine is the greatest thing since sliced bread:

Socialized medicine is like sex or an acid trip. You can study it all you want, but until you’ve experienced it you just don’t know.

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  • John in Oregon

    Tim there is a UK corollary to the experience of your father.

    I don’t recall her name at the moment so I will call her Jane. One day she discovered what she thought might be a lump. She made an appointment (in the future) with her GP who also thought it might be a lump and ordered a mammogram in the future. After the mammogram another appointment for the results to be evaluated. Then a biopsy and another appointment in the future.

    A year later after multiple 8 week in the future appointments Jane woke up in recovery. Jane knew it wasn’t good when the doctor sat down beside her bed.

    The doctor told her the breast cancer had spread. Jane of course was devastated But it didn’t stop there.

    Next the doctor told her if she had only come in 6 months earlier…. But it didn’t stop there.

    The doctor told her that there was some chemotherapy available. But it didn’t stop there.

    Because the doctor also told her the chemotherapy available from the UK health service was totally ineffective for her type of breast cancer although he did recommend they start immediately. But it didn’t stop there.

    The doctor also said there was another chemotherapy drug that was highly effective. But it didn’t stop there.

    Because the UK health service had listed the drug as too expensive for the UK health system. He was not allowed to write the prescription. But it didn’t stop there.

    Jane decided she would pay for the drug her self. But it didn’t stop there.

    Because the pharmacy did not stock prohibited medical drugs. So Jane ordered it from a New Zealand pharmacy. Still it didn’t stop there.

    Because three days after receiving the drugs she also received a letter from the UK Health Service.

    The letter was simple. It said as you know all patients in the UK Health Serve receive the same exceptional care. We have learned that you have chosen to top up your health care. Therefor your eligibility to receive health care from the UK Health Service is hereby revoked.

    And for Jane it finally stopped there.

  • valley person

    “Socialized medicine is a disaster everywhere it has been implemented.”

    It is been implemented in very few places, notably Great Britain. What has been implemented in every advanced nation except the US is various versions of “socialized insurance.” Given that the US has the least affordable, and one of the least effective health care systems in comparison with these others, the record is quite clear that socialized insurance is not a disaster, but that the US private insurance system is.

    “The Canadian system – the model socialized medicine advocates most often point to – is now a train wreck.”

    How can Tim claim that the Canadian system is the one that “most….advocates” point to. Does he have a data base on most advocates and what they point to? Most I know point to France, which has a far superior system to Canada in terms of results.But by most measures, even the under funded, flawed Canadian system is way better than that of the US.

    As for the rest, we already have “service rationing.” We have 50 million with no insurance at any given moment, and that number has been rising since 2000. We have very few choices of insurance programs. Basically most of us only get what our employer decides we are going to get, in my case one lousy choice. And if we are self-employed and/or have a pre-existing condition, fuggeddabbouddit. You are rationed into the emergency room if you live long enough to make it there.

    • Anonymous

      Dean, you must be slipping. Your regurgitation of talking points is even less lucid than normal.

      “It is been implemented in very few places, notably Great Britain”

      Where you can literally hear the injured screaming “No NHS” as they are loaded into ambulances and where everyone who can afford it seeks private care.

      “What has been implemented…is various versions of “socialized insurance.”

      There’s no difference. If the insurer won’t pay for treatment you won’t get it. One of the Democrat talking points against private insurers is their refusal to pay for certain treatments. Every time they’re pushing socialized medicine they drag out some poor congenital defective as a poster child. I’d be interested to know if the Democrats ever paid for medical treatment for one of those poster children, or just dropped them like a rock once the campaign was over. As I recall their last poster child turned out to be a woman suffering from munchausen by proxy syndrome who was injuring her own child.

      “Given that the US has the least affordable”

      An utter lie. Try purchasing US equivalent healthcare anywhere else in the world and see how much it costs. I guess that’s not really a fair comparison, because you CAN’T purchase US equivalent healthcare anywhere else in the world.

      “one of the least effective health care systems”, “the record is quite clear that socialized insurance is not a disaster”

      Another complete lie. People flock to the US from all over the world for treatment – including former Canadian cabinet minister Belinda Stronach who preferred treatment in California to treatment at the Canadian cancer care facility an $8 million donation from her family helped build.

      “How can Tim claim that the Canadian system is the one that “most….advocates” point to.”

      Probably because it’s the one you lefty imbeciles have been waxing on about for twenty years.

      “Most I know point to France”

      You may be right here. The general public is waking up to what a disaster the Canadian system is, so the left needs another example to point to. France seems to be their nominee. Funny though, I can’t recall any stories of Canadians, or anyone else for that matter, fleeing to France to healthcare. I’m sure, however, that the lefties will manage to find the three people who actually have and hold them up as a false representation of millions.

      “even the under funded, flawed Canadian system is way better than that of the US”

      As Tim says, “Why aren’t you getting your medical treatment in Canada?” It’s close. US medical insurance will pay for it. go on. Walk the walk. Next time you need a major medical procedure, go to Canada. No takers huh?

      “we already have “service rationing.” ”

      Another lie. OK, the Oregon Health Plan DOES ration healthcare, but that fact doesn’t really suit your purpose does it?

      “50 million with no insurance”

      Actually the number is closer to 30 million. According to HHS, of those 30 million about 65% are illegal aliens, 22% are people who can afford health insurance, but choose not to get it (mostly singles under 30) and about 9% are people who are eligible for Medicaid or Medicare but not enrolled. This leaves about 4%, or 1.2 million unable to afford health insurance.

      “We have very few choices of insurance programs.”

      There are a gazillion health insurance companies. Oregon is underserved because it has passed laws mandating all kinds of coverage, driving out most insurers. As a single male, I do not want coverage for women’s health issues. Because I live in Oregon, I can’t get health insurance without that coverage, jacking up my cost.

      “most of us only get what our employer decides we are going to get”

      Be grateful. Your employer doesn’t have to provide healthcare. It’s not his or her duty to look after your worthless ass. If you’re unhappy with your employer’s level of generosity, buy more insurance. I have never seen an employer sponsored program where additional coverage could not be purchased at very good rates.

      “in my case one lousy choice.”

      As other posters have observed, it sucks to be you. See previous comments re: looking after your worthless ass. If you had actual skills you could get a job with deluxe benefits.

      “if we are self-employed…fuggedaboutit.”

      Forget about what? I’m self employed and have health insurance. Yes, I pay through the nose, but that’s hardly my insurers fault. He’s got to make a living the same as I do. If he wasn’t forced to include all sorts of coverage I neither want nor need (OBGYN for example) my insurance would be cheaper. If regulation hadn’t driven most insurers out of Oregon my costs would also be lower due to increased competition. If my insurance was deducatable, it would also be more affordable. None of htese are healthcare issues, they’re governmetn regulation issues. All in all, I still pay less for health insurance than for FICA, for SS benefits I’ll never see.

      “pre-existing condition…fuggedabout it.”

      I guess you had to be half right at least once in your life. Blind pig, acorns and all that. Insurers will charge a lot to cover someone with a pre-existing condition, or choose not to cover certain pre-existing conditions for the same reason they charge drivers who have a lot of accidents more – they cost the insurer more money. These people are part of the 4% who want health insurance but genuinely cannot afford it. Should we do something for these folks? Depends on how they got to where they are. If they’re 400 pounds and suffering for diabetes, they’re not going to get much sympathy from me. If they’re alcoholics in need of a liver transplant, give the liver to someone who isn’t going to waste a second chance at life.

      For the folks who are suffering through no fault of theri own, we need to do something, but wrecking a system that works fine for 96% of the legal residents of the United States for the supposed benefit of 4% is just plain stupid.

      • valley person

        Dean who?

        “Where you can literally hear the injured screaming “No NHS” as they are loaded into ambulances and where everyone who can afford it seeks private care.”

        Multiple surveys, even published by Fox news, have reported that the highest level of disatisfaction with health care systems is right here in the United states. You find varying levels of disatisfaction in every nation, but we take the cake.

        https://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,136990,00.html

        “If the insurer won’t pay for treatment you won’t get it.”

        Yes, that was exactly my point. Being denied a procedure by a private insurance bureaucrat or a public insurance bureaucrat makes what difference to the patient?

        “The general public is waking up to what a disaster the Canadian system is…”

        I don’t know about that, but the general public is certainly waking up to the greater disaster that the US system is.

        “Try purchasing US equivalent healthcare anywhere else in the world and see how much it costs.”

        There really is no such thing as “the US equivalent health care.” What anti public insurance folks tend to argue, as you do here, is that since we have the best brain surgeons or cancer care facilities in the world for those few who can afford it or have the best insurance, therefore every American has access to the best. But this is not true and if you think about it even for a moment, can’t possibly be true. Measuring our best against other nation’s average is misleading at best.

        “People flock to the US from all over the world for treatment …”

        Yes. Those from abroad who have very deep pockets and build entire hospital wings purchase our top flight care facilities and highly paid doctors. So your argument is that we should preserve our system, even though it is inaccessible to most Americans, so that rich Canadians can take advantage of it?

        “As Tim says, “Why aren’t you getting your medical treatment in Canada?”

        I am not a Canadian citizen, and am therefore not eligible for their care unless I happen to be travelling there.

        “Actually the number is closer to 30 million. ”

        Not according to the US Census Bureau. It was 47 million in 2007, and clearly that number is higher today due to high unemployment and the fact that health insurance inflation has out paced personal and business incomes.

        https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14016079

        “There are a gazillion health insurance companies.”

        There are 12 doing business in Oregon. If Obama’s health care proposal passes all 12 will still be open for business, with the added option of a public insurer.

        “As a single male, I do not want coverage for women’s health issues.”

        So insurance companies are supposed to drop women’s special helath need coverage? That is thoughtful of you.

        “Forget about what? I’m self employed and have health insurance.”

        So was I, and so did until last year. I finally called it quits and took a job in large part because my insurance costs were spiking because I had passed the age of 55. I saw the writing on the wall, and frankly the cost and lack of availability of insurance is inhibiting many small busineses and sole practitioners across the nation. Its not helping us in terms of innovation one bit.

        “As other posters have observed, it sucks to be you..”

        Maybe so, maybe not. But there are hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon, and many millions nationally, who are in the same boat. And we are the lucky ones who have employers who provide an insurance benefit. Maybe it sucks to be an American?

        “I guess you had to be half right at least once in your life.”

        Well thanks for that at least.

        “For the folks who are suffering through no fault of theri (sic) own, we need to do something,”

        Why? Why should I have to pay for other’s misfortune that has nothing to do with me? Why should I care about widows, orphans, the lame, the blind, and those unlucky enough to be born poor to drug or alchohol addled parents? How un-American of you to even suggest that I should be taxed to help these losers.

        • Anonymous

          “Multiple surveys, even published by Fox news, have reported that the highest level of disatisfaction with health care systems is right here in the United states. You find varying levels of disatisfaction in every nation, but we take the cake.”

          Self fulfilling polls are a dime a dozen – make that several thousand dollars apiece. Obviously you have never talked to a Canadian or a Brit.

          “Being denied a procedure by a private insurance bureaucrat or a public insurance bureaucrat makes what difference to the patient?”

          Private insurers deny procedures because they are not covered under the terms of the insureds policy, government plans deny coverage because you’re not worth it – too old, too sick, whatever – they ration care.

          “the general public is certainly waking up to the greater disaster that the US system is.”

          Hardly. The usual crowd of ‘give me something for nothing’ parasites and their Democrat enablers has just ratcheted up the PR machine.

          “Measuring our best against other nation’s average is misleading at best.”

          Our worst far exceeds almost every other nation’s best. If you are insured you get the best care in the world. Even the 4% of the uninsured (that would be less than 1% of the total US population) get excellent care. They just get it in an emergency room instead of a doctor’s office. If you are stupid enough to make the decision to buy consumer goods instead of health insurance, you deserve whatever you get. If you are an illegal alien, GO HOME!

          “Yes. Those from abroad who have very deep pockets…”

          Yeah, like all those fabulously wealthy Canadian pensioners who stream across the border for treatment and all those illegal aliens clogging up hospital emergency rooms. Rich bastards!

          “I am not a Canadian citizen, and am therefore not eligible for their care unless I happen to be travelling there.”

          AS I said, you insurance will cover you for treatment in Canada, so why not go there next time you need a major medical procedure? It’s only 300 miles to Vancouver, Canada,

          “There are 12 doing business in Oregon. ”

          Thanks to state government regulations.

          “So insurance companies are supposed to drop women’s special helath need coverage? ”

          No, the state government just needs to stop making men pay for women’s health. You don’t see men whining that women should pay higher insurance premiums so their men’s health care costs will be lower.

          “the cost and lack of availability of insurance is inhibiting many small busineses …”

          Only in states like Oregon who make it difficult for insurers to do business and restrict consumers’ health insurance choices.

          “Maybe it sucks to be an American?”

          Canada is only 300 miles away and their border is completely unguarded. The rest of us will be glad to see you leave.

          “Why? Why should I have to pay for other’s misfortune that has nothing to do with me?…”

          You’re willing to force widows, orphans and the chronically ill into a tiered healthcare system with rationed care, I’m surprised you just don’t cut to the chase and advocate for their elimination for the good of the gene pool.

  • John in Oregon

    valley person > *But by most measures, even the under funded, flawed Canadian system is way better than that of the US.*

    It took a while but I finally stopped laughing. You are telling that deluded fantasy to the wrong people. You need to tell that faerie tale to these people;

    *O* The heart attack patients that Canadian Emergency Medical Technicians daily take by ambulance through the tunnel from Windsor, Ontario Canada to inner city Detroit Michigan because Windsor does not have facilities to treat them.

    *O* Karen Jepp of Calgary Alberta Canada, population 500,000 who was sent to a Bozeman Montana hospital, population 50,000, because Canada does not have the facilities to handle quadruplet births.

    *O* The Canadian MDs who are opening “Veterinary” clinics in open defiance of Canadian law.

    *O* Italian Prime Minister Silvio Burlesconi who flew over France and several “higher ranking health care” countries to receive treatment in a Cleveland Ohio clinic. What could Burlesconi possibly have been thinking? Doesn’t he read Commonwealth reports?

    *O* The Canadian patients from Victoria, BC and Vancouver, BC and Calgary, Alberta, and Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba and Windsor, Ontario and Toronto, Ontario and Regina, Saskatchewan and Quebec city and Yellowknife and Whitehorse. Patients who go to the United State and pay their own money for health care.

    *O* The Canadian patients who go to “Veterinary” clinics and pay their own money for health care.

    *O* The Canadian Nova Scotia manufacturing plant that provides Heath Insurance benefits to their Canadian employees so they receive health care in Bangor Main.

    What is it about those Canadians? Are they just toooo stupid to know they have free health care? Or is it just possible they know something YOU don’t?

    Regarding socialized medicine > *It is (sic) been implemented in very few places, notably Great Britain.*

    False. The UK allows private health care services. Canada prohibits private health care.

    > *What has been implemented in every advanced nation except the US is various versions of “socialized insurance.”*

    False. Every Government funded system is Government controlled in one way or another, including the decisions of which treatments will be allowed and prohibited.

    > *Given that the US has the least affordable, and one of the least effective health care systems*

    False. Liars figure and they work for the Commonwealth reports, WHO, or the Progressives.

    > *the record is quite clear that socialized insurance is not a disaster*

    False. Every socialized system is bankrupt.

    > *We have 50 million with no insurance at any given moment*

    Utterly false. You know it and you know why.

    > *You are rationed into the emergency room if you live long enough to make it there.*

    This is the most utterly ridicules thing I have ever heard.

    If a medical emergency patient doesn’t make it to the ER then insurance doesn’t freaking matter DOES IT!

    If a patient does make to the ER the patient gets medical treatment with or without insurance. So it still doesn’t freaking matter DOES IT!

    As long as we are talking about walk in ER care. Why don’t you tell us about the millions eligible for free Government insurance. You know those don’t you. The ones that drop the free insurance because ER walk in is superior health care. They know free care is worth exactly what it costs them don’t they?

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >But by most measures, even the under funded, flawed Canadian system is way better than that of the US.

    Under funded!

    How in the world did we know that was coming?

    And dont ya just know that when socialized medicine here doesnt work as the advocates had promised ( like every other program btw ) we will once again hear the cry of “underfunded”

    Thus fulfilling once again …. Are you ready for it???….

    *The Rupert Uncertainty Principle* – It is impossible to view a liberal and hear the phrase “fully funded” at the same time when discussing any non defense program.

    • davidg

      Rupert, the RUP: quite an insight! Have you considered writing an article about that? Hope you do!

    • valley person

      Prisons seem more than fully funded to this liberal.

      • Anonymous

        Point proven. Prisons are a defense program.

        • valley person

          Really? First I’ve heard that one. But OK, let me add a few other government programs that are more than fully funded, from a liberal perspective:

          Agricultural subsidies to commodity farmers
          Corn ethanol subsides
          Export promotion for corporations
          Oil well depletion allowance
          Providing public insurance guarentees in case of an accident at a private nuclear power plant.
          Flood insurance
          Subsidized private cattle grazing on public land
          Subsidized sale of public timber

        • valley person

          “Self fulfilling polls are a dime a dozen – make that several thousand dollars apiece. Obviously you have never talked to a Canadian or a Brit.”

          Wrong. I’ve talked to lots of Candaians and Brits, having done business in both nations. I’ve yet to meet one who would exchange their health system for ours. But the number you or I have talked to is not relevant. Objective polls are. You dismiss the results because they show the opposite of what you believe or want to believe.

          “Private insurers deny procedures because they are not covered under the terms of the insureds policy, government plans deny coverage because you’re not worth it – too old, too sick, whatever – they ration care”

          Government insurance, known as Medicare, is he only insurance that old people have. And if what you say is true about other countries, then why are their life spans longer than ours?

          “Our worst far exceeds almost every other nation’s best.”

          Is this a faith-based argument or is it grounded in some fact? 37 nations have superior across the board health results than we do even while they spend far less and “ration” care. If their average results are better, how can their best care be inferior to our worst? Your argument is oblivious to reality.

          “Only in states like Oregon who make it difficult for insurers to do business and restrict consumers’ health insurance choices.”

          No. Its a problem in most if not all states. The average annual health insurance premium per family in Oregon is now over $12,000 a year. It nearly doubled since 2000. In South Carolina, with much less regulation, the average cust is just a bit under $12,000, and has increased by nearly the same amount as in Oregon. Look at any state and you will find the same problem, withi similar costs and similar cost increases regardless of their regulations or how many insurance companies operate in the state.

          https://www.familiesusa.org/resources/publications/reports/premiums-vs-paychecks-2008.html

          “Canada is only 300 miles away and their border is completely unguarded. The rest of us will be glad to see you leave.”

          Maybe so. But I love my country, warts and all. Unfortunately for you I’ll stay here and work to change the health care system, along with the over 62% of my fellow Americans who favor a major overhaul that controls costs and expands access.

          https://www.pollingreport.com/health.htm

  • John in Oregon

    In another thread here I answered David Appell about how to “fix” health care. That discussion is relevant on this thread as well.

    The post is a bit long as I touched on many facets of the problem. Admittedly I have never actually had anyone tell me I was being mysteriously cryptic.

    David Appell it’s reasonable for you to ask what alternative there is to Obama care dictating what care a patient may get.

    You made an impassioned plea that the problem is that the corporations have conspired to exclude one out of every 6 Americans from health care coverage. So lets start with that point.

    The one in six number is the progressive talking point of 50 million with no health care. Lets take a closer look at those numbers. The source data is from the Census Bureau often hidden in a “study” from a pro nationalized health care organization. I will use the original Census data.

    The Census data doesn’t just say 48 million uninsured victims, it contains much other data ignored by pro nationalized government health care proponents. One example is the foreign nationals present illegally in the United States.

    Somewhere between 15 and 19 million. How to deal with these individuals ranges from enforcing the rule of law to enforcing the rule of compassion and fulfilling all their wants.

    However that issue is solved its clear these foreign nationals have chosen to reject proper entry. Their status was made by choice and is not a failure of insurance or the health care system.

    This leaves 35 million against which the corporations are conspiring. Of that 35 million some 11 million have access to insurance from their employer or earn well above the median income and can purchase coverage with ease. These people have simply made the decision to forgo coverage and spend the money on other things.

    These are the refuseniks that you hear demonized by the progressives. The concept is that its unfair that the Government has to rush in and save them. Here the Progressive clearly shows the belief that Government makes better choices than people can make for themselves.

    The Obama care solution is to compel compliance. My own view is that sometimes decisions have consequences. In any case this is not a failure of insurance or the health care system.

    This leaves 24 million against which the corporations are conspiring. Of that 24 million some 14 million are eligible for Federal medicare / medicade / schip, State insurance or private charity insurance programs. They have failed or chosen not to enroll. Again the Obama care solution is to compel compliance. In any case this is not a failure of private insurance or the health care system.

    This leaves 10 million against which the corporations are conspiring. Of those approximately 1.5 million were without insurance for only a short period during the year. Frequently do to job change. Again this is not a failure of private insurance or the health care system.

    This leaves 8.5 million habitually chronic uninsured. One in thirty seven not one in six and a very different kind of problem.

    Before I go on to what can be done I want to disarm another progressive nationalized healthcare canard. (Canard, aka a lie.) That healthcare is the cause of all the bankruptcies. Aside from being patently false on its face there is another more critical point.

    Million dollar catastrophic medical insurance with a 10,000 to 30,000 deductible is cheep and available to anyone. It costs less than a couple of movie tickets a month or a can of beer a day. People are free to buy it or not. But choosing the can of beer instead is a decision that can have consequences. The Obama care solution is to compel compliance.

    ===============

    SO NOW on to what David Appell asked. How can the US private health care system be improved?

    I notice that progressives constantly use the single client health care purchaser as the standard of bad. As when David asked about the person who > *is refused the opportunity to obtain health insurance AT ANY COST because corporations will not sell it to them.* Also when David said > *And that means you have to tell us how YOU will purchase health insurance when US insurance companies decide you are too big of a risk to insure.*

    I wonder why it is necessary for progressives to constantly use the single client health care purchaser while ignoring the coverage that 93 percent of Americans actually have or have access to?

    However ignoring that question, what David is referring to is the single client health care purchaser with a preexisting condition for which he claims such clients are black listed.

    No one is black listed. Any single client health care purchaser with a preexisting condition can buy health care coverage. And that purchaser has choices.

    *O* He can buy health care coverage which excludes the preexisting condition.

    *O* He can buy health care coverage with an enrollment period that excludes the preexisting condition.

    *O* He can buy health care coverage with a premium increase that accounts for the preexisting condition.

    *O* He can seek to buy group coverage which will not have preexisting condition limitations.

    But les assume that David is correct and there is some actual fraction of a percent of people that are blacklisted for some reason. In which case my question would be this:

    Is it really necessary to tear apart and destroy a system that is serving 292 million people because 1 million people fell through the pre-existing condition cracks? Surely it is possible to create a program that is small, targeted and inexpensive that meets the needs of the 1 million.

    I can hear it now. John don’t be silly. The Government would never tear apart a system serving 292 million for the benefit of only 1 million.

    Oh Really? In 2001 we had a very real problem. A small number of retirees on Medicare were unable to purchase the prescription drugs they needed. Senator Edward Kennedy, with the assistance of George Bush, created a massive restructuring of US medication delivery system. Free medication for all elderly, including retirees with $50 mission in assets. Kennedy tore apart Medicare to solve a problem for a small number of people.

    It is true that coverage for the single client health care purchaser is very expensive. Research by Scott Holleran focused on the forces that currently limit or eliminate individual health insurance.

    Scott noted the first step was under New Deal FDR. “The individual was first discouraged from buying insurance in 1942 when employee health premiums were made tax deductible to employers–not to individuals.” So in 1942 a tax barrier was erected against the single client health care purchaser. From then on individuals were assessed a tax penalty.

    Then under LBJ, with the support of Sen. Ted Kennedy and Congress, created Medicare in 1965, making individual insurance for those over 65 obsolete. Subsidized, unrestricted health care for seniors lead to an unprecedented frenzy of spending by patients and doctors. A side note here, after the 1970s Medicare became very restrictive both in terms of payment for services and procedures covered.

    “Costs went up, introducing an economic obstacle to individual health insurance. As costs rose, those on the New Left, including then freshman Sen. Ted Kennedy, argued that government ought to pay for everyone’s health care and promoted the idea of a health maintenance organization, a term coined by a left-wing college professor.”

    Also in 1965 Sen. Kennedy was floor manager of the 1965 Immigration Act. During debate Kennedy ridiculed opposition and assured the country “our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same.” Kennedy of course was wrong and one of the consequences was an ever growing demand placed on our health care system by foreign nationals.

    Holleran continues “President Nixon appeased the left and proposed the HMO Act, which Congress passed in 1973. The law created new, supposedly cheaper health coverage with millions of dollars to HMOs, which, until then, constituted a small portion of the market. Kaiser Permanente was the only major HMO in the country by 1969 and most of its members were compelled to join through unions.”

    *”Combined with Medicare, the HMO Act eventually eliminated the market for affordable individual health insurance.”*

    The consequences of Medicare and Medicaid did not stop with emanation of the individual coverage market. As rising costs engulfed Medicare and Medicaid the system responded by reducing reimbursement to cut costs. First below market rates, then well below market rate and in many cases below the fixed costs to provide the service. This forced doctors, clinics, and hospitals to shift Medicare and Medicaid costs onto the backs of Employer provided and single client health care insurance.

    But the obstacles didn’t stop there as each of the 50 states implemented arbitrary mandates. Mammogram coverage for 3 year old boys. Birth control pills for 60 year old men. Erectile dysfunction coverage for 13 year old girls. Prenatal coverage for 5 year old boys. Obstetric services for 60 year old women.

    Different requirements and demands in every state. A maze of regulations. One thing is for damn sure tho, Every state prohibits basic serves health insurance coupled with a major medical policy. Nope can’t have that.

    Now we have the latest progressive tactic at both the State and Federal level. Tax health care. Tax the hell out of it. Punish the bastards that have health care. Trash the health care system. Blame the evil insurance companies.

    So here are some good workable suggestions.

    *O* Raise Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates to near market level to eliminate cost shifting to the private health care system.

    *O* Make single client health care coverage tax deductible (pre tax dollars) just as employer provided benefits are.

    *O* Provide a few basic health care services plans available to single client health care purchasers. Make them uniformly available in all 50 states and prohibit any state mandated add on.

    *O* Allow employees to select one of the basic plans as an alternative to the Employer provided benefits.

    *O* Make Health Savings Accounts with major medical insurance available to any American who wishes to choose that option.

    These are five simple suggestions to vastly improve the US health care system. All of them are simple to implement. And note I haven’t even begun to touch on such complicated issues as tort reform or regulatory costs.

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