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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Why not Universal Healthcare?

    For the life of me, I donít understand why so many people are against a public health care bill that is being kicked around Washington. Most people I see protesting against the public health care seem to be middle age to older folks, and the reasons they give as to why they are against it seem to be that they donít want government get involve.

    And to me that seems like a very selfish reason where it is ďMe FirstĒ. IMO public health insurance is more of a moral issue than anything else where all citizen chip in to help one another, and get those folks that donít have insurance-or canít afford it-into the health system.

    Last night was watching C-Span, and five of top CEO and VP from medical insurance companies were testifying in front of a committee. One congressman ask them how much compensation (beside salary) they are getting and non of them would say anything. So he asked them again. Finally when push comes to shove, one lady VP said she get $700,000, and another said $500,000.

    Now, how that would set with a family that is losing their house (or declaring bankruptcy) because of medical bills they canít afford. Or a guy that donít have insurance but is badly in need of medical care.
    Last edited by Smokey; 09-18-2009 at 09:50 PM.

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    with all the fuss lately you want to start a thread like this? oh dear me.....

  3. #3
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Well, first off I'd say that this is a complex issue. Hats off to Smokey for doing the right thing and posting this in OT...'

    ...I'll respond later with something that'll be sure to enrage everyone...

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    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    with all the fuss lately you want to start a thread like this?
    As Bobsticks would say, "That's how I roll..."

    I just hope this thread doesn't get too many responses from Foxnews watchers

  5. #5
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    I am game for a thread war....

    Try any or all below;

    - We no longer have a sense of community
    - Gutless politicians (on both sides of the aisle) who talk about fiscal responsibility except when it comes to bringing home the "pork"
    - Our definition "of the people for the people" does not include people of all race,gender,class or ethnic origin
    -We are do not see ourselves as Americans except in extreme crisis - the rest of the time we are Liberal-Conservatives-Democrats-Republicans-Libertarians.....etc
    -Sacrifice is for sissies or an abstract term used on Sundays
    -Entrenched Money that makes a profit in the status quo
    -Lobbyists
    -Money and Lobbyists
    -Money,lobbyists and the endless political campaign
    -Talk radio
    -24hour cable news
    -Gutless Media that give opinions towards a targeted demographic rather than report facts
    -Dismal education system (I include parents in this) that produces a population without the ability to engage in critical thinking for greater than 30 sec-wait what was I saying......
    -Sound bites
    -Short term thinking for long term objectives

    How's that for a start...............
    BTW you can apply that list to almost any problem in America at this time.
    Last edited by thekid; 09-19-2009 at 06:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey

    Last night was watching C-Span, and five of top CEO and VP from medical insurance companies were testifying in front of a committee. One congressman ask them how much compensation (beside salary) they are getting and non of them would say anything. So he asked them again. Finally when push comes to shove, one lady VP said she get $700,000, and another said $500,000.

    Now, how that would set with a family that is losing their house (or declaring bankruptcy) because of medical bills they can’t afford. Or a guy that don’t have insurance but is badly in need of medical care.
    500k to 700k ain't really nothin when compared to the average CEO package...but then again, why would anyone look at the perspectives of the issue...it's easy just to rail against perceived inequity...I wonder, how much in insurance premiums does the average doctor pay.

    Bottom line, if you are 40 or under and a citizen, you are misguided if you support the current health care reform initiatives.

  7. #7
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Bottom line, if you are 40 or under and a citizen, you are misguided if you support the current health care reform initiatives.
    Given that majority of those who are uninsured fall under that catagory, what would be more misguided than not being insured?

    The real question probably is how it would effect those that are insured. May be you can shed more light on that.

  8. #8
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    The real question probably is how it would effect those that are insured. May be you can shed more light on that.
    To me that's the million (or billions) dollar question........

    I have always argued that by default we already have a type universal health care in this country only it is called medicare/medicaid. It only kicks in when you are in the poor house and in an emergency situation and is the most expensive type of care given and in an inefficient manner. If you in effect eliminate this form of universal health care and replace it with a true universal health care system you will, in theory, eliminate a good deal of costs associated with the current application of medicare/medicaid. However the problem IMO of the proposed health care reforms is that they talk about adding coverages but none of them talk about cutting costs or reforming inefficiences. Administrative costs for healthcare in almost all of the rest of the world run on average around 4%-7% in the US they average around 17%. Now remember this is just admin costs-no real heath care is being provided/affected in this area. Congress could/should mandate a limit on admin fees which could mean an immediate 10% reduction in costs and (again in theory) help allow for the absorption of the additional insured under a universal health care system. Passing a law like this however would be viewed by many as socialist or smack of the government running health care. What is the role of government when an industry or the marketplace fails to work efficiently?

    Our current system allows for inefficiences to exist and be passed onto to the consumer. Now some here will argue that the marketplace will take care of that because someone else will come along with a more efficient-cost effective plan and replace the costlier less efficient plan. But the reality is that the health care companies, like alot of other business' where competition was supposed to lower cost, have just carved up the business and a few major and regional players reap the rewards. This segmated market allows for costs to be increased disproportionate to inflation and results in either benefits being cut or more uninsured hitting the streets.

    The way I see it we need to reform health care now only if it includes serious efforts to cut/control costs. The alternative is to wait until the current system produces so many uninsured that they completely overwhelm medicare/medicaid at a cost 10 times higher than the cost of reform. Since meaningful reform will require hard choices and intelligent thinking by our politicians and the proposed reforms just rearrange the status quo which one do you think will get passed?

  9. #9
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Thanks Kid for a thoughtful post which I also agree with. The theme of universal health care should be cost cutting (as you said it is rising exponentialy), and if that is not the goal, then why bother.
    Last edited by Smokey; 09-20-2009 at 07:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    IMO it seems to boil down to two major categories
    1) There are those who have worked their butts off to get ahead. They have been paying high insurance bills for years and don't like the idea of having to also pay the bills of people who opt not to buy insurance, or wait until they are sick to want to join in.
    2) People who also work their butts off, but still can't afford insurance.

    Then you get the sub categories:

    1b) People who are so filthy rich that they could afford to chip in for the people who don't have as much.
    2b) Lazy ass people who could have worked for a living but choose to work the system instead.

    The people in cat 1 always point to cat 2b.
    The people in cat 2 always point to the people in cat 1b.
    The people in 1b and 2b don't give a rats ass about anybody else. They just want what they want when they want it. Screw everyone else.
    And nobody is willing to listen to anything said by the other side.
    Nothing gets done, or worse, the wrong thing gets done.

    Do I seem a little bitter today?
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    No. You seem logical today.

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekid
    The way I see it we need to reform health care now only if it includes serious efforts to cut/control costs. The alternative is to wait until the current system produces so many uninsured that they completely overwhelm medicare/medicaid at a cost 10 times higher than the cost of reform. Since meaningful reform will require hard choices and intelligent thinking by our politicians and the proposed reforms just rearrange the status quo which one do you think will get passed?
    Your whole post was great, but I singled this part out because it's an actual solution. Profits need to be cut to a reasonable percentage.
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  13. #13
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I'd vote for GM as president based on these two posts alone. so far, he's pointed out the various camps better than anyone else so far.

    But, think there should be a sepatate category for those that can afford insurance (either filthy rich or work hard) and simply choose to not jump into the insurance pool because they can't see themself needing it.

    It should be looked upon as an expense like auto insurance, rent, food, etc...

    Personally, we're in category 1, but barely, and we pay a premium through work, but it does provide quite well for us. I don't want to sacrifice quality to save a few $$ and, my spidey sense telle me that this as-yet-proposed plan will do the former and exactly the opposite of the latter.

  14. #14
    3LB
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    Well, I live 25 minutes from the Canadian border, and those Canucks that can afford better, won't touch Canada's public healthcare with a ten-foot pole, medical or dental...why? I can assume a lot of things, but you know what they say when you 'assume'...you get a new national monument. But the fact that Canadians are coming to a free market, non-controlled environment for healthcare when they're supposed to have free healthcare at home...well, that's very telling to me.

    I had free healthcare in the Navy...dear gods, I hope that's not the template...
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    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    I'd vote for GM as president based on these two posts alone. so far, he's pointed out the various camps better than anyone else so far.

    .

    Thanks for your vote, but I won't run. Mostly because I don't want to get my name drug through the mud in public. I have a record, and I inhaled.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Thanks for your vote, but I won't run. Mostly because I don't want to get my name drug through the mud in public. I have a record, and I inhaled.
    Does Medicare/Medicaid pay for "Medical Marajuana"?

  17. #17
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB
    Well, I live 25 minutes from the Canadian border, and those Canucks that can afford better, won't touch Canada's public healthcare with a ten-foot pole, medical or dental...why? I can assume a lot of things, but you know what they say when you 'assume'...you get a new national monument. But the fact that Canadians are coming to a free market, non-controlled environment for healthcare when they're supposed to have free healthcare at home...well, that's very telling to me.

    I had free healthcare in the Navy...dear gods, I hope that's not the template...
    I've been following this thread because I knew that, at some point, someone would drag Canada into this.

    The Canadian healthcare system is largely misunderstood by Americans from what I can tell. And if you think that you’re going to learn about it by watching a Michael Moore movie, think again.

    Dental is not covered by our public healthcare system (with the exception of Quebec, I think). And I seriously doubt that there are any Canadians that “won’t touch Canada’s public healthcare with a ten-foot pole”.

    Our system is far from perfect. And there are extreme cases where Canadians may hop the border and pay to have certain tests run or receive certain treatments faster than they can be done here. In fact, I'm even aware of a few situations where Canadians have been sent to the US for treatment and our gov't paid for it (usually it's to receive a drug or treatment not yet approved here...red tape). But, for the most part, our public system works. In 43 years, I have never had to pay for a doctor’s appointment or trip to the emergency room. I can see my doctor as often as I need (currently weekly, while I recover from bronchitis) and never have to worry about how the bill will be paid.

    I am free to change jobs and not worry about losing my medical insurance (although we do have employer sponsored insurance that covers prescription medication and other items that our public health care does not cover).

    I can see any doctor that I want to. No one tells me where I can and can’t get treatment.

    If I need a specialist, I see a specialist. I don’t worry about how to pay the specialist.

    If I need surgery, I get surgery. I don’t worry about how to pay for the surgery.

    I don’t have to designate any of my income to paying for medical insurance. Yes, I pay taxes but I’m willing to bet that the per cent of my tax going to medical coverage is less than many of you pay for private insurance.

    I admit that I don’t know a lot about your private health care system or the proposal being put forward for a public system. And if I've said anything here that is incorrect, I apologize and welcome the correction. But don’t bad mouth the Canadian system with anecdotal bull****. 3LB, if you have specific examples then lets hear them. But so far your post sounds like nothing more than the ignorant fear mongering that I’ve been hearing in your media.

    I’d be very interested in hearing opinions from someone who's lived with both systems (Kex?).

    P.S. If you have any questions about living with universal health care in Canada, I'm happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge. Also, this post is not intended to be interpreted as an opinion for or against whatever happens in the US. I don't really care what y'all do. I just had to respond to 3LBs post.
    Last edited by ForeverAutumn; 09-21-2009 at 10:24 AM.

  18. #18
    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by FA
    And there are extreme cases where Canadians may hop the border and pay to have certain tests run or receive certain treatments faster than they can be done here.
    Specifics? Well, according to sources at three different medical providers in my area, they said Canadian patients account for a quarter of their clients...now maybe these are extreme cases, I dunno, but I have talked to Canadians who weren't pleased with the quality of care they were recieving in Canada, or waiting for care, etc. Maybe they were being picky. One of these places I actually worked for and they were, for the most part, a medical center (not a hospital).

    Quote Originally Posted by FA
    But so far your post sounds like nothing more than the ignorant fear mongering that I’ve been hearing in your media.
    I don't know what media outlet you're referring to...these are my own observations based on my own experiences, so there is no one to quote, no links to post, no anecdotes, and no reason to doubt what "people from that country tell me about that country". Perhaps its wrong to quantify or qualify their remarks as consensus, or anyone elses for that matter. All I said was it was telling for me that people who could get free mecial care (there) were eschewing it for care for which they had to pay out of pocket - since these were the only Canadians I met at (then) Madrona Medical, my perception could be ascew.

    Again, this was an observation, not an opinion. I've not recieved medical care in any other country but the US, so I can't make direct comparisons to refute what I've heard from those who have.
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    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    IMO it seems to boil down to two major categories
    1) There are those who have worked their butts off to get ahead. They have been paying high insurance bills for years and don't like the idea of having to also pay the bills of people who opt not to buy insurance, or wait until they are sick to want to join in.
    2) People who also work their butts off, but still can't afford insurance.

    Then you get the sub categories:

    1b) People who are so filthy rich that they could afford to chip in for the people who don't have as much.
    2b) Lazy ass people who could have worked for a living but choose to work the system instead.

    The people in cat 1 always point to cat 2b.
    The people in cat 2 always point to the people in cat 1b.
    The people in 1b and 2b don't give a rats ass about anybody else. They just want what they want when they want it. Screw everyone else.
    And nobody is willing to listen to anything said by the other side.
    Nothing gets done, or worse, the wrong thing gets done.
    While at work for a small telecom company, one of my co-workers chimed in a conversation being bantied about the need for national healthcare in the US. This conversation had started about the same time the E-coli outbreak occured in the early '90s - in my very own neck of the woods, Bellingham WA, a small child succumbed to e-coli poisoning from Jack In The Box. I fergit all the particulars, but this family became a sort of poster child for healthcare (guess which political party). Of course they were interviewed ad nauseum regarding their terrible loss and of course hospital bills came up and everyone watching knew they were going to sue the piss outta J-N-B. (of course I know this was of little consolation to them). Anyway, this former co-worker of mine chimes in and says that if this underclassed family did without medical insurance during their pregnancy or anytime afterward, it was due to their own lack of initiative. He then told us that both his kids' births were covered by situational welfare, something which he said he had to do his own legwork for, but nonetheless was qualified for and did recieve. He also divulged that he had welfare-paid health insurance on his kids. He said it took some effort, lots of paperwork before during and afterward, but he didn't pay anything for his kids insurance. He lived in a house with an FHA assisted loan. He found some sort of gov't assisted loan for a car (still never understood that one). The job where we worked at the time (DBA Communications - David Bensted & Assc) did not offer healthcare, or much in the way of pay either, FWIW.

    No, the situational welfare I touch upon above is certainly not as convenient as having an institution in place, but it does exist; its just that there is no one is there to lead one by the hand...I guess whether or not that's a bad thing is totally subjective.
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  20. #20
    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by FA
    I've been following this thread because I knew that, at some point, someone would drag Canada into this.
    it was inevitable, given Canada's proximity to the US and status as 'developed nation with large land area and population' who also has national healthcare. If Canada's healthcare is the success story you say it is, then a comparison is all the more warranted.

    I can't make an assessment of how Canadian gov't is percieved within its own borders regarding its own tax revenue, but we here in the US have every reason to believe that our own gov't could screw up anything, no matter how noble and/or basic it seems. I personally do not like the notion that healthcare is considered a fundimental birthright rather than the financial sacrifice that it seems it going to be...on someone's behalf. Of course, it ain't like we haven't spent the same amount money elsewhere on other uhh, stuff. Just to pile on, our national security is provided by a publically funded gov't entity, and lord knows how efficiently they spend money
    Last edited by 3LB; 09-21-2009 at 01:48 PM.
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  21. #21
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    props to Smokey for having the guts to pose the question.

    My views are very narrowly defined by what I see in my profession and what I've experienced personally. In my profession I constantly see medical bills, particularly hospital bills that vary widely based on whether the patient is insured. Typically, the person who is NOT insured is billed 3X the amount that the hospital accepts from the health insurance carrier of the person who is insured for the same services. This may make sense from a bean counter's perspective based on number of patients insured by the carrier with whom the hospital has a contract (but I can't explain it), but from the consumer's standpoint paying 3 times the amount an insured is billed (the insured doesn't actually pay the one-third bill, but pays a deductible based on a percentage of the reduced bill) is a ticket to bankruptcy. A person working a manual labor job that doesn't offer health insurance (we have a lot of those in my area) could actually afford health services if he or she was billed the same amount that an insured person's health insurance company is billed for the same service, albeit the manual laborer may need to pay off the bill over time. Is the actual value of health services closer to what the health care provider accepts from the insurance company or is the value closer to what the provider bills the uninsured individual? If we address health care costs, I think we need to start with establishing the true costs.

    On a personal level, my effin credit report is littered with medical charges for miniascule amounts (after insurance has paid its share) because I get the hospital and related bills from radiologists, doctors groups, etc. (for my kids mostly) many months after the service and I can't remember what the hell they're for so they go in a drawer that rarely sees the light of day. I need a personal bookkeeper, bad.

  22. #22
    3LB
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    On a personal level, my effin credit report is littered with medical charges for miniascule amounts (after insurance has paid its share) because I get the hospital and related bills from radiologists, doctors groups, etc. (for my kids mostly) many months after the service and I can't remember what the hell they're for so they go in a drawer that rarely sees the light of day. I need a personal bookkeeper, bad.
    funny, I spent the better part of my day putting out little medical bill fires - we have a flexible spending account (which is deducted monthly from my wife's paychecks) that we use to suppliment our insurance, i.e., whatever the insurnace doesn't pay, we can use the flexfund to cover. But the company providing the service needs the actual bill to pay out the charges, and the providers won't double bill. Sometimes our flexfund will reject a charge because they didn't get the right info, the right code, the right form, blah blah blah, so I spend a day on the phone trying to fix it...what would we do if I actually worked and didn't have all day to fuss with this stuff?
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    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    props to Smokey for having the guts to pose the question.

    My views are very narrowly defined by what I see in my profession and what I've experienced personally. In my profession I constantly see medical bills, particularly hospital bills that vary widely based on whether the patient is insured. Typically, the person who is NOT insured is billed 3X the amount that the hospital accepts from the health insurance carrier of the person who is insured for the same services. This may make sense from a bean counter's perspective based on number of patients insured by the carrier with whom the hospital has a contract (but I can't explain it), but from the consumer's standpoint paying 3 times the amount an insured is billed (the insured doesn't actually pay the one-third bill, but pays a deductible based on a percentage of the reduced bill) is a ticket to bankruptcy. A person working a manual labor job that doesn't offer health insurance (we have a lot of those in my area) could actually afford health services if he or she was billed the same amount that an insured person's health insurance company is billed for the same service, albeit the manual laborer may need to pay off the bill over time. Is the actual value of health services closer to what the health care provider accepts from the insurance company or is the value closer to what the provider bills the uninsured individual? If we address health care costs, I think we need to start with establishing the true costs.

    On a personal level, my effin credit report is littered with medical charges for miniascule amounts (after insurance has paid its share) because I get the hospital and related bills from radiologists, doctors groups, etc. (for my kids mostly) many months after the service and I can't remember what the hell they're for so they go in a drawer that rarely sees the light of day. I need a personal bookkeeper, bad.
    Hey Dean, Good to see ya.

    When my wife had our baby, the hospital billed the insurance company over $98,000. The insurance company paid them $17,000. We ended up paying a little over $5,000. Then we got reimbursed for about $3000 of it. The system is a little strange fo sure.

    There went my upgrades
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    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Hey Dean, Good to see ya.

    When my wife had our baby, the hospital billed the insurance company over $98,000. The insurance company paid them $17,000. We ended up paying a little over $5,000. Then we got reimbursed for about $3000 of it. The system is a little strange fo sure.

    There went my upgrades
    Yeah, I don't really get it.

    I was a gov't employee (clerk for the FBI) when my son was born. All the health insurance plans we could choose from offered maternity coverage even though my (first) wife was pregnant when I signed on. My son had complications at birth, was sent to Virginia Commonwealth University Hosp. and had what was at the time an experimental procedure performed which saved his life. (He's been fine since.) Needless to say, all of that was expensive and my annual salary at the time was $12,500. I was able to set up payments on the balance that I owed after insurance which I paid off when my son was about 3 years old. I have to remind him on occasion that he could've been repo'ed at anytime between birth and 3.

  25. #25
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB
    it was inevitable, given Canada's proximity to the US and status as 'developed nation with large land area and population' who also has national healthcare. If Canada's healthcare is the success story you say it is, then a comparison is all the more warranted.

    I can't make an assessment of how Canadian gov't is percieved within its own borders regarding its own tax revenue, but we here in the US have every reason to believe that our own gov't could screw up anything, no matter how noble and/or basic it seems. I personally do not like the notion that healthcare is considered a fundimental birthright rather than the financial sacrifice that it seems it going to be...on someone's behalf. Of course, it ain't like we haven't spent the same amount money elsewhere on other uhh, stuff. Just to pile on, our national security is provided by a publically funded gov't entity, and lord knows how efficiently they spend money
    I understand that. And I don't blame you for your suspicion about having the gov't run your health care. But having been raised with public healthcare, I just can't imagine not having it. As I said, our system is not perfect. There can be long waits for treatment sometimes if your need is not critical. Critical needs are always taken care of quickly. But if I was told that I had to wait for a test to confirm an illness, I'd be in Buffalo the next day...for sure. So, is it really that much different than the US system in that respect? Those who can afford it get better treatment...they just don't get it here. I'm not disagreeing with you in that respect. Its the day to day and emergency treatment that I was referring to.

    If it makes you feel any better, I've been told by the elders that we had the same resistance here when universal health care was first introduced in the 50s and 60s.

    Personally, I think that there can be a happy medium between the two systems. But for now I'll sit back and let you all fight it out in your own country.

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