"Socialized Medicine" – Better red than dead.

So I watched Sicko (I don't usually acquire movies without paying for them but I plan on getting it on DVD. It comes out the day I close on my house so there's absolutely NO WAY I will end up seeing it in theaters because I'll be busy moving and my money will be focused elsewhere too)

It just sorta angered me. It's stunning that all these other nations are doing better than us in universal health care. It's infuriating. I've heard plenty of right wing nonsense where they talk about how bad they have it in other countries. Well, guess what, in other countries if you *need* private doctors, you can pay for them. If you can't pay, or don't mind getting the same treatment as everyone else, go to the normal doctors. Anything is better than this shithole where becky gets diagnosed with diabetes shortly after she gets on my insurance, and now they're starting to try to catch her in a preexisting condition clause. And where we get all sorts of bills from all sorts of companies, and I never know what I'm supposed to pay, and by when. Half of it shows up as "past due" the minute I get it, because the procedure was 2 months ago and insurance just paid out, etc. It's all bullshit and what we have isn't working.

And so of course, after watching that, I ended up going to the hospital for some long overdue x-rays on my foot. It's not broken, just sprained. I may have to see a podiatrist. But it's not broken. Yay! I'm sure I'm gonna get a $500 bill because an ER doctors assistant told me to take over the counter painkillers and rest my feet as much as I can, and if it doesn't go away, see another doctor. Fucking broken.

Also, for those who haven't seen it (NSFW, if your work is cranky about videos depicting drug use and guitar playing involving puppets) Kermit does a cover of "hurt".

We close on the house June 29 in the morning.

27 thoughts on “"Socialized Medicine" – Better red than dead.”

  1. Congrats on the house first and foremost. I'm sure moving in will be more pleasurable than it has been in any of your prior rental properties. Remember: you own this one.

    As for the universal healthcare, that would make too much sense for it to work in the USA. That's why we don't have it. That and most doctors would go for the níche medicines and never work as a "general doctor." It's how it would probably roll out sadly. Pre-existing conditions clauses are bullshit, and I can rant on them at length, but won't here. Maybe soon in my own journal (which I hardly ever update anymore).

    But it's good to hear that your foot isn't broken; if you were out here I'd recommend a magical podiatrist, but I'm sure you've got plenty out there that are just as good. But mine is probably just cuter.

    1. Yay house!

      The anti inflammatory medication is working somewhat. Here's to hoping that it works well for me over the 5-7 days I was told to take it continuously.

  2. Socialized medicine sucks.

    I've seen it's working many times first hand when I've lost family because of it. One cousin who was very dear to me died because they had sucky doctors who didn't give a shit about their patients because they would get the same money from the state if the tried to help her or not.

    She had diabetes.

    One place I read that was trying to describe the difference between socialize health care countries and countries like the US went something like this: After a stay in the hospital, a representative of the hospital comes to your relatives and says these things.

    American Hospital Rep: Here are the forms to fill out for financial aid to pay for the bills accrued during your loved ones stay in the hospital. This a total listing of all the expenses and the total bill which we will work with you to pay off over the next several years. Here are a list of the medications that will need to be bought to help the recovery.

    Canadian Hospital Rep: We're sorry about your loss. We did all we could. Where would you like the personal belongings sent?

  3. While I agree that there's a tragic disparity between the "haves" and "nots" in our health care industry, I am always forced to look at this from the "I have to take care of me and mine first" perspective. My health insurance is awesome; it's fabulous; it's even miraculous at times. My employer is self-insured, so we pay no co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles. We simply go to a doctor (preferably in the network our plan administrator has, but if not, that's OK, too, if it's an emergency), get treated, and leave. No muss, no fuss, no credit cards.

    Under a socialized system, I would not have that for me and my family. Until I am convinced that I can trust our system of government to bring everyone UP to the same level, instead of DOWN to the lowest common denominator, I cannot campaign for a system like universal health care. The cost of our health care would skyrocket, and those are costs that I can't bear right now, especially not if I have a choice.

    1. It must be nice working for one of the largest, wealthiest companies in the United States. It is of course not possible to provide baseline coverage for everyone and allow others to pay to get better care. Since we're implementing universal coverage, we have to call it socialism and treat it as such. Sorry, comrade.

      1. It is, in that respect, but I may have been misconstrued: I agree with you completely. I wish everyone in the US could have the same level of health care I and my family enjoy right now. However, I don't have faith that our system won't take our woefully unequal system and basically flatten it into a situation where EVERYONE has crap for care. We'd come out with some hybrid socialist/capitalist system where everyone except those with the massive resources to buy their way out of any problem suffers. That's the sort of system I believe would happen, so that's why I can't campaign for universal health care.

        In an ideal system, everyone would have access and would be treated the same (good) way. However, I fear we'll wind up with a system like the IRS or (God forbid) the Immigration department. Sit down, shut up, and be happy with what little you got, Citizen.

        I want others to come up to join in what I have (and am willing to take the evenly-spread tax burden to get it), not push me down to join others. Is it selfish? Yes, I think it is. Am I insane for not wanting to give it up? No, I don't think I am.

        1. Fear of doing it wrong is a terrible reason to not act. Sure, I can see things going your way. I can see corporations corrupting the hell out of the system we have.

          I can also see the government becoming an insurer of last resort and placing price caps on prescription drugs. That would allow the system to run as it does, while catching those that fall through the cracks. It would also create motivation to fix things, as now it's not individuals getting screwed when insurance companies misbehave, but the government itself.

          1. In my case, it's not so much fear of getting it wrong, it's just that I don't see the track record of the federal government getting it *right*. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is a fucking mess, and has been mismanaged for years. Why should I trust that any national health coverage program will be implemented correctly and administered competently? It's really hard to want to shell out even more tax dollars for this, in addition to any extra coverage I'd probably have to buy because the baseline coverage would probably not be enough.

            I do understand your point, I just can't see how the implementation would be any better than what we currently have.

            My ranting on the channel aside last night, I'd rather see the *state* governments as the insurer of last resort, but I really don't want to see price caps on prescriptions. Price controls, historically and generally speaking, tend to screw with things worse than no price controls at all. Walmart and Meijer are offering very cheap generic prescriptions already, without any requirement to do so, having decided that it was good business to make that happen.

          2. When another hurricane injures thousands of under/uninsured people in Louisiana and bankrupts the state, can we go back to my idea of sharing the load federally? 🙂

            The problem with state stuff, while I like the idea of keeping it out of federal hands, is that if a localized disaster hits, like an earthquake, F5 tornado, or a hurricane, is that you can easily bankrupt the system. You would also avoid being a tourist in the poorer states, as well as never move to them, because of their high taxes and poor healthcare coverage, creating a never ending cycle of exodus.

            The idea I mentioned above basically keeps our current system intact for those who want it, and would cover things like deductables, things insurance companies refuse to cover (which would eventually force legislation stating what private insurance MUST cover, improving the situation for everyone). I also think that health insurers should be required to be nonprofits, as well as all incorporated entities providing health care. Note that there are many well off people working at nonprofits, I don't mean the impoverished type. I mean the type that has three basic options: Spend more money providing actual care, fund research, or lower their prices. Everyone would still get a rate of return on their investment into the company (we could even do something like the old bell system used to have, with a maximum rate of return cap)

            I'm just throwing out ideas here. There's got to be a way that makes this work. Of course there will be rampant abuse and mismanagement, but that happens at the private insurers too. That will never go away.

  4. Yes, let's focus on this one issue, and totally ignore all the other issues that these other countries have that we don't. But hey, that's the American way, right?

    1. Yes, let's focus on every issue our country has and try to solve them all at once in some sort of omnibus law that addresses every issue in our country all at once, ensuring that at no time that we make any mistakes, or start with the system of another country and tweak it until it fits for us. We're Americans, and if it wasn't invented here, it's just not worth doing, unless of course we can fix it all at once and be done with it.

      So let's just do nothing, because that sounds really hard.

      That's the American way, right?

      1. No, the American way is for one loser like Moore to come along, make a HUGE deal about one issue like it's the one and only thing that will take us down as a country, and cause an uproar about it among the general population. We then push government to rush some new bills through the system, creating new laws and/or depts to "solve" this "new" problem, without ever once stopping to think about the consequences of these actions. If we're really lucky, we can even pass a couple "new" laws that are basically just rehashes of existing, not well enforced, laws. The latest round of laws concerning purchase and CCW permits after VT comes to mind.

        I can't remember the last time we just did nothing, quite the contrary. We're always doing something, without thinking about what we're doing.

        Frankly, I'd like to know whose ass we're going to pull all the money out of to pay for this universal health care system. I'm already losing 1/4 of my money to taxes, I sure as hell don't want to be paying more, and I'm willing to bet a good portion of the tax paying population will agree with me.

        1. You're right. It wasn't broken until Michael Moore came along. Hilary Clinton wasn't making a furor about it back in the 90s. There weren't movies made with the entire plot being based on refusal of healthcare services to insured individuals.

          Hell, Hell, it wasn't even broken from the get go. Of course.

          Ehrlichman: “Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because …”

          President Nixon: [Unclear.]

          Ehrlichman: “… the less care they give them, the more money they make.”

          President Nixon: “Fine.” [Unclear.]

          Ehrlichman: [Unclear] “… and the incentives run the right way.”

          President Nixon: “Not bad.”

          1. Good thing it was a big enough deal that we worked at it until we fixed it in 1971. Oh, wait, never mind. Well, hey, we were more proactive in the 90's, and took care of it then. No? The movement was dead within a year? Wow, it's amazing just how big this problem really is, and how much people really are concerned about it!

            Aw hell, guess it really is true….Americans are all gung ho about these kinds of things for about 2 weeks, then they forget about it, because they don't really perceive it as a problem, it just happens to be the "in" thing to be pissed about this week.

            As far as it being broken, define broken. The system works for many people. There are many people who don't want the current system to change at all. I doubt they would consider the system broken.

          2. They also have higher taxes, higher cost of living, and less freedom/more government oversight than we have. I think it's telling that we still have a lot more people coming _to_ this country than leaving for others (yes, I'm excluding immigrants from poor areas like central America). If Mom really feels it to be such a big issue, why isn't she moving to the UK, rather than having her fiance move here?

  5. From personal experience, and the experiences of the support group I used to run, reactive hypoglycemia is one of the hardest things in the world to diagnose. And most doctors will look at the list of symptoms and insist that it *can't* be blood sugar causing all of them.

    1. The first tested me for anything but, and then told me nothing was wrong with me. Nothing.

      The second didn't test anything. He prescribed antibiotics.

      The third looked at me after I ate lunch because I was working on his equipment, and watched me slowly deteriorate into a clammy, shaking mess. After finding out what I ate (I think it was a cookie and pizza with french fries and a sugared mountain dew or something) he suggested I may have it, and gave me a meal plan to try. It cleared the problems right up. He wasn't even a general practitioner, he was a psychiatrist.

      Our current system is in a rush to try things, and won't do anything time consuming or expensive.

      But I do understand it can be difficult. But I expect doctors to keep trying.

  6. Message from Mom

    I find it so interesting to read the comments from everyone.Let me share a few things with you that might not have been known or considered.
    My fiance is British and has lived in the United Kingdom for 35 years.Although he he is not 100% happy with his medical coverage he has had no personal negative experience with it nor has any of his family members.He feels the greatest draw back comes from issues that involve elective surgery(meaning non-life threatening)because they can often wait up to 3 months unless the condition worsens.
    When his 5 year old niece needed her tonsils removed they waited 6 weeks for surgery while she was treated with antibiotics.They were removed and the cost was zero dollars.
    My fiance's father was having chest pains when he walked. He saw the doctor in the emergency room, got tests done,immediate treatment and follow up by a cardiologist,angioplasty and follow up visits with his doctor,5 pound charge per month for medication(10$ USA).Out of pocket cost zero.They do not have any private medical coverage.
    My friend Geoff(from the UK and living in another city considered less economically privileged from where my fiance lives)had his Mother brought to the hospital after he found her on the floor in her home.She was in the hospital for a week while they did many tests to figure out why she had fallen.They found she was having mini-strokes that could be controlled by medication.She was moved to another wing in the hospital for 4 days while they set her up with in-home healthcare nurses and assistants that would allow her to move back home.She had nurses coming everyday to check on her (not once or twice a week like my ex father-in-law did here in the USA)she has a social worker who comes once a week to make sure her needs are being met such as house cleaning,laundry and food.It has been a year she has lived at home. She still has a nurse visit twice a week and the social worker still visits once a week.If this had been the USA she would be in a nursing home at a HUGE cost to the rest of US as she has no money but her pension and retirement income.Her out-of-pocket-cost?Zero dollars.
    My ex in-laws paid me to stay with my ex father-in-law everyday for 6 weeks because a in-home healthcare nurse could only come twice week and private nurses were $10 dollars an hour.I offered to stay with him for free but gratefully accepted a check for $300.00 for those 6 weeks.He would have required nursing home care if I couldn't arrange to do it at a cost of $1,400.00 a month.
    My fiance will be moving here next year after our marriage. He will need a physical before he leaves to get a marriage visa, he will need another physical when he arrives,and it will cost me nearly $500.00 a month to insure us both (I make 14,000.00 a year).We have to purchase a seperate insurance rider for the 90 days they will not cover him (my insurance won't cover him right away because he won't have a green card)because if he becomes ill or injured in those 90 days and is considered a "financial burden to the country" he could face being deported.This actually happened to a friend of mine living in Michigan who was from Australia who developed congestive heart disease during those 90 days.He had to fight to remain here and pay out-of-pocket cost to the hospital and an attorney.
    I currently do not have insurance because I can't afford the cost to get it.If it were not for the $5 dollar cost per perscription of my medication from Walmart I wouldn't be buying my medications every month.
    I personally know the difference between being well insured (at a cost of 600.00 a month under my husband) and being uninsured living alone.I wait until I am too sick to move before I seek medical attention because I can't afford to do it any other way.I am hoping my luck doesn't run out before next year when hopefully we will have a two person income that might allow me to be insured again.
    There is no "perfect" system but I'd much rather have the system that doesn't make me fear losing my home when I can't pay the medical bills.In the next year,if I develop cancer or a cronic disease I risk losing everything I own at age 47.So,its pay my bills now and take the risk or buy insurance and not pay my bills.
    Its just another viewpoint to consider.

    1. Re: Message from Mom

      Say you experience some massive event that takes out your house that your home owner's insurance won't cover. Your husband who is the only income commits suicide, and the life insurance doesn't pay out for whatever reason. You have limited job skills, no where near enough to match the lifestyle you had before he died. Should the government be expected to bail you out of that as well?

      1. Re: Message from Mom

        Say you have a strawman argument that is completely disconnected from the original issue. Let's detach it straight from reality, into the realm of Lemony Snicket's "A series of unfortunate events" books. Should the government do this or that, where this or that has little to nothing to do with the original topic?

      2. Re: Message from Mom

        Also, you're detailing the failings of our insurance based society in great detail. This sort of event is the type nobody expects to happen. It's the reason they pay for insurance to begin with. So you detail a scenario where two insurances fail, in a manner that you implicitly consider plausible.

        And then claim our system isn't broken?

        I refuse to live in your dystopian society.

  7. Based upon the comments here, it looks like your socialized medicine scheme has a steep (vertical?) uphill climb before it is accepted (if at all.) Ironically, Europe is starting to move away from socialized medicine, largely due to cost and efficiency issues. I know that the Germans and the Maltese are not particularly happy with how socialized medicine has turned out for them. Most of 's fears turn out to be well-placed.

    I also know of Canadians who chose to come to the US for life-saving open-heart surgical procedures, due mainly to the fact that they had only six months to live without surgery and were on a 9-month long waiting list in Canada to get the surgery.

    1. The problem with doing anything like this in our country is that people's egalitarian feathers get all up in a knot.

      They fail to see that medical care is a basic human right in a 1st world country. None of them have any problems with the privatization of fire companies, even though that when you used to pay the fire companies directly, they were more likely to be available to put out your house, even if there were other houses in the area distracting them. In fact, you could pay more to get a higher priority. Now under our "no burning structures left behind" policy, the government has gotten more control, even going so far as to have "fire marshals" who control how things can and cannot be built. And sometimes people's houses burn down because there are other fires in the area and they couldn't get to theirs in time. Sometimes there is fraud and waste in the fire department. Companies are replacing trucks before they are reaching the end of their useful lifespan. But yet, nobody really complains that they should go back to being private. Same with libraries. What business does the government have maintaining collections of literature? Private industry was doing okay with that. With the current model, sometimes the book I want isn't even available there! Sometimes you have to wait weeks to get it. In a private library, that would never happen!

      In Madison Heights, we have socialized trash collection. No matter what I want to throw out, I can set it at the curb on wednesday morning and it disappears. I don't pay anything for it. It's out of our taxes, provided by private industry. I don't get it. If we can figure out how to make trash collection a basic right in our city, why not medical care? Sure, it's a bit more complicated, but we're America, right? We invented nuclear weapons, television, telephone, the automobile, the computer, and the internet, but making sure that millions of people don't die or suffer needlessly because they can't afford our overpriced health care system is completely out of our grasp. We can't take the best ideas from other nations, and put our own twist on it, that'd be impossible!

      All I keep hearing is "It can't happen" without any good reason why. When did we become such pussies about inventing a system, doing something better? I mean our current government programs aren't perfect, and people complain about them, but few would abolish them now that we have them. As a small example, I'm pretty well off in the middle class. I can't get private disability insurance. They simply won't offer it to me. I've applied and been completely declined. SSDI is my only option if something bad happens. Why we can't have a new deal for basic universal healthcare is beyond me. What about a basic guarantee from the government that they will pay for any care that is done to provide a basic standard of living? Any hospital, any doctor, any dentist. You can still have your private insurance, the government would tip in the deductibles, and your insurance would of course continue to cover a number of things the government would not, such as vasectomies, etc. And if your insurance weaseled its way out of paying for a major surgery, the government would pay, and then sue your insurance company to try to recover the money. Who has the resources to sue the insurance company over a denial of a claim? Pretty much just the US government. How about that? It takes the good parts of our system, and covers the bad. And if you don't have insurance, it still covers basic emergency care and occasional preventative care like a yearly checkup, etc.

    2. Sure, it's open for abuse, but so is our current system. And prices for things would go down because the hospitals and doctors no longer have to build in such a huge buffer to cover charitable care and non-payers. And more people would be ready and able to work, meaning less strain on systems like SSDI and medicare (which could probably be completely rolled into this "coverage of last resort" style program) which would offset expenses in other places. You could scale down basic workers comp to a plan that only does income replacement and outpatient care, and the taxes might go up a bit to cover those claims, but since the workers comp insurance would drop in price, it's probably actually a better deal for most people, especially small businesses.

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