Advertisement

Business

Business

Health insurance premiums soar in recent years

May 4, 2008

Advertisement

If gas and milk price hikes seem steep, check out health insurance premiums. They have increased 10 times faster than incomes in recent years, a study shows.

Workers with job-based coverage for their families saw earnings rise 3 percent between 2001 and 2005, while their health insurance premium contribution increased 30 percent, according to the study by researchers at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.

The average cost of family coverage during the period increased by nearly $2,500 - that's to $10,728, up from $8,281.

"Providing insurance coverage takes a bigger bite from the family budget every year," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which helped finance the research.

Mohit Ghose, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group representing the insurance companies, said the study shows the need for controls on the rising costs of drugs, devices and hospital care.

He also said it showed the need for regulators and lawmakers to give insurers the flexibility to offer plans with fewer mandated benefits. That would allow insurers to offer more affordable premiums to employers.

"The aim is keeping them in," Ghose said. "The worst-case scenario would be that employers would drop coverage altogether."

The study found that was already a big problem. Between 2001 and 2005, more than 30,000 of the 3.6 million private-sector employers offering health insurance as a benefit to workers dropped it.

As a result, the number of people in private-sector jobs that offered health insurance benefits declined by more than 4 million, and the number of people with private insurance declined by 2.4 million, or 6 percent, the study found.

The study is one of several examining problems with and the erosion of private health insurance. On Monday, another study warned that the worsening economy would put pressure on government health coverage programs.

Each percentage-point rise in the nation's jobless rate could add 1.1 million people to the ranks of the uninsured, according to the study by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That study also found that 7 percent of Americans said they or someone in their household decided to marry in the last year so they could obtain health care benefits via their spouse.

The University of Minnesota study found that the proportion of insurance premiums workers paid for job-based family coverage between 2001 and 2005 held steady at 24 percent with employers picking up the balance.

Comments

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

bozo:"Then why do single-payer plans throughout the world cost less than the US system?"----------------------------------Well first of all, I have no idea what you are comparing, since the term "single-payer" is fairly broad. But let's take a look at the US's version of a single-payer program...are you arguing that Medicare has been an effective way to keep down costs for seniors?

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

Well of course it's not going to be fully "socialized" bozo...that is not the point, but I'll explain it anyhow.We have corporate socialism in this country as in most of the developed world, it is a blend of socialism and fascism. There is an increase in government control but not without the inclusion of powerful corporate special interests.But here is the point, more government control in medicine causes the price of medicine to rise. The farther we get from the free market approach, the more the taxpayer will pay to the government and the medical corporations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"clownie, look up what logical fallacies are, and specifically look at the "burden of proof" fallacy."I bet you throw that out every time you lack a decent basis for your argument.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"are you arguing that Medicare has been an effective way to keep down costs for seniors?"Actually, it's fairly well-established that Medicare and Medicaid have significantly lower administrative costs than private insurance does.And I don't disagree that corruption is a potential problem in any large bureaucracy, private and/or governmental. But many countries have been very successful at eliminating most corruption from their governments, so it is possible. All it takes is the will to do so, and a little bit of due diligence on everyone's part. Will that be easy? No, but probably no harder than cynically throwing up our collective hands and accepting corruption and needless inefficiencies as inevitable.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 years, 7 months ago

In 1971 I gave birth to a baby girl. The doctor bill was $200 dollars and the hospital bill was $200. I earned about 1.50/hour and my ex earned about $2.00/hour both without insurance. We had the doctor paid before she was born, and the hospital paid within a year. I'm no math whiz, so I'm not sure what the differences are adjusting for inflation (and that as a professional, I earn more money now), but I know medical bills are a much bigger percentage of a person's income now, than they were. This has made us dependent on health insurance companies who keep raising their prices, not unlike the oil companies. We need to start looking into why hospitals and drug companies have to spend so much in advertising. if you don't think that expense isn't passed on to you, I've got a nice bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

workinghard 6 years, 7 months ago

I went to the doctor the other day for a simple office visit, no tests and I was charges $110, for an office visit. I can't afford him anymore. Other than calling all the doctor's offices, is there any way to find out what the other offices are charging?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"When pressed to come up with any evidence to the contrary, bozo has come up with a paltry few studies that actually suggest the quality of care in countries like Canada is worse. "Oh, come on, notajayhawk. You have done nothing but argue on the basis of ideology, with no data to back up your assertions. But this much is crystal clear, Canada has healthcare that is at worst on par with that of the US, it does it for less money-- much less money, and it's available to a much larger percentage of its population.mkh--"But here is the point, more government control in medicine causes the price of medicine to rise. "Then why do single-payer plans throughout the world cost less than the US system?

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

If you think things are bad now...just wait. Socialized medicine is coming, that combined with the dollar collapse and hyper-inflation will send health care costs into the stratosphere.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "The cry of "socialized medicine" is BS. Britain has socialized medicine, and while it quite arguably does better for less money than the US mess..."You're the only one who would keep arguing that crp, clown. Britiain's healthcare system is a mess, everyone knows it.I have had this 'discussion' with bozo on occasion before. The fact remains that there is no objective measure demonstrating that people who are paying less for these national health systems are receiving care that's as good as people here get. When pressed to come up with any evidence to the contrary, bozo has come up with a paltry few studies that actually suggest the quality of care in countries like Canada is worse. The only legitimate claim that can be made is that everyone is covered, but what good does that do if it kills you? Kinda' defeats the purpose.The reason healthcare in this country is so unaffordable to many is because of the cost*, not because of who pays for it. Nationalized health insurance would do nothing to help this, it would make it worse. Physicians tell you it's a good idea, but then, they stand to gain the mostThere has never been a single country like ours that has switched from a private-insurer system to a nationalized one, so there's no reason to expect that it would result in similar savings. Actually, government guarantees of payment drive prices up, not down; Medicare and Medicaid typically pay more for the same procedures than private insurance companies do. Nationalizing our healthcare, adding another trillion dollars or so to the federal budget and creating a bureaucracy of unimaginable proportions, would be a disaster the likes of which this country has never seen. People like bozo are pushing it because of it's socialist aspects, and for no other reason that they can prove.

akt2 6 years, 7 months ago

Why should an MRI cost $12,000? Why should a surgery to fix a broken bone cost $30,000? These hospitals should be mandated to list some basic costs. A patient/consumer could shop around and decide where they want to have medical care. The so called non-profit hospitals make most of their millions from out-patient procedures and ancillary offices. Not from the in-patient Medicare patients and the Medicaid or self-pay ER patients. Start demanding itemized billing for all of your medical care. They dread that request. The numbers tell the story, and it is absolutely shocking.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

jayrock (Anonymous) says: "notajayhawk, Medicare and especially Medicaid pay far less then private insurance companies."Having had family members covered by both, I can tell you that you're flat out wrong. A prime example is prescription coverage - the federal government doesn't even negotiate prices on those. I can only suggest you educate yourself rather than accusing those whose information clashes with your ideology of lying. My statements were based on personal experience. Yours was based on - what, again?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Oh, come on, notajayhawk. You have done nothing but argue on the basis of ideology, with no data to back up your assertions. But this much is crystal clear, Canada has healthcare that is at worst on par with that of the US, it does it for less money- much less money, and it's available to a much larger percentage of its population."clownie, look up what logical fallacies are, and specifically look at the "burden of proof" fallacy. It's you that claims their healthcare is as good or better, and you can not back that up. As usually you are lying out of your a to support your socialist agenda. I'll start asking now (if previous experience is any indicator I'll ask about 30 times with bozo still unable to deliver), what is your evidence that Canadian healthcare is "on a par" with our own? Why is there an entire industry to arrange American healthcare for Canadian citizens? Why do so many Canadians carry private health insurance, and want it to be allowed to cover those procedures they can only get with the state-paid system?"Then why do single-payer plans throughout the world cost less than the US system?"Ah, now we're going to the "confusing cause and effect" logical fallacy. The reason they cost less is because they cost less, not because of who's paying for it. Physicians get paid half or less than their American counterparts. In Japan, for instance, a physician is limited to charging the equivalent of about $4 for treating a wound of 6 square inches or less. Now, clown-boy, please tell us all how a nationalized insurance plan will get American physicians to accept payment levels like those.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

It's long past time to make the healthcare system about healthcare, not a cash cow for funding insurance companies' Wall Street investments.

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 7 months ago

With alcohol and drug abuse rampant, obesity rising, tobacco use steady, and a glut of illegal aliens taxing our hospital emergency rooms, it's not surprise that health care costs continue to rise. What we don't need at a time like this is the bloated, bureaucratic and wasteful federal government stepping in and screwing up things further.

jayrock 6 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk, Medicare and especially Medicaid pay far less then private insurance companies. In fact many MDs are limiting their exposure to patients under these plans. Also we already have a rather "socialized" healthcare system as all insurance company payouts to MDs are based off what Medicare and Medicaid payout. You are starting to sound like Rush just saying things to support your cause regardless if they are true or not.

Buggie7 6 years, 7 months ago

I think what upsets me more is that some of the things that should not be covered are then when you have to have emergency surgery or something of importance most of the insurance companies with question the doctor about medical neccesity. Unless its extreme intervention the obesity surgeries should not be covered and when they are covered due to this reason the patient (at their own cost) should be required to take physical therapy and nutrition classes or risk being charged for the surgery. I dont think anything done due to the fact of over tobacco use should be covered, the patient chose to smoke. The illegal aliens need to go back to their own country to be treated unless extreme emergency and then emergency taken care of and them shipped back to where they came from. Alcohol and drug abuse needs to be followed by counseling and/or rehab at the patients expense (again their choice to drink and do drugs) Im with setting the record. Its no wonder our insurance is so high with these situations. I get really mad when these things are covered and our patients with cancer and other conditions which were not their choice cannot afford to get treatment because of costs being driven up due to these other issues.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk, how big do you think the bill for Iraq will get before all is said and done? Also, I'm not sure if you realize it, but "Guess what - they can't afford housing like the rich can, or food like the rich can, either. Welcome to the real world" just sounds completely cold-hearted and callous if you ask me. I doubt health care is something you have to worry about; I really wonder how your attitude reflects your circumstances.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"If you think things are bad now:just wait. Socialized medicine is coming, that combined with the dollar collapse and hyper-inflation will send health care costs into the stratosphere."The cry of "socialized medicine" is BS. Britain has socialized medicine, and while it quite arguably does better for less money than the US mess, single-payer does not equal socialized medicine. The Canadian system is not socialized-- the vast majority of doctors and clinics operate as independent businesses.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 years, 7 months ago

Obesity surgeries aren't covered unless it's an extreme situation. In fact, most insurance companies don't cover a lot of preventative measures for obesity and other problems that would prevent chronic illnesses. Apparently in the long run it's cheaper to pay for insulin and high blood pressure meds than it is pay for physical therapy.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk: "Nationalizing our healthcare, adding another trillion dollars or so to the federal budget and creating a bureaucracy of unimaginable proportions, would be a disaster the likes of which this country has never seen."--------------------And we have no problem spending several trillion to kill and maim thousands of people, driving up our healthcare costs?I guess "right to life" only means one thing in this country; a healthy existence is a priviledge, not a right.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, I didn't finish my thought. It is cheaper, because if a person gets too sick, they will have to quit working, then they are dropped from the insurance and get disability. Remember the insurance companies are in business to make money, not make people healthy.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "I bet you throw that out every time you lack a decent basis for your argument."Merely pointing out that, in addition to an absolute lack of data to support your miserable attempt at an 'argument,' you can't even use logic. As usual, you're just blowing smoke to try and prop up the socialist party line.Yet again I ask, and will continue to ask, troll, for you to back up your claims. Show us one piece of evidence - just one objective study, not an opinion survey or editorial, but objective - to back up your worthless ranting that the quality of healthcare is "as good or better than" the United States' in the countries that have national healthcare. Just one.But you won't, because you can't, and you'll keep ranting that other peoples' arguments are inadequate while all you do is lie through your teeth. You are a tiresome troll, bozo. Just once I'd like to see you put up or shut up, but I'm not holding my breath.********RedwoodCoast (Anonymous) says: "And we have no problem spending several trillion to kill and maim thousands of people, driving up our healthcare costs?"If you're referring to the Iraq war, the total cost so far has been estimated at half a trillion dollars over 5 years. Total healthcare costs in this country are about a trillion per year*, and if everyone has unlimited government funded access, that number can only go up."I guess "right to life" only means one thing in this country; a healthy existence is a priviledge, not a right."Everyone in this country has access to healthcare. Nobody can be turned away from an emergency room. Can the poorest of the poor afford the level of care the richest of the rich can? Nope. Guess what - they can't afford housing like the rich can, or food like the rich can, either. Welcome to the real world.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

sdinges:"The U.S. averages around 3% a year. A lot of people argue that it should be lower - Canada's Central Bank aggressively targets under 2% a year. The dollar has not collapsed, nor is it likely to. Neither concept can be associated with socialized health care in any way."-----------------------------------------------------------------Thanks for the laugh there....but your use of the government stats on inflation already proves to me you have no business discussing the topic.And yes, inflation and the falling dollar have everything to do with rising heathcare costs, just like government control of medicine.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

RedwoodCoast (Anonymous) says: "notajayhawk, how big do you think the bill for Iraq will get before all is said and done?"Well, two things here. First of all, like I said, the trillion for healthcare is annual, not total. Compared to about 200 billion per year for the war. Now, in the number system most of us use, 200 billion is less than a trillion. Second, whatever the total is when "all is said and done," if we start paying for everyone's healthcare, there will never be an "all is said and done." The trillion per year will be around forever, and just keep going up."Also, I'm not sure if you realize it, but ... just sounds completely cold-hearted and callous if you ask me."Well, I didn't ask, and I do realize it. Nonetheless it's true. Maybe you haven't been keeping up with current events, but we've pretty much established that communism doesn't work in today's world, and there will always be an inequitable distribution of wealth. If you don't like that, answer me this: Are you posting from the public library? If not, why don't you sell that computer, and your house and car and everything else, and give the money to the homeless? Or is it only okay to take money from someone else to support the poor?"I doubt health care is something you have to worry about; I really wonder how your attitude reflects your circumstances."Well, that would be something else you're wrong about. Having just switched jobs, we're in transition. The cost of family health insurance at my new job is completely out of reach, and we're investigating other options. Oddly enough we can get a comparable policy from the same company on our own for less than half the price. It's still expensive and it won't have 100% coverage for every contingency. We'll have substantial deductibles and good-sized co-pays and a fair number of things that aren't covered, and if we get hit with a major bill it will inevitably put us into debt. But unlike a lot of other people, I'm not complaining it's not fair that some other people can afford better, just as I don't begrudge them a bigger house or newer car or tastier food.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Yet again I ask, and will continue to ask, troll, for you to back up your claims. Show us one piece of evidence - just one objective study, not an opinion survey or editorial, but objective - to back up your worthless ranting that the quality of healthcare is "as good or better than" the United States' in the countries that have national healthcare. Just one."There is no shortage of data, but data is no antidote for faith-based ideology such as yours. But you are certainly welcome to post any data showing how the US healthcare system is both better and more efficient than any others in the world. Since your faith is so strong in that conviction, I'm sure a plethora of undeniable proof will be forthcoming."I have no idea what planet you are living on Bozo:but welcome to America!"Believe or not, mkh, I live on Planet Earth, which is much larger than just America. If you mean to imply that we are doomed to sh*tty healthcare because of our geographic location, I guess you're entitled to your opinion.

simplykristib 6 years, 7 months ago

Our system today is BROKE. It is not working.How many of you have read where premium-paying people were denied payments or dropped? Let's just close our eyes and pretend it doesn't happen. Unfortunately it happens all the time! The insurance companies make a lot of money. Anyone see an insurance company go bankrupt lately? I haven't. I have seen moratoriums slapped on one or two companies in the last six years.I worked at a life insurance company for over eight years. I worked in the underwriting department as a processor. The upper management made a lot of money compared to the front line people. You should see some of the commissions that are made off of some of the policies. It is enough to make your head spin.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "The reason why we use % of GDP in addition to per capita when comparing the cost of something between countries is to account for the fact that different national economies operate with a different level of wealth."Which is not as accurate as a percentage of per capita disposable income, is it? The GDP of an oil rich OPEC nation may be very high, but what does the typical laborer make? It really doesn't matter if a doctor's visit costs $50 instead of $100 when your monthly income is $75, now does it? You can have a number that's very small in terms of GDP and still be a major (and unaffordable) portion of the median disposable income. And someone with an MBA should have known that."Ours costs so much because we are paying into a system that generates two primary products-health coverage and profits-rather than making one product (healthcare) and reinvesting the revenues back into the industry."As in the profits of hospitals and physicians? How much did LMH make in excess of revenues last year?However, another factor you choose to ignore is that insurance companies are entitled to those profits because they pay out much less than the provider bills out. E.g. an operation and hospital stay that the hospital would charge John Public $40,000 for is settled for $12,000 (and yes, I'm using a real example). Say the consumer paid $20,000 in premiums - yes, the insurance company made a big profit. And yes, it still cost the consumer half of what he would have had to pay without insurance. The federal government has not demonstrated that ability to hold down costs, not in healthcare or any other area of federal expenditures. And with a revenue source which is completely separated from expenditures (taxes) and the lack of a profit motive, they never will.The real obscenity is that the hospital will bill a patient for $40,000 when they can obviously cover their own costs and usually make a profit settling for a $12,000 insurance payment. How come nobody complains about that? And what would a nationalized health insurance program do to address that?(continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"there are countless examples of other countries making cheaper and effective healthcare work in a multitude of ways in varying environments."Nice way of ducking the question. How many of those countries you are referring to started off with a private-insurance based system like ours and converted to a national system? And what makes you realistically expect that converting to their system will result in the same savings as one that evolved that way over decades? Answer the question: Do you think physicians are going to take a pay cut to make your system affordable?"Meanwhile, you are content to argue until you're blue in the face that there's nothing basically flawed with our current system. Or at least, it's nothing we can do anything about, since we apparently are fundamentally more expensive to take care of as a nation."As usual blowing it out your a**. Or maybe you can point to where I said either of those things. I said we need tort reform. I said we need to find a way to control costs. Creating a trillion-dollar per year bureaucracy to prop up the already ludicrously inflated fee structures of physicians and hospitals is not the answer.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

jrudyhawk, I believe logic is making a statement based upon real world experience in several other nations.The examples are provided in the links provided. In fact, in Switzerland the primary argument against transition to the current system was exactly as you just submitted.In fact, the opposite has happened. These are concrete examples where all the naysaying and hand wringing currently going on in this county happened, and it played out in a positive manner.In fact, a challenge I would make to those who dismiss the idea of a centralized system, a la Switzerland, would be to provide evidence of a situation where a US style system was scrapped and all your negative predictions came to fruition.Why should the burden be on the advocates for change? Can an advocate for the current system provide a single concrete example where a centralized system has led to collapse of health care for a nation?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

What's a "disadvanated?"And I said "all is well" exactly where, again? Or, for that matter, say that the health care system in this country is "right?" Sadly your attitude is not unusual. Anyone who doesn't want to "fix" the problem with an unworkable and monumental bureaucracy wants poor people and kids to die of horrible illnesses. There's lots of room for improvement, and I have no objection to the government helping out those who need the help. I don't think it's necessary to turn the entire system over to the government to do so.Or am I to believe that nationalized health insurance will fix the problem just because you say so? If refusing to try to fix a problem by throwing a trillion dollars per year of our tax dollars at it is "defeatist," then I gladly accept the label. But the true "defeatists" are the sheep who believe that nothing but the government taking over would be an acceptable solution, and refuse to look at alternatives.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm waiting for one example from you notajayhawk. But you don't have one, do you? And why don't you have one? Because the US system sucks, and is put to shame by at least a dozen other systems in the world.So where is your example, notajayhawk? Or are you just a blowhard hypocrite?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

I just watched the Frontline show logic linked. Everyone should watch it.Reforming our medical system could give the average American the equivalent of an immediate 5-10% raise, with better healthcare, to boot.http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

staff04 6 years, 7 months ago

I support a mixed system--one that allows me to buy into Medicare if I want, or purchase private plans or supplementary plans if I choose.That way, thinking people can buy into the plan that has 6% overhead and stupid people can pay $1000/month into a system that has 30% overhead. That should make us all happy.Does that work for you Mkh? Or are you opposed to allowing me to make that choice for myself?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

jafs (Anonymous) says: "Require large corporations/rich folks to pay their fair share of taxes."You're absolutely right there (at least that's one). Let's have the top 1% or wage-earners pay only their fair share instead of paying for 30 other people's share, too. Oh, forgot - to you, fair means having someone else pay your way, right? So much for credibility, jafs - it's a shame these issues can't be discussed without blatant class jealousy.*******nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "We aren't willing to have the cost escalated just so a bunch of greedy bastards have all the money they want to play the stock market."For once we agree - doctors and hospitals are shameless in that regard.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"For once we agree - doctors and hospitals are shameless in that regard."They are certainly part of the problem, and while still extremely well paid, doctors and hospitals in other countries do make less than their counterparts here. However, when you consider that administrative costs (ie, the cut that insurance companies take) are 22% in this country, and range from 2-5% in other developed countries, it's pretty clear where the real drain is.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

NAJ: I say defeatist because you seem to be just fine with the crappy health-care system in this country, despite your recent job/insurance issues.""Also, I'm not sure if you realize it, but : just sounds completely cold-hearted and callous if you ask me."Well, I didn't ask, and I do realize it. Nonetheless it's true. Maybe you haven't been keeping up with current events, but we've pretty much established that communism doesn't work in today's world, and there will always be an inequitable distribution of wealth."There you go, you've accepted that there will always be the advantaged and the disadvantaged, having already lumped yourself into the latter category. You attack me for saying that things are not well with the system, yet you provide no feasible alternatives for the current situation."Or am I to believe that nationalized health insurance will fix the problem just because you say so? If refusing to try to fix a problem by throwing a trillion dollars per year of our tax dollars at it is "defeatist," then I gladly accept the label. But the true "defeatists" are the sheep who believe that nothing but the government taking over would be an acceptable solution, and refuse to look at alternatives."So lets hear them. I call you defeatist in lieu of my first quote of you in this particular post. Furthermore, your stance on the issue seems to shift in response to my statement (there will always be inequality... oh, I didn't mean that I think health care inequality is here to stay... we shouldn't just accept that people will be disadvantaged, instead we should look at alternatives... get yourself straightened out).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Mkh-- the average family now pays nearly $1000 a month in health insurance premiums.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Darnit jafs, you gave nonmythicalbird the answer to the RX drugs question.It's ok, she probably won't believe you.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh, the humble disadvanated...So I am to believe that all is well just because you say so? No, communism doesn't work, but there is nothing saying that a well-organized and accessible health care system wouldn't work... well, besides you...I don't care if you want to be cold-hearted and callous, it doesn't make the health care circumstances in this country right. But if you want to have that defeatist attitude, be my guest.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry if you're blind to the obvious answer, Mkh. Not much I can do for you, I guess.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

Bozo,Here is a little project for you. Please demostrate to me how you are going to fund a national universal health care system. According to David Walker and the GAO the US government already has $53 Tillion in unfunded liabilities. That means the government has already promised $53 Trillion to programs that it doesn't have the money to fund. The government is beyond insolvant, and now you are proposing they pay for everyone's medical care? Please explain how this is going to take place. I'm going to get some work done and I'll check back later tonight to see how far you've gotten. Good luck.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Anyone who doesn't want to "fix" the problem with an unworkable and monumental bureaucracy wants poor people and kids to die of horrible illnesses.""Unworkable and monumental bureaucracy" is what we have right now. That's why it needs to be fixed.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

RedwoodCoast (Anonymous) says: "notajayhawk, how big do you think the bill for Iraq will get before all is said and done? Also, I'm not sure if you realize it, but "Guess what - they can't afford housing like the rich can, or food like the rich can, either. Welcome to the real world" just sounds completely cold-hearted and callous if you ask me. I doubt health care is something you have to worry about; I really wonder how your attitude reflects your circumstances."--------------------------------------------------------Redwood...notajayhawk....What if we didn't have a War in Iraq or a Universal Health Care System?And instead we had a Constitution.Welcome to the "Real World".

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

RedwoodCoast (Anonymous) says: "There you go, you've accepted that there will always be the advantaged and the disadvantaged, having already lumped yourself into the latter category. You attack me for saying that things are not well with the system, yet you provide no feasible alternatives for the current situation."And you haven't accepted it? What planet are you from, anyway? You accuse me of not having a feasible alternative on healthcare? Tell me, what is your "feasible alternative" to having disadvantaged people in the world? 'Cause I'd really like to know how you're going to solve that little problem.As far as feasible alternatives to healthcare, I don't have to know how to get to the moon in order to know that a rope ladder isn't going to work. But since you asked nicely, let's start with tort reform - it doesn't bother any of you national healthcare proponents that physicians pay several thousand dollars per week in insurance premiums in some cases? (And how, exactly, would national healthcare insurance lower that cost?) Then we could look at other ways to reduce costs - not the cost of payment, the cost of services themselves. Even Obama says that, which has the rest of the Dem/liberals excoriating him. Or maybe you can point to an example of one product or service where the government guaranteed payment and the price went down instead of up? I'll wait."there will always be inequality: oh, I didn't mean that I think health care inequality is here to stay"And I stand by that. We may close the gap, we may improve access to the ones who really need it, but it's never going to be equal, just like anything else in life, including other necessities such as housing and food. Still waiting for your solution to that problem. Grow up and live in the real world, not Lawrence.*****sdinges (Anonymous) says:"Someone misstated that physicians are the ones who benefit the most from a government run health care system."If you're referring to me, maybe you should read more closely. I said that physicians stood to gain the most from converting our own system from private pay, not that they benefit most in existing national systems. This is the common mistake nationalization proponents constatntly make. Our healthcare system and Canada's evolved simultaneously in two different directions. There's no reason to expect that converting a system will result in the same savings that a system which evolved that way recognized. Or maybe you think U.S. physicians are going to take a 50% pay cut?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Still waiting for bozo to come up with one example - just one, bozo - of an objective measure that healthcare in one of his beloved socialist systems is "as good as or better" than it is here. Gee, been waiting what, months now, bozo? And you still can't find one? One?"Unworkable and monumental bureaucracy" is what we have right now. That's why it needs to be fixed."By replacing it with a bigger one, one that has zero incentive to hold down costs, one that will have the least competent people setting policy, one that has a legislatively controlled annual fixed budget, with a total separation between revenues and payouts - yep, sounds good - to a clown, anyway.***dirkleisure (Anonymous) says: "Seriously, every time you start off on bureaucracies, you make a fool of yourself."Whereas someone who supports putting all our healthcare into the hands of the people who gave us the IRS, the Social Security Administration, etc., isn't making a fool of themself. Right. And it's making bozo's point to say that we should turn our health care dollars over to an organization that doesn't even negotiate prescription drug prices and expect them to hold down costs? Because their track record to date is so wonderful?There is a fundamental difference between a private for-profit bureaucracy and that of a government agency. If you haven't figured that much out, no wonder you follow the sheep into the nanny-state.

KsTwister 6 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the argument needs to be researched if one thinks that better systems are not available in the world. Take off the blinders and learn, then write your legislature and get off your duff or stop whining about the costs or fear of change. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9994.phphttp://www.ajph.org/cgi/reprint/93/1/31.pdf"France is the only country in which access to care is unlimited: patients can see as many physicians as often as they like. Patients do not need referrals to see specialists, and in general, there is no gatekeeping system of any kind. This may partially account for the World Health Organization's high ranking of France's health care system last year: the rating system emphasized the system's responsiveness (a measure of patients' freedom and flexibility), a quality the French system provides, undeniably at the expense of overall efficiency. "

sdinges 6 years, 7 months ago

It's against my better judgment to get into this discussion - but it's so hard to resist!Let me first address MHK: "Socialized medicine is coming, that combined with the dollar collapse and hyper-inflation will send health care costs into the stratosphere."After I read this sentence, I pretty much disregarded any of your other posts. You might want to keep that in mind next time you're tempted to post Nostradamus-like apocalyptic prophecies. Hyper-inflation means over 50% inflation per month. The U.S. averages around 3% a year. A lot of people argue that it should be lower - Canada's Central Bank aggressively targets under 2% a year. The dollar has not collapsed, nor is it likely to. Neither concept can be associated with socialized health care in any way.---Second, I'll address this Canada vs the United States health care systems. I've experienced both. Someone misstated that physicians are the ones who benefit the most from a government run health care system. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies benefit the least, because the government is in a position to control how much it is willing to pay. Some Doctors leave Canada for the U.S. because the salary is better (I've read that many also return due to malpractice costs, which are much lower in Canada).For the average person visiting a doctor's office, there is no difference in standard of care in the United States and Canada. If you do not have a life threatening condition, you may be on a waiting list in Canada. That doesn't mean you're waiting for your emergency heart surgery - but it may mean you're waiting for an MRI to see whether or not you have cancer (which is one of the major things people come to the States for - because most people don't want to wait to find out!). That said, I've read a study which indicates Canadian survival rates aren't different from the U.S and once you don't have to declare bankruptcy after you manage to survive in Canada.The argument for reducing costs via national health care comes down to it being an economy of scale. The more people involves in a health care plan, the cheaper it becomes, because the risk and cost is spread over more people. Canada's government does not provide universal drug coverage, but it does negotiate with drug companies to keep costs down.If I could take Canada's health care system and implant it here, I'd take that deal. But personally, I wouldn't trust the U.S. government to pull it off. Canada's had a lot of time to fine tuning that system to minimize it's problems, and it's a work in progress. Our government doesn't do so well with fine tuning any agency. If the U.S. government could prove it has the ability to take control of itself, then I might be more likely to cast that vote for a Democrat - but right now, I'd rather just minimize the damage to my pocketbook, and I'm already in a 35% federal tax bracket.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Just one link, nazi_on_this_bus. Just one. No more rhetoric, no more lies, no more of your windbag BS. Just one piece of evidence. If you've done so in the past as you claim, it should be easy, even for you. Come on, troll, just one. Not the editorial you tried to pass of as "objective evidence," not the consumer satisfaction survey you tried to call "objective," just one piece of evidence to back up your claims.Still can't find one after all this time, troll?You're a socialist, a racist, and a liar. A banner day for you, clown-troll.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

Bozo:"Actually, it's fairly well-established that Medicare and Medicaid have significantly lower administrative costs than private insurance does.But many countries have been very successful at eliminating most corruption from their governments, so it is possible. All it takes is the will to do so, and a little bit of due diligence on everyone's part."-------------------------------------------LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I have no idea what planet you are living on Bozo...but welcome to America!

Buggie7 6 years, 7 months ago

Working hard- You can call the business office and ask any of them what a dr will charge for an office visit. You can also set up a non emergic visit with any Dr and go in and "interview" them to see if they are right for you.sdinges says:If I could take Canada's health care system and implant it here, I'd take that deal. Buggie saysThis is laughable to want Canada's system. Are you smoking something? Yes it is cheaper in Canada for healthcare costs but what people here dont understand is that you dont get the same quality of care in a timely manner that you may need. You are like on a waiting list for most tests.Case in point- My good friend goes to the doctor 3 mos after noticing a lump growing out of the side of his head, Dr runs tests that take another 47 days. dr finds out that he has cancer and he has to go back for another visit 2 more mos. Dr orders surgery 3 and 1/2 mos later. This is a tumor that is malignant can I remind you. Friend has to go back to make sure it hasnt spread and again another 2 mos. Within 6 weeks right before he was to go back he dies. There was cancer spreading and it went to his brain and had he got in in a timely manner he would be alive. This is the way with all of their care. They also have the worst prenatal care. You may get about 4-5 visits during your pregnancy if you are lucky. Here its once a month for a normal pregnancy then once a week in last month.Now can you explain better why you would rather want their health care system here? As far as I am concerned they can keep it. Free or low cost or not does no good if im dead.Ks Twister is right. The French really have the best health care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"So Liberals, what is your life worth? How much are you willing to pay to live a little bit longer?"We're willing to pay what it actually costs. We aren't willing to have the cost escalated just so a bunch of greedy bastards have all the money they want to play the stock market.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Geez you're a worthless troll, bozo. YOU made the claim. YOU said it was "as good or better" in other countries. I said there is no evidence to support your claim. Here, I'll type slower so the clown-troll can read: T-h-e-r-e_i-s_n-o_o-b-j-e-c-t-i-v-e_m-e-a-s-u-r-e. You claim there is. Prove it or shut the f' up, for pete's sake. For months I've been asking you for one example - one - ONE, just ONE - to back up what you keep blowong out your a. And still you can't come up with one, not ONE. And you're so incredibly stupid you think I should be proving the non-existence of that evidence. Lord what a troll.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow.Ok, here goes my try.I recommend an article you can find on truthout.org - "Myth-busting Canadian health care".The overall conclusion of the article was that the vast majority of Canadians get the vast majority of their health-care needs met the vast majority of the time. I'm not sure we could say the same about America's system.There was an interesting program on PBS about health care - Switzerland switched from a system like ours to a more governmentally controlled one, and most folks there think it is better now.The main complaint in the various countries surveyed (none of which were socialist or communist) was from doctors and hospitals that they didn't make as much money as they wished. However, their administrative/insurance/educational costs were much lower than here.All of the countries profiled spent less on health care than the US, and some much, much less.The reason the government doesn't currently negotiate with drug companies to lower costs is president Bush. It used to do so, and costs were lower then. As a large customer, it presumably has some clout (like Wal-Mart) with suppliers.There are a number of alternative to our current system, many of which seem preferable to me. I have had personal experience with our system which indicates many problems - it's too expensive, it doesn't provide the kind of quality/intelligence I'm looking for, it requires too much self-advocacy, it's too complicated, it's not efficient, there's not enough easy communication between doctors/facilities,...Bottom line: I'm not convinced that a for-profit private insurance/health care industry is the best way to provide quality, affordable health care.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Rates are ridiculous, primarily due to lawsuits and malpractice insurance. "This is a complete and total myth.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Mkh, I'd prefer we had neither, although I believe there's a need for one. But speaking of the Constitution, the administration and members of both political parties in both houses of the legislature sent the troops to Iraq. Neither the current administration nor the last, nor either house of the legislature, have made universal healthcare a reality.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Actually, what we have is "unworkable and monumental bureaucracy" with overpaid do-nothing leaches attached making it also way more expensive than any other healthcare system in the world.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

I've provided you links in the past, notajayhawk, but you don't want information. You're lazy and wedded to an idiotic ideology. Sleep tight in your willful ignorance.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says:"A prime example is prescription coverage - the federal government doesn't even negotiate prices on those."-----You realize you're making bozo's point, right? You realize you cannot argue in favor of the free market and then use RX drugs as a way to bash Medicare/Medicaid, right?I mean, you realize why the federal government doesn't negotiate prices, right? Actually, in most of your arguments I see a person crying out for a system closer to Germany's or Switzerland's and something that has little connection to the current US system.Seriously, every time you start off on bureaucracies, you make a fool of yourself. Our current system is the world's largest privately supported bureaucracy. In order for me to get insured, I go through an employer who goes through a vendor who goes through an insurance company.Every times a physician submits a claim to my insurance, I get a 4 page letter in the mail. You know the ones - "This is not a bill."Typically, the insurance company claims something is miscoded, so I get that 4 page letter 3 or 4 times. And I never owe a penny! Not to mention 3 or 4 pieces from the physician's office!And don't try to minimize my situation, I work for one of the largest employers in the state and my insurance company is the largest insurance company in the state. This ain't no fly by night operation, sonny. What I'm explaining is the norm, not something out of the ordinary.You want bureaucracies? I give you the non-federal government US health care system.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Mr. non-jayhawk,Why doesn't the federal government negotiate RX drug prices?You seriously don't know. How quaint. And sad.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

If we were to switch to a single-payer system, we would all be paying into a large insurance pool. The way that works is that we all pay into it, and use it when we need it.And, other ways to help pay for health care:Remove corporate subsidies.Require large corporations/rich folks to pay their fair share of taxes.Prevent companies like Halliburton/private security firms from wasting huge amounts of money, and making huge profits at taxpayer expense.Stop spending huge amounts of money on an indefinitely extended military presence in Iraq.Require government to reduce energy use/waste.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "However, when you consider that administrative costs (ie, the cut that insurance companies take) are 22% in this country, and range from 2-5% in other developed countries, it's pretty clear where the real drain is."No, nazi_on_the_bus, i.e. not "the cut the insurance companies take." As usual, the clown resorts to lies. Or maybe, giving him the benefit of the doubt, stupidity. "Administrative costs" include the reception area at your doctor's office - the salaries of the receptionist(s), the portion of the rent or mortgage that's allocated to that area, the phones, the computers, the photocopier and fax machine, the cleaning service, the plasma screen TV. And the medical records area. And the expenses related to regulatory compliance (do they have HIPAA in Canada, bozo?). And everything that isn't involved in direct patient care. An uneducated clown is a truly dangerous thing.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "other capitalist nations that have been able to provide better care for lower per capita and GDP% cost (that one's for you notajayhawk) than the United States"And here's one for you, 'logic'sound: Why is it that we never see the numbers for how much our healthcare costs as a percentage of disposable income compared to those other countries? Using per capita costs and % of GDP is meaningless. I'm willing to bet we spend more per capita and as a percentage of GDP on cars, housing, energy, and potato chips, too.And there's still the unanswered question (gee, imagine that) - what objective measures can be used to say the 'output' - what people in those other countries are actually getting for those lower costs - is the same? I'm pretty sure the per capita and percentage of GDP expenditures on automobiles is less in Yugoslavia than here. Which is great if you want everyone to drive Yugos.The only factor you (and others) just keep harping on is that it's better because everyone's covered. Personally I'd rather have quality care.The one factor that none of you nationalized system proponents will address is that the other countries have lower healthcare costs because they have always cost less. Their systems evolved the way they did, they didn't change from a private-pay system to a nationalized one. Can you name one country that switched from a system like ours to one like theirs? One? Are you really so foolish as to think that converting an existing system will result in the same savings as a system that's been evolving as a nationalized one for fifty years or more? Do you think that physicians in this country are going to take a 50% pay cut to be on a par with their European brethren? (Ask your girlfriend if she's still putting up with you.) Do you think malpractice insurance is suddenly going to cost less? (Funny how none of the liberals want to talk tort reform - then they might miss out on their chance to cash in and retire on a scar that's crooked or something equally trivial.) Do you think the banks are going to forgive the loans and mortgages on hospitals, medical buildings, and recently purchased equipment? No matter who's paying for it, what is it going to do to bring down costs?

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

bozo - don't forget, that number is increasing an average of 8% per year. Also, your figure is a reference to job-sponsored premiums, which increased by 35% between 2001 and 2005, the latest year data is available.Net result has been many employers are unable to continue paying premiums, let alone families not being able to afford it.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, scarecrow, I miss you most of all.logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "Which is the reason that whenever someone cites % of GDP as a measure, the also use per capita cost. The two stats together tell you anything you would need to know about the cost of healthcare relative to a country's wealth and an citizen's wealth."Well, assuming everyone makes the same amount, that is."The U.S. performs poorly on BOTH measures, so trying to explain it away doesn't work. We are a wealth nation that spends more than any other Industrialized nation on healthcare AND we spend more per person."Not that I ever really believed you had an MBA, but you really think either and/or both of those figures means as much as percentage of per capita disposable income? How can you seriously claim it's an accurate comparison to say this person spends twice as much on healthcare as that person without knowing what each has available to spend? You can't compare fractions based on the numerators alone without comparing tha denominators - i.e., you can't say 2/y is twice as much as 1/x without knowing what x and y are."The phyisicians most likely to take a pay cut are not the providers of basic healthcare, but rather the specialists. The argument against phsyician compensation getting reduced is that not enough people will go into the medical field and our care will suffer as a result. That won't be a problem if the GP docs are still making comparable rates (which are not as exorbitant as you seem to think)."Except they wouldn't be.(continued)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Whether or not the expenses of doctors in complying with all the paperwork of our very screwed-up system is included in the 22% devoted to "administrative costs" is irrelevant. The fact remains that with the adoption of a sane system, the expenses of doctors in dealing with paperwork would drop dramatically.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says:"Administrative costs" include the reception area at your doctor's office - the salaries of the receptionist(s), the portion of the rent or mortgage that's allocated to that area, the phones, the computers, the photocopier and fax machine, the cleaning service, the plasma screen TV.----Blatantly false. Administrative costs as measured by several independent studies are a reflection of payment systems only. Your doctor's office can have gold plated bidets, it doesn't factor in. Read the studies, don't make assumptions. And don't dare to say that you have, because your comment is blatantly false. Provide sources outside of your own fingers on a keyboard.Japan has a population, particularly given its density, and economy similar to the US. They have made a successful transition to mandated health coverage.Germany, same situation. It is the economic ability of a country, not its mass population, which is a fairer metric for measurement. Unless you want to move the goalposts again.I will reiterate my challenge - in the past 30 years, dozens of nations whose economies mirror the US have transitioned to a mandated health coverage system.Prior to that transition, the arguments against have been exactly the same as those being spewed by notajayhawk.Therefore, can anyone point to a nation where all the doom and gloom prophesies have come to pass? Who can point to a nation where coverage levels have dramatically declined, where health care companies have willfully shut down due to the new economic environment, and where costs have dramatically increased?

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, you mean the $53 trillion asteroid?And here I thought you were serious. You're just parroting Glen Beck. And there is nothing serious about that.Squak squak little parrot.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Whether or not the expenses of doctors in complying with all the paperwork of our very screwed-up system is included in the 22% devoted to "administrative costs" is irrelevant. The fact remains that with the adoption of a sane system, the expenses of doctors in dealing with paperwork would drop dramatically."It's always amusing how every time the bus_nazi loses an argument, it becomes 'irrelevant.' It was your whole point, troll.The difference between what American and Canadian doctors spend on administrative tasks would result in a nationwide annual savings of less than $6 billion (or about .6% of what Americans spend on healthcare), and that's savings related to ALL administrative and management costs, not just those related to insurance billing. [Using the figures from the NEJM article cited above.] Wow. Now that's a 'dramatic' drop, all right.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

mkh,Did you not read my post about where finances could be freed up?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

So how does that argue in favor of maintaining the status quo of a healthcare system we can't afford, and fails to cover substantial parts of the populace?Or are you suggesting that we just all commit suicide because the $53 trillions dooms us all, anyway?

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

I think all of you missed my point...so here it is in plain english.The government is beyond broke, it's insolvant, according to it's own accounting office. There is no way that these $53 Trillion of unfuned programs can ever be met. Medicare and Medicaid are already destroyed and void. And now we have seemingly half-way intelligent people actually discussing how the government will pay for the health care of all Americans without ever first dealing with this huge income deficit..Can you all not see the writing on the wall here?Jafs, I must have missed your post explaining how to balance the $53 Trillion the government is already in the hole on....but if you do have it figured out I suggest you fly to Washington DC tonight to meet with the GAO in the morning.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Saying tort reform is the cure for our healthcare system is like saying a gas tax holiday is the cure for high fuel prices.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Mkh-- I get the feeling you have some point you're trying to make-- I just can't figure out what it is.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Mkh believes that in order to have mandate healthcare, you must still pay for the current system and also pay $53 trillion for a new system.It is Mkh's assertion that a transition to mandated health care will result in two systems - the current system and the new $53 trillion government system. We will all be forced to pay twice.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

Bozo,Gosh I thought you'd at least try. Guess not.Well you might want to try that math problem again, becuase I don't see you coming up with $53 Trillion anytime soon.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "What argument did I lose? The fact is, doctors do suffer from considerably higher administrative costs here than their colleagues elsewhere. If you think those costs aren't passed along to patients:."Yes, they do, and yes, they are. And the amount of that difference that's attributable to our private insurer system is almost negligible. And the amount that would be 'saved' by switching to national health insurance is equally negligible. Kinda' like bozo's IQ.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Again, for naj,Switzerland had a system almost identical to ours, and made the transition successfully.There was much resistance to it initially, and predictions of terrible outcomes, none of which came to pass.In fact, according to the PBS program, most folks are happy with the new system.And, fyi, I pay my own taxes, thank you very much.

simplykristib 6 years, 7 months ago

I watched the portion about Japan. I am thinking about going to Japan later on. At least I could get coverage there. We can change things here.... We just enjoy the status quo. We pay way too much too for healthcare. Healthcare costs need to be controlled BIG TIME. They are out of control. Healthcare should be a right not a privilege.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

naj, your study makes accounting for billing practices, just as I submitted.It does not provide for, as you attest, plasma televisions, cleaning crews, reception areas, or the full cost of technology.You can't even read your own study. You can only call people names. So sad. You still don't realize why the federal government doesn't negotiate RX drug costs, do you?And to limit the potential savings from the US system's gross reliance on administrative overhead to a single comparison to Canada? Weak.Nice comments on Japan. You are correct, they have a strict pricing system for many health services. They also have doctors dealing with a single payment system, so unlike your doctor's office there is no need to know the reimbursement rate from dozens of insurance companies when setting prices.Watch the Frontline special. Doctors in Japan are doing just fine. Much like Doctors would in the US, they welcome the opportunity to focus on patient care and not worry about billing and reimbursement.And I'm confused about your screeds regarding physician compensation. Isn't the out of control tort system and the out of control cost of malpractice insurance to blame? Don't they require increased compensation in order to pay those out of control cost factors?Now, please, go forth and contradict yourself. Throughout your comments, you continue to cry out for a mandated insurance system that recognizes health care is not an appropriate free market industry.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

I take David Walker and GAO pretty darn serious...Glenn Beck...not so much."In a speech to the National Press Club, Comptroller General David Walker noted the release of the 2007 Financial Report of the United States Government and described the estimate that the "federal government's total liabilities and unfunded commitments for future benefits payments promised under the current Social Security and Medicare programs are now estimated at $53 trillion, in current dollar terms, up from about $20 trillion in 2000." This "translates into a de facto mortgage of about $455,000 for every American household and there's no house to back this mortgage," Walker said. The Medicare program represents $34 trillion of the "fiscal gap," with the prescription drug benefit along equaling about $8 trillion of the $34 trillion Medicare total. "Generations of Americans will be paying the price-with compound interest-for this new entitlement benefit," Walker noted. "In other words," Walker said, "our government has made a whole lot of promises that, in the long run, it cannot possibly keep without huge tax increases."http://www.lao.ca.gov/RetireeHealth/RetSummary.aspx?id=348

Godot 6 years, 7 months ago

If, as Obama says, the government cannot afford to forego the 18 cents per gallon of gas for a few months this summer without causing roads and bridges to crumble from lack of maintenance, how in the world can we afford Bozo's universal health care?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"I just can't believe that someone would look at our system and recognize that costs are out of control and prefer to focus on those people who go into a field with the intent of helping people, rather than the uninvested insurance companies. Doctors and physicians have a vested interest in making people healthy. Insurance providers do not. But I'm sure those price-gouging doctors are the ones to blame for our out of control costs:"Put down the crack pipe, logicsound. You really think that doctors all go into medicine for "the intent of helping people," and not for the money? Are you serious? If that were the case there'd be millions of doctors on the waiting list to join the Peace Corps, and the cosmetic surgery mills of California wouldn't even exist. Try to be serious.Also, you have a very warped understanding of 'vested interest.' To be more accurate, physicians have a vested interest in illness - without it, they don't have jobs. Insurance companies do have a vested interest in people's health, because they pay out less on healthy people."The only thing remotely resembling a solution you have proposed is tort reform, which I agree would be one component of a overhaul of our healthcare system. However, no meaningful cost reduction can occur without overhauling the insurance system."Please see the figures I mentioned in my reply to nazi_on_the_bus above. Comparing the amount of time spent on all administrative functions between American and Canadian doctors, even if it was all attributable to insurance billing (and it's not), the total nationwide annual savings would be $6 billion. I was wrong about the percentage, though; using your figures of $6K per person spent on healthcare in this country, reducing American physicians administrative duties down to those of their Canadian counterparts would result in a savings of 0.3% of healthcare expenditures. Looks like you might just have to look elsewhere to find a place to cut costs. Or live with them."I'm still waiting on some citation about the "ludicrously inflated fee structures of physicians and hospitals". Or about anything you've claimed thus far."And you've never seen what a hospital or physician bills you compared to what insurance companies actually pay them? Maybe you've never had a healthcare expenditure mommy and daddy hasn't paid for you. That would explain your utter lack of understanding of the system.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

dirkleisure (Anonymous) says:"It does not provide for, as you attest, plasma televisions, cleaning crews, reception areas, or the full cost of technology."Let's see: All clerical staff. One third of "office rent and other expenses." Half of accounting and legal fees. On the Canadian side, "To calculate the costs of office rent and similar expenses, we attributed one third of physicians' office rent, lease, mortgage, and equipment costs to administration and billing. We attributed half of other professional expenses to administration."Might I suggest a good place you can get remedial reading classes? And just as a point of curiosity, dirk, just who do you think pays for that plasma screen in the waiting room, let alone the "gold plated bidets," if it isn't the patients?

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

naj, I conceded your study indicated a portion of certain costs. Your statement was that administrative costs included plasma tvs, cleaning crews, and 100% of office technology. You have no source for that. It isn't reading, it is reading for comprehension. I don't care who pays for it, but it is a false statement to indicate such items are included in studies attempting to measure "administrative costs." Now, please call me names. Oh, and accuse me of being infatuated with the Canadian health care system while ignoring the systems in every other nation on the planet. Blame Canada!----VTHawk, this is an interesting statement: "Those suffering from obesity, for example, are not guaranteed access to healthcare in many European nations, since they have substantially higher costs."Source? I find it interesting because of the movement in this state for the government to mandate coverage for obesity related surgeries. Sends the opposite message, don't you think? I realize you are using obesity to illustrate a point about potential health care rationing, but sources to indicate real world experience would be useful reading.

georgeofwesternkansas 6 years, 7 months ago

Is there anything you folks are not experts on??Comercial insurance premiums have been going up double digit for 20 years because of cost shifting from medicare and medicade, i.e. medicare and medicade do not pay enough for services to cover the cost, so prices to comercial insurance is raised.The VA is completely run by the government, why should we expect anything to be different??

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

dirkleisure (Anonymous) says: "Blatantly false. Administrative costs as measured by several independent studies are a reflection of payment systems only. Your doctor's office can have gold plated bidets, it doesn't factor in. Read the studies, don't make assumptions. And don't dare to say that you have, because your comment is blatantly false. Provide sources outside of your own fingers on a keyboard."What studies, dorkleisuresuit? I notice you don't cite any. If you had (or could) read the studies yourself, you might have started with the infamous NEJM study so often cited around the internet (including by the PNHP) reporting how much of our healthcare dollars go to administrative costs. Their methodology is right on the first couple of pages:"We calculated the costs of administrative work by nurses and other clinical employees in doctors' offices by assuming that they spent the same proportion of their time on administration as did physicians. We calculated the value of this time on the basis of total physicians' revenues and survey data on doctors' payroll costs from the American Medical Association. We attributed all of physicians' expenses for clerical staff to administration. Although administrative and clerical workers accounted for 43.8 percent of the work force in physicians' offices (unpublished data), we attributed only one third of office rent and other expenses (excluding medical machinery and supplies) to administration and billing. Accounting, legal fees (excluding the cost of malpractice insurance), the costs of outside billing services, and other such costs are subsumed in "other professional expenses," half of which we attributed to administration."http://www.pnhp.org/publications/nejmadmin.pdfSee how easy it is to cite sources, dork?I'm not that familiar with Germany's system, but NPR just did a story on Japan's. Japan's healthcare isn't cheap just because of a nationalized insurance plan, the Japanese government strictly controls the fees for all medical procedures. Including, according to the story on NPR, limiting fees for treating a wound of less than 6 square inches to about $4, which is why doctors and hospitals in Japan are going broke. Do you really think that the American medical community would take such drastic cuts (or that they even could)? And whether or not they did accept it, you have made my point: The way to reduce healthcare expenditures is by cutting cost, moreso than worrying about who pays for it.I won't bother saying your post was patently false. You're either totally uninformed, illiterate, or just a plain old liar.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"Whereas clearly, nazi_on_the_bus, the healthcare system you want is one that nobody gets access and nobody gets quality care."No, I want a system like Germany's, or Japan's, or Taiwan's, or Switzerland's, or Canada's, none of which resemble your mischaracterization of what is possible as an alternative to the badly broken US "system."

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"International comparisons also add perspective. Primary care or generalists in the United States earn on average $173,000 a year or 4.2 times gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. In other countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), generalists earn roughly half as much or $94,000 on average based on purchase power parity dollars. Specialists in the United States earn on average $274,000 a year or 6.5 times GDP per capita. In other OECD countries, specialists earn on average less than half that at $129,000 or 4 times GDP per capita. So even adjusted for higher wealth and earnings in the United States, the gap between what physicians earn here and elsewhere in the developed world is large, as is the gap between physician earnings and average American earnings. "http://www.age-usa.org/docs/Robert_England_Paper_on_MDs_and_Health_Costs.docRegardless of what you've been spoon-fed, it's not just specialists, it's GP's, too. Oh, and by the way, are you saying we don't need specialists? You going to go to your GP to have your gall bladder taken out, are ya'?"As a side note, it may surprise you to find out that while healthcare costs have soared over the past couple decades, the compensation to physicians has not kept pace. So please continue to whine about physicians' pay when that is obviously NOT what is driving up the cost of healthcare."Gee. Wrong again. How strange."For example, if one looks back across the broad span of 46 years, spending on physician and clinical services, as measured by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has risen from 19.4 to 21.2 percent of total health care expenditures, even as spending on health care itself has grown faster than the economy. " [Same source.]You're right, physicians' compensation hasn't "kept pace" with rising healthcare costs, it's growing faster. (continued)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"It's always amusing how every time the bus_nazi loses an argument, it becomes 'irrelevant.' It was your whole point, troll."What argument did I lose? The fact is, doctors do suffer from considerably higher administrative costs here than their colleagues elsewhere. If you think those costs aren't passed along to patients....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Clearly, notajayhawk, the healthcare system you want provides a combination of coverage-- some are more equal than others, and the rest are just SOL.

Mkh 6 years, 7 months ago

I never said anything in favor of maintaining the status quo of the healthcare system...nothing at all. In fact I feel the current system is a complete mess. The difference between us Bozo is I want to change it back to a free market approach and let people write off their medical expenses on their taxes,etc...where as you want the government to take over completely and make it "universal".Try and keep up.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Look guys, I'll just leave you to wallow in your pipedreams, and to consider just a couple of little points.http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006813("Or, to put it another way, Canadian health care is equal only in its shared scarcity." - Wall Street Journal)http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/international/americas/26canada.html("The country's publicly financed health insurance system - frequently described as the third rail of its political system and a core value of its national identity - is gradually breaking down. Private clinics are opening around the country by an estimated one a week, and private insurance companies are about to find a gold mine." - NY Times)http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/354/16/1661("That only 70 percent of total health care funding in Canada comes from the public sector - less than in many European countries but considerably more than in the United States - reflects the fact that private payments are common for other expenditures, including drugs, dental services, optometry, and home care. Private insurance and private care are also common in niche areas, such as work-related injuries and cosmetic surgery." - NEJM)http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/20/health/main681801.shtml?cmp=EM8705("It calculates that at present rates, Ontario will be spending 85 percent of its budget on health care by 2035. "We can't afford a state monopoly on health care anymore," says Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the federation. "We have to examine private alternatives as well."" - CBS)http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20060501_125978_125978&source=srchhttp://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4271http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_canadian_healthcare.htmlIncidentally, why do Canadians even have private insurance, and why does the Canadian government have to try to make it illegal when people obviously want it? And why do so many Canadians wish their private insurance was allowed to cover more services? (51% of Canadians believe allowing the delivery of publicly covered services to be contracted out would improve their system.)http://www.who.int/patientsafety/news/2006_hcic.pdfAnd last of all, why does this industry even exist?http://www.findinghealthcare.ca/medical-tourism.php

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "Clearly, notajayhawk, the healthcare system you want provides a combination of coverage- some are more equal than others, and the rest are just SOL."Whereas clearly, nazi_on_the_bus, the healthcare system you want is one that nobody gets access and nobody gets quality care. But at least everyone's equal in their misery and infirmity. A true socialist paradise.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Incidentally, when I was asking for percentage of per capital income as a base for comparison of healthcare costs, I still can't find the figures for disposable income, but here's some numbers to consider:According to the CBS story I linked to above, the average Canadian family pays 48% of their income in taxes, and about 40% of those taxes go to healthcare. In other words, almost 20% of the typical Canadian's income goes towards healthcare costs - at least those that are paid for through the public system. But according to the NEJM article (and other sources), the public system only pays for 70% of Canadians' healthcare, meaning the other 30% comes from private insurance or out-of-pocket. What that works out to is Canadians paying 27.4% of their income for healthcare.Using logicsound's numbers, the average American pays $6,096 dollars for healthcare, with a per capita income of $31,632 - or 19.3% of their income goes to healthcare.Strange how those numbers look somewhat different than using GDP or per capita expenditures (without per capita income). But please, keep telling me how meaningful it is to say that Canadians pay less.

VTHawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow. Quite a string of arguments going on.The biggest concern with switching to a socialized system, IMAO, is the issue of liberty. Access to healthcare is (at the present time) rationed 45% by market mechanisms, and 55% percent through government programs. While the government has an interest in the general health of the public, they still do not directly exclude people from heathcare based on lifestyle choices.In a socialized framework (where everybody pays, everybody can consume), the government determines how individuals interact with doctors, and discriminate against groups more prone to disease. Those suffering from obesity, for example, are not guaranteed access to healthcare in many European nations, since they have substantially higher costs.Even if government rationing of healthcare was cheaper than the current system in nominal terms, the implication of any nationalized program is that rationing does occur. This is fundamentally an illiberal setup, and makes the individual dependent on the government for basic needs instead of dependent on employment. Both are somewhat unfair, but I prefer the latter.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

By the way, nzai_on_the_bus, you can't have the healthcare system they have in Germany, or Japan, or Taiwan, or Switzerland, or Canada. You can't have their rail system, either. Because - and this is going to be a big shock to you, I hope you're sitting down - this isn't Germany, or Japan, or Taiwan, or Switzerland, or Canada.Well, maybe when a physician in this country is willing to treat a wound for $4 and hospitals are willing to operate at a loss so they can provide an MRI for $98, you can have Japan's. Do us all a favor and hold your breath until that happens.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

NAJ's greatest hits part IINAJ on physicians: "Nationalized health insurance would do nothing to help this, it would make it worse. Physicians tell you it's a good idea, but then, they stand to gain the most"NAJ on physicians gaining the most from nationalized health insurance: "If you're referring to me, maybe you should read more closely. I said that physicians stood to gain the most from converting our own system from private pay, not that they benefit most in existing national systems."NAJ on administrative costs: ""Administrative costs" include the reception area at your doctor's office - the salaries of the receptionist(s), the portion of the rent or mortgage that's allocated to that area, the phones, the computers, the photocopier and fax machine, the cleaning service, the plasma screen TV."NAJ on administrative costs: "We attributed all of physicians' expenses for clerical staff to administration. Although administrative and clerical workers accounted for 43.8 percent of the work force in physicians' offices (unpublished data), we attributed only one third of office rent and other expenses (excluding medical machinery and supplies) to administration and billing." (see 100% of the cleaning crews, see the plasma tv, see 100% of the cost for phones, faxes, etc.?)

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

naj, let's give you the benefit of the doubt. Granted, that's like giving a chimp the benefit of the doubt while selecting the Secretary of Health and Human Services, but whatever.You've boiled your argument down to costs being too high. Well, I've boiled it down. Your arguments are almost impossible to read. I can only imagine what your reports look like at your glorious "new job".You're suggestions to reduce costs? So far you've said government healthcare for those who need help, tort reform and reducing costs of services. However, you've provided no evidence of how tort reform will a)reduce current costs; and b)reduce future costs.As for reducing costs, you are against a fixed price system and you've said physicians, while representing too large a percentage of healthcare spending, stand to benefit the most from "nationalized healthcare," ie fixed costs. You suggestions for reducing the cost of healthcare?Finally, define what constitutes "those you need it" and whether that means you would expand or contract government funded healthcare, and the cost benefits of whichever solution you support. Do you have as much vitriol to spew on the solutions side? You posit the current system has major flaws, and you've in your own special way defined the flaws. Now offer solutions.Can I call you names when you ignore the question? Can you recognize that by childishly ridiculing with your single Canada argument the ideas others bring to the table you are in fact defending as a whole the current system?Oh, one last thing. You cannot reference any other nations in this hemisphere. And you can't take my IQ insult and use it back on me. Are you rubber and I'm glue?PS - for fun, I've already decided which parts of this you will quote and which parts you will ignore. I've made a drinking game out of it, and I fully expect to get rip roaring drunk off your next post.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Also, naj, as long as we're channeling your tremendous skills, you should know that the IQ scale does not allow for negative numbers as a result. In fact, IQ is a measurable amount where the lowest score on the scale is actually around 50, though in theory it could be as low as 0.Therefore, it would be impossible for your IQ to drop 80 points. So you've got that going for you, which is nice.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

[For those of you joining us late, allow me to summarize dorkleisuresuit's 'arguments' thus far:]'Golly gee whiz wow, Mr. Wizard, you mean if we just change the way we pay for something without changing what it costs, we only end up spending half as much, and it really doesn't cost us anything at all, because the government pays for it all? How does that work?''Magic, dorkie. Magic.'Now, run along home, and tell your mommy not to miss next week's show - it's on fetal alcohol syndrome.'(Talk about a no-win situation, dorkie - if your mother drank while carrying you, it must make her so sad to look at you now, and think about what it turned you into. And if she didn't drink, it must make her so sad to look at you now, and think about what it could have turned you into.)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

dorkleisuresuit (Anonymous) says: "Doctors in the US make way too much, except for they don't"http://www.allied-physicians.com/salary_surveys/physician-salaries.htmhttp://www.age-usa.org/docs/Robert_England_Paper_on_MDs_and_Health_Costs.doc?PHPSESSID=6219db4f036f9151c3b77607dd56eb85It's okay, dirk, I know you can't read the big words, save the links and maybe you can find a fifth-grader to read them to you.But okay, I'll play:"Hi, I'm dirkleisure (or would be if my IQ dropped about 80 points). I see notajayhawk has posted quite a few links documenting what he's said, but I can't be bothered to read them, so I'll just say 'is not,' 'cause that's the winning argument in all situations."Yeah, I know, child, the NY Times and CBS News talk about what a disaster the Canadian system is because of their well-known conservative agendas. (From the CBS story: "The federal government and virtually every province acknowledge there's a crisis: a lack of physicians and nurses, state-of-the-art equipment and funding. In Ontario, more than 10,000 nurses and hospital workers are facing layoffs over the next two years unless the provincial government boosts funding, says the Ontario Hospital Association, which represents health care providers in the province." But hey, I'm sure they don't know as much about their own system as you and bozo do.)And I'm sure the Canadian Supreme Court, in it's ruling overturning the Quebec government's prohibition on private insurance, was just joking around when they said:"The evidence in this case shows that delays in the public healthcare system are widespread, and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public healthcare. The evidence also demonstrates that the prohibition against private health insurance and its consequence of denying people vital healthcare result in physical and psychological suffering that meets a threshold test of seriousness."(continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah, dorkleisuresuit, you're such a tiresome troll. While I've posted numerous links to support my position, you've posted what, again? Oh, now I remember, the infantile rantings of a sevely developmentally delayed child whose special ed teacher thought (wrongly) that plodding along at a computer might help, which amount to "Is not!"I know children, even those of normal intelligence, don't fully understand the concept of money, dork. And it would be really amusing to hear your explanation of how changing who pays for a service will save money if you don't reduce the price of that service. But you see, small one, if something costs $100, it doesn't matter if you use cash, write a check, use your debit card, or use your food stamps, the price is still $100. Now, maybe that same thing costs only $50 in outer Mongolia, but that doesn't mean if we change our medium of exchange to yak butter, it will cost US only $50.I know all this makes your tiny little head spin. Maybe when you're old enough for mommy to start giving you an allowance, you'll understand the concept of 'cost' better. And maybe then you'll even be able to join the adults in the conversation. But you have a long, long way to go before you're there.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

NAJ's greatest hits, part IIINAJ on Japan's system, again a fallacy: "Do you really think that the American medical community would take such drastic cuts (or that they even could)? And whether or not they did accept it, you have made my point: The way to reduce healthcare expenditures is by cutting cost, moreso than worrying about who pays for it."NAJ on how the issue isn't about who pays for it: "The real obscenity is that the hospital will bill a patient for $40,000 when they can obviously cover their own costs and usually make a profit settling for a $12,000 insurance payment."NAJ on healthcare in Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Switzerland: "So you want a system where people wait months for procedures they get in days here. You want a system that is going broke, falling apart, and is being forced to return to privatization. You want a system that is literally killing people." (links? bupkis!)NAJ on her commitment to reducing costs: "Well, maybe when a physician in this country is willing to treat a wound for $4 and hospitals are willing to operate at a loss so they can provide an MRI for $98, you can have Japan's. "

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

dirkleisure (Anonymous) says: "Never to be accused of contradicting herself. Sigh."Well, at least it's apparent why all the trolls are in favor of nationalized healthcare. It must be costing your mommy a fortune for all your meds, home care, and special ed, d-bag. I have said - repeatedly (get someone who can read to explain it to you) - that it is the cost of healthcare in this country that needs to be addressed, not who pays for it. Those costs include malpractice insurance and physicians salaries. There's nothing in the sentences you quoted that is any more contradictory than saying your mommy needs to put both sugar and water in your pablum, dirkie-boy.And the reason I keep mentioning Canada is because that's the country nazi_on_the_bus and 'logic'sound keep harping on, pointing to it as a shining beacon we should emulate (that means to equal, so you don't have to look it up). When you're old enough to be taken seriously in the conversation, maybe I'll consider widening the discussion. Although you mention that I did address Japan - not that you were contradicting yourself, troll.And yes, I'm quite aware that the IQ scale can not go below zero. When I spoke of taking 80 points off my own, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt - it would have put you at considerably below average, but at least not in the MR range. I didn't realize you were so close to zero. So you don't even have that going for you.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

What a maroon."And it would be really amusing to hear your explanation of how changing who pays for a service will save money if you don't reduce the price of that service."Lady, every suggestion to reduce the price of the service has been met with your savage reply - "you really think the doctors would stand for that?"I know this is new to you, but all of your links are rebuttals to others and attacks on other peoples ideas and suggestions for solutions. Oh, and they are all about Canada, how much doctors make, and how administrative costs are a myth.You've posted nothing to support your solutions of tort reform, government subsidizing for those who need it, or cost reductions. To the contrary, you have mocked the mere suggestion of reducing the cost of service.Admit it - you have no solutions. Just because your response is "I've posted links!" that doesn't make it true. Again, your entire response boils down to you being made of rubber while I suffer from being made out of glue.In addition to your rubber surfacing, it would appear you suffer from Tourette's. Is that why your new job won't offer you the same coverage as your old job, because of your pre-existing conditions?Poor girl. I really thought you might answer 3 simple questions. But again, when challenged with direct questions your response is, "I would be interested to hear your solutions!" It appears nothing is simple in your world.PS - oh yeah, you better believe I've already got your comeback pegged, and the drinking game is still on. You're so simple (see that, I found something that is simple in your world).

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "No, notajayhawk, I want a system like Germany's, or Japan's, or Taiwan's, or Switzerland's, or Canada's, none of which resemble your mischaracterization of what is possible as an alternative to the badly broken US "system."So you want a system where people wait months for procedures they get in days here. You want a system that is going broke, falling apart, and is being forced to return to privatization. You want a system that is literally killing people. As long as it's killing everyone equally. Why do you want everyone to die, nazi_on_the_bus?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

dirkleisure (Anonymous) says: "Countries don't pay for healthcare. ... Nations do."Very good, dorkie. And when you're showing off your shiny new tricycle around the neighborhood, you can tell everyone "It didn't cost anything - mommy bought it."

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Poor thing.Doctors in the US make way too much, except for they don't, except for their percentage of health care costs has increased, except for it hasn't, except for malpractice insurance is way too expensive, except for doctors don't need all that extra money to pay for it, except for there will be no doctors if they all get paid the same price for a medical procedure, especially in Canada where all healthcare is provided by moose and failed hockey players. Tort reform! All other systems in the world are ridiculous failures and all other nations look to the US as a beacon of hope in their healthcare morass! Except for the system is so broken it cannot be fixed except for by the current system!Whew. Just call me NAJ, baby.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)"Many patients on non-urgent waiting lists are in pain and cannot fully enjoy any real quality of life. The right to life and to personal inviolability is therefore affected by the waiting times."But hey, their system is a shining model we should copy.Lost track of how many links I posted. dirkie. And you posted - what, exactly, to back up your claims? Oh, that's right, now I remember: Absolutely nothing.But let's see what Canadians think of the system you're so anxious to copy:http://www.who.int/patientsafety/news/2006_hcic.pdfOne of my favorite parts of the survey: 60% of Canadians surveyed said they are "likely to be subject to a serious medical error while being treated in a Canadian hospital." 74% of Canadian nurses and 77% of healthcare managers agreed with them. Yep, let's get some of that good old quality care.****max1 (Anonymous) says: "The Urban Institute found that lack of insurance caused 22,000 adults' deaths in 2006."Whereas in Canada, they all have health insurance, the system is going broke despite already taking half of the average Canadian's income in taxes, and they're still dying for lack of access. Gee, let's do that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

No, notajayhawk, I want a system like Germany's, or Japan's, or Taiwan's, or Switzerland's, or Canada's, none of which resemble your mischaracterization of what is possible as an alternative to the badly broken US "system.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

just_another_nazi_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "No, I want a system like Germany's, or Japan's, or Taiwan's, or Switzerland's, or Canada's, none of which resemble your mischaracterization of what is possible as an alternative to the badly broken US "system.""So you want a system where people wait months for procedures they get in days here. You want a system that is going broke, falling apart, and is being forced to return to privatization. You want a system that is literally killing people. As long as it's killing everyone equally. Why do you want everyone to die, nazi_on_the_bus?

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, 'logic'sound, despite all your bluster and spin and "Hey, everyone look at me, I have an MBA, I are intelligent," you really can compare percentages and percentages. From one article I linked to we have the percentage the citizen of one country pays in taxes and the portion of that going to healthcare. From the other numbers we can divide personal healthcare expenditures by personal income in the other country. Now, maybe your MBA didn't include advanced concepts like fractions and other second grade math. But if you can't perform those calculations, it's just another reason I'm glad I'm not a product of the local education system.While it's not my job to educate you, and I doubt anyone's capable of that herculean task, for the sake of those who might be influenced by your idiocy, I'll give you a little clue where your GDP comparison fails. What happened to the $40 billion Exxon-Mobil made, 'logic'sound?The total market value of all final goods and services produced within the country (GDP) does not all go into the pocketbooks of the country's citizens as income. We have corporations here, 'logic'sound. Not all the money paid out for Exxon-Mobil's products (at least those produced domestically) was paid out in dividends. A lot of it went to equity. The same with the countless other corporations; the Walton family's equity in their store chain may have increased by billions, and that makes them wealthier, but until/unless they sell that ownership equity, it's not income. In other words, small ones that maybe even you can wrap your head around, Wal-mart sales may lead to a significant increase in GDP without putting a dime into the pocketbooks of American citizens, or increasing personal income.So yes, 'logic'sound, it is you that's making the comparison of apples to oranges. Using GDP gives us figures for what the percentage of everything that's spent on every product and service in a country that's spent on healthcare, but it does not tell us the personal burden, the amount each person spends compared to what they have available to spend. And using income-based figures such as the ones I used, it would appear that the Canadian system costs the people of Canada a bigger chunk of what they make than our own healthcare does.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

'logic'sound04 says (again and again and again):"For lack of an actual argument, you are playing semantics games, trying to claim a meaningful difference between two statistical measures that say the same basic thing."Same "basic" thing. "assuming the same level of "non-disposable" expenditures." (From someone constantly complaining about the unequal distribution of resources in this country.) "as a rule." "is reflected in." That's a lot of generalized double-speak even for you, 'logic.'The numbers I used were not my own. Or maybe you think the CBS news, that well-known bastion of conservatism, came up with those figures to coincide with my "worldview.""at least use numbers that have been arrived upon by the same method."Why don't you take your own advice? You are the one comparing a nation's income to an individual person's expenditures. Talk about trying to spin numbers from 'differening' methodologies to make it fit your worldview. The numbers I used compare what an Amercian citizen (not country) makes to what he spends on healthcare, and then compare that ratio to published figures for the percentage of a Canadian's income that goes towards the same purpose. That's a true measure of the relative burden. But hey, if you want to keep buying the party line, do so.As far as communicating like an adult, little boy, try not ducking the issues or the questions and maybe you'll be treated like a grownup. I've asked several times how your nationalized health insurance plan will result in the kind of savings you claim when physicians' salaries are twice as high, malpractice insurance is almost beyond reach, and all the other factors that make healthcare cost more here. And you completely ignored the reports I cited that the Canadian system is reaching the point where it can't sustain the costs (when they're already taxing their citizens an average of 48%), is already being eroded by a boom in privatization, doesn't pay for dental work, home care, or drugs, and is literally killing people. But hey, at least everyone's covered - at least until the system kills them, or it goes broke. If you want to keep up your infantile arguing for an untenable system based on bogus numbers just because you want to believe you have a magical solution, don't expect treatment as an adult.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Small sentences from naj:"it doesn't bother any of you national healthcare proponents that physicians pay several thousand dollars per week in insurance premiums in some cases?""I said that physicians stood to gain the most from converting our own system from private pay, not that they benefit most in existing national systems.""Creating a trillion-dollar per year bureaucracy to prop up the already ludicrously inflated fee structures of physicians and hospitals is not the answer."Never to be accused of contradicting herself. Sigh.Also, if Canada would simply take medical care out of the hands of mounted police and indie rock bands (Broken Social Scene, Stars, Arcade Fire, etc.), perhaps their system would be on the road to recovery.Sheesh, you have a real Canada complex. It totally deflates your position, because it is obviously the only health care system you are willing to compare to the one in the US, other than your obsession with the fixed price structure in Japan.Oh, speaking of that, a reminder: "... ludicrously inflated fee structures of physicians and hospitals..." I can see why you are opposed to a fixed price system like Japan's. Sigh.Broaden your discussion. The Canada thing is played, sister.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says:"Do you even understand that you're making my argument stronger?"No, but thanks for making mine for me. At least you finally looked it up and found out that GDP and per capita income were different measures. Now, try to stay with me, you're making progress. Yes, GDP is inflated beyond per capita income due to the amount that is retained in equity instead of becoming personal income. (Pretty sure I said that.) In the United States, using your numbers (what the heck), per capita GDP is approximately 110.5% of per capita personal income.What's that percentage in Canada, 'logic'sound? What is it in Thailand? Because if it isn't that same 110.5%, then your comparison is absolutely meaningless (gee, pretty sure I pointed that out, too).See, when you compare healthcare expenditures as a percentage of GDP between two countries, you get exactly that - a comparison of what the countries spend on healthcare. You do not get a comparison of what the average person in one of those countries spends as a percentage of his or her income, since, as you finally admitted yourself, GDP and per capita income are two different things.The only way the comparison becomes a meaningful measure of what the financial burden to the people of those countries is if both countries you are comparing have the same ratio of GDP to per capita personal income. Well, let me slow down, since you apparently didn't make it through second grade math. See, when you say "percentage of GDP," GDP is something called the 'denominator' of the fraction, with the healthcare expenditure being the 'numerator.' If the ratio of GDP to per capita personal income is different between the two countries, then you are using different denominators. In this case you are using unknown denominators, which means that you can not compare the numerators. It's pretty simple, 'logic'sound, don't get frustrated. When you get to second grade maybe you'll have a teacher who can work with you a little extra and help you grasp it.(continued)

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

(continued)Your comparison is how much a country spends of its total wealth on healthcare. But countries don't pay for healthcare, 'logic'sound, people do. Even in a nationalized system, it's paid for by people through their taxes. If you want to claim a savings that can supposedly be realized by copying the system in another country, it really doesn't make a difference worth a dmn what the countries' expenditures are, what matters is what comes out of the pockets of the people*. And according to the numbers I found (and cited the sources for), the Canadian healthcare system, at least in Ontario (which is, after all, the most populace), takes a bigger chunk of what's in the wallet of the average person than the U.S. system does.All of which is only one half the comparison. As I have said numerous times in these forums, there is no valid objective measure of the quality of care between systems. But I did cite numerous examples of serious problems within the Canadian system. If saving money means people have to wait an average of 4 months for common procedures, thanks, I'll spend more. And when it's your family member or child that's lying around groaning in agony while they wait, maybe you'll give up your idealistic and misguided preferences and feel the same way. In the meantime, be happy with your Utopian pipedream.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

I think notajayhawk needs a timeout. But you can keep your binky.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

Some more of naj's greatest hits:To those who disagree with her "alternatives" of tort reform and, um, tort reform: "But the true "defeatists" are the sheep who believe that nothing but the government taking over would be an acceptable solution, and refuse to look at alternatives."How to use a fallacy: "There is a fundamental difference between a private for-profit bureaucracy and that of a government agency. If you haven't figured that much out, no wonder you follow the sheep into the nanny-state."NAJ's solution: "let's start with tort reform - it doesn't bother any of you national healthcare proponents that physicians pay several thousand dollars per week in insurance premiums in some cases? (And how, exactly, would national healthcare insurance lower that cost?) Then we could look at other ways to reduce costs - not the cost of payment, the cost of services themselves."

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Anyway, logic, if you're reading this, and I hope you do because you're at least worth arguing with (compared to some others around here), all kidding aside: I really do understand what you're arguing for, even if I don't agree. I understand that you (and others, to be fair) really think a measure of 'quality' healthcare is that everyone is covered. I just don't think lowering the level of care (especially in terms of such things as waiting time) for everyone is a worthwhile tradeoff. And I understand the point of using the GDP as a measure for one thing, that the wealth of a country should be a measure of how well their healthcare system works and takes care of its citizens. But especially in a country like ours where wealth and resources are so unequally distributed, I still maintain that it would be better to compare based on the burden to the pocketbook of the average Joe, and I haven't seen those figures (except for those I gave, which is the best comparison I could make with the available information). Yes, we need to make some repairs to our system. I have no problem with the government paying for healthcare for those who need it, but I don't believe it's necessary to pay for everyone's to accomplish that. And costs have to be addressed not payment, costs. You said something back in another thread on this topic a while back. "Part of the reason this is possible is due to the fact that in the U.S. many people recieve care beyond their "need", creating an effective surplus in healthcare capability." And "Better care, to me, implies better coverage for more people, not just the latest state-of-the-art procedure or technology." Actually, we're not too far apart on that. I posted a pretty long reply to you on that thread, don't know if you read it. But I do believe costs can be reduced while maintaining the level of care if, like I think you were saying, some people didn't get an excess of care. Not everyone that comes through the ER needs a CAT scan. Not everyone that gets a spider bite on their knuckle needs to see an orthopedic surgeon two or three times, just to check if the swelling went down. However, I still think a government funded program has less incentive to cut back on such overcharges; yes, private insurers deny more claims, but that's because hospitals tend to submit more unnecessary charges when someone has private insurance (in my own experience, anyway).Healthcare is never going to be as cheap here as it is in some of those other countries. Not much is. But it can be made more affordable, and therefore more accessible, by addressing some of the costs (including malpractice insurance), and I have no objection to the government making up the difference, even if that does mean more taxes for those who can afford it. I just don't think turning the whole thing over to Uncle Sam is the best choice, or even a workable one.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, boys and girls (and dorks), it's been fun, really. The attraction of continuing to argue is wearing off dramatically, however, especially as there's no more chance of a universal national health insurance system coming into being than there is of a bus-riding clown's other pipedreams like the railroads returning to glory or stopping the SLT.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

naj: 'Golly gee whiz wow, Mr. Wizard, you mean if we just change the way we pay for something without changing what it costs, we only end up spending half as much, and it really doesn't cost us anything at all, because the government pays for it all? How does that work?''Magic, dorkie. Magic.----------Again, with feeling, NAJ on how it doesn't matter who pays for it: E.g. an operation and hospital stay that the hospital would charge John Public $40,000 for is settled for $12,000 (and yes, I'm using a real example). Say the consumer paid $20,000 in premiums - yes, the insurance company made a big profit. And yes, it still cost the consumer half of what he would have had to pay without insurance. The federal government has not demonstrated that ability to hold down costs, not in healthcare or any other area of federal expenditures. And with a revenue source which is completely separated from expenditures (taxes) and the lack of a profit motive, they never will.The real obscenity is that the hospital will bill a patient for $40,000 when they can obviously cover their own costs and usually make a profit settling for a $12,000 insurance payment. ----------You see, NAJ, that is exactly what people are complaining about. It isn't only about costs, it is also about who is paying for it. If John Public is paying for it, it is $40,000. If this particular insurance company is paying for it, it is $12,000. If a different insurance company is paying, it is $20,000, and for yet another it is $10,000, and so on.You will never control costs without also addressing the issue of who is paying for it. Either that or the insurance companies and medical providers are both run by Mr. Wizard.

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

logic, he got you. Countries don't pay for healthcare.Nations do. Of course, she'll dispute that as well. She prefers the Ayn Rand Objectivism, or self-interest, theory of living, and rejects the "Liberal" social scientist's definition of nation, state, and how governments are formed and for what purpose.

notajayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Is there something lower than a troll? Something considerably less intelligent, that can be used to describe dorkie-boy?I take back what I said about fetal alcohol syndrome.Thalidomide.It had to be thalidomide.Or worse.Yes, dorkie, that's it. They're really complaining about several different insurance companies all being able to save them half or more of what the hospital charges them. Why, they'd be much, much happier if they could just pay the full amount through their taxes! That would be so much better!Didja' happen to notice, pinhead, that the most expensive option is what the hospital direct bills? That a hospital that can cover their costs and make a profit accepting $12,000 in payment would still charge you $40,000 if you paid it out of pocket? Must be the overhead, having so many different billing forms to use for every different patient.So if no matter who pays for it (Medicaid, private insurance, whatever), it would still cost you, the patient, twice as much if the hospital just dropped a one-page bill in the mail with total billing overhead consisting of a 41-cent stamp, tell me again where the problem is, jacka**?[Must ... stop ... feeding ... trolls ...]

dirkleisure 6 years, 7 months ago

According to you, it is obvious the actual cost of the procedure is not $40,000, since the provider is willing to accept $12,000, or perhaps another amount, as payment depending upon who is delivering the payment. I'm in total agreement with you.I know it is your assertion that only people pay for healthcare. In your example, then, the insurance company is paying on behalf of the person. The person is still paying for the healthcare, so your last paragraph makes no sense.Funny. I agree with her, and she still resorts to name-calling. Must be because the federal government is so inept it won't even negotiate drug prices.Oh well.PS - just to be clear on what a troll is:Different types of trolls:A person that throws around the troll insult to: anyone who defeats them in an argument, anyone who points out facts the real troll doesn't want people to know, or someone the real troll picks at random to stick falsely with a troll label for sheer lulz. This type of troll is 98.9999999% of all trolls now and is often called an Anti-troll.The troll is divisive and argumentative with need-to-be-right attitude, "searching for the truth", flaming discussion, and sometimes insulting people or provoking people to insult him.PSS - you should just eat the first billy goat gruff. The third one is too big and will kick your arse.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.