Previous   Next

How do you think the U.S. should reform its health care system?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 10, 2007

Browse the archives

Photo of Sara Rosenkrance

“Instead of trying to find ways to help people pay for health care by shifting money around, they need to reduce the costs of health care itself.”

Photo of Randi Hacker

“I think above all else that all children should be cared for.”

Photo of John Hollandsworth

“They should socialize it a bit. I would model it after Canada’s health care system. We would all have to pay more taxes, but it would be worth it.”

Photo of Jeanne Remaily

“I think they should start supporting natural medicines and make them available to people of all incomes.”


samsnewplace 10 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see the young and the old generations covered. We in the middle can work and usually health insurance is a benefit through the companies we work for.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Is national health insurance "socialized medicine"?


*Socialized medicine is a system in which doctors and hospitals work for the government and draw salaries from the government. Doctors in the Veterans Administration and the Armed Services are paid this way. Examples also exist in Great Britain and Spain.

*But in most European countries, Canada, Australia and Japan they have socialized financing, or socialized health insurance, not socialized medicine.

*The government pays for care that is delivered in the private (mostly not-for-profit) sector. This is similar to how Medicare works in this country. Doctors are in private practice and are paid on a fee-for-service basis from government funds. The government does not own or manage their medical practices or hospitals.

*The term socialized medicine is often used to conjure images of government bureaucratic interference in medical care. That does not describe what happens in countries with national health insurance. It does describe the interference by insurance company bureaucrats in our health system. *H.R. 676 [109th]: Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act

CardsFan 10 years, 6 months ago

Never will happen! To many lobbyist putting money in the pockets of politicians to have national health care.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Physicians for a National Health Program - Health Care is a Human

sgtwolverine 10 years, 6 months ago

Ha. Things don't get socialized "a bit."

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

Panel to discuss health care reform in Lawrence,Kansas

Forum designed last year in campaign season may become annual event.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 6 months ago

National Health Insurance is the way to go.

The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $7,129 per capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves 47 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment though a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

*Currently, about 64% of our health care system is financed by public money: federal and state taxes, property taxes and tax subsidies.

*These funds pay for Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, coverage for public employees (including teachers), elected officials, military personnel, etc.

*There are also hefty tax subsidies to employers to help pay for their employees' health insurance. About 17% of heath care is financed by all of us individually through out-of-pocket payments, such as co-pays, deductibles, the uninsured paying directly for care, people paying privately for premiums, etc.

*Private employers only pay 19% of health care costs. In all, it is a very "regressive" way to finance health care, in that the poor pay a much higher percentage of their income for health care than higher income individuals do.

*Another consideration is that everyone would have the same comprehensive health coverage, including all medical, hospital, eye care, dental care, long-term care, and mental health services.

*Currently, many people and businesses are paying huge premiums for insurance that is almost worthless if they were to have a serious illness.

=================== The workers and others receiving the 64% of tax dollars thus far are not complaining about who is paying for their the taxpayer. Adding another 36% would cover all so how bad can that be? ===================

canyon_wren 10 years, 6 months ago

It seems like we discussed this before recently--and ms_canada gave us some input on the way Canada handles it.

I think there should be a national health care system which provides basic and catastrophic insurance that is tied to our income tax return--we can indicate on that if we want to be a part of it. I think I mentioned this before, as well. I feel that there are so many people who work at jobs they are not suited for simply to be able to have health insurance, and we have so many jobs where really skilled people would make a difference in our society (mechanics, farmers, landscape gardeners, etc.) if they could do those jobs and have access to reasonable health insurance. Also, it would reward those who are willing to hold jobs instead of just taking from society. It certainly seems like such a plan would not be too complicated, and would make it possible for people to choose the level of health insurance on their tax return--having a larger percentage taken out of their income, etc., if they wanted more complete coverage.

Kat Christian 10 years, 6 months ago

Do away with the greedy Health insurance companies. Biggest mistake ever started. I have always believed in socialized health care. It should be a given right for every American Citizen to obtain health care in this country. Not available just for the wealthy, but available to everyone without question. Socialize it so everyone can share in the health.

jonas 10 years, 6 months ago

agno: You have given an idea with no chance of being implemented. Not saying I disagree with its validity, but it ain't going to happen.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 6 months ago

I voted for Nixon. It was the first Presidential election I could vote in. For that, I am truly sorry. I go to punish myself now.

Ceallach 10 years, 6 months ago

I've grown impatient with LJW repeating the same questions. I don't think it should be reformed, it's just perfect. (So much for being truthful!)

I think it's more fun to hear about how impatient other posters can be, makes me feel better about my occasional bouts of "why in the blue blazes is holding up this line?", or "you need what? when?".

toefungus 10 years, 6 months ago

Affordable health insurance must be the right of every American.

Bone777 10 years, 6 months ago

Too late to be heard.

I have insurance and my insurance company gets charged twice what it should to cover those that don't pay. Our system is sinking because of the poor and unhealthy.
Institute basic services for those that can't afford them and limited doctors visits. I would love it if there were doctors that the insurance companies could do business with and then there were doctors that the "unable to pay" could go to that would provide basic services and limited referrals. If you can't afford health care try living healthier and studying medicine....

Sean Livingstone 10 years, 6 months ago

I like Hillary's model. The rich can keep their good health insurance, but they can pay a little bit more tax to help pay for those who do not have a good health insurance, but those who got those insurance have to pay something. This will make sure no one will exploit the system.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 6 months ago

TOB, I'd copy/paste some lorem ipsum, but the last time I did that a man died.

storm 10 years, 6 months ago

You got it right, Sara! And I would add, not allow insurance companies to allow money be frittered away on fertility treatments.

badger 10 years, 6 months ago

How to reform the health care system?

I think we should start by having one...

First, take a hard look at malpractice lawsuits. Out-of-control punitive damage awards and 'pain and suffering' cases are just making lawyers rich, really - especially when it comes to elective cosmetic surgery. Suing someone for millions of dollars because you had complications when he (at your totally voluntary behest) injected you with botulinum toxin doesn't improve the overall standard of real health care. It just jacks the rates of malpractice insurance, which increases the cost of healthcare.

I'd love an option for nationalized health insurance. It wouldn't even have to be free, as long as it was reasonably affordable. That way, since I'm a contractor that works for several different agencies, I wouldn't have to work out how to pay for a health insurance plan I get from one employer while I'm on assignment for another employer.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 6 months ago

I say we should be able to cut in front of other patients in the line at the ER.

That, and we should be able to bill Doctors for our time that we had to wait for them past our scheduled appointment time.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 6 months ago

At the transplant unit, you should get a discount if you bring in the donated organs yourself.

sdinges 10 years, 6 months ago

I just don't understand why some of you think that a government run health care system is so evil. You've been listening to too much propaganda. I grew up in Canada, and I can honestly say that although not perfect, it works. The health care system in the United States has advantages if you can pay for them, but most are advantages of convenience, such as not needing a referral to see a specialist. I have never been denied care or waited an excessively long time for a procedure in Canada, nor has anyone I've ever known.

Right now, this country pays more per person on healthcare than Canadians do. Of course, that comes straight from our pockets, and not from our taxes. Why can't we expect to pay the same that we do now on healthcare, and receive a better system than Canada? It makes sense, but that's not what we have, no matter what the propaganda machine tells you.

ms_canada 10 years, 6 months ago

Merrill's cut and paste entries got some things right here. In Canada, most of our doctors do not work FOR the government. A doctor or clinic of doctors can incorporate, become a company. They bill the government for the care that they give their patients. Each patient has a health care number which the doctor records on their chart. Government is billed using that number. I must correct something that I stated when this same subject was debated a couple months back. I said that each citizen paid $44 per month for the insurance. Not so, only 3 provinces within Canada require that payment, Alberta being one of them. The other 7 provinces require no premium payments but are covered by the insurance. In Alberta seniors do not pay that premium, all others do. I thought a lot about this. I guess, individually, each citizen must ask themselves just what they expect their government to do for them. I think we would all agree on certain basic services. Protection, that is armed forces and policing. Infrastructure, roads, streets, highways. What else should we expect from gov.? Airports, docking facilities in harbours, border patrol and customs officials. Our mail service. Our prisons. These things would be covered by federal authorities, would they not. They are here in Canada. Then there are numerous services provided by state/province and civic authorities. Such as street lighting, street maintainance. What about recreation facilities, swimming pools, football and baseball fields. Who in your country provides those? Here they are provided by civic authorities but are operated by community groups who are frequently volunteer elected boards. Why all these statements and questions from me? I believe that we citzens do not think about this stuff enough. We just accept what is there never asking ourselves how it all got there. How would you like to live in a country like Afghanistan where policing was run by warlords with their own private armies of thugs and health care was completely non existent. Again, I say, it boils down to just what you would expect your government to provide for it's citizens. Especially your poor wee ones and poor elderly. Now I have a question for you yanks. Who builds your hospitals? Do you know? Who runs your mental health facilities? Is it all private or are some government owned? Just a few of my thoughts on this.

H_Lecter 10 years, 6 months ago


That's a superb idea for discounts; I'm sure it will promote recycling too.


Lillie 10 years, 5 months ago

Life is about choices, finding a good doctor is a really big area of opportunity for the general population to make good choices, when those who do not have to many opportunities can make bad choices, they don't have to many opportunities to be able to overcome from the bad choices.

People who get hurt have no financial cushion because they medical insurance is not enough to cover all their expenses and they're living on fixed income.

The situation is that doctor's can have a free way to turn their office into a money business. Every 15 minutes they see a patient not enough for a complete examination. Making it easy to for everything to end in a malpractice, doctor "mistakes" ect.

Here is my..pain,my anger,my feelings, I went looking for a better quality of life and I almost did not make it back home . Because I went to fix my intestine tract and I came back with my intestine tract worst and my doctor told my family that he made a mistake at the surgery : he burn my left kidney urether ...!

So I will add here a 'YES' , USA need to reform it's health care system the "day before yesterday". Meaning "AS SOON AS POSSIBLE".

Commenting has been disabled for this item.