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Segami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:39 PM
Original message
U.S. Debate On HEALTH CARE Is A WARNING To Canadians
The Toronto Star:



" I'm inclined to believe the fierce resistance to health-care reform in the United States is the work of a small fringe.


The other possibility is that there's something deep in the psyche of Americans that drives them to defend to the death their right to deny health care to millions of their fellow citizens.


Some have attempted to downplay the scariness of recent protests against President Barack Obama's health reform efforts, noting that a lot of Americans protested George W. Bush as well.


But the anti-Obama protesters are much more extreme and yet are treated much more respectfully. When Obama spoke in Phoenix last month, about a dozen protesters showed up carrying guns, including one who was interviewed by the national media as he strutted about freely with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder. (Anti-Bush protesters got no such media attention, and would have been arrested if not shot had they shown up at presidential rallies bearing assault weapons.)


While the U.S. media gave prime time to gun-toting health reform opponents, they all but ignored a Harvard study, reported last week in the American Journal of Public Health, that found nearly 45,000 people die in the U.S. each year largely because they lack health insurance.


As resistance to U.S. health reform rages on with its inane, vicious, even racist overtones the fiasco should remind Canadians of the dangers of allowing our public health-care system to deteriorate.


What makes health reform so elusive in the U.S. is the way its opponents led by wealthy corporate interests are able to play Americans off against each other.


Americans are hunkered down in their own little bunkers, watching out just for themselves and their families. Anyone proposing reforms that might result in higher taxes is met with a rifle poked out the top of the bunker.


It's this dynamic citizens pitted against each other that has kept Americans at each other's throats over health care for years. It's easy to understand, for instance, why middle class American taxpayers resent paying for medicaid, a public program that provides some coverage for the poor, when these same taxpayers can't afford coverage for themselves and their families.


The only real solution is public health care for all. A Canadian-style plan could save Americans $400 billion a year, Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein wrote recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.


But Americans are so uninformed about the rest of the world that few even seem aware any Canadian can spend weeks in hospital getting state-of-the-art medical treatment and then walk out the front door without owing a penny. Such is the menace of public health care.


Universal care is extremely popular once it's in place, but it can be hard to overcome resistance to putting it in place, as the current U.S. psychodrama shows. (Canada went through a less traumatic, but still difficult initiation.)


All this should serve as a potent lesson to Canadians about the urgency of protecting our public health-care system. Once it starts to fall apart, the rich bolt from it, arrange for their own care and then object to paying taxes for a system they don't much use.


The importance of avoiding this fate has never been more apparent than now, when the snarling fury of America's current crop of right-wing extremists almost makes one nostalgic for last year's gentler, childlike lunacy of Sarah Palin.

<http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/698873 >
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. This is an excellent piece, and so true, except for the
Harvard study. While it showed the horrible cost in lives, injury and finances for those who are unfortunate enough to become ill or injured without insurance. it also showed that the majority of bankruptcies filed due to medical bills were filed by middle class families who WERE insured. The problem is that medical costs escalate so quickly that, for many illnesses/injuries, being insured and having many bills paid by insurance is no guarantee against financial ruin, since co-pays and deductibles add up very quickly. And health INSURANCE is NOT health CARE. The two are quite different. Just because you're insured doesn't mean you'll have access to the care you need or that it'll be affordable. On the contrary, it will often not make much of a difference at all. That's a major reason why mandated health insurance is such bullshit and will do nothing to solve the problem of financial ruin due to illness/injury.
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Segami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thats adding insult to injury.
"the majority of bankruptcies filed due to medical bills were filed by middle class families who WERE insured."


What exactly don't we understand about this common picture? Even AFTER paying for health care coverage, we can STILL be exposed to financial ruin? What happened to that great private insurance coverage?
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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. That's just it, that's what's been missing in this whole HCR
debate. There's an implicit assumption that a lot of the problem with access and affordability, and financial ruin due to illness, is simply due to being uninsured, when it's NOT. You can be insured up the wazoo and still not be covered for what you need and still face accessibility, affordability and financial ruin issues. There's little mention of the fact that private insurance companies are for-PROFIT and they maximize their profit and protect their bottom line by denying care and cancelling policies on the ill. The normal free-market model that works for most businesses doesn't work for health insurance companies. That's why Baucus's bill is such dangerous bullshit, worse than no bill at all. You're going to be punished twice for being ill, since there's little in his bill to deal with the most egregious of insurance company practices, such as rescission, denial of care for needed services that should be covered under the policy, dropping the ill from the policies, refusing coverage due to "Pre-existing condition" (a term which is hardly even heard of in most other industrialized countries with guaranteed health care), etc., etc. So, you'll get fined for not having insurance, but you can't get insurance you can afford because of your illness. Nice.
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HillbillyBob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Those co pays sure do add up quickly
I guess I am very lucky that I finally found the folks who could direct me to the aid I needed.

I am 27 year hiv patient, I have had pnuemonia several times, cancer 3x, CMV once but that was over 9 mos 2 hr long iv treatments 2x a day EVERY day. I had a port-a-cath ( semi permanent rubber stopper looking thing to stick needles in because I had no viable veins left, the medicine for GytoMegaloVirus is called Ganciclovir (bear with on the spellings as i was in no condition to read, shoot I was barely conscious) Seizures, heart attack, bypass, and so many other things I can't remember let alone enumerate.

My first round with pneumonia I did have insurance, but they would not pay.
They called my peumo a preexisting I was diagnosed as hiv until after.
I was broke, my insurance, savings, job, home and car gone...

If not for medicaid, medicare, and adap and various other programs have stepped in.
Remember this years ago and HIV diagnois was a death sentence, because it was just a queer disease.....so no research was done for years until straight folk started to get it.

Here we are 25 years later with the same companies taking billions while everyday folks die.

This is what we were asking for back then in asking for medicare type care for all its ok by some but the same bigoted asses are fighting it tooth and nail, nothing has really changed but finally more of the general public wants it but the louts get all the attentio
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. They would have been shot.
Anyone taking a gun to a Bush event! Are you kidding?

Very insightful. Thanks for posting.
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AspenRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
6. It sure is
K&R
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. This sums it up right here.
All this should serve as a potent lesson to Canadians about the urgency of protecting our public health-care system. Once it starts to fall apart, the rich bolt from it, arrange for their own care and then object to paying taxes for a system they don't much use.

This, in a nutshell, is the entire problem.

Once people are paying for their own health insurance/care, they are going to resent paying for it and a separate program for everyone else who can't afford their own health insurance/care.

I would be just as pissed off if I paid for my own fire department services and then had to pay for a second one for everyone who couldn't afford one. I'd be just as pissed off if I paid for my own police services and then had to pay for a second one for everyone who couldn't afford one. I'd be just as pissed off if I paid for my own military protection and then had to pay for a second one for everyone who couldn't afford one.

Instead, we need to SCRAP the current insurance system and make a SINGLE system that everyone uses - both those who pay for it and those who don't.

I don't mind paying for a fire department that benefits me as much as people who don't pay any taxes, because it's there for me when I need it. I don't mind paying for a police department that benefits me as much as people who don't pay any taxes, because it's there for me when I need it. I don't mind paying for a military force that benefits me as much as people who don't pay any taxes, because its there for me when I need it.

I would not mind paying for a health care system that benefited me as much as people who don't pay any taxes, because it would be there for me when I need it.

But don't ask me to pay for my own health care system and then a separate welfare system on top of that that I can't use.

Social services should be available to everyone, ESPECIALLY the people paying for it.
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Ruby the Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Dick Armey is already suing for this
He wants Medicare seperated from Social Security so that he can get private insurance.
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Segami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. We all sleep well knowing that if a fire broke out in our home, there would be no question,
that the fire department would arrive quickly to extinguish the flames. Why don't we find the SAME peace of mind and comfort surrounding our present health care system? I know for a fact ( friends ) that Canadians do go to bed relaxed and with peace of mind should they require hospitalization & surgery for any reason. Their concerns are directed where they should be directed - at recovery, not at escalating medical bills or planning bankruptcy after their surgery.
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Butch350 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. Maybe some people consider UHC as some form of welfare...

and resent all those backsliders who may benefit from it? (not me of course) Just saying.
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Lucy Goosey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. I really think that if more Americans knew how good Canada's system is...
they'd be all for it. There are other systems in other countries, too, obviously, but the Canada's is the one I'm familiar with. I have to laugh when I hear right wingers ranting about not wanting government involved in their health decisions, when they currently have for-profit corporations making those decisions for them.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. The populace is so drastically un-and-disinformed ... it's staggering to behold
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Ruby the Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. The stupid is mind boggling.
Try arguing with them directly. I said to one, "I just want the profit motive out of insurance". The response I got was a garbled concern about how these poor corporations will find it difficult to compete with the government.

Think thats bad? That was just an internet forum. I actually got an email back from my Congressional Rep saying basically the same thing.

Yep, the stupid runs deep here.
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
13. K&R
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
14. Kicked and recommended with one quibble, I don't find Palin's child like lunacy
any less dangerous than the current crop of right-wing extremists, they're two wings of the same bird.

Thanks for the thread, Segami.
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Segami Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Yes, " two wings of the same bird " or was that of the same bat, as in blood-sucking vampire bat.
:rofl:
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