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Government Involved In Healthcare? Can't Be Good!


Looking4Answers

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The current administration seems dead set on providing us Americans with a means to government provided health care. There is a lot of talk about how this is going to be done and, more importantly, how this is going to be funded! However, my main concern is that the government is involved! I mean, they mess up whatever they touch, or so it seems. As a case in point, I want to talk for a moment about my recent visit to the VA (Veteran Affairs) hospital last week.

 

I served in the Marine Corps and am a veteran of Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Because I served in the combat zone, I am afforded free care at the local VA. I only started using this last year. I visited the VA, filled out the appropriate paper work (and there was a decent amount of it), provided them with the needed documents (DD214, etc) and then got my picture taken for my VA ID card. If you know my current situation (that which surrounds my de-conversion back in September) then you know that I was not available to visit the VA hospital for a while. In any case, last week I decided to go there and update my address information. I had a different address than when I filled out the original paperwork, but all my mail was being forwarded. I had never received my VA ID card.

 

So I walk up to the counter and tell the lady that I would like to update my address. She seemed quite happy to help me. Right there, as I watched, she typed in my new information. I then told her that I had never received my ID card. She took out a box that had like a million ID cards in it and began to search through each one. Mine was not there. She told me to take a seat and, in a moment, someone would be with me to take my picture. I sat and waited for about 15 minutes.

 

While I waited a gentlemen about my age came along. He was pushing a very old man in a wheelchair and then sat down next to me. As I waited, I started to talk to them. It turns out the older man lives in the VA as a resident. He was down her because, despite the fact that he had lived here already for a year, he still had not received his VA ID card. He had come down and was told to wait and they would take his picture for a new one (the box apparently did not contain his ID card either).

 

Several more minutes went by and I got up to ask how much longer this was going to be. The woman apologized and said they should have gotten to me already. I told her that there was an older gentleman waiting as well. So the woman took me back to the room where they photograph you and asked for my name and the last four of my social security number. Instantly my face came up! It was the original photo from about 9 months ago for the first VA ID card. She then went to verify my address. As she read it, it was my OLD address and not the new one I had given her and watched her type in to the computer just 20 minutes ago or so. I told her that that was my old address and asked her if the system would update my new address. She assured me that it would.

 

Then she told me to hold still so she could take the photo. I suggested that she could use the one that was already in the system, but she wouldn't not go for that! I was in the seat and so the photo had to be taken again! I reminded her of the older man sitting outside the door and she told me that I could send him in. I did and then I went home.

 

Yesterday the mail came. Happily I got my VA ID card. I was surprised at how quickly it had arrived! Then I noticed the envelope: MY OLD ADDRESS WAS ON IT! Despite having watched the lady type the new address into the computer, despite me telling her that the computer still had it wrong when she went to take my photo, they still sent out my card to the wrong address! They old man that LIVES in the place couldn't get his card the first time and waited a year. It makes me wonder where they mailed his to?

 

So, do you really want the government to provide health care for you and your family? If this is what happens with a simple thing like an ID card, then what would happen with your appendix?

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Went to my appointment today. Decided to check at the front desk to see what address they had. It was still the wrong one. So I had them correct it again. I think it finally "took" this time.

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Is it an inherent government problem or eight years of Bush toadies running the VA?

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Well, one could argue that the fact that your government f***s up everything it touches is the sign that you need better government, not less...

 

But regarding it's merits or lack thereof, what do you think of Universal healthcare?

 

Personally, I think Universal, free healthcare, funded by taxes, is the best possible system. It is the more just, because it covers everyone and is essentially free, allowing equal acess to healthcare, wether you're a bum or a billionaire. (Of course, people with $$$ can allways resort to their private physicians...)

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My post was coming from the perspective of an American and, as a result, had the American government in view. Whatever our government touches or controls and takes out of the hands of the private sector tends to get totally screwed, becomes even more expensive, provides less than what was there previously and works as inefficiently as possible. Since the US government is contemplating moving toward a more socialized form of health care, then I provided my example as a currently used form of socialized medicine that is already at work in the USA and has been for years. It is inefficient, tends to have poorer quality doctors, is bloated and, well, just does not work as it should.

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Is it an inherent government problem or eight years of Bush toadies running the VA?

 

This is an inherent government problem. The VA has just about always been like this and the VA has been around forever.

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My post was coming from the perspective of an American and, as a result, had the American government in view. Whatever our government touches or controls and takes out of the hands of the private sector tends to get totally screwed, becomes even more expensive, provides less than what was there previously and works as inefficiently as possible. Since the US government is contemplating moving toward a more socialized form of health care, then I provided my example as a currently used form of socialized medicine that is already at work in the USA and has been for years. It is inefficient, tends to have poorer quality doctors, is bloated and, well, just does not work as it should.

 

Sounds like right wing propaganda to me. Repeated assertions do not = Truth. Healthcare costs went into the stratosphere over fifty years ago when every corporate pig lined up at the trough of the new healthcare profit centers.

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free healthcare

Nothing's for free

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I'm sorry for all the problems you have had with the VA and I've always thought we haven't done well for our veterans, but I have to say that this kind of thing happens with just about every business. I had my first appointment with a new doctor at a private hospital a few weeks ago and the girl had to enter my data three times and it still didn't save all of it. On top of that, I had used their network before, just not at that particular hospital.

 

I also have done a lot of work in IT. Believe me this sort of thing is not unique to the government. It's more a product of sophisticated and ever-changing/emerging technology than anything else.

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As an aside... You want confusing? Try deciphering your phone bill from Verizon. I just gave up on it. No making sense of any of it. You pay the bill and it still says you owe, right up to the next billing cycle. Charges for this and that, god knows what. Completely forget it if you make the mistake of getting their wonderful OneBill thing that merges your home phone and internet bill with your cellphone. I don't even think they know everything they ding you for on that.

 

Again, technology. It makes a clusterfuck out of pretty much everything, which is why I'm a bit old fashioned in a lot of ways and live in a 112 year old house that I'm decorating like it's 1880.

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free healthcare

Nothing's for free

 

You're right, nothing is, but you don't exactly have to pull out your mastercard when you call the cops, now do you? Shared expenses lower the price per capita, making healthcare more affordable.

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Since the US government is contemplating moving toward a more socialized form of health care, then I provided my example as a currently used form of socialized medicine that is already at work in the USA and has been for years. It is inefficient, tends to have poorer quality doctors, is bloated and, well, just does not work as it should.

 

That's odd. Here in Portugal, the military have a paralel network of hospitals. Generally speaking, those formed by the Military Academy in any kind of speciality are considered the best, because when you study by the military you can only flunk 2 disciplines. The third time they tell you to GTFO. Military medics are considered the best in their field here...

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All I can say is that VA hospitals are notorious for being of poor quality (not all of them, but many of them), with patients being neglected and a lot of other problems. This particular VA hospital in Virginia is pretty good (comparatively).

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free healthcare

Nothing's for free

Exactly. Nothing is free, except air... for now.

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I don't think that government-run healthcare will reduce costs or make the system run better- only competition will do that. The reason costs are so high in our current system is that is the complete LACK of competition and choice- and nobody is talking about changing that (even politicians on the right basically want to keep the status quo).

 

The way health insurance is generally tied to your job (and is pretty much unaffordable without some arbitrary group membership), you don't have any REAL choice as to which provider you choose.

 

Some will disagree with me here- but I'm of the opinion that the VAST majority of doctor's visits are completely unneccesary- but restrictions on prescription drugs make them pretty much mandatory. I think that 90% of the time, I could solve any health problem that I've had thusfar with a combination of webmd research, advice from my mom (she's an RN), and access to some effective drugs (something beyond pepto and tylenol). And if I CAN'T take care of the problem, then I'd be GLAD to go pay for that $90 office visit. Seeings how I'm a grown man, literate, and not completely stupid... I think I'm pretty capable of making that decision on my own. I think our current system isn't designed so much to protect patients as to protect profit margins.

 

But none of these OBVIOUS problems will be addressed. No political will to do it, and lots of moneyed interests (doctors, insurance companies, drug companies) would fight tooth and nail to keep the gravy-train rolling.

 

So the only choice we're being offered is between the current inefficient, anti-competitive, bureaucratic system run by highly protected and insulated for-profit companies... or what everybody knows will be an inefficient, bureaucratic system that will be run about like your local DMV. Seeings how I CAN afford mediocre health insurance right now, I don't expect that my coverage will change a whole lot either way.

 

It isn't much of a choice. And at this point I just don't care a whole lot what they do. Either way, coverage will be mediocre at best and costs will be high.

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It is inefficient, tends to have poorer quality doctors, is bloated and, well, just does not work as it should.

 

Sounds about the same as the private health care and insurance my family currently can't afford.

 

I'm no fan of the goobermint either, but neither am I a fan of actuaries and insurance companies dictating my health care needs. When you're one of those families that makes too much to go on public assistance but not enough to be able to afford private insurance or care, almost anything looks better than nothing. Which is what we have right now: no care at all.

 

Interestingly enough, the spouse just this past week FINALLY got a job working as a nursing assistant at the local VA hospital here. After his probationary six months, we'll qualify for state employee benefits - excellent, comprehensive, and affordable. FINALLY.

 

Just gotta hope nothing catastrophic happens to us in the meantime, because if it does, it will wipe us out. No question.

 

Something's gotta give, somewhere.

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free healthcare

Nothing's for free

Exactly. Nothing is free, except air... for now.

 

 

Until the Spaceballs show up.

 

I didn't want to be the first Canadian to speak up, but, well, no one else has so... here goes.

 

Canadian health care is good. You can go to the hospital and not have to worry about paying $1,000 if you have to stay overnight. The doctors are excellent, there is a national standard all hospitals strive to meet.

 

But it's not free. I have to pay "premiums" on every paycheque, just like any other insurance plan. Maybe a lot less, but it is somewhat rated based on your income.

 

Also, because health care is so freely accessible, the acute care beds are plugged up with seniors who really need to be in long term care homes, but the government doesn't really want to build those because they're massive money sinks. The private companies have built enough to target the seniors with money, the profitable long-term care homes, so who's left? The seniors who can't afford $6,000 a month for the care they need. No one wants to help them. And just to be stupid, the government makes it difficult for private companies to access financing so they can build homes to house these low-income seniors. So the seniors stay in the hospital, slowing down the entire system, in acute care beds which are incredibly expensive to staff and maintain because they're supposed to be for people recovering from surgery or bleeding to death or whatever. A nurse trained to handle trauma cases should not be wasting her skills helping Edna to the bathroom 20 times a day.

 

There you go, a snapshot of Canadiana. Be careful what you wish for.

I think it's a good system, but it has big flaws, just FYI.

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I hate going to the VA hospital. It always feels so...disorganized and dirty. -sigh- Get ready for sub-standard care when the government takes over all you universal health care trumpeters. Anything the government touches is bound to get fucked up in short order.

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I also lived in Israel for over 4 years. They have a form of government sponsored health care. For average stuff (getting your shots, getting a check up, etc), it worked out pretty well. I imagine this would be the case in the USA as well should they go with some form of government health care. However, in the Israeli system, just like the Canadian system that Jabbrwokk brought up, you pay for it straight from your pay check. However, what comes out of one's pay check (and it is a decent sized chunk ... something that you definitely know is not there any longer!) does not cover everything. Therefore the government offers a higher level of "insurance" that you can opt into. It costs more, but it provides more. So if you opt in, then an even larger chunk is taken from your pay check each month. That's OK if you end up with a brain tumor or long-term cancer. At least then you will be able to get the treatment you need.

 

And this is where I hear that most of these government health systems break down: when things go outside the ordinary. In other words, if you are the average person or family and you are dealing with flu shots, physicals and check-ups, an occasional broken bone, etc, then a government sponsored health care system will probably work perfectly for you most of the time. However, if something big comes along ... a brain tumor, for example ... then things can get sticky ... or so I have heard. I don't have any proof of this and I admit that I could be wrong. But I have heard of people with being diagnosed with a certain form of cancer, or some other disease, having to wait so many months for treatment that the cancer or disease has advanced to a place where it cannot be cured where, if it had been gotten too sooner, there might have been a chance. Again, perhaps these are just urban rumors. But I have heard of such people leaving their countries to go to some place where there is a medical system like we have in the USA (currently) in order to seek help because they know they can be seen fairly quickly and not have to wait months or more to get treatment.

 

My fear, here in the USA, is that whatever system they come up with will work ... for the average stuff (colds, flues, broken bones, etc) and that will please the masses. But that the system will fall apart for the more complex stuff, leaving people in the lurch. I also fear that the US government, as it typically does, will create the program in such a way that the best and the brightest will not be attracted to it. As a result, I fear that any government sponsored health care will become filled with poorer quality doctors. After all, who wants to go through all those grueling years of medical school, emerge a few hundred thousand dollars in debt and then take a job in a government health care facility making middle class wages or worse? This may not be what happens in other countries, but we have already seen this sort of thing happen in the USA with other government sponsored programs.

 

Our current health care system is broken. However, I don't think the US government is going to fix it by giving the masses "free" health care.

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I really think the health care system needs an overhaul.

 

I'm tired of spending money out of my own pocket because I have temped for almost all of the past decade and had no health benefits. I've done the math and the money I spent on health insurance could have made a nice down payment on a house. What do I use health care for? Eyeglasses and the occasional dentist appointment, both of which my insurance does not cover.

 

Ironic, isn't it?

 

Health insurance is basically a fee that is charged to us for staying alive in this day and age. It is unfair to make people pay that money if they are healthy and not using it, IMHO.

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Exactly. Nothing is free, except air... for now.

 

I saw canned air in a store last weekend and it wasn't air freshener or cleaning supplies. :mellow:

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free healthcare

Nothing's for free

 

Yeah Legion, but the question is, why is it that this country cannot make the health and welfare of its citizens a priority and instead uses our tax money for immoral purposes.

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There are about 46 million uninsured U. S. citizens and about 25 million under-insured. That's about one in four Americans. So if I walk down the street counting, "One, two, three, That Man; one, two, three, That Woman; one, two, three, That Child," it starts to look less abstract and more personal. That man, woman and child should not have to live in fear of what a fever or rash or persistent pain might mean. And even if I lived in a penthouse, I shouldn't have to live in fear that my neglected brother and sister citizens might be a walking stew for a plague that'll get me and my kids.

 

Health care, or the lack of it, has personal, national and international consequences.

 

Michael Moore said about his film, "Sicko," that the criticisms offered about the failings of other nations' universal health care systems should be an alert and a guide about what we can avoid or do better... not a reason to do nothing. I agree. Putting our tax money into keeping us well instead of keeping other nations under our hegemony makes some crazy kind of sense to me, especially in terms of REAL national defense.

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There are about 46 million uninsured U. S. citizens and about 25 million under-insured. That's about one in four Americans. So if I walk down the street counting, "One, two, three, That Man; one, two, three, That Woman; one, two, three, That Child," it starts to look less abstract and more personal.

 

Not all the uninsured are that way because they cannot afford some form of insurance or don't have insurance offered to them. Some choose to opt out and to pay cash. I don't know how many people that would subtract from your total, though. Also, some people, due to their service in the military, get free health car via the VA, like myself. Why should I pay for insurance when I can simply go down and schedule a check-up whenever I like? How many people are listed as "uninsured" but still are taken care of medically? I never really trust these numbers. It seems that anyone can take them and use them however they see fit.

 

Health care, or the lack of it, has personal, national and international consequences.

 

I will probably get shot for saying this, but health care is not a RIGHT. I am glad that we have it, don't get me wrong.

 

Michael Moore said about his film, "Sicko," that the criticisms offered about the failings of other nations' universal health care systems should be an alert and a guide about what we can avoid or do better... not a reason to do nothing.

 

While I agree (something should be done), I am wary of any quote coming from Michael Moore. ;) And just because something needs to be done does not mean it is the US government that should be the doer. They have a notorious track record of fouling things up. Why should we give them yet one more thing to mess with?

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I will probably get shot for saying this, but health care is not a RIGHT. I am glad that we have it, don't get me wrong.

 

You should be shot! Right in the butt with anti-dumbass serum! The constitution guarantees us the RIGHT to life... Without healthcare the result can be death. And by the way, your VA healthcare is not free. My taxes are helping to pay for it. Socialized medicine?

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