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Archive for Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Corporate care

May 30, 2007

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To the editor:

Why do some people favor corporate health care in the United States so adamantly when our government could run it more efficiently and at less expense?

This "sacred cow" in our society may have something to do with the myth and hope that anyone can strike it rich. We esteem the wealthy while ignoring the overall results and the suffering in our present health care system. The continued reverence for private enterprise in our health insurance delivery, coupled with our fear of "big government," has left us with a cumbersome, fractured system in which 47 million Americans (one in six) are without affordable health care! That's possibly 16,000 people in Douglas County!

Evidence is available that government-operated financing of health care programs in other developed countries results in better health on average and a longer life span than in the United States. Programs and health statistics vary from country to country, but overall achievement is ahead of the United States.

We are supporting inefficient private health insurance to provide wealth to corporate managers, despite substantial evidence that a government program, such as Medicare, can provide better health care for all our citizens for less money. Almost one-third of our total health care expenditures in the United States go to administrative costs - not medical care!

Are health insurance and pharmaceutical executives really entitled to the millions they receive?

Mark Larson,

Lawrence

Comments

Linda Endicott 6 years, 10 months ago

Nurses don't get paid too much?

I have a friend who's a nurse, and she makes $35 an hour. I wish my pay scale was anywhere near that.

And look at the ads in the paper for places looking for nurses. This price isn't anything unusual. Some pay even more for nurses.

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blackwalnut 6 years, 10 months ago

ModerateOne:

I was primarily talking about insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals that are profit-making corporations. Health care costs too much in America. It doesn't cost this much in other first-world countries. There's too much profit involved, and too many middlemen. Insurance companies don't need to exist. Pharmaceutical companies that fund research with NSF grants don't need to use the excuse of covering research costs (that they didn't absorb) in order to charge exorbitant prices.

Doctors make too much. They should make a very good living but they don't need to be rock stars; they aren't in other first-world countries. They complain about insurance premiums but, again, that needs to be eliminated.

Nurses don't get paid too much.

Too many Americans are enslaved by the health care system. They can't afford other things they want, and they can't work where they want. Too many fledgling businesses are burdened also. It all needs to change. There is no excuse. We're the richest country in the world, and we ought to be able to compete with other industrialized nations on this front.

The huge lobbies from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries will prevent change from ever happening.

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Newell_Post 6 years, 11 months ago

We need to find a system that combines the BEST of private and public systems, not the worst.

Quality is generally higher and availability better in our system for those who have insurance: http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/reprint/20/3/233.pdf

Medicare overhead costs are maybe not quite as low as sometimes claimed, but still better than private companies: http://healthcare-economist.com/2006/07/27/medicares-true-administrative-costs/

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Eride 6 years, 11 months ago

When has government EVER ran ANYTHING on a large scale efficiently? If the government can't run Medicare and Medicaid well what makes the OP think it could provide health care to every single citizen in an efficient and waste less manner?

Large organizations by definition produce copious amounts of waste. Bureaucracy at its finest!

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ModerateOne 6 years, 11 months ago

blackwalnut (Anonymous) says:

"We need a health care system that cuts out profit"

Hmm. A healthcare system that prohibits doctors and nurses from being wealthy. Who do you suppose will want to be a doctor or nurse?

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blackwalnut 6 years, 11 months ago

We need a health care system that cuts out profit and cuts out the many middlemen like insurance companies.

Health care is a right for every human being, just as work is a responsibility for every human being. Nobody who works should be without health care.

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Jamesaust 6 years, 11 months ago

One off-line reader points me to this interesting case this year from some poor kid who died this year as a result of his teeth literally rotting in his mouth: http://www.slate.com/id/2167190?nav=tap3

What cruel "corporate managers" allowed this kid to die without the consideration most would show a dog? None, of course. Just the government "health care" system - Medicaid.

Q: Why does this letter's author hate the poor so much that he wants them to suffer even worse neglect than war veterans?

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Curtiss 6 years, 11 months ago

One of the many previous commenters who just love corporate medicine actually made the statement: "When has OUR government ever run anything efficiently and at less expense than a "private" organization? I can't recall one instance."

Well, I'd say the government ran California electricity distribution much better than Enron did.

It'd be great to have a few corporations like Enron installed in the healthcare system, to be middle men and run the cost up by a factor of ten while contributing nothing, wouldn't it?

America does not have the best health care system in the world. We're more like #54. But we pay the most, by far.

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Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 6 years, 11 months ago

Want to see an example of government run health care? Visit any veteran's hospital.

Not a pretty sight.

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toefungus 6 years, 11 months ago

As I have said before, health care in this country is like segregation in the 1950's. If you have a card, you get to use the front door. If you don't, move on down the walk. A lot of people started the 50's thinking everything was fine and ending the 50's realizing that nothing was fine. Heath care, not just insurance, is a national disgrace. If you have health care it is like being full of food. You just can't recall that hungry feeling. Single pay, nationalization, or privately ran, a universal right to medical care, regardless of wealth, is a moral right. Yes, if you are poor you can get "free" indigent care. But recalling the 50's, you will be told to go to the back of the bus. There is a national groundswell to correct this shame, and any politician that suggests otherwise will be working from home after the election.

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ctrmhero 6 years, 11 months ago

If you know anyone on Medicare they get the same medical treatment for most things that those with medical insurance. My mother and father in laws were retired state employees. They went on disability before they turned 65 and got medicare and their bill started getting paid on time instead of 3 months late with blue cross. They had no change in who there doctors were or the treatment they received.

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Linda Endicott 6 years, 11 months ago

I think you've got it wrong, R_C...

Make the people in Congress have the same health care coverage (or lack thereof) that the poorest in this country have. Let them have to pay for those expensive medical procedures and medicines at the rate of $80 a month or so, with no hope of ever being able to totally pay it off...

Things would start to change in a big hurry...

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Oracle_of_Rhode 6 years, 11 months ago

I can't wait for all the right wing corporate boot lickers posting here to have their claims denied by their HMOs. Have another Marlboro, my right wing friend. Guzzle your Bud. Have another Big Mac!

Our profit-driven health care system sucks, and that's why they live longer in every other industrialized nation where they have single-payer government run health care!

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Jamesaust 6 years, 11 months ago

"despite substantial evidence that a government program, such as Medicare, can provide better health care for all our citizens for less money."

This letter's author has a hole in his head. No sane person would claim that Medicare's provision of health care is "better health care" - at least without a Clintonian redefinition of "better."

I guess this hidden evidence of such programs providing better care "on average" (!!!) explains why THOSE systems find themselves reinstituting market mechanisms to resolve hopelessly unresponsive bureaucratic nightmares.

Please. There are good arguments for government-iniatiated reforms of health care. This letter's pie-in-the-sky arguments aren't those and persuade no one.

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staff04 6 years, 11 months ago

"Or, how about letting all of us have the same health and retirement benefits offered to Congress?"

Oh, you mean the Federal Employee Health Benefit? The one that is extended to every federal employee (Members of Congress included)? Do some research--they don't get anything above what every Federal employee in the nation gets (which isn't any different from the way most plans work). They pay for about half and the employer pays for the rest, not unlike most private healthcare benefit plans. Just like every other private benefit, they also have an option to purchase, with no subsidy from their employer, additional coverage. Just like every other healthcare plan, they must select from a range of deductibles and copays.

So, yes, let's do provide everyone in the country with the same healthcare benefits.

As for their retirement benefits, I would advise you take a look at snopes.com for some explaination to that one. If that doesn't do it for you, call your Member of Congress and ask them for a copy of the COngressional Research Service's piece on the subject.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/pensions.asp

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commuter 6 years, 11 months ago

Sorri it should have read-

Way to go comrade merrill. You missed your opportunity. Communism is dead with a few exceptions. have fun moving Bye bye bye bye

I was afraid of the Russian Hammer and Sickle was l;ooking for me since I am a capitalist.

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OnlyTheOne 6 years, 11 months ago

"Why do some people favor corporate health care in the United States so adamantly when our government could run it more efficiently and at less expense?"

When has OUR government ever run anything efficiently and at less expense than a "private" organization? I can't recall one instance.

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commuter 6 years, 11 months ago

way to go comrade merrill. You missed your pooortunity. Communism is dead with a few exceptions. have fun moving Bye bye bye bye

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Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

"Or, how about letting all of us have the same health and retirement benefits offered to Congress?" aka socialized medicine cuz taxpayers are footing the bill as we are for all government employees. Yep I agree let's join the crowd.

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Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

The top healthcare CEO salaries range from $50,000,000 to $7,000,000 plus benefits. Until Bush came along Medicare was long considered one of our best and efficient government programs.

Contrary to popular belief another one was social security.

When not so bright economic giant Bush speaks to privatizing social security and medical savings accounts his thoughts are more about increasing the wealth of banks and maybe Wall Street.

Mark Larson is correct in his message. Socialized medicine is about people not some commie scheme. Keeping people healthy cost less money to maintain and one large system provides more leverage in reducing the cost of medicines.

Also would provide a better window to catch corruption within the industry as the Sen Bill Frist family walked away with billions after a rosy deal from the Bush admin. Healthcare dollar thieves cost consumers plenty.

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Reality_Check 6 years, 11 months ago

Mark's pretty much a socialist, as I recall, so his letter isn't surprising.

The answer is a balance between govt. and private healthcare. Something like Medicare for everyone...it's actually pretty efficient (less than 3% overhead), not that it doesn't need more enforcement. Find out what the average person spends on health insurance for their family, make that percentage the new Medicare tax amount. Deduct it from their wages just like now. Then roll it out for kids under 18, then over 50, then everyone.

Or, how about letting all of us have the same health and retirement benefits offered to Congress?

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KsTwister 6 years, 11 months ago

Well, I for one sure as H!#@$LL would not trust corrupt corporate America for anything. Who do you think drove these inflated medicines prices to this point?

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JrMints 6 years, 11 months ago

The first sentence shows that this writer is clueless. Who could possibly believe that "the goverment" can run anything more efficiently and less expensive? If he is worried about administrative costs now, just wait until our federal bureaucracy starts to "manage" it.

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temperance 6 years, 11 months ago

Good letter. I'd like to point the author (or whoever else is reading) to this book by former KU prof Jill Quagdano called: One Nation, Uninsured -- it helps explains why we, as a country, have avoided universal health insurance despite its health & economic benefits. Yes --- economic benefits. The current system benefits only a few at the expense of the whole.

http://www.amazon.com/One-Nation-Uninsured-National-Insurance/dp/0195312031/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-9068548-3633558?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180523590&sr=8-1

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