Universal Health Coverage

I haven't done enough research on this but maybe some of you have. Educate me on something. Why can't we have a universal health coverage?

What are the pro's and con's on universal health coverage?

I'll do some research on the subject but until then, educate me on the subject.


26 Responses to Universal Health Coverage

  1. Little Miss Chatterbox Says:
    Canada is a perfect example of why universal health care is a nightmare. You are taxed an arm and a leg. The quality of care goes way down and you have to wait months to get into the Dr. Rich people in Canada come over to the U.S. for their healthcare. It sounds like a good idea but is a socialistic nightmare IMHO.
  2. James Manning Says:
    Thanks for commenting Chatter. I'll have to look into it. Because I hear that all of the time but then I hear some Canadians swear by their system. I'll have to come up with some numbers before I form an opinion.
  3. bold as love Says:
    It's a simple concept- costs, how do you pay for the plan.
    America doesn't need another tax based plan to hang around the neck of our young peoples future, social security alone is going to break their backs, imagine if we add a universal health care plan. The perscription drug plan, Bush's baby, is going to turn out to be a nightmare.
  4. SRH Says:
    Check out Kevin Drum's The washington Monthly's Political Animal. He talks about universal health care quite often.

    His site is at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

    I am sure you can find tons of information from places he links to.

    Also, look towards France's healthcare system to see a model that seems to kick ass.

    Hope this helps
  5. Robert Neddo Says:
    I think I understand why Universal Health Care isn't a realistic option, but what I want to know is why isn't AFFORDABLE health care a possibility? (Sadly, I think I know why that isn't going to happen either. The answer always seems to be the same with issues like this.)
  6. YGTBSM Says:
    "Also, look towards France's healthcare system to see a model that seems to kick ass." - SRH

    By kick ass, do mean like France's economy? Or maybe you mean kick-ass like their 48% income tax bracket. Or perhaps you're eluding to, like most of the European countries that have socialized health care, the $5.00 dollars a gallon that they pay for gas to pay the cost, and have been paying for well over the last decade to help fund it. I lived in Italy for 3 years more than 15 years ago and was paying it back then.

    As to RWNeddo's question - why isn't healthcare affordable? - I'll just say this. My wife is an ob/gyn. Want to venture a guess as to what she pays in medical malpractice insurance premiums each year (by the way... she has never had a malpractice suit brought against her)? $130K. And that's EACH year, with premiums steadily going up. Why do you think doctors are leaving their practices in droves? Who do you think that cost is going to get passed to?

    I know Mr. Manning is no big fan of GW, and quite frankly neither am I. But one area where he kicked Kerry's sorry ass up and down the block was over the need a medical malpractice tort reform. The court costs and attorney fees associated with simply getting a frivolous suit dismissed will go north of $20K. Until we make it harder for individuals to bring frivoulous lawsuits against doctors (I admit there are perfectly legitimate suits in the pile, but a large percentage of them are just looking for a "I spilled hot coffee inn my lap" lottery payday) and until we accept the fact that the practice of medicine involves some degree (in many instances huge degrees) of risk, health care isn't going to get any cheaper.
  7. James Manning Says:
    thanks for the input folks. I think there are two parts to it. What are the cost and how is it paid for. But then I would like to know the health aspects of it. Are they getting a better health care - and what is the quality of the health care. Everyone seems to be focused on money, what about the end product.
  8. Drew Says:
    We can't have universal healthcare because that would be taking money away from the wonderful folks at Kaiser, United Health, Aetna ect who keep upping our massive premiums every year. Can you imagine a world where UHC's CEO doesn't get that 430M salary with stock options?

    I think it should be an option. Republicans are all for optionally privatizing Social Security, so why not optionally federalize healthcare? If you don't want it, if you want to stick with your HMO, you don't have to pay into it.

    Makes perfect sense to me.
  9. Drew Says:
    Funny thing is, Chatterbox...while rich Canadians may come to the US for their Dr. visits, poor Americans flock to Canada every year for their prescriptions. Why? Canada has price controls and the U.S. has corporate welfare.
  10. Bullfrog Says:
    I think based on the way the Fed has handled Social Security, Medicare and Schools may be an indicator that the care we would receive from Federalized healthcare would be sub-par at best.

    Say you have a nephew that you hire to be in charge of the mailroom at your company and he screws up big time, so you put him in charge of HR. Again he drops the ball. Do you promote him to V.P. of operations? No, you hire somebody who can do the job.

    Okay, terrible analogy, but you get the point. The government has a terrible track record when it comes to social ANYTHING so how about we don't give them more responsibility for our social needs.

    I agree with VG, the reason private health care costs so much is that the lawyers are out of control an doctors are afraid to even treat their patients. Getting the frivolous malpractice suits would bring costs down and empower our doctors to practice medicine instead of CYA.
  11. James Manning Says:
    I have a hard time believing that malpractice insurance is the reason for the rise in health care cost. I'm sure it is a factor, but there has to be more factors than that.
  12. Cynthia Says:
    James: I also agree that malpractice is not the reason for the high healthcare costs. It's all about corporate profits. When companies increase the amount of money people have to pay, they reduce the amount they have to pay and the bottom line is more profits for corporations. Instead of giving all those tax breaks to corporations and the rich, if the government just passed some of those cuts to the general population, our costs could easily go down. Since there isn't a clear distinction between corporations and the government, corporations don't have any accountability to the people anymore because their executives are the ones responsible for creating regulations that are for them and against our best interests.

    It's interesting to note that the quality of healthcare hasn't increase with the increase in cost to the consumer. However, the profits made have skyrocketed.

    Can national insurance work? I think it can. But, I don't think it will ever happen because some people don't want everybody to have equal access to quality health insurance.

    Everything in American politics boils down to corporate profits.
  13. YGTBSM Says:
    James - I wasn't implying that malpractice insurance premiums are the SOLE reason, but it is a major factor - especially among doctors, like my wife, who are in private practice. The majority of doctors who are affiliated with teaching hospitals (hospitals connected to medical schools) or county-run hospitals have a large portion, if not all, of their premiums paid by that institution. But where do you think that money comes from?

    Another HUGE problem is the reimbursement rate that is received from Medicare/Medicaid. There is a huge disparity about what the government pays, what a private insurer pays, and what the procedure/treatment costs - just like why there is a huge difference in the price of a house in Fargo, ND as compared to one in San Diego, CA. You cannot expect a SoCal doctor to operate at the same cost of one in Podunk, USA - unless you're the federal government. So when those doctors in high cost areas get reimbursed at the Fargo rate, what do you think happens to the cost of the procedure? It goes up and up and up and the difference gets made up by John Smith with the private insurance.

    My wife spent a year in Russia studying their procedures for high-risk pregnancies. Her basic description of their medical care and the care delivered in many (not all) countries with universal care is "primitive." Regarding the QUALITY of care, ours is the best when looked at as a whole - but that hardly means our system delivers that level of care across the board. Anyone who has taken even a basic course in Economic understands why. The US leads almost every country in the creation of new procedures and treatments. Most of that is due to one simple thing - private-sector profit. Many organizations invest literally hundreds of millions of dollars in research and testing. Private companies know that they can recoup that investment in the open market. The pharmaceutical companies set themselves up as convenient targets because they got greedy. The federal government simply can't do that - at least not without doing some serious tax raising. You will see a lot more advances when this is kept in the for-profit private sector, rather than turn it into another huge government bureaucracy. Look at space travel as an example. The X-project put a man in space in just a couple years, rather than the billions we have spent funding NASA over the last half century. Now, those guys had a big advantage learning from NASA's past mistakes, so that is not a completely fair analogy, but I think you get the picture.

    This brings up a tangential issue - embryonic stem cell research. I bring this up only because this is another myth that is propagated on the public and being turned into a "wedge issue." The current administration did not "outlaw" embryonic stem cell research - it simply chose not to use federal tax dollars to fund it because, much like abortion, there are huge moral/ethical positions behind it. Now, why do you think the private sector isn't jumping on the embryonic stem cell research bandwagon - especially when knowing that the company who finds a cure for diseases such as Parkinson's stands to make a huge killing money-wise?
  14. Bullfrog Says:
    Hey Cyn,

    First, read vgtbsm's comment VERY CAREFULLY.

    Second, why do you think national health insurance will work?

    It's easy to pick on the "Evil Corporate Conglomerate" who only cares about money and not people, and you can get alot of folks behind you with that emotional argument, what Mr. Manning is looking for are FACTS.
  15. James Manning Says:
    YG, thanks for your insight on this. Your points are noted but I am so uneducated on this subject that I feel I really need to get up to speed.

    But I wonder if it is good to have a system motivated by profits rather than the dealing with the conditions of people? I'm sure there is a lot of research taking place on universities that are funded by government grants that corporations wouldn't invest in because the return is not there. I'm not sure things are better because they are ran by for-profit organizations. I know that is not what you are saying but still...

    I guess I'm looking for the point where government and for-profit healthcare meet that is most beneficial to everyone.
  16. Cynthia Says:
    Bullfrog: My response was based solely on what I’ve read about how the agenda of corporate American is driving the policies in the government. I attached two links that explains why I think national coverage can work, but more than likely will not be implemented because of the corporate control of the government.

    This link is discussing what I was trying to say about corporate profits driving the health care costs in the U.S.. It also talk gives a brief explanation why health insurance has skyrocketed. It all boils down to corporations passing the buck down their employees.

    This is a great link that lays the foundation for how a national health program can work and be implemented.
  17. Diane S. Says:
    Like you I haven't done a great deal of research on this, but off the top of my head:


    1) No one should die because they are too poor to receive appropriate medical care.

    2, 3 & 4) The poor tend to not seek medical help until their situation has reached a critical point, universal coverage would allow people to see doctors before they are desperately ill, a lot of lives would be saved, a lot of emergency room care could be devoted to actual sudden emergencies, and the actual cost of health care would go down since it wouldn't have to figure in the costs of all those people who cannot pay their bills.

    5) If my numbers are actually correct (and I got this off of West Wing, not a medical journal, okay), the administrative costs of most private insurance companies run somewhere between 40 and 60%. The administrative cost of Medicare runs at 4%. Universal coverage could actually be cheaper than what we are doing now.


    1) It will cost us all in tax dollars, even if my last premise is correct. If my last premise is correct, we've all been paying for it all along, but now that payment will come in the form of taxes, and some folks just turn blue when you mention taxes.

    2) Who gets to decide what sorts of health care are legitimate and what are not. I know people who swear by chiropractors, and others who think they are all quacks. What about acupuncture? Massage? Aroma therapy (which I think is just so much new age nonsense, but I could be wrong).

    3) There might not be sufficient profit incentive to keep a lot of pharmaceutical companies involved in despreately needed research.

    4) It's my understanding that in both the U.K. and Canada, the quality of care took a nose dive after socialized medicine came into play.

    5) I like my doctors. I do not want someone else chosing who my doctor is going to be.

    To me there's really only one issue: No one should die because they are too poor to get adequate medical care. Poverty should not be lethal.
  18. Shavonne Says:
    Are there any examples of countries with universal health coverage that actually work? There's got to be other examples out there besides France and Canada that actually have a good system. And if so, why not focus on the good systems and not worry about the bad ones. I heard Kuwait is one but they have oil to fund their health care.
  19. Cynthia Says:
    James: I've been adding links to your posts lately, if you don't mind, can you put the link button on your post for easier access. Thanks...
  20. James Manning Says:
    Ok, I'll have to figure out how to do that. It shouldn't be too hard.
  21. Diane S. Says:
    An after thought:

    In China, one of the ways they have approached this problem is with "barefoot doctors". The Barefoot doctors are much like nurses and nurse practitioners. They are trained in treating common illnesses and infections, in pre-natal care, in uncomplicated deliveries (births), that sort of stuff. They make the rounds in the small villages throughout China, and anyone who has an illness they are not proficient enough to treat, gets bumped up the system to an actual doctor. Of course Chinese medicine and Western medicine are very different animals, but I think there are some principles here that can be applied.

    Not every medical need requires treatment by someone who has the Full Monty of medical school. An LVN with a tetanus injection could save a child’s life. An LVN can train someone in proper wound care, give nutritional advise, teach someone how to monitor their blood sugar, do follow up care on someone with a long-term illness to help them manage the side effects of their medication. A nurse practitioner can treat almost anything that doesn’t require surgical intervention. What’s kept us from using the invaluable resources? The AMA! They want the money to all flow to them!

    While America does have the “best health care system” in the world, we’ve gotten their largely with a “money no object” approach. I’m not sure the gains have been worth the costs. Money is an object, an it’s time we started to come to grips with that.

    I have a heart condition, a congenital heart defect. Over the course of my lifetime, I have spent literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on diagnostic procedures, only to be told each time that I had a congenital heart defect (yes, I knew that) and that there really wasn’t anything they could do for me (yes, I knew that too). So why have they run all these test? My best guess is that doctors find my heart really interesting. The fact that I have to eat rice and beans for a few months to pay for these tests just doesn’t figure into the doctors’ equations. I’m about ready to strike a bargain with the doctors: I will give you my heart when I die, and you can place it under your microscopes, or run pet scans, or slice and dice it, after I’m gone, but until then, could we get off this merry-go-round, and just try to keep my symptoms manageable?

    I should mention that I've grown to hate doctors and the whole medical system, so it's entirely possible that my position is completely blinded by my own bad experiences. Nonetheless, I remain convinced that there should be be, must be, a better way.
  22. Cynthia Says:
    I think Angela Bofill is a prime example why we need universal health coverage.
  23. James Manning Says:
    What happened to Angela!
  24. Anonymous Says:
    Medical malpractice is a very small part of medical costs. Anyone who claims that there should be a cap to how much a doctor can be held accountable for SERIOUSLY messing you up, obviously has no experience in the matter, and surely would change their tune should it happen to a family member.

    By the way, I lived in Canada for a year and guess how long I had to wait to see a doctor? I'd say about an hour, in the waiting room. Total cost? Zero.

    These people who claim we can't use taxes to pay for medical care are republican nut jobs..you can't pay to keep your fellow Americans healthy but you have a blank check to fight BS wars? Disgusting.
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