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post #1 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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US healthcare reform

Surprised nobody is talking about this at all, but then again we're without Prima Donna aren't we?

All the signs suggest the Democrats will pass the Senate bill and the reconciliation fixes to the Senate bill on Sunday. They need to get 216 votes to pass this thing and it looks like they're going to have the numbers unless something goes horribly wrong between now and then.

At that point the reconciliation package will go to the Senate where it needs 51 votes to pass and they're hoping to have that done by the end of next week.

Republicans have promised to try and derail the process by throwing tons of amendments at the reconciliation package, but it doesn't look like there is much they can do to stop the process if the Democrats can get the numbers in both houses, which it looks like they will do.

According to the CBO the bill will insure over 30 million more Americans when it's up and running, outlaw dropping coverage based on pre-existing conditions completely by 2014, make it harder for insurers to levy massive premium increases on their customers, and will yet still save over $100 million dollars of federal money in 10 years compared to what would be spent without reform, and then over a trillion dollars in the next 10 years after that.

Public opinion polls have generally been against passage of healthcare reform for several months now at least (although it's worth noting that opposition is built up of those on the right who thinks it "socialises" healthcare or is a "government takeover", and people on the left who are against it because they think it doesn't go far enough and want an expansion of Medicare or at least a government run insurance option to compete with the private companies)

Some polls do suggest though that opinion may be starting to swing back in favour of passage - i'm sure the recent double digit premium hikes from major insurance companies that landed on the doormats of many customers in many states this past couple of months may have helped with that.

So now we're nearly at the end of this process (I say that but never underestimate the Democrats' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory), what do people think? Should it pass? Should it be scrapped and should they start over, as the Republicans say? What is the best way to ensure Americans have access to healthcare?
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post #2 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 09:10 PM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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What is the best way to ensure Americans have access to healthcare?
The best way is to ration care so that everyone can get at least some minimal level of it. This is what they do in Europe and Cuba and they have the best systems in the world. It'd be foolish for the US not to do so, as well. Obviously, there won't be any negative side effects to government intervention.
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post #3 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 10:24 PM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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The best way is to ration care so that everyone can get at least some minimal level of it. This is what they do in Europe and Cuba and they have the best systems in the world. It'd be foolish for the US not to do so, as well. Obviously, there won't be any negative side effects to government intervention.
You have no idea what you are talking about. Having lived for nine years in Cuba and seen the medical care that Cubans get, I can tell you it is appalling. The only thing Cuba is interested in is fooling the world into believing they have adequate medical care. Obviously you are a willing stooge.
I was seriously ill twice and was misdiagnosed both times. Once I went ten days without food or water and they said I had jaundice. Even the Canadian Embassy told them I had just returned from a malaria zone in the Pacific, but they said they were experts on malaria (from their imperial exploits in Africa.) When my vital organs shut down and I was declared too critical for medical evacuation, in desperation they sent me to the hospital reserved for top Party Members (the only dialysis machine in Cuba). I tested overwhelmingly positive for malaria on the first blood sample and the dialysis saved my life, after two weeks of less than 50-50 odds..

Another example. One of my best workers and a good friend was ill from his body's inability to produce sufficient red blood cells. He was put in a filthy hospital. When I wanted to take him somewhere better and pay for treatment I was turned down on the grounds that Cuba has the ''best medical system in the world'' and he would be treated properly. Since all Cubans are given the same treatment there would be no point in transferring him to another hospital. He died on Christmas Day, because the Cuban system preferred to not admit its failure to a foreigner.

So, at the risk of your feeling insulted, I feel morally obligated to tell you that when you say that Cuba has ''the best system in the world'', you are being very, very ignorant of what really goes on in Cuba. You have totally, and apparently willingly, fallen for the big Cuban propaganda machine. Obviously by paying their doctors $20/month, the Party machine has spent the saved money well by spreading the lies to the naive and ill-informed.

You may be surprised to learn that the only adequately stocked pharmacy in Havana, when I was there, had a sign on the door saying FOREIGNERS ONLY. Cuban black humour had it that when a doctor gave them a prescription they took the piece of paper home and swallowed it with a glass of water.

And please don't come back to me with quotes about wonderful Cuban longevity and infant mortality rates, etc. When you realise that these numbers are simply invented in Communist Party Headquarters, then you are beginning to understand Cuba.

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Last edited by buddyholly; 03-20-2010 at 10:43 PM.
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post #4 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 10:54 PM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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You have no idea what you are talking about. Having lived for nine years in Cuba and seen the medical care that Cubans get, I can tell you it is appalling. The only thing Cuba is interested in is fooling the world into believing they have adequate medical care. Obviously you are a willing stooge.
I was seriously ill twice and was misdiagnosed both times. Once I went ten days without food or water and they said I had jaundice. Even the Canadian Embassy told them I had just returned from a malaria zone in the Pacific, but they said they were experts on malaria (from their imperial exploits in Africa.) When my vital organs shut down and I was declared too critical for medical evacuation, in desperation they sent me to the hospital reserved for top Party Members (the only dialysis machine in Cuba). I tested overwhelmingly positive for malaria on the first blood sample and the dialysis saved my life, after two weeks of less than 50-50 odds..

Another example. One of my best workers and a good friend was ill from his body's inability to produce sufficient red blood cells. He was put in a filthy hospital. When I wanted to take him somewhere better and pay for treatment I was turned down on the grounds that Cuba has the ''best medical system in the world'' and he would be treated properly. Since all Cubans are given the same treatment there would be no point in transferring him to another hospital. He died on Christmas Day, because the Cuban system preferred to not admit its failure to a foreigner.

So, at the risk of your feeling insulted, I feel morally obligated to tell you that when you say that Cuba has ''the best system in the world'', you are being very, very ignorant of what really goes on in Cuba. You have totally, and apparently willingly, fallen for the big Cuban propaganda machine. Obviously by paying their doctors $20/month, the Party machine has spent the saved money well by spreading the lies to the naive and ill-informed.

You may be surprised to learn that the only adequately stocked pharmacy in Havana, when I was there, had a sign on the door saying FOREIGNERS ONLY. Cuban black humour had it that when a doctor gave them a prescription they took the piece of paper home and swallowed it with a glass of water.

And please don't come back to me with quotes about wonderful Cuban longevity and infant mortality rates, etc. When you realise that these numbers are simply invented in Communist Party Headquarters, then you are beginning to understand Cuba.
My post was completely sarcastic (I figured at least you would have picked up on that based on my previous posts on Obamacare). I'm well aware that Cuba's system is miserable, hence the reference to rationing (sorry about your friend).
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post #5 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:06 PM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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What is the best way to ensure Americans have access to healthcare?
Americans don't have access to healthcare? This is the biggest myth of all. Well done to the media on promoting this fallacy that Americans are "dying in the streets" due to lack of healthcare. Everybody has access to above-average healthcare, whether they're covered by insurance or not.

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post #6 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:12 PM
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Re: US healthcare reform

I agree with you, I don't have health insurance but if I"m sick and I go to an emergency room, they will take me regardless if I can afford to pay or not.


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Americans don't have access to healthcare? This is the biggest myth of all. Well done to the media on promoting this fallacy that Americans are "dying in the streets" due to lack of healthcare. Everybody has access to above-average healthcare, whether they're covered by insurance or not.

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post #7 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: US healthcare reform

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Originally Posted by tangerine_dream View Post
Americans don't have access to healthcare? This is the biggest myth of all. Well done to the media on promoting this fallacy that Americans are "dying in the streets" due to lack of healthcare. Everybody has access to above-average healthcare, whether they're covered by insurance or not.
Fine, let me paraphrase.

What is the best way for Americans to get affordable health insurance rather than relying on Medicare, Medicaid and the emergency rooms?
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post #8 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 12:56 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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Fine, let me paraphrase.

What is the best way for Americans to get affordable health insurance rather than relying on Medicare, Medicaid and the emergency rooms?
The best way would have been to never create Medicare and Medicaid in the first place. If you're eligible for these programs you're stupid not to participate in them (from a purely financial standpoint). They charge participants considerably less than regular insurance. They're able to do so by supporting it with payroll tax revenue and to some extent denying coverage for certain items (it is a myth that insurance companies are constantly denying care...medicare and medicaid do it way more often). Some of this might be paid for with debt, as well, although I'm not sure about that. Ok, not a big deal, even if you're one of the individuals paying the tax since it's fairly small. The problem is that Medicare and Medicaid pay care providers less than insurance companies. Some providers choose not to accept these patients, but the ones that do often charge their other patients more. That person's insurance company passes that cost onto customers via higher premiums. Apparently this makes insurance companies evil.

The reason there is a "crisis" (it's not really a crisis yet, just a problem) is because the elderly (those who are on Medicare) consist of a larger percentage of the population than ever before. This will only get worse as the baby boomers start retiring. Plus, the life expectancy has obviously been increasing since the program was started. A growing and increasingly more expensive group of people, therefore, is becoming dependent on a separate group, whose costs are rising as a result. The jockey is becoming too fat for the horse. Apparently both of these issues never occurred to the dumbasses who established Medicare back in the sixties.

That said, we can't just kill Medicare. People have planned their retirements around it and it'd be inappropriate to just take it away. That said, we can charge them more. I'm a healthy 22 year-old male with no preexisting conditions. I'm literally the cheapest type of person to insure. Medicare patients pay something like $90/month for what is great coverage despite some of the denials of care. I pay about twice that. An obese grandma with heart problems and cancer who just slipped on ice and broke her hip will pay less in premiums than me. There's your problem.

The answer is to phase Medicare out by gradually increasing the age at which people are eligible for it (bonus points since this could delay their retirement too). On top of that, increase Medicare patients' monthly premiums. This way, the people who are actually receiving services would actually be paying a greater portion of those costs. This would make health care more like, you know, every other product and service out there. You won't hear this solution offered, though. Politicians certainly don't want to anger the most powerful voting block in the country.

Other than that, the current bill needs real tort reform (not the pilot program the lefties threw in there as a bone to the right), interstate competition, greater tax-exemptions for health-savings accounts, high-risk pools for those with preexisting conditions, and to allow hospitals to refuse to treat those who won't pay for the care (signing a simple bond upon arrival would do the trick). Right now it's essentially just a bill that raises taxes and pays for people who can't afford insurance to get some. Hurray, a new dependent class! There are also a bunch of new regulations enacted that just make it more expensive for insurance companies to provide coverage for us and providers to care for us. These regulations are totally gonna "protect" us, though. This bill increases demand for a product while making supplying that product more expensive. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry isn't immune to basic economic laws, so don't be fooled, premiums will continue to go up.

At the very least it will be fun to watch this bill go through the courts, in particular the individual mandate. This will take years, but reportedly there are going to be some lawsuits filed next week. Creating a better bill, of course, would've kept this from bogging down the justice system. Obviously that's too much to ask of our elected officials, many of whom hopefully won't be there this time next year.

Last edited by Chip_s_m; 03-21-2010 at 01:07 AM.
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post #9 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 03:17 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

I agree with you, I don't have health insurance but if I"m sick and I go to an emergency room, they will take me regardless if I can afford to pay or not.


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Originally Posted by tangerine_dream View Post
Americans don't have access to healthcare? This is the biggest myth of all. Well done to the media on promoting this fallacy that Americans are "dying in the streets" due to lack of healthcare. Everybody has access to above-average healthcare, whether they're covered by insurance or not.

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post #10 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 03:56 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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The US pays twice as much yet lags behind other wealthy nations in such measures as infant mortality and life expectancy
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The World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000, ranked the U.S. health care system as the highest in cost, first in responsiveness, 37th in overall performance, and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study).
Quote:
A 2008 report by the Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in the quality of health care among the 19 compared countries.
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According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the United States is the "only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage" (i.e. some kind of insurance). The same Institute of Medicine report notes that "Lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States." While a 2009 Harvard study published in the American Journal of Public Health found a much higher figure of more than 44,800 excess deaths annually in the United States due to Americans lacking health insurance. More broadly, the total number of people in the United States, whether insured or uninsured, who die because of lack of medical care was estimated in a 1997 analysis to be nearly 100,000 per year.


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http://pnhp.org/excessdeaths/health-...-US-adults.pdf

http://pnhp.org/excessdeaths/excess-...e-by-state.pdf

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Armstrong says in-competition testing will never catch anyone, only out-of-competition testing and the blood passport can.

Tennis has no blood passport system, and does basically no out of competition testing.

The methods and drugs used by Armstrong in 1999 would work in tennis right now, with zero chance of being caught (not slightly surprising to anyone familiar with the topic, btw).
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post #11 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 04:02 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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post #12 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 04:04 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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My post was completely sarcastic (I figured at least you would have picked up on that based on my previous posts on Obamacare). I'm well aware that Cuba's system is miserable, hence the reference to rationing (sorry about your friend).
OK, but it looked like a post I would expect to see here. And it drew out of me all the loathing I have for the Cuban sacrificing of its citizens in its efforts to cover up its failed system. I did think it was 180 degrees different from your previous posts, but did not bother to check back.

Back to the US vote. I have no argument that the US offers the best health care in the world, but my problem is with the providers and insurers and how they limit care to the wealthy. They work in collusion to fleece the public. The hospitals charge ridiculous fees and the insurers cry about these charges and up the premiums. They both win and the public loses. I was covered privately by a US company for years, but when I reached 65, they upped my premium 200% in one year (thats 200%, not 20%) and had the nerve to tell me that annual raises were based purely on rising hospital costs. What the US needs is a law that restricts insurers from raising their fees by more than a few percent over actual cost increases. That is why I returned to Canada. When you are over 65 in Canada the government covers almost 100% of medical costs, including medicines.

I'll give you an example of their collusion. After emergency treatment at the Mayo clinic, no less, my insurer paid the Mayo $70,000 less than they billed. The Mayo then started asking me to pay up the $70,000 and worked all the way up to threatening me with civil action. Fortunately the American friends I was recuperating with told me to throw their letters in the garbage, the Mayo was just trying to play me for a fool. It's what US hospitals do, apparently. When I kept insisting to the Mayo that my insurance coverage was 100% and that if they wanted $70,000 more they could talk to the insurer, they finally backed down and the $70,000 was reduced to $240. The $240 was because I spent a night in a private room and the insurance only covered a shared room. I happily paid up.

And after the hospitalization I did rehabilitation at the gym at Scripps. They asked me if I had insurance, because if I did they would bill the insurer $74 per visit. If I was paying out of pocket they would bill me $5. Now there is definitely something wrong there, and I call it criminal collusion between the hospitals and the insurers.

I had hopes of a lawsuit against the insurer for raising my premium by a ridiculous amount, but all I could find out was that the insurer must offer renewal of a premium. The catch is there is no limit on how much the insurer can charge. Thus, as with me, at 65 they just raise the premium to an impossible amount and you are gone from their books, just when you might be a threat to their enormous profits. But the hospital and insurance lobbyists seem to have Washington in their pockets and the insurers will continue cutting off the elderly and accepting high premiums from the low-risk young andhealthy.

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Last edited by buddyholly; 03-21-2010 at 04:29 AM.
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post #13 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 04:07 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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Americans don't have access to healthcare? This is the biggest myth of all. Well done to the media on promoting this fallacy that Americans are "dying in the streets" due to lack of healthcare. Everybody has access to above-average healthcare, whether they're covered by insurance or not.
Did you see the CCTV videos last year, where sick, elderly patients were put in taxis, taken a distance from the hospital and dumped on a street corner alone in their nightclothes? Are they included in the ''everybody'' you mention?

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post #14 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 05:09 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

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Did you see the CCTV videos last year, where sick, elderly patients were put in taxis, taken a distance from the hospital and dumped on a street corner alone in their nightclothes? Are they included in the ''everybody'' you mention?
Illegal dumping of homeless patients is a separate issue. It has nothing to do with the fact that they received good, free medical care and medicine. Free room and food on top of that, all courtesy of Medicaid.

Canadians benefit greatly from the US's superior healthcare system.


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post #15 of 181 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 05:31 AM
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Re: US healthcare reform

i can't help but laughing my ass off when fellow Europeans, happy to live and die on waiting list, talk with their mouth full of "Americans don't get proper health care" ... and then again, everyone in Europe who can afford it, when seriously ill, run to the US for proper treatment
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