"Ok, a few things to point out here. If government involvement in health care is so bad and expensive, why do the other civilized nations that have universal health care pay a lot less than the united states (about half as much in almost all cases on a per capita basis http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2007/May/Mirror--Mirror-on-the-Wall--An-International-Update-on-the-Comparative-Performance-of-American-Healt.aspx)? Although I don't neccessarily think that you need government run health care to fix the problem, I do think you need A LOT of health care reform, and I think the entity that is best suited for this is the government. Basically, under your current system, a doctor gets paid for each patient he/she sees, each test he/she prescribes, and the treatments handed out. Furthermore, lawsuits in the US for malpractise tend to be huge and very expensive. So this means that each doctor has a huge incentive to see as many patients as he/she can, and prescribe as many tests and treatments as possible, both to make money and reduce the chances of getting sued for missing something. Add to that the fact that many in the US are making poor lifestyle choices, and that there seems to be more of an emphasis on treatment than prevention (which has been shown to be a lot cheaper to implement and is a lot more cost effective - since it costs little to give a vaccine, teach hygiene, and excercise and eat properly, and it costs a lot to treat diabetes, lung, cancer, heart disease, or even a case of malaria). Finally, I completely don't understand how this public health care would be as complicated as the republicans make it out to be. You just have to be registered, and go to the doctor. The doctor would know what is and isn't covered, and could act accordingly. Its privatized healthcare that seems more complicated and costly, as insurance companies want to make money, and will often do as much as possible to pay out as little as they can, making it much more complicated in some cases, and more costly to the system."Now, I don't make a habit of responding to comments, nor making them a headline post, but I thought this one was exceptionally great as it is the sentiments of a majority of Americans.
So I've created the following list to further the public interest as best this humble small town RT is capable of:
1. U.S. Healthcare is more expensive because you have to pay for quality. It's like going to a Quality Inn as compared to an old run down hotel in the inner city.
2. There really is no problem with the healthcare system in America. That's a myth. The problem lies within the entities that pay for Healthcare, such as the government and and private insurance.
3. Why are you so sure the government is the answer to lowering healthcare costs. I challenge anyone to name one successful government program that is run as it was drawn out or costs less than was predicted. The historically best way to lower costs of any consumer good in not through government, but through the people. Thus, competition is the answer. We need to create more competition between HC insurance companies.
4. I have talked with many doctors in my day (both liberal and conservative) and not one of them has ever said to me he orders extra therapies just to make money. I'm sure there are unethical doctors that do that, but the majority don't. The reason doctors order extra therapies is because they are afraid of being sued. What we need, therefore, is tort reform to limit the amount of money someone can make for suing a doctor.
5. Likewise, the only people who pay full cost for healthcare are those who pay for healthcare out of their own pockets. Most insurance companies and the government pay one flat fee for the patient regardless of the number of procedures performed. Yet, since the risk of getting sued is still out there, doctors have no choice but to order so many procedures. As an RT, I can tell you that 80% of what I do is frivolous, and yet neither the doctor nor the hospital makes one cent extra for having me do all this work. Yet I still have to do it.
6. There is going to be an incentive for doctors to see as many patients as possible whether there is the risk of a law suit or not. That's the whole purpose of working: to make money. If doctors are going to make less money in this new system, then young men and women are going to choose a different profession, diminishing the quality of healthcare even more.
7. On that same note, if government gives more people free access to healthcare, more people would be headed to already packed emergency rooms and doctor's offices. The lines would be even longer. You know the old saying: if it's free people will take it. And, as any ER doctor will attest, most people come to the ER for free medicine don't consider the seriousness of their illness (a mole on your butt anyone).
8. With more people vying for free healthcare, and the supply of nurses and doctors staying the same (or going down since the government will pay them less), that means the cost will go up not down as the Obama administration is saying. This is economics 101.
9. There will always be more of an incentive on treatment than prevention because most people don't want to think about all the bad things that can happen to them, and then they just treat the bad when it happens. That's the way it always has been. The only way the government will change this is by forcing people to be healthy, which is unConstitutional.
10. Do you want someone to force you to eat properly, and use good hygiene? I don't. If I want to go to a smoke filled bar and drink 10 glasses of beer, I have the right. I have the Constitutional right to have fun. I have the Constitutional right to be stupid.
11. You are right that insurance companies are the problem, and they have too much of an incentive to take advantage of people to make extra money. Just the other day I watched a show on CNN where a wheelchair that cost $350 was charged to Medicare for $1,000. This is where the problem lies, not the underlying Health Care itself.
12. The government can play a role in health care, however. The government should provide "catastrophic insurance." If your body has a catastrophe, like a heart attack or you need to be put on a ventilator to survive, that is what the government might consider paying for. It is "catastrophic healthcare" where most of the healthcare expense is anyway.
13. It's also a fallacy that some people don't have access to good healthcare. The truth is, everyone has access to good healthcare. It is against the law to turn any patient who comes to the ER doors down, no matter what they come in for. Thus, we all have access.
14. The quality of healthcare in the U.S. is the best healthcare in the world. You never hear stories about people leaving the U.S. to get their Healthcare. They may leave Shoreline to go to the Mayo Clinic, but they never leave the Mayo Clinic to go to Cuba or Britain for example.
What I'm afraid is that by fixing the entire healthcare system as Washington is trying to do, they will in turn make it worse. Sure the President says that in 10 years the program will cut the cost of healthcare overall, but can we take the chance? I don't think we should.
Besides, as I asked above, can you name one government program that ever ended up costing less nor working as well as it was written? Sure it sounds, smells and feels like a good idea as so many more people are thought to benefit from this program. But what sounds good, smells good, and feels good is not always good.
Social Security is a perfect example of another program that smelled good and felt good. Social Security was written by FDR's administration to be self sufficient. It was supposed to be a good retirement program, making it so people didn't have to worry about surviving after 62. The truth: It is anything but. In fact, it is nearing insolvency.
The U.S. Postal service is nearing bankruptcy. Welfare and Medicare are great services, but they are also nearing bankruptcy.
The truth is, something needs to be done to lower the cost of medicine and make it more readily available to the common folks in this country. The government, I am afraid, will succeed at nothing more than making the best healthcare in the world worse.
Personally, I don't think it's worth the risk.