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Nationalized health care around the world
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing to me is that this discussion in the US brings to light so much distrust of the government. I understand where it comes from but if you're paying attention at all to the number of dangerous and toxic products that are being imported to the US from China and then relate that to the number of recalled domestic products, you have to have a lot of respect for what the Food and Drug and OSHA and other watchdog administrations are doing. And this is despite the fact that they are chronically understaffed and funded. That says to me that (politicians aside) the job that American government workers do is nothing short of awesome because the same profit motives and greed would encourage domestic manufacturers and processors to let concern for consumers slide were it not for our watchdog agencies.

Why, then, if an American national or state administered health agency were to hire existing American health providers should we assume a degradation of care? Makes no sense to me. I'm more inclined to think the government would make fair and consistent cost/benefit decisions than for-profit insurance companies do. And with a single buyer for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, the costs would necessarily go down as they have in Canada where Americans on the northern border buy as many of their prescriptions as they are allowed.

It's a simple matter of efficiency. I haven't seen Sicko so I don't know if Moore addresses this issue but there are swaths across the center of the US where seeing a doctor is a matter of travelling serious distances. Not far from me in Beverly Hills you can't throw a rock and not hit a doctor driving a Mercedes. And, probably, too many of them are plastic surgeons when the need for oncologists is probably greater and will only grow. If there were a version of national health doctors of all specialties could be equally available around the country and the government could provide incentives to provide according to the specialties needed. In fact, one of the most needed but least attractive specialties currently is Family Medicine. That could be fixed by the government providing indemification for them. Then people who are facing the trauma of chronic or serious disease and the crushing medical expenses that accompany them wouldn't also have to face the decision to incur more expense and distruption to travel to urban centers for treatment sometimes leaving parts of the family behind. And people around the country would have the resources to good preventive care.

American people need to let go of their fears and their comfort in thinking of medical practice in conventional ways that have worked for generations but no longer do. The American people need it and American business needs it to be competitive.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the NHS was created in Britain, it was the doctors who were against it. They had a small monopoly and didn't want to lose it. But the birth of the NHS and the Welfare State also made Britain a more public minded and slightly left wing nation I suspect.

In my field of museums for example there's still the ethos that museums hold the heritage of the nation for all. Most museums, even the nationals have free admission for precisely that reason and you only pay for exhibitions that are brought in - but as low a price as possible. The same ethos of public service is there throughout Britain and has spread beyond the public sector.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man! We could use a little of that sense of government existing for the governed (hey! isn't there something about that in our Declaration of Independence?) instead of for the corporations.

Meanwhile, I am fortunate to have exceptional medical insurance through an independent system. My husband with chronic heart disease and me with chronic lung disease always remark how lucky we are, how prescient someone was to set up this system and how grateful for it we are. If that isn't enough, when we go to have Rx refills or services, we are also struck by how pleasant, unstressed and caring all the medical and clerical staff are.

The last time I was there I remarked to a doctor who isn't my usual provider. He said it was true that they were all very glad to work in a system that takes care of all their administrative needs so they are free to practice medicine. This is in sharp contrast to the period in which our AMA fought tooth and nail to prevent any socialization of medical care.

And that reminds me of a time years ago when I first returned from Canada and asked my allergist what he thougth of national health. I expected resistance but he said the best medical research in the world comes out of countries with national health because their statistics are comprehensive and universal. Worth considering as well.

Thanks to everyone who's weighted in. This will be an important issue in our elections next year.
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Nicki



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 106
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look forward to seeing this film, I'll have to see if its available online. Although, anything said by Moore has to be taken with a pinch of salt as far as I'm concerned.

The problem is its impossible to know whether the public is better off with private or nationalised healthcare. What Rainey says makes sense of course, you would think that the government would do a better job if they are working for the people and not for the profit margins. The standard of care received would also be more equally distributed, regardless of social background

But it is a fact that nationalised industries are productively inefficient; providers do not have the incentive of greater profit to motivate them to produce at their lowest cost level. Tax money is effectively wasted, as governments tend to be "jack of all trades, master of none" - they have no experience running businesses and tend to make a right pigs ear of it.
There is a brain drain - all the people who would be good at running the business go to other countries where they can make better money, and so provision of service falls. Nationalised industires are also dynamically inefficent; if there is no profit, then there is no money for research and development which is obviously crucial in the healthcare profession for patient care in the long run.

Although having privatised healthcare means that some consumer welfare is lost to the producer to satisfy corporate greed, atleast some of it is ploughed back into the system.

Jeez, just read that back and realised how boring I sound! Apologies everyone. But it atleast accounts for the change in direction that we have seen in Britain of late. More and more of the NHS load is being outsourced to private hospitals to reduce waiting times. I'm not a fan of David Cameron's favourite soundbyte..."NHS, NHS, NHS"...what sort of Conservative does he think he is?!
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a good thing every American eats sparingly of fresh wholesome foods and exercises regularly! Very Happy
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Twisted Evil Oh, shut up! Twisted Evil
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My husband with chronic heart disease and me with chronic lung disease


Yikes! I'm glad you do have health insurance Rainey. It does explain why you couldn't catch the squirrels tho'!

I'd agree that Moore can be a bit of a grandstander (just a bit) but overall he has a point.

It's not entirely true tho' that governments have no experience of running businesses. Some politicians do and where they don't that's what civil servants are there for. But work in the public sector is notoriously badly paid (definitely in my sector of museums) which is why there's a brain drain. That said, public service is still a vocation and those who go into it do so for the good of the society - they want to benefit the nation of which they are a part.

There was money (don't know the current situation) for R'n'D in the NHS, Guys Hospital in London is a teaching hospital and they do a lot of research. That was one of the reasons I had major heart surgery there - they'd got the best people in the country to do it. The NHS doesn't produce a profit as such, but then it's not meant to. It's there on the principle that healthcare is a right not a privilege.

But government interference has meant that there's a large swing since Thatcher towards privatisation - which ironically is not what the country as a whole wants. We want our NHS free at the point of delivery so that it's available to all.

In America, I'd have thought the democratic ideal that the NHS stands for would be a given. Rainey's right - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal'. There's no equality in a privatised system at all.

Well Rainey gets her exercise from chasing the squirrels and making good bread... what more do ya want, eh?! Smile
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That said, public service is still a vocation and those who go into it do so for the good of the society - they want to benefit the nation of which they are a part.


Sounds very like you but I'm surprised to hear, with such a good heart, that it needed adjustment. Shocked Glad whatever tinkering they had to do, they did so well!
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Americans are fine with the idea of Social Security, National Parks, etc. National Health *can* be accepted (just my gut feeling). What worries me is the size and complexity of a plan that would include--the whole United States--jeez--even the purest intentions won't fix the natural tendency of things to fall apart/be overlooked. (Confidence just oozles and bloosoms in Americans these days, have you noticed?)
I have health care through the big phone company I retired from--
**our smiling boss was just given 6 years in jail and a $52 million dollar fine for cheating**
Ah sweet security! (There is nothing worse than a rich person stealing!!)

I am very surprised to see so many non-Americans viewing "Sicko"! Is it hottie Michael Moore, or the (understandable) wish to understand what the &$%#@ is going on with the US?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am very surprised to see so many non-Americans viewing "Sicko"! Is it hottie Michael Moore, or the (understandable) wish to understand what the &$%#@ is going on with the US?


I'm laughing on both counts — one with amusement and one to divert the pain.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gingerpale, it's definitely Michael Moore, that hottie! Laughing

No, seriously, it's most likely because healthcare is something that affects every single person on the planet.

I can barely understand Australia's healthcare system and I worked in it for 26 years, so trying to get even a basic knowledge of another country's system is difficult, and movies like Sicko do at least help a bit.
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david5



Joined: 15 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

in almost every country there are a lot of nationalized healthcare.it helps us a lot.we cant think anything without healthcare.sometime very dangerous diseases spread out in our locality.then we need their help.
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