Letters to the Editor

Universal care

July 5, 2007


To the editor:

With the recent release of Michael Moore's "Sicko" into theaters, a good thing is happening: People are discussing health care reform. Regardless of anyone's opinion on Moore or his film, there are facts pertaining to the health care situation in our country which are undeniable: Over 45 million Americans are not covered, 2005 data showed that Americans spent over $2 trillion on medical care, and measurable means of health care status, such as the infant mortality rate, indicate that our free-market system is doing a remarkably poor job at offering us the best options for health care.

The cost of our system is absurd. I presently pay nearly 30 percent of my gross income on taxes and medical insurance costs, not counting out-of-pocket costs for office visits or hospitalization. My coverage is very good, but I still have a large amount of costs if I wish to visit a doctor or get a prescription. I cannot imagine how someone with a family to provide for can expect to pay 30 percent of their income, not to mention taking care of those other necessities.

H.R. 676 is a bill before Congress proposing for a Universal Health Care System. An estimated 31 percent of all medical spending is wasted on paperwork and bureaucracy, according to Physicians for a National Health Care Program. Read more about it at www.pnhp.org, and let's make this a reality for all Americans.

Eric Rosa,



perkins 10 years, 9 months ago

This letter is what is absurd. No grownup would be upset at paying 30% of gross for taxes and health insurance.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 9 months ago

Why would we want a bloated, inefficient, wasteful government to get involved in even one more aspect of our lives? A: We don't.

DaveR 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm 55. I've never had health insurance in my life. Never had the money. At my age, it's lead pipe cinch that some pre-existing condition would prohibit health insurance at any price. (Can't get me life insurance & we've tried.) Last few years I've had a wife & now a six year old daughter. Elizabeth has Vera signed up for some sort of public assistance. I'm grateful for her tenacity. Public assistance isn't the easiest thing to get.

So my question for Eric: How old are you, and what was your gross income for 2006? I'd just like to know how far away I am from any health insurance at all.

KS 10 years, 9 months ago

Many of the uninsured can afford health insurance; they just opt to spend their money on other material things. That is their choice. I am okay with that, Just don't ask me to pay for their healthcare when I work hard to pay for my own. If you truly can't afford health insurance, we already have a system in place. It is called Medicaid. Until the Government gets out of the "wasting of my tax dollar" business, I will continue this position. Universal healthcare will do nothing but increase that. In retrospect, 30% isn't really too bad. If it would just stop there, but it doesn't.

imastinker 10 years, 9 months ago

I figure I pay over 50% of my income on taxes. If you count the income tax, sales tax, and other government fees, I bet it's over 50%. Now, I pay for my family's health insurance through my job. Life insurance is 5% of my income and health insurance is almost 20%. Day care accounts for 25% of my income as well.

See where I'm going with this? If you take my 50% for taxes and 25% for health insurance and turn it into 75% to the government and I have to pay day care, what's to keep me working at all? Maybe I just work on a cash basis and get free government health care anyway. I wouldn't do that, but not a whole lot of people let ethics stop them.

The best way to lower the price of health care is to limit malpractice suits and encourage competition in the industry.

DaveR 10 years, 9 months ago

Forty years ago everyone - or nearly everyone - had Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Was sort of expensive, but affordable. There was no paperwork. There were no out of pocket expenses. Then came a bunch of hucksters with their phony cheap plans. The wreckage we now have is the result. It wasn't lawyers that did this to us.

So, hello Stinker. So you spend 50% in taxes & 25% for health care & how much for your mortgage & car & heat & lights & food? Last I heard, most folks spend 25 - 40% just for their mortgage (or rent).

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm pretty sure Michael Moore has a bigger income than you'll ever see, RT, and is paying for his own medical expenses.

Yeah, Dave, I remember those times...insurance didn't cost an arm and a leg. Remember when there was no such thing as a co-pay, or a deductable? You had insurance, you went to the doctor, the whole damn thing was paid for. That was the object of having health insurance. What most people have now is a farce.

Who do we have to thank for co-pays and deductibles?

You can talk against socialized medicine, as they have in the UK and Canada, but there's one fact maybe you haven't realized...the costs in those countries aren't as huge as they are in this one.

When people don't have to worry about having money for health care, then they will go to the doctor with a small problem...long before it has the chance to become a huge problem, and costs more money to treat it.

manyblessings 10 years, 9 months ago

Somehow I think that Universal Health Care would cost a lot more than 30% of your income. Personally I wish we could just do away with insurance companies altogether. When medical insurance did not exist medical costs were much cheaper and most people could manage on their own. For those who could not, people could choose to donate money that would help such people or doctors could offer services on a sliding scale. If only..........

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 9 months ago

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's "free." Also, if you think government-run health care is a good idea, pay a visit to any veteran's hospital and let me know how it is. Not good.

blackwalnut 10 years, 9 months ago

right_thinker says, 3120.00 is a nice down payment on a car, some new furniture, some new carpeting::..but what the hey! At least you know John Q. Methhead and his wife and six kids are getting all the healthcare they need.

Uh, yeah. That would be well worth it. And those would be my priorities - health care over the new carpet.

Bush is the most profligate spender ever to set foot in the White House. It wouldn't hurt to divert some of that money from his wasteful and destructive spending over to health care.

Oh, and tax the rich and the corporations, too.

blackwalnut 10 years, 9 months ago

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho (Anonymous) says: If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's "free." Also, if you think government-run health care is a good idea, pay a visit to any veteran's hospital and let me know how it is. Not good.

That's because America runs the veterans' hospitals. They used to be better. Republicans do not like to support either veterans or health care.

To see how it's done, go to England, or Canada, or France. I have friends from those countries and they think Americans and their health care system are just insane. My Canadian friend has American health insurance but goes back to Canada for any major treatment.

KS 10 years, 9 months ago

Of course they do, blackwalnut! They are all socialists! :) Canadians, French, etc. Maybe you should move there and experience the experience! I like what we have.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 9 months ago

Michael Moore claims that people get better health care in Cuba, yet the list that he mentions in which US is ranked # 37 shows Cuba below us at # 39. Does he point out this fact in "Sicko" or does he conveniently forget to mention it?


Also, Canada is ranked # 30. I thought their system was supposed to be fantastic.


Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

"Forty years ago everyone - or nearly everyone - had Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Was sort of expensive, but affordable. There was no paperwork. There were no out of pocket expenses."

No out of pocket expenses except for the mortician's bill. Forty years ago a large portion of cures for various serious diseases didn't exist or were ineffectual. Curing people of X, Y, or Z costs money - and right now we expect the insurance company to pony up that extra money ... but not raise their rates correspondingly. In short, we want something for nothing.

Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

"To see how it's done, go to England, or Canada, or France. I have friends from those countries and they think Americans and their health care system are just insane."

In Canada, the government has contracts with AMERICAN health providers to handle the underinvestment their socialized system makes. I'm sure Canadians DO go back for major treatment because its "free" (meaning paid for in un-itemized taxes). Nevertheless, 90% of Canadians live within a short drive of the U.S. anytime they wish to dig in their pocket to relieve the pressure of rationing. (And yes, Canada rations care as a means of containing costs, just like a HMO.)

In England, health care is ATROCIOUS. It is probably the single most contentious political issue in the country. People wait forever, service is almost non-existent, and hospitals and staffs are chronically underfunded. No wonder that the winner of "Britain's Got Talent" TV show took his winnings and immediately went to a dentist to pay for better teeth - the result of a lifetime of "free" medical neglect.

In France, which for my money has the BEST overall system of care in the world, its a mixture of private AND public care (much like higher ed in the U.S. is such a mixture). Even then, a few years back a heat wave led to TENS of thousands of people DYING because the crisis arrived inconveniently when all the civil servants were away in August on vacation. (And lets not get started on the scandal of the French medical authorities KNOWING that they were infecting people with AIDs tainted blood for years! OMG! Can you imagine what would happen to a corporation in America if they did that?)

The biggest difference with France that we should be paying attention to is that the government works with all players to mandate common standards and efficiencies - and provides legal (tort) protections for those players. We don't have that in this country: everyone does things their own way, states don't talk to other states, technology is almost a phobia for the entire industry, physicians live in constant fear of not doing enough or ordering enough tests.

Janet Lowther 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a solution for the problem of unafordable health care.

What ever the solution is, I know what it can't be, if it is to be any good: It can't be based on the welfare model.

We spend so much money making sure no one cheats us in the welfare system, that far more money is spent on bureaucrats and social workers than it's beneficiaries.

Before we can justly demand collectivization of medicine, we must engage in a long and serious process of introspection and extirpate the mean-spiritedness which infects our national character. When generosity out weighs the impulse to endorse mean-spirited declamations of government waste, then we can consider it.

'Till then people need to question their doctors. They need to ask why tests and procedures are needed, and insist on good, understandable answers. Then chose whether to have them or not - even if insurance covers the lions share of the cost. It is the consumer, and only the consumer who can bring medical costs under control. The days of M.D. standing for Medical Deity must come to an end.

KS 10 years, 9 months ago

I can see it now. When the Government (that incudes all of us) are paying for the health care, then the payors, (all of us) should have some say in how one lives their life. No smoking, no drinking, no trans fats, no biscuits and gravy, none of the so-called good stuff. Frankly, I don't want that intrusioin into my life. Take personal responsiblity and buy yourself some insurance and get on with it. Stop blaming everyone else. You are going to pay for it one way or the other. Through your taxes or through a premium. Get over it. Move on!

Keith 10 years, 9 months ago

All you reactionaries better get ready to do another of your famous 180 degree turns (can't call it flip flopping, that's only for liberals). The major force for universal health care in the coming years will not be the nasty Democrats, it will be the captains of industry trying to shed a huge cost that keeps us from competing in the global market. Once they get the message through to the recipients of their political funding, the Republican party will suddenly find that they are in favor of universal health care.

nettieb 10 years, 9 months ago

People were discussing health care reform long before Sicko was released. Don't idolize that fat slob any more than he needs to be.

ImpactWinter 10 years, 9 months ago

the costs for a family to provide half-decent healthcare in the absence of company-provided polices is well over $1K a month!!! how many working families can survive that kind of cost, just for crappy healthcare thats looking for ways not to pay! thats effing ridiculous! its unconcionable!

this is the health of America we're talking about, the livelyness of its workers and people its a goddamn public service, not a business!

The healthcare crisis is one of skyrocketing costs satisfied by excluding people from coverage and procedures they desperately need;

the Emergent-care philosophy that seems to have taken hold in this country (and concordantly increased costs) began when the average american worker started having to decide if an ailment was really serious enough to warrant the costs he would incur in just having the damn thing looked at!

In an age where the average middle-class folk have to start gambling with their health, their effing HEALTH, just to be able to continue to scrape by in this country, while a growing aristocracy of the rich sneers down upon the honest man for daring to play the system they've ruined

its just so goddamn ridiculous!

ImpactWinter 10 years, 9 months ago

and to behave as if "you aint got' insurance, its your own damn fault"; I don't even have words to decribe how abhorrent this kind of thinking is, the logic behind it is absolutely moronic.

Our gov't's responsibility is first, foremost and always to us, its citizens by whom's sufferance it governs, to protect us from the things we can't protect ourselves from. Healthy living has its own rewards, and we all should to more to improve our health. But the system that treats us has been allowed, with negligence and arrogance in persuit of dollars, to crumble on our heads. Consumers can't fix that, there's no "voting dollars" at work in the medical community, because its not retail, people really don't have much choice when it comes to medical issues.

Gov't needs to fix this thing, because gov't allowed private business to break it. a little bit of socialism isn't a bad thing, look at 1900's steel workers, ya jackasses.

ImpactWinter 10 years, 9 months ago

Government doesn't need to hold our hands, or burp us; it needs to ensure the business at whose mercy we now live play fair, and live up to their obligations to consumers; Right-y you champion self-determination, and self-sufficiency as virtues, and they are; they have not-a-F-ing thing to do with medicine,

Can you operate on yourself?

Can you march over to your insurance company and tell them they better pay for necessary care or else?

what recourse do you think people actually have if they're abused by the profit-driven business that control healthcare? only the very wealthy or absurdly lucky are going to be able to mount sufficient legal force to budge a company, which is where the gov't comes in. the gov't has rules by which business should play, and if they don't, we'll than the little guy actually has some recourse, because he's got big G on his side, as it should be.

Pure market capitalism is exploitive, corrupting and dangerous to its workers, the only thing that improved the conditions in which men and children were literally maimed, and thrown out on their asses in the streets, in conditions that you and I can't imagine because Gov't got involved and passed laws and rules for what an employer can demand from its employees.

Righty, I think you're a little off-base here, this isn't socialism, or "The far-left, secular-progressive is becoming more helpless every day"; Its ordinary folks demanding the big G, who rules by our sufferance, and exists on our taxes, fix something it should not have allowed to break. how is that anything but the ideal function of the social-contract?

beatrice 10 years, 9 months ago

kam: did you just point out that America is #37 and Cuba is #39 on a list of health care among nations as your argument against this film, like that is a good thing? I can hear the chanting in the street now -- "We're #37! We're #37!" I think you just helped make his case.

rt: yawn! You're broken record is getting very, very tired. Like a parrot squawking "Polly wants a cracker" over and over again, but with you its "Blame the liberals - squawk -- blame the liberals." I suspect even Ann Coulter would think you a bore. Yawn!

ImpactWinter 10 years, 9 months ago

"It's just that the far-left secular-progressive wants the authentic brand of Socialism so they can discontinue endlessly contrasting and comparing their miserable lives to those of happy, functioning Americans."

Woah, man; just woah, are you able to sleep at night with such hate in your heart for half this country?

I pay my taxes, I have health-insurance (it sucks too!) I'm a happy, functioning American, and don't ever think that I compare myself with you and your ilk, and if I do, don't presume you rate favorably.

I love my country, and my neighbors. I want them to succeed, that this country grows strong with our life's work, and I want the government that's supposed to represent Me, and Us to do its goddamn job!

BigDog 10 years, 9 months ago

Part of the problem of health care costs in America is what we expect health insurance to pay for and how we use insurance. Millions of Americans go to the doctor every time they get a little sniffle or cough; then expect insurance to pay for most if not all of it. Many expect the doctor to prescribe something to help them feel better even though most doctors will tell you that you the common cold cannot be cured with prescription drugs. Americans want health insurance to pay for most everything. The more routine doctors visits should be something that we cover much of the cost just as we don't expect car insurance to pay for routing car maintenance.

adriennerm 10 years, 9 months ago

I somewhat agree with KS. There are a lot of people who can afford healthcare and choose not to. I could bring home 850 bi-weekly if I didn't want health insurance. However I have an 11 year old and she requires healthcare. She isn't ill, but just in case. For example, she broke her ankle in May. I don't know what I would have done without insurance. I only bring home 720 bi-weekly and pay for health insurance thru my employer. My rent is $550, I have basic cable, basic telephone service, and I even have internet.

Basically I included healthcare in my budget. I did not rely on the government to give me health insurance so I can blow that extra hundred plus buck on pediacures, salon visits, and dining out. I think more people can afford health insurance and choose not to pay. I am sick and tired of people living off the government.

There are some who can't afford insurance/food/shelter and I don't have a problem paying my taxes so I can help them out. But the rest of you people...........

mom_of_three 10 years, 9 months ago

And there are some Americans who do not have healthcare, and also do not have luxuries such as cell phone, cable or computer. It can get expensive depending on the provider chosen by your employer, assuming you work for someone who offers it. And it shouldn't be that way.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 9 months ago

kam: did you just point out that America is #37 and Cuba is #39 on a list of health care among nations as your argument against this film,

No. I wasn't speaking out against his movie. I haven't seen the film so, like anyone else that hasn't seen it, I can neither speak out against nor in favor of it. I was just wondering if Moore mentioned in his film that Cuba is ranked below the US in health care or if he mentions that Canada is ranked at # 30 on the list.

Does anyone know?

lawrencechick 10 years, 9 months ago

The one thing I can't believe about Michael Moore is that he didn't lose weight before marketing this film. Obesity, and the diseases it creates, are the number one drain on our health care system. Our system does need to be restructured, but at the same time people have to wake up and take responsibility for their health. Premiums should be based on how healthy of a lifestyle you lead. Also, it is possible to get some health insurance for the same price as your cell phone bill!

Sigmund 10 years, 9 months ago

This issue is going to come up a lot in coming months. It is important to accurately describe the problem if we are going to deal with it properly. Mr. Rosa states that "Over 45 million Americans are not covered." which GREATLY overstates the problem.

The Congressional Budget Office, "How Many People Lack Health Insurance and For How Long?", which I believe is the origin of 45 million number, states in its summary that "It is frequently stated that about 40 million Americans lack health insurance. That estimate, however, overstates the number of people who are uninsured all year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that between 21 million and 31 million people were uninsured for the entire year in 1998--the most recent year for which reliable comparative data are available." http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdoc.cfm?index=4210&type=0&sequence=1

OK, lets split the difference, 26 million people in America are uninsured, but not all "people" in the United States are "Americans." With an illegal immigrant population (certainly people, mostly "Mexican", but not "Americans") estimate to be 12-20 million that number shrinks dramatically again. Splitting the difference at 16 million and using the CBO number of 26 million that leaves 10 million Americans without insurance.

Assuming a relatively constant rate of uninsured Americans and the most recent estimates of 300 million Americans, 10 million Americans represents 3-4% of Americans were without insurance for an entire year. According to the CBO the people who are uninsured is not static. Many, like myself for instance, have had periods where I was covered and not covered.

For example, right after college when I left my parents coverage I had jobs that offered no coverage, or because of my relative youth, good health, and modest means, I choose not to purchase coverage. Today, having a better job and being older I choose to purchase coverage. Similar to car insurance, when I drove a pup I did not buy comprehensive coverage (premiums were too high given the low value of the car), but now driving a more expensive vehicle and given the risk of loss, I buy comprehensive. Some of that 3-4% actually choose not to buy health coverage and use their income, rightly or wrongly, for other purposes.

Are there some Americans who don't have health insurance and don't have the means to purchase it? Yes, of course. Is it 45 million Americans? Not by a long shot, at least that number cannot be supported by the data.

The question Americans are going to be asked by the chicken in every pot politicians is, "Do we want to completely revamp the current health care system in America and switch to Government run socialized medicine?" I hope that decision is not based on exaggerated and misleading emotional appeals by Michael Moore and LTE's like this one.

Mkh 10 years, 9 months ago

We need to get the Insurance companies completely OUT of the Health Care industry. Health Care should Not be regulated as money making business. There is no excuse for the US Government to leave millions of it's citizens without affordable Health Care. No Excuse.

manyblessings 10 years, 9 months ago

A government monopoly on health care would mean less control over our health than ever before. Look at any government run health facility and compare it to a private one. This goes for nursing homes and mental homes as well as hospitals. I sure would hate for government run facillities to be the only option.

beatrice 10 years, 9 months ago

lawrencechick: "The one thing I can't believe about Michael Moore is that he didn't lose weight before marketing this film."

He did! He lost more than 30 lbs after making this film and claims to be living a much healthier life style, which was prompted by what he learned. Here is an article from the Chicago Tribune about it: http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/features_julieshealthclub/2007/06/michael-moores-.html

Confrontation 10 years, 9 months ago

"Many of the uninsured can afford health insurance; they just opt to spend their money on other material things." That's the most idiotic comment of the day. In order to get the free health insurance in Kansas, you have to make very little money. Those who are just above the mark do not get any assistance. Not everyone is wasting their money on other things.

nettieb 10 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't anyone ever want to admit that people live the lives the CHOOSE to lead? Not having insurance and/or access to healthcare is often a choice because we choose to move ourselves away from the option of access. Of course, not always, but most of the time, adults who do not have healthcare choose the trajectory of their lives.

And you don't have to make very little money in Kansas to get the free or reduced rate insurance. You just aren't talking to the right people.

packrat 10 years, 9 months ago

I see government health insurance as another way for the government to create an even greater dependence on them.

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 9 months ago

Sigmund, you are running off of 10 year old data. Costs have skyrocketed since '98 and in large part due to advertising costs for drug. Half the commercials you see on television are about a drug and they need to pull the plug on those ads. We are all paying dearly for it! My premiums have doubled since 2001 while co-pays and deductibles have gone up also. Healt care should not be for-profit!

I've had negative income growth since W took office just from the increase in insurance premiums alone. My merit increases haven't made up for the increase in the premium not to mention the other health care costs that I have to pay for, the increases in the costs of gasoline - which adds transportation costs to everything you buy - happening at the same time the oil companies report records profits for nearly 20 quarters in a row (look for another report of record profits again here in a few days) and now they are getting corprate welfare thanks to W and Co.

Thinking that health care costs have increased because of lawsuits and everyone going to the doctor over every little thing is delusional. Regurgitated talking point is all that BS is.

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

I am the author of this letter. I want to say a couple things: First of all, I neglected to clarify (in order to meet word count constraints) that the 30% figure is only based upon my paycheck deductions. I did not factor property taxes, sales taxes, and other applicable taxes which I pay on a daily basis, only my income tax was listed. Additionally, I have the lowest base-cost insurancce I could get, though it is decent coverage. I make $12,000 a year working full time. Yes, full time. I have to work at a place where I can have strange availablility so I can go to school full time as well. So far, I haven't found a higher paying job that I can work with my school availability.

Yes, I am 21 years old. Spare me the "you're too young to know anything and don't live in the real world you spoiled brat." I'm not asking for a handout.

I am interested to know where so many of you have discovered that every single person in America without insurance is on drugs and an irresponsible wreck.

Additionally, how many people have seen, up close, the insurance coverage provided in other nations?

Finally, how is a bloated, enormous corporation any better than the bloated, enormous government? Well, let's see. If I have no money, I can still vote. If I have no money, I can't make an impact in a corporation's ability to do anything.

I'm amazed at how selfish Americans have become. It's pretty sad that we regard that many people (what is that, something like 1 in every 6 Americans?) as slobs who are terrible. Insurance is very, very costly. I can't afford to get sick WITH it, imagine if I got sick without it though. One 5-hour hospital visit would end up in me not being able to afford college.

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

I want to remark on two more things here real fast. "Part of the problem of health care costs in America is what we expect health insurance to pay for and how we use insurance. Millions of Americans go to the doctor every time they get a little sniffle or cough; then expect insurance to pay for most if not all of it. Many expect the doctor to prescribe something to help them feel better even though most doctors will tell you that you the common cold cannot be cured with prescription drugs. Americans want health insurance to pay for most everything."

Prove it. That's an unfounded statement. I've visited the doctor an average of three times per year. Since July of last year, I saw my physician twice and was hospitalized one time. I had a viral infection which lingered after the hospital visit which prompted the first visit. I waited over a week because I'd have to pay the copay and the prescription cost out of pocket, and even though I have a reasonable $30 co-pay and average prescription coverage, coming up with around $45-50 isn't easy after you pay bills and such. I needed an antibiotic because I had bronchitis that would not go away, and was probably worsened since I waited.

I also have asthma (I know, probably my own fault for breathing or something). I had to visit my doctor to have that checked.

I know, my extravagent wealthy lifestyle is a severe drain to your medical coverage.

Regardless. I love how people say "well that will just make you more dependent on the government." The difference is, like I said... Everyone citizen can vote. Not every citizen can spend money. And it isn't because of luxury items, I just wish some of you understood how much money is wasted... Wasted medical spending means PROFITS for companies, revenue spent on lobbying and kickbacks... There's a lot of waste right in front of you, but since you'd rather only "vote with your dollar," I guess those of us without enough dollars don't get a voice.

KS 10 years, 9 months ago

llama726 - Look at the 12:04 posting. Do you see yourself on that list anywhere? My bet is "no".

Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

"Pure market capitalism is exploitive, corrupting and dangerous to its workers...."

I am uncertain what "pure market capitalism" is or where it has ever existed. It appears to be referenced solely to be a 'straw man.'

"...the only thing that improved the conditions in which men and children were literally maimed, and thrown out on their asses in the streets, in conditions that you and I can't imagine because Gov't got involved and passed laws and rules for what an employer can demand from its employees."

I am uncertain what an employer can demand from its employees that those employees do not willingly provide, unless the circumstances referenced is "slavery." Obviously those "conditions" were judged superior to any other alternative by the employees or, by definition, they would not choose them but rather choose some alternative. The alternative of 'cruel, exploitive slave masters' on one hand and some fantasy 'Eden' on the other is non-existent.

Perhaps you intended to say that employers got government to alter the free market system to limit the choices available to workers (to the employers' benefit) and the workers in response did the same (to the workers' benefit)? And that the result is a government-forced balance of interests roughly similar to the balance that would exist if government, on principle, refused to get involved in the first instance?

drewdun 10 years, 9 months ago

"right-thinker says....

I am the majority."



erod0723 10 years, 9 months ago

The best way to shore up money to pay for universal health care would be to offer incentives to 65+ aged people to voluntarily transition to death. Upwards of 70% of all health care costs go towards supporting people at the last 6 months of their lives. By offering tax exemptions and maybe special vacations to people, we could pay for universal health care for all.

blackwalnut 10 years, 9 months ago

right_thinker daughter:

Please tell your dad we don't take him all that seriously, and not to worry.

We have a country in distress, and he and his fellow 26% are welcome to their opinions. They are too small a minority to hurt America anymore.

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

Right Thinker, I really genuinely am happy for you having been able to provide for yourself and your family. I sincerely hope you never have to understand what it is like to try your absolute hardest and still be regarded as a lazy bum asking for a handout, when all you want is a legitimate chance.

Sigmund 10 years, 9 months ago

Azure, I was using 10 year old data because that was the latest Government data. One of the conclusions of this study is that the percentage of uninsured has stayed relatively stable over time. There is no reason to believe that the percentages have changed in the last decade, especially with unemployment being relatively stable and incomes generally rising. From the CBO report:

"But recent trends in the CPS estimates--which are similar to the point-in-time estimates from SIPP, MEPS, and NHIS--suggest that the number of people who were uninsured all year probably remained relatively stable from 1999 to 2000 and then increased somewhat in 2001 (after September 11th). That conclusion is based on the fact that the full-year and point-in-time estimates of the uninsured are likely to move in a similar manner over time. More recently, the number who are uninsured all year probably has not changed substantially, given historical trends." http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdoc.cfm?index=4210&type=0&sequence=2#pt2

I haven't seen Moore's film nor did the writer cite the source of his data. The "45 million Americans" number seems to be based on the CBO study I cited, but "adjusted" for an assumed increase over time. In any event Azure, feel free to provide the source of more current data, if not the CBO.

As to the "cost" of providing health care there is no basis to believe costs decline in socialized Government run Health Care. The "price" of Health Care may decline to zero for some people but the remaining "costs" have to be covered by others paying a higher price than they are now. If America thinks there "45 million uninsured Americans" they may be more likely to scrap the current system and go with Government provided Health Care. If in fact the number is much much lower they may be much less likely.

Here is an idea, how about Mexico kick in their fair share for its citizens in the US? And why is no one a tad uncomfortable taking Health Care advise from a guy with triple chin and was fired from a union job??

blackwalnut 10 years, 9 months ago

right_thinker (Anonymous) says: Stain, to go back that far and do all that work is almost creepy:.

RT, go to The Google and enter right_thinker and smoking.

Creepy, isn't it.

30 seconds.

(I remembered your comment, just had to find the thread.)

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

"I haven't seen Moore's film nor did the writer cite the source of his data. The "45 million Americans" number seems to be based on the CBO study I cited, but "adjusted" for an assumed increase over time. In any event Azure, feel free to provide the source of more current data, if not the CBO."


werekoala 10 years, 9 months ago

right thinker, and all the other right-wingers against universal health care prefer lies to facts.

FACT: Today, as I type this, they are already paying for health care for those chronically unable or unwilling to support themselves.

They pay for this inefficient version of socialized health care through taxes, government subsidies to hospitals, and the increased costs of their own health care that the hospitals charge to make up for the massive and increasing write-off debts they incur by providing emergency care to the indigent.

The bugbear of "I don't want to pay for these lazy so-and-sos!" is completely bogus. Everyone on this forum who pays taxes already is paying for that. If a poster is trying to pretend that's not already the case, they are either lying, or they are too uneducated on the subject to be taken seriously.

purplesage 10 years, 9 months ago

Health care in America is broken and desperately needs to be fixed. With Hillary running at the head of the pack, it is imperative that something be done before she gets another crack at the socialistic system she tried to force upon the unwilling public.

As a professor of mine used to say, "In my humble but accurate opinion," here are some of the things wrong:

Adjudicated settlements in money grab situations. Malpractice should be accountable. But no amount of $ can make up for some medical mistakes. I have physician friends who have been named in suits when they were not even in the same city as the situation prompting the legal action. Their crime: they saw the individual as a patient.

Too much money: Everyone in the system makes obscene amounts of money except for the folks at the bottom of the pole. When a family practice physician has to generate $200K to $300K in revenue to just stay in practice, something is wrong. The pharmacist makes $100K to count your pills. The therapists and even nurses command handsome wages.

Double standard billing: Years ago, that unavoidable question, "Do you have insurance?" seemed to guarantee a higher bill. Even then, rates were so high that the average person couldn't pay them - so I always figured the insured paid their bill and one or two others as well. Enter managed care: I have bills that are routinely adjusted by 40% to 60% because of the "contract". Everyone should pay the same, and that fee should be far more reasonable than the prices I see when I get a bill for anything medical.

The only place you can get something as outrageously priced as food at the ballgame, race track, etc. is the hospital. Anyone had a $5 Tylenol recently? Where is the outrage?

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

Additionally, if you wish to see the original source from which I pulled the "45 million" it was actually this: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/007419.html

Census Data IS government data. I don't just pull these numbers out of thin air.

15.9% of Americans live without ANY kind of Medical Insurance. That's not so bad, until you realize that it's nearly approaching 1 in every 6 American people. Do 1 in every 6 American people make bad decisions in life? Do they buy too many iPods?

To quote the 12:04 post: KS says:

"Insurance is attainable for many citizens, they need to choose between what they need and what they want."

I beg to differ. Assuming you get paid $6.00/hour, 40 hours per week, 4.5 weeks in a month (gross $1,080 per month), have a job like mine which offers benefit packages for medical which start at roughly 30% of your full check every 2 weeks deducted, and have rent or a house payment at $300, utilities at $150, gasoline to get to work at $40, groceries at $75, random monthly expenses (car breaks down... have to purchase books... lights burn out... bathroom needs some kind of maintenance... property tax due... vehicle registration due... house needs re-wired... You decide to go to college and have to buy $700 of books... etc., you know what I'm getting at) coming in at around $100 every month.... I'm being overly generous about the expenses- a single-bedroom apartment costs more than $300 / month, gasoline at this point usually costs more than $40 / month, groceries are increasing in price... There is $665 right out of your gross pay. Now let's pretend you pay 30% of your income to monthly insurance premiums and to income tax alone. That's $324 you don't practically see. Guess what you have left? $91.

Oh crap, I just got sick really bad, WITH insurance, and have to go to the hospital.

No up front cost because I have insurance? Cool.

Wait, I have to meet a $750 deductible, or pay at least 10% of my hospital bill which is over $7,000 for one night, but I have only $91 in my account...

This is what I mean. Even with insurance, I still can't get sick, it still doesn't cover enough costs for a lower-income person. It makes it financially less suicidal to get sick, but doesn't really leave you in a good spot.

"Go get a better job."

Pay for my school and I'll get a 15-25 hour a week job. Until then, I can't afford to work fewer than 40 hours and I need a job that can be flexible to my availability needs.

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

"Cell phone = luxury" Not if it's your only phone at all. "TV/cable = luxury" Agreed, to an extent. "Stereo/I-Pod = luxury" Agreed. I own one because it was a gift. "Bass boat = luxury" Applicable to about 5% of people, I mean honestly... "cigarettes = luxury" Yep. I don't smoke. "computer/internet = luxury" For you, maybe. If I want to have a good shot at doing well in college, I need these tools at my disposal, especially since I can't spend as much time on campus as my fellow students to use it for free. "lottery tickets = luxury" Cool... Again, I don't play the lottery, though maybe I should, because the winnings would help me with my expenses... "alcohol = luxury" REALLY? I THOUGHT IT WAS A REQUIREMENT "crack/meth = luxury" Not for me it's not, I need all the crack and meth I can get my hands on. Now where is that guy with the question marks all over his green suit to tell me how to get the free money to pay my bills?

"Most people are taking a personal risk by purchasing material goods or feeding addictions over health insurance. It is their decision, we should not subsidize them. You evolutionists should be embracing private health care." Read above, and you'll see how a person who can't find a better-than-minimum wage job cannot really get by on that. Your insinuation is that a majority of Americans feed their addictions rather than pay for health insurance. For many, its not even realistic to get service, and if you can, the cost is too high to actually keep it, while the benefits too low to use it. Additionally, of that 15.9% cross section of Americans who are uninsured, I would wager that about 15-20% maximum of THOSE have any actual substance abuse problem in all honesty.

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

The biggest arguments against these types of systems come from people who still argue that "welfare queens" are so predominant.

"Over a period of about five years, Reagan told the story of the "Chicago welfare queen" .... bilking the government out of "over $150,000." The real welfare recipient to whom Reagan referred was actually convicted for using two different aliases to collect $8,000. Reagan continued to use his version of the story even after the press pointed out the actual facts of the case to him." --http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0309.mendacity-index#reagan

Regardless, facts are not seemingly that important to most people. You'd rather just write it off as an awful waste of our dollars. But let's take a look: $440 billion to fight a war... No problem. That's not wasteful. I have pride in my country, and I think it's sad that we no longer care about our fellow citizens. Remember the camaraderie we all felt after the September 11 attacks? The sense of nationalism and pride? Instead of shaping that to be the country that you could really be proud of, the one that can participate in a global economy thanks to a strong foundation of education and health care, we are the one that blows up $440 billion on a senseless war, causing more turmoil in the Middle East, and tells our own citizens, victims of rising costs and fixed incomes that we don't care about them, they are less-than-human in our eyes... They must be wasting their money on Crystal Meth and addictions... Meanwhile, the insurance companies and health care services we pay for all report drastic increases in PROFIT, and spending in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS for lobbying politicians to favor them.

You don't want to pay to support a crack addict. I don't want to pay a lobbyist who is trying to keep things profitable. I don't want to buy a CEO's new car, or his wife a new piece of Jewelry that costs more than my car. I don't want to pay for a company's stock price to go up thanks to their innovative cost cutting solution of simply denying care or coverage. Moreover, I don't want to participate in a system which is controlled only by how much money you make, because that puts a very large portion of the population at significant disadvantage. "All Men are Created Equal*"

*-- Except where poor or minority.

llama726 10 years, 9 months ago

These aren't crack addicts wandering around waiting to rob you, people. They're your neighbors, co-workers... people you see every day. They're the 20somethings at the restaurant working their second job, and the 85 year old guy you see at Wal-Mart cleaning up a spill because he can't afford his medicine even with private medical coverage, and has to continue to work.

It says a lot, how a nation treats its people. We spend how much more on arming our country than we do on education for our children? That's a sad number.

Seriously... Just please, read up. Maybe a full on universal system isn't the most efficient. The free-market model sure as hell isn't efficient, either. You get the same problems in big corporations that you do in big government, the only difference is now they also want a larger amount of your money.

Sorry for the massive amount of text. I didn't mean to type so much, I promise.

werekoala 10 years, 9 months ago

Jut so y'all know, Universal Health Care breeds terrorism.

Seriously, a guest on Fox News' Your World w/Neil Cavuto said just that yesterday:

" A state run health care enterprise is bureaucratic, and I think the terrorists have shown over and over again, whether it's dealing with INS or whether it's dealing with airport security, they're very good at gaming the system with bureaucracies. They're very good at getting around bureaucracies. [:]

And if one of your guys is a jihadist, if one of your doctors is spending all the time online reading Osama bin Laden fatwas, someone's going to notice that. But the National Health Serfvice is more like the post office, you know there's a lot of anonymity, it's easy to hide in the bureaucracy."

Because Lord knows HMOs are just models of efficient, non-bureaucratic organization.

It's almost pathetic, how low they have to descend to keep the 28%-ers terrified. "Universal health care means Osama bin Ladin for your doctor!!!"


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