Healthcare Around The World

Surprisingly, many people still don’t know that America is the only country in the developed world without universal government-supported healthcare. We alone allow entire classes of citizens to simply fall through the cracks, for whom waiting for surgery is a non-issue and a single bad turn can wipe out the life savings, eat the house and leave you bankrupt. An astonishing number of Americans either cannot afford coverage or due to actuarial decisions by the insurance biz cannot find it at any cost.

In that light this rundown of western healthcare systems by a writer at Daily Kos is extremely interesting. Take the example of Taiwan:

Taiwan enacted its single-payer national health insurance program in 1995; in all estimates, it has been very successful. Taiwan enacted the program (from multiple insurance companies, like the United States) to the single-payer system with no measurable increase in costs, while insuring more than 8 million Taiwanese citizens who previously lacked insurance. While utilization did increase, its costs were largely offset by the enormous savings under single-payer. Taiwan also did not report any increase in queues or waits for services.

Huh. Taiwan must have some unique socioeconomic factors that prevented those rightwing doomsday scenarios from materializing, right? Actually I doubt it. If every developed country on Earth can provide a similar level of care to each citizen and for less money than we pay then odds are very good that we can do it too. Our problems simply aren’t that unique.

This blurb also deserves a mention:

The most highly-privatized system in Europe is probably Switzerland. Even there, private insurance companies are required by law to be nonprofit, their premiums, benefit structures and plans are set by the government, they are required to community-rate (i.e. they are not allowed to screen out the sick and deny them coverage, the fundamental way that U.S. insurance companies make money), and – get this – if one of them happens to enroll a healthier population and make more money, they have to give it away to the companies that made less.

Can you imagine U.S. health insurance companies being any more likely to go for that than for single-payer? They might as well go out of business! The idea that a system like that is going to make a proposal more “politically feasible” is totally ridiculous.

Democratic candidates should stop trying to get insurers on board with their healthcare plans. Really, just stop. It won’t happen. Smart politicians will follow Andy Stern’s lead and find potent allies whose business interests perfectly align with what we already want to do. Insurers will counterweight with fierce support for the Republicans, which for political reasons is exactly where I want them to be. Let the GOP define itself in favor of keeping huge sections of America just one emergency room visit away from bankruptcy, and we’ll see how many seats they pick up in ’08.






292 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    private insurance companies are required by law to be nonprofit

    That’s kinda the bottom line. When you’re not worried about stock options and mergers and CEO bonus pay, the system somehow doesn’t come out so flawed.

  2. 2
    Teak111 says:

    My credit union in non-profit and I love it. They are nice, freindly and efficient, plus services are inexpensive if not free. Are there currenlt any non-profit insurenace companies now? Is Kiaser non-profit. It would be a good first step. Agree with you Tim, it is in big businesses competitive interest to push for UHC, and they have some deep pockets. But I’m a white collar corp worker bee with good insurence for me and the wife and kids. Necessity if the mother of invention. Imainge the saving if my company could drop its HC costs….

  3. 3
    Faux News says:

    I’m still waiting for Darrell to scream about SOCIALIZED MEDICINE = SOCIALISM!

    Then Darrell will compare the health care of Earth to that of Mars and Venus.

  4. 4
    jcricket says:

    I like your attitude Tim. Basically there’s no doubt that single-payer-like national healthcare is the way to go. Country after country has proven it to be an economically efficient way to provide universal coverage while maintaining or improving on medical outcome levels. There are no examples of countries succeeding in broadly delivering healthcare with the private insurance government emergency back-stop model we have now.

    Taiwan is just the latest in a long-line of countries that prove nearly everything Republicans have to say about government-run healthcare is so false as to be laughable.

    Much like global warming or evolution, any attempt to appease Republicans merely serves to prolong a false debate about where healthcare should head in this country.

  5. 5
    Mr. Moderate says:

    Right now I am leaning towards the idea of a single payer system in this country. However lets look at the source of this article. It is on a far-left site that is practically quoting verbatim from a report by a group called “Physicians For a National Health Program.” I would take what they write with as big a grain of salt as I would something from Cato or AEI. Let’s make sure we don’t ignore the potential spin factor in that report. I hope that their report is accurate, because that would support my current position, but I’m not going to bank on it.

  6. 6

    Tim, you’re exaggerating a little. Lest readers misunderstand the developed countries do not all have systems like British National Health. Both France and Germany mandate that everybody pays into a healthcare fund. Germany has, basically, a single-payer system. In France many people carry supplemental insurance in addition to the insurance offered by the government.

    There are as many different systems as their are countries and it’s appropriate that the systems be different to suit the different conditions that obtain in the different countries.

    Taiwan, for example, is an island and its immigration rate is miniscule. Open borders are incompatible with universal coverage.

    The coverage issue in the United States is being mis-represented. Half of those without insurance reside in just 8 states and those states have much less than half the nation’s population. A quarter of all the uninsured live in just two states: Texas and California.

    In my view we do have a healthcare crisis brewing here but not only is it not one which universal coverage will solve, it’s one which, without other very significant changes, makes universal coverage fiscally impossible: high costs. With lower costs many things (like universal coverage) become possible; without lower costs universal coverage will be unsustainable.

  7. 7
    ThymeZone says:

    The Frists’ interest in BigHMO and sale of HCA for $21b (yeah, that’s a b) is the only fact you need to know about why we are being fucked in the ass by these corporate interests, and who their representatives are in Washington.

    They have sold an entire country an enormous, deadly set of lies, and gotten away with it for at least 30 years that I know of. And pocketed billions in the process.

    K Street. That’s where it all happens. That’s where they make up the bullshit that gets parroted by the Darrells of the world.

  8. 8
    ThymeZone says:

    without lower costs universal coverage will be unsustainable.

    But isn’t the rise of costs tied directly to the dysfunctional system that needs replacement?

    Isn’t this a chicken-egg problem?

  9. 9
    Jake says:

    …find potent allies whose business interests perfectly align with what we already want to do.

    Like these http://www.ama-assn.org/ for example?

    When John Doe can’t pay his medical bill healthcare providers do take a hit. Wouldn’t it be great if they knew they would get paid for every patient treated in the facility? (And perhaps treated them for less because JD didn’t wait until he was coughing up blood to seek treatment.) Your average doctor’s office spends a lot of time wrangling with insurance companies over what procedures the insurance company will pay for and how much they’ll pay (so do hospitals but they can usually afford the staff). Wouldn’t it be great if there were set rates for services and you didn’t have to haggle over contracts? And then there are small business owners and even larger business owners.

    Insurance companies, like any other big bully are vulnerable because they have made themselves unpopular. Properly orchestrated it could be very hard for a Congress Cretin to side with the HICs and keep his/her job.

    Sure this will be painted as another attempt by the Commie DemoncRats to kill us all but the people saying it will have a hard time looking anything but greedy. In addition, as a large portion of the population ages (and their kids become concerned about their health care bills) people will weigh their health against concepts like “The American Way.” I suspect TAW will be told to take a hike.

  10. 10
    Ryan S. says:

    The coverage issue in the United States is being mis-represented. Half of those without insurance reside in just 8 states and those states have much less than half the nation’s population. A quarter of all the uninsured live in just two states: Texas and California.

    What kinda drug are you smoking, what a completely wrong statment lets do the math shall we: Per census
    1. California = 36 Million
    2. Texas = 22 Million
    3. New York = 19.25 Million
    4. Florida = 17.75 Million
    5. Illinois = 12.75 Million
    6. Pennsylvania= 12.5 Million
    7. Ohio = 12.5 Million
    8. Michigan = 10 Million
    ——————————-
    Total 142.75 Million
    Total US pop 296 Million

    that is NOT much less than half of the population thats only 5.25 million off of half.

    As for why Cal. and Texas have more uninsured. Well Texas has a very large poor population, and for CA well L.A. need I say more.

  11. 11

    But isn’t the rise of costs tied directly to the dysfunctional system that needs replacement?

    It’s partially due to rises in costs of insurance administration. That’s why I’ve favored going to a single-payer system for the last 25 years.

    But the savings achieved as a consequence of going to a single-payer system won’t pay for universal coverage and costs will continue to rise and, indeed, will rise faster with universal coverage. And as we’ve seen repeatedly over the years political support for universal coverage can’t be sustained in the face of rising costs.

    The reason that costs are going up is that we have both too much demand and not enough supply. We have too much demand because people are insulated from the actual costs of healthcare by the present insurance system (single-payer won’t do anything about this) and we don’t have enough supply because healthcare in this country is controlled by a cartel. For you consideration: the number of physicians graduated from U. S. medical schools hasn’t risen in a generation.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    Your average doctor’s office spends a lot of time wrangling with insurance companies over what procedures the insurance company will pay for and how much they’ll pay (so do hospitals but they can usually afford the staff). Wouldn’t it be great if there were set rates for services and you didn’t have to haggle over contracts? And then there are small business owners and even larger business owners.

    I can’t say I’m entirely ungrateful for the insurance industry. My job revolves around writing the software that sorts through all the hopes involved in Hospital Billing. Single-Payer or no, the system is just too cumbersome, and time and technology will eventually iron out the bigger kinks. We get paid millions to save the hospital millions more just in paperwork.

    I remember when Republicans used to wring their hands and bemoan the horrors of the Government Beaurocracy, and how private industry could do everything so much faster, better, and cheaper. But I’ve never seen a government office as tangled and confusing as your average insurance provider. I still don’t understand how Republicans can honestly make the claim that nationalizing insurance will create a bigger problem.

  13. 13

    Ryan S.:

    You’re cherry-picking your states to make your point. Pick the states with high rates of uninsured people and see how the numbers come out (Texas, California, Florida, George, Nevada, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina). Those states account for half the uninsured. And, as noted above, Texas and California account for a quarter of the uninsured and significantly less than a quarter of the country’s population.

  14. 14
    Tim F. says:

    Tim, you’re exaggerating a little. Lest readers misunderstand the developed countries do not all have systems like British National Health. Both France and Germany mandate that everybody pays into a healthcare fund. Germany has, basically, a single-payer system. In France many people carry supplemental insurance in addition to the insurance offered by the government.

    None of this actually opposes what I said. It is a given that like many other countries, insurance companies will continue to offer supplemental insurance in addition to the state-provided minimum care. I don’t see you disagreeing with the general point that every modern nation save ours provides a minimum standard of care for all of its citizens. Of course the details vary considerably, that is entirely beside my point.

    Your demographic argument needs to be fleshed out better. 25% of the uninsured live in two states that also have about 20% of the population, which has implications that must be obvious to you. However, giving you the benefit of the doubt your data seems to argue precisely the opposite of what you think it does. If poverty is clustered in a small number of poor states then by definition it will be beyond the means of local authorities, who have a larger problem and a smaller tax base, to fully manage. This is the textbook definition of a problem that is most fairly solved at the federal level.

    About costs, you don’t seem to appreciate the percentage of insurance costs that goes into administrative overhead. It costs a staggering amount of money to deny claims, which is something that centralized plans don’t have to anywhere near the same degree. We won’t have to change the cost of caring for a patient practically at all to realize a major savings. Further, single payer institutionally manages costs by giving the payer a powerful negotiating position. Individual care costs much, much more than managed care because of insurers’ bargaining power, leaving every reason to think that single payer will increase the savings further.

  15. 15
    ThymeZone says:

    It’s partially due to rises in costs of insurance administration. That’s why I’ve favored going to a single-payer system for the last 25 years.

    Right, just wanted to do that reality check. Agreed.

    Notwithstanding your good summary, what is the effect on costs of the cartel’s push for redundant and excessive technology, unwarranted tests, and expenditures on boutique diseases and treatments, none of which contribute much to longer, healthier lives but produce at the corps’ bottom lines?

    Does the world really need a cafeteria of choices for erection pills, for example?

    Yes, I know the value of the straight line I just wrote, I just wish someone had written it for me. But I’m serious.

  16. 16

    California is not a poor state, Tim. It’s a state with a lot of poor people in it.

  17. 17

    Oh, and Tim, we’re not going to reduce the administrative overhead due to insurance administration of a single-payer system beyond that of Germany or France. In those countries it’s something like 10-12%. Here it’s roughly double that. And, as I said, the savings isn’t enough to pay for universal coverage.

    Note again: I favor a single-payer system for the reasons you’re suggesting. I just have reasonable expectations of what can be achieved by that approach and it’s not nearly enough. We need more basic reform in our healthcare system.

  18. 18
    Tim F. says:

    Dave,

    California was not the state that I had in mind. As I pointed out California and Texas’s uninsured population does not seem to be particularly far out of whack with their demographic percentages. A truly poor state has a much greater disparity than 25 versus 20%.

  19. 19

    ThymeZone, I think we’re on the same page. The key point that I’d add is that if healthcare costs are actually reduced that means that healthcare suppliers e.g. physicians and hospitals are going to take a pay cut. My guess is they’ll resist that. That’s why I’m pulling for more basic reform.

  20. 20

    Texas’s rate of uninsurance is 25%. California’s is 19%. Neither is a poor state.

  21. 21
    TenguPhule says:

    We have too much demand because people are insulated from the actual costs of healthcare by the present insurance system (single-payer won’t do anything about this)

    Nominee for Most ridiculous statement of the Year.

  22. 22

    Illinois’s rate is 14%, Michigan’s is 11%. Look, California and Texas are seriously out of whack and, with their high populations, it makes the uninsurance problem (which, I agree, is a problem) look a lot worse than it actually is.

  23. 23
    Tim F. says:

    Note again: I favor a single-payer system for the reasons you’re suggesting. I just have reasonable expectations of what can be achieved by that approach and it’s not nearly enough. We need more basic reform in our healthcare system.

    Noted and agreed. To me it seems practically a given that government will care enough about its bottom line to weed out the programs with the most egregious imbalance in cost-to-benefit. Maybe that’s a bit wistful on my part, thinking that government will ever worry about its bottom line, but I would expect that the most expensive geegaws would live out a long, quiet obsolescence in the world of supplemental insurance.

  24. 24
    Tim F. says:

    Texas’s rate of uninsurance is 25%. California’s is 19%. Neither is a poor state.

    I think that I misunderstood your original meaning. Apparently you mean to say that 25% of Texans and 19% of Californians are uninsured when I read you to be saying each state’s share of the national total. That makes more sense, although it still strikes me as misleading to dismiss a small number of states as outliers when the states combine to make up a sizable fraction of the country. It isn’t easy to draw a line between their crisis and the nation’s.

  25. 25
    RSA says:

    The coverage issue in the United States is being mis-represented. Half of those without insurance reside in just 8 states and those states have much less than half the nation’s population. A quarter of all the uninsured live in just two states: Texas and California.

    As Ryan S. observes, one of the reasons that California, for example, has large numbers of uninsured people is that it has large numbers, period. For example, from the numbers in the spreadsheet linked to, Nevada is very near California in the percentage of people uncovered by insurance, 18.5% to California’s 18.7%. Is California’s problem worse than Nevada’s? Possibly, but not if you think of in terms of the probability that someone in a given state is going without insurance.

  26. 26
    RSA says:

    You’re cherry-picking your states to make your point. Pick the states with high rates of uninsured people and see how the numbers come out (Texas, California, Florida, George, Nevada, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina).

    By my eyeballing, the states with the highest rates are Louisiana, Nevada, California, Montana, Oklahoma, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas, in order.

    The states with the highest absolute numbers are, again in order, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas, and California.

  27. 27
    scarshapedstar says:

    Our problems simply aren’t that unique.

    This is when your right-wing assholes bring up the imaginary “crack baby” epidemic.

    Followed by a Vince Foster flashback, I guess. Who slipped these guys the brown acid?

  28. 28
    Perry Como says:

    The key point that I’d add is that if healthcare costs are actually reduced that means that healthcare suppliers e.g. physicians and hospitals are going to take a pay cut.

    Let’s cut the massive overhead from the insurance companies and see where it goes. The insurance industry accounts for a full 25% of the cost of health care in the US.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    Let’s cut the massive overhead from the insurance companies and see where it goes. The insurance industry accounts for a full 25% of the cost of health care in the US.

    And, in case it hasn’t been mentioned enough, let’s not forget the benefits of preventative treatment. How much does it cost to treat early forms of cancer compared to full-blown chemotherapy? How many heart attacks does it take before a bypass becomes economically attractive? Who costs more to support – the guy with HIV or the guy with AIDS? What’s more expensive, the doctor’s office or the ER?

  30. 30
    Jake says:

    The key point that I’d add is that if healthcare costs are actually reduced that means that healthcare suppliers e.g. physicians and hospitals are going to take a pay cut.

    Mmmm. No. At least Medicare payments to physicians indicate the opposite correlation. As the cost of healthcare has increased, payments to providers have decreased. But “healthcare” is not a package deal. The company that produces MRI equipment has little or nothing to do with your friendly neighborhood FP and both have little or nothing to do with the HIC. So it should be possible to cut costs in one area of healthcare without affecting other areas.

  31. 31
    les says:

    Sorry I can’t cite, this is from a newspaper I couldn’t locate under threat of death–for health results that are statistically worse, the US pays more for healthcare to the tune of 6% or more of GDP when compared to other major industrialized nations (England, France, Germany, etc.) That, my friends is a boatload of money; the notion that universal coverage will cost more than that is a ringing endorsement of our political and business incompetence.

  32. 32
    Perry Como says:

    That, my friends is a boatload of money;

    Nothing a few tons of cash can’t take care of.

  33. 33
    Curt Adams says:

    Even in California, single-payer saves so much you come out ahead enough to pay for a *generous* universal care. The Lewin group analyzed the effects of SB840, a bill in California for universal-single-payer which passed the statehouse and unsurprisingly got vetoed by our Republican governor. (Report summary at http://www.healthcareforall.org/summary.pdf ) Even with universal coverage and *no copays* it winds up being about 5% less than the current system.

    Many cost analyses understate the benefits because, roughly speaking, for every dollar the insurance companies spend generating paperwork to game the system and deny coverage, the providers spend a dollar of their own to manage the paperwork and countergame the system. When you add that in the administrative costs come out about 30%.

    When you consider that there are hundreds of insurance companies here, and thousands of provider groups, and most pairings renegotiate prices every year, you realize just the negotiation costs of literally almost a million complex financial deals are enough to swamp the system. It’s too baroque for words and a ridiculous way to provide healthcare.

  34. 34
    The Other Andrew says:

    I personally cannot wait for the 2008 Republican Presidential candidate to say, “You’re too insulated from the costs of healthcare, we need some more wars, and the government is doing too much for you!”

  35. 35
    Darrell says:

    Faux News Says:

    I’m still waiting for Darrell to scream about SOCIALIZED MEDICINE = SOCIALISM!

    I think everything the government does is so much more efficient than private industry, because they cut out the “middleman” and all that profit. Just look at how well the USPS service has done versus FedEX and UPS.

  36. 36
    Darrell says:

    Smart politicians will follow Andy Stern’s lead and find potent allies whose business interests perfectly align with what we already want to do

    And watch Republicans fire right back, with full justification, how the Dems are sucking up to big business in order to offload their costs (healthcare) onto Joe Taxpayer. Please Dems, Bring.It.On

    Hell yes, business wants to offload those healthcare costs. Tim act as if this is such an “insightful” observation on his part. Business wants to socialize their costs (at the expense of taxpayers) and privatize the profits. I don’t blame them for trying, but if the Dems are a party to it, don’t cry like whining bitches when Repubs point out that big business with the help of Dems are offloading business costs to taxpayers… because that would be absolutely true.

  37. 37
    Jonathan says:

    This is when your right-wing assholes bring up the imaginary “crack baby” epidemic.

    Agreed that the “crack baby” epidemic is largely imaginary, but that is not true for FASD or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) describes a syndrome of permanent birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Maternal alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can stunt fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata (as seen in the photograph on the right), damage or prune neurons and brain structures, and/or cause other physical anomalies. While prenatal alcohol exposure does not automatically result in FASD, the U.S. Surgeon General advises pregnant women to abstain from alcohol use due to the risk of FASD[1].

    The main effect of FASD is permanent brain damage, in which developing brain cells and structures have been capriciously garbled, malformed, or underdeveloped by prenatal alcohol exposure. The risk of brain damage exists during each trimester, since the fetal brain develops throughout the entire pregnancy. Brain damage related to FASD may or may not reduce IQ, but often creates functional impairments in behavior and other secondary disabilities, including poor emotional development, memory and attention deficits, a tendency to impulsive behavior, inability to reason from cause to effect, a failure to comprehend the concept of time, difficulty telling fantasy from reality, inability to control sexual impulses, mental illness, and drug addiction.

    Fetal alcohol exposure is regarded by researchers as the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world[2]. In the United States alone, it is estimated that every year up to 40,000 infants are born with some form of FASD[3]. The lifetime medical and social costs of each child are estimated to be as high as US$800,000 across the lifespan.

  38. 38
    ThymeZone says:

    Thread over, nothing left but a spoof and a crazy sociopathic asshole.

  39. 39
    Richard 23 says:

    Surprisingly, many people still don’t know that America is the only country in the developed world without universal government-supported healthcare.

    Nice spin, comerade Tim. We’re the lone holdout against the spread of worldwide socialism and people all over the world are clamoring to get in. And you make it sound like a bad thing. Typical of those in the ‘reality based’ community.

    And it’s not “universal” when not everybody in the universe, let alone the planet, has it. Like the “World Series.” What a crock.

    And if you like Taiwan so much, why don’t you marry it? Or move there? Or would you rather move to Venezuela? Moonbat!

  40. 40
    Darrell says:

    Like the “World Series.” What a crock.

    That’s pretty funny. I have friends in Europe who are seriously bothered by the fact that we call it the “World” Series, when we don’t invite other nations to compete.. and I gotta admit they have a point.

  41. 41
    Jonathan says:

    I’m no sports fan but doesn’t Toronto compete in the World Series?

    Last time I checked, Toronto was still in Canada.

  42. 42
    lard lad says:

    I think everything the government does is so much more efficient than private industry, because they cut out the “middleman” and all that profit. Just look at how well the USPS service has done versus FedEX and UPS.

    You can always tell when Darrell is deploying sarcasm, because he magically appears to be making sense.

    I run a business from my home, selling records and CDs all over the globe. I’ve relied on the USPS for eight years and counting, and have been rewarded with eight years of stellar service. Three domestic packages gone AWOL out of at least four thousand shipped. Any American corporation would hock their collective souls to Mephistopheles for a success ratio like that.

    My main gig, on the other hand, is at a record store that gets daily deliveries from UPS, and I can vouch that they screw up on a regular basis — incomplete shipments, delivering boxes that should have gone to our neighbors (and them getting ours), badly battered packages, items mysteriously lost at “the hub,” you name it. Those brown uniforms are pretty sharp, though.

    Tell you what, Darrell – just try privatizing the Post Office. Hand the whole apparatus over to Halliburton or Bechtel. It’ll be a scream to see what mental hoops you’ll be jumping through to blame the “lefttard fuckwits” for the subsequent decline in quality service and the skyrocketing increase in costs.

  43. 43
    Richard 23 says:

    Last time I checked, Toronto was still in Canada.

    Last time I checked, Koshien was in is a district of Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, Japan where they hold their national high school baseball championships. Which makes as much sense as your “point,” whatever it was.

    Since Toronto is in Canada the World Series label is accurate. What did Goebbels have to say about the World Series, Jon?

    Speaking of Koshien, check out the excellent series H2. Wow.

  44. 44
    Jonathan says:

    . What did Goebbels have to say about the World Series, Jon?

    I love you too Richard23. Kiss kiss.

  45. 45

    Alright come on what are you thinking. People come from all over the world to get treatment here in America because they don’t have time to wait years in their home countries. A nationalized health care plan would utterly destroy health care in a country where treatment options are by far the best. Maybe instead of taxing the hell out of people to create the largest health beaurocracy in the world we should consider a government mandate that everyone who can afford it (meaning those who don’t qualify for medicaid) be required to purchase some kind of health insurance.

    What kind of crisis do we really have anyway? Medicaid is there for the poor and everyone else has a choice of whether they want to pay for insurance or not.

    This is a left wing crap shoot that doesn’t work and I don’t care what “evidence” anyone has to support the contrary. I don’t want government workers to be working on my kidney. Marxism doesn’t work, has never worked, and will never work. We need competition to be the driving force of the economy, and health treatment – like it or not – is part of the economy. A big part. If everyone had government funded insurance, everyone would overuse (abuse) the system. It’s that simple.

    Whatever you think is great about the Taiwanese system is only your interpretation. Why not actually do a “nationalized health care” search on google and find out what people who live in these horrible systems think about it???? Better yet, why don’t you go live in Canada for a while and see how you like it there before you promote leftism in America?

    http://www.simplehealthquote.com
    http://forum.simplehealthquote.com

  46. 46
    Tim F. says:

    Yes Jonathan, FAS is a problem. I have cared for FAS kids. Beisdes the fact that they almost always come from deeply troubled homes, lack physical coordination and probably won’t make it all the way through middle school they are utterly charming kids. I missed how that bears on the relative costs of healthcare in America versus developed countries with nationalized health care. Which is to say all of them.

    ***

    Nice to see you again, Darrell. I’m glad that you don’t need anybody to remind you to keep up the belligerent triumphalism even when you have a losing hand. Two questions if you don’t mind. What makes you think that Joe Taxpayer isn’t already paying too much for his healthcare, assuming that he has any at all, and which country exactly gets privatized healthcare right? If you ask the Americans who cannot afford or cannot buy healthcare at any cost you might hear that ours is suboptimal. As always, take your time.

  47. 47
    Jonathan says:

    Hell yes, business wants to offload those healthcare costs. Tim act as if this is such an “insightful” observation on his part. Business wants to socialize their costs (at the expense of taxpayers) and privatize the profits. I don’t blame them for trying, but if the Dems are a party to it, don’t cry like whining bitches when Repubs point out that big business with the help of Dems are offloading business costs to taxpayers… because that would be absolutely true.

    Taxpayers are already paying for big business’ health care in the form of higher costs for products and higher costs for health care and the insurance which covers that health care.

    When an uninsured person goes to the emergency room because they have no access to a doctor, the hospital doesn’t just eat the costs, it passes them on to the health care consumers and the insurance companies which cover those consumers. The insurance company tacks on a nice perceantage for their own troubles and also adds on their high administrative costs so the consumer ends up paying even more.

  48. 48
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Why not actually do a “nationalized health care” search on google and find out what people who live in these horrible systems think about it????

    Or, better yet, why not ask some of the people on this board who live in those countries what their experience of it is, rather than rely on right-wing websites with ulterior motives?

  49. 49
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Nice to see you again, Darrell. I’m glad that you don’t need anybody to remind you to keep up the belligerent triumphalism even when you have a losing hand. Two questions if you don’t mind. What makes you think that Joe Taxpayer isn’t already paying too much for his healthcare, assuming that he has any at all, and which country exactly gets privatized healthcare right? If you ask the Americans who cannot afford or cannot buy healthcare at any cost you might hear that ours is suboptimal. As always, take your time.

    Don’t forget, though. Darrell has awesome health care coverage, so he couldn’t help himself from overusing the system by seeing a specialist 3 times when he could’ve just bought OTC orthotics.

    Brought to you by ASDA*

    *Always Stalking Darrell Association

  50. 50
    mclaren says:

    John Cole mentioned: “We alone allow entire classes of citizens to simply fall through the cracks, for whom waiting for surgery is a non-issue and a single bad turn can wipe out the life savings, eat the house and leave you bankrupt.”

    Um…no. The recent bankruptcy law, just passed through Congress, now explicitly prohibits an individual from declaring bankrupcty due to the medical bills.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter captialism, brought to you by America — winner of the space race, winner of the arms race, winner of the torture race, and now…winner of the world’s most hated evil empire race!

  51. 51
    Darrell says:

    Tell you what, Darrell – just try privatizing the Post Office.

    Tell you what lardass, why not do away with laws outlawing ANY and all competition to the USPS and let people choose for themselves? Sound fair enough ahole?

    I’m glad you’ve had such good luck with the USPS, as all those millions of idiots using UPS and FedEx need to wise up, right? Since you live in Berkeley, I’ll tell you my sad tale, my wakeup call came a couple years back when I sent a registered package to an address on University Ave near Shattuck and it never arrived. And I ship maybe 30 packages a year at most. “Not my fault” is all that you’ll ever hear from USPS if you don’t buy insurance. Fuck ’em. Never again. Which is undoubtedly the same story with every other FedEx and UPS customer and DHL too (which really is the only way to ship with heavier boxes imo). Has it ever occurred to your dumb ass that if USPS really was as good as you say, that UPS and FedEX would be out of business? Of course it never occurred to you. Because you’re a typical dumbass democrat. Dems need idiots like you or they’d never win an election.

  52. 52
    Krista says:

    Why not actually do a “nationalized health care” search on google and find out what people who live in these horrible systems think about it???? Better yet, why don’t you go live in Canada for a while and see how you like it there before you promote leftism in America?

    As someone who lives in that “horrible system”, I like it very much, you condescending twat.

    I adore how the people who start screaming about Marxism and socialism are oh-so-flippant when they claim that Medicaid covers everybody who can’t afford insurance, and the rest…well, they can afford insurance. So what’s the problem, right?

    This is the problem. Otherwise healthy adults without children are not listed as being eligible. Were I living in the U.S. and had to go to the emergency room, it would wipe me out financially.

    Health care is not a consumer good. Treating it like one is beyond absurd.

    And competition? The private insurers are competing, are they not? How’s that working out for consumers?

  53. 53
    Darrell says:

    Two questions if you don’t mind. What makes you think that Joe Taxpayer isn’t already paying too much for his healthcare, assuming that he has any at all, and which country exactly gets privatized healthcare right?

    1)Joe Taxpayer is already paying too much for healthcare for deadbeats.. if your ideas are implemented, he’ll be paying one helluva lot MORE
    2) The US economy is the envy of the world. No other nation compares. That they do things differently should tell you that our ways, generally speaking, are BETTER.

  54. 54
    Darrell says:

    Health care is not a consumer good. Treating it like one is beyond absurd

    Krista, take your same “point” and apply to eating, life’s most basic neccesity. Should government control agriculture and grocery stores too? Because, to follow your idiocy to it’s logical conclusion, food should not be a consumer good, and to treat it as one is beyond absurd, right?

  55. 55
    Jonathan says:

    Darrell,

    If it weren’t for the fact that my wife is working for one of the largest private corporations in the US, I would be one of those who couldn’t get health insurance at any price. Fortunately, my wife’s employer is not beholden to stockholders and actually *does* seem to care about it’s employees. We get the same insurance as one plan offered to Lockheed Martin union employees for the same price.

    Public corporations are beholden to and care nothing about anyone but the stockholders of those corporations. The public and the employees be damned.

  56. 56
    Darrell says:

    winner of the space race, winner of the arms race, winner of the torture race, and now…winner of the world’s most hated evil empire race!

    Loser’s envy, pure and simple. Our lifestyle and opportunities are better, by FAR, than any nation on earth bar none.

  57. 57
    raj says:

    Tell you what, Darrell – just try privatizing the Post Office.

    I don’t know who brought this up, but the USPS is basically a quasi-independent corporation. It actually does a pretty good job of delivering things. It could be better, but that’s true of any corporation.

    One thing I have to tell you is that in other countries, such as Germany (I have personal experience there) the government’s parcel delivery service is excellent. Order something one day, it’s delivered the next business day, unbroken.

  58. 58
    Darrell says:

    If it weren’t for the fact that my wife is working for one of the largest private corporations in the US, I would be one of those who couldn’t get health insurance at any price. Fortunately, my wife’s employer is not beholden to stockholders and actually does seem to care about it’s employees. We get the same insurance as one plan offered to Lockheed Martin union employees for the same price.

    Why didn’t you have a job and save money to have good health insurance? If you have a health or mental disability, I’ll sympathize. But the overwhelming most who don’t have health insurance are deadbeats, or those who can afford it, but choose not to buy it.

  59. 59
    ImJohnGalt says:

    But the overwhelming most who don’t have health insurance are deadbeats, or those who can afford it, but choose not to buy it.

    Good thing they’re raising the minimum wage, because now those deadbeats will be able to afford the lottery tickets they’ll need to pay their medical bills.

  60. 60
    Darrell says:

    I don’t know who brought this up, but the USPS is basically a quasi-independent corporation. It actually does a pretty good job of delivering things. It could be better, but that’s true of any corporation.

    One thing I have to tell you is that in other countries, such as Germany (I have personal experience there) the government’s parcel delivery service is excellent.

    Don’t force me to google here, but my experience is that Europe’s postal services are expensive as hell compared to ours.

  61. 61
    fester says:

    Darrell — From my experience living in Europe, the major cost differential is the lack of a single monopoly on your mailbox. The USPS has that monopoly and thus they get all the junk mail [2nd class postage] here in the US, which allows them to cross subsidize their 1st class operations. Most European mailboxes are free for all to stuff things into, so that cross subsidy of junk mail providers is removed, with a whole lot less junk mail being provided to the consumer.

  62. 62
    Jonathan says:

    Darrell,

    What part of I can’t get private insurance at *any* price do you not understand?

  63. 63
    RSA says:

    But the overwhelming most who don’t have health insurance are deadbeats, or those who can afford it, but choose not to buy it.

    Those 8 million children without health insurance should either get off their fucking deadbeat asses or spend their allowances on good health insurance.

  64. 64
    Darrell says:

    Those 8 million children without health insurance should either get off their fucking deadbeat asses or spend their allowances on good health insurance.

    Ah yes, with liberals, it’s always the familiar refrain “what about the children”? Never mind the heavily discounted insurance to schoolkids, free vaccinations, etc. as libs like RSA will always trot out “what of the children” to silence all debate.. typical mind numbed liberalism. No doubt RSA considers himself/herself to be an “intellectual”

  65. 65
    Darrell says:

    Darrell—From my experience living in Europe, the major cost differential is the lack of a single monopoly on your mailbox. The USPS has that monopoly and thus they get all the junk mail [2nd class postage] here in the US

    Thus reinforcing my #1 objection to the USPS in that they are granted by power of US government an exclusive contract to deliver our mail, first class, second class, and otherwise. Liberals love this arrangement as evidenced by this thread. I don’t like it a bit. Decide for yourself.

  66. 66
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrell, perhaps you could actually respond to the substance of RSA’s post, rather than deflect his snark with a sweeping generalization of the liberals that exist in your head. What about uninsured children? What heavily discounted insurance to schoolkids?

  67. 67
    Jonathan says:

    Yes Jonathan, FAS is a problem. I have cared for FAS kids. Beisdes the fact that they almost always come from deeply troubled homes, lack physical coordination and probably won’t make it all the way through middle school they are utterly charming kids.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever met an FAS child, at least not knowingly. It seems like most kids with mental disabilites are nice. I know Down Syndrome kids are.

    The thing is that few Americans seem to have heard of FAS but damn near everyone has heard of “crack babies”.

    I know Barbara Bush drank throughout her pregnancy with Dubya and have heard speculation that he may have some of the characteristics of FASD, but I have no idea if that is true or not.

    Kudos to you for taking care of FAS kids.

    I found this interesting too.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/autism_prevalence

    ATLANTA – About one in 150 American children has autism, U.S. health officials said Thursday, calling the troubling disorder an urgent public health concern that is more common than they had thought.

    The new numbers are based on the largest, most convincing study done so far in the United States, and trump previous estimates that placed the prevalence at 1 in 166.

    The difference means roughly 50,000 more children and young adults may have autism and related disorders than was previously thought — a total nationwide of more than half a million people.

    Advocates said the study provides a sad new understanding of autism’s burden on society, and should fuel efforts to get the government to spend hundreds of millions of additional dollars for autism research and services.

  68. 68
    rachel says:

    I’d forgotten how aggressively ignorant Darrell is. Oh, blessed Oblivion, you are banished again by the return of this shameless moron.

    (BTW, folks, South Korea has a national insurance scheme, too. I get good, state-of-the-art care for a fraction of what it costs in the States. Don’t listen to Darrel; he has not the slightest clue of which he speaks.)

  69. 69
    Darrell says:

    What heavily discounted insurance to schoolkids?

    Do you have children in the US ImJohnGalt? Because if you did, you’d be barraged by literature from these folks and others. Also, every major city and county in the US provides free immunizations and other healthcare for children. Problem is not the children, but too many deadbeats in the system, a problem you libs NEVER acknowledge or address. Because you’re all so ‘reality based’ no doubt.

  70. 70
    rachel says:

    I’d forgotten how aggressively ignorant Darrell is. Oh, blessed Oblivion, you are banished again by the return of this shameless moron.

    (BTW, folks, South Korea has a national insurance scheme, too. I get good, state-of-the-art care for a fraction of what it costs in the States. Don’t listen to Darrel; he has not the slightest clue of which he speaks.)

  71. 71
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Thanks for the link, Darrell. I do not have kids in the USA, but based on your link I’ve been reading for the last half-hour about CHIP programs in the US. Sounds like a good start, but based on articles like this one, it looks like (a) it has pretty much run out of money and caused 650K children to be dropped from the rolls of the insured, (b) although it has reduced the # of eligible uninsured children by 2.7 MM since 1998 (oooohh! A program started under Clinton!) there are still 8.5 million uninsured, and (c) is precisely a demonstration of a government-run health insurance program that appears to work.

    Given that my interpretation of your comment was that you believe CHIP programs and free vaccinations are a *good* thing, I don’t understand why it seems (again, my interpretation) that you think expanding such a program further to embrace all children (or for that matter, older poor people) would be a bad idea?

  72. 72
    Darrell says:

    Given that my interpretation of your comment was that you believe CHIP programs and free vaccinations are a good thing, I don’t understand why it seems (again, my interpretation) that you think expanding such a program further to embrace all children (or for that matter, older poor people) would be a bad idea?

    If it was limited to children I, and others, wouldn’t be objecting. Again I’ll ask, can you and others acknowledge the deadbeats who cost the system so much? Or are they only victims of heartless US capitalism?

  73. 73
    Richard 23 says:

    Since you live in Berkeley, I’ll tell you my sad tale, my wakeup call came a couple years back when I sent a registered package to an address on University Ave near Shattuck and it never arrived.

    Oh, your butt plug didn’t get delivered so you’re all pissed off, eh?

    If you have a health or mental disability, I’ll sympathize.

    I think he does and you don’t.

    Don’t force me to google here,

    Heaven forfend! Darrell’s got two turntables and a googlephone. Look out doubters!

    Haha. Darrell, you suck!

  74. 74
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrell, do you have a link to any sort of study that illustrates “the deadbeats who cost the system so much”? I’m not sure who exactly these deadbeats are, and where it’s been proven that those same deadbeats cost the system disproportionately. You were kind enough to provide a link last time, but I’m not sure that Googling “deadbeats abuse health care system” is going to provide me with a list of reliable links with which to study further.

  75. 75
    rachel says:

    I’m not sure that Googling “deadbeats abuse health care system” is going to provide me with a list of reliable links with which to study further.

    I think I saw an article about that in The Onion.

  76. 76
    lard lad says:

    I’d forgotten how aggressively ignorant Darrell is. Oh, blessed Oblivion, you are banished again by the return of this shameless moron.

    I’ll second that emotion… though he did have the wit and originality to turn my monicker into (wait for it) “lardass,” heh. Worthy of Mencken, that. I laughed until I stopped.

  77. 77
    Jonathan says:

    Ah yes, with liberals, it’s always the familiar refrain “what about the children”?

    I hear that one plenty from conservatives too.

    Particularly when they wish to censor something.

    Catcher in the Rye, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Heather Has Two Mommies, the list goes on and on.

  78. 78

    […] Or the bastion of capitalism run rampant over human rights? Surprisingly, many people still don’t know that America is the only country in the developed world without universal government-supported healthcare. We alone allow entire classes of citizens to simply fall through the cracks, for whom waiting for surgery is a non-issue and a single bad turn can wipe out the life savings, eat the house and leave you bankrupt… […]

  79. 79
    RSA says:

    Ah yes, with liberals, it’s always the familiar refrain “what about the children”?. . . No doubt RSA considers himself/herself to be an “intellectual”

    I make no claims for myself, but I do think it’s funny that among rightwingers, being an intellectual is a bad thing. I also think it’s funny but sad in a way that rightwingers can paint some 45 to 50 million uninsured Americans as deadbeats. The idea that poverty is a moral failing has a long and undistinguished history.

  80. 80
    ThymeZone says:

    Surprisingly, many people still don’t know that America is the only country in the developed world without universal government-supported healthcare. We alone allow entire classes of citizens to simply fall through the cracks, for whom waiting for surgery is a non-issue and a single bad turn can wipe out the life savings, eat the house and leave you bankrupt. An astonishing number of Americans either cannot afford coverage or due to actuarial decisions by the insurance biz cannot find it at any cost.

    That’s the opening paragraph to the thread, and it’s just about the only serious thing said on the subject here so far.

    The paragraph describes a jaw-dropping, staggering truth about this country, which is that a nexus of corporate money and power on the one hand, and a willingly ignorant and backward segment of the population on the other, combine forces to make the United States a second-rate country when it comes to healthcare availability for its citizens.

    The fact is that the existing situation is not sustainable, and will not be sustained. The further fact is that “conservative” approaches to this problem offer nothing but obstructionism. Nothing, zero, zip.

    For an example of the conservative contribution, see “Frist, HCA, sale” and do the simple math. Greedy liars have hijacked the progressive nature of this country and turned it against us, and into profits for themselves. They’ve bought your government and they don’t give a flying fuck about you.

    The question is not whether something needs to be done, or even what needs to be done. The question is, when do we stop letting our fates be determined by greedy corporations and the paid-for obstruction of dysfunctional citizens and self-serving officials?

    LBNL,

    If the crap that Darrell posts on this subject is what you guys are after, why even bother bringing up subjects like these? If some kind of whack version of comment fairness is the driver, let’s solicit the views of Charles Manson and Terry McNichols while we’re at it.

  81. 81
    Faux News says:

    Damn! I missed Darrell’s appearance on this thread. Did he talk about the state sponsered health care on Mars yet?

  82. 82
    Darrell says:

    I also think it’s funny but sad in a way that rightwingers can paint some 45 to 50 million uninsured Americans as deadbeats

    Who ever said they were “all” deadbeats? Nice strawman. I saw a study that fastest growing segment of uninsured are those earning $50,000/yr but CHOOSE not to purchase medical insurance.

    Just as you mock rightwingers for pointing to deadbeats, you and your side will be deservedly mocked for refusing to acknowledge that deadbeats are a problem at all.

  83. 83
    Darrell says:

    I saw a study that fastest growing segment of uninsured are those earning $50,000/yr but CHOOSE not to purchase medical insurance.

    I meant to write over $50,000/yr..

  84. 84
    Krista says:

    I also think it’s funny but sad in a way that rightwingers can paint some 45 to 50 million uninsured Americans as deadbeats. The idea that poverty is a moral failing has a long and undistinguished history.

    Exactly. Morgan Spurlock has a really interesting series called “30 Days”, where he spends 30 days living some other sort of life.

    He and his wife locked up their money and credit cards, left their house, and spent 30 days working minimum-wage jobs. Anybody who wants to call poor people “deadbeats” should be forced to watch this episode. Those two were scrimping and saving like you would not believe, had to live in a seriously sketchy apartment (where the first month’s rent deposit meant that they were sans groceries for several days), and were barely, barely getting by.

    Two occurrences really stuck out for me. They decided to go out for a cheap dinner for his wife’s birthday. They stuck to their budget of $30 for the meal (for two people), but missed the last bus home. The resulting $15 fee for the cab ride left them both in tears.

    And then Morgan had to go to the emergency room. They charged him $400 just to walk into the place. If they couldn’t afford a $15 cab ride, what do you think that hospital bill did to them?

    The working poor aren’t just being screwed, they’re being insulted and called “deadbeats” during the screwing.

  85. 85
    Darrell says:

    Exactly. Morgan Spurlock has a really interesting series called “30 Days”, where he spends 30 days living some other sort of life.

    He and his wife locked up their money and credit cards, left their house, and spent 30 days working minimum-wage jobs

    To be more ‘reality based’, why didn’t Spurlock and his wife start drinking heavily, starting in the morning, then spurn the help of friends and family while drifting from minimum wage jobs to day labor while picking up drug addiction and doing nothing substantive to improve themselves.

  86. 86
    Darrell says:

    Even starting out in a WalMart or fast food restaurant, you’ll be given raises and management opportunities after just a few years if you’re a good worker.

  87. 87
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Krista, I saw that episode, and think it really was the best episode of the 2 seasons.

    Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a book “Nickel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America” which I highly recommend. Similar theme to what Spurlock did, but for a longer duration.

  88. 88
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrell, are you really suggesting the the best representative of someone living on minimum wage is a drunk, drug-addled ne’er-do-well? That’s the majority of minimum wage workers? If it isn’t, then it wouldn’t be “Reality Based” at all to suggest that it is.

  89. 89
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I saw a study that fastest growing segment of uninsured are those earning (over) $50,000/yr but CHOOSE not to purchase medical insurance.

    Great! Where can I read that?

  90. 90
    ThymeZone says:

    I saw a study that fastest growing segment of uninsured are those earning $50,000/yr but CHOOSE not to purchase medical insurance.

    Your understanding of this issue is beyond pathetic, it’s pathological.

    Of course people in that category will choose to go with out insurance, if they can. It’s expensive, and they don’t think they need it. Given the choices, it’s a rational alternative. Unfortunately, the whole idea of insurance is based on shared risk, and the scheme can only work when the risk is shared between those who are not making claims, and those who are. That’s why the schemes you see out there compel coverage for the widest possible number of people. That’s what spreads the risk.

    The stat you cite is an indicator for mandatory and universal coverage, which is what’s on the table here. What exactly are you doing here? What’s your agenda?

  91. 91
    ImJohnGalt says:

    The first article that I found that suggests the wealthy are the fastest growing uninsured segment is a) 4 years old, and b) by the “Buckeye Institute” [about which more here]. The bulk of the more recent articles I see say that the young are the fastest growing uninsured demographic.

  92. 92
    RSA says:

    Just as you mock rightwingers for pointing to deadbeats, you and your side will be deservedly mocked for refusing to acknowledge that deadbeats are a problem at all.

    Tell us, of the 45 to 50 million Americans you characterized as “deadbeats” or “those who can afford it, but choose not to buy it”, what’s the breakdown? 50/50? 1/99? 99/1? Just how many deadbeats are you talking about? I could as easily talk about rightwingers as being stupid, evil, misguided, or uninformed; I doubt you’d be so concerned with grammatical niceties in that case.

    I mock rightwingers for using deadbeats, including Reagan’s Alzheimer-onset-inspired fantasies of welfare queens driving Cadillacs, as a justification for their policies. Ehrenreich and Spurlock are great antidotes to such stupidity. I found Nickel and Dimed compelling and moving; more rightwingers should read it.

  93. 93
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, are you really suggesting the the best representative of someone living on minimum wage is a drunk, drug-addled ne’er-do-well? That’s the majority of minimum wage workers?

    Many, if not most minimum wage workers are high school and college students. I think there is something wrong with someone in their late 20’s or older who can’t bring themselves out of minimum wage jobs. Like I said above, even if you work at a fast food chain, you’re going to be given management opportunities in a few years or even less if you’re a dependable worker.

  94. 94
    Darrell says:

    The first article that I found that suggests the wealthy are the fastest growing uninsured segment is a) 4 years old, and b) by the “Buckeye Institute”

    You’re not making much of an effort then. One of the studies was the US Census bureau

  95. 95
    ImJohnGalt says:

    The silly thing is, that the article I found says this:

    Among those with incomes greater than $75,000, the number of uninsured rose 114 percent. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 rose 57 percent, those with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 rose 17 percent, and for those with incomes below $25,000, the number of uninsured fell by 17 percent. [2]

    Of course, absolute numbers are what matter, and if the # of uninsured poor went from 30 million to 35.1 million and the # of uninsured rich went from 100,000 to 228,000, which should we more concerned about?

    Also, the article in question goes on to say that the most likely reason for the uninsured is job change, and that the uninsured period is usually of short duration. Doesn’t say anything about “choice” for the rich.

    The last point in the article is classic “bait-and-switch”. They start by talking about the uninsured in general, and end with a meaningless assertion about “employer-provided-insurance” vs. Medicaid and CHIP.

  96. 96
    Darrell says:

    Of course people in that category will choose to go with out insurance, if they can. It’s expensive, and they don’t think they need it. Given the choices, it’s a rational alternative

    Ok, I have a good driving record with no accidents or tickets in several years, so I think I’ll drop my car insurance. I don’t need it. That’s a direct analogy to what you said.

    Problem is, if an uninsured driver causes a crash, someone else has to pay. Same with those who choose not to purchase medical insurance.

  97. 97
    ThymeZone says:

    Ok, I have a good driving record with no accidents or tickets in several years, so I think I’ll drop my car insurance. I don’t need it. That’s a direct analogy to what you said.

    Correct. Which is why most states (if not all, I haven’t looked it up) have either compulsory auto insurance or compulsory coverage against uninsured motorists, or both.

    For the same kind of reasons, health insurance coverage for everyone is pretty much the starting point for solving the problems we face in healthcare.

    How do you propose we get that, Darrell?

  98. 98
    ThymeZone says:

    Note that “good driving” will not prevent you from causing an accident any more than “healthy living” will prevent you from getting sick.

  99. 99
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Right, so from the first link pointed to by the search you suggested above, Darrell (and again, the data is now 4 years old):

    Individuals in higher income households are private health insurance’s canaries in a mineshaft. They provide early warnings that a disaster may be coming. A lower rate of insurance coverage among higher income people would send the message that even those who are least financially constrained are beginning to find health insurance unaffordable

    Money quote:

    The “growing problem” that appears when tabulations from the annual Census report are placed next to each other is misleading. Much of the appearance rests on
    particular dollar thresholds whose real value is eroding over time. Taking into account changes in the price level reduces the size of the increase in the number without health insurance in higher income households. Taking into account growth in the number of persons above higher real income thresholds, the share of persons from higher income households has shown only a slight increase.

    From the 5th link of your search, above:

    Census Bureau data regarding the uninsured rate in the higher-income brackets may be overestimated by a flaw in survey terms. The Census Bureau uses the term “household” to refer to all individuals living in the same residence, whether related or not. They consider all income of those in the household as “household income.” Households include broad living arrangements such as college roommates, multiple families and adult relatives. The problem is that not all members of these households have access to the total income of the household. This affects the ability to purchase health insurance.

    For example:

    * A family with an income of $80,000 could consist of a two-income family with two children where each adult makes $40,000; or it could be a family of two wage-earners making $30,000 each and a related adult family member making $20,000 who cannot be covered by the same health insurance because he or she is outside the immediate family, such as a niece or nephew.

    * Three young adult unrelated roommates making $18,000 each would be listed as a household with income of over $50,000, despite the fact that each roommate’s personal income is less than $20,000, and none can be a source of insurance for the others because they are all unrelated.

    * Two families, each with an income of $40,000, sharing the same house, would be included as a household with over $80,000 in household income.

    As I recall, the last time we tried to discuss this topic, it deteriorated into what is a legitimate “household”, and what really qualified as “poverty”. I hope this doesn’t happen again, but the answers to those questions do certainly color one’s perceptions of the magnitude of the problem.

  100. 100
    ImJohnGalt says:

    The AHA News, however, with a dateline of May 24th, 2006 (as opposed to 2003, to which pertained all of the analyses I found of Darrell’s assertion) says:

    Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 are the largest and fastest-growing group without health insurance, according to a report released today by the Commonwealth Fund. A total of 13.7 million young adults lack health insurance in the U.S., an increase of 2.5 million from 2000, the report states. More than half of uninsured young adults said they have opted against receiving health care because of cost, and 46% reported that they were paying off medical debt or had difficulty paying medical bills. The authors of the report suggest the following policy changes to help uninsured young adults gain coverage: extend Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility beyond the current 18-year-old age limit; allow children to be eligible for their parents’ health insurance beyond age 19, regardless of student status; and have states demand that colleges and universities require students to have insurance and offer full- and part-time students health insurance.

  101. 101
    rachel says:

    ImJohnGalt, ThymeZone, Krista and the rest of you guys; arguing with Darrell on this issue is a waste of time and energy. He has not the basic human sympathy or imagination to understand that being screwed by the healthcare system happens all the time in the U.S, and that it regularly happens to people who do not deserve it. He will not, can not understand this basic fact until he suffers through it for himself.

  102. 102
    Krista says:

    I think there is something wrong with someone in their late 20’s or older who can’t bring themselves out of minimum wage jobs. Like I said above, even if you work at a fast food chain, you’re going to be given management opportunities in a few years or even less if you’re a dependable worker.

    And, pray tell, what should this “dependable worker” do in the meantime if they are faced with a four-figure hospital bill? And what if they have to compete for a management opportunity with 5 other equally dependable workers?

    You sound like those ridiculous ads for HomeEd: “Want more money? It’s easy! Get a better job!”

  103. 103
    Krista says:

    rachel, you’re absolutely right. Arguing with Darrell is like picking at a scab. It’s hard to resist and is satisfying at the time, but you know you’re just making things worse.

  104. 104
    Darrell says:

    ThymeZone Says:

    Note that “good driving” will not prevent you from causing an accident any more than “healthy living” will prevent you from getting sick.

    Agreed. We’ve all met people who are living/have lived well into their 80’s who eat bacon and other greasy food every day.

  105. 105
    Darrell says:

    ImJohnGalt Says:

    Right, so from the first link pointed to by the search you suggested above, Darrell (and again, the data is now 4 years old)

    Ok then, correcting for inflation, the fastest growing group of uninsured are those earning over $60,000/yr in 2007 dollars, as $50,000 with 3% inflation compounded 4 years is approx $60k

  106. 106
    ThymeZone says:

    Like I said above, even if you work at a fast food chain, you’re going to be given management opportunities in a few years or even less if you’re a dependable worker.

    It’s material like this that indicates that Darrell is spoof. A class project for one of John Cole’s classes.

    Not even the most willfully ignorant tool of corporate interests can believe such an absurd and sociopathic assertion.

    The natural path in employment is not to management. If it were, most people would be managers. In my group there are 40 people, and 5 managers. One director, one assistant, and three line managers.

    Does that mean that there is “something wrong” with 35 out of 40 people? I’d like to see you make this argument to those 35 people. In person.

  107. 107
    ThymeZone says:

    the fastest growing group of uninsured are those earning over $60,000/yr

    Is there a point, or is this just covering fire while you figure out how to escape the truth here?

  108. 108
    RSA says:

    “Want more money? It’s easy! Get a better job!”

    “I made $4,000 last month, working just 15 minutes a day! Visit this Web site today!” (Disclaimer: These results would not be typical, even if they were true.)

  109. 109
    Darrell says:

    The natural path in employment is not to management. If it were, most people would be managers

    Talk to anyone in the fast food restaurant business. After 1 – 2 years a good worker “typically” gets promoted to shift manager or an asst. manager position accompanied by a raise. Good adult workers have an advantage as they are competing with high school kids who tend to be less serious.

  110. 110
    ThymeZone says:

    Want more money? It’s easy! Get a better job!

    Not easy for people my age to make career changes. And I’m up against a silicon ceiling here … my pay is in the top 1.5 percent in an organization of thousands. I can’t really climb any ladders here. Meanwhile, the price of everything I buy goes up faster than the pay, and I am tied to an employer-provided health benefit without which I would be bankrupt.

  111. 111
    ThymeZone says:

    After 1 – 2 years a good worker “typically” gets promoted to shift manager

    Some do and some do not. People who are not cut out to be “managers” can be perfect good workers in line positions. Your assertion is horseshit, as if that’s a surprise around here. Again you pull some crap out of your ass to cover up for the fact that you have fucking idea what you are talking about.

    Are you suggesting that McDonalds’ employee practices should be the basis for public policy affecting hundreds of millions of people? GET OUT OF HERE YOU ASSHOLE.

  112. 112
    Darrell says:

    And, pray tell, what should this “dependable worker” do in the meantime if they are faced with a four-figure hospital bill?

    That’s the rub. In my view, libs tend to point to the hard cases, which don’t tend to be the typical cases from what I’ve seen while ignoring the “deadbeat factor”. ‘Tom in Texas’ comes to mind. He worked too few hours one month and got dropped from coverage at work, and later developed a serious illness in his twenties. That’s a really awful thing to happen. The trick is to have a system which takes care of those slipping through the cracks, without hurting the quality of the existing system for those who have insurance (most people).

  113. 113
    ThymeZone says:

    The trick is to have a system which takes care of those slipping through the cracks, without hurting the quality of the existing system for those who have insurance (most people).

    Trick? You think we are trying to figure out a magic act here? This is public policy we are talking about.

    It’s not about trickery, you fucking fool, it’s about actuarial realities.

  114. 114
    ImJohnGalt says:

    TZ, I know you have good insurance but don’t have an aneurysm, man.

  115. 115
    ThymeZone says:

    Darrell delenda est.

  116. 116
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Ok then, correcting for inflation, the fastest growing group of uninsured are those earning over $60,000/yr in 2007 dollars, as $50,000 with 3% inflation compounded 4 years is approx $60k

    Completely missing the point. Just because this was a trend from 4 years ago, and not even a real one (see my link, above), does not mean it holds true today (see my link re: young people being the fastest growing uninsured demographic, above).

    I therefore declare your statement unsupportable, and suggest perhaps you respond to the actual substance of my posts, as I did to yours. I looked at your links, Darrell, and refuted your claims with the data you pointed me to. That’s how debate happens.

  117. 117
    rachel says:

    I found the lyrics to Darrell’s theme song. Here’s a sample:

    Did ya hear about Fred, he’s unemployed
    They threw him away like a useless toy
    He went down the drain after 20 long years
    No warning, no pension and nobody’s tears
    And I can’t believe that anyone would
    Wanna do such a terrible thing
    But why should I care?
    Why should I care?

    Every time I look around this place
    I see them scream but I hear no sound
    And the terrible things happen down the road
    To someone else that I don’t even know

    CHORUS
    Nothing bad ever happens to me
    Nothing bad ever happens to me
    Nothing bad ever happens to me
    Nothing bad ever happens to me
    Why should I care?
    (Nothing Bad Ever Happens -Oingo Boingo)

    I thought I’d heard it before. Ah, the nostalgia.

  118. 118
    Darrell says:

    rachel Says:

    ImJohnGalt, ThymeZone, Krista and the rest of you guys; arguing with Darrell on this issue is a waste of time and energy. He has not the basic human sympathy or imagination to understand that being screwed by the healthcare system happens all the time in the U.S, and that it regularly happens to people who do not deserve it.

    I absolutely sympathize and understand the tragedy of that situation, but you and your side NEVER acknowledge the problems associated with government run health care.. those who suffer and die on waiting lists in Canada, who can’t get access to the same drugs we have here in the US, the relative lack of MRI machines and other diagnostic equipment so plentiful here, and the plethora of other advantages our healthcare system offers.

    With libs, it’s a pure emotional argument without any acknowledgement of the downside to your position.

  119. 119
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Okay, Darrell, let me surprise you.

    Some people suffer and die on waiting lists in Canada. There are finite resources to perform surgery – we can fix that by accrediting more doctors.

    Surprise, some people suffer and die while waiting for surgery (oh sorry, while on “waiting lists”) in America too. Like any other country, Canadians have our own drug vetting processes, so some drugs available in America are not available in the US, and vice versa.

    It seems to me that if you argue that free healthcare will result in abuse, it’s not too far a stretch to say that the plethora of diagnostic equipment you have might lead to overdiagnosis.

    But sure, if you have money the US health care system has some distinct advantages. Now, perhaps you can tell us why, with all these advantages, the US is nowhere near the top in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality. Will you acknowledge that?

  120. 120
    Krista says:

    The trick is to have a system which takes care of those slipping through the cracks, without hurting the quality of the existing system for those who have insurance (most people).

    Yes, it’s called basic universal healthcare.

  121. 121
    Jonathan says:

    Even starting out in a WalMart or fast food restaurant, you’ll be given raises and management opportunities after just a few years if you’re a good worker.

    It’s been my experience that promotions and raises are usually more about office politics than they are about being a “good worker”.

    Besides, roughly fifty percent of people are below average in intelligence, which is largely determined by genetics. Unintelligent people can be “good workers” in an unskilled manual labor job but the lack the wherewithal to move up the ladder to management.

    Shy people, who are often intelligent, are also at a disadvantage in American culture, the loud, gregarious person attracts much more attention while the shy “good worker” goes unrecognized. Self promotion is a major factor in moving up the employment ladder and those who aren’t good at it for reasons of personality often don’t get promoted no matter how “good a worker” they might be.

  122. 122
    Darrell says:

    Completely missing the point. Just because this was a trend from 4 years ago, and not even a real one (see my link, above), does not mean it holds true today (see my link re: young people being the fastest growing uninsured demographic, above).

    I therefore declare your statement unsupportable

    I believe that 4 years ago was the last time the Census bureau conducted such a survey. Is there any evidence to suggest that trend has changed?

  123. 123
    ThymeZone says:

    Self promotion is a major factor in moving up the employment ladder

    I knew I recognized that voice … you’re Donald Trump, aren’t you?

  124. 124
    rachel says:

    …those who suffer and die on waiting lists in Canada, who can’t get access to the same drugs we have here in the US, the relative lack of MRI machines and other diagnostic equipment so plentiful here, and the plethora of other advantages our healthcare system offers.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. Darrell made a funny. I’m sure Krista will have some things to say about that.

    Oddly enough, my friend’s father, a Canadian living in a rural area, had a heart attack. They had him on the table the next day. Now, he’s completely recovered. My friend and her husband (Canadians both) have also experienced the US system while they were living in Boston while she went to grad school. They think healthcare in the US is a nightmare, and they wonder why we put up with it.

    And BTW, in case you missed my earlier post, the government-run medical care where my husband and I live is:
    1. Affordable
    2. State of the art.
    3. Available to everybody.

    and
    4. There are clinics and hospitals all over the place. No waiting lists.

    We could have a system just as affordable and effiecient, too if it weren’t for the insurance industry, the AMA and their Darrell-dupes.

  125. 125
    Darrell says:

    Now, perhaps you can tell us why, with all these advantages, the US is nowhere near the top in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality

    We measure infant mortality differently than other nations is one reason. Another reason is because Americans tend to have higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as obesity compared to many (most?) other western countries. Our life expectency and infant mortality rates are a red herring in that context.

  126. 126
    Jonathan says:

    Note that “good driving” will not prevent you from causing an accident any more than “healthy living” will prevent you from getting sick.

    Actually I disagree with the part about being a “good driver” not preventing accidents.

    A skilled, aware and attentive driver who has what I call “traffic sense” will have far fewer accidents per mile driven than someone who lacks those qualities. Why else do you think that the insurance rates on young drivers are so much higher than for older, more experienced drivers?

    Good health on the other hand is more about genetics than anything else, barring accidents and diet.

  127. 127
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Is there any evidence to suggest that trend has changed?

    Why yes. In fact, if you’d read the article I linked to above, you might find that it wasn’t a trend at all.

    And further, as per my quote from the AHA News release above, the fastest rising uninsured group is now young people, who I don’t imagine correlate very well with the >50K crowd.

  128. 128
    Jonathan says:

    I knew I recognized that voice … you’re Donald Trump, aren’t you?

    Shhh.. I’m undercover. (of my “hair”)

  129. 129
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Can we please get on the same page here re: waiting lists? The proper term is “risk stratification”, and the bulk of those waiting lists are for elective surgery, not life-threatening illnesses.

    As per rachel, people who need life-saving surgery are moved to the front of the line.

    Yes, there are horror stories in the paper about people who died waiting for treatment. You know why those stories exist? Because they’re remarkable.

  130. 130
    Jonathan says:

    Another reason is because Americans tend to have higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as obesity compared to many (most?) other western countries.

    That sounds like a claim that Americans are uniquely immoral.

  131. 131
    Krista says:

    Some people suffer and die on waiting lists in Canada. There are finite resources to perform surgery – we can fix that by accrediting more doctors.

    That is something that we absolutely need to work on. Too many foreign-trained doctors are sitting on their hands, waiting for accreditation. Making that process more efficient would clear up a huge amount of patient backlog.

    Surprise, some people suffer and die while waiting for surgery (oh sorry, while on “waiting lists”) in America too. Like any other country, Canadians have our own drug vetting processes, so some drugs available in America are not available in the US, and vice versa.

    And some people suffer and die in the U.S. because they can’t afford the surgery at all. If given the choice between having to wait 9 months for a hip replacement or not being able to get one at all due to lack of funds and/or insurance…well, I think it would be a fairly simple choice. And there is never any sort of wait for emergency care.

  132. 132
    Darrell says:

    Surprise, some people suffer and die while waiting for surgery (oh sorry, while on “waiting lists”) in America too. Like any other country, Canadians have our own drug vetting processes, so some drugs available in America are not available in the US, and vice versa.

    Except there is not “vice versa”. There are lifesaving drugs for diabetes treatment, aids, and other diseases which are available in the US, but not in Canada. There is no drug available in Canada that we don’t get here in the US, and furthermore, Canada has no pharmaceutical industry to speak of outside of a few generic copycats. Educate yourself

    There are clinics and hospitals all over the place. No waiting lists.

    Where in the US do you live?

    Canada’s wait list

  133. 133
    grumpy realist says:

    After experiences with the Japanese NHS (10 years) and the U.K. NHS (2 years), I’m now dealing with the US health service mess. So I think I have some experience from which to speak.

    I prefer countries with NHS. Here in the US the insurance companies a) cherry-pick like crazy (oh, you had a weird Pap smear back 8 months ago and it turned out to be something that was easily cleared up? Too bad–you’re still unable to get health insurance for ANOTHER YEAR) b) charge through the roof, and c) argue like crazy about paying for stuff they ostentatiously promised you they’d pay. They try to shove EVERYTHING under a “prior condition” and thus not to be covered. Feh.

  134. 134
    Krista says:

    It appears that Ottawa and the provinces have heard the advice of both men. The federal government is working at implementing a wait-times guarantee that would be in place by 2008. Health Minister Tony Clement said in August 2006 that patients should expect to receive treatment for procedures within an acceptable time. If this does not happen, he said, the patient would be able to seek “recourse.”

    So if a patient couldn’t get treatment for, say, a hip-fracture treatment, the recourse would allow the patient to go to “another provider, another facility or another jurisdiction,” paid with public funds, to get that treatment.

    Looks like we’re fixing our problems. What about yours?

  135. 135
    ThymeZone says:

    Has Darrell read the first paragraph on this thread?

    Because it makes his presence here an insult to the people who support this blog.

    I really don’t get it. Why do we tolerate this?

  136. 136
    Krista says:

    I absolutely sympathize and understand the tragedy of that situation,

    Problem is not the children, but too many deadbeats in the system, a problem you libs NEVER acknowledge or address.

    To be more ‘reality based’, why didn’t Spurlock and his wife start drinking heavily, starting in the morning, then spurn the help of friends and family while drifting from minimum wage jobs to day labor while picking up drug addiction and doing nothing substantive to improve themselves.

    Yes, Darrell…you’re positively oozing with sympathy.

  137. 137
    ThymeZone says:

    I think the question of whether Darrell is a spoof has been anwered.

    Not even the crazy-assed rednecks could put up the crap that he posts here.

    So we’re faced with the prospect that Darrell is, after all, just a device for ginning up page views. Which was where I started two years ago.

  138. 138
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Well, I’ve always been able to buy Claritin OTC here in Canada, but you only started being able to do that in the States a few years ago. I know that wasn’t your point, Darrell, but Pfen-Phen was never available here – who wins *that* battle?

    Look, I’m not blind the shortcomings of our system, but I’d still take it over the US system any day. I know that because I’ve lived in both countries. And France. And Denmark. And Austria.

    Do you have any direct experience with other health delivery systems, Darrell?

    As for the pharmaceutical R&D budgets, it makes sense to me that R&D companies go where patent and trademark protection is the strongest. US patent and trademark law has always been strongest (and I make no judgment on whether that’s a good thing or not), but it’s hardly surprising then that the Big Pharma should locate there.

    Generic drug companies (and there are good reasons for them to exist, Darrell) go where the patent restrictions are looser, but they still have access to an educated workforce.

    Although, if your drugs aren’t available in Canada then how on earth are your seniors buying them from us?

  139. 139
    Darrell says:

    Do you have any direct experience with other health delivery systems, Darrell?

    yes, Canadian healthcare in Montreal, QC for treatment of an itchy rash. It was pathetic. First doctor told me chicken pox although I told him I had CP when I was 4 yrs old. He gave me ineffective cream. I went back 2 days later after it got worse. A second Canadian doctor brought out a book (no kidding) and still had no solution. A couple of days later I flew into Buffalo, NY, went straight to a 24 hour ‘doc in the box’ and he took care of the problem immediately with a shot and steroid anti-inflammatory prescription.

    I am not so naive as to assume all Canadian doctors are as bad as those clowns, but still. I’ve never encountered such medical incompetency here in the US..

  140. 140
    Darrell says:

    And France. And Denmark.

    I got a cold in Norway once, and learned that there, if you want anything besides aspirin, you have to make an appt. to see a doctor. No over-the-counter cough medicine or cold tablets to speak of. Is it the same in neighboring Denmark?

  141. 141
    ImJohnGalt says:

    yes, Canadian healthcare in Montreal, QC for treatment of an itchy rash.

    Man, I’m gonna let that one go.

    Interestingly, my first experience with the US Health Care system occurred the day after I arrived in Manhattan. I had a week before I started my new job, so was not yet covered. I was unpacking, and cut my big toe on a metal trunk I owned. I bandaged it, elevated it, and went to sleep. When I woke in the morning my sheets were covered in blood. I walked two blocks to St. Luke’s Roosevelt and their “fast-track” emergency room. 7 hours (!!) later, an intern showed up, rinsed my wound with distilled water and put 3 loose stitches in the cut. I dated her for a while afterwards.

    The bill arrived 2 months later. The total for those 3 stitches? $600.

    Welcome to America.

    Were there any language problems with your Montreal doctors? I hate to say this, but in almost every aspect of Canadian life – culture, law, social justice – Quebec is just different from everywhere else in the country.

  142. 142
    ImJohnGalt says:

    No over-the-counter cough medicine or cold tablets to speak of. Is it the same in neighboring Denmark?

    It’s similar. The number of OTC pharmaceuticals are limited both in number and in distribution outlets. The Danes don’t self-medicate like we do here in North America. I found it frustrating at first, but one does adapt.

  143. 143
    Darrell says:

    Were there any language problems with your Montreal doctors?

    No, they could speak english well enough, and the rash on my back they could see with their eyes. I had just flown there from S. Korea, where I suspect I picked up a rash from the hotel sauna. The Canadian doctors were literally stumped what to do. Emergency room treatment is more expensive in large part because they try to pass along the costs of all the uninsured people they treat. Also, you were in Manhattan, which means that in any other emergency room in the US, you probably would have been stitched up at a fraction of that cost.

  144. 144
    Darrell says:

    The Danes don’t self-medicate like we do here in North America

    That’s a shortcoming. Often if you feel a cold coming on, it’s better to take cough medicine or a cold pill to nip it in the bud before it becomes more serious.

    Regarding canadian healthcare, I understand that average salaries for both doctors and nurses is much higher here than in Canada, cause many/most of your best and brightest to practice here. Doesn’t that leave Canada with the leftovers, so to speak?

  145. 145
    RSA says:

    This seems hardly worth the effort, but. . . Darrell writes:

    There is no drug available in Canada that we don’t get here in the US. . . Educate yourself

    From the CDC:

    Cholera vaccine is not available in the U.S. If the traveler will be working in areas where outbreaks of cholera are being reported, the vaccine would have to be obtained at an intermediate destination.

    From a travel medication site:

    Three oral vaccines, including SBL Cholera Vaccine (Biotec AB) and Orochol® (Berna), have recently been developed in Europe but are not yet approved in the United States. The Berna vaccine has been approved in Canada under the name Mutachol.

    Anyone feel educated now?

  146. 146
    Jonathan says:

    Emergency room treatment is more expensive in large part because they try to pass along the costs of all the uninsured people they treat.

    Precisely the point I was making earlier, Darrell. Thank you for backing me up.

    It’s not just ER visits on which hospitals recoup the treatment of the uninsured, it’s on *everything* they do.

    Which then gets paid by those with insurance in the form of higher premiums.

  147. 147
    Darrell says:

    Anyone feel educated now?

    Not yet

    Cancer: Gleevec, the breakthrough treatment that prevents complications and death from some forms of leukemia, is not covered in New Zealand and is covered in England only after patients reach the advanced stage of the disease. Targretin (for certain lymphomas), Interleukin-2 (for kidney cancer), and Rituxan (for lymphomas) are not covered at all or covered only with significant patient restrictions in Canadian provinces like Ontario.

    Alzheimer’s Disease: Aricept, which improves brain function in many patients with mild to moderate dementia, is not covered in Quebec and is restricted in Ontario.

    Arthritis: Enbrel, which enables many patients with rheumatoid arthritis to return to a normal life, is not available in Japan and not covered in Ontario or New Zealand. Celebrex and Vioxx, which have fewer side effects in many seniors than other pain relievers for arthritis, are restricted or not available in Australia, New Zealand, and many Canadian provinces.

    Asthma: Singulair, a new treatment for asthma that does not have the side effects of inhaled corticosteroids, is not covered for adults and seniors in Australia, Belgium, Finland, and many Canadian provinces.

    Depression: The first “SSRI” drug (a drug class that includes such widely used drugs as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) was not approved for coverage in Japan until 1999 – twelve years after such drugs were first covered in the US. In Canada, Wellbutrin is only covered for patients who are “unresponsive” to other treatments, and even then only through a special government program.

    Diabetes: Avandia, a new oral drug that helps many diabetic patients avoid insulin injections, is not covered in Ontario or New Zealand.

    Enlarged prostate: Proscar, which prevents the common complications of prostate enlargement in older men, is not covered in Ontario.

  148. 148
    Darrell says:

    Warning for participants in the AIDS 2006 Conference in Toronto

    Some of the medications you take at home may not be available in Canada, so be sure to bring enough to last until you return home.

    Presumably, Canadian citizens with Aids learn to live without, suffer and die, right?

  149. 149
    TenguPhule says:

    Presumably, Canadian citizens with Aids learn to live without, suffer and die, right?

    Shorter Darrell: My hemorroids are acting up again.

  150. 150
    Jonathan says:

    Presumably, Canadian citizens with Aids learn to live without, suffer and die, right?

    And American citizens with AIDS and lacking insurance suffer and die too.

    My wife and I used to be involved with a charity which delivered meals to AIDS patients at home. A lot of them did not not have medications because they could not get insurance and lacked the large amounts of money needed.

  151. 151
    TenguPhule says:

    There is no drug available in Canada that we don’t get here in the US, and furthermore, Canada has no pharmaceutical industry to speak of outside of a few generic copycats.

    Nominee for Blatent Display of Stupidity for the Day.

  152. 152
    RSA says:

    TenguPhule brings back your relevant quote, Darrell, which is patently and ridiculously wrong. To paraphrase Jack Handy, it takes a big man to admit that he’s wrong, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

  153. 153
    TenguPhule says:

    Tell you what lardass, why not do away with laws outlawing ANY and all competition to the USPS and let people choose for themselves? Sound fair enough ahole?

    Shorter Darrell: You can take your facts and logic and just bite me!

    Chalk up supply and demand for another basic concept Darrell doesn’t understand.

  154. 154
    TenguPhule says:

    Often if you feel a cold coming on, it’s better to take cough medicine or a cold pill to nip it in the bud before it becomes more serious.

    Shorter Darrell: Masking the symptoms is better then dealing with the actual disease.

    The Darrell form of government translated into Health Care.

    Wonderful.

  155. 155
    Darrell says:

    TenguPhule brings back your relevant quote, Darrell, which is patently and ridiculously wrong

    That you cannot bring yourself to admit that there are many lifesaving drugs here that are not available in Canada, but not vice versa, speaks to how dishonest you truly are.

    An obscure cholera protection drug under FDA testing does not = something like this

    Cancer: Gleevec, the breakthrough treatment that prevents complications and death from some forms of leukemia, is not covered in New Zealand and is covered in England only after patients reach the advanced stage of the disease. Targretin (for certain lymphomas), Interleukin-2 (for kidney cancer), and Rituxan (for lymphomas) are not covered at all or covered only with significant patient restrictions in Canadian provinces like Ontario.

    Again, that RSA says my assertion was “patently and ridiculously” wrong says it all really. Dishonest to the f*cking core so many of you are.

  156. 156
    TenguPhule says:

    Even starting out in a WalMart or fast food restaurant, you’ll be given raises and management opportunities after just a few years if you’re a good worker.

    Shorter Darrell: If you can’t make a living, it means you’re not working hard enough!

    Performance doesn’t equal raises and opportunity anymore. Productivity has gone up all around, wages have stayed flat.

  157. 157
    Darrell says:

    Often if you feel a cold coming on, it’s better to take cough medicine or a cold pill to nip it in the bud before it becomes more serious.

    Shorter Darrell: Masking the symptoms is better then dealing with the actual disease.

    That so many of my detractors are like this, just reinforces that my position. A group this stupid and dishonest can’t be right about much else.

  158. 158
    TenguPhule says:

    Dishonest to the f*cking core so many of you are.

    Shorter Darrell: I trust the Whitehouse to tell the truth even though their link for the information they appear to be taking it from leads to a 404 error.

    I’ll take the CDC’s word over this White House’s any day.

  159. 159
    TenguPhule says:

    A group this stupid and dishonest can’t be right about much else.

    Darrell’s Irony of the Day.

    Keep digging that hole Darrell. Masking the symptoms is a surefire way to win elections, just ask Foley.

  160. 160
    TenguPhule says:

    those who suffer and die on waiting lists in Canada, America, who can’t get access to the same drugs, we have here in the US healthy organ transplants.

    Fixed.

  161. 161
    Darrell says:

    I’ll take the CDC’s word over this White House’s any day.

    You all are so ignorant, and so blinded by dogma, that you can’t bring yourselves to admit that it’s well established fact that many lifesaving drugs available in the US are not available in Canada. Canada has a fraction of the # of MRI machines and other diagnostic equipment per 1,000 population compared to the US.

    That’s the problem with arguing with liberals. They deny even the most well established facts.

  162. 162
    TenguPhule says:

    But the overwhelming most who don’t have health insurance are deadbeats, or those who can afford it, but choose not to buy it.

    Shorter Darrell: If you have to choose between rent and healthcare, the choice is clear! So screw you!

    Darrell is going to be very very sorry in the future when he discovers what it costs to pay your own health insurance premiums.

  163. 163
    TenguPhule says:

    You all are so ignorant, and so blinded by dogma, that you can’t bring yourselves to admit that it’s well established fact that many lifesaving drugs available in the US are not available in Canada.

    And who is that editorial by?

    Why it’s Sally Pipes, a Canadian citizen living in the United States, who is president & CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, a free-market think tank based in San Francisco.

    They deny even the most well established facts.

    When you start actually using some, we’ll let you know, Mr. Pot.

  164. 164
    RSA says:

    Darrell writes:

    That you cannot bring yourself to admit that there are many lifesaving drugs here that are not available in Canada, but not vice versa, speaks to how dishonest you truly are.

    I have never claimed anything different. A 10-second Google search shows many possibilities that I’m perfectly happy to accept. Accusing me of dishonesty for something I’ve never said and don’t even believe is the mark of an idiot.

    You, on the other hand, seem constitutionally incapable of admitting that your statement

    There is no drug available in Canada that we don’t get here in the US. . .

    is wrong. You didn’t put any qualifications on that statement. It’s easy to see that it’s obviously wrong. I’m seeing why most commentators on this blog think arguing with you is a waste of time. Later; good luck with those cognitive impairments.

  165. 165
    ImJohnGalt says:

    You all are so ignorant, and so blinded by dogma, that you can’t bring yourselves to admit that it’s well established fact that many lifesaving drugs available in the US are not available in Canada. Canada has a fraction of the # of MRI machines and other diagnostic equipment per 1,000 population compared to the US.

    Darrell, this is only meaningful in the context of health outcomes for *everyone*. Now those are numbers I’d like to see. On average, do Canadians live longer? On average, are Canadians less sick?

  166. 166
    TenguPhule says:

    The US economy is the envy of the world. No other nation compares. That they do things differently should tell you that our ways, generally speaking, are BETTER.

    Nominee for Darrell’s most ridiculous statement *EVER*

  167. 167
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Please tell me that the Sally Pipes who wrote the article in the WaPo that Darrell linked to isn’t related to Daniel Pipes. Is there any conservative pundit that wasn’t born to it? My God, the right wing punditosphere has more incest than a…than a…place that has a lot of inces.

  168. 168
    Darrell says:

    There is no drug available in Canada that we don’t get here in the US. . .

    is wrong. You didn’t put any qualifications on that statement

    No asshole, you said “patently and ridiculously” wrong, as if my larger point was not valid

  169. 169
    tBone says:

    That’s the problem with arguing with liberals. They deny even the most well established facts.

    You tell ’em, Mr. Mars and Venus.

  170. 170
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, this is only meaningful in the context of health outcomes for everyone

    Ok, fair enough. As I see it, in the US, if you’re one of the 83% who has insurance, your care is/will be significantly better than in Canada. Canada’s system, on the other hand, has the benefit of covering everyone.

    It’s a virtual certainty that better access to diagnosic tests and equipment = better health care. That we may have more obese people and/or more substance abusers doesn’t change that, does it?

  171. 171
    ImJohnGalt says:

    From the article Darrell linked to:

    AIDS medication Reyataz, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and approved by the FDA earlier this year, hasn’t even begun the approval process in Canada.

    That article was written on September 21st, 2003.

    Hmmm..it was approved in the USA in 2003.

    From a quick Google.:

    On December 5, 2003, Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate approved the sale of a new anti-HIV drug-atazanavir (Reyataz). This drug belongs to a class of medications called protease inhibitors and, like all other anti-HIV meds, is taken as part of combination therapy called HAART-highly active antiretroviral therapy.

    Wow…either Canada has one of the fastest drug-approval processes in the world, or Sally Pipes is a fucking liar.

  172. 172
    Darrell says:

    More proof for willfully ignorant

    For the first time, Canada is unable to participate in a key clinical cancer trial because patients are not getting the best known treatment.

    Since most provinces don’t fund Avastin, a crucial drug in the fight against colorectal cancer, Canadian patients could not join a trial run by the National Cancer Institute in the United States, which is studying what drug is most effective with chemotherapy — Avastin or Erbitux — or if they work best given together.

    If effect, if you don’t pay, you can’t play.

    “Not only are we screwing our patients by not offering them the standard of care, the only way we can make advances is by running these clinical trials,” Ralph Wong, a medical oncologist at St. Boniface General Hospital in Winnipeg. “… It makes us look like a Third World country.”

    You see, in Canada, bureaucrats decide which drugs are available and this is what happens.

  173. 173
    Darrell says:

    Can you liberals admit that there are a number of life saving drugs that simply aren’t available in Canada, or if they are, they are widely restricted. I’m sure that 2006 AIDS conference warning about certain drugs not being available in Canada.. that warning was just a ‘winger’ PR stunt, right?

  174. 174
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Holy Christ in a handcart, Sally Pipes is more than a fucking liar, she’s a complete fucking waste of Canadian Carbon-14.

    From her article:

    For some drugs that are unavailable in Canada, such as Paxil CR, an improved version of Paxil to treat depression and anxiety, or Niaspan, which treats high cholesterol, patients can hop a bus south to pick up the pills at U.S. prices.

    But wait! What’s that press release from only 4 months later say?

    MISSISSAUGA, ON (January 6, 2004) – The Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) of Health
    Canada has approved Paxil CR (paroxetine hydrochloride) Controlled Release tablets for the
    symptomatic treatment of depression, social anxiety disorder (SAD) and panic disorder.

    Could she have cherry-picked her drugs any more? No mention of when it was submitted for approval.

    Oh, I wonder how it all turned out, what with Paxil CR being so great:?

    Let’s take a look:

    FDA and the Department of Justice have seized the remaining stocks of Paxil CR and Avandamet tablets manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Inc. Manufacturing practices for the two drugs, approved to treat depression and panic disorder (Paxil CR) and Type II Diabetes (Avandamet), failed to meet the standards laid out by FDA that ensure product safety, strength, quality and purity.

    Oops.

  175. 175
    tBone says:

    Can you liberals admit that there are a number of life saving drugs that simply aren’t available in Canada, or if they are, they are widely restricted.

    OK, sure. If you want to judge a healthcare system by how many MRI machines it has per capita and the availability of certain drugs, the US looks pretty good compared to Canada.

    Alternatively, you could look at actual healthcare outcomes, and in particular costs vs. outcomes, and reach a somewhat different conclusion.

  176. 176
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Can you liberals admit that there are a number of life saving drugs that simply aren’t available in Canada, or if they are, they are widely restricted. I’m sure that 2006 AIDS conference warning about certain drugs not being available in Canada.. that warning was just a ‘winger’ PR stunt, right?

    Darrell, nothing in your link indicated that it was AIDS drugs that “may not be available”, but only indicated that if you are sick and taking medication, the drugs you are taking *may* not be available in Canada. No list of drugs, no particular diseases you should be concerned about, nothing.

    If you were taking Paxil CR, for example, it wasn’t available for a time in Canada because the approval process wasn’t completed. Paxil (non controlled-release) however, was available.

    C’mon, don’t read more into a liability-reducing statement than is actually there.

    Let’s look at it this way. For a long time, Claritin was available over-the-counter here in Canada but not in the US except by prescription. If I was taking Claritin for my allergies in Canada, it would be worth knowing that Claritin *may* not be available (OTC) in the US when I travelled there. It doesn’t mean that America is a backwater 3rd world country that practices witch-doctory.

  177. 177
    Darrell says:

    ImJohnGalt Says:

    Holy Christ in a handcart, Sally Pipes is more than a fucking liar, she’s a complete fucking waste

    Hey, if she’s wrong on some points, she’s wrong. Don’t discount the idea that negative publicity from her efforts put pressure on Canadian bureaucrats. From her article

    Sunday, September 21, 2003; Page B03

    Four years ago, my uncle was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He was like a father to me, so the news was extremely upsetting. Wanting to do something to help, I delved into possible treatments for his condition, beyond the chemotherapy he was receiving at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, where he lived. I came up with some good news: There was a new drug, Rituxan, that was having great success combating lymphoma in patients in the United States. And I came up with some bad news: Rituxan wasn’t yet available in Canada.

    Four years before 2003 when her article was written in 1999, Rituxan was not available in Canada as it was in the US

  178. 178
    Darrell says:

    Let’s look at it this way. For a long time, Claritin was available over-the-counter here in Canada but not in the US except by prescription

    But it was available and insurance covered it. Point is, Canada has many situations like this, which we don’t have here:

    For the first time, Canada is unable to participate in a key clinical cancer trial because patients are not getting the best known treatment.

    Since most provinces don’t fund Avastin, a crucial drug in the fight against colorectal cancer, Canadian patients could not join a trial run

    and the reason is because in Canada’s government run healthcare, like all government healthcare, bureaucrats decide which drugs you can have. In Canada, the aholes took it even further, and outlawed supplemental health insurance too.

  179. 179
    Darrell says:

    Since most provinces don’t fund Avastin, a crucial drug in the fight against colorectal cancer, Canadian patients could not join a trial run

    You can bet your life that this problem repeats itself in Canada across the board on a wide range of diseases: diabetes treatments, cancer treatments, AIDS treatments, heart disease treatment, etc, etc.

  180. 180
    ImJohnGalt says:

    And just so my point isn’t lost, I don’t think it’s fair to say drugs aren’t available in Canada just because they haven’t been approved *yet*. If the process is longer here than in the US, it could be the reason why we haven’t had the same type of drug scares you have since we participated in the thalidomide debacle.

    Yes it’s unfortunate when someone dies when they *might* have been helped if the drug was available in Canada. That’s not unique to Canada, however. It’s unfortunate when someone dies in the US when a drug is still in clinical trials. It says *nothing* about the relative merits of the health care system.

  181. 181
    Darrell says:

    Bottom line: Canadian healthcare is quite a bit worse than the US system when compared to Americans who have health insurance.

    Canada’s system has the benefit of covering everyone.

  182. 182
    Darrell says:

    And just so my point isn’t lost, I don’t think it’s fair to say drugs aren’t available in Canada just because they haven’t been approved yet.

    I’m going to assume you are honest, but naive. It’s not that Canadians are more careful in their drug approval process, it’s that bureacrats in the provinces are rationing health care dollars. Please read the following.. carefully

    Since most provinces don’t fund Avastin, a crucial drug in the fight against colorectal cancer, Canadian patients could not join a trial run

    It’s rationing and bureaucracy, plain and simple, not caution as you claim

  183. 183
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Four years before 2003 when her article was written in 1999, Rituxan was not available in Canada as it was in the US

    Right. And six months after her article was written, it *was* available in Canada. Why the hell would you expect the drug approval process to take exactly the same amount of time across countries? And what’s your supporting evidence that they were *submitted* to the approval process in both countries at the same time.

    Again, I reiterate. It’s an unfortunate anecdote, but evidence of nothing other than that the two countries *may* have different drug approval rates. It says very little about the merits of the system (see Vioxx).

    As an aside, Darrell, while I’m enjoying the civil exchange we’re having, I notice that when you’ve pointed to an article to support a point you’re trying to make, and it’s proven flawed, you’re all like “hey, man…chill – if she’s wrong, she’s like, wrong”. But if someone here does the same, or you think you’ve caught them in a “gotcha”, you’re all like “You DISHONEST LIBRUL COMMIES! FUCKING REALITY-BASED MY ASS!”

    I don’t think that helps the discussion.

  184. 184
    Darrell says:

    Right. And six months after her article was written, it was available in Canada

    Yeah, four (4) years after it had been approved and in use in the US. You’ve got a real “solid” point there IJG

  185. 185
    tBone says:

    Bottom line: Canadian healthcare is quite a bit worse than the US system when compared to Americans who have health insurance.

    Based on what, exactly? The number of MRIs and clinical drugs available?

    Outcomes are what matter. How do the US and Canada compare there, Darrell? By what metrics are outcomes in Canada “quite a bit worse” than in the US?

  186. 186
    Darrell says:

    “hey, man…chill – if she’s wrong, she’s like, wrong”.

    But her main point was that Rituxan was not available in Canada when it was in widespread use in the US. It took 4 years later after articles like hers. She was absolutely right, and you were wrong to suggest it was 4 months difference, when the point is, it took 4 years.

  187. 187
    Darrell says:

    Outcomes are what matter. How do the US and Canada compare there, Darrell?

    tBone, let’s take a healthy person to Zimbabwe and give an obese person unrestricted access to the Mao clinic. If the Obese person dies after 2 years, is it because Zimbabwe has better healthcare?

  188. 188
    ImJohnGalt says:

    And six months after her article was written, it was available in Canada.

    Sorry, six months after the “4 years ago” it was available, right around the time her uncle died.

    As for this:

    Please read the following.. carefully

    I appreciate the point you’re trying to make, but that is not what I was responding to. You’re using the Avastin example as a refutation of a point I was making about other drugs that *were* approved, and for which you’ve advanced no evidence that they were delayed because of bureacrats unwilling to fund trials.

    September, 2005

    Darrell, you do realize that Avastin is approved in Canada, right? Given how backwards you think Canada is because the *government* is not going to pay for the drug, can I assume you think the US Government should be paying for all drugs for its citizens?

  189. 189
    Darrell says:

    Four years before 2003 when her article was written in 1999, Rituxan was not available in Canada as it was in the US

    Right. And six months after her article was written, it was available in Canada.

    My apologies, Rituxan was approved in the US in 1997, almost 6 years before Canada grudgingly approved its use, not 4 years before as I said upthread. Yeah IJG, you really “destroyed” Pipe’s point, didn’t you?

  190. 190
    tBone says:

    let’s take a healthy person to Zimbabwe and give an obese person unrestricted access to the Mao clinic. If the Obese person dies after 2 years, is it because Zimbabwe has better healthcare?

    Ah, I see. Canadian and US outcomes are similar only because:

    1) The hardy gene pool in the North produces fit, health specimens that can survive the rigors of the primitive Canadian healthcare system.
    2) Americans are fat fucking slobs who would die of double-bacon-fat-burger artery clogs at age 15 if it weren’t for our amazing health care system.

    Thanks, it all makes sense now!

  191. 191
    ImJohnGalt says:

    But her main point was that Rituxan was not available in Canada when it was in widespread use in the US. It took 4 years later after articles like hers. She was absolutely right, and you were wrong to suggest it was 4 months difference, when the point is, it took 4 years.

    Actually, Darrell, although it was a clumsy anecdote she spouted, the drug was approved 3.5 years *before* her article was written, so her impact on its approval? Not so much.

    It was not in widespread use, but was rather a promising new drug in lymphoma treatment. How honest of you to present it as otherwise.

    [See? It completely derails a conversation when you write sneering shit like I just did]

  192. 192
    ImJohnGalt says:

    My apologies, Rituxan was approved in the US in 1997, almost 6 years before Canada grudgingly approved its use, not 4 years before as I said upthread. Yeah IJG, you really “destroyed” Pipe’s point, didn’t you?

    Please Darrell, stop digging.

  193. 193
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, you do realize that Avastin is approved in Canada, right?

    Approved and funded are two different things

    Avastin is a new biological treatment for people who have late-stage colorectal cancer. By dramatically shrinking tumours, it can extend lives for a few months, and sometimes for far longer. Avastin is now standard treatment in most Western countries, and was approved in Canada more than a year ago. But not all provinces will pay for it. B.C. and Newfoundland do; Saskatchewan and Ontario have refused, because they say the cost outweighs the benefits.

    which is the crux of my point. Govt. bureaucrats rationing healthcare, and people suffer as a result. So little funding of Avastin that this resulted:

    Canadian patients could not join a trial run by the National Cancer Institute in the United States, which is studying what drug is most effective with chemotherapy — Avastin or Erbitux — or if they work best given together

  194. 194
    Perry Como says:

    You know who else supported socialized medicine? Hitler.

  195. 195
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrell, does the US government fund all prescription drugs in America? Man, the poor will be so stoked.

    Anyone with a good drug program up here will have access to Avastin. Isn’t that how you think it should work?

  196. 196
    Darrell says:

    IJG, first you cite sources that say Rituxan wasn’t available in Canada until 2003/2004.. now you’re claiming 2000. Do you see any inconsistency?

  197. 197
    Perry Como says:

    I’m also very glad that I live in a free country where the government doesn’t regulate what drugs I can take.

  198. 198
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Again, to be clear. That the government is unwilling to fund a promising drug trial here is unfortunate and, to my mind, incredibly short-sighted, but has *nothing* to do with the average employer-insured Canadian citizen’s access to the drug.

  199. 199
    Darrell says:

    Anyone with a good drug program up here will have access to Avastin. Isn’t that how you think it should work?

    The article I cited says that Onatario and Saskatchewan do not fund Avastin. Are you saying the article is wrong?

  200. 200
    ImJohnGalt says:

    IJG, first you cite sources that say Rituxan wasn’t available in Canada until 2003/2004.. now you’re claiming 2000. Do you see any inconsistency?

    I did not cite the original source, Sally Pipes article. YOU did. I misread it, and apparently you did too. I quickly corrected myself, and apologized for not being able to read her shitty writing.

  201. 201
    Darrell says:

    That the government is unwilling to fund a promising drug trial here is unfortunate and, to my mind, incredibly short-sighted,

    Now you’re being dishonest. As I’ve already demonstrated, it’s not because they’r being overly cautious, it’s because bureacrats are rationing health care.

    Saskatchewan and Ontario have refused, because they say the cost outweighs the benefits.

    An approved drug being refused not out of caution, but because of rationing. Please cut your crap about how it’s all because of Canada’s unfortunate overcautiousness. That’s a lie. It’s rationing.

  202. 202
    Darrell says:

    I misread it, and apparently you did too

    I’m the one who pointed out to YOU that her article said “four years ago” from the 2003 article. Don’t blame her that you didn’t read that.

  203. 203
    ImJohnGalt says:

    The article I cited says that Onatario and Saskatchewan do not fund Avastin. Are you saying the article is wrong?

    No. I’m saying that most Canadians have access to supplemental drug plans that have no such restrictions. Or does the US government drug plan fund any drug anyone wants?

  204. 204
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I’m the one who pointed out to YOU that her article said “four years ago” from the 2003 article. Don’t blame her that you didn’t read that.

    Right, so you blatantly misread my understanding so that you could play some childish “gotcha” game, when you knew exactly what the truth was. How honest of you.

  205. 205
    Darrell says:

    No. I’m saying that most Canadians have access to supplemental drug plans that have no such restrictions

    Supplemental drug plans? You mean like insurance you have to pay for? I thought that the Canadian healthcare system gave great care for “everyone”.. Guess not. At least not if you live in Ontario and have colon cancer without extra cost supplemental insurance

    It used to be illegal to carry supplemental health insurance in Canada, right? When did that change?

  206. 206
    ImJohnGalt says:

    And just so we cut to the chase, here Darrell, let’s look at the very first sentence of your chosen article:

    For the first time, Canada is unable to participate in a key clinical cancer trial because patients are not getting the best known treatment.

    Yeah, that problem is so endemic to the Canadian system that this is the FIRST TIME IT’S EVER HAPPENED!

    Fuck this, trying to discuss anything with you is fruitless. You’re not interested in debate, you’re only interested in attempting to humiliate the “other side”.

  207. 207
    Darrell says:

    Right, so you blatantly misread my understanding so that you could play some childish “gotcha” game

    No, “gotcha” is your style not mind. It’s why you were so quick to dismiss Pipes as a liar. I only dug into it after you challenged me to admit that I was “wrong” about Pipes. When I dug into it, it turned out she was right, at least on her central example. I didn’t dig into the others she mentioned in her article.

  208. 208
    ImJohnGalt says:

    It used to be illegal to carry supplemental health insurance in Canada, right

    When was that, Darrell?
    Please, educate yourself.

  209. 209
    Darrell says:

    Yeah, that problem is so endemic to the Canadian system that this is the FIRST TIME IT’S EVER HAPPENED!

    But you already know damn well that it wasn’t the first time Canadians have been without the best known treatment for cancer, as we were just discussing Rituxan which wasn’t approved until years after the US, and god knows how many provinces refused to fund it after approval..

  210. 210
    ImJohnGalt says:

    When I dug into it, it turned out she was right, at least on her central example.

    I allowed that the first paragraph, while true and unfortunate, proved nothing about the relative merits of our health care systems other than her uncle got sick at the most unfortunate time. It had *nothing* to do with rationing drugs, merely that the drug had not *yet* been approved. Happens all the time, in every country in the world, including the US.

  211. 211
    ImJohnGalt says:

    By what magic wand do drugs rollouts happen concurrently around the world, Darrell?

    I am an employer of 23 people. I pay for their fucking health-insurance plans. Guess I’m going to jail, eh?

  212. 212
    Darrell says:

    It used to be illegal to carry supplemental health insurance in Canada, right

    When was that, Darrell?
    Please, educate yourself.

    I’m betting you’re feeling pretty stupid about right now

    Although the ruling was made on the Quebec law, it likely will affect other Canadian provinces that forbid residents from buying private health care insurance for treatment under the country’s Medicare system.

  213. 213
    Darrell says:

    I am an employer of 23 people. I pay for their fucking health-insurance plans. Guess I’m going to jail, eh?

    IJG, why would you Canadian employers have to pay for health insurance plans when you’re wonderful government-run healthcare is ‘free’ for everyone?

  214. 214
    ImJohnGalt says:

    That’s the problem, Darrell. You can’t read.

    There is no private health care. Ergo, there is not private health care insurance.

    There is plenty of employer-paid insurance. I pay for my employees’ dental care, their glasses, and a variety of other things that are not covered under the government-funded program.

    Fuck this. I honestly don’t understand what you’re looking for here. I’ve allowed that our system could improve. You’ve conceded absolutely nothing. Nice talking to you. Not.

  215. 215
    Darrell says:

    Fuck this. I honestly don’t understand what you’re looking for here. I’ve allowed that our system could improve. You’ve conceded absolutely nothing. Nice talking to you. Not.

    You have dishonestly attributed the fact that Canadians don’t have many important drugs to the “overcautious” nature of the Canadian government rather than honestly admitting that it’s a predictable consequence of healthcare rationing and comes down to money. You never owned up to that bit of dishonesty.

    Then when I asked you about the whether private health insurance was illegal in Canada you immediately responded with childish taunts rather than answer me forthrightly.

    So yeah, blame me if that’s what floats your boat

  216. 216
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I’m still waiting for you to point out the many important drugs that Canadians don’t currently have access to. All you’ve pointed out are the times at which a drug was approved by the FDA in the US while not *yet* approved in Canada, with no evidence that they were submitted for approval at the same time.

    I’ve pointed out that while the Canadian government does not fund every available drug on the market for its citizens, neither does the US government. If they did, why would seniors be coming to Canada to buy them – after all, they should be free, no? Is the US government rationing access to drugs? [nice one equating not providing unrestricted free drugs to everyone as “healthcare rationing”, too]

    I’ve also pointed out that for many Canadians, employer financed supplemental plans (of which you were blissfully unaware but again refuse to acknowledge with any sort of mea culpa) do provide most Canadians with access to those few drugs that the government will not pay for. As in the US, patients who don’t qualify under either of these programs can petition with the drug companies for access to their drugs under charitable programs.

    You didn’t ask me anything about whether private health insurance was illegal. You asserted it, and called me stupid.

  217. 217
    Darrell says:

    There is plenty of employer-paid insurance. I pay for my employees’ dental care, their glasses, and a variety of other things that are not covered under the government-funded program.

    But upthread you suggested that anyone with a good drug program (ie supplmemental insurance) would have access to Avastin.. and Avastin is a cancer treatment drug, not in the category of glasses, dental care, etc. like you say

    Anyone with a good drug program up here will have access to Avastin. Isn’t that how you think it should work?

  218. 218
    Darrell says:

    I’m still waiting for you to point out the many important drugs that Canadians don’t currently have access to

    I pointed to Avastin not being available in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

  219. 219
    ThymeZone says:

    Fuck this. I honestly don’t understand what you’re looking for here.

    He’s a troll, well practiced in lengthy harangues.

    What he’s looking for is to queer the thread.

    Why John and Tim allow this shit, one can only guess.

  220. 220
    Darrell says:

    I’ve pointed out that while the Canadian government does not fund every available drug on the market for its citizens, neither does the US government.

    But unlike Canada, we don’t have to wait for our government to fund it because we have private health insurance.. you know, the kind of private health insurance which is against the law to have in Canada.

    That is a huge problem with your system.

  221. 221
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Right, sorry. I also pay for a supplemental drug plan for my employees, under which Avastin would be covered. There are many, many providers of this type of supplemental insurance for employees. Usually bundled with LTD, AD&D, Life insurance, Chiropracty and Naturopathy along with the aforementioned items as well.

    I’m sorry our health care programs don’t live up to what you think our perception of it is, Darrell. But perhaps our perception of it is not what you think it is, and perhaps, in fact, the health care programs on offer up here are not the straw man you you’ve created just so you can knock them down.

    I pointed to Avastin not being available in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

    No, you pointed to it not being government-funded in Ontario and Saskatchewan. This is the problem. You have it in your mind what our system is, and you’re just wrong, but unwilling to educate yourself. Please, just stop digging.

    If Medicaid doesn’t cover Avastin in Mississippi, does that mean Avastin is not available in Mississippi?

  222. 222
    tBone says:

    But unlike Canada, we don’t have to wait for our government to fund it because we have private health insurance.. you know, the kind of private health insurance which is against the law to have in Canada.

    Why would they need it? They’re so damn healthy, remember? That’s why their healthcare outcomes are comparable to ours, despite the fact that their laughable healthcare “system” resembles that of Zimbabwe.

    If we weren’t so morbidly obese here in America, our healthcare system would look 1,000 times better than theirs, instead of just x100. Right, Darrell?

  223. 223
    ImJohnGalt says:

    But unlike Canada, we don’t have to wait for our government to fund it because we have private health insurance.. you know, the kind of private health insurance which is against the law to have in Canada.

    That is a huge problem with your system.

    Aaaauuuuggggghhhhhh!!!! This is just wrong. I don’t care what you think you’ve read. I live in Ontario. I pay for my employees to have supplemental health insurance that covers Avastin and every other approved Canadian drug. From a drug perspective, our system is similar to yours, except our drug prices are much lower because our government negotiates bulk prices.

    STOP DIGGING! How about you assume I’m debating in good faith here. I’ve lived under both systems (5 years in Manhattan, 25 years here, 9 abroad), so I’m not basing my arguments or opinions about what I’ve read, but what my (and people I love – my wife is American) experiences have been directly with the systems themselves. My wife had the best of the best Medical care in America (Duke undergrad, Duke Law, Duke Medical nearby), so we understand the differences between the two systems. For her, Canada’s health care system is worse than the care she was receiving. For many more, it isn’t. For the poorest in this country, the care they receive is far better than that they would receive in America under similar circumstances.

    I don’t think the solution to solving our problems is to build a system like yours. I would argue (like Tim) that perhaps you might want to move yours a little closer to that of the rest of the Western Hemisphere. Or are you such an American Exceptionalist that you believe that America always does it better?

  224. 224
    Darrell says:

    I pointed to Avastin not being available in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

    No, you pointed to it not being government-funded in Ontario and Saskatchewan. This is the problem. You have it in your mind what our system is, and you’re just wrong, but unwilling to educate yourself.

    I asked you in good faith about the legality or illegality of private health insurance and all you’ve given me is bullshit and contradictory statements.

    I’m trying to understand which types of health insurance are illegal under Canadian law. And if Canadians are moving toward supplemental private plans to cover life saving drug treatments like Avastin, doesn’t that fly in the face of what Canadians have been telling us for so long.. wagging their fingers about how their system is so compassionate because everyone is covered?

    Obviously, many who are “covered” don’t have access to the same life saving treatments as others who can afford private insurance, right?

  225. 225
    Darrell says:

    STOP DIGGING! How about you assume I’m debating in good faith here.

    If you’re debating in good faith, then please explain why some types of health insurance are/were illegal in Canada. Has these been a change in the laws which previously forbid private health insurance? I have already provided you a citation

  226. 226
    tBone says:

    Or are you such an American Exceptionalist that you believe that America always does it better?

    Yes. [/SATSQ]

  227. 227
    TenguPhule says:

    Govt. bureaucrats Insurance Companies rationing healthcare, and people suffer as a result.

    Darrell obviously has no clue about the US health insurance industry.

  228. 228
    Darrell says:

    I don’t think the solution to solving our problems is to build a system like yours. I would argue (like Tim) that perhaps you might want to move yours a little closer to that of the rest of the Western Hemisphere. Or are you such an American Exceptionalist that you believe that America always does it better?

    Not always better, but usually better. We have the most robust economy in the world bar none. Should we restructure it to be more like the rest of the world? We have the best healthcare in the world for those who have insurance.

    It’s not that America is always right, it’s just that there is no way to have govt. control of healthcare (for any nation) without rationing of the quality and amount of that healthcare.

    US healthcare is too expensive, one reason being because our govt is already too intrusive.

  229. 229
    Darrell says:

    Govt. bureaucrats Insurance Companies rationing healthcare, and people suffer as a result

    Not an unfair point. The difference being, and it’s a huge difference, is that generally speaking, companies and individuals have the freedom to switch away from insurance companies who have a reputation for not paying for needed treatments.. In Canada and other countries, the govt is the sole supplier of health services. Where you gonna go?

  230. 230
    TenguPhule says:

    Hey, if she’s wrong on some points, she’s wrong. Don’t discount the idea that negative publicity from her efforts put pressure on Canadian bureaucrats.

    Shorter Darrell: Sure, I was caught passing out a liar’s talking points, but that doesn’t mean those lies are *wrong* if you look at the big picture!

  231. 231
    Darrell says:

    Shorter Darrell: Sure, I was caught passing out a liar’s talking points

    Was it demonstrated that she lied about anything? IJG already admitted he misread her and that it was his mistake.

  232. 232
    Wolfdaughter says:

    Darrell:

    Health insurance plans here in the U.S. have “formularies”. If you need a drug that is not on the formulary of your insurance plan, you pay for it yourself. Insurance plans also deny coverage of procedures. This is rationing, but it’s done by insurance bureaucrats rather than government bureaucrats.

    In 1995 I developed acute otitis media in my left ear and became almost deaf in that ear. I called my primary doc who referred me to an ENT man. The ENT performed an audiogram and a tonogram (both tests for hearing). The tonogram is unusual but audiograms are given very routinely in many situations where an intake physical is required, such as with the military. The ENT did not treat but simply tested. In fact, he told me that my deafness was untreatable.

    Couple of months later I got a bill from the insurance folks, denying coverage, because “the treatment was unauthorized”. I called and got a snippy clerk. I told her that the doc had administered an audiogram and a tomogram. She didn’t know what either was. As I said above, I don’t expect most people to know what a tomogram is, but I do expect people to know what an audiogram is, and a health insurance clerk is working in a capacity where she should know what the more routine procedures and treatments are. I underlined to her that I had not been TREATED, but TESTED, and therefore the denial of coverage was inaccurate. Fortunately for me, someone I go to church with worked for that insurance company, and was able to get this fixed so I didn’t have to pay out of pocket. But my kind of story is hardly an isolated one. Insurance plans routinely deny coverage.

    Bottom line: health coverage is often denied here in the U.
    S. Oh, and waiting times for non-emergency procedures can also be very long. I know people who’ve waited 6 months for back surgery, hip/knee replacements, all the while in considerable pain.

  233. 233
    TenguPhule says:

    he difference being, and it’s a huge difference, is that generally speaking, companies and individuals have the freedom to switch away from insurance companies who have a reputation for not paying for needed treatments

    And how do you do that when *all* of them do it?

    In Canada and other countries, the govt is the sole supplier of health services. Where you gonna go?

    When you can vote out those in government, they have an incentive not to commit political suicide by screwing you out of treatment. Insurance companies don’t care. The only way to fight them is in court, which favors the one with bigger pockets.

  234. 234
    tBone says:

    We have the best healthcare in the world for those who have insurance.

    Yeah. Screw those lazy fatties who don’t have insurance – they’d just bring our average down anyway.

  235. 235
    Darrell says:

    Oh, and waiting times for non-emergency procedures can also be very long. I know people who’ve waited 6 months for back surgery, hip/knee replacements, all the while in considerable pain

    Those kind of wait times for him hip/knee replacements are commonplace in Canada. I haven’t seen anything like those wait times in the US. Which is probably why Canadians are the ones complaining about the long waits

  236. 236
    Darrell says:

    When you can vote out those in government, they have an incentive not to commit political suicide by screwing you out of treatment

    They’re already screwing the people and it hasn’t hurt the politicians: Long waiting lists, life saving drugs not being available, lack of MRI’s and other diagnostic machines, etc.

  237. 237
    Darrell says:

    In the US, if you are denied treatment by an insurance carrier that you believe should have been covered, there are insurance boards and legal recourse options you can take. If someone dies waiting in line for cancer surgery, the Canadian govt. can’t be sued.

  238. 238
    RSA says:

    Screw those lazy fatties who don’t have insurance – they’d just bring our average down anyway.

    Don’t forget the infant mortality rates–we’d probably be doing a lot better on longevity measures if we ignored those.

    You know, I think this idea has some promise: America has the tallest and richest people in the world, I bet, for those who are in the NBA.

  239. 239
    ThymeZone says:

    I think what we need is a lefty boycott of this blog.

    Let John have Darrell and the 3 or 4 people who want to talk to him, and see his page views drop 90 percent, and see what happens.

    Discuss.

  240. 240
    Darrell says:

    I think what we need is a lefty boycott of this blog.

    You groupthinkers love your echo chambers, don’t you?

  241. 241
    tBone says:

    Don’t forget the infant mortality rates—we’d probably be doing a lot better on longevity measures if we ignored those.

    Exactly. We don’t need a bunch of malingering infants making us look bad to the rest of the world.

  242. 242
    ImJohnGalt says:

    life saving drugs not being available

    I keep waiting for that list, and as I said, Avastin isn’t on it.

  243. 243
    Darrell says:

    Don’t forget the infant mortality rates

    Because our neonatal care is more advanced than any other nation in the world, in other nations a very low birthweight child dies without a fighting chance and is classified as death at childbirth rather than counting against infant mortality rates, whereas that same child born in the US might survive weeks or months.. with a chance at living a full life.

    Also, because of our relative affluence, you see a helluva lot more women here in the US using fertility treatments which raises the proportion of multiple births which is a big risk factor. It also increase the number births to older women which carries a higher risk of infant mortality.

    Simpleton leftists look at the rates themselves without bothering to question it as long as it doesn’t conflict with their dogma.

  244. 244
    Darrell says:

    I keep waiting for that list, and as I said, Avastin isn’t on it.

    According to the article I cited, Avastin was refused funding by Ontario and Saskatchewan. If it’s refused funding, that means no availability unless you can affort private supplemental insurance, right?

  245. 245
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrell, up above you said this:

    Presumably, Canadian citizens with Aids learn to live without, suffer and die, right?

    I pointed out that there was nothing on the page you linked to that indicated they were talking about AIDS, just that if you were taking a medication in the US, it *might* not be available in Canada. It said nothing about AIDS patients being untreated with other drugs, or anything that could possibly lead to your conclusion that in Canada (one of the gay-friendliest countries in the world) we let people with AIDS suffer and die without trying to medically treat them.

    You didn’t respond to my post pointing these things out, so I have no idea if it had any impact on your perceptions. If you advanced your argument using that link as justification even though you knew all of the things that I just mentioned, that is a textbook example of “not arguing in good faith”. If you read that and honestly believed that we sweep our AIDS patients into the gutter to die, then you may be stupid, but you’re not arguing in bad faith. See the difference?

    Just so we both understand what “arguing in good faith” means.

  246. 246
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Way to move the goalposts, Darrell.

    I reiterate. If Medicaid doesn’t cover Avastin in Mississippi, does that mean it isn’t available in Mississippi?

  247. 247
    Darrell says:

    I pointed out that there was nothing on the page you linked to that indicated they were talking about AIDS, just that if you were taking a medication in the US, it might not be available in Canada. It said nothing about AIDS patients being untreated with other drugs

    They wouldn’t have issued the warning unless a number of the more commonly used (ie. more successful) treatments were not available in Canada. Oh sure, just with the second or third tier cancer treatments in Canada, I’m sure they treat the AIDS sufferers with something. It’s just not the best treatment available.

  248. 248
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Was it demonstrated that she lied about anything? IJG already admitted he misread her and that it was his mistake.

    Yes. She said Reyataz wasn’t even submitted for approval in September of 2003, and yet it was approved a mere two months and two weeks later. If we have such an inefficient bureaucracy, that’s gotta be impossible.

  249. 249
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Darrel, that page said absolutely nothing about AIDS medication, or pretty much anything else you ascribe to it.

    Show me where it said “if you are taking the very best AIDS medication available on the market, you should bring extra, because you absolutely won’t be able to get it in this godforsaken 3rd world country”.

    It said, as would any conference page in any country in the world, “if you are taking medication, know that it might not be available wherever you are going, so bring extra”.

    That’s all it said. Any additional nuance is nuance you are reading into it.

  250. 250
    Darrell says:

    ImJohnGalt Says:

    Way to move the goalposts, Darrell.

    I reiterate. If Medicaid doesn’t cover Avastin in Mississippi, does that mean it isn’t available in Mississippi?

    Unlike Canada, US govt Medicaid coverage of available drugs does not vary by state. But to address the crux of your question, most people receive health care through programs paid for by their insurance carriers, so it’s not contingent on whether the govt does, or does not cover a particular treatment.

    I’ve asked you about 5 times now to explain which types of health insurance are illegal to carry in Canada and you’ve so far refused to answer. I cited an article which specifically mentioned that private health insurance is illegal in Canada.

  251. 251
    ImJohnGalt says:

    You win by attrition, Darrell. Congratulations. I surrender.

  252. 252
    Darrell says:

    It said, as would any conference page in any country in the world, “if you are taking medication, know that it might not be available wherever you are going, so bring extra”.

    You do realize that would not happen here in the US. Anyone with a prescription can purchase needed drugs, whereas in Canada, government bureaucrats pick and choose which drugs you can have. And again, it’s not because Canada is being overly cautious as you have suggested previously.. it’s because Canada rations healthcare, and there is no private industry alternative to get healthcare elsewhere.

  253. 253
    ThymeZone says:

    You groupthinkers love your echo chambers, don’t you?

    Always with the lies. Lefties argue with each other here all the time.

    What you do is basically abusive harassment. You suck, and if John wants this, then fuck it, let him have it.

    He can have you, and his blog can go to shit. Apparently he doesn’t give a fuck, why should we?

  254. 254
    Darrell says:

    ImJohnGalt Says:

    You win by attrition, Darrell. Congratulations. I surrender.

    I was actually hoping for some answers, but whatev. See here (again). Is it true that a citizen of Ontario who cannot afford supplemental health insurance would be denied cancer treatment using Avastin?

  255. 255
    ThymeZone says:

    I was actually hoping for some answers

    What a fuckhead.

    You, looking for answers? What for? What would do with them if you had them, you lying fuck?

  256. 256
    Darrell says:

    What a fuckhead.

    You, looking for answers? What for? What would do with them if you had them, you lying fuck?

    Ah yes, the always erudite left.

  257. 257
    Curt Adams says:

    Canadian life expectancy is considerably better than the US: 80.2 vs 77.9 years. http://www.unitednorthamerica.org/simdiff.htm
    In addition, they’re pulling farther and farther ahead: they increased their advantage by 1.1 years from 1960 to 2002, which is probably the effect of switching to national healthcare. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/15/23/34970246.pdf

    In a nutshell, introducing national health insurance reduced costs and extended lifespan in Canada. It’s that simple. Delaying kills Americans and eliminate American jobs. If Americans want longer, healthier lives and better takehome pay, they should get single-payer health insurance.

  258. 258
    ThymeZone says:

    In a nutshell, introducing national health insurance reduced costs and extended lifespan in Canada. It’s that simple. Delaying kills Americans and eliminate American jobs. If Americans want longer, healthier lives and better takehome pay, they should get single-payer health insurance.

    Juxtapose this paragraph with the first one to the thread, and then ask yourself why this resource-rich country won’t solve this problem.

    The answer is right here, in front of you: Darrell. Darrell, and the crap he pulls, and the pahtology of that crap, which is bought and paid for by the K Street machine, is why this country is going to be last among the modern progressive nations of the world, a laughingstock. And broke.

    And on this blog, as in the real world, the issue can’t be discussed without that evil noise machine trying to fuck it up. Evil, because this is in fact killing people and bankrupting people every day.

    This shit has consequences. Toxic ideas have consequences. Evil has consequences. Shrugging your shoulders at the Darrells has consequences.

  259. 259
    tBone says:

    Because our neonatal care is more advanced than any other nation in the world, in other nations a very low birthweight child dies without a fighting chance and is classified as death at childbirth rather than counting against infant mortality rates, whereas that same child born in the US might survive weeks or months.. with a chance at living a full life.

    And yet, we have the second worst newborn death rate in the world. Hmmmm.

  260. 260
    Darrell says:

    The answer is right here, in front of you: Darrell. Darrell, and the crap he pulls, and the pahtology of that crap, which is bought and paid for by the K Street machine

    Damnit, I want my check!

    This shit has consequences. Toxic ideas have consequences. Evil has consequences. Shrugging your shoulders at the Darrells has consequences.

    As noble reality-based liberals, you have a moral obligation to confront the toxic eeevil that is me

  261. 261
    Darrell says:

    Another point libs never acknowledge in this debate is how Canada (and Europe) limits liability for punative damages. You’d see health care here costs drop dramatically if we did the same.

    Doctor amputates your balls instead of your tonsils in Toronto? Suck it up and learn to sing soprano.

  262. 262
    Darrell says:

    More toxic eeevil propaganda:

    John Edwards cited a Congressional Budget Office report that the medical malpractice tort industry adds less than 1% to the total cost of health care in this country. But every physician I know would scoff at such a low figure as it does not take into account the practice of “defensive medicine”. This is when doctors order expensive tests and procedures even when the odds of finding disease are very low.

    You want a system like Canada’s with their associated low costs? Then be willing to give up your choice to sue for damages if you think the doctor screwed up.. or if you are permitted to sue, accept pennies relative to what you would expect to receive here in the US.

  263. 263
    ThymeZone says:

    Damnit, I want my check!

    Take it up with John Cole.

  264. 264
    TenguPhule says:

    In the US, if you are denied treatment by an insurance carrier that you believe should have been covered, there are insurance boards and legal recourse options you can take.

    Good luck getting a legal recourse before you die.

  265. 265
    Jonathan says:

    You groupthinkers love your echo chambers, don’t you?

    You’ve seen my posting style, Darrell. I never use personal attacks or profanity and I try to treat everyone politely.

    Explain to me why I’ve been banned at every right wing site at which I have posted.

    Then explain why you are not banned here at Balloon Juice.

  266. 266
    Krista says:

    All I’m going to say about healthcare is that I am very, very happy to be living where I am. I’m a very healthy person, but have had to go to the E.R. a couple of times in the last decade, and my boyfriend’s had to go a couple of times in the last year. We are unable to afford any health insurance other than what the province gives, and none of those emergency visits cost us a penny. Were we in the U.S., we’d still be paying off the bills.

  267. 267
    Darrell says:

    We are unable to afford any health insurance other than what the province gives, and none of those emergency visits cost us a penny. Were we in the U.S., we’d still be paying off the bills.

    If you were working here in the US, you would almost certainly be covered by your employer for health insurance.

  268. 268
    Jonathan says:

    You want a system like Canada’s with their associated low costs? Then be willing to give up your choice to sue for damages if you think the doctor screwed up.. or if you are permitted to sue, accept pennies relative to what you would expect to receive here in the US.

    Can you say “tort reform”?

    Sure, I knew you could.

    Isn’t tort reform a big Republican talking point?

    You know, restricting the rights of injured patients to sue medical providers for damages.

  269. 269
    Darrell says:

    You know, restricting the rights of injured patients to sue medical providers for damages.

    You mean like in Canada, where wronged patients have almost no legal recourse? Please tell me you’re not that big of a hypocrite..

  270. 270
    Darrell says:

    You’ve seen my posting style, Darrell. I never use personal attacks or profanity and I try to treat everyone politely.

    Explain to me why I’ve been banned at every right wing site at which I have posted.

    Then explain why you are not banned here at Balloon Juice.

    Well, although John Cole has drifted leftward, I’m not sure he can be fairly described as anything much more than a left-leaning moderate who follows the kool kidz. Tim is hard left. Mild mannered, but hard left. John Cole is not.. at least not yet. You seem to believe this is some left-wing site.. It may be heading in that direction, but not there yet.

  271. 271
    Darrell says:

    Then explain why you are not banned here at Balloon Juice.

    Because, as TZ has explained, I am here only to gin page views for John’s site [/snark]

  272. 272
    RSA says:

    Without comment, from the LA Times:

    A paraplegic man wearing a soiled hospital gown and a broken colostomy bag was found crawling in a gutter in skid row in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being dumped in the street by a Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center van, police said.

  273. 273
    Darrell says:

    RSA, if you and your army of liberal compatriots would take the stinking homeless into your homes, we could “win” the war on homelessness.. don’t you agree? Or is actually getting involved too much for you.

  274. 274
    Darrell says:

    On reading the article, that is some stone cold sh*t. Dumping a parapalegic on the streets is like a death sentence. Not sure if it’s true, but if it is, somebody needs to spend time in jail over that

  275. 275
    Jonathan says:

    Darrell,

    Explain to me why I’ve been banned at every right wing site at which I have posted?

    You failed to answer my question.

  276. 276
    Jonathan says:

    On reading the article, that is some stone cold sh*t.

    Public corporations’ only responsibility is to maximize profits to their shareholders.

  277. 277
    Jonathan says:

    You mean like in Canada, where wronged patients have almost no legal recourse? Please tell me you’re not that big of a hypocrite..

    But Republicans wish to restrict legal recourse for injured patients while simultaneously keeping the public corporations in business whose only responsibility is to maximize profits to their shareholders.

    The Canadian system is not a for profit system. The US system on the other hand is a for profit system.

  278. 278
    Darrell says:

    But Republicans wish to restrict legal recourse for injured patients while simultaneously keeping the public corporations in business whose only responsibility is to maximize profits to their shareholders.

    What you’re ignoring is the element of choice and accountability. Insurance companies who have a reputation of not paying up offering bad coverage lose business and lose profits. Government run healthcare is completely devoid of such accountability. If the govt offers poor service, the consumer has NO CHOICE, and there is little or no legal recourse on top of that. Lack of accountability and alternatives is what makes government monopoly of healthcare so awful. Politicians blame it on the bureaucracy and on their predecessors to avoid responsibility, when the real problem is the system itself.

    As far as profits, the fact that the US system is not insulated from punitive damage lawsuits like Canada is a boon to doctor, hospital, and insurance profits, as doctors and insurance companies are compelled to practice defensive CYA (cover your ass) medicine, running the same same tests but from two different facilites to ‘be sure’, and when they are obligated to test for potential problems which have a very low probability of being a disease at all. All those costs get passed down to those paying for insurance, and of course, the insurance companies take their cut.

  279. 279
    Darrell says:

    Public corporations’ only responsibility is to maximize profits to their shareholders.

    But in order to gain and maintain that business, they must serve their customers. If they don’t serve them well, customers will not buy their services, and they will face the costs of more lawsuits.

    Are you a socialist Jonathan? You seem to be opposed to the most fundamental aspect of capitalism, profit.

  280. 280
    Jonathan says:

    What you’re ignoring is the element of choice and accountability. Insurance companies who have a reputation of not paying up offering bad coverage lose business and lose profits.

    What element of choice is there when all the insurance companies essentially have the same despicable practices?

    Government run healthcare is completely devoid of such accountability. If the govt offers poor service, the consumer has NO CHOICE, and there is little or no legal recourse on top of that. Lack of accountability and alternatives is what makes government monopoly of healthcare so awful. Politicians blame it on the bureaucracy and on their predecessors to avoid responsibility, when the real problem is the system itself.

    Politicians have to face the voters. If those politicians make poor decisions then the voters have the option of turning them out of office and installing politicians whose policies are more to the voters liking.

    As far as profits, the fact that the US system is not insulated from punitive damage lawsuits like Canada is a boon to doctor, hospital, and insurance profits, as doctors and insurance companies are compelled to practice defensive CYA (cover your ass) medicine, running the same same tests but from two different facilites to ‘be sure’, and when they are obligated to test for potential problems which have a very low probability of being a disease at all. All those costs get passed down to those paying for insurance, and of course, the insurance companies take their cut.

    Once again I point out that the conservative position is that legal recourse by consumers against corporations is a bad thing. Tort reform is a conservative platform, not a liberal one.

    Corporations are considered legal persons, why do conservatives wish to keep them from having to exercise the “personal responsibility” of which conservatives are so fond of speaking?

  281. 281
    Jonathan says:

    But in order to gain and maintain that business, they must serve their customers. If they don’t serve them well, customers will not buy their services, and they will face the costs of more lawsuits.

    Are you a socialist Jonathan? You seem to be opposed to the most fundamental aspect of capitalism, profit.

    I’m a libertarian leftist, what are you?

    All the insurance companies have essentially the same despicable practices, it maximizes their profits and that’s why they do the things they do.

    All insurance companies keep legal experts on staff, fighting lawsuits is something they do routinely as a part of doing business. Many corporations would rather spend a hundred grand fighting a lawsuit than spend ten grand to settle that same lawsuit. The reason being that settling the lawsuit will set a precedent which will jeopardize their possibility of prevailing in future similar lawsuits.

  282. 282
    Jonathan says:

    Darrell,

    Explain to me why I’ve been banned at every right wing site at which I have posted?

    You have still failed to answer my question.

  283. 283
    Darrell says:

    Explain to me why I’ve been banned at every right wing site at which I have posted?

    You have still failed to answer my question.

    Yes asshole I “failed” to answer your question, because in order to answer it would require a research project on those unnamed sites to see exactly what you posted.

    So as a result, you declare repeatedly that I have “failed” to answer. Whatver you freak.

    You have literally stalked me from thread to thread demanding I answer your off-topic stupid questions. It’s weird. Perhaps those banned you for that. I don’t know, and I’m not willing to do a research project to find out because * gasp * I just don’t care.

  284. 284
    Darrell says:

    All the insurance companies have essentially the same despicable practices

    Unsupported, and unsupportable statement. And if you’re really a “libertarian” as you claim, then why such hostility to the concept of business profits? No real libertarian has opposes the idea of profits like that.

  285. 285
    Darrell says:

    Jonathan Says:

    Darrell,

    If it weren’t for the fact that my wife is working for one of the largest private corporations in the US, I would be one of those who couldn’t get health insurance at any price.

    Jonathan, in past threads you have claimed to have served in the USMC. So then, you would be covered through the VA no matter whether your wife’s company had insurance or not, right?

  286. 286
    Jonathan says:

    Yes asshole I “failed” to answer your question, because in order to answer it would require a research project on those unnamed sites to see exactly what you posted.

    So as a result, you declare repeatedly that I have “failed” to answer. Whatver you freak.

    Name calling and foul language do not further your arguments.

    You see my posting style, I do not use foul language, I am polite to everyone and I address the content of the post and not the character of the poster.

    I do not change my posting style wherever I go, I maintain the same persona.

  287. 287
    Jonathan says:

    Unsupported, and unsupportable statement. And if you’re really a “libertarian” as you claim, then why such hostility to the concept of business profits? No real libertarian has opposes the idea of profits like that.

    I’m not hostile to profits, I am hostile to profits made off the suffering of others.

  288. 288
    Jonathan says:

    Jonathan, in past threads you have claimed to have served in the USMC. So then, you would be covered through the VA no matter whether your wife’s company had insurance or not, right?

    http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/costs/

    Many veterans qualify for cost-free health care and/or medications based on

    Receiving a Purple Heart Medal, or
    Former Prisoner of War Status, or
    Compensable service-connected disabilities, or
    Low income, or
    Other qualifying factors including treatment related to their military service experience.

    VA is required to bill private health insurance providers for medical care, supplies and prescriptions provided for care veterans receive for their non-service connected conditions. Generally, VA cannot bill Medicare, but can bill Medicare supplemental health insurance for covered services.

    I fit none of the criteria for free medical care at the VA.

  289. 289
    Darrell says:

    I’m not hostile to profits, I am hostile to profits made off the suffering of others.

    That certainly wasn’t what you said. You objected on this basis, quoting you verbatim:

    Public corporations’ only responsibility is to maximize profits to their shareholders

    But that’s true whether a corporation is selling cookies, clothing, toys, or healthcare.

    Tell us Jonathan, do you similarly object to funeral homes and florists? Because they too make their profits off the suffering and tragedy of others.

  290. 290
    Darrell says:

    I fit none of the criteria for free medical care at the VA.

    You deliberately mislead. Virtually every private insurance requires co-pay for doctor’s visits and medication. You are eligible for co-pay VA coverage just like insurance coverage. Contrary to what you asserted upthread, you can get coverage through the VA.

  291. 291

    But that’s true whether a corporation is selling cookies, clothing, toys, or healthcare.

    Or crack cocaine, or mercenary armies, or “protection” from storefronts burning to the ground. So I guess all corporate/business activity is okay, since profit is what makes the world go ’round. Any discussion of other policy considerations will only hurt the free market. Privatize police and fire departments, legalize drugs and contract killings, and stop trying to hinder people from making money!

    Tell us Jonathan, do you similarly object to funeral homes and florists? Because they too make their profits off the suffering and tragedy of others.

    I’m sensing something false in this analogy…

  292. 292
    TenguPhule says:

    If they don’t serve them well, customers will not buy their services, and they will face the costs of more lawsuits.

    Unless that product is mandated to be purchased by the government (car insurance) and/or rarely employed in which case you only find out when it’s *too* *late* that they’re denying you after having made payments to them for years.

    Every insurance company has the incentive to deny claims and all of them are secure in the knowledge that their fellows will attempt to do the same because it’s in their individual and collective best interests.

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  1. […] Or the bastion of capitalism run rampant over human rights? Surprisingly, many people still don’t know that America is the only country in the developed world without universal government-supported healthcare. We alone allow entire classes of citizens to simply fall through the cracks, for whom waiting for surgery is a non-issue and a single bad turn can wipe out the life savings, eat the house and leave you bankrupt… […]

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