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Old 08-27-2009, 03:44 PM
 
10,720 posts, read 17,453,865 times
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By T.R. Reid
Sunday, August 23, 2009


1. It's all socialized medicine out there.

In some ways, health care is less "socialized" overseas than in the United States. Almost all Americans sign up for government insurance (Medicare) at age 65. In Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, seniors stick with private insurance plans for life. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the planet's purest examples of government-run health care.

It's a myth that Americans assume healthcare abroad is all socialized. It's also a myth that Americans are unaware of its own socialized healthcare agencies. The Department of Veterans Affairs is notoriously poor for providing quality of care and provides more limitations that private insurance with regard to medication, and procedures. Unlike this author, I actually worked in the VA and saw firsthand what this type of healthcare is like.

2. Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines.

Generally, no. Germans can sign up for any of the nation's 200 private health insurance plans -- a broader choice than any American has. If a German doesn't like her insurance company, she can switch to another, with no increase in premium. The Swiss, too, can choose any insurance plan in the country. In France and Japan, you don't get a choice of insurance provider; you have to use the one designated for your company or your industry. But patients can go to any doctor, any hospital, any traditional healer. There are no U.S.-style limits such as "in-network" lists of doctors or "pre-authorization" for surgery. You pick any doctor, you get treatment -- and insurance has to pay.

Yes, it's true that they offer these services. No one is disputing that. What the author fails to inform you is that they pay much higher taxes to acquire these services. In Germany, for example, a family with 2 children pays 35% in income tax compared to 11.9% in income tax in the United. In France, they pay 41% in income tax. What the left conveniently leaves out in all of these discussions are the higher taxes these countries have. Many of these country pay close to twice the amount of taxes when you account for all the taxes a family is required to pay versus the United States. It's not too dfficult to understand, with higher taxes comes more social services. If we want to pay those types of taxes, we can get that type of healthcare as well. The Left just tries to sell it as if those services don't come with any cost of their own.


As for those notorious waiting lists, some countries are indeed plagued by them. Canada makes patients wait weeks or months for non-emergency care, as a way to keep costs down. But studies by the Commonwealth Fund and others report that many nations -- Germany, Britain, Austria -- outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times for appointments and for elective surgeries.

What data is the author comparing the data from the Commonwealth Fund to conclude a vague statement like "they outperform the United States on measures such as waiting times" I question this because having witnessed the British system in person, the waits are much longer. The author provided no specifics regarding this.

In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don't bother to make an appointment.

(1) 51% of Japanese residents claim satisfaction with their healthcare versus 84% of U.S. residents.
(2) Public officials have the same coverage as it's citizens so someone should tell that to the Democratic congressman who are opposed to being placed on the healthcare plan they are pushing
(3) The Japanese govt. sets the fee schedule and all providers are required to abide by that fee schedule so it is essentially the govt dictating what doctors and hospitals should be paid for their services.
(4) Mai Chen of Princeton explains the reason healthcare is so cheap and extensive is because the Japanese govt. sets the fee schedule and all of the insurance plans have to abide by that aka Single Payer
(5) 22% of the Japanese population today is over 65 while the birthrate is negative so their population isn't similar to the United States.
(6) Japan has some of the lowest rates of obesity in addition to a much better lifestyle and genetic profile when compared to the United States which influences demand for health services ie cancer rates


3. Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies.

Much less so than here. It may seem to Americans that U.S.-style free enterprise -- private-sector, for-profit health insurance -- is naturally the most cost-effective way to pay for health care. But in fact, all the other payment systems are more efficient than ours.

Myth: When has Americans ever said we had the most cost effective health care system? I think all of us can agree our health care is not cheap. The argument has always been we provide the best quality care and that it is expensive.

U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for non-medical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France's health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada's universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.

In Europe, their justice system has what is commonly referred to as "Loser Pays" mean if someone files a frivolous lawsuit and the defendant wins the case, the plaintiffs are requires to reimburse the defendants the cost of defending themselves. This eliminates frivolous lawsuits and would reduce defensive medicine practices which account for over 100 billion dollars in costs each year.

The world champion at controlling medical costs is Japan, even though its aging population is a profligate consumer of medical care. On average, the Japanese go to the doctor 15 times a year, three times the U.S. rate. They have twice as many MRI scans and X-rays. Quality is high; life expectancy and recovery rates for major diseases are better than in the United States. And yet Japan spends about $3,400 per person annually on health care; the United States spends more than $7,000.

The Japanese govt. sets the fee schedule and all providers are required to abide by that fee schedule so it is essentially the govt dictating what doctors and hospitals should be paid for their services.

4. Cost controls stifle innovation.

False. The United States is home to groundbreaking medical research, but so are other countries with much lower cost structures. Any American who's had a hip or knee replacement is standing on French innovation. Deep-brain stimulation to treat depression is a Canadian breakthrough. Many of the wonder drugs promoted endlessly on American television, including Viagra, come from British, Swiss or Japanese labs.

FALSE! Although these companies are founded and located abroad, they create products with the intent of selling them in the United States. Without the U.S. market, many of these European and Asian products would not have been developed because it would not have been cost effective for them without the U.S. market purchasing the bulk of their product. So these innovations are indeed motivated by a U.S. consumer market and not a socialized one.

Overseas, strict cost controls actually drive innovation. In the United States, an MRI scan of the neck region costs about $1,500. In Japan, the identical scan costs $98. Under the pressure of cost controls, Japanese researchers found ways to perform the same diagnostic technique for one-fifteenth the American price. (And Japanese labs still make a profit.)

They didn't find a way to do it. The govt just dictated to the hospitals that you can only charge this price, no questions asked. In other words, the govt lowballed the hospitals to which many hospitals in Japan are struggling financially.

5. Health insurance has to be cruel.

Not really. American health insurance companies routinely reject applicants with a "preexisting condition" -- precisely the people most likely to need the insurers' service.

Insurance companies have agree to drop the preexisting condition so why are we still debating this issue? Furthermore, doesn't personal responsibility need to be addressed. If someone refuses to pay for health insurance to save money until they become critically ill, isn't that a little unfair? The point of insurance is that all of us pay for it so that those who do suffer can benefit. It's not meant so that people can time it so they conveniently purchase it when they need it.



The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.

And what you failed to discuss is how public plans like the VA, the Indian Health Clinic and Medicaid refuse to pay for procedures and interventions. Private Insurance denies coverage but the VA, Medicaid and the Indian Health Clinic is worse! Ask any physician who has worked with all of those agencies as to which one provides the least number of services and they will all point to those government plans. The Left has conveniently ommitted discussing the governent's less popular social health care agencies and only discussed Medicare. Those other govt. models do not operate like Medicare.



Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.

Then explain why people from all over the world who have the resources to be treated in their country or the United States will choose to be treated in the United States. Why is that leaders from other countries will come to the United States to have their surgery. Likewise, explain why people in the United States who have the resources to be treated here or abroad will not elect to have a procedure done abroad if that service is provided here? I don't know too many wealthy people saying they were rather have a hip replacement done in France if they can afford to have it done in the United States. In other words, people will come to the United States for healthcare but the opposite isn't true IF the person has a choice in the matter. Even the people who elect to have services abroad will do so for financial reasons or because they offer an non-FDA approved treatment. I don't know too many people saying "Yeah, those Canadian surgeons are better and the quality of their health care is better so I will pay to have my procedure done there even though I can afford to be treated here"-- but the flipside does happen and I see Canadian patients all the time.

Last edited by azriverfan.; 08-27-2009 at 03:58 PM..
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
20,357 posts, read 13,885,611 times
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Good points.

We in America have the best healthcare, we just need to control costs. Interesting isn't it, all these talking heads telling us we need 0bamaCare because our healthcare system is too expensive, but they never question why it is so expensive.

What are the causes for high drug prices?

Why do doctors pay so much in malpractice insurance?

Why are hospital stays so expensive?

Why does a college education/degree for a doctor cost hundreds of thousands of dollars?

I do not accept the knee jerk reaction that its all the fault of greedy insurance companies and drug companies, there is obviously more to it then that.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:40 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
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I would really like for someone to show me a link stating that insurance companies have "agreed" to drop pre-existing conditions. People keep saying that, but no one substantiates it. There is no bill yet.
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:54 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
1,883 posts, read 1,809,007 times
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The real myth is that the left actually wants to cooperate and ask those questions and find the best solutions. They don't, it's all about control.
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Old 11-08-2015, 11:37 AM
 
4,802 posts, read 3,850,263 times
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Why haven't more people replied to this? Good thread!
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:08 PM
 
2,852 posts, read 2,972,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
I would really like for someone to show me a link stating that insurance companies have "agreed" to drop pre-existing conditions. People keep saying that, but no one substantiates it. There is no bill yet.
ACA changed that. It also REQUIRED insurance for everyone.

One other strong point people don't talk about with regard to American health care is the expectation of care for even terminal patients. While other countries would simply move the patient into a palliative care environment the United States still maintains treatment at the top level for patience even though they may be 99 years old and has stage 4 cancer. This leads to a very drastic increase in the cost of care born by the US company versus a company that may be based in the United Kingdom.
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Old 11-08-2015, 01:12 PM
 
9,615 posts, read 4,607,965 times
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"1) 51% of Japanese residents claim satisfaction with their healthcare versus 84% of U.S. residents"
Where did that come from? I can't believe the 84%. Everyone complains abut quality and cost of health care.
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:43 PM
 
24,034 posts, read 11,947,334 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floorist View Post
"1) 51% of Japanese residents claim satisfaction with their healthcare versus 84% of U.S. residents"
Where did that come from? I can't believe the 84%. Everyone complains abut quality and cost of health care.
Because when the thread was started most people liked their health care plans. Now of course post massive lie, costs are skyrocketing.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:09 PM
 
4,986 posts, read 2,668,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
Why haven't more people replied to this? Good thread!
To much to read.
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Old 11-08-2015, 06:11 PM
 
4,986 posts, read 2,668,058 times
Reputation: 2738
Quote:
Originally Posted by T-310 View Post
Because when the thread was started most people liked their health care plans. Now of course post massive lie, costs are skyrocketing.
Screw over 285 million people to help 30 million get free stuff.
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