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snoogit

Is it time to reintroduce universal healthcare?

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I've been thinking (oh no)

But I have a feeling its time to reintroduce Universal Healthcare. Recently I've seen some posters, and read some reports about the fact that American auto manufacturers are making more cars in Canada then in Detroit. I did a little more research thinking "well it's gotta be the wages"

But I did some research and heres what I found:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/20...ages-usat_x.htm

This USA today article says the average hourly wage in America (as of Jan 8, 2006) was $16.34

http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/labr69a.htm

This canadian site lists the average wage $18.89 CAD (as of Aug 2005) which equals $16.86 USD

So then I thought well it cant be the wages then, since Canadians moke more its got to be something else. I knew it culdn't be taxes, because I know taxes in Canada are generally higher then here in the US. This led me to the inevitable conclusion the only thing that could be driving companies out of the US, isn't wages, or companieven taxes there can only be one true symptom, and thats healthcare costs.

Healthcare in Canada costs 3x less then here in the US The difference also is where we saddle the healthcare costs with our employers, most industrialized companies saddle healthcare costs with their governments, even those who people criticize for low wages such as China, and India also provide basic healthcare for all citizens.

It is my personal opinion that as the costs of healthcare keep rising so too will the companies that leave the US. There is no magic wand beg to the insurance companies to lower costs solution. I think that time is up.

My hope is that 2008 will bring this change. I know there are some state governments that will intorduce state healthcare into their states. I hope its an experiment that will leave an impression on the federal side, and finally bring the US into the rest of the world.

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Our Republican governor, Arne Carlson, tried to make healthcare coverage universal in the 1990s by expanding MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance to all people that were not insured.

This met opposition from other republicans, but mostly, in the end, Carlson wanted it to be implemented over a number of years. Once that time came, however, we had a new governor that wasn't willing to do that.

As it is, we still have the lowest number of uninsured in the nation. We also have a very healthy economy with a low unemployment rate, and one of the highest median incomes in the country.

How did it get this way? Because Republicans and Democrats both shared one common vision: A well-educated, healthy, happy workforce is the most productive workforce.

Unfortunately today's Republicans don't understand that. They seem to go beyond the "Pick yourself up by the bootstraps" and support a notion of keeping the poor poor and making the rich richer than ever. Sorry people.. if yo'ure not born into it, you won't get it under their plan.

Universal healthcare wouldn't be that hard to fund. Since government insurance programs have such a small overhead cost (2-3% compared to 30% in the private sector) and they do not look for profits, the result is very beneficial to the populace.

We can go all day about "look at Germany and Japan".. and their welfare state. That's because of retirement benefits. If we reduced the cost significantly for healthcare for younger workers, they'd be able to spend more on othe things, which would reduce that problem anyway.

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More and more people every year are uninsured with health insurance so its possible in the years to come that universal healthcare will be implemented. That of course, if we choose and pick the right politicans to make this happen.

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As long as republicans are running the federal government, it won't happen.

Theres been cases where even a GOP controlled government has had to finally accept whats happening hunker down and do the right thing.

I think it could get done in a GOP congress, it would just take 20 years and an angry public to do it.

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If we were to have universal health-care, there would have to be certain restrictions to make it appropriate. Restrictions including:

- No subsides for antidepressants or psychological drugs

- No subsidies for contraceptives or abortions

- No subsides for treatment of obesity, disease from smoking or drinking, or other self-inflicted illness

And I would be more than fine with it. Also people should be able to choose if they want this plan or not. I wouldn't want this plan as it would mean that I would have to wait for care if I needed it. That's just how it is in every other country with socialized medicine.

Personally, I don't believe health-care to be a right. But I'm in the minority, and such a position isn't acceptable among most people, so I would accept it with the above restrictions.

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If we were to have universal health-care, there would have to be certain restrictions to make it appropriate. Restrictions including:

- No subsides for antidepressants or psychological drugs

- No subsidies for contraceptives or abortions

- No subsides for treatment of obesity, disease from smoking or drinking, or other self-inflicted illness

And I would be more than fine with it. Also people should be able to choose if they want this plan or not. I wouldn't want this plan as it would mean that I would have to wait for care if I needed it. That's just how it is in every other country with socialized medicine.

Personally, I don't believe health-care to be a right. But I'm in the minority, and such a position isn't acceptable among most people, so I would accept it with the above restrictions.

I think people are mixing universal coverage with single payer government socialized medicine. Universal coverage simply means that health insurance is a right and that everyone has it, no matter what. You can do this in a few different ways:

You can take a completely publicly funded approach (the best way in my opinion), where the government pays for medical costs on a basic level. Private insurance is there to supplement our basic coverage, if, for example, you want a private room, etc.

You can take a mixed approach, publicly insuring the poor, students, the elderly, while working middle-aged people obtain private insurance. This is probably the most logical way of doing it, especially to begin with, as we wouldn't be dismantling the private insurance industry while everyone would be covered.

Or you can simply require that everyone have health insurance, and leave it up to them to find it. This system is flawed because that leaves the poor paying a much higher % of their income on premiums. This system should be avoided at all costs.

As far as the points you stressed above:

The treatment of a patient should be secret, between a doctor and a patient. The treatments patients seek should be paid for if approved by the doctor. That being said, doctor accountability should be improved.

I especially disagree that obesity treatment should nto be subsidized. If we spend the money once to make a person healthy, it will be MUCH MUCH cheaper than waiting until that person becomes ill due to their obesity and we end up paying much higher prices for emergency surgeries and stuff. PREVENTION is key, and should be stressed in any insurance policy.

People have an inherent right to quality health care that ensures that they can be healthy, happy, and productive. That includes anti-depressents in some situations, abortions in others, and even diet pills in others.I do understand where your'e coming from, though.

I think there is this common misconception that people that have abortions, are depressed, or fat are all liberals or something... and poor, and don't work, and are on welfare.

Take away that misconception, and it becomes easier to support what you're against.

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^^moonshield with all due respect, I think your personal list of noncovered illnesses and medical procedures is from another planet.

Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder etc are as much health issues as heart disease or cancer. They are life threatening illnesses, if left untreated. People DIE from depression, and I think your attitude is the sort of thing that keeps people from seeking the help they need.

And you wanna keep obese people from receiving health care?????????? If that ever happens, heaven help you if you ever find yourself over weight. Just in case you didn't know, NO ONE wants to be overweight. People don't seek to be overweight. It is a disorder, not a "weakness" or "choice".

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I agree with the obesity help. Anything the government can do to help Americans lose weight would be a positive to society. I think there should also be programs to help people kick drug, alcohol and smoking habits.

And in the case of smoking and alcohol, the government should end tax writeoffs to the companies that produce these products. This would be one way to fund the treatment programs.

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^^moonshield with all due respect, I think your personal list of noncovered illnesses and medical procedures is from another planet.

Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder etc are as much health issues as heart disease or cancer. They are life threatening illnesses, if left untreated. People DIE from depression, and I think your attitude is the sort of thing that keeps people from seeking the help they need.

And you wanna keep obese people from receiving health care?????????? If that ever happens, heaven help you if you ever find yourself over weight. Just in case you didn't know, NO ONE wants to be overweight. People don't seek to be overweight. It is a disorder, not a "weakness" or "choice".

They can receive health-care, I just don't want to pay for it. They can file through the private insurers, and get all of the Prozac they could possibly want.

I don't buy the mental disorder business for many reasons, but first and foremost I distrust psychology. Psychology is a fad 'science', it changes every few years and the findings are almost always dubious at best. If you consult the DSM, the psychology bible, you will find that most every behavior is a mental illness. If you look at what was considered mental illness by the APA in the past, and considered normal today, you will find some interesting stuff. I could go on, but you can see how much faith I put in the ideas of psychologists and psychiatrists. Also, I don't think it's appropriate that the everyone should pay for the abuse of these painkillers and antidepressants that occurs so often.

Maybe I'm mentally ill according to the DSM. Some of you guys probably may think that too. But looking out for one's self-interest is not a sign of mental illness, putting the interests of others, often people you don't know, before your well being is more questionable. Why should altruism be the standard? Why indeed. Sounds like regression to me.

Obesity can be prevented, or reversed, in most cases with a quality so lacking in most people today - will power. We've never had such a high percentage of heavy people in the past, we see obesity today because people aren't treating themselves properly and aren't encouraged to control themselves.

As for the obese, why should we be paying for their problems that occur later? It doesn't sound right to me.

I don't feel right helping correct their personal mistakes - I don't believe that gives them enough motivation to make a permanent change. I actively set out to avoid making those mistakes, why can't everyone else? Why should I be punished for the mistakes of others?

Help for cancers that have occurred out of the blue, childhood diseases, diseases of elderly, rare diseases, and injury are all appropriate, though I would prefer people pay through insurance without government aid.

---

Companies shouldn't receive welfare either. Let's get that out the way. :)

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moonshield, I am almost shocked to read your words. I had no idea that non medical professionals were so ignorant of medicine.

As a Registered Nurse, and a former state-designated Mental Health Professional, I can assure you that the brain is as much a part of the human body as the heart, the lungs, the kidneys etc. The brain gets sick just like other body parts do.

When the brain gets sick we call it depression, or Bipolar Disorder, or Schizophrenia..

There is no difference when medical science treats depression or a diseased lung. The treatment is to save lives. You obviously are clueless that mental illnesses claim many many lives each year. These aren't character flaws, or weaknesses in upbringing. These are illnesses.

I urge you to research this more. When you write these kinds of certifiable nonsense, it begs to be challenged. I mean no disrespect to you, but I am nonetheless shocked by your disregard for sick people, and willingness to say these things which are 100% false.

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I know what the psychiatrists say, I've taken psychology classes, and I've heard the detractors. I happen to agree with the detractors. However, I was bored out of my mind during the psychology classes so I may have missed some important theories.

I just don't believe drugs are an appropriate reaction to these conditions - and drugs make up much of the recurring medical costs. I've never been depressed, but looking at it rationally, one would think that removing the source of depression, discussing why people are having the problems and letting them discover that they are behaving irrationally, or working towards something constructive would combat the self loathing. Psychological drugs simply cannot be a long-term strategy.

From what I've read, the patients become addicted to the drug and can't function without them. That makes the patient both expensive and living in a false world. Bad idea. Talking about issues, and building one's self worth (not falsely) are better strategies.

Depression cannot kill people in and of itself - people need to give to do something else to bring death.

Maybe I'm too idealistic in regard to our mental abilities and abilities to control our minds.

I know no one is going to agree with me, but it's a position that doesn't get much air time - people don't need all the drugs they're taking - and we can't have social medicine when they need all these drugs, it would be too expensive and is unnecessary.

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I agree CM, maybe Americans in general are a bit blindsided by medicine and don't know the whole field for what it is. I've heard several people brush off psychology as anything more than alternative medicine. Well, news flash moonshield, Bipolarism is as much a condition as high blood pressure and cancer. And no, cancer is not a disease, you cannot catch cancer, it happens through mutation within your own body. It is a very life threatening condition that can cause weakness and susceptibility to disease. You have to take medicine for Bipolarism, as well as many other psychological disorders, to keep your chemicals balanced in your synaptic cleft between each and every neuron in both your brain, and throughout your entire body.

When outside stressors happen to your body and mind, your attitude and self-image can experience change. That is a shared feature among all human beings and higher mammals. When your attitude changes, the level at which your immune system is active changes as well. That's part of why so many college students get sick during exams, both fall and spring semesters. You're in college, you should have heard about this by now. Psychology isn't so much a study of the 'mind' as much as it is the study of the brain in conjunction with you mind. Neurology and Psychology are interconnected on many levels. However, hypnotherapy and alternative therapies like it are not associated directly with psychology. They are not fundamentals taught within a psychology masters or PhD. These are alternative methods that some psychologists use because they personally believe in them. This is part of the reason why people associate Psychology with mind games and thus, brush it off as an impractical science.

On obesity: it is fact that some human beings are born almost predetermined to become obese. HOWEVER, there is a reason why the United States is the fattest country on earth. It is culture; this coming from a student who studied abroad in Australia, the second fattest country on earth. People say Australian society mirrors British. That fact is actually incorrect on a few levels, but I won

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I just don't believe drugs are an appropriate reaction to these conditions - and drugs make up much of the recurring medical costs. I've never been depressed, but looking at it rationally, one would think that removing the source of depression, discussing why people are having the problems and letting them discover that they are behaving irrationally, or working towards something constructive would combat the self loathing? Psychological drugs simply cannot be a long-term strategy.

Yea, you must've missed about half of your psychology lecture if that's what you believe. Depression on a standard "oh my boyfriend broke up with me" is not the reason people take medication for depression. Depression on the level that "nobody likes me, nobody would notice if I died" is when psychological counseling is needed. However, medications are sometimes needed if it is found that the person is feeling this way due to an imbalance of a certain neurotransmitter in the brain. And you shouldn't call them psychological drugs, they are actually neurological drugs. Look up prozac and what it does chemically. You'll see there's more to it than just making somebody feel good about themselves.

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AL, that was well put and a good read.

Still, I believe we are too quick to prescribe medicine. Oftentimes it's unncessary and that's expensive. Giving everything to everyone will leave us with nothing.

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^ That's very true. I look at universal health insurance the same way I look at public schools. The framers of our constitution probably did not consider education to be an inherent right. But years later, people felt that a society of educated citizens was better than a society of uneducated citizens. As a society, we foster health of the mind. In the same way, a society of healthy individuals with access to quality healthcare is a better society: health of the body.

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Normally I wouldn't bother trying to educate people who are vociferously against mental health treatment. But if moonshield feels this way, then probably lots of others feel the same way. So maybe I'll go ahead and try to educate people on urban planet (about the basics) that might be interested in hearing about it from a person with high credentials. (a degree in nursing and 7 years experience in psychiatric clinical settings, and with a state designated Mental Health Professional status.)

First things first there is no such thing as a psychological drug. There are psychiatric/neuroleptic/neurological drugs. People with psychological problems (the worried well) can seek therapy, which can be very helpful. But for people with psychiatric diagnoses, their brains are not working properly, and medications will indeed improve the quality of their lives.

There is no existing medication for depression, Bipolar Disorder, or Schizophrenia that is addictive. Not one. Not only are they not physically addictive, they are also not psychologically addictive.

Generic Prozac is about $80 a month. Small price to pay to be able to get out of bed, to be able to work, to be able to function etc. If you truly understand depression, you will realize it is a PHYSICAL disorder even more than a psychiatric disorder. Depression has an adverse effect on every single body system. And whatever you want to attribute it to, depression DOES cause death more than anyone would like to admit.

OK here's another point re: obesity. Moonshield's view is that obese people should be denied care for their obesity because they can excercise some will power and lose weight. Maybe so, maybe not, but are you gonna deny them first class health care "because they eat too much"?

Let's deny people medical care that have a broken leg. After all they got it because they weren't being careful enough.

Let's deny people health care that are in car crashes. Afetr all they should have been driving more defensively.

Let's deny people health care because they have a stroke. They should have been excercising regularly, and eating a diet lower in cholestrol.

Let's deny people health care that are burn victims. After all, their carelessness usually leads to the accident in the first place?

See how ridiculous that is, to deny obese people care because "it's their fault"?

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I agree, in fact, even the people that bring harm to themselves, or go to the ER just because, I feel that in human morality they too should be helped. I mean, at this point, they are paying for these services, so why not let them? Come time that universal healthcare does take over, maybe I'll reconsider. But a human is a human. Prisoners of war (at least on the American side,) are they not treated for their wounds? Why? It's because it is deeply imbedded in human nature to help those in need when possible. You can get arguments on both sides of the story there, but that's getting a little too off topic.

I have experienced universal healthcare over in Australia when I tore some cartilage in my left knee. The wait was about the same, I didn't have my own room, but I didn't even care, there are curtains. I was 14 at the time, so I didn't even notice really. All I remember is being there and being in pain. The secrecy of medical files and patient-doctor confidentiality can only go so far. Somebody overhearing your conversation from the other side of the curtain is no different than them hearing it from the other side of the wall. If they really cared, they could sneak into your room and look at your charts while you're asleep. The simple fact is, unless you are dealing with an STD or some life-altering announcement, there is no reason for you to worry about your neighbor hearing about it. If I broke my leg, my neighbor would see me hobbling down the street with crutches anyway.

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Let's deny people medical care that have a broken leg. After all they got it because they weren't being careful enough.

Let's deny people health care that are in car crashes. Afetr all they should have been driving more defensively.

Let's deny people health care because they have a stroke. They should have been excercising regularly, and eating a diet lower in cholestrol.

Let's deny people health care that are burn victims. After all, their carelessness usually leads to the accident in the first place?

See how ridiculous that is, to deny obese people care because "it's their fault"?

Indeed. You're right. I shouldn't talk about psychology and neuroscience because I know very little about them. I probably sound schizo or bipolar (I'm not, I assure you), saying this, but I agree with many of the points presented here and think that social health-care could in fact work.

I'm too easily swayed by reason.

From deeper analysis, what I've been doing for the last several hours, it looks like it would end up being cheaper for me on a personal and business level. I can't argue with that.

Social medicine would not only provide benefit for everyone, it would help save companies from collapsing under legacy costs and would help many workers keep their jobs. THAT is more advantageous, to me, than helping people on the streets or giving people drugs. That's what I want to hear.

The only one's who would lose are the insurance agencies.

---

Interesting stat I just learned an few seconds ago: The total tax rate of someone living in Denmark (a poster child for social programs, and one of the highest taxed country, that's why I mention it) and someone living in California are about the same. They just don't spend their money on weapons of war. They have a freer economy too.

But the problem is that they don't have the population the US has, nor the diversity.

---

The only question I have is, could deregulation and free markets have a more positive impact? We have neither right now. Free markets have never been tried, and the health-care industry is, by far, the most regulated of any US industry. Institutions like the FDA stymie development of medicine and equipment that could have great potential ,and the regulation brings a rise costs by giving pharma companies fewer products. I would prefer a free market health-care system to a universal health-care system, and certainly to the system we have now. I would order, in preference, place the possible systems as follows: Free Market, universal health-care, and the current, absurd, system.

*edited for clarity, more content, and corrections

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Americans, the working ones that is, give up a great deal to fund the world's largest military.

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whew! Now that we're done discussing the finer points of mental health treatment....lol...

I am 100% in favor of nationalized health care.

One of the main functions of our government is to provide national security for the country. I see health care as a NATIONAL SECURITY concern. The health of the American people is the ultimate security of the country. When millions of people are uninsured, and are not in optimal health, how can our country function optimally? How can the government make bombs if one fourth of the people are sick and paying no taxes?????

As we speak millions of Americans need to see a doctor and have no means to do so. After they get so sick they're in crisis, then they visit the ER which is at least 1000% more costly than a regular visit. And of course hospitals are required to see people in the ER regardless of their ability to pay (i.e. the federal govt. foots the bill)

The US gives billions of dollars of foreign aid every year. The government spends billions of dollars on the Iraq War, the Drug War, Afghanistan.....the government subsidizes the UN 25% of it's budget. The government "forgives" BILLIONS of dollars owed our country by destitute countries.

Shouldn't the health of the American people come first? Sure it's not cheap. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

Why should employers be stuck with insuring the American people? Makes no sense.

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You know, you make a point there without actually saying it. Healthcare is currently provided to those unable to pay, right? Would it then be ethical to deny healthcare to those who are not legal American citizens or here legally by some sort of visa? If paid for entirely by the taxes of Americans, it would make more sense to make this type of enforcement.

Do I support that theory? I'm not really sure. Just figured I'd ask to see what you all thought. It would be a slightly more effective way of making illegal immigrants register for a work visa, thus contributing to our tax base.

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Considering that if you had no insurance and went to Britain (visa or no visa) and were injured and their government would pay for your medical care, I think what you're saying would be utterly selfish and cheap on our part and not consistent with all other nations that we, as Americans, like to visit that have socialized medicine.

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^Indeed. In terms of the overall federal budget, the cost of providing healthcare for even the most severely injured/ill foreign visitor would be practically nil. On the other hand, the word-of-mouth benefit of that person returning home and telling of the wonderful, generous treatment they received in the American healthcare system would be well worth the investment.

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Good, I'm glad you guys feel that way because that's exactly what happened to me while I was visiting Australia when I was a li'l kid. (See earlier post) So this nil expense that could be sacrificed on somebody who isn't a citizen should come over the nil expense for each and every American individual then?

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