?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Today's words about Health Care - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jan. 14th, 2004

05:23 pm - Today's words about Health Care

Previous Entry Share Next Entry

/* Written 4:50 pm Jan 14, 2004 by gellowe in shell:yagapooga */
I don't particularly care about health insurance, since any government health plan is almost assuredly going to make the quality of my health care go down
/* End of text from shell:yagapooga */


Do you really think this is true of any conceivable national health care plan?

Isn't there a chance that a national health care system, if properly designed, could massively reduce the administrative overhead costs associated with health insurance and cause an overall increase in the amount of money per patient going to doctors and hospitals this increasing the overall quality of health care?

Also, isn't it conceivable that under some conceivable national health care plan you could still opt to pay extra for supplemental private insurance that would give you better benefits and that the combination of the cost of supplemental insurance and whatever money the government spends on your behalf might be less than the total cost of equivalent private insurance in our current system?

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:aethyric
Date:January 14th, 2004 06:51 pm (UTC)
(Link)
the mind reels.

of course a plan - a very well-designed, highly functional one - is conceivable. the question that pops of out my cynical side, though, is always, "is it feasibly implementable?" sure, we can come up with Grand Schemes and Ideas of a Lifetime. we do it all the time and some of them are really, really good and/or helpful ideas. i believe we can work to get them set up well, too, because people are good at organizing and making patterns with numbers and guessing probabilities, even with things we've never done before. but i have this terribly pessimistic view on the human machine - that no matter how hard we try to make things work right, there are always enough people to disagree and bicker and cause the whole damned good idea to collapse in on itself. especially when you talk about something on the scale of a national plan.

wow. that was dark.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:January 14th, 2004 10:02 pm (UTC)
(Link)
My goal with this, fairly progressive, particular person was simply to get her to admit that there was a conceivable system, because it surprised me that she would state categorically that a national health care plan would hurt her.

There's no way for me to have a discussion with her about better or worse real world compromise health care plans if she can't even imagine a best case plan that would be good for her.

The discussion is continuing now between me and her about specific plans, specifically about how Kucinich's plan (unlike Dean's) could very well address a lot of her concerns and actually help her.

As far as big things having a probability of failing when put through the blender of American politics...I don't see how any vaguely rational national health care plan could be any worse than the current situation. 85% of Americans want a national health care system. I think it is inevitable that one will be implemented soon.

We have plenty of fully nationalized systems and even more highly regulated government mandated monopolies that work pretty well. I'm thinking things like the postal system, the electrical grid, the water system, the phone system, the army corps of engineers and the USGS, the FDA, the EPA. Some of these have quasi-markets and some are fully socialized, they're all vital services, none of them operate in a "free market" (and in the cases where deregulation has happened there has been abysmal failure). They aren't perfect, I'd like to see them reformed, but I'd rather have them than "free markets" in areas where markets can never be free and the only fair thing to do is have the government mandate fairness to some extent.

So I'm not worried that we can't actually create a perfect system. But I'm all for understanding what a perfect system might look like, what our REASONS and justifications for wanting to create a system in the first place are so that when we start compromising we know what we're losing and whether it is still worth it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:the_sween
Date:January 14th, 2004 07:52 pm (UTC)

It's hard to believe we don't have one...

(Link)
Against my own personal interests, I have to say that a national health care system is exactly what we should have and it absolutely should NOT be privatized. Working on the back end of the process for a Medicaid program (claims submission, third party liability etc.) I know how much people are paid to do the job they're doing and roughly how much companies are paid to employ that person. The difference is staggering. And that's just the back end.

The industries/groups that will fight this:
physicians
health insurance companies
malpractice attorneys
government services companies
tech companies (those that support claims submissions etc.)
pharmaceutical companies

The thing is, you've just got to wrestle the cash out of the hands of a few people in charge of the above. Most of the jobs will still be there and without the overhead of privitization the people would just be working for the government for the same or better money and definately better benefits.

There is absolutlety no reason why your plan wouldn't work, it's just impossible to lobby it. It works in Europe just fine.

Okay, I could talk about this all day and I'm starting to ramble, but the state of the health care industry is so completely fucked and I know how to fix it so it's frustrating.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:January 14th, 2004 10:06 pm (UTC)

Re: It's hard to believe we don't have one...

(Link)
Yes! Kucinich's plan makes me weep with it's simplicity and beauty. I'm so angry that none of the other candidates are willing to even touch single-payer, just because Clinton got so badly reamed on his not-even-really-single-payer-but-moreso-than-Dean thing. It's 12 years later, more people want national health care than ever. I think there's room for a radical (and simple and beautiful and elegant) solution that has been proven to work in Canada and Europe.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:herbivorous
Date:January 14th, 2004 09:03 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I am self-employed. This past year, we had the choice to either stay in business, or purchase insurance. We chose to stay in business. Someday, we'll be profitable, and therefore able to purchase health insurance. Until then, I can literally not afford to be hit by a bus.

I can take care of 95% of my day-to-day healthcare. What I need is something that will ensure that I'm not saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt if I happen to slip and break my leg.

This strikes me as odd. Particularly because by the conservative lingo, I am an American Hero who is Pulling Herself Up By Her Own Bootstraps because I am The Small Business Owner, the Heart of America.

Unless, of course, I break a limb, and then I'm a Drain on the Healthcare System and an Example of the Welfare State.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:January 14th, 2004 10:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
If conservatives lived up to their lingo I might occasionally vote for some of them. The same goes for many Democrats.

Most National level politicians don't give a shit about small businesses.

Lemme tell you about the 2 hour discussion I just had at the bar about the fact that our Progressive Democrat majority city council is going to vote to allow a Walmart in our community. As my friend said, we have hardcore activists on city council and if you told them before they ran for office that in 4 years they'd be voting for Walmart they'd have punched you out.

I'm so pissed off at politicians that talk the progressive talk (and that conservative stuff about small business owners IS progressive talk....progressives cross conservative-liberal lines by appealing to the disenfranchised) and then vote for big business. It's like a cult or a vortex that swallows politicians minds, corrupted by power and comfort and the path of least resistance.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:the_sween
Date:January 15th, 2004 06:26 am (UTC)

You might qualify for something

(Link)
You might qualify for state sponsored health insurance. Not many people know about this, but many states have programs for working people that can't afford it and don't have it available to them at work. It's not even super crappy insurance either...usually one of the medium level local HMOs. You should talk to your county dhfs or eqivilent.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:dlkinney
Date:January 15th, 2004 12:08 pm (UTC)

Canada, Health Care, Entrepreneurial Spirit

(Link)
There is an excellent book named Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values. Part of it covers how Canadians are far more entrepreneurial than Americans. In Canada, it isn't a big deal to leave your job and spend a year writing the Great Canadian Novel or establishing your own start-up. The author traces this back, in part, to nationalized health care. In the US, people -- particularly those with families -- need to work for an established company for the health care coverage it provides.

Also of interest, there was a discussion on NPR about a month ago concerning the "brain drain" of doctors from Canada to the US. The Canadian officials are not at all concerned about it because it turns out that over 80% return within five years because they get so disgusted with our health care system.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:January 15th, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Canada, Health Care, Entrepreneurial Spirit

(Link)
Thats some fascinating shit, thank you for the book rec!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:marezcharz
Date:January 15th, 2004 03:52 am (UTC)
(Link)
Having worked a call center for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Management compnay, I would like to add 2 cents.

I am truly full of conspiracy theory when it comes to healthcare, insurance and drug companies. I ran across some chemotherapy meds that were $1400 for an ounce. Fuckin' A. All the research and patenting are expensive to come up with this stuff. Shit.

But I digress...

Wouldn't it be cheaper to adapt a better healthcare model - one that promotes preventative measures? One that teaches people how to better treat their bodies? One that encourages exercize, vacations, family?

Just think of the $1400 chemotherapy drug that's probably treating a stress-related cancer exacerbated by overwork and lack of interaction with loved ones? That ounce was a month's supply and it wasn't the only med this person was on. shit!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]
From:zarfmouse
Date:January 15th, 2004 09:12 am (UTC)
(Link)
I think it'd be in the government's interest to promote health/nutrition/exercise/prevention programs so that the overall cost to the government of healthcare is reduced and then people have happier lives and maybe save a little tax money and politicians get elected. Certainly that prevention stuff is PART of Kucinich's health care plan.

But yah, at the end of the day, sometimes you still need some expensive stuff that only a doctor can give you. And if you don't have insurance your life will be fucked forever.

Debt collection companies are starting to use body attachments to collect debt. They file a huge number of things in court in an obscure way so that people accidentally miss their appearance and then there's a warrant for their arrest and then when they get arrested the judge says "rather than giving you back the $400 borrowed from your brother to bond out on your $4000 bond...why don't you just give that to the debt collector and we'll drop the charges". Evil motherfuckers. Every time they want to extract a payment they just have you put in jail.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)