Oooooooh….. We are doing a post about both socialized healthcare AND Canada!

He said:

This is EPIC.

On one hand you have a country that has socialized health care across the board, one that I have occasionally been lambasted about due to the fact that the evil American political machine has not found the ability to implement…. And on the other hand you have one of the very persons representing the government that socialized medicine coming TO THE GODDAMNED STATES to get an operation performed. If you get a chance you should really read the comments; the vast majority of the 644 that are posted read like an open letter to the government discussing how BAD the care there was.

-Forgot to post it: this is the guy that is going for the surgery.

Seems like a smart enough guy to me.

-What other national leader has recently left his own country to seek medical care?

Hmmmm….

Oh yeah, this guy.

Also can’t forget these guys. The NEVER get treated in their own country.

€€

What does this have to say about these “world leaders” that they can’t get proper health care in their own back yards?

-And you had better believe that KC has some personal experience with this one.

After you…….
She Said:
So Old Iron is trying to get under my skin about Canadian the health care system.
I have repeatedly said to many an American: Canada’s socialised health care system is FAR from perfect.  Don’t try to do the same.  Rather, take the best of all socialised health care and create your own. But noooooooo.  You HAAAAAAFTA pick on Canada.
Damn republican. 🙂

Look the issue in Canada right now is NOT the quality of health care you get, once you get it.  It’s the bloody looonng insane waits to actually get that care.   It’s complete bullshit that we don’t have the same level of quality health care as the US.  What the US doesn’t have are the long waiting periods to get appointments, surgeries, tests etc… mostly because, as I can see from sitting here in BC – no body can afford that level of care in the US, and therefore, there’s no waiting. (Here comes the LET’S BASH KC FOR THIS STATEMENT…)  I blame all the Canadian doctors who ran across the border, taking with them their specialty, while leaving a gaping hole in the system… all to make a buck more.  Greedy bastards.  I also blame the Canadian government for that and doing a poor ass job at finding and retaining doctors in Canada.

The Canadian health care system is technically, at first glances, ‘free’ publically funded health care.  (Free my ass… the amount of taxes I pay – nothing is free here).  What I do appreciate, however, that is greatly lacking in the US is that regardless of my status in society – I can get ‘free’ health care… and services that aren’t determined by an insurance company.  What I don’t appreciate is how long it takes to get, what appears at first glances as non-life threatening conditions – evaluated and resolved.  The problem with that theory is that… while you might not initially be dealing with a non-life threatening condition… it can become life-threatening by the time you get treatment… if its not already to late.  You are treated, unhurriedly, by the ‘next-available-appointment’ system, determined by your health care practioner… which seems to me, greatly flawed.  Some ‘experts’ disagree however by stating that “a system of immediate care can be detrimental for optimal patient outcomes due to avoidance of unnecessary or unproven surgery.”

Huh. Really?
Funny.
This past fall I suffered terribly from a herniated L5S1 disc in my back, the one in your lower tailbone. Sitting, walking, laying down, standing – all extremely painful. My left leg was virtually paralyzed for several weeks, feeling nothing, nor having any ability to stand or put any weight on it without crumbling to the ground.  I lost a lot of muscle strength in my left leg (and still trying to regain it).   The painkillers they gave me destroyed my stomach.  Surgery is inevitable – I will have to have it done at some point.  The MRI was scheduled 4 full months AFTER the injury (I must admit that the CT Scan was pretty immediate). This is all because I had (still am) been limping on a fractured ankle and have been waiting for 6 months to see a foot and ankle specialist (which I just finally saw yesterday)… which for that issue, surgery is also inevitable.

Had they fixed my ankle in the first place, back when I was first diagnosed, I wouldn’t have fucked up my back and now looking at spine surgery, on top of ankle surgery.  Both totally avoidable.  But I wasn’t prioritized as a medical emergency even after hardly being able to walk on said fractured ankle and having a paralyzed left leg.

Am I happy with my health care system?
50% yes, 50% no.
For day to day care… very much so.  I am very happy with it.  No complaints.
For the more serious, where specialty care is required – no.  Not impressed at all.  In fact, I think it’s failing, miserably.
While 82% of Canadians are happy (according to a 2009 Nanos Research poll) with our system… I think that it’s based purely on immediate care… not specialty care.  And on that front, I agree.

Now what pisses me off to no end about Old Iron’s linked story.

While I know for a fact that had I had the $45,000 USD quoted to me, I could have had my herniated disc treated IMMEDIATELY in the US.  But I don’t.  I don’t know too many people who have that kind of cash just laying around collecting dust, not in this economy.

So – the Premier of Newfoundland, who is paid by the people, is seeking treatment in the US.  Who’s paying for it?  The tax payer.  Me and many others.  So, as a tax payer in this country, I am paying for his treatment in the US.  No one really knows yet what exactly is the treatment he is seeking in the US and why he couldn’t have gotten it in Ottawa at a very reputable and top notch Canadian Heart Clinic.  But I am paying for his treatment… while I can’t even afford my own… and must suffer thru more than 6 months of excrutiating pain?!

HELL NO.
That’s just fucked up wrong.
I wouldn’t give a rats ass had it been allowable for the likes of us common folks, the minion of the country, to be able to do the same as the Premier. But my taxes don’t pay for my treatements in the US.  Only his.  And because I am taxed thru the wa-hoo, I can’t even afford my own treatments in the US.  Gotta love that irony.

I’m not here to try to convince you to get universal health care system like Canada’s.
Quite contrary.
But at the end of the day, while it might still be back-assed backwards, I will still stick with mine… and not risk my life at the hands of insurance people who get to say whether or not my treatment are covered otherwise re-mortgage your damn life… and for many – no treatment at all.  Because while it might take a while to get there, I at least know, I am gonna get there.  Regardless of my social status.
And at the end of the day, that is where my priorities lie.

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About Old Iron
I'm just a guy that works overseas alot and likes to play just as hard as I work. Been to a FEW countries, know a shitload of people all over, and generally have a good time wherever I go. -Oh, and I am currently in between girlfriends, and strangely enough and perfectly happy with that status. In the long run hookers are cheaper. Take my word on that.

51 Responses to Oooooooh….. We are doing a post about both socialized healthcare AND Canada!

  1. alison says:

    I’m in favour of socialised healthcare.

    Americans aren’t honest about their system. It has deep flaws as do they all. I’ve some personal experience of those flaws and it wasn’t good. At the end of the day for a fully functioning fantastic socialised system the French have it squared away brilliantly. Choice, immediacy, fantastic services, hospitals and treatment + they carry out world firsts in surgery. It’s not free at the point of need though, therein lies the answer! Plus it’s a hybrid socialised private mix.

    The American system is fine if you are not paying through the nose for insurance, have insurance, full insurance and don’t fall foul of some appauling small print which leaves you high and dry – as has occurred to my friend in LA just last week. Fully paid up insurance – now no treatment for what appears to be paralysis after a snowboard accident and the insurance co realised his treatment would be massively expensive.

    The NHS has improved quite a lot and I’m happy with what I get. I top it up with additional private care for where the system may fall down but I have rarely if ever used that. The additional private payments are actually very very reasonable here. And the bottom line is that we pay seriously little per head in our NHS taxes.

    • ~KC~ says:

      I noticed Alison that some of our insurance companies are starting to offer ‘top-ups’ to the current provincial health-care services. I haven’t investigated those or the limitations of them… but it is making a presence in Canada. It may have been here all along but I’ve started to notice more and more marketing and advertisements for them these past few years. Might be time to look into that as well.

  2. Old Iron says:

    Health care reform – Good idea!!!

    Socialist health care – when the hell has the government ever been able to run ANYTHING efficiently and with the level of innovation that a private industry can create?

    The point that I was trying to make was that from my seat it seems like the examples that I brought up of people that live in one country as the “royalty” of said location for some reason never really get the really important surgery performed in their country of residence. Yes, they may have the money to afford the best but still…

    Funny thing about this whole point is that the people that leave their respective countries for medical care are most often than not the very same people that have the power to reform their system, to raise it to a new standard.

    Just sayin’.

    • ~KC~ says:

      …. and on this, I couldn’t agree with you more! Surprise surprise!
      What angers me is … its yet again another example of politicians that says… do as I say, not as I do

      Expect me to have faith in my system while my representative doesn’t?? hmmmm….

    • Old Iron says:

      EXACTLY what I was trying to point out. I don’t really care about the difference of socialist vs. capitalist health care, as they both have their merits, but that the very ones that tout their current health care within their respective countries are usually the first to go somewhere else, with the three examples I have shown being only a SMALL cross section.

  3. The “health care” aspect of it really doesn’t matter, because it’s the same story as any other commodity. Just name one. Education for your children, legal services, barrels of crude oil.

    “The rich” can get ahold of it and the poor people cannot, so someone gets the idea of “reform.” No one defines what the R-word really means, because anyone who’s in a position to communicate with the public about it understands reform is only appealing until people understand what it is. So some new laws are created to make the commodity “equally available to everyone.”

    Which, it turns out, doesn’t mean the poor can get it. It means the rich people can’t. And was anyone wondering why people refer to socialism as “trickle-up poverty”?

    Except if you get to watch how the politicians live, up close, you see something rather interesting. Whatever the commodity is…they can get ahold of it a lot more easily than the rich people were ever able to. Proceed to re-enact the scene with Squealer and the milk & apples from George Orwell’s Animal Farm…

    This cycle absolutely consistent, event for event, with each and every market the United States has semi-nationalized…and the U.S. has semi-nationalized quite a lot. My country’s gutless this way; we like to go halfway on things. That way we don’t have to admit that some things work and other things don’t.

  4. alison says:

    I dunno but seems to me that public private hybrids would actually work best. You get accountability (eg blame & change, blame & change) with government run systems but you don’t get service which is driven by consumer choice. If you cross the two, you’ll wind up somewhere that works for rich and poor. There is nothing wrong with those who can afford it paying extra as they see fit and off their own backs for superior services. It won’t ever be perfect when dealing with issues of public concern but then frankly neither is democracy.

  5. alison says:

    I wish I knew how to change my little avatar picture. Its stuck.

  6. Old Iron says:

    Heh heh. I was going to do some diatribe about how a dependent society is all kind of shit and will eventually turn into something that has a drip feed of government “care” inserted into all aspects of their lives….

    -But then the avatar thing. Alison, I am having the same problem. Dean MArtin is cool and all but he has been up there for a LOOOONG time.

    There has. to BE. a WAY.

    Heh heh.

  7. Alison, it works well until the time comes to say no.

    Private sector never really says no. It says “call us when you get the loot”…which, yes, is indistinguishable from the no when you don’t have the loot. But it beats the snot out of the “no” the government uses when it says no. Which means NO.

    That’s why it’s a violation of human rights to even have the government involved in health care. When someone says “but I have to have this procedure and I’m willing to pay for it” and that person’s government says tough luck, it’s still no go, that is a violation. And socialized medicine seems to lead inexorably to that.

  8. alison says:

    I think practically speaking no is NO whether it’s government or some insurance dude. If government says no you fall back on private. If private says no, you fall back on government. Which when you think about it is essentially what we already have. Just different degrees of it. Its a violation of human rights that, say, giving birth safely, comes with such a ludicrous price tag.

  9. mkfreeberg says:

    If government says no you fall back on private.

    Not true.

    Where do we get this idea that government has something to do with choice? Honestly, I’d like to know where that comes from. Every little thing any government does anywhere, with the possible exception of selling postage stamps — it does it by closing off an option someone would otherwise have. That is how it is supposed to work, through a series of requirements. Be they regulations, be they taxes, be they executive orders. The deprivation of a choice is the brick from which all government structures are made.

    So when we get the government involved in things, nobody should be surprised to find out things that used to be possible, are no longer. That’s just the nature of the beast.

    I just think as you take a poll among people who are unhappy with the health care situation in the U.S….”I’m able to decide too much stuff” doesn’t emerge as one of the top complaints. I’m not trying to be snarky or snotty, I’m just saying this is not a good match-up with the general consensus of what’s really broken and needs fixing.

    • ~KC~ says:

      So when we get the government involved in things, nobody should be surprised to find out things that used to be possible, are no longer.

      I’ve noticed that here in Canada… often these changes also go unannounced. Passed quietly and then suddenly, when you need them – they aren’t there. It happens, regularly. Most of the time, it can be found in the fine print of documents you suddenly find yourself having to sign. Lesson learned the hard way – I now read the fine print & the T&Cs of most service providers.

    • ~KC~ says:

      … and this is just one of many things (although slightly off topic… slightly) that is DONE without people’s knowledge… ‘changes’ that are unannounced – until this article that is…

      http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/04/baby.dna.government/index.html?hpt=C2

  10. alison says:

    The link doesn’t work unfortunately. If you have private, and you have no fallback for its failures you are royally screwed. That doesn’t create a choice for that person at all. There is no such thing as choice if health insurance affordability becomes as issue. You can just as easily argue that the deprivation of choice is a brick wall within corporate structures. That’s also the nature of the beast. They are in it to make money not throw you a bone when you;re dying.

    Choice is a key component of French healthcare which as an example of a truly socialised government top down health structure is probably the best. But it’s an accountably hybrid system which is what I’m ‘arguing’ for. I’m not suggesting uniquely one system or the other is the perfect way to go. Because I can see deep flaws in both types of systems when they are proposed as the way to go. Trade offs come with both.

  11. alison says:

    Old fashioned philanthropy is how hospitals came about in 19thC England. Its the same philanthropy that acts as a safety net in the US so far as that is possible for the uninsured. But they were and are just as able to pull the plug.

  12. Qwatcher2 says:

    I must add one point I haven’t see noted here. The US Congress, President, legislature., etc. in all of the versions of the bill they are trying to pass, are EXEMPTED from being under whatever healthcare fiasco they force on the rest of the Americans. If it is sooooooooooooo great, they why are they exempt?

    Just wondering

    • mkfreeberg says:

      Yeah, you hit the nail on the head with that one.

      As I pointed out this morning during a miserable spate of pizza-caused-insomnia (ooh, someone call a doctor) — that is a constant. It’s bigger than health care. The rulemakers declare a crisis with [name of commodity], come up with a “reform” plan to make sure we can “all” get the commodity in question, put together some half-assed and ramshackle machinery to distribute the goods…and they don’t have to use it.

      If I could work it my way, the first step would be a Clause I that says members of Congress are the first consumers serviced by the final product. Constitutional requirement. If they can’t sign off on that at the very first sit-down, there’s no point going forward.

      Is that impractical for some reason? If so, why?

    • ~KC~ says:

      Very interesting… which brings me back to politicians saying do as I say, not as I do… I said it above… and I will say it again:

      Expect me to have faith in my system while my representative doesn’t??

      Lead by example.

  13. mkfreeberg says:

    There is no such thing as choice if health insurance affordability becomes as issue.

    Sure there is. You can borrow. You can ask family to step up. You can appeal to the kindness of strangers. None of these are going to do you any good if you’re at the mercy of a government bureaucrat who tells you no. So you see, Alison, it really is a wholly different kind of no.

    If you’re going to continue to argue that these treatments absolutely have to be provided, and you’re concerned about the cases in which life is at stake but the affordability issue makes the treatment absolutely inaccessible, then that would mean what you’re really after is a guarantee that everybody can acquire the products and services, and place a claim on the wealth of others, that would be needed to cover these costs ALL THE TIME. No matter WHAT. Which means what you’re trying to do is get rid of that answer of “no”. You say no answer is perfect…so this must be your definition of “perfect.”

    Well, obviously the old question of “What’s a human life worth?” is complicated and uncomfortable. Since we agree there is no perfect solution, I’ll just sidestep it. My point is simply that, according to history, government involvement would make that idyllic situation much more distant, rather than closer. The plan has to be administrated. That means people like Mickey Mantle have to be told “no liver for you, you’re an alcoholic…taxpayer guardian and all that.” And from there, the taxpayer-purse-string morphs into cloudier and cloudier ethical quandaries.

    So it’s not just the solution you’re laying out here that I think needs another look-see. It’s the (unstated) dilemma you’ve posed. Do we really have to have a medical system that makes sure nobody is ever told no, ever? Is that really the goal? If so, then who on earth has met it? And if not, then what is the goal?

  14. alison says:

    Noone prevents you getting access to a drug or an operation within a hybrid structure, which is where we are at here. If the State won’t pay then you can, assuming you have a generous family, enough friends or a bank manager, get the monies and hopefully in time. Under socialised medicine if that patient doesn’t have family who can shell out, or doesn’t have a very generous bank manager, then at the very least the basics of their cover is there. After all when underinsured patients roll in with cancer who cares for them in the US? The State. There is simply no getting out of that fact. Usually when they are well into the worst of it and so well into expensive treatments that could have been avoided. The tax payer picks up the expensive bills.

    I get what you are saying about overreaching government involvement and all the associated issues but my point is here that with wholly private systems you still have to lean on the government at the end of the day. There will always be and currently very much are those who will need to. So the best system you can devise is one that provides reasonable access for all.

    The better question to ask is why big corp medicine is allowed to set the pricing structures that mean people are told no. Whether in the case of my friend because they got cold feet at the cost, even though he is fully insured, and told him NO you cannot have that specialised treatment at X hospital it’s too expensive – so we’re moving you to one we’re comfortable paying for even if it’s not as good.

    Ethical quandries aren’t up for discussion when it’s insurance who makes the decisions. That’s filed as a business decision. In which case maybe that’s the way the State should file it.

  15. Ethical quandries aren’t up for discussion when it’s insurance who makes the decisions. That’s filed as a business decision. In which case maybe that’s the way the State should file it.

    And they would. Just as coldly as any business, and then some.

    It seems to me what you’re really after is some separation-of-powers in the process of applying a medical solution to a problem, so that no one single entity can say in a unilateral manner “this is just about as well as you’re ever gonna get” for the sake of perking up some bottom line on a balance sheet.

    We’re a lot closer to that goal with the status quo, than we ever would be with socialized medicine. If the insurance company really doesn’t live up to its obligations of the contract, it is at the mercy of the state. There are regulatory devices in place to require them to live up to it. And then if the regulators are pleased but you are not, then there are civil remedies. The regulators do not share interests with the HMO, and neither does the judge/jury. These are independent reviews. I’m sorry, it just seems to me like these are things we don’t want to be throwing away.

    We have nationalized things before, of course. K-through-12 education for example. If you don’t think your kid knows, by graduation day, what a high school senior ought to know — you’re screwed. The way that system sees it, your opportunity to make choices was during the K-12, when you could have taken your kid out and put him in a private school. Once it’s done it’s done. Meanwhile, colleges quietly start up their remedial classes so their incoming freshman can be taught what they should’ve learned before they ever stepped foot in there. Businesses see a high school diploma as something that says less than the wax paper that is wrapped around a cheeseburger, and a high school grad as someone who might be suitable for cooking the burger. The administrators and the teachers’ union officials might be heard to say something about what a high school graduate knows, or should know. But nobody else does. No one really puts anything worth keeping or loving, in a situation that depends on what a high school grad knows.

    If we want the same service level to take place with our health care, we should go for what the soft-communists like Michael Moore call “single-payer.” And if we do that, we should expect these results in our medicine. Both with caring for patients, and with inventing new drugs. It’ll just be clock-in, clock-out, and who cares what I managed to accomplish at work today. The rulebook says I did my job.

  16. alison says:

    On your first point, totally, which is why I don’t view alleged “State Death Panels” as they’ve been coined any differently to insurance companies stipulating their rules on preexisting conditions, or the status quo for a person who, as witnessed last week on a docu about healthcare your way, had given up paying their $1000 a month health premium because they risked losing their business in a recession. This was a family with a handicapped daughter. $1000 a month for a family of 3 seems very steep to me in the first place.

    I’m not really after anything other than a dose of reality on both sides – and maybe less of the sweeping statements on socialised healthcare. They usually suggest all socialised systems are identical. They’re not. The Canadian, UK, French, German etc systems all work very differently. Healthcare is (in)famously free at the point of need in the UK. A fiasco in my view as it opens up our system to widespread abuse, largely from health tourism, and this has a knock on effect on services. It’s not free at the point of need in France. The system requires tax payer support and provides for a standard excellent basic level care. After that you buy whatever is within your means to buy through insurance. So for example, if you want that single room with a TV, DVD and hotel like services you can pay extra for it if you choose to. The French system is not lacking in choice – who you see, when and where you see them and doesn’t have waiting lists of more than 2 weeks for non urgent surgery. It stacks up very favourably with the US. It would be interesting to see how it stacks up on cost when you factor in how much you guys pay for the uninsured and underinsured etc thru taxes.

    Regulatory devices are fine as long as they are prompt. I’d sooner the service was immediate than have to take it up with anyone after. Health can’t be a consumer product type issue on the one hand with a debate about the moral basis of so called ‘death panels’ on the other.

    Re rulebooks and jobsworths as we call people like the ones you refer to.. The NHS used to run with a sense of pride and duty which reflected in the care. I have some theories about why that changed not the least of which has been removing ward order from Sisters and fucked up Labour’s pretence that nurses need university degrees. Suddenly cleaning up someone’s crap is beneath them.

    The French take a huge amount of pride in their system still and it shows. Embarrassingly for us in the UK the French system was based on ours. They run it with the level of pride we did in the 40s with bang up to date technology. I honestly think that if the Republicans went up against the French system in their arguments on socialised medicine they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    In the UK I think we should stick with what we’ve got, pay more into it, improve the quality of daily care and encourage people to top up privately. We should also ditch free at the point of need and tackle global pharma costs.

    You probably don’t want to be throwing what you’ve got away now. But there is an issue if people are underinsured or uninsured and leaning heavily on the State and the tax payer when it all goes to shit. There is an issue if insurance cos don’t set up costs fairly with reasonable access, or deny, downgrade etc sometimes unexpectedly and leave people not wanting to hit the doctors for XYZ reasons or delay seeking treatment. No different to issues state run systems have. Just different. We both and the French have state and private healthcare to a greater and lesser degree.

    Why didn’t the Republicans fix tort reform or get a grip on big pharma when they had the chance. Before it got to a point where you now have slanging matches with the Dems because they’ve politically been left to devise a contentious alternative. I’m not shilling for the Dems by the way. I’m not a leftie. The debate just isn’t honest.

    Thanks for the debate btw. Have a good weekend.

    • mkfreeberg says:

      Why didn’t the Republicans fix tort reform or get a grip on big pharma when they had the chance. Before it got to a point where you now have slanging matches with the Dems because they’ve politically been left to devise a contentious alternative. I’m not shilling for the Dems by the way. I’m not a leftie. The debate just isn’t honest.

      Big pharma, big oil, big bankers, big unions, big lawyers. It’s not that our system isn’t sufficiently populist. We’re great at doing the work of The People. It’s The People who are at fault; they/we give away all our power. Some “special interest” trots out just the right sound bite and enough people fall for it, suddenly they aren’t a special interest at all. They’re doing the work of The People. And the politicians better listen to them/us or else they’ll be toast!

      You know, the generation that comes right before me — over the last decade, it’s dropped by about eighty percent in my family. With one exception these cases were all “Time To Go”-itis. You know how it goes; the body sends a signal to itself that the time has come to check out, and organs start shutting down like the apps on your Windows desktop when you issue the…well, the shutdown command. That’s precisely the way the body works at the end. The doctors conceal this in order to be tactful to the surviving relatives. “Her blood has developed a high white count.” “He was recovering nicely, but last night he had a second stroke.” Liver problems. Spleen.

      My point here is, it’s legitimate to reflexively recoil from the death panels, but you can err on the other side as well. Especially if you create a socialized health care system, and especially when your unstated goal is to make sure nobody is told no, ever, no matter what. How is such a system going to handle the “body is going through natural shutdown” cases?

      How do you answer such questions intelligently and ethically, without putting eugenicists in charge? That is why the socialists are taking on Sarah Palin’s “death panel” issue through stigma and ridicule; they dare not discuss it rationally, because people would quickly figure out this is a real problem, and there is a reason why every single nation with a nationalized health care system has some kind of D.P. in place. It is quite unavoidable.

  17. alison says:

    (wow sorry for length of that comment)

  18. alison says:

    It’s The People who are at fault; they/we give away all our power

    Yup. Which is why revolutions always inevitably end in failure eventually. It’s human nature.

    The stigma and ridicule flies both ways. Nationalised health systems are hybrids – so the idea of death panels being in some way unique to them is false. But yup, it’s certainly a problem with respect to costs. The questions shouldn’t be directed towards those socialists and the issue uniquely within nationalised health care systems. It’s a deeper problem for all systems, through both taxes and premiums. The more appropriate concern should be the basis of the costs.

  19. Well, nobody anywhere is enjoying a huge glut of qualified medical professionals just looking for something to do.

    And necessarily, that must mean something: When you consume a given quantity of medical care, you destroy that quantity which is then no longer available to someone else who also needs it. With that in mind, then what are the decent arguments for a socialist health care system?

    The answer is: None. Pure populism. Some critical mass of people on the “demand” end of the transaction, along with those who sympathize with them, are pounding fists on the table. Darn it, we should just get it, because we want/need it!

    It’s a bad argument because it is deceptive. It looks reasonable when you only think about the people getting the care who otherwise wouldn’t get it. That’s horse-blinder thinking. You’re not taking into account the other people who might have that care available, who now, because it’s “free,” have to go without. It’s a one-sided weighing of the equation. In reality, the system guarantees nothing. And that’s supposed to be the only appeal of doing it: “It’s a basic human right, you should just get it.” It doesn’t work.

    You say the system shouldn’t be singled out as the only one with death panels. I’ve never said it’s the only one with some cost-containment device. You’ve missed the point on this one — to offer any net value to a society whatsoever, any at all, socialist medicine m-u-s-t be absolutely, positively death panel free. Because that’s the appeal, it’s supposed to be some inexhaustible cornucopia. If it can’t deliver on that, and it cannot, then there’s no reason to do it.

  20. alison says:

    I don’t fall in line with those who view it as a human right simply because I don’t subscribe to the notion of human rights at all. Noone is born with rights. You are just born, end of story.

    No, It’s about living in a first world country and providing something as basic as healthcare without it being a commodity.

    It’s about providing access to all, which is what it does, so of course there is a reason to do it. How we manage increasing costs and new technologies is a cost management concern but that’s true whether it is through taxes or premiums.

    Equally whats the point of arguing so strongly against socialised systems when a system that guarantees nothing means you picking up the hefty bill in your taxes. It too doesn’t work.

    Looking at cancer drugs that cost £30,000 a year per person and querying if its evil to place that out of people’s reach is as valid a question as Palin questioning whether death panels are evil. My point earlier was simply that the debate isn’t honest.

    • No, It’s about living in a first world country and providing something as basic as healthcare without it being a commodity.

      It has a defined demand and a finite supply. It’s a commodity, end of story.

      Equally whats the point of arguing so strongly against socialised systems…My point earlier was simply that the debate isn’t honest.

      Socialism keeps the debate dishonest by (temporarily) hiding the obvious fact that there is a hard limit to the supply.

      And that is all it has ever brought to the table.

  21. alison says:

    If it’s purely a commodity then raising the spectre of Death Panels as evil becomes a spurious argument. Abortion too has a defined supply and demand but of course treating that as a commodity equally raises a moral argument. Dealing with human life as it does makes the story way more complex. Moral arguments fit squarely into all aspects of healthcare and life. They simply do not figure when you go out and say, buy a car.

    Socialised systems are no more prone to covering up realities than insurance based ones. The discussion around insurance based systems simply hides the fact that people cannot afford them and those that cannot are paid for out of taxes, someone else’s pocket or don’t get treatment at all. That then makes a system part socialised.

    And that is precisely what isn’t brought to the table or honestly discussed. The reality is we are increasingly all running dual systems. Whether it is tax based or insurance based as a base pinciple. The best systems are demonstrably AND accountably both. The least dishonest of which is probably the French.

  22. The discussion around insurance based systems simply hides the fact that people cannot afford them and those that cannot are paid for out of taxes, someone else’s pocket or don’t get treatment at all.

    With the discussions I’ve been hearing about insurance based systems, the fact that some people can’t afford it is hammered over and over and over again. And then socialism is offered as some kind of panacea that will fix that forever. Don’t know what you’ve been listening to.

    If the insurance company thinks your surgery is elective and declines it, and you disagree and end up going around them somehow…they won’t lift a finger to stop you. As contrasted with Canada’s government who will say “No means no, we said you can’t have that treatment and you shall not be getting it.” As long as you’re in the country’s borders…which is why the good Premier who is the subject of this article, is coming down stateside. Your argument about “insurance company death panels” ends here.

    You know what else isn’t discussed? In an insurance based system, if you really need the treatment and you pay for it, what you’re doing is putting back what you’re taking. Much like a lumber company planting trees after the harvest. Sort of an eco-conservation of the resource.

    Socialism just puts in a panel of bureaucrats to say yea & nay…and hopes the central bucket of resources is bounteous enough to service all the demand. Which it never is. So your argument that a “dual system” is the best approach, ends here too.

    • ~KC~ says:

      I do have to disagree with this point here:
      As contrasted with Canada’s government who will say “No means no, we said you can’t have that treatment and you shall not be getting it.” As long as you’re in the country’s borders…which is why the good Premier who is the subject of this article, is coming down stateside. Your argument about “insurance company death panels” ends here.

      It is rather difficult to be turned away for a surgery here in Canada. If it is deemed elective – and the Ministry of Health says “No. We aren’t covering it” – then the patient has the choice to pay for it out of its own pocket. While I’m not saying that its impossible for the goverment to say NO to a urgent or medically necessary procedure – perhaps it has been done – I’ve just never heard of it. You CAN pay for procedures here in Canada… but mostly, those are elective type surgeries.

      • From Wikipedia:

        The Canada Health Act, which sets the conditions with which provincial/territorial health insurance plans must comply if they wish to receive their full transfer payments from the federal government, does not allow charges to insured persons for insured services (defined as medically necessary care provided in hospitals or by physicians). Most provinces have responded through various prohibitions on such payments. This does not constitute a ban on privately funded care; indeed, about 30% of Canadian health expenditures come from private sources, both insurance and out-of-pocket payments. The Canada Health Act does not address delivery. Private clinics are therefore permitted, albeit subject to provincial/territorial regulations, but they cannot charge above the agreed-upon fee schedule unless they are treating non-insured persons (which may include those eligible under automobile insurance or worker’s compensation, in addition to those who are not Canadian residents), or providing non-insured services. This provision has been controversial among those seeking a greater role for private funding.

        In 2006, a Canadian court threatened to shut down one private clinic because it was planning to start accepting private payments from patients.

        Slight tangent here…

        This helps to prove the true evil of socialism. It changes the way people look at life.

        If you’re naturally inclined toward…well, let me just be crude here. If you’re naturally inclined to be a veal calve, you might look at it as “for today my overlords have decided I can do X, therefore I say I have the freedom to do X.” A good red-blooded American would say, if the decision belongs to them then that isn’t freedom. We’re a little bit mule-headed that way. We have to have the absolute God-given right to do things that tick off powerful people, get them all spitting mad, and they can have a dog’s life span times two to try to get us to stop, in vain. If that all isn’t true then it isn’t what we call “freedom.” It’s our hotdogs, they just don’t taste as good when July 4th comes around.

      • ~KC~ says:

        Private clinics are therefore permitted, albeit subject to provincial/territorial regulations, but they cannot charge above the agreed-upon fee schedule unless they are treating non-insured persons (which may include those eligible under automobile insurance or worker’s compensation, in addition to those who are not Canadian residents), or providing non-insured services.

        Its not the service they aren’t allowed to provide. It’s the fees they aren’t allowed to charge. Alberta has private clinics and are rather successful.

  23. alison says:

    I haven’t been listening to anything so much as dealing with the reality of these kinds of discussions. I have a friend in LA who currently has one, maybe two weeks to live. She wasn’t insured. Not because she is stupid or willfully liberal but because she was setting up a business and paying salaries and putting that ahead of anything else, before she collapsed one day with what turned out to be cancer. Then there’s the fully paid up and insured buddy in a snowboard accident who just got royally fucked over by a panel of bureaucrats re spinal surgery for paralysis. Then there’s the compare and contrast with experiences here and in France.

    “My” argument ends when you remove the tax payer based systems you operate for the underinsured and uninsured and come up with an alternative or make your current system work. It’s not my argument so much as reality.

    Re Canada, further up the thread somewhere I mentioned that all socialised systems are not the same. Private healthcare is an option in the UK and operating competitively already. The argument might end in Canada but it doesn’t elsewhere. Generalising doesn’t work.

  24. mkfreeberg says:

    Kind of funny how it works, isn’t it.

    In a system in which insurance pays for health care, when people die of cancer or some other terminal illness they don’t die from the illness, they die from being “uninsured.” Even Obama’s campaign volunteer who wants to be buried in an Obama teeshirt. The one whose name He can’t be bothered to remember? She didn’t have insurance. Oops, though, she did, but why let facts get in the way.

    When people die of terminal illness in a country with socialized medicine, why, it’s just their time. Nevermind if they had to wait six, twelve or eighteen months to see a doctor while the cancer merrily progressed through their systems.

    Out of sheer coincidence, my mother also met her end from an inoperable brain tumor. She was a small business owner. She had insurance and everything she needed for early detection, but if the tumor doesn’t form itself courteously so it can be easily peeled off, then surgery isn’t an option.

    The trouble with your hybrid theory, as I’ve written repeatedly before, is the socialists — always hungry for propaganda — demonize the capitalist components of any hybrid system when the time comes to direct blame. They propagandize it that way, the public buys it, and generation by generation the capitalist components are bleached out of the system and the socialist aspects are intensified. If you were born in the U.S. of A. and are at least…oh, let us say…55 years of age…medical insurance probably did not factor very much in to how your parents paid for your birth. If you’re much older than that, then a hospital probably wasn’t part of it either. A doctor showed up and your parents paid him, and that was that.

    Nowadays — well, shoot. I’ve got a guy working in the cubicle next to mine who drilled through his thumb by mistake. They bandage him up in the E.R. and he gets a bill for three thousand bucks. Would this have happened thirty years ago? No. But nobody says “How come things work this way lately when they didn’t before?” Nobody wants to turn the clock back. The answer must be ObamaCare. More socialism!

    So if you want a hybrid, you might as well go full-tilt and pick up the hammer and sickle.

    Fine wine mixed with sewage is sewage.

  25. alison says:

    The point I was making about the woman in LA is that the bill for her healthcare got picked up by tax payers. It underlined my point about you already having a form of socialised healthcare in place in order to plug the gap. A hybrid system which, for lack of the existing system working infallibly, is what’s realistically required for want of something market-delivers-us-from-all-ills-perfect.

    The underinsured rarely see a doctor and let illnesses progress. I don’t see that as necessarily better. It all falls back on the same underlying issue. That no one system is perfect and for every horror story we can roll out about one system there is a horror story on the other side. We could play ping pong on that all day long.

    I agree with you re the cost as I hope was clear earlier. Which is why I don’t understand why Republicans, pre the advent of Obamacare didn’t take up the challenge of tort reform and the costs of big pharma. If there is a better more robust way to improve your overall system they should make it known. That would be the sure fire way of avoiding Obamacare. But they didn’t.

    I’m pretty sure that getting some care, dying with some pain management in place and having had some options available respect of treatment up until that awful point was a significant plus. Or maybe it was sewage. Take your pick.

  26. Think of the way labor unions work. They exist to make sure “everyone can get a fair wage” and they do that because “everyone is entitled to earn a livelihood.” Just like socialized medicine is about making sure “everybody can get access to health care” because “everyone is entitled to it.”

    But all breeds of socialist want to re-define what “everyone” means. If you’re a “scab,” for example, you do not have the right to work to make a living. Quite the opposite, you should be punished for it. So yes, they think “everyone” deserves to make a living but no, they don’t really define “everyone” the way you or I would.

    Now, why am I to believe socialized medicine would work any differently? In England, an unborn baby isn’t part of “everyone” until the fetus has made it past 22 weeks. You talk to a rabid anti-war leftist over here stateside, and they make it very clear “everyone” has a right not to be waterboarded…then bring up the name Dick Cheney or Sean Hannity, and once again, they have a different definition of “everyone.” Oh yeah it’s supposed to be a joke. But no, not really.

    So when a guy is 99 years old and on his death bed, filling his bedpan but still writing some lucid stuff day by day…and it the decision comes to the government to determine if he can get the treatment he needs to make it to his hundredth. Is it really so far out of the realm of consideration that the government might want to know how he’s been voting?

    This cuts to the quick of why America is fundamentally incompatible with such a plan, even in part. You can’t declare yourself independent from a government that gets to say yea or nay on whether you get a new liver. It is a logical incongruity. I would add, further, that this is why our democrats want it so badly. These are the same people who have been fighting so hard for illegal aliens to vote in our elections. This recent mad-dash has nothing to do with bringing health care to the indigent. It’s been a very long time since any of them have spoken about that. As I noted earlier…for the last five or six months, all the speeches have been about win, win, win. Nothing to do with helping anybody. They just want power for themselves and an utterly dependent relationship from us.

  27. alison says:

    Tragic story. Interesting the debate that follows these guidelines when some particular jobsworth makes a disgusting decision though. These cold business decisions evoke an acute political conundrum for a government and are laid out for public debate.

    By contrast in the French socialized system those decisions don’t enter the state of play. It’s not “free at the point of need” so your premature birth and the associated care will be charged extra. Interestingly the cost for high end fully private care even with complications is also not beyond someone’s means. At a private clinic in France the high end price is 450 euros for the clinic and 209 euros for the doctor with a maximum total of about 1450 euros for a straight forward birth. In America it runs into tens of thousands. (I was originally planning mine in a private clinic in France).

    More interesting yet is that the research to help delay such dangerous births and reduce the risks is undertaken in the UK. In America drug companies are reluctant to create drugs for acute preterm labour because of the high cost of research and relatively low potential for profit, given that women might take them only for a few days.

    When a woman goes into labour in similar difficulties in the USA premie care is often picked up by your social services b/c insurance alone doesn’t meet that care’s high cost. I’m not sure if it is under 24 weeks though. So socialised care schemes are not incompatible in America. They already exist to plug the gap where the market fails to provide – or places it, unchallenged, out of someone’s reach. Which is what I mean by a two tier hybrid system and how they exist already to a greater or lesser degree.

    I don’t think the moral debate comes down to whether a system is socialized or not. I’m not shilling for fully socialised systems either. Just a dose of the realism in these vox pop type Palin debates, since they ultimately cut both ways.

    • So…

      1. Canada, UK, France and the US are all on some kind of hybrid system.
      2. Hybrid systems all suffer from the Freeberg Effect: When some rough patch of rode is hit, the loudest people blame the capitalist components and not the socialist ones, and the end result is that the hybrid system slouches a little bit more toward socialism.
      3. Health care costs in the US system have skyrocketed since it became a hybrid system. Back before these magical-busybody-regulation-boards came along, and before the HMOs got involved, a doctor with a black bag showed up at your house and delivered your child and you paid him $50. Just like a plumber.
      4. In fully socialized systems, fully capitalist systems, and hybrid systems, PEOPLE DIE.
      5. Worldwide, there are fully socialized systems and hybrid systems. There are no fully capitalist systems.

      Solution. Just go back to a fully capitalist system, since it’s clear socialism hasn’t done anything for us. Its appeal is that it falsely escapes the blame involved when people can’t get hold of this commodity when they need it, and since this happens as well under fully socialized systems, that’s a sham.

  28. ~KC~ says:

    And… I think we’ve gone in circles with this one people!
    Next topic, please!

  29. alison says:

    The root causes of each system’s failures lie in corruption. Not a massive surprise where money, greed, power and politics is concerned.

    Sorry KC. That’s it from me.

  30. mkfreeberg says:

    And my final word is, let people opt out of it. Make socialism co-exist with choice…if indeed it can. And, I say, it cannot.

    You (KC) said up above the proscriptions against private treatment in Canada were about payment, not about the service. Actually, they were about the service, until the Supreme Court struck down the provision in ’05…and I understand they’re still haggling that out. But it’s hair splitting anyway. Charging for the services is forbidden because…and I say ONLY because…socialists m-u-s-t force people to do things. Eliminating choice is the only way that economic model can survive.

    Over a hundred nations you can go, if you want to live under a system of socialized medicine. And I don’t see a single anti-socialist anywhere, myself included, saying we have to do something about that. It’s all the other way ’round. People who already live in countries that have socialized medicine. They insist the USA has to be “fixed.”

    To each their own. If we can’t all agree on that, we should be able to.

    • ~KC~ says:

      Thank you guys… definitely a great debate… AND one that didn’t involve beheading anyone in the process!!! Awesome!

      I know this won’t be the last time we talk about it… as it will be a topic that certainly will rear its political head, especially in the US.

  31. alison says:

    There is no denying the US system works very well for those that can afford it or I should say choose to afford it. The French seem to have their system working very well indeed. They never ask me about the US system when I’m there. It’s always the NHS that endlessly fascinates. The French system is all choice based. The NHS co exists with choice. I’ve no idea about Canada. In the end as long as I can choose between my private and public options, I’m happy.

    Yep it was interesting. Thanks for letting us hog the thread KC and I genuinely wish the US luck with this debate.

  32. Shagadelic says:

    I didn’t read this cause there’s too many words. But I am leaving a comment.

  33. Old Iron says:

    Thanks Shag. Good to see you over here. Feel free to carouse some more!

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