5 Myths of Health Care

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by FriendofSpurgeon, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. FriendofSpurgeon

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    The information below is from an article published in the Washington Times on March 21, 2008. Thought you all might find it interesting.


    Five myths of health care

    March 21, 2008

    Fictions don't become facts through repetition.

    Keep that in mind next time you hear a politician breathlessly decry the horrors of the American health-care system and then explain how he intends to fix it. Some of the most popular talking points in the health-care debate pass as the gospel truth simply because, well, they're popular — not because they're true.

    Below, I debunk the five most prominent health-care myths:

    (1) Forty-seven million Americans do not have health insurance.

    This figure comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. What most people don't know, however, is that the Bureau counts anyone who went without health insurance during any part of the previous year as "uninsured."

    That also includes 10.2 million illegal immigrants, and about 14 million people who are eligible for public health-care programs like Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program but have yet to enroll. And nearly 10 million of the "uninsured" have household incomes of more than $75,000 — so they can probably afford to buy health insurance but choose not to.

    (2) Universal health-care coverage can be achieved via "individual mandate."

    According to the federal census, nearly two-thirds of the uninsured are aged 18 to 34. This makes sense — healthy people aren't going to pay for expensive insurance they'll never use.

    Those who support an "individual mandate" — like Sen. Hillary Clinton and several governors — believe by legally requiring all Americans to buy health insurance the young and the healthy will increase the size of the risk pool and therefore lower premiums for everyone. As a way to enforce an individual mandate, Mrs. Clinton has suggested garnishing wages.

    But many states require insurers to charge everyone the same rate. So young people would end up paying far more in premiums than they should — or could — pay. It's patently unfair to force people to purchase insurance they can't afford. Even in Massachusetts, which offers substantial premium subsidies for low-income residents, the government had to exempt a fifth of Bay Staters from the individual mandate because insurance was still so expensive. And, the plan is already $147 million over budget.

    The real way to attract young adults into the insurance market is to lower premiums — not to impose draconian sanctions. This can be done by having states reduce costly mandates like coverage of in-vitro fertilization and by allowing people to buy insurance across state lines.

    (3) Expensive prescription drugs are a big reason health-care costs increase.

    The real price of prescription drugs is actually decreasing. In 2007, inflation rose more than 4 percent, while drug prices increased just 1 percent. So in real terms, drugs were 3 percent cheaper last year than in 2006, on average.

    What's more, drug spending is but a small slice of total health-care spending — less than 11 cents out of every health-care dollar goes to prescription meds.

    And drugs actually reduce health-care costs in the long-term. Medicare, for instance, saves $2.06 for every additional dollar it spends on pharmaceutical drugs, according to a paper recently published by the National Bureau for Economic Research. Prescription drugs often obviate the need for expensive surgeries and hospital stays.

    (4) Drug importation will save patients a fortune.

    At most, according to the Congressional Budget Office, foreign drug importation would save Americans 1 percent over the next decade.

    Brand-name drugs are cheaper in foreign countries because their governments impose price controls. Drug-makers can only afford to sell pills at cut-rate, controlled prices in Europe and Canada because Americans pay full price.

    If American politicians allow foreign drugs to enter the U.S. market, they'll in effect import price controls too. Such action will not only create practical problems, like shortages but also deny firms the return on investment necessary to plunge into the next round of research and development into new cures.

    It takes nearly $1 billion to bring a new drug to market. Investors are willing to make such a risky investment because the rewards of developing a cure for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, AIDS or diabetes are considerable. If the profit motive vanishes, the miracle cures for which America's drug industry is responsible would vanish.

    (5) The state-run health-care systems in Canada and Europe are better and cheaper than America's.

    People who make this claim usually note that life expectancy is higher in Canada and Europe. But life expectancy is influenced by a number of variables aside from the quality of a country's health-care system — like diet, genetics, exercise, smoking, pollution and even marital status.

    A study published last year in the British medical journal the Lancet suggests America is much better at treating cancer than Europe or Canada. Researchers found Americans have a better survival rate for 13 of the 16 most prominent cancers. An American man has nearly a 20 percent better chance of living for five years after being diagnosed with cancer than his European counterpart.

    This study's findings tell us a lot more about the quality of a health-care system than life expectancy rates do, because the relationship between treatment and outcomes is tighter, clearer and more direct.

    Sally C. Pipes is president and chief executive officer of the Pacific Research Institute and author of "Miracle Cure: How to Solve America's Health-Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer."
     
  2. Gold Dragon

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    By only looking at those who were treated for cancer, they are excluding those who cannot afford treatment. In Canada and Europe, folks in poorer economic conditions which usually translates to poor health and worse prognosis after treatment are included in the data. In Canada and many European countries, accessibility is a key measure of the quality of the health care system that is excluded in the study referenced.

    The US is easily #1 in the world in health care spending per person.
     
    #2 Gold Dragon, Apr 1, 2008
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  3. Magnetic Poles

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    Yes Gold Dragon, the US spends the most and gets less. The current system is a failure and for far less money, we could have better (and universal) care. Conservatives are afraid of change, even if it is change that brings improvement. They'd rather keep status quo.
     
  4. windcatcher

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    Health care seemed to be more personal, more affordable, more direct, before government got involved ... and insurance became the norm. The competition and the demographics of the community used to set the prices. And community service was the doctor delivering for cut cost or free to those he knew had hardship..... because of his dedication to the sick and concern for his community.

    We used to be healthier. But enter big pharma with a pill for everything and every whine... and side effects that can be treated by another pill..... etc.... and all the time..... these wonderful bodies which our God so designed and built the healing within.... are corrupted and poisoned by artificial supplements, and chemicals which attack the recooperative forces he built within... and the placement of our faith and our dependance moves farther and farther away from dependance on God first, to dependance on man's solutions... and failures....
     
  5. Gold Dragon

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    When you say government involvement, do you mean in terms of state hospitals? Because the US government wasn't involved in health care insurance until well after the price of health care had risen dramatically.

    Because of new medical technologies, health care costs started dramatically increase starting in the 1920s. As those costs started rising, the need for insurance grew and started with private insurance in all countries in the developed world. Britain was the first country to have public universal health coverage in 1948. In Canada, all ten provinces provided public coverage by the 1960s. Australia got into the act in 1975.

    In the United States, the Blue Cross and the Blue Shield were pretty much third party hospital and physician pre-paid billing systems that evolved into the only health insurance options until the 1940s. With their success, private insurance companies got into the game and had a good hold on the market by the 1960s such that most of the country had some form of private health insurance. The AMA defeated several proposals for national health insurance in 1935 and 1949 but JFK was able to get Medicare and Medicaid started in 1966 to subsidize health care costs for the aged and poor.

    So it wasn't until 40 years after the start of rising health care costs that the US government got into some form of subsidized health insurance which hasn't really changed all that much to this day.

    Source: Economic History Services: Health Insurance in the United States
    There was a lot less doctors could do in those days because of limited technology and training.
    I don't know if folks were healthier back then but they did die faster when they weren't healthy. Nowadays, you might be unhealthy but you also live much longer.

    Industrial pollutants is probably just as large if not larger source of toxins in our bodies. Pharmaceutical drugs may be toxic, but they serve a medical purpose to improve overall health.
     
  6. Jkdbuck76

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    One thing that drives health care costs is liability insurance.

    Our foot doctor practiced by himself for 15 years until he couldn't afford the cost of malpractice insurance, so he entered into some type of partnership with a group of other doctors in order to do so.

    My cousin is a family doctor and she cannot afford to practice on her own. The cost of malpractice insurance is too high. No matter what, this is a cost of doing business and it is passed on to...guess who? YOU and ME!!!!

    So next time you read in the paper that some jury awarded 900 trillion gazillion jillion dollars to some lady who took Bextra, instead of saying "hooray! we stuck it to the Man!" you should lament because your costs will only be higher.

    The real answer IMHO is tort reform. But since our guhment is run by people who are or were lawyers who benefit directly from the suffering of others will never put a cap on damages claims. Sure, if a doctor saws my arms on by accident, they owe me some money, but not a ludicrous amount.
     
  7. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Ah yes, like most things -- mail service, education, etc., the government always does a better job for less money than private institutions.

    There is a reason why Canadians and others come here for quality medical care -- see the word "quality".

    If you like the DMV, the post office, failing public schools, etc., then you will love government run healthcare.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    And if that were ever put in place ( of which this country is not ready for) they would only cry out "we need more money" when it became evident that it doesn't work in government hands. Conservatives aren't afraid of change. We do resist change in the wrong direction. There is a diference. However, liberals use the words "change" and "progress" as if they were virtues. What they really are are excuses to apply humanism ( under the guise of humanitarianism) because they are to lazy to do the work it takes to be a success.
     
  9. FriendofSpurgeon

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    In most places with government run healthcare, there are no liability issues since you cannot sue period.
     
  10. Jkdbuck76

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    Exactly. Now if you know Canadians like I do, they're trying to go to a two-tier system; gov't and private. So they're running like mad from universal health scare and we're running towards it.

    the OP mentions that the USA does a better job with cancer. That is why a gov't official from Soviet Canuckistan came down here to the USA to get treated. If you google it, you'll find the story.

    There are more CAT scan machines in Philadelphia than there are in the entire country of Canada. My coworkers in Canada HATE their "free" healthcare system.
     
  11. FriendofSpurgeon

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  12. windcatcher

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    The fact that JFK wasn't alive in 1966..... and the programs of which you speak was part of the 'Great Society' of our Socialistic Democratic President Lyndon Banes Johnson (who only succeeded to office through corrupt election frauds and the help of scandalous cronies.....but in politics what else is new?), cast a shadow on the whole construct of your arguement! JFK? The one who is famous for stating 'ask not what your country can do for you...... but what can you do for your country!



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    Health insurance in our country did not become a 'norm' until the success of the unions in requiring it for their members, caused enough pressure on non-unionized industry forcing them to compete with the similar employee packages or be confronted with unioniztion, that it started being a drawing card to those looking for work to be employed by those who needed workers.

    When the balance between the insured and the uninsured swung to sufficient increases towards those 'insured' the price of medical care started jumping....and so did the frequency of service requested by the insured and what was perceived to be increase in quality as perceived by the insured.

    nsurance became a middle man: It is a business for profit, which means it must take in more in premiums than it pays out as liabilities or charges: Insurance is a middle man which spread the increased cost of running its own business to those who are paying the premiums. As we saw in the WalMart/Shank case, insurance is a business whose primary objective is to provide a limited service while making money. Insurance is a business which increased the paperwork and supports for diagnosis and supporting data that treatment was rendered to patients....and that according to or compliant with its standards. Insurance is an additional entity with which doctors must submit their practices to scrutiny besides the simplier and pre-existing concerns of their medical practice peer boards and that of their patients.

    Mal-practice is a just suit against those who have practiced maliciously or negligent to standards of care. However, insurance has made this hazard of practice less personal between the contest of patient, doctor, and jury and has served to increase the standards by which a doctor may be judged, and removed from the court and jury the emotional concern of justice and balance regarding the injury and 'punishment' as it is easier to perceive the 'insurance' pays... and not the offending doctor! Nevertheless, this expense is spread among all group participants.... and individuals who choose to practice independantly are at the mercy of increased premiums for 'failure to belong'........And once again...... what is the goal of the company offering insurance? To make money.That also includes mal-practice insurance.

    Many hospitals started out as community hospitals or university hospitals: Some of the best nurses were graduates of nursing schools sponsored and held in hospitals. Now.... almost all hospitals in our country are 'for profit' hospitals. There still exist some 'not for profit' hospitals. "Baptist" and "Sacred Heart" are two in this area. Their willingness to conform to the standards and payments of third party such as Medicare and Medicaid puts them at a strain and disadvantage against those 'for profit' hospitals which limit care to the insured or those with bottomless pockets, and provide competive wages and benies to their staff. Yet the care at these 'not-for-profit' hospitals is excellant!......At least in this area!

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    When I go to the hospital, I don't need carpeting.... It's nice, but lienolium or tile will do nicely, thank you very much .....and cleans up better and is more durable. When I go to the hospital, I don't need cable t.v.. It is nice, but I can listen to books on tape or CD, or watch a DVD if that's what I enjoy. When I go to the hospital, I don't need the wallpaper which peels and knicks easily and has to be repaired or replaced routinely, or which becomes porious over time and can't be thoroughly disinfected from a previous patient's contagion. When I go to a hospital...... I want to see a sink in my room. I want to watch the nurse and the doctor wash their hands before touching my wound or my dressing or anything which I'm likely to touch and then 'go there'. When I go to the hospital, I don't need a big shopping floor on the ground level filled with junk food outlets, gift stores, dress shops, beauty parlors, and the like. When I go to the hospital, I want my visitors to come and visit and bring me news of the outside of family, church, and community.....not to sit and watch t.v. and then leave. When I go to a hospital, I expect to know who is my attending doctor on the record: I expect to know if he has requested consulting doctors .....and specifically who they are, when expected...and the duration of their consult. When I go to the hospital, I do not expect to pay for every professional M.D. visit simply because he stuck his head in the room and read the vital signs on my chart: I don't consider 'that' an exam!

    Many things which have advanced in medicine have done so at tax payer's expense......and with grants from industry..... which funded research programs as a part of graduate and post-graduate programs in our universities, our industry, and special programs of government which includes the department of defense, NASA, etc.. Sponsorship by industry gave them rights to patents and developments which are sold back to us as services and equipment and pharmaceuticals, through the medical profession.

    I'm not contesting that much of this has been good and a win-win for all. However, more recently, I am persuaded that some agencies such as the FDA and the CDC which were put in place for OUR SAFETY and our benefit.... are now in control of board rooms and profits, and maintanace of their own prized influence and position....and the bottom line is profit and proliferation of the necessity of their existance and increases..... So what else is new where governmetn steps its foot and increasingly regulates! ----HMO's and PPO's are an outcome of governmetn intervention..... And some want more government?
     
    #12 windcatcher, Apr 2, 2008
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  13. Gold Dragon

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    Sorry, you are correct. I misread my source. It wasn't JFK that brought through those policies but the change in political environment that started with him.
     
  14. Gold Dragon

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    windcatcher, you make a lot of good points that I agree with. But my main point was that the rise in cost of health care occurred before the US government got involved in health care insurance.

    Over-luxurious hospitals, malpractice insurance and other excellent arguments you make are more recent additions to the cost of health care. But the original rise in health care costs were due the rise of medical technologies which were partially due to government subsidies in research. So when you blame the government for the fact that health care costs are higher than the days when doctors visited your house, I would say that is not historically accurate.
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    If you want to see how the U.S. government runs a hospital, take a tour of a V.A. hospital some time. Better yet, talk to people who primarily get their treatment from military doctors at a V.A. hospital.
     

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