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 A Possibly Fatal Mistake 
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Post A Possibly Fatal Mistake
An interesting, though anecdotal story, on health care in this Country.
NY Times wrote:
Op-Ed Columnist
A Possibly Fatal Mistake
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: October 12, 2012

MY wife and I attended my 30-year college reunion a couple of weekends ago, but the partying was bittersweet. My freshman roommate, Scott Androes, was in a Seattle hospital bed, a victim in part of a broken health care system. Strip away the sound and fury of campaign ads and rival spinmeisters, and what’s at stake in this presidential election is, in part, lives like Scott’s.

Scott and I were both Oregon farm boys, friends through the Future Farmers of America, when Harvard sent us thick envelopes. We were exhilarated but nervous, for neither of us had ever actually visited Harvard, and we asked to room together for moral support among all those city slickers.

We were the country bumpkins of Harvard Yard. Yet if we amused our classmates more than we intended, we had our private jokes as well. We let slip (falsely) that we kept deer rifles under our beds and smiled as our friends gave them a wide berth.

Scott was there when I limped back from the Worst Date in History (quite regularly), and he and I together worked our way onto the Crimson, the student newspaper. He had an omnivorous mind: Scott may be the only champion judge of dairy cattle who enjoyed quoting Thomas Macaulay, the 19th-century British historian. Scott topped off his erudition with a crackling wit to deflate pretentiousness (which, at Harvard, kept him busy).

By nature, Scott was even-keeled, prudent and cautious, and he always looked like the mild-mannered financial consultant that he became. He never lost his temper, never drove too fast, never got drunk, never smoked marijuana.

Well, not that I remember. I don’t want to discredit his youth.

Yet for all his innate prudence, Scott now, at age 52, is suffering from Stage 4 prostate cancer, in part because he didn’t have health insurance. President Obama’s health care reform came just a bit too late to help Scott, but it will protect others like him — unless Mitt Romney repeals it.

If you favor gutting “Obamacare,” please listen to Scott’s story. He is willing to recount his embarrassing tale in part so that readers can learn from it.

I’ll let Scott take over the narrative:
Quote:
It all started in December 2003 when I quit my job as a pension consultant in a fit of midlife crisis. For the next year I did little besides read books I’d always wanted to read and play poker in the local card rooms.

I didn’t buy health insurance because I knew it would be really expensive in the individual policy market, because many of the people in this market are high risk. I would have bought insurance if there had been any kind of fair-risk pooling. In 2005 I started working seasonally for H&R Block doing tax returns.

As seasonal work it of course doesn’t provide health benefits, but then lots of full-time jobs don’t either. I knew I was taking a big risk without insurance, but I was foolish.

In 2011 I began having greater difficulty peeing. I didn’t go see the doctor because that would have been several hundred dollars out of pocket — just enough disincentive to get me to make a bad decision.

Early this year, I began seeing blood in my urine, and then I got scared. I Googled “blood in urine” and turned up several possible explanations. I remember sitting at my computer and thinking, “Well, I can afford the cost of an infection, but cancer would probably bust my bank and take everything in my I.R.A. So I’m just going to bet on this being an infection.”

I was extremely busy at work since it was peak tax season, so I figured I’d go after April 15. Then I developed a 102-degree fever and went to one of those urgent care clinics in a strip mall. (I didn’t have a regular physician and hadn’t been getting annual physicals.)

The doctor there gave me a diagnosis of prostate infection and prescribed antibiotics. That seemed to help, but by April 15 it seemed to be getting worse again. On May 3 I saw a urologist, and he drew blood for tests, but the results weren’t back yet that weekend when my health degenerated rapidly.

A friend took me to the Swedish Medical Center Emergency Room near my home. Doctors ran blood labs immediately. A normal P.S.A. test for prostate cancer is below 4, and mine was 1,100. They also did a CT scan, which turned up possible signs of cancerous bone lesions. Prostate cancer likes to spread to bones.

I also had a blood disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation, which is sometimes brought on by prostate cancer. It basically causes you to destroy your own blood cells, and it’s abbreviated as D.I.C. Medical students joke that it stands for “death is close.”


Let’s just stipulate up front that Scott blew it. Other people are sometimes too poor to buy health insurance or unschooled about the risks. Scott had no excuse. He could have afforded insurance, and while working in the pension industry he became expert on actuarial statistics; he knew precisely what risks he was taking. He’s the first to admit that he screwed up catastrophically and may die as a result.

Yet remember also that while Scott was foolish, mostly he was unlucky. He is a bachelor, so he didn’t have a spouse whose insurance he could fall back on in his midlife crisis. In any case, we all take risks, and usually we get away with them. Scott is a usually prudent guy who took a chance, and then everything went wrong.

The Mitt Romney philosophy, as I understand it, is that this is a tragic but necessary byproduct of requiring Americans to take personal responsibility for their lives. They need to understand that mistakes have consequences. That’s why Romney would repeal Obamacare and leave people like Scott to pay the price for their irresponsibility.

To me, that seems ineffably harsh. We all make mistakes, and a humane government tries to compensate for our misjudgments. That’s why highways have guardrails, why drivers must wear seat belts, why police officers pull over speeders, why we have fire codes. In other modern countries, Scott would have been insured, and his cancer would have been much more likely to be detected in time for effective treatment.

Is that a nanny state? No, it’s a civilized one.

President Obama’s care plan addresses this problem inelegantly, by forcing people like Scott to buy insurance beginning in 2014. Some will grumble about the “mandate” and the insurance cost, but it will save lives.

Already, Obamacare is slowly reducing the number of people without health insurance, as young adults can now stay on their parents’ plans. But the Census Bureau reported last month that 48.6 million Americans are still uninsured — a travesty in a wealthy country. The Urban Institute calculated in 2008 that some 27,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 65 die prematurely each year because they don’t have health insurance. Another estimate is even higher.

You want to put a face on those numbers? Look at Scott’s picture. One American like him dies every 20 minutes for lack of health insurance.

Back to Scott:
Quote:
For seven weeks they kept me alive with daily blood transfusions. They also gave me chemotherapy, suppressing the cancer so that my blood could return to normal. I was released June 29, and since then have had more chemo and also hormone therapy to limit the cancer growth.

But the cancer has kept growing, and I went to the E.R. again on Sept. 17 when I found that I was losing all strength in my legs. They did an M.R.I. and saw that there were tumors pressing on my spinal cord. They have been treating me with radiation for three weeks now to shrink those tumors and will continue to do so for another week.

I submitted an application to the hospital for charity care and was approved. The bill is already north of $550,000. Based on the low income on my tax return they knocked it down to $1,339. Swedish Medical Center has treated me better than I ever deserved.

Some doctor bills are not covered by the charity application, and I expect to spend all of my I.R.A. assets before I’m done. Some doctors have been generously treating me without sending bills, and I am humbled by their ethic of service to the patient.

Some things I have to pay for, like $1,700 for the Lupron hormone therapy and $1,400 for an ambulance trip. It’s an arbitrary and haphazard system, and I’m just lucky to live in a city with a highly competent and generous hospital like Swedish.


In this respect, Scott is very lucky, and the system is now responding superbly and compassionately. But of course, his care is not exactly “free” — we’re all paying the bill.

Romney argues that Obamacare is economically inefficient. But where is the efficiency in a system that neglects routine physicals and preventive care, and then pays $550,000 in bills as a result? To me, this is repugnant economically as well as morally.

In the Romney system, people like Scott would remain uninsured. And they would be unable to buy insurance because of their cancer history.

Obamacare does address these problems, albeit in a complex and intrusive way, forcing people by a mandate to get insurance. Some will certainly fall through the cracks, and in any case the Obama plan does little to address the underlying problem of rising health costs. But do we really prefer the previous system in which one American in six was uninsured like Scott, all walking the tightrope, and sometimes falling off?

As my classmates and I celebrated our reunion and relived our triumphs — like spiking the punch during a visit by the governor — I kept thinking of Scott in his hospital bed. No amount of nostalgic laughter could fill the void of his absence.

Back to Scott:
Quote:
This whole experience has made me feel like such a fool. I blew one that I really should have gotten right. You probably remember that my mother died of breast cancer the July before we started college. She watched my high school graduation from the back of an ambulance on the football field at our outdoor graduation. Six weeks later she was dead, and six weeks after that I was on an airplane that took me east of the Mississippi for the first time in my life.

Her death at 53 permanently darkened my view of life. It also made me feel that I was at high risk for cancer because in my amateur opinion I was genetically very similar to her, just based on appearance and personality. And much of my career has been in actuarial work, where the whole point is to identify risks.

I read Nassim Taleb’s book “The Black Swan” and imbibed his idea that you should keep an eye out for low-probability events that have potentially big consequences, both positive and negative. You insure against the potentially negative ones, like prostate cancer.

So why didn’t I get physicals? Why didn’t I get P.S.A. tests? Why didn’t I get examined when I started having trouble urinating? Partly because of the traditional male delinquency about seeing doctors. I had no regular family doctor; typical bachelor guy behavior.

I had plenty of warning signs, and that’s why I feel like a damned fool. I would give anything to have gone to a doctor in, say, October 2011. It fills me with regret. Now I’m struggling with all my might to walk 30 feet down the hallway with the physical therapists holding on to me so I don’t fall. I’ve got all my chips bet on the hope that the radiation treatments that I’m getting daily are going to shrink the tumors that are pressing on my spinal cord so that someday soon I can be back out on the sidewalk enjoying a walk in my neighborhood. That would be the height of joy for me.


When I make mistakes, my wife and friends forgive me. We need a health care system that is equally forgiving.

That means getting all Americans insured, and then emphasizing preventive care like cancer screenings. Presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt have sought to create universal health insurance, and Obama finally saw it achieved in his first term. It will gradually come into effect, with 2014 the pivotal year — if Romney does not repeal it.

In some ways, of course, America’s health care system is superb. It is masterly in pioneering new techniques, and its top-level care for those with insurance is unrivaled. Sometimes even those without insurance, like Scott, get superb care as charity cases, and I salute the doctors at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle for their professionalism and compassion toward my old friend.

But it would have made more sense to provide Scott with insurance and regular physicals. Catching the cancer early might have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in radiation and chemo expenses — and maybe a life as well.

So as you watch the presidential debates, as you listen to those campaign ads, remember that what is at stake is not so much the success of one politician or another. The real impact of the election will be felt in the lives of men and women around the country, in spheres as intimate as our gut-wrenching fear when we spot blood in our urine.

Our choices this election come too late for Scott, although I hope that my friend from tiny Silverton, Ore., who somehow beat the odds so many times already in his life, will also beat this cancer. The election has the potential to help save the lives of many others who don’t have insurance.

In his hospital room, my old pal is gallantly fighting his cancer — and battling a gnawing uncertainty that he should never have had to face, that no American should so needlessly endure. This is all heartbreakingly unnecessary. I’ll give Scott the final word.
Quote:
From my 12th floor room I have a panoramic view looking east from downtown Seattle toward the suburbs to the Cascade Mountains. My visitors are often struck by the view.

Through my window I watch a succession of gloriously sunny days and I wonder if this will be my last Indian summer on earth. I still have hope and I tell myself that medical science has come a long way in the 34 years since my mother died, but I can’t help feeling that I’m walking in her footsteps.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/opini ... ted=2&_r=1

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October 15th, 2012, 1:29 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
The above article apparently has prompted some discussion on health care, if you're interested or curious about what has/is being said, please check it out here: http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20121015/ and here: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23InsurancePoll&src=hash

Note: I know that many that visit this site already have their minds made up on this and other topics / issues for the election, just wanted to try to present differing views on this particular subject. Do I think ObamaCare is the end all, be all answer to our HC problems. Not at all. Do I think it's a step in the right direction? Yes, even though it may be just a small one. IMO something has to be done. One of, if not the, richest Countries in the World should be able to come up with a viable solution, shouldn't we? We are America after all, aren't we? One would think that American Exceptionalism should it exist, would be able to accomplish this as well as the other obstacles we face.

Have at it....

EDIT: Also, for the record, I do not know what Mitt Romney's plans for health care are / would be, therefore I can't speak to what the author in the OP refers to as Mitt's plan.

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October 15th, 2012, 1:36 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
Wags,

you raise a valid point in that we should have something, but the difficulty comes in funding. Obviously if we can fund NFL paychecks, or Campaigns, we can fund a health care system right? But, forcing the population to buy into a system they don't want, or don't support, and threatening them with criminal penalties, is not a valid option.

Since this is now ruled a tax, and failure to buy into this new system results in tax penalties, then refusal to pay those penalties, even if based upon a religious disagreement with said law, is still subject to Federal Offenses.

I may be stretching it a little bit, due to my lack of legal knowledge but from an outside looking in we have:

30,000 new IRS agents being hired to process this
tax penalities of thousands of dollars for failure to comply
and federal offense penalties for failure to comply with the tax penalties.

This was pushed through, and wasn't really given enough time to educate the public, and work out the details. Pelosi said herself, "SIGN IT, and we'll work out the details later." WRONG, work out the details and then put this before the Nation to vote and approve. Like a milage tax. Up or down. Let us decide as a nation, not people put in office who have been bought and paid for by special interest.

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October 15th, 2012, 2:28 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
Sorry, but I didn't even get past the first line of the guys story. He quit his job.....enough said. He had healthcare, he had coverage. He WILLINGLY gave that up. His scenario is completely different than what most people are rallying around this Obamacare for.

Healthcare is NOT an entitlement that everyone should have. Sorry, but what's next? Everyone should have a house? Wait...we tried that, and it resulted in our financial collapse a few years ago.

People don't respect what they are given, they only respect what they earn. Taking money from my paycheck so that someone not working can be taken care of is NOT my idea of healthcare reform.

And once again, the argument can be made, if it's so damn good, why did all of our lovely politicians ensure that they weren't subject to it?

Sorry, but anyone, any day, can tell me all sorts of heart wrenching stories about people like Scott who supposedly suffered due to lack of healthcare. I don't give a phuck. I truly don't. If social healthcare were so damn great, why don't those countries where it exists have better recovery rates? Why don't they have citizens just applauding it, rather than condemning it? I work with a couple people who live in Canada, and they HATE their healthcare system.

People complain about the auto bailout. People complain about the Wall Street bailout. That was peanuts compared to what the Obamacare atrocity will cost this country. And there's no guarantee that under the Obamacare bill that this Scott character would have gotten any better care than he did.

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October 15th, 2012, 3:05 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
I'm not going to tear apart each and every inaccuracy in your post, again; it's been done several times on this forum and IMO your constant repeating of this incorrect information makes you look lazy or ignorant. For someone that consistently claims to have the good of the Country in their heart, you seemingly refuse to do the needed and necessary research on the topics / issues that are important at this time.
WarEr4Christ wrote:
Wags,

you raise a valid point in that we should have something, but the difficulty comes in funding. Obviously if we can fund NFL paychecks, or Campaigns, we can fund a health care system right? But, forcing the population to buy into a system they don't want, or don't support, and threatening them with criminal penalties, is not a valid option.

Since this is now ruled a tax, and failure to buy into this new system results in tax penalties, then refusal to pay those penalties, even if based upon a religious disagreement with said law, is still subject to Federal Offenses.

I may be stretching it a little bit, due to my lack of legal knowledge but from an outside looking in we have:

30,000 new IRS agents being hired to process this
tax penalities of thousands of dollars for failure to comply
and federal offense penalties for failure to comply with the tax penalties.

This was pushed through, and wasn't really given enough time to educate the public, and work out the details. Pelosi said herself, "SIGN IT, and we'll work out the details later." WRONG, work out the details and then put this before the Nation to vote and approve. Like a milage tax. Up or down. Let us decide as a nation, not people put in office who have been bought and paid for by special interest.
There is no doubt that the entire process could have been better, but most of this is in the past, so what good does it do to keep rehashing it (think: don't cry over spilt milk). Does rehashing how the implementation, negotiation process move us any closer to finding a workable resolution? IMO, no it doesn't; What it does do is keep the original feelings / emotions floating on the surface which, IMO, is more of an obstacle and hindrance than anything.

So, to try again, WarEr what is YOUR recommended solution to this issue? How would YOU handle it?

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October 15th, 2012, 3:07 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
m2karateman wrote:
Sorry, but I didn't even get past the first line of the guys story. He quit his job.....enough said.
Sorry, couldn't make it past this statement. You chose to not read the rest of the article, therefore you really have no basis to make an intelligent comment on this thread topic, as you say, enough said.

For the record, IMO anyone that thinks that any kind of insurance (other than unemployment or worker's compensation) insurance should be tied in with employment doesn't understand the consequences of it.

For example:
Joe works for ABC Inc. Started as an entry-level record clerk and after his probation period was eligible for his employee's benefits, which included health insurance. During one of this annual / regular medical checkups, Joe is told he has leukemia. Joe is fortunate that he has medical insurance and can start with the needed treatment. Furthermore Joe is fortunate enough to have the leukemia go into remission. A few years goes by and ABC Inc is in financial troubles and they start reducing staff. One day Joe is told that he has been let go. Now let's review: Joe will no longer have his employee benefits package and because he has leukemia (even though it is in remission) he has a 'pre-existing condition' and will be required to pay a rather large premium for health insurance.

Can someone explain to me how this is the way it's supposed to be?

For other anecdotal stories, please click one of the Amanda Palmer links.

I'll ask you the same question I asked WarEr, what is YOUR recommended solution to this issue? How would YOU handle it?

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October 15th, 2012, 3:26 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
I appreciate the post Wags. Almost all of my family lives in the UK with socialized medicine and while it may solve some issues, it also causes others. I'm convinced that some of the relatives I've lost recently (including a couple in the last few months) - might not have died had they had "American Healthcare".

I'm sorry, but our healthcare systems - in terms of quality - is the best in the World. As a husband and father I want to make sure my family can access the best healthcare possible.

Of course I feel sorry for Scott, I'm not sure he did anything that would have contributed to the cancer. There are also, in this case (and most I know), many things Scott did that contributed to his own fate.

In addition, I am totally against adding new Gov't programs when 1) we don't have the money and 2) we have shown we can't run them effectively. Don't tell me we are going to continue to mortage my kids future to pay for crap now because we can't take care of ourselves. If you fix our current medical programs (medicade/medicare/etc) that are a huge drain on our budget then I'll listen.

As a manager, if I ask someone to do something and they do however it cost them $10 to make $7 back (costing my $3 per transaction) I've got a problem. Now imagine I'm going to give them a promotion even more responsibility and now for every $10 I spend I get a total of $4 back. Well you can imagine the budget problem I might have - THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE ASKING THE GOV'T TO DO...

Now who is running our Govt - it is the Boomers and not to get generational but they have screwed us into the ground. They graduated during a great economic expansion, made much more than their parents, saw stocks increase tremendously - they had it made. They have left the next generation making less than them (and that includes both parents working now), in a terrible financial crisis (with long term looking even worse), and have shown (both Rep/Dem alike) that they can't run a balanced budget. This generation owns both houses and we are going to trust them with such a huge program as healthcare. Are you out of your freakin mind?

I get all the stories, they are heartbreaking. Don't let those stories cloud your judgement. I've seen the effects of socialized healthcare across the pond. I've also seen tons of equally heartbreaking stories of people under great healthcare plans.

Before we go down this path let me ask you a couple of questions:

1) How effective is the government running our current healthcare programs?
2) Are these programs paying for themselves or are we paying for them with IOUs?
3) Who spends money better worse than the Gov't?
4) Do these programs really fix the real problems in our current healthcare system? For example, what does this do to control our escalating healthcare costs?

I could go on and on with questions containing obvious (and scary) answers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT - I see a couple of posts since I've started down this path so let me address one part. Wags, health ins doesn't have to be tied to work. I work, I have myself and kids on insurance here and I've bought my wifes through ehealthinsurance.com. We are in the process of taking control of our own health insurance (and health in general) to avoid situations like Joe faces (I hope he took advantage of COBRA). In addition, if he doesn't let coverage slip and he goes on his new employers plan he pays into the same as everyone else.

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October 15th, 2012, 4:01 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
Pablo wrote:
I appreciate the post Wags. Almost all of my family lives in the UK with socialized medicine and while it may solve some issues, it also causes others. I'm convinced that some of the relatives I've lost recently (including a couple in the last few months) - might not have died had they had "American Healthcare".

I'm sorry, but our healthcare systems - in terms of quality - is the best in the World. As a husband and father I want to make sure my family can access the best healthcare possible.

Of course I feel sorry for Scott, I'm not sure he did anything that would have contributed to the cancer. There are also, in this case (and most I know), many things Scott did that contributed to his own fate.

In addition, I am totally against adding new Gov't programs when 1) we don't have the money and 2) we have shown we can't run them effectively. Don't tell me we are going to continue to mortage my kids future to pay for crap now because we can't take care of ourselves. If you fix our current medical programs (medicade/medicare/etc) that are a huge drain on our budget then I'll listen.

As a manager, if I ask someone to do something and they do however it cost them $10 to make $7 back (costing my $3 per transaction) I've got a problem. Now imagine I'm going to give them a promotion even more responsibility and now for every $10 I spend I get a total of $4 back. Well you can imagine the budget problem I might have - THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE ASKING THE GOV'T TO DO...

Now who is running our Govt - it is the Boomers and not to get generational but they have screwed us into the ground. They graduated during a great economic expansion, made much more than their parents, saw stocks increase tremendously - they had it made. They have left the next generation making less than them (and that includes both parents working now), in a terrible financial crisis (with long term looking even worse), and have shown (both Rep/Dem alike) that they can't run a balanced budget. This generation owns both houses and we are going to trust them with such a huge program as healthcare. Are you out of your freakin mind?

I get all the stories, they are heartbreaking. Don't let those stories cloud your judgement. I've seen the effects of socialized healthcare across the pond. I've also seen tons of equally heartbreaking stories of people under great healthcare plans.

Before we go down this path let me ask you a couple of questions:

1) How effective is the government running our current healthcare programs?
2) Are these programs paying for themselves or are we paying for them with IOUs?
3) Who spends money better worse than the Gov't?
4) Do these programs really fix the real problems in our current healthcare system? For example, what does this do to control our escalating healthcare costs?

I could go on and on with questions containing obvious (and scary) answers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT - I see a couple of posts since I've started down this path so let me address one part. Wags, health ins doesn't have to be tied to work. I work, I have myself and kids on insurance here and I've bought my wifes through ehealthinsurance.com. We are in the process of taking control of our own health insurance (and health in general) to avoid situations like Joe faces (I hope he took advantage of COBRA). In addition, if he doesn't let coverage slip and he goes on his new employers plan he pays into the same as everyone else.
A lot of great points, but again I see no offer of solutions only negatives. So, I'll ask you the same question I asked WarEr & M2K, what is YOUR recommended solution to this issue? How would YOU handle it?

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October 15th, 2012, 4:05 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
Quote:
I'm not going to tear apart each and every inaccuracy in your post, again; it's been done several times on this forum and IMO your constant repeating of this incorrect information makes you look lazy or ignorant. For someone that consistently claims to have the good of the Country in their heart, you seemingly refuse to do the needed and necessary research on the topics / issues that are important at this time.


Was this directed at me? I didn't think I was being argumentative on this, just stating where we are at currently.

As for the question as to what I would do, I don't think I'm qualified to have an answer. So much of what is wrong is based on the base human nature. Greed, Need, and more, that you really can't address the issue without going back to the core values.

From my own experience, I have seen people who use the system for their own needs, have the bills sent to faulty addresses so that 1. they never see them, 2. and they can never be reached by creditors or agenices seeking collection. I've also heard about Atlanta ambulances being used as taxis, all that is needed is to sign off on a form, for refusal of treatment. It was a radio program, so I can't substantiate it, but there was another forum here where someone did back it up.

WE as a society have to step away from ENTITLEMENTS, and get back to personal responsibility. You don't work, you don't eat! I've laid out plenty of programs in which we can work for the common good, and still collect "assistance" but it's done on a work for what you get basis. This teaches responsibility, self worth, and much more. Don't just give a man a fish, teach him to fish.

Like you, I'm not asking to rehash or re-ignite the argument, I just don't believe I should be forced to pay for someone elses committing of murder. And it is murder, because a human life is being extinguished! The transition of the birth canal does not magically transform a "clump of cells" into a baby as soon as it touches air.

Here is another potential opportunity that allows those of like mind to partipate without being subject to Obamacare. It's called medashare. It is a pooling of finances by like minded individuals who agree to pay the healthcare bills of a needed individual or family. I have NOT researched this in depth, so I need to find out more on it. But it sounds pretty good on the advertisements.
Again, not being argumentative at all....

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October 15th, 2012, 4:07 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
TheRealWags wrote:
A lot of great points, but again I see no offer of solutions only negatives. So, I'll ask you the same question I asked WarEr & M2K, what is YOUR recommended solution to this issue? How would YOU handle it?


I don't have a lot of time to go into details, but first I believe our pre Obamacare system is much better than where we are heading.

Secondly, I think we need a true free market healthcare system. First, this means we buy our own insurance, not through our companies. Imagine if you also bough car insurance through your employer... Are you shopping around for your insurance right now? Do you have choices? The answer should be yes to both, but most people are too damn lazy to put any effort into educating themselves on this and just take what their current employer offers. Hell, if people would spend as much time exploring their HC Ins options as they do when they buy a new car or TV we would be in a much better place.

Third, I believe most people should have pretty limited HC Ins. Meaning, catastrophic evens like those in this story are covered. Doctors visits and basic care shouldn't be. Imagine what would happen to healthcare cost if people actually paid out of their pocket. Doctors would actually have to tell people how much they charge for each service, then they would have to become competitive with their pricing. Look what a free market system has done for say Lasik procedures. Doctors actually advertise their prices in the paper, radio and on TV and the prices have only dropped over time. Amazing what a free market system can do when it works the way it is built to.

Fourth, you should pay based upon your risk into the system. Do you pay the same in car insurance as your neighbor? Do you pay more for Life Ins if you smoke? If you smoke and weigh 500 pounds you should pay more than someone who takes care of themself.

There are some further details, but I think this would be a good starting point. That said, I found the answer to almost any problem to never be more gov't and more likely to revolve around personal responsibility (of which I don't think our current system has nearly enough of).

So Wags, do you think Obamacare is the answer?

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October 15th, 2012, 4:42 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
Pablo: that actually makes some sense, because those who choose to live on cheeseburgers, cigarettes, and alcohol should pay a higher rate due to their personal chosen lifestyle.

I could see discounts based upon certain lifestyle choices, and so on, and I agree that what we had before, was much better than what we have coming.

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October 15th, 2012, 4:55 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
Pablo wrote:
TheRealWags wrote:
A lot of great points, but again I see no offer of solutions only negatives. So, I'll ask you the same question I asked WarEr & M2K, what is YOUR recommended solution to this issue? How would YOU handle it?
I don't have a lot of time to go into details, but first I believe our pre Obamacare system is much better than where we are heading.

Secondly, I think we need a true free market healthcare system. First, this means we buy our own insurance, not through our companies. Imagine if you also bough car insurance through your employer... Are you shopping around for your insurance right now? Do you have choices? The answer should be yes to both, but most people are too damn lazy to put any effort into educating themselves on this and just take what their current employer offers. Hell, if people would spend as much time exploring their HC Ins options as they do when they buy a new car or TV we would be in a much better place.

Third, I believe most people should have pretty limited HC Ins. Meaning, catastrophic evens like those in this story are covered. Doctors visits and basic care shouldn't be. Imagine what would happen to healthcare cost if people actually paid out of their pocket. Doctors would actually have to tell people how much they charge for each service, then they would have to become competitive with their pricing. Look what a free market system has done for say Lasik procedures. Doctors actually advertise their prices in the paper, radio and on TV and the prices have only dropped over time. Amazing what a free market system can do when it works the way it is built to.

Fourth, you should pay based upon your risk into the system. Do you pay the same in car insurance as your neighbor? Do you pay more for Life Ins if you smoke? If you smoke and weigh 500 pounds you should pay more than someone who takes care of themself.

There are some further details, but I think this would be a good starting point. That said, I found the answer to almost any problem to never be more gov't and more likely to revolve around personal responsibility (of which I don't think our current system has nearly enough of).
I don't have a lot of time right now either, but wanted to say that there are a lot of good ideas / points here.

Off the top of my head, the only question I have right now is: Do you consider all forms of insurance the same? IE: Auto = Health?

Reason why some may have difficulty with it: Not everyone is going to need auto or home insurance as they may not own cars, trucks or homes; however everyone is going to use health care at some point in their lives.

Pablo wrote:
So Wags, do you think Obamacare is the answer?
From above:
TheRealWags wrote:
Note: I know that many that visit this site already have their minds made up on this and other topics / issues for the election, just wanted to try to present differing views on this particular subject. Do I think ObamaCare is the end all, be all answer to our HC problems. Not at all. Do I think it's a step in the right direction? Yes, even though it may be just a small one. IMO something has to be done. One of, if not the, richest Countries in the World should be able to come up with a viable solution, shouldn't we? We are America after all, aren't we? One would think that American Exceptionalism should it exist, would be able to accomplish this as well as the other obstacles we face.

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October 15th, 2012, 4:59 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
The only solutions involve reducing costs so that it becomes more affordable. Allowing companies to work across state lines as well as allowing customers to go across state lines. You have to force competition otherwise the insurance companies can just easily collude with the others to form a defacto monopoly. It already happens in NJ, because certain procedures are better in Philly (kids and certain cancer procedures) and some other things in NY. If they can do it for some, why not all?

The problems with the costs of healthcare aren't coverage related. Guaranteeing customers via the mandate helps the businesses, but has already proven not to reduce costs.

Why is healthcare so expensive?

1 - Paperwork. The more office workers needed to file and bookkeep takes dollars away from the actual medical care, but the cash for that needs to be made up, so they have to charge more to support those employees. More regulations require more people to handle those duties, then increase cost even more. It's a never ending cycle. If hospitals are struggling with their budgets because of it, think about each insurance company which must keep each state paperwork separate. Consolidating would go a lot further towards lowering costs than the current system.

2 - Tort. Malpractice suits and unlimited rewards have caused hospitals as well as doctors themselves to have huge minimum liabilities which have gotten out of control. When a doctor has to have an unreasonable premium just to prevent a lawsuit, he's going to test more to rule out everything and charge more while giving less care than they could before. Mistakes happen and malpractice should be fully punishable, but it's overblown at the moment. Even doctors who want to charge less can't unless they take on more patients and give them subpar care just to pay their bills.

3 - much much more. I'm in no way saying that just those two issues alone could solve healthcare, but it's two of the major issues. There are a lot more factors that have driven the costs up, including the short time limit before a patented and approved drug has to make profit before generics can come in and sell off something they never had the upfront costs of. One of the reasons other countries can afford national insurance is by using generic versions of the drugs that our companies have developed and have to have a high price to get research and development costs back. This costs a lot of advertising revenue which raises the prices higher. Doubling the time from 5 to 10 years would bring costs down. Again, just one of the many issues rising costs.

And nothing done in Obamacare deals with costs. At all. The mandate won't because the other issues still exist. It will just add to the costs.

Also, let's put everything in perspective. In a country with 300 million people, the uninsured (40 million) is 13%. Real unemployment is about 14%. Underemplyment is in the 20%ish range. See a parallel? And if Obamacare is going to cause more issues with jobs being lost and businesses not offering benefits or just simply not hiring, isn't the real issue jobs first which would take care of most of the uninsured? Putting the cart before the horse is the perfect example of how ineffective this "plan" really is.


October 15th, 2012, 5:09 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
WarEr4Christ wrote:
Quote:
I'm not going to tear apart each and every inaccuracy in your post, again; it's been done several times on this forum and IMO your constant repeating of this incorrect information makes you look lazy or ignorant. For someone that consistently claims to have the good of the Country in their heart, you seemingly refuse to do the needed and necessary research on the topics / issues that are important at this time.
Was this directed at me? I didn't think I was being argumentative on this, just stating where we are at currently.
This was because of your statement from above:
WarEr4Christ wrote:
I may be stretching it a little bit, due to my lack of legal knowledge but from an outside looking in we have
The continued talking points listed in your OP have been contested on this forum several time, either you choose to ignore those contentions or just don't believe them. Pretty much all I was trying to get at. You call it 'stretching' I call it 'misinformed'
WarEr4Christ wrote:
As for the question as to what I would do, I don't think I'm qualified to have an answer. So much of what is wrong is based on the base human nature. Greed, Need, and more, that you really can't address the issue without going back to the core values.
With respect, you don't think you're qualified to provide a solution but you're qualified to deride, complain, chastise, etc other proposed solutions? Really? Please help me to understand this line of thinking; I must be missing something.

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October 15th, 2012, 5:10 pm
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Post Re: A Possibly Fatal Mistake
TheRealWags wrote:
... you don't think you're qualified to provide a solution but you're qualified to deride, complain, chastise, etc other proposed solutions? Really? Please help me to understand this line of thinking; I must be missing something.


You don't need to know a solution to be able to express how screwed up things are...


October 15th, 2012, 5:12 pm
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