Is healthcare is a right? A balanced opinion

Chris Mathews had Ron Paul on his show, Hardball, earlier this year to discuss Social Security and the new health care bill.

Mr. Mathews pointed out that people get old and no longer have an adequate income source to take care of their basic needs, and pointed to this as a reason to force working Americans to save for our retirement through a government program as a sort of ‘safety net’.  Dr. Paul held to his consistent position advocating for individual rights, individual responsibility, and less government.  I found myself thinking of the old fable about the Grasshopper and the Ant.  The thought occurred to me, is meeting our basic needs a right?

I’ve heard the question posed, is healthcare a right?  On the surface, I am inclined to think everyone is entitled to healthcare.  As it is in America, even without paying and without insurance, everyone can get his or her most basic or emergent healthcare needs met.  Mr. Mathews pointed out that a person without insurance still gets an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital if they need it.  Dr. Paul raised the question of who has to pay for the healthcare, questioning the morality of forcing someone else to pay for another person’s healthcare, and the morality of not paying for your own healthcare.

On the one hand, Mr. Mathews argued it was a societal imperative to take care of everyone.  On the other hand, Dr. Paul argued it was an individual imperative to take care of one’s self, but if one could not, then rather than force others to pay the costs, they could appeal to charities, friends, neighbors, family, and churches.  Probably both arguments have merit, and the answer is somewhere in the middle.  I am glad I don’t have to decide for everyone!  As a physician, I choose to give away charity care and advice daily.  But I am not forced to do so, yet.  It is my choice to whom I give free care, and to what extent and in whatever manner I feel is medically appropriate for the one getting the free care.  I am happy to do it; that’s why I went to school.  It is fun and rewarding, because it is my choice.

I don’t see anything stopping Medicare from cutting my reimbursement 21.5% again next month.  I have a lot of Medicare patients, and I feel an obligation to take care of them, regardless of how much Medicare pays.  It’s not the patient’s fault.  But that puts me into a role of serfdom, doesn’t it?  Is that moral?  And the costs could prove a mortal blow to a lot of physicians’ offices.

What about food?  It’s a human necessity.  If someone is a little bit short, is the grocery store morally obligated to give away food?  How long would the grocery store stay in business?  I don’t remember what happened at the end of the Grasshopper fable.  I bet some Ants told the Grasshopper to get lost.  Some no doubt would share from their hard earned food supply.  Should all Ants be forced to share or should they have a choice?

Patrick W. Hisel is a family physician.

Submit a guest post and be heard.

Comments are moderated before they are published. Please read the comment policy.

  • family practitioner

    I am a notorious fence sitter when I discuss this topic with friends and colleagues on both sides.

    I find debating the following scenario helpful: what should a hospital do with a patient in the ER with appendicitis, no insurance and is unlikely to be able to afford an appendectomy? Shoud we demand payment up front, like a dentist treating a tooth abscess? Do we really want a society where people are told to go home and die if they cannot afford care?

    The problem with Ron Paul’s libertarianism is that it may makes sense in a college philosophy or political science course, but not in real life. And the hypocrisy is rampant. As we can see from Joe Miller, running for Senate in Alaska, libertarians are very much against a safety net, until they may benefit from it. How come non-board certified ophthalmologist Rand Paul accepts medicare if he is such a libertarian?

    • Jake

      Family Practitioner

      Assuming Rand Paul really is not board certified (I have no idea if he is or is not), what is the possible relevance to your discussion?

      • family practitioner

        Because Rand Paul calls himself a libertarian, when in fact he is just a narcissist who thinks rules do not apply to him. He probably had difficulty maintaining board certification so he made up his own board (google it).

        Likewise, he does not see his own hypocrisy regarding medicare. He dislikes medicare because it conflicts with his “libertarianism” but has no problem accepting it. The truth is, without medicare, his elderly Kentuckey patients would keep their cataracts because they would be unable to afford having them extraced.

    • sherwool

      I’d like to address family practitioner’s implication that Rand Paul is hypocritical because he accepts Medicare and that libertarianism only “makes sense” in a college seminar situation. The latter simply is not true: in non-slave states, at least, in terms of daily life for the vast majority of citizens, the US of A was, for a few generations, as close to a free society as has ever been attained in the modern world. (one might even include colonial America in that, a certain tax on tea not withstanding). And it was a society that flourished. Americans certainly were materially poorer in those times, and life had many challenges that people would consider beyond the pale today, but they were freer than their descendants to whom they bequeathed a society that was in many respects the envy of the world. Few would have imagined it was the government’s responsibility to provide them health care.

      Regarding participating in Medicare, I suppose there would be some ideological virtue to eschewing it. But, as has been amply demonstrated in the literature on totalitarian states, it is very difficult to maintain one’s integrity in a corrupt system. In general, I for one see no significant ethical problem with participating in a system even if one disagrees with it. As long as Rand Paul does not promote Medicare for his own economic benefit, I will not challenge his integrity based on his participation in Medicare.

      • family practitioner

        Not sure if anyone is still reading…

        In response to Sherwool: why are you talking about colonial America and non-slave states? This makes my point about libertarianism. Please talk about America in the 21st century because a lot is different.

        As for Ran Paul’s involvement with medicare, it sounds like you feel Rand Paul’s integrity has been compromised. I agree. He makes a lot of money off of medicare; I do not know if he “promotes it” (not sure what that means), but he clearly benefits from it economically. As I already pointed out, if it were not for medicare, his poor elderly Kentucky patients will stay home going gradually blind while watching Bill O’Reilly (cheap shot-couldn;t resist).
        .

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

          Family practitioner,

          “As for Ran Paul’s involvement with medicare, it sounds like you feel Rand Paul’s integrity has been compromised. I agree.”

          Not sure I understand your logic. Rand Paul is as stuck with the system as anyone else. There is nothing inconsistent in advocating for change and yet living within the bounds of the current system. What if the government took over all of health care? Would you argue that Rand Paul then could not work as a doctor?

          The fact is that the government has taken over a large part of the health care market. They ‘out-compete’ (that is drive out) other insurers for those 65 and older. Should doctors who don’t like Medicare ignore those who are 65 and older who need their services? Or should they work for free? The fact is, many of these people are the market for doctors.

          In addition, Rand Paul is taxed far more than the average citizen to pay for Medicare – so getting some of that money back (by providing legitimate services) is also a tiny bit of justice.

          This is not to say that physicians SHOULD accept Medicare and Medicaid. It is a personal and practical choice. The real danger of participating with these organizations is that any physician can be accused of fraud at any time and even jailed – with very little recourse. THAT is a reason not to participate. But those who do take the chance certainly don’t have their integrity at stake.

  • Amanda

    I personally feel that yes, Healthcare is a right for all americans and legal citizens. I also feel that those visiting our country legally, should be able to access our healthcare system as well, especially in cases of emergencies. However, I do not feel that illegal citizens should be able to access medical care, especially when it comes to long term, chronic treatments, such as oncology and renal dialysis. I have taken care of patients that were born and raised in this country, live on the poverty line on a fixed income and have to decide each month whether to buy their medications or eat that month. Then the illegals come in, working off of the books many times, not paying taxes saying they dont have any money to pay for anything and recieve charity care, meaning treatments and medications FREE! This is just wrong. Chemo, dialysis and medications are expensive and cost our government tons of money each year.

    • stitch

      Amanda, please find a clear and objective example of an illegal immigrant receives free dialysis. Charity care is up to those who provide the charity; most of those organizations do not inquire about “papers,” as is their right. The decision by some organizations to provide charity care to undocumented people does not preclude others from having access to charity care themselves.
      In my albeit limited experience working with a population that presumably included a significant number of illegal immigrants (and we, the providers, did not ask) the likelihood of them getting care was just as dependent on their ability to pay for it as anyone else. Yes, there is a group in my town, for example, that helps these folks get care for HIV, TB and other related problems. I think a strong argument can be made for that being a public health issue.

    • gzuckier

      So…. charitable organizations and/or the government are demanding to see applicants’ citizenship documentation, and refusing to give them benefits unless they can prove they are not legal residents? This is terrible!

      • http://curbside.posterous.com Nuclear Fire

        @gzuckier: I assume you don’t travel much outside the US? That’s have it’s done in Mexico, Japan, China, and Italy, just from my personal experience. From reading rules on the Internet, that’s the norm not the exception. Most people don’t like paying others bills. If you’re different, I’m going grocery shopping today so just paypal me $200 for this week.

  • guest

    I would say that it is not a right. However, I put a lot of stock in physicians’ humanity and think that they would help patients that cannot pay.

    Besides, good lifestyle (physical exercise and nutrition) beats health-care any day.

    • http://curbside.posterous.com Nuclear Fire

      Some people seem to think that “healthcare” is this magical thing that can save you from almost any problem or lifetime of bad lifestyle choices. These people seem to think healthcare is a right.

      Others seem to recognize all the limitations in medicine and the importance or lifestyle. These people seem to value medicine less (appropriately so) and don’t seem to think so strongly that it’s a right.

  • Colin

    I think the word “right” is thrown around too much and inaccurate. It is your right to vote. It is your right to speak your mind. It is your right to pick a bedtime. It is not a right to drive a car, but you have the right to own one. it is not your right to take something that belongs to someone else, but that owner has the right to give it to you. It is not your right to be judge, jury, and executioner for those who have wronged you (“due process”).

    Is health care a right? No. Simple as that. Is it something a civilized society does? Ah, now that is the question.

    Social security is something a civilized society does even if the constitutional law backing such a program is lacking.

  • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

    Good article Dr. Hisel and your grocery store analogy illustrates just what a slippery slope we have embarked on. If medical care is, or becomes a right then how long before food is also a right. Why should we believe it will stop there, what would be next? Some people have a very broad definition of just what is a necessity.

  • http://www.preemieprimer.com Jennifer

    A colleague of mine who is a neonatologist told me of his experience in India. At his hospital, parents with a premature baby who cannot pay up front for the NICU are turned away and their babies die.

    Is that what Dr. Paul thinks should happen? I thought he was pro-life, or is it just the unborn who concern him?

    • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

      To speak for the Libertarians, I think Dr Paul would say that each hospital and/or doctor should do what they want in that situation. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, you should neither want to be the sacrificer nor the sacrifice in human relationships. The ideal in human relationships is of one equal to another; engaging in voluntary relationships. No one should be forced to support another – since that undercuts the very notion of why rights exist in the first place.

      How worried are you about these babies? Are you worried enough to travel to India and observe this bad outcome and if it is true, to raise money to pay for the NICU, or sell your house to pay for multiple NICU stays, etc. etc.? Is anyone stopping your from doing this? The view that any need of another is a claim on your life and livelihood would say that is exactly what you should do. Or, rather, would you simply be content to force others to treat the babies, while you keep your house and comfort and feel like you’ve done a real service to humanity.

      • Alina

        “No one should be forced to support another – since that undercuts the very notion of why rights exist in the first place.”

        So why did we have to support the banks bailout with our tax money? Why wasn’t the capitalist theory applied in this instance?

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

          It should have been. In the coming elections, you should vote against anyone who voted for the bank bailouts.

    • gzuckier

      I just spoke to an Indian about healthcare in India last week, and they have a robust public healthcare system which provides care for all with only nominal charges for those who can pay, and none for those who cannot; however there is also a private system in parallel, with a divergence in the direction of higher quality in the public system (higher pay and easier patients) compared to the private system, as most would predict.

      That being the case, is the situation that your colleague’s hospital was part of the private system? Otherwise why would the parents be turned away for lack off payment?

      • Alice

        I just spoke to an Indian about healthcare in India last week, [end quote]

        Did you see what Jennifer wrote at the beginning of this thread about India (and what happens when you can’t pay upfront)?

        Honestly, I had to read this post a few times to figure out if you were being facetious or serious. Are you serious? Free does not equal quality, and the question remains……do you want treated there?

  • Muddy Waters

    The problem is easy to identify – you can’t have a capitalist-based for-profit healthcare system and give it away for free at the same time. In the short-term, it works; but in the long-term, the high profit margins and increasing demand will eventually degrade and collapse the system. Not enough people paying into the system to support an ever-growing population of entitlement babies.

    Just looking on any labor and delivery ward should make us sick. At any given time, 50-75% of the deliveries are Medicaid or self-pay. These parents are “entitled” to have as many children as they desire on my dollar. And chances are, most of these children will be burdens of the taxpayer for the rest of their lives. It’s a logarithmically expanding problem.

    Should healthcare be a right? No way! If you don’t stop the handouts, then people will never stop taking. Just like good parenting, there HAS to be consequences for your actions.

  • http://drpullen.com Edward Pullen MD

    I find it interesting that Dr. Paul felt it less of a problem that someone else was going to pay for the indigent person’s health care, i.e. passed on to the insured through higher rates essentially, than having the individual forced pay for their own insurance or get public assistance for insurance. When push comes to shove, I find no answer except at some level, yes- at least emergency health care is a right.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      Well…..because I am a political/information junkie the newsflash is the liberals see the fallacy of the “rights” argument (which becomes relative as the conversation wanders about with “natural” rights, “human” rights, “legal” rights, etc….i.e. some argue “human” rights as the very reason they don’t want more taxation as a type of tyranny, while others argue “human” rights as the reason we should all belly-up and give away more rights to the government), and have switched their stance…..it is now societies “responsibility”. Which is so loosely defined by the progressives (and it could bankrupt them if taken to the fullest extent) that they are all over the place with their supposed humanitarianism. We become entities of a type of welfare state, and yet, we each feel as if something must be done……so we come here and work out the “what’s” and “if’s”, etc. Most aren’t realistic because of the nature of the beast, that will, ultimately, take away some of our rights.

      If enough doctors believe this is a “right” I can only hope they are doing plenty of volunteering to make sure the poor are getting, at least, some care….and not leaving that type of philsophy at the foot of the taxpayers who actually can’t foot the bill (look at the UK. They claim to give healthcare to all, yet their care is sub-standard, and people die with that method too because, ultimately, we cannot absorb the cost……..and, although, I do not support Ron Paul I find his ideas a bit intriguing and consequatory….not completely realistic [I have libertarian leanings while not being a libertarian....more a compassionate conservative who is trying to do her bit]).

      I am not sure there is one answer, one size that fits all the rights, responsibilities, and more-or-less government intervention. I do think bigger government has crippled enough countries to show it doesn’t work (i.e. Cuba, Germany, UK, etc.). If we each did a bit more surely we could help the problem without the government? Why is the government and more taxation, and giving up of more of our rights under the guise of altruism the answer people look at, without seeing the end doesn’t justify the means?

  • imdoc

    Medical care for everyone in all circumstances is a desirable and worthy goal. Why have this discussion about it being a “right” if not simply to codify it with more laws and regulations? If it is a “right”, what kind is it: natural right, legal right, human right…?

  • Donald Green MD

    One can not hail an opinion as “balanced.” It is an opinion and even opinions on weighing arguments are just that, opinions. However proper evidence can be used to determine if something is needed for proper survival. Personal health care is one of these.

    Until the late 1950s it was debatable whether individual treatment was a societal norm that insured proper longevity or productivity. That debate has ended and humans definitely benefit from access to individual medical services. Those without the ability to pay for insurance in this country endure 45,000 excess deaths a year.

    Further no single person or family pays for their own care but a system and its quality depends on collective payment either by insurance premiums or taxes. It is not a matter of whether it is a right but rather how we provide the right access to medical care for all at a reasonable cost.

    • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

      Ah… what?

      Dr. Green, let’s be serious here. Saying ‘no single person or family pays for their own care but a system’ is like saying no single person or family pays for their cable TV. Yes, the more established a market, the greater its potential. If only one person is in the market, there wouldn’t be one. The more innovation, money, and use a market gets – the more we all benefit from it. But to lump together ‘taxes’ versus ‘insurance premiums’ as though they are just equal forms of ‘collective payment’ is really missing the point. Which system works better? Which respects the rights of individuals? Which leads to greater and greater innovation over time?

      • Alina

        “Which respects the rights of individuals”

        The declaration of indep says: “..all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

        Are we not denying the right to life for all these people that die every year because of lack of access to health care?

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

          Alina,

          No. Rights identify freedom of action in a social context. They are not guarantees of certain results. Abiding by this creates fabulous, harmonious societies. Violating this approach creates inherent conflict of one person again another.

          • Alina

            “…creates inherent conflict of one person again another.”

            So what do you call what we have now?

          • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

            Alina,

            What we have now is a mixed economy with a mixture of appropriate rights and ‘extra’ rights which create inherent conflict.

  • Maria

    First of all, a person who claims to be a Libertarian yet Pro-Life is a hypocrite of the highest order. Paul thinks fetuses, (fetusi?) should have a legislated right to be born but NOT a right to health-care once they are? Secondly-I’m a bit tired of the ‘personal responsibility’ argument as well. What about those that are born with congenital or genetic illnesses? Take for instance, Cystic FIbrosis- a kid born with this disease who reaches working age is undoubtedly going to be dealing a myriad of health issues which will likely inhibit their ability to earn a decent living, through no fault of their own. So…if they can’t manage to earn healthcare on their own and healthcare is not a right, they therefore die. In this case, they lose their right to life. Where’s the damn compassion in this world? Why is wealth so much more valued than life?

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      Hmm……I am confused….I need your help because your post is going in so many directions. Although, I do think many believe as you do, and would really like to tackle the issues you have brought up (my father with Alzheimer’s is sitting here as I type, so please forgive my own scattered thoughts. He has repeated himself and asked me the same question so many times….I come online and let him chatter…..sorry for this messy post )

      You are confusing two rights….(one is a supposed right to healthcare [see my comments above]) of course, the Supreme Court wrongly decided a fetus is not protected by the law. I should say upfront I am a pro-lifer, and believe Ron Paul is a die-hard pro-lifer.

      I do not agree with Ron Paul because I don’t think it’s realistic, yet he is consistent. He is an extremist, but I understand quite a caring physician who is pro-life. He sees the same problems we see and wants to bulldozer it…..and complete demolision of the government isn’t the answer…but neither is going after the wealthy or more regulation.

      When seen to it’s fruition (proclaiming healthcare is a human right) will lead to the very problem you detailed above. When a price is on our head not only will they prematurely snuff out old people….but the consequences will lead to anyone without a long life expectancy…which has been detailed by bioethicists and lawyers with horror stories from the UK (see another thread from a few weeks ago here about POLST. http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/10/polst-generation-resuscitate-order.html

      POLST and the next generation of the “Do Not Resuscitate” order)

      • Alina

        no abortion rights and at the same time no government interference in other matters? why the double standards?

        “…but neither is going after the wealthy..” where do the wealthy get their money from? from all of us, so why not give some back for a change.

    • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

      Personal responsibility should be emphasized where appropriate. Children are the responsibility of their parents, so again, personal responsibility is at play. But this is not to say that there are not unfortunate accidents, birth defects, etc.. It would be silly to say that all of these things are the FAULT of those involved. On the other hand, neither are they the RESPONSIBILITY of those who have absolutely nothing to do with these individuals who had unfortunate events or outcomes. SO, in the case of those people are are conscious and of reasonable intelligence who have something bad befall them – those people take stock of their own lives and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their own lives, to the degree they can. To the degree they cannot, they must rely upon the charity and good will of others. Any other system of ‘forced compassion’ is usually eventually turned on its head and becomes an instrument for creating more injustice in the world.

      • gzuckier

        Pretty hard to take responsibility for your own birth defects when you’re 6 months old.
        In fact, it’s pretty hard to take responsibility for anything in your own life when you’re even 6 years old. So, it’s all up to your parents, and you take the luck of the draw? If you’re born to a crack addict prostitute, you must rely primarily upon her charity and goodwill, because personal responsibility demands it, and it would be immoral for the government to take an interest in your case because it would involve every individual citizen sacrificing the cost of a dunkin donuts extra large coffee?
        In fact, if you take that personal responsibility thing seriously, then definitely financially-based euthanasia of those who can’t find somebody to bankroll their survival is the outcome; if the government “interferes” it’s to “rob” the rest of the citizenry of the funds to keep those people alive, and the “dath panels” and “prematurely snuffing out old people” are the result of the government’s deciding NOT to spread the responsibility for their lives on to the general citizenry.

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

          I think if you re-read my initial comment, some of your initial points are already answered. Which makes we wonder why you wrote them…

          But in terms of morality, it is immoral to set up a system by which you can legally rob some people to pay for the needs of others. This is the conflict we try to eliminate from society. And it works. When left unfettered, capitalism (the system of protecting individual rights) leads to a tremendous increase in the living standards of all. Those, such as yourself, if allowed to control a country (as has happened many times) end up destroying the standard of living of the entire society – leading to many more poorer and miserable lives.

          I would ask most liberals, again, that if you really believe what you are saying – why don’t you spend all your own money taking care of everyone that you define as being in need? If you don’t do this, why are you asking the government (essentially at the point of a gun) to force others to do so.

          • Alina

            “But in terms of morality, it is immoral to set up a system by which you can legally rob some people to pay for the needs of others.”

            Alleluia David, we finally agree on something….

            The majority of people are being robbed each and every other way, every day to pay for the “needs” of the wealthy. So yes “this is the conflict we try to eliminate from society.” What in your opinion makes these individuals more worthy than the rest of us? After all many make their fortunes in a very “non-kosher” kind of way.

            The capitalist society that you talk about just doesn’t exist and that’s certainly not because is not “left unfettered.” Quite frankly I don’t know if it can get any more laissez-faire than it already is.

            “..capitalism (the system of protecting individual rights)” – Hm, whose rights would that be?

            “….. leads to a tremendous increase in the living standards of all.” Yes, we’ve heard this slogan over and over during the Bush years and look how that turned out for tens of millions of people…..

            “Those, such as yourself, if allowed to control a country (as has happened many times) end up destroying the standard of living of the entire society.” Example please – what “destroyed” societies are you talking about? And what do you mean by people “such as yourself?”

          • Alina

            In terms of the whole “personal responsibility” claim, as a doctor you should know (I hope you do) that there are instances when people acquire a disease to no fault of their own. What then is your solution for these kind of situations?

            Btw, what is your specialty?

          • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

            Alina,
            “The majority of people are being robbed each and every other way, every day to pay for the “needs” of the wealthy.” What does this mean?

            “Quite frankly I don’t know if it can get any more laissez-faire than it already is.” Really? This country started with a constitution that respected the rights of the individuals. (Blacks were a huge and obvious exception and the Civil War corrected that error.) Up through 1900 there was a basic respect for the autonomy of the individual to live his own life provided he did not interfere in the lives of others. Gradually in the 20th century individual rights were being eroded. The New Deal and countless social programs have grown to produce the current mixed system in the US (part socialism, part capitalism).

            The rights of EVERY individual should be protected in a proper government. The primary freedom is simply the freedom to be left alone – to live your life as you see fit. While you cannot murder your neighbor, neither can you control who he votes for, what foods he eats, what car he drives, what job he gets, etc..

            You seem to not feel that freedom leads to productivity. You can examine this issue both historically and in cross-section by looking at various countries throughout the world. If you don’t think freedom works, then explain why Hong Kong, the United States, England, and much of Europe has done so much better (in terms of productive potential) than Cuba, Russia, former East Germany, or China. Speaking of China, explain why China’s recent embracing of ‘openess’, at least in a partial business sense, has allowed it to actually start dragging itself out of a third-world state?

            Indeed, if you wanted to identify one variable that bears most importantly on standard of living in a country – you would be hard-pressed to find one better than individual freedom as recognized and enforced by its government.

            “Example please – what “destroyed” societies are you talking about?” China under Mao, Cuba under Castro, Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union under multiple leaders, Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot. These societies upheld the idea that the needs of some was sufficient to deprive everyone of absolute rights. The results were failed societies – miserable poverty, corrupt governments, the exact opposite of their supposed intentions. These were the ultimate do-gooders – with the power to make things happen – and it resulted in complete failure. Often it resulted in massive death at the hands of the government officials.

            And what do you mean by people “such as yourself?” My comment was to gzuckier and his approach to these issues – see his comment above.

          • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

            “In terms of the whole “personal responsibility” claim, as a doctor you should know (I hope you do) that there are instances when people acquire a disease to no fault of their own. What then is your solution for these kind of situations?”

            I have answered this, but I’ll expand. No one is responsible for everything that happens to them (accidents of birth or real accidents in the world). That is to say, it is not necessarily the FAULT of the person involved. On the other hand, neither is it the FAULT of everyone else in the world. The best we can all do is say: this is my life, this is what I have to deal with, now let me make the best of it. If someone wishes to help me, recognizing that I did not put myself into this position, then so be it – it will be welcomed. If I wish to help another person, then so be it – I am free to do so.

            The danger, you see, is in giving a government the power to intercede in these matters. As soon as you concede that one person’s fate is the responsibility of everyone else – then personal responsibility gets left behind and the system turns into one of government exploitation of those who earn more, are healthier, etc. Eventually you institutionalize a system that rewards failure and punishes success – turning morality on its head. The alternative is to proclaim your right to your own life.

          • Jeff Taylor

            This is hysterical – the US already has widespread federal and state programs, not least social security and medicare. You sound like Pol Pot – do you really want to go back to ground zero and strip every vestige of collective civilisation out of America? I think it’s more incumbent on you to explain how you think society would function without services. I imagine you’re like many selfish people – you actually want to pick and choose only those that benefit you most.

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Jeff….part of the problem…… is selfish people not paying any taxes in both Europe and the States yet taking, and taking….that is bankrupting the system. And the truly needy should back us up on this outcry because it is their benefits that may get hurt eventually from this fraud.

            Our friend is a chiropractor who finally got free of his contracts because the bulk of the business was fraudulent claims to get government money via social security disability, workman’s comp, and insurance claims. He hated to go to work in the morning…but decided making a lot less money was worth the freedom he gained not to file claim-upon-fraudulent-claim. He tried to quit but was going to get sued, so he waited the contract out. Which means the doctors he worked for were making big money off the government too.

          • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

            Jeff,
            “This is hysterical – the US already has widespread federal and state programs, not least social security and medicare.” Yes, people who thought in the same way as yourself have been successful in establishing these government programs. They are bad programs, they should be done away with, but yes, congratulations. Is this an argument from authority (others did it, so it must be right)? By the way, look into the respective solvency of those two programs and you will learn where these liberal ideas usually end up – in bankruptcy.

            “You sound like Pol Pot – do you really want to go back to ground zero and strip every vestige of collective civilization out of America?” I guess we have differing views of what really makes someone civilized. I want to protect each individual and treat them the same under the law – with guaranteed rights. This creates a harmonious and yes, civilized, society. You want to create a system whereby one set of people can use the force of the government to control another set of people, taking their money, or whatever else you decide is necessary for the ‘needs’ of ‘others’. Ask yourself which will (and has) led to a better society and why.

            “I think it’s more incumbent on you to explain how you think society would function without services.”

            I think the government should have a monopoly on the legal use of force (except in certain circumstances of imminent threat to one’s own life or property [self-defense] and private security [with limits imposed on them]. That means that the police and military are properly (as laid out by Ayn Rand) the government’s job. Also the making of laws and enforcement of them (the courts) is within their proper function. My suggestion is that funding of the government be obtained through paying a small amount for the enforcement of contracts. In some ways, this would mean that businesses would pay a greater share of all money brought in to the government. Neither businesses nor private individuals would HAVE to pay for this ‘service’ from the government – but if they did not, their cases would not be enforced by the courts. This is a way to pay legitimately for a service – but it eliminates outright taxes and it automatically keeps in check the amount charged (since if the price is too high, companies may opt out or even decide for private arbitration).

            I don’t know how people would decide to organize themselves, but I can image that, like Disney World, companies would buy large areas of land (say 20-200 acres) and charge a fee. If you buy or rent within their territory – you pay their fee which includes firefighting, roads, street cleaning, water, etc.etc. There are a lot of ways it could be organized – but suffice it to say that the government need to be involved all of these ‘services’. Since the company owns the entire tract of land – lets say you didn’t pay your bill but your house is on fire. They would likely still put out the fire, both to protect your neighbors and due to good will. On the other hand, you would continually face fines and further enforcement actions the longer you stayed in their territory without paying your bill.

            As to sounding like Pol Pot – what exactly are you smoking! This communist forced people out of cities because he felt the agrarian lifestyle inculcated better values and ‘right’ thinking – resulting in millions of deaths. (Sound familiar, environmentalists?) Hong Kong, the early United States, and the western world in general are more consistent with my ideas. These ideas result in large and productive cities and higher standards of living for all.

        • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

          So you see the government as the answer to a crack user having a child? Are you for forced sterilization? You have no problem with death panels, yet your very scenario with the supposed care for the child means a sick child from your exact scenario could be snuffed out if it is born very sick. Ever hear of the person who finally gets their dream only to find out it is a nightmare?

          This is why I sent the article about liberals reacting for an immediate band aid, while conservatives usually want to actually stop the bleeding…and sometimes our government enables and rewards bad behavior. Yeah, I know the response will be at least you will provide the band aid, but I wonder…..can you give me a headcount of all the people yup actually know who died from lack of healthcare? I can give you a headcount of my relatives who are dead from socialized medicine. Actually, sine I have been accused of making stuff up, just go to The Greenock Telegraph and see our cousin’s death notice (same last name). Another young victim of nightmare medicine from the country that proclaims everyone gets service. It is a cheap smorgasbord.

  • guest

    The percentage (not absolute numbers) of people that are born with genetic defects that you describe is much lower than that of people that destroy their own bodies with their poor lifestyle decisions.

    Personal responsibility=better health.

    • gzuckier

      if that’s the case, then apparently this personal responsibility thing is something that the great majority of humanity doesn’t have. I’m skeptical of any healthcare system which bases itself on a philosophy of a virtue which is largely notable for its absence, implicitly proclaiming the superiority of a minority as “worthy to live” and condemning the majority the majority to death as punishment for this lack of responsibility which is somehow their fault. I’m particularly skeptical when this concept gets fuzzily tied in with a lot of paranoia about the opposing philosophy leading to death panels and euthanasia.

  • DVT

    Like the founders of our country, I do not believe free access to medical care is a human right. However, I would argue that a society has a moral obligation to provide medical care to those who can not afford it, when the society has the economic means to do so, but without infringing upon the rights of other citizens to accomplish this. Our society can not afford to provide unlimited medical care to all its citizens. Do we thus ration care for the less unfortunate? Do we not allow the wealthy to purchase more expensive medical care than what we provide “free” to the poor? Do we forcibly take resources away from the more fortunate to pay for health care of the less fortunate? Should health care providers be forced to provide medical care, when there are not enough funds to adequately reward them for their efforts?

    I would propose that we strive to make our medical system more efficient and affordable, while providing a basic level of medical care to all of our citizens, regardless of their ability to pay for those services. Unfortunately the recently passed health care bill (“ObamaCare”) does little to rein in the costs of medical care, and I am doubtful that all the newly, or soon to be formed bureaucracies created by ObamaCare will make medical care more affordable without significantly rationing services. I just hope the money needed for all the salaries and benefits of the growing army of “ObamaCare Bureaucrats” doesn’t consume resources that would be better used to treat patients. I think we could make a more efficient, less costly health care system by cutting down on the bureaucracy rather than expanding it…..but I digress.

    Here are two other questions I have for those who firmly believe that medical care is a human right:
    1) If society mandates that all have a “right” to medical care, and taxes from the “haves” will pay for the care of the “have nots”, then does society have a right to impose rules on the “have nots” so that they live healthier life styles (i.e., don’t smoke, keep their weight under control [e.g., soda tax], follow recommended medical instructions) to get better value from those contributions?

    2) In third world countries there aren’t enough resources to provide the level of health care that we in the western world take for granted. Do individuals in third world countries have any less of a “right” to medical care than we do in the US? Should tax payers around the globe be paying for health care in third world countries to raise their level of medical care to ours? Humanitarian efforts have helped those less fortunate in third world countries, but overall the level of medical care is much lower than ours.

    • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

      “However, I would argue that a society has a moral obligation to provide medical care to those who can not afford it …but without infringing upon the rights of other citizens to accomplish this.” There is the impossibility. That equation cannot be solved. People either have a right to free health care, or people have a right to their own money and property – you cannot have both. It is that attempt to have it both ways, and not face up to the consequences, that is at the root of our mixed up system.

      • DVT

        David, I agree. Let’s change the previous statement to: “I would argue that a society has a moral obligation to provide medical care to those who can not afford it …but should work to minimize infringing upon the rights of other citizens to accomplish this.”

        To do this, costs must be rationally constrained with prudent policies that will provide a basic level of health care for all, but with incentives to constrain costs, including rationing. That’s the problem I have with the recently passed health care bill. It was hastily rammed through by the Democrats with poor thought on how to contain costs. See my other post on this thread about how we will likely have growing costs with ObamaCare as has been experienced with a similar health care plan that was implemented in Massachusetts in 2006. This will obviously have consequences for the members of society that are picking up the tab.

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

          You are taking an entirely reasonable approach – however I don’t think it will work in the long run. Now keep in mind, in the long run could be 20-50 years – but your approach sets in motion the idea that the need of one person is a claim against another. It is a fundamental socialist claim and people who are not as reasonable as yourself will begin to crowbar that opportunity; to expand upon it, so that eventually it is a gaping hole. As reasonable as you are, people such as yourself and others who followed you, would have no reasonable (that is principled) way of defending your limits. Why are you stopping here? Why don’t you provide more? Why can’t we tax more? There just is no way to stop it once you grant the premise that one person’s need is a moral claim on another’s life and productivity.

      • gzuckier

        Compromise, moderation, harmonizing between opposing principles which both have pros and cons, etc. are the hallmark of mature existence in the complex real world, which was never designed to be correctly solved by black/white yes/no judgements.

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

          The world is not always black and white. On the other hand, sometimes it is – and you shouldn’t be afraid to point out the cases. The superiority of capitalism and respect for individual rights in creating harmony and improved standards of living is something I’m convinced of. I don’t argue in the manner I do to make people worse off. I think, on average, most people will be better off by following my ideas.

          Compromise has its place, some things are very complex, sometimes you must weight pros/cons – none of this is being argued with by me.

  • SarahW

    Providing for the weak, and health care being a RIGHT, are two different things. You present a false choice.

    Wealth is valued because it allows one luxury, security, the ability to take care of one’s self and ones family (including weaker dependents) without a “boss” telling you the money you earn is not your own, that he knows best how to direct your life and your property, and is entitled to meddled in your every affair, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat to the way you spend your leisure hours.

  • http://onhealthtech.blogspot.com/ Margalit Gur-Arie

    Here we go again….
    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are supposed to be inalienable rights. As a Nation we have no problem drafting young men and sending them to certain death in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Yet, somehow, we seem to have great issues with “drafting” a few dollars from wealthy wallets in order to provide equal protection from disease to those unable to protect themselves.

    The grocery store analogy is incorrect. The grocer is under no obligation to give out free food. The Government (tax payers) has an obligation to provide the poor with some means to buy food from the grocer.
    As a physician, you are not under any obligation to provide free care. The Government is (or should be) obligated to pay you for services rendered to those unable to pay.
    You may not be happy with Government reimbursement for services, which does not make you a serf, since you don’t have to work for the Government, but makes you just another grumpy Government contractor.

    Oh, and by the way, most ants die in poverty, no matter how hard they work during their miserable life. This fable and its moral are no longer applicable to modern society.

    • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

      “As a Nation we have no problem drafting young men and sending them to certain death in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves.” I do have a problem with this, and for the same reasons that I don’t want persons such as yourself laying claim to portions of my wallet.

      The grocery store analogy IS correct. EMTALA laws REQUIRE hospitals to treat those who present to their facility – REGARDLESS OF ABILITY TO PAY. It is the government that is let off the hook in that situation.

      As a physician, if I wish to work in a hospital I am OBLIGATED to provide free care. EMTALA and other laws create legal controls over the hospitals. The hospitals, in turn, REQUIRE their doctors to see indigent patients (they really don’t have a choice if they don’t want to be put out of business).

  • joe

    Margalit:
    The draft ended in 1973.
    As a vet I say we are well served by having a committed volunteer force.
    As a doctor I say we this is much much more than ““drafting” a few dollars from wealthy wallets. US healthcare in 2009 was 17% of the GDP and rising. Obama’s idea of “fraud and abuse” with ““drafting” a few dollars from wealthy wallets” isn’t going to come close to the true cost of universal care, which his plan is not. The fact is we can’t do everything, for everybody all the time and pay for it. The europeans learned this all long ago hence their system which is based on universal care with some extent on rationing of care to make it affordable. That is the only way it will work here and no politician will ever bring it up because it is political suicide.

    • Alina

      Why is US healthcare so expensive compared to everyone else, yet outcomes are only worth the 37th spot in the world?

      Why can’t we offer care to everyone in the US, but instead we chose to pay insurance CEOs hundreds of millions or even billions?

      I would rather concentrate on our system and make this work before criticizing anyone else. At least Europeans are way ahead of us when it comes to quality of care. Something that is always overlooked.

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        Alina who financed that research you share and what are the specifics surrounding it? The bottomline is if you have cancer there is nowhere else in the world I would want treatment, and it’s why people come here for treatment.

        Our system works and that’s why it’s expensive. European care being supreme is a fallacy. Just do a quick google search, or I will, once again send you the newspaper clippings from the UK papers about deaths from this-or-that cancer being much higher in the UK. Horror stories abound there from waiting lists. My cousin will die within two or three days and he is in such extreme pain from rationed morphine (and he has private insurance) that his wife wants him dead so he won’t suffer anymore. He waited a year for a diagnosis and months for treatment, so what would have been curable here, has slowly, and painfully killed him (the details of his death are morbid because everything is based on cost).

        Bottomline……where were his human rights?

        • twicker

          Quick note that the UK is not the entirety of Europe, and, yes, there are European countries that have, on average, far better healthcare systems.

          And while your cousin’s plight is awful, we have similarly awful stories here in the US — including stories of people who die because they have no insurance. I take it you believe their death is more noble than your cousin’s because theirs won’t take as many tax dollars?

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Umm…have you did a google search using UK newspapers and seen the doctored NIH stats, or researched NICE? I use the UK model for two reasons…one being the appointment of Dr.Berwick and his quotes about his love affair with their system…and my firsthand, pretty horrible experiences there.

            Comparing treatment there with my relatives, and my daughter’s cancer battle (and misdiagnosis by a doctor at Cleveland Clinic) means even with the problems here….I am so, so grateful for the American system . I will choose capitalism over socialism any day.

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            I like Thomas Sowell…he has a lot of writings about big government, etc. In an effort to sum this up quickly, I will quote him. He shares that quality is not America’s problem. If anyone disagrees I would like to see the research, and proven facts that the statement is not correct. This is from an article, where he goes into politicians playing Santa Claus and making the insurance companies play Scrooge:
            “Few – if any – countries can match American medical training, medical technology or the development of life-saving pharmaceutical…”

        • twicker

          About financing the research: Recently, the biggest per-capita share has come from the US as opposed to other countries — essentially a tax (and a pretty hefty one at that) on all people in the US who use the healthcare system. However, it’s worth noting that:
          a. Our research was greatly helped by the European research that preceded ours — research we did not fund;
          b. The pharma companies sold (and sell) drugs and medical devices in European countries, and have been for centuries, precisely because, while they were and are not as profitable as the US per sale, they were (and are) very definitely profitable — so Europeans definitely helped finance the research (of note, every drug company, from the smallest to the largest, has strategic plans to enter the European, Australian, Japanese, and other markets with their products — precisely because they are profitable markets and will help them recoup the costs of research); and
          c. The traditional reason that pharma liked to use to justify the higher prices paid here — that much of the research was being done here — no longer applies, as much of that research is moving to China, India, Russia, Brazil, etc. Even in its heyday, while most of the research was done in the US, Europe still had (and has) a solid pharma/biologic/device community.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Our research has helped Canada and other countries (doesn’t Canada bloodsuck off us to keep costs down? So what happens when our research money dries up? Or we take away incentives to the capitalists to develop life-saving technology? More unemployment, more burden on the taxpayers…..where does it end?).

            I posted a myth busing article that showed the fallacies that Europe, supposedly, has such supreme care, but for whatever reasons it didn’t get posted. If it doesn’t get posted (and I can’t see it waiting in moderation anymore) I will resend it. Sometimes I am unclear of the posting guidelines here. I thought the only thing that would keep a post from being posted was something of a personal nature, but sometimes just simply facts don’t get posted. It leaves me gun-shy to spend my time searching down facts.

            Anyhoo……it’s good to see Twicker is back. Where do you disappear to? :)

        • Norman Wisdom

          ‘deaths from this-or-that cancer being much higher in the UK’

          Mortality rates from all types of cancer are very similar in the US and the UK.

        • gzuckier

          “Alina who financed that research you share and what are the specifics surrounding it? ”

          Oh, that’s an easy one; the governments of the US and other countries. Using tax dollars. Because if you were to depend solely on charitable donations of concerned citizens and their personal responsibility and conscience to fund scientific research, the apothecary would still be compounding a powerful physik to regulate your bodily humors in an attempt to cure that cancer you prefer to have treated here.

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Do you live in the states? An American? I often ask these questions when word usage is a bit different. I asked Jeff too, because he used a phrase common in Europe….and I wonder if he has private insurance? It is helpful to know who financed research…and what type of program a poster could be promoting…..just a bit of full disclosure so readers can understand what our agendas are.

            Canadians spend almost nothing on research, and I do care if the tooth fairy is financing the research for cancer. What I care about is bogus research stats. I went to a link posted here yesterday and it came across as a Professor with an axe to grind….he even seemed appalled that they only used patients to gather their data. Oh the shock and horror I have experienced since stumbling upon that hidden, horrendous, hi-jacking of stats. I could not find that he allowed any questions….and I think he was serving sour grapes.

      • http://curbside.posterous.com Nuclear Fire

        Alina, I think you need to get a better perspective of the healthcare systems in other countries. Try reading blogs by patients and doctors in this other countries. The Jobbing Doctor is a good place to start: a good blog and many of his commentators are patients in the European system. You may find the quality is not what you would expect.

  • Norman Wisdom

    The right to healthcare only becomes an issue if you don’t believe in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Humans Rights, and in Roosevelt’s second bill of rights. As people we can construct any right we want and every developed nation has chosen to embrace the rights that the US in fact helped pioneer at the UN, with the obvious exception of the US itself. And it’s absurd to think that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t had a health as a constitutional right in today’s context. What does the right to life, liberty and happiness mean anyway if you can’t get treatment for cancer?

    As for DVT – have you been asleep for the last 18 months? The healthcare reform has a mandate for people to buy insurance, and also mandates more preventive care.

    • DVT

      Yes there are mandates, but I have many reservations about these mandates. Look what is happening with the Massachusetts health care plan that has similar mandates.
      1: The Massachusetts plan does not control costs.
      2: Community rating, guaranteed issue and mandated benefits swell costs.
      3: Huge subsidies for low-to-medium earners could prove extremely expensive.
      4: The exchanges reward people for working less and earning less.
      5: The generous plans and added mandates give employers an incentive to drop health insurance.
      from: http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/15/news/economy/massachusetts_healthcare_reform.fortune/index.htm
      ….but let’s stay on topic about whether we should consider health care as a human right or more of a moral obligation.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      As for DVT – have you been asleep for the last 18 months? The healthcare reform has a mandate for people to buy insurance, and also mandates more preventive care. [end quote]

      I think the article I mentioned above from Dr. Dobken on POLST outlines this? I understand we, unknowingly, will sign away our rights? Think about the consequences of giving the government our very right to life to get a mandatory insurance card? An appointed panel can actually proclaim (over-and-above the families wishes) that you’re outta-here!

    • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen

      “As people we can construct any right we want…” This is the random view of rights of the liberal mentality. To some people, rights are just mental constructs – not extensions of natural law. But in reality, rights are fundamentally the recognition that each individual owns his/her own life. Properly defined rights are always negative, that is, they are prohibitions of intrusion into the lives of others, not the right to some product or outcome. Thus, when you have the right to your own life, that simply means you have the right to sustain and use it as you will, not that others must keep you alive. It really means that others may not interfere in your living your life. Your only limitations in living as best you can is that you not be allowed to infringe upon the rights of others. To create a harmonious society, you protect the natural rights of all humans to their own lives. The result of this system (as close as we came to it in the United States) has been the greatest production, innovation, and improvement in standard of living the world has known.

      Inherent conflict and disharmony are produced when you violate these principles and set one person against another. The moment you say that one person has the right to the life of another (or his property, or his time, etc.) is when the harmony is undercut and the system begins to collapse. Now people no longer must always come to mutual agreements in order to get what they want – but rather, can force the sacrifice of one person (or group) to get something they want. The result is chaos, red tape, the stifling of innovation, fear, worsening standards of living, and death.

      • Norman Wisdom

        ‘The result of this system (as close as we came to it in the United States) has been the greatest production, innovation, and improvement in standard of living the world has known.’

        That would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Of all the developed nations, the US has by far the greatest and most extreme inequality, which is getting even worse, which means many millions of American children are living below the poverty line. What’s more, the US has rapidly crumbling infrastructure. Are these marks of a great country?

        • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

          Norman,

          The funny thing is that you bypassed nearly everything I said and then focused on a non-essential (wealth inequality).

          But seeing as how you concede (by implication) the superiority of my position when it comes to identifying rights, lets look at your standard of success.

          Do you really believe that equality of wealth is the standard of success for a country? Should everyone have the same amount of money – regardless of how much they work, their talents, and the risks they take? If you believe THAT (as many socialists do) then of course individual rights fly directly in the face of this approach. Now I’ll just point out that countries that tried to implement these ideas (Cuba, Soviet Union, China) actually have some of the most extreme inequality. Not just of wealth, but of all sorts of rights and privileges. In these countries, it is a much better life to be PART of the government than to be outside of it.

          The United States has been the greatest country since its founding, and still probably does carry that distinction, although it is running into problems. These problems come, not from capitalism and the recognition of individual rights – but from the opposite: from the gradual erosion of rights and expansion of the welfare state.

          Would you rather make $50,000 and live in a nation which has millionaires (with the potential that you too could eventually make that kind of money) – or $1,000 and live in a nation that doesn’t have them, and with no possibility of yourself making it either. That is your real choice.

          • Alina

            “Do you really believe that equality of wealth is the standard of success for a country? Should everyone have the same amount of money – regardless of how much they work, their talents, and the risks they take?”

            Equality of opportunity doesn’t mean that everyone should have “the same amount of money.” Wealth equality has NEVER happened and it will NOT happen, so we should leave the abstract terms aside.

            “If you believe THAT (as many socialists do) then of course individual rights fly directly in the face of this approach. Now I’ll just point out that countries that tried to implement these ideas (Cuba, Soviet Union, China) actually have some of the most extreme inequality. Not just of wealth, but of all sorts of rights and privileges. In these countries, it is a much better life to be PART of the government than to be outside of it.”

            That was never the goal and people should understand the distinction between propaganda feed to the masses and what is actually being implemented. It happens here all the time.

            In terms of the inequalities or privileges, not a whole lot of difference between here and there. I can tell you that everyone had access to free health care (including dental) and free education. Primary care was at the core of the medical care and guess what – there were much, much fewer people dying from cancer, heart and other chronic diseases. You’re right about one thing that government people lived better than the rest, but I see no difference between that elite and the corporate one here in the US which rules all of us and make up their own laws.

            Illusion of rights is not the same as actually having rights.

            “That’s your real choice.” Of course, in order to sell the dream some exceptions have to be allowed, but that doesn’t make it the rule.

          • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

            Alina,
            “Equality of opportunity” is simply a smokescreen. Give it a little thought and you’ll realize, as well, that there is no way to equalize this either.

            “That was never the goal.” Do you mean equality of outcomes? Or do you mean the communist goal of a classless, private-property-less society?

            “In terms of the inequalities or privileges, not a whole lot of difference between here and there.” You we really speaking of the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and China? Your statement goes against everything I’ve read and heard about these countries.

          • Alina

            “Equality of opportunity is simply a smokescreen. Give it a little thought and you’ll realize, as well, that there is no way to equalize this either.”

            I have to disagree. For example you can start with education. Let’s say you offer everyone free school and same curriculum. By doing so you give everyone the same chance and you invest in your own society.

            Right now, US is the only country in the world where education is so extremely expensive and another luxury reserved for the very few, unless you’re willing to graduate with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt with a professional or even a bachelor degree. It’s insane!

            “That was never the goal.” Do you mean equality of outcomes? Or do you mean the communist goal of a classless, private-property-less society?”

            The whole communist theory is pure utopia. The ruling elite’s goal was NOT to set-up a “classless society” with property being owned by everyone equally, but they did use the whole “communist” propaganda to sell the concept to the masses. This is different than saying that they tried communism and found out that it didn’t work.

            In the US we have the slogan “be all you can be” with the ruling elite selling the whole individualism concept. This is just a fairy tale for a good majority of people, so same difference.

            “Your statement goes against everything I’ve read and heard about these countries.”

            David, I don’t know what your sources are, but I speak from my own experience having lived there.

  • Alina

    So a firefighter or a policeman should also refuse to put out a fire or intervene in a robbery or save someone’s life because they don’t make enough money.

    Or perhaps they (firefighter/policeman) should ask that person to sign an agreement that he/she would pay an undisclosed amount at the end of it all, before attempting any life-saving steps.

    Would this be any different than the physicians who refuse to take certain patients (e.g., Medicaid or Medicare) or from the hospitals/ER facilities who don’t treat patients before they have their signature on the payment agreement?

    Why is it that people see the firefighter’s or policeman’s services as a right, but when it comes to healthcare that is seen as a luxury?

    What makes one life worth more than another?

    People don’t have the right to healthcare but the insurance companies and others have a right to rack in obscene profits for doing nothing at all? If so what gives them that right?

    • http://curbside.posterous.com Nuclear Fire

      Actually, that happens. Firefighters in some places, there was just a big article about this in Tennessee, will only put out a fire that is burning if you’ve paid your dues.

      I’ve notice multiple times in this thread you say things about systems you don’t seem to be familiar with. A little self education is in order.

      • Alina

        “Firefighters in some places, there was just a big article about this in Tennessee, will only put out a fire that is burning if you’ve paid your dues.” Really, do they ask you for a receipt or does this work? Please “enlighten” us.

        “I’ve notice multiple times in this thread you say things about systems you don’t seem to be familiar with. A little self education is in order.”

        I actually speak from my own personal experience, so I suggest that you take your own advice and try reading something other than the right wing publications.

  • Michael Rack, MD

    “Why is it that people see the firefighter’s or policeman’s services as a right, but when it comes to healthcare that is seen as a luxury?”

    Regarding police services: maintaining law and order is one of the basic functions of government, one of the primary reasons for government to exist. Providing healthcare and/or health insurance is not a basic function of government.

    Michael Rack, MD

    • Norman Wisdom

      ‘Providing healthcare and/or health insurance is not a basic function of government.’

      It is in every developed nation including the US.

      • gzuckier

        As a Compassionate Conservative, I must insist that the proper functions of government include only killing foreigners via the military, or killing our citizens via the death penalty. Anything else is unconstitutional.

        • Alina

          Very well said…LOL

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Facetiousness is humorous when it causes deep thought and laughter. Hmmmmm….you missed an opportunity…..you left off all the innocent people without insurance you keep saying we are killing? Or the kids we are starving to death because one in eight people on food stamps isn’t enough to feed the insatiable appetite liberals have for building their one self-esteem, while gagging on reality…..they have an acquired taste for stone soup….well….they keep talking about all the sacrifices they are willing to make so they can help make sure unemployment goes up, more homes are lost, and our health care becomes sub-standard……I just assumed they gave everything to charity like all good saints do, that they wear robes like monks and nuns, and do not own luxuries like computers…..yes, I am sure they are at the library using taxpayer provided online and services because purchasing a computer could take food or healthcare away from the needy….would not want to see a greedy liberal. Better hurry up and post before you miss your bus…..good liberals sell their cars to.

  • Michael Rack, MD

    “Or perhaps they (firefighter/policeman) should ask that person to sign an agreement that he/she would pay an undisclosed amount

    Would this be any different than the physicians who refuse to take certain patients (e.g., Medicaid or Medicare)”

    the difference is that firefighters/police are government employees. Most doctors are not. I choose to take medicare (and medicaid, at certain of my clinics) but I am not a government employee and do not have the obligation to accept government payment and the duties that go with it (though I make the choice to do so at this time)

    Michael Rack, MD

  • imdoc

    You are not a gov’t employee – yet. That is the plan: Declare medical care of all types for all citizenry an inarguable claim right, make all doctors public employees and the reach of government power has vastly increased. Whether or not the outcome is better health for the population is immaterial. Where is the “morality” of disproportionately confiscating the wealth of taxpayers then rationing care back to those same citizens by some committee.

    • gzuckier

      Would this be a good place to point out that in Canada, in fact a higher percentage of doctors are self-employed/own their own practice than in the US?

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    I am really rushed, but there are some fallacies I can’t resist:

    Norman says:
    ‘deaths from this-or-that cancer being much higher in the UK’

    Mortality rates from all types of cancer are very similar in the US and the UK. [end quote]

    Alice: You are wrong. I will get the links and send them. A fallacy that the hyper-sensitive Brits often believe. Just go and sit in a British pub….my goodness…….the stories they tell make you want to jump on a plane and kiss the ground here when you get off…..even with all our problems. And kudos to the new PM…..what a guy……he is cutting programs all over the place…..and living it…..eating on the streets of NY, taking regular flights and train rides……not pampering himself like the typical politician. Oops….sorry…got a bit off-track, but it all ties in…..we have x amount of dollars to do what we can with…..and taking more-and-more hurts more than it helps.

    Norman says: ‘Providing healthcare and/or health insurance is not a basic function of government.[end quote]

    It is in every developed nation including the US.>>>>>

    Alice: And people are dying from it. Study the Canadian and UK system, and see the quotes from countries like the UK that are sinking into the sea of socialism. People get hurt that way too, so the answer is a non-answer if all people want to do is proclaim the healthcare mantra, and the rich are evil.

    Ever think of the hypocrisy of some of the healthcare for all promoters. They say we are greedy for not endorsing healthcare for all, yet they have no problem with death panels that will put a price on the head of someone who is just too expensive to keep alive. So cost is important only when the people are salvageable? Hypocrisy?

    To Twicker……I am a magazine junkie and a few months ago Newsweek covered how research is financed (and, the sad consequences of some aspects of it). I will send you the links to the real stats from the UK newspapers.

    David Allen is right about responsibility of parents (who seem to have no problem thinking the government/schools should do everything from educating, raising, giving shots, and feeding them three meals a day, then before and after care. The government is a type of Big Brother and when you remove the parents and place no accountability on people the results are rarely good).

    Gotta fly!

    • gzuckier

      I still don’t understand how the longer lifespans in Every Other Industrialized Country, most of which have some sort of universal health care, proves that “people are dying from it.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Author: Norman Wisdom
    Comment:
    ‘The result of this system (as close as we came to it in the United States) has been the greatest production, innovation, and improvement in standard of living the world has known.’

    That would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Of all the developed nations, the US has by far the greatest and most extreme inequality, which is getting even worse, which means many millions of American children are living below the poverty line. What’s more, the US has rapidly crumbling infrastructure. Are these marks of a great country?
    [end quote]

    Name a better country that you would consider living in. Let’s compare. What is your solution to poverty? If we don’t lay off the rich there will more poverty. Agreed? Did you read Castro’s recent comments? Socialism doesn’t work, and he just created more poverty with a massive lay-off because just about everyone there works for the government. It can’t be sustained. There is no Camelot.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Alina said: So why did we have to support the banks bailout with our tax money? Why wasn’t the capitalist theory applied in this instance?
    [end quote]

    One one level it was……look into how Pres. OBama and Emmanuel and the rest of his flock became millionaires (they have vested interests in capitalism). They need to protect Wall Street, although, there were some very persuasive arguments for TARP.

    This was out of the voters hands….often our representatives don’t even understand the Constitution…..that’s why there is a third party filled with Constitutionalists, and many in the Tea Party keep a copy of the Constitution around like a bible.
    God bless, Alice

    • Alina

      “One level it was……look into how Pres. OBama and Emmanuel and the rest of his flock became millionaires (they have vested interests in capitalism). They need to protect Wall Street”

      First, the whole deal was not crafted by Obama, but rather by his predecessor and the republicans in general. The “democrats” went along with it. After all, I’ve always said that Obama is the best republican president. You’re right about “they need to protect Wall Street” but “they” includes a lot more people than the couple you mentioned.

      “This was out of the voters hands….” Yes, just like everything else is.

      “…often our representatives don’t even understand the Constitution”

      I don’t know if I would call them “our” representative. Do you think that we have a true say on who gets elected? Also, it’s not that they don’t understand the Constitution, but rather they don’t care about it so much. That’s just for the masses.

      “…that’s why there is a third party filled with Constitutionalists, and many in the Tea Party keep a copy of the Constitution around like a bible.” I think that all we have in the states is 1 party that has 3 “options” with very small degrees of separation in between.

    • gzuckier

      Please give us more detail on how “Pres. OBama and Emmanuel and the rest of his flock became millionaires” as a result of the bank bailout, which was passed in October of 2008?

      • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        Go to google and look up the worth of OBama and Emmanuel and others, and how they got it (It is huge what they are worth, and much of it is from Wall Street….and then book sales, etc. Follow the money…it is easily found).
        I have a new iPad that I hate to post with, it fills in words and respells them, so I need to post something from Ann Coulter then read the book I purchased on iPads before I make anymore blunders. I was just trying to do my bit to keep the economy moving…..it was an altruistic purchase…..:)

  • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

    Want an even better illustration of the failure of socialized medicine, read some of the nightmare stories of dental care in the UK. It is common in the newspapers there to read of people who have resorted to pulling their own teeth, sometimes for the 10th or 11th time, because they cannot get proper dental care. If that is not enough perhaps Canada where a CT scan has an average wait of a month, yet an animal is guaranteed one in 24 hours. There are even more horror stories worse than these.

    I do not know what the answer is but I do know this, government run socialized medicine does not work. Look at the examples, Canada and the UK are not by any stretch of the imagination third world countries. If they cannot make it work why do we think we would have any more success. It seems to me that one of the definitions of stupid might be doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    • Jeff Taylor

      MIke, sadly the US has a much worse record in dental – about 25-30% of children and adults have untreated dental disease and several children have died from infections. As far as I know, we are the only country where people queue up at field hospitals designed for the Third World to get teeth pulled.

      • Alina

        Right on Jeff.

        Dental care is another luxury, right up there with health care. Go figure.

      • gzuckier

        Really; general availability of affordable dental care as an argument FOR the US healthcare system? We’ve definitely traveled out where the information highways don’t run any more. What next; the fact that Americans routinely live well past 100 years of age? That the average health of Americans is above average? That every American has his/her pick of highly qualified physicians ready to run to their side at any hour of night or day for pocket change?

      • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

        Jeff, back up your statement. That, with the exception of a disaster-hurricane for example, is a complete and utter falsehood. Are you just being lazy in not producing links or other data to support your statements or are your arguments so weak that you must resort to lies to support them?

        • Jeff Taylor

          Mike, I assume you know how to use Google – it’s easy to find the stats but I’ll do it for you.

          ‘Previously unreleased figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2003 and 2004, the most recent years with data available, 27 percent of children and 29 percent of adults had cavities going untreated. The level of untreated decay was the highest since the late 1980s and significantly higher than that found in a survey from 1999 to 2002.’
          http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/11/business/11decay.html

          ‘At least one in five U.S. children go without annual dental care and most states lack key policies to ensure access to cost-saving preventive treatments, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States.’
          http://www.drgarthpettit.com/2010/04/02/usa-dental-statistics/

          ‘About three-quarters (73 percent) of Americans under the age of 65 years had some type of dental coverage in 2008, but about 45 million had no coverage, according to a new report from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.’
          http://health.usnews.com/health-news/managing-your-healthcare/healthcare/articles/2010/06/09/1-in-4-americans-under-65-lacks-dental-insurance.html

          • http://Www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Jeff your post sorta leads us back to where we started…oh yes, curiously, I wondered if you read my question to you asking if you pay the 21% right off your paycheck a French citizen pays, then the taxes after that for the public option you like? Or do you have an American employer picking up any type of private care?

            The thing is I do not think dental care is a right…although….maybe in Britain….the government should consider it! :). In Ancient Egypt they disvovered people were dying from infected teeth (those mummies are sure revealing). I am just thinking aloud and wondering how many people I know who are suffering dental problems. It seems that somehow Americans are overall paying for braces, and dental care somehow. The dental schools near me take payment plans, and do excellent work.

            But we could always consider regulating Mountain Dew out of business, and the tobacco companies because it is proven they are both leading factors in creating toothless terrors!

          • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

            “As far as I know, we are the only country where people queue up at field hospitals designed for the Third World to get teeth pulled”

            Sorry, I should have made my post a bit clearer, back this statement up Jeff. This, in my opinion is nothing but pure hyperbole.

            Yes, I agree there are people in this country who do not have dental coverage and there are children who do not receive annual dental care. This is not a surprise to anyone. How many lack Dental insurance by choice, how many have the means for dental care but simply neglect it? Certainly there are also truly needy people here who do not receive the care they need but I do not think that the numbers approach what you would have us believe nor do people here “queue up at field hospitals designed for the Third World to get teeth pulled”. Again that is pure hyperbole. Perhaps you are confusing the socialist utopia you currently live in with the United States. Sorry, we are not that bad yet and if the elections go the right way next week the nation might yet be saved.

        • Jeff Taylor

          Mike,

          have a look at:

          http://www.theawl.com/2009/08/the-los-angeles-field-hospital-at-the-forum

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-sullivan/the-uninsured-line-up-for_b_245705.html

          RAM has been running field hospitals designed for developing countries in Virginia for 10 years, and also did one in LA. I’ve never heard of anything like this in France, UK, Germany etc.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Hi! A quick google search brought up this article, and there are tons more from NCPA. It’s a myth busting article, and there is more at the site. The media is so progressive, and often gets an agenda in mind and pushes the truth to the side (aka…JournoList and Ezra Klein):
    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba649
    10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care

    by Scott Atlas

    Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government rôle in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America’s health care system should be considered.

    Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

    Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2] Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

    Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3] Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

    Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4] Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

    Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
    Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
    More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
    Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).
    Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent). Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”[5]

    Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long – sometimes more than a year – to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.[6] All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.[7] In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.[8]

    Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”[9]

    Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).[10]

    Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K. Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade.[11] [See the table.] The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.[12]

    Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.[13] The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country.[14] Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined.[15] In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.[16] [See the table.]

    Conclusion. Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

    Scott W. Atlas, M.D., is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Stanford University Medical Center. A version of this article appeared previously in the February 18, 2009, Washington Times

    • Alina

      A couple more things:

      1) “a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent)”

      Should we then understand that the 17% uninsured and another 8.5% underinsured (and that’s only what’s being reported) are satisfied to their care?

      2) “Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined”

      Key word here is “residents” and there are many that were born and went to school somewhere else.

    • stitch

      Yes, the NCPA is a very objective organization. Clearly.

      • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        Stitch did you visit the link? It is highly footnoted (that is what the numbers in parenthesis means:)

        There is so much more and I can and will send some really interesting stats from The Wall Street Journal….I like to teach, and play librarian….but today I was at The Cleveland Clinic…it is a long tiring day…so please be patient with me (plus typing on this iPad with one finger typing is driving me batty…..but it is a labor of love :)

        • stitch

          Indeed, Alice, I did visit the link and the website,which is how I discovered how objective the perspective really is.

          The points may be footnoted, but that doesn’t guarantee that the overall post is objective. Selective use of research that supports one’s position, as Mr. (Dr.?) Atlas has done, does not mean that it reflects all the facts.

          Others have, indeed, posted several refutations and/or alternatives to these studies. There are many sources of information on healthcare besides the WSJ.

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            I answered this, but simply cannot figure out why some posts make it and others don’t. I confess to a sardonic…love of dark British humor…..so maybe that is not permissible here? Socialized medicine has not cured this malady yet…..but it is a wonderful coping mechanism.

            What I shared was it is not the WSJ who wrote those stats it was a world renown author. I am hesitant to say much more because posts do get through…even when it is using sarcasm and not personal.

            If there are links to a person I write to them privately, but the vast amount of posters here stay in disguise. It is a cyber medical masquerade :)

        • Alina

          Here we go again, Alice. You and I have gone at this before on other similar articles, but you always disregard any decent stats and instead post the most extreme, right-wing sources. Is it your opinion that these people that go through some serious hardship here in the USA should/do not count?

          http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/In-the-Literature/2008/Jun/How-Many-Are-Underinsured–Trends-Among-U-S–Adults–2003-and-2007.aspx

          http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20091015/collins_testimony.pdf

          http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/18/deaths.health.insurance/index.html

          http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/14/cancer-survivors-skipping-medical-care/

          Also, Kaiser Family Foundation reported that amongst people buying individual insurance (14 million), 26 pct reported having annual deductibles of $5,000 or more, and 6 pct had deductibles of $10,000 or more.
          “61 pct reported very or somewhat difficult to afford care.”
          They also had a 20 pct premium increase.

          KFF also reports on the premium increase from 1999 to 2009, which is 131 pct, while wages increased only 38 pct and the inflation 28 pct.

          From 2002 to 2010 the price for a 2 adults plan tripled, but this came with less benefits.

          What’s really your true motive for posting things that are just not accurate?

    • gzuckier

      You’ve got one point, subdivided into many; cancer care is better in the US. This is not something “myth busting” or “surprising”; it’s noted in all the serious comparisons of US health care with other countries’, and touting it as a challenging discovery is an indication that the author has not read any of these comparisons and/or is speaking to only those who have not read them.
      Ironically, when you similarly investigate the myth of flocks of deathly ill Canadians heading south for treatment, the only truth turns out to be that some provinces’ health care plans contract with certain hospitals within the US for certain things (like some cancers) and pay for their members’ treatment there. Much as some American insurers have begun sending their patients to third world facilities for treatment, following the lead of so many Americans who have been doing so to get treatment they could not afford in the US, even with insurance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        Wikipedia? Hmmm………I’ll pass. Myths of Canadians heading south? My husband lived in Canada and I live near the border…….guess those people are just figments of my imagination. I will tell them next time that denial is a great way to deal with a problem…..just come here to this board and see it……and then they can just deny they are sick, and stay home and get better. Ugh!

        I am at Cleveland Clinic a lot and it’s like an international airport there of limos and cabs bringing people in from all over the world, and many are Canadians. It must be something in the water I am drinking there…..or it’s just locals lying to me that they are Canadian and adding an “ay” at the end of their sentences. Gosh, I am enlightened.

        • gzuckier

          How do these Canadian refugees pay for their medical care in the US, then? The average American can’t pay for medical care in the US without a health insurance plan, and Canadians are less wealthy than Americans. I couldn’t afford a serious hospital stay without my insurance, could you? Are Canadians that much richer than Americans? Is it a result of their high taxes and nanny state?

          • Alice

            snip….[end quote]

            I will say that I would choose to get a job and refinance my house to pay for my daughter’s cancer operation right here in the US. And Cleveland Clinic offers assistance to those who make six figures, so the vast majority of patients can receive financial help.

            The Canadians at Cleveland Clinic being refugees? How did they pay? I will ask them next time while they catch a breath inbetween doing flips and cartwheels because they are so overjoyed at being at the Cleveland Clinic and not in Canada.

    • stitch

      Alice, here is a serious discussion about Dr. Scott’s article. It is very lengthy but brings up many of the concerns people have with his 10 point list. Hopefully this link will work:
      http://volokh.com/posts/1249160012.shtml

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        Thanks Stitch! I was at the surgeon’s today and am rushed, but I will make my way over there. I always appreciate serious debate that is well-rounded (that’s why I subscribe to liberal and conservative magazines. I just read an *almost* excellent article from a liberal in The New Republic. He left one important item out about the Constitution…but, otherwise, it was quite good).

  • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

    Great article Alice, thanks for posting it. I have to agree, in my opinion, the majority of the media, Television and Print are in bed with the liberals and do support the progressive agenda.

  • Jeff Taylor

    Alice:

    ‘Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1] Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.’

    You should be aware that this is all garbage. It’s an article put out by someone with no knowledge of statistics (and no knowledge of the difference between survival and mortality). If the figures were true then we’d see a Nobel Prize for the doctors that produced say those prostate figures. The actual differences between Western Europe (and also Canada and Australia) and the US in cancer outcomes are not great, while in several types of cancer other countries do better than the US. (And if you are looking at prostate, black Americans die at more than twice the rate of Europeans).

    • R.F.

      @ Jeff Taylor – Black people in general don’t live nearly as long. This is part of why America has a low relative life expectancy, because of their high population of minorities. As opposed to Europe where black people are a much lower percentage of their population.

      And from what I could find, UK mortality from prostate cancer per incident is about 3x that of the U.S.’s. Something like 36% vs. 12%. Quite a difference. No surprise because the U.S. is superior is technological advancements.

      • Jeff Taylor

        R.F,
        one reason black people have poorer health and less life expectancy is less access to healthcare. It is also the case that poor people of all races experience poorer access to care – this is well documented and in the US it is of course particularly acute.

        As for the prostate stats, you should be aware that incidence means the amount of detected disease. This is much higher per head in the US because of aggressive screening. But a large number of detected prostate cancers never become life-threatening. This makes the US survival rate look artificially high, but when you look at the actual mortality – the real numbers of men dying per say 10,000 of population – the US is about the same as the European average.

    • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

      Jeff, is this just your opinion? I assume so since, unlike Alice, you did not post a source for your comments. Dissenting opinion and debate is a good thing but just throwing out unsubstantiated statements as facts instead of opinion is not in keeping with the rules of fair debate.

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Hi! Jeff the problem is the facts are everywhere, just like the horror stories. You know part of me wishes it was not so….almost all my family and my husband’s whole family lives there. Many would be alive today if they had immigrated here.

  • imdoc

    It takes very little commitment of mind and spirit to vote someone else’s taxes for public entitlement programs. The less fortunate in society are ours as individuals to look after. Before public programs hospitals were often the mission of the churches. Many of those hospitals have name-only affiliation. This correlates to the rise of public programs in healthcare. Now the problem is much worse.

    • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      Okay….does this mean every time you see a beggar you stop and ask how you can help, or do you send him to the welfare office? Is it the beggar’s right to what is in my wallet, or my right to choose who and when I help? Do you ever assume the person should work? Or does your bleeding heart stop….listen, and help? That would go a long way towards walking out our talk.

  • http://www.homecareplus.ie Nikita

    Hey……..I am agree with your views as Mr. Mathews pointed out that people get old and no longer have an adequate income source to take care of their basic needs so it is good to think on it from early life from younger age and it force the persons to save their retirement through a government program that called as “Safety Net” a program of American Government. It will be helpful for you in old age for care home and your personal care of yourself and your loved one may be your spouse or any other family member.

    Thanks.

  • inchoate but earnest

    another Dr. Pho topic afflicted with “death by anecdote” (but thanks for all those tales, “Alice” – they’re most …. imaginative. And we’re still waiting for all those useful links to “proof” of the “case” you’ve mounted. But I digress).

    That no one here agrees on the “facts” concerning the condition of health care in the US confirms the fact perhaps most central: there’s very little useful information about what condition it’s in in the first place. By “useful” I mean verifiable, comprehensive, subject to effective analysis (among other basic qualities). In effect we are ALL suffering from “death by anecdote” because that’s how medicine is practiced here!

    • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      Imaginative? I gave one true tale….. so you have interacted with me before under a different anonymous name……now who tells tales? Want the obituary from my cousin, who is just another dead statistic, a real victim of the imaginary utopia the romantics want for others.
      Sigh! Write me privately at arobert6@Juno.com and I can fill your mailbox up with non-fiction…..sad realities.

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    The WSJ has some very well researched health care stats, so I am going to sum them up so the people who care enough about the reality and consequences will have a summation.  The quotes are from a witty writer, P. J. O’Rourke who coined the famous saying asking if you think healthcare is expensive, wait until it’s free. 

    There is a writer, Sally Pipes, who is President of the Pacific Research Institute think tank, and author of books and articles, and named by Forbes as one of the top 30 leading authors on this topic.   Obviously, for those who want the truth, I cannot share much here, so she would be worthwhile reading.  But I will share some quick facts and quips.

    Pipes notes the way stats are gathered for European countries and points out our higher fatalities from gun shots, and how in America they put premies in a category on their stats that other countries do not include.  Cancer survival in the states is proven…the argument is off the table…inarguable..some quick facts…in the states the five year survival rate from breast cancer ic 83.9%, only 69.7 in the UK.  You are 35% more likely to survive colon cancer here (my own mother in law is dead from a 2 cm growth they did not remove and we canny get a copy of the medical files…even a lawyer said it would be unlikely…she was treated in the UK two years ago, and had sepsis within two days of a minor procedure.  My cousin died from having her tubes tied, on and on…….).  Prostrate cancer survival here is 91.9%’ in France 73.7%, and 51.5% in the UK.

    Because of our sophisticated neo-natal units a baby has a much better survival rate here, and premies have a much better chance of survival here, but if they die they are counted as stillborns.  While in Switzerland a baby has to be 30 cm long to recounted as a stillborn death.  In France a child must be born breathing to be counted.

    I am out of time, but there is so much wrong with the socialized medicine mantra that sounds so great….yeah keep kicking those false stats around, and promoting a system that doesn’t work and then hope and pray the very system you helped denigrate doesn’t help you lose your own life or your own child’s.

         

    • Jeff Taylor

      You’re wrong Alice – the most recent UK five year survival rate for breast cancer is 82%, not very different from the US. You can check here:

      http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/breast/survival

      In fact the UK is one of the leading countries with a national mammography screening program.

      I’ve already posted about prostate cancer – the US five year survival is artificially high because of the screening program that picks up many cancers that are not life threatening. The screening program is also hugely controversial as it leads to many men having unnecessary procedures. The overall morality rate from prostate cancer is more or less the same in the US and Western Europe.

    • gzuckier

      Those who get their facts from the WSJ are condemned to repeat them….

      Unfortunately (for her), Ms. Pipes is not actually better at statistical analysis than professional epidemiologists, who at some point quite a while back considered whether statistics on infant mortality might in fact be blurred by a “better” system’s saving infants who would otherwise have been stillborn, only to have some of them die; therefore we have the Perinatal Mortality Ratio, which is the number of late fetal deaths plus infant deaths within seven days of birth per 1,000 live births; and the Feto-infant Mortality Rate, which is the number of late fetal deaths plus infant deaths within the first year of life, per 1,000 (live births plus late fetal deaths).

      “Only 31 countries have had the data necessary to produce infant mortality rates, perinatal mortality ratios, and feto-infant mortality rates since 1960. Among these countries, the U.S. ranking on all three measures has declined since the early 1960s (see Table 3). By the 1986-1988 period, the United States ranked 22nd on infant mortality, 20th on perinatal mortality, and 19th on feto-infant mortality.”
      -Factors Contributing to the Infant Mortality Ranking of the United States, Congressional Budget Office, February 1992

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson alice

        Factors Contributing to the Infant Mortality Ranking of the United States, Congressional Budget Office, February 1992
        [end quote]

        The post monster must be hungry again! :) I answered this, but don’t see it. Why are you quoting from 1992?

        • gzuckier

          Why 1992? Because the critique Ms. Pipes with her Brilliant Mind is bringing up now to show that Our HealthCare Is The Best HealthCare Rah Rah was proved false in 1992, and that’s not even the first time, it’s just the first time I saw it. And not only that, but the situation she’s “debunking” is actually getting worse with time. My question: why is Ms. Pipes saying stuff that was proved false 20 years ago?

          • Alice

            My question: why is Ms. Pipes saying stuff that was proved false 20 years ago?
            [end quote]

            Are you looking at what she is sharing about Obamacare and her recent research? Have you read her book? Read the Forbes magazine profile? The facts are there, but people are so into the Jane Austen plan of romanticized, socialized medicine, they are caught up in the emotions of a plan and not the realities……sometimes love stinks……and break ups hurt……and so it is with socialized medicine. People get hurt while we breathlessly advocate a broken type of relationship because it feels so good to do so.

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Jeff keep reading with an eye on the truth…not just trying to prove me wrong, the NHS was caught doctoring those stats last year. Have you read about the deep cuts to their budgets, the old equipment, did you read that the average wait time if you find a lump is around the four month mark? Then treatment? Good grief, I know of stories where they had to sell their home to get the latest drugs and then were refused. The link is on another board here at Kevin’s. If you want I can look it up and get you the documented horror stories, I am rushed to drive out to private school, but maybevI can get my phone to capture a signal and send.

    Bottomline….you want your wife or daughter treated there at great cost if you need the drugs not on the NIH list? My cousin found a lump. What an ordeal of worry for her while she waited and waited and waited.

    • Jeff Taylor

      ‘the NHS was caught doctoring those stats last year.’

      Sorry Alice but this is utter trash – where did you get that idea? If anything, the UK figures are much more reliable than the US because the US figures come from only about a quarter of the population and the quality of data varies among states.

      ‘the average wait time if you find a lump is around the four month mark’

      Also complete trash. The UK NHS has for some time had a guarantee that anyone referred by their family doctor will see a cancer specialist within 2 weeks.

      As for your anecdotes from right wing newspapers, for every one from Europe or the UK I can find 10 horror stories from the US. Any large healthcare system makes mistakes – a good example in the US is recently the horrendous misuse of radiation – but you don’t usually get to hear the good news, only the bad.

      • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        I gave you an American horror story….my daughter had an arrogant doctor at one of the world’s best hospitals….the Cleveland Clinic…..but if I was independently wealthy guess where I would be? Not in the UK, my husband and I have been the victim of their dirty sheets. The majority of doctors there pay extra for private insurance. I would choose nowhere else in the whole world for treatment but the good old USA…..the best place on God’s green earth!

        Instead of playing kill the messenger go to the big UK newspapers and read the horror stories, go there and experience it yourself and get your own cancer treated there (that is if the wait time doesn’t kill you….that statement is inarguable). I can fill this board up with firsthand stories of budgeted healthcare stories. But whatever I send you are going to scream out a Big Bollocks
        In response! :)

        • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

          Jeff …..you are a Brit?

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Radiation may be misused. I have two kids who had it and from where I am sitting it was disastrous, but they use it in the UK too. Our cousin in the UK was given chemotherapy and the NIH refused him the anti-nausea drug, because it is not on their list…too expensive. Eventually, after much suffering his private insurance covered it. Oops…..I need to tell his grieving wife he is an anecdote, not a victim of a budgeting problem.

            Jeff did you not stumble upon the actual NIH report about abuses, etc. Their own confession?

          • Jeff Taylor

            No – I’m American but currently live in France and have lived in the UK. I work in healthcare. Your extreme bias against European healthcare makes no sense to me. The acid test I guess is if you were to ask the Brits or the French if they’d prefer a totally private system where they were paying 2-3 times as much with all the insecurity that would involve, what do you think their answer would be? I think you need to kick your diet of poisonous propaganda and anecdotes culled from Fox and so on and recognise that many of the world’s leading healthcare institutions are in Europe, and they ‘unarguably’ have a huge lead in areas such as primary care and public health.

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            But as a type of Franco-American are you paying the straight up 21% right off your earnings the usual French pay before the rest of the taxes? Or are you like my friend who was a diplomat in England who used the same OB as Princess Diane and still claims that even with privileges like that there is nowhere else in the world she wants her daughter’s lung problems treated. Healthy people like socialized medicine, particularly romantics:)

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            Oh yes, I do not watch Fox News….no cable TV in my home….I am too much of a literature lover…and we homeschool (private school is part time and for sports).

            I do not watch the government sponsored BBC either, because it is sliced up tp paint a picture….maybe it should be financed under the arts section of public finance? :)

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    This is where we are heading…there is so much more, but I am rushed, and I want to type up the O’Rourke quotes and more WSJ stats. This is just a tiny bit of what letting the government run out life and health care as well as the DMV is run.
    The famous lawyer, author Chuck Colson has a ton of documented stuff on his site:

    In the midst of the very heated debate going on about health care reform, one thing is becoming clearer and clearer—most Americans do not trust the government to make health care decisions for themselves or their families.

    You don’t have to look far to see that their mistrust is well founded. Check out the British press virtually any day online, and you will find horror story after horror story about what can happen when the power of life and death is handed over to a government bureaucracy.

    I’ve spoken before about Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (and I’ve also pointed out the sinister irony of that organization’s acronym, NICE, which was the center of evil in C.S. Lewis’s famous novel That Hideous Strength). NICE and similar agencies are setting health-care guidelines for the British National Health Service that are leading directly to a devaluing of human life.

    Take the story of Bruce Hardy, who was denied the expensive cancer treatment his doctor wanted him to undergo. He was not even given the chance to pay for part of the treatment himself.

    Just this month, Rosemary Munkenbeck told the Daily Telegraph that doctors withdrew fluids and drugs from her father elderly father, Eric Troake, after he suffered a stroke. He appears to have been treated according to a National Health Service “pathway scheme” for dying patients—even though it was not clear that he was actually dying, and despite having said that he wanted to live to be 100 if he could.

    “[Doctors] say my sister and I are cruel and are trying to hold on to our father,” Munkenbeck said. “But this man has a right to life….He’s not suffering from a terminal illness, he just had a stroke. We just feel they decided from the beginning that he’s 95 so they’ve written him off.”

    And the Daily Mail recently carried the story of Sarah Capewell and her son, Jayden, who was left to die by doctors because he was born at 21 weeks and five days. Had he been born only two days later, Jayden would have been given medical assistance and might have survived. But British government guidelines for National Health Service hospitals state: “If gestational age is certain and less than [22 weeks] it would be considered in the best interests of the baby, and standard practice, for resuscitation not to be carried out.”

    Though Jayden, delivered by a midwife, was breathing on his own and moving his limbs, doctors refused to treat or even see him. Capewell says she said to one doctor, “You have got to help,” and he responded, “No, we don’t.”

    What You Can Do:
    Volunteer in this Area
    Donate to this Initiative

    Some lives may indeed be impossible to save. But what we have here is a government bureaucracy that has the power to determine—as a matter of policy—not to save lives that could be saved. In essence, determining whose life is worth the expense.

    The proper, biblical role of government is to protect the well-being of its citizens—to provide security and promote justice, not to usher them into the next world by denying them medical care.

    Do we need health care reform? Of course we do; I’ve said so before. But as Christians, we must not assent to giving unaccountable bureaucrats the power to determine the value of a human life—or to withhold medical care from those whose survival is somehow deemed outside the national interest.

  • Amanda

    Stitch – Here is a clear example of how much money is spent on the boarder of the US and Mexico. No, we can not turn people in need away, but why should we, the taxpayers foot the bill? Even if these people tried to pay something into the system or buy a health care policy in the US….our costs are going to continue to rise. Hospitals provide charity care, yes, but much of it is re-embursed by the federal government as an incentive to continue to help provide charity care…..hense…our taxes…..

    http://www.lvrj.com/news/more-illegal-immigrants-getting-emergency-treatment-at-umc-82579442.html

    • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

      Very true Amanda and you might also point out that what the feds pay is never near what is spent and they also never pay on a timely basis. Take a look at the hospitals along the border, people flock there with the sole purpose of receiving health care they have no intention whatsoever of paying for, and not just the indigent I suspect. Not to mention the pregnant women who come to the US to give birth to an anchor baby and then feed off the system for years. More than one hospital on the border has closed for these very reasons.

      “In August, Jon Summers, a spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the senator promised to find more funding to aid hospitals that help the indigent.”

      Don’t you just love Harry Reid’s solution to the problem, tax the American people even more.

      • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        Not sure who is still reading, but there is an excellent article today about why we do not want to duplicate the European model. Sure it is like using charge cards and like the prodigal son living really well….for awhile….then it is payment time…..while the American way is to file bankruptcy and not pay for your good times….the government either has tax revenue or they borrow.

        I would like to cure world hunger….but I can’t…. I only have xxx amount of dollars to help, and so it with the government. It is a trough….and too many people are feeding at it. The European studies council just released statements about all the cuts it will take to dig out. Cuts mean less people get help….so some are helped, more are hurt.

        This is from The American Enterprise Institute, and they have some excellent duties….that are interesting and well studied.

        Here a great snippet with a URL:http://american.com/archive/2009/march-2009/the-europe-syndrome-and-the-challenge-to-american-exceptionalism

        The Europe Syndrome and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism

        My argument is drawn from Federalist Paper No. 62, probably written by James Madison: “A good government implies two things: first, fidelity to the object of government, which is the happiness of the people; secondly, a knowledge of the means by which that object can be best attained.” Note the word: happiness. Not prosperity. Not security. Not equality. Happiness, which the Founders used in its Aristotelian sense of lasting and justified satisfaction with life as a whole.

        I have two points to make. First, I will argue that the European model is fundamentally flawed because, despite its material successes, it is not suited to the way that human beings flourish—it does not conduce to Aristotelian happiness. Second, I will argue that 21st-century science will prove me right.
         
         First, the problem with the European model, namely: It drains too much of the life from life. And that statement applies as much to the lives of janitors—even more to the lives of janitors—as it does to the lives of CEOs.

        • http://www.aneurysmsupport.com/ Mike

          Thanks Alice for the link. It seems that the European system suffering widespread failure. I guess they have at last run out of other people’s money. The UK military seems to be getting cut particularly hard. Their Nimrods have been cut and they will have to rely on the French to help monitor the English coast. Their new carrier due in 2016 did not get cut but the Harrier did so they will have a brand new carrier with no jets. So, untill they can manage to get fighters for it they plan to use helicoptors.

          You can read about it here
          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321201/Defence-cuts-latest-Two-carriers-jet-fighters-iconic-Harrier-axed.html

    • stitch

      Amanda, I tried to post a reply the other night but it didn’t take. Trying again.

      I have to admit that I wasn’t considering this kind of emergency care when I made my first post, so I apologize. But this is really where it gets sticky, when it has to do with dialysis for undocumented people, and it has to do with a whole mess of regulatory factors.

      As is pointed out in the article, hospitals are required, under EMTALA, to assess and treat life-threatening problems for people who come to the ED, regardless of ability to pay. What it doesn’t mention (or at least as I remember, because it was several days ago that I read your article) is that almost all dialysis is covered by Medicare in the US, except where the person is not eliglble for Medicare – and the biggest group here is going to be people who are here illegally. In most cases, hospitals do not inquire as to a person’s immigration status, and in some states they are disallowed from doing so; in any case, the hospitals still fall under EMTALA, so the patients get treated.

      It is when they go to submit for reimbursement that it becomes apparent who is here legally and who is not; and then, the hospital is left holding the bill. Now, you can call this charity care, but it is, frankly, coerced charity care, not truly “charity.” Technically speaking.

      I was struck by one of the anecdotes in the story, that of a migrant worker who became ill while returning home to Mexico and went to a hospital where it was determined that he was in renal failure. I would point out that it is entirely possible he was here legally on as a migrant worker, although just as possible that he didn’t have that legal paperwork; he had, however, been working and contributing, presumably. Another anecdote I personally heard from a colleague recently was that of a person who was visiting family from Africa, suffered and unexpected and catastrophic health event, wound up overstaying the travel visa and therefore becoming illegal, and winding up in the hospital for many many months as this was all sorted out.

      Of course, once again, the plural of anecdote is not data.

      Thank you for the article. It does bring up some important issues that need to be considered in all of this. I’ll just ask: do we want to get rid of EMTALA? Do we want to deny care to people who come to our country, for whatever reason? Just questions. I have no answers.

  • HJ

    “Probably both arguments have merit, and the answer is somewhere in the middle. ”

    Perhaps it is time to make a choice.

    Everyone is entitled to health care and we all pitch in to make sure that happens-infringe on the grasshoppers individual rights to protect the group.

    OR

    Everyone is responsible for their own care and health care providers have no obligation to treat those without means. Let the grasshopper be personally responsible even if it means death.

    • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      Hi! These are too simplistic ti tackle. I do not believe either side wants anyone to suffer. I subscribe to National Review and thought this conservative summed up the way the two sides view the same problem:

      Death panels
      http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/244934/non-demagogic-disquisition-death-panels-avik-roy

      From the conservative point of view, liberals often tend to see an injustice or inequity in the world, pass a law to fix the inequity, and move on to the next problem. Conservatives think of themselves as approaching the same policy problems with pessimism and skepticism, because they are trying to look two moves ahead: what incentives will the new law distort? What new injustices or inequities will be triggered by these reforms?

      This is not to say that liberals don’t try to think about the long-term consequences of their proposed reforms. They do. But it is to say that conservatives worry much more about this problem—the problem of what laws will be written in the future to address the unanticipated problems of laws written in the present. Liberals tend to be much less concerned about unintended consequences, and are more confident in their abilities to promulgate effective government action.

      Snip….more at the above URL with a comments section

      • Alina

        “Conservatives .. are trying to look two moves ahead”

        and here are the two moves they think about:
        1) have they hit bottom yet?
        2) how much more money can we squeeze out of them?

      • HJ

        RE: Death Panels

        We currently don’t limit someone’s ability to get health care if they have the money to pay for it. So we aren’t talking about the government deciding who lives and who dies-just who pays for it. So we don’t want the government to spend money wisely?

        A market-based health care system has it’s own death panel, not based on need or probability of success. So we want the free market to decide who gets care?

        • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

          What? That is hypocrisy to the fullest! Your whole argument is based on your belief that everyone has a right to healthcare and those who do not want to pay are selfish or greedy ( depending on what previous board the posts are on), Do you realize you are advocating a price on life? That means your whole argument has just been destroyed by your own ideology about cost.

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Hi! Since Sally Pipes is a leading expert here is a bit more of her research that proves my point and the research is quoted, not just me getting my knickers in a twist. :)

    Okay, where is she wrong? Or for that matter anything said here?

    **********************************
    We hear a lot about how wonderful it is that the Canadians or the British or the Swedes get free medical treatment because the government runs the system. But we don’t hear much about the quality of that medical care.

    We don’t hear about more than 4,000 expectant mothers who gave birth inside a hospital, but not in the maternity ward, in Britain in just one year. They had their babies in hallways, bathrooms and even elevators.

    British newspapers have for years carried stories about the neglect of patients under the National Health Service, of which this is just one. When nurses don’t get around to taking a pregnant woman to the maternity ward in time, the baby doesn’t wait.     

    But the American media don’t tell you about such things when they are gushing over the wonders of “universal health care” that will “bring down the cost of medical care.”

    Instead, the media spin is that various countries with government-run medical systems have life expectancies that are as long as ours, or longer. That is very clever as media spin, if you don’t bother to stop and think about it.

    Author Sally Pipes did bother to stop and think about it in her book, “The Truth About ObamaCare.” She points out that medical care is just one of the factors in life expectancy.

    She cites a study by Professors Ohsfeldt and Schneider at the University of Iowa, which shows that, if you leave out people who are victims of homicide or who die in automobile accidents, Americans live longer than people in any other Western country.

    Doctors do not prevent homicides or car crashes. In the things that doctors can affect, such as the survival rates of cancer patients, the United States leads the world.

    Americans get the latest pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes years before those drugs are available to people in Britain or in other countries where the government runs the medical system. Why? Because the latest drugs cost more and it is cheaper to let people die.

    The media have often said that we have higher infant mortality rates than other countries with government medical care systems. But we count every baby that dies and other countries do not. If the media don’t tell you that, so much the better for ObamaCare.

    But is life and death something to play spin games about?

    • gzuckier

      Again, WSJ stats are not something you want to stake your life on.

      For instance;
      ” if you leave out people who are victims of homicide or who die in automobile accidents, Americans live longer than people in any other Western country.”
      How does that match the well established stats that all the “liberals” are upset about, that the infant mortality and childhood mortality are worst in the US of all the countries; or vice versa, that the US performs worst at young ages and gets better as you get older, until it finally is “best in the world” when you are > 70? (i.e. Medicare, i.e. government health care)? Are all those babies getting into car accidents because we let them drive? Or are they homicide victims, some sort of gang/drug thing?

      “The United States had about 2.5 times the average years of potential life lost due to diabetes: 101 years per 1,000 people compared with the average of 39 years per 1,000 people.”
      -Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2006

      Americans on kidney dialysis have a mortality rate of 23% compared with 15% in Europe and 9% in Japan, according to a May 2002 report in JAMA.

      Is that because diabetics and kidney dialysis patients are more likely to get into accidents or be homicide victims? (Unlike cancer patients, presumably).

      This all fits what most everybody familiar with the US healthcare system knows; that the system rewards, both finanically and with prestige, expensive heroic medicine that saves dying octogenarians for another few years, or few months, and not simple actions with huge bang for the buck, like prenatal vitamins (recent studies seeming to say proper prenatal nutrition has lifelong effects). So, sure, we do a great job on cancer treatment, because that’s a Big Deal, just ask anybody on the street; but prenatal care, kidney dialysis, diabetes, that’s routine boring stuff. We don’t want to waste our resources providing motivation to do more/better on that stuff, nobody cares about it; just ask anybody on the street.

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

        We don’t want to waste our resources providing motivation to do more/better on that stuff, nobody cares about it; just ask anybody on the street.
        [end quote]

        Well you just asked anybody on the cyber-highway, so I’ll answer…….if people don’t have the personal depth to care, and in many ways our government rewards irresponsible behavior and immorality, what do you suggest?

        • gzuckier

          The government subsidizing prenatal vitamins, retnal exams for diabetics, and kidney dialysis does not equate to “our government rewards irresponsible behavior and immorality”. These folks don’t deserve to grow up stunted and unhealthy their whole life, go blind, or die as punishment for their misdeeds, nor do they deserve to risk these fates on whether “real Americans” who have Earned Their Success And Health happen to take an interest and throw a few coins in their direction as they sit on the street with their hats in their hands.

          • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

            The government subsidizing prenatal vitamins, retnal exams for diabetics, and kidney dialysis does not equate  to “our government rewards irresponsible behavior and immorality”. [end quote]

            Hmmm……when did taking vitamins become immoral behavior? :)

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Just a short snippet from the director of the NHS with some other firsthand reports. The comments section is filled with eyewitness terror stories. And take into account the UK is about as big as Pennsylvania and New York, so you can’t accurately do a headcount:

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31173

    It has been described by the National Health Service’s medical director as a “gross and terrible breach of trust” of patients, though why he should be so shocked is anybody’s guess. It’s not as though this sort of thing hasn’t happened in Britain’s magnificent “free” healthcare system many, many times before

    This, remember, is the “service” so poor that 55 per cent of senior doctors take out private medical insurance so they don’t have to use it; the one where one in 300 hospital deaths is the result of a patient contracting an infection completely unrelated to the one they came in to have treated; where the cancer survival rates are the worst in the civilized world; where more patients die in hospital in a year — 40,000 — than were killed in the 2006 Iraqi civil war.

    • Alina

      “…the 2006 Iraqi civil war.”

      Interesting, is that what you guys call it now, civil war? If that’s the case why have the US tax payers been forced to spend $900 billion on this war? BTW, it’s nothing “civil” about it and I don’t mean that in the social sense…

      Since the US numbers always seem to “escape” you, there are 99,000 people dying annually from hospital acquired infections.

  • gzuckier

    Anyway, the bottom line is, that we do consider “healthcare a right”; as even the naysayers point out, we do treat sick people who seek care, even if they can’t pay. What is in question is who pays for this spotty and disorganized universal healthcare? The answer currently being, a little bit from the government, but mostly it’s just tacked on to all the other bills from hospital, and nobody else.

    Although there are a few who insist that this is a mistake and people who do not present at a medical facility with evidence of ability to cover the bills should be left to die, most opponents of universal care seem to think that this care is currently free by some sort of magic process; whereas actually explicitly organizing a relatively fair system for the general population to pay for it rather than just those with the bad luck of going to that hospital would be oppressive tyranny.

    The question isn’t really whether there is a right to healthcare; that’s in place. The question is whether we can pretend it doesn’t cost anything.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson alice

      The question isn’t really whether there is a right to healthcare; that’s in place. The question is whether we can pretend it doesn’t cost anything [end quote]

      That’s not the question. That question is answered…..it’s a fallacy and history bears this out with the studies on socialism and the organizations that study the European Syndrome.

      The question is if we will vote responsibly and get rid of legislation that goes beyond my very own “rights”.

      The question is if stomping on my rights will set a precedent for a type of totalitarian type of government, and the next question is how to stop that.

      The question is how to help people best without messing around with the Constitution. When legislators do that it doesn’t mean the end justifies the means. It’s alarming.

      The question is how do we educate a younger generation raised on history re-written to understand just important the Constitution is.

      The question is how to get people to invest themselves and stop looking to the government and unfair taxation.

      So many more questions that go far and beyond the false assumption you suggested. But these are good starters. What do you do with people who don’t even understand the basics of government, why our form is best, and keep trying to play humitarian without looking at the facts. They actually want a model that is breaking the back of other countries, and killing people at a larger percentage……and I really believe they want to look good in the process.

      • gzuckier

        So, you would therefore advocate that hospitals change over to refrain from treating people until payment has been arranged? Since the “system” we have now just picks people quasirandomly to cover the costs of those who can’t pay? I would recommend having your medical insurance number tattooed in several places on your body, in case you get hit by a bus and end up in the ER unconscious.

        • Alice

          I would recommend having your medical insurance number tattooed in several places on your body, in case you get hit by a bus and end up in the ER unconscious.
          [end quote]

          Advocating the sign of the beast? Nefffer! :)

          Actually, you are wrong about how the system works. The taxpayers are already paying plenty, and since you like socialized medicine how come we can’t use that same amount of money and make the quality less and let the people who really, really want socialized medicine sign up that they don’t mind if their child has to wait for a test that will tell the anxious parents if their child has cancer or not (knowing if the kid does have cancer it will spread during that time). Then they can be on the list for those who don’t mind waiting to have the cancer yanked out.

          That way all you truly altruistic people can get your socialized, less quality care you want so badly, the uninsured will get care, and the rest of us can get the good care we have become accustomed to. It is great to wax so eloquently until it hits home. What you promote hurts people, particularly those where time is essential to their even living beyond the wait list. Some need to make a bucket list while waiting because the very wait will kill them.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    Since the US numbers always seem to “escape” you, there are 99,000 people dying annually from hospital acquired infections. [end quote]

    And what is that percentage compared to the UK?

    Alina I am going to have let some of your ad hominen posts go because I am sincere here…….they just aren’t computing. I don’t have that sort of time. Hopefully, someone on that level can pitch in and help you figure this out in a better manner than I have been able to. God knows I tried.

    • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

      Has anyone seen the new film; Never Let Me Go
      It is about the cost of a human utopia

      A snippet from a review:

      Deep inside, I think, we instinctively realize just how willing we are to jettison our ethics whenever science or technology or government offers us a chance at a better future for ourselves. Sure, many Germans thought, Hitler was being nasty to the Jews, but he created jobs and fixed the German economy, right? Sure, we can cure diseases using human embryos, but it’s for the greater good, right?

      Just so long as someone else pays the price.
      Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go is a tragedy because it’s a story told from the viewpoint of the exploited ones. And in the story, this group has been carefully conditioned not to rebel against their own exploitation. On the contrary, they believe they’re serving the greater good, and despite their suffering, they don’t try to escape.

  • imdoc

    “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are supposed to be inalienable rights”…

    I have heard all this before. The argument is that people cannot exercise such rights unless we have guaranteed healthcare from the government. The fallacy here is that the principles stated by the Founding Fathers are natural rights, that is to say they are restrictions of government power over the individual, not entitlements. There is also this liberal espoused notion that wealth is merely distributed and therefore wealth inequality connotes some moral implication. How about considering that ‘wealth’ in general is largely created – by the efforts of individuals? In the U.S. that becomes the property of that individual. I realize the idea of personal property is abhorrent to socialists, but that is the way it is here.

  • imdoc

    HJ:
    “Perhaps it is time to make a choice.

    Everyone is entitled to health care and we all pitch in to make sure that happens-infringe on the grasshoppers individual rights to protect the group.

    OR

    Everyone is responsible for their own care and health care providers have no obligation to treat those without means. Let the grasshopper be personally responsible even if it means death.”

    There is another option:
    Everyone is responsible for their own care and health care providers have no obligation to treat those without means. Charities and donations provide for those who can’t ( and I mean ‘can’t’ not won’t…) Stealing from the ants to give to the grasshopper is not the moral high ground. Look around and you will see a lot of industrious but charitable ants in this country. What the grasshoppers don’t like is the ants expect them to pull some of the load if they can…

    • HJ

      “Everyone is responsible for their own care and health care providers have no obligation to treat those without means”

      This is option 2, isn’t it? Of course someone can donate time or money to help someone.

  • http://Www.Twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    The liberal site Salon.com just reposted an article from The Washington Times against Obamacare. By the end of the day there should be a lot of comments. Also, the Atlantic has a big article on Ron Paul, and a very interesting article about doctors and the lies of data from research. Research that most doctors rely on may not be accurate because the clinical studies are a stacked deck. An interesting, disturbing read that leaves you filled with curiosity about the truth…disturbed with how in the world to find it…but vital…the same issue has an article about open conversation on the web…the agendas and lies. Good reading….yet the authors have placed themselves in peril of being on the same level of their adversaries. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/21/we-are-witnessing-the-unmistakable-collapse-of-an-/

    • Alina

      Thanks for a great laugh, Alice! You guys come up with some hilarious stuff. Who needs cable?

      “this president to force Obamacare, the government takeover of the finest health care system in the world, against the clear will of “we the people” while turning his back on the free-market principles that once made us the most prosperous nation on earth.”

      What? The bill has been written for the insurance companies, but we get to call this a “government take-over” and “the end of the free-market?” That’s rich!

      “…should not be pleasing to any patriot regardless of his or her political leanings.”

      Yes, to prove our patriotism and belief in the “free-market” system, I vote that we all donate our salary to the insurance companies and pledge that we will not use this healthcare system ever again. After all, remember we’re in charge of our own health!

      “And businesses already are finding they can no longer provide the same insurance policies to their employees that they had before Obamacare.”

      Say what? Companies will actually change their grandfathered plans which are exempt from many of the new clauses because of…what exactly?

      • http://blog.headache-treatment-options.com/appliedobjectivism/ David Allen, MD

        Alina,

        McDonalds and Caterpillar are already feeling the damage of the health care bill. Many other companies are to follow:

        http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/10/25/firms_could_drop_health_plans_governor_warns/

        • Alina

          Thanks for the article, David, but I have to ask…have you actually read it?

          If my memory serves me well, the whole thing with taxing employers was McCain’s agenda and he spoke about it quite extensively during the last pres campaign.

          I’m not seeing any ref to McDonald’s and Caterpillar so what is the “damage they are already feeling?”

          Quite frankly McDonald’s should be more worry about the awful food they serve and how they have and continue to contribute to the rise of obesity here and around the world.

          Fact is that companies don’t have to change anything right now because their plans are grandfathered. Also, the fact is that insurance companies have been ripping us off for many, many years with premiums going up crazy rates every year while at the same time they kept taking away more and more benefits.

          The problem that I have with this healthcare law is that it was written by and for the insurance companies. Because of this, the law did not addressed the most important thing out of all – the obscene prices that we’re being charged for substandard quality.

          I personally would prefer to have a system like in Canada, UK, Germany, France, etc. In Germany for example they pay 10 Euros per quarter and they can go to the doctor as many times as they need to. The hospital copay is 10 Euros per day. Where do you ever get that here? With all this doctors still make an average of 165,000 Euros per year. How come they can do it but we can’t?

          • Alice

            Alina writes: Thanks for the article, David, but I have to ask…have you actually read it?

            If my memory serves me well, the whole thing with taxing employers was McCain’s agenda and he spoke about it quite extensively during the last pres campaign.

            I’m not seeing any ref to McDonald’s and Caterpillar so what is the “damage they are already feeling?”

            [end quote]

            By your own words you show that your memory isn’t serving you right, you aren’t seeing the plain facts, and you continually skim facts then play kill the messenger.

            Everything is a right-wing conspiracy, and anyone who disagrees.

            You desire cheap care, not good-quality care……therefore, more people will be hurt. You know I’m thinking after hurricanes and natural disasters in other countries the doctors who fly down have to learn how to use drills instead of surgical instruments, how to do surgery in tents, etc. So, let’s use the plan you advocate….the cheap one for just a few Euros and watch animals get better treatment because vets stay privatized (that crude word that socialists hate).

            You know we could probably save a whole lot of money if we get rid of anesthesiologists and just have the patients drink some whiskey and saw off legs with the same saws they used on trees. It works some of the time……same as socialized medicine. Oh yes…..I forgot…..the Civil War was a right-wing conspiracy…it didn’t really happen…..the reporters worked for The Washington Times….disregard those horror stories.

            I do not want to be knee-capped. I have had two children with cancer and even with the mistakes their chances of survival are far better here in the US. Promoting a cheap system with wait times, old equipment and prices on our heads is nothing short of hypocrisy for those who want to feel good promoting it.

            According to some the insurance companies are the Great Satan of our time….because the conspirators claim the CEO’s salaries should be cut, the healthcare bill was supposedly wrote just for them to profit (and they don’t realize that eventually they will be hurt more than help). So, what do the socialists promote? Regulating companies to the point they go out of business. Who does that help? I don’t want the government regulating my healthcare. They don’t run things well, and people still profit when the government runs things. It bothers me when people proclaim the socialist manifesto and stomp all over innovation and research that could save lives (because they don’t want someone to become a millionaire…yeah, so your ideology can kill people just so someone doesn’t strike it rich). Don’t look at the wait times and healing rates that go down, but because of their Marxist type of hatred for big money they don’t understand the repercussions and refuse to study history and see that socialism isn’t pragmatic.

            Ugh……..I hope these people aren’t ever really sick in one of the countries they endorse. Ask a tourist who gets sick in the UK (I pointed you to the Human Events link where tourists do discuss what they witnessed there), or as a tourist who gave testimony to having a heart attack in Spain, etc. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of for those of us who are used to a much superior, yet flawed American system.

      • Alice

        Alina have you really read the bill? The Legislative Liaison where I volunteer has read it ten times. I can direct you to her video about it, and it is about much more than putting insurance companies out of business (which may be an end result you seem to miss).

        You are so hung up on the CEO’s making huge profits, that sometimes I fear you aren’t seeing the forest for the insurance tree.

        I would suggest you at the very least read The Cato Institutes 52 page free pdf. You can rally that it’s a right-wing institution, but it’s clear you don’t truly understand all the healthcare legislatiion will entail. Sure there are some perks amidst it, but it is a horrible bill.

        I gave the link to the Washington Times article against the bill. Is that now a right-wing organization to? Is everyone who speaks out against the bill a right-winger? Because polls show that isn’t true? Why did today’s news report that we have a 36 year low in trust (ABC News….and other liberal organizations reported it so you won’t think it’s all a right winger conspiracy) in the government and Americans are simply sick and tired of big government……which is odd considering we have more people than ever eating at the trough. So, it’s even more revealing than it appears on the surface.

        This is why I said last week I give up with the ad hominem you send, because I lack time.

        • Alina

          “Sure there are some perks amidst it, but it is a horrible bill.”

          I’m not sure if I would use the word “some” – something else maybe….

          The part with the horrible bill…now this is something we can agree on, although for very different reasons. This bill doesn’t do much for the average Joe but rather is padding the pockets of insurance companies once again.

          “….Washington Times – Is that now a right-wing organization to?”

          You’re kidding, right? Maybe not a RW organization, but definitely a RW publication.

          Consider reading the legislation yourself rather than just trust others take on it….

  • gzuckier

    Obamacare: the term used for the healthcare bill devised by Republicans Bob Dole and Howard Baker as well as Democrat and former healthcare industry lobbyist Tom Daschle, in order to emphasize how socialist it is.

    • Alice

      I thought Rush Limbaugh coined the term “Obamacare”? I am spending hours-upon-hours trying to figure out if it’s one word or two though……..hmmmm……a mystery of grand proportions..

  • Alice

    As for Ran Paul’s involvement with medicare, it sounds like you feel Rand Paul’s integrity has been compromised. I agree. [end quote]

    Hi! I have a nice iPad app for the liberal lollipop site NPR (in the news over the firing of Juan Williams for being a moderate Fox News commentator……..who committed the terrorist act on his own career by speaking about his fear of being blown up by a Muslim). Anyhoo…..I am pretty sure Rand Paul addressed this concern this week and corrected it?

    I just lack time to track it down, but I remember seeing his picture and a heading about his trying to fix this. Sorry I can’t be more precise, but I just wanted to post for those who want the truth. I think Fox News covered the Conway/Paul debate, but I just can’t keep it all straight. I thought Paul wanted a $2000 deductible on Medicare?

  • Alice

    and former healthcare industry lobbyist Tom Daschle, in order to emphasize how socialist it is.
    [end quote]

    Daschle has an interesting interview in US News and World Report. He has made so much money off the healthcare industry, but realized the fallacy of the “rights” argument and in this interview says it’s our “responsibility”. How about he just pays his taxes on time, and the other liberals and we can give some people the healthcare they “deserve”? To talk about societies responsibilities from people who don’t even think paying their taxes is important is just a bit too hypocritical for me. Talk is cheap.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice

    I am so rushed I really shouldn’t post, but I wondered if some of the posters who support socialized medicine would look at the country they want to duplicate and look at their defense budget and how much American money sustains/sustained them. Just a curious question I don’t really have the answer to, but feel certain the answer is out there. I know the US has helped the UK so much, and Germany, etc. no wonder they had some excess money to blow.

Most Popular