Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by Angel Heart, May 4, 2009.
I am sooo glad you started this thread. Healthcare is mighty important, and people seem ready to accept that we will get national HC no matter what. Perhaps we will. I guess the folks who want it think it will be there when they need it.
Did you see this article in Atlantic?
"Looking at the crazy-quilt American system, you might imagine that someone somewhere has figured out how to deliver the best possible health care to everyone, at no charge to patients and minimal cost to the insurer or the public treasury. But nobody has. In a public system, trade-offs dont go away; if anything, they get harder.
The good thing about a decentralized, largely private system like ours is that health care constantly gets weighed against everything else in the economy. No single authority has to decide whether 15 percent or 20 percent or 25 percent is the right amount of GDP to spend on health care, just as no single authority has to decide how much to spend on food or clothing or entertainment. Different individuals and organizations can make different trade-offs. Centralized systems, by contrast, have one health budget. This treatment gets funded, and that one doesnt.
If I lived in New Zealand, I wouldnt be dead, just a lot poorer. But if every place were like New Zealand, far fewer complex new drugs would get developed in the first place. And my odds of survival would be much, much lower. "
My Drug Problem - The Atlantic (March 2009)
I went to a great lecture regarding the cost of medicine.
In this country, unlike other countries, we have access to every treatment available.
However, what is the cost?
Would you pay $10,000 for a cancer treatment that would prolong your life by 2 weeks? Only in America would you have the opportunity, and the cost of that treatment would be picked up by everyone else, through increased taxes for government funded insurance or through increased premiums for private insurance.
I think we need to take a closer look at this ridiculous and costly health care system in this country and determine where we draw the line. It may seem cruel and inhumane, but we also have to come to grips with the cycle of life.
In America, we pay twice as much per capita as most other industrialized nations for health care. Yet our average lifespan is lower than theirs, and our infant mortality rate is far higher. Their seniors are healthy than ours, while they have nobody in their nations going bankrupt because of medical bills, we have 700,000 American families a year that go through that.
But the CEOs of HMOs make a lot of money. Isn't that so wonderful?
HMO Executive Salaries
The great majority of Americans are very happy with their healthcare, very few are uninsured, those in countries such as Canada and the UK are far from satisfied with their care, and the long waits, and the refusal by government programs to pay for expensive life-saving drugs. Also, the WHO stats are collected from the governments, not by WHO itself.
" ...many people quote this World Health Organization figure on Denver Post blogs... But theres less to these studies than meets the eye. They measure something other than quality of medical care...The WHO judged a countrys quality of health on life expectancy. But thats a lousy measure of a health-care system. Many things that cause premature death have nothing do with medical care. We have far more fatal transportation accidents than other countries. Thats not a health-care problem.
When you adjust for these fatal injury rates, U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation."
United States Health Care ranking | Independence Institute: Patient Power
while the numbers clearly show that people are happier with their own health care than with the system as a whole, there is no dimension with which their happier than the quality of care they personally receive
a mere 15 percent complain about the quality of care they receive..(New England Journal of Medicine)
Health Beat: The Quality Question
"Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K. Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade. The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain."
10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care » The Foundry
Using your life experience, what do you suppose a government with national healthcare will do to curb costs? Tax? Ration? Put a price on your life?
Who writes the parameters wins the argument. "Would you pay $10,000 for a cancer treatment that would prolong your life by 2 weeks?" How about 10K for 2 years?
"have to come to grips with the cycle of life"? Did Tom Daschle write this for you?
"The goal, Daschles book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept hopeless diagnoses and forgo experimental treatments, and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.
...health-care reform will not be pain free. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt. "
Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey - Bloomberg.com
Tom Daschle is my neighbor and he just happened to stop by to say "hi" when I was making the last post.
On thing that differs from Americans compared to Europeans is our fear of death. In general, we will not accept a terminal diagnosis and will fight it tooth and nail, often at great cost.
Hospice services are underutilized in America. In the right situation, they are far less expensive, result in increased comfort for the patient, and much more support for the family. I have personally found that patients and their families will often choose the hospice route when the patient has only day, rather than months left to live.
I think it's love, and respect for life, perhap combined with fear of death.
Is this what you feel Europeans should be proud of?
"A woman of 61 was refused a routine heart operation by a hard-up NHS trust for being too old."
NHS chiefs tell grandmother, 61, she's 'too old' for £5,000 life-saving heart surgery | Mail Online
A bureaucrat saying this to you? You can look forward to that?
I'm not saying that we go that far...but maybe a little more conservative then what we've been doing.
This country's economy is going to collapse solely because of the health care situation. It's not Wall Street or the mortgage crisis.
It's healthcare. You watch...
I hope this post is not too long. It's my notes from a speech at Hillsdale College on how to fix healthcare.
A Prescription for American Health Care
John C. Goodman, President Center for Policy Analysis
Ph.D, Columbia University
This from a speech given at Hillsdale College, February 18, 2009
1. 78 million baby boomers are beginning to retire. Neither Social Security nor Medicare is ready for them. If private sector employer-sponsored pension plans cannot fund their care, there is the potential of 500 billion to one trillion dollars in taxpayer liability. Nor are most state and local post-retirement health benefit plans fully funded.
2. Prior to the 20th century we handled risks with the help of family and extended family. In the 19th century, by age nine a child was paying his was contributing to the household. Children were their parents retirement plan. During the 20th century families became smaller and more dispersed. Thus governments took over to insure middle class families against risk such as health care, disability, and unemployment.
3. Government attempts have resulted in a)Social Security has a 2009 liability of $100 trillion, or six-and-a-half times our entire economy, over taxes it expects to receive; b) Medicare is six times larger in terms of unfunded obligations. Baby Boomer retirements will dramatically increase these deficits.
4. CBO forecasts predict that by mid-century, Medicare and Medicaid alone are going to crowd out every thing else the federal government is doing.
5. The alternative is to rely on private sector use of individual choice and free markets. To fix Medicare,
a. Liberate patients by designating what they can pay for with the money, and then giving them more control over the money, at least one-third of their Medicare dollars. People with health savings accounts managing their own money make radically different choices: they are more prudent and economical.
b. Doctors currently have no ability to re-price or re-package their services that way every other professional does. Medicare dictates what it pays for and what it wont pay for, and the final price. Because of this there are no telephone consultations paid for, and the same for e-mails, normal in every other profession.
Most doctors dont digitize records, thus they cannot use software that allows electronic prescription, and make it easier to detect drug interactions or dosage mistakes. Again, Medicare doesnt pay for it.
Another free market idea aimed at better quality is have warranties for surgery as we do for cars. 17% of Medicare patients who enter a hospital re-enter within 30 days because of a problem connected to the original surgery. The result is that a hospital makes money on its mistakes!
c. The new system must be pre-funded. We cannot expect todays teenagers to live in poverty to pay for their elders medical bills, so everyone must start saving now, at least 4% of their income- perhaps 2% each from employer and employee, into a private account invested in the marketplace.
If consumers save and spend their own money, and doctors are allowed to act like entrepreneurs, health care can be prevented from rising faster than our incomes.
6. The free market examples in health care.
a. Cosmetic surgery behaves like a real market. It is not covered by insurance, consumers compare prices and services, and doctors act as entrepreneurs. Over the last 15 years, the real price of cosmetic surgery has gone down, even though the number of people getting cosmetic surgery five- or six-fold.
b. In Dallas, a health care provider has two million customers who pay a small fee each month for the ability to talk to a doctor on the telephone. Patients must have an electronic medical record, so that whichever doctor answers the phone can view his medical records. The company is growing due to the fact that it provides a service the traditional health care system doesnt provide.
c. Walk-in clinics are growing around the country, where a registered nurse sits at a computer, the patient describes symptoms, the nurse types it in and follows a computerized protocol, the nurse can prescribe electronically, and the patient sees the price in advance.
d. Concierge doctors, doctors who dont want to deal with third party insurers. In Dallas, these doctors charge $40 per employee per month, give telephone and e-mail access, and keep electronic medical records.
e. Medical tourism: hospitals in India, Singapore and Thailand are competing worldwide for patients. They have lower costs, and high quality, with doctors board-certified in the United States, and publicize their error rates, mortality rates, infection rates, etc.
Separate names with a comma.