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Archive for Friday, July 10, 2009

U.S. must learn from other health care examples

July 10, 2009

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Most of us are familiar with the old expressions: Look before you leap; a stitch in time saves nine; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These phrases remind us to think before accepting anything as fact. And never have they been more applicable than now, as the Obama administration attempts to re-fashion the healing arts.

Before buying a car, a shopper might be expected to ask people who own the same brand how they like theirs, or at least consult Consumer Reports. Before we buy the biggest transformation of health care in history and its consequences, shouldn’t we first look at countries where government makes most health care decisions to see how things are working for them?

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was created in 1948. As with America’s Medicare, British politicians said the cost would never exceed their projections. But within the first year, according to “The Problems with Socialized Health Care,” (http://www.liberty-page. com/issues/healthcare/socialized.html), NHS operating costs “were 52 million pounds higher than original estimates, as Britons saturated the so-called free system.”

Canada established a single-payer health system in 1984. To ensure a government monopoly, “Canadian provinces outlawed private health insurance.” Last month, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down that law, but the damage will take a long time to repair.

British and Canadian newspaper headlines over several years foretell what Americans might face should the Obama administration and a Democratic Congress prevail with their version of socialized medicine. And make no mistake, it may not start out that way, but with government undercutting private insurance, it will end up putting much, if not most, of the private sector out of business, leaving government as the dominant player — perhaps the only player — deciding who receives care and who does not based on an arbitrary value assigned to each life.

Here is what Britons face: “Kidney Cancer Patients Denied Life-saving Drugs by NHS Rationing Body NICE” (Daily Mail 4-29-09); “Girl, 3, Has Heart Operation Cancelled Three Times Because of Bed Shortage.” (Times online 4-23-09); “Our Cancer Shame: Survival Rates Still Lag Behind EU Despite Spending Billions.” (Daily Mail 3-20-09); “1,000 Villagers Wait for a Dentist After Just One NHS Practice Opens” (Daily Mail 3-10-09). This may explain the headline, “Number of Children Going to Hospital to Have Teeth Pulled Soars by 66 Percent Since 1997” (Daily Mail 4-12-09).

In Canada, which has far less access to advanced medical technology than the United States, waiting for treatment is also a common occurrence, as reflected in these headlines: “Surgery Postponed Indefinitely for 1,000 Kelowna Patients” (Globe and Mail 4-8-08); “Majority of Quebec Dentists Quit Health-Care System” (CTV 3-27-08); “Why Ontario Keeps Sending Patients South,” (Globe and Mail 2-22-08); and “Will Socialized Medicine in the U.S. Kill Canadians?” (Acton Institute 3-3-08)

What the U.S. faces is what Canadians and Britons already experience. To quote another headline, it is a case of “Dogma Trumps Truth in Health-Care Issues.” (Ontario Business News 7-7-05)

The Obama administration is promoting dogma at the expense of truth. If the government effectively runs health care in this country, there will be no turning back, at least not for a generation or more. Why should government be trusted to put our houses in order when it can’t put its own house in order? Look at the debt being rolled up by the federal and state governments. California is issuing IOU’s. Other states are facing similar financial challenges. Do we want government telling us what type and quality of health care we can have? Should government decide whether your grandmother ought to die because her recommended treatment is “too expensive”? Will tolerance for euthanasia follow the acceptance of abortion after another category of humanity is deemed unfit, unwanted and too expensive to maintain?

We’d better think seriously about this before a health care bill is rushed through Congress. Its members will never have to use the new system, but the rest of us will.

Comments

Satirical 5 years, 1 month ago

Should I do what most people do to begin comments on a blog - write something ignorant that offends a great number of people....?

Perhaps like GM (Government Motors) this is just another industry that Obama wants to take over rather than regulate based on a scare tactic that there is an emergency. Anyone who thinks federal government insurance isn't going to be subsidized or given advantages is either naive or isn't being honest with themself. If only Obama didn't so firmly believe the liberal propaganda that the government is the solution to any problem, and the government can run things better than the private sector.

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Satirical 5 years, 1 month ago

Anyone who agrees with Obama's health care plan is a communist!

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Orwell 5 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, Cal, let's consider the shortcomings of a known system – specifically, let's consider a "system" under which tens of millions have no coverage, cost-effective preventive care is sacrificed in favor of horrendously expensive emergency care, health care is rationed by corporations that make greater profits by denying coverage we've paid for, even with coverage many are driven into bankruptcy by medial expenses, uncompensated care is a hidden tax in the form of increased charges and premiums, the same medication costs more than anywhere else on earth, and there's strong financial incentive to order unnecessary treatment.

Yeah, that's one heck of a system; why don't we just keep that one?

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average 5 years, 1 month ago

You'd think there would be at least a semi-major popular movement in those countries to implement an "American-style" health care system. Is there?

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Rex Russell 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't doubt all of the headlines Cal quotes are true. But he applies the old trick of presenting half of the facts as all of the truth. As I understand it,Canadians as a whole are much healthier than we are. So are Swedes, Danes, Norwgians, et al. I also bet that for every person he mentioned that died waiting for an kidney transplant or heart operation in Europe or Canada, you can match it up here with someone who dies because they can't afford insurance or thier insurance dropped them. His reasoning rings hollow to me because the system we are working under is going to bankrupt us as it is. Employers can barely afford employer-backed insurance in this country as it is. With costs skyrocketing. He offers no solution to our sinking ship other than "Not That".

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

So long as the insurance companies are involved they are in the drivers seat. These folks have done nothing to contain the cost of anything.

HR 676 which is the one too many democrats,republicans and the media do not want. Those shareholder,campaign and advertising dollars are holding citizens hostage and ripping them off at the same time.

The high dollar medical insurance spending on what 1,500 health insurers add to the actual cost of providing care: • its bureaucracy • profits • high corporate salaries • advertising over charges • sales commissions • Shareholders ! are the primary clients of for-profit insurance companies, not patients • Special interest campaign dollars Golden parachutes * Politicians as shareholders: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

Current White Collar Crime: Medicare Fraud Indictments http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401906.html

Senate Report Finds Insurers Wrongfully Charged Consumers Billions http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

The Bad Doctor aka Sen Bill Frist Family Fraud http://www.laweekly.com/2003-01-16/news/the-bad-doctor

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

10 Reasons to Support U.S. National Health Insurance Act PDF Print E-mail Written by Andrea Miller
Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Here are 10 great reasons to support HR 676, the U.S. National Health Insurance Act: http://guaranteedhealthcare4all.org/sites/default/files/10-Reasons.pdf

  1. Everybody In, Nobody Out. Universal means access to health care for everyone, period.

  2. Portability. If you are unemployed, or lose or change jobs, your health coverage stays with you.

  3. Uniform Benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Pinto plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care for everyone, regardless of the size of your wallet.

  4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a universal health system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual's ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected and societal cost in the over-utilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases.

  5. Choice. Most private insurance restricts your choice of providers and hospitals. Under the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair payment.

  6. No Interference with Care. Caregivers and patients regain their autonomy to decide what's best for a patient's health, not what's dictated by the billing department. No denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for "unreported" minor health problems.

  7. Reducing Waste. One third of every private health insurance dollar goes for paperwork and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, the federal government’s universal system for senior citizen healthcare.

  8. Cost Savings. A guaranteed health care system can produce the cost savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. private health care model, adopted a similar system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little increase in overall health care spending.

  9. Common Sense Budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers, private and public, while assuring that appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment.

  10. Public Oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in private and making decisions based on their company’s stock performance needs.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Some Choice Words for the 'Select Few' by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

"If you want to know what really matters in Washington, don't go to Capitol Hill for one of those hearings, or pay attention to those staged White House "town meetings." They're just for show. What really happens -- the serious business of Washington -- happens in the shadows, out of sight, off the record. Only occasionally -- and usually only because someone high up stumbles -- do we get a glimpse of just how pervasive the corruption has become."

For the rest of the story--

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/11-1

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 1 month ago

RichardHecklerBot is up early this morning.

I am curious... what healthcare plan do you offer your "employees," Richard?

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 1 month ago

You want to see something really scary?

"John Holdren, Obama's Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet"

http://zombietime.com/john_holdren/

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notajayhawk 5 years, 1 month ago

rrussell (Rex Russell) says…

" As I understand it,Canadians as a whole are much healthier than we are. So are Swedes, Danes, Norwgians, et al."

As I understand it, people are taller in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. If we copy their national health plans, will you get taller, russell?

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Danimal 5 years, 1 month ago

We already have a public healthcare system in this country that services roughly 24 million people a year, and it doesn't work very well. It's called the Veterans Health Administration, it's part of the VA, you should look it up.

If we can't properly administer a healthcare system with a set clientele with relatively homogenous ailments, how are we going to make another broader and less defined system work?

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