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Graig..have you ever been w/o health insurance??

PostPosted: May 16th, 2003, 3:46 pm
by reneeintx
Just curious...

The United States in the richest country in the world and there isn't a good reason why its citizens shouldn't have health care, regardless of ability to pay.

When I didn't have it my husband was working but his company didn't provide it. We were the working POOR. You try living in a dirty, scummy tailer park, living on food stamps, with a car breaking down every week and try to buy insurance. Oh yeah I remember when we bought a "newer" $1,000 car and the food stamps were reduced because of our "new car".

Also I had had one baby and one on the way, yes I was young and stupid but I don't think I should've been denied health insurance. I'd have been willing to buy it if it was available on a sliding scale basis, according to your income. Do I choose to feed my babies or buy health insurance?

When I was in the hospital having my kids I basically got treated like a dog!! I didn't have that golden(insurance) card you need to get treated like a human being.

Yes, years later my husband did go to college and dig us out of our "hole" and I do have health insurance that we pay an arm and a leg for.

I've talked to people in "this" country that experienced the same situation as your dads. People here die waiting. They go without simple treatment that leads to their death because they don't have insurance. How about the hospital in Washington DC where a man that was beaten up, laying on the steps of the hospital and hosptial personnel wouldn't come out to help him because he wasn't "in" the hosptial...he died. I'm sure while they were looking at him through the window they could see he wasn't wearing an armani suit.

I'm sorry fastpage you hit a sore spot with me. Insurance should be a right for everyone, but being a lawyer, you probably never went without.

My beliefs still stand, this health care system is going to hell in a handbasket. How about COBRA what a JOKE!!!!

I'll never forget where I've started from and I am an advocate for all the people that need insurance and don't have it. My heart breaks for them.


PS~people in Canada can drive across the border and get treatment in the US. We don't have that option.

Try sometime being outside and looking in....

PostPosted: May 16th, 2003, 4:38 pm
by Jenn311

Sorry Graig, not that I don't love you, but I'm with my sister Renee on this one. Basic healthcare should be a basic right for everyone in this country. (actually everyone in the world, but we won't go there right now...) Here we are spending billions on healthcare for other countries (so that they grow up healthy enough to buy our goods and boost our economy...let's not kid ourselves that we are by any means doing these things out of the goodness of our heart--->that is the US...not me.) And did you realize that 90% of the aide money the US gives other countries is in the form of arms? And people in this country are dying because they can't afford to see a doctor and/or buy the meds. Medicare esp. needs to pay for meds for the elderly....that's just sad that they won't.

And I pay taxes, but I don't get to allocate where that money goes...maybe all mine so far has gone into one of those $200,000 a year pensions for some sleazy low-life politician. I hope not. I would rather think it is saving the life of some baby somewhere or helping feed the hungry. But it may as well be paying for some bomb to kill babies or the hungry. This country needs some serious political reform. But the sad thing is....we are too complacent as a population to get informed or do anything about it.

You gotta love least we can *beep* about our country's problems!

~Jen the American (oh yeah...I don't really have insurance either...)

Health Insurance

PostPosted: May 16th, 2003, 5:03 pm
by jcavan4125
I do understand how you feel about health insurance. However, you must understand that the U.S. has by far the most advanced healthcare system in the world, and the most expensive. There are several reasons why it is so expensive.
1) Americans feel they should have the best of everything.
2) Everyone is sue happy which only drives up the cost of care to everyone.
3) Doctor's perform unnecessary tests because patients demand them.
4) People expect the insurance companies to foot the bills for any medicine or test they want to have.

In countries where medicine is socialized (all of which are going broke by the way), medical care is rationed out. Canadians have been known to wait two years to have heart bypass surgery done (Why do you think people cross the border from Canada to receive care in the U.S.).
In England, the physicians decide who should receive heroic efforts and who should not. In Germany, most of the medicine prescribed is herbal products which can be bought over the counter in the United States. In India, there is a two tiered system, those with private insurance and everyone else; and you guessed it, the level of care is different between the two. So unfortunately, you have the choice of mediocre free medical care (in which you would never get an EMG done simply because you wanted one) or the best care in the world for a price. It is not a perfect system, but I would rather have the option of paying for the best, than being relegated to second tier care. If you want to see how socialized medicine would look in this country, you need only look at the VA Hospital system!

PostPosted: May 16th, 2003, 5:18 pm
by Jenn311
Hi Joe.

Don't you think those that are in need of medical care that can't afford it would be happy to see a VA doctor?
I agree that there is too much frivolous litigation going on in this country. Judges need to be trained to sniff that stuff out. I vote for Judge Judy to train them all.

We actually do have free medical care in this country if you know where to look. But it is second rate. What I am in favor of is the US allocating more federal money into improving and broadening those services, esp. for children and the elderly with no real income.

Love to all...

PostPosted: May 17th, 2003, 7:44 am
by reneeintx
Jen311 & jcaven-

You both make some interesting points. I did receive "bare bones" health care at the health clinic. I'm thankful my husband didn't have to deliver our babies in our bed. I had a midwife. I know how a cave woman felt giving birth. When other women talk about their labor, and the epidural they received to block the pain I haven't a clue what they are talking about. I delivered a 9lb 13 once boy without any medication. I feel if I had insurance I wouldn't have had to endure such pain. My second son was delivered by a "regular doctor", because at this time, the malpractice insurance for the midwives exploded and they couldn't afford to pay for it. FYI I still didn't receive an epidural :( with this 9lb 11 once son. Lesson learned, NO INSURANCE=NO EPIDURAL

Jen311, I gotta luv ya!! I agree with everything you've said especially the VA response. People that don't have insurance would be happy to be seen by VA doctors, then not being seen at all.

The elderly need help so bad. Imagine deciding to get your heart medication refilled or buying a costco size box of tuna that would feed you for a month. You'd think our government could at least help them with their medications.

The goverment should always make sure our children get decent health care regardless of the parents ability to pay. They are our future.

I just wanted to add. After the birth of my first son...remember we were the working poor, we were getting ready to walk out the doors and this lady comes running up with a clip board and a pen wanting us to sign an agreement of payment. Picture holding the baby and my husband telling me to walk faster. She is saying sir, sir, with pen in hand, chasing us to our "new car". He tells her we aren't signing anything and you should've seen the look on her face. I'll never forget it. We laughed all the way home.

Long story short...HA HA!! We got bills from the hospital. We would just throw them away, we couldn't pay them anyway. So you see all the tax payers probably footed the bill for my painful delivery. I'm glad I didn't pay a DIME for the crappy service I got. Thank you everybody!!

Today we make a six figure income and those days are never far from my mind. It can all fall like a house of cards and I know I can rely on my neighborhood health clinic, and buy the jumbo size can of tuna along with the 6 pack of canned biscuits and live the good life.

Just my 2cents.

Renee~ I don't mean to be bitter but I guess it comes out that way, so I guess I am.

PostPosted: May 17th, 2003, 8:27 am
by Jenn311
Great post Rene!

I feel your pain with those babies...I had two natural childbirths (it was in Japan where they don't give pain meds of any kind during labor) and one birth here in the US WITH an epidural. I laugh at these mammas who say they want to try natural childbirth....I'm always like "why?" It's like having major surgery without anesthesia.

:wink: , jen

PostPosted: May 17th, 2003, 3:30 pm
by reneeintx

I've watched "a baby story" on TLC and have seen pregnant women say they were going to have natural child birth. Yeah right..once they get to so many centimeters they start screaming for an epidural.

They suddenly realize sqeezing a watermelon through their birth canal without medicine, wasn't such a great idea. :mrgreen:

What is the labor room in Japan called.. the japanese torture chamber. :lol:


PostPosted: May 19th, 2003, 6:50 pm
by fastpage
Renee: You should have put this under off-topic conversations but I am going to reply where you posted. You're making assumptions about things of which you know nothing. I spent over 10 years without health insurance. I was in the hole over $200,000.00 at one point on medical bills. I got them paid over many years, but I got it done. Then I couldn't get insurance because of a pre-existing condition. My wife switched to a lower paying job just to get the benefits. Then she was disabled (by a doctor screwing up rotator-cuff surgery, by the way) and we are now on COBRA and will loose our benefits again in 6 months. At my age and with our history we will have a tough time getting insurance replaced.

I also grew up poor-very poor. I went in the Military to save money to help me get an education. I then worked my way through college and law school. Nobody helped me and I didn't expect anyone to.

I spend about 2 months a year in Canada. Their medical system is on the verge of collapse. The average waiting time for elective surgery in Sask. is just over nine months. People here are complaining about waiting 6 weeks to see a neuro. In Canada you would wait six months-if you could get to one at all. I have dozens of friends up there and they all hate the medical system and have a horror story of their own. It costs a fortune and doesn't work worth a *beep*.

I am also sick and tired of hearing about the "richest" country in the world. If you understand economics then you know that the country is not rich. It's citizens, corporate and individual, hold the wealth. The government confiscates a portion of that wealth to fund it's programs and provide certain services. All you are talking about is taking money from one person to give it to another. Of course that sounds just great to many folks. Half the citizenry pay no taxes anyway. In fact a large number, under the guise of the earned income credit, get a nice chunk of someone else's money as a present at tax time, even when they have paid nothing in. Then they screech about the wealthy not paying their "fair share".

Socialism has never worked for an extended period of time. Why? Because you remove the incentive for people to succeed when you simply tax it away and redistribute it to those who haven't earned it. It failed for that reason in Jamestown in one year and continues to ultimately fail all the time. Until people get over the idea that they don't have to take care of themselves and that they have the right to be subsidized from other citizen's earnings, then we are going to continue to decline-including our health care system.

People like you are the first ones, under a national health care system, who would then be screaming and crying because the care was so poor. The waits are too long, you can't choose your own doctor, you can't get the tests you want (like an EMG) because the government won't authorize them or they're simply not available. You'll be talking about how it "sucks and blows" and you have the RIGHT to better care. Where do you turn then? It's also a disincentive to obtaining the best and brightest students to go into medicine.

We have the best quality health care in the world. Is it perfect? Far from from it. I know that from repeated personal experience. It is just better and faster than anywhere else. Is it too expensive? Yes. The answer, however, is not to hand it over to a massive, lethargic, expensive, wasteful and inept goverment bureaucracy. We need to put capitalism back in the system. Competition, medical savings accounts etc. And most of all people need to quit whining about their life circumstances and assume responsibility for themselves.

Our neighbors are not obligated to feed, clothe and care for us just because we were generous enough to bless the world with our indispensible presence, although that idea is admittedly attractive to a large segment of the population who find it much easier to let goverment take care of them than to do it themselves. One of the founding fathers (don't recall which one offhand) said it well (I am paraphrasing), when he said that we will have a free country only until people realize they can vote themselves money out of other people's pockets. Amen.

And just to set the record straight, I don't have a whole lot of money now, so don't start the "rich" lawyer stuff. I quit that profession to save my sanity. I am sure you are a good and well-meaning person but we all know what road is paved with good intentions. Sorry, you hit a sore spot.

PS Thanks, Dogbone.

PostPosted: May 19th, 2003, 7:02 pm
by fastpage
jcavavn4125: You said it better and more tactfully than I. Well done. I let my temper get the best of me. And Jen, not that I don't love you too, but everyone is not entitled to health care provided by the government. There are certainly segments of the population who need help. To fund a national health care system is another matter entirely and will always raise a "catfight" I suppose between those who think every new government entitlement is is a boon and those who recognize them as a boondoggle. We can do things to make health care more affordable and insurance more obtainable without running to the government for everything. Read jcavan4125's post again.

PS Renee: Being a lawyer I do know what the word "right" means and it is tossed around far too loosely. The definition some people give it is frightening. I also agree wholeheartedly that we must get litigation expenses under control. Darn lawyers-and I mean that!

PostPosted: May 19th, 2003, 9:22 pm
by Jenn311
Oh I love debating the issues!

First Graig....if you pay in no money in the form of federal withholdings, then you are not entitled to earned income credit. It is an incentive for people to work to offset the expense of keeping them on welfare...the more you work, the more EIC you get, until you hit about 13,000..and then it declines until you hit around 23.5K for single head of household and 33K for married filing joint. It is actually saving the gov't money to dole out EIC rather than to have people sit on their a$$ at home and not work at all, collecting welfare. It serves the population of people that are capable of working but are unable to earn enough to support their families (and to qualify you must be responsilbe for dependent children). I actually work for my mom who is an accountant during the tax season doing tax I will be the first to tell you, this system gets abused all the time. There needs to be some serious policing going on to see that these funds are properly allocated. But I also see people out there who really need the money because for whatever reason, they are just not making it.

Here's another interesting point...the military spendings in the US is 11 trillion dollars. (11,000,000,000,000) That is enough to buy every house and vehicle in the United States. For as much as we spend on nuclear warheads alone in one year, we could provide health insurance for all the children in the United States. So it is not that we are saying..."gee, I'm too lazy to get a job, can you rich folks please pay in more money so that I can be entitled to free healthcare?" What I am advocating is a re-distribution of funds to aid those in our own country so that all people can have access to decent healthcare. And I feel for those Canadians who are unable to go and see a neuro without having to wait a long time. I can't afford to see one until I finish graduate school and find a job with benefits. We are talking over a year I will have to wait.

Here is another interesting story to illustrate my point. I used to work for MHMR as an employment specialist. My job was to help people with mental disabilities find and keep jobs in the community. One of my first clients was this old guy with schizophrenia named Phil. He was a very skinny, raggedy looking chap who turned out to be in his forties, but looked more like he was in his sixties. Everytime I found a place that was willing to give Phil a job, he would not show up for work. I would call and get the same answer...."I don't feel good...I'm sick". I finally got some funds allocated for Phil to go and see a doctor....turns out Phil has cancer. There is no way our small state-funded organization has the money to pay for his treatment. And since he doesn't have a job, he can't pay for it. Well, he tried relentlessly to get on SSI, but it was to no avail. Finally I loose touch with Phil (who is a bit of a transient but a decent guy all the same....) I'm sure he is probably dead by now. Oh well! At least we have the best military in the world! So my point Phil's life any less precious than yours or mine? What went so wrong in his life that our destinies turned out so differently? Just because he suffered his whole life and never was able to make anything of himself and build up equity, does that mean that he got what he deserved? Where is our concern for human life? Why is this country so concerned with competition instead of working together to make things better for every person? In Japan the sense of group and community is much stronger than competition between individuals, and anyone who has ever lived there will is a safer, happier place to live. And there socialized medicine is great!

Oh I ranting? DOn't mean I said...I love to debate the issues. Never any hard feelings :wink: . I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

"Remeber to be gentle with yourself and with others. We are all children of chance, and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices in life no more easily make. And give. Give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. TO give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared, and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace." Kent Nerburn, Letters to my son
Love to all....

PostPosted: May 20th, 2003, 9:41 am
by fastpage
The point with the earned income credit, which I apparently did not make very lucidly, is that it pays back much more than was paid in. If you have $1000 withheld and you get back a $2500.00 refund, you have, in effect, not only paid no taxes but you have just been given a gift of $1500. You regurgitate the party line about it's purpose but the legislative history (and your own comment) indicates it is really nothing more than another welfare or wealth redistribution payment We can debate its propriety but call it what it is.

There will always be those who are unfortunate in our society. We need some government services to help them. A sad and politcally incorrect truth, however, is that many people choose thier circumstances. Renee chose not to pay her bills and felt good about it. That type of behavior, by the way, is another reason our health care is so expensive. The hospitals around here write off hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from people who don't pay, yet I have never seen them turn down even a $10.00 a month payment schedule from someone who was trying to meet their obligations. There is a difference between "can't" pay and "don't want to make the sacrifice or effort" to pay. Certainly there are some of the former. There are also a lot of the latter.

I also know many people who choose not to pay for health insurance because they are not willing to make the necessary financial sacrifices in other areas of their lives. They would rather spend that money on something else. Their choice-but not my responsibility. Maybe we should pay for damages people incur when they are unable or unwilling to pay for auto insurance and then get tagged with a huge bill for damages when they are in an accident?

There many ways to help unfortunate people. Sadly, a large segment of the public thinks the government is the only vehicle for accomplishing that. In this area the hospitals treat anyone, whether they can pay or not. Pharmaceutical companies (particularly Pfizer) give away millions of dollars in free and reduced drugs every year. The VA is available. The churches provide help. One of our hospitals provides a free clinic to anyone who needs it. That is a sense of community, not some Federal agency attempting to administer another massive mess of an entitlement program. Look at Medicare and Medicaid. I simply don't understand when so much of society decided it was a "right" to have their expenses paid by someone else. What's next-eyecare, lawncare, carcare, petcare, daycare? (I"m sure that last one is already on your wish list).

When and from where, was I granted the "right" to have someone else assume responsibility for my health or any other aspect of my life for that matter? We continue to delegate responsibility for ourselves to the government; something I'm sure you find "communal". I find it frightening.

This "cat" has had enough of this catfight. It's pointless. If it's any consolation, I am sure you are going to win. We are undoubtedly on the road to socialized medicine-like it or not. I hope you like it when you get it. I've tried it and found it quite unappealing. Have a great day.

PostPosted: May 20th, 2003, 10:34 am
by dwl
FWOW, I am from the UK which has "socialised medicine". The British public hold their healthcare system very close to their hearts. OK, so it's suffered from decades of underfunding by successive governments who tried to tell the public that they could have a Rolls-Royce service and not pay for it, but the situation is slowly improving.

It's a truism that those who have the greatest health needs are those who are least able to provide it. Health care in a civilised society is a basic human right, not something you can compare with auto insurance or pet care.

I think that the stats confirm that the UK spends around 7% of GNP on healthcare and everyone is entitled to treatment free at the point of care. The last time I looked, the US was spending about 16% of GNP on healthcare and still managed to leave about 30 million citizens without any form of cover. There is some research which confirms that the healthcare industry in the US generates a lot of demand for investigations and treatments which do not improve peoples' health, e.g. screening for prostate cancer, antibiotics for viral sore throats, annual check-ups etc.

Our healthcare system undoubtedly has many problems due to years of underfunding, but I wouldn't change it to any other system for a million dollars.


Medical system

PostPosted: May 20th, 2003, 12:47 pm
by jcavan4125
This is always a spirted debate but what it really boils down to is what Fastpage was saying. There will always be a segment of the population that wants another segment of the population to pay their way (ie. socialism). Jenn calls it "redistribution" of resources and DWL complains that the medical system in the UK is "underfunded", but it is all the same thing; taking from the have's and giving to the have nots!
In the U.S. the top 5% of income earner's pay 50% of all the taxes. The top 25% pay over 80% of all taxes. The reason that you can never get consensus on tax cuts is because half the country doesn't pay any taxes. Whenever the idea of tax cuts comes up, the liberals always cry that it unfairly favors the rich (that's because they are the ones paying the taxes)! The liberals then come forward with their much more fair plan of giving targeted tax cuts to those that need the money (The ones not paying any taxes). That way the politicians don't need to give much back and they can continue their habitual overspending. This of course never accomplishes anything, and certainly does not stimulate the economy. As someone once said "they never saw a poor man create a job".
My purpose is not to be harsh or uncaring, I'm am simply pointing out that there is never such a thing as a free ride. Free medical care (ie. socialzed medicine), by definition means it is provided by the government. Since the government does not generate income, and it's only revnue stream is from taxes, then free medical care is actually medical care subsidized by those paying the majority of the taxes (ie. the rich). Some people don't have a problem with this, but I for one do. The system is set up in such a way as to discourage people from doing well. The more you make, the more the government will take. If we had a flat tax system in this country where everyone paid their fair share then the rich would still be footing most of the bill, but at least it would be somewhat closer to equitable and at least everyone would be contributing in proportion to their income.
Lastly, any form of socialized medicine, will involve rationing of resources simply beacuse the budget is finite and the populace will only tolerate so much taxation before they revolt. The story that Jenn gives concerning the schizophrenic man with cancer is an excellent example of the difference between a free market system versus a socialized system. In a free market system (like we have in this country) that man could have walked into any community ER in the country and by law he would have been treated. Whether he was terminal or not he would have received care. No he would not have had bone marrow transplantation, but he would have received appropriate care. In a socialized system, if he was not curable but only treatable, the resources would not be "wasted" on a terminal patient. Likewise, in a socialized system other patients that are too expensive or too sick for the system are not treated the same way as they are in a free market system. 900 gram "crack" babies would not use up $100,000 of resources before dying anyway. Trauma victims with a high likelyhood of dying would not take up an ICU bed that could be used for a patient that had a better chance of surviving. I'm not saying that all of this would necessarily be bad, I'm just saying that you have to be very careful what you wish for. I prefer to have the best medical care that money can buy rather than the best care the government can provide supossedly "free" of charge!


PostPosted: May 20th, 2003, 12:58 pm
by fastpage
dwl: Good God! I am going to try once more and then I swear that I am done with this topic. NO ONE IS SAYING that people should not have access to health care. I am saying that giving the health care program over to the government is not BEST way to provide the BEST qualtiy medical care for the most people. I realize there are some of you who just cannot accept the validity of any concept that does not involve a national government program of some kind.

If, as is true in Canada and other "civilized" countries, you die or are injured because medical treatment was delayed, denied, unavailable or incompetent, then YOU HAVE NOT HAD ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE by any reasonable definition. This happens routinely in Canada and other "civilized" countries. MUCH more frequently than it does in the US. Furthermore, access involves some personal responsibility on the part of the individual-an alien concept to this board apparently. That includes financial responsibility and also (as you correctly point out) not abusing and overusing the system-a penchant we do have in the US.

(By the way, Jen, my best friend from college married a Japanese woman and has lived in Japan for ten years. Although he likes Japan a whole, he does not have a lot of good things to say about the "great" health care system or the general cost of living in that crowded, expensive place). I am sure I could find plenty of people in GB who are not too happy with the system there either. It has suffered from all kinds of problems as you admit. What's the solution? More funding. More taxes. Throw money at the problem. After all it's the government's money. There's always more where that came from in a "civilized" society, right? (It's worked so well with the school system here, you must be right). What you actually get is expensive, mediocre (at best) health care.

For once, JUST ONCE, perhaps as an idle intellectual exercise, maybe some of you could try to think of a solution to a problem that doesn't involve Nanny Government. Everyone-poor to rich-will be better off if we try to preserve high quality care and increase access without having to go sucking at the government mammary for everything.

I am glad you are happy with your health care system. I doubt you have ever experienced any other. I likewise am relatively happy with mine. I would like to work on improving it, not wrecking it by turning it over to the Federal government.

PostPosted: May 20th, 2003, 1:13 pm
by fastpage
Joe: Didn't see your post until after my last. Once again you have stated the issue perfectly (and more tactfully) than I. Well said.