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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123413701032661445.html

"Canadians often wait months or even years for necessary care. For some, the status quo has become so dire that they have turned to the courts for recourse. Several cases currently before provincial courts provide studies in what Americans could expect from government-run health insurance."

"Ontario's government system still refused to provide timely treatment, offering instead a months-long wait for surgery. In the end, Mr. McCreith returned to Buffalo and paid for surgery that may have saved his life. He's challenging Ontario's government-run monopoly health-insurance system, claiming it violates the right to life and security of the person guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

"Shona Holmes, another Ontario court challenger, endured a similarly harrowing struggle. In March of 2005, Ms. Holmes began losing her vision and experienced headaches, anxiety attacks, extreme fatigue and weight gain. Despite an MRI scan showing a brain tumor, Ms. Holmes was told she would have to wait months to see a specialist. In June, her vision deteriorating rapidly, Ms. Holmes went to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where she found that immediate surgery was required to prevent permanent vision loss and potentially death. Again, the government system in Ontario required more appointments and more tests along with more wait times. Ms. Holmes returned to the Mayo Clinic and paid for her surgery."
___________________________________________________________________

Why do you think it will be any different here? Where will you go when the care you need is no longer available in time to save your life, if it's available at all? Me, I'm thinking Costa Rica or Thailand.

--fleg
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No. of Recommendations: 5
take it to RECF...
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No. of Recommendations: 3
"Canadians often wait months or even years for necessary care."


I take issue with the implication delays for treatment are common in Canada.

Living on the Canadian border near Montreal and Ottawa, watching CBC tv and listening to Canadian radio, and chatting with Canadians in the stores and at my hair salon, what I hear repeatedly is the Canadians' gratitude for the provided health care they have. In fact, women around here sometimes drive across the border to give birth in Canada so their children will have dual citizenship and health ins.

Horror stories can be found in either country. That doesn't make them the general rule.

Depending on where in Canada one lives, there may sometimes be waits for elective surgery, but life threatening health issues are treated fast.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
"Canadians often wait months or even years for necessary care."

I take issue with the implication delays for treatment are common in Canada.

Living on the Canadian border near Montreal and Ottawa, watching CBC tv and listening to Canadian radio, and chatting with Canadians in the stores and at my hair salon, what I hear repeatedly is the Canadians' gratitude for the provided health care they have. In fact, women around here sometimes drive across the border to give birth in Canada so their children will have dual citizenship and health ins.

Horror stories can be found in either country. That doesn't make them the general rule.

Depending on where in Canada one lives, there may sometimes be waits for elective surgery, but life threatening health issues are treated fast.


With the cost of Canadian health care carefully hidden in high taxes, I'm not surprised that "free" health care is somewhat popular. However, I would hate to see the US duplicate the Canadian health care system. Here is more about Canadian health care:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=26387450
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No. of Recommendations: 1
And here's something about American health care:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=27425160
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No. of Recommendations: 1
And here's something about American health care:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=27425160


What a surprise. An anecdote. Like you haven't heard similar stories of horrible service from every single industry and in every single country in the world.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
The initial approval of a claim is commonly done by somebody without medical training. The patient in this case should/will appeal, and will get his doctor to support his appeal. If that doesn't immediately work, he should/probably will contact the press, local TV station, etc. and let the insurance company know this is what he is about to do.
He will win his claim very quickly, assuming there was a legitimate, unpredictable reason he was 6 days in ICU.
It is not cost-effective for a trained medical person to be reviewing every single claim. So guidelines are set up, which cover most cases. If you have one of the outlying cases, you have to go up the food chain a ways, but the system basically works.

Best wishes, Chris
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No. of Recommendations: 3
http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=88457

"If the Obama administration's economic stimulus bill passes … in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face...rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later."

Other nations that utilize such programs typically deny costly treatments to patients who are senior citizens, and McCaughey warns that would be the case in the United States, too.

"Daschle says health-care reform 'will not be pain free.' Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt," she warned.

"Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard," she said.

McCaughey noted Daschle has written of such plans, modeled after the United Kingdom, which include a national board to make necessary decisions. She cited a 2006 ruling in the U.K. that determined elderly patients with macular degeneration must go blind in one eye before getting treatment with a costly drug to save their other eye, a decision that outraged taxpayers who eventually forced a change.
____________________________________________________________

It's happening in Canada:

http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-opinion-commentary.ht...

"I'm in Newfoundland, Canada, 74 years old and in need of a hip replacement as it's bone on bone. I have an appointment to see a doctor on October 20th of this year. Meanwhile I carry on the best I can. I would be better off if I was a dog in need of a vet." --Robert McCrindle, responding to "The Americas: 'Too Old' for Hip Surgery."
____________________________________________________________

If you won't be able to afford to go abroad for medical treatment when you get into your 70s and beyond, prepare to suffer like Mr. McCrindle. Today he'd get that surgery quickly under our Medicare, but that's not shaping up to be the case in the near future under the current administration.

--fleg
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What a surprise. An anecdote. Like you haven't heard similar stories of horrible service from every single industry and in every single country in the world.

Absolutely right -- and mostly on RECF and today it seems on several boards bad stuff about the Canadian system.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Other nations that utilize such programs typically deny costly treatments to patients who are senior citizens, and McCaughey warns that would be the case in the United States, too.

And we all know how unbiased World Net Daily is. The National Enquirer is probably more reliable. I think they were right once about 6 or 8 years ago.
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No. of Recommendations: 2
<<Other nations that utilize such programs typically deny costly treatments to patients who are senior citizens, and McCaughey warns that would be the case in the United States, too.

And we all know how unbiased World Net Daily is. The National Enquirer is probably more reliable. I think they were right once about 6 or 8 years ago.
>>


Oh, I don't know. My understanding is that pneumonia among the elderly is often allowed to run it's course and kill the elderly in Britain, while it's routinely treated aggresively in the United States, resulting in comparatively low numbers of deaths.

Why spend a lot of money treating health conditions among the elderly when they are all going to die anyway? Isn't this the kind of cost containment we should expect in the United States once government gets national health care here and discovers how expensive it is?



Seattle Pioneer
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"Isn't this the kind of cost containment we should expect in the United States once government gets national health care here and discovers how expensive it is?"

Opponents and smear campaigns would like us to think so.

But actually all of the health insurance policies I am aware of already ration care. They are all capped with lifetime benefits of $1MM to $1.5MM. They also specify specific maximums for nearly every treatment option. This is rationing. We already have it. We are used to it.

Why should govt insurance be any different?
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No. of Recommendations: 2
"Isn't this the kind of cost containment we should expect in the United States once government gets national health care here and discovers how expensive it is?"

Opponents and smear campaigns would like us to think so.

But actually all of the health insurance policies I am aware of already ration care. They are all capped with lifetime benefits of $1MM to $1.5MM. They also specify specific maximums for nearly every treatment option. This is rationing. We already have it. We are used to it.

Why should govt insurance be any different?


But it *is* different. We aren't talking about the situation where someone hits a lifetime maximum.
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<<But actually all of the health insurance policies I am aware of already ration care. They are all capped with lifetime benefits of $1MM to $1.5MM. They also specify specific maximums for nearly every treatment option. This is rationing. We already have it. We are used to it.

Why should govt insurance be any different?>>



Because government rationing of health care will be entirely different. Rather than a lifetime cap on medical costs covered, government health care should be expected to decide that at age 70 or so, no intensive treatment of pneumonia will be provided, or no access to hip replacement surgery or whatever.

Democrats have been hollering for health care cost containment, and that's what we should expect it to look like in my opinion. You can see that kind of thing happening in Canada and Britain as a matter of routine.



Seattle Pioneer
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No. of Recommendations: 4
"Because government rationing of health care will be entirely different."

Excuse me, but I suspect that your existing health insurance plan has far more specific caps than the lifetime cap. (The lifetime cap effectively limits coverage for certain very expensive procedures.) But for example mental health coverage is usually limited as is treatment of substance abuse. In fact every service has specified limited coverage. Drugs for example now usually have three lists: covered as low cost generics, higher copay for other approved, very high copay for not approved, and the rest not covered. This again is rationing.

In political discussions it is common to claim that the opposite plans to do "X." When in fact they have made no such statements. This is a device for spreading fear of change. Political arguements need not be based on fact. They may be based on all sorts of garbage. It becomes important to sort these things out when we can.

Some countries do ration specific services under their health insurance plans. But I see no reason we should copy those plans warts and all. Why don't we copy our own Medicare system, where basic coverage is required and you can buy whatever level of supplemental coverage you want.
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<<In political discussions it is common to claim that the opposite plans to do "X." When in fact they have made no such statements. This is a device for spreading fear of change. Political arguements need not be based on fact. They may be based on all sorts of garbage. It becomes important to sort these things out when we can.
>>


Speculation about where a political program is likely to go over time is certainly a reasonable thing to do when evaluating political options. And of course government healthcare proposals do that as well, implicitly assuming that they will go on forever despite the fact that they are usually underfunded and vulnerable to collapse, while private medical insurance is usually required to have substantial reserves to cover liabilities.

Medicare started out paying health care providers more or less what they asked, and then in 1980 funding was cut sharply so that access to care became problematic and health care providers often had to subsidize Medicare patients from more generous funding from private paying patients. Medicaid often the same thing, only worse.

The funding for government health care is often unstable and inadequate, as the stupefying unfunded liabilities of Medicare illustrate. Perhaps you have Faith in such programs, but it's not the way I aim to organize my life.

In short, I much prefer spending $818/month for my individual health care insurance to any government health care proposal I've heard about, thank you very much.



Seattle Pioneer
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"In short, I much prefer spending $818/month for my individual health care insurance to any government health care proposal I've heard about, thank you very much."

Yes, every individual out there would prefer to keep the health insurance program he has, knows, and understands rather than take a chance on some politician's promises that the new replacement program will be better and more affordable (when most middle class think they will be called on to pay for insurance for the poor one way or another).

Still we have the problem that as health care costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, the $12K per year avg coverage for a family of four will probably rise to $24K in 10 short years. Meanwhile, median household income is under $50K.

Our current health care system is about to self destruct as middle class families and their employers will be forced to under insure--because they can no longer afford insurance. That puts more and more people into bankruptcy, or into welfare.

So something needs to be done to fix this problem.

What is the best possible solution? We hope for a middle of the road, centrist solution rather than the extreme liberal solution that many of us fear.

We shall see how it goes. But I don't see "do nothing" as an option.
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What is the best possible solution? We hope for a middle of the road, centrist solution rather than the extreme liberal solution that many of us fear.

The best possible solution is for government to eliminate the myriad ways in which it currently makes the health care market dysfunctional. For example, third-party payments currently make up roughly 85% of health care spending. Out-of-pocket spending is only about 15%. As you can imagine, this makes the health care market less responsive to costs. Unfortunately, the government encourages third-party payments in two ways:
1) By making the third-party payments itself (roughly 44% of health care spending comes from federal, state, and local governments), and
2) By creating a huge incentive for employers to provide health benefits in the form of health insurance since health insurance is not taxable to the employee.

Another major way that government makes the health care market dysfunctional is by creating huge health insurance restrictions (such as who must be covered, what must be covered, how much can be charged, etc.).

It's unfortunate that government's health care solution appears to be to make the problem worse.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
<<"In short, I much prefer spending $818/month for my individual health care insurance to any government health care proposal I've heard about, thank you very much."

Yes, every individual out there would prefer to keep the health insurance program he has, knows, and understands rather than take a chance on some politician's promises that the new replacement program will be better and more affordable (when most middle class think they will be called on to pay for insurance for the poor one way or another).
>>


Well of course --- that's the deal. The middle class gets significantly poorer coverage and pays a good deal more in order to pay for coverage for the poor. That's why Hillarycare failed in the 1990s.


<<Our current health care system is about to self destruct as middle class families and their employers will be forced to under insure--because they can no longer afford insurance. That puts more and more people into bankruptcy, or into welfare.

So something needs to be done to fix this problem.

What is the best possible solution? We hope for a middle of the road, centrist solution rather than the extreme liberal solution that many of us fear.

We shall see how it goes. But I don't see "do nothing" as an option.
>>


Democrats have been undermining health care for the middle class for several decades now in hopes of creating a failed system. They have had a good deal of success with that program.

Of course, as soon as they get power they will begin cheaping the services covered and available and cheapening the payments to health care providers. They certainly aren't going to pay for the benefits they have larded on to private healthcare plans.

Just today Democrats in the Washington State legislature proposed to require private health insurance plans to pay for organ transplants --- heart, lung,kidney, bone marrow --- whatever. Since these are amont the most expensive medical procedures around, they can be expected to drive up private health insurance costs further, another step in the Democrat plan to cause that system to fail.

Anyone want to tell me that a national health care system wouldn't be about greatly restricting access to such procedures?



Seattle Pioneer
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>Still we have the problem that as health care costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, the $12K per year avg coverage for a family of four will probably rise to $24K in 10 short years. Meanwhile, median household income is under $50K.

Something that seems to happen frequently when the government starts paying for all or part of an item.
Kathleen
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<<>Still we have the problem that as health care costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, the $12K per year avg coverage for a family of four will probably rise to $24K in 10 short years. Meanwhile, median household income is under $50K.

Something that seems to happen frequently when the government starts paying for all or part of an item.
Kathleen
>>


Shucks, the government doesn't even have to pay part of the cost to raise the cost.

ThWashington State legislature is ready to prohibit limits on private insurance reimbursement for organ transplants of any kind. I guess someone would be able to get a kidney, lung and heart transplant and their insurance company would have to pay for it up to whatever lifetime maximum might exist.

That should bump up private insurance rates some more.



Seattle Pioneer
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Something that seems to happen frequently when the government starts paying for all or part of an item.
Kathleen


Health care and higher education are the two areas where costs have risen the most, way beyond the rate of inflation. And, just by coincidence, they are the two areas where gov't has been most involved. Ever notice how every time a new education credit or deduction goes into effect, tuition rises enough to absorb the extra money they put into the pockets of students' families?

--fleg, who paid $52 per semester when he started at UCLA in 1965. How much is it now and how much more than inflation has it gone up?
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