World Politics

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Jul 9, 2009
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rhubroma said:
No, we are not entitled to cable TV, a motor home, etc., but we should be entitled to healthcare. And Thatcher was a Nazi.
+1 I thought she stopped at fascist though.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
$1,000 a month seems like a pretty good deal for a liver transplant, no? If your Federal Tax rate balloons from 28% to 58% of your gross income, will you be happy to have Universal coverage? How about the denial of a life saving procedure due to excessive cost? I'm ok with it as long as it's not someone I CARE ABOUT!

After all, the health industry is only 1/8 of the GDP of the USA. Lessee, the feds run Medical well, and then there is Social Security.... yep, the track record of gov't run health care is impressive indeed.

Oh well, at least it will be FREE.
Scott SoCal said:
We are entitled to health care, and cable TV and a motorhome and a house in the Hamptons and first class airfare a cell phone...no an iPhone, free internet, Calvin Klein Jeans, oh... I need my house painted and... geez, just go ahead and make my house payment for me and.. I have a tummy ache that is clearly somone else's fault... free education, college and graduate school.... eek!

There will come a time when those who pay for stuff get tired of paying for those who don't. My favorite quote from Margaret Thatcher, " the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money".

Be very careful what you wish for.
This guy is quoting Thatcher like that means something.

When Thatcher left office government spending was EXACTLY the same as when she left. Thatcher just shuffled the money around to benefit the rich. That's a fact...an inconvenient one for you I'm sure.

You're an apologist for a class you either belong to or aspire to belong to. That makes you irrelevant in any real debate.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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It's a politico-legal decision to deny access to health care, and which should be frowned upon as much as when one is denied to exercise his/her other rights like the right to freedom of speech; religion; to elect their officials; fair trial; be presumed innocent; be free from slavery and torture etc.

"Every human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity." Source.
This is a further explication of art 25.1 of the UDHR which states:

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." Source
As far as I am aware, the US signed that declaration as well. So in essence, a human being has the right to access the highest attainable standard of health, comparable to the voting, freedom of speech and fair trial.

Given the wording in the declarations, there is no prescribed or favoured method to achieve access to health care. A system of private insurance companies, the NHS, or a combination of private and governmental incentives, a state is free to choose the method that it deems best.

To deny access to healthcare then is on a par with denying someone to chose his officials, to speak his mind or to deny him a fair trial. Is it immoral or uneconomic? Perhaps, but most of all, it is illegal.

To counter that healthcare costs "taxpayers' money", is therefore also a hollow argument, because elections, fair trial, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech all cost money - and a lot - as well. To enforce all these taken-for-granted rights, one needs a well trained police force, well trained judges, well trained lawyers, election committees overseeing and guaranteeing fair elections, an educated population, and then we have not even considered voting computers/ballots/police cars/stations/guns/court houses etc.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
$1,000 a month seems like a pretty good deal for a liver transplant, no? If your Federal Tax rate balloons from 28% to 58% of your gross income, will you be happy to have Universal coverage? How about the denial of a life saving procedure due to excessive cost? I'm ok with it as long as it's not someone I CARE ABOUT!

After all, the health industry is only 1/8 of the GDP of the USA. Lessee, the feds run Medical well, and then there is Social Security.... yep, the track record of gov't run health care is impressive indeed.

Oh well, at least it will be FREE.
It isn't a pretty good deal. Not at all. To put it in perspective for you... next time you get sick, go and flush $1000 a month down the toilet for the rest of your life. For someone like myself, who was earning $50k/year at the time, it is a huge chunk of money! What if I lost my job? No way could I afford this, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't have the insurance anymore.

Also, what makes you think the tax rate would need to increase from 28% to 58% to pay for healthcare? The proposals that have been floated around are not anywhere near that expensive.
 
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Anonymous

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Cobber said:
It isn't a pretty good deal. Not at all. To put it in perspective for you... next time you get sick, go and flush $1000 a month down the toilet for the rest of your life. For someone like myself, who was earning $50k/year at the time, it is a huge chunk of money! What if I lost my job? No way could I afford this, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't have the insurance anymore.

Also, what makes you think the tax rate would need to increase from 28% to 58% to pay for healthcare? The proposals that have been floated around are not anywhere near that expensive.
And we all know how accurate estimates are, right? Example: The prescription drug plan to seniors signed by President Bush was sold to the public with a price tag of $400 Billion. By the time the bill was signed it was $700 Billion. You really think this will be any different? No. It will be monumentally worse. The system in place needs reform but Gov't takeover? Why don't we start with tort reform?

A more just society? Really? What is just when I take your labor? I have no right to your labor and you have no right to mine.

Look, I'm really glad your wife received the care she needed. If it is not your responsibility to pay for the care received then who's is it? The public? The evil (for profit, since when has that been a bad word?) insurance company likely paid nearly seven figures to save your wife's life. Your insurance premiums are what they are. You lose your job and can't pay your premium and guess what.... you will have your public option. It's called Medicare or MediCal here in Cali.

I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone. My political views are my own and I don't think I'll make lots of friends on this forum by discussing them.

Maybe we can start a thread about religion and perhaps abortion rights...

I'll show myself out of this one.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
And we all know how accurate estimates are, right? Example: The prescription drug plan to seniors signed by President Bush was sold to the public with a price tag of $400 Billion. By the time the bill was signed it was $700 Billion. You really think this will be any different? No. It will be monumentally worse. The system in place needs reform but Gov't takeover? Why don't we start with tort reform?

A more just society? Really? What is just when I take your labor? I have no right to your labor and you have no right to mine.

Look, I'm really glad your wife received the care she needed. If it is not your responsibility to pay for the care received then who's is it? The public? The evil (for profit, since when has that been a bad word?) insurance company likely paid nearly seven figures to save your wife's life. Your insurance premiums are what they are. You lose your job and can't pay your premium and guess what.... you will have your public option. It's called Medicare or MediCal here in Cali.

I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone. My political views are my own and I don't think I'll make lots of friends on this forum by discussing them.

Maybe we can start a thread about religion and perhaps abortion rights...

I'll show myself out of this one.
No offense taken on my part. I think the positive thing we have in this forum is that a lot of us have discussed things for several months now, and we can disagree on a particular subject without generating into name calling (for the most part! :D). In fact, my best friend here in Atlanta has very similar views to you on the healthcare debate. We are still friends, we still have a beer together every now and then, and we haven't come to blows yet!

Regarding who pays for what.... it all comes down to what is considered an essential part of a modern society and what is not. I think national defense, police, and fire fighters are essential. As are paved roads, traffic signals, potable water and public transit. As such, these things should be paid for, or at least heavily subsidized by our taxes. Things like cable TV and cell phones are not essential, and thus we should pay for them ourselves if we can afford it. The question with healthcare is which group you think it belongs. I happen to think it belongs in the essential group - especially preventative healthcare.

Again, no hard feelings from me towards you. I am always happy to have a civil discussion with someone who doesn't agree with me, and it will not influence my opinion on anything else you post on these forums. :)
 
Apr 20, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
I'll second that, and add... lesser of the two evils.

Personally, I do not trust politicians.
+1

I think it is the patriotic duty of every citizen to watch our politicians very carefully and be constantly criticizing their every move. That goes double for the people that we voted for. Too often politicians expect the people that voted for them to sycophantically support their every move. And too often, like sheep, people do.
 
Jul 16, 2009
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When is the tort reform going to happen? This is the driving force behind medical costs in the USA. Talk to a Dr on a personal level. They spend upwards of $100,000 - $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance. How many years of pay is that for most of us?

I wanted to be a Dr, until I talked with a Dr. It's great to help people, to heal them. But have 1 patient die, thru no fault of the Dr, and that patient's family can try to sue. And there are plenty of lawyers out there who will be happy to take on the case. Win or lose the case, your malpractice insurance goes up.

How does this work in other countries? What kind of rights do patients and patients families have for suing Drs for malpractice?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone. My political views are my own and I don't think I'll make lots of friends on this forum by discussing them.
I don't think you have offended anyone. Your political views are indeed your own, no one has the right to change them, and you have the right to express them freely.

As long as we try to keep the debate - and I am not pointing at you - civil, cordial, unwilsonesque while expressing our opinions based on (passionate) arguments, we would be doing a lot better than many politicians.

A more just society? Really? What is just when I take your labor? I have no right to your labor and you have no right to mine.
When someone says something to this extent, if I am correct in my assumptions, I am intrigued by the words "Mine" and "Yours" mean.

Firstly, do you think we live in a just society already, a society in which we can freely express ourselves, pick our religion and our representatives? And do you agree that, amongst others, these are elements that define the level of 'justness' of the society we live in?

If so, as I argued before, to safeguard these rights, money or an investment is a required. Funding has to come from somewhere, and if the society's members cherish the current level of justness or the society they live in, they need to contribute in order to preserve the status quo. Hence, 'taxation' - may I infer that from your statement about 'taking labour from someone else' - makes possible the conditions of the society you already live in.

In that case it seems that under some circumstances 'taking labour from others' is allowed, ie to preserve a liberal society with certain so called fundamental rights, while under other circumstances, ie to guarantee the right to health, it isn't. That seems a bit too selective.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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TheNJDevil said:
How does this work in other countries? What kind of rights do patients and patients families have for suing Drs for malpractice?
I think damages or compensations in other countries are much much lower.
 
TheNJDevil said:
When is the tort reform going to happen? This is the driving force behind medical costs in the USA. Talk to a Dr on a personal level. They spend upwards of $100,000 - $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance. How many years of pay is that for most of us?

I wanted to be a Dr, until I talked with a Dr. It's great to help people, to heal them. But have 1 patient die, thru no fault of the Dr, and that patient's family can try to sue. And there are plenty of lawyers out there who will be happy to take on the case. Win or lose the case, your malpractice insurance goes up.

How does this work in other countries? What kind of rights do patients and patients families have for suing Drs for malpractice?
This is entirely an American problem. Too many friggin lawyers and too many citizens trying to earn a buck.
 
Scott SoCal said:
We are entitled to health care, and cable TV and a motorhome and a house in the Hamptons and first class airfare a cell phone...no an iPhone, free internet, Calvin Klein Jeans, oh... I need my house painted and... geez, just go ahead and make my house payment for me and.. I have a tummy ache that is clearly somone else's fault... free education, college and graduate school.... eek!

There will come a time when those who pay for stuff get tired of paying for those who don't. My favorite quote from Margaret Thatcher, " the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money".

Be very careful what you wish for.
no scott, not entitled, we should pay for it like any other utility. not some extravagant luxury.

and keep posting, we can agree to disagree, and maybe we both learn something,eh? we are both in so cal among folks here.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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TheNJDevil said:
When is the tort reform going to happen? This is the driving force behind medical costs in the USA. Talk to a Dr on a personal level. They spend upwards of $100,000 - $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance. How many years of pay is that for most of us?

I wanted to be a Dr, until I talked with a Dr. It's great to help people, to heal them. But have 1 patient die, thru no fault of the Dr, and that patient's family can try to sue. And there are plenty of lawyers out there who will be happy to take on the case. Win or lose the case, your malpractice insurance goes up.

How does this work in other countries? What kind of rights do patients and patients families have for suing Drs for malpractice?
It's a problem for sure. At the same time, you have to have some checks on authentic malpractice. I am not sure what solution is.

But the real driving cost of medical care in America is the lack of prevention, from healthy diet to identifying disease and treating them in much earlier stages.
 
Aug 18, 2009
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Part of the issue with the healthcare debate is that no one realizes that everyone has healthcare now... it is called the emergency room. The problem is that it is ineffective and overly expensive way to administer medicine. The taxpayers pay for it one way or another. So, some recognition that people with no other option go to the emergency room rather than a "regular" doctor, who could have been seen a lot earlier and given better, targeted treatment earlier in a disease, would go a long way to help the "debate."

I would also point out the Tuskegge Syphillis Study as a reason that some people fear a government take over of healthcare.

Subject shift: Best bumper sticker during election time: "Cuthulu for President: why always choose the lesser evil?"
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
I think damages or compensations in other countries are much much lower.
I don't really know, but I think most other countries will award compensation but not punitive damages. Punitive damages can be very high in relation to actual compensatory costs.
 
Apr 21, 2009
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The real driving cost..

scribe said:
...you have to have some checks on authentic malpractice. I am not sure what solution is...

But the real driving cost of medical care in America is the lack of prevention, from healthy diet to identifying disease and treating them in much earlier stages.
Agree. Also a lot of overhead costs of many, profit-motivated insurance companies. Insurance company admin adds nothing to quality of care and costs a lot, including the admin expenses of doctors, hospitals, and HMOs negotiating prices and reimbursement with multiple insurance companies.
 
BroDeal said:
That is a good thought. There is a reason why other sites that allow discussion of politics restrict it to a politics forum
I tend to agree. Though such a forum might be interesting here with all the people across the planet.

Appreciate this has turned into more of a health care discussion, as I know we have some physicians on here, and I would assume, a fair amount of health conscious people. I've also dealt with a lot of health care bureaucracy in the last two years after my father had a major stroke. Even though he has Medicare and private insurance, it's been an absolute nightmare, driving my parents to the brink of insolvency.

Dude17 said:
Part of the issue with the healthcare debate is that no one realizes that everyone has healthcare now... it is called the emergency room. The problem is that it is ineffective and overly expensive way to administer medicine. The taxpayers pay for it one way or another.
This is what is indeed lost on people. They don't see it as a cost, as they don't see it as a tax because it's not coming directly from the government. But taxpayers (that would be working people) absolutely, positively, definitely pay for it. You pay for it in rising costs of your own health care as the hospitals have to get their money somewhere to stay in business, plus all the ancillary costs associated with that; and you'll pay for it later in the fact that Medicare, Medicaid and other costs go up, driving deficits higher and higher.

It's a pretty viscous spiral we're stuck in.

Rupert said:
Also a lot of overhead costs of many, profit-motivated insurance companies. Insurance company admin adds nothing to quality of care and costs a lot.
Well, that's the system we set-up. Our country believed for a while, and many still do, that competition should exist in the private sector on nearly every level. So the theory would be that as this happens, the system will take care of itself when people can no longer afford to pay, and this will lower the costs. And those companies that are too top heavy and greedy won't survive.

The problem is we've been living in this theory for many years now, and not seen it happen. There's been no correction in this "market" at all, with costs outpacing inflation for decades. It's only gotten worse, and worse, with no indication it's going to improve on it's own what so ever.

Compounding all of this of course is that major insurers and health care powers are so connected to politicians that they are able to essentially bribe them with campaign funding and other perks. As such, little change comes from either party. This is why we need open elections in primaries, and to eliminate tax-deductions from political contributions of any kind, essentially eliminating the two-party system, or turning the parties into clubs. We also need total campaign finance overhaul, and to make lobbying a crime. :mad:
 
May 13, 2009
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In my opinion, the only reasonable way to run health insurance is a government system. What I don't understand is how a free market of health insurances should be superior. Let's think where one can make a difference in the bottom line:

First of all, the actual insurance bureaucracy shouldn't eat up more than a few percent of the premiums. So, not much to save there. The way to make an insurance profitable is (i) to deny claims, (ii) to pick out low-risk customers or (iii) to have a better model for 'likelihood of claim'/'insurance premium' than your competitor. (ii) and (iii) are more or less the same.

Now, this is how car insurances, home insurances etc. will compete against each other. Premiums there will depend on the amount of insurance and they will be adjusted individually based on risk or risky behavior.

Health insurance, as proposed by Obama, will work differently. First of all, he doesn't want a cap on yearly or lifetime payments. I.e. everybody is insured up to a virtually infinite amount and every reasonable procedure should be approved for everybody. Second, premiums should not depend on lifestyle, risky behavior or pre-existing conditions. Everybody is supposed to pay a premium not based on those factors, but based on their income (the remainder is made up by subsides).

If that is the system we will get in the future (it is the one Obama was talking about), then there cannot be much meaningful competition between different insurance providers anyway. The only difference would be marginally different operation costs of the bureaucracy and the profit margin. It will be a very homogenous market with very few players, an oligopolistic industry. The greatest danger will come from price fixing or other type of collusion. Very tight oversight will be needed and maybe a government option.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Galic Ho said:
People should stick to cycling. Firstly Bush did not create the global financial crisis. The republicans could have addressed the main issue in the senate but didn't. The initial work began when Carter was President and solidified by Clinton. Look up Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae and their business dealings. Makes Enron look like a model of virtue and honesty. Obama did not and has not solved the global financial problems, though he claimed he had a few weeks back. How big of him. I know teenagers with better grasps of macroeconics than the US president. Look at the debt level. Four times higher than last year...good work Obama! Broke companies collapse...they aren't pumped up with billion of taxpayer funds. Secondly Obama is a great orator and can deliver a very moving public address. Thats about as far as his skills go. In a one on one debate with no prompts or pre-written speeches most people on this forum would trounce him. He's a con man, like our PM down under. Any fool saw this coming. Oh wait, not the US of A and the man who will save the world. Spare me. We've heard this before in cycling. Self annointed saints who can't back their promises up. They quickly falter, project, spin and distract when challenged. Obama said what he needed to get elected. You think Sarah Palin was stupid...she has nothing on Joe Biden. You don't get much lower in the intellectual stakes.

Health care. Michael Moore films aside (Sicko) most people know the US health care system is in shambles. Clinton could have fixed it, heck Hilary tried, but alas the payoff from the pharmaceutical giants was too appealing. Glad I'm not american or sick. As for Ted Kennedy being mentioned on this thread. Check out the dailmail.co.uk for a realistic idea of how he's viewed outside the US. As a coward, drunkard, womaniser and supporter of terrorism. Obama promised the world. He was never going to be able to deliver half of what he claimed was possible. Always a good precedent when the man who wants to be president can't provide a birth certificate and uses his law degree and connections to avoid having to prove he was born in the US. But hey at least he isn't a gun totting uber religious Alaskan. One thing rings true about politics, people deserve who they elect. They can always say no. Oh and in true democracy...everyone votes.
I will just step in with this. I was in the industry on the non-conforming side, and to those who think this was a government problem and not one with the market, I assure you that you have no idea what you are talking about. If you think Freddie and Fannie's business dealings were unethical and poorly done, you should see the books of Wachovia, Goldman Sachs, Lehman, Bank of America, GMAC, Barclays, Citi Group, well, just about everyone involved. Their "business dealings" on with non-conforming loans (the stuff Fannie and Freddie DON'T buy-which is the GREAT majority of non performing loans.) make Fannie and Freddie look like a model of intelligence. Sorry, but I assure you that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The great majority of foreclosures were on loans NOT on Fannie and Freddies books in any way. The problem is that very few people understand how the market worked. I do, and can tell you that the blame game is much broader than your characterization. You also left out Reagan, Bush I and II from your list of Presidents.

Compound that with an unregulated derivatives market that allowed AIG to offer up credit default swaps with ABSOLUTELY NO REQUIREMENT that they be backed by actual MONEY, and you have a MASSIVE MARKET failure. This is what happens when governments DON'T regulate enough and allow assholes who need 13% return on investment to run amok in the financial industry.

Oh, and one more thing about "Socialism." We have had a mixed economy in the US with Socialist structures for over 100 years and have somehow managed to provide the greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people in history. Again, most people THINK they know what they are talking about, but unfortunately they don't.

Now, we should just leave politics alone here because I spend enough time posting about cycling, you don't want to get me started on politics...
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Cobblestones said:
In my opinion, the only reasonable way to run health insurance is a government system. What I don't understand is how a free market of health insurances should be superior. Let's think where one can make a difference in the bottom line:

First of all, the actual insurance bureaucracy shouldn't eat up more than a few percent of the premiums. So, not much to save there. The way to make an insurance profitable is (i) to deny claims, (ii) to pick out low-risk customers or (iii) to have a better model for 'likelihood of claim'/'insurance premium' than your competitor. (ii) and (iii) are more or less the same.

Now, this is how car insurances, home insurances etc. will compete against each other. Premiums there will depend on the amount of insurance and they will be adjusted individually based on risk or risky behavior.

Health insurance, as proposed by Obama, will work differently. First of all, he doesn't want a cap on yearly or lifetime payments. I.e. everybody is insured up to a virtually infinite amount and every reasonable procedure should be approved for everybody. Second, premiums should not depend on lifestyle, risky behavior or pre-existing conditions. Everybody is supposed to pay a premium not based on those factors, but based on their income (the remainder is made up by subsides).

If that is the system we will get in the future (it is the one Obama was talking about), then there cannot be much meaningful competition between different insurance providers anyway. The only difference would be marginally different operation costs of the bureaucracy and the profit margin. It will be a very homogenous market with very few players, an oligopolistic industry. The greatest danger will come from price fixing or other type of collusion. Very tight oversight will be needed and maybe a government option.
There was a great Frontline episode a couple of years ago where they went and looked at healthcare in various countries around the world. The great thing about this episode is that a lot of the concerns about the different models being thrown around have already been answered, in other countries! Here's a link (There is also a text overview if you don't want to watch it):

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/
 
Jul 28, 2009
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The way the elite have secured their position throughout history is by keeping the rest under their boot. Make good education, legal justice and healthcare for the rich, keep the rest stupid and unquestioning with mind numbing entertainment and religion. Similarly stop certain countries developing by supporting regimes that supress growth and properity.

Of course there's uproar about the healthcare plan, from the elite but the US can't call itself a civilised country until it puts something like this in place like most other civilised countries run with a modicum of compassion. It's a shameful situation as it currently stands.

Ironically this is not pressure from where you might think, it's actually pressure from big corporations whose health plans are costing them a fortune and of course big business and US government are bedfellows.
 
May 13, 2009
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Cobber said:
There was a great Frontline episode a couple of years ago where they went and looked at healthcare in various countries around the world. The great thing about this episode is that a lot of the concerns about the different models being thrown around have already been answered, in other countries! Here's a link (There is also a text overview if you don't want to watch it):

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/
Oh, there's no doubt different ways of dealing with health insurance work around the world. I myself have experienced both a single-payer system and a private/government hybrid for more than 20 years of my life. :D

I think the first step in the US is to stop running health insurance like car or home insurance. Once that step is done, is shouldn't matter much whether it is administered by government or private companies. Government would probably be the saner choice, since then it would operate under administrative law, not contract law.

One question which interests me is: if you could enroll an average person in Medicare, what premium would be needed? What about the VA healthcare? Why not calculate that number and then open one (or both) for everybody?
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Cobblestones said:
Oh, there's no doubt different ways of dealing with health insurance work around the world. I myself have experienced both a single-payer system and a private/government hybrid for more than 20 years of my life. :D

I think the first step in the US is to stop running health insurance like car or home insurance. Once that step is done, is shouldn't matter much whether it is administered by government or private companies. Government would probably be the saner choice, since then it would operate under administrative law, not contract law.

One question which interests me is: if you could enroll an average person in Medicare, what premium would be needed? What about the VA healthcare? Why not calculate that number and then open one (or both) for everybody?
+1... I agree completely. This is actually a really good idea. Calculate a number, and then put it to a nationwide referendum.

I have also experienced 2 very different healthcare systems - socialist (Australia) and private (US). (Un)fortunately, I was really healthy in Australia where healthcare was free, and then moved to the US, threw my back out and married someone who needed a liver transplant..... :mad:

Another thing that the US population as a whole needs to come to terms with is where they think healthcare should fall with regards to necessity. In my opinion, it should not fall in the same category as car insurance, because that is not essential (you can take public transit - and yet there are mandates for auto insurance). It definitely does not fall in the same category as cable TV, cell phones etc. as these are definitely luxuries. I believe that healthcare falls in the same category and police, public sanitation and potable water - absolutely an essential component of a civilized society.

Edit: one more thing. With auto insurance, there are discounts for safe drivers etc. With healthcare, I think there could be the same types of incentives built in (ie. discounts for non-smokers etc), but it would be much easier to implement this with taxes on specific products (tobacco, alcohol and maybe fast food).
 

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