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  1. #826
    Joined
    Sep 2004
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    1,761

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Mythbusting Canadian Health Care -- Part I Continued

    5. You don't get to choose your own doctor.
    Scurrilously False. Somebody, somewhere, is getting paid a lot of money to make this kind of stuff up. The cons love to scare the kids with stories about the government picking your doctor for you, and you don't get a choice. Be afraid! Be very afraid!

    For the record: Canadians pick their own doctors, just like Americans do. And not only that: since it all pays the same, poor Canadians have exactly the same access to the country's top specialists that rich ones do.

    6. Canada's care plan only covers the basics. You're still on your own for any extras, including prescription drugs. And you still have to pay for it.
    True -- but not as big an issue as you might think. The province does charge a small monthly premium (ours is $108/month for a family of four) for the basic coverage. However, most people never even have to write that check: almost all employers pick up the tab for their employees' premiums as part of the standard benefits package; and the province covers it for people on public assistance or disability.

    "The basics" covered by this plan include 100% of all doctor's fees, ambulance fares, tests, and everything that happens in a hospital -- in other words, the really big-ticket items that routinely drive American families into bankruptcy. In BC, it doesn't include "extras" like medical equipment, prescriptions, physical therapy or chiropractic care, dental, vision, and so on; and if you want a private or semi-private room with TV and phone, that costs extra (about what you'd pay for a room in a middling hotel). That other stuff does add up; but it's far easier to afford if you're not having to cover the big expenses, too. Furthermore: you can deduct any out-of-pocket health expenses you do have to pay off your income taxes. And, as every American knows by now, drugs aren't nearly as expensive here, either.

    Filling the gap between the basics and the extras is the job of the country's remaining private health insurers. Since they're off the hook for the ruinously expensive big-ticket items that can put their own profits at risk, the insurance companies make a tidy business out of offering inexpensive policies that cover all those smaller, more predictable expenses. Top-quality add-on policies typically run in the ballpark of $75 per person in a family per month -- about $300 for a family of four -- if you're stuck buying an individual plan. Group plans are cheap enough that even small employers can afford to offer them as a routine benefit. An average working Canadian with employer-paid basic care and supplemental insurance gets free coverage equal to the best policies now only offered at a few of America's largest corporations. And that employer is probably only paying a couple hundred dollars a month to provide that benefit.

    7. Canadian drugs are not the same.
    More preposterious bogosity. They are exactly the same drugs, made by the same pharmaceutical companies, often in the same factories. The Canadian drug distribution system, however, has much tighter oversight; and pharmacies and pharmacists are more closely regulated. If there is a difference in Canadian drugs at all, they're actually likely to be safer.

    Also: pharmacists here dispense what the doctors tell them to dispense, the first time, without moralizing. I know. It's amazing.

    8. Publicly-funded programs will inevitably lead to rationed health care, particularly for the elderly.
    False. And bogglingly so. The papers would have a field day if there was the barest hint that this might be true.

    One of the things that constantly amazes me here is how well-cared-for the elderly and disabled you see on the streets here are. No, these people are not being thrown out on the curb. In fact, they live longer, healthier, and more productive lives because they're getting a constant level of care that ensures small things get treated before they become big problems.

    The health care system also makes it easier on their caregiving adult children, who have more time to look in on Mom and take her on outings because they aren't working 60-hour weeks trying to hold onto a job that gives them insurance.

    9. People won't be responsible for their own health if they're not being forced to pay for the consequences.
    False. The philosophical basis of America's privatized health care system might best be characterized as medical Calvinism. It's fascinating to watch well-educated secularists who recoil at the Protestant obsession with personal virtue, prosperity as a cardinal sign of election by God, and total responsibility for one's own salvation turn into fire-eyed, moralizing True Believers when it comes to the subject of Taking Responsibility For One's Own Health.

    They'll insist that health, like salvation, is entirely in our own hands. If you just have the character and self-discipline to stick to an abstemious regime of careful diet, clean living, and frequent sweat offerings to the Great Treadmill God, you'll never get sick. (Like all good theologies, there's even an unspoken promise of immortality: f you do it really really right, they imply, you might even live forever.) The virtuous Elect can be discerned by their svelte figures and low cholesterol numbers. From here, it's a short leap to the conviction that those who suffer from chronic conditions are victims of their own weaknesses, and simply getting what they deserve. Part of their punishment is being forced to pay for the expensive, heavily marketed pharmaceuticals needed to alleviate these avoidable illnesses. They can't complain. It was their own damned fault; and it's not our responsibility to pay for their sins. In fact, it's recently been suggested that they be shunned, lest they lead the virtuous into sin.

    Of course, this is bad theology whether you're applying it to the state of one's soul or one's arteries. The fact is that bad genes, bad luck, and the ravages of age eventually take their toll on all of us -- even the most careful of us. The economics of the Canadian system reflect this very different philosophy: it's built on the belief that maintaining health is not an individual responsibility, but a collective one. Since none of us controls fate, the least we can do is be there for each other as our numbers come up.

    This difference is expressed in a few different ways. First: Canadians tend to think of tending to one's health as one of your duties as a citizen. You do what's right because you don't want to take up space in the system, or put that burden on your fellow taxpayers. Second, "taking care of yourself" has a slightly expanded definition here, which includes a greater emphasis on public health. Canadians are serious about not coming to work if you're contagious, and seeing a doctor ASAP if you need to. Staying healthy includes not only diet and exercise; but also taking care to keep your germs to yourself, avoiding stress, and getting things treated while they're still small and cheap to fix.

    Third, there's a somewhat larger awareness that stress leads to big-ticket illnesses -- and a somewhat lower cultural tolerance for employers who put people in high-stress situations. Nobody wants to pick up the tab for their greed. And finally, there's a generally greater acceptance on the part of both the elderly and their families that end-of-life heroics may be drawing resources away from people who might put them to better use. You can have them if you want them; but reasonable and compassionate people should be able to take the larger view.

    The bottom line: When it comes to getting people to make healthy choices, appealing to their sense of the common good seems to work at least as well as Calvinist moralizing.

    10. This all sounds great -- but the taxes to cover it are just unaffordable. And besides, isn't the system in bad financial shape?
    False. On one hand, our annual Canadian tax bite runs about 10% higher than our U.S. taxes did. On the other, we're not paying out the equivalent of two new car payments every month to keep the family insured here. When you balance out the difference, we're actually money ahead. When you factor in the greatly increased social stability that follows when everybody's getting their necessary health care, the impact on our quality of life becomes even more signficant.

    And True -- but only because this is a universal truth that we need to make our peace with. Yes, the provincial plans are always struggling. So is every single publicly-funded health care system in the world, including the VA and Medicare. There's always tension between what the users of the system want, and what the taxpayers are willing to pay. The balance of power ebbs and flows between them; but no matter where it lies at any given moment, at least one of the pair is always going to be at least somewhat unhappy.

    But, as many of us know all too well, there's also constant tension between what patients want and what private insurers are willing to pay. At least when it's in government hands, we can demand some accountability. And my experience in Canada has convinced me that this accountability is what makes all the difference between the two systems.

    It is true that Canada's system is not the same as the U.S. system. It's designed to deliver a somewhat different product, to a population that has somewhat different expectations. But the end result is that the vast majority of Canadians get the vast majority of what they need the vast majority of the time. It'll be a good day when when Americans can hold their heads high and proudly make that same declaration

  2. #827
    Joined
    Sep 2004
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    1,761

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Mythbusting Canadian Health Care, Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers

    In the previous post, I looked at ten of the most common myths that get bandied about whenever Americans drag Canada into their ongoing discussions about healthcare. In this follow-up, I'd like to address a few of the larger assumptions that Americans make about health care that are contradicted by the Canadian example; and in the process offer some more general thinking (and perhaps talking) points that may be useful in the debates ahead.

    Government-run health care is inherently less efficient -- because governments themselves are inherently less efficient.
    If anything could finally put the lie to this old conservative canard, the disaster that is our health care system is Exhibit A.

    America spends about 15% of its GDP on health care. Most other industrialized countries (all of whom have some form of universal care) spend about 11-12%. According to the WHO, Canada spends a bit over 9% -- and most of the problems within their system come out of the fact that it's chronically underfunded compared to the international average.

    Any system that has people spending more and getting less is, by definition, not efficient. And these efficiency leaks are, almost entirely, due to private greed. There is no logical way that a private system can pay eight-figure CEO compensation packages, turn a handsome a profit for shareholders, and still be "efficient." In fact, in order to deliver those profits and salaries, the American system has built up a vast, Kafkaesque administrative machinery of approval, denial, and fraud management, which inflates the US system's administrative costs to well over double that seen in other countries -- or even in our own public systems, including Medicare and the VA system.

    Not incidentally: one of the benefits of single-payer health care is that it largely eliminates the entire issue of "fraud." You can only "cheat" a system that already views its primary business as rationing and withholding care. In Canada, where the system is set up to deliver health care instead of profits, and medical access is considered a right, this whole oversight machinery is far cheaper and more compact. In general, the system trusts doctors and patients to make the right choices the first time. As a result, people generally don't have to lie, cheat, and grovel to get the system to deliver the care they need. They just go and get it -- and walk out without a moment's dread about the bills.

    Shareholder profit, inflated CEO salaries, and top-heavy administration -- all of which serve to work against the delivery of care, not facilitate it -- are anti-efficiencies that siphon off 20-25% of America's total health care spending. These are huge sums; yet it's mostly money down a gold-plated rathole. In the end, it doesn't provide a single bed, pay a single nurse or doctor, or treat a single patient.

    We'll have rationed care
    Don't look now: but America does ration care. And it does it in the most capricious, draconian, and often dishonest way possible.

    Mostly, the US system rations care by simply eliminating large numbers of people from the system due to an inability to pay. Last year, one-quarter of all Americans didn't go to a doctor when they needed one because they couldn't afford it. Nearly that many skipped getting a test, treatment, prescription, or follow-up appointment recommended by a doctor. In Canada, those same numbers are in the 4-5% range; in the UK, 2-3%. Also: nearly 20% of all Americans had a hard time paying a medical bill last year; and these stresses now trigger over half of all personal bankruptcies in the country.

    Furthermore, nominally having health insurance is no guarantee against financial ruin, as Sicko amply illustrated. Being cut off or denied by your insurance company is rationing, too. And there are vast numbers of fairly well-off Americans -- many of them middle-aged, and too young for Medicare -- who have pre-existing conditions that render them uninsurable at any price. They're one heart attack, one diabetic event, or one bad turn away from financial disaster. Please don't insult these people by telling them that the American system doesn't ration care.

    Another persistent (and ridiculously mendacious) rationing myth about the Canadian system is that old people are cut off from treatment and left to die. I've never heard about a single case of this in Canada; but it happens routinely to Americans on Medicare and many private policies, which have strict limits on how long you can stay in the hospital with an acute illness. When the benefits run out, ready or not, they send you home. If you die, you die. The Canadian plan has no such limits: you stay for as long as you need to. But in the US, these limits fit the very definition of "rationed care."

    Effectively shutting one-quarter of the population out of the medical system entirely, and putting many of the rest on short rations, certainly does make things so much nicer for those happy few who are still in it. In fact, Americans have these missing millions to thank for their system's impressively short wait times. Only 4% of American have to wait more than six months for non-elective surgeries, while 14-15% of Canadian and Britons do. (Don't blame this on government care, though: in Germany and the Netherlands, the number is closer to 2%.) When conservatives start bellowing about Canada's terrifying wait times (which, by the way, are carefully triaged: it's rare for people to die waiting, though it happens), we need to remind them that there are 75 million Americans who have been wait-listed forever. If my friend's Aunt Millie gets her emergency hip surgery today because I'm willing to hobble along for an extra couple months before getting my knee surgery -- well, for any morally serious person, that choice should be a complete no-brainer.

    You can't have medical innovation without the incentives provided by the free market.
    As in the US, Canada's government funds major medical research that has led to a continuous stream of new medical breakthroughs. (And as this link shows, the rate of innovation didn't slow down in the least when Canada moved to single-payer in the 1960s.) All of the country's medical schools are located within public research universities. The university that houses my local medical school, the University of British Columbia, ranked ninth in North America last year -- in league with UC, Stanford, and other powerhouses -- in total public and private research grants received by its labs. Among other things, it leads the way in genetics (David Suzuki is emeritus faculty), and stem-cell research (having attracted a handsome roster of American scientists whose research was thwarted by the political situation at home).

    Because the Canadian health care system is driven by delivering care instead of profits, the focus of research is sometimes different -- and often wider-ranging. While there's plenty of pursuit of patents and innovations, there's also considerable research put into questioning whether new treatments are really more effective than older ones; and in pursuing possible treatments that may not be patentable by anyone. The system is focused first on what works; and after that, on what might make someone some money.

    Single-payer health care will make America less competitive.
    I can't believe people still have the gall to argue this point, but apparently, they do. There are several reasons this is flat-out wrong:

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs -- It's no secret that public health care is making Canada a more attractive business environment for large manufacturers, who typically have very high insurance overhead. Toyota and GM have both moved plants to Canada in recent years, in large part to avoid the spiraling costs of insuring American workers. (Toyota also cited Canada's better-educated workers, but that's another issue for another day.) As long as $900 of every car GM makes is going to supply health care to the people who make it, the US's current system of employer-based health care is going to continue to drive skilled jobs out of the country.

    A Smarter, More Entreprenurial Workforce -- Being relieved of insurance worries also makes individual citizens more competitive. How would your life choices change if you didn't have to worry about health care? Would you go back to school and get your PhD in lepidoptery? Start a blog -- or a small business? Work part-time and travel? Tell your boss where he can stick it? Spend a few years at home with your kids?

  3. #828
    Joined
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,761

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Mythbusting Canadian Health Care, Part II: Debunking the Free Marketeers Continued

    A Smarter, More Entreprenurial Workforce -- Being relieved of insurance worries also makes individual citizens more competitive. How would your life choices change if you didn't have to worry about health care? Would you go back to school and get your PhD in lepidoptery? Start a blog -- or a small business? Work part-time and travel? Tell your boss where he can stick it? Spend a few years at home with your kids?

    Countries with universal coverage free up their citizens to take advantage of personal development opportunities that, in the long run, stimulate the economy and create a more skilled, traveled, educated, and fulfilled workforce. Americans, on the other hand, routinely stay chained to jobs they hate -- and are forced to pass up on chances to expand their horizons and their fortunes -- because they can't afford to jeopardize their health care coverage. Our health care mess has reached a point where it jeopardizes not only our lives, but also our liberty and our ability to pursue happiness -- as well as the long-term strength of the economy as a whole.

    Increased Financial and Social Capital -- When families are bankrupted by medical bills, or are thrown into poverty when a working member is disabled because they can't afford proper care, or simply break down and fall apart under the stress of debt and illness, it's not long before the country's entire social fabric begins to show the wear and tear -- along with the sense of optimism and the common good required for a democracy to function.

    Part of what makes a country competitive is its own commitment to the common good. I've often been impressed by the very tangible sense of civic pride and shared effort my Canadian neighbors have in the fact that they're taking the best possible care of their own, regardless of status, age, or ethnicity. Every encounter with the medical system reminds them that they're all in this together. A medical system that routinely drives families into bankruptcy or divorce court is actively destroying, rather than adding to, the essential social capital that makes the whole society function.

    No Deferred Maintenance -- Decades of foregone medical care are starting to catch up with Americans. We're seeing serious declines on many fronts: infant mortality, lifespan, cancer rates, heart disease rates, and increased diabetes. On most of the major markers of public health, America is nowhere near the top tier anymore. In some areas, there are a few small former Communist countries doing better than we are.

    Business relies on healthy workers who aren't distracted by their own illness or that of a family member. America's uninsured, increasingly unhealthy workforce is in no position to compete on equal terms with the strong, healthy workers of other countries who are getting the care they deserve.

    We have more important matters to tend to -- like national security and the war.
    Getting everyone insured is, unequivocally, a clear matter of national security.

    Our every-man-for-himself attitude toward health care is a security threat on a par with unsecured ports. In Canada, people go see the doctor if they're sick for more than a day or two. It was this easy access to early treatment, along with the much tighter public health matrix that enables doctors to share information quickly, that allowed the country's health care system to detect the 2003 SARS epidemics in Toronto and Vancouver while they were still very localized, act within hours to stop them before the disease spread any further, and track down and treat exposed people before they got too sick to be helped. In both cases, the system worked flawlessly. The epidemic was stopped within days and quashed entirely in under a month, potentially saving of millions of lives.

    In the U.S., that same epidemic might easily have gone unnoticed for critical days and weeks. If the first people to get sick were among those 75 million without adequate insurance, they probably would have toughed it out a few extra days before finally dragging their half-dead carcasses into an ER somewhere. Not only would they be much farther along in the course of the disease -- and thus at greater risk of death themselves -- every one of them could have infected dozens or even hundreds of other people in the meantime, accelerating the spread of the epidemic.

    Worse: America's underfunded public health system might have taken several days to piece together the whole picture of an epidemic; and perhaps another week or two might have passed before the E. Coli conservatives in charge (having thrown out the science-based management plans thoughtfully developed by the bureaucracy) cooked up some kind of half-assed ideology-driven decision about how to proceed. (It would, of course, involve spectacular amounts of lying to the public.) By that point, tens of millions could have been infected, leading to a death toll that would make 9/11 and Katrina look like minor statistical blips.

    Think about superbugs and the ongoing waves of immunological imports from the world's swamps and jungles. Think about terrorists with bioweapons. And then think again about the undeniable fact that every single underinsured American is a gaping hole in the safety net that protects us all from a catastrophic epidemic. This really is one of those cases in which none of us are safe as long as even one of us is left at risk. And from a purely economic standpoint: would you want to invest in a country where there was a significant risk that an epidemic or a bio-attack, managed by incompetent officials, might force you to shut down your business at a moment's notice?

    As for the war: Bush's Folly will generate upwards of half a million veterans, many of whom will require some kind of sustaining care for the rest of their lives. VA funding ebbs and flows with the national political will, and veterans often fall behind other priorities. But if they can enter the same health care system every other American depends on, then we can only forget their interests by forgetting our own as well.

    I feel a lot better knowing my taxes are taking care of my fellow Canadians rather than buying bombs to drop on Iraqi towns, supporting a fully-equipped CIA gulag, or funding Baghdad pizza deliveries via Halliburton. It's hard to become a worldwide empire when you're putting half your tax revenue into hospitals and doctors, as Canada does. But, on the other hand, it's hard to insure your citizens when half your tax revenue is going to feed your war machine.

    In a very real sense, America has chosen to secure its oil supply at the cost of its own citizens' health. The more we spend on the former, the less we have for the latter. And our own relative health -- both physical and economic -- is starting to show the consequences of that choice. Ultimately, all these things are connected: by making ourselves energy independent, we might not only make ourselves more secure, we'll also finally be able to invest in the kind of health care that will make us truly competitive in the world community.

    The Bottom Line
    In America, a lucky employee with gold-plated employer-based coverage may well get access to A-level care (though that level of coverage becoming rarer by the month, even among the professional classes). On the other hand, about 50 million under-insured Americans are barely scraping by with C or D-level care; and the nearly 50 million with no insurance at all get next to no care whatsoever. Worst of all: 18,000 Americans die every year due to lack of access to healthcare. That's one every 30 minutes, around the clock, every day of the year -- the equivalent death toll of six 9/11s every single year that passes.

    In Canada, everybody gets at least B-level care, pretty consistently across the board -- and, on occasion, quite a bit better than that. You might not like those odds if you're one of the shrinking handful of Americans who's used to A-level care; but if that's not you, you'd be getting a much better deal in Canada.

    The private sector has had 20 years to prove that it could deliver low-cost, quality care using those vaunted business-style efficiencies; and it has failed us utterly and completely. This fact should be the ultimate nail in the coffin of the old conservative canard that "the free market always does it better." If that was true, privatizing health care would have been the shining example that proved it once and for all. Instead, all we got was a colossally expensive national disaster that's denying full coverage to a third of the country --- and putting our health, competitiveness, financial and social capital, and national security at risk in the process. It's also devastating the aspirations of our entire middle class, which is being hollowed out by our current health policies.

    A famous Hebrew prophet once advised his followers to take the log out of their own eyes before trying to remove the splinter from someone else's. As much as it hurts American pride to admit it, Canada and the rest of the industrialized world has us roundly beat on this one. Those who are so quick to criticize the Canadian system might be better off holding their fire until they've shown us they can do better. America, and the world, is waiting.

  4. #829
    Joined
    May 2002
    Location
    Twain Harte, CA
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    20,453

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragon24 View Post
    Its about goddam time. I've been saying this for weeks now. You don't negotiate with people who have no interest in true negotiations. And when you have the majority, you don't need to.
    That's certainly an option. As you've said before, the Won won with healthcare on the menu, elections have consequences and all that...

    A peek back at what he promised, in the last debate:
    - “If you have health insurance, then you don’t have to do anything. If you’ve got health insurance through your employer, you can keep your health insurance, keep your choice of doctor, keep your plan.”

    - “[W]hat we’re going to try to do is lower costs so that those cost savings are passed onto you. And we estimate we can cut the average family’s premium by about $2,500 per year.”

    - “If you don’t have health insurance, then what we’re going to do is to provide you the option of buying into the same kind of federal pool that both Senator McCain and I enjoy as federal employees, which will give you high-quality care, choice of doctors, at lower costs, because so many people are part of this insured group.”

    - “We’re going to make sure that insurance companies can’t discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions.”

    - “We’ll negotiate with the drug companies for the cheapest available price on drugs.”

    - “We are going to invest in information technology to eliminate bureaucracy and make the system more efficient.”

    - “And we are going to make sure that we manage chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, that cost a huge amount, but could be prevented. We’ve got to put more money into preventive care. This will cost some money on the front end, but over the long term this is the only way that not only are we going to make families healthy, but it’s also how we’re going to save the federal budget, because we can’t afford these escalating costs.

    - [Regarding small business owners:] … if you want to do the right thing with your employees and you want to provide them health insurance, we’ll give you a 50 percent credit so that you will actually be able to afford it.”
    How quickly things change...

    H/T Patterico

  5. #830
    Joined
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Crazy AZ USA
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    3,516

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragon24 View Post
    Its about goddam time. I've been saying this for weeks now. You don't negotiate with people who have no interest in true negotiations. And when you have the majority, you don't need to.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/he...s.html?_r=4&hp
    Looks like a growing trend- they want me to subscribe to read this. I'm sorry if I'm going to pass on reading this. Rest assured that the next step is $$$.
    "We say in our platform that we believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government....

    Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson rather than with them, and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business."

    William Jennings Bryan.

  6. #831
    Joined
    Sep 2003
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    Kern River Valley, CA
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    71
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    21,603

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Canadian Health Officials: Our Universal Health Care Is 'Sick,' Private Insurance Should Be Welcomed

    Monday , August 17, 2009


    “We know there must be change,” Doig said in a recent interview. “We’re all running flat out, we’re all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands.”

    Canada’s universal health care system is not giving patients optimal care, Doig added. When her colleagues from across the country gather at the CMA conference in Saskatoon Sunday, they will discuss changes that need to be made, she said.

    “We all agree the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” she said.

    Current president of the CMA, Dr. Robert Ouellet, will make a presentation at the conference about his findings when he toured Europe in January, and met with health groups in several countries.

    Ouellet has said that “competition should be welcomed, not feared,” meaning private health insurance should have a role in the public health system.

    Doig said she isn’t sure what kind of changes will be proposed when the conference wraps up, but she does know that changes have to come – and fast. She said she understands that universal health care, while good in some ways, has not always been helpful for sick people or their families.

    "(Canadians) have to understand that the system that we have right now — if it keeps on going without change — is not sustainable," Doig said.

    http://www.foxnews.com/printer_frien...539943,00.html


    Overhauling health-care system tops agenda at annual meeting of Canada's doctorsBy Jennifer Graham (CP) – 4 days ago

    SASKATOON — The incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association says this country's health-care system is sick and doctors need to develop a plan to cure it.

    Dr. Anne Doig says patients are getting less than optimal care and she adds that physicians from across the country - who will gather in Saskatoon on Sunday for their annual meeting - recognize that changes must be made.

    "We all agree that the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize," Doing said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

    "We know that there must be change," she said. "We're all running flat out, we're all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands."

    The pitch for change at the conference is to start with a presentation from Dr. Robert Ouellet, the current president of the CMA, who has said there's a critical need to make Canada's health-care system patient-centred. He will present details from his fact-finding trip to Europe in January, where he met with health groups in England, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and France.

    His thoughts on the issue are already clear. Ouellet has been saying since his return that "a health-care revolution has passed us by," that it's possible to make wait lists disappear while maintaining universal coverage and "that competition should be welcomed, not feared."

    In other words, Ouellet believes there could be a role for private health-care delivery within the public system.

    He has also said the Canadian system could be restructured to focus on patients if hospitals and other health-care institutions received funding based on the patients they treat, instead of an annual, lump-sum budget. This "activity-based funding" would be an incentive to provide more efficient care, he has said.

    Doig says she doesn't know what a proposed "blueprint" toward patient-centred care might look like when the meeting wraps up Wednesday. She'd like to emerge with clear directions about where the association should focus efforts to direct change over the next few years. She also wants to see short-term, medium-term and long-term goals laid out.

    "A short-term achievable goal would be to accelerate the process of getting electronic medical records into physicians' offices," she said. "That's one I think ought to be a priority and ought to be achievable."

    A long-term goal would be getting health systems "talking to each other," so information can be quickly shared to help patients.

    Doig, who has had a full-time family practice in Saskatoon for 30 years, acknowledges that when physicians have talked about changing the health-care system in the past, they've been accused of wanting an American-style structure. She insists that's not the case.

    "It's not about choosing between an American system or a Canadian system," said Doig. "The whole thing is about looking at what other people do."

    "That's called looking at the evidence, looking at how care is delivered and how care is paid for all around us (and) then saying 'Well, OK, that's good information. How do we make all of that work in the Canadian context? What do the Canadian people want?' "

    Doig says there are some "very good things" about Canada's health-care system, but she points out that many people have stories about times when things didn't go well for them or their family.

    "(Canadians) have to understand that the system that we have right now - if it keeps on going without change - is not sustainable," said Doig.

    "They have to look at the evidence that's being presented and will be presented at (the meeting) and realize what Canada's doctors are trying to tell you, that you can get better care than what you're getting and we all have to participate in the discussion around how do we do that and of course how do we pay for it."

    Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/can...335rGu_Z3KXoQw

    It certainly does appear that the liberals much vaunted Canadian Health Care System is about to implode under its own weight. The health care they offer is at best subpar.
    Last edited by tucker; 08-19-2009 at 01:36 PM.

  7. #832
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    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by AeroSim View Post
    Looks like a growing trend- they want me to subscribe to read this. I'm sorry if I'm going to pass on reading this. Rest assured that the next step is $$$.

    Same here. BD can you quote the whole article?

  8. #833
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    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    WASHINGTON — Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.

    Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.

    Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said the heated opposition was evidence that Republicans had made a political calculation to draw a line against any health care changes, the latest in a string of major administration proposals that Republicans have opposed.

    “The Republican leadership,” Mr. Emanuel said, “has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama’s health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day.”

    The Democratic shift may not make producing a final bill much easier. The party must still reconcile the views of moderate and conservative Democrats worried about the cost and scope of the legislation with those of more liberal lawmakers determined to win a government-run insurance option to compete with private insurers.

    On the other hand, such a change could alter the dynamic of talks surrounding health care legislation, and even change the substance of a final bill. With no need to negotiate with Republicans, Democrats might be better able to move more quickly, relying on their large majorities in both houses.

    Democratic senators might feel more empowered, for example, to define the authority of the nonprofit insurance cooperatives that are emerging as an alternative to a public insurance plan.

    Republicans have used the Congressional break to dig in hard against the overhaul outline drawn by Democrats. The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, is the latest to weigh in strongly, saying Tuesday that the public response lawmakers were seeing over the summer break should persuade Democrats to scrap their approach and start over.

    “I think it is safe to say there are a huge number of big issues that people have,” Mr. Kyl told reporters in a conference call from Arizona. “There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill.”

    The White House has also interpreted critical comments by Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican negotiator in a crucial Finance Committee effort to reach a bipartisan compromise, as a sign that there is little hope of reaching a deal politically acceptable to both parties.

    Mr. Grassley, who is facing the possibility of a Republican primary challenge next year, has gotten an earful in traveling around his home state. At one gathering last week, in a city park in the central Iowa town of Adel, a man rose from the crowd and urged him to “stand up and fight” the Democratic plans. If he does not, the man yelled, “we will vote you out!”

    The White House, carefully following Mr. Grassley’s activities, presumed he was no longer interested in negotiating with Democrats after he initially made no effort to debunk misinformation that the legislation could lead to “death panels” empowered to judge who would receive care.

    Citing a packed schedule, Mr. Grassley has also put off plans for the bipartisan group of Finance Committee negotiators to meet in either Iowa or Maine, the home of another Republican member of the group, Senator Olympia J. Snowe, before Congress resumes.

    Further, Mr. Grassley said this week that he would vote against a bill unless it had wide support from Republicans, even if it included all the provisions he wanted. “I am negotiating for Republicans,” he told MSNBC.

    In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Grassley said he had simply been repeating earlier comments that he would not support a measure that did not have significant Republican support. He said that raucous town-hall-style meetings might have made the job of reaching a compromise harder, but that he had not given up.

    “It may be more difficult than it was before,” he said. “I am intent on talking. I am intent on seeing what we can do.”

    Administration officials, who maintain that Republicans are badly mischaracterizing the legislation that has emerged from three House committees and the Senate health committee, said they had hoped to achieve some level of bipartisan support. But they are becoming increasingly convinced that they will instead have to navigate the complicated politics among varying Democratic factions.

    The officials said the White House hoped to make the case to the American people that it was Republicans who had abandoned the effort at bipartisanship. Republicans countered by saying that they simply opposed the legislation and that the public outcry had validated their view and solidified their opposition.

    This week’s careful administration maneuvering on whether a public insurance option was an essential element of any final bill was seemingly part of the new White House effort to find consensus among Democrats, since the public plan has been resisted by moderate and conservative Democrats who could be crucial to winning the votes for passage if no Republicans are on board.

    For the second time in two days, Mr. Obama did not mention health care on Tuesday, a marked departure from the aggressive public relations campaign he mounted in July and early August. The White House is striving to stay out of the fray, aides said, until the president can get away on vacation this weekend.

    Even as the administration showed some flexibility, angering liberal Democrats who consider a public plan essential, Republicans turned their attacks from the public option to the health care cooperative idea being promoted by some Senate Democrats.

    In what Democrats regarded as further evidence that Republicans were not serious about negotiating, Mr. Kyl and Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-ranking House Republican, described a co-op as a public option carrying another name.

    The continuing opposition was noted Tuesday by Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, who said of Republicans that at best “only a handful seem interested in the type of comprehensive reform that so many people believe is necessary to ensure the principles and the goals that the president has laid out.”
    As requested

  9. #834
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    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by otoc View Post
    Those are fallacies? Are you kidding me?

    No

    Your shock is indeed shocking.
    Thank A Democrat... Vote DNC

    AOC... New Leader DNC ....

  10. #835
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    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Did you know that most of the people on medicare are there simply because they are forced to take medicare. As soon as you turn 65 the vast majority of insurance companies force people to use medicare as the primary payer and they assume the role of secondary payer.

    Now just imagine what is going to happen if the government undercuts insurance carriers with the lower cost taxpayer funded government option. Health care becomes a one payer system. That is where we run into the same damned problems the Canadians and the British are looking at, big spending and subpar care.


    BD, some day the same damned thing will happen to you there’s no doubt about it. Only by then you won’t have the advantage of a secondary payer simply because there won’t be any. As it stands with medicare and a secondary payer I pay zero out of pocket expenses. My only cost is something like $96.40 a month fee for medicare.
    Last edited by tucker; 08-19-2009 at 02:13 PM.

  11. #836
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    20,453

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    The NYTimes piece seems to be carrying the water for Obama as a piece to isolate Grassley as the lone Republican voice. Because he won't speak out against death panels, he's uncooperative and to be thrown aside? That's pretty weak.

    There have been proposals by Republicans. A good example is tort reform. No mention, of course.

    Its clear that if the Democrats can find consensus among themselves, they have the power to pass whatever it is they can decide amongst themselves to make into law. Heck, they may even be able to use reconciliation in the Senate to lower the voting standard to 51 votes.

    If they do, we'll have a truly entertaining year or two in politics. And until 2013 to repair their damage. Even most Democrats would agree that politics without Pelosi and Reid would be more attractive.

    The Won, however, claims that he won't sign a bill without Republican support. I know, just words and that may change. But he's got to realize that another major bill with no or minimal support from across the aisle will pretty much kill his political clout for good. I s'pect he's a bit too into himself to sign his own demise.

  12. #837
    Joined
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    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by tucker View Post
    No

    Your shock is indeed shocking.
    Shock? Are you kidding me?

  13. #838
    Joined
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    Posts
    10,813

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchcedar View Post
    The NYTimes piece seems to be carrying the water for Obama as a piece to isolate Grassley as the lone Republican voice. Because he won't speak out against death panels, he's uncooperative and to be thrown aside? That's pretty weak.

    There have been proposals by Republicans. A good example is tort reform. No mention, of course.

    Its clear that if the Democrats can find consensus among themselves, they have the power to pass whatever it is they can decide amongst themselves to make into law. Heck, they may even be able to use reconciliation in the Senate to lower the voting standard to 51 votes.

    If they do, we'll have a truly entertaining year or two in politics. And until 2013 to repair their damage. Even most Democrats would agree that politics without Pelosi and Reid would be more attractive.

    The Won, however, claims that he won't sign a bill without Republican support. I know, just words and that may change. But he's got to realize that another major bill with no or minimal support from across the aisle will pretty much kill his political clout for good. I s'pect he's a bit too into himself to sign his own demise.
    There have been more than a few consessions brought forth by the dems to get the GOP back to the table. Seems I've even read a few posts here regarding liberals mad at the dems for watering down the package.

    I see you apparently prescribe to this as being political and one that falls only on the dems.

    To me, it's a chicken and the egg. The GOP had a chance to play at the table. The strategy was not to play at all.

    Since we seem to disagree on the need for healthcare change I respect your take, but totally disagree as to why the GOP drew the line in the sand.

    I am also not convinced that this will make any difference other than a few seats. Which is fine. I've always posted the need for a two party system.

  14. #839
    Joined
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    26,280

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragon24 View Post
    Its about goddam time. I've been saying this for weeks now. You don't negotiate with people who have no interest in true negotiations. And when you have the majority, you don't need to.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/he...s.html?_r=4&hp

    That's really absurd statement seeing as your party has a supposed philli~buster proof majority in both houses. So.. who's stopping ya? Hint.. it's not the repugs.

    Oh.. and you might wanna shoot your local congressional twits an email and tell them to get the WH on board before announcing their chest thumpin strategy in the NYT...

    Gibbs Denies Reports that WH, Democrats Giving Up on Bipartisan Health Care Bill – “Absolutely Not”

    The reason they are still courting repugs is:

    1) They simply do not have the votes.. period.
    2) They do not want sole ownership of this POS as they have with every other stinky pile of "legislation" since The Won took office.

    My2c
    "The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
    Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business."


    -The Gipper


  15. #840
    Joined
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,761

    Re: Obama's "Public" Health Care Plan

    Quote Originally Posted by tucker View Post
    Did you know that most of the people on medicare are there simply because they are forced to take medicare. As soon as you turn 65 the vast majority of insurance companies force people to use medicare as the primary payer and they assume the role of secondary payer.

    Now just imagine what is going to happen if the government undercuts insurance carriers with the lower cost taxpayer funded government option. Health care becomes a one payer system. That is where we run into the same damned problems the Canadians and the British are looking at, big spending and subpar care.
    Form your earlier post about Canadians Health Care system.
    Wait time

    "A short-term achievable goal would be to accelerate the process of getting electronic medical records into physicians' offices," she said. "That's one I think ought to be a priority and ought to be achievable."

    A long-term goal would be getting health systems "talking to each other," so information can be quickly shared to help patients
    Form my post
    3. Wait times in Canada are horrendous.
    True and False again -- it depends on which province you live in, and what's wrong with you. Canada's health care system runs on federal guidelines that ensure uniform standards of care, but each territory and province administers its own program. Some provinces don't plan their facilities well enough; in those, you can have waits. Some do better. As a general rule, the farther north you live, the harder it is to get to care, simply because the doctors and hospitals are concentrated in the south. But that's just as true in any rural county in the U.S.
    I live in a rural area and out of town most of the time so it is almost impossible for me to see a local doctor because it is days if not weeks to get in. If not in pain I have to travel 50 miles to a clinic and if I get there 15-30 minutes before they open I am in and out in less than 1/2 hour.

    Form my post
    America spends about 15% of its GDP on health care. Most other industrialized countries (all of whom have some form of universal care) spend about 11-12%. According to the WHO, Canada spends a bit over 9% -- and most of the problems within their system come out of the fact that it's chronically underfunded compared to the international average.
    We need figures to deal with and if you have some please post them.

    Here in the states we have the same problem with records.

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