Universal Healthcare?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by psychedelic_unclesam, May 27, 2004.

  1. This is a term that is used by almost every presidential candidate.

    But WHAT IS Universal Healthcare?? Just Healthcare and Universal healthcare are synonymous.

    This from http://www.justhealthcare.org/


    [size=-1]Just Health Care is the Labor Party's campaign for national health insurance that guarantees lifetime coverage to every resident of the United States. Just Health Care:[/size]
    Presidential Scorecard for plans to brnig about Universal Healthcare:
    http://www.justhealthcare.org/PDF/scorecard.pdf
     
  2. This from: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=1623
    Jan. 14, 2004
    Study Shows National Health Insurance Could Save $286 Billion on Health Care Paperwork:
    A study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Public Citizen to be published in Friday’s International Journal of Health Services finds that health care bureaucracy last year cost the United States $399.4 billion. The study estimates that national health insurance (NHI) could save at least $286 billion annually on paperwork, enough to cover all of the uninsured and to provide full prescription drug coverage for everyone in the United States.​

    The study was based on the most comprehensive analysis to date of health administration spending, including data on the administrative costs of health insurers, employers’ health benefit programs, hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, physicians and other practitioners in the United States and Canada. The authors found that bureaucracy accounts for at least 31 percent of total U.S. health spending compared to 16.7 percent in Canada. They also found that administration has grown far faster in the United States than in Canada.

    The potential administrative savings of $286 billion annually under national health insurance could:

    1. <LI style="LIST-STYLE-TYPE: none">

    2. Offset the cost of covering the uninsured (estimated at $80 billion)​


    3. Cover all out-of-pocket prescription drugs costs for seniors as well as those under 65 (estimated at $53 billion in 2003)​


    4. Fund retraining and job placement programs for insurance workers and others who would lose their jobs under NHI (estimated at $20 billion)​


    5. Make substantial improvements in coverage and quality of care for U.S. consumers who already have insurance​


    Looked at another way, the potential administrative savings are equivalent to $6,940 for each of the 41.2 million people uninsured in 2001 (the most recent figure available for the uninsured at the time study was carried out), more than enough to pay for health coverage. The study found wide variation among states in the potential administrative savings available per uninsured resident. Texas, with 4.96 million uninsured (nearly one in four Texans), could save a total of $19.5 billion a year on administration under NHI, which would make available $3,925 per uninsured resident per year. Massachusetts, which has very high per capita health administrative spending and a relatively low rate of uninsurance, could save a total of $8.6 billion a year, which would make available$16,453 per uninsured person. California, with 6.7 million uninsured, could save a total of $33.7 billion a year, which would make available $5,016 per uninsured person. (See accompanying chart for details on other states.)

    Last week, the government reported that health spending accounts for a record 15 percent of the nation’s economy and that health care spending shot up by 9.3 percent in 2002. Insurance overhead (one component of administrative costs) rose by a whopping 16.8 percent in 2002, after a 12.5 percent increase in 2001, making it the fastest growing component of health expenditure over the past three years. Hence the figures in the Harvard/Public Citizen Report (which was completed before release of these latest government figures), may understate true administrative costs.

    The authors of the International Journal of Health Services study attributed the high U.S. administrative costs to three factors. First, private insurers have high overhead in both nations but play a much bigger role in the United States. Second, The United States’ fragmented payment system drives up administrative costs for doctors and hospitals, who must deal with hundreds of different insurance plans (for example, at least 755 in Seattle alone), each with different coverage and payment rules, referral networks, etc. In Canada, doctors bill a single insurance plan, using a single simple form, and hospitals receive a lump sum budget, much as a fire department is paid in the United States. Finally, the increasing business orientation of U.S. hospitals and insurers has expanded bureaucracy.

    The Medicare drug bill that Congress passed last month will only increase bureaucratic spending because it will funnel large amounts of public money through private insurance plans with high overhead.

    "The recent Medicare bill means a huge increase in administrative waste and a big payoff for the AARP," said study author Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard and former staff physician at Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. "At present, Medicare’s overhead is less than 4 percent. But all of the new Medicare money – $400 billion – will flow through private insurance plans whose overhead averages 12 percent. So insurance companies will gain $36 billion from this bill. And the AARP stands to make billions from the 4 percent cut it receives from the policies sold to its members."

    Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a study author, associate professor of medicine at Harvard and a founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, said that. "Hundreds of billions are squandered each year on health care bureaucracy, more than enough to cover all of the uninsured, pay for full drug coverage for seniors and upgrade coverage for the tens of millions who are underinsured. U.S. consumers spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as Canadians who have universal coverage and live two years longer. The administrative savings of national health insurance make universal coverage affordable."

    Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group added: "This study, documents the state-by-state potential administrative savings achievable with national health insurance. These enormous sums could be used to provide health care for the more than 43 million uninsured people in the United States and drug coverage for seniors. These data should awaken governors and legislators to a fiscally sound and humane way to deal with ballooning budget deficits. Instead of cutting Medicaid and other vital services, officials could expand services by freeing up the $286 billion a year wasted on administrative expenses. In the current economic climate, with unemployment rising, we can ill afford massive waste in health care. Radical surgery to cure our failing health insurance system is sorely needed."

    Dr. Himmelstein described the real-world meaning of the difference in administration between the United States and Canada by comparing hospitals in the two nations. Several years ago, he visited Toronto General Hospital, a 900-bed tertiary care center that offered an extensive array of high-tech procedures, and searched for the billing office. It was hard to find, though; it consisted of a handful of people in the basement whose main job was to send bills to U.S. patients who had come across the border. Canadian hospitals do not bill individual patients for their health care and so have no need to keep track of who receives each Band-Aid or an aspirin.

    "A Canadian hospital negotiates its annual budget with the provincial health plan and receives a single check each month to cover virtually all of its expenses," Himmelstein said. "It need not fight with hundreds of insurance plans about whether each day in the hospital was necessary, and each pill justified. The result is massive savings on hospital billing and bureaucracy."

    Doctors in Canada face a similarly simple billing system. Every patient has the same insurance. There is one simple billing form with a few boxes on it. Doctors check the box indicating what kind of visit they provided to the patient (i.e., how long and whether any special procedures were performed) and send all bills to one agency.

    Himmelstein returned to Boston and visited Massachusetts General Hospital, which was similar to Toronto General in size and in the range of services provided. Himmelstein was told that Massachusetts General’s billing department employed 352 full-time personnel, not because the hospital was inefficient, but because this department needed to document in detail every item used for each patient and fight with hundreds of insurance plans about payment.

    "U.S. doctors face a similar billing nightmare," Himmelstein said. "They deal with hundreds of plans, each with different rules and regulations, each allowing physicians to prescribe a different group of medications, each dictating that doctors refer patients to different specialists.

    "The U.S. system is a paperwork nightmare for doctors and patients, and wastes hundreds of billions of dollars."

    ###

    Dr. Woolhandler and Dr. Himmelstein are co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization with over 12,000 members advocating for single-payer national health insurance in the United States. PNHP was founded in 1987 and has physician spokespeople across the country. For a local spokesperson, call the national headquarters at 312-782-6006.
     
  3. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    It certainly sounds nice, but I don't see how it could possibly happen anytime soon at the rate things are currently going. It's a pipe dream. We are already facing the biggest deficit in history, and if Bush is re-elected this country will be bankrupt in a matter of two years. Many people see this coming, and it will make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. Even if your buddy Kucinich is by chance elected, it won't happen. You just can't pull the money out your ass. There was all this talk of a universal healthcare plan during the Clinton years, and even then - when the country was in a far more prosperous state - it couldn't be pulled off. Under the current economic conditions, I think universal healthcare is a long way off. As it is, it's probably going to take literally decades to pay off this existing deficit. Bush has really put the country back a long way. Like I said, if he serves for another four years, this country will be destroyed financially, I guarantee it.

    And as far as Canada's healthcare system, it's in the process of going belly-up as we speak. It's not as good as people make it out to be because it doesn't cover everything, and it certainly doesn't cover much. Plus, the Canadians pay out their asses in taxes. So though Canadians may have healthcare, it's only about half as good as the actual care people receive in America. This is why most Canadians come here to America for major surgeries and whatnot.

    I think we could have had a universal healthcare plan years ago, but the government has always been more concerned about building the military than helping people who need help. People like Kerry and Kucinch have talked about universal healthcare and all that, but it's really a lot of hearsay. Anyone who is at least a little economically inclined knows that the chances at this point in the game are virtually impossible.
     
  4. Jozak

    Jozak Member

    Take the profit out of healthcare? What the fuck....

    What is going to give a doctor an incentive to be the BEST heart doctor, or the best brain doctor, or the best psychiatrist? If you are the BEST, you should be able to set your own prices. We live in a free market. Who are you to tell people they cannot make a living for themselves and have the government SET other people's prices? That's bullshit.

    This may come as a shock, but healthcare is NOT a right. Our constitution clearly states that all Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (and property), period: Not a meal at Taco Bell, not a car, not a trip to Disneyworld, and not a heart transplant.

    You have have a right to health care if you can pay for or earn it.
     
  5. LuciferSam

    LuciferSam Member

    I disagree. To me it's not a matter of whether it's a listed right under the U.S. Constitution, I just regard healthcare as a pretty basic and important need. I don't think the right to healthcare should have to be contingent on one's income or the income of the family you've been born into, should you be dependent on them. A poor person's got as good a right to high-quality health care as a rich person.
     
  6. weaselpop

    weaselpop Member

    It's called the NHS... come live in Britain or a coutry like that, they way i see it is that most people here wouldn't get as much grief and would be pretty welcome. :)
     
  7. metro

    metro self-banned

    mmmm...I don't know...as politically incorrect as it may be, I just can't like this idea. Food is a basic and important need, you have to pay for that. Too many people don't give a damn about their health, why should they have health care handed to them. I don't think health care should be out of reach, but it shouldn't be under-valued either. Docs work hard to learn what they need to know, and go severely in debt for schooling. Then they have outrageous insurance to pay for because idiots sue at the drop of a hat these days.
    Sorry, I did not read the entire first post though and maybe I missed something.
    People are living longer and there are more of us each day, I don't know what the answer is, but it has to end somewhere.
     
  8. Sera Michele

    Sera Michele Senior Member

    Taking the profit out of health care refers more to HMO's than it does Doctors, I believe. HMO's make more than doctors...thats where i see a major problem.
     
  9. Jozak

    Jozak Member

    No, no one has a RIGHT to healthcare, or anything material, unless it is yours. I think the notion of universal healthcare is not only impractical, but immoral as well. People say all the time, "Well it's a nice/heartfelt idea but it won't work"----no, it's not a nice idea, it's unfair. People should not have to foot your medical expenses, especially when they have their own to worry about.

    The U.S. is possibly the unhealthiest nation in the world. It is commonly accepted that around 50% of the people here are obese. With that medical fact alone, do you have any idea the extreme costs that universal healthcare is going to bring? This is not a socialist nation. No where in the constitution does it state you are entitled to FREE healthcare, FREE housing, FREE this, FREE that. It says you will have the right to PURSUE those things (pursuit of happiness).

    And all this nonsense about taking profits out of healthcare, more regulations, price caps, decrease in medical professionals salaries? Well, you can kiss medical research and advances goodbye when you do that, becasue there won't be any money to invest in new drugs, practices, etc. The Canadian Health care system is falling apart. In England, my mom has a friend who is cannot walk and it takes her months to get the care she needs, and it is not even that good. I gurantee you the quality of healthcare will sharply decrease in this nation if healthcare/medicine is socialized, it will be inevitable.
     
  10. Jozak

    Jozak Member

    No, the amount of mal practice insurance doctors in this country have to pay is fucking ridiculous. A girl at my school's dad is a plastic surgeon, he pays around 50,000 dollars a year for insurance becasue people in this country will sue you for anything. THAT is why doctor's are so expensive, look at all the stuff they have to do to cover themselves from a lawsuit.
     
  11. Sera Michele

    Sera Michele Senior Member

    I agree with you there, Jozak. People don't realize that all their lawsuits do is raise costs of care. Not that all doctors out there are never at fault, but it definitely has gotten out of control. Not just in healthcare either.
     
  12. booshnoogs

    booshnoogs loves you

    I'm just daydreaming here, but I would feel better about socialized medicine if all those people who smoke, drink excessively, are obese, skydive, ride a motorcycle with no helmet, or do drugs are exempt for the tax funded care.
     
  13. Megara

    Megara Banned

    first off..tort lawyers need to be taken out and beaten with a stick...not once, but twice.....what they have cost us is DISGUSTING.


    Secondly, it is disgusting what some simple procedures cost. For instance, i had a gangalion(sp) cyst removed from my wrist about 5 years ago by a nurse...it cost 90 dollars....i had to have it drained about 4 years ago by a doctor...400 bucks. Not only did it cost over 4x as much to have it done by a doctor, i didnt even get novacane from the doctor because she didnt think it was necessary. Why on EARTH should it cost 4x as much to have a doctor stick a needle in me than a nurse?
     
  14. I'm all for universal health care. Hey, we need something to keep the population down.

    I don't think you guys who actually want this know that half of your income (if not more) will go to the government.:confused:
     
  15. booshnoogs

    booshnoogs loves you

    LOL, I suppose that if half my income was taken from me, then it would be better at that point to just quit working. I'd be able to support my family easier by hunting at that point.
     
  16. dhs

    dhs Senior Member

    As much as I think universal healthcare is a grand idea, it is completely unrealistic. I think the nations goals should be to guarantee health insurance to anyone under the age of 21 and over the age of 65, which would be a huge step forward.
     
  17. butterfly

    butterfly Member

    *free healthcare, free healthcare, wooo!*

    Think I might go break an arm, because it won't cost me a single thing!
     
  18. NCF145

    NCF145 Member

    Doctors should be able to charge as much as they want. The doctors are supplying the community with a business. Unfortunately, everybody needs what the doctors are supplying. I look at it in the same way that I look at stores in general. The stores can charge customers any price they desire for any product. It is up to the customer to purchase it. Also, I should not be able to tell the store that they can't sell THEIR product, or assistance, for that price. Furthermore, the quality of doctors (present and future) is directly related to the amount of pay they can recieve.
     
  19. moonshyne

    moonshyne Approved by the FDA

    Believe it or not, there are plenty of good, qualified doctors out there working who still make a decent living without charging an arm and leg for a check-up. And maybe, just maybe, we could weed out the "in it for the money" doctors and then only be left with the ones who are in it for the sake of helping others....that way maybe we wouldn't have so many whacks out there taking out the wrong kidney or amputating the wrong leg.

    LIFE, LIFE, LIFE. Is it possible that you somehow MISSED that part you wrote? People like you are absolutely disgusting. you rant about "abortion" and shit and say that a fetus has a right to live (which i happen to agree with) but yet you think it's okay to let them suffer needlessly afterward with some EASILY curable disease just because they might have been born to a parent who can't afford healthcare? I hardly would equate a trip to taco bell or disney world with human suffering and sickness, and it's a lame ass attempt for you to compare some one's NEED for a heart with the NEED to pump yourself full of overpriced tacos.

    My step mother has worked very hard ALL of her life, and only stopped a few years ago when, get this, she was diagnosed with cancer, then she had 3 strokes, and now within the last year she's been diagnosed with MS. And it's rapidly progressing, to the point she can barely walk. Her medications cost at least $1,800 a month, but she was denied medicaid because she "makes too much money"....a measly $900 a month in disability. You're telling me she deserves to suffer? If that's the case, then fuck you, you shit head little bitch. I don't like being mean, but if you sincerely believe people who aren't fucking rich just deserve to work their asses off for snotty little punks like you, and then just dry up and die even though there IS shit out there that will make them better, then you are absolutely no better than all of the abortion doctors in the world combined. And you deserve to rot in hell right along with them.
     
  20. Jozak

    Jozak Member

    People become doctors for many reasons: money, helping people out, easy proffession, somthing they are good at, whatever. My point is, there is not going to be an incentive for a doctor to be the BEST, when he gets paid as much as a quack or moronic doctor/nurse. Why should a doctor bust his ass when he is only going to get the same amount as a lazy doctor? (Aside from the fact he is just being nice?)

    Uhhh, no smart girl. Go look up the defenition of "life" or even "right to life". I even looked it up for you.....

    From dictionary.com:
    "Right to life"---the right to live.

    Pretty simple. Please show me where even the hint of free medical care comes into play. If you can, I will re-consider my position on the issue. Right to life simply means you have the right to exsist from the moment you are concieved. It does not entitle you to medical care at another's expense.

    People like you are braindead morons.

    You know what, I don't mind being mean when I am talking to morons. Fuck you too. You don't know ANYTHING about my family or it's medical conditions. You try to get emotional with me and accuse me of being a, "Rich, snotty, punk"--seriously, you have no idea what you are talking about. My family came over here with fucking NOTHING, and we worked for everything we have now. My family was near poverty level when I was born, so yeah, fuck you princess. I never said your step-mother deserved to suffer, but other's, including myself don't deserve her fucking medical bills either. My mom has severe Lupus, I have manic depression, and my father has heart problems, so don't bitch and whine at me about how much medications cost. People in this country have enough of their own problems without having to foot your family's medical bills, forget you. You don't have a right to force ME to pay for YOUR step mother's medical expenses, it's absurd.

    I admire your step-mother for her hard work, my family is no stranger to it, and I hope she gets better, but I certainly don't have any respect for you when you come on here, get emotional, insult, and bitch at me, especially when you don't have one clue about me or my family. But see, the difference between my family and you, is that we don't bitch at other people to pay our bills, it's not their responsibility, you lowlife.
     

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