Don't slight socialized medicine

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Theaters across the country are showing Sicko, Michael Moore's latest film. Most reviewers are praising the movie, some don't - mainly for the wrong reasons. Mr. Moore is a gifted movie director who knows how to make an impact on those moral issues that are affecting the country, and with a remarkable ability to make us laugh.

But I don't believe that the condition of our health care system is a laughing matter - it is indeed very serious.

It is not funny at all that more than 45 million Americans, living in the richest country on Earth, are lacking basic health care coverage. It is not funny that millions of our children are among those uninsured. It is not funny when, back in l982, the one and only Ronald Reagan. our "Great Communicator," warned the American people of the evils of socialized medicine in one of his speeches defending "our moral values." The same Ronald Reagan showed astonishment at the news that Americans were having difficulties to get jobs, advising them to look at the daily newspapers' classified sections.

WE ALL REMEMBER the serious attempt in 1993 to take the first steps to solve our health care crisis. This effort was aborted by an insidious strategy from the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical giants, along with the guidance of the largest insurance carriers in the country, pouring millions into advertising on every TV channel the dangers of socialized medicine.

It is inevitable for many of us to chuckle upon hearing the scary reactions of the majority of the people to the word "socialism." It is very sad indeed, since it shows our parochial attitude toward words we are not familiar with (not surprisingly, since politicians are even afraid to be called "liberal"). The great irony is that Medicare, our most effective and fairest medical provider of health care, is a social benefit.

IT IS DISTURBING to listen to all the fabrications about the mediocrity of the Universal Health System in England, France, Spain, Italy and most of the rest of Europe, as well as in Canada, our next door neighbor. One of the biggest ironies is to learn - not from Sicko but from statistics by one of the most reputable publications, The Economist - that Cuba, economically a Third World country, has among all nations in the world one of the lowest infant mortality rates, 4.9 per thousand, lower than the United States (Singapore is 3.0 per thousand). The same applies to life expectancy, with 78.1 years compared to 77.9 in the United States (Japan is 82.8 years).

We must realize that in this time and age universal health care must be universal, from the cradle to the grave.

(The writer has 35 years experience in the health insurance business - 10 years in Cuba, and 25 years in Puerto Rico, managing two large American-based insurance firms.)

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patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 05:41 am
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Oh yeah. The Cuban life style

Oh yeah. The Cuban life style is more healthy then the American. I think most people feel that as a nation, the US is eating itself to death. Not a problem in Cuba. While the insurance man, Mr Godoy, denies a problem with socialized medicine, he fails to mention the trend of Americans going to Canada for health care as compared to Canadians coming to America for health care. He also calls Micheal Moore a gifted movie director and talks lovingly about Hillerycare. I seem to detect a credibility problem here.

Bizarro
13
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Bizarro 08/12/07 - 07:14 am
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Note the author is from the

Note the author is from the insurance side of the business.Hmm, aren't they the ones practicing medicine nowadays? I think socialized medicine will reduce doctors profits so all the smart folks will choose another occupation. The insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals will of course make their money-oh yeah don't forget our government. We have the most advanced medical practices in the world because of a free market-not everybody having access to it is a problem.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 08/12/07 - 08:09 am
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Single payer universal health

Single payer universal health insurance is the most cost effective
model AFAIK. Today's New York Times (Sunday 12 August 2007) has
an excellent editorial on the subject of healthcare. United States has
to find the
system that works best for us and that fits our culture. Freedom to
choose our own doctor is very important to many Americans. But we do
have to do something about 45 million uninsured and tens of millions
more underinsured. A cursory look at the health statistics of Americans
prove that we have a severe and growing problem. A healthy population
and work force is just as vital to national security as an educated
electorate and skilled work force IMHO. A discussion of "socialized
medicine" has begun in the Public Affairs section of the Augusta
Chronicle Forums. This is a good place to discuss the topic beyond the usual one
day here in Reader Comments:
http://forums.augusta.com/viewtopic.php?t=149

femacamper
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 08:09 am
0
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Infant mortality in the US is

Infant mortality in the US is 2.5 times higher than in Finland, Iceland and Norway. Compared with other developed countries, we are near the bottom of the rankings - tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. The free market is sure doing a heckava great job, delivering the best medical care in the world

femacamper
0
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 08:22 am
0
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We need universal health care

We need universal health care - aimed at optimizing health. We don't need a policy where everyone can get coverage by private insurance companies. The goal of an insurance company is to make money for their shareholders and their overpaid administrators. This is accomplished by cherry-picking who they insure, excluding preexisting conditions, requiring preapprovals, denying claims, restricting care to a list of doctors who have agreed to accept their rates of payment (in the case of managed care), etc. etc

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 08:29 am
0
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You're right Cain. I think

You're right Cain. I think one of the major roadblocks in setting up a national single payer plan is the administration of the plan. A government entity running it is a guarantee of inefficiency. If a private company runs it, with gov't oversight of course, it'll be susceptible to all kinds of manipulation and fraud. And how would we keep from discouraging people from going into the medical business? Price fixing would be a natural with this system. Would the private medical industry undergo a healthy change with so much of the wealth associated being funneled through one entity? Prices of drugs and supplies in general would be negotiated down, if done right, but would the cutting edge drug and supply companies be as willing to take financial risks if their profit margin was threatened? I foresee a major shake up in the medical industry and can't tell if it would all be for the better. Of course, accessibility would be better.

dani
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dani 08/12/07 - 08:33 am
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fema I don't know where you

fema I don't know where you got your numbers but there are many other factors to consider other than health care. Take a look at the young, never married having babies with no medical care during pregnancy, even though it is readily available at no cost to the woman, and babies that they are unable to care for, nor want to care for, before you fault our medical system. Any citizen of this country can have health care if it is truly desired.

The_Last_Word
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The_Last_Word 08/12/07 - 08:35 am
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At least the writer with

At least the writer with experience in Cuba did not recommend imprisoning those who oppose his system, as Cuba does. However, there are many holes in his logic: 45 million uninsured? The validity of this figure has been questioned before - but with 20 to 40 million illegal immigrants in the country it would not be hard to have a high figure of those who are uninsured. Many choose not to be insured and many choose to cover their own health problems with cash. The fact is, NO ONE can be turned away from a hospital in the US. One reason the US has a high infant mortality rate is that we save babies from around 20 weeks gestation and, unfortunately, many of those do not survive. Canadians and other countries with socialized medicine come here for their health care rather than wait months or years for treatment in their countries. The only thing "insidious" about Hillary's plan to socilaize medicine was her secret commission that planned it. Thank God it failed but watch out the recent SCHIPS Bill from the Democrats is an attempt to create HillaryCare one step at a time. Their plan, though, robs from Medicare to provide health insurance for the Middle Class and wealthy. No thanks.

femacamper
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 08:50 am
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darn, it must be those unwed

darn, it must be those unwed girls to don't want to care for babies, having those babies at 20 weeks gestation. The rankings compared developed countries, who also have neonatologists, neonatal intensive care units, etc. that are trying to save pre-term babies

pointstoponder
1807
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pointstoponder 08/12/07 - 08:51 am
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I'm sorry, but as long as the

I'm sorry, but as long as the single payee is the government, count me out. Efficient management and government are mutually exclusive. Think FEMA, the IRS and Social Security for starters, I know the current system needs a lot of help, but please tell me, in detail rather than broad generalizations, how the government can make it better.

femacamper
0
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 08:52 am
0
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PT - why do you think

PT - why do you think administrative costs would go up? Medicare has one on the cheapest administrative costs.

jack
12
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jack 08/12/07 - 08:54 am
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Raymond, you have a

Raymond, you have a credibility problem with PT because she is so much smarter than you. There was a thread on theAC Forums yesterday about a health clinic opening in Canada with two new doctors, where hundreds got in line to "APPLY" to be a patient, and those selected were on a first come first served basis. Sounds like getting in line for tickets at a sell out concert to me.

dani
13
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dani 08/12/07 - 08:54 am
0
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You will see the quote by

You will see the quote by John F Kennedy "ask not what your country can do for you" used often but no one seems to understand it. The country should not take on the role of parents to the citizens.
WE should be helping our country, not taking and taking and taking....

jack
12
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jack 08/12/07 - 08:59 am
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Femacamper, i heard a horror

Femacamper, i heard a horror story concerning child bearing and birth in Great Britain's socialized medicine. She got to see a doctor twice-the second time was when the baby was born. Great prenatal care, yes? BTW, are you a real femacamper? If so, where are you getting your free health care at our expense and whenare you going home?

femacamper
0
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 09:22 am
0
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just one horror story from

just one horror story from Great Britain?

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 09:54 am
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medicare administrative costs

medicare administrative costs are free, they're paid for with free tax money. Each doctor that accepts medicare patients has plenty of extra paperwork, too. Government efficiency is one of the funniest oxymorons.

bone
24
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bone 08/12/07 - 10:02 am
0
0
if something could be done to

if something could be done to get better health care for non-salaried part-time employees single payer may not be necessary. i agree with cain that at present a single payer model would be the most effective, but i also think pt has a point regarding a larger federal bureaucracy resulting from gov't management of the program.

femacamper
0
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 10:05 am
0
0
medicare administrative costs

medicare administrative costs are not free, they are just not passed on directly (we still pay for them with our taxes) to the individual user. Do you think that the private insurance don't have paperwork? Actually it is more burdensome than Medicare's

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 10:12 am
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femacamper, the insurance

femacamper, the insurance paperwork is paid for by the policy holder, the free tax money comes from every taxpaying American. Insurance costs are passed on to the policy holder, medicare administrative costs are paid for by people that don't use it as well as those that do. Medicare is more burdensome to the non-user then private insurance is to the non policy holder.

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 10:15 am
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Socialized health care is

Socialized health care is much better for those receiving it that don't pay for it then for those that pay for it and don't receive it. I think it's a matter of perspective.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 08/12/07 - 10:34 am
0
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Why not try single payer

Why not try single payer universal health insurance and give people the option to opt out if they want to keep their private insurance? As long as they continue to provide proof that they have private health insurance, they could receive a voucher for the base amount the govt spends to insure every citizen of this country. I wonder how long the insurance companies would stand up against that type of pressure/competition?

bone
24
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bone 08/12/07 - 10:42 am
0
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i haven't read anything about

i haven't read anything about public/private partnerships like you describe, cain, but the idea is intriguing. is there any credible research into such a program? do some of the countries with socialized health care use this system?

femacamper
0
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 10:44 am
0
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Private insurance is

Private insurance is burdensome to the non policy holder as well. How would that be? If you have private insurance, you have probably noted that the "amount allowed" is significantly lower than the doctor's charges. This is because of price-fixing by the insurance companies (doctors have to accept what the insurance company will pay). Often the amount allowed does not cover the cost of the receptionist, billing/insurance clerk (who files your insurance paperwork as a courtesy), nurse, doctor, rent, utilities, etc. So the patient without insurance (a non policy holder) has to pay a higher price for the same services.

fd1962
26
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fd1962 08/12/07 - 10:44 am
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Yesterday femacamper
Unpublished

Yesterday femacamper suggested that childless property taxpayers be refunded their school taxes because they receive no benefit. Pretty logical? How is a healthy person's subsidizing of other citizens' medical costs through healthcare taxes a 'different perspective' than subsidizing of fellow citizens' school costs? Is an educated population any more important than a healthy population?

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 10:46 am
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Cain, sounds good to me. I

Cain, sounds good to me. I think the insurance lobbyists would be spending enough money to make sure that situation never happens. I also think that it wouldn't be long before one group became envious of the other and voted themselves better coverage, or at least coverage that looked like that received by those that opt out. Human nature always seems to come into play when dealing with people. To often we solve the problem with the "lowest common denominator" method. In this case it would be European style universal health care, except we wouldn't have anywhere to go for exceptional treatment.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 08/12/07 - 11:06 am
0
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"The same Ronald Reagan

"The same Ronald Reagan showed astonishment at the news that Americans were having difficulties to get jobs, advising them to look at the daily newspapers' classified sections." WHAT IN THE WORLD is wrong with that advice? Why is this risible? If you don't have a job, is it not a good idea to look where people are...ADVERTISING JOBS? "IT IS DISTURBING to listen to all the fabrications about the mediocrity of the Universal Health System in England, France, Spain, Italy and most of the rest of Europe, as well as in Canada, our next door neighbor." Why is it disturbing? Oh, right...because they are not fabrications. If the writer does not know that they are not fabrications, then I question his 35 years' experience. I have lived--not visited; lived--under some of the very systems he praises. I have watched friends suffer as their family members died--not "were inconvenienced"; died--because straightforward treatments that are routine in the US were not available under the "free" systems. How anyone thinks that anything is "free" is beyond me...show me the person willing (able) to work for nothing...we don't call that policy, we call it "fairy tales."

fd1962
26
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fd1962 08/12/07 - 11:08 am
0
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Raymond, please don't
Unpublished

Raymond, please don't discourage posting here. How else could we arrive at Patricia's "lowest common denominator" method of problem solving? Everybody requires an occasional victory, even Jack.

sjgraci
3
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sjgraci 08/12/07 - 11:18 am
0
0
Jack likes his socialized

Jack likes his socialized medicine, TRI-Care, paid for by you and me. I also like the socialized medicine of the VA, Military, Medicare, Medicaid, and the care provided to the President of the United States. I qualify for none of them though. But if the President gets socialized medicine why can't the rest of us?

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 11:35 am
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I think you can relax fd1962,

I think you can relax fd1962, I'm fairly certain raymonds comments don't discourage many.

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 11:40 am
0
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Thanks for crediting me with

Thanks for crediting me with the lowest common denominator concept fd, but Lenin developed it long before I was conceived. It's seldom, if ever, the best solution. It's just the most "fair". Everybody gets something, but nobody gets everything.

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