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National Health Care (U.S.)

If it's on your mind and it has to do with multiple sclerosis in any way, post it here.

Postby Lyon » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:38 pm

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Postby bibliotekaren » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:27 pm

The link NHE supplied to the Frontline special was fantastic. Both the information on use of technology in the Taiwan system as well as the non-profit competition aspect of the universal coverage German system was interesting. Had to work to wrap my head my head around the non-profit competition concept. Here's the site again: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline ... dtheworld/

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm finding this government site interesting -- although it's definitely marketing from the administration:
http://www.healthreform.gov/index.html

And, the OMB Fact Sheet:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fy2010_key_healthcare/

Thought these might be of interest...
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Postby EyeDoc » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:55 am

The idea of national healthcare is a good one, but just keep in mind that our country is running record deficits yearly because we do not pay for all of the programs we currently have. Now add in what is likely to be the most expensive program in our history, and perhaps we have a recipe for problems.

What scares me is how social security and medicare are out of money and too expensive and continually causing problems with budgets and taxes, yet the government is wanting to add a much more expensive program on top of this.

Ultimately, these programs are going to push us towards a European or Canadian type of tax rate.

I guess we have to ask ourselves, "are we comfortable with this?" or do we search for alternatives? I'm glad I don't have to make these decisions, but I fear our representatives make them hastily many times.
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Postby HarryZ » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:41 am

Ultimately, these programs are going to push us towards a European or Canadian type of tax rate.

I guess we have to ask ourselves, "are we comfortable with this?" or do we search for alternatives? I'm glad I don't have to make these decisions, but I fear our representatives make them hastily many times.


I suppose one could debate the European and/or Canadian type of tax rate to the end of time but I think that the bottom line is....if you want a decent health care system, someone has to pay for it!

Living in Canada, I can say that we often complain about our tax rate but like I said, if you want the services, you have to pay for them. A recent health system article in the newspaper here compared the health of Canadians to that of Americans and it was discovered that we live longer and are in a better state of health than our neighbours to the south.

I know that that the US political system has been talking about some kind of national health care system for decades. It won't be an easy decision to make and I'm sure there will be some rough patches involved but offering all of your citizens some kind of decent health care coverage has to be a top priority.

Harry
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Postby Wendigo » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:42 am

EyeDoc wrote:The idea of national healthcare is a good one, but just keep in mind that our country is running record deficits yearly because we do not pay for all of the programs we currently have. Now add in what is likely to be the most expensive program in our history, and perhaps we have a recipe for problems.

What scares me is how social security and medicare are out of money and too expensive and continually causing problems with budgets and taxes, yet the government is wanting to add a much more expensive program on top of this.

Ultimately, these programs are going to push us towards a European or Canadian type of tax rate.

I guess we have to ask ourselves, "are we comfortable with this?" or do we search for alternatives? I'm glad I don't have to make these decisions, but I fear our representatives make them hastily many times.


My 87-year-old father has survived bladder cancer in 2001 (surgery and BCG post surgery), monitored every six months and was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in early 2007. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy and the tumor has not grown. When he gets a chest x-ray he goes to a hospital to get it done. I get it done at my doctor's office at about one-quarter of the cost. My father is thrilled that Medicare pays for a podiatrist to cut his toenails. What he pays is peanuts and he doesn't care who picks up the rest of the tab. He has no medical condition such as diabetes to indicate podiatric care. My father is wealthy, lives independently, drives, cooks, cleans, functional and sharper mentally in more ways than I am at 52 with MS. He is perfectly capable of clipping his toenails.

He and I were discussing recently that if the Obama plan had been in effect at the time of his lung cancer diagnosis, he would have been offered hospice care only.

My father analyzes his medical bills and Medicare statements religiously and keeps superb records on what was paid, done, and when. The number of errors he has found, never favoring himself, has been astounding. A urine specimen was sent out to a lab for testing at a cost of $5,000 when the usual lab the doctor used was half that cost. No one informed my father this was being done - he had an increased share of the cost. Medicare just paid it but my dad is still fighting it a year later. His internist's office charged Medicare for an office visit for a flu shot last year for the first time. My father reported his internist to Medicare, a bold move on his part, but his doctor's billing person insisted they could charge for an office visit even though he hadn't been seen by the doctor. Medicare said they were wrong.

These are just a few small things with one old man on Medicare who is sharp enough mentally to keep track of everything happening in his medical care by four doctors. One doctor for years sends a "bill" that is only a running tab in format and does not state what charges are for. I can only imagine what factor his experiences can be multiplied by to obtain figures on waste and fraud within the current Medicare system.
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Postby Mike56 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:49 am

Hey Bubba.

The big issue for me in BC Canada is the wait time for an MRI. When I first went to emergency Feb 10, '09, I got a CT scan that day, and the duty Doctor started the paper work for an MRI. I got a letter about a month ago saying my MRI is scheduled for Dec '09. 10 months!!???.
Anyway, I took option #2, which was to pay for my MRI at a private outfit in Kelown, BC. $850.00 for the first one, and $250.00 to return for an enhanced one.
Once they found what they thought was a tumor in my noggin, and decided they had to biopsy it (ouch!), everything moved along very quickly....blood tests, x-rays, more CT scans, operation done, a few days in hospital, etc..., all completed by the end of March, at no cost to me.

May 1st my Neuro said he'd arrange for a 6 month follow up MRI. Yesterday, I phoned the MRI booking desk and was told they recieved the request May 1st, but there is a 6 to 9 month waiting list, and they are currently working on Jan. requests.

This may be a problem for me. The neurosurgeon said the Pathologists think it is a lession rather than a tumor, so I have a demyilinating, MS type of disease, but we'll see what shows up in the next MRI. A second biopsy may be required. (God I hope not!!!) Now I gotta decide if I chance it and wait, or if I pay again to get it done privately, which I can't really afford, haven't worked since Feb 10 and am on disability for now.

I think Gov.t health care can be a good thing in most cases, but if it comes to life or death (or waiting lists), you may have to find an alternative, like paying your own way.

Mike
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Postby HarryZ » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:26 am

I think Gov.t health care can be a good thing in most cases, but if it comes to life or death (or waiting lists), you may have to find an alternative, like paying your own way.

Mike


Mike,

While you will always hear about stories like yours, you also learn about other situations. A friend of a friend ended up in a car accident. He was taken to emergency and had an MRI that evening.

While the US system can give you an MRI very quickly in most cases, you have to wonder what will happen once another 40-45 million people who don't have any kind of health care at all become part of the "system". Some of them will require an MRI and I would imagine the line-ups will start to form south of the border.

Harry
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Postby Mike56 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:32 pm

While the US system can give you an MRI very quickly in most cases, you have to wonder what will happen once another 40-45 million people who don't have any kind of health care at all become part of the "system". Some of them will require an MRI and I would imagine the line-ups will start to form south of the border.
(I don't how how to transfer a quote..)

I hear you Harry. I think the US will be faced with similar waiting periods. I can't help but feel concern for the other 40-45 million who don't have health care. Becoming part of the "system" shouldn't be what determines whether or not they require an MRI, but at least if other medical costs are covered by a plan maybe some of them will be able to afford a private MRI.

Mike
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Postby Bubba » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:06 pm

Mike56 wrote:I hear you Harry. I think the US will be faced with similar waiting periods.


Frankly, thats what scares the sh!t out of me. That, combined with the quality of care issues...... I dunno :oops:
Obama is PUSHING this through as fast as he can, and I know it is and will be a huge deal, therefore I know these senators have not read all about it. I am afraid it is going to pass, and be half azzed. As far as the uninsured? Ship out evry illegal alien back to where they come from, and that problem is cured along with our economy.
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Postby Lyon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:30 pm

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Postby Wendigo » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:42 pm

Lyon wrote:
Bubba wrote:
Mike56 wrote:I hear you Harry. I think the US will be faced with similar waiting periods.


It's impossible to ignore that the cost of supplying health care to illegal aliens is considerable but (per se) you are in a border state which feels the situation and perceives the situation MUCH more intensely than the majority of the country. I have a nephew in California and it's obvious from the opinions he voices in his emails that he feels the intensity of the illegal alien situation much more than we do here in Michigan.


Bob


This must include changing the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment regarding birthright citizenship. ...spoken by a 52-year-old native of Los Angeles.
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Postby patientx » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:41 pm

A few posts stated the fact that to have universal health insurance, somebody will have to pay. The example is the Canadian system, where the national healthcare is financed through higher taxes than seen in the U.S. I agree; if the goal is to provide healthcare or insurance to everyone free of cost, taxes or some other form of revenue will need to be raised.

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see why the government needs to find a way to get the extra money to fund healthcare. I have no problem paying premiums - just do something to make it affordable. I just don't get the assumption that government has to pay for it. Now, there are many who will be indigent, and cant afford it on their own. In this case maybe the gov't should step in, and I know the money will have to come from somewhere.

I'm just not sure a gov't financed system is sustainable in the long run. I don't believe social security is sustainable. I wonder - how long has the Canadian system been in place?
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Postby HarryZ » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:32 pm

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see why the government needs to find a way to get the extra money to fund healthcare. I have no problem paying premiums - just do something to make it affordable. I just don't get the assumption that government has to pay for it. Now, there are many who will be indigent, and cant afford it on their own. In this case maybe the gov't should step in, and I know the money will have to come from somewhere.

I'm just not sure a gov't financed system is sustainable in the long run. I don't believe social security is sustainable. I wonder - how long has the Canadian system been in place?


For any kind of national health care to work, you really need one big entity to operate it. And that means government even if we all know the shortcomings of government operated programs. Relying on the insurance companies to run something this big is a waste of time.

The Canadian Health Care System has been in existence since the 60's and although there have been hiccups along the way, it does work. Each Province (in your case, State) controls the system and they work in conjunction with the Federal Government. This interaction between the Provinces and Feds isn't always harmonious but it does work.

In the last 10-15 years, the health care system in Canada has been trying to weed out duplication and waste and that started when the Provincial Governments started telling the medical system that they would only be given so many dollars. The medical people had to make it work and you know how much the docs like being told what to do!! Every once in a while they have hauled docs who have tried to cheat the billing system to court and really made an example of them.

Having said all of this, most Canadians also have private insurance policies which cover medical expenses that the Provincial plans do not...ie: chiropractic, massage therapy, private hospital room coverage, drug plans etc .

While there are always people who will complain about our system, I believe that the vast majority of Canadians like the comfort level that our plan gives us...especially if you get quite ill and require any kind of hospital care. And it is provided to everyone regardless of their financial status.

Harry
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Postby Lyon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:44 pm

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Postby Bubba » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:26 pm

Just read where the U.S. spends 11 Billion plus a year in health care costs for illegals.... I rest my case...
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