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 04-18-2004, 09:08 Post: 83498
Peters

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Even capitalistic economist realize that that certain factors are beyond economic controls. Were the combines acts to limit monopolies bad?
I can not see where health care has any economic restrictions on it. If a person is in need he either does without compounding the problems or goes in a pays for the best care he can afford.
The term health care is a misnomer in this country. With obesity at epidemic proportions, which doctors are trying to treat the root cause, rather than the sympoms and make money. This task will ultimately fall on the government to try and correct eating habits. So the health care system will fail.
Our life expectancy in the US with the most money spent per capita is 3 years on average less than Canada and Japan. Obviously just throwing money at a problem will not necessarily bring the best results.
The doctors who are there to try and run the health care system and get rich are dying younger than the rest of the population.
What percentage of health care expenses are out of the government budget? 20%? We have medicare, VA care, etc. The poor, old and military are covered. We spend more than anyone yet 60 million people have no coverage and if something large does happen then the insurance company is likely to ask you politely or impolitely to enter the governments domain. If you don't believe me then just ask around I am sure you have a few friends like I have that are in this situation.
The AMA is against universal care why? Well Morgan and the boys were dead set against the combines acts. Despite business abuses that people would be charged for in other fields such as conflict of interest. The medical field has carried on with few realizing what is going on.
Finally how is the lack of health care effecting employment and our competitiveness in the world economy. Personally my family of 4 bill is near 16K between premiums and medicare tax. The average family income in the state is not much more than that. With drugs and technology thrown at patents to cover problems rather than cures I don't see it the cost spiral ending.






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 04-18-2004, 12:09 Post: 83513
ncrunch32



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 Health Care vs Jobs

Peters, I guess from what you are saying you would be in favor of universal health care? I don't disagree with anything you said. I haven't thought of all the angles on this subject - its very complicated. I know that where I work most of the people oppose universal health care because the make the money they need to get the best care for themselves. And then I see other folks (an even in my own family) who barely making it and I ask myself why some people should be entitled to better care than others.

But I never intended to get into any deep discussion on this matter. Just throw some alternate ideas out to fuel some debate. I think universal health care could be more palatable in an economy where everyone is supposed to move on to a new job every 5 years.






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 04-18-2004, 12:36 Post: 83516
kwschumm



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At this time I am totally opposed to universal health care. I pay nearly $1.5k/month to pay for prescriptions and procedures that medicare doesn't cover for our parents, so I'm not unsympathetic to the problem. IMHO, most of the problems with our existing system is stupid laws and bureaucracy. Inserting more bureacracy between a patient and doctor does nothing but increase costs. Heck, a bunch of the bureacracy exists specifically to DENY coverage to patients. I'd bet that 50 cents out of every health care dollar goes to bureaucrats who do NOTHING to help patients. Adding more bureaucracy, whether in the form of government or HMOs, will only make things worse. Why is it in commerce it is well understood that middlemen add to retail costs, but when it comes to health care that principle no longer applies?

And then there are the ridiculous laws, like not allowing medicare patients to directly pay doctors for care or forcing self-sufficient seniors into the medicare system. I think government and insurance providers together are the cause of our health care problems and sure aren't the cure. Here in the NW we get lots of Canadian patients who cross the border to get care. That's hardly a system I'd like to see emulated here.

Now, back to tractors...






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 04-18-2004, 16:27 Post: 83528
Peters

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Ken;
I agree there are problems with the current and other systems but I guess I am not willing to admit that we are too ignorant not to be able devise a more economical and healthy system.
Concerning the Canadians entering the American system some of this is just centers of excellence in one field or other. You have to realize that in BC there are just 4 million people in an are 2 times the size of texas. The nearest Canadian centre to Vancouver is 600 miles away in Calgary. It is certainly easier to travel to Seattle or Portland. On the flip side I meet Californians and every one else traceling to Birmingham UAB for treatment. Don't Californians have enough doctors there? They have the same population as Canada.
If 50% of the funds is misused by the government system what is used buy the patch work of insurance companies? I have two friends that have private practices. I would say both have an equal volume of patents. The one in Ontario employes one nurse and his wife part time to cover the accounts. My friend in MA has about 8 employees and his wife to cover the accounts. Why the extra employees? To cover the mountain of paper work required by the different insurance companies. How can this be cost effective?






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 04-18-2004, 16:54 Post: 83530
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I have no doubt we can design a more economical and healthful system, but I'd bet the farm that in this political and legal climate there is no way it will be properly implemented. Look at what government has done with the tax system! If private companies are creating a bureaucracy that is out of control I can't see government doing it more efficiently. They would probably take over existing insurers and add their own layer on top of them.






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 04-19-2004, 08:10 Post: 83598
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 Health Care vs Jobs

It might be interesting to read Ivan Illech: 'Medical Nemesis.' It's a small non-technical book that resulted for a paper presented by an economist to physicians well over 60 years ago. It may still be a standard text used in some medical schools.

I can't summarize even the basic ideas, but from Illech's economist perspective the costs of health care are uncontrollable except for one possibility and that isn't very likely to happen. Uncontrollable rising costs eventually would destroy the system and over a half-century later many might say have destroyed the system. From his perspective, neither organizational, administrative reform nor increase in health care workers will solve the problem. It's the reading of the 'why fors' that might interest some people.

What the unlikely solution? It like many things, it's us. The only way to control costs is for individuals to take responsibility for our own health. The problem is that the health care industry is a monopoly and prevents us from doing that even if we see the need and so desire. Your Doc owns your body and is gatekeeper to the care of it. Health care is one of the few places where adults are allowed child like roles. Our demands are unbounded and the system works to keep us like that. Illech was telling physicians that their instincts, training and behavior is part of an almost un-solvable problem. Those in power have to give up some of the power in order to solve the problem. Exercise of individual responsibility is the solution and should be rewarded but it's often criminalized. Sounds like much of the rest of modern life.






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 04-19-2004, 08:48 Post: 83599
beagle

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 Health Care vs Jobs

There is one important contributor to the problem that hasn't been raised, attorneys and liability laws. The comparison to Canada and Japan is relevant, because they have control over liability claims. Our society is far to litigious, with far too many people trying to take advantage of the system. My wife is a health care provider, and can tell some pretty amazing stories about how the liability laws in this country drive the decision making process for health care. Physicians are more reluctant than ever to prescribe the proper care for individuals in need because of the possible consequences. Insurance providers make medical care decisions through case managers, telling physicians what care should be provided. This protects the physician to some extent, but doesn't necessarily relate to the best care for the patient.

Fix the liability laws first. Many other industries have completely vacated the American market because of the liability laws. Nobody in their right mind would manufacture hockey equipment in this country. They would be sued out of business before they got their sign installed. The same problem is helping to drive health care costs out of sight. We need to find a solution that protects the rights of the consumer without destrying an entire system.






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 04-19-2004, 09:36 Post: 83605
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I think Tom is exactly right.

For a long time I've thought that people should have greater control over their own medication. Most of the time you go to a doctor and they see you for two minutes and write a prescription. My wife takes many prescriptions for migraines and various other ailments. I think she knows more about those prescriptions, their contraindications, and drug interactions between them than her doctors. Several times she has caught the doctor prescribing a new med that has negative side effects when used with something she is already taking. With todays technology many common ailments should be treatable without seeing a doctor. Go to a web site, answer some questions about symptoms and general health and the meds you might be taking, get a diagnosis and treatment plan, then go to a pharmacy to buy some meds. Sure, it won't work with everyone but I think it would help reduce the load on the system and give people more control over their own treatment. This is something the government could do to reduce health care costs.






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 04-19-2004, 09:39 Post: 83606
Chief



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 Health Care vs Jobs

In my opinion the largest and most expensive factor driving health care costs is the cost for treatments of personal irresponsibility and abuse. Ever stop and think about the true TOTAL costs of drunk driving/alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, sexual transmitted disease (STD), criminal acts, obesity a.k.a. "Golden Arches Disease" ;o), irresponsible life styles and personal care, and pure stupidity, just to name a few. The list goes on out of sight. These all have costs associated with them and usually those causing this cost either refuse to or have no money to pay for the care. Consider all of these cost and you would be shocked. Yes the lawyers (more like "judicial whores" add to the cost but not nearly so much as completely preventable, irresponsible conduct. In my opinion, medical care coverage should NOT cover the above things. In most cases it was completely preventable.

The rest of it I think falls under life's unforscene occurances that none of us could foresee or prevent and just plain growing old. That is what health care is for. Kinda like automobile insurance? It is not for drunks, idiots who deliberately flout driving laws, or folks not in posession of one crumb of common sense that should not be driving.

Until common sense prevails; (and don't hold your breath waiting for it is this country) the costs will continue to spiral out of site.

I hate to sound like such a Bah! Humbug! but there is a limit to this country's resources and peoples wallet content.






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 04-19-2004, 19:01 Post: 83655
grinder

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 Health Care vs Jobs

Chief
I agree 100%. I think some changes may come if we stopped separating Alcohol and drugs. They are one in the same.
Although legal, it is one of the most destructive.






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