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US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan 925

Posted by kdawson
from the world's-largest-muddle dept.
gollum123 sends in this piece from a political blog in the NY Times. Here is the text of the bill in question (PDF). "House Democrats on Friday answered President Obama's call for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system by putting forward [an] 852-page draft bill that would require all Americans to obtain health insurance, force employers to provide benefits or help pay for them, and create a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers — a move that Republicans will bitterly oppose. ... But the chairmen said they still did not know how much the plan would cost, even as they pledged to pay for it by cutting Medicare spending and imposing new, unspecified taxes. The three chairmen described their bill as a starting point in a weeks-long legislative endeavor that they said would dominate Congress for the summer and ultimately involve the full panorama of stakeholders in the health care industry, which accounts for about one-sixth of the nation's economy. ... House Republicans, who have had no involvement in the development of the health legislation so far, quickly denounced the Democrats' proposal as a thinly disguised plan for an eventual government takeover of the health care system. ... The House Democrats' plan is one of three distinct efforts underway on Capitol Hill to draft the health overhaul legislation. In the Senate, both the Finance Committee and the health committee have separate bills in the works, and in recent days those efforts seem to have stumbled."
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US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan

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  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @05:57PM (#28405175) Journal

    Because under a socialist government everyone gets paid the exact same averaged dollar amount per year regardless of what job they do and how good/efficient they are at it right? No one is advocating that kind of system, not even the real socialists nutcases [cpusa.org].

    What you described is not socialism or socialist policy and it's intellectually dishonest to call it so.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:03PM (#28405221)

    I am a 45 year old Canadian and no one has EVER told what doctor I may/may not see.
    It has never been mentioned or hinted at by any of the doctors I have seen or by any government bureauocrat.

    I call B.S. on your claim.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:04PM (#28405239)
    The NHS in the UK is in really bad shape. 'Free' healthcare is available, but most middle class folks shell out for private healthcare. Offering medical insurance as a job benefit is seen as being particularly valuable.
  • by eosp (885380) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:07PM (#28405263) Homepage
    Um....in Massachusetts, on your state income tax return, they ask whether you are enrolled in either the state program or private insurance. If the answer is no, then your taxes go up by the cost of the state program and you are enrolled. No choice---unless you want to perjure yourself, of course.
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:26PM (#28405471) Homepage

    (Safeway for example managed to reduce health insurance costs by 40% or so by encouraging their employees to take care of themselves)

    And also in the Wall Street Journal, here [wsj.com] is an article about Mr. Burd, of Safeway, going to Washington to lobby regarding how the market can rein in costs:

    Today, Safeway has accomplished what Washington claims is the goal: The company's per-capita health-care expenses have remained flat, compared to the near 40% increase experienced by the rest of corporate America over the past four years. This has not been done by cutting care or shifting costs to employees. Nearly 80% of the 30,000 nonunion Safeway workers who take part in the program rate it good, very good, or excellent.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcwop (31034) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:32PM (#28405527) Homepage
    Singapore uses medical savings accounts and spends less than 5% of GDP. http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2008/01/singapores_heal.html [econlib.org]
  • Re:Stupid... (Score:2, Informative)

    by realnrh (1298639) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:32PM (#28405533) Journal
    They can go get other, more productive jobs. Since the rest of the country will have that extra 1/20th of the GDP floating around, there'll be money for investing and spending. They could get jobs flipping burgers and still be more productive than what they're doing now.
  • Re:give me a break (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fuzzums (250400) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:35PM (#28405563) Homepage

    well. there is one thing in economics that is rather clear. profit.

    if ANY private organisation is involved in your healthcare you will pay (a lot) more than in actually costs. hospitals, insurance, medicines. you'll pay (a lot) extra to make the shareholders happy.

    see. it isn't that hard to understand.

  • by realnrh (1298639) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:38PM (#28405587) Journal
    And yet, despite the right-wing horror stories (with their purely anecdotal basis), Canada's national healthcare system remains extremely popular, with Canadians expressing high levels of satisfaction with the care they're getting [www.ctv.ca]. See? Only about 90% of Canadians express satisfaction with their system! There has to be something wrong with it!
  • Re:Great quote... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Iyonesco (1482555) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:39PM (#28405597)

    I live in the UK and despite cleaning my teeth obsessively one developed a cavity that has been growing for years and the tooth is now rotting to hell. Unfortunately like a lost of people I can't get on the books of an NHS dentist so I'm glad we're spending 7.5% of our GDP on a load of beurocrats and absolutely no health care. I'm sure all the thousands of people dieing from desises caused by filthy NHS wards are equally glad it's costing just 7.5% of the GDP.

    Before claiming how grat the NHS is why don't you try living here. What you'll find is the NHS is broken beyond repair and is no matter how much money gets thrown into it things don't improve.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by j. andrew rogers (774820) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:40PM (#28405617)

    Tell me how the US can't do better than Canada and England.

    Define "better". According to a recent Lancet Oncology study (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1560849/UK-cancer-survival-rate-lowest-in-Europe.html [telegraph.co.uk]) for males the average cancer survival rate in the UK is 44.8%. Compare to 66.3% in the USA for the same period. The US has the highest cancer survival rates in the world, and by a pretty large margin. That has to be worth something in your metrics of "better". I do not go to the doctor for social justice, I go to the doctor to get medical problems, say cancer and cardiovascular disease, fixed. The US is tops for fixing medical problems even if the system surrounding that medicine is a wreck.

    Discard all the policy issues and ask yourself one simple question: what country will give me the best average statistical odds of having my condition cured/fixed? The US looks very, very good by that metric, and the reason people go to the doctor is to get cures. The medical system may be a wreck, but that is a semi-separate issue and I would be reluctant to throw away stellar medical outcomes as the price for cleaning up a broken system.

    One of the more interesting statistical anomalies is that if it was not for the extremely high death rates due to accidents (e.g. vehicular) and homicides, Americans would have the longest lifespans in the industrialized world instead of average ones (better medical outcomes offset high non-disease death rates). As is amusingly observed in health outcome statistics, the only demographic group that lives longer than Japanese women are Japanese women that live in the US. It is a relevant observation in this discussion, many people here are far too eager to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:43PM (#28405641) Homepage

    Canada has a completely-free universal national healthcare system.

    It is also a country where...

    The average life expectancy is two years longer than in America [unitednorthamerica.org].

  • Even the suggestion, let alone reality, of a poor minimum wage worker or homeless person getting access to universal health care is abhorrent. That's just not how things are supposed to work. Poor people are supposed to be...poor.

    If you really think most people, conservative or otherwise, actually hate people who are poor, you've been completely brainwashed.

    It's the liberal equivilent of calling everyone who disagrees with you unpatriotic.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:13PM (#28405927) Homepage
    Public healthcare, while seemingly free (most people do pay for it in the end) but I'm not sure such a lawsuit friendly country can handle being told you have to wait months for treatment or that you can't have a certain treatment because it's not cost effective.

    People just assume that free healthcare means everything stays the same except it's free. That's not true.

    Granted, the healthcare I receive in the UK isn't bad. My local doctor definitely has room for improvement but my previous doctor was perfect. I just hope I don't have to deal with cancer in the UK. Despite probably being in one of the better areas as far as the whole post code lottery ordeal goes, it's always a concern I'll be told "tough luck, we're low on cash".

    When I was in the US, despite not being jobless, the hospital and state government (PA) was actually quite helpful and I only had to pay a tiny fraction of what it would have cost. Even for someone in a transitional job, which was low paying, it was quite easy to pay off. Certainly better than the $20,000+ I would have had to pay if I didn't seek help from the state and hospital.

    My case might be slightly biased since I was in a decent area of the state and the hospital doesn't deal with a load of poor people begging for free care but even with free healthcare, being in a poorer area of the UK can mean not getting a treatment someone else would get in a better off area.

    I just hope people realise that neither system is perfect and going to free healthcare will not solve everyone's problems.
  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Manchot (847225) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:19PM (#28405979)
    The 0.5% figure already includes* the cost of malpractice insurance: as you noted, the actual malpractice damages are even less. Besides, as I already pointed out, Texas has practically eliminated malpractice suits with their bogus tort laws, and yet their costs are climbing faster than anyone's. I'm just speculating, but I wonder if the Texas tort law hasn't created a perverse incentive. Namely, the doctors that are moving there to take advantage of the malpractice situation are the ones more concerned about money than patients; i.e., the type of doctor driving the cost of care up. At the same time, a doctor could accidentally cut off your genitals in Texas, for which you could get at most $250k. (Yes, this just happened to someone, though luckily not in Texas.)

    * Anderson, Gerard F., Peter S. Hussey, Bianca K. Frogner, and Hugh R. Waters. "Health Spending In The United States And The Rest Of The Industrialized World." Health Aff 24, no. 4 (July 1, 2005): 903-914.
  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:32PM (#28406085)

    You are comparing a single data point...

    USA has great cancer research facilities, like National Cancer Institute. Which sponsors trials of about two-thirds of all approved drugs. Oh, and it is funded by the government, not private industry.

  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:45PM (#28406199)
    Because everyone knows that polls are facts and accurately reflect whether or not something is correct.

    But you only liked to an article *about* the poll, not the actual poll [harrisdecima.com] itself, which reveals:
    • The more you make, the happier you are
    • The more you make, the more likely you have a doctor
    • The older you are, the more higher you rate your doctor
    • The sample size was 2,000 out of 33,000,000 people
    • Was done via teleVox, there are no statistics taken manually that can be used to validate the cross sample
    • Was only about the service provided by the physicians, not by hospital or the healthcare industry in general

    So .. the statistics you have quoted are, for the most part, almost totally irrelevant to a discussion of a healthcare industry.

    I would also rate every family doctor I have ever had good, and one as 'excellent'. However, I would not rate the hospital care I receive the same way. I can usually afford the doctor bill, I can never afford the hospital bill.

  • by realnrh (1298639) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:49PM (#28406239) Journal
    If schools are so popular, there should be no need to mandate participation, right? People will just opt in because they love it so much.

    People will tend to do the default thing. Schools are mandatory so that people will send their kids and not incur the social cost of uneducated, low-value workers later in life. Social Security is mandatory so that people will defer those monies and not incur the social cost of homeless, impoverished elderly. Old poor people were a major social problem in the early 20th century. Social Security dramatically changed the face of old age for millions, and was made mandatory because the costs of those who chose to risk not saving up were higher than the benefits of those for whom the risk paid off.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:49PM (#28406247)

    I think they are specifically excluded from this plan. How do you like them apples?

  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:50PM (#28406259) Journal

    Canada has a completely-free universal national healthcare system.

    Which works well, and is thus the target of right-wing wackos bullshit-filled attacks such as this one:

    You need to wait 6 months for a minor surgery that you could get in the US for under $1000 in 24 hours. Quite often these minor problems, due to delay times, develop into much more serious cases, not to mention the long patient's suffering.

    Bullshit. Every procedure that is urgent is performed as fast as possible. The wait may be longer than in the US, but that’s because we do not discriminate in favour of the rich, everyone is on the same footing up here.

    You can spend 12 hours waiting for emergency life-saving surgery for which you can die any minute while not treated. Many people do.

    Bullshit again. Life-threatening conditions are treated right away. This is why the morons who come to the emergency room with a headache have to wait 15 hours: they pass the urgent cases before them.

    - You can spend 3 hours in a doctor's waiting room for a 2-minute consultation. Then you'll be told to come next week and wait another 3 hours (and have to, if you want your prescription to be covered by the healthcare plan). The doctor's don't even fucking do anything other than look at you and tell you to come agian. Doctors are paid per-patient rather than based on the services they provide, so they just try to stack up as much patients as possible, and process them as fast as possible.

    More bullshit again. The prescription is given right away, and the pharmacist takes care of the coverage.

    That troll does not clearly understands how a doctor works. And in the US, the doctors have to take as much cases as possible, thus making it much more likelier that they’ll only spend 2 minutes per patient.

    I understand and sympathize with the need to provide healthcare for those that can't afford it. But I do not see why people that do afford it should suffer greatly diminished healthcare (up to and including fatalities) for the sake of those that cannot afford it. Charity at gunpoint is called extortion.

    This is called CIVILIZATION, as opposed to the barbarity that is so common in the US.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Manchot (847225) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:52PM (#28406273)
    I posted something similar to this below, but to put it mildly, your assertion that malpractice litigation/insurance and "defensive medicine" are driving up costs simply isn't supported by the data. All the best estimates for the actual litigation and insurance put it at about 0.5% of our total costs.* As for defensive medicine, while that is undoubtedly more difficult to quantify, 22 states have some form of malpractice cap, so we can see how well medical costs and quality correlate to those caps. Unfortunately, while the numbers of doctors in those state varies in a statistically significant way, neither the quality nor the costs do. In fact, Texas spends more money than any other state, despite their ridiculously strict $250k caps. (You could literally be wrongly castrated by a doctor in Texas and get no more than $250k.) Even worse, their costs are going up faster than any other state.

    * Anderson, Gerard F., Peter S. Hussey, Bianca K. Frogner, and Hugh R. Waters. "Health Spending In The United States And The Rest Of The Industrialized World." Health Aff 24, no. 4 (July 1, 2005): 903-914.
  • Re:give me a break (Score:3, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:11PM (#28406415)

    The GP seems to be suggesting a system like that in the UK (See: NHS, National Health Service, www.nhs.uk). The government directly pays for hospitals, doctors, nurses, and everything else (I think the NHS is the world's largest employer).

    Private healthcare exists, but to get people to pay for it companies have to add a lot of value to compete with "free" NHS care. Things like luxurious hospitals (they're like 5* hotels), promises of shorter waiting times and easier access to specialists. About 8% of people in England have health insurance (and they won't necessarily use it -- for something minor people might choose to use the NHS, and in an emergency there's only the NHS, no private hospitals do emergency treatment).

    I think this is a much better system than requiring people to buy insurance from a company.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by quax (19371) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:29PM (#28406543)

    Rather than looking at a single disease statistic I think it is more instructive to look at overall average life expectancy. I let the numbers do the talking [indexmundi.com].

  • Cut off bullshit. (Score:3, Informative)

    by unity100 (970058) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:30PM (#28406555) Homepage Journal

    dont talk if you havent actually encountered the costs of your healthcare system yourself idiot.

    one of my clients had to go see a doctor because of some pain in his back, and it took $500 for the doctor to tell him that 'he had something'. it turned out later that it was a kidney infection.

    so, you get minor surgery for $1000. in which united states and in what alternate dimension ?

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:50PM (#28406667) Journal
    Nowhere near 95%.
  • Re:Cost (Score:2, Informative)

    by kegger64 (653899) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @09:18PM (#28406851)
    you'd be wrong about that... http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/298266.html [google.com]
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @09:19PM (#28406855) Journal

    Ever poor person can walk into any emergency room and receive emergency medical treatment. It's illegal for them to refuse treatment based on their ability to pay -even if they already owe the hospital money.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:5, Informative)

    by OakDragon (885217) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @09:25PM (#28406887) Journal

    The infant mortality statistics are skewed for various reasons. They have to do with what we report as a "live birth" vs. what other nations report.

    For example, in Canada, a premature baby that is delivered, and then dies, that weighs less than a half a kilogram is not counted against the live birth count.

    There is also the matter of timing. In Hong Kong and Japan, a baby that dies in the first 24 hours of life is not counted against the live births. They consider it a miscarriage. In France, Belgium, and many other European countries, babies born before 26 weeks of gestation, and then die, are not counted as deaths.

    In Switzerland, a baby that perishes that is also less than 30 cm in length is not counted.

    Needless to say (for the illustration of my point), the U.S. does count these as live births, and the deaths in such cases count toward the relatively higher infant mortality rate. In the types of cases above, the chances of infant survival are sketchy at best. Thus, the disparity in infant mortality rates.

  • Re:give me a break (Score:3, Informative)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:38PM (#28407689)
    I do a lot of government contract work, and in my opinion the main thing driving costs is that budgets and project objectives are not cost driven. For example, we analyze all our samples on a 24-hour turn around rather than a standard turn around in order to get the results sooner because they want the projects to be completed rapidly. Once one phase is completed, they sit on the project for a couple months while they decide what to do. It costs 50% more to expedite the samples, but it would only add one or two months to a year long project at most.

    Another good example is doing things out of order. If you're going to build a school, it makes sense to remove all the buildings before you do the environmental remediation. However, if they feel the budget may be time-sensitive (as in it will go away if they don't spend it right away) they will go-ahead and start the remediation before the demolition is complete, effectively doubling the price do the added difficulty. The worst part is that they expect you to eat some of the excess costs even thought you told them it would cost more.

    In any case, the government essentially contracts everything, so of course any example of government waste will include a contractor.
  • by Cereal Box (4286) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:54PM (#28407829)

    Your whole argument that SS isn't a ponzi scheme boils down to "hey, if the government finds other sources of money to pay into it, it's still viable!" You can tweak the system all you want, all you're going to do is delay the inevitable implosion. Social Security is inherently inviable program. It depends on more and more workers every year to support an ever-growing number of retirees. At the time the program was implemented the numbers worked out fairly well, but now life expectancy is WAY higher than it was in the 30s and as a result there are far too many people drawing SS checks than the system can support. This isn't just my opinion, this is well documented and EVEN THE GOVERNMENT admits the problems:

    I hear that Social Security has a big financial problem? Why?

    Social Security's financing problems are long term and will not affect today's retirees and near-retirees for many years, but they are very large and serious. People are living longer, the first baby boomers are nearing retirement, and the birth rate is lower than in the past. The result is that the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has fallen from 16.5-to-1 in 1950 to 3.1-to-1 today. Within 20 years it will be 2.1-to-1. At this ratio there will not be enough workers to pay scheduled benefits at current tax rates.

    That's straight from the horse's mouth, at http://www.ssa.gov/qa.htm [ssa.gov], BTW.

  • Re:Great quote... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cathbard (954906) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:19AM (#28407983)
    Here here! I second bs on that claim. I live in Australia which has both private healthcare and public. If you are using only the public health insurance the only limitation is that you have to use public hospitals when hospitalisation is required. There is NO stipulation as to which GP you use, you just go to the doctor, sign a form and they get paid by the public health scheme - even if you do have private insurance. Everybody gets healthcare, not just people with money. Isn't that the way a compassionate society should behave?
  • by bbhack (98541) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @12:26AM (#28408023)

    True only for real emergencies. For the vast majority of ER visits, the poor go to county, which is required to treat all complaints. Instead of payment, they just make you wait in hell for about 32 hours.

  • by n0-0p (325773) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:03AM (#28408209)

    You can believe in whatever you want, but don't confuse yourself by thinking that has anything to do with reality. The US dollar is the world reserve currency. We borrow at better rates than any other nation, and debt happens to be one of our biggest exports. We have that privileged status precisely because of our GDP, and it won't be changing in the near future.

    And please stop with the ongoing misrepresentation of debt statistics. We're in the early stages of recovering from the worst economic crisis in 60 years. Even if the year-end debt ratio ends up at 85%, it's still a whole lot better than the depression era peak at 120%. And the fact is that deficit spending is pretty much the only way to pull the economy out of a major low like this. Fortunately, the economy is already showing signs of recovery, and that debt ratio is going to drop back down quickly. But if we don't find a way to reduce health care costs over the next decade it's going to get a whole lot worse, and stay there permanently.

    So, rather than waste my time paying attention to meaningless epithets like "multi-trillion dollar spending spree," I think I'll just stick with logic and established economic theory. You're welcome to keep believing in imaginary economics if it makes you happy though. But please strop trying to drag other people into your delusions.

  • by harrisonhjones (1530203) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:06AM (#28408229)
    Pardon my french good sir but: Are you high? You'd have to be to say some of the things you just said..

    Ok, ok. There I went, calling names. Couldn't help myself. Now I'll be "constructive":

    The current system is great for Republican politicians -- lots of fundraising to be done among rich healthcare CEOs and rich doctors, lots of noble rhetoric about the glories of the free market, the risks of "socialism" and sober warnings about the risks of change (...to the system that every other developed country in the world currently has).

    There are so many things wrong with what you just said. First off, healthcare CEO's make a, again pardon my french, shit-ton of money because they are CEO's. Ie, they've done the hard work, they've moved up the corporate ladder and run a huge company that produces lifesaving/quality-of-life-bettering medication. I applaud them. And I don't wanna hear anything about "rich doctors." We live a world where the review boards set up by the government can rule a doctor at no fault of malpractice but a laywer can sue him for millions of dollars because sally sob-story lost her precious baby. Even though the doctor didn't make a single mistake, hell he's got malpractice insurance! Lets just sue the shit out of him! It's the American way! F&ck off.

    But that isn't what pisses me off the most... it's this:

    People might realize that the government can be more competent than the market (again, as it is in every other country)

    This statement is simply wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. A government can NEVER be more competent than the market. It's too slow, it's run by people who want to make the mob happy and by people who LOVE bureaucracy. Great example in my book: The government-run hospital my father works at set up a "board" to determine procedure in the OB/GYN department. 12 people. 8 lawyers, 4 administrators, ZERO doctors. Not a single doctor. Not even one. Not a single person that practices the procedure the board was setting up was present. How disgraceful.

    But that's just a personal example. Let's take out our trusty globe:

    Canada.

    It's got a "universal healthcare system" It's free. But.. wait a second.. It's people are flocking by the hundreds to the US for care. People are waiting years for simple procedures that take days in the US. "optional cash-only clinics" are springing up everywhere. Hmm.. But I've got more:

    Great Britian,

    a land where the hospitals send out "I hope you havn't died cards" to their patients because the wait is so long many patients die before care. France, I'm not even going to start w/ france.

    The simple fact of the matter is that you havn't done your research and that much of what you are spewing is left wing bullshit. By the way, I'm not a republican. I'm just a concerned citizen that has watched what happens when government stick their fingers where they don't belong: people get f&cked.

  • Re:give me a break (Score:2, Informative)

    by Ash Vince (602485) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:48AM (#28408447) Journal

    How do you reconcile a statement like that with the quote above? Apart from special cases, such as epidemics, I don't see how on earth can you justify interfering with the individual's liberty (i.e forcing us to pay for the healthcare of others, forcing us to take part in the government's system instead of setting up a different one or opting out altogether etc)? If I am sick, how is that your problem, and what right do I have to force you to pay for my doctor's bills so that I can get well?

    Because you being sick is actually societies problem. Firstly, it makes you unable to work. Also, depending on what is up you may be contagious. People who have no healthcare are more likely to not seek treatment since it will cost them money, that will probably leave them ill for longer. So more time off work or more time when you go to work and infect your colleagues.

    Anyway, the real con here is that the current medicare system is ridiculously expensive due to the way private insurance companies get to determine risk. By setting up a public, not for profit body that will compete with the insurance companies the idea is to drive down the cost of people getting health insurance. This is why the Republicans are so up in arms, they take campaign donations from the existing insurance companies that are going to suddenly have someone undercutting them if this bill is passed.

  • by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @02:47AM (#28408699) Journal

    research for their healthcare (Drugs, methods, etc) is primarily bankrolled by the companies in the United States.

    No, it is paid for by customers worldwide.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:47AM (#28409951)

    Socialism - by definition - is when you do not have private property on means of production at all (you still do have personal property, however).

    The very idea of Marx-style socialism is that the workers, rather than owners, should get the fruits of their labour. Communal ownership only enters the picture because it is impossible to run a factory alone, so it should be owned by all the workers who'd split the profits between them.

    Ironically enough, if taken to its logical conclusion, this would effectively make everyone a private entrepreneur.

    Any place where you can own e.g. a factory is not socialist.

    Any place where you can own a factory without working there is not socialist, or at least not communistic. Or, more to the point: any place where you can get money simply by owning something is not socialistic.

    Any place where you can trade goods for money with other people for any price you both agree upon is not socialist.

    Trade, or any restrictions place on it, has nothing to do with whether a system is or is not socialist.

    Amount of taxes paid is not a defining characteristic of a socialist state.

    And yet whenever there's talk of using tax money to provide some service communally, that proposal gets branded "socialist". Yet when someone points to a successful socialistic country, that country is suddenly not socialistic. It kinda makes one wonder if the word "socialism" isn't simply a right-wing boogeyman?

  • by jbolden (176878) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:55AM (#28410295) Homepage

    other than protecting citizens from force and fraud what else have governments been able to do successfully

    1) Build most of the architecture that has lasted through time
    2) Build the infrastructure in most countries
    3) Manger large services
    4) War
    5) Maintain records to a standard that private companies haven't come remotely close to
    6) Create a 500 track record of a decrease in criminal activity, which while having infrequent bumps is rapidly declining in all respects
    7) Create a regulated system of tariffs and tolls which has allowed for free commerce between nearby locals to prosper.
    8) Insure the safety of most consumer products
    9) Spread information about agriculture to the point that hunger is essentially abolished and food prices are fairly close to transportation costs.

    etc...

  • HR 676 (Score:2, Informative)

    by dogeatery (1305399) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:16PM (#28415597)

    House Resolution 676 has more than 200 sponsors and calls for free, universal health care for Americans. It gets no press and will languish while these "reform" measures will pass with lots of media hubbub. Meanwhile, I (and 46,999,999 other Americans) won't be any closer to being treated like human beings instead of walking bags of money when we enter a medical facility.

    To the libertarian f*cktard who will inevitably say "keep the government out of my medical decisions": Are you happy with bean-counters in a New York office deciding whether you qualify for coverage?

    I lie awake at night, wide-eyed with fear over a slight stomachache, not from hypochondria but from the potential of financial ruin before I'm 30.

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud

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