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Author Topic: Anyone who thinks socialized medicine is a good idea...
Erbo
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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 10:18      Profile for Erbo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
...needs to talk to my ex-wife, Pamela.

Two years ago, she and I divorced so she could go to Finland and go to college there, as she has friends there. Not long after she got there, she married one of them, a young engineering student named Arto (he's since graduated). She has a number of chronic medical conditions, and she has been struggling with getting even halfway-adequate treatment for them under the Finnish socialized medicine system.

The following are Pamela's own words about her experiences. Any typos and abbreviations are hers.
quote:
Here prices are sky high on EVERTYHING, you don't think that can of plain tomato soup really cost 2.59 euros(3.73USD), do you? Prices are high here to pay for all the social benes.

Artos father who is not rich, he programs the machines at sawmills. 50% of his income is taxed right away, then he like all of us pays high prices on EVERYTHING.

Yes we have socialized medicine here. It is better than Canada, or the UK. However for someone like me who has a chronic serious condition, pancreatitis. I need pain meds, guess what, the Drs here will rarely give it to me because the gvt is looking over their shoulders trying to lower costs. I had to get a special certificate to cover my pancreatin med so I could pay 3 Euros instead of 90 euros a month for that med. It took me 6 months to get that cert. A freind of mine has/had a bacterial flesh eating wound, she had to have dozens of surgeries in Oulu, she has been in hospital for most of the past year and a half getting skin grafts, all they give her post op is percocet. Once while she was in severe pain the Drs refused to give her her pain meds, they told HER that SHE was taking it wrong, when it is THEM that doles it out at certain times. I saw her wound they removed muscle skin and nerves to the bone. The Drs threatened to put her in the mental ward, a tactic they use often here in my local hospital.

ALSO keep this in mind, most meds are not covered under socialized care, those that are, are 42% covered. Dr visits are 12 Euros, 29 Euros for the ER clinic, 26,90 daily for hospital.

During my breast self exam I found lumpy tissues, not the norm. I am on a ONE YEAR wait list for my mammogram. In USA they start having annual mammogram screenings at age 40, here they don't until you are 50, or find something unusual, or like me have breast cancer in your family history. I asked to have a bone density test, nope they won't do that till you are much older.

I am in pain 90% of the time, barely can keep food down, lost 30 kilos rapidly, my blood pressure is way up. The gvt wants to reduce costs where ever possible, including NOT paying for pain management meds. I have to carry "PAPERS" with me everywhere I go to prove I have 2 chronic conditions that require treatment. Yes some records are on nationalized computer system, but not all of them.

My sister in law injured her knee 2 torn ligaments. she had her surgery, they released her with only 2 weeks of physical therapy. Can you imagine that? I had at least 6 weeks after my foot surgery [in the US -Erbo]. Lucky for all of us we have a physical therapist in the family, Arto's stepbrother. So he helped her back to health so she could walk, ride her bike, etc...

This is first hand evidence of what life is like under socialized medicine. Americans, this is your future under Obamacare.

I've received text messages from her, with plaintive cries like "soc med sucks" and "I WANT NEED MY HEALTHCARE BACK!"

If Obama and the Democrats are allowed to ram socialized medicine through...we're all going to WANT NEED OUR HEALTHCARE BACK.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 10:56      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We already have socialized medicine in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefits and insurance for the members of Congress. I have yet to hear anyone eligible for any of the above complaining about having socialized insurance and wishing they could spend their own money to pay for insurance instead (and most wouldn't be eligible due to health problems anyway).

If you want to make a point about how bad socialized medicine is, end all those programs. Once we see how many people over 65 are dead within a year and how many of the surviving ones are grateful, then we can talk.

It comes down to this... people bitch and moan about paying for programs that they don't use, even if those programs are necessary for the functioning of our society. Once they find themselves in need, though, they never complain about taking advantage of what society offers.

Selfish people suck and it's pathetic that we have to have government to enforce social responsibility, but that's the reality of the human species.

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Bibo
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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 11:17      Profile for Bibo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My spouse is a quadriplegic and is on Medicare/Medicade/SSDI . She has been on this for 20 years, there would be no way for her to pay for all of her medical expenses, supplies & medications. I have no problem with money being taken out of my paycheck for people such as her that NEED this. But yes there are people that abuse the system! My parents are over 65, I want them to be able to get the proper medical care they need.
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Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted August 04, 2009 11:51      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I didn't realize Obama was going to duplicate whatever system and doctors Finland has in place. [crazy]

I'm sorry to hear your ex-wife is having issues, but to say that this is America's future is catastrophizing and irrational.

In that spirit, the following is first hand evidence of what life is like under Canadian socialized medicine. Americans, this is your future under Obamacare!!!!

In Canada, medicine charges and healthcare charges are usually based on your income. It varies a bit from province to province, but generally, if you can't afford them, they are free. I pay 45 bucks a month for my healthcare.

While dental isn't covered, (and I think it should be), I can write off all my dental care expenses... including toothpaste, dental floss, and toothbrushes.

And I am always free to buy extra healthcare insurance if I want.

Any system that hinders a person getting care because of fear of financial obligations or paperwork is sick itself. I see my doctor as often as I want. She sent me to a specialist last month, I waited a week for that appointment. I recently had to have a special test similar to a mammogram. I waited one week for that.

If it wasn't for the Canadian system, the cancer my 80 year old mom had, would have bankrupted our family, and I doubt she would be alive today. And in my humble opinion, she had some of the best care possible. From her surgery (her surgeon rocked, she was super compassionate and talented), to her chemo and radiation treatments. And what did she pay you ask? Zero.

Someone should ask all the Americans who move to Canada to get proper and cheap healthcare how it's working for them. I personally know one couple who made the move just for the healthcare, and they don't regret it.

Blaming a healthcare system for the price of a can of tomato soup in Finland is ridiculous, imho. In Canada food is more expensive because we are a huge sparse country, and many of us live north from where most of it is grown. I would suspect the same is true for Finland.

And btw, Canadians don't pay anything near 50 percent tax. And a can of Campbell's tomato soup is 69 canadian cents here. [Roll Eyes]

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 12:49      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Two thumbs up for scare tactics, two thumbs down for realistically portraying what Obama's health plan is. Even in its initial iterations, Obama was never, ever proposing anything close to the Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish systems.

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 15:40      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry Erbo, but health care here is just as broken for a large portion of the US population. At this point, I'd much rather have the government "between me and my doctor" than an insurance company. ( I had some pretty good insurance through my employer, but getting laid off put an end to that. I'm a temp now, and I'm still looking at my options and not really liking them.)

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 16:10      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like eating and sleeping indoors (especially in the winter) so in the interim between not being a grad student and starting my post-doc I didn't have insurance. The private insurance rate was just...stupid. Once I started my current job, I fixed that.

It wasn't as if I had to hang out in indefinite limbo job-hunting either. I had the job; I just had to wait to start because NIST was slow getting its budget this year (my salary was allocated, but I needed money to buy materials). :/

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 16:54      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok Erbo, now imagine the experience of a foreigner arriving in America with 'a number of chronic medical conditions'...

Good luck getting a private insurer to cover those 'pre-existing' conditions.

I haven't been following the health debate in America closely, but from what I've seen, it sounds like the Obama proposal is more like the aussie system than the Finnish one.

Here in oz, we basically have a hybrid system, a government insurance scheme that covers everyone for the basics, and optional private insurance for things the government scheme doesn't cover. The doctors don't work for the government, they run their own businesses, just like in America, and bill the patient, just like in America, who then claims a refund from their insurer/s (whether private or government) just like in America.

As for the huge cost you imagine, the aussie system costs about $700 per person per year for the government cover, which covers most of the cost of hospital care, family doctor, specialist care, and most prescription medications, but not dental. Clan McDruid has private insurance to cover stuff the government scheme doesn't, which works out to another $600/person per year. Total cost: $1300/person/year. That's very cheap by American standards.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 20:49      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by (the ex Mrs) Erbo:
I need pain meds, guess what, the Drs here will rarely give it to me because the gvt is looking over their shoulders trying to lower costs.

I was thinking about this over lunch, and something just didn't sound right. Generally speaking, painkillers are pretty cheap, one dose of some of the more exotic prescription meds would buy enough opiates to keep an elephant high for a month.

So, being miserly with painkillers would annoy a lot of people, and not save very much money, somethings not right here.

But wait, there's more...

quote:
Once while she was in severe pain the Drs refused to give her her pain meds, they told HER that SHE was taking it wrong, when it is THEM that doles it out at certain times...

...The Drs threatened to put her in the mental ward

Um, just speculation of course, but

If you give a patient a weeks worth of painkillers, and she uses it all in the first day, maybe giving her 7 times as much isn't going to produce the best medical outcome. Sometimes a good doctor will 'just say no'

And maybe, if the high-as-a-kite patient starts screaming and demanding more drugs, a psych ward admission might be the appropriate course of action.

Just speculation of course, but painkiller abuse isn't uncommon, ask that nice Mr Limbaugh.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 21:25      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TFD: Well, actually...my side of the insurance payment is quite reasonable as a single person. I don't recall what the family plans are, though I do know they're more expensive. If you count what my employer pays, that number far exceeds what you cited.

However, as I've discussed recently with a Canuck, I find it extremely troubling what medical expenses can be to an *UNINSURED* person in this country. I really don't know why people are fighting tooth and nail to keep NORMAL, EVERYDAY PEOPLE from having ESSENTIAL HEALTH SERVICES made AFFORDABLE.

I bet those people who are afraid of getting taxed a bit more already have insurance. I don't honestly recall where I read this†, but I saw an article that said something like "When a mandate was announced in England to see that every home had a bathtub, one man spoke up and said 'That's preposterous, the poor will just store coal in it.' Fortunately, no one listened to that man." I am very fortunate to have good medical & dental insurance from my employer, but at the same moment, I have a solid realization of just how bad things could be if I didn't. Translating that realization into a fear of what people without insurance face is downright scary.

Text above CAPITALIZED lovingly with the shift key for emphasis.

† NYT op-ed, I think -- possibly Frank Rich.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 22:03      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TFD, in fairness to Erbo's ex, people with chronic pain problems can and do develop tolerances to the drugs and require higher doses for the same effect. Sorting out these people from the drug-seekers can be tricky, especially if the patient is new to the doctor's medical practice (that pain is highly subjective and sometimes has a strong psychological component does not help the sorting process).

I got into two arguments with doctors and nurses after the 2006 SUV incident about pain meds. In both cases, they were the ones pushing and I was the one refusing. And it wasn't because I couldn't afford the co-pays. I hate opiates.

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TMBWITW,PB

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 22:10      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I hate opiates.
And I don't blame you. I got narcotics during my labor with Kaitlin and they just made me cranky and whiny without helping with the pain.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 04, 2009 23:45      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
TFD, in fairness to Erbo's ex...

Agreed.

I was just pointing out that, in a dispute between doctor and patient about the appropriate dose of painkillers, "evil penny-pinching socialized medical system" isn't the only possible explanation.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the quacks actually do the right thing.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 04:36      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sorry to hear of your divorce Erbo, particularly knowing with what high regard you always spoke of Pamela. I hope you are both happy.

But to business - whoa! it's that S word again, scary socialism.

Why can't we think instead about what functions are better and more cheaply provided by the state, and which are better left to the free market. Surely what works is the question. Currently in the US you pay a lot more for your healthcare than other advanced economies without noticeably better outcomes, and with a lot of people unable to afford treatment, so something's not right. Perhaps it is not possible to create a free market in healthcare, with choice, willing buyers and sellers etc?

Healthcare is an exceptionally complicated issue, and is very hard to get right, the UK has many problems, but that is not particularly relevant, as the model Obama proposes is more like that of France and Germany.

Maybe Erbo you agree with this?

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 05:06      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
__________________________ Erbo __________________________

____ While I respect your right to your opinion, I disagree.

____ At the time of my retirement, I was promised "Health Care, Prescription, Dental and Eye Care for myself and the Mrs. for the rest of our lives. Guess what the company went Bankrupt. So where does that leave us. I hope we do not get ill before we each turn Sixty Five, as then Medicare will kick in. I have pre-existing conditions how am I going to get coverage for the next twenty months. I also lost 30% of my employer pension because that is the level that is covered by the pension gaurantee board.

____ I would welcome and accept Socialized Health Care. So go to the bar where the insurance execs drink and let them buy you a few rounds they can afford it.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 05:50      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh btw Erbo, you might like to explain to Pamela what a 'marginal tax rate' is.

I went a-googling, the 50% tax rate Pamela quotes is on that portion of income over about $US 93K, that's not the same as "50% of his income is taxed right away".

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 06:25      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This issue is a bit too complex for me to tackle in a coherent manner. So I will say this.

I have Socialized medicine. I have never had a problem with it.


Everyone has the RIGHT to health care. Though I understand how a peron who has had a bad experience with a health care system would be hard to convinve that the system is, out of all the choices, a better one... whether that system be private or social.

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Erbo
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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 09:33      Profile for Erbo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First, an addendum from Pamela to her above testimony:
quote:
I was much healthier in the USA than I am now. I never once contemplated suicide, even my darkest hours losing my fiance, having cancer, being raped...NEVER ever EVER did I think about killing myself. Since i have been here, I have thought about it dozens of times, came very close to doing it. I have a shrink here, but I don't get to see him often, gvt restrictions.

All you peeps here who talk about the various pain meds you've been on. Guess what they don't have them here. You get tylenol #3. To get something stronger like tramal it is a tedious task. In USA I used to get morhpine for my pancreas attacks, here they won't. Even after major surgery they only give you percocet/oxytocin.

Eric your cousin had pancreatitis, she told me the pain was worse than when she gave birth. My Dr in the states understood that I needed help. You know my Dr, he is not a "Dr Feel Good" kind of Doc. He had compassion and under his care I was treated well. I was happy. Back then I felt I could take on the world.

The last part is true; Dr. Schultz (who was her doctor while she was here, and is now my and Sabrina's doctor) was very reluctant to prescribe her a lot of the medicines she needed, but, when push came to shove, he would do the right thing for her.

That said, while I don't want to see us go down the road of socialized medicine (whether it be on the Finnish, Canadian, Australian, or Elbonian model), it's not to say that it can't be improved. Karl Denninger, an economist, makes some good points in that respect.

For one thing: Health care providers are able to get away with not publishing the prices for their services, and they are allowed to charge people different fees for the same service depending on how they're paying (insurance vs. cash on the counterpane). If you tried that in any other industry, you would be thrown in jail. Imagine not being told how much a hot dog cost until after you'd eaten it. Imagine paying more--a lot more--for your TV set because you paid cash, as opposed to financing it through the store's finance program. Denninger urges an end to both practices.

Another of my friends has suggested, with a straight face, making health insurance illegal, except for catastrophic care policies. He has a point; most HMO/PPO plans amount to basically pre-paid health care, rather than (or in addition to) true "insurance."

But introducing a government-sponsored plan as an "alternative" to private health plans will do nothing more than drive the private plans out of business, as they suddenly acquire a "competitor" with much vaster resources (underwritten by tax dollars), and it'll turn into socialized medicine in no time.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 10:35      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____________________________________________ Erbo ____________________________________________

____ At this point I would gladly take Socialized Health Care. I have had your system and it has failed me. I have High Blood Pressure, those Meds are generic and not very expensive, however I also have Barretts Esoghous those drugs are very expensive, so I have had my health care rationed by a Bankruptcy Court, The pension that the company claimed was backed enough to support us all, well its gone.

____ So you claim that rationing will occur, I have news for you it already is happening. The only people that truly want the status quo are the suits at the Ins. Companies.

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 12:31      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TMBWITW,PB:
quote:
I hate opiates.
And I don't blame you. I got narcotics during my labor with Kaitlin and they just made me cranky and whiny without helping with the pain.
They at least helped with my pain when I got them after my hernia surgery, but I didn't get any of the euphoric effects some people were telling me to expect. I just hated the nausea I got when coming off of them.

quote:
Originally posted by Erbo:
But introducing a government-sponsored plan as an "alternative" to private health plans will do nothing more than drive the private plans out of business, as they suddenly acquire a "competitor" with much vaster resources (underwritten by tax dollars), and it'll turn into socialized medicine in no time.

Some will probably go out of business, but others will probably find a new niche by covering services not offered by the government insurance, much like the system in Australia TFD described.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 05, 2009 13:24      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erbo:
But introducing a government-sponsored plan as an "alternative" to private health plans will do nothing more than drive the private plans out of business, as they suddenly acquire a "competitor" with much vaster resources (underwritten by tax dollars), and it'll turn into socialized medicine in no time.

Quick, sell your shares in UPS and DHL, they'll be driven out of business any day now by the government-sponsored USPS.

Oh, wait, they stay in business, and make a tidy profit, by offering a better service than the government system, something that shouldn't be too difficult if the government system is anything like your nightmare vision.

quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
...others will probably find a new niche by covering services not offered by the government insurance, much like the system in Australia TFD described.

In oz, there's the government scheme that covers everyone for basics, and a profusion of other insurers who offer 'optional extra' cover, including a government-owned insurer who have about 30% market share. The government competitor in the 'optional' insurance market makes a profit, hasn't driven the others broke, and it's widely believed they help "keep the bastards honest".

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted August 06, 2009 02:24      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Erbo:
... Karl Denninger, an economist, makes some good points in that respect.

Correction, your post should read "Karl Denninger, a
Unix Sys Admin makes some etc etc."

Like yourself he has strong opinions, but whether that implies any expertise is a different question. I would note however that most of your and his arguments seem to be based on some fairly thin anecdotal evidence, and a lot of unsupported statements of "fact".

If however you are interested in the opinions of a real economist with actual qualifications who teaches the subject, with a Nobel prize too, who supports his factual statements with real world published data, and his opinions with those mathematical models that real economists use, may I refer you to the excellent blog and NYT columns of Paul Krugman, who has, as you must know, an almost obsessive interest in this subject.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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Snaggy

Sir Snaggalot!
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Icon 3 posted August 06, 2009 08:30      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nice little blurb by Rachel Maddow on the Fake grass roots...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct--N3hJfxs

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted August 06, 2009 14:33      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Obama's evil plan to kill your grandma. WTF??? [Eek!] [ohwell]

Ordinary, decent American conservatives must be so embarrassed by the dingbats who've taken over the Republican party.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Callipygous
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted August 06, 2009 15:29      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
nice little blurb by Rachel Maddow on the Fake grass roots...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct--N3hJfxs

It is refreshing to see this stuff reported for what it is for a change, instead of the usual mealy mouthed attempts at chickenshit even handedness. That's the behaviour that let these snakes slither into power in the first place. Since the Clinton presidency the Republicans have become expert and very effective at waging these propaganda wars and in the creation and management of these astroturf campaigns, and in particular in exploiting the internet to anonymously spread poison and misinformation. If you have no arguments, shouting down your opponents and is much better than participating in a debate you know you will lose. They did the same thing only at an international level in the run up to the Iraq adventure.

And please everyone, don't pander to Erbo by calling healthcare reform socialism or socialised medicine or whatever. It simply isn't. It is only in his world that anyone slightly to the left of Attila the Hun is a dangerous left wing extremist bent on the destruction of the US constitution, the flag, and all things holy.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

Posts: 2922 | From: Brighton - UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged


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