Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not SOCIALIZED healthcare!

Over the holiday I had the chance to discuss the state of health care in our country with some family members. It frustrates me that so many people seem to take the phrase "socialized health care" and run screaming with it.

Socialized health care! What's wrong with that? I hate to point it out, but what we have now is not working. My brother-in-law, who is wonderful in many ways, didn't have any reason for his knee-jerk reaction to the idea of socialized health care other than "people in Canada hate what they have and come here for medical care". Perhaps that does happen, but I can find just as many, if not more examples of Canadians who love their health coverage.

In our discussion we talked about the cost of the babies his wife and I both have had recently. Our medical insurance has a $5000 deductible on maternity, the bills came to $4995. He and his wife are "poor college students" and qualify for medicaid. I'm not sure if he paid anything at all for his baby. Yet, even after receiving free or very low cost health care he assumes that because he is a hard worker, he could pay any medical bills that he had to.

I'd encourage health-care-conservatives to actually read about "socialized" health care plans before dismissing them. The link is to the Barack Obama for President website. Also, it might be helpful to look up the definition of Socialism. I don't think anyone is advocating a complete switch to a socialist state. But what is so wrong with a health care system that is controlled by the state so that all citizens can benefit fairly and equitably. Think "Law of Consecration".

My husband and I have had to opt out of his employer sponsored plan because it has gotten too expensive. He works for a small business, and his bosses have a real concern about the possibility of one employee having a major medical problem and the entire company being priced out of the health insurance plans altogether.

It's passed the time for a change, and if you are lucky enough to have not realized that yet, take a look at some real people sharing their medical nightmares.


David said...

Only one problem with your "Law of Consecration" argument - the Law of Consecration is voluntary pooling of resources not compulsory pooling of resources. The implications of that difference are greater than most people ever realize.

I'm not suggesting that this single difference destroys any argument for socialized healthcare, but I think that the difference is important enough that it should be recognized when such arguments are made.

Allie said...

That may be true, but I have a hard time imagining very many people "opting out" when their bishop tells them it's time.

I think the idea is that with the Law of consecration, we recognize that we can serve our fellow beings and make life better for everyone, so why do so many take a more selfish view when it comes to healthcare? Why can't we make a sacrifice so that everyone can enjoy the blessings of health?

Jesse Harris said...

The health care industry has the same problem as the telecom industry: there's industry-wide collusion that keeps prices high while providing poor service. Naturally, the first reaction is to swing the Hammer of Government Control +3 at them, but it seems that some real trust-busting is a better avenue to pursue. Not only would it likely get the outcome you desire (cheaper and better healthcare), but it would be amenable to "the other side".

Adam said...

Healthcare is not working for many right now, and unless something changes, it won't get better. We should be ashamed of that in this country.

What bugs me is when people throw statements out there such as "Canadians don't like their healthcare," without really backing it up or explaning which group of Canadians that is, exactly.

Socialized healthcare in Japan makes the rich and upper-middle class uncomfortable, because they have longer wait times, and there is often less motivation for doctors to perform the best care.(let me cite that: Ramseyer, J.M., "Japanese Law"). So those with money often go to the black market for better care.

A better solution in the U.S. is not a "socialized" one, but rather, more assistance to those who need it. The HMOs can still rub their dirty hands all over everything, and we can help the poor. I don't see anything wrong with "voting" for the allocation of our tax dollers to health care. That is not compulsory (well, at least not any more than any other law in the country).

Allie said...

Obama's plan isn't exactly socialized health care anyway. It doesn't do away with private health care providers.

At this point, I'm not terribly picky about health care reform. I just want something better than what we have now.

When my family was covered under a group plan, it was a very small group because my Mister works for a very small company and the company didn't qualify for very good rates. To paraphrase my father, imagine if the whole state of utah was allowed to be in a group. Larger group plans have lower premiums.

It's a good place to start.

With all the money and jobs associated with our current health care system, I can't imagine a radical change, but I think we do have the ability to make sure all people have access to high quality care.

Can you imagine going to the doctor and not paying anything because medical care has already been paid for in a tax-type fee.

Lets do that, and if you want to opt out and keep your private plan, that's fine, but if everyone could join together in one group plan, the rates would be lower and who would want to opt out?

Jesse Harris said...

While increasing the group makes health insurance cheaper (mainly by providing more healthy people to subsidize unhealthy ones), it doesn't address the pricing issues within the medical industry. I would daresay that decreasing insurance prices may embolden them towards increasing prices even further.

What we really need is to be educated concerning inexpensive options for health care, things like seeing a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor and focusing even more heavily on preventative care. These truly decrease the cost of health care across the board instead of hiding the cost behind a bigger risk pool. Is it any wonder that most health care providers are very much in favor of socializing medical care? They stand to make a killing on it.

Allie said...

Good point.

I guess "my" healthcare plan would have to include some sort of price regulation... Something would also have to be done to control malpractice insurance and law suits.

I haven't seen Sicko yet, but I've been told that it talks about how in Great Britain, doctors get their base salary and then earn bonuses based on the overall health improvements of their patients. I like that there are no benefits for pushing unneeded procedures on their patients.

Jesse Harris said...

Malpractice insurance is another example of industry-wide collusion causing negative effects on consumers. Like most insurers, they bet heavily on the stock market to get great returns. When the market tanked in 2000-2001, they're left with a lot of insurance obligations and no money to pay them. Naturally, they're scared of going to doctors and saying "gee, we gambled all of your money on Excite so we need to raise your rates."

Then someone had a great idea: raise the rates and blame increased damages from lawsuits. Not only would nobody bother to verify or debunk the claim, but doctors and lawyers would spend all of their time at each other's throats instead of going after the insurer. It was pure (evil) genius. Just another example of how big companies stifle the free market in a way much worse than the government ever has.

Regarding Britain, I like the idea of paying based on long-term patient health. Perhaps hospitals and insurers should be considering such systems to not only reduce their costs but increase quality.