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michaelskis

The Clinton Health Plan

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Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton announced her

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Socialized medicine has been adopted and works well in virtually every other developed nation in the world, so there is no reason beyond right-wing scare tactics to think it wouldn't work here. I have no idea how many Canadians travel to the US for health care, but it is a safe bet that the number is far fewer than the number of Americans who illegaly order medicine from Canada because they can't afford the mark-up on American medicine. The quality being "far better here" doesn't help the thousands of Americans who are traveling to Latin American and southwest Asian countries for life-saving surgeries they can't afford here. Sure they would receive care in an ER here, but then they would go bankrupt paying for it afterwards.

That said, Clinton's plan isn't "socialized medicine" any more than mandatory auto insurance is "socialized collision coverage." Calling it such is nothing more than a partisan talking point. She is calling for mandatory private insurance, with federal assistance to those who cannot afford it. That is the extent of the government's involvement, along with bans on insurance companies denying coverage of high-risk patients or preexisting conditions. No one, particularly those who most need medical care, should be denied coverage solely to maximize insurers' profit, and it is not socialism to mandate such.

As for the expense, how many days does it take the federal government to burn through $110 billion in Iraq? It is hypocracy to conplain about this expense unless one is also calling for an immediate end to the war. Besides, Clinton plans to pay for this by allowing Bush's tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 to expire. This money would be used to assist companies and individuals who can't afford the cost of insurance.

It is a simple fact that the status quo of the American healthcare system is unacceptable. Clinton's plan may not be perfect, but it is a timid step in the direction many other countries have taken to solve this problem. It is far better than any plans I'm hearing from the other side of the aisle, essentially "stay the course."

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Socialized medicine has been adopted and works well in virtually every other developed nation in the world, so there is no reason beyond right-wing scare tactics to think it wouldn't work here. I have no idea how many Canadians travel to the US for health care, but it is a safe bet that the number is far fewer than the number of Americans who illegaly order medicine from Canada because they can't afford the mark-up on American medicine. The quality being "far better here" doesn't help the thousands of Americans who are traveling to Latin American and southwest Asian countries for life-saving surgeries they can't afford here. Sure they would receive care in an ER here, but then they would go bankrupt paying for it afterwards.

That said, Clinton's plan isn't "socialized medicine" any more than mandatory auto insurance is "socialized collision coverage." Calling it such is nothing more than a partisan talking point. She is calling for mandatory private insurance, with federal assistance to those who cannot afford it. That is the extent of the government's involvement, along with bans on insurance companies denying coverage of high-risk patients or preexisting conditions. No one, particularly those who most need medical care, should be denied coverage solely to maximize insurers' profit, and it is not socialism to mandate such.

As for the expense, how many days does it take the federal government to burn through $110 billion in Iraq? It is hypocracy to conplain about this expense unless one is also calling for an immediate end to the war. Besides, Clinton plans to pay for this by allowing Bush's tax cuts for Americans making over $250,000 to expire. This money would be used to assist companies and individuals who can't afford the cost of insurance.

It is a simple fact that the status quo of the American healthcare system is unacceptable. Clinton's plan may not be perfect, but it is a timid step in the direction many other countries have taken to solve this problem. It is far better than any plans I'm hearing from the other side of the aisle, essentially "stay the course."

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If you take a look at several studies done over the past several decades, including one by the New England of medicine, countries with Socialized medicine don

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Our current system is certainly not perfect...far from it. But slapping a federal bill onto a broken system is not going to fix the problem. I'm not an expert on the subject, but if you were to tell me that the "new" health care system would end up costing me more in taxes, and the services I receive currently would probably suffer (longer wait times, for example), I am against it.

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......

The early cost to the federal government (US Taxpayers) would be 110 billion, and who knows how much it would cost companies. .....

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If anyone wants to see what a government run program would look like, look at the health care plan the military gets. It ain't good. Most of my military buddies opted to pay private doctors out of their own pockets. I've heard hooror stories you wouldn't believe.

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If anyone wants to see what a government run program would look like, look at the health care plan the military gets. It ain't good. Most of my military buddies opted to pay private doctors out of their own pockets. I've heard hooror stories you wouldn't believe.

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To answer a bunch of questions:

I think that the amount that is spent on the Iraq war is insane. There is no way that we should have spent even close to that. The war should have been done long ago. It has not been managed well by this administration. But to say hey, we spent that much on the war, why not spend more is not a solution to the problem.

The solution is spending money to prevent future health problems. Require that every grade participate in physical education classes. Ban smoking in public places and cars if there is a minor in the car. Provide healthy school lunches and prohibit the use of transfats. I also think that there needs to be a transition from funding highway projects to funding public transportation projects. All of this would greatly decrease one of the biggest problems with health care... obesity. If less people need to go to the doctor, the demand goes down and the price of insurance goes down.

The other problem is the illegal immigrants. Currently they can go into a walk-in clinic or ER room without any insurance for any problem and get basic health care needs. (Such as a cast if you break your foot) and those lost costs are actually distributed to everyone else. This alone costs $100 million every year in the US (according to the New England Journal of Medicine).

Clinton wants to give too many people a free pass for heath care without doing anything to reduce the need for heath care. The cost is only going to continue to go up.

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.....Clinton wants to give too many people a free pass for heath care without doing anything to reduce the need for heath care. The cost is only going to continue to go up.

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I am open to any candidate offering any solutions. But to be completely honest, here is where my mind will close like a steel trap door- If the Government is going to require everyone to pay so everyone can receive - there better be rewards AND penalties based on personal lifestyles.

1. Your BMI is over AMA recommendations? - You Pay more

2. Your BMI is under AMA guidelines - You pay less

3. You Smoke - You pay 3x the rate

4. Cholesterol High - You Pay more

5. Your Annual Fitness checkup looks good for 3,5,7 years - you get bigger discount...

And so on. I'm totally am open to changing our current system, but forget it if personal responsibility gains and losses are not attached.

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^Indeed. I will point out that we don't have those things now because the entire medical system is setup to make profits off of treating illness and symptoms of illness. There is no incentive for people to live healthier lives because if they did, a lot of money would leave the system.

Case in point. I was offered through a friend to invest in a CAT scanner in a Drs. Office. I was offered big money on my investment because since the practice owned the scanner, they would order a lot more CAT scans than what was really medically necessary to the unsuspecting public. Insurance and the government gets billed for it. I did not participate in this scheme, but it is quite a common practice and why the present system needs to be changed.

I also know several people who are drug reps and their job is to go visit all the clinics in the area to push the most profitable drugs, instead of the most appropriate drugs, in prescriptions to people. They are always welcome in the offices because they usually bring free lunch for all the staff and sometimes other freebies to their best customers. So people end up getting prescriptions written for drugs that while they do the job, cost a lot more than others that would do just as well. (usually it is drugs where the pharm co. still has a patent) Again the insurance companies and the government pays.

So as you can see there is a huge profit motive to treat and prescribe to sick people. There is nothing like it to incite people to lose weight, to stop smoking and to exercise to keep them out of the clinics in the first place.

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^Indeed. I will point out that we don't have those things now because the entire medical system is setup to make profits off of treating illness and symptoms of illness. There is no incentive for people to live healthier lives because if they did, a lot of money would leave the system.

Case in point. I was offered through a friend to invest in a CAT scanner in a Drs. Office. I was offered big money on my investment because since the practice owned the scanner, they would order a lot more CAT scans than what was really medically necessary to the unsuspecting public. Insurance and the government gets billed for it. I did not participate in this scheme, but it is quite a common practice and why the present system needs to be changed.

I also know several people who are drug reps and their job is to go visit all the clinics in the area to push the most profitable drugs, instead of the most appropriate drugs, in prescriptions to people. They are always welcome in the offices because they usually bring free lunch for all the staff and sometimes other freebies to their best customers. So people end up getting prescriptions written for drugs that while they do the job, cost a lot more than others that would do just as well. (usually it is drugs where the pharm co. still has a patent) Again the insurance companies and the government pays.

So as you can see there is a huge profit motive to treat and prescribe to sick people. There is nothing like it to incite people to lose weight, to stop smoking and to exercise to keep them out of the clinics in the first place.

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Yes, it is because they realize what is going on and are forcing change at least in the parts of the the system the corporate insurance companies control. But here is the problem with that. It means that if you are in a group insurance plan, you get charged a different rate for exactly the same service, than someone who is on private insurance or paying out of pocket. Group plans have some power to control what they are charged or they will refuse to do any business with a particular provider. Private individuals don't have this ability and hence pick up the difference (as well as picking up the non-payers)

Case in point. A couple of years ago I had to go to the emergency room to have a couple of stitches put in my hand from an accident. I spent 30 minutes in treatment and got 2 stitches and a bandaid. The total bill for this was $1850. :o Once the insurance company got the bills however, the amount charged fell to a negotiated amount of $225 and they paid 50% of that. The point here is that as a private individual, I would have never gotten the bill reduced by this amount and would have been required to pay most of the $1850 for a minor accident. Imagine if this had been something more serious such as the injuries from an automobile accident. For a pay out of pocket individual, sure they could go to the emergency room, but they would be wiped out financially.

A government mandated system would put an end to this kind of abuse as everyone would pay the same regardless of whether they were in a corporate plan or not. I can't imagine why anyone would support the system we have now given these examples but I would like to hear any defense of the status quo that we have now.

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I've noticed a couple things being posted here that are a bit off. First, while Americans do go to Canada for cheaper drugs, Canadians come here for health care that they don't have to wait 6 months for (the problem with socialized health care is long wait times).

Second, there are higher insurance premiums for people who have illnesses (or they might be dropped or denied altogether). You just don't see that if you get your health insurance from your job. Also, I disagree very strongly with using BMI as a measuring stick for health. There are conflicting studies as to how accurately you can determine someone's health and risks by using BMI alone. It does not take muscle mass into consideration and it does not take frame size into consideration. It also does not take gender into consideration (as women naturally have more body fat than men). They would have to take BMI in combination with waist size and percentage of body fat into consideration before coming up with a good determination. Unfortunately, it's not easy to get a super accurate measure of body fat percentage.

Finally, Hillary's proposal is not socialized health care. It would be subsidized by tax dollars, but it would not be 100% socialized (meaning every citizen gets health insurance from the government). The answer to this issue is not an easy one. First, it would require us to all think about what we're spending on health care and for doctors to know how much it costs (I watched the 20/20 thing on it and agree that competition is the best method). It would also require us not to go to the ER or urgent care or walk in clinic for every little ailment. We would need to start thinking more about what we go to the doctor for and if it's really necessary. I think as a whole we have gotten used to getting some wonder drug for every little thing that we need to stop and think about whether or not it's really necessary. The more drugs we take, the more susceptible we are to mutating virii and bacteria. It is absolutely impossible to keep up with evolution. Just look at the flu, for example. The more people get vaccinated, the more likely it is that the virus will mutate. That's why the flu vaccine is not 100% effective. The only people who should be getting it are those who are truly at risk (elderly, hospital workers, and teachers). There's this sense of entitlement that Americans feel that many other countries don't because we're just used to having everything right at our fingertips. I think we need to take a step back and re-think all this.

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I've noticed a couple things being posted here that are a bit off. First, while Americans do go to Canada for cheaper drugs, Canadians come here for health care that they don't have to wait 6 months for (the problem with socialized health care is long wait times)......

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Between insurance and malpractice coverage and the fact everyone wants to make a raking off it all... that's why it costs so much.

It's not necessarily that our system is broke... there's just too many people wanting to take too much money from the system. Whether it be from prescription drugs (the pharmaceutical companies), or the insurance companies trying to make profit, or the doctors trying to get a cut, or the incredibly moronic patients who seek 18 million dollars for some simple mistake that could cost a few thousand to fix no big deal... cause they figure malpractice lawsuits are the answer to get money fast.

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do you pay for it or does your company pay for it with you paying a small percentage of it? health care should not be tied to our jobs unless 100% of americans have jobs and every job has equal health care coverage.

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the issue is that health care is something that everyone needs regardless of whether or not they have a job. what do people who are self-employed supposed to do? they get the short end of the stick because they don't have the negotiating power of a large corporation.

i never said that health care should never be a job benefit, but the way it works now, if you don't have health insurance benefits as part of your job, you get screwed royally in what you pay for it.

for example... i had a hard time finding a job out of college, so i worked some part time jobs with no benefits. i ended up getting sick (turned out to be mono, though it just felt like a mild case of the flu) and had to go to the doctor. in addition to the $130 i paid for the office visit, i needed blood work. the blood tests the doctor ordered (i had jaundice) cost me over $600. during the time i was sick, i was still going to work because i needed the money and didn't get sick time. the only days i took off were the 2 mornings i woke up vomiting (they were a thurs and fri so i had the weekend to recover). i then had to make another doctor's visit after the blood work came back, which cost another $130. $860 later, which was about 3x what i made in a week, i was lucky enough to get offered another job (where i'm currently employed) because the primary care couldn't figure out what was wrong so i had to see a GI specialist. i don't even want to know what i would've paid if i hadn't started my job and gotten the health insurance benefits (which ended up costing me $25 per visit to the specialist, which was once every 2 weeks for about 3 months, with bloodwork done just as often, which my covered covered without co-pay).

i am not a smoker. i am a little overweight, but not dangerously so. i drink in moderation on occasion with maybe 1 beer a night and perhaps 3 in a night 1 night a week (usually friday or saturday). i am a generally healthy person who just ended up with some rough luck (i worked in a high school where i likely contracted the mono from a water fountain that i used regularly).

so that's why i don't think something so universally necessary like health care should be tied to your job.

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(bunch of posts deleted) One more time. Please stick to the topic of health care reform. If you don't like the government, liberals and socialists, and think the world is out to get you, fine, but it isn't part of this topic.

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Ok, let's dialogue this. How do we transition to Universal care and still enjoy Research and Development for new procedures, treatments and improved pharmacia?

I agree - we have to improve this. One area that coud be totally revamped immediately is the dignity of death. I have a relative who is a pediatrician and was giving me some shocking statistics on what we currently spend in the final days/months/years of life vs. early years and prevention. I recognize that is an ENTIRELY different debate - but brings to light where are priorities are.

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Ok, let's dialogue this. How do we transition to Universal care and still enjoy Research and Development for new procedures, treatments and improved pharmacia?

I agree - we have to improve this. One area that coud be totally revamped immediately is the dignity of death. I have a relative who is a pediatrician and was giving me some shocking statistics on what we currently spend in the final days/months/years of life vs. early years and prevention. I recognize that is an ENTIRELY different debate - but brings to light where are priorities are.

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actually, death is an important thing... how much spending is too much for life support if someone is in a state where they have to be hospitalized for the rest of their life on life support and fed by IV (the schiavo case is an example of this)? that's an expense that someone is paying that probably doesn't need to be spent.

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