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CNN "On the Money" about health care. A must read (really)

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-03-06 11:48 PM
Original message
CNN "On the Money" about health care. A must read (really)
From last weekend, had an excellent section about health care in this country. Here are the transcripts:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0602/25/cnnitm.0... (and scroll down)

DEAN BAKER, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Thanks for having me on.


SERWER: Dean, after all these year, all these decades, this plan Hillary Clinton going back before her we've been trying to fix our national health care system. We haven't made any progress at all. Meanwhile the cost of health care is supposed to explode. Why can't we fix this?

BAKER: I think it's basically the political interests involved, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the doctors, they're too powerful. We're the only country that has this problem. We pay twice as much as they do in Canada, in Germany and France and they get better health care. They live longer than we do. That's the incredible scandal. We keep paying more and more. We are that has cost growing like this and we don't live as long as they do in these other countries. So we're paying a lot more and getting worse care because everyone's scared of the powerful interests here.

(snip)

BAKER: Well, we clearly need an overhaul of our health care system. It is basically just broken. The president's plan on health savings accounts is giving tax breaks that would go to high-end people. These are not the people who have problems with paying health care. It does almost nothing about the costs because the costs aren't people going for doctor's visiting; the costs are for intensive care, very sick people the last six months of life. His plan will not affect that at all. We really have to talk about overhauling the health care system. Simply put, Medicare, the public run sector is far and away the most efficient it seems to me. Let's build on that. Why don't we open up Medicare for everyone? A very simple thing that could drastically reduce costs and get us on the path to national health care insurance.

CAFFERTY: So answer your own question, why don't we?

BAKER: Again, you have very powerful political interests. Propose that tomorrow and see what the insurance companies do, see what the pharmaceutical companies do. You'll see a very quick, very strong reaction.

CAFFERTY: To what degree, and I hate to do this, but I think it's a point. To what degrees do the voters in this country get what they deserve? They keep re-electing these morons who are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies who are in bed with the insurance companies. They keep sending them back for term after term after term. I mean -- what are you going to wind up with at the end of the day?

BAKER: Let me point the finger in the other direction. No one knows -- people don't realize that we have a very inferior health care system. They keep hearing politicians say that we have the best health care system in the world. They don't realize that, no, if you look at every other country, Germany, Canada, England, France I don't care who you pick, they have longer life expectancies than we do and they pay half the cost. That is something that most people don't even know, so they don't realize that we can do better. We're not that much stupider than people in France are. I really don't believe that.

SERWER: Well, Dean, I've got to differ with you on one point. We have the best health care system in the world if you happen to be a millionaire and have a net worth of $5 million or up, no question about that.

(snip)

BAKER: Well, I think the key thing is just making these comparisons. When I've had occasion to talk about this in public and I tell people that we're spending twice as much, in fact more than that, it is close to three times as much for the average other rich countries. I'm not talking about Uganda. The other countries we compare ourselves to -- people are shocked. They usually don't even believe me. I often carry the data with me, so I can say you know here is a credible source. They will tell you that. People have to know that and they have to know that, no, they're not all waiting in lines all the time. Sometimes they don't. But in general they're not. They get good care; they live longer than we do. They have to know the basic facts. Then you can say how do we get from here to there? They manage to deal with the problem there. All those countries have problems with health care. It is a problem everywhere in the world, but it is nothing like the problem it is in the United States.

(snip)



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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-03-06 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. The reality is our system is crashing & burning and its
ridiculous and we are going to Universal health its a matter of time

Insurance and Pharmaceuticals and Doctors are in that reality just playing for time...
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. Look, it's as simple as this
reduce the cost by promoting healthier lifestyles. stop selling shit fries, stop selling shit smokes, stop selling shit piss beer, stop selling shit drugs that do nothing

increase lifespan
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Or just stop promoting prescription drugs on TV
and then cry that drug costs are high due to "R&D" costs. The ad expense of the pharmaceutical companies is higher than their research expense.
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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. One sees that cited a lot, but the numbers don't agree with
the financial statements of the pharmaceutical firms. R&D is typically the largest expense, and that's as is should be. It costs a lot of money to discover, develop, and test the efficacy and safety of a new drug.

Pharmaceutical advertising contributes more to health care costs by expanding the market for the drug than by having the adverstising cost being absorbed in the price of each pill sold. That is, when a company runs an ad that says "ask your doctor if Bonerex is right for you," health care costs go up because more people wind up taking Bonerex (many of whom would be better served with cheaper alternatives), not so much because the price of a bottle of Bonerex is jacked up to pay for the ads.

Ads are supposed to pay for themselves. If an ad can't generate sufficient revenue to pay for itself, then it's a bad business decision to run it in the first place.

The place where there's the most wiggle room to get drug prices down is in the profit margin. The reason Bonerex costs less in Europe or Canada is that the governments there have negotiated price controls there.
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. And, part of the new Medicate drug deal is that the government
does not negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry. This is the biggest crime, I think.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 06:37 AM
Response to Original message
4. Save money by eliminating the Middle Man (insurance).
Return to lower prices to pay the doctor and hospital and the pharmacy directly.

Believe it or not, I found the ledgerbook of my father for 1955, the first year he opened his cardiology practice in our house. Office visits cost $5.00 apiece.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
5. K&R
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DrBloodmoney Donating Member (150 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
7. Doctors stopped making money a long time ago
that era has passed. That got away from us when we allowed business interests to control insurance and hospitals. Take a look at the national trends for doctors from 1980 on. It is on a steady decline. There are certainly some specialties who can still make great money, but family practitioners and pediatricians have a hard time breaking 6 figures these days.

You will never get doctors on board a socialized, single-payer system without some method for reducing tuition costs. Globally. Most of my class at medical school left with a debt of over 200,000. Which they will be paying back for 15+ years.
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Absolutely
They would have to forgive the loans already out there and subsidize medical school for the deserving candidates.
Malpractice insurance would also have to be restructured.
Personally, I have no problem with that and I think many physician's who are tired of billing and insurance hassles would welcome it if those issues were taken care of.
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truth2power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. Thanks. You've reduced it to the bare essentials..
Get Big Pharma and the insurance companies out of the system. And reduce medical school tuition costs (by subsidizing etc. I don't know how it works in other countries).

It's not terribly complex in terms of what's needed. Unfortunately, our media is corporate owned, and they'll manipulate public opinion to their own interests. We have no forum for getting the TRUTH out.
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G2099 Donating Member (500 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
8. What reaction? What will insurance and pharmaceuticals do?
"Propose that tomorrow and see what the insurance companies do, see what the pharmaceutical companies do. You'll see a very quick, very strong reaction."

What reaction? What will insurance and pharmaceuticals do?
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truth2power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Here's what they'll do...
You'll see ads on TV, 24/7, sponsored by some group called "Ordinary Americans Just Like You, Who Want Better Health Care" (OAJLYWWBHC). If you research the group you'll find it's a front for Big Pharma. No matter. Unless you have excellent search skills on Google, that little tidbit of information won't be available to you (or the sheep Ba-a-a-a).

There'll be a woman in a suburban kitchen, baking cookies and pouring coffee for her friend while she explains to her why the proposed health care plan won't work. *insert American flag here*

The properly propagandized sheep will tie up the phone lines of their congress critters, screaming about how they don't want *insert term* _________ Socialism, Communism, Hillary Clinton telling them what to do etc. etc.

Affordable health care - deader than a doornail.



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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. Lobby Congress, of course, not to approve this kind
of legislation.

If there is a universal health care, there is no need for medical insurance, at least, not that much. And such an agency will negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies to lower the prices of prescription medicine - the way it is done in Canada, the U.K., Germany and all other civilized countries.
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