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Reader Comments on Universal Health Care Issue

Sigrid Egan:

I would like to add the following:

I am a native of Germany, born in 1940. I came to the US in late 1977, having experienced the 
so-called "great" national healthcare. Everything was free which, incidentally, it is NOT anymore. 
The German government is just as broke as the US (before National Healthcare) and has to put some 
of the burden onto the people.
Aside from inconveniences, waiting in line from 8 - 4 or more at a doctor's office, referrals to 
specialists were always delayed. 
 
My best example for the "great German National Healthcare" is this: In 1993, my 85-year old mother, who 
had a long history of heart disease, diagnosed as Angina Pectoris, by her internist, who never found it 
necessary to refer her to a cardiologist, spent the last 4 weeks of her life in a hospital. After a 
series of tests, it was discovered that her arteries were clear and that she had never had the above 
mentioned condition, in fact, she needed 2 new heart valves, otherwise she would die.
One of the attending physicians said to me very blandly "your mother has long surpassed her life expectancy". 
The cardiologist in the hospital told her that there was no hospital that would operate on her, she was too 
old and this type of operation would only be allowed up until the age of 75, inspite of the fact that she was 
otherwise in very good health and spirits. 
 
After a number of phone calls and interventions by the doctor, myself and an insurance agent, my mother was 
told that they found a hospital outside of her hometown who would take her and perform the heart surgery. 
To make a long story short: She was transfered, every day that she was scheduled for the catheter test, 
they had a different problem with the machines broken, too many back-ups etc. I personally believe, that 
these were excuses; the first hospital wanted to get rid of her, it was too embarrassing and the second 
hospital had no intention of operating on her. 4 weeks later she died. 
 
I know of a few other incidents similar to the above among German friends. 
 
So, if any fool in this country wants to tell me how great national health coverage would be, I have to bring 
up my story.  Governments is incapable of running businesses because it does not consist of people in business. 
They are best at talk not work! 

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JENNIFER C:

I would like to comment on your statement that if you are uninsured you can go to a clinic or the ER.  
Yes it is true that if you have an emergency they can not turn you down.  yes it is true there are 
clinics for people that are dirt poor.  There is even insurance coverage through Medicaid and Medicare.  
But what about people that make too much for those services but not enough to buy private insurance 
and they do not get insurance through and employer?  I fall into that category.  I do not get health 
insurance from my work and I make too much money for any government insurance.  I also make too much 
money to go to a clinic for non-emergency problems.  I can not even get preventative care where I live 
because I don't have insurance.  Everyone forgets about the ones in the middle, making just above poverty, 
too much money for help not enough money to get it without help.

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VILMA G:

Please see my arguments on universal health care below. I also have some cons, but at this point I just think that this site is really missing many of points that need to be at least considered.

 
Makes American businesses more competitive globally. Now American companies encounter relatively higher costs than their competitors in Europe or Japan because of need to cover their workers health insurance costs. For example, no surprise that American car industry is failing ~ez_ndash~ consumers pay at least few thousands dollars extra when buying a car just to cover private health insurance costs for retired General Motors employees. Private health insurance is an additional push to move American jobs overseas.
 
 Decrease overuse of health care services.  Many people have a wrong idea that universal health care is like free food ~ez_ndash~ you eat until get sick. It~ez_rsquo~s a wrong perception. In general, it~ez_rsquo~s opposite: if you know that you can have food (or health care) when you need it , you eat (use it ) less because it~ez_rsquo~s available when you need it. However if you know that food (or service) can be lost any time ~ez_ndash~ you try to use it as much as possible when you can. Universal health care usually have co pay for some or most services, but you no need to get bankrupt to pay for it.
 
Universal care would decrease number of people who use medical care fraudulently. For example, cancer is NOT an emergency in universal care countries. Now we have some women form Haiti who comes to Miami to get emergency cancer treatment. It would never could happen in countries with universal health care. Why? Majority of people are insured, so they no need to wait until chronic or long-term illnesses gets catastrophic to get emergency treatment. Because hospitals would have access to universal data base, illegals will be getting just emergency care (accidents, acute illness), but not treatment for long term illnesses.
 
Decrease medical care costs in general by cutting overhead costs, risk management costs and medical malpractice insurance costs.
 
Decrease burden of paying for those who don~ez_rsquo~t like take care of themselves. People often have a wrong perception that now they do NOT pay for increased costs of those who smoke or are obese. With private health insurance, we still pay our premiums to the pool, not to our individual accounts (such as 401K or IRA), so we still cover healthcare of those who are insured, but don~ez_rsquo~t take care of themselves. With universal health care preventive work can be done on much better level because you able to stay with same physician for longer time. Now when you change your job, in most cases,  you get a new physician who does not know you, so all investment done by previous physician can be easily lost.
 
Universal health care does not eliminate possibility to have extra private health insurance for those who want and can afford it. Universal care is never the only option in any country (even communist).
 
Universal health care would allow doctor~ez_rsquo~s to be more flexible with patients treatment plans because they would be less profit oriented. It a big misconception to think that just government impose standards. Insurance companies impose in many cases tougher standards on doctors than government.
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JNCARLIE:

I have long supported universal health insurance, even though, it has been 29 years since I haven't had insurance and before that I it was only a few years that I didn't have it, although I do not remember ever going to a doctor as a child. Vaccines were given at schools, at least from what I can remember and instead of vaccines for some diseases such as Chicken pox or measles and mumps, we just got the diseases and hoped we came out of it OK. Luckily I never broke a bone. It was only as an adult with child birth was I truly exposed to a hospital. All this is to inform you that my interest in universal health insurance is not the view of a person who is personally in dire straights for not having health insurance, although my daughter doesn't have it, but we are planning to remedy that soon. My desire for universal health care is manyfold, and these reasons have as yet been debated, so herein lies your omissions:

1) Universal Health would be useful in easily determining those pockets of rare diseases that may fall in a narrow geographic area, alerting the public of environmental hazards to be remedied, and to determine the responsibility, if it be man made, for its cleanup (Cases include the massive oil spill in Brooklyn and the nerve gas waste in a posh area of Washington, D.C.).

2) Universal Health would destroy the health industry for profit, where it is more desirable to promote new drugs of questionable efficacy than cheaper generic older drugs or even herbal or therapeutic remedies that have no profit generating qualities, but may be more beneficial. It is now more desirable (for corporations, for their sole purpose is to create wealth for their shareholders) to create disease and to treat it unsuccessfully than to find all possible methods to prevent and/or cure.

3) Universal Health would hopefully bring more professionals together to share successes and/or failures and therefore, promote the best means of providing care.

4) Universal Health would free people to pursue career paths that do not traditionally provide health care benefits, such as starting a business, or studying for a new career, researching a book, taking care of loved ones. It would take away the need of a highly trained professional taking any job out of desperation just because it provided health care coverage for a chronic illness in the family. (Hearsay, of an engineer taking a prison guard job to help pay for the health care of a chronically ill son, thereby jepardizing his years of learning as an engineer to the detriment of the wealth of the family.)

5) Universal Health would promote more general good health in communities, state wide and nationally. It could coordinate the needs of people in areas affected by natural or man made disasters, for they would know the availability of the assets of equipment and persons of expertise that would be the best fit, whereby promoting teams specialized in attacking certain problems and acting as mentors to spread their expertise to other parts of the country where the expertise is lacking due to its rarity or to its new arrival, such as the spread of mosquito related diseases due to global warming, or the spread of diseases such as SARS, the spread of addictions, etc. It would also promote more universal knowledge to the public to promote their own health, more participation in immunizations, good health practices (storing foods at proper temperature, hand washing, avoiding hazardous, but perhaps, commonplace substances, such as mercury, rubber cement, glue, etc.) that are sometimes forgotten because they are deemed as universally known, but truly are not.

6) Universal Health would promote more native born nurses in securing their jobs than the for profit hospitals bringing in and hiring lower paid foreigners to replace them for less money, thereby supporting a middle class and a more educated citizenry.

7) Universal Health would lift the burden of companies and corporations in providing health care to their employees.

8) A detriment cause by universal health care would be the loss of jobs that support our current administratively burdensome health care system. There would be a large number of clerks per doctor clinics whose jobs would be gone, not to mention the buildings full of people that the insurance companies now employ. I wonder what kind of health insurance those 9-to-5'ers have now?

9) I am sure I could come up with more reasons for Universal Health care, but its late and I need sleep. The only ones that I can think of that benefits from this least efficient and administratively burdensome "system" is the executives of the "health" insurance corporations and to those politicians who have have been paid well to keep them wealthy or the combination of the two (i.e., Frist and family).

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NICK P:

 
1. As a human race we should support one another.  Don't compromise your morals due to your motives.  Every person should have the right to not only live, but flourish.  Who are we to take away that right due to a status of unfortunate poverty?  This earth should be ours to share, along with its knowledge and benifits.
 
2. Although your pay may be reduced, you never have to worry about getting sick, hasseling with obnoxious insurance agencies, or having to get second-rate health care due to your financial situation.  What you pay in taxes will benefit you when you're elderly and need to the health care!
 
3. Unhealthy competition (not sports, education, etc.) has lead to black mail, bribes, and lies upon lies.  If someone has little money does that make them any less of a person?  When our political leaders (who represent our country) can be bought and sold our whole country loses respect.  The wealthy can buy their ways to a better education, status, etc.  Should the richest people (often the greediest) get BETTER health care then those who really need it?  More than anything, this belief is a measure of your humanity.
 
4. Just because we decide to incorporate universal health care into our government system doesn't mean every procedure will be controlled by the government.  There will be standards set to set apart unecessary procedures from necessary ones.
 
5. A single payer system could save $286 billion a year in overhead and paperwork. Administrative costs in the U.S. health care system are substantially higher than those in other countries and than in the public sector in the US: one estimate put the total administrative costs at 24 percent of U.S. health care spending.
 
6. A 2008 opinion poll of 2,000 US doctors found support for a universal health care plan at 59%-32%, which is up from the 49%-40% opinion of physicians in 2002. These numbers include 83% of psychiatrists, 69% of emergency medicine specialists, 65% of pediatricians, 64% of internists, 60% of family physicians and 55% of general surgeons. The reasons given are an inability of doctors to decide patient care and patients who are unable to afford care.
 
7. Libertarians and conservatives can favor universal health care, because in countries with universal health care, the government spends less tax money per person on health care than the U.S. For example, in France, the government spends $569 less per person on health care than in the United States. This would allow the U.S. to adopt universal health care, while simultaneously cutting government spending and cutting taxes.

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