Health care

Please tell me why this country can’t get its shit together and set up a system where every human being can receive the best possible care to prevent death.

My niece just died at the age of 14 because her parents (and the rest of us) couldn’t afford specific treatments that a rich kid would have received.

Fuck this country and fuck anyone who thinks that universal health care is somehow “bad.”

Nobody thinks that it’s bad. Some of us think that it wont work. We’d like to give everyone the best health care available, but that’s not possible even in places where medicine is completely socialized.

I’m sorry to hear about your neice, though. I haven’t heard of an insurance company denying life saving treatment without some strange circumstances, though. Can you tell us more about what happened?

You have my deepest sympathies for your loss.

The reason we don’t have such a system is because insurance companies spend millions preventing it. They have a very effective propaganda machine. Human life has become secondary to making a profit in this country.

Now the usual suspects will come along to give you some bullshit about how your niece’s death was necessary for the efficient functioning of the free market. They won’t put it so bluntly, but that seems to be the essential argument.

I’ll probably get pitted for saying that but fuck it. I’m getting damned tired of hearing stories like yours and getting even more tired of assholes who argue against doing something meaningful about it.

By definition, you can’t receive “the best possible care” unless there is gradated care.

Many people think that without gradated care, things will eventually go down the can. Most specifically, that there would be less incentive to maintain good care or continue research into new medicine–not to mention expanding the ability for people to entirely skip their social duty to gainful employment.

The question is whether universal healthcare is, in the long term, a good thing, or simply a short term method for everyone to pat themselves on the back.

Now certainly there does need to be a universal minimum of care, which probably should be higher than it is in the US. But pushes for switching to a full Federal, social care system doesn’t allow for any room to fix the system we have, not mention threatening to lay waste to the medical and insurance industries by demolishing the grand majority of all of their business. A switch to a Universal Healthcare system as popularly proposed would (shotr term) put a whole bunch of people out of a job and potentially cause an economic depression.

The latter is a similar reason that we haven’t switched off of gasoline is that killing gas powered vehicles via legislation would kill every single gas station and fuel conglomerate, and throw the economy out of wack while putting a few million people out of a job.

How do you know an insurance company denied care? He didn’t say whether or not she even had insurance.

Good one. :stuck_out_tongue:

As for the OP, yeah same old same old, happens all the time. On the bright side, there are so many places you could go instead of the U.S. Canada and the UK are pretty nice, if you don’t mind the funny talking. Short of an economic collapse, I don’t see nationalized health care coming to this country in my lifetime. There are too many institutionalized forces who would lose their siphon to the great river of money that is diverted their way instead of going to somewhere useful where it could actually help. But that’s fine, we’ve collectively decided that’s how we’ll run our society and there are even a lot of normal people like Mosier who are somehow convinced it’s some sort of…I don’t know. It’s socialized medicine! Debate stops right there. Although something like 60%+ want some sort of nationalized medicine, it doesn’t seem to matter much. They certainly don’t vote as if they do.

You can’t vote issues, only parties.

I’m sorry for your loss, and don’t blame you at all for your warranted anger.

The reasons? That lots of people in this country are told by assholes like our President that we have the best health care system in the world, and they believe it. They can’t fathom that other countries get better results for less money than we do.

Any discussion of other systems gets met by the boogie man of “socialized medicine.”

Then there is the “but they have to wait, and we don’t.” I guess your niece had to wait also, didn’t she.

We do some stuff right, but not lots. The Times had an editorial on health care the other day - I think we’re 37 and falling.

But the real block is that lots of people think their care is fine, and so see no reason for a change. Some is, but who wants to really consider that their very lives are at risk because of a dysfunctional system? Hardly anyone until it is too late.

I think our position is #42 and falling, but the main issue is “falling.”

Another factor in the resistance to universal care: A number of people in the U.S. say that they don’t want to foot the bill for someone else’s medical problems and they just want to look out for themselves. But when you get stuck with a humongous medical bill, that’s the time you wish you didn’t have to bear the burden of it all alone.

I’m sorry for the OP’s loss.

There are a number of reasons, but what it boils down to is that the majority of tax payers in this country don’t want it that way. Additionally I’m unconvinced that the government running the show would get the majority of us the ‘best possible care to prevent death’. We are talking about the GOVERNMENT here…

I’m sorry. I’ve been there before and I know how rough it is. My baby daughter had an AV defect in her heart. Despite numerous operations and experimental drugs and treatments (that I had to pay for, by and large) we still ended up losing her. It was one of the worst blows of my life.

I can understand both your anger, hurt and pain. I don’t happen to believe that UHC is a good thing, or that it would work very well in the US…certainly not for the majority of citizens. I think that it MIGHT be a good thing for the poor and the uninsured in the country, but that by and large everyone else will either get the same care they are currently getting or worse. Its a matter of finite resources. None of this is going to make you feel any better right now…but I doubt that even if your niece was in Europe where the care IS universal and free she would have gotten better care. A universal health care system doesn’t mean that everyon gets the top shelf care that the elite rich get…because they don’t. Even where they have UHC.


Generally speaking, most of the problems with the US healthcare system aren’t in getting life-saving acute care, but in being able to pay for the care once given and in affording long-term maintenance care, both of which end up driving up the costs for everyone, including those who say that they don’t want to pay for everyone.

Very sorry to hear about your loss, and I wish I could say it won’t happen again. I worked in a hospital for several years and know it’s a money business, not health care. I agree this country needs a national health care system and 80% of the people who live here agree with me. The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without it. The quality of our health care is only slightly better than the people get in Cuba and they get it free. It is a national disgrace.

Why don’t we have it? Look to the Insurers that pay/buy our congressmen to keep it that way. Some think it wouldn’t work, those are the people who benefit from things the way they are. I know a person who went to Germany for a vacation and had a heart attack. He spent two weeks in the hospital, part of it in ICU, when he got home he received a bill for $12.00 from the German hospital and an apology saying that if he had been a German resident it would have been free.

I don’t know what it will take or how many more will have to die before the people of America stand up and demand a national health care system. As of right now there are 42 million Americans without any health insurance because they can’t afford it. As I said before, it is a national disgrace, no wonder other countries see us as barbarians.

I bet you never worked in a hospital, or heard of triage. Sorry, I have seen how people are actually treated and it makes me angry. One of the few things that does.

Could you say more about this? My understanding of triage, in ERs at least, is seeing people with the most urgent problems first. I’ve experienced this from both ends, and it seems reasonable. Are you talking about a difference in ability to pay?

But GOVERNMENTS in Europe do a measurably better job than private enterprise here. Is there some reason why you think government here (and in a single payer system government isn’t going to run hospitals or doctors offices) is stupider than government there?

As for taxpayers, any data that a majority would really be against a single payer system? It is definitely true that enough lobbyists and ideologues are against it. I wonder how the debate would go without opponents poisoning the well with socialized medicine claims.

Well, two things. First off, I think that the government here IS stupider (atm) than many governments in Europe. Secondly I don’t believe that the governments in Europe do a measurably better job (by what measure…what metric are you using to define ‘better job’ here?) wrt general health care. A case can be made (IMHO) that the Euro’s do a better job at providing the poor with better health care than the US system does to its own poor (and the myriad uninsured).

I would say its self evident that the majority of tax payers don’t want such a system…or we’d have it already. For that matter, nothing is stopping individual states from enacting state wide health care systems if thats what their people really want (and are willing to pay for).


I’ve never worked in a hospital, but I’ve spent lots of time in them. I’ve spent lots and lots and lots of time in ERs and ER waiting rooms.

In the hospitals I’ve been in, the nurses in triage have no idea of the insured status of the patients. They aren’t the ones who take down that information.

Once in the ER, I’ve never been asked about money, insurance status, anything.

Once in the room, I’ve only heard the check-in nurses do the routine questioning about “If you have concerns about your ability to pay for this hospital stay, would you like to speak to a representative in resource counseling?”

I’m sorry for your loss, dart.

But if you want a debate here, you have to give us more info. Perhaps this is not the best time for your to spell out all the details, though. And remember, on an anonymous message board, no one has any way of verifying that you got all the details right anyway.

The rich are always going to be able to get things that the non-rich can’t. If the US had UHC today, there would still be some treatments you and I couldn’t get but that Oprah, Georoge Clooney, George Bush or John Kerry could. Surely you’re not going to suggest that we outlaw any medical treatment above what the government doles out… are you?

Well, the first time I went to Paris practically every government worker in the place was on strike. Maybe I’m being a chauvinist, but I have a hard time believing they necessarily do a better job. Now, if our leaders hire horse judges and ideologues in the place of trained workers, then I’ll believe you.

As for better, I would judge us on life expectancy, infant mortality, wait times, coverage for all, and per capita spending. There are some things we do very well, I’m not saying we are worst overall.

Here’s the Times editorial I mentioned. We’re last among 23 nations in infant mortality, near the bottom in healthy life expectancy at age 60, and, most telling, 15th of 19 in deaths from a wide range of illnesses that would not be fatal if treated. The editorial does mention places where we are first.

I can swear that you didn’t just come from the cabbage patch! :slight_smile: A lot of wealthy companies will have their business models trashed by a single payer system - I can’t blame them for lobbying against it, but there is no big player on the other side of the street. Some states are beginning to do something, but the bigger the pool the better the system, and does it really make sense to have 50 incompatible systems? How do we keep people from moving to states with good ones, or even visiting? This is one place where it makes sense to do it once at the federal level, and I think the state changes are out of frustration from the lack of progress.

I know I’ve brought this up before, but I recall reading that infant mortality is somewhat skewed because there are larger numbers of people in the US who will eschew abortion even in the case where the infant will have no chance of survival.