Universal Healthcare in America?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ital8, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. ital8

    ital8 New Member

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    Sorry if this topic has been brought up before, but it appears that Obama is really trying to nationalize our health-care system. I've been giving some thought to the pros and cons compared to what is offered in this country now. Millions of Americans are uninsured and medical bills can be astronomically high even after routine visits if you do not have coverage. On the flip-side from what I've heard with nationalized health-care, waiting lists are extremely long, there are doctor shortages, and of course higher taxes are used to pay for everyone's health-care. With that said though, you do have coverage whether you are employed or not (unlike here) from cradle to death. From what I understand, it seems like Canadians seem satisfied with their system? Am I right or wrong? Can someone either from Canada or the UK, or any other nation that has a similar system give their thoughts as to how they feel about their system? I have also heard that a lot of Canadians do come to America because the waiting list for certain operations are too long. Again, I have gathered this information from what I've heard and read, etc. So please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about anything. I'm just curious to hear others opinions as to if America should adopt this system. Sorry for the long post.
     
  2. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    I think it's folly to compare one country's system to another. For instance, France's nuclear energy program is vehemently chastized by the left here in the US, and lauded by the right, while many other French policies are vice versa.

    Second, there are a number of "average" citizens that are already part of a viable health care plan. Although not perfectly efficient but still viable... so those folks and their corporations that "build in" their healthcare plan as part of their wages, now need to double up via paying for other's healthcare. Reminds me of the voucher educational system... which I've yet to hear a viable argument against.

    The Federal government is so efficient (sarcasm abound) in all aspects of service, it frightens me that such a large and expensive institution would be left in there hands... there's a reason why FedEx and UPS are global successful corporations vs the subsidized USPS. Social security has gone from a 1-2% into the teens and beyond. Anything run by the gov't gets little 'executive' checks/balances and has no fear of competition nor need for efficiencies while delivering a competitive service. Otherwise, "national healthcare" = welfare. A true national healthcare system would serve 90%+ of the populus, and I just can't believe that can be done here. Given the past track record, what exists now in the face of 'public health services', the private opportunity, and so forth.

    $.03
     
  3. Pendlum

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    Mishandling of health care service would just beg for some lawsuits. As for doubling up, I can only hope that they could get some tax breaks if they still paid for health care for their employees after/if this thing gets into gear.
     
  4. Flashy

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    frankly, i do not want the government touching my private healthcare or doing anything that might affect it, nor do i want my taxes going up to pay for that of others.

    I do want people without healthcare to have some kind of coverage through the government.

    but the ways that i would suggest would never be taken, even though it could pay for the un-insured rather easily.

    I do not support health care for illegals, and they make up nearly 1/3rd of the uninsured apparently...but if there are 30 million american citizens who need to be taken care of, i believe we could do it rather easily.

    1. Increase cigarette taxes even more....2$ more a pack in federal tax (americans as of 2002 smoked 22 billion packs a year and each pack costs the nation $3.50 dollars in health care...I am a former smoker) All states must come in line and charge the same taxes, so the tax cannot be avoided by buying elsewhere. All Indian reservations will no longer be exempt from certain taxes on cigarette sales. It must be uniform. IFe people can afford it or don't care, they will still smoke...if they cannot afford it, maybe they will quit. Win-win.

    $2 more per pack in federal tax and $1 more in uniform state cigarette taxes, all go into a common federal and state fund. 66 billion dollars per year based on per pack sales.

    2. Increase taxes on alcohol. (Alcohol Retail Sales for 2008 were roughly 130-140 billion) increase sales taxes by 15%...20 billion dollars right there.

    3. Legalize marijuana and tax it heavily. (there are roughly 60 million americans who smoke marijuana on a regular basis. If paying an average tax of $10 a week per person is the norm, we are looking at 30 billion a year from that alone and this does not even begin to take into account heavy smokers, and higher quality brands etc.)

    116 billion dollars a year in revenue.

    bingo. there is no reason why an adequate basic coverage plan for the uninsured could not be done at an average cost of about $3,000 per patient a year, or roughly 90 billion-120billion should costs be higher than $3000 per individual.

    Mind you, this should be very basic coverage. No viagra, no bullshit. Just medical necessities for children, women, men the elderly etc. regular checkups, everything...but no frills.
     
  5. Elmer Gantry

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    US health care is one of the main reasons I would never live there. It scares the shit out of me, quite frankly.

    Some neighbours of mine moved down here from the UK several years ago. They became naturalised Australians, both had good jobs, then decided to have kids. They went through the public health care system, the birth went off without a hitch at the local hospital, room privided for the duration of the uneventful stay, and everyone went home happy.

    A normal birth sequence in Australia.

    Cost?

    Nothing.

    Even coming from the socialised UK system, they were amazed.

    Nationalised health care should be the norm. It's one of the things that governments can and should do properly, instead of trying to fight never ending wars and attempting to control the economy. Hell, even Cuba can do that properly. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed or just bullshitting.
     
  6. Skull Mason

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    I Have to pay damn near 500 dollars a month for health care, sucks.
     
  7. Flashy

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    so tell me something master Chuck...why is that Australian children have to come to the United States for some treatments like those supported by the worthy "Operation Oz Kids"?

    The treatments did not exist in Australia, and their Australian coverage did not cover the costs here, which were $500,000 american for 33 months of treatment.



    (I have deleted the names of the children since it would not be right to have their names on LPSG)

    Operation OzKids is a Fund of the American Australian Association was established in 2003 to assist Australian children needing urgent and specific medical treatment in the USA, which is unavailable to them in Australia.
    The Fund was established at the behest of individuals who witnessed the life struggle of late (name redacted), a young Australian boy who was suffering from leukemia and was in need of another bone marrow transplant. His family had come to the United States to enable him to receive medical treatment here. (Name redacted) passed away April 15, 2003 following a 33-month battle with childhood leukemia, specifically, acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

    The (name redacted) family’s Australian medical coverage and government assistance did not cover the massive expenses incurred by (name redacted) treatment in the United States. To cover their medical costs, which were in excess of $500,000, the family sold their house and business, exhausted all of their resources, and borrowed money from family and friends.
    The Association’s Fund, ‘OperationOzKidsUSA.org’ is now assisting (name redacted) a six year old Australian boy receiving treatment in New York for a rare form of cancer; he has been diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in July 2004. Fundraising efforts in Australia have assisted (name redacted) and his family to come to the United States for treatment in New York City. In Australia contributions may be made to The (name redacted) Fund which is a tax deductible charity in Australia.








    Of course Chuck since NAtionalizd Medicine works so fantastically everywhere, let us look at some of the problems in Australia.







    The key problems with the health system are:
    ·the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
    ·many Australians cannot access health care when and where they need it
    ·a chronic shortage of doctors, nurses and other health professionals
    ·insufficient focus on prevention and primary care
    ·the inefficient allocation of resources caused by the current State/ Commonwealth funding structure.

    About AHCRA


    ---


    A health workforce for the 21st centuryThe willingness of doctors and other health professionals to work extended hours has diminished as the health workforce ages, as the proportion of women in the health workforce increases, and as individuals seek to balance work and family life.11 Work, social and educational aspirations of health professionals and their families influence decisions about where to live and practise, and their criteria may not easily be met outside metropolitan areas.
    These and other factors have led to problems in the supply and distribution of the health workforce (Box 3).11,12 There are serious shortages of general practitioners, dentists, nurses and some key allied health workers. Shortages are more significant in outer metropolitan, rural and remote regions, especially in Indigenous communities, and in particular areas of care, such as mental health, aged care, and disability care. Overseas-trained doctors now make up 25% of the medical workforce compared with 19% a decade ago.13
    The Australian Health Ministers’ Conference developed the National Health Workforce Strategic Framework in 2004 to address these issues, but its implementation has faltered because of lack of national leadership and lack of integration across health and education bureaucracies, governments, and public and private training sectors.14





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    My family has several dear friends in Australia who we adore. Strangely, three of them have/had cancer and they all came here for their treatment.

    you of course neglect to mention that "The Australian government has introduced a number of incentives to encourage adults to take out private hospital insurance."


    and of course this gem:

    Poor services

    State governments are responsible for managing hospitals and community health care centres. Services across the country have been routinely criticised for lengthy waiting times in emergency rooms and for non-life threatening operations[citation needed]. Poor standards at New South Wales hospitals were highlighted after Jana Horska had a miscarriage in an emergency room toilet at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital. In October 2008, many hospitals in New South Wales were threatened with closure from non-payment of bills for necessary medical supplies.[9]






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    shocking to see you rear your head in a thread and then use it to extoll an anti-american theme.


    big surprise that.


    still waiting for your answer in the ISrael thread by the way, which you of course ignored.
     
    #7 Flashy, Mar 5, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  8. Flashy

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    Quality and safetyMedical errors in Australia cost over $1 billion — possibly $2 billion — annually.15 The Quality in Australian Health Care Study found that about half of these errors were potentially preventable.16
    Australia has not come to terms with medical error, neither recording its occurrence nor adapting systems from other high-risk industries, such as nuclear power and aviation, to reduce it. Rigid, fault-seeking, blame-allocating cultures are tolerated, even enshrined, in professional hierarchies. There is a new agency for quality and safety, built on a succession of preceding committees and councils, but its effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated (Box 4).17
    We do not know whether a decade of quality and safety activity has produced improvements; there are insufficient data at state or national level, in the public or private sector, or for in-hospital or out-of-hospital care.18



    The public–private mix in health care fundingAccess to health services is becoming less equitable. Patients’ out-of-pocket costs have grown 50% in the past decade19 and now, for some, present a sizeable barrier to needed care.20
    Australia has always had a health system that relies on public and private financing and service delivery. This has been presented as a matter of choice. However, the private health insurance surcharge can be seen as unfair by those who live in rural areas where access to private health facilities is limited (Box 5).21
    Some areas of surgery are now performed predominantly in the private sector, and the 57% of Australians without private health insurance must wait, often for months, for elective surgery in the public system. This creates an equity challenge where access to care is based on ability to pay rather than need. Specialist surgical training remains concentrated in the public sector, where the caseload is diminishing.
    The private health insurance sector is heavily regulated. Premiums for private health insurance are the same for the active and the indolent, the prudent and the profligate. Should this be so? Health funds respond by shifting their bad risks back to the public sector — for example, they do not pay for home renal dialysis and limit payments to specific dialysis centres.
    The reinsurance scheme, which evens out the risk to insurance companies irrespective of performance, obliterates incentives for funds to seek out and develop imaginative solutions to chronic disease management and prevention. Innovations linking health services to health service financing are forced to the margins, and flourish in the health management programs of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. An example is the program to improve hospital discharge planning and prevent hospital readmissions, which is expected to deliver savings of $46.1 million in hospital costs over the next 4 years.


    ---
     
  9. Calboner

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    I can agree with you on that point. I do not use marijuana or any other illegal drugs, nor am I keen to smell people smoking it or stinking of it; but treating the possession, use, or sale of it as a crime is a deplorable waste of public resources. Even without any tax being imposed, I wonder how much money would be saved in law enforcement and the criminal justice system by decriminalization.

    By the way, I learned from Thomas Szasz not to speak of "legalizing" drug use (which implies that it is somehow inherently illegal, when in fact it has merely been made so by positive law) but rather of "decriminalizing" it (removing a positive legal restriction).
     
  10. slurper_la

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    I just have to laugh at some of these posts.

    I have private health insurance that costs a small fortune. Yes, Insurance! Remember we pay through the nose, not for health care but for insurance.

    My benefits have been shrinking faster than my cock in a cold shower.

    My rates keep increasing.

    My coverage keeps diminishing.

    Percentage of services covered keeps reducing.

    My co-pays keep increasing.

    Every visit, or test, or procedure needs pre-approval from the insurance company and is often denied as a matter of routine regardless of what my doctor says and often are scheduled two weeks out.

    How is this better than "socialized" medicine?

    .
     
  11. Flashy

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    well said Cal.

    indeed, decriminalizing is the more appropriate word...i am just so used to the "Legalize It" historical slogans, its "illegality" has been burned into my head.

    sneaky government bastards. :wink:


    but i do agree...beyond the taxation, the amount of money saved in law enforcement, not to mention the penal system would be enormous....easily in the 10s of billions every year

    this is an article you may find very interesting...especially when Milton Friedman agrees

    the savings from marijuana enforcement annually would be 7.7 billion and taxes which would likely be much higher than consumer spending in general could be 6 billion plus or higher depending on the state and federal tax levels

    The High Cost of Prohibition | DrugReporter | AlterNet
     
  12. lucky8

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    The government just needs to step up and offer their own public hospitals. Don't nationalize medical facilities that already exist, leave them for the private entrepreneurs. Build public hospitals, 1 or 2 in every major city, and offer services and healthcare at a lower price than private doctors and hospitals. Price competition.

    Being that everyone who opts to goes to these government run hospitals would still be charged (at a lower rate than private businesses), we really wouldn't have to bare the brunt of extreme tax hikes. If you want to use the gov. system, you must first register for it, then the gov. takes everyone's information, issues them a gov. healthcare card, and taxes them...the people who sign up for it. That way people who still want to use their overpriced doctors and pay for overpriced drugs can do so and won't be taxed, and those who prefer cheaper healthcare can have and pay for it.

    The hospitals would be run off of both taxation and revenue. If you end up not liking the gov. healthcare, file a removal form that cancels your healthcard and the taxes you pay for it. We don't need nationalized healthcare, we need cheaper healthcare and cheaper drugs, and I believe if the government would step up and compete with pricing, it would eventually lead to cheaper healthcare and medicine all around, without all the bitching from people who don't want to use it...
     
  13. Elmer Gantry

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    That's a bit like an Italian going to Wisconsin for pasta.

    I have absolutely no idea why a kid would go to the USA for a bone marrow transplant, it must be a super rare form for that to happen. Also bear in mind that Australia is a leading light in such medical fields as cornea transplant (thanks to the late great Dr Fred Hollows), cancer research, diabetes research and bionic/prosthetic maufacture.

    "The key problems with the health system are:
    ·the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

    ·many Australians cannot access health care when and where they need it
    ·a chronic shortage of doctors, nurses and other health professionals
    ·insufficient focus on prevention and primary care
    ·the inefficient allocation of resources caused by the current State/ Commonwealth funding structure. "


    The indigenous problems are a shameful part which is no refelction on the medical standards of this country.

    The waiting list statistics puzzle me (and many others) somewhat as no one down here can figure out who the 57% waiting list are.

    The shortage of doctors is an issue but it's far from chronic, applies to rural areas (this is a very big country) and is more a product of our flaky universities offering med school spots to the highest paying Asians before Australian citizens.

    Insufficient focus on primary and preventative care? Probably, but no one can throw the first stone on that issue.

    The last issue is an eternal battle between federal and state govt's trying to grab the largest slice of the GST pie and has little relevance to actual medical services.

    Medicare has issues, but it is a far better system than most.

    And what the %$#@ would i know. I've only lived here for thirty odd years, broken more bones than I can remember, had an appendix out, and never paid a cent for any of that. Gosh, what a shitty deal.
     
  14. Flashy

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    I see, so i suppose you do not pay the 1.5% tax levy?


    "The public health system is called Medicare. It ensures free universal access to hospital treatment and subsidised out-of-hospital medical treatment. It is funded by a 1.5% tax levy."

    free indeed.


    kindly peruse the wiki on this topic, and explain to me how you manage to receive your health care without paying any tax levy or any co-pay of any kind over the 30 odd years you lived there broken numerous bones, had your appendix out, gone through every possible annual or semi annual checkup, dental care or any other type of medical care and then add in prescription drugs and "never paid a cent for any of that"

    tell us another.

    still waiting for your response in the Israel thread...again. Third notice.

    i am going to sleep, but eagerly await your responses, as you might imagine.
     
  15. midlifebear

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    Since Flashy's so on top of it, maybe he can solve my health insurance issue. I'm one of the more than 40 million (not 30 million) 'Mericuhns who don't have health insurance.

    I'm 59 years-old, gay, am not obese and have never smoked or been more than the occasional social drinker (weddings, etc.) since I was about 25. I've had colon cancer in 1990 when I was working for a US company and at the time the Human Resource people did everything they could to interfere with my getting proper treatment ("You don't have enough sick leave", "The costs for your surgery, chemo, and radiation are causing us to pay higher premiums for all of the other employees", yaddah, yaddah, yadda) so I did my best and worked from home and the hospital by telecommuting. Note, this was in the days of Arcnet.

    I took a job overseas and have beneffited a great deal from that decision. But I had to return to the USA to care for dying parents. Still, my employer in Spain did not give me any shit about increased health costs and let me have more than 3 years off for taking care of family health care issues. During those three years I started several businesses all clumped under Nevada LLC's. I needed health insurance, but the lowest -- well, actually, the ONLY insurer -- that would consider me was Blue Cross of Nevada. Because of a previous bout of cancer (which has been in remission since 1990) the lowest premium for me was $1,500 per month with a $20,000 annual deductible, after which they would happily may 80% of my medical costs up to a maximum lifetime of $100,000. Quite a bargain, eh? Oh, and if I were to have a recurrence of colon cancer, well too fucking bad for me. That's considered a pre-existing condtion even though I've been cancer free for more than 20 years.

    Instead of taking up their kindly offer, I've discovered there are many pockets of incredible affordable health care around the world that are far ahead of the USA in treating many different cancers, have state-of-the-art surgical facilities, and hospitals that are more comfortable and better designed than Chicago's Omni Park Hotel! And many also have surgeons and physicians board certified in their particular field in the USA as well as France, Argentina, Japan, Germany . . . the list is long. So, when I needed gall bladder surgery and could no longer put it off, I had it done at Hosptial Austral, 50 kilometers north of Buenos Aires. Total cost for all pre surgery lab work, the surgeon, surgical nurses, rental of a surgery room, all medicines and the anesthesiologist, bandages, food, and 24 hours from check in to check out cost a whopping $1,495.00.

    My nieces, twins in their early 20's, both had the exact same surgery and arthroscopic procedure within the same year as me. They both had medical insurance plans through the Utah Public School system because they are both teachers. They paid $2,220+ in co payments to meet their $$2,500 annual deductibles. They couldn't use their American Express cards to automatically cover the deductibles, allowing them to pay off over a year their $2,200. Instead, they dealt with the hospitals who sent them double billing notices each month and never really could clearly explain why my nieces ended up overpaying or why, at the same time, they ruined their credit records because they reported them as paying late when in fact they never paid late on those "revolving credit" deductible payments.

    Two years ago I was faced with deciding how to proceed with treatments for prostate cancer. I checked with three USA urologists, one in Spain, and the original urologist who detected the cancer early here in Argentina. I ended up paying out of pocket a whopping $6,000 for brachytherapy. That amount covered everything: pre lab work, biopsies, CAT and PET scans, the surgery and the 50 Iodine 125 isotope "seeds" inserted into my prostate. In the USA those same seeds of Isotope 125 seeds cost between $16,000 and $22,000 depending upon where you live in the USA.

    Recently I've been wasting a lot of time on LPSG because a couple of weeks ago I incurred an inguinal hernia lifting too much at the gym. The total cost for anesthesia, a top surgeon who specializes in hernias, and livery to and from the hospital cost $350. Again, they were kind enough to allow me to charge it all to my AmEx card so I could accrue the fly miles.

    How much does a hernia operation go for in the States these days?

    I have no problem paying a reasonable and fair price for quality health care, but the cost of health care in the USA is out of control. So, you hang onto whatever health care you have as long as you can, because once you're laid off or a small business owner whose business actually makes a profit, you WON'T even be able to afford having plantar warts removed from your feet if you're a regular middle-income 'Merichun.

    Fortunately, I still make a reasonable annual income that means I'll be paying lots of taxes under Obama's tax plan. I'm more than happy to pay those taxes as long as they don't go to buy more bombs to kill more children or are not used to rebuild the infrastructure of the country.

    Now, at 59 years-old, the idea of ever returning to the USA to live permanently is not an option. If I were to suddenly have a medical emergency while within the borders of the USA this is one 'Mericuhn citizen who would be expected to sell off all my assets (including my ranch, which I've owned for more than 39 years) just to pay to have my chest cracked open. Nope. I've got much more faith in cardiac surgeons here and in Spain. In fact, in Spain, my medical care is a non-issue because I have permanent residency and pay Spanish as well as USA taxes therefore, in the Province of Catalonia I have public health care that puts the US Health System to shame.

    So, since you're so privy to the leading edge of all things regarding economics and health care in the USA, what would you suggest I do? Spend more than the cost of a new Buick each year just hoping I don't have to go to the hospital or do you know of ANY health insurance that is fair and equitable when it comes to insuring a US citizen who is too young for Medicare? Kaiser Permanente comes to mind when mulling over the thousands of patients covered by them who have died waiting to be approved for health care. When I turn 65, if things continue the way they have been, I can get a Senior rate of $250 - $300 a month premiums on a "fixed income" --meaning that I cannot be making the money I currently am -- so Blue Cross can fill my mail box with rejection letters for medical charges because of pre-existing conditions.

    You're supposedly the future of the country (you're in you 30's, no?), so what, short of just dying of a quick heart attack, do you suggest those of my generation who are unable to afford the "unaffordable" insurance that the US public is led to believe that is available?

    I'm serious. I'm listening.
     
    #15 midlifebear, Mar 5, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  16. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    Problem, my Grandma can grow her favorite chronic and swap at her quilting club, where's the taxes in that?
     
  17. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    :arms::arms:
     
  18. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    DISCLAIMER: I'm not Flashy.

    Reform should be govt lead:

    1) Govt. monies to educate more health care professionals. (Don't charge them tuition and double the tuition on liberal arts majors- kind of a joke but not really). Engineers, science and math majors should also go free if those are the kinds we are in need of to remain competitive.

    2) Require drug companies not charge more than 5% for their drugs than they do any other industrialized nation (i.e. socialized Europe).

    3) Require all doctors visits be audio recorded and procedures to be video taped. The tech exists. Tapes can be reviewed by the patient for remembering instructions and by others for a myriad of reasons including but not limited to malpractice insurances claims. Don't want your visit recorded then jury bias against your malpractice claim. I could expound on the cost savings but you're a smart guy.

    4) Obama's medical records idea (though not his own) is a good start.

    5) Don't allow hospitals to charge the uninsured more than 10% what they charge the insured.

    6) Do like the Japanese did with scanning technology in order to lessen costs.

    7) Encourage investment in technologies that would be home based test to cheaply, accurately and early detect medical problems (Nano tech frontier).

    8) Find out what are the highest cost points in the system and try to mitigate them with technology or regulation.

    9) Threaten insurance companies with "socializing" insurance. I.E. transforming them into not-profit entities.

    10) Fuck this was a good one. I just can't remember it off hand... I should write this shit down.

    11) And on and on....

    The list could go into the fifty count and beyond, but Democrats and Republicans and Obama are too fucking lazy to look at the details, they'd rather toss around money. Obama is NO health care messiah and your picture of Argentina and Spain are grossly exaggerated. Plus, socialized Europe eats of the health tit of America as evidence in part by the link below:

    Hit & Run > Now Playing at Reason.tv: Swedish Myths and Realities - Reason Magazine

    Point being universal health care is a dumb idea. You're ideas are broke. :0)

    Edit: P.S. I don't mean to be a complete ass (nothing personal just based on the examples you gave) but what lifestyles can lead to throat, colon and prostrate cancer? Ans: slutty ones. Mitigating promiscuity would also lessen medical costs. Can't figure out how to do that though.
     
    #18 B_spiker067, Mar 6, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  19. lucky8

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    Actually now that I think about it, many of the problems we have could be solved by reducing the length of patents on meds and medical related products to 6 years...American drug companies should all rot in hell, profiting off of health is insanely immoral. If the execs can't stand weaker profits and salaries, they can find themselves another job. Capitalism, bitches
     
  20. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    And where would you get your MRSA anti-biotics?

    I'd settle with them not advertising on TV anymore. 2/3 of drug companies' monies go to advertising.
     
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