Hijack: Medical care and misconceptions

ceph

Not at all stepfamily related, but Stargazer hit a nerve.

I HATE the term "socialized medicine". What a ridiculous, fear-mongering phrase.

Tell me, honestly, which you think is better:

a) You have to pay thousands of dollars a year for insurance, in addition to your taxes. You can probably get essential or non-essential surgeries right away. A large number of your fellow citizens don't have the money to get insurance and are deprived of proper medical care.

b) Your health insurance is included with your taxes, and therefore is dependent upon your income. You may have to wait a year to get a non-essential surgery, but essential surgeries will still be very prompt. Everyone in the entire country, regardless of the financial situation, has access to proper medical care.

No medical system is perfect, but I like the security of that I cannot be denied health care because I cannot afford it.

Here's an example of why I like our system:

About 20 years ago, a friend of my family had a triple bypass surgery. It cost him $2.55 (he wanted to upgrade his hospital lunch one day because he didn't like the free option that day). A few months later, on an airplane, he met a guy from the States who had the exact same surgery. He inquired of our friend "Can I ask how much yours cost? My insurance didn't provide me full coverage, so I had to pay some of my own costs."

He chuckled about the $2.55 bill the hospital asked him to settle upon going home, and he thought his seatmate was going to punch him... The other guy's cost $66000 and some odd. They had to sell their house and move in with their kids to pay for it.

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kkny

With all due respect, there is no such thing as a free lunch. I like our system. And, at the risk of getting flamed, how many, or what % of those without insurance are not my fellow citizens, but illegal aliens. The poorest people here qualify for govt programs, they may not get great care, but my guess is what they get is comparable to many overseas places. The elderly get Medicare, and I am reasonably happy with what my mother gets.

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Vivian Kaufman

I've worked in the healthcare industry for over 20 years now and I think that our system is pretty darn good.

Certainly not perfect, but what is?

I have no desire for any sort for socialized medicine.

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ashley1979

I agree with Vivian and KKNY on this one. I have a perfectly normal working body and don't mind providing insurance for my family. Sure it's not cheap, but if we find ourselves down-and-out, there's govt. assistance. I used it when I was pregnant and it worked well for us. But as soon as I got my finances in order, I wanted to get off the govt. assistance. I'm sure I've paid in FAR more than I used by now. I live in a border state and I agree that a lot of the poor people that don't have insurance (medical, auto or otherwise) are illegal.

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finedreams

i don't know who gets gov.assistance. to get government assistance you need to be beyond poor. i did not have medical insurance at some point because i could not get a job with insurance, I applied for medicaid for my daughter and was denied it because apparently i was making too much. i was making very little, i could barely survive, so i am not sure what means too much. i got into a lot of debt because i happened to not have insurance at some point and needed medical care, i ended up buying some stupid medical plan that saved me nothing.

i do like my insurance now, but i am aware of how many people (legal) do not have insurance or have to pay horrible premiums.

DD lives in UK and gets to clinic any time she needs to for free. not only she gets free care, she also gets free medication.

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imamommy

Good luck with government assistance, it sucks. I slaved for the government so my kids would have health insurance and when I resigned, we went about two years (26 months) with no insurance at all, until I got married and my husbands insurance covered us. But, during that 26 months, my son was diagnosed with a tumor in his jaw and I spent thousands on his medical treatment. We would have qualified for government aid, but none of the doctors accept it. (He was going to specialists for his tumor) and the final surgery was put off so that he could have it done AFTER my husband and I got married so the insurance would pick up the hospital bill. The surgery alone would have cost well over $50k. (just the OR was $22k) plus a week in UCSF. I let my husband's insurance pay and he got medi-cal to pay the rest, but I chose to pay cash for all his pre-surgical visits because the quality of care is much better when you have cash or private insurance than government benefits. (at least it seems that way in CA)

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imamommy

I think US government medical assistance is better than nothing but generally sucks. Illegal aliens?? What does that have to do with it? They can qualify for 'emergency only' aid that covers life threatening emergencies.

Generally if the poor cannot afford treatment, they end up in ER's and unless the ER turns them away (and some will not or cannot) then their bills are left unpaid and that contributes to an increase in the cost that the hospitals charge because they need to make it up from the paying customers. Those that have private insurance, well if the private insurance company is being charged more to make up for poor people that can't pay, then in turn, the insurance company turns around and increases your premium. It's getting paid one way or another.

I like plan B. I've always believed that welfare benefits (and in this case, medical insurance) should be done using the same system they use for unemployment or state disability, you work.. pay into it and when you need it, it's there. I'm convinced social security is being drained by people that aren't truly 'disabled' but living on social security disability benefits when they could do some kind of work. I saw way too many people living off it, and families where all their kids are diagnosed ADHD and on SSI. Parents living off their kids, but that's another subject.

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stargazzer

My sons don't care if they have insurance or not, they are never denied health care. I wouldn't want to live that way, I want to be responsible for myself and my family. My husband's double bypass surgery cost over $100,000 and our insurance paid it all.

by the way, hospitals will cut the price if you pay out of pocket.

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finedreams

I don't know too many people who can pay for medical care out of their pocket. When I did not have insurance, I paid for regular doctor's visits and some minor tests done, but I had to charge everything else such as more expensive tests and minor surgery, that's how I ended up with debt. I don't know anyone who has 100K or even 10K laying around to pay for hospital stay or surgery.

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theotherside

Ceph,

I would much prefer option B. I have known too many people who were among the working poor or even among the middle class who did without medical insurance because they could not afford it. Nobody should be denied medical care because of their inability to pay. There are far too many people in that vast middle area who make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to be able to afford private medical insurance.

Massachusetts is making progress toward providing universal health insurance - there are still a lot of problems with the programs, but they are a step in the right direction.

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mom_of_4

I absolutely do not care for our medical system!! and I do not agree with KK or viv... I am or was rather one of those folks who fall into the middle which means we dont make enough money to afford insurance or health care but apparently we make to much money to qualify for any sort of assistance.... That is the major probelm with the system the richer are good the poorer are good the mid... not so much ...actually not at all!!!

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catlettuce

I also worked in the medical field for the past 20 yr.s and am definately hoping for some type of universal health care. Yes, I agree Massachusetts has made a lot of progress towards that goal.

I too fall in the middle, when I was unemployed for a yr due to a injury that made it impossible for me to work as nurse I became very ill, required immediate treatment and am still paying for it 5 yr.s later. I paid into the "system" but the system wasn't there for me and DH & I made to much to qualify for any aid, yet not enough to pay premiums for health insurance or cobra. Lot's of middle class folks are in the same situation and it's inexcusable imho that any tax paying citizen or child go without medical care in the U.S.. Perhaps if we stopped financing wars we could give our citzens (and soldiers) proper healthcare but that's a whole different post.

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nicksmom

I have been a nurse for 17 years, and think our great nation is in desperate need of a healthcare overhaul. I recently had a 4 day hospital stay, which included surgery and several radiology procedures. The bills have just started rolling in, and so far we're up to about $13K. Now, I'm lucky that I have wonderful insurance through my husband, but I can't imagine what we'd do if we were without good insurance. My bill will probably top out at about $25K, and if we had insurance through my employer, we'd be responsible for $5K...not exactly pocket change. Even that would put us in a bind.

My son lived in Europe for a year, and even at 19 he realized that they had a much more usable system. Nobody waited for emergency/urgent surgery or attention. One of his friends had appendicitis, and was quickly admitted, had surgery, recovered for a week in the hospital before he went home. He recognized that most people worked and thus paid into the health ins. system.

The way of life there seemed more like something we should strive for here.

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quirk

We have socialized medicine now, just only for certain people.

We (taxpayers) subsidize employer-sponsored health care through tax breaks to the employers. We (taxpayers) fully pay for Medicare for the elderly. However, if you're not elderly and either unemployed or employed by someone who doesn't provide insurance, you get nada in help from the government until you become poor enough for Medicaid.

There are valid arguments for and against universal health care (I'm more inclined to the "for" side of the equation, but I recognize and undertand arguments to the contrary), but the hybrid (and not even remotely free-market) system we have now is simply unfair.

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ceph

This is an interesting variety of viewpoints.
Thanks ladies.

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stargazzer

My husband's ex wife is the one I was speaking of who bargained with the hospital for a cut in her bill. It wasn't a $100,000 it was just 4 or 5 thousand. They cut it down to almost half.

People without insurance need to check insurance for hospital care only and pay the doctors out of pocket. Any hospital stay will be paid and so will follow up doctor bills. I don't know how much that cost, but our friends did that between jobs.

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sweeby

"I HATE the term "socialized medicine". What a ridiculous, fear-mongering phrase."

I agree completely! And IMO, our medical system SUCKS! Sorry to be rude, but it just doesn't work. I'm self-employed, as is my husband, and our health insurance costs over $1,000 per month. And it's lousy. There are loopholes whenever a bill comes in and we end up paying almost all of it ourselves. Thank goodness we're healthy.

Yet my mother, who just lost a long battle with cancer, paid only about $400 in medical expenses for who know how many $$ thousands in treatment and tests. She even turned down a lot of tests because she didn't feel they were fiscally responsible. (Free to her -- just not responsible to ask the taxpayers to pay for PET scan after PET scan.)

The US health care system is the most advanced in the world when it comes to expensive, cutting edge testing and treatment -- but at what cost? And at what benefit? Better routine and preventative care would be much cheaper, and much more effective for the vast majority of Americans.

There are too many pieces of the healthcare pie going to too many different players -- most of them paper-pushers. When drug sales reps earn more than doctors, then something's wrong with our healthcare system.

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kkny

Sweeby,

Condolensces re your mother.

However, $1000 per month is what health insurance costs, whether you pay or your employer pays. Actually it is on the low end where I live. The only difference is the tax benefit, which McCain would address. But when an employer pays, dont kid yourself, that is just another employee cost. Many self-employeed people make choices of self-employment over work, talk about how great they are doing, but then say oh, except for insurance, etc.

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kathline

I have lived in Canada, which has universal health care, and I have lived in the USA, which does not.

The Canadian system works well, except it tends to have a lot of people who run to the doctor for every little thing , because it doesnt cost them anything.

The American system works well if you have good insurance, and can afford the co-pay. Currently we pay 300 dollars per month for a family plan, with all well child and preventative checkups being at no charge, and a 20 percent copay on the rest, co-pay capped at 5k a year, and the insurance doesnt kick in until the first 1000k is paid out of pocket. Because my husband makes over 150k a year, the co-pay is a none issue to us.

BUT

He has the same insurance plan as everyone else at his company. The person making 30k also pays 300 per month in premiums for a family plan, and a 20 percent copay.They also have to pay the first 1000 out of pocket.

I think people who are working people, but do not make high incomes, have a very difficult time with the American System. It does indeed force some people to choose between rent and health insurance. I personally have met people who stay on social assistance rather than work at a lower paying job, because if they chose to work, they would lose their medicare.

A large portion of the problem with AMerican health care is the fact that it is so paperwork heavy. Its amazing to me that the United States government spends a considerably higher percentage of money per person on health care than any other country, and yet has a large number of people uninsured, and an even larger number underinsured or precariously insured. Most of the health care dollars in the USA are eaten up in administration costs.

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sweeby

"I personally have met people who stay on social assistance rather than work at a lower paying job, because if they chose to work, they would lose their medicare."

That's so wrong! But it happens because the 'system' makes it happen. And in fact, my own son, (who has a disability), may have to make that choice because the types of employment he will probably be able to get typically don't offer health insurance. If he were to earn even a little too much, the loss of government benefits would far offset the minimal increase in his wages.

"Paperwork heavy" - That's exactly what it is.

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imamommy

When I started working for social services in 1994, I paid about $152 a month to cover my kids (It was free for me as an employee benefit). That was $10 copays with no deductible. GREAT COVERAGE! A few years later, they changed it to give employees a 'raise' and make us pay our own insurance. That increased our taxable income and then I was paying $352 a month to cover me and my kids. The copay also increased to $20. By the time I resigned in 2004, I was paying $380 just for me, I could no longer afford to cover my kids. My copay was $20 and I had to cover the first $1500 a year and 20% of some treatments in addition to my copay. IT SUCKED. Since the main reason I stayed there was to give my kids insurance, it was a factor in my leaving. Even though we were uninsured for 26 months, the bills I paid in cash for my son's tumor were less than I would have paid in premiums in that time period. One option for the uninsured, is a medical saving account/plan.

My dad also pays over $1000 a month for his insurance (just him and his wife) and still spends well over $3000 a month on her care.

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kkny

I pay 85 per month for medical and 55 for dental (the dental is the cadillac of dental plans, which I use, numerous cap problems etc. -- the company has a cheaper plan also) This is just for me, it would be double if I put DD on policy. $25 co-pays, if you stay in network (many, many doctors in network), no paperwork. I just bring my card, show it, and pay the 25 when I leave. Right now the big issue at my job is raising the age that dependents can stay on mom or dads policy to 28.

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Ashley

Do you know how taxes would increase if taxpayers were expected to foot the bill for medical care of all Americans? It's hard enough these days to get ahead when the goverment takes such a large chunk of our paychecks!

I wonder how many of these "poor" people who can't afford insurance, but make too much to qualify for government aid have cell phones, computers and cable TV.

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Ashley

How many people do you know that have actually been denied of health care that they needed? I doubt that you know any because although they will be billed for it later, the system does not deny anybody healthcare that they need.

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imamommy

Not true....

I took my son to the ER of the same hospital where he was born and closer to our home when he was about 3. (He had a high fever of 103) We did not have insurance and I told them I would make cash payments but did not have cash to pay the bill in full right then and there. They turned us away and told me that we had to go to the hospital across town that takes indigent people. We were sent to a facility that was dirty and so full of waiting patients, that we had to wait for HOURS to be seen. It was morning when we finally left. The other hospital was clean and he could have been seen right away and been home in bed an hour or two later. If I had been able to pay in cash, he would have been seen. They were not willing to 'bill' me for ANY of it.

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Ashley

But he wasn't denied health care, you just had to go somewhere you would've preferred not to go to.

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imamommy

he WAS denied health care by the first hospital. He was not denied health care at the other hospital. People have died en route to the next hospital because the first one said no. There is always going to be a hospital that will take you, but when a hospital turns you away, THEY ARE DENYING YOU HEALTH CARE. (especially when you are turned away by the hospital that your pediatrician practices at and it in closer proximity to your residence)

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imamommy

"Do you know how taxes would increase if taxpayers were expected to foot the bill for medical care of all Americans?"

The insured are ALREADY footing the bill for the uninsured. They are doing it by way of higher premiums and less coverage.

"Generally if the poor cannot afford treatment, they end up in ER's and unless the ER turns them away (and some will not or cannot) then their bills are left unpaid and that contributes to an increase in the cost that the hospitals charge because they need to make it up from the paying customers. Those that have private insurance, well if the private insurance company is being charged more to make up for poor people that can't pay, then in turn, the insurance company turns around and increases your premium. It's getting paid one way or another."

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Ashley

If we socialize medical care in this country, all the hospitals will be similar to the one that took your son and those of us who foot the bill for it will be forced into crowded waiting rooms in places that are not as clean as we would prefer. When healthcare becomes free, people will take advantage of it and they will show up in emergency rooms when the condition is not an emergency.

Lets not forget all of the Canadians that cross our border every year to pay for medical care in this country that they cannot recieve in their own country. I do not want our country's medical system to be reduced to the level of other countries and that is what would happen. In this country we have access to the best care the medical field has to offer. People fly to the U.S. from all over the world because of our world class doctors.

Lets also not forget that the reasons insurance is so expensive is because the government has mandated that we be covered for things we may not necessarily need or want. For example, insurance providors are mandiated to cover women for pregnancy even if they are unable to get pregnant, do not plan to get pregnant and do not want the coverage. It's completely rediculous to think that more government involvement will solve anything! When the government gets involved it just screws up the free market in ways that can never be resolved. If you don't believe me, just take a look at the posts above. People are better off staying home and not trying to work or have a job because the free ride is more convenient than working for a living. Meanwhile those of us paying taxes foot the bill.

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kkny

Yes, the insured and the taxpayers are footing the bill for the uninsured. I do believe the quality of care for the insured is less -- my guess is the quality of care overseas is likely somewhere between the US well insured and the uninsured.

Ima, you went on in the past how you got by without CS. I think that when parents dont pay CS and it at least partially results in lack of medical coverage for children, that is a problem.

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kathline

"Lets not forget all of the Canadians that cross our border every year to pay for medical care in this country that they cannot recieve in their own country. I do not want our country's medical system to be reduced to the level of other countries and that is what would happen. In this country we have access to the best care the medical field has to offer. People fly to the U.S. from all over the world because of our world class doctors. "

I normally wouldnt respond to something like this, because I think the AMerican system works fine, for people who are well insured, and that the rest of it could be fixed if there were a way to cut down on paperwork, which eats up most of the money.

BUT, as a Canadian, living in America, I have to say, a lot of Americans have serious misconceptions about Canadian health care. Canadians, as a rule, do NOT cross the border to pay for care in the United States. Occasionalyy in some specific instances, Canadians do get treatment in the USA for an urgent condition, but its still FULLY FUNDED. An example would be if someone needed a specialized service not readily available in the hometown of the person, their doctor would send them to a nearby state, but the provincial government in Canada would STILL pay the bill. It costs Canadians nothing out of pocket. Period. In fact, their travel expenses for such a visit are also covered.

The country of Canada has only 33 million people, and its the largest country in the world geographically. Its not fiscally responsible to have an MRI machine in every clinic, since the volumne of patients is not sufficient to support it.

As has been previously states, any urgent care or emergency care is instant. I had cancer in my twenties. I was booked for surgery within a week. One of my sons is disabled and has had to have orthopedic surgery several times. No wait.

But, if someone wishes to have an elective procedure, say a sterilization, then they may wait a few months. Big deal.

Why dont we talk about the bus tours of senior Americans who flood the border towns for weekend jaunts to get prescription drugs?

Or the people in the United States who have to get preauthorized to see a doctor or their plan wont pay?

Canadians also have many misconceptions about the united States health care plan. We hear stories about personal bankruptcy due to medical bills. We hear that a full quarter of the population of the USA is uninsured or has precarious insurance. I personally know several people who pay in excess of twenty percent of their income for health premiums.

The United States spends a higher per capita amount on health care than any other country, and yet working people are uninsured. Thats just wrong. The reason isnt because the care is not available. The reason, or reasons, lie in th efact that American Health care is not cost effective. The paperwork involved in American Health care is unbelievably cumbersome. Every physician, every medical dept in the hospital, every service is billed individually. Its a backlog and a mess of filling out forms.

Another reason health care is a mess in the USA is because doctors here are so afraid of being sued. They over prescribe tests, that are not really necessary, because they have a one in two chance of being sued for malpractice during the course of their career, and they want to cover their butts. Americans are the most sue happy people I have ever met. If ANYTHING goes wrong, in any area of their life, it must be SOMEONES fault and they deserve money for it. Statistically the average american has a one in four chance of being privately sued.

Doctors in Canada have a one in ten thousand chance of being sued during their career. Maybe it would be a good idea to get the lawsuits under control to cut down on some of the need for docs to pay horrific insurance premiums, and thus lower the cost of health care.

Lest you STILL think the United States has the best system in the world... the lifespan in Canada is a full five years longer than the lifespan in America. Why? Maybe one factor is because Americans wait until something becomes an issue before they go to the doctor, because they are afraid of the cost.

In fact, of the 28 OCDE countries, the United States ranks 17th in life expectancy.

Stop drinking the koolaid and believing everything that the propogandists want you to believe. 95% of Canadians value their health care system as their number one benefit , and even suggesting going to an American style system is political suicide . No one in Canada can get elected if they favour private health care.

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kkny

Has it ever occured to you that becuase Americans pay more for drugs WE are financing drug research? Research that benefits people around the world. And has it occurred to you that the US has a much more diverse population than Canada, with a myriad of issues.

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kathline

Im not arguing that kkny. But imo there is something wrong when seniors cant afford their medications. Or when it costs 28 dollars for a three month supply of thyroid medication in Louisana, and it only costs 3 dollars for the same medication in Saskatchewan. New drugs, cutting edge drugs, I can see the need for excessive cost. Old standby drugs like levothyroxine...thats gouging. I dont have to pay for it, our insurance pays. But for someone without insurance, how on earth do they afford it?

There is also the issue, which is a whole other topic, of how everything is a "syndrome" promoted on television, and can be cured with a pill. I think people are convinced they are ill just by watching the commercials at times.

Again, the United States has very good health care, for people who can afford the insurance. The people who are on social assistance also have very good insurance, paid for by the tax payer. The people who suffer are the low income earners - the walmart clerks and the fast food people, who have to pay a disproportionate amount of their income for health premiums, and out of pocket health costs, or do without.

I actually am impressed by the mass. plan, as it addresses some of the problems with low wage earners. Frankly, I would much rather my tax dollars help working people to get health care, than for my tax dollars to be spent to encourage people to stay on public assistance so they dont have to do without.

I am always in favour of helping people to be self sufficient

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eandhl

kathline, I agree with there is something wrong with the pricing of prescription drugs in America. When our pharmaceutical companies can make a drug and ship it to another country and their pharmacies sell said drug for so much less that you could get it in America it isn't right. Someone else above mentioned Americans are sue happy, another thing that is wrong. One more thing is medical insurance companies have to much control with minimal medical people employed. Also people as well as Dr's took advantage of Insurance companies for years. Yes I agree there is room for a lot of improvement in the medical field.

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ceph

On the note of drug research funding... I pay, for example, $6 for two months of birth control. My health plan through school covers ~$18 dollars, and the province covers the remainder of what the drug company charges. The drug company gets approximately the same amount of money from me as from any American on the same pills.

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mom_of_4

Hmm since I was one of those "poor" people who could not afford insurance but made to much money for assistance... I will go ahead and clear up that while I did have a cell phone I did not have cable tv or the internet (until I started school and my mother paid for that to help me out) and the only reason why I had a computer was because my family pitched in and bought it for me. I drove my old crappy car and I regularly bought my clothes from the thrift store and altered them with my sewing machine. The only thing I wouldnt sacrifice was living in a safe neighborhood with my daughter... There is such a thing as living financially within your means and still not being able to afford insurance. I mean at work my insurance for family (and since I had a a daughter I needed family) was more than 400.00 per month plus dental and eye... being the single mom working there was just not enough money there to have insurance and pay an extra 400+ a month when there were diapers, food, and electricity to buy/pay for.
And, even when we did have insurance... last year my DH's foot was causing him severe pain... they figured out (none to quickly) that he had a cyst in his foot and the doctor took him out of work... because he was out of work the insurance for that month didnt get paid so the insurace company cancelled the plan and we got stuck with all of the bills for the testing, removal procedure...everything. And then to add insult to injury as soon as he went back to work the insurance kicked back in and so we are back to paying hundreds of dollars a month for insurance plus all of the bills from when he was sick and they wouldnt let us cancel it to switch it to my insurance at my current job which was cheaper. Not to mention my fathers work just decided to change their insurance plan to some sort of shared paying thing ... well my mom was recently diagnosed with diabetes and needs insulin shots daily as well as a stream of other meds... with this new plan just about everything would be coming out of their pocket and they simply do not have that much money and any other insurance plan that my mom has looked into wont cover any of her needs for a year since it is a pre exisiting condition. So, she would have to pay insurance premiums plus pay for all of her meds out of pocket. They make way to much money to get any kind of assistance...so now they are stuck in a position with no idea what to do. So, needless to say I think there is more than a little that needs to be changed.

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ceph

Oh, and on the topic of running to the doctor for every little thing...
Yes, this is a problem in our system... But IMO, it could be mostly solved with public education campaigns.

What we really need is for the public to understand the things that you need to see a doctor for and the things you don't...
For example: Antibiotics won't help a cold, so you might as well stay home because all the doctor will tell you is to go home and sleep it off. If it turns into a sinus infection (easily identified by the searing pain and fluorescent green snot) then you can go see the doctor to get antibiotics for it.

Health Canada has started providing this sort of information... They are working on public education, one topic at a time... I received a flyer last year about why it's important to finish your prescriptions, even if you feel better. A few years ago they tackled flus vs colds and what the difference is. They've also done large campaigns for the flu shot.
A better educated public will better understand modern medicine and how to navigate the system, for the maximum benefit of both themselves and the system.

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eandhl

Ceph, while I agree public education about when and what you should see a Dr for unfortunately there are a number of people that feel "I have insurance, I should use it". Just like I have X number of sick days, I should use them. Too many people want an easy ride. I don't know what the answer is to correct so many problems but the American is riddled with them.

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kathline

Ceph, a small copay, just to make people THINK about going to the doctor, would be helpful. Too many people use emergency for not emergencies. Too many people take it for granted. A small payment , of perhaps 25 dollars or so, except for the poorest people, would discourage frivilous usage.

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ceph

Kathline, I agree that a small fee might help people think "Do I really need to see a doctor for this or do I just want sympathy?" and make our emergency rooms and walk-in clinics run more smoothly but $25 is a lot of money for a lot of people... As a grad student, I make less than $14000 a year, so $25 to go to the doctor is a scary thought.

I think yearly physicals are important, and should remain free. As should follow-up appointments for longterm problems. But I'd be fine with $10 for a walk-in clinic visit, because $10 is attainable for almost everyone.

If it existed, the "low-income" status to exempt you from the $10 fee should automatically link to your health card (which you have to produce on every doctor's visit) when you file your taxes, because navigating the layers of red tape and forms of applying for government programs can be very overwhelming. If this fee existed, I would also want it waived for seniors over 65, children under 6, and people with chronic or life threatening problems like cancer or cystic fibrosis.

But yes, a small fee to use emergency services, coupled with increased public education, could be part of the solution to wait times.

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theotherside

When my kids were briefly eligible for Medicaid, I soon discovered that the quality of care was often much poorer, because only a small percentage of practitioners accepted it. We were stuck with a dentist who was suffering from Parkinson's and whose hands shook badly - thank goodness the children never had cavities, and therefore were treated only by the hygienist.

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quirk

When healthcare becomes free, people will take advantage of it and they will show up in emergency rooms when the condition is not an emergency.

Seriously? Right now an ER is about the only place you *can* be seen for "free"-- they're overcrowded in part (NOT the only reason) because people with no insurance and no money can't pay for an office visit so they wind up in an ER. Would you intentionally go to an ER when you didn't have to if you could be seen for free by your family dr? Why do you think others would?

When I was young and living on just over minimum wage with no benefits, I had no insurance. Even then (20 years ago) an office visit cost $50-- almost half a month's rent. That wasn't really affordable for "minor" problems, so I didn't go to a dr until I was quite positive I wasn't going to get better on my own. So when I started having back pain, I ignored it. Took some tylenol, put myself on bed rest when I wasn't at work (no sick leave either, so I went to work every day), and waited to get better. So of course what happened was I wound up going to the ER when my boss kicked me out of work about 9pm one night for not being able to stand up straight. What was wrong with me? I went to the ER for a UT infection (the "back pain" was my kidneys) and some antibiotics. By that time, it actually was an emergency, or close to it, but if I had just gone to my dr when I first got sick, or at least when I started walking around looking like a question mark, I'd have been readily cured and never gotten to the point of "misusing" the ER for what should have been routine care. Sure, blame me for being stupid, but there are a lot of people out there who go even longer than I did before seeking care, because they just don't have the money. And sometimes what's wrong with them can't be fixed if you wait too long (cancer?). Not only does it compromise their health, it's really not the most efficient use of our health care system.

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imamommy

In case everyone does not know this, there are many types of medicaid. It is NOT one program with one set of rules. If you don't qualify for one program, you might for another. Also, you can meet the qualifications but your income is too high so you have a share of cost. That means that if you had to have surgery, you have to meet your share of cost in the month you get treatment and medicaid pays the rest. One way to meet your share of cost is to accumulate doctor bills for treatments & tests leading up to the surgery (that you'd have to pay cash for) and pay them the month of the surgery.

but theotherside is right, the quality of care is just not there. Fifteen years ago, medicaid was paying the provider, 50 cents on the dollar for billed services. Not many doctors are willing to take that little and by now, it may even be less. Most medicaid patients have to go to clinics. Seniors that have part a or b, that is a different program than medicaid for families.

I worked in medi-cal (California's version of medicaid) for a while and very few people are truly ineligible. Oh, they will deny you and hope you go away. It is very confusing and time consuming to go through each of the programs until you find one that qualifies, so they just deny many for too much income. (or whatever reason they can scrounge up) Most people that appeal a denial and ask for a State Hearing, win.

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sweeby

We were on vacation in Canada once when DH's mother fell and broke her collarbone. So off to the emergency room we went...

Four hours later, we were all done -- Grandma had X-rays, Dr. exams, sling and prescriptions, all for $500. Pretty nice, really, compared to everything we've experienced in the U.S. We'd have waited four hours just to be seen...

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wrychoice1

Put me firmly in the camp of those who favor universal healthcare. Lest anyone forget, we live in a country with a capitalistic economic system. What does this mean? Well, for one example, we might all assume the mission of Allstate, the "good hands people" is to provide their customers with quality health insurance (and/or auto & home insurance)coverage, right? WRONG!!!!The mission of Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, name your favorite corporation, is to produce PROFIT for thier shareholders...whether or not you, their customer, is adequately covered for any mishap, is secondary to the corporate profit motive...the amount of money corporations spend lobbying legislators at the state and federal levels (thereby raising their cost of doing business which they pass along to the rest of us in the form of higher premiums), the amount of money employers spend in monthly premiums for their employees, the amount of money we spend in monthly premiums, plus taxes....we, as a country, could easily afford to pay for universal healthcare...but Corporate America will fight any move toward universal healthcare tooth and nail in order to protect their profits.

I personally think it is obscene and immoral to ration quality healthcare based on your socioeconomic position in society. Healthcare (all available treatments) should be considered a basic human right and access to this care should not be at the mercy of the profit motive.

This country was founded on the principle that we are all entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right? well, it seems to me that good health comes under that "life" part, does it not?

(Quirk, you make an excellent point about people denying themselves care by delaying seeking help to the point where their health may be irretrievably compromised; I forget who mentioned those folks who forego low paying jobs with no healthcare coverage, opting instead to not work in order to qualify for healthcare coverage through their state medicaid program...another consequence of our current system).

Stepping off my soap box....

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imamommy

"And sometimes what's wrong with them can't be fixed if you wait too long (cancer?)"

My aunt (54), who had survived breast cancer, put off going to the doctor for a pain in her back for a few months because they didn't have health insurance. When they finally got insurance and she had it looked at. It turned out to be bone cancer in her spine and she passed away about six months later. (she also had it in her liver) and while it may not have saved her life, seeing the doctor sooner may have given her more time.

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organic_maria

I live in Canada, and like my Medicare system for the mere fact that we have access and they do provide service. Is it perfect. Nope but at least all people can get looked at when their health ails.
There are times that i do not like it for the mere fact that they ship you from one specialist to another before discovering your ailment and sometimes by that time, its too late.
Alot of people now are asking for private clinics where you can pay through private insurance and cash to be seen quicker. Quicker diagnosis from the long several months wait.
My friend had a brain tumor...took them over one year to operate. If they had done it sooner he would not have lost his hearing on one side.
Medicare has its pro and cons but in the end, at least all have access to it regardless of financial situation. I think its very sad when someone does not get medical attention because they dont have the cash or private insurance. I've seen hospitals turn people out in the states because they have no insurance. Thats just plain wrong! you took the hypocratic oath....its sad.

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june0000

I think the people who want "socialized" medicine and that is exactly what Canada has, will be in for a very unpleasant surprise should it happen.

The government is notorious for red tape, unnecessary spending, horrible customer service, etc. But they are awfully good at forcing providers to accept less for their services, which has played a part in medical inflation for those who are on employer or private health plans.

We have the best health care system in the world. It is expensive. There are unfortunate people who, through unfortunate circumstances, cannot afford health insurance.

But there are also those who have made choices. Some don't want to pay the premium and think someone else should pay for their medical care. Some want luxuries, like cell phones and family vacations and health insurance premiums would cut into their budgets. Some wish to be self-employed while others do not wish to work enough hours for an employer in order to become benefits eligible. And some just think that health insurance should be an "entitlement".

I don't understand why so many people are in favor of giving our government more control (and more tax dollars). The government can't do it any better and they cannot do it any cheaper without cutting our quality of care. Period.

There are those in government who would love to get our younger and healthier bodies into one big government program so they could get our tax dollars to help bail out Medicare, because that is the only thing that will save it.

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stargazzer

Normally I defend our country when people complain, but I have changed that attitude a little. I don't like the control they are putting on lighting, water pressure and now they are thinking about controlling the fat restaurants use to cook with. I certainly don't want them to control my health care. Before I turned 65 I recieved a letter from the insurance company every year giving me a chance to change to a different policy to save ME money. And if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. I would have to go to a hospital I hate and change my doctors, give up my right to go directly to a specialist, have a referal, etc.. No Thanks. My husband stayed with the same job for 37 years and there were times when he wanted to tell them to take the job and shove it. I have watched our kids and grandkids sit by and do without insurance because it costs to much ($100 a mo) through their employer. It's about decisions, think about tomorrow instead of this very minute and life will be easier on you.

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kkny

Stargazzer,

This may not apply to your chidlren and grandchildren, but i have to question how many people have plasma TVs, two cars, etc etc and then dont have insurance. No I dont beleive the children should go without healthcare, but in my state there are programs for children in low income families (too much income to qualify for medicare, too little to pay for insurance). It is about decisions.

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theotherside

"I think the people who want "socialized" medicine and that is exactly what Canada has, will be in for a very unpleasant surprise should it happen."

Then why are the Canadian posters on this board so satisfied with it?

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kkny

Becuase our society is much more diverse and would present different issues.

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theotherside

According to this:

http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/products/analytic/companion/etoimm/canada.cfm

Canada has a higher proportion of foreign born residents than any other country except Australia. Are you considering diversity = percent of racial or ethnic minorities? What different issues does the United States have that are related to diversity that you believe would make universal health care not work?

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kkny

Canada looks at the socioeconomic background of immigrants and looks for people who have shown they can take care of themselves and can contribute. The US doesnt.

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imamommy

The US created the welfare state. There is a need for 'illegal' immigrants in the US, like it or not. Unless you want to pay ten times what you currently pay for fresh produce that is grown in the US, there are very few US citizens that would take a job in the agricultural fields, picking produce for minimum wage when they could work at a fast food joint for the same money. So, before you look at 'undesirable' immigrants as a drain on the US system, you have to also know that they do come here to work and they don't get any of the benefits that citizens enjoy. They are not entitled to medicaid, except emergency (life saving) treatment. There were more US citizens on aid than illegal immigrants. If the US worked harder to eliminate welfare and focused on providing universal healthcare, there would be less reason for people to claim they can't work. (they should also provide childcare so there really is no reason not to work).

In the two offices I worked in, it was pretty much the same story, different names. It leads me to believe that it is the same across the state and across the Country, but there are far more generational welfare cases than illegal's. That is the drain on the system in the US. The problem is not the socioeconomic background of immigrants. The problem is with citizens that have been draining the system for generations. (and the US government for creating the dependence and not doing anything about it)

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kkny

According to the New York Times (Sundays article involving illegal immigration and health costs) both California and New York City provide health care for illegal immigrants AND hospitals in other places (the article discusses a situation in Florida) are finding it very difficult to get illegal aliens to leave hospitals (not eligible for nursing homes, may have no place to go).

I dont know if the US created the welfare state, or Europe did, but at least most countries in Europe enforce immigration laws.

Every study I have seen shows a large percentage of uninsured are illegal aliens (disproportionate to their numbers).

As to what food would cost, every study I have seen is that most of the cost of food is not what is paid to the farmer, but transportation and distribution costs. Obviously different for different foods, but overall.

I disagree with you at to socioeconomic background of illegal immigrants is not putting strains on hospitals and medical resources.

The fact is I dont want to see our welfare system dismantled, but we can not afford to take care of the world. By the way, what type of medical care do Mexico and Guatemala provide? The article in the NY Times led me to believe that the person could nto get adequate care in Guatemala/

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Ashley

I think June hit the nail on the head. People make choices in their lives...choices to have cell phones, TVs, Computers, children they can't afford to support, etc. They choose all of these things and they choose not to make the appropriate sacrifices in order to afford health insurance and then they want to vote themselves into the pockets of the hard working Americans who pay their taxes and make the sacrifices because they don't want to do what it takes to have the appropriate health care.

For a period of time, I owned my own business and I had a Medical Savings Account and an insurance policy with a high deductible to pay for any medical care I needed at the time. I do not have children because I'm waiting until I'm in a possition to be able to properly suppport them without digging into the pockets of my fellow taxpayers. I probably would be farther ahead and closer to the goal of being able to support a family of my own if I wasn't paying so much of my income into taxes. I can't stand the entitlement mentality that so many people have!

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june0000

"I think the people who want "socialized" medicine and that is exactly what Canada has, will be in for a very unpleasant surprise should it happen."
Then why are the Canadian posters on this board so satisfied with it?

TOS - I don't exactly see Organic Maria's statement as a total endorsement of Canadian healthcare.

"There are times that i do not like it for the mere fact that they ship you from one specialist to another before discovering your ailment and sometimes by that time, its too late.
Alot of people now are asking for private clinics where you can pay through private insurance and cash to be seen quicker. Quicker diagnosis from the long several months wait.
My friend had a brain tumor...took them over one year to operate. If they had done it sooner he would not have lost his hearing on one side."

Americans who have healthcare coverage have the advantage of having "motivated" providers. Meaning the providers get paid IF they diagnose and treat you. In fact, the more they do for you, the more they get paid.

In socialistic plans (including HMO's), providers get a bonus based on how much they save by not providing diagnostic measures and/or treatment.

Plus, can Organic's friend who lost his/her hearing sue the Canadian provider for malpractice? Health insurance in Canada is an entitlement, so I wonder. When you are on an entitlement program, you are at "their mercy", usually without much say.

I would imagine the loss of hearing has had some impact on his/her earning ability and quality of life.

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theotherside

june,

But organic maria also said, "I live in Canada, and like my Medicare system for the mere fact that we have access and they do provide service. Is it perfect. Nope but at least all people can get looked at when their health ails."

How are you supposed to pay for medical insurance if you are employed in retail or some other field where employer-sponsored health insurance is rare? There are many, many American citizens working multiple part-time, low paying jobs with no health insurance. I have medical insurance through my employer, and the portion I pay, just for myself, is about $280 a month.

I believe that everyone IS entitled to decent, affordable health care - everyone, including the working poor, including people in this country illegally, and even including my exH's current wife.

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june0000

TOS,

"How are you supposed to pay for medical insurance if you are employed in retail or some other field where employer-sponsored health insurance is rare?"

You make it a priority to get a job with an employer who sponsors a group health plan. There are plenty of employer groups out there who offer health coverage to people who work just 20 hours per week and one does not need advanced training to be hired for some of these jobs.

I have no problem with entitlements for handicapped people or mentally challenged people who truly cannot help themselves. But I was raised to believe that God helps those who help themselves and I don't think hardworking taxpayers should be burdened to provide entitlements for people who make lifestyle choices that put them in poverty, or who are just too lazy to get a full-time job with benefits so they can share the burden instead of being a burden.

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mom_of_4

"I think June hit the nail on the head. People make choices in their lives...choices to have cell phones, TVs, Computers, children they can't afford to support, etc. They choose all of these things and they choose not to make the appropriate sacrifices in order to afford health insurance and then they want to vote themselves into the pockets of the hard working Americans who pay their taxes and make the sacrifices because they don't want to do what it takes to have the appropriate health care."

This is a bunch of crap ... it is not a choice to choose to eat, have power or a place to live ... it happens to be a necessity. People who can stand on their high horse and say things like this make me laugh because they have obviously never had to make the choice between eating or going to the doctor for an ear infection (which I did have to do) Ofcourse I might have been better off if I didnt have a child but the fact is that birth control sometimes fails and then it's not really a choice after that...not for me. I suppose there is some choice I could have made to prevent my daughter's father from dying (I say sarcastically) and maybe that would have given me the money I would have needed for health insurance... The fact is that I was and am a hard working tax paying American that could not afford health insurance and could not afford to go to the doctor until I was deaf in one ear and borrowed the money. But, because I was a hard working tax paying American there was also zero help out there when I needed it... if I wasnt working and sitting on my butt I could have collected help from every agency under the sun... That, to me is the problem. And btw I didnt and still dont have a plasma tv. I am not necessarily in favor more government control or intereference but I think we have a serious problem that needs a solution.

And who is anyone to say we should evaluate the socioeconomic backround of immigrants... we are a country of immigrants ... what ego we have to now say to bad for you ... so much for "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

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Ashley

That is right...I haven't made that choice because I chose to work my way through college...I chose to work hard and make good grades...I chose to do what it takes to have a good job and I chose to do what it takes to not have to be a drain on the hardworking taxpaying Americans...I chose to work in a field that was in demand...I chose all of these things. That is why I haven't had to choose between eating and paying for power and taking care of my health care needs.

I don't know what you do for a living, but you might want to consider finding a better job. I don't mean that to sound condesending, but I'm so over paying all of the taxes I pay while people whine that they don't have enough money to take care of their own business.

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quirk

That is right...I haven't made that choice because I chose to work my way through college...I chose to work hard and make good grades...I chose to do what it takes to have a good job and I chose to do what it takes to not have to be a drain on the hardworking taxpaying Americans...I chose to work in a field that was in demand...I chose all of these things

But there are not enough of those jobs to go around. Even if everyone did all those exact same things... well, your field would no longer be in demand, because everyone would have degrees, probably a lot in your field. Most people might be able to go to college and work hard, but not everyone has the same ability to get good grades. And even if they did, there still would not be enough of the "right" kind of jobs to go around. Some people would get the good jobs, and somebody would still be stuck waiting tables at the local diner and selling clothes at the Gap. Your solution basically says it is ok to let a certain percentage of the population do without because we are better than they are. If that's not condescending, I'm not sure what is.

People are "entitled" to what society decides we're entitled to. We have decided that everyone is entitled to an adequate basic education, why not adequate health care?

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finedreams

health care is same basic right and need as education. i so agree with quirk! if everyone is entitled to adequate and free public education why not health care? actually there are people who believe that education should all become private. so if you cannot afford it, too bad, your kids will go illiterate. nice....

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Ashley

Have you looked into public education lately. That is a great example. Look at the wonderful job the government has done in messing up the education system. Look at how much better job is being done in private schools and by home school parents. I don't think that your kids should go illiterate, but I do think that if the same money was spent in private education that is being spent in public schools, the children would be much better off.

Why should it be the responsibilty of everybody else to take care of your health care needs? You should do what it takes to take care of your own needs.

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kkny

Just curious, why is that many on this board dont think parents should have any obligation to help out adult stepchildren who are in a jam but think the government (i.e., all of us) should pay for medical care for others. I economize in my daily life, dont have fancy electronics, car, dont drive a lot, but would help my mother or DD or my siblings at the drop of a hat. But you would say I should subsidize people who make what I think are foolish choices. We do have medical assistance for low income -- which I supsect is at the level many people recieve in other countries.

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Ashley

By the way, I'm not saying I am better than anybody. I'm saying I've made better decisions in my life. I have flipped burgers and worked at Wal-Mart...when I was in school. But now that I'm an adult, I have an adult job and adult responsibilities and I don't expect other people to pick up the tab for my expenses. I made the decisions to get me to where I am in my life as did the adults who are still working at Wal-Mart and flipping burgers. I think that is fine if they have made those decisions, I just don't want to have to pay for their bad choices. I shouldn't suffer the consequences of somebody else's poor choices. I shouldn't have to pick up the tab because I've done the work and they haven't.

As for "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

The context is that we will be happy to take those who want to work, who will pick themselves up by the bootstraps and make a life for themselves in a free country where you aren't held back by your government. This is the land of oppurtunity. You should be able to come to America and succeed OR FAIL according to the work you are willing to put into your life. If you fail, you should pick yourself up and try again. You should not just give up and let others pick up the tab.

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finedreams

raek plenty of private schools provide very poor education by the way. also since private schools do not pay their teachers much (usually half of what is paid in public schools) good teachers are not willing to work in private schools. most private school teachers are either the ones who cannot get hired in public schools or the ones who do it because it is easier (wealthy parents, small classrooms etc)

kkny there is no medical assistance for poor. i was poor at some point but I was told that i am not poor enough to qualify for medical assistance. lol

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theotherside

Who is going to do all those jobs that don't have benefits? There are not nearly enough benefited positions for every American adult, and if only students and teenagers worked the non-benefited positions, there would not be nearly enough people to do those jobs.

Just thinking of my town alone, many of the positions are part-time and not benefited - a lot of the people who work in Town Hall, library assistants, school bus drivers, etc. Then there are all the people who are self-employed and don't earn enough to pay for insurance, such as virtually every farmer and every auto repair person in the rural area where we used to live.

"Over 8 in 10 uninsured people come from working families"

http://www.nchc.org/facts/coverage.shtml

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mom_of_4

I chose to work hard and make good grades. I chose to put myself through college and I chose to take a good job at a solid company that after four years of working there decided to sell and laid off the entire staff. And then, I chose to work my contacts and get another job within the week but at a pay cut because I am a mother and with father not even alive if I didnt work we didnt eat.... People dont always get to choose the circumstances of life... anyone at any time can have a drastic life changing event occur that flips their world upside down... and please you could not sound more condescending if you tried. I do have a better job and am actually on my way to an even better one.

And, I am not talking about those who do nothing and sit around waiting to pick up a check. I am talking about those like myself who were working hard every day but still when push came to shove... medical care had to take a back seat.

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Ashley

I guess the people who will do the jobs with no benefits are the ones who do them now. There will always be people in the world who make poor decisions and who don't have good jobs. But that is their CHOICE. I should be able to choose to not support those people with the money that I worked hard to earn. Define "working family". I work, so does Bill Gates.

I didn't say that all private schools are superior to all public schools. I said that in general, private school students and home school students test better than public school students. It's stupid that we pay so much money into the public education system and we don't have school choice. If the public school in our district is failing we should be able to take the money attributed to our children and find another public or private school to send our children to. But the government will not allow it. They also will not end up allowing us to choose our Doctors if we give them the power to take over health care.

Also, if I were a young person considering going to medical school, I would think twice right now because once the government gets involved the red-tape will get even thicker and the ability to earn money in that field and properly treat patients will deminish significantly.

I'm sorry that everybody in this country does not have healthcare, but I don't feel it is my responsibility or that of the other taxpayers to foot the bill for them. Again, those people made the choice to work in that field. Also, if the government didn't mandate that the insurance companies cover every little thing, it might be less expensive for people to by an insurance plan that would cover the illnesses that they want to be insured for.

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Ashley

Sorry if I sound condescending. My argument is simply that it should not be my job and the job of other taxpayers to give up a portion of our lives to go to work to earn money that the government then takes to care for people who are making poor decisions in their lives.

Good for you for doing what it takes! I'm not sure what you mean when you said "with father not even alive"...If the father of your children passed away, I'm very sorry for your loss. I understand that would put you in a rough spot and of course I do not mean that you made poor choices. I think that is the purpose of welfare and medicaid, to care for people who are temporarily down on their luck through no fault of their own. I think too many people take advantage of those things that we have in our system designed to take care of people in the circumstances that you are describing and I'm not against that. That said, you are working your way out of that situation and when the government comes in to take 30-40% of your paycheck to pay for others who do not deserve it, it puts you further behind.

I'm against Socialized Healthcare because it takes money away from people who earned it to give it to those who do not deserve it.

I would love for the government to require manditory drug tests for all welfare and medicade recipients. That would greatly reduce the burden on the taxpayers.

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june0000

Very true, Raek. Government mandates have added to the cost of health insurance. In addition, cost-shifting, as a result of the Government not paying the true cost of services (i.e. Medicare) has also added to the cost of health insurance.

Then we have cost-shifting because of people who do not have insurance (inflated pricing to cover those who do not pay). Add in the cost of prescription drugs which are approximately 1/3 or more of total health care costs on a health plan. Add in bio-tech drugs and it goes on and on.

This started as a discussion about the benefits of socialized medicine. Approximately 1/2 of all health insurance in this country is provided by the government (Medicaid, Medicare and Government employees). So, to a degree, we already have a form of socialized medicine. I personally prefer my employer sponsored health plan.

There isn't any way Medicare is going to survive the baby boomers who will soon be eligible without a major overhaul and without including everyone into a government program. Why? They need our tax dollars in this program. Many people do not realize that Medicare also covers people under the age of 65 who qualify for social security disability benefits.

The Medicaid program has been expanded to cover people that were never initially meant to be covered. I'm talking about men who live with women and who father their children and who do not get married so they can all be on the dole.

I just don't think the Government can do it better. I talk to the folks at Medicare on a frequent basis for my clients and the level of incompetency by many who answer the phones there is amazing. They are not customer-service oriented. And look at your pay stub - we are all paying a separate Medicare tax.

Many times you must wait 20 minutes to 45 minutes to be able to talk to someone at Medicare and then they often don't know the answer or how to get it.

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theotherside

"Good for you for doing what it takes!"

That comment was even more condescending than the last. mom_of_4 manages to feed her child by denying herself medical care and you say THAT! Neither she, nor any of the other hundreds of thousands of hard-working low-income residents of the United States (or anywhere else, for that matter) should be denied medical care because they can not afford it.

This has nothing to do with Medicaid, or Medicare, because we are talking about all those people who earn too much for those programs yet too little to afford insurance. Most of the people in this category work far harder than any of us in professional jobs. Most of them are not working these jobs because of "poor choices," but because they HAVE to.

What about their children? Even if they happen to be in low-paying, not benefited jobs because of "poor choices," - is it ok with you if their children suffer and even die because of their parents' poor choices or bad luck?

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finedreams

health is a basic need not something one deserves or not because he/she made poor choices or not. we are not talking about plastic surgery but basic medical care.

DD lives in UK and has free medical care (not dental). and is treated right away. nobody is asking her if she deserves health care and what choices she makes. That's a basic need not luxury.

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Ashley

TOS, that doesn't even deserve a response. She is doing the right thing by herself and her children. That is a good thing.

I should not be punished by my wages being taken to have to pay for those who don't have better paying jobs. Sorry, but that is the way I feel. I like the idea of a free America, but we are becoming less and less free because everybody thinks they are entitled to everybody elses standard of living.

"Most of the people in this category work far harder than any of us in professional jobs."

I doubt that very much...I work VERY hard, AND I worked very hard throughout my school years too.

"Most of them are not working these jobs because of "poor choices," but because they HAVE to." ... They HAVE to because they made poor choices. If they had made better choices in their younger years, they wouldn't have to work these jobs now.

I know my State takes care of low income children...Children are allowed to be on a state sponsered medicaid program. They do not suffer. Name one time you've heard of a child dieing because they did not have health insurance. That doesn't happen in this country. The parents may be billed for the expense, but children aren't allowed to die...

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quirk

"Name one time you've heard of a child dieing because they did not have health insurance."

Here is a link that might be useful: ok

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Ashley

I hate to point out the obvious quirk, but that kid had government provided health care and look what red tape his mother had to go through to find a dental care provider for him. I don't want the same government provided health care for my future children. You found an article that proved my point...Thanks.

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quirk

She couldn't find someone to treat him. It wasn't the "red tape" it was the lack of available providers. If everyone used the same system, doctors and dentists would accept it, not turn certain people away because they don't want to treat them. They would have to.

Look, I'm not saying it would be easy to implement. Yes, you would have to make sure that doctors and dentists are compensated in a way that makes sense. But we can do it. Look at Medicare. Kk and Sweeby both say their mothers got good care with Medicare. I wonder why people get better care with Medicare than Medicaid. Possibly because the average senior is wealthier and better educated and more powerful politically than the average poor person?

Your point seems to be that it is ok for other people and their children to suffer and possibly die from lack of medical care, as long as it is not you or your child. Hey, if that's what you believe, then go lobby for it, but at least be honest about it. Stop with the arguments that people do not go without the care they need with the system we have now, because that is simply not true.

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Ashley

If everyone used the same system, there would be less doctors and dentists because they wouldn't be paid as much as they are under the current system. People become Doctors and Dentists because there is money in it. If the government starts mandating what they are allowed to charge, there will be fewer people in the field. They don't want to treat people who they cannont make money treating.

I don't think it's ok for children to suffer. I also don't think it's ok for people to continue to have children that they cannot support. Just so you know...I volunteer regularly and donate regularly to a children's home for inner city kids. I am not heartless. I just like to see my money going where it belongs, to the children who do not have a choice in the matter, not to the adults who need to make better choices with their lives.

I don't think it is ok for children to suffer and die. I really don't feel that our current system allows that to happen. It is unfortunate what happened to the kid in that article, but it wasn't because he wasn't covered by government provided health care. He was covered, it just so happened that there were no providers who would take that coverage because the providers that take medicaid do not make enough of a profit to make that it is viable for them to take it. I don't want to have to live under that same level of care. I can't see how you would want to either.

If it isn't true, then prove me wrong. I still don't know of 1 case where a child died because they did not have health coverage. You gave me one case where a child died because the government provides a much worse level of care than a private company does. Which proves my point that it is a system we should not wish for. It is a very flawed system. The government can manage to screw-up even the simplest of things.

I will reiterate what I believe...I believe it is wrong for the government to take money from the people who earn it to distribute it to the people who did not. I don't want to be forced to pay for other peoples poor decisions. I'm happy to donate when I think it is a worthy cause, but I shouldn't be forced.

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kkny

Quirk, the medicare system is funded entirely by the Federal Govt, with funds coming from what current workers pay in. If you are employed, look at your paystub and there will be a seperate line for Medicare tax. The total of the employer and the employee tax is 2.9% of total compensation (not with the FICA limit of 100K or so). Medicaid is funded 1/2 by state and 1/2 by federal, and the federal share comes out of general revenue. Medicare is not means tested, but higher income recipients pay more premiums. So yes, the average Medicare beneficiary may be better off, but there is an additional funding mechanism.

No it is not OK, and I do feel terrible about that child. I would hope that the states effected do more to get more dentists in the program. I dont see how it can be as much a problem where I live as children are required to have a dental exam at certain grades.

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quirk

Yes, KK, I understand how medicare and medicaid are funded. I know how much of my paycheck goes to Medicare. I think it is highly unfair that we as a society choose to publicly fund health care for certain people who have the political clout to lobby for it, but not for everyone. If we are not going to do the same thing for everyone that we do for seniors, then we ought to get rid of Medicare, just on the basis of fairness. I don't see you arguing for that, though. Why? Because your mother benefits from it and someday you will too?

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kkny

Actually, had I had a choice, I doubt I would have voted for Social Security or Medicare. Do I think it would be unfair to eliminate it, having paid in for it for over 30 years, yes. Would I deal with it? Yes. Do I think my benefits will be severely reduced, yes, as every year with the premium increase being more and more income tested it penalizes people who saved for their retirement. I beleive the rationale behind taxpayer mandated insurance for the elderly is that it would be virtually impossible for the middle income elderly to obtain insurance.

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confused_but_hopeful

So weve been discussing US healthcare vs. Canadian healthcare with a little bit of UK thrown in. Let me add my two cents. I live in France which also has "socialized" medicine. I have never had to wait long in en emergency room (15 minutes?). And IÂve gone a few times thanks to kidney stones. Also, if itÂs not a real emergency they send doctors directly to your home. The quality of care is excellent, definitely on par with the US. However, it does decrease slightly in rural areas, much the same as in the US. The "Sécurité Social" pays around 85% of expenses, but sometimes they pay almost all of the expenses, depending on the situation. If you work, youÂll have a company sponsored supplementary insurance or "mutuelle". That pays almost all of the remaining expenditures. I pay about 65 Euros per month for the mutuelle, but have opted for premium optical and dental as well. One downside is that you have to pay for most non-emergency procedures upfront. But this is reimbursed (directly to your bank account) within a week. This excludes prescriptions, for which you only pay the price after coverage. The most IÂve ever paid at a pharmacy (for multiple prescriptions) is about 20 Euro. And although this upfront payment could be a burden for people earning lower incomes, the government provides them with a sort-of medical costs stipend to account for this. Plus it is in French law that a doctorÂs diagnosis cannot be disputed for reasons of coverage. Second and third opinions of doctors can overturn it medically, but third parties (like insurance companies) canÂt interfere or modify prescriptions or ordered tests for the sake of profit. And with socialized medicine you donÂt automatically get coverage as soon as you enter the country. You have to go through various stages / procedures in order to receive the card that you need to present every time you go to the hospital, doctor, pharmacy, etc. This ensures that while people in the country illegally will be treated, they will be financing it themselves and receive no reimbursement from the government, thus limiting strain on the system. So, although itÂs not perfect, I guess I just wanted to put my vote in for "socialized".

Raek:
"If everyone used the same system, there would be less doctors and dentists because they wouldn't be paid as much as they are under the current system."
True: they would be paid less. But they have to pay out MUCH less in malpractice insurance.

"People become Doctors and Dentists because there is money in it."
Not completely true: They also become doctors and dentists because they love it, they want to help others, etc. I have no problem finding a doctor in France despite making half of what their American counterparts make.

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Ashley

If they would have to pay out less in Malpractice Insurance, they would also get away with mistakes that they do not get away with now. I'd bet that most of the better doctors out there would not have done it if they could not make much money at it. It's also true that they must love what they do, but if they can make more money elsewhere and put in the same amount of work...They will be likely to go elsewhere...Not all, but many.

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imamommy

raek says:
"AND I worked very hard throughout my school years too."

Didn't you learn basic spelling? It's spelled dying, not dieing.

I absolutely agree 100% with everything theotherside said in her last post. (and that is not common! lol) How dare you sit in judgment of those you consider 'beneath you' because YOU THINK they didn't make the 'good choices' you think you did? Your comments go well beyond condescending and RUDE! They are a direct insult to every hard working person out here that makes too much to afford basic health care. How comforting it is to know you know what it's like to flip burgers and work at Wal Mart. (of course you point out that it was while you were in school and now you have a big girl job... well, good for you!!!)

Do you think it is a poor choice when a husband leaves his wife with six kids like TOS's ex did (and doesn't pay enough child support)? Do you think it was a choice at all that Momof4 lost her child's father? There are many reasons people end up in jobs where there are no benefits, one reason is some small companies cannot afford to provide benefits. They aren't necessarily 'minimum wage' jobs. Some people may take a non benefited job for the work conditions or hours because they have children. Not everyone has the means to go to college, so the fact that someone did not go to college, is THAT a 'poor choice'? What about kids that had to get jobs to help support their families (younger siblings) so they didn't go to college? That isn't their choice, sometimes that is just the circumstances of their life. They do what NEEDS to be done, and it might mean putting others before themselves. (something I'm beginning to think you've never done in your life).

What do you know about 'poor choices'? I know a quite a bit because I made plenty of mistakes (or as you want to keep saying, 'poor choices) in life, but I also made good choices. I went to college. I worked full time while I went to college and raised kids. I started my own company and I consider my life successful. Yet, there was a period of time where I found myself and my children uninsured. (and it was between the time I resigned from my government job and when I started my company & got married) It happens and while you may not have actually experienced 'life' yet, someday when you have a husband and have children, you might understand that life can be complicated. You may choose to leave your big girl job to start a family and your husband may lose his job or leave the marriage or something could happen in life that is beyond your control. Maybe someday, you may have the wisdom to realize that it's not all 'poor choices'. It's easier to sit in judgment when you haven't had to make very many choices, let alone 'hard' ones.

"If everyone used the same system, there would be less doctors and dentists because they wouldn't be paid as much as they are under the current system. People become Doctors and Dentists because there is money in it. If the government starts mandating what they are allowed to charge, there will be fewer people in the field. They don't want to treat people who they cannont make money treating."

I'd rather be treated by a doctor that is a doctor because he wants to save lives and help people, not because he only cares about how much money he is going to make off me. Medical care is a basic human right, not a luxury. Maybe if US doctors were in it for the right reasons, instead of in it 'for the money', they'd get sued a lot less. Nothing makes a widow angrier than knowing her husband's care provider didn't do all he could because he wasn't getting paid enough or certain things weren't 'covered' under his plan. Just recently, I was working on a case where a patient died and the family is suing the facility because they lacked adequate staff. The reason: It cuts into their profit margin. People have been denied health care and people are dying. They may not be children, but does that mean their lives are meaningless?

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kathline

ALthough I am ardently in favour of not rescuing people from their continual bad choices, I have a hard time fathoming the rationale behind the position that not having health care coverage is just another bad choice.

No one should have to choose between eating, and health care. No one should be forced to choose between paying rent, or health care. In a civilized society, healthcare should be a right, not a commodity. The United States is the only civilized country that does not recognize that right.

People who are very poor are covered. 25 percent of the population has health care covered by the government, which already costs nearly as much as other countries spend insuring their entire population.

Its the people who are trying to make a life for themselves, and not sucking up assistance that are struggling most. Those people, the ones cutting your hair, or serving your meals, are the ones who have to choose whether they want a roof over their heads, or the ability to get the suspicious lump in their breast checked out. THose people deserve respect, since they are doing what they can to get by. How degrading to refer to them as just having made bad choices. Try collecting your own garbage for a few weeks and you will see how much they, as well as every other job out t here, is needed. I have the upmost respect for anyone out there with a job, making their own way. Denigrating a persons occupation is offensive to me.

People that blatantly defend the frivilous lawsuits against doctors that happen on a daily basis in the USA are either malpractice attorneys, or people who make a living off of suing other people . Seriously. Is there a GOOD reason that one in four Americans will be sued at some point? The litigation , the wanting something for nothing, the demanding to be compensated for every little slight, is unique to the United States. Other countries manage just fine without the lawsuits.

The number one reason for personal bankruptcy in the United States is debt for health reasons.

The United states spends more money per capita on health care than any other country, yet ranks very close to the bottom in life expectancy in civilized countries, and has a horrifically high infant mortality rate.

Corporations in the United States are being pushed to the wall by health premiums, which are being driven exponentially by the sheer numbers of people who have to turn to emergency care because they cant afford private insurance, and the explosive increase in medical malpractice premiums. International companies , seeking to expand, are overlooking the USA as a potential base, instead building in countries with a decent healh plan already in place. Corporations quite simply cant afford to provide health care as they are doing now.

I would much rather see tax dollars going to make sure everyone enjoys the basic right of health care, than rescue idiots who purchased homes with no down that they couldnt afford.

I would rather my tax dollars help my hairdresser get a mammogram , than pay 58k per year for a pension for John Mcain.

The Massachutes plan makes coverage mandatory, but it helps all those people who are not making very much money, to have a subsidy to enable them to comply. Its a good plan. Exactly how good, only time will tell. A plan like that one is badly needed nationally, imo.

One thing I have noticed since I have lived in the United States is that there are those that are so hung up about their personal rights, that they dont care if the greater good suffers. Thats a shame.

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Ashley

Give me a break...that is what spell check is for! I never claimed to be the best speller. I can still earn a good living.

I never said anybody was beneath me. I just said that I don't want to spend my money on their health care.

I think if TOS's ex isn't paying enough child support or if he is not carrying the load of the insurance for his children that is wrong and he should be forced to pay. If he never made enough money in the first place to pay for that, then I think she should not have had 6 kids with him. I already addressed the issue of Mom of 4 and I don't think I need to address it again. I think if the government were less in the pocket of hard working people, those people would be willing to put more money into charities that are geared toward people who really do need the money.

"There are many reasons people end up in jobs where there are no benefits, one reason is some small companies cannot afford to provide benefits."...Then choose to work for a different company.

"They aren't necessarily 'minimum wage' jobs."...I didn't say they were.

"Some people may take a non benefited job for the work conditions or hours because they have children."...That is their CHOICE.

"Not everyone has the means to go to college, so the fact that someone did not go to college, is THAT a 'poor choice'? "...Yes it is...there are plenty of scholarships and advantages for kids who work hard and with low income. I didn't go to the best, most expensive school and I used student loans to pay for the portion that the scholarships did not cover. I don't see why others can't do the same.

"What about kids that had to get jobs to help support their families (younger siblings) so they didn't go to college? That isn't their choice, sometimes that is just the circumstances of their life."...It sucks that they feel they need to give up their education in order to support their family...It sucks that the parents aren't doing what they should be doing, but it is still their choice and they do still have the option to take care of themselves and their education.

"it might mean putting others before themselves.(something I'm beginning to think you've never done in your life)." ... again, I donate time and money to a local childrens home, I just choose to support those that I think need the help and did not make poor choices in their lives and are truly victims of their circumstance. I hardly think those kids or my mother or anybody who knows me would agree with you on that one.

I've also gone from a job with benefits to self-employment. Believe me, I know how hard it is to find good insurance and I had an MSA with a high deductible that I could afford. I lived in an appartment that was not the greatest and I did not have cable. I had internet for my company as well as a cell phone, but cut out all unneccisary expenses so that I could have that coverage. I paid out of pocket for all medical care during that time period because I never exceeded my deductible.

As for My "big girl" life...I'm engaged and will be married in October to a man who I know like the back of my hand, a man who I know would never cheat, a man who, if he lost his job would be out there looking the next day for a job. We both currently have life insurance and if we have children, we will increase it. We will not have children until we can afford to support them. If my husband lost his job and I was not already working, I would be out there pounding the pavement until I found a job...I would NOT be looking to the government to take money from people who earned it to give it to me. It is not mine to take!

"you haven't had to make very many choices, let alone 'hard' ones"...You do NOT know what kind of choices I have had to make in my life! I did not grow up in a wealthy family and you do not know me. So don't assume that I haven't made hard choices. I have! That is a bunch of crap! I have made hard choices and that is the reason I find it so offensive when people expect me and other tax payers to support them when I do what it takes to support myself.

I'd rather have a doctor who wants to be a doctor AND who earns money doing what he does.

Nobody's life is meaningless. It is just NOT MY JOB TO SUPPORT THEM. I already pay more in taxes every month than I pay for my mortgage! How much more do you think is enough? When will you say enough is enough and the government should get their hands out of the pockets of the people earning the money.

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Ashley

I don't look down on people for what they choose to do for a living. I just don't care to be responsible for them.

BTW...I think garbage collectors work do get benefits, and I know servers who make over $100.00 per day, tax free.

"People that blatantly defend the frivilous lawsuits against doctors that happen on a daily basis in the USA are either malpractice attorneys, or people who make a living off of suing other people . Seriously. Is there a GOOD reason that one in four Americans will be sued at some point? The litigation , the wanting something for nothing, the demanding to be compensated for every little slight, is unique to the United States. Other countries manage just fine without the lawsuits."...I could not agree more. I think there are some instances where it is proper for the doctor to be sued for malpractice, but in most cases it is not.

"The United states spends more money per capita on health care than any other country, yet ranks very close to the bottom in life expectancy in civilized countries, and has a horrifically high infant mortality rate."...Do you think that would improve if we had the government MORE INVOLVED in healthcare?

"I would much rather see tax dollars going to make sure everyone enjoys the basic right of health care, than rescue idiots who purchased homes with no down that they couldnt afford."...I think both options are bad.

"I would rather my tax dollars help my hairdresser get a mammogram , than pay 58k per year for a pension for John Mcain. "...I think both options are bad.

"One thing I have noticed since I have lived in the United States is that there are those that are so hung up about their personal rights, that they dont care if the greater good suffers. Thats a shame."...I'm sorry you feel that way. I do care about people who are working to do well for themselves. I do care about children who don't have a choice in the matter. I don't care to pick up the tab for those who didn't make good choices and who expect others to pick up the tab because they don't want to give up their TV and Cell Phone and Internet in order to pay for their own health care.

I just think that Freedom means freedom to succeed and freedom to fail.

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imamommy

"I never said anybody was beneath me."

You don't have to. It's implied in the tone of your post. I'm sure you've made hard choices... for yourself. You have no children. The hardest choices in life are not about you, they are making the choice for someone that depends on you to make the right choice and sometimes that means making great sacrifice. (and I'm not talking about cable or an apartment that is not the greatest) When you have a child diagnosed with a condition while you are out pounding the pavement in between jobs and it happens in the moment you have no insurance and you have to make a decision to take assistance and be home with your sick child or get that job with benefits and leave your sick child with someone else or you have to decide to spend all your money on the medication/treatment your sick child needs instead of buying groceries for the family.... those are HARD choices.

I'm sure that you believe your marriage will last, be perfect and you won't make any of the mistakes or 'poor choices' that anyone else makes. Hope you are right. But, then it's ironic that you are on a step families forum, where everyone on here that has been married at least once, thought their first marriage would last forever... with the greatest guy in the world that would NEVER cheat/leave/etc. But, realistically the statistics are not encouraging. So, good luck with that.

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serenity_now_2007

"I guess the people who will do the jobs with no benefits are the ones who do them now. There will always be people in the world who make poor decisions and who don't have good jobs. But that is their CHOICE."

Maybe the silliness of this statement will be clarified by asking: WHO would actually CHOOSE to spend a minimum of 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, scrubbing toilets or picking up garbage, often for low pay and no benefits even though the workload is likely far more arduous than the average middle class person's? Obviously, no one CHOOSES to be in these jobs, they HAVE to take them because there is no other option. Occasionally, this is because the person has a criminal record, is addicted to drugs or is just plain lazy or stupid. But all too often the reasons there is no other option have nothing to do with choices THEY made, but choices others have made, or just plain bad luck, for example:

-Having the misfortune to grow up in a poorly-funded school district where the quality of education received is below what it takes to get into most colleges

-an employer deciding not to hire or promote someone because they don't like that person's skin color, accent, belief system or neighborhood

-actually getting into college, and then succeeding, despite all odds, but then still not able to find a job because there's just plain too much competition for jobs in so many fields (happens all the time)

-an employer arbitrarily deciding that the custodians on their feet hauling trash and scrubbing all day don't merit the same health care plan as employees who sit on their a$$ and have power-lunches for a living

-never getting another job besides custodian or garbageman because potential employers just can't ---or won't---"visualize you in the capacity" of anything else. (Note: THEY can't visualize it, even if you can.)

-or, once having secured a "dream job", having the misfortune to be sabotaged by a colleague or boss who didn't like his/her sexual advances rebuffed

-having a primary breadwinner in the family get hit by a car and paralyzed

-having a primary breadwinner in the family die in mountains of debt that needs to be payed off

-being left by your spouse for someone else and having several children to raise and very little money

-going blind at 50: too early to be able to take retirement and too old to "reinvent yourself" to be "marketable" again, at least in any timely manner...

-At 50, after working so hard to get to the top, finally landing a great job with a booming company which offers a great benefits package. Then locking yourself into a mortage on a house thinking you'll finally be able to settle down. Then one day it's announced that the owner of the company is arrested for white collar crime, the company is bankrupt, and employees can kiss their retirement savings goodbye. Now you're 55, out of a job, still owe on the house, but you can't sell it b/c the housing market sucks.

But the main point is that even without the harsher circumstances that many people in those crappy jobs have to deal with: THOSE JOBS STILL HAVE TO GET DONE. And who is going to do them? Certainly not the folks who say they have "earned the right" to never scrub a toilet again because they got good grades in college and flipped burgers for a few years. Even if we agree that everyone should have to serve their time serving society in the "lowliest" ways, wouldn't we also agree that at some point, after enough "dues-paying", that people should be able to move above & beyond these jobs? And do we really think that everyone who DOESN'T move beyond is just CHOOSING to continue to scrub toilets day after day?

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Ashley

My parents are divorced...I'm on this forum because of issues with SM. I understand the statistics, but I also understand my circumstances.

I'm sorry you had to make those hard choices. It really sucks. Where is their father and why wansn't he contributing?

I'm still not implying that anybody is beneath me. I just don't want to pick up the tab for anybody but myself and my family. I really don't feel that it is my job. If I fall on hard times, I will have to hope that my savings will cover me through it. I don't want to rely on others.

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Ashley

I will address these one at a time...

Having the misfortune to grow up in a poorly-funded school district where the quality of education received is below what it takes to get into most colleges...There are still scholarships for low-income students provided as well as the ability to still work hard and make good grades to succeed.

-an employer deciding not to hire or promote someone because they don't like that person's skin color, accent, belief system or neighborhood...move on to a different employer. This Employer is not the only game in town.

-actually getting into college, and then succeeding, despite all odds, but then still not able to find a job because there's just plain too much competition for jobs in so many fields (happens all the time)...Work to get more education and your foot in the door in a different field that is not so competitive.

-an employer arbitrarily deciding that the custodians on their feet hauling trash and scrubbing all day don't merit the same health care plan as employees who sit on their a$$ and have power-lunches for a living ... find a different employer...Do you really think that it's all about power-lunches? There is surely more to it than that for people to earn good wages and collect benefits.

-never getting another job besides custodian or garbageman because potential employers just can't ---or won't---"visualize you in the capacity" of anything else. (Note: THEY can't visualize it, even if you can.) ...Keep looking, not all people will be biased in that regard. There will be jobs out there for people who are willing to work for it.

-or, once having secured a "dream job", having the misfortune to be sabotaged by a colleague or boss who didn't like his/her sexual advances rebuffed ...move on to another company.

-having a primary breadwinner in the family get hit by a car and paralyzed ...That is unfortunate, but did they have disability or life insurance? U.S. Disablity will provide for the care of that individual.

-having a primary breadwinner in the family die in mountains of debt that needs to be payed off ...Who created all of the debt?

-being left by your spouse for someone else and having several children to raise and very little money ...X-Spouse needs to pay child support and help to pay for health care of children. If not, they need to go to jail.

-going blind at 50: too early to be able to take retirement and too old to "reinvent yourself" to be "marketable" again, at least in any timely manner... This again should be covered by disability through private insurance or through the government.

-At 50, after working so hard to get to the top, finally landing a great job with a booming company which offers a great benefits package. Then locking yourself into a mortage on a house thinking you'll finally be able to settle down. Then one day it's announced that the owner of the company is arrested for white collar crime, the company is bankrupt, and employees can kiss their retirement savings goodbye. Now you're 55, out of a job, still owe on the house, but you can't sell it b/c the housing market sucks. ...Again, bad circumstances, but you are 55, do you not have any savings? You can still get another job and if you have worked hard, you have probably made contacts over the years that can recommend you for another position.

"But the main point is that even without the harsher circumstances that many people in those crappy jobs have to deal with: THOSE JOBS STILL HAVE TO GET DONE. And who is going to do them? Certainly not the folks who say they have "earned the right" to never scrub a toilet again because they got good grades in college and flipped burgers for a few years. Even if we agree that everyone should have to serve their time serving society in the "lowliest" ways, wouldn't we also agree that at some point, after enough "dues-paying", that people should be able to move above & beyond these jobs? And do we really think that everyone who DOESN'T move beyond is just CHOOSING to continue to scrub toilets day after day?"...I believe that after paying dues, if people still continue to scrub toilets, then they are making the choice to not further their education, or apply for other jobs. Therefore, they are choosing to continue in the path they are on.

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imamommy

"I just don't want to pick up the tab for anybody but myself and my family. I really don't feel that it is my job. If I fall on hard times, I will have to hope that my savings will cover me through it. I don't want to rely on others."

You may feel this way now, but having a child with cancer or some other life threatening disease and running out of savings may change your mind. Where is their father? What difference does it make? We don't always get a choice in what someone else does. Do you think that you have a choice when your husband/child's father leaves you, quits his job and refuses to pay his support? Sure, you can take him to court, have him garnished (if he is working) or take measures to 'try' to force him to pay. But, it doesn't mean you will get it. It doesn't mean it will still be enough 'help'. Some are successful and some aren't. A lot of things can happen over the course of your lifetime and you may think you have all the answers now, or that you will plan for anything that can happen, but you never know what is going to happen in YOUR life.

I'd like to say that I don't want to pick up the tab for anybody but myself and my family, but I'm happy to pay a little more in taxes to build prisons, if they keep a rapist off the streets. I'm happy to pay for basic medical care for those that have made 'poor choices' as well as those that work and struggle like most of us have because the truth is, if someone that doesn't get basic treatment in the early stages of a disease, they are more likely to need more care, which if it causes them to be fully disabled, it will be government funded anyways and if they die, leaving minor children, then there is a higher probability that those children will need assistance, especially if the other parent isn't able to take care of them. In the long run, it will cost taxpayers much more.

Personally, if they abolished the welfare system and had a universal medical system and government sponsored childcare and spent more on enforcing child support orders and encouraging parents to remain in their children's lives, then there would be more employed people. The money that is currently being used to pay out welfare to non working people could be used to fund the universal health care and if there was no welfare, people would be forced to get a job, even if it's minimum wage. Employed people pay taxes so they would be contributing as well. There is also a ton of abuse of disability programs in the US. There is something seriously wrong when able bodied people are sitting home, collecting disability. If they are able to enjoy recreational activities, raise children, and perform household chores, then they can probably work... even if it's answering phones. As I also mentioned before, I had a client that had four children. She had taken them to the doctor and ALL were diagnosed ADHD and she was getting SSI for all of them. She was also getting welfare for herself, saying she could not work because she had to stay home to care for her children. She was making more than me and my BF at the time (he was a Sheriff's Deputy) and we were supporting six kids on our combined income. Yet, she would call me every month to get extra help. She drove a nicer, newer car than me. I'm not going to say her children were not ADHD, although I think it is over diagnosed,(It was common to see that being diagnosed in my cases) But, her kids were also school aged and in school. They were all about a year apart. In my unprofessional opinion, she was abusing the system. And that was something I commonly saw.

I was also once against the laws forcing the use of seat belts, helmets and auto insurance and I do resent the government imposing the new cell phone law (blue tooth) or what oils we can have in our foods, but those are all their effort to protect the health of people. When people have a head injury from not wearing a helmet or seat belt, it is usually the government that pays for their long term care if their family is unable to. My step mom has been vegetative for 12+ years and my dad is fortunate enough that his business has been successful and he can afford her care. He's struggling this year because of the economy. So, while I don't agree with every law that is passed, I respect that it is there for a purpose. They are passing some of these laws to protect YOU from having to foot the bill for other's poor choices.

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Ashley

I just asked where their father is because I wondered if he was contributing at all. I'm sorry that he is not. He is a sorry person for not supporting his kids.

"Personally, if they abolished the welfare system and had a universal medical system and government sponsored childcare and spent more on enforcing child support orders and encouraging parents to remain in their children's lives, then there would be more employed people. The money that is currently being used to pay out welfare to non working people could be used to fund the universal health care and if there was no welfare, people would be forced to get a job, even if it's minimum wage. Employed people pay taxes so they would be contributing as well. There is also a ton of abuse of disability programs in the US. There is something seriously wrong when able bodied people are sitting home, collecting disability. If they are able to enjoy recreational activities, raise children, and perform household chores, then they can probably work... even if it's answering phones."...I could not agree more, and if that were the option, I'd be all for it, unfortunately they just want to pile on more expenses to the already overloaded budget. They have not proposed cutting any programs.

"I'm not going to say her children were not ADHD, although I think it is over diagnosed."...I also agree with this statement. And I know people who also take advantage of the system and continue having children who they expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab for...makes me sick. I wish that the government were more choosey in who they pay out welfare and disablity checks to, then maybe it wouldn't irk me so much when they take such a large chunk of my check every other week!

"When people have a head injury from not wearing a helmet or seat belt, it is usually the government that pays for their long term care if their family is unable to." ... I couldn't agree more. That is why I don't have a problem with these laws. I also think that other people can be injured when people who do not wear a seatbelt are catapulted out of their car. BTW, I always wear my seatbelt and wear a helmet while riding my motorcycle.

See...we have more common ground than we thought.

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imamommy

Well, universal health care IS a step in the right direction. If you eliminate the barriers that people have to getting a job and being contributors to society instead of a drain on the system, then they have no reason to not work. The number one reason people gave to me for not working full time was child care costs more than they'd make and then they'd lose their (government) medical benefits. (and they were not receiving their court ordered child support and/or the other parent was not active in the child's life so they had the majority of responsibility if not all)

Having the attitude that I made better choices than you so if you can't afford insurance, that's your own damn problem, strikes me as self righteous and short sighted. First of all, people that make the choice to be a single parent on welfare ARE already getting your tax dollars to pay for medicaid. (and cash aid, and food stamps and housing assistance and WIC and child care and whatever else they can get). People that are in prison for choices they made are also getting taxpayer supported medical care. So, who is not getting tax payer supported medical care? Those that work and have families and work in jobs that don't offer benefits and maybe working two of those jobs to provide for their family but they are not a drain on society. They are working hard and paying taxes too, just like you.

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Ashley

Why is it self rigteous to want to keep the money you earn?

I agree that those people are already getting all of that. My problem is that I don't want to add more onto my tax bill than is already there.

I agree that if I had a choice, I'd choose to help those that are helping themselves. The government does not give me that choice. I also really do think that if the government takes over health care the level of care we all receive will decline.

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ceph

Raek said: "My argument is simply that it should not be my job and the job of other taxpayers to give up a portion of our lives to go to work to earn money that the government then takes to care for people who are making poor decisions in their lives."

Someone may have addressed this already...
No way could I afford American health insurance (I make I'm not accruing more debt while I'm in grad school, and I'm not on social assistance, but I barely scratch by...
I'd hardly describe that I couldn't afford private health care as being because I make "poor choices"

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kkny

Ceph, I find it difficult to believe that someone earning

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ceph

""I would rather my tax dollars help my hairdresser get a mammogram , than pay 58k per year for a pension for John Mcain. "...I think both options are bad."

Good Lord. I can't believe I just read that. I feel nauseated.
That's a new low. Even for Raek.

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ceph

LOL - I'm not American and don't live in the States. Therefore I would not qualify for a state program.
Who knows what the case would be if I was though... I know some government programs (both Canadian and American) don't accept students, but I'm not sure how Medicaid or the like would fit into that.

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Ashley

What do you mean even for Raek?

If you did live in the states, you would qualify. Why add more to the burden we already have?

I pay 1.5 times my mortgage in taxes every month. Isn't that enough?

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theotherside

Almost everyone I know has been laid off at one time or another, and it is not always easy to get another job, especially as you get older. Finding another company to work for is nowhere near as easy as you imply.

Going to college and getting good grades is not a choice for everyone. Not everyone has either the opportunity or the ability to get through college or an apprentice program for a skilled trade. I was lucky that I had both the opportunity and the ability to complete college - I would be in big trouble if my financial stability depended on my being able to keep a job that required a great deal of manual dexterity.

I would recommend Barbara Ehrenreich's book, "Nickel and Dimed - on (not) getting by in America." Before I read it I thought I had some idea how bad it was for low income workers, but that book was eye-opening.

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nivea

Guess I'm going to be real unpopular tonight :)

But it IS a choice to be a grad student. It IS a choice to go and get a job with full benefits, even with just a high school diploma. It is a choice to not graduate high school and find whatever job you can.

Likewise, as Raek, I pay double in taxes on my home and car (because of my income) so that others can make their choices of whether to support themselves or not. I cannot imagine if we went to some kind of "socialized" healthcare, good lord...where would it end? I might as well get fast food job to have the same quality of life.

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Ashley

I feel bad for people who don't have good incomes. I just don't see why it should be anybody else's responsibility to take care of you. It is your responsibility to take care of you. It is my responsiblity to take care of me. That is the beauty of a free country. In order to pay the taxes I have to pay right now, I work well into May for the Government alone. I think that is crazy that I spend all of that time working and I don't get to benefit from it. I am fine with paying for prisons and police, etc. But I'm not fine with being responsible for the livelihood of others. If that makes me cold hearted, then so be it.

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ceph

By "even for Raek" I meant that you have said a lot of dreadful things in this thread, but that one really takes the cake.

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Ashley

All I have said is that I don't want to support anybody except for myself and my family. If that is dreadful, then I guess I'm just a horible, dreadful person for not wanting to give away more than half of my income.

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ceph

Sure, being a grad student is a choice... But it's not something considered a "poor choice" like if I was broke because I wouldn't work and spent my social assistance cheque on drugs.
That would be a poor choice. Spending a few extra years in school so I can get my PhD is not a poor choice.

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nivea

Ceph, I didn't say it was a poor choice.

But, here in the States, if you choose to be a grad student and need assistance....then I'd rather not choose to support that person.

And I believe it is well within my right not to do so.

Our country is not set up the same and nor do I wish it to be.

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Ashley

Thanks for the back-up niv and kk!

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wrychoice1

I think what Raek, niv, kk, and others are missing is that if this country went to a system of universal healthcare, we all would actually pay out less of our income than we do now....between what we pay out in taxes, what corporations pay in premiums, what we pay in premiums, what we all pay in subsidizing trips to the ER for those who do not have primary care coverage....there are so many hidden costs to our present system that would be eliminated...if you don't think that our nation, our society would ultimately benefit as a whole from providing healthcare coverage for all our citizens...well, it is being penny wise and dolar foolish...

And TOS, I find this amazing to be in such agreement with you ...I, too, read Nickel & Dimed a few years ago...it was quite an eye-opener. After reading it, I truly felt, "there but for the grace of God..."

In reading the responses of some of the posters to this thread, I suspect they would blame the people who died in Katrina for their own fate....that government policies had nothing to do with that obscenity.

Sorry, but I for one believe universal healthcare is one issue where I am indeed my brother's (sister's) keeper.

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ceph

Good gravy Nivea - Why don't we just go back to indentured servitude that passes through generations?

My dad drives long-haul truck and he couldn't do post-sec because he is severely dyslexic. My mom didn't work for the last three years of her life because she had cancer, and due to the dishonesty of private insurance, no life insurance. So my dad can't afford to pay for my post-sec.
According to Nivea's theories, I shouldn't attend grad school because my parent can't afford to send me... Or maybe I'm just not allowed access to health care while I'm in grad school. Two equally ridiculous ideas.

Maybe I should have made an unhappy marriage to a rich man when I was an undergrad so that he could make it so I'm not broke through grad school? Because that would have been a great choice.
Maybe I should have taken a few years between undergrad and grad school to earn some money in the middle, and knock back my eventual graduation a few more years, delaying my actual career? Yeah, that's a good idea too.

I am on scholarships and have never required any social assistance. Our grad student stipends are very low and I get by OK on it here, but I couldn't afford private insurance on my stipend. Lucky for me, I'm Canadian but Nivea and Raek aren't.

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nivea

Ceph, I joined the military. I went to Iraq, went to Oman, went to Saudi Arabia, went to S. Korea.

Lived in tents, walked a half mile to use the toilet and soemtimes shower if we had the option. Ate MRE's, ate the food offered that wasn't native to me.

And you know what? No one handed me a damn thing. I went to school between all that. I paid my way to get where I am and I didn't expect anyone to give it to me. I earned it.

That is the way this country is run. You have options, you either choose to take them or you don't. And I wouldn't have it any other way..when I was eating cold tuna in a desert or now when I own my home without a mortgage.

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ceph

Huh? How does that you ate tuna sandwiches in Iraq connect to that Canada has universal health care?
On second thought, I don't care how you think these things relate. I'm just going to skip over anything you or Raek have to say in this thread.

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nivea

Ok, then do that.

Canada has universal healthcare for a bunch of different reasons and it does have a variety of different impacts to your country. Whether you choose to admit it or not, or choose whether to research it or not.

I, and other people in the US, who do have a higher income than the average person do not want/or should be expected to contribute more of our income on people who choose not to work. Whether it is because they are going to school (grad school, no less) or not.

I ate tuna (out of a packet) in the desert for a reason and it wasn't to support grad students.

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imamommy

"I ate tuna (out of a packet) in the desert for a reason"

Just curious, what was the reason?

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confused_but_hopeful

I know that this is a long thread and the arguments are going round and round. But I have to say

I dont think anybody likes the thought of supporting people that could support themselves. Nobody is arguing that people have a right to a free ride.

But having universal healthcare wouldnt make that more of a problem than it already is. Medicaid and other government programs are funded by your tax dollars and are being exploited. In fact, according to an article in USA Today, "The United States system already has substantial public components. Of every dollar spent on health care in the US, 45 cents comes from some level of government". Its not right and its not good, but unfortunately whenever there is government aid there will be people to exploit it. Universal health care would channel the funds that you are already paying into a less exploitable program. Also, the World Health Report states, "The United States does spend more on health care, as an absolute dollar amount and per capita, than any other nation. It also spends a greater fraction of its national budget on health care than Canada, Germany, France, or Japan." So by de-privatizing health care we can drive down the cost of health care.
I for one am willing to accept that fact that people will exploit any system to ensure people who are trying to do the right thing do not die like animals on sidewalks outside of hospitals due to lack of healthcare. WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT.
"But, here in the States, if you choose to be a grad student and need assistance....then I'd rather not choose to support that person. "
What?!? So now only those who are completely self sufficient should be allowed access to higher degrees? That is absolutely absurd. Getting a graduate degree is draining in almost every sense of the word: financially, mentally, physically These are the people doing medical research, find new energy alternatives, developing new technologies to make YOUR life better. Are you saying it doesnt matter if the person is one of the brightest people in their field; they should only prolong their studies and contribute to their field and society only if they have a big enough bank account? If that were the truth society would be much worse off And you cant say, "They should work". They are working exceptionally long hours already in labs, in classrooms, etc. and hardly getting paid anything for it.

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june0000

Social programs began in the U.S. in the 1940's. Prior to that, we had nearly 200 years without such programs.

I'm DAR, and I've researched my own family's history, beginning with the Revolution. I have stood at my 5th g grandfather's grave and said a prayer to thank him for the sacrifices he made to help free us from oppression, taxation without representation and from big government.

Thank God this country wasn't founded by people who came here looking for a government "entitlement" and who had expectations that others should be responsible for their burdens.

Raek and Nivea have taken a beating on this forum, especially by the person who started this discussion. They are simply expressing their opinions, which in this country, is allowed by law.

I understand the arguments about the working poor. I've been there myself, when going through college and in my first couple of jobs after graduating. There was a terrible recession going on when I graduated but I managed to find employment.

My first job paid me $12,000 a year before taxes. I had no benefits but I purchased my own major medical policy, and I did without many other luxuries in order to have health insurance.

I would have loved to have gone to law school after college but there wasn't anyone who would foot the bill and I couldn't afford it. I didn't expect taxpayers to provide me with that luxury. I made a great career for myself with what I had to work with and I'm grateful for the privileges I have enjoyed in this life.

I've been successful and I will emphatically state that I do not want to pay out any more of my hard earned money in taxes, and I don't want Uncle Sam to get any bigger than he already is.

I have no problem working the better half of a year paying taxes to support our veterans, our national defense and the handicapped people and children who cannot help themselves. But I do have a huge problem paying taxes to support able-bodied and able-minded people who make life choices and then expect someone else to pay for those choices.

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kkny

I think Niveas point re tuna in the desert is that she has made very real sacrifices for our country.

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Ashley

First and formost, I'd like to say thank you to Nivea for serving in the military. You have made sacrifices and put your life on the line in order to protect the freedoms that so many Americans are willing to just throw away.

Ceph...The GI bill gives men and women serving in the military funding for college as well as the ability to save the money you earn while you are serving so that you will have the money to support yourself when you go to college. I suspect that also has something to do with the tuna comment...although I guess you are not reading this, so you won't learn from it anyway. That is so typical, instead of learning from one another and listing to other points of view, you call names and close your ears because you can't deal with having a healthy logical debate...oh well. I also like how you don't think it should be called "socialized"...I guess you don't want it to be called what it actually is, eh?

June..."I would have loved to have gone to law school after college but there wasn't anyone who would foot the bill and I couldn't afford it. I didn't expect taxpayers to provide me with that luxury. I made a great career for myself with what I had to work with and I'm grateful for the privileges I have enjoyed in this life."...I also would like to have gone to law school but could not afford it. I feel like I could have written this line myself.


"Universal health care would channel the funds that you are already paying into a less exploitable program"...What would make it less exploitable?

"So by de-privatizing health care we can drive down the cost of health care."...Again, what would make it cost less, and what level of health care can we expect to receive?

"do not die like animals on sidewalks outside of hospitals due to lack of healthcare"...Where in the world did you get the impression that people are dying on the sidewalks outside of hospitals like animals? Animals aren't even dying outside on the sidewalks.

"So now only those who are completely self sufficient should be allowed access to higher degrees"...That is what student loans are for. I also know plenty of people who worked their way through college, grad school & law school. If they don't want to work, they shouldn't expect me to want to work to support them, or they could do what Nivea did and go to the military first. Where there is a will, there is a way and that way does not have to include being a drain on the taxpayers.

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nivea

Imamommy, so I could support myself and pay my own way through college.

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nivea

"What?!? So now only those who are completely self sufficient should be allowed access to higher degrees? That is absolutely absurd. Getting a graduate degree is draining in almost every sense of the word: financially, mentally, physically These are the people doing medical research, find new energy alternatives, developing new technologies to make YOUR life better. Are you saying it doesnt matter if the person is one of the brightest people in their field; they should only prolong their studies and contribute to their field and society only if they have a big enough bank account? If that were the truth society would be much worse off And you cant say, "They should work". They are working exceptionally long hours already in labs, in classrooms, etc. and hardly getting paid anything for it."

We have gotten to where we are at today without centuries of grad students.

It is a choice. And my choice would be to not support them with my money.

The sense of entitlement is really out there, kind of reminds me of the debates here about sending stepkids to college. Hey, maybe stepkids can start using this argument to get their parents to pay for college :)

There are other solutions to grad students issues and it isn't the taxpayers money.

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kathline

I think that people who are of the mindset that they are not responsible for anyone else , under any circumstances, and that their bottom line is all that matters, are not going to change their minds.

You can point out , til you are blue in the face, all the reasons why health care should be available to all, but its falling on deaf ears. What matters to some people, is their own pocketbook and thats it.

Their minds will never be changed, until they lose their job, get denied private insurance because of a pre-existing condition, watch their grown children driven into debt because empoyers are cutting back on health care and new grads get the brunt of it, or see their elderly parents paying more in medication costs per month than they spend on housing.

I, too, have a higher than average income. My husband makes a very good salary, and I worked for many years, invested wisely, and can afford to no longer work. I, too, dislike paying my taxes to fund people who refuse to work and are able to.

But my heart aches for all those people out there who ARE working, who ARE struggling, and who are just getting by. I dont think its in any way productive to punish people who work for getting sick, while giving a free ride to those who refuse to work. There are people who have to stay on assistance just to keep their health benefits. Again, thats just wrong imo. Getting sick isnt a choice for most people. All the financial planning in the world doesnt protect someone against cancer, or a broken leg, particularly while they are still paying off student loans, or a mortgage or trying to raise a family.

Being overwhelmed with health care costs does not mean someone is fiscally irresponsible. It just means they got sick. Its not their fault.

Maybe a better way would be to subsidize health care for all workers, such as they do in MA.

Health care already takes a larger percentage of tax dollars in the United States than it does in Canada, and yet far less people are covered. The United States sytem, while it has its good points, is heavy in administration, and inefficient in delivery.

I dont know what the answer is, but something has to change. Its unsustainable for employers , and for average employees, both of whom have seen their premiums rise over 200 percent since 2000. Instead of denying there is a problem, maybe the better way is to think of the solution.

I am not sure a Canada style system would work in the USA. KKNY is right, its a different country with different population dynamics. But to stick head in sand and claim that it works just fine, is being a lemming off a cliff.

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imamommy

"Raek and Nivea have taken a beating on this forum, especially by the person who started this discussion. They are simply expressing their opinions, which in this country, is allowed by law."

How have THEY taken a beating? They've expressed their opinions. Those that disagree have expressed THEIRS. They just happen to have a less popular opinion. What was said that would be considered a 'beating'? Maybe I missed something.

kkny: I also expected nivea to say what you did but she didn't. According to her, it was all about her (making money for college), not in it for our country. That was going to be my point. Joining the military used to be about pride in our country, patriotism. Laying down your life for something you believe in. But, nowadays everyone is only concerned for what's in it for them. It's all about the money. Raek said it earlier in doctors being in it for the money. I do think that's true and it shouldn't be that way. Doctors used to become doctors because they wanted to help people. Same with teachers. Every year for the last ten years at least, there has been a local news story on teachers complaining that they are underpaid. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but here, the schools focus more on their budget and teachers' salaries than providing the best education possible. (and we live in a wealthy community where there should be no 'budget' problem) and I'm not trying to drag the thread into a conversation about education... my point is that it is all about the money and nobody is doing anything just to make the world a better place, and that is what the next generation is learning.

Those posters that haven't been married or don't have children yet, they will probably change their perspective on some things as they go through life and have some experiences that form new opinions on some things.

nivea,

"We have gotten to where we are at today without centuries of grad students."

Where do you think we have gotten a lot of our technology and advances in health care? Where do you think we'd be today without people that were once grad students?

Raek:
"Universal health care would channel the funds that you are already paying into a less exploitable program"...What would make it less exploitable?"

Unless you realize the amount of taxpayer money that is being 'defrauded' by able bodied people that ARE exploiting the current programs, you won't fully understand this issue. There are providers out there that are defrauding the medicaid system. There was a news story a couple of years ago, where a guy was hired by a clinic to take a van and 'round up' medicaid recipients. He'd drive them to the clinic, run their medicaid cards and take a look at them. They were not sick bu they were poor so if they were offered a little cash and a free ride to see the doctor, they'd go and the doctor would bill for a visit. Then, he had their billing info, he would bill for more visits when the people were not even there. I also had one client that 'loaned' her medi card to her best friend because the friend did not have insurance. She used it to have her baby and guess what? Instead of the 'real' mother's name being put on the child's birth certificate, the friend's name went on it because that was the name on the medi card. I discovered it almost ten years later and made a fraud referral but the statute of limitations was up. There is a ton of fraud in the welfare/medicaid system. There is a ton of fraud in the social security disability system. Depending on how a Universal Healthcare pays the providers, there might be less opportunity for fraud by providers. If everyone had access to care, there would be no reason for someone to use anyone else's identity to get care. There would also be no reason for people to lie about their income, work under the table or under another name to get government benefits/care.

""So by de-privatizing health care we can drive down the cost of health care."...Again, what would make it cost less, and what level of health care can we expect to receive?"

Go back and read what wrychoice1 wrote. She explains it quite well.

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nivea

Imamommy, it is pretty much implied that anyone who joins the military is in it to serve their country. It's laughable that you had to ask the question to back up your suspicion that it is always about money. LOL, the military pays nothing but gives awesome benefits to those who have upfront and knowingly choose to sacrifice themselves. It is what you are given in return and it isn't some kind of martydome. And again, it's a choice.

There is always going to be fraud. That is not new and will not go away. Universal healthcare does not imply free healthcare for all without exchange of money. There are several different systems that can be used and fraud will come into play, as usual.

I have a child and several people in my circles are married with children and feel the same way. I suspect it is our tax brackets doing the talking here rather than our love lives and offspring. Shame on me to be concerned about where my money is going.

The advances in technology have everything to do with the individuals intelligence, talent and motivation and a whole slew of other factors. This is includes how they get themselves to and thru school if they do not have ready resources. The taxpayers do not need to fund them more than the public funding already given. It is a privlege and not a right to attend secondary education.

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june0000

Ima,

"How have THEY taken a beating? They've expressed their opinions. Those that disagree have expressed THEIRS. They just happen to have a less popular opinion. What was said that would be considered a 'beating'? Maybe I missed something."

I don't have time to debate this point with you, Ima. You have more free time than I do, and I have to work and pay my taxes.

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Ashley

"Doctors used to become doctors because they wanted to help people"...I understand that doctors do become doctors to help people, but doctors also have to go through a ton of training and work long hours. Helping people is just not enough compensation for all of that. I'd like to know when in this country Doctors were not among the top income earners. They do it for profit as well. I think profit is the main motivating factor for everybody and why they do their jobs. If there is no profit in it, what is the point of working?

"Unless you realize the amount of taxpayer money that is being 'defrauded' by able bodied people that ARE exploiting the current programs, you won't fully understand this issue. There are providers out there that are defrauding the medicaid system"...I do understand the amount of exploitation...What I don't understand is how adding more goverment and more programs would make it less exploitable.

I did read what wrychoice1 wrote...I'd like to see the numbers to back that up because I don't think she knows what she is talking about. And I still beleive that the level of service will decline. It always does when government is involved.

"There would also be no reason for people to lie about their income, work under the table or under another name to get government benefits/care."...A very good reason for people to lie about income and work under the table would be the amount of income taxes they have to pay to support socialized medicine. Taxes are the main reason now that people do not report income that would not change.

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imamommy

I'm curious... what is a higher than average income? I've seen a few people write that, and well, nivea says "I suspect it is our tax brackets doing the talking here" and perhaps I am missing something. Without specifics, we make >100k. To be honest, I am not sure if that is considered average, higher or lower.... and June, I AM working too. I also pay my taxes.

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Ashley

In 2006, the median annual household income was $48,201.00 according to the Census Bureau. Therefore anything over that number is higher than average.

Also, when June says "taking a beating", she means all the name calling, etc. It's one thing to state an opinion, it's another thing to attack one's character because you don't agree with their political views.

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nivea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_bracket

This page gives the basics. But I do want to point out that this is just the simple version. A single person making the same amount as a married couple will not get the same exemption, etc etc.

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kkny

Raek, taxes not only encourage some people (obviously the less than ethical) to underreport income, they can encourage some people from working (e.g, someone close to retirment).

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imamommy

what name calling? I read back through and don't see it. Nobody has called you any names. Ceph said some ideas are ridiculous and that's her opinion. She's entitled to think that. If she has a low opinion of someone that doesn't care about her fellow human being and would rather not spend their tax dollars on the hairdresser's mammogram, that is also her opinion. I don't see any personal attacks. Just disagreeing opinions.

If you want to take others' opinions as personal attacks, then what is it when nivea says "Imamommy, it is pretty much implied that anyone who joins the military is in it to serve their country. It's laughable that you had to ask the question to back up your suspicion that it is always about money."? That is personally directed at me and could be taken as an insult, but it's her opinion.

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wrychoice1

Actually, Raek, a median and a mean are two very different statistical measures obtained by different methods. For example, lets say you have 4 people earning $15K/yr (slightly more than minimum wage); you have 1 person earning $20K/yr; you have 3 people earning $25K/yr and 1 person earning $250K/yr. In this case, the median income is $20K/yr because half of the people in the sample earn more & half of the people earn less. However, the mean (average) income of the sample is actually $35K/yr...in this example no one, certainly not 50%, earns the average income...only one individual does and that person outearns everyone else by nearly 10 to 1...and that one person is probably the only one in the sample who doesn't have to worry about health insurance.....

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nivea

Hey Kathline, I don't think that any of the non supporters of universal healthcare on this blog are saying that the healthcare issues are fine.

I simply disagree with universal healthcare. I also disagree with the way our tax brackets are set up.

It's not just one issue that I feel needs to change, it is a bunch.

And, I do care about the people that are actually working but overwhelmed and cannot afford routine healthcare or crises healthcare.

It's just simply not enough for me to say that universal healthcare will solve these problems and still not take an even larger chunk of my income.

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Ashley

The words Condescending and Rude come to mind as well as references to my "big girl job", not to mention the presumption that if I don't have children that I've never made a hard decision in my life.

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Ashley

wry, you are right, median is not the same as average. Therefore, statistically speaking, median is a better measurement of what is normal for people to earn because it is midway value between two points. There are an equal number of points above and below the median. Therefore, half of the households in the U.S. earned less than $48,201.00 and half earned more. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make other than just to make an effort to prove me wrong because you don't agree with my point of view.

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kkny

And wry, she said median. You can add mean numbers, if you have them available and want to, but I doubt your hypothetical has any basis in reality. And wry I agree with earlier comments, if you can point to any surveys supporting your beliefs, fine, but absent that, I am sceptical that easy solutions will work. And I find it very naive to think ALL of us would see costs go down with universal health care.

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imamommy

If someone thinks that a comment is rude or condescending, that is their opinion. As for the 'big girl job', that was in response to your comment "I'm saying I've made better decisions in my life. I have flipped burgers and worked at Wal-Mart...when I was in school. But now that I'm an adult, I have an adult job"

That comment IS rude and condescending to all the adults that work flipping burgers and working at wal mart. In fact, there are plenty of adults that work at wal mart and support their families. (wal mart does provide some benefits as well)

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Ashley

You can use whatever words you want...I don't care, and I'm not complaining about them. I'm just answering your question. You asked what names where called. I answered.

I would still like somebody to answer my question...when is it going to be enough? At what point will the handouts stop? What will be the next thing that people should be entitled to? Everybody NEEDS food right? Does that mean we should have a "universal" food system? You should just be able to walk into your local grocery store and get whatever you need, right? After all, you do NEED food to live. We don't want all these people starving to death on the sidewalks, right? So the taxpayers really should have to pay for that because after all, not everybody can afford to feed themselves and their children. Then what? A car? After all, everybody NEEDS to get from point A to point B, right? I mean what if a person is really trying hard and they have a job, but it is across town? What if their child is sick and they need to get them to the doctor? Well, the taxpayers really should pick up the tab for that because if it's something people NEED, then they should have a right to it, shouldn't they? WHEN DOES IT STOP? Isn't it enough that I work into MAY now for the government? I guess not.

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Ashley

I mean WERE called, not WHERE...before anybody jumps to correct me.

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doodleboo

Wow...kudos on picking such a hot thread topic. Looks like healthcare is a rather heated subject.

I'm not too up on the health care issues (which I SHOULD be) so all I can really add is even though I have a good paying state job with good benefits...I pay OUT THE NOSE for insurance and once the baby is here that premium will shoot up over twice as high. One of my major concerns is affording the health insurance for the baby. Even with good insurance family plans are not cheap.

I will say it does kindof irk me that people who do not work or work very little get free healthcare while my pregnant hiney has to get up at 5:45 to go to work everyday to keep my insurance AND it costs me a good deal of money to boot. It seems a little unfair. The less you do the easier the ride...that seems to be how the system is set up. Just a thought.

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wrychoice1

Gosh, now I feel like I'm doing a poor imitation of TOS...
Here are a couple of links....please write Professor Thorpe if you think he doesn't know what he's writing about ;-)

The links:
http://www.apha.org/membergroups/newsletters/
sectionnewsletters/comm/fall05/2017.htm

The other link is below.

Enjoy!

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quirk

I'm sure you won't like my answer, but it's enough when we decide it's enough. You can make the same arguments about almost any government spending. You want roads and highways; why not let private companies build toll roads and people who can afford it can pay to use them? Why fund police when people can just go out and make good choices and work hard enough to get good jobs and hire personal security? Why is my county supplying me with clean safe drinking water (this one comes with a small fee) and garbage pickup rather than just letting me pay for my own? There are valid arguments for and against all of these things (well, except the cop one) and different localities can and do make different choices; on an individual policy basis, as it makes sense. If it makes good public policy sense to do A, it's ridiculous imo to argue that we shouldn't do it because where does it end, is someone going to argue next that we should do B. A should be judged on its own merits, as should B. Right now, I think we do a pretty good job making sure everyone in this country is fed, but you know what? If, god forbid, we were to sink into another Great Depression where there simply weren't anywhere nearly enough jobs to go around for families to be able to put food on the table, then darn right I would think we should try to figure out how to keep people from starving in the streets if at all possible. Where the line is drawn depends on the situation and circumstances.

I believe that the way we fund health care now does not make sense. We pay outright for the people who have the most expensive care (seniors, the disabled, people with chronic illnesses that have blown through their insurance and/or assest until they qualify for medicaid) as well as those who don't work at all, we subsidize insurance via tax breaks for those most able to afford their own (those healthy enough to work and most often those with good paying jobs) and yet still leave people without. We pay more per capita on health care than other developed nations without a corresponding increase in any measurement of health outcome (life span, infant mortality, etc). I think that good public policy means doing something different than what we are doing now. I don't know if that something is extending Medicare-type program to cover everyone, or something similar to what Massachusets is doing, or something else entirely. And whatever it is, no I am sure it will not be perfect. But it can be better.

And you know, I can be a heartless b!tch when necessary. People will argue with all the compassion and best intentions in the world that you cant put a price on a human life, that if you save only one person its worth spending however many millions on this safety upgrade or that law. I will tell you that not only can you put a price on human life, but that in order to make good decisions you have to. Otherwise, you will wind up spending 5 million dollars on putting in crosswalks and speed bumps on road A which saves 2 lives when the same money could be better spent on flu vaccines which will save 100 lives. Or whatever. In the case of health care, I think that cost benefit analyses and common sense compassion happen to lead to the same conclusions; we should provide it. Obviously you disagree (and yes, I think some of the comments you made arguing that point were very condescending and I dont think it qualifies as name-calling to point that out). But if we choose to fund health insurance for everyone, it doesnt automatically follow that we should start feeding everyone. Nor to the contrary; we can choose to leave health insurance the way it is and still decide if food prices keep rising or the economy really tanks that we need to start buying food for a lot more people than we do. One does not necessarily lead to the other.

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Ashley

Wry,

There are several articles that dispute what Thorpe is saying. His assumptions are also based on the population that is currently legally in the U.S. Health Providers in this country regularly provide health care to people who are not legally in the U.S.

Please read this article about Government involvement in heath care and health insurance and let me know what you think...

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wrychoice1

Raek,

When I posted the link to Thorpe's article I was going to add that I am certain there are plenty of other sources that would discount his conclusions, so I am not surprised you found something.

The other thing I was going to do earlier was post a couple of different links for you: one to the Libertarian Party & one to the CATO Institute (A Libertarian think tank). I was thinking you would be at home in either place. And I do not intend that as a slam...just an observation.

With respect to the article you linked to...clearly the authors are coming from a very specific, ideological place. I personally do not agree with their philosophy or ideology...and I think Quirk in her post at 17:18 today sums it up pretty well in her first paragraph because her questions (public highways v. toll roads; police protection v. private security, etc etc) really ask about the consequences of the Libertarian philosophy espoused by Ayn Rand and her devotees when taken to its logical extreme.

I simply disagree with the philosophy....the article I cited was sponsored by a broad, non-partisan coaliton of groups representing a variety of perspectives (including business, labor, healthcare providers, insurers, consumers, etc.) I don't think the National Coalition on Health Care has an ideological axe to grind...unlike the authors of the paper you linked to. I think the larger argument here is the proper role of government in the lives of the people...it is an interesting debate...I think it also explains some of Ron Paul's appeal during the recent primary season...

...and I apologize for the median v mean post....I was feeling ornery.

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imamommy

"Right now, I think we do a pretty good job making sure everyone in this country is fed, but you know what? If, god forbid, we were to sink into another Great Depression where there simply weren't anywhere nearly enough jobs to go around for families to be able to put food on the table, then darn right I would think we should try to figure out how to keep people from starving in the streets if at all possible."

I agree quirk, and it should be noted that the government already does feed people through food stamps and WIC. What I would definitely support is higher taxes on junk food. (I also support higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol) because the health problems from obesity and smoking/drinking. It disgusts me that it costs more to give your child a glass of milk, juice or bottled water than a pepsi. IMO, food stamps should not be allowed to purchase junk food. (heck, they should tax the heck out of pre packaged 'convenience' and fast foods too)

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kkny

Ima I agreee. When I went to school, back in the dark ages, in home ec, girls (yes it was segregated) who didnt already know, learned now to shop for and how to cook economical nutricious meals.

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ceph

I totally agree, Ima.
Something that annoys the heck out of me:
A small bag of chips has tax on it, because it is considered as "personal luxury" so costs $1.10. A big bag of chips doesn't have tax, because it's considered "family size" and costs 99 cents.
So it doesn't make financial sense to portion control your chips by buying the smaller bag. And since many people "can't" stop until the bag is done... Yeesh.

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imamommy

ha, my son was teased for taking home ec. in HS. He took it because he got to be one of just a few boys in a class of mostly girls (smart guy. lol) but really, he may need to know how to cook because too many girls today can't. Sad but true.

We're still working on the cleaning though. (he's getting better at it)

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quirk

ha, wry, while the police example was a ridiculous extreme (i think!), the privately built and owned toll roads are exactly what my local municipalities are proposing. And, while it will take awhile, I suspect it's eventually going to happen. My state is bound and determined to commit economic suicide by refusing to address transportation gridlock in its economic powerhouse areas so the localities are grasping for solutions and this is one on the table that's increasingly gaining traction. I didn't intend that to be an extreme example at all, it's a genuine proposition that has real support.

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kkny

I am not certain about toll roads, but I supported Mayor Bloomberg's proposal for tolls for "congestion pricing" to subsideize mass transit. There is no need to drive into Manhattan. That is a luxury. We need the money for mass transit. In NY, that is a necessity. The mayors plan was shot down by the democratic machine (some of whom recieve large contributins from parking lot owners).

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