Obama's Universal Health Plan.
Oh, the horrors of socialized medicine even when you can still have capitalistic medicine.
but why should we be taxed for caring for the poor? Am I My Brother's Keeper?
The country is based on the Protestant Ethic (look it up, if you don't know it) and there is no need to help anyone. Is there? The poor must help themselves or go the way of all flesh.
To me, the problem with Obama's plan is that it does very little to address the main issue - the rising costs. There has been a very thought provoking article in the New Yorker recently looking at some of the reasons. Until that is fixed, it is rather irrelevant who the "payer" is - I don't believe that having the government pay for healthcare will magically reduce costs in more than a superficial way.
Is that the main issue? I thought it was to get everyone in some sort of health insurance coverage.
Originally Posted by Ptichka
It will cost the tax payer money to get the poor into some sort of health scheme. Capitalist Insurance Plans do not give out freebees, and they will raise the premiums whenever. Maybe if Obama puts a hold on the amount of increases the insurance companies will definitely act on, then that would be something to be happy about. But the Government interferring with the profit makers is a NoNo
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I don't think the real issue is "the poor" at all. They are covered, and covered well, through Medicaid.
The real issues are the ones who don't qualify for Medicaid because they're not poor enough, but also don't get employer-provided insurance, like the growing number of freelancers and those who own and work for small companies that can't afford insurance.
Even undocumented immigrants qualify for free emergency room care. Pretty much all children, undocumented or not, qualify for free health insurance (at least in the two states where I've lived the past 30 years). But not that group in the middle.
MY TVC 1 5
Last edited by SeaniBu; 06-23-2009 at 10:32 AM.
The problem is not really in how much doctors gets paid - I believe the reimbursement of American doctors is actually reasonable. Nor (contrary to popular belief) is it malpractice insurance. The problem is that the system encourages doctors to perform tests and procedures that are not necessary. As a result, patients get over-prescribed yet the quality of care does not actually increase. There are, of course, other approaches. One of the most successful ones has been pioneered by the Mayo clinic. The doctors there get paid a set salary (BTW, whereas it was first believed that this approach can only work in Minnesota, it has been shown to work as well in Florida, one of the most "expensive" medical areas of the country). Each complex case gets analyzed by a panel of doctors. In one example the New Yorker article sited, a cardiologist actually walked over the a surgeon's office so they could sit down together with the patient to figure out the best course of treatment. In the traditional American approach, this is a "waste" of the cardiologist's time - no insurance will reimburse it properly; however, in the end, it results in care that is both better and more efficient. By contrast, when my grandmother (here in Boston) was having some problems after a surgery, her surgeon sent her to an appointment with her oncologist, who then sent her to the nutritionist - basically, it took two weeks (and a lot of Mericare money) to solve something that should have been solved in about 20 minutes. The million $ question, of course, is how do we turn this around? Because if all hospitals spent as much per patient as Mayo does, we could move to a public system and save money at the same time. The only proposal that seems to make some sense is one related to what McCain offered - essentially paying doctors for results as opposed to for procedures performed. The question then becomes how to define "results" (it can be curing a minor illness or prolonging a cancer patient's life by 6 months) to make sure that the patients' care does not diminish.
Sure, insurance companies make good profit, but that's not where the main cost problem is. Look at Medicare - it pays doctors way less, yet still costs a bundle. Why? Once again, because procedures get performed that should never be. (Well, you also get into end-of-life care there, with most hospitals still not switching gears for good palliative care, but that's a whole different discussion altogether.) Public option will not change this. However, increasing the number of people on public coverage is THE perfect time to implement reforms that can begin to take steps toward this goal.
Oh, and as to your original point - yes, absolutely, I do believe that we should cover everyone. It actually makes sense not only from the moral but also from the practical point of view. Despite the horror stories you hear from the like of Michael Moore, a hospital cannot turn you down if you, say, have a heart attack even if you don't have insurance. It's far cheaper to provide cardio care for the person before he gets to that point. The problem, though, is that, once again, attitudes need to change. Massachusetts has had "universal coverage" for a while now, and yet emergency room visits do not diminish; people still hold off on going to the doctor before it's too late. Though in Mass one of the problems is that there just aren't enough general practitioners (which is actually a problem for American medicine as a whole because while there are usually great specialists to look at a particular problem, there is no one doctor to look at the patient's overall situation).
Doctors, and all profit making organizations' main interest is in profit and they will do whatever it takes to make higher and higher profits every year.
Health costs are high and Medicaid doesn't cover everything and doctors jump for joy if Medicare will pay. Private insurance premiums will rise every year.
If Obama wanted to lower the health costs, the AMA would not allow it. It was a miracle to get medicare and medicaid passed. What can he do except make a proposal which profiteers will kill as socialized medicine.
Corporations ARE inherently corrupt, because of the unchecked power. So is government. Demonizing one and not the other is just naive. But you are right if you are saying that the underlying problem isn't who is paying for health care, but how much health care currently costs. Why must it cost $3000 for someone to get an MRI? For many people that's 3 entire months of wage after taxes. Work for 3 months to get one scan? Something is seriously wrong with that picture.
On the other hand, if you don't reward companies who research and develop and produce things like MRI machines, they wouldn't exist. To those who demonize the profit motive, I would ask: what would the computer industry look like if it were nonprofit? The automotive industry? (before the new great depression anyway.) It's clear that we'd be paying far more for far less. We don't even have to speculate about what socialized medicine would be like, because other countries are doing it. In Canada, everyone can get the health care they need, but they have to wait many months for anything to get done. Is that better? I don't think it's very clear cut. At best, it might be a poor improvement. Wouldn't it be a better solution to also address the costs somehow?
I currently have health problems and can't afford insurance. I've been to a few general MD visits at $50 a pop out of pocket, none of them could give any real diagnosis or treatment (i.e. general practitioners have always been totally useless to me.) They just refer me to a specialist "which will cost me $500 just to walk in the door." I can't afford that so I don't go. Every day my health gets worse and has been getting worse for several years. I would personally be a lot better off with a socialized health plan, since in those years I could have gotten treatment and may be healthy now. But I still don't know if overall it would be an improvement for the country.
...Anyone know of any affordable health insurance for the self-employed? I'd kinda like to live to see the Olympics.