Please explain American healthcare logic to me (a Brit).

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by 8236, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. 8236
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    8236 VIP Member

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    You've maybe/probably heard all this b4, but I just don't understand the loud hostility of many Americans to the so-called 'socialist' healthcare systems of Canada and the UK.

    Sensationalist statements like 'Communist', 'Death panels' and (lol) 'have you seen the state of Brits' teeth' (<-might come back to that one some other time), strike me as bizarre. I probably only get to see the wackier stuff that people come out with in the US, but I've been doing a bit of reading around:

    1: If the Canadian system sucks, why do so many Americans buy their medication from Canada.
    2: Overall life expectancy in the US is lower than in Canada, the UK, Puerto-Rico and - shockingly - Jordan (Neigbour of Irak!). The US comes in at #35, just above Albania, an impoverished ex-commie state next to Greece (which also does better than the US).
    3: America spends twice as much as the British do on health (as % of GDP), but yet still 15% of Americans have no insurance. That together with the life expectancy makes me think you're being ripped off.
    4: The UK National Health Service is paid for out of general taxation, but nobody is forced to use it. There are plenty of private insurance schemes here, and if you can afford them then fine, but then it's also good that those wealthy people pay some tax for the benefit of the poor who can't. In fact, many people over here also get private health insurance as part of the jobs - just like in the US, and the NHS acts as a safety net for the poor and those who lose their jobs and insurance - not unlikely in these economic times.

    I've seen TV reports showing thousands of (mainly poor black) people queueing in and around a football stadium for hours and hours, just to get some basic help on an assembly line kind of system with absolutely no privacy at all - it looked more like something I expect to see in Africa, not the worlds richest nation. Then there was the woman who had to sell her house and was living in a tent with her husband in order to pay for the cancer drugs she needed. Don't know about you but I find that quite shocking. Maybe I'm just being bamboozled by the media, but I thank my lucky stars I live in a country where everybody's life is regarded as of (reasonably) equal value. I thought the US constitution said something about equality somewhere... must have been meant selectively... oooh, heck, it was! It didn't apply to slaves (then) and obviously the poor (then, now and in the future too probably).

    So, I really don't understand many Americans hostility to health care for all. Maybe I just don't understand the issues. If it is all about money, why not cut some of the defence budget - afterall the US spends as much on defence as the rest of the world combined (another figure that shocks me). Nobody in the US ever seems to question the amount spent on the military so I guess the issue can't be big government either. I'm confused. Someone please explain. Thanx :)

    PS. I believe the US media dug up some Brit politician to slag off the UK's NHS. First of all he is member of the European parliament (MEP), not the UK's. No UK MP would dare say what he did. Second it's easy for a guy on over $100000 a year (basic) to come out with what he said. Third he was severely reprimanded by his party's leader in the UK (lol, silly Tory bastard :lol:).
     
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  2. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    Some Americans (like myself) have a problem with the government getting too big and powerful. This is a complicated issue, but rest assured that our 'representatives' WILL pass some kind of universal health coverage for everyone soon, possibly this year. It's inevitable. And then in a few years the US will go broke and we'll become a 3rd world nation. I'll need a place to stay then. Do you have any extra room in your flat?
     
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  3. Political Junky
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    Political Junky Gold Member

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    All valid questions, thanks. You're not apt to find a straight answer from those opposed to healthcare for all, however.
     
  4. veritas
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    veritas OBKB

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    Very good OP 8326.

    But eventually the anti-healthcare crowd will dissolve into calling you a homosexual. It'll take 5 minutes or so until they've exhausted the fascist/socialist themes......but it WILL happen.
     
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  5. SWGAFire
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    SWGAFire Rookie

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    I'll voice a concern or two. However invalid some might find them, they are food for thought for a lot of people.

    First, I watched one of Obama's 'town halls' where he was discussing health care. In one sentence he said that the government would do so much better at providing HC for citizens. Two minutes later he was stating one of the reason for a new government system was because Medicare/caid was going to be bankrupt in 7-10 years. What?!

    Problem: 2 gov't HC systems are going bankrupt
    Solution: Create another

    I mean, really, what has the government every really undertaken and it run smoothly, effectively, efficiently and frugally? Remember when it used to be joked that the Pentagon spent $50 for a hammer and $100 for a toilet seat? If you do, then you remember it wasn't far from the truth! The same gov't that responded to Katrina, then outsourced to private corps for everything else. Look at the RAMPANT corruption and price gouging and fraud going on there!

    Now, I'm about as far south from Canada as you can get. So people crossing over for meds, I know little about. Maybe it's some sort of gov't regulation on pharmaceuticals or the companies. Worth looking into.

    I'm not at all against HC reform! I welcome it! And again, I'm not totally informed in all the in's and out's of what's broken with our current system and why. I just know that paying $4-5 per pill of Tylenol and $2-3 per 2x4 pad is freaking unreal!

    The health crisis in America maybe a pretty unique one. If I'm not mistaken, every major cause of death in the US is caused by a 'life style disease'. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, obesity...Poor diet, lack of exercise and preventative care are naming just a few.

    Anyhow, I need a smoke....
     
  6. Political Junky
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    Political Junky Gold Member

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    The government has done a pretty good job with the military, except, of course, for the graft.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  7. SWGAFire
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    SWGAFire Rookie

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    I will agree that we have a badass military!

    Well, I've had two good friends in the military (aside from a couple of casual aquiantances). One, wife and two kids. He went AWOL twice to come back to GA so he could work at his old job to make enough money to support them. He wasn't making enough on base. He got discharged, of course. Second, wife and three kids. He was living in gov't housing on base and still had to get food stamps. I don't know how the first spent his money, may have been too free with the check book. Like I said he was away. But I lived near by the second and I know how their money was spent. It was sad situation. However, I know plenty make it on military pay. Always some good and bad.
     
  8. 8236
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    8236 VIP Member

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    I live in a castle, as all Englishmen do, so you're welcome anytime;)
    As I understand it the US is already pretty broke (the $10trillion debt I mentioned somewhere) - although, it's not that bad, only 100% of GDP).
    I think the problem is Americans' innate dislike of the concept of tax. I understand why many Americans think like that. You live in a vast country where, particularly in the sparsely populated areas there is a tradition of self reliance, and an understandable suspicion of outside inteference. Unfortunately when you live in areas of high population density like some of your coastal states and most European countries it is simply not possible to have a functioning society without some kind of communal care system, be it social security or healthcare, or whatever because the disparaties in wealth and opportunities ultimately lead to rampant crime, anger and collapse of society.

    This probably sounds like its coming straight out of 'Das Kapital', but it can't be argued that large inequities, and large numbers of poor people living on top of each other with a few very rich people has been the cause of most of the revolutions and subsequent misery that followed in the 20th century.

    I don't see higher taxation as necessarily bad. It fosters social cohesion (yes you do get scroungers - but then there are plenty of them in the stock markets, media, sports etc., doing relatively little for the vast sums they make). It also allows you to shout even louder at public servents: 'I pay your wages'. As for the argument that the state always screws things up, heck, we have plenty of previously state owned companies in the UK who have made things far worse and expensive than was previously the case - public transport and utilities etc.

    Another thing that sickens me is the 'privatise the profits', 'nationalise the debts' modus operandi prevalent over here, and I guess in the US aswell, at the moment.

    I think I'm woffling now. Anyway, you are welcome to come and stay anytime. Provided you can stand to come and live in a 3rd world country (which by implication is what you were saying;)). Although, I don't actually think the UK is quite in the 3rd world category yet, even after having had healthcare for all since 1948. Heck, we could afford a national health care system in 1948(!), when Britain was bankrupt, still on rations, with millions of bombed out homes etc. Surely you can't be serious when you think America will go broke under the staggering weight of paying for health care for the remaining 15% without the insurance!
     
  9. SWGAFire
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    SWEET! A castle!

    We do have a communal care system, Welfare. Are you familiar with our government handouts to stay home, not work, no need for education, collect checks, have Enormous families so the entire vicious cycle will purpetuate itself? I've seen in in action for years! And they have gov't health care, if they just sign up or actually go to the doctor. Most of the problem is, they don't know HOW to use HC. People will call for an ambulance at 4am because they've been sick for 3 days or stumped their toe 6hrs ago. I've been there and witnessed first hand. These additionaly cost (ambulances, medics and then emergency room) are part of what's driving our costs up.

    Another problem is with the vilanfication of the wealthy. Since the fall of our markets (hell, before that) polloticians were blaming EVERYTHING on the wealthy. Granted some were making unimaginable (too me anyway) amount of money. But these were the same people whom the gov't were supposed to be watching and regulating...Brokers, bankers, lenders, etc...

    That leads into the the Complete lack of connection between voters and their representitives. The catch phrase now is 'disenfranchised'. There's only one way to cure that...don't put them back in office. Time will tell....

    I don't think most Americans mind taxes, they know they're a necessary evil. But what I think most Americans would say is that they aren't taxed fairly. I saw a senator the other day say that he had a plan to where if we implimented a 13% flat tax, do away with most deductions, we could be out of debt in 10-15 years (or somewhere around that). I say go for it!
     
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  10. 8236
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    Fair enough.
    Are these figures not because of outsourcing to the private sector. I guess they should have done their accounting better. The Custer & Battles fiasco is a case in point (I guess you must know about that cos I do and I'm in the UK).
    As I pointed out in my previous post, there are plenty of examples in the UK of nationalised industries going private and being far worse as a result - all they have to do is keep their shareholders happy, not the general public. The promised competition bringing down prices became illusory. The thing is that America has never really experienced transitions from nationalisation to privatisation to have anything to compare to (as far as I know). I'm sure there are plenty of private corps where individuals claim ridiculous expenses. Afterall, they are even less accountable than governments and their bodies. It often seems far harder to replace them than governments, as in the world of shareholding all votes are not equal.

    Again, Katrina, isn't the problem there the government having its back against the wall because lack of funding for FEMA, so private business could come in and demand whatever they wanted. I dunno, is it a lack of competition? Big business pulling government strings or really government inefficiency. One problem I think the US has here is the number of law-makers enslaved to big business for campaign donations. I would suggest a cap on spending - probably too socialist though.

    I meant mail order drugs. I think thats how a lot of it is done.

    I agree. Too much typing for one day :) Cheerz
     

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