General Question

Adina1968's avatar

Does anyone believe that there will ever be universal health care in the United States?

Asked by Adina1968 (2747points) April 10th, 2008

Will there ever be universal, affordable healthcare in this country???

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

64 Answers

paulc's avatar

Why not? I mean, if a sociopath man-child can be elected as president then anything is possible I suppose.

scamp's avatar

I seriously doubt it will happen. And if it does, it probably won’t be in my lifetime.

cwilbur's avatar

“Never” is a very long time; universal health care was something that Nixon was considering during his presidency.

I expect that once the backlash from W and his fiscal mismanagement (which is itself the result of the fiscal conservatives making an unholy alliance with big business and the religious right) has run its course, the political climate in this country will change significantly.

soundedfury's avatar

A century ago public education ended at the literacy level. Now we consider secondary education a right that is available to all. It’s hard to predict what will happen and how our ideas will change in the future.

glial's avatar

Not in the next 4–8 years. The quality of government run programs is a joke. Been to the post office or d.m.v. (local government, I know), or a VA Hospital?

There was a question posted earlier in the week about electronic voting. As of yet we can’t vote electronically, but the government is prepared to control healthcare?

Also, I heard yesterday that the Census Bureau was giving up on a 14 billion dollar program because they couldn’t make they system work correctly. They are supposedly going back to “pencil and paper”.

trainerboy's avatar

Let’s pray that we don’t have it .

soundedfury's avatar

Actually, the post offices around here are incredibly efficient and well-run. The only time there is a wait is around lunch time (ours, not theirs), which is both predictable and acceptable. No sense overstaffing 7 hours a day for a 1.5 hour time period.

trainerboy's avatar

If we get Universal Health Care here, where will the Canadians go when they need actual health care?

soundedfury's avatar

@trainerboy – How about you actually contribute to the conversation rather than tossing off one-liners?

trainerboy's avatar

@ soundfury——thanks for the feedback. I contributed my opinion. Sorry if it doesn’t fit yours.

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
soundedfury does have a point… It seems that, though it is your opinion, it was quite pointed and could be considered shallow, and maybe even circular. Perhaps if you elaborated, and maybe presented some support for your opinion, it wouldn’t seem as abrassive…

But getting to the topic at hand…

I doubt it… Well, at least not anytime soon. There is too much politics and business involved.
Though it may be a noble ideal, I think that society’s structure and skeptacism regarding socialist ideals in general prevent it from being a reality.
I personally would love and support it, and think that certain things should trancend politics and business… Medicine and medical care being to prominent examples.

Kay's avatar

Probably not any time soon because I feel like people would resent paying the extra taxes involved with such a program, even if it meant each person paying less for health care overall. People in this country seem to have a problem seeing long-term solutions that do not pay off immediately as untenable because they want results now.

soundedfury's avatar

@trainerboy – I have no problem with your opinion, I have a problem with you not contributing to the conversation. The unstated assumption of any question on this site is that you will back up your opinion with some sort of statement of facts. You consistently fail to do so, as you have here.

Tell me why you hope we never move towards a universal health care model.

trainerboy's avatar

@ soundfury. Again, your opinion. You have not seen all of my comments on other subjects apparently. Some I go into further, others I just care to share briefly. On this one, the question was brief, my answer was brief. Just because you may have more to say does not mean everybody does.

trainerboy's avatar

@ soundfury,
But since you asked…I have friends in Canada. One couple in particular has a daughter who had been on a waiting list to see a neurosurgeon. After two years, they came to the US and got her in to a neurosurgeon within two weeks. It cost them quite a bit vs. the “free” health care they were getting, but it saved her life. Had they waited for the health care system there, she would have died.
This is one example. I have in my family an orthopedic surgeon brother in law, an emergency room brother in law, a dermatologist, an anesthesiologist who share that they get patients from Canada (except for the ER doc) who tell them they can get prescriptions in Canada no problem, but to get actual treatment is a nightmare.
I have other friends in Canada who don’t have the situation of the daughter and neurosurgeon, but they do share they are not really happy with the bureaucratic system that is up there.
I have also lived in Mexico that has government health care for most of the people. Yes, you cna get in to the doctor, as I did, but it was not something that I would recommend.

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
I see your point, but the US system is fundamentally flawed.
With all the loopholes, beauocracy, and politics within our healthcare system, it has sadly become a situation where only those with the money get treatment, while others are SOL.
Granted, with our system, the ones who do manage to recieve care recieve excellent care, but I feel that it has gotten to a point where such disparities and differences are outside of acceptable ranges.
Not trying to strike a low blow, but your friend’s daughter was very lucky and (if you believe in such a thing) blessed.
My friend’s father is a ‘kidney-surgeon’, and he often comments on how the system in place, though it initially had good intentions, is doing a substantial greater deal of harm than good. He stresses how the politics, insurance issues, and beurocracy make it extreemely difficult for doctors to really be doctors.

scamp's avatar

Universal heatlhcare sounds good, but for the reasons trainerboy just mentioned it’s a scary proposition. I would rather see some insurance reform. The insurance companies we have in place now cost too much and cover too little. A number of our patients have told me that their company’s new policy for this year will do away with copays, and they have to pay for doctor visits in full until they meet their deductibles, which have just gotten much higher. So for people with diabetes or some other illnesses that require quarterly visits to the family doctor, they are virtually paying the insurance company for nothing.

nocountry2's avatar

As long as there are other governments in the world who have sucessfully addressed this seemingly fundamental right, the United States cannot legitamately call itself “the greatest country in the world” or anything like that, and people know it and are finally beginning to demand better.

syz's avatar

As long as lobbiests have so much influence over our elected officials, nothing will change. The insurance companies like the status quo just fine (record breaking profits).

trainerboy's avatar

@RAMessell,.
I have no disagreement with you on our health care. I am just saying that universal health care is not the answer. Somehow accountability has to be brought into any system and having universal health care will remove it completely.
I recognize accountabililty is missing now so those who would say our system is messed up, I would agree with. However, making the government the insurance provider will nt do awy with lobbyists, special interests, and willincrease incompetency and decrease over the years the amount of doctors.
By the way, say what you will about the family I know, it was not lucky, the gave themselves options that were not available in Canada and as a result, their daughter is alive. If we had universal health care here, she probably would not be alive.

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
That’s what I mean by lucky! There are many who do not have those options, even within the US. Now, whether it’s socioeconomic, political, beaurocratic, or any other obstacle, the fact that there are so many obstacles is (as we agree) unacceptable.
I feel that though there would likely be a decrease in doctors, that these doctors would be of higher quality and moral fiber in many respects. They are being doctors out of their desire to help others, not from the lure of money. I think that this may more than compensate for the lack of doctors overall. Quality vs. Quantity

trainerboy's avatar

@RAMessell,
I do not agree at all that there would be better doctors. By and large, I believe we have the best treatment in the world.
You may get a few people who are benevolent enough or rich enough to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to medical school so that they could become a government worker, and they may be great. But, over time, the incentive for innovation and pursuit of greater medical treatments will decline as government bureaucrats make decisions that they have no business making and the quality wil naturally decline.
As great as those few individuals may be who undertake medicine, even though it is a government job, the bigger bureaucracy will stand in their way of research, discovery and improvement. The bottom line of profits will be replaced by the bottom line of politics as usual.

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
Yeah… You have a good point. Politics could get in the way, but I feel like now, with both politics and profits at the bottom line, I have little faith in insurance reform. Not nessesarily because they won’t help, but what’s to keep things from falling apart again?
Perhaps this is a debate regarding the ‘lesser of two evils’, private vs. public sector…
Nonetheless, I feel like the fence that our current policy strattles is worse than both on their own in its current incarnation. Moreover, while public sector does have a tendacy to get trapped and bogged down in beauocracy and politics, unlike private sector (generally speaking), the best interest of the majority is at heart.

Oh! Also, I didn’t nessesarily mean better in terms of technology et.al., but in a sense of intangibles. More caring, more concerned, more compassionate, etc.
Having lived with professionals in, and as a current student of the STEM fields, I feel that the simple and innate curiosity to discover, and ingrained desire to improve and simplify life that we harbor will serve to continue to drive and improve our medical care technologies regardless.

trainerboy's avatar

I owudl agree on your last point, but I feel that will diminsh as people deal with bureaucrats who care more about preserving their job than they do about innovation and discovery.
Talk to some poeple form NASA. People who went into the field because of a natural curiousity but have been hindered by government decisions and red tape and rules.

soundedfury's avatar

Thanks for explaining your stance, Trainerboy.

trainerboy's avatar

Also look at how we ran the war in Iraq. we didn’t listen to the people who know what war is like. we had bureaucrates making decisions in spite of the people who know what war is like and how to fight it. People like Colin Powell, the Joint Chiefs of Staff etc, who were overruled by politics.

trainerboy's avatar

We used the emotion of “patriotism” to rally the people, in spite of what those who know something said, many of which have been removed.
We use the emotion of “free” and “universal” and “fair“in the same way. Rally the emotion and you get your way until the bureaucratic methods reveal themselves. Then it is too late.

trainerboy's avatar

It is the same tactic that socialists/communists use to create revolution. They go into a corrupt system and in the name of“liberation” which feels good, promise a better life and rally the people to remove the dictator, only to replace it with a system that gives a little more in the beginning, but overall is just as much a dictatorship as before. But they do it in the name of “the people”.
See USSR, Cuba, Venezuela.

trainerboy's avatar

@soundfury….I went on a bit didn’t I?? You asked for it!!!! I say that respectfully.

khelms01's avatar

Socialized medicine doesn’t work ANYWHERE, take the ‘sicko’ DVD out and start living in REALITY.

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
True, both NASA and SETI are good examples… But I do have to note that they are still running, and though progress is slow and/or not celebrated, I fear that privatizing would eliminate them altogether due to ‘lack of profits’. Though the public sector has its flaws, they at least try not to be solely profit-oriented.
From a business aspect, it can easily be concluded that cosmetic medicine is the most profitable, and following that analysis, research money would flow there, neglecting some of the more essential aspects. I’m ignorant of the actual likelihood of the scenario occuring, I nonetheless feel that it is a case similar to NASA, where the profits, though alluring, are neglected for more idealistic goals and ideals.

trainerboy's avatar

@RAMesll. If you speak to some people who run NASA, you may find a differenc eof opinion on that. Their hands are tied and frustration is very high. It is the problem of bureaucracies. The dreamers and creators have no place because the rule of order is preservation rather than innovation.

trainerboy's avatar

@RAMesesll…you actually make my point. They are still running because they are funded without real accountability. It is politics, pork and earmarking that keep them going.
The same with AMTRAK. Despite its inneficiency, it is still running, poorly. It doesn’t have to be efficient…government does not ask that. It is preservation, back scratching etc.
Do we really want that in our health care system?

gooch's avatar

Not anytime in this life of mine. Social medicine is not free. Taxes must be raised to pay for it. The middle class American would feel the brunt of the load to pay for their bills and the rest of the country and illeagles. Social medicine is paid for by the government taxation of its citizens. We pay for roads, war, welfare and politicians salaries now many people ask to pay for other peoples healthcare. Belive me I will not be excited to pay other peoples bills I already have enough of my own. Like all government programs this one would be abused just like so many other welfare programs already are. Which in the long run mean it will not be more cost effective nor will it be as good a level of patient care.

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
Though socialism and communism do fall victim to dictatorships, usually, in its infancy, the political and social revolt/revolution truly have a benevolent desire.
Their methods, of course, are always up for moral scruitany, but their is a true desire for social reform. Sadly, due to many factors, it fails.
@khelms01
Perhaps not, but how much of the fault lies in the actual ideal? Maybe it doesn’t because people don’t want it to… (said only for perspective)

Back @trainerboy: I’m ignorant of the workings at NASA, but do believe that your description of the environment is accurate. However, I raise this point. Though innovation is often sacrificed, isn’t preservation a better alternative to exploitation? (exploitation in an economic sense)
Inefficency is an issue, I agree with that. But there is a point, I feel, where efficency sacrifices humanity… Without venturing into a more philisophical debate regarding technology and the classic Marx vs. Neitzche, I can confidently say that regardless of our individual knowledge and expertises, we agree that a change needs to be made.
I think our debate (though exhilurating, LOL) has reached a point where, in order to continue, we’d have to challenge each other’s ideologies and values… And that is never pretty…

In order for universal healthcare to truly work, some of the liberties provided by our (the US) national values would be sacrificed. Something that even I would be somewhat unwilling to do.
Like I believe I’ve stated before, I fully support the concept and theory behind universal healthcare, but I do admit and agree that in practice (at least in my lifetime, despite by youth), it is unlikely to be inplemented, and much less likely to work as it should.

(wow, I just realized how long my response was… Sorry to all who had to read through all that, LOL)

trainerboy's avatar

@RAMesesll….how about door number three? Why settle for one over the other. Inside of us all is a greatness and creativity that, if unleashed could solve the problem. So no, in my opinion preservation is far worse of the options. Even with so called exploitation, we have greater options than a preservation system offers.
But why settle for these two…let’s choose door number three, let’s work to truly resolve the issue rather than implement a system that is “better than nothing”. Why do we have to settle for mediocrity?

RAMesesII's avatar

@trainerboy
Agreed. Mediocrity is unacceptable. So…
~in an excited gameshow contestant voice~
“I’ll take… Door number three!!!”

Adina1968's avatar

It is very interesting that Scamp touched on something that is the exact situation that occurred at my husbands company. There are no co-pays now until you reach a deductible. We are fortunate in that we are able to afford it but it got me thinking about other people that can’t afford it. I wonder what the solution might be ???

gooch's avatar

@ADINA they just dont go to the doctor….they stay sick and deal with it.

peedub's avatar

God I hope so. I’m trying to stay as optimistic as possible about this one, so yes.

scamp's avatar

@Adina1968 and gooch that’s pretty much what my patients are telling me they are doing. I had one that didn’t see her doctor when she had a bad case of bronchitis, and she ended up hospitalized with pneumonia. She said she waited because she just couldn’t afford a $200.00 office visit. The hospital bill was so high it met her deductible, so now she can see her doctor for the rest of the year without paying. It’s a sad state of affairs when people feel they have to reach near death before seeing a doctor just because of an insurance company with dollar signs in their eyes.

trainerboy's avatar

It will be a sad state when even when near death we can’t get the care necesarry because of an innefficient, bureaucratic run system that is more concerned with policies, rules and self preservation than actual health care.

scamp's avatar

Absolutely!

wildflower's avatar

I don’t believe there will be. At anytime when someone may start working for it, there will be a counter-argument made, comparing equal accessibility to healthcare to socialism and this will stifle the efforts because it will be in contrast to the American dream, the land of opportunities and the likes.

trainerboy's avatar

@wildflower….accesibility is part of the problem that will be created. Getting a prescription may be easier and seem cheaper since government will confiscate more in taxes from all of us. However, getting actual health care for things like cancer, heart problems or anything beyond basic prescription drug care, etc. will be less accessible in my opinion and based on what those who live in socialized medicine countries like Canada and England have shared with me.
It was also my experience of those in Mexico, where I lived some years ago.

wildflower's avatar

@trainerboy
You have a valid point in that if ever anyone will succeed in establishing such a system, the current affordability problems will be replaced by waiting-list problems – which is worse is a debate that could go on for some time. Even countries like Sweden and Denmark face such problems. Nonetheless, I doubt any suggested universal health system will gett past the “it’s un-American” argument

paulc's avatar

There’s a lot of people just postulating and have zero experience in a universal health care system. Well let me help you out.

Here’s a real “socialized medicine” story straight from the dark leftist trenches of evil, third-world Canada. My father had three kids of cancer in the 8 years leading to his death. He was given every form of treatment he needed and was given access to several specialized oncologists throughout. Every time we had to navigate the system is was very easy. In the last 3 months of his life we were provided with home care that consisted of nurse visits twice daily as well as access to supplies (IV, breathing apparatus, etc.). Moreover, this was provided in two different provinces and there was nearly zero bureaucracy involved in switching his health care from one to the other. When he was near the end we got him into a bed in a palliative care ward the very same day the doctor ordered it. Yes, the doctor that came to the house to check on my father.

Yeah I once waited in an emergency room for 4 hours. I had a fairly large splinter from a hockey stick through two of my toes. That’s where you get wait times – when your injuries are not serious. If that splinter was through my lungs I’d have been given care immediately.

So for those of you that haven’t actually experienced a universal health system or even travelled to a country where you’ve used one then I honestly don’t see why you’re blasting so much hot air: save yourself the time and go get a second job for when you get ill next.

Its really hilarious to see people proclaiming that universal health “can’t work” when so many countries have it and it does work. The difference is that it works the same for everyone. People who favour private systems want to be able to be treated better than others based on how much money they have at their disposal. What makes a rich person more worthy of living or being healthy that a poor person?

scamp's avatar

@paulc Let me start off by saying I am sorry for the loss of your Father, and I am glad that your experience in getting medical care for him was a good one. I do agree that health care should be available no matter what the patent’s economic status, and I hope we can one day achieve that here. But I did a little research and found that there is in fact concern about wait times in Canada. I don’t recall anyone here referring to Canada as an evil leftist third world country as you mentioned above. We were however discussing our concerns about the possible wait times if we were to adopt a similar system to yours.

So rather than blast any more “hot air” into this thread, I will share with you reports I found supplied by the CMA, and CNA and other sources. Information such as this leads us to serious concerns. Our system doesn’t work for all. Your system may be better but it still has flaws. We are afraid of going from a bad situation to a worse one. It may be fear of the unknown, but it is a legitimate fear all the same.

http://www.cna-nurses.ca/CNA/documents/pdf/publications/G4vision-e.pdf

http://www.cihi.ca/cihiweb/dispPage.jsp?cw_page=media_07mar2006_e

http://www.nationalpost.com/related_links/story.html?id=411283&p=1

paulc's avatar

@scamp, the whole third-world bit was tongue-in-cheek. Its often the sentiment of people criticizing the health care system here but wasn’t directed at you.

Of course wait times will be longer when everyone has access. Bear in mind that no endeavour this large is by any means a one-time ordeal: it is an ongoing and mutable process. Our population is ageing rapidly which is largely the cause of these wait times (they are a relatively recent phenomenon). I’m not suggesting there aren’t wait times but many of the wait times are for non-critical surgeries or CT scans. Our system could very much use a healthy dose of cash too. We have politicians here who are unable to commit to things and it results in a half-assed attempt where things like this are bound to happen.

We’ve also got a very distressing staff shortage which is probably the second most important contributing factor to wait times. A lot of these problems are supposedly being corrected but time will tell. For me, having care for everyone is enough for me to put up with a wait if I’m not in need of critical care.

scamp's avatar

I learned a little bit about the shortage from anther Canadian in a different discussion a few weeks ago. while I was looking for the links I posted, I saw that your government is looking into it. I am concerned that we may have the same type of problems If we adopt a similar program because our current government leaves much to be desired. When you have the time, please read what your fellow countryman said about health care in the following thread and tell me if you agree. Thanks!
http://www.fluther.com/disc/7984/which-is-better-usa-or-canada/

St.George's avatar

I sure hope so. My son has a disability and The one thing he needs coverage for, is the exact reason they won’t insure him – how much sense does that make? Both my husband and I work in industries where we’re not offered health care as part of our benefits. The amount of compromising I’ve had to make in our lives because if this is fucking unbelievable.

trainerboy's avatar

@paulc…I can only relate what people who live in Canada have shared with me. I am not doubting your story either but I am not doubting theirs.
My mother passed away ten years ago due to cancer. She had medicare, the government program for people over a certain age. They would not give her certain medications for pain due to costs and bureaucratic delays rather than based on what would medically be best for her.So she died a more painful death. I am not suggesting insurance companies are better, but believing that so called Universal coverage will be the answer, I believe, will lead us to a worse situation, rather than better.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

If we have affordable healthcare, as the question asks, would we need “universal” healthcare?

I dont think the problem is that people dont have healthcare, I think the problem is that people can’t afford health care. Plus, we aren’t exactly the healthiest nation How many people are sick from smoking? Obesity? Diabetes or other diseases due to diet? Americans always seem to look for a solution, without actually identifying and fixing the true problem.

trainerboy's avatar

Actually chris, the question does ask about universal healthcare. It does mention affordable as well but twice mentions universal health care.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I know. But it seems the person that asked the question, thinks that universal health care is the only way to make health care affordable.

trainerboy's avatar

that seems to be the reasoning of many I speak with also. The truth I believe is that we will not know the true cost of universal health care because it will be buried in governmental creative accounting.

pattyb's avatar

not likely, the insurance pharmacutical and health provider companys have made HC so profitable in this country, and greed and money rule in the US.

trainerboy's avatar

I agree…there are a lot of people that want something for nothing. people want “free” healthcare as long as someone else pays for it. that is greedy

delirium's avatar

Its not greedy to want to be healthy and safe… Its human.

RAMesesII's avatar

Yes, but it is greedy to produce limited amounts of medication for higher profit, it is greedy for insurance costs to rise as benefits steadily fall.

It’s not so much the people who are greedy, but the industries. And the results of their greed trickle down to your average joe, making him that much more frugal.

trainerboy's avatar

To expect something for nothing to me is greedy. You may see it differently delirium, but I am sure that in your open mind, you can accept that others see it differently.

To me, anytime someone asks for somethig to be given them for nothing in return, it is greedy.

Maybe we would be better off if the pharmaceuticals all went away.

pattyb's avatar

trainerboy, if you have 6 children and put them thru 12 years of public school, and your nieghbors who are childless pay the exact amount if school taxes as you do, are you being greedy. Would you consider that an act of greed. To put it into scope, where I live school taxes cost 5000 a year,
multiply that by 12.

trainerboy's avatar

Yes I would. To expect others to pay for something I want is the same energetically as what people are accusing indurty of.profiting or benefitting off of the labors or others. I pay school taxes and have a son in private school. I don’t ask others to pay for my sons school, but I pay for theirs.

trainerboy's avatar

@pattyb…let me add an addendum. You probably also get a tax deduction for your children which your neighbor does not on your federal and state taxes, so your neighbor is actually paying more than you are. Something is amiss in our system.
Also, I am self employed meaning I pay over 15% of my income to social insecurity. If you are employed, your employer pays half of your social security taxes plus other taxes that you don’t have to pay. For all of those who whine about big business, they don’t seem to whine when big business is paying part of their taxes, unemployemnt insurance, health insurance, social insecurity taxes etc..

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