General Question

master_mind413's avatar

Do you think Government healthcare is good or bad for us ?

Asked by master_mind413 (891points) December 6th, 2009

I read a lot of see a lot on Tv But I am wondering what does every one really think about the Government plan of public health care will it work ? could it work ?

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24 Answers

Darwin's avatar

To be honest, since my husband is a disabled vet, our whole family has been on government healthcare for the past 20 years. It works fine for us once we got to understand the system. However, the cost of it will be the biggest problem.

Sarcasm's avatar

Honestly, I don’t like having the government take a hand in health care. I don’t like them being part of most systems.
But clearly the way we’ve been doing it now is not working, so many people can’t afford health care that they need. So in this case, it is time for government to step in. At least until the system can unfuck itself.

avvooooooo's avatar

For some people, it can’t possibly be worse than what we have now.

RocketSquid's avatar

I’ll be honest, I’m completely ignorant on how the system will work, but I would like to see at least something being done. This January will be the first time in 6 years I’ll have actual health insurance, and it wasn’t until about 2 years ago my family had stable health insurance, with my father’s company constantly switching between providers.
So although I personally wouldn’t need it anymore, I’d be glad to see more options for those who do.

arpinum's avatar

The current health plan isn’t something anyone would approve. It fails to control spending (only promising to do so in the future), distorts pricing to favor interest groups, especially the elderly, even though they are the wealthiest Americans. It vastly increases the implicit marginal tax rates for low income people. Over certain ranges it it more than 100%, and above 60% for most low income families. It does not increase the supply of doctors. Reputable studies on electronic health records find that they will not save money. The question of undocumented migrants has not been resolved. Employer provided health care is an aberration from WW2, this bill does not get rid of it, in fact it strengthens it, most likely because people are fooled into believing that it does not come out of their paychecks. Fringe groups with unscientific treatments have been successful in mandated their treatments are covered. The whole bill is fraught with log rolling and payoffs, it is not designed to improve healthcare, but mainly to get votes and signal that politicians care. It reduces deductibles, lessening incentives to conserve.

I haven’t heard anything that anyone other than small special interests would like in the plan. I’d love for someone to fill us in.

BTW, government already pays for half of healthcare spending in the US today. Other than banks, it is the most highly regulated industry. conservatives shouldn’t worry about losing health care freedom, they have already lost. And liberals should be cautious about the what happens when their best plans are screwed up by politicians.

On a personal note, I worry about the lack of diversity and experirimentation under and increasingly government run and regulated health care industry. It is when new ideas are allowed to complete that we find out what is the best plan.

I’m hoping someone can correct me though, I’d like to see some positive aspects of the plan.

rooeytoo's avatar

It works in Australia. I was thrilled when I received my card. Now I go to the doctor and never have to pay. We do have private health care to supplement, just in case!

faye's avatar

I am very glad to live in Canada and our health care system needs some work. There are so many unnecessary tests and grandstanding treatment to people who are weeks or days away from dying with some dignity.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Who are you gonna trust, blood thirsty greedy insurance companies, or a bureaucratic clumsy and incompetent government. Comparing how the U.S. system holds up against other state run governments, looks like governments do a better job of providing health coverage.
Not sure how you can argue with that, there is tons of research out there on the subject and its proven that other countries have way better health care systems than we do in the states. Most of those are government ran. Not a coincidence.

MrBr00ks's avatar

I think with the way government gets involved in situations in a half-assed manner, it will end up costing us a lot more than if we just accepted the inevitability that UHC is coming. Both political parties need to work on it together for the long term good of this country instead of fighting it for a while and giving us a half-baked version that will need to be fixed sooner than later.

arpinum's avatar

@rooeytoo One issue in the US is that we do not have the same option set as other countries do. Politically we have empowered different groups and they are entrenched in the system in different ways. the result is that we could not get to the Australian system even if thats what would be best. We don’t have the ability in our system to make declarations from the top. To get the votes in congress and be well positioned for the next election there are many people to be paid off, both in money and policy for the outcome to look like the desired result.
This is the baggage we bear.

Also, just because you don’t pay when visiting the doctor does not make it free. For resorces to be allocated to healthcare, they must be taken out of commission elsewhere in the economy. There is no free lunch here, even if you don’t see any money changing hands.There are many treatments of marginal benefit, but which are quite expensive. Under the Australian system, what discourages their use if patients don’t bear the direct cost? A commission? In the US patient choice is very strong and I don’t see commissions limited coverage being implemented. And that’s partly why costs in the US won’t get under control

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s a very good thing.

gorillapaws's avatar

One way we could help defray the cost of Healthcare, is to auction off the organs of all of the health insurance company executives who have been generating obscene profits on the misery of others…

Grisaille's avatar

It’s a very, very good thing.

Well, it was. Before our inept legislative branch watered down the Public Option to a goddamn joke.

Qingu's avatar

In my opinion, having a public option for health care is as important as having a public option for transportation, or for education.

Health insurance—like transportation and education—is not a market that is suited to the profit motive that governs private corporations.

Also, the existence of a public option would not raise health care costs. You guys are thinking of the plan’s subsidies to low-income Americans, which can be used to pay for either public or private health insurance.

arpinum's avatar

@gorillapaws Please look up “Consumer Sovereignty”.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Two major problems exist with government healthcare. In European countries death from numerous diseases occurs much sooner on average after diagnosis than in the U.S. Second, the system will cost much more than we can accurately estimate now. The claimed savings will never occur. (What government program has saved money or cost what we were promised?) If we’re not careful, we’ll end up like Greece.

ItsAHabit's avatar

If you like the postal service and the DMV, you should like government healthcare!

gorillapaws's avatar

@arpinum as others have pointed out, the healthcare insurance market is a fundamentally different type of market. It doesn’t work like choosing Coke or Pepsi, because by the time you realize that your insurance company is a bunch of evil fuckers, you’re already very sick and have no other options (since no other insurance company wants to add a sick person to their policy).

This excerpt of Sicko is a VERY eye opening look at how the industry operates. And it really does work this way. I know because I’ve seen firsthand what goes on (I work for a small surgical practice). They do everything they can to deny, and delay care. They create tons of hurdles and bureaucracy between a patient and the MD, because if the slightest detail is wrong they can deny the claim.

They even use bully tactics when negotiating payment contracts with doctors. For example, doctors are legally gaged from discussing the rates they get for a procedure with other doctors in the area—so they never know if they’re getting a fair deal, and have a very poor position to bargain from.

arpinum's avatar

@gorillapaws It sounds like health care for you isn’t fundamentally different. Your problem seems to be with a legal system that does not properly handle fraudulent activities.

If doctors are legally gagged, that is not a market issue, but a distortion of the market by politicians.

gorillapaws's avatar

@arpinum Wrong. It IS a fundamentally different market because consumer sovereignty is predicated on the fact that consumers can assess the quality of a product or service and their choices will pressure the industry to better serve them for fear that they will leave.

In the health insurance market, consumers only get to truly test the quality of their product when they have an expensive illness. At this point, the company actually WANTS you to leave (or even die) so they don’t have to pay. The more fundamental issue is that the profit motive behind private insurers encourages them to get as close to fraud as they possibly can (and cross the line from time-to-time). Did you bother to watch the clip?

“If doctors are legally gagged, that is not a market issue, but a distortion of the market by politicians.” Correction: “distortion of the market by INSURANCE COMPANIES.” They are too powerful, and they’re the only people in the loop who are motivated to NOT make people healthier.

arpinum's avatar

@gorillapaws yeah, I realized your right. It’s like cars as well. you don’t know that some cars have terrible reliability until you buy them and have it break down. The companies, motivated by greed, tries to not fix them, bordering on fraud.

The worst part is that there is no independent third party or reports consumers can read that state reliability issues. Its a totally different market, just driven by greed, hoping your car breaks so you have to buy another.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

In Canada the government pays for our health care. It does not meddle in the doctor-patient relationship anywhere nealy as much as insurance companies do in the USA.

Universal access to health care, regardless of income or employment status, is something most Americans can’t even hope to experience in their lifetimes. We live longer than Americans and get timely and highly skilled medical care. Sometimes we may need to wait a bit for non-urgent medical tests or treatments so those who are at great risk get their needs met without delay.

The irrational fear of “socialism” in the USA keeps capitalist insurance companies in the position of refusing treatment to sick people and forcing families to choose between medical care and their shelter and food needs.

There is nothing about the way health care is managed in the USA of which anyone should be overly proud except for insurance company shareholders counting their profits.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence if you had to guess, what percent of Canadians advocate killing your system and moving towards American-style healthcare? Also, if you spent as much as we currently do (as a percentage of GDP) would people even have to wait at all?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Very few Canadians would tolerate any move towards American style health care. We could overspend on health care and eliminate most waiting if we were prepared to sacrifice our county’s economic health, or if we were willing to throw our poor or elderly under the bus and provide care only for those who could afford to pay for it. We don’t want multi-billion dollar deficits that cripple future generations.

Universal and equal access to health care is a point of great pride for Canadians and we would not abandon it.

American style health care is what keeps most Canadians from seeking or accepting opportunities to live in the USA.

By the way, I am not a physician and I have no vested interest in the operation of the health care system other than that as a disable person I have unlimited free and full access to all the treatment and medication I require.

When I required immediate medical attention in a busy hospital, I got it.
If I go to the ER for a more minor problem that can’t wait until I see my doctor during an office visit, I expect that those who got their first and especially those with more serious, life threatening conditions get seen before me. I see that as fair and a wise allocation of resources.

We may not enjoy waiting our turn but most of us understand and we appreciate the high quality of care we get. We like that all Canadians have full and equal access to care.

We deplore the US system that routinely leaves families financially crippled by debt even when they have ‘good’ health insurance when they have a major health crisis. This never happens in Canada! Our care is not rationed, its just allocated wisely to avoid wasteful spending. Hospitals do not run to make a profit. They are expected to break even and not run a deficit.

Doctors get paid well, but they don’t get to gouge patients, their families and big insurance companies. Our premiums (in provinces where any are required) are reasonable and we do not have to pay co-payments and meet huge deductibles out of pocket.

At our points of entry, we encounter people from the USA and elsewhere seeking to move to Canada and benefit from our health care system.

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