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The State of the Nation

Posted by Primeboy, on Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:07 pm
Hi TL. I promised to "check my politics at the door" earlier in this thread, but health care is a vital issue to all of us regardless of whether we are pro/con Obamacare. I am one of the fortunate ones with Medicare and a secondary employer-financed plan. I believe strongly that everyone should get all the medical care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. Let's look at what drives medical care cost out of sight. Consider the following bumper sticker: "Support a lawyer...visit your doctor." Enough said there as too many unnecessary tests are ordered just to avoid lawsuits. We can save billions by allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines. We can save billions by diverting minor cases (colds and boo-boos) from Emergency Rooms to local Urgent Care community centers. We can save billions by charging foreign governments for medical care we provide to their citizens. We can save billions by reducing the high number of foreign students in our medical schools and making more doctors available locally. We can expand the role of other medical professionals (e.g., nurse practitioners, mid-wives, physicians assistants, etc.). Billions more could be saved by re-examining the incredibly excessive cost of drugs in this country. I could go on and on, but I need to leave some room for Herc. I heard she was causing trouble at the bridge tables again, but she'll be back to get her two cents in on this issue.
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:51 pm
Well, I'll tell ya what Traveling Lady,
There really is no answer to the question of which is good social medical care,or it's affordability.
I don't know how anyone can afford medical insurance.  Fortunately, in my case as was yours,, my bill was in excess of $150,000.00, (was in the hospital over 3 months)  When the smoke cleared, the hospital handed me a bill for less than $2000.00,  my co-pay.  I began paying $25.00 per month and after about 6 months they forgave the balance.  Medicare picked up my tab.  I feel a little hippocritical bitching about our medical insurance program when medicare paid out so much for me.  Had I been under the age requirement for medicare I honestly don't know what I would have done.  It is a big boat and there are a lot of us in it.  I have heard horror stories about souls losing everything just to pay their medical bills.  I don't understand this thing about forceing those under medicare age,  to buy medical insurance or face a fine.  Which is less ,the insurance or the fine?
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:02 am

you hit that nail squarely on the head.  I agree with everything you said
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:26 am
I agree with Traveling Lady that Obamacare doesn't go far enough but I admit it's a huge undertaking and will take a lot more fighting to see things change (I'm not  convinced they will)...We are so far behind in the game simply because medical costs are so outrageously expensive in this country already and the profit margins don't leave that much leeway for contracting discounts to government.  Historically corporations get more protection than  the individual so I'm not convinced the interests of the common man will win out. ......if we'd worked out these systems in healthcare years ago like everyone else, we could have cost protections in place but it's very hard to backtrack now.  TL has also astutely noted that Americans are either decidedly pro universal healthcare or definitely AGAINST it.  Interestingly, one constant denominator for the 'against' camp is that they always seem to possess health insurance. Primeboy is equally insightful in noting many of the problems that drive up health care costs in this country.  I would disagree on the question of limiting our medical schools for foreign doctors.  The schools need the money and they get higher tuition from the foreigners and many of them stay here and remain excellent Doctors. And we need them.  Americans are getting stupider and stupider (there I go again with those damned inflammatory blanket statements that paint me as a flaming 'red') and less inclined to work in medicine which is much less lucrative than it's ever been before and to graduate saddled with enormous debts.  
There are so many challenges and obstacles ahead of us in this country (and everywhere else for that matter).  I believe we are up to the task.  But it is going to be very difficult in the coming years.  I do believe that we must face the facts on that.
Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:35 am
To diverse a little for the monent'
My state senator held a town meeting last week and he was asking if his constituents supported a pending bill that would pay off one hundred billion dollors of the national debt,  which I believe is now over fourteen trillion dollors.  He emphasized the enormity of the importance of this bill; rightly so.  Any thing that will reduce the debt is important for our country.  I did a little math, and correct me if I am wrong.
doesn't it take one thousand billion to equal just one trillion?  Of course enough of these one hundred billion dollor savings would certainly help, but that is only the proverbial "drop in the bucket"  Sounds like and is a lot when spoken of as budget cuts; but at what expense to the medical care and education budgets.  
Pardon me but I am afraid that in this case "the light at the end of the tunnel is the light located on the front of the locomotive,LOOK OUT!
Reply by Traveling Lady, on Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:03 am
Hi Prime, you make some excellent points.  We all think about that evil medical mal-practice but I have heard that it only accounts for 2% of national medical costs.  I'm not sure I follow the foreign doctors argument, at least I'm not so sure that is a negative.  I believe someone else posted a positive aspect to the US educating foreign born doctors.  As for all the tests, I know I must have had 80% of tests possible last summer/fall as the doctors tried to figure out what was happening with me.  Perhaps some of those were unnecessary but I do not believe they did it to cover their asses and I am truly glad that they finally figured it out.  The ER vs Urgent Care issue is complex.  People without insurance go to the ER because they can't be turned away which is a huge cost to the whole medical system and those of us with insurance have to pay that toll. A few years ago my husband was totally confuse and showed signs of having a stroke but he was also a substance abuser so I wasn't sure if that might have been causing his problems.  So we waited for several hours in Urgent Care only to be told that they did not have the facilities to test for substance abuse and then ended up at the ER, again waiting for hours.  Some people need to see a doctor every time they get the sniffles.  Personally, I don't call the doctor unless there is something seriously wrong.  How do we go about changing that mentality?  Another problem with Urgent Care vs ER is the timing -- if you get a blockage after 5 PM are you able to last until the next morning for the Urgent Care or your doctor to be available?  Insurance across state lines is a very good idea and part of the original "Obama-care" plan but how do we make that happen without government intervention?  Drugs and medical supplies are so expensive -- just ordered/received my first re-order for wafers and pouches and was surprised that the 1 month supply totaled $344 -- thankfully covered by my insurance.  How do those uninsured mange?
I've gone on too long -- didn't mean to.  But I still don't understand how we can make it all right.
Reply by Lizz, on Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:51 am
Hi Lottage Lady, I am very interested to know about the way in which Gov't is paying to get people off DLA and related benefits. Is it really true that they're paying out bonuses when benefits are suspended? Who will be making these decisions? I don't suppose they will be qualified doctors - probably just people with a modicum of medical knowledge or - even worse - form fillers. We all know what it 's like with forms -there's never  a tick box for the answer you want to give so you end up either making copious notes in the margins (which are ignored 'cos they don't fit in with what they want the outcomes to be) or you tick the nearest fit and get shafted!  Sadly, we're in the middle of a greed epidemic, so I can't imagine there'll be many of the form-fillers who'll think, 'Mmm, do I really need an extra 300 quid, or shall I let this one through the net?' Practice your nice smile, L.L. You may need it!    Lizz. ps I'm not on any benefits personally - just in case that Primeboy decides to attack again!
Reply by Lizz, on Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:04 am
Interesting that you mentioned how those people against the healthcare reforms are usually well covered themselves. When I was younger there was a debate in this country about abolishing Grammar Schools (for those who passed an exam at ll and were creamed off to be given a better education) and keeping school pupils together in the Comprehensive system until the age of 16. I was working in education at the time and couldn't help noticing that those with the loudest voices, who wanted to retain the Grammars went very quiet when I asked how they would feel if their offspring ended up in the 'reject' pile and couldn't continue post-16 to University. Surprise surprise - they assumed that their kids would go to Grammar or they would pay to send them to a private school.   My question is - why is the worse option good enough for other people - be it health care or education? Surely we should all be valued equally? Lizz
Reply by KennyT, on Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:20 am
Absolutely sums it it up perfectly Lizz. Wonderful.

Past Member
Reply by Past Member, on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:54 am
Well said, Lizz.
Reply by Primeboy, on Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:40 pm
Good post, TL. I like your comment: "I don't understand how we can make it all right." Here's what I think. I am sure people of good will want everyone to get proper medical care regardless of ability to pay. We agree on the goal, but the question is how to get there. I think the dialogue has already started across this country and we are moving towards a resolution, perhaps too slowly. Obamacare is one extreme which will kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The other extreme is 'no care" which is unconscientionable.  We have hundreds of elected representatives in Washington with the talent to solve this dilemma fairly quickly. The only problem is that their vote is in the pockets of special interests (e.g., the health care industry, unions, trial lawyers' association, George Soros, Big Pharma, etc.). They no longer look out for the "general welfare" of the country. As a result, we find ourselves in separate armed camps looking out for attacks (right Lizz) from the other side. Let's hope on the national level that we get better leaders who refuse to sell their votes. I am more optimistic about the local level, however, since Herculisa is entering the convent and will take a vow to behave.
Reply by Eva2012, on Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:08 pm
Dear Lottagelady,

After having worked all my life and have now been in flareup mode for 2 years now with my crohns I have had 3 health assessments with DWP and was awarded ESA. Now I have been fighting for DLA and have been turned down twice. I am now going for an appeal as my conditioned as worsened since my assessment. I have been so stressed living on not enough to pay bills etc and having to juggle constantly it has been a real nightmare. I don't understand the world we live in anymore. My consultant is soooo upset because 5 of his acute crohns patients have been turned down for DLA in the last two weeks he has written us all reports. He posted mine by hand the next day, not many consultants would do that. I am living half a life and yet the 70 page forms are so difficult and seem to only relate to how far one can walk it can not and does not cover people with unique illnesses.
I am also going to be writing to my local MP as I am so angered by this.


Reply by Lizz, on Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:29 pm
Hi Eva, I do sympathise with you over the form filling and the criteria used to determine who gets what. All I wanted was a  blue badge because a) after my op I had a lot of nerve damage where my scars were and b) leaking pouches were a constant worry - and I didn't want to be too far away from my car when or if one occurred. As you said, they're mainly interested in how far you can walk unaided - and that's not a problem for me (just whether I can walk pain-free). Hmm, one size fits all again. We really must stop being so individual!!!
Reply by Traveling Lady, on Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:59 pm
jacksprat wrote:
Well, I'll tell ya what Traveling Lady,
There really is no answer to the question of which is good social medical care,or it's affordability.
I don't understand this thing about forcing those under medicare age,  to buy medical insurance or face a fine.  Which is less ,the insurance or the fine?

Hi Jack, I'm a little slow in responding but stuff is happening.  First, I do want to commend you on finally posting a photo -- you seem like a lovely couple.  Let me make an analogy about forcing medical insurance on everyone.  In our state of VA, you must have driver's insurance and if not, you pay some pittance as an uninsured driver.  My car was totalled by an uninsured driver some years ago and she managed to escape in an ambulance and the address she gave us -- either she wasn't living there or was just staying clear. Neither I nor my insurance company could ever catch up with her so my insurance had to cover it and consequently my insurance rates went up (though the accident was her fault!).  Some might say that the government may not dictate that we must all carry car insurance, and if it weren't required many people would not.  So if you are in an accident, those people who have insurance end up paying for those that don't (if they are dishonest) or if neither have insurance, you run up all sorts of litigation fees to resolve it.
Health care insurance may not be affordable to many so it seems ludicrous to force people to have it.  I'm sure that you've heard the argument that making the young adults carry insurance will help drive the premiums down as they don't generally require all the medical attention the older and elderly require (obviously they haven't  figured on all or very young ostomates!) .
Anyway, I've no more energy -- don't know if I've made any points or at least given some more food for thought. Maybe I can do better another night.
Sleepless in Hampton, TL
Reply by TravelB, on Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:52 pm
Well stated TL.  Your analogy was perfect.
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