Health Care Hypocrisy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_VinylBoy, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    We haven't even gone through the first day with the new 112th Congress and the drama is already starting.

    One of the first things on the agenda of the new House Republicans is to try and pass a bill that is entitled, "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act". I wish I was making that title up. As impossible will that be, considering that Republicans don't have the majority in the Senate and Obama has veto power in the White House, the gesture only seems to be a symbolic one at best. But for every action, there is a reaction. Earlier today, a bill was proposed in the House for every person in Congress to disclose whether or not they are enrolled and/or using the government health plan. And guess what happened... every Republican, including them crafty Tea Baggers, voted against it. You would think if they were so against government regulation, against government sponsored everything and against the Health Care Bill, telling the very people who voted for them that they actually live up to the words they used to get into office would be a good thing. Alas, what's good for a soundbite to swoon our nation's ever growing idiocracy is never good to actually live by.

    And to think... debates about the debt ceiling are looming not too far in the distance. This is gonna be a LONG two years.
     
  2. montanaguy

    montanaguy New Member

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    I live in Montana, and I believe that the bill needs to be repealed. Why do I say this, it's because our senior US Senator Max Baucus, has admitted when he was asked about the bill, that he did NOT write it and that he has NOT read all 1,000+ pages of it. Since he did not write the bill, it should be made null and void for that reason and thus repealed.
     
  3. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Several provisions in the Health Care bill that are not only beneficial to people but also are heavily supported by American citizens have been activated as of January 1st. If there was any real concern, Republicans could simply propose amendments to the bill to try and change what they find wrong with it. That's how it's supposed to be done in Congress. I don't buy into the notion that the entire bill needs to be repealed first, and then rethought from scratch at all. That's nothing more than disingenuous posing and grandstanding to their base of "I have Obamaites" because there's no way the bill would pass the Senate and/or not get vetoed by Obama to begin with.

    If Max Baucus (or any Senator) claims that they didn't read it, then perhaps that tells more about how he approaches his job when it comes to important matters for the nation. Because I'm sure if that bill was double the length and had Sports Illustrated swimsuit models on every page they would have read it twice in one sitting in the bathroom. That's not a valid excuse for me... it just further exposes how incompetent some politicians in Congress have become (if the excessive use of the filibuster wasn't a clue). If they didn't want to read long bills then they should have taken a different career choice such as a burger flipper at McDonald's.

    Beyond all of that, don't you think it's a bit insulting that congresspeople think their civilian base is so stupid that they would have to come up with such a ridiculous name for the bill? "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act"? Honestly. The people who wrote that should be slapped.
     
    #3 B_VinylBoy, Jan 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  4. TomCat84

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    :confused:
     
  5. B_crackoff

    B_crackoff New Member

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    The US Healthcare Bill was always economically unfeasible, as they deliberately underestimated doctor costs, & many others.

    In the UK, there is free healthcare for all, but the tax rate (for the non workshy), is 31% (20+11) over $10,000 £(c £6,500), which seems a lot more than in the USA.

    Are Americans on the lower end willing to pay at source via PAYE? Are they willing to give up their better cars & creature comforts for better health?(That's an honest question, not rhetorical). If not, then they really shouldn't get it.
     
    #5 B_crackoff, Jan 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011
  6. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Not according to the Congressional Budget Office which has already calculated the amount of money that would be cut from the deficit over time. In fact, according to the CBO the repeal of the current Health Care Bill would add an additional $230 Billion to the deficit.

    Cost of health care repeal put at $230 billion - latimes.com

    They already have. That is, unless, you can find me a ghetto or a trailer park where everyone owns a Prius or a Tesla Roadster. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Speculator

    Speculator New Member

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    America could have all the healthcare it needs, but as Crackoff has suggested you need to give up something in order to get it.

    I suggest the housing market.
     
  8. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    They can start with Defense spending. There's plenty of places where unnecessary funding can be trimmed down here, especially once the two wars in the Middle East come to a complete end. It's not as if that hasn't been stated before, despite how some people continue to ignore it through fear of being attacked by Mohammed. :rolleyes:
     
  9. Speculator

    Speculator New Member

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    I agree with you, the U.S has a global military presence that could easily be scaled down to reduce costs.

    But as well as reducing expenditure there's a lot that could be done to increase national income, getting tax policy right would be a start.
     
  10. FuzzyKen

    FuzzyKen New Member

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    It does not matter what we like, at some point this country is going to have to go to some sort of very different health care system than what we currently have. It is broken and it has failed more Americans than you can imagine. In 2001 my Mother was out and out Murdered by an HMO that denied her cardiac care after a major documented and diagnosed heart attack. The HMO in question according to an Attorney I contacted had a track record of doing this. Within a two year period he had filed and won 52 lawsuits against this same company. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to profits above care thinking because towards the end of their lives the procedures they often require are expensive. The denial of care was obvious, blatant, and she died guys. If that was not enough, after working with this Attorney for several weeks, I made a number of discoveries. The ugly truth was they would place a dollar value on my Mother's life. In addition, I would have to spend between 3 and 5 years in Court to collect the damages. In order to collect those damages I would have to agree to sign a "gag order" absolving the carrier of any guilt in the death. I asked the Attorney about this and he openly and honestly stated that my Mother's death and the resulting lawsuit and court costs that they would have to pay based on the denial was simply amortized as a "business cost" and the loss at the end would be a loss tacked on to the premiums of others paying into the system. When a health care organization fails the "gag order" is a standard procedure and it literally covers the tracks of what a bunch of slime balls we all are dealing with. Gentlemen, until you personally have dealt with slime and watch premiums paid for years and then rotten care, you have no experience in the area and no ability to really judge. Those opposed to changes are either bought and paid for or simply not talking to the people they represent. I can guarantee you that I talked to several "bought and paid for's" and even with documented medical proof the only action was the lawsuit and the State Insurance Commission involved was not even interested.

     
  11. midlifebear

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    FuzzyKen:

    I, too, have had personal experience with the US system of health care that you suffered with your mother. Sadly, the majority of US citizens just don't get it.

    I quit seeking medical care in the USA back in the mid 1990s. What many cannot understand is there are countries (even in the EU) where physicians are physicians because they were motivated to help people and are fascinated with medicine -- unlike the USA view that it's a good way to over charge for services and become wealthy.

    I'm an old fart (65) and am very careful about choosing health care providers. Fortunately, I'm in a situation where I can be picky. And none of the physicians I've consulted since the mid 90s have been in the USA, save one. I do need a point man when I'm in Nevada to write the occasional prescription for meds that are otherwise commonly sold over-the-counter for asthma in every country I've traveled, including Canada. This particular physician is in Elko, porks in over 300 lbs, and hasn't kept his skills up in decades. But he can write a prescription. In Spain he would qualify as a triage nurse who works at a neighborhood pharmacy, but not allowed to do much more. He just makes a best guess diagnosis and refers patients to specialists. But in the USA he's been allowed to work past retirement age and skim money off of the uninsured and underinsured in northern Nevada. There are two other GPs in the same community and one of them is known as Killer Miller. Inspires confidence, doesn't it.

    Before I made the changes that I currently enjoy in my life, my only option was an HMO. I never saw the same physician twice. And the last three physicians I met with asked me if I had any other means of getting insurance and finding a reliable clinic of specialists plugged into the local community. They could see, first hand, that the HMO they worked for was not patient-oriented. They even sent members of their own families to non HMO physicians.

    As for seeking medical care in Argentina and Spain, they have an old-fashioned and rather quaint tradition. If you have an appointment at 3:00 PM you'd damn well better be at the physician's consultorium at 3:00 PM. There is no waiting to see a physician for hours in his office as he is distracted by too much multi-tasking. It just isn't done. If a physician's patient has an emergency, the physician is networked with other physicians to help take care of unexpected problems. And there are always unexpected issues for all physicians. They just have a better system of managing time and caring for all their patients.

    I read posts by folks such as Bbucko who have to deal with HIV meds. Bbucko is very intelligent and has learned to pinch the tits of the medical services available to him in Florida. If he were in Buenos Aires he wouldn't have to be too concerned. All citizens or legal residents (and more recently, more illegal aliens from Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru) are all given free treatment at HIV centers. The same meds that folks in the USA spend the majority of their income on are given to HIV patients down here for the whopping cost of what equals 40 cents a day. And they are manufactured by the same pharmaceutical companies. And if an HIV patient cannot afford the 40 cents a day, he or she still receives the same quality care at HIV clinics which specialize in monitoring and extending people's lives. Lab work to monitor patients is mostly free. Occasionally an HIV patient may have to pony up 25 Pesos to pay for a discounted MRI, PET scan, etc. A similar system is in place in Spain. The governments understand that they can afford to treat people to keep them healthy. It's when they become chronically ill and need more expensive care and services that the crunch is felt by these two nation's economies. So, the obvious thing to do is keep everyone as healthy as possible, which costs a lot less than care for HIV patients as they succumb to AIDS-related illness and eventually die because some insurance company can't make anymore money off of them.
     
    #11 midlifebear, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  12. FuzzyKen

    FuzzyKen New Member

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    Dear Midlife,

    Thanks for the very thoughtful response. The real insult to me in the whole thing is that medicine was my family business. Right now I am working with an MD and if we can do it single-handedly we are going to try and put the brakes on this mess one step at a time.

    I understand the workings of medicine in the U.S. and under the current system many good MD's (and a few hacks) are literally denied the ability to care for people because the MD's are no longer making care decisions, the decisions are 100% being made by the insurance companies. This is done when an insurance carrier must "pre-approve" both diagnostic procedures and then pre-approve treatment.

    We have just been through hell here on this very issue. Our 23-year-old was diagnosed in June with cancer of the tongue. The dentist waited 3 months to refer it to a specialist after doing his damned best to give it as much time to spread as possible. The oral surgeon took only a week and treated some other things before taking the biopsy, the Oncologist was so caring he went on vacation without telling anybody, and the only one who gave a damn was the final surgeon who really pushed hard for the kid.

    In the U.S. we pay absurd mark-ups on everything in medicine. In this there were three scans. The full body cat scan was $3,500. The two P.E.T. scans of his mouth jaw and neck were $3,800 each, the two consults from the Oncologist who had a sub that I even doubt was an Oncologist were $1,400 each. The readings of these tests were billed separately and those were in the $600-700 price range each. The Surgery costs for the hospital alone were $12,000 more, the Anesthesiologist was paid about $4,000 for his four hours of work, and then there is this little thing called "miscellaneous" which was another $1,300. The main treatment was in October of 2010 and we are still getting bills on this.

    The problem is a simple one and that is out and out corruption. If you want to really begin to understand the whole mess it was the deals that were made between Edgar Kaiser (Kaiser Permanente) and Richard M. Nixon that started this whole mess. In this country we have "Tricky Dicky" to thank for the very beginning of the unwinding of medicine.

    If we were to get the Foxes and remove them from guard duty at the "henhouses" we would in just doing that make major improvements in medicine and the whole system would begin to be more oriented towards the people it serves.

    When all of the people running medicine on a governmental level came from big padded cushy jobs in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries serving medicine the obvious is going to happen and it has. They work for a few years and then go back into even higher paid cushy jobs because they succeeded in changing rules to generate even more profits.

    The profits for MD's these days are about in truth 50% of what they were in 1970. The days of the millionaire MD are over and have been for a long time. The overhead of a medical practice would blow your mind simply because the minute you hang up your shingle that says "I.C. Bones, M.D" everybody has their hands out and the legislators bought and paid for tie that MD's hands to where he must feed megabucks into the system or lose his license in licensure of various kinds, permits, insurance at whatever rate that the providers want to charge and it goes on and on and on.

    My Stepfather was until his passing a well known and respected Physician and Surgeon in the Los Angeles area. It was his desire to treat his patients until he was no longer physically able to do so. He had cancer himself and died 30 days after his retirement.

    I was the one who had been running the whole show for that last two years as far as the business and the one who handled all the billings to collect the final charges for services after his death for his estate.

    It was a dog and pony show then, and it has gotten 1,000 times worse since that time.

    I have friends in the U.K. in Medicine. I have friends in Canada in Medicine and I have friends in Paris in medicine. All of these people are making good or better money than they are making here taking price adjustments into consideration.

    Based on their experiences and specific roles these people know the score from the end of the practitioner. Compared to medical professionals here these people make more money and they have it easy.

    All the negative publicity and scare tactics are generated by those who stand to lose money if a national health care system became the way of the world.

    Again, thanks for the great response. I wish that I was able to travel as you do at this point in my life. I can guarantee you that my medical care would improve at least, and I would be seeing a great deal more of the world.
     
    #12 FuzzyKen, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  13. midlifebear

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    Fuzzyken:

    I'm sorry to tell you how much MRI, CAT, and PET scans cost -- out of pocket -- here in Buenos Aires. I've had all three here in Argentina just hanging with The Squeeze over the last 5 years. An MRI costs 110 Pesos (divide by 4 for the dollar amount). A CAT is 150 Pesos. And a PET is also 150 Pesos. Even more amazing is that when you have these procedures done it includes two complete summary overviews by different physicians as well as their interpretations and suggested diagnosis. And I've been using the services at el Instituto Argentino De Diagnóstico y Tratamiento S.A. -- a for profit medical organization -- that is considered the best in the City. The medical imaging equipment at the Diagnostic Institute is new and world class.

    There are plenty of very good clinics and medical diagnostic centers and you don't have to use the only lab or clinic recommended by your physician. However, every physician and porteño I've spoken to has mentioned that I'm lucky not to be stuck with Suisse Medical, a private medical care provider with its own labs and hospital. Many government workers who have "prepagos" -- prepaid health care -- are stuck with Suisse Medical.

    I'm currently dealing with a diagnosis of melanoma. So far I've spent less than $3,500 US Dollars. This has included my primary dermatologist's honorarium (you pay in cash), the cost for all the lab and body scan work (can't remember the name of it, but I had a complete pixel-by-pixel 3 dimensional, full color body scan that cost $325 US), paid the receptionist in the administration office $500 for the use of operating room, two attending surgical nurses and all miscellaneous expenses including a private recovery room, and $750 each ($3,500 in Pesos in an envelope) paid directly to the two plastic surgeons who excavated the obvious malignancy between the top and bottom layers of skin plus a surprise tumor that was lurking nearby in the muscle tissue of my butt. Needless to say, my ass is sore.

    Yesterday, (Thursday), I received the good and the bad news. Good news is that it is Stage 1. And despite the skin biopsy being malignant, the surprise tumor seems to be self-contained. The bad news is that I have 8 to 10 weeks of chemo therapy to look forward to, just to ensure that any "unseen" malignant cells are -- it is hoped -- wiped out for good. When I asked my dermatologist how much the chemo treatments are going to cost she quickly said "It will be $350 in US Dollars." I assumed she was telling me it will be $350 a week. Nope. It will be $350 for the entire series of treatments, regardless if it takes 8 or 10 sessions. I'll be receiving the same chemo treatments as I would in the USA: dacarbazine (also termed DTIC), and immunotherapy (with interleukin-2) in a line-drip that takes about 1.5 to 2 hours once a week.

    I've had chemo treatments for cancer before, back in 1990 when I was insured at a software company and was fortunate to have been diagnosed WAY early with colon cancer. So, I kind of know how bad things will be. But as I recall, the chemo treatments in 1990 were in the ball park of costing $100,000.

    My dermatologist made a formal house visit two days after the surgery and as we sat on my terrace drinking agua con gas flavored with fresh pineapple juice we discussed what she thought would be the best path for treatment. She asked if I had access to any "yerba buena," which literally means spearmint or peppermint. She was actually inquiring if I had access to marijuana. I told her no. This morning a young man from FarmaCity showed up with a small box that has a prescription pasted on the outside. Inside are what look like 12 cigarettes, but instead of tobacco they are 100% Argentine grown medical marijuana for helping quell the nausea from the chemo. I gave the delivery guy a 20 Peso note. He wasn't expecting anything. I've yet to receive any kind of bill from FarmaCity which is definitely in the business of being the country's largest pharmacy chain and making as much money as possible. But I can expect to receive bills for the "medications." I've already received facturas (receipts) from everyone else showing that I've paid for all these services.

    But there is one thing with the Spanish and Argentine (Chile, too) system of medical care that is much different than in the USA. You are in charge of maintaining your own medical files. Your physician will most likely record lab results and stuff in a database on his personal PC, but YOU carry around all of your X-rays, scan results, lab results -- literally everything. In fact, after the surgery my surgeons numbed my ass with enough lidocaine that I couldn't feel my right butt cheek for 6 hours. This gave me enough time to leave the surgical clinic in a taxi with my biopsies bottled and wrapped up in one hand and giant plastic medical record sack in the other so I could personally deliver the biopsies to the pathologist on my way home. The pathologist's office assistant was waiting in front of his consultorio for me and the taxi to stop on my way home. When I finally made it home from the surgery (alone, The Squeeze is caring for his mother in Mar del Plata) my doorman presented a small carton containing 30 blister-packed Oxycontin when he buzzed the main floor door open. That was the first time FarmaCity had been dispatched to deliver medication. Ya gotta love the Oxycontin. It came in real handy when the lidocaine wore off.

    In the USA I would have had to wait 3 or four weeks to see a dermatologist. And $50,000 wouldn't have been enough to get me near having a biopsy. I was just having my annual checkup and flu shot on November 29th in Barcelona before flying to Buenos Aires when my primary care doc noticed the black spot on my ass. The back flap of the fashionable medical gowns ALL medical systems insist patients wear just happened to open enough to flash my doc and attract his attention. If I were living in the USA I'm certain my primary care doc would just have assumed the black spot on my ass was a birth mark. I'm sure of it. My Spanish primary care doc made an appointment for me to see the Argentine dermatologist on December 2nd. I was still groggy from jet lag.

    I wish there was some way I could get you hooked up with the quality of reasonably priced health care I'm able to enjoy. But I made the decision to shuck the USA for 1. a legal husband, and 2. a better quality of life. However, everyone can't pull it off. And there is a serious language barrier, even for those who think they know how to speak a particular foreign language. Speaking a language is remarkably different than being able to understand that same language when someone else speaks it. Something high school French teachers never are willing to share with their students. Je maudis tous l'école secondaire Professeurs de français!

    I'm more than willing to admit tht the USA does have great health care centers and some whiz bang doctors. But in my opinion you get better odds in a Las Vegas casino.

    Sorry for such a long post. I've recently had far too much idle time to waste on LPSG. :smile:
     
    #13 midlifebear, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  14. FRE

    FRE
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    It seems to me that a bill should be considered on its merits rather than on the basis of who wrote it and whether it was carefully read before being enacted. Like all major pieces of legislation, it will have unintended consequences which will require amendments to rectify; that has to be expected and is no reason to repeal the entire bill.

    This is not to say that it is OK to enact bills which have been inadequately studied. However, it has already been enacted.
     
  15. FRE

    FRE
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    Sometimes the name for a bill is chosen for propaganda purposes. The "Patriots' Act" or whatever it is called, is a good example. And yes, choosing such names IS insulting. It assumes that people are so stupid that their opinion of a bill will be strongly influenced by its name.

    Political campaigns are often insulting to the intelligence of voters. Frequently they are based on a succession of silly sound bites which convey no useful information. Unfortunately, they seem to work.
     
  16. FRE

    FRE
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    One of the best ways to boost national income would be to improve our education system. Compared with other developed countries, our primary and secondary education systems are extremely poor. In all areas of knowledge tested, our students score much lower than students in other prosperous countries. The only scale on which our students score at the top is in self-confidence, which obviously is not based on competence. Better education would lead to higher national income which could be used for a number of constructive purposes.

    Over the last 40 or so years, the amount we've spent on a per pupil bases has increased by a factor of almost four (adjusting for inflation), yet we have nothing to show for it. Obviously the solution is not to spend more money.

    If we can boost our national income by improving education, we can easily afford to spend more on health care if we really need to. However, we are already spending more on health care than do many countries whose health care systems produce better results.
     
  17. FRE

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    You are absolutely right.

    Those opposed to a national health care system assert that it would interfere with doctors' ability to treat patients; they totally ignore the obvious fact that that's exactly what insurance companies are doing right now.

    There is also the matter of excessive costs resulting from unnecessary procedures and tests; an example follows.

    About a year ago, I had a bladder infection; they are fairly common and, although not life-threatening, require prompt treatment. Because I was unable to get an appointment with my physician (I'd have had to wait for over a month) and was unwilling to go to emergency, I went to an outfit that uses nurse practitioners. Because of a reaction to the antibiotic prescribed, the NP changed medications, which was a reasonable thing to do. One of the known side effects of the original medication was a headache and I had a moderate (not severe) headache. The NP used that as a reason (excuse?) to run up a huge bill, knowing that medicare would pay for it. She put me on oxygen for half an hour, the theory being that more oxygen to my brain would relieve the moderate headache, even though my blood O2 was normal. She also gave me an unnecessary injection for the headache and sent me for an unnecessary MRI scan which cost $2,500! Then she had a Doppler test done of my carotid arteries to make sure my brain was getting enough blood. All these unnecessary tests added about $3,500 to the bill! That sort of thing obviously runs health care costs sky high. A patient cannot do much about it without being accused of being uncooperative and risking being rejected for necessary treatment.

    Getting health care costs under control will require eliminating unnecessary procedures and tests.
     
  18. midlifebear

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    Fre:

    As I stated in my lengthy rant against high cost health care in the USA, an MRI really does cost 110 Pesos in Buenos Aires. That's about $27 dollars US. Not making it up. Of course, in the USA the medical community will insist that doesn't even cover the cost of powering up the machine. MRIs are as common as X-rays. When's the last time you paid $2,500 for an X-ray? Never.
     
  19. b.c.

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    I was going to put this in a new thread, but seeing as this one is fitting, here are excerpts from a newsletter on the Republican's plan on repealing the Healthcare Bill. It's from Organizing for America, a Democratic National Committee group, therefore take it for what it's worth:

    "House Republicans are moving forward to repeal all provisions of health reform, with a final vote scheduled for next week.

    If they get their way, insurance companies will once again have the right to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, drop or limit coverage if you become sick, and charge women higher premiums than men. Seniors will lose critical prescription drug savings and free preventive care under Medicare.

    It's sad but not surprising.

    The motivations here have little to do with good policy. Repeal is just the first agenda item of a new Republican majority that is much more interested in appeasing their right-wing base and looking out for special interests than working together to create jobs and grow the economy.

    Behind the scenes, insurance-industry lobbyists are working overtime with Republicans to take us back to the days when their clients were able to do whatever they wanted."

    "the Affordable Care Act...provisions are fair, reduce the deficit by more than $230 billion over the next 10 years, cut costs, and protect all Americans from the worst insurance industry abuses. The law is already making a difference in people's lives."

    "Among other provisions, the Affordable Care Act:

    -- Prevents insurers from raising premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability;

    -- Frees families from the fear of losing their insurance, or having it capped unexpectedly, after an injury or illness; and

    -- Prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against pregnant women or denying coverage to children born with disabilities."

    "The Republican alternative at this point consists of a two-page addendum to the two-page repeal bill."

    "...they won't have trouble raising money to drum up support for repeal. Republicans' close relationship with entrenched interests has benefited them in campaigns that did not begin -- and will not end -- with health reform."

     
  20. FRE

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    But in Argentina, the MRI cost is subsidized. That's not necessarily bad, but it has to be understood.

    Operating an MRI machine (previously known as NMR, for nuclear magnetic resonance but changed because people are terrified of the word "nuclear") is expensive. The superconducting magnet has to be cooled with liquid helium which is very expensive and has to be replenished regularly.

    Powering up an MRI machine IS expensive. It takes time to chill it with the liquid helium which, to reduce losses, is surrounded by both liquid nitrogen and insulation. If the magnet quenches, the expensive liquid helium is lost. There is also a significant risk of expensive accidents.

    However, your basic points are valid.

    YouTube - Chair gets stuck in an MRI machine

    YouTube - MRI Explosion
     
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