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View Poll Results: Should the United States move towards providing universal health care?

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  • Yes

    47 62.67%
  • No

    28 37.33%
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  1. #21
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    No, we shouldn't. It probably works in other countries, but it just... won't in America.
    Why not? Seriously - what makes you think that Americans are that different from people in other countries? Nobody wants loved ones to struggle with sickness. Unless you're saying that entrenched interests have too much to lose in America to let it work. Hopefully, that isn't true - but it might be.

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    Also, if the stupid fucks at the FDA (run by the government) actually did their jobs, we might have less sick people, lower costs for care, and pills that actually work. They constantly put out some awful, under-tested product then say, "Woops! It causes cancer! Sorry for the people that took it! Take it off the shelves!" If the FDA was privatized, more than one organization would have a say to what is "good" for my body.
    Now, I don't know a *whole* lot about the inner workings of the FDA - but the regulations they enforce are pretty exhaustive - it's *why* drugs are so expensive to develop, for the most part. Biology is a very complex thing - and most medications are a case of "it's not good for you, but if you need it, it's better than what ails you" - the FDA isn't perfect - but we're not at the level of technological advancement where perfection in drug design is possible. And privatizing the FDA into multiple competing organizations? Yikes... that's a truly scary proposition - or do you not think that they'd be certifying what they were paid (by pharmaceutical manufacturers) to certify, rather than what was actually safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    The government has no regard for quality because they themselves are a unique kind of monopoly when they involve themselves in our economy as a corporation.
    "They themselves" are, at least nominally accountable to the everyday citizens of the country. Something that no corporation will ever be. I'm no dreamy-eyed idealist when it comes to government corruption, but when it comes to health care, I'd trust the government (that's you, me, and other citizens) over a profit-centered organization with no accountability any day. Don't forget - the government health care programs that we have now (Medicaid, etc.) spend a smaller percentage of their budgets on "administration" costs than their privately held counterparts.

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    Whenever our government tries to run anything in America (except, of course, the army), things go straight to hell.
    Why does the army get a pass? I mean, I have as much respect for people in the military as anyone - but why is it okay for we, as a nation of citizens, to spend money (a LOT of money) to protect ourselves from other people, but not against heart disease, cancer, communicable diseases, etc.? What's more likely to kill us and our loved ones - a foreign army or heart disease? It ain't the foreign army (or terrorist, or really any other threat the military can putatively protect against). Sure, a military is necessary - but so is health care.

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    Socialist policies could work fine in other countries, but America was founded to be, and cannot changed from (unless you set fire to the Constitution) a country with a very small, non-intrusive government.
    A lot has changed in 222 years. Don't forget that the level of medical care that is possible (even commodity medical care) today wasn't even a dream in the late 1700's - even something as simple as aspirin wasn't invented until 1898. Health care as an issue wasn't even on the radar then. Don't be so sure they'd have passed on health care if it had been a possibility. A lot of things dealing with human nature (freedom of speech, religion, right to a trial, etc.) that were written into the constitution really *have* stood the test of time - but that doesn't mean that changes in society that have been driven by modernization aren't worthy of consideration by our nation. After all, there are legal provisions for changing the role of government - laws and even amending the constitution itself.
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  2. #22
    "Everything in its place" fill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    Why not? Seriously - what makes you think that Americans are that different from people in other countries? Nobody wants loved ones to struggle with sickness. Unless you're saying that entrenched interests have too much to lose in America to let it work. Hopefully, that isn't true - but it might be.
    I'm not talking about the people, I'm talking about the unique governmental system set up in the United States. But still: government intervention into the healthcare system only makes costs rise. Here's an article written by Ron Paul (He used to be a doctor): Lowering the Cost of Health Care by Ron Paul

    Now, I don't know a *whole* lot about the inner workings of the FDA - but the regulations they enforce are pretty exhaustive - it's *why* drugs are so expensive to develop, for the most part. Biology is a very complex thing - and most medications are a case of "it's not good for you, but if you need it, it's better than what ails you" - the FDA isn't perfect - but we're not at the level of technological advancement where perfection in drug design is possible. And privatizing the FDA into multiple competing organizations? Yikes... that's a truly scary proposition - or do you not think that they'd be certifying what they were paid (by pharmaceutical manufacturers) to certify, rather than what was actually safe?
    Ha! It's quite ironic you said that because pharmaceutical manufacturers and the such already put pressure on the FDA to let their unsafe products through. There's a REASON Mt. Dew is banned in the United Kingdom, you know. The U.S.'s food standards are constantly being lowered in the name of "making more money." And how on earth would private organizations not be good in this situation? You always see car commercials that say, "Rated the safest car of 2006 by _____."

    "They themselves" are, at least nominally accountable to the everyday citizens of the country. Something that no corporation will ever be. I'm no dreamy-eyed idealist when it comes to government corruption, but when it comes to health care, I'd trust the government (that's you, me, and other citizens) over a profit-centered organization with no accountability any day. Don't forget - the government health care programs that we have now (Medicaid, etc.) spend a smaller percentage of their budgets on "administration" costs than their privately held counterparts.
    But here's the thing: I'm paying for someone else's care, which sort of defeats the purpose of a free-market economy. Sure, corporations are always being corrupted, but that's where the government is actually useful! They have the power to investigate to protect their citizens from corrupt corporations. Also, private organizations can be theoretically infinite in number; everybody can profit if they start a business. If an industry is socialized, again, it acts as a monopoly.

    Why does the army get a pass? I mean, I have as much respect for people in the military as anyone - but why is it okay for we, as a nation of citizens, to spend money (a LOT of money) to protect ourselves from other people, but not against heart disease, cancer, communicable diseases, etc.? What's more likely to kill us and our loved ones - a foreign army or heart disease? It ain't the foreign army (or terrorist, or really any other threat the military can putatively protect against). Sure, a military is necessary - but so is health care.
    That was actually sort of a joke, hah. Sorry about that. But seriously, the army is here to protect our freedom; soldiers aren't investments, and they aren't exactly used unless someone needs to be killed. Still, private organizations are a big part of our national defense; They create the weapons, the equipment, and the vehicles, and they make a lot of money doing it.

    A lot has changed in 222 years. Don't forget that the level of medical care that is possible (even commodity medical care) today wasn't even a dream in the late 1700's - even something as simple as aspirin wasn't invented until 1898. Health care as an issue wasn't even on the radar then. Don't be so sure they'd have passed on health care if it had been a possibility. A lot of things dealing with human nature (freedom of speech, religion, right to a trial, etc.) that were written into the constitution really *have* stood the test of time - but that doesn't mean that changes in society that have been driven by modernization aren't worthy of consideration by our nation. After all, there are legal provisions for changing the role of government - laws and even amending the constitution itself.
    You make a valid point, especially since doctors were actually trusted in those days, which is unheard of now. Still, America tends to work better when the government is small.

  3. #23
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    But still: government intervention into the healthcare system only makes costs rise. Here's an article written by Ron Paul (He used to be a doctor): Lowering the Cost of Health Care by Ron Paul
    Then why is the per capita cost in developed nations with socialized healthcare a fraction of our own? It's three times as expensive as Canada and Canada doesn't even have the best socialized system. Last time I looked at international stats the U.S. was almost double the average. The article by Ron Paul is not a scientific study, it's an opinion piece by a former medical Doctor who believes the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Speaking of Doctors, most of them support universal healthcare, and have an organization pushing for it.

    Socialized healthcare has been a major public desire for almost 30 years. The NYT poll in the first post is just the latest in a long string of them.

  4. #24
    Senior Member miked277's Avatar
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    here's a nice list i found of why it's a bad idea:

    There isn't a single government agency or division that runs efficiently; do we really want an organization that developed the U.S. Tax Code handling something as complex as health care?

    "Free" health care isn't really free since we must pay for it with taxes; expenses for health care would have to be paid for with higher taxes or spending cuts in other areas such as defense, education, etc.

    Profit motives, competition, and individual ingenuity have always led to greater cost control and effectiveness.

    Government-controlled health care would lead to a decrease in patient flexibility.

    Patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now.

    Just because Americans are uninsured doesn't mean they can't receive health care; nonprofits and government-run hospitals provide services to those who don't have insurance, and it is illegal to refuse emergency medical service because of a lack of insurance.

    Government-mandated procedures will likely reduce doctor flexibility and lead to poor patient care.

    Healthy people who take care of themselves will have to pay for the burden of those who smoke, are obese, etc.

    A long, painful transition will have to take place involving lost insurance industry jobs, business closures, and new patient record creation.

    Loss of private practice options and possible reduced pay may dissuade many would-be doctors from pursuing the profession.

    Malpractice lawsuit costs, which are already sky-high, could further explode since universal care may expose the government to legal liability, and the possibility to sue someone with deep pockets usually invites more lawsuits.

    Government is more likely to pass additional restrictions or increase taxes on smoking, fast food, etc., leading to a further loss of personal freedoms.

    Patient confidentiality is likely to be compromised since centralized health information will likely be maintained by the government.

    Health care equipment, drugs, and services may end up being rationed by the government. In other words, politics, lifestyle of patients, and philosophical differences of those in power, could determine who gets what.

    Like social security, any government benefit eventually is taken as a "right" by the public, meaning that it's politically near impossible to remove or curtail it later on when costs get out of control.
    I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.

  5. #25
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    Ha! It's quite ironic you said that because pharmaceutical manufacturers and the such already put pressure on the FDA to let their unsafe products through. There's a REASON Mt. Dew is banned in the United Kingdom, you know. The U.S.'s food standards are constantly being lowered in the name of "making more money." And how on earth would private organizations not be good in this situation? You always see car commercials that say, "Rated the safest car of 2006 by _____."
    Because those private organizations have no ability to actually regulate what products can be released to the public. If consumer reports says that "this product might kill you" - nothing prevents the manufacturer from releasing a blast of obfuscating advertising (or simply suing to tie things up in court forever) to get that nasty product in the hands of consumers, safe or not. If the FDA decides that a product isn't safe, it's not sold legally - at all.

    I don't really consider it ironic that pharmaceutical manufacturers put a ton of pressure on the FDA to release drugs early - after all, like I said, the trials are a *major* expense for them, and they're in the business of reducing those costs. I think that it just proves my point... if they can do that to the FDA, which is (in theory) not motivated by profit, how much more easily would they subvert one of many "private" regulatory agencies?

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    But here's the thing: I'm paying for someone else's care, which sort of defeats the purpose of a free-market economy. Sure, corporations are always being corrupted, but that's where the government is actually useful! They have the power to investigate to protect their citizens from corrupt corporations. Also, private organizations can be theoretically infinite in number; everybody can profit if they start a business. If an industry is socialized, again, it acts as a monopoly.
    Here's the thing... you're already paying for the care of people with no insurance. And you're paying a LOT more for things like very expensive emergency care, as opposed to preventative or early-detection care. And people are still being driven into bankruptcy or poverty when an unexpected health condition arises. The issue comes down to this... to what respect does someone's ability to pay define the value of their life? Does a small business owner (many of whom can't afford insurance benefits for themselves or their employees) mean less to society than a business tycoon? How much would the security of having health coverage mean for giving people the freedom to pursue their dreams - even in occupations that aren't lucrative?

    Quote Originally Posted by fill View Post
    You make a valid point, especially since doctors were actually trusted in those days, which is unheard of now. Still, America tends to work better when the government is small.
    I think you underestimate how many people trust their doctors - I'd say that *most* people do. I'd also say that more people trust their doctors than their insurance companies, no doubt.

    I don't entirely agree with the small/large government thing (no surprise, I'm sure ), but I think that health care is an issue that really transcends that. It's more about giving people the comfort in knowing that they can pursue their lives without the spectre of illness continually threatening what they've earned. The government can provide a much more stable and efficient delivery for that sort of care than a for-profit corporation can, where profit will always take priority over actual care.

    Anyway, good conversation - time for me to go to bed - gnight .
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  6. #26
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked277 View Post
    here's a nice list i found of why it's a bad idea:
    It would be even nicer if it had citations. Do you have the original link?

  7. #27
    Senior Member miked277's Avatar
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  8. #28
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    Thank you.

    Edit: Yeah, it doesn't cite anything. But that doesn't appear to matter anyway because the fact that other developed nations completely contradict the points by having socialized health superior to US privatized version is sufficient enough to dismiss it.

  9. #29
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    One more post, I guess.

    There isn't a single government agency or division that runs efficiently; do we really want an organization that developed the U.S. Tax Code handling something as complex as health care?
    When it comes to delivery of service for the money, government programs like medicare actually do better - significantly better - than private health care corporations, when you take into account "administrative" costs.

    "Free" health care isn't really free since we must pay for it with taxes; expenses for health care would have to be paid for with higher taxes or spending cuts in other areas such as defense, education, etc.
    This is true, certainly. It comes down to a question of priority. I'd say the advantages of efficient health care outweigh the downside. I'd think it's at least as big an advantage as the military, when it comes down to the day-to-day lives of most people.

    Profit motives, competition, and individual ingenuity have always led to greater cost control and effectiveness.
    Not true. The military is a fine example of a counter-argument, but actually, as mentioned above, so is Medicare. Profit motives are a motivator, sure - if you think that a society should value profit of people who own health company shares over the health and lives of others.

    Government-controlled health care would lead to a decrease in patient flexibility.
    Evidence? I don't see most government-designed plans prohibiting people from seeing whoever they like.

    Patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now.
    Pretty much every otehr industrialized nation has socialized health care, and they all spend *less* per patient than the U.S. does. Also consider that for many conditions people feeling like they *can* go to the doctor can save money - in that they can be diagnosed and treated instead of having their condition deteriorate into a very expensive emergency-care situation.

    Just because Americans are uninsured doesn't mean they can't receive health care; nonprofits and government-run hospitals provide services to those who don't have insurance, and it is illegal to refuse emergency medical service because of a lack of insurance.
    Emergency care is *expensive* - there are cases where it's necessary (car crashes, etc.). But not being able to afford to go to the doctor for chest pains and just waiting until you have a heartattack, maybe go into a coma, etc. is silly from a purely economic perspective... and that's not even considering the quality and length of life of the person in question. I do like that you mention government hospitals as a reason that the government doesn't need to provide health care .

    Government-mandated procedures will likely reduce doctor flexibility and lead to poor patient care.
    "Will likely" - I'm far from certain of that. Nobody's saying that people should be prevented from using private facilities and/or care.

    Healthy people who take care of themselves will have to pay for the burden of those who smoke, are obese, etc.
    They do now. You don't actually think that private health care companies are paying for this, and not passing the costs on to the rest of their customers, do you? I know that my employer doesn't pay more for me, as a non-smoker, than they do for the smokers in my office.

    A long, painful transition will have to take place involving lost insurance industry jobs, business closures, and new patient record creation.
    I feel for anyone who loses their job - but why should the citizens of the U.S. (ie, the government) decide against something in their own best interest for this reason? After all - what of all of the *new jobs that would be created?

    Loss of private practice options and possible reduced pay may dissuade many would-be doctors from pursuing the profession.
    I don't want my doctor to be in the profession only for the money. I think you'll find that most doctors are already hurting due to malpractice insurance costs - that's driving many away as it is.

    Malpractice lawsuit costs, which are already sky-high, could further explode since universal care may expose the government to legal liability, and the possibility to sue someone with deep pockets usually invites more lawsuits.
    Malpractice costs *are* quite high - as I said, it's driving many doctors away from the profession. The answer there is to address malpractice law. Although I don't see how this affects health care - when someone sues a doctor, they sue the doctor, and the doctor's malpractice insurance company - *not* the organization that paid for the health care.

    Government is more likely to pass additional restrictions or increase taxes on smoking, fast food, etc., leading to a further loss of personal freedoms.
    Aside from the bit I mentioned above about you (and me) already paying for people who have higher health care costs due to these choices, I think it's simplistic to say that government-health care is more likely to result in this. I think it's more likely to get people *thinking* about the costs of such choices.

    Patient confidentiality is likely to be compromised since centralized health information will likely be maintained by the government.
    I fail to see that this is different from a private corporation. I see it more likely that a private, for-profit health-care company would sell my data to any takers, if they had the chance.

    Health care equipment, drugs, and services may end up being rationed by the government. In other words, politics, lifestyle of patients, and philosophical differences of those in power, could determine who gets what.
    As opposed to sequestering these same resources based on financial resources. To what extent does financial success determine someone's worthiness for good health?

    Like social security, any government benefit eventually is taken as a "right" by the public, meaning that it's politically near impossible to remove or curtail it later on when costs get out of control.
    I agree - although, I do think that the availability of health care is something that people in modern society have a reasonable expectation of having access to. I mean - do you think it's a *bad* thing that people expect that we have an army to protect us from external sources? It's not that different.

    Anyway, I'm *really* going to bed now
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  10. #30
    "Everything in its place" fill's Avatar
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    Aaaagh, too many words. It's a nice argument, and I'm glad we could share rebuttals, but I'm afraid my belief simply boils down to this: big government bad, small government good.

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