Friday, August 14, 2009

damn healthcare

ok, so i haven't heard one legitimate reason why people are upset about health care reform. the only complaints i've heard have been things that have been shown to be lies... so any of my friends or even people who read that i dont know personally who are rational, calm, intelligent people that disagree with health care reform or with all that's going on with this health bill or plan etc... i'd like to know the reasons. reasons that haven't been exposed as lies. i'm seriously asking, because i dont get it. is it just that you dont want governemnt involved? if that's it then before you tell me i have to ask you to think about how the government controls the postal service, or the fire department... do you want those to become private businesses? if so why?

secondly i keep hearing people talk about how canada's health care system is terrible and the same with the UK. the only people i've heard this from are right wing americans. i'd like to hear what ANYONE from those places has to say about their healthcare. i know that a couple hundred of you from both the UK and Canada read ... so i'd like you to speak up. if you'd rather email me that's cool too ( i've never heard anything bad about your systems from anyone i know living in those places, so if theres bad, i'd like to hear it from you. if you love it, i'd like to hear that too. i'm just sick of people acting like you all hate your healthcare and its the worst when not only does your care rank above ours, you also have lower infant mortality rates, amazing coverage for mothers, no one dies because they cant get healthcare, and you all, on average, live longer. so please, let me hear from you. i'm begging you. please. i'd also love to hear your perspective on our country and our healthcare system as much as you know about it. .... ok... thanks! please write!


Monica said...

I worked for the NHS (the UK's health system) for a while, but I'm not from there. From my experience, there are "waiting lists" for some services, but if you really need the services you get them right away. You only wait when it's not urgent. For example, I worked for a pediatric health clinic, and the children who really needed to be seen by physical, occupational, and speech therapists got evaluated immediately. Other children who were kind of borderline as to whether or not they truly needed services had to wait a couple months sometimes before they were evaluated. But honestly, in the US that happens too. If you want to see a specialist sometimes the next open appointment is months away. Also, in the UK if you WANT to pay for private insurance or private health care you can. It really seemed good to me. To see families with children with disabilities who needed extensive health care services for many years not have to pay for it was amazing. I can't even imagine how stressful that would be in the US where the bills would just be piling up.

So that's my (limited) take on things. But then again, I'm pretty liberal, so my opinion on socialized medicine/universal health care may be biased.

Will McCabe said...

Well, you had me at right wing. Ha! Well, I don't have a whole lot to say other than, I don't believe my concerns have been exposed as lies, so I figured I'd chime in. I am not for government run health care. I think people have the right and deserve the continued right to make their own health care choices, and yes, that will eventually get taken away. It will take a while, but many on the democrat side have been outspoken and are on record saying that the goal is a single payer system. Yes, I think the current system has flaws, just like anything else. Could the government regulate it do do away with some of the inefficiencies and unfairness? Yes. Should the government have complete control over healthcare? In my opinion, no. Admittedly there are people who know more than I do about the current system and about the proposed reform, so I won't say much more. I am not in favor of right wing scare tactics, nor am I in favor of liberal partisan agendas. There is a middle ground, and as usual, we need to find it. Lastly, what concerns me the most is looking back over our presidents campaign promises, I don't really see him honoring those promises in this current situation. He is not making an effort to work with the "other side of the aisle" nor is he listening to the people and keeping communication open as he claimed he would do. He is basically pushing through his agenda and what he wants government to look like. Have past Presidents done the same? Yes, but I don't remember any in recent history making such bold promises not to do so. Again, everyone will have an opinion, and this is mine. -Will

The McCabe's said...

Here is in interesting article on the proposed reform, written by a liberal. -Will

skylana said...

i understand both of those points. as far as government being in control of health care i dont quite understand why one wouldn't want this. i dont understand because we've seen that that is what works elsewhere and it works a hell of a lot better than what we have going on here. i feel like obama has been pretty transparent and talked a lot about what people have had questions about, i also feel like middle ground is trying to be achieved in a big way in the sense that there is still going to be private insurance. i mean take you and me, i want health care like the Uk or like canada and you want it im assuming how it is? anyway... the middle ground to me is me having the option for both. i get the whole euthanasia thing, i think that could use some refining... but there are going to be people who get 'killed' because of the system however it works... i mean now 20,000 people in the US die every year just for the simple fact of not having health care or adequate health care. people die because their insurance gets denied because they become sick, which is against the whole purpose. so i mean... i know we want the absolute best and we should work for that, but at the same time there's going to be holes no matter what... because there are so many opinions coming together and there are going to be holes at first because we've never gone here before.. that makes it scary but in the long run, we HAVE to do something. i mean really. we're dying because of this.

Jessica G. said...

I am an American that has lived in the UK now for over two years. And, being that I am pregnant (and recently had to stay in the hospital), I have become quite familiar with the NHS. I don't understand the fear that people have over socialized health care. In no way will I say it is perfect, but neither is the system in America. People seem to think we can't pick our own doctors over here. That isn't true. You can sign up at any doctor's office you want. And at my doctor's office, when you are sick, they are always able to see you that day. That certainly doesn't happen much back in America where most people end up having to rely on acute care to get seen when sick. My doctor's practice has four doctors in it, so I don't necessarily see the same one every time. But, as I am pregnant, I always see the same doctor for my antenatal appointments. And being pregnant and giving birth in the UK seems great to me, though this is my first child, so I don't know about the experience in the US. All my doctors and midwife appointments are obviously free, then I get free prescriptions and dental work while I am pregnant and for the first year of the baby's life, I also get a 190 GBP "health in pregnancy" grant from the government. Minimum maternity leave is for 6 months, though you get the UK's version of disability for 9 months and can take up to a year off without it affecting your job.

All that being said, I don't fully agree with Obama's health care plan. He is attempting to only add to the system, rather than fully reform it and my personal opinion is that will not work. Health care in the US needs to fully be reformed. It isn't going to work just to provide coverage for those who need it or provide another option for people. The whole greedy , money making system NEEDS to be changed. Otherwise, I think the system will fail. But, given the amount of uninsured in America at the moment, the current system isn't exactly thriving!

Noelle said...

Hi guys....

Well basically there seems to be pros and cons here in the UK. We are always moaning in the press about our NHS... misspent money... closures of services etc... hospital food (yah) and cleanliness (yep) - there is a shortage of nurses and midwives (prob because they don't pay them enough)... so obviously as a result the NHS is under strain. Of course anything that goes wrong hits the press because the media like to use anything they can to blame and bash a particular political party or person. HOWEVER...

I have never personally nor in my family had a bad experience with our NHS So far. Three family members have successfully been treated for cancer and I got fantastic help with my pregnancy/birth and after care.

Having said that Darren (my husband) had private healthcare with his last job and had complicated knee surgery through it and I was impressed. He would have had to wait a lot longer for the surgery had it been on the NHS.

STILL - seeing (via her blog) and hearing about Halle and Daniels experiences with Jackson over there in the US - I was/am horrified at the VAST amount of money they have to cover to have him treated and cared for. The sacrifices they have to make and financial strain this must put them under is beyond understanding for me. Here in the UK they would have had it all on the NHS. Whether the treatment/care would have been the same/as good as/better I can't say.

Hope that helps.

Sarah Corbett said...

All I can say is that I run a payroll company and send out multiple insurance premium payments for my employees. I have one employee in particular that has a monthly premium of $1500 and medical bills of over $12000 a year on top of that. If I get to see people like this being relieved of these outrageous expenses, I would be happy.

becka said...

I am originally from New Zealand where we have both the public and private options, but am now living in Canada. I also spent a year living in London, so have experience with the NHS too.

In my experience, both the UK and Canadian systems have been excellent! That isn't to say that they are completely perfect but show me a system that is? The quality of care in both countries is really high, I had/have a range of healthcare providers to choose from, and as you mentioned the care for mothers is amazing. Especially here in B.C. with midwifery covered, maternity care is such a dream.

I personally think that the proposed health care reform in the States doesn't go far enough, it is definitely not single payer and I find it really difficult to imagine that happening any time soon in the States. Big Pharma and insurance companies just have too much invested. I'd also have to disagree with the statement that Obama isn't reaching across the aisle. I think thats all he's done since being in office, and in my opinion it isn't working for him or his policies.

As for not wanting govt. involvment, and for wanting to retain your choice of medical coverage, this honestly baffles me. Firstly, govt. already is really invloved in health care because of how closely tied they are with insurance companies, its just that its all behind closed doors at the moment and is completely unethical. Secondly, of course if you want to continue to choose private health care thats your decision to make, but why people want to choose a more expensive system that is obviously not working in their best interests is beyond me.

Finally (sorry this is so long, but I'm so glad you've opened up this debate!), I must admit that for me ideologically I think single payer is the best way to go because I am a raving leftie. I believe it is the most fair, ethical and equitable option. I truly have no problem with the fact that my money is going to help out someone who needs medical care that maybe couldn't afford it, especially as there will be a day when I could need that same thing. I am so lucky that I have a support system in my family that I have never been in a situation where I couldn't afford health care, but who knows what could happen?

becka said...

Oh, and I have had experience with the US Health care system. The quality of care was ok, but $500 for 2 doctors visits and some eye cream?? Lucky I had travel insurance.

Daniel said...

I'm going to have a weird position in this one, but I'll give it a shot. I have strong reasons to be both for government health care AND private.
When Jackson was born with his host of health issues and syndrome, we had the good luck to be on the Healthy Families program in CA. They covered everything related to Jackson's syndrome and care. By the time we left the program (when we moved to TX), they had spent a total of 1.5 million dollars on him. One of the main reasons that we went with Healthy Families at the time was because our options with the private insurance offered with my work were not going to work. Every plan except 1 offered to pay 3K to 5K up front and then they’d cover 75% of medical costs (or some version of that). In any normal situation that would be a GREAT insurance, but in our situation we would have been screwed. Only paying 25% of your medical bills is great, but for us that still would have been $375,000. There was one plan that offered to cover everything after we paid a deductible, but the cost monthly was so high it was totally prohibitive for us. So we were fans.
Now here’s the downside every treatment for Jackson had to be pre-approved. Every medical procedure, every surgery, even basic care. Sometimes that was fine, but sometimes it lead to us waiting weeks or more to find out when we were going to be able to get him his lip surgery or such. And they only covered pre-approved actions that were within their plan. While Jackson was in NICU (6 weeks) it was classified as “emergency care” which means that doctors can make decisions regarding care without first getting permission from the family. It took me 4 weeks to realize they were having procedures done by multiple outside sources. In LA that might have been fine, but in SLO that meant “private medical practices”. None of them took our Healthy Families insurance and NONE of them were willing to negotiate payments. We ended up with around $20,000 in medical bills from that experience all put on credit cards because they refused to negotiate any payment plan and threatened to send us to collections and destroy our credit. ALL of them. After I realized what was happening we were able to put a stop to it, and that never happened again. The thing is… that was a problem both with the government health plan (for being selective about coverage) AND the private medical practices (for thinking that any normal family has $20K laying around and is refusing to pay all of the bill out of sheer obstinance).
When we moved to TX we had to get private insurance through my company, but I was also making more money. We were finally able to pay for a plan that is crazy expensive, but okay. The deductible up front was $3K but after that EVERYTHING is covered. And because it’s a widely accepted company, we’ve never had any issues with anything being denied.
So my synopsis? I personally prefer the private plan. I have a host of reasons, but that’s where it lays. HOWEVER, I love the fact that the government plan was available, and at the time it saved our ass.
It seems to me this is all Obama is proposing. We’ll still have both, only you won’t have to live in CA to benefit from it. I don’t believe we can make decisions (as Will mentioned) based on what we fear it ‘might” someday lead to. We can only make decisions based on what is in front of us right now, and it seems, even great, to me. Besides, there’s nothing that Obama is doing that wasn’t done en mass by FDR. And we’re still okay.
On a side note.. to date the insurance companies together have spent almost $3 million on Jackson.
On a total side note…. Will, are you really surprised that a political entity didn’t do EXACTLY what he said he was planning? What about every other president at least in the past 20 years that did the exact same thing? It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t like it (neither do I) but it does surprise me that you’re acting like it’s unusual or something.

I’m sorry this comment is so freaking huge.

Will McCabe said...

Well, I would disagree that government control has worked elsewhere. Things that are government run tend to be expensive and over managed. I was trying to steer clear of some of this, but I think I can bring it up now that I can see we are both really trying to see what's best rather the just have another pointless debate, like many people out there are doing.

First, the euthanasia part is a real problem and I am glad you recognized it as such.

My next big issue is this idea (that Obama and the democrats are pushing) that our health care is broken because of the insurance companies. Yes, that is partly true, but they are not solely to blame. Yes, we do have over priced premiums and inflated doctor fees, but much (NOT ALL) of that can also be attributed to that fact that so many people try and defraud the healthcare system on a regular basis with fraudulent claims and lawsuits, which amounts to nothing more than greed. There are more people than just doctors and insurance companies that are responsible. Instead of regulating that part, as well as the fees and premiums, the current plan layout calls for increased tax dollars to pay for a much less functional system. It is a system that will eventually give full control to the government and limit peoples choices, which is not right.

Another issue for me is that Obama says that as an employee, I can keep my current insurance, but the reality is that it won't be my decision. My employer will be able to decide to dump me into the public option and only pay the 8% payroll tax which will save him a ton of money over paying for private insurance. Good for him maybe, but no good for me or my family.

Finally, the main reason that medicare and medicaide currently don't work, are that the government grossly underpays the doctors and hospitals by up to 30% under the market rte. The government says this is keeping them honest and keeps costs down, but what it will do eventually is lead to no private insurers being able to compete, leaving only one option, which will be the government/public option.

This is not the way to reform our healthcare. This is a disaster waiting to happen(yes, I realize that is strong language). I have talked to several friends in Canada and the UK and while many of them just roll with it, most will still say that their current system is a mess and the government controlled healthcare is not the way to go.

The bottom line is that health care needs some work. We need to regulate prices and premiums by doctors and insurance companies, while limiting the ability of people to so easily defraud the system and this can be done for far less money than what will be poured in to the current reform being proposed.

I can look at the reform proposal plainly and see it will not be good for me or my family, and the important thing about that, is that America is made up of people and families just like me.

Will McCabe said...

One other thing...I agree with you that President Obama is being fairly transparent about his position and plan for reform. Whether he is being honest is a separate matter as well as his listening (or lack of) to what the people are saying. While most Americans including myself want some kind of healthcare reform, a vast majority are worried that this plan will be too costly and give too much government control. I feel like he is doing more to try and convince me that his agenda is right rather than listen to the fact that I think his plan in it's current form is a problem. If you look at the report on his town hall talk, he did more talking than anyone attending, which leaves little time to listen, which is what he promised. Note: by 'me' I am referring to Americans.

Anonymous said...
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Will McCabe said...

Not sure I can go to the extreme that Lindsay is at yet. I still have some hope that our President will begin to listen more to the people on both sides of the political fence.

I liked what Daniel had to say especially since it comes from personal experience. Regarding his last comment, he said; 'It seems to me this is all Obama is proposing. We’ll still have both, only you won’t have to live in CA to benefit from it.' This will actually be not true eventually, but it will take time for that to be seen.

Daniel: No, I am not surprised, and I do realize that this is the same as every other President, and if you read my full comment above, I actually said that. The reality is that Obama's landslide victory was based on the fact that other people besides myself actually DID believe him regardless of what history has shown.

Noelle said...

I'm sorry - Lindsay? Could you come again?

'Also, this will be just the beginning of Obama and his administrations taking away our rights and freedoms. So get ready to eventually not be able to rant on your blog because I'm sure speech will soon come to pass.'

Er, a little dramatic don't you think?!!

skylana said...

Lindsey- your comment was so rational, well articulated and calm. It didn't come across unintelligent, dramatic or bitter at all.


p.s. I adore the way you tried to explain how the fire department isn't run by the government by explaining EXACTLY how it is run by government. Priceless linds.

Anonymous said...

Great topic. Loved reading the various opinions from people with experiences relating to healthcare. I've been feeling so conflicted on this topic because I have a child with Type 1 Diabetes. Oh yeah and by the way...opinions expressed through dramatic words,fueled by who knows what, just turn people off and make them not want to listen so speak intelligently.

Will McCabe said...

Side note to Daniel: No, I am not surprised, nor do I think it's unusual. I was making the point because more than any president in recent history, he actually convinced people (not me) that he was not just another politician.

In general, I love Daniel's perspective on this, especially know the circumstances that he and his wife have had to deal with.

The main thing is that just because something is broken, doesn't mean just any solution or the first solution is the right solution. There are a lot of ways to reform and regulate the system that are much more cost effective and give less government control in the long run. The problem is it wouldn't go along with our Presidents political agenda, which seems to be the most important thing to him.

Noelle said...

An excerpt from Sky News UK:
'Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who has motor neurone disease, rejected criticism of the NHS as he collected America's highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, earlier this week.

"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he said.

Prof Hawking defended the service after one US commentator suggested he would be left to die under the UK system - until it was pointed out the scientist was born and lives in Britain.'

For the full article and further UK coverage see

matthew said...

wish i could see what lindsey wrote.

skylana said...

Haha Matt. She basically just told me to get my facts straight because "the fire department isn't run by the government but by the city and tax payers." and that Obama was going to take over control of the country and to be careful because I wouldn't be able to rant on my blog since freedom of speech is soon to go as well.

Will McCabe said...

After re-reading through the comments, I have a request/question for Becka. I was wondering if you could give me an example in your opinion of President Obama reaching across the aisle since he has been in office, in order to get his policies passed. I am not asking for this just for the sake of argument, but although I did not vote for Obama, I have been vocal in trying to support him and be as positive as possible rather than take the crazy, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it approach (sorry Lindsay :)). That being said, I don't see that he has done this at all. To me, "reaching across the aisle" doesn't just mean telling the other side to pass your legislation or have your bulldogs (Pelosi and Reid) threaten to power your policies through if the republicans won't support it. I would love to see him try and engage the other side to try and find some common ground. I would also like to see Republican lawmakers try and listen more as well. In my opinion, this has not happened at all, and quite the opposite has actually taken place. Would like to hear your thoughts on this. -Will

Erin said...

As a conservative, i will say that we are not against NOT having healthcare reform. of course we definelty would like to see some reform. However what we do want to happen is a government run healthcare.