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fkalich
post Aug 8 2009, 05:36 PM
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My brother sent me this article on how bad things are in terms of medical care in Canada and Europe. As you may have heard, there is a debate on whether supporting a system here where we pay 1.5 to 2 times what you pay for it, and have shorter life expectancies on average, is a good thing. This article explains why American doctors making a half million dollars a year, and drugs costing us 2 to 3 times as much, and etc., are very good things for the public.


The article............................................................

Imagine that your two best friends are British and Canadian tobacco addicts. The Brit battles lung cancer. The Canadian endures emphysema and wheezes as he walks around with clanging oxygen canisters. You probably would not think: “Maybe I should pick up smoking.”

While that response would be highly irrational, the fact that America even is considering government medicine is equally wacky. The state guides healthcare for our two closest allies: Great Britain and Canada. Like us, these are prosperous, industrial, Anglophone democracies. Nevertheless, compared to America, they suffer higher death rates for diseases, their patients experience severe pain, and they ration medical services.

Look what you’re missing in the U.K.:





*Breast cancer kills 25 percent of its American victims. In Great Britain, the Vatican of single-payer medicine, breast cancer extinguishes 46 percent of its targets.

*Prostate cancer is fatal to 19 percent of its American patients. The National Center for Policy Analysis reports that it kills 57 percent of Britons it strikes.

*Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data show that the UK’s 2005 heart-attack fatality rate was 19.5 percent higher than America’s. This may correspond to angioplasties, which were only 21.3 percent as common there as here.

*The UK’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) just announced plans to cut its 60,000 annual steroid injections for severe back-pain sufferers to just 3,000. “The consequences of the NICE decision will be devastating for thousands of patients,” Dr. Jonathan Richardson of Bradford Hospitals Trust told London’s Daily Telegraph. “It will mean more people having spinal surgery, which is incredibly risky, and has a 50 per cent failure rate.”

Things don’t look much better up north, under Canadian socialized medicine.

*Canada has one third fewer doctors than the OECD average. “The doctor shortage is a direct result of government rationing, since provinces intervened to restrict class sizes in major Canadian medical schools in the 1990s,” Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian physician and Manhattan Institute scholar, told the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee on June 24. Some towns address the doctor dearth with lotteries in which citizens compete for rare medical appointments.

• *“In 2008, the average Canadian waited 17.3 weeks from the time his general practitioner referred him to a specialist until he actually received treatment,” Pacific Research Institute president Sally Pipes, a Canadian native, wrote in the July 2 Investor’s Business Daily. “That’s 86 percent longer than the wait in 1993, when the [Fraser] Institute first started quantifying the problem.”

•*Such sloth includes a median 9.7-week wait for an MRI exam, 31.7 weeks to see a neurosurgeon, and 36.7 weeks to visit an orthopedic surgeon.

*Thus, Canadian Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps wrote in her 2005 majority opinion in Chaoulli v. Quebec, “…this case shows that delays in the public health care system are widespread, and that, in some cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care.”

A public option is just the opening bid for eventual nationalization of American medicine. As House Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D – Massachusetts) told SinglepayerAction.Org on July 27: “The best way we’re going to get single payer, the only way, is to have a public option to demonstrate its strength and its power.”

Barack Obama seconds that emotion.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately,” Obama told a March 24, 2007 Service Employees International Union healthcare forum. “There’s going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision [single payer] a decade out or 15 years out or 20 years out.” As he told the AFL-CIO in 2003: “I happen to be a proponent of single payer, universal health care coverage…That’s what I’d like to see.”

Government medicine has proved an excruciating disaster in the U.K. and Canada. Our allies’ experiences with this dreadful idea should horrify rather than inspire everyday Americans, not to mention seemingly blind Democratic politicians.

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kahall
post Aug 8 2009, 06:08 PM
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This health care BS is just the straw that is breaking the camels back so to speak. The US is heading down the wrong path and has been for a while, including the last year or so of the Bush admin. We do not want a government take over of the most important thing in our lives. The take over of GM and parts of the insurance industry is not and will not work and neither will this. Even without the scary statistics in the article there is nothing in our constitution or bill of rights or any other founding documents that gives the government the right to take over private enterprises, but somehow they continue to do it anyway, little by little. The people are angry and the community is organizing.


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Sondre
post Aug 8 2009, 06:17 PM
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You are saying you dont want a universal health plan? (Excuse me if I am getting this wrong!)

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kahall
post Aug 8 2009, 06:26 PM
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QUOTE (Sondre @ Aug 8 2009, 12:17 PM) *
You are saying you dont want a universal health plan? (Excuse me if I am getting this wrong!)


Yes, at least that is what I am saying.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 8 2009, 06:31 PM
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I can't comment on Canada as I'm not au fait with their system.

However, whilst the UK has long been proud of the NHS it is not the exemplar of a state run medical system in Europe. Many of the other member states of the EEC have better state medical systems and as such a comparison should really be made against one of them.

Nonetheless what we may say of the NHS is that it presumes a socialist value of 'each according to need from each according to ability'. Thus the system presumes that wherever possible patients are provided medical care regardless of their ability to pay. Where this unravels somewhat is that the state fiscal provision in the UK to the NHS has not kept pace with need and advances in medical science and this has been exacerbated by the - arguably excessive - costs of some pharmaceuticals. That the current, and previous, English government underfunds the NHS does not itself demonstrate that a state run medical care system fails.

-------------------------------------------------

On a personal note I actually have a medical condition called 'inherited emphysema' (or alpha 1 ATD) despite never having smoked in my life. Whilst I lived in the UK I was on the 'at risk' (or whatever it's called) list for any respiratory infection. So for example I was prioritised for annual 'flu/pneumonia injections. I cannot get any medical insurance because of my condition - none will insure me - and I cannot afford the cost privately since one consequence of my condition is that I can no longer work full time. Six years ago I contracted pneumonia in conjunction with pleuresy and chronic bronchitis (plus a few other tertiary conditions). I was unconscious for 3 days, hospitalised for 6 further weeks and nearly died, I remained unable to work for 12 months. Without the UK NHS I hesitate to even contemplate what care I would have received.


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Gary
post Aug 8 2009, 08:07 PM
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Spot on Kahall wink.gif

Only time will tell how disastrous the decisions that are now being forced upon us are. IMO the perceived "great one" will eventually be recognized as the worst president in the history of the US. Unfortunately it will take time for this to come to fruition and by then it will be too late. US's position of world leader will soon be left in the dust by China. As we sit back and analyze global warming and what not they are marching forward with aggressive economic and science plans that are aimed at one thing..becoming the new leader of the world.

Our country has always been one that can (read..not must) reward individuals who possess a competitive risk taking spirit. This entrepreneurial spirit is going to be stifled as we move into a socialist Govt where entire industries are run by politicians and thinly veiled wealth redistribution programs such as Govt run health care is forced upon us. Add to this the mountains of debt we are accumulating as we attempt to spend our way out of bankruptcy and the picture gets more absurd.

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fkalich
post Aug 8 2009, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Aug 8 2009, 12:31 PM) *
few other tertiary conditions). I was unconscious for 3 days, hospitalised for 6 further weeks and nearly died, I remained unable to work for 12 months. Without the UK NHS I hesitate to even contemplate what care I would have received.


I was hoping you would respond. I have a few family members who buy into the spiel of the propaganda machine. AS you have a Ph.D and I have a family of Ivy educated intellectual snobs, they have to respect your view, which supports mine, that the American propaganda machine says things that I don't hear from the direct sources in Europe. I understand that on a principal of personal self interest, many people want the status quo. Their needs are met. Although I think many of them are oblivious that they do pay for it, the company pays for nothing, that is just part of your salary you never see, and would be seeing had not health benefits not been institutionalized in higher paid jobs over the decades. Private medicine just lends itself to exploitation by all involved, and to gross economic inefficiencies. Sooner or later more Americans are going to accept we are not the rich kids on the block anymore, and are going to start to have to behave like the rest of the civilized world in many respects.

All you have to do is look at this chart, you don't need to think further on this. That does not even take into account that if you have health problems and lose you job benefits, you are absolutely screwed in this country, nobody will insure you.

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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 8 2009, 08:36 PM
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I'll come back and reply properly in a bit fkalich - got a family issue that needs sorting in the mean time though


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fkalich
post Aug 8 2009, 08:52 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Aug 8 2009, 02:36 PM) *
I'll come back and reply properly in a bit fkalich - got a family issue that needs sorting in the mean time though


Thanks, looking forward to it. BTW I have health insurance. Have paid for it myself for years. Which has given me a first hand look at how they kept raising costs, 10 to 15% a year, when inflation as like 3%. I have no illusions that we the public have been getting screwed by all concerned for years (as I see it first hand, rather than my employer seeing it). Fortunately I have had good health, that way I now get by with just $400 a month in premium. Just chump change. Sweet deal we get here in the states. If I had any health problems, it would be $1,000 a month, if I could even get any insurance.
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Sondre
post Aug 8 2009, 09:13 PM
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I love how the Americans almost call him a criminal. What he says is true. smile.gif

(I am again sorry if this is wrong for this topic, but you always talk about Britain and Canada, as they are the bad countries.)

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fkalich
post Aug 8 2009, 09:37 PM
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[quote name='Sondre' post='409559' date='Aug 8 2009, 03:13 PM']

I love how the Americans almost call him a criminal. What he says is true. smile.gif
/quote]

The mindless parts were all ultra conservative and money people. I don't blame Physicians wanting the status quo. They make 2 to 3 times over here what they make in Europe. Why would they want changes?

Being a "have mine" in the US has been very good traditionally. Such people are very receptive to buy into the propaganda. In the US traditionally if you had a good solid job and did not lose it, you were in good shape. And most were in that position. But that has changed now, or it has been rapidly changing, to where most are not in that position. I am pretty sure that those who bashed public health care here don't directly pay for their coverage (although they do pay for it, it is just salary that they never see). They most certainly have an employer who does, life is fine, and we don't want to be like all those people in Europe who have to wait 6 months to have their leg set when they break it.

On a personal experience level. My insurance company was United Health. They had been around a long time. Well they figured out that they had too many old people who were not profitable, so they got out of the business, canceled all polices. Then they got back into it a few years later, having shed themselves of the old people.

Ok, it gets worse. I applied to a company called Humana. Another good one. But my Doctor accidentally sent them my MOTHER'S chart by mistake, as our names are similar. So they got a chart of a woman who had been hospitalized and who was 35 years older than me. I was denied coverage. Then I cleared up the error, and was granted coverage.

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Praetorian
post Aug 8 2009, 09:59 PM
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My uncle lives in Canada. He despises the health system up there. He is constantly coming back to the US to get proper care. He doesn't have a year to wait for an appointment...that is what he was told in Canada. He came here, and got an appointment within a week. I don't know what the ultimate solution is...but socializing medicine is not the answer for this country.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 8 2009, 11:27 PM
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And back...


It seems a particularly salient indicator that life expectancy of those in the US, UK and Ireland are so low compared with the G20 countries. It is not however surprising given the social policies pursued by these countries over the last 30 odd years.

Personally I was brought up with the general ideological notion of 'from each...' coupled with the similar notion that 'there but for the grace of God go I'. As such I'm a sad old socialist who believes in a common good rather than an individualistic position and I will not blame the poor for being disadvantaged. Nonethelesss some 'hard' data rather than rhetoric:


In 1981 the UK conservative party argued that the UK needed to move away from a Keynesian fiscal economic system to a monetarist policy based on entreprenurialism as it would 'level up' society and 'create wealth'. And so the UK bought in to free market neo-Liberal (in the capitalist sense) economics of Milton Friedman. This was coupled with this neo-Liberalism being mirrored in UK society more widely. Some 30 years ago 92% of all wealth in the UK was owned by just a little over 10% of the population; 2007 census data demonstrates that now 97% of the wealth is owned by less than 5%. If we then look at social disparities on other fronts they have widened and deepened to a point where many UK charities connected to the poor and homeless report on how English society is more structurally divided then ever before. The whole argument that anyone can make it to the top 'with a bit of hard work' in a free market economy just doesn't recognise the major social inequities that pre-exist it and furthermore is not born out by prevailing evidence: Whilst a few individuals may do well the majority will not. Wealth creation has not leveled up English society - it has leveled it down AND broadened by driving a far greater percentage of the population in to poverty.

In the UK, we have moved away from a NHS that aimed to provide the best medical care free for all to one that repeatedly is more based on cost benefit. Within the widening social inequity of modern English society this becomes more and more a situation where the poor will in the not too distant future be in a position where they receive only basic medical care. This is then exacerbated by the other social inequities wrt housing, education, and so on. For the poor, and particularly the very poor (and the % of those classed as such increases year on year in both the UK and US), their life expectancy, health and quality of life worsens year on year. There has for example been a considerable rise in cases of TB, malnutrition etc in the UK of late - particularly within marginalised communities.

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On a more personal level - my father-in-law had a private medical insurance for some 40 years. He was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 2004 and died some 15 months later. In the last 9 months of his life his medical care was provided by the NHS, with palliative care paid for by us privately. His insurance company pointed to the list of illnesses that were not included in his 'all risks' cover and declined to pay for anything. In 2005 the same happened to my mother-in-law.

As I said previously I can't even get medical insurance as I have a notifiable illness.

It isn't just a case of having and being able to afford medical insurance but what is covered.









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fkalich
post Aug 9 2009, 06:27 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Aug 8 2009, 05:27 PM) *
before. The whole argument that anyone can make it to the top 'with a bit of hard work' in a free market economy just doesn't recognise the major social inequities that pre-exist it and furthermore is not born out by prevailing evidence: Whilst a few individuals may do well the majority will not.


It is a lot like in the Slave days in the deep South. The house slaves got to wear fine clothes, and sleep in a decent little shed next to the Massah's home. They thought they had a fine deal. However the field slaves working from sunrise to sunset, and returning to their disease infested shacks knew that things were not so good. I figure it will take until the Massahs of the world have have kicked enough of the house slaves out to work in the fields, before enough people realize that in truth, "Massah has not been so good to them", and that they don't really even need the Massah around at all.
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Aug 14 2009, 12:14 AM
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Apologies for the late reply fkalich...

Yes and no. Yes as it pulls out both the material structural conditions and the immaterial psychological, cultural and social ones. As such there is - if I read you correctly - a recognition of both what Engels termed the 'false consciousness' of the working class and, somewhat differently, what Gramsci developed as a critique of hegemony.

No because it perhaps overplays the above and runs the danger of leaving us either trapped or even (perhaps) worse quiescent. For me I would like to think, that as Foucault once put it, that we are not dominated by power but that not only do we all have the potential to resist but that resistance is concomitant with the exercise of power.

To offer an example, years ago I lived and worked in Runcorn New Town (NW England near Liverpool). At the time the New Town had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the UK and had the highest suicide rate in Western Europe. In my experience people there at the time were very aware of their position viz. society more widely and often gave up all hope. That however isn't the same as suggesting that they were unaware of their position, needed education, suffered from a 'false consciousness' and so on... Arguably very much the opposite and their burden was being too aware of their predicament.

Some give up and succumb to despair, some look for ways out (I went to Uni), some look for ways to resist the dominant culture/hegemony (some a mixture).

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As a piece of anthropological observation on the level of despair that I witnesses. (What follows is not a NICE story so people may not want to continue to read this...)

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At the time I worked in a pub in the New Town. If you've ever seen C4's TV series 'Shameless' you'll know about the estate's pub 'The Jockey'. The one I worked in however made 'The Jockey' look like 'The Savoy'. There was nothing 'easy' about the pub, it was a place to drink and forget so room wasn't wasted on things like decorations, a juke box, a pool table, etc. There were a few, cheap tables and chairs and the bar. The doors in to the pub were steel reinforced and all the windows were bricked up. We usually worked with the bar security screen part down and in the evening we had the cash register locked behind its own security screen. Many, maybe all, of the regulars were hardened drinkers. They weren't there to socialise but to drink as much and as quickly as possible.

Random violence was common place. I've seen people fight over nothing. I've seen people glassed for spilling someone's drink and I've had a few people try to glass me. These were regulars btw we didn't get random customers wander in off the street - this wasn't violence aimed at strangers. Violence here was usually a result of boredom fueled by alcohol - random violence as entertainment.

The worst example happened one night when one regular came in. He sat and drank for about 1 hour before getting up and going to the toilet. When he returned to the bar he pulled out a box of matches and torched himself. He died 3 days later from 97% burns. We think that he doused himself in petrol in the toilet. He'd been a regular in the pub for 5 years yet I only knew his first name. After he died we found out that he'd lost his job 3 months earlier and that that week his wife had left him.

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Despair so strong permeates your being and eats you alive and part of that despair is being all too aware of your 'place' in society and the futility of your situation. Such a despair we must resist, or, like Kierkegaard would perhaps have argued, the important thing when faced with despair of this magnitude is the manner in which we continue to live our lives.

It too often seems to me that part of the hegemony exercised by the dominant in society is the ability to induce despair and hopelessness and to so make people give up.

Remove social medical care from all but those that can afford it and you may well induce despair in those who need but can not afford it at a time when they are most vulnerable. Exacerbate this by then blaming these very people by telling them it is their own fault for not working hard enough/well enough/long enough. It is, imho, the most abjectly nasty ressentiment going.

I'm just a sad old socialist who understands far too little but still refuses to go gently in to the night wink.gif .


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