Obama’s Healthcare Plan and Socialized Medicine

“It’s also time we had a President who stopped talking about the outrage of 47 million uninsured Americans and started doing something about it… And when I’m President, we’ll finally pass a universal health care plan that will make sure every single American can get the same kind of health care that members of Congress get for themselves… And we won’t pass it twenty years from now, not ten years from now – we’ll pass health care by the end of my first term in office. ” Barack Obama

There are not 47 million truly uninsured Americans (15-20% of the population). The actual number is more like 4-5 %  of Americans(ABC 20/20) or less than 15 million people . However, here’s a localized example of why the numbers differ. In Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter put in place Comission 208, which was designed to find out how many Coloradans were actually uninsured. Overall, it was found that 17% of Coloradans were uninsured. Of those, 6% were eligible for government aid, but simply hadn’t applied. An additional 5% were the “invincible young” (aged 20-40) who could afford insurance but didn’t want to “waste” their money.  Of the remaing 6%, up to 2% were simply uninsured for a month, between jobs. Say you leave your job in August, and your employer covers you through the end of August. Your new employer won’t cover you until October. To fill this gap, there is a program called COBRA which lets you pay your own premium for the missing month. Some people choose to go uninsured for the gap month, and are counted as uninsured for the whole year when numbers are collected. That leaves about 4% of the people truly uninsured. The numbers can be extrapolated for the entire US (since the numbers agree with those by ABC, anyway).

Scary. Scary scary scary. Obama’s health care plan is a universal health care plan, and as you might have guessed, I’m opposed to those in general.

The Idiocy of Socialized Medicine (in general, quick facts)

  1. It would lower the lifespan of the average American. (ABC 20/20)
  2. It places undue financial strain on our already strained budget.
  3. It would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by forcing the rich to pay for the medicine of the poor, essentially giving the poor a right the rich don’t have, that of free medication.
  4. It would force extreme care rationing, waiting lists for urgent care, and probably a near cut off of all medication after the age of 60.
  5. It would have a positive affect on a much smaller portion of the population than the current system does.
  6. Taking the money out of an industry, in the case the medical industry, also takes away the best minds (brain drain).
  7. Socialized medicine has been shown to be defective in every country that has implemented it.
  8. It incurs long waits.
  9. Brain and Spine Clinic in Buffalo serves about 10 border-crossing Canadians a week.

  10. The number of Canadians on waiting lists for referrals to specialists or for medical services — 875,000.

  11. Average wait from time of referral to treatment by a specialist in Canada — 17.8 weeks

  12. Longest average  waiting times in Canada — orthopedic surgery, 40.3 weeks

  13. Average wait to get an MRI — 10.3 weeks nationally in Canada but 28 weeks in Newfoundland.

  14. The average US citizen, one you subtract murder rates and car crashes, lives longer than the average Canadian. (Abc 20/20, crash rates from 04/05 DSA annual road death percentages, FARS, CIA World Fact Book and murder rates come from correctional service of Canada, CIA World Fact Book)

  15. The average cancer survival rate is HIGHEST IN THE US. (http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20080716/cancer-survival-rates-vary-by-country)

To be objective, this is a non-party summary of the Obama plan. Notice the bold print and stars.

• Cuts reimbursement for Medicare Advantage health plans.

• Allows the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate drug prices, instead of health plans doing so.

• Creates new options for the uninsured under a voluntary purchasing pool. Choices would include a national plan, similar to the one available to federal employees, as well as portable private plans that would accept anyone, at the same rate, regardless of their health.

• Provides refundable health insurance tax credit to small employers* for up to 50% of their premium contribution towards a “quality health plan”.

• Seeks to cover all children by creating an individual coverage requirement for them.

• Requires employers to “pay or play” – meaning businesses must contribute to employee health coverage or pay a percentage of payroll to the national plan.

• Protects employers from catastrophic claims by paying a portion of those costs through a reinsurance program if the savings are passed on to their employees.

• Provides premium assistance to low-income individuals.

• Extends coverage to dependent adult children through age 25.

Prohibits use of pre-existing conditions restrictions**.

• Requires insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on medical care (i.e. requires minimum medical loss ratios).

• Imposes premium rate renewal restrictions.

• Gives states flexibility to experiment with additional reforms if national plan standards are met.

• Creates provider pay-for-performance incentives based only on quality standards.

Expands programs, however includes no details***.

• Invests $10B annually for the next five years for broad adoption of electronic medical records and information systems.

Requires disclosure of:

• Provider price, performance data and medical errors;

• Provider and health plan performance data on disparities for minorities; and

• Health plan medical loss ratios.

• Requires preventive care under federal programs.

• Establishes community-based prevention programs.

• Rewards employers for worksite health promotion programs.

• Promotes chronic care management programs and “medical Home”-type models.

Projected annual cost: $56-71 billion

Funding sources:

Discontinues tax cuts for incomes over $250,000.

• Savings from increased generic drug use under federal programs****

• Savings from reduction in disproportionate share hospital payments

• Allows the import of prescription drugs from developed countries (i.e. “re-importation”).

• Increases the use of generic drugs under federal programs.

Creates an independent institute to research treatment effectiveness.

• Requires plans to cover mental health care at the same level as other services.

• Reforms medical malpractice to address medical errors.

• Strengthens anti-trust laws.

• Expands autism research.

This summary is based on a Humana analysis of Presidential candidates’ healthcare proposals.

*Large employers, who will have to insure more people and therefore pay the most, get no tax credit.

**This a fatal flaw. This means that a person who has cancer and didn’t get and pay premiums to make sure that they would have coverage for their cancer, can apply and be accepted. This would mean that people can wait until something actually goes wrong to get insurance, bankrupting the industry.

***As no details are included on the expanded programs, they have not been factored into the cost. The cost per year could even double, when these non specified programs are added.

****This part is key. The system tries to save money by using generic brands, but where do generic brands come from? Well, most of them come from the US. The reason that countries using Universal health care aren’t even more broke than they are, is that the US subsidizes them. For example, say a company needs to charge 10 dollars per pill to break even and sell 100 pills. However, only some of those pills can be sold in the US, and Germany refuses to buy any pills unless they are only 5 dollars each. The company therefore sells the pills for 15 dollars each in the US, and 5 dollars each in Germany. The company manages to break even, but US citizens pick up the development cost. And what is that development cost? According to the Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Development, as of 2003, the average cost of developing a new prescription drug is 897M-1B dollars. Beyond that, only 21.5 per cent of drugs that starts the first three stages of human trials receive FDA approval. This means that every time a company sets out to develop a drug, they risk losing a billion dollars. As 4 out of 5 times that a company pays for all of the development it won’t get an approved drug to sell, these deficits from failed drugs are also added to the consumer’s cost of buying a drug. If the US tries to switch exclusively to generic brands, there will not be any more drug development, as there will be no more money int it. This is demonstrated by England, who develops hardly anything and is about 5 years behind the US in what its consumers can buy.

The Obama care plan is nearly as bad as the average care plan in Europe. The four flaws that I have highlighted ruin the entire system. The cost mentioned is high by itself, but likely to be even higher due to the other unamed progam expansions. The plan completey wipes out motivations for developing new drugs.

If  Obama were to propose a bill that would kill you, you’d probablyreject it. If Obama were to propose a bill that would force you all to pay for my shiny new Porsche, you’d probably reject it. Socialized Medicine is a combination of both of those principles, and Obama  wants to make it a law. This has to be stopped now. Socialized Medicine would shorten our lives, force us to pay for the wants of others,  make life saving clinics illegal, and turn our system into the kind that has failed in Europe. Please, please, tell me the point of changing a system that 87% of the people are happy with and that gets 96% of the people the treatment they need, in favor of one that would harm us all.

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15 Responses to Obama’s Healthcare Plan and Socialized Medicine

  1. […] mick arran wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis would mean that people can wait until something actually goes wrong to get insurance, bankrupting the industry. ***As no details are included on the expanded programs, they have not been factored into the cost. The cost per year … […]

  2. nobody says:

    Could you provide some more statistics on health care in the United States vs. other countries?

  3. new conservative says:

    Grest info, please make your entries shorter, I can only digest so much info at one time!

  4. lionas says:

    Has Read your article , much was of interest hear such information
    Thanks!

  5. Daniel Hines says:

    When you can’t convince them with facts, baffle them with BS…a long and inaccurate dissertation. Your conclusions about the health status of Americans as compared to other countries just doesn’t hold water in light of the many studies showing that our life-span is shorter in the U.S. than a number of other countries (with ‘socialized’ medicine). Also, you don’t comment on the fact that untold number of Amerians rely on the ER as their ‘medical insurance’. And, you are completely wrong on your ‘analysis’ of the cost of prscription medicines. The fact is that the U.S. taxpayer subsidizes through tax support of NIH and other agencies, a major portion of the R&D of pharma…that the majority of medications are made outside the United States…that the cost in the European countries is based upon a price determined to provide affordable medications for all of their citizens, and, unlike the U.S., this creates a larger market for pharmaceuticals that guarantees not only profitability but access for citizens who need access to prescription medicines. Feel free to visit my site at http:/www.todaysseniorsnetwork.com or our blog http://rxforamerianhealth.blogspot.com to get some facts.

  6. Gramsy Flaugher says:

    About Canada, you are not qualified to speak. Your statistics on health care in Canada are not only wrong, they smack of right-wing fear-mongering and insult all Canadians, like me, who are PROUD of our country and its institutions.

    About the US you are, I suppose, more knowledgeable so stick to that. I have, however, seen enough horrors to know this country is sorely in need of universal health care. I’ll give you a statistic, since you seem to put a lot of faith on them. 75% of bankrupcies in the US are due to medical bills.

  7. marinalee says:

    Gramsy: Do you have a counter source? Or is it just your personal experience that seems to indicate that my statistics are wrong? Also, I could post an interview with a Canadian doctor, but I don’t believe that single person accounts can accurately reflect a system, and that is why I rely on statistics.

    Claim–75% of bankruptcies in the US are due to Medical Bills

    Well, every year according to the AARP, 1.85 million Americans go bankrupt due to medical bills. However, according to The Conservative Voice, bankruptcy filings in the federal courts for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008, exceeded only 900,000. http://www.americanbankruptcycenter.com/ says that 1.5 million Americans go bankrupt every year. Either way, the AARP is claiming that every single bankruptcy case is due to medical bills. As this is obviously untrue, I would say that there aren’t reliable statistics as to how many Americans actually go bankrupt due to medical bills, as the exact causes of bankruptcies are hard to unravel. I would like to see your source for the 75% figure.

    Status–Unresolved

  8. marinalee says:

    Hi Daniel! Thanks for commenting.

    Here’s my source on the life-span factor, take directly from the transcript of a ABC 20/20, which can be found here: http://mediamatters.org/items/200709150001

    “GRATZER: You want to see your neurologist because of your stress headache? No problem. You just have to wait six months. You want an MRI? No problem. Free as the air. You just got to wait six months.

    STOSSEL: But fans of Canada’s system, like Michael Moore, point to the fact that Canadians live longer. Isn’t that proof that the Canadian system is better, even if they have to wait in line?

    MOORE: That’s the line where they live three years longer than we do. That’s the line I want to be in.

    STOSSEL: But Canadians live longer because of things unrelated to health care. Americans are three times as likely to die in car accidents and 10 times as likely to be murdered. Take those factors into account, not to mention obesity, and Americans live longer than Canadians.

    In America, we kill each other more often. We shoot each other. We have more car accidents. Forgive me, more of us look like you.

    MOORE: Me, yeah.

    STOSSEL: And that’s the reason they’re living longer in Canada.

    MOORE: I will say in part it’s because they never have to worry about paying to go see the doctor.”

    Taken from ABC 20/20

    As for the cost of prescription drugs, my point is that the Europeans do determine prices based on affordability, and that’s why US companies selling drugs have to lower their prices to sell to the markets there, and raise them in the US. The larger markets do not guarantee profits, the fact that people have no choice as to whom they buy them from do.

    You also said,”The fact is that the U.S. taxpayer subsidizes through tax support of NIH and other agencies, a major portion of the R&D of pharma…that the majority of medications are made outside the United States” my near billion dollar figure of developing medications was after subsidizing.

    Finally, if you are interested in particular on how seniors are faring under Universal Health care, http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=15734 has some interesting facts, in particular notingthat, “Among senior citizens, the fraction of Canadians with asthma, hypertension, and diabetes who are not getting care is twice the rate in the United States.”

  9. Ohnoepatrol (You know, that 9th grader...) says:

    Socialized medicine is scary. Brrrr. How come the general public doesn’t like small government anymore?

    Also: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/567737

  10. Ohnoepatrol (You know, that 9th grader...) says:

    Hehe… Retract that last link I posted. Didn’t quite read your entire post…

    That being said, you make some very good points. But sometimes you need to balance between ethics and efficiency. I think the government should help those who actually cannot pay for insurance. But for those who just do not choose to get insurance, if they’re screwed, sucks for them, they should have understood the risks for doing that.

  11. Scott Martin says:

    Gramsy + Daniel = Utterly pwned

    I love people who watch a Michael Moore movie and think that makes them edumicated. Canada welcomes you Daniel, knock yourself out. I “suppose” if you “put” enough “words” in “quotes” it makes you feel “like less of a tool”?

  12. Concerned Fact-Checker says:

    Reading this blog as a Canadian, but also as someone who considers himself relatively well-informed about Western politics and history, media punditry, and social and cultural traditions (I have a MA degree in a social science discipline and am working through my PhD), I couldn’t help but notice there are a lot of questionable ‘facts’ posted here, and a lot of outright misinformation and misdirected logic.

    It seems that you have a couple of main concerns here if you’ll allow me to paraphrase: you’re worried that socialized medicine would pose an unfair financial burden (or tax, if you prefer that language – a notable political pejorative) on those who are already insured and can afford said insurance, driving up national expenditures on health care, etc etc and also that socialized medicine is not as effective as services offered through the private sector. I’ll offer a response to each of these points in turn, though I won’t get into the semantics of trying to argue what percentage of the population is already insured because I’m not sure what that accomplishes (insured or not, the final statistic seems to me to be a difference in degrees, not in kind; wouldn’t the comparative COST of insurance premiums between the US and other countries be more informative?). I will provide substantive evidence to back up my opinions from the state of things RIGHT NOW (not speculatively, potentially or probably, what will or might happen, as you have quite consistently done here). I’m not in the business of predicting the future because it simply can’t be done (when such attempts are made, they are limited to hindsight anyway); to make such assertions is either dishonest or misguided. I will, however, give you a comparative analysis grounded in the present, and if you wish, you can draw your own futurist conclusions by piecing patterns/tendencies from that information together.

    Misconception #1: Universal health care/socialized medicine will cost everyone more money.

    This is simply not true if you look at the facts (not 20/20 hindsight that tends to look at a couple of particular cases, drawing a broad generalization from them). The actual state of things right now is that, surprisingly, the US *already* spends more of its GDP on health care (13.9%) than all of the other G7 countries (followed by Germany [10.7% total], France [9.6%], Canada [9.2%], Australia [8.4%], Sweden [8.6%], Denmark [8%], Italy [7.6%], Japan [7.2%], UK [6.8%]). Out of the almost-14% of the GDP that the U.S. spent on health care in 1997, 7.4% went to private care and 6.4% to public care (OECD, 2000 – you might note that this data is older, but the OECD just published their 2008 report, so go check it out and compare – my point is that the US was still WELL above the G7 average on health expenditures despite the fact that it has no universal health care). The U.S. spends less of its “total” spending on health care than the other G7 countries, though (pre-Iraq invasion) more GOVERNMENT spending than any other G7 country, and the US spent more per capita on health care than all of these countries with the exception of Germany.
    To be fair, hospital technology and the development of new drugs are major cost factors (OECD 2008), though US doctors’ average incomes are far, far greater than those in other G7 countries ($199,000 average – almost twice that of Germany, which came second at $104,700 average). Also, the OECD (2008) cites expensive medical procedures such as coronary angioplasty (for heart ailments) as major contributors to the amount the US spends on health care compared with other G7 countries. “Even in the United States, where the private sector plays a particularly large role in financing, public spending on health represents 6% of GDP, comparable to the OECD average” (OECD 2008). The utilization of these kinds of surgery could, of course, be prevented, but in a country where you have to pay an arm and a leg to go to the doctor or to pay insurance premiums that are through the roof, it’s simply not ingrained in the culture (my wife is American, now living in Canada, and she is far more anxious than I about the idea of going for regular checkups). So you see, countries with socialized medicine are actually already paying LESS on government health spending than in the US, where so many serious maladies might have been treated in the early stages of their development. Do some real research and check the facts! If you are so concerned with democracy, note that according to the 2000 OECD data indicated that “only 23 percent of Canadians, compared with over one third of Americans, feel that their health care system needs to be completely rebuilt.” Not only do you lack the option of universal health care, but Canadians still have the option to seek care in a private clinic if they so choose!!!
    Of course, in Canada, not everything is covered. In Ontario where I live, dental is not covered, though this is picked up by insurance plans, and as there are more unionized businesses and jobs that come with insurance coverage, this tends to get taken care of (e.g. all university students have some sort of dental). Any *serious* oral malady WOULD be covered, though regular dental checkups tend to get classified as cosmetic. You can go for an eye checkup once every two years, though you would need insurance to pay for glasses. In my case, I have keratoconus, a serious eye disorder, so I can go once a year. This is an example of how the system is logical and accounts for those who *require* more care. And yet, the US still spends more overall… So your claim that socialized medicine has failed in the countries that use it and that it will cost US citizens more is simply bad economics.

    Misconception #2: Socialized medicine will lower the quality of life for Americans

    You would think that since the US already spends so much on the health industry that the quality of life is higher than other developed countries. Not so. You wrote that, according to ABC’s 20/20 socialized medicine will lower the life span of the average American. What planet are you living on? First of all, since when did US national media outlets become reliable ‘non-partisan’ sources of information? The fact that ABC/Disney/CAP own major shares in Sid R. Bass crude oil and gas should offer some indication as to where those interests lie…
    But I digress. Let’s look at the facts. Usually quality of life is determined by such factors as infant mortality rate, average life expectancy, the prevalence of heart disease and cancer, etc. What crystal ball does 20/20 look into to be capable of arguing that life expectancy in the US will decrease with universal health care? They obviously haven’t compared US life expectancy stats with those of countries that already have socialized medicine. Wouldn’t this be the most logical means to get at that kind of information? Let’s check it out:
    The U.S. has the WORST infant mortality rate of any of the G7 countries. In fact, according to the 2008 United Nations data, the infant morality rate in the US is 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births and 7.8/1000 children do not survive until the age of five (ranking slightly better than Croatia (6.4/1000 and 7.7/1000 respectively) and worse than Canada (4.8 and 5.9), but also worse than Cuba (5.1 and 6.5), Slovenia, Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Iceland, etc, etc. Would you prefer I use the 2008 CIA World Factbook stats? Again, the U.S. fares worse than Cuba and South Korea (which has an only slightly lower infant mortality rate), and it fares *just* better than the Faroe Islands, Croatia, Belarus, and Guam. Singapore, Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan, and Iceland have the lowest infant mortality rates in both surveys.
    The U.S. fares similarly poorly when it comes to average life expectancy (US life expectancy is 45th out of 221 countries [78.06 yrs m/f]; 29th out of UN member states according to CIA World Factbook, or 38/195 countries according to the United Nations 2005-2010 period [78.2 yrs for m/f]) And what kind of health care plans do the countries at the top have (Japan, Canada, Australia, Israel, etc all have average life expectancies over 80 yrs)? Socialized medicine! You might also recall that their health expenditures were quite low compared with the US!!! Hmmm….
    Wait times. I noticed that your chart comparing US and Canada wait times has a lot of “Up to’s” on the Canadian half. I can only wonder where this data came from (and do you really think it’s fair to only include up-to’s…?). Of course, you know that it’s not first come, first serve for treatment in Canada, right? You get treatment priority based on the severity of illness, and you get bumped up on the list if your condition seems to be worsening. When I was in my early 20s I got hyper-parathyroidism which involved a hyperactive gland that was leeching calcium from my bones into my bloodstream. Consultation was immediate and continuous, and within a few months, I had received a biopsy, CAT scans, MRIs, bone density scans, and received surgery from a specialist who removed the hyperactive gland. I was in the hospital for a week after the surgery, and yet how much did I pay? Nothing!!! We care for our citizens here, and this illness was non life-threatening. I shattered my knee-cap when I was 18 and I had to have orthoscopic surgery to remove the bone fragments. How much did I pay? Nothing! Don’t be fooled by the political rhetoric. I’ve never waited more than a couple of hours in a waiting room at a hospital, and for serious maladies, they take you right away. Even for services that are not publicly funded (e.g. vision, dental), our insurance premiums are far, far, far lower. How many Americans do you know who go to a family doctor when they merely *suspect* that something might be wrong with them? Not many, I’m sure – they hold off until they can’t hold off any longer, because it’s costly! Of course, wait times ARE longer in Canada (though not as long as you seem to imagine), but there is a higher utilization rate!!!! That’s only logical…

    At the end of the day, it’s scare tactics like yours that do the real ‘harm’ by spreading ignorance and disinformation. Maybe if your doctors weren’t making 200K a year on average and your insurance company CEOs weren’t so greedy, if there was less media filter and corporate allegiance, and people were more inclined to do some of their own legwork researching data by comparing the US health system to that in other countries, you wouldn’t have more dead babies (fact), more heart disease (fact), higher cancer rates (fact), and a lower average life expectancy than other developed countries (fact). You might even stand a chance of faring better than developing countries like Cuba. I’m not sure how you can qualify the privatized system in the US as a ‘success’ contra the supposed “failure” of these other countries’ systems when the people who live there are generally healthier and live longer on average. Why would you want to persist in believing that socialized medicine doesn’t work? Pride? Let’s leave the ignorant “US is #1” chanting at the kindergarten door. Or, well, it’s your funeral…

    C.P.
    Concerned Fact-Checker

    P.S. Do the rest of the world a favour and vote Obama!!!

  13. marinalee says:

    Blah Blah Blah you’re a good Samaritan Blah, You’ll give us facts Blah…”you’re worried that socialized medicine would pose an unfair financial burden (or tax, if you prefer that language – a notable political pejorative) on those who are already insured and can afford said insurance, driving up national expenditures on health care, etc etc and also that socialized medicine is not as effective as services offered through the private sector.”

    So far so good, those are in fact my main concerns.

    “I’ll offer a response to each of these points in turn, though I won’t get into the semantics of trying to argue what percentage of the population is already insured”

    Good idea. You don’t want to argue that with me. 😉

    …” because I’m not sure what that accomplishes (insured or not, the final statistic seems to me to be a difference in degrees, not in kind; wouldn’t the comparative COST of insurance premiums between the US and other countries be more informative?)”

    Actually, no. We need to first recognize how many people that the system works for, and then we can get into the cost. If no one is using it, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is.

    …”I will provide substantive evidence to back up my opinions from the state of things RIGHT NOW (not speculatively, potentially or probably, what will or might happen, as you have quite consistently done here).”

    Er…I don’t recall saying too much about the future, but I’ll take your word for it.

    …”I’m not in the business of predicting the future because it simply can’t be done”

    Sure it can! Have you *read* Harry Potter?

    …”(when such attempts are made, they are limited to hindsight anyway); to make such assertions is either dishonest or misguided. I will, however, give you a comparative analysis grounded in the present, and if you wish, you can draw your own futurist conclusions by piecing patterns/tendencies from that information together.
    Misconception #1: Universal health care/socialized medicine will cost everyone more money.”

    Here’s the key word there. Everyone. As a nation, we spend more. If we start taking money from percentages of incomes rather than based on individual health care plans, we’re going to be redistributing the way we get that money. I will admit that I shouldn’t have said everyone. I should have said every hard-working citizen that *earns* their own health care.

    “This is simply not true if you look at the facts … and the US spent more per capita on health care than all of these countries with the exception of Germany.”

    This is pretty much all negated by what I said about the “everyone.” As a whole, we do spend more, and I’ve never denied that. You really don’t need to put in so many random numbers. Do I care what they’re spending on health care in Italy? That would be a no. Random numbers do nothing to support your argument.

    “To be fair, hospital technology and the development of new drugs are major cost factors (OECD 2008), though US doctors’ average incomes are far, far greater than those in other G7 countries ($199,000 average – almost twice that of Germany, which came second at $104,700 average). ”

    …Are you saying that our doctors get paid too much? Either way, thanks for the stat. It supports my brain drain theory.

    “Also, the OECD (2008) cites expensive medical procedures such as coronary angioplasty (for heart ailments) as major contributors to the amount the US spends on health care compared with other G7 countries. ‘Even in the United States, where the private sector plays a particularly large role in financing, public spending on health represents 6% of GDP, comparable to the OECD average’ (OECD 2008). The utilization of these kinds of surgery could, of course, be prevented,”—

    Wait just a second. We’re going to prevent people from getting coronary angioplasties how? Are we going to disallow them from paying for these and let them die?

    “but in a country where you have to pay an arm and a leg to go to the doctor or to pay insurance premiums that are through the roof, it’s simply not ingrained in the culture (my wife is American, now living in Canada, and she is far more anxious than I about the idea of going for regular checkups)”

    …that definitely explained how we could prevent these surgeries. More checkups= less surgeries? Or are you talking about some kind of preventive, force people to exercise thing? Oh, and as for Canadians getting regular checkups… “A Decima Research poll commissioned by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in September 2006 revealed that 17% of Canadians do not have family physicians—about 5 million Canadians have no family doctor. Of these 5 million, nearly 2 million have looked for a doctor but cannot find one.”
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1949098#b1-0530579
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2004/11/25/family-doctors-041125.html
    So say what you will about our system, but you guys definitely aren’t seeing a doctor Oh So Regularly.

    “Do some real research and check the facts!”

    Thanks for the encouragement. Next time I want to know about something, instead of researching it myself I’ll ask you to research it for me, so I can know what’s really going on.

    “If you are so concerned with democracy, note that according to the 2000 OECD data indicated that ‘only 23 percent of Canadians, compared with over one third of Americans, feel that their health care system needs to be completely rebuilt.'”

    Actually, I’m not concerned with democracy. A lot of the time, people don’t know what’s best for them. (OBAMA!!) Beware the tyranny of the majority.

    “Not only do you lack the option of universal health care, but Canadians still have the option to seek care in a private clinic if they so choose!!!”

    Actually, that’s illegal.
    “Accepting money from patients for operations they would otherwise receive free of charge in a public hospital is technically prohibited in this country, even in cases where patients would wait months or even years in discomfort before receiving treatment.”
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/28/news/canada.php

    “Of course, in Canada, not everything is covered. In Ontario where I live, dental is not covered, though this is picked up by insurance plans, and as there are more unionized businesses and jobs that come with insurance coverage, this tends to get taken care of (e.g. all university students have some sort of dental). Any *serious* oral malady WOULD be covered, though regular dental checkups tend to get classified as cosmetic.”

    Oh yes. Covered, I’m sure. If all of you socialized medicine people are all so “covered” why are you pulling out your own teeth?

    “You can go for an eye checkup once every two years, though you would need insurance to pay for glasses.”

    Needing glasses? No, that’s not at all serious. You can drive and do what have you without them.

    “In my case, I have keratoconus, a serious eye disorder, so I can go once a year. This is an example of how the system is logical and accounts for those who *require* more care. ”

    My uncle died waiting for a treatment for a spot on his lung. =D I don’t like to bring up personal examples, but I figured if you will I will.

    “Misconception #2: Socialized medicine will lower the quality of life for Americans
    You would think that since the US already spends so much on the health industry that the quality of life is higher than other developed countries.”

    Quality of life?? When did I ever say that?? I do NOT measure quality of life by how long you live.

    “Not so. You wrote that, according to ABC’s 20/20 socialized medicine will lower the life span of the average American. What planet are you living on? First of all, since when did US national media outlets become reliable ‘non-partisan’ sources of information?”

    Sorry. I figured I would add ABC 20/20 as a source that confirms my own personal research, based on the data from crash rates from 04/05 DSA annual road death percentages, FARS, CIA World Fact Book and murder rates come from correctional service of Canada, CIA World Fact Book.

    “The fact that ABC/Disney/CAP own major shares in Sid R. Bass crude oil and gas should offer some indication as to where those interests lie…
    But I digress.”

    Oh! I’m ever so glad we agree on something.

    “Let’s look at the facts. Usually quality of life is determined by such factors as infant mortality rate, average life expectancy, the prevalence of heart disease and cancer, etc. What crystal ball does 20/20 look into to be capable of arguing that life expectancy in the US will decrease with universal health care? ”

    Would you quit neglecting the fact that the US life expectancy rate is higher once you subtract MURDERS and CAR WRECKS? Did you read my post?

    “They obviously haven’t compared US life expectancy stats with those of countries that already have socialized medicine. Wouldn’t this be the most logical means to get at that kind of information? Let’s check it out:
    The U.S. has the WORST infant mortality rate of any of the G7 countries. In fact, according to the 2008 United Nations data, the infant morality rate in the US is 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births and 7.8/1000 children do not survive until the age of five (ranking slightly better than Croatia (6.4/1000 and 7.7/1000 respectively) and worse than Canada (4.8 and 5.9), but also worse than Cuba (5.1 and 6.5), Slovenia, Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Iceland, etc, etc. Would you prefer I use the 2008 CIA World Factbook stats? Again, the U.S. fares worse than Cuba and South Korea (which has an only slightly lower infant mortality rate), and it fares *just* better than the Faroe Islands, Croatia, Belarus, and Guam. Singapore, Sweden, Hong Kong, Japan, and Iceland have the lowest infant mortality rates in both surveys.
    The U.S. fares similarly poorly when it comes to average life expectancy (US life expectancy is 45th out of 221 countries [78.06 yrs m/f]; 29th out of UN member states according to CIA World Factbook, or 38/195 countries according to the United Nations 2005-2010 period [78.2 yrs for m/f]) And what kind of health care plans do the countries at the top have (Japan, Canada, Australia, Israel, etc all have average life expectancies over 80 yrs)? Socialized medicine! You might also recall that their health expenditures were quite low compared with the US!!! Hmmm….”

    Oooo…pretty…A whole lot of numbers that mean absolutely nothing. All of your life expectancy statistics include murders and car crashes, and those are completely unrelated to health care. Japan is up top because their people don’t kill each other, because the police beat them in the streets as examples. Cuba lies about their infant mortality rates.

    Actually, I should probably go more into infant mortality rates. First of all, the US measures them differently than any other country.

    “It’s shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.”–http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/060924/2healy.htm

    That sums it up pretty well.

    “Wait times. I noticed that your chart comparing US and Canada wait times has a lot of “Up to’s” on the Canadian half. I can only wonder where this data came from (and do you really think it’s fair to only include up-to’s…?). Of course, you know that it’s not first come, first serve for treatment in Canada, right? You get treatment priority based on the severity of illness, and you get bumped up on the list if your condition seems to be worsening. When I was in my early 20s I got hyper-parathyroidism which involved a hyperactive gland that was leeching calcium from my bones into my bloodstream. Consultation was immediate and continuous, and within a few months, I had received a biopsy, CAT scans, MRIs, bone density scans, and received surgery from a specialist who removed the hyperactive gland. I was in the hospital for a week after the surgery, and yet how much did I pay? Nothing!!! We care for our citizens here, and this illness was non life-threatening. I shattered my knee-cap when I was 18 and I had to have orthoscopic surgery to remove the bone fragments. How much did I pay? Nothing! Don’t be fooled by the political rhetoric. ”

    Political rhetoric? Concerned, do you not realize that I am in the minority of my country by not wanting to have ridiculous taxes for ridiculous reasons? I can’t even remember the last time I saw a non-pro-socialized medicine anything.

    “I’ve never waited more than a couple of hours in a waiting room at a hospital, and for serious maladies, they take you right away. Even for services that are not publicly funded (e.g. vision, dental), our insurance premiums are far, far, far lower. How many Americans do you know who go to a family doctor when they merely *suspect* that something might be wrong with them? Not many, I’m sure – they hold off until they can’t hold off any longer, because it’s costly! Of course, wait times ARE longer in Canada (though not as long as you seem to imagine), but there is a higher utilization rate!!!! That’s only logical…”

    Wow. You are SO LUCKY!! I wish I was you! Hm….(I can say hm… too!)
    I go to the doctor every time I suspect something’s wrong. So, at least one. Oh, and I do know that it isn’t first come first serve. That why old people, like my aforementioned uncle, get screwed over. A final thing on wait times…I put the up-tos on there for comparison. I also posted definite numbers, like the number of people on waiting lists.

    “At the end of the day, it’s scare tactics like yours that do the real ‘harm’ by spreading ignorance and disinformation. Maybe if your doctors weren’t making 200K a year on average and your insurance company CEOs weren’t so greedy,”

    Greedy. Oh, let’s revert to name calling shall we? But to address that, what do you think the world runs on, if not greed? Love?

    “if there was less media filter and corporate allegiance,”

    0.o Our media is filtering what now? And for whom? And since when has our media, other than maybe fox, supported corporations? I think you would enjoin CNN. They’re just like you.

    “and people were more inclined to do some of their own legwork researching data by comparing the US health system to that in other countries, you wouldn’t have more dead babies (fact), more heart disease (fact), higher cancer rates (fact), and a lower average life expectancy than other developed countries (fact).”

    Just to reiterate: We count dead babies differently (fact), we have higher cancer bed life spans (fact) and we have a higher average life expectancy when you subtract murders and car wrecks (fact).

    “You might even stand a chance of faring better than developing countries like Cuba.”

    Well, well. Cub is just amazing, isn’t it? I should move there if I want to live.

    “I’m not sure how you can qualify the privatized system in the US as a ’success’ contra the supposed “failure” of these other countries’ systems when the people who live there are generally healthier and live longer on average. Why would you want to persist in believing that socialized medicine doesn’t work? Pride? Let’s leave the ignorant “US is #1″ chanting at the kindergarten door. Or, well, it’s your funeral…”

    My funeral? Well then, that’s none of your concern. I’ll take my chances on the country where people live longer. And what’s with this sudden addition of ‘generally healthier’?

    Final thing…I persist in believing that socialized medicine doesn’t work because it doesn’t work.

    “P.S. Do the rest of the world a favour and vote Obama!!!”

    P.S. Do the rest of the world a *favor* and move to Cuba, so you can “live.”

    –Marina H Lee

  14. […] public links >> employer Obama’s Healthcare Plan and Socialized Medicine Saved by robthevip on Sat 11-10-2008 Indonesian main OHS Act Saved by chadonline on Thu […]

  15. Bree says:

    This was an enjoyable read, though I think something that would make the artical better, is a variety in the countries that you compare statistics with, perhaps include France? They have socialized medicine. Also, while we may all understand that the developement of new drugs stopping is a bad thing, its probably more effective in the artical if you emphasize why. Such as the fact that after a while, bacteria evolve to become resistant to certain drugs. If we are using generic drugs, and the bacteria becomes resistant, what happens then?
    Just some thoughts, but the was an honestly enjoyable and educative read. Even if you did get facts wrong, as other people have challanged, all they need to do is go look them up for themselves, and they are still educated.
    I’ll leave with one of my favorite verses.
    “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding,
    but delights in airing his own opinions.”
    –Proverbs 18:2

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