The battle, I believe, has been lost:
At a time when Congress has been torn by partisan battles, 24 ideologically disparate leaders representing the health care industry, corporations and unions, and conservative and liberal groups have been meeting secretly for months to seek a consensus on proposals to provide coverage for the growing number of people with no health insurance.
The participants, ranging from the liberal Families USA to the conservative Heritage Foundation and the United States Chamber of Commerce, said they had made progress in trying to overcome the ideological impasse that has stymied action on the problem for eight years.
The group, which first came together last October, has not endorsed any specific plan, but has discussed a range of options, including tax incentives for the purchase of insurance, changes in Medicaid to cover more low-income adults and the creation of insurance purchasing pools at the state level.
“This effort holds as much promise as any I’ve participated in over the last decade, probably more,” said Kate Sullivan Hare, the executive director of health care policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce.
Historically, such efforts have failed because of profound disagreements over the proper role of government. The group is far from any final agreement, but persist in seeking common ground, even as the problems of the uninsured have been eclipsed on Capitol Hill by Social Security and other issues.
There will be some form of nationalized health care in the next 10-15 years.
John, don’t give in so easy. Chamber of Commerce’s presence doesn’t guarantee anything, except for some type of market solution – even if it involves mandatory employer health care. Heritage’s presence promises that there will be at least one voice steadily pointing out that you can’t have a world class economy along with world class government-provided health care, not for long anyhow. I wouldn’t give in just yet. There are several folks at Heritage who repeat, over and over again, that the real crisis isn’t social security, it’s an entitlement crisis. So don’t give up hope, there’s at least one influential voice of sanity participating.
It’s going to happen, all that needs to be worked out is whose contributors get the most pork.
Yes, a national health care solution, as soon as the moderate middle learns that they’ve been duped long enough by the BigHMO and BigPharma and their Republican friends into voting against their own interests.
Health care and its impact on the middle class and on families in this country is a giant, unmitigated disaster. Those who thought they were against “government making your health care choices” are finding out that having stockholders and corporate-jet-hopping execs make those choices for them, and ripping them off in the process, and lying through their teeth while doing it, is not in their interests, and they are not going to be amused much longer.
People in Europe basically shake their heads and laugh and wonder what the hell we are thinking over here.
It’s called “cutting off nose to spite face.”
Every year that goes by without a real solution is another year for citizens and families to be screwed by the abominable situation we have now.
Social Security a big problem? Funny, as in funny ha ha. Medical care costs are going to make Social Security look like fixing a pothole by comparison.
Oh, and did anybody notice? The current prognosis is for the country to be broke long before Social Security runs into trouble. Thanks to you-know-who and his Republican friends who are spending like drunken sailors. They make the Democrats look like Ebenezer Scrooge.
You don’t have to take my word for this. The CATO Institute and these experts seem to think we are in for big trouble:
I have lived the nightmare known as healthcare in the United States from several different perspectives and can tell you first hand it is FUBARed.
What will make it even more so is any plan worked out by the groups people in this article because they won’t really be addressing healthcare. They are working out which insurance companies will get how much money. The Chamber of Commerce has way too many insurance agents as members for it to be otherwise.
This is a subject that needs to be discussed and debated openly but it won’t. Why? Because the simplest, most practical solution is a universal single-payer system that covers basic medical and dental. Let private insurers provide supplemental coverage for extraordinary things like transplants, viagra, etc.
Yeah, BigPharma, HMO’s and those eevil Republicans are the ones causing soaring health care costs, rather than lack of market incentives. At $10/visit co-pay, people don’t hesitate to go to the doctor (driving up costs). If more of the real cost was shared by the insured, they might decide that not every sniffle or sprained ankle merits a doctor visit or if they do, they might shop hard to get a better deal, driving costs lower.
As for Europeans laughing at us, I seem to recall 15,000 French citizens dead from a ‘heat wave’ not long ago in which it was reported that their glorious free health care system had not seen fit to providing air conditioning or even ice in many of the hospitals. People in Canada dying while waiting for surgery, Canadians filling the parking lots of US hospitals in border cities for treatment, etc, etc
Look for the same type of Canadian/Euro-care quality once health care becomes “free” here in the US.
I’m not just looking for Euro-care, Dareel, I’m praying for it, and voting for it at every opportunity.
Your nutty meta-anecdotes are right out of the GOP/HMO/Pharma talking points manual.
You can believe whatever you want, as you clearly do …. but you can take this to the bank: The current healthcare situation in this country is not sustainable, economically or politically.
I’ll be looking forward to your well-crafted proposals for a solution.
I think the tides are turning on this issue. Corporate America wants health care off their backs, it is starting to hurt. GM lost 1 billion dollars in the 1st Q. retiree’s and health care were the reasons cited. the real numbers for GM are worse, GMAC was very profitable and the numbers are combined.
Want a place to start your research into reality (you know, if your vacuum-tube radio tuned to Rush Limbaugh goes dead on you ….)
Take a look at the emergency room situations in ten large cities in this country. Take a close, hard look.
Everyday medical care is being pushed into ERs because people can’t afford any other alternative.
There are a hundred avenues you could explore to get some real-life information, man. Get off the 700 Club website and do some work.
You have basically two choices:
One, continue to let the megacorporation interests define and buy the rules they want to play by, and thereby, design your healthcare future, and wait until the whole thing collapses … which won’t be long now ….
Two, recognize that there is one and only one other option, and that is the single-payer option.
It’s not a choice between the lesser of two evils, Darrel. It’s a choice between two evils only one of which is sustainable.
That’s a fact, whether you like it or not.
Yeah, BigPharma, HMO’s and those eevil Republicans are the ones causing soaring health care costs, rather than lack of market incentives.
This would make sense if our health care didn’t cost twice as much per capita as that of countries with socialized systems.
I just hope it’s a bunch of Dems working on the thing; I want people who believe that government programs can function as something other than vote generation devices putting the system together.
You’re right, corporate america is looking to shift the burden of healthcare off their back onto the backs of taxpayers, just like they’re doing now whenever they hire illegal aliens
As for my “nutty” anecdotes ppgaz, are you alleging that 15,000 did not really die from a heatwave in France, or that the ‘free’ hospitals there really didn’t have air conditioning or ice in many cases? Or are you challenging the fact that Canadians flood our borders for American healthcare? You seem to really know what you’re talking about.
I share JohnC’s pessimism on this, as I think Repubs lack the spine to fight this universal healthcare fiasco-in-the-making.. and of course, the Dems will embrace any such socialist program and expand it further at every chance. After all, it’s ‘free’, right?
I’m afraid about the outcome of this sort of everyone-get-together-and-divide-the-spoils plan. And I don’t trust Heritage at all anymore (Medicare bill anyone?). On the other hand, as a diabetic, I’ve lost my taste for the “market” solutions that have been tossed my way. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a graduate student (soon to be no more) and can buy into a semi-socialist partly state run plan, medical insurance would be impossible for me to afford.
I think anyone who pays or has an idea of what direction health costs are going has to admit that our present system is unsustainable. I really don’t give a flip about who fixes the system of the political details of the fix, but this is truly more of a crisis than Social Security is.
I think in 5-10 years if our present system doesn’t change than nobody who works for a small business will be able to get health insurance and everybody else will be paying for their catastrophic healthcare through obscene insurance premiums.
I’m going to find it incredibly entertaining and ironic if Hillarycare would have been a better free market alternative than what we will likely end up with.
John, I forgot to ask, in regards to this issue, what exactly are you fighting for at this point?
You idiot. 15,000 did not die because hospitals didn’t have ice.
Air conditioning is not as ubiquitous in other countries as it is here.
Do you think the French government should install more airconditioners on the chance that another freak heatwave might hit?
Give me a break, Darrell.
My ancestors grew up in Phoenix without ANY AIR CONDITIONING in a town that has an average of 90 days every summer with temperatures at or over 100 degrees.
People died from the heat in France for the same reason that they did not die from it in 1935 in Phoenix: People here know how to handle the heat. People who don’t have a hot climate don’t know how to handle it. People who don’t understand prolonged high heat can die from it no matter how much air conditioning there is available to them. They die right here, just steps from their air conditioned cars, because they don’t know what they are doing.
Jesus, Darrell. Get a clue.
” I think Repubs lack the spine to fight this universal healthcare fiasco-in-the-making.. ”
Darrell, with respect, that is what we have now. I have been uninsured a number of years ago and know exactly what it is like. If the health industry is truly afraid of national health insurance, they should have started coming up with answers before this. They haven’t and have made no attempt. None. Zero. Point to one thing that has been tried.
The corporations are already trying to wash their hands of bankrolling health coverage on their retired. And this was the agreement they made with these employees back when they first hired them years ago. This will not fix itself. Something will have to break and so, national health insurance is coming to a country near you.
I think the fight is lost- businesses want this, so it will inevitably happen.
The fight for me now is that when we see it start to become a reality, to make sure that this is not just another opportunity for big business to pass the buck off to the taxpayers in general, as they did with the prescription drug plan.
100% agreement with you John, 100%.
Darrell, I lived in Chicago in 1995; heat waves kill people in places which aren’t used to them. It’s really that simple. It doesn’t matter whether it’s France or Chicago.
ppgaz writes: “People who don’t have a hot climate don’t know how to handle it.”
More importantly, they don’t know how to build for it. When building for a hot climate where you don’t have AC, you can use designs that help keep things cool.
I’m guessing France’s older buildings are designed more for retaining warmth than for passive cooling in hot weather.
Let me make it more graphic:
You can give me a bare room with no a/c, and an infirm elderly person, right here in Phoenix with its days-at-a-time 110+ degree weather in July or August. I will guarantee you that that person will not get overheated or sick from the heat. All I need is water, and a fan.
Darrell has haplessly chosen the wrong guy to whom to try to sell his French heatwave-death story. I’m a desert guy, and I know heat and I know desert survival.
You manage your activities and your body temperature in extreme heat, just as you would in extreme cold. If you don’t, you can make yourself very sick, or die, a/c or no a/c. People from moderate or cold climes don’t understand it, and they come here and suffer … and occasionally die .. because they don’t get it.
Think 100 degrees at midnight. It never cools off. Dry heat? Think again: July, August or Sept dewpoints in the 60’s and even higher once in a while.
“The French healthcare system killed 15,000 in a heat wave.” I swear to Dog, those Republicans will believe anything.
ppgaz, it was reported that many of the hospitals in France didn’t have ice..or air conditioning, or medical personnel as no good socialist would say a word about their god-given right to 8 weeks vacation or 35 hours work weeks. As for your explanation that this was all simply a result of the French “not knowing how to handle the heat”, can you please explain for us why then did Switzerland, which had even hotter weather than France during that same time.. explain why Switzerland did not have such a similar disaster.. I mean, since I’m so clueless and all, I look forward to your “informed” explanation
Halfasthero, if I’m prying too far, feel free to tell me to lay off, but I’m curious why you have been uninsured for so long. Is it that you absolutely “can’t” afford it, or is it because you’re healthy, you decided to take a calculated risk?
As for the health industry, they’re just playing the cards dealt to them. At present, there is no incentive for the insured to a)shop for better deals or b) make fewer trips to the doctor for minor medical issues or c) take better care of themselves
JohnC, if healthcare is nationalized, I don’t see how you can stop business from offloading those costs to the taxpayer. I agree with your sentiments, but I don’t see how it can be stopped.
Darrell, come here in August. I’ll pick you up at the airport in my air conditioned ride, and give me one day with you. Bring a good sun hat and some comfortable walking shoes, and a notebook.
You will then understand what heat is and how to handle it.
Until then, STFU because you don’t know what you are talking about.
ppgaz wrote: “Until then, STFU because you don’t know what you are talking about”
I live in Houston, TX, and I’ll put our 100+ degreeF August days with 98% percent humidity against your dry heat any day
I have also been in France during the summer, and although the weather is usually mild, it is not so unusual for them to have 90 degree F heat spells, which makes their lack of air conditioning and ice so incredible.
Quote from Paris nurse in CNN article:”We really do feel quite desperate,” said Katia Guiermet, an emergency services nurse. “We don’t feel incompetent, but it’s really difficult for people suffering from heat stroke when you don’t have any ice.”
Socialist healthcare.. gotta love it, huh?
People do not suffer from heatsroke for lack of ice. They suffer from heatstroke because they have not properly taken care of themselves, or been taken care of.
So let me see if I have this right: Lack of ice, and therefore, the French healthcare system, killed 15,000 people, because a nurse in Paris said she ran out of ice? Let me explain something to you, Darrell. You don’t need ice unless you have a critically ill patient. You don’t get critically ill heatstroke patients from hot weather. You get it from ignorance of how to live in hot weather. If a cold wave sent Houstonians to the hospitals with frostbite, and they ran out of blankets, would the blanket shortage be the cause of the frostbite? Or the ignorance of the Houstonians who didn’t know how to take care of themselves, and thereby swamped a hospital system more set up to deal with heat exhaustion than with frostbite? Would we then declare the Houston healthcare infrastructure to be deficient? Well, you would, I suppose.
Like I said, all I need to prevent heat illness is water, and a fan. Man, woman, or child. Old or young, short or tall. Sick or healthy. Bring ’em all. Water, and a fan. That’s it. No heatstroke. None, zero. Nada. Zilch. Unless they ignore my instructions and start going out to play tennis at 2 pm in August, they are not going to get sick. You can bet your life on it.
I experienced that heatwave (which affected the whole of western Europe, not just France) and ppgaz is exactly right. 27,000 people across Europe died because of it, 2,000 in the UK where I live. Northern European homes and businesses simply aren’t built for that kind of heat. Very few private citizens have air conditioners, and I’d bet that most businesses don’t either – there’s a huge market for portable air conditioners in the summer. The death toll had absolutely nothing to do with socialised healthcare. As for Switzerland, I assume the lower impact there would have been because the Swiss go in for a lot more climate control that northern Europeans, because the Alpine climate is so variable (it can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter). Here in north-western Europe, the climate is usually mild, so we don’t actually need either air conditioning or heating for much of the year.
Getting back on topic, would it really be such a bad thing if the US had a European-style healthcare system? When you consider that the US is (possibly) the most advanced nation in the world in terms of medical technology, spends more per capita than any other country but still has such poor public indicators, isn’t it a sign that something is badly wrong? Where is the value for money? If European-style systems are getting better results for less money, could it be that… they’re better? In short, is this something that John should be opposing?
This is called Piling On, Darrell, and you asked for it.
IN ten years between 1992 and 2002, 570 deaths were reported in Arizona from exposure to heat.
That includes the deaths of 200+ illegal immigrants who perished trying to cross the desert north of the border with Mexico.
That means about 300 people who were not illegal immigrants perished from heat exposure, in ten years.
Close to 5 million people live mostly in two large metro areas, Phoenix and Tucson, in this region.
That’s roughly 30 deaths a year, out of around 5 million people, in one of the hottest heavily-populated areas on earth.
Oddly, the hospitals here do not have giant ice machines ready to slam out tons of ice to treat the hordes of heatstroke victims being borne to their doors by caravans of desperate rescuers and relatives.
Why do you suppose all of this is, Darrell? Because we don’t have the French healthcare system?
Give it up, man. This is an argument you need to step back from, before you dig yourself a hole all the way to China.
ChrisO, I have only recently seen the 27,000 figure, as at the time it was widely acknowledged that the problem was limited to social-healthcare-nirvana France. I see that 2005 reports now inflate the 15,000 number to 27,000 while implying that “everyone” in Europe had that problem. Sorry, I’m not buying it. The story changed significantly from what was reported months after the heat wave with no explanation that I can see. Can you explain the change in reporting from 15,000 to 27,000 dead from the heatwave which was at the time, widely known to be limited to France??
As for European healthcare, I understand it is inferior to what Americans with health coverage have now with fewer drugs available, fewer MRI’s per 1,000 population, longer waits for specialist surgery, etc, etc
In fact, I’m not 100% convinced that those here WITHOUT health care aren’t getting better health care than Europeans, as every major city and county offers free immunizations and medical treatment for those without insurance, and when emergencies arise, those without insurance cannot be denied treatment, treatment which is administered by better doctors with better equipment and a wider availability of drugs than in Europe.
On what basis do you base your claim that Europe is getting “better” results?
I work in the insurance business, and some people just don’t want insurance. Can’t convince them, and these people can afford it. Also, some people go to the doctor for minor things because it only cost them 10 to 20 dollars for their copay. Most of the time, they really don’t need to see a doctor. I’m looking into getting an HSA, and a catastophic plan. I am young and healthy, so I don’t need a high premium plan.
Some doctors are also refusing patients with insurance, and giving lower direct rates for their services. They save money by not having to pay several administrators to take care of all the paperwork and compliance issues. Patients get a lower price for services rendered.
European healthcare is inferior?
Please provide the lists of metrics and datapoints which support that conclusion.
Infant mortality (deaths/1000 live births):
Life expectancy at birth:
How are we doing so far, Darrell?
Those stupid French seem to be killing people right and left, non?
France has a heat wave, thousands die, and that proves Darrell’s point that the French healthcare system sucks?
Nice logic. Not.
Anyway, healthcare here in America can be OK….if you have it. The point is that there are millions of uninsured Americans. That number is growing. Many with insurance are seeing increasing premiums and deductables along with policies that cover less and less.
Healthcare in America is approaching the crisis level. For those uninsured, it is already a crisis.
Darrell, if you cannot see that, you are in denial, France notwithstanding.
ppgaz, reported infant mortality rates are different for a couple of different reasons, none of which have anything to do with Europe having as good a healthcare system as ours.
First, infant Mortality is measured differently in the US. Premature births in Europe which end in death after some short period of time are counted under miscarriages. In the US they count as infant death. A reconciling of the two would no doubt make these percentages much closer. This difference also affects life expectancy, although I would be the first to admit that Americans eat more processed foods than Europeans. Again, nothing to do with America’s (superior) healthcare system
Second, I feel fairly confident in saying (anecdotal observation follows) that another factor would be that the US has a higher percentage of “crack babies” born here than in europe.
Third, another factor which is not accounted for in your ‘statistics’ is that the US has the highest immigration rates in the developed world, and it stands to reason that many of these first generation immigrants arrived after a life of not-so-great healthcare and nutritional options which affects US average life expectancy.
And isn’t it ironic that the best Paris area hospital is the American Hospital in Neuilly?
Darrell, what makes you think the heatwave was confined to France? I already said it was experienced right across Europe. It affected every country from Portugal to Romania. We had new heat records for Britain, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, among other countries. Honestly, I don’t know why you’re disputing this. I lived through the damn thing, after all.
As for health indicator comparisons, check out Core Health Indicators from the WHR. Construct a query comparing the EU 15 (I’m excluding the newly joined former Soviet bloc countries here) with the United States. The US consistently comes out at or very near the bottom for health indicators, but is way out in front for costs. For instance:
* The US has worse infant and adult mortality than any EU 15 country.
* Life expectancy is worse than any EU 15 country save Denmark and Portugal.
* Per capita expenditure on healthcare in the US is between about 2.5 times to 5 times that of any EU 15 member.
Go check it out yourself – the figures are all there. The obvious question is why is the US spending so much more than we are but getting demonstrably worse results? What is making the US healthcare system so expensive?
Far North, unaccountable socialism allowed for the hospitals in France to be so ill-equipped (not even ice machines! You can bet a lot of other equipment was lacking too) AND so under-staffed as a result of socialist influenced policies of sancrosanct 8 week vacations and 35 hour work weeks. That is the truth, no matter how much you pretend otherwise
Darrell says: “I feel fairly confident in saying …”
There you go, Darrell. That’s our new standard.
I feel fairly confident in saying that you have no frigging idea in the world what you are talking about.
Now, as for “crack babies”: Can you show me the numbers on the crack babies, and show me what the rates in the various countries look like, without the crack babies?
Thanks so much.
Darrell, you seem to have accidentally put the word “statistics” in quotes? Are not sure whether these are, in fact, statistics?
My source was:
But hey, what the hell do they know?
They’re the same dunderheads that said they had WMD in Iraq.
ChrisO, please re-read my post. I never disputed the fact that there was a heatwave throughout much of Europe in 2003. What I disputed, and what I still dispute, are
1) the figures, which have been inflated from 15,000 reported in late 2003 early 2004 to the recently inflated (without explanation) 27,000figure
2) that any significant number of Europeans died as a result of the heatwave outside of France.
The heatwave story was WIDELY reported at that time, and the key element of every report at that time was that the deaths were almost entirely in socialist nirvana France.
Check the news stories of the time. NONE talked about ‘European’ deaths from the heatwave, as the news stories were all covering the number dead in France.
Regarding your stats, see my prior post
ppgaz, I see you have no response to the differences between Europe and the US in how infant mortality rates (which also affects life expectancy stats) are tallied or any of my other valid points, so you’re throwing out ad hominems. That’s fine jackass, it’s your blood pressure
France has 60,000,000 people.
Chicago has 3,000,000 people.
In 1995, a heat wave in Chicago killed 500 people. If we expand that to the size of France, we find that it killed the equivalent of 10,000 people.
It turns out that heat waves in places which are not used to them kill lots of people. It doesn’t matter if it’s France or Chicago.
As for immigration stats, etc. — that ends up not being the case. While immigrants come from countries with worse health care systems, they also tend to be the healthiest members of that society for obvious reasons. This more or less cancels out; for every Puerto Rican or Guatemalan immigrant who lives 5 years less, we end up with a Mexican immigrant who lives 2 years more or an Indian immigrant who lives 10 years more.
Our infant mortality stats are driven largely by the insane infant mortality in the African-American population. Once one controls for that, the US is more or less tied with Italy and the other members of the EU with the largest infant mortality rates. Of course, we do spend twice as much per capita on health care to achieve that level of mediocrity.
Say, Darrell, since we have all those crack babies that skew our infant mortality rate (you’re looking that up for me now, right?) … I guess you are saying that if we could just get rid of the riffraff, we’d be just as good as those other countries?
Darrell, I have no comment on the “differences” you cite because you didn’t specify them.
You didn’t specify them because you don’t know what they are, or how they affect the numbers.
You don’t have any actual “crack baby” data to back up your claim, do you?
This is just like the Heatwave Fantasy you cooked up earlier. You have no clue. Just throw the shit out there and hope it sticks.
You should get yourself a talk radio show. You’d fit right in.
Kimmitt, you dishonestly distort the numbers.
The US has 290 million people
France has 60 million people
The heatwave deaths in Chicago, although tragic, were a miniscule percentage of the population versus the deaths resulting from the heatwave in France.
Furthermore, and this is important, that was an uproad in the US after the Chicago deaths. Changes were implemented and in Chicago’s 1999 heatwave, there were only a small fraction of the deaths compared to 1995.
Can you show me any articles where there has been public protests in the streets in France over their 15,000 dead? Because I didn’t read about any. What changes did the French socialist system make? Do the same hospitals still not have ice or air conditioning? With such little public outcry in France, it’s a safe bet that this disaster will happen there again
I’m looking into getting an HSA, and a catastophic plan. I am young and healthy, so I don’t need a high premium plan.
Stormy, that is why health care insurance costs are skyrocketing. Insurance companies have an incentive to insure as many healthy people as possible while excluding sick, or likely to get sick people.
Meanwhile healthy people have little incentive to sign up for a policy with a huge premium because of HSAs.
A national single payer system is beneficial because the heathly people will be included in the same plan as sick people.
Although a manditory health insurance law (like auto incurance) might also be a solution all that would accomplish is a continuing race to insure healthy young people and exclude the sick, likely to be sick. I’d like to see coverage for the first $1000 or so, then a 50% co pay after that until say $3000. Then perhaps a 10% co pay until the co-pay = $5000. It would encourage price shopping yet not hinder preventive care.
JohnC, if healthcare is nationalized, I don’t see how you can stop business from offloading those costs to the taxpayer. I agree with your sentiments, but I don’t see how it can be stopped.
Well, perversely enough, the worst way to go to national health care appears to be the way we are doing it- piecemeal.
Every time we let the government take over an area, big business drops what they were paying for and does not get an accompanying tax increase nor do they increase wages for their workers.
Look at the current data on the Prescription Drug Plan’s results:
The figure hasn’t been “inflated”. The total across Europe was 27,000. This included 4,000 in Italy, 2,000 in Britain, 1,500 in the Netherlands, 1,300 in Portugal and those 15,000 in France. The total was only compiled after the heatwave was over (obviously). France got a lot of attention because so many died there, but as I said it was bad everywhere.
As for the reason why so many died in France, here’s what the BBC said about it (and see also the detailed report on it):
“An official report into the tragedy said hospital emergency wards had become overwhelmed as the number of casualties soared, and different sections of the health care system failed to speak to each other. It also drew attention to the widespread absence of doctors on traditional August leave.”
The August leave, btw, is nothing to do with socialism – virtually the whole of France shuts down in August. Traditionally August was when everyone would decamp to the countryside to bring in the harvest. Now they just go to the beach. Either way, if you want to get anything done in France in August, good luck – you’ll need it!
Isn’t this a straightforward transfer of liabilities from the private sector to the public purse? What happens when general taxation isn’t enough to pay the expenses (which it plainly isn’t)? I can see only one way this will end – you’re going to end up with European levels of taxation.
What if the medicare bill is a bad example though John? What if it was designed to be a failed policy, something designed to benefit big business rather than the consumer? More to the point, could our problem be that after years of hearing socialized medicine (big government) equals something bad, we won’t go for anything unless it pays off big private interests or is dressed in some convoluted private-public garb? Just curious.
We already have nationalized health care. It just happens to be an inefficient, shitty one.
It’s nice to have this lovely ideological debate about health insurance, isn’t it? Unfortunately, science, and our near complete knowledge of the human genome, have rendered ideology moot.
When a drop of blood on a slide array can quickly and cheaply determine your future risk of specific diseases, how do you think the insurance industry will react to this capability? With fairness and logic? No, you will soon be excluded from insurance coverage because the blood you gave for some simple test was also run through an array, and, well, you’re gonna get an expensive disease. Tough luck, bud.
Based on the science alone, I think John’s prediction of national health insurance in 10-15 years is very conservative. It will likely have to happen faster than that … because the techonology and the knowledge is here now.
I work in the emergency center of a large teaching hospital in the Detroit area with world class cardiac care among many other specialties.While we treat the occasional Canadian patient,Darrell is exactly wrong about the parade of Canadians filling our parking lots.The number of uninsured I treat on a daily basis is heartbreaking.While our quality of care in this country is AS GOOD AS any other first world country,only a lunatic could defend our health care system in terms of cost efficiency-we pay almost twice as much per capita as the next most expensive health care system in the developed world,with 25-30% going toward administrative costs.
Here’s a personal account of the 2003 heat wave from someone who lost an uncle. He’s not too fond of socialized medicine. The architectural problem (at least as far as that case goes) seems to be of recent vintage and bureaucratically exacerbated so there goes ppgaz’s theory that the french don’t know how to deal with heat waves. Their older buildings are apparently fine.
A better example of the nasty effects of socialized medicine in the 1st world is the high differential of UK deaths from multi-drug resistant staph infections between private health facilities/hospitals and the NHS run ones. The death toll is much higher on the public side. They just can’t seem to find the money to keep the place clean and people die.
That’s what generally will kill people in 1st world socialized healthcare. You cut corners, don’t put in air conditioners, skimp on cleaning standards, do any of a number of seemingly harmless cost savings and you end up killing people down the road in ways that were totally predictable and, if you were a private entity, would cause severe judicial penalties.
You’re not a private entity though. You have sovereign immunity from suit and civil service protection on top of that. The people who make these decisions are practically untouchable and there is no justice.
As a practical matter, I’m not aware of any 1st world health system that is in good financial shape. They are all unaffordable, whether it is a mixed private/public system like the US or a full socialist system like Canada has.
Sorry, no sale.
People die from heat exposure for one and only one reason: They get overheated. Sound trite? Good.
Why do they get overheated? If they are able to care for themselves, then it’s because they did not understand the danger and take measures. If they are not, it’s because someone else did not understand the danger, and take measures.
It does not take airconditiong, or ice, to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It takes rest, hydration and simple cooling with a fan for the former, and enhanced cooling (spraying the patient with water) for the latter. The water is necessary because heat stroke occurs when the body cannot perspire sufficiently to provide cooling. The skin becomes warm, instead of cool, and heatstroke is then possible.
When people understand the danger, and take simple measures against it, they will do fine. If they don’t, they won’t.
As for airconditioned hospitals … or air condidtioning in general …. that’s hardly a creature of “socialized medicine.” It’s a resource choice.
A dying man says he can’t breathe. A fan is brought, but apparently nobody took 7th grade science, or has ever experimented with simple cooling: You have to wet the skin. A sick or dehydrated person, or a person approaching heat stroke, won’t perspire, and won’t cool. With wet skin and a fan, skin temperature will drop instantly and the patient will be cooled. Simple, and foolproof.
The writer of this poorly-told anecdote didn’t even bother to mention whether an investigation was made into the cause of death.
Sorry, no sale. The anecdote is worthless information, and if it contains any lesson at all, which is a stretch, it is that you have to WET THE PATIENT in order to get cooling with a fan, unless he is already wet with perspiration. And if you do, you will get cooling, and prevent heat exposure illness.
Heat deaths in France prove that a single payer healthcare system won’t work.
Can you show me any articles where there has been public protests in the streets in France over their 15,000 dead?
There were public protests in Chicago?
You cut corners, don’t put in air conditioners, skimp on cleaning standards, do any of a number of seemingly harmless cost savings and you end up killing people down the road in ways that were totally predictable and, if you were a private entity, would cause severe judicial penalties.
Okay, seriously, have you been in a US hospital, um, ever? I have, and I got the bedsores to prove it.
I don’t know how much you guys jump links, but Darrell reminds me of Al, etc. at Washington Monthly…..who I heard referred to as a program not a person. Hmm.
David T. Beito
If advocates of nationalized care want to put the federal government in charge, why are they dressing it up in innocuous and evasive terms like “single payer?” Why don’t they proudly state that they want “government- run health care?”
It would to nice if they called a spade a spade and clearly said that they want the same folks who now run the postal monopoly and the government schools, to also be in charge of our health care.
okay,I would like to see single payer federal government run universal health care as opposed to the chaos we have now that leaves 30% of our under-65 fellow citizens without health care.The same federal government we trust with our national defense and homeland security,NASA,NIH,the federal highways,Social Security(please find me someone whose check bounced yet)-that federal government.If you have another, cheaper fix,share it with us.In a similar vein,why don’t the extreme right,”abortion is murder” zealots call a spade a spade and proudly state they want to imprison providers and patients?
David T. Beito
Anti-abortion “zeolot” eh? I am ardently pro-choice and am writing a favorable biography of an abortion doctor. Do you have any more false assumptions I can correct? Some of us don’t divide the world into simple dichotomies.
My alternative? Here are a few suggestions for starters. I believe in a true free market in health care unlike the current system of heavy regulations and massive government subsidies.
I would eliminate the current tax exemption for employer provided health care and lift regulations which prevent non-doctors, such as nurse practioners, from providng certain health care services. I would eliminate prescription and patent laws which keep up the cost of medicine. Certainly, I would support free trade with Canada on medicine.
Why don’t they proudly state that they want “government- run health care?”
Um, because we want “government-run health insurance,” not “government-run health care”?
David T. Beito
Are you saying that you don’t want the government to run hospitals and employ doctors? If so, does this mean you believe that doctors and hospitals should continue to have private patients and allow them to “jump ahead of the cue” for a price? Just wondering what you mean by this distinction.
David T.,sorry about my clumsy attempt to point out truth in advertising doesn’t begin or end with single payer advocates-I didn’t mean for you to take it personally.It was about the unfortunate need to frame messages to sell good and bad ideas,instead of laying out the facts and letting the market decide.If you can point me towards a free market in health care that is providing an entire populace with affordable health care(similar to Sweden,France,Canada,etc.),please do.Until then,I will have to place the existence of a real,100%,fully functioning free market on the shelf with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny,and The Fountainhead.Physician extenders(physician assistants,nurse practioners)are great ideas,which is why they are becoming increasingly prevalent.Hell yes,reign in big pharma(why stop there?).As someone who has experienced health care from the inside for 25 years,I think any deregulation would be a huge mistake,but that’s just the cynic in me who saw the positive outcome in the banking,airline,and utility industries.And for the record,I am completly at ease with our provider system-it’s the insurance and reimbursement end that’s riddled with problems that,because of the scale, can only be fixed with single payer government health insurance.
David T. Beito
Let’s start with your question. No system in the world provides “affordable” health care in a full range of services to the
A truly free market system means that insurers can choose who they wish to cover.
What happens to those with serious medical conditions? Who is going to ensure them?
David T.,thank you for your concession that the free market health care system you endorse does not exist.On the other hand,while I will concede that inadequacies exist in every country,a model for the health care system I envision exists to a greater or lesser extent in virtually every other industrialized democracy in the world-that is,single payer systems providing high quality, affordable(to the user)health care to all of their citizenry at significantly lower per capita costs than the U.S.Your citation of the availability of dialysis raises the issue of rationing of care and even the high expense of heroic end of life care(I’ve seen extimates that this may represent as much as 80% of our spending,which I personally think is too high an estimate),issues which the American public(or at least American politicians) does not seem mature enough to address seriously just yet.As for the miralcles of telecommunications,I think you confuse deregulation with advances in the technology,many of which we can at least partially attribute to generous government spending on R&D.