Unheralded facts about American health care



  • @Cmdr:

    As for the USPS, yes, you may purchase the same services from them as you can get from the other private companies, but it seems to be more expensive.  Maybe my area just have really good sales right now in the private sector, but the costs at the USPS seem unusually high for a government agency.

    Here is a Consumer Reports overnight shipping review that found the USPS beat FedEx & UPS in nearly every category, or was about the same: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/shopping/shopping-tips/fedex-vs-ups-vs-the-postal-service/overview/package-delivery-services-ov.htm

    As for assuming people have insurance, basically, if you are breathing in this country, you can get health insurance.  People without are either too cheap to get it or too uninformed to find it.  Neither of which is the problem of the average citizen.  However, even those without insurance are guaranteed medical services which they don’t even really need to pay for if they can prove they cannot afford it.

    Health care costs money.  Quite a few people can’t afford the health insurance or the (larger) health care costs.  It is a problem.  You simply can’t dismiss it because you don’t think it’s a problem.  And no one is guaranteed medical services necessarily. But in that case, someone is paying for it whether it’s the person receiving care or not.

    BTW, when it comes to the military, don’t we want it to be reactive, not proactive?  I’d hate to turn on the news and hear a report that General Smith decided to take the 3rd Infantry division and invade Mexico preemptively and without congressional authority.  Much better for congress to give them the go ahead to react to a situation, IMHO.

    Definitely needs to be adaptation.  But I’m not speaking of a rogue General freaking out about the fluoride in the water.  I’m not even talking about how the body is employed.  I’m talking about how the American military has traditionally found failure before it has found success.

    And finally, in regards to slashing VA benefits, I don’t think any president has done so in living memory.  They might not have increased it, but they didn’t slash it.  I do think we need to quintuple the funding to VA programs and increase VA disability compensation 5 fold as well.  But that’s not really an unbiased opinion on my part.

    I think it’s inadequate.  But I wasn’t referring to any one person as it takes a group of people to set the budget.  It’s just funny that you find in some years past the same “support our troops” group voting on a measure of just that also votes to cut the budget in the same day.  And at least in that case it wasn’t necessarily in the frame of fiscal responsibility because not everything took a cut…that I could at least understand.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Well, I have never been one of those “I support the troops but not the war” types, you know that.  You either support both, or neither in my book.

    Anyway, anyone who WANTS insurance can get insurance.  I never said it was free, but they have the ability to get it.  There are, of course, different levels of insurance.  Catastrophe insurance is free, doctors are required, by law, to do everything in their power to save life, limb or eyesight with or without insurance.  It matters not if you can pay for services rendered either.  They have to perform basic emergency services to save life, limb and eyesight.  So in that regards, everyone has insurance already.

    If you want more than that, then the level of insurance you get is in direct proportion to the premium you pay a month.  In my case, I pay $52.50/wk to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois ($2,730 per year) for nearly full coverage of everything imaginable for a family of four.  That covers $15 copay on doctor visits, 2 free check ups per year per adult, 1 free per year per child; two free dental cleanings per year; $15 copay on generic medication / $25 copay on name brand medication; emergency room care, two free ambulance rides per year, etc.  It’s really darn good coverage.

    Now, I’d say it’s pretty easy to say just about any employed family in the nation could afford that insurance if they wanted it.  I realize there are states that don’t allow insurance companies to offer those policies, so I’d be amiable to legislation that would allow citizens to purchase their insurance from any company in the nation that they wanted too, which would allow capitalism to drive down the rates.

    I am not amiable to the idea of scrapping the system and putting all the power in the hands of one agency, however.  That never works outside military campaigns and religions.

    As for the military seeing failure before success, uh, who continues to wage a war you have won?  Of course you fail before you succeed!  It’s like saying you found it in the “last place you looked.”  Who keeps looking after you found it!?!


  • 2007 AAR League

    @Cmdr:

    Anyway, you asked for my definition of “better.”

    Better:  To be a better health care system it must have superior technology, superior medical knowledge, superior medicine, superior infant and elderly survival rates and/or superior disease and injury survival rates.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html

    So I take it that Slovenia (#204 out of 222), which is exactly 2 less infant deaths/1000 births than us(#181), has superior technology, medical knowledge and medicine?

    Or how about The Isle of Man, Jersey(not the state), Guernsey(cattle too?), Andorra, Anguilla, and Macau? Are they, like Slovenia, somehow superior to us?

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

    Does it suprise you that many of the same countries that have lower infant mortality rates also have higher life expectancies than we do?

    Does it likewise surprise you that despite your claim that our health care system is the best, we are only ranked 42nd best in infant mortality and 46th best in life expectancy?

    Oh, look! Canada, who’s health care system has been your whipping boy of late, is ranked 33rd and 8th respectively. I believe that you mentioned the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany, as well. Not surprisingly, they too outrank us in both categories.

    If you want more than that, then the level of insurance you get is in direct proportion to the premium you pay a month.  In my case, I pay $52.50/wk to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois ($2,730 per year) for nearly full coverage of everything imaginable for a family of four.  That covers $15 copay on doctor visits, 2 free check ups per year per adult, 1 free per year per child; two free dental cleanings per year; $15 copay on generic medication / $25 copay on name brand medication; emergency room care, two free ambulance rides per year, etc.  It’s really darn good coverage.

    Is this a company sponsored health plan or you dealing directly with an insurance company?

    Anyway, anyone who WANTS insurance can get insurance.  I never said it was free, but they have the ability to get it.  There are, of course, different levels of insurance.  Catastrophe insurance is free, doctors are required, by law, to do everything in their power to save life, limb or eyesight with or without insurance.  It matters not if you can pay for services rendered either.  They have to perform basic emergency services to save life, limb and eyesight.  So in that regards, everyone has insurance already.

    Yes, but quite often those emergency services are too little too late when early preventative care would have been much more helpful but unavailable because of a person’s uninsured status. An uninsured person with a growing brain tumor can go to a free clinic to get some painkiller for the headache that won’t go away but good luck getting anything more until after they end up collapsing because the tumor has grown so big that it is now inoperable.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    It is direct, out of pocket.  This is not a company plan.  The “company plan” was $90/wk which is ridiculous.  Dunno what was covered, I presume for $90/wk I get to send my husband off for a “massage therapy” with a “happy ending” because that was ridiculous.

    As for your ridiculous example in an effort to make me look stupid (which makes you look kinda stupid and I know you’re better than that, U-505) you know perfectly well that taking one little aspect does not make up for major aspects.

    So your Slovenia with 2 less infant deaths out of 1000 does not make up for superior medicine, superior medical knowledge, superior elderly survival rates, superior technology and superior disease and injury survival rates.

    There is a reason I listed a whole bunch of things, it was primarily so wise guys didn’t try and pick a nation who happened to excel in one minor aspect and try to use it to debunk the entire, valid, theory.

    It still stands, our system is currently the best available system on the planet.  Not saying there is not a better system that can be devised, but currently, this is the best we’ve been able to figure out and implement.

    (PS:  If we allowed computers to dictate who got what resources based on need and value of the individual, that would technically be a superior system, but it is also a very inhuman system.  I don’t think anyone wants to let their husband/wife’s treatment be determined based on what a computer thinks her value is to society and other cold, hard statistics.  But it would be a superior system to the one we currently have since we’d have superiority in all fields as well as superiority in using our resources to the maximum efficiency.)


  • 2007 AAR League

    @Cmdr:

    It is direct, out of pocket.  This is not a company plan.  The “company plan” was $90/wk which is ridiculous.  Dunno what was covered, I presume for $90/wk I get to send my husband off for a “massage therapy” with a “happy ending” because that was ridiculous.

    That’s why I was asking because when I worked at Northop Grumman there were guys paying almost $200 for family coverage. Exactly what insurance company are you using, if I may ask?

    As for your ridiculous example in an effort to make me look stupid (which makes you look kinda stupid and I know you’re better than that, U-505) you know perfectly well that taking one little aspect does not make up for major aspects.

    So your Slovenia with 2 less infant deaths out of 1000 does not make up for superior medicine, superior medical knowledge, superior elderly survival rates, superior technology and superior disease and injury survival rates.

    There is a reason I listed a whole bunch of things, it was primarily so wise guys didn’t try and pick a nation who happened to excel in one minor aspect and try to use it to debunk the entire, valid, theory.

    I’m not going to go into who looks stupid and who doesn’t, but I will tell you that infant mortality and life expectancy rates are the primary indicators of health care competancy. So when you declare them minor indicators, I challenge you to find me better ones.

    Furthermore, “life expectancy” encompasses disease survival and injury survival rates.

    It still stands, our system is currently the best available system on the planet.  Not saying there is not a better system that can be devised, but currently, this is the best we’ve been able to figure out and implement.

    Based on the infant mortality and life expectancy rates there are roughly 40 nations that can challenge your assuption.

    And you can shout to the heavens about how superior our drugs, knowledge, and technology are, but if more of their babies are surviving birth and their people are living longer than ours, then obviously our so called superior system is failing somewhere.

    (PS:  If we allowed computers to dictate who got what resources based on need and value of the individual, that would technically be a superior system, but it is also a very inhuman system.  I don’t think anyone wants to let their husband/wife’s treatment be determined based on what a computer thinks her value is to society and other cold, hard statistics.  But it would be a superior system to the one we currently have since we’d have superiority in all fields as well as superiority in using our resources to the maximum efficiency.)

    That would be illegal as it is discriminatory. And it would also be impossible to devise an unbiased value system.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    U-505:

    First Question’s Answer:  Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois.  I listed it before, but maybe you scanned over it when you read my post.  /shrug.  Anyway, BCBS isn’t exactly the best insurance company, IMHO, UHC (United Health Care) did not apply co-pays to line items like BCBS does.

    Second Question:  That’s why I listed infant mortality as an indicator.  PS:  If your nation murders unborn children who are “high risk” your infant mortality numbers will end up skewed.  This is what Cuba does/did.  If the mother was high risk, or the infant was high risk for any reason, the pregnancy was aborted and that gave good press to the Cuban health care system primarily because infant mortality rates were low (artificially low.  Abortions don’t count as dead babies.  They should, IMHO.)

    Third:  Our medical knowledge, medicines and technologies trump the minor difference between the US and some other nations in infant mortality rates.  Remember, not all nations include abortions as infant deaths, so those numbers are highly skewed and a very poor indicator whereas a century ago they were a great indicator.

    Last:

    No, if computers were allowed to make the decision, then their decision could not be illegal.  It might be immoral and unethical, but if we legally give the machine the right to determine who deserves the resources based on supply and demand and who has the best chances of living and who is the most productive members of society, then machines would be the best possible way of improving our current system.

    Think of it, no more human emotion in the decision making process.  Homeless people who contribute nothing to society and have low life expectancies would get the left overs while people like Ted Kennedy and Warren Buffet (both of whom attempt to contribute to society instead of homeless and handicapped people who live off society) would get the best medicines and treatments with the shortest waiting times.

    Now, don’t say that I am actually advocating that machines run our health care.  But if we were to impliment a central controlling authority over health care, then it should be run by machines who won’t care what your political, religous, racial, sexual orientation or lineage aspects are.  Machines would only care about your education level, the amount of product you produce for the nation (ie if you are a rocket scientist at NASA you’d be worth more to society than a garbage collector for Groot Waste and Recycling), your medical history (if you have a history of cancer in your family, then you’d be worth less than someone who’s parents were olympic all stars who lived into their late 90s since the later would be expected to live longer) and your age (since curing cancer in a 20 year old expected to live to 96 years old is better than curing the same cancer in a 92 year old who is expected to live to 96 years old.)

    If you put humans in control of the central authority, you’ll end up with problems.  People with the right political connections or status will trump those with a higher value to society in getting life saving treatment.

    Sorry, but I don’t think Vin Deisal is more important to society than the scientist curing cancer or Teddy Kennedy being more important than Larry Harris, for instance.  I’d feel much better if an impartial machine was making that decision, or, better yet, we allow supply and demand make the decision as it is currently. (with the exception of saving life, limb or eyesight.)



  • Jenn I am in Alabama and the closest VA facility is 60 miles away. Actual Tuskegee is about 20 or less but that facility was restricted to existing patients years and years ago. You would think with all the retirees around Columbus, Ga. there would be a closer facility but there isn’t.

    No my treatment from the VA hasn’t been great, but something is better than nothing which is the option in my case. At my last job that was part time due to my disability. My insurance would have been more than my bring home. Actually it would have even been more than my gross.

    Cheap insurance in this area runs around $70 week and that is single coverage. The average job pays around $10/hr. Digest that for a moment.

    I think one of the greatest cost to our nation is never looked at in the health care debates. That is preventive care. With our system if you can not afford health insurance you will go untreated until it is a big enough crisis to result in a trip to the emergency room and a bill that will most likely be passed along to the insured or the tax payers. A cost that could have been prevented with preventive care.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Honestly, I think the VA system could be massively improved with the following set of changes:

    1)  Veterans seeking care due to service connected disabilities and/or injuries may seek care at any military instillation with medical services. (For Columbus, GA that would be Fort Benning I believe.)

    2)  VA hospitals may only be staffed by medical personnel that have completed at least one tour of duty as an active member of the US Military (as opposed to Reserve Duty for those of you who may not be sure what is meant by Active Duty.)

    3)  Obviously out of self-interest, if you are rated at 50% disability, then your disability payment should be 50% of what the average person earns in your geographical area. (ie Schaumburg or Barrington Illinois, or Columbus GA or Washington DC.)  If your rating is 20% then it should be 20% of the average income in your region, 75% then 75% of earnings in your area, etc.



  • @Uberlager:

    @Cmdr:

    Not really looking at GDP.  China owns the United States by owning our debt.  So how can we possibly be richer than they are?

    GDP sure seems to me like an adequate measure of national wealth.  You’re also blowing our debt owned by China way out of proportion.  As of 11/08, China only owns 22% of our debt, or $682 billion.  How is 682 > 14,330???

    @Cmdr:

    Anyway, not saying our system is the best system possible, but it is better than the systems that are centrally controlled by an agency without competition. (Whether that is a government, a company or another single controlling agency)

    Define “better”.

    GDP is a good measure, but doesn’t capture the essence of the broad spectrum of problems of our economy. Jen is right, in a sense. China does not have crushing liabilities to deal with, like we do. China is not running up $400 billion trade deficits, like we have. China is not bogged down in two wars, as we are.

    If we sold every asset in this country right now, we would not have the money to meet our S.S. and Medicare/Medical obligations. China is worried about GDP SLOWING to 5%. We are already experiencing NEGATIVE 6% GDP. Just think of it this way: who has the money to buy our debt these days?



  • Things aren’t rosy in China anymore.  The recession is hitting them too.  There is an article in the Fortune magazine issue that was just released about the current state of the economy in China.  I haven’t read the whole article, but analysts claim that GDP receded in Q4 2008 there.

    Maybe we should start another thread on this issue since it is going off-topic.


  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    China is doing a brisk business in exporting Lead metals and various forms of Bacteria. I got a package of paper plates and i swear it weighted 5 pounds.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Since the depression is global, then I do believe it is hitting China as well as it is us.

    The difference, IMHO, is that China has been building up a manufacturing infrastructure while America has been disassembling ours and replacing it with a service industry infrastructure.

    It is my personal opinion that a country with a manufacturing base can grow it’s GDP.  In fact, the P in GDP stands for PRODUCT, it does not stand for SERVICE.  I also, personally, determine wealth by not only money, but products owned - but in any case, it is not services received that creates wealth.  I can hire an attorney all day long, but that attorney did not give me wealth, it may have given me knowledge, but not wealth.  If I were to take that knowledge and change raw materials into some PRODUCT then that PRODUCT would give me wealth.

    It’s a fine line, and I’m sure some of you will attempt to disagree with me (some because they legitimately don’t understand what I am trying to say, some because they honestly think I am wrong, and some out of pure habit.)

    That said, a nation with a manufacturing basis will be able to recover from depression and experience less impact from a depression than a nation who relies on services for it’s economy.

    To put it into perspective:

    If Nation A makes tanks then they have tanks.
    If Nation B cleans Nation A’s tanks, then they have nothing.


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