National Health Care...

(Yes, that's 8 POUNDS 7 "little" Thomas owes me, big time!)

Uh oh. Did I open a can of worms with my comments about national health care? I sure didn't mean to offend anyone. But it's true - I think nationalized health care would be a mess for the US.

In my humble (and admittedly ignorant) opinion on this topic, we only need to look at our public school systems to see how national health care would work out for us.

Namely, everyone would have access to care...but what quality of care? Our kids all get to go to school, but our teachers are terribly underpaid considering their responsibility...and therefore it's tough to attract serious talent (please, teachers, don't write to chew me out...I know that there are some excellent teachers out there...but you're not in it for the money, right?).

And there are pockets of schools in every state in the nation that just plain stink. They are typically in the neighborhoods where there are low incomes...a shame, since those folks can not afford to send their kids to private schools for a better education.

Now translate all of that into health care.

We want the best and the brightest doctors? Well, we'd better motivate the best and the brightest to become doctors then. Money motivates.

We want cutting edge medicines...again, we'd better motivate drug companies to do the research.

Bottom line...competition is healthy. The "losers" drop out, and the "winners" go on to provide great products.

And if there was a national health care system, does that mean that private systems couldn't continue to operate? Nope (remember private schools?). There would be plenty of outstanding options for those who could pay for it with their own money...and there would be minimal care for those who have less.

Is our system perfect? No way. It really bothers me when I hear stories of people who can't get treatment because their insurance doesn't cover it for one reason or another. Do I know how to fix it? Nope. Believe me, if I did, I'd be out there trying to do just that!

Changes do need to happen. I don't know what they are, but a national health care system (at
least as I envision NHC) isn't it.

I'd love to hear from people who know more about this than I do...What do you think of the idea of NHC? How do you envision it working/not working? What are some other options for fixing or improving the system we have?

Anonymous –   – (3/06/2008 03:39:00 PM)  

Atta Girl!

By the way, when we lived in North Dakota we did about a third of our volumes from Canadian citizens who couldn't tolerate waiting six months to have their hip replaced, or their cancer surgery; and heaven help them if they needed a CT or MRI to diagnose their disease. We employ roughly 120 docs and nearly 20% of them are from Canada.

For those who want to know what's wrong with NHC, simply take all of the best of what we have right now and reverse it 180 degrees.

All that aside, I'll buy a case for each of my sons-in-law if we get NHC in the near term; there is no political will to get it done, no matter what you're hearing. It'll happen on a state by state level first.

Kimberly S  – (3/06/2008 05:23:00 PM)  

I agree that national health care would be a disaster for the US, and that's what frightens me about the positive poll results both democratic candidates are getting--they both advocate universal health care! But I will say one solution to help with current healthcare costs--tort reform. If there were a cap on malpractice payouts, doctors wouldn't have to pay so much for malpractice insurance, and they wouldn't have to pass those higher costs on to us. Thus, health insurance companies are paying more to doctors and pharmceutical companies because of the out-of-control tort system, and we are having to pay more in our premiums. I also think those who are found to have brought a frivolous lawsuit should have to pay all legal costs associated with it; it is appalling that a person can be sued by some idiot, and have to pay a fortune in legal fees before they ever get before the judge who will then throw out the lawsuit. If people knew they'd have to pay all legal fees involved, they might have the sense not to bring a frivolous lawsuit.

Kimberly S  – (3/06/2008 05:34:00 PM)  

Another thought--have people given any thought to how universal healthcare gets paid for? You may pay less in insurance premiums, but you're going to pay vastly more in taxes. I spoke with a man from Europe who said that not only did he pay more in taxes, there, but he also paid more for health insurance.

As Ron Paul says in his proposal to get rid of the income tax--the best possible thing that can be done to help the poor would be to get rid of the income tax burden for everyone. People work for almost six months to pay their income tax--that is absurd. But if we got rid of the income tax now, we would reduce the size of our government to what it was 10 years ago (a good fact for those who think our government would not have enough money to function; we would actually still have quite a bit of revenue from other sources.). Eliminating the income tax would spur the economy, creating new jobs and new wealth for everyone, and freeing funds for families' personal healthcare needs.

Theresa  – (3/06/2008 06:09:00 PM)  

Just stopping to check your post. Sorry, I claim ignorance on a lot of topics...pretty much all topics unless they are shown on PBS and the Disney Channel.

You go girl! Theresa

Sarah M  – (3/06/2008 06:43:00 PM)  

Oh no, I don't think I will be well liked...but here goes. My husband is from Vancouver and he and his family have had nothing but great experiences with NHC. I do agree that tort reform would first and foremost work (because malpractice is so stinkin' high and it's very true that that (and obesity) is the reason american health care costs are through the roof). However, because I don't see THAT reform EVER going through (we've finally just gotten over the hump that is the 35mpg to all cars recently, and we are WAY behind the rest of the world--it only took us a few decades to jump on board that one, and it's a nobrainer)...NHC is such a good option, especially for low-income/poverty line families.
To be honest, I do not know the specifics of our candidates healthcare reform systems (all joking aside, my husband and family had plans to move back to Vancouver this year! so I really am not paying attention to it all that much) but I DO know that my husband and I paid almost 1/4 of our income THIS YEAR ALONE to our healthcare (yes we had a baby, we know having a baby is a big expenditure...but 25% of our income--GIVE ME A BREAK!) AND we had health care coverage that included maternity...and we still paid that much in premiums and deductibles. My delivery was average, recovery was fine, and I spent probably less than 10 minutes total at a time with a doctor in the hospital--not really worth the money to me.
Getting back to the Canadian system, my husband broke his femur skiing on a mountain and he was rushed by ambulance ($5,000 where I live) was in the hospital for more than 4 days (hmm, upwards of $12,000), had as much morphine as he wanted (who knows) and had a metal rod inserted in his leg to fix the broken bone....this is a HUGE surgery...all for free (well, hmm, about $107 a month for a family of 3 or more)and their only cost after the fact? a $50 ambulance ride ($50!!!) that they even ARGUED about because they shouldn't have to pay for it! AMAZING!!!!!!
On the other side, my husbands grandfather had to get a knee replacement and had a 6 month wait until that happened. The thing is, Americans (which I am one) love convienance, and pay for the 'here and now' of 'better healthcare' and canadians prioritize. Obviously they are not making laboring women 'wait out in the hall' or something, my husband was rushed and got in right away, my opa could still walk, so he had to wait, because it was a non-emergency.

The school system is in DIRE need of reform, but because it is based on income taxes, obviously there will be HUGE differences. In the parts of town that there are mostly renters (low-income) the school suffers, and vice versa. Instead of this, there should obviously be a 'big pot' theory put into practice. The city gets all property taxes from all districts, money goes into pot, money gets distributed evenly.

Also, Canadian health HAS privatized sectors where people who can pay for 'quicker' service (i.e. bigtime surgeries) out of pocket and get them with a short wait or none at all. However, 98% of Canadians choose to wait, use their money for something else and have a better quality of life because they aren't massively in debt to their health care.

I can see where some people think that the term 'socialized' is scary, but it's not. Who doesn't love libraries when they want to look at a book for free, or firefighters , and policemen when they need help in an emergency situation.

Hopefully that helps.
PS-I do not get offended easily, Daiquri! I think this is good dialogue to have all points of view spoken. Also, here is a GREAT website about national health care myths. Copy and paste:

Sarah M  – (3/06/2008 06:43:00 PM)  

wow. geez. sorry for the novel.

Sarah M  – (3/06/2008 06:49:00 PM)  

sorry, one more thing. We have (currently) a little under 1/5 of our income taken out for taxes. Canada's taxes are averaged at 20% as well. It's such a minor difference. Can you even imagine paying $107 (or $112, I can't remember which it is) a month for a family of " 3 + "???

Sarah M  – (3/06/2008 06:50:00 PM)  

ugh. last one, in my school paragraph, I meant "property taxes", not income!

Daiquiri  – (3/06/2008 09:04:00 PM)  

What fun! Thanks to all who commented or plan to. It made my day to come see what you all were saying about this :) Thanks for chatting with me!


Anonymous –   – (3/06/2008 10:10:00 PM)  

You will probably buy us a case, anyway. See you in a few weeks.

Kimberly S  – (3/06/2008 10:30:00 PM)  

Hey, this discussion really got me thinking, so I posted a little more on my own blog; if you're interested come check it out.

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