Insurance dilemma

The GOP plans to repeal ObamaCare because it thinks government-mandated coverage of more people means higher cost, lower efficiency, rationing and less choice of physicians.

But if so, why (according to T. R. Reid “The Healing of America”) do all other industrialized countries provide universal care that has choice, half the cost per person and better care?

Yes, some do have "socialized" government doctors and financing, but many depend on private doctors, private insurance or both.

Yes, some do have delays, but not for primary or urgent care, usually with the doctor of your choice.

Yes, they do have rationing, but their limits are transparent and encourage preventive care, while our corporate health insurance bureaucracy costs twice as much, takes months to produce a bill and is focused on denying claims.

So why are we so far behind? Why does the GOP want to undo even the small steps Obama has made toward a sensible system?

Ask your senators.

Alfred Bersbach, Vienna

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Al Bersbach's picture

Existing health systems that work

Dear Folks,

mgr, skippy and others miss the point I was trying to make:

We are the only developed country in the world that does not have a universal health care system that has about half our per capita costs and provides better health care. This not what I hope for or dream about, it is a fact--a fact we ought to learn from when planning our own health care system.

So, mgr, If you want to know what the "other side of the balance sheet" looks like, look at the balance sheets in any of these systems and you'll find of dozens of answers to that question, all of which work better than ours.

skippy, if you don't like systems with government doctors and/or government insurance, then look at one of the developed countries that has private doctors and private insurance and see how they do it. What is a better gauge of a health care system, whether lawsuits have been filed against it or whether it provides better health care overall? We have many more health care lawsuits than any other developed country. If Canada has a "second rate" system, then how would you "rate" our system that costs twice as much and provides worse health care--and more lawsuits?

My point is just that we ought to look seriously at what the other developed countries have done, because, for all their problems, it looks like all of them work better than ours--not in theory or ideology or in the future, but in real life right now.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Keep the Good, Tweak the Bad, and Measure Results

I’m not going to deny our current system for delivering healthcare is problem free; that said, other industrialized nations have their own set of pros and cons. The British National Healthcare System and Canada’s Universal Healthcare are suffering from rising program costs and increasing wait times.
In February 2010, the Prime Minister of Canada traveled to the U.S. for heart-surgery. Why? Doesn’t the Prime Minister of Canada have faith in Canada’s healthcare system? Again, I’m not denying our system has problems. Canada and Britain are considering instituting free market reforms siting lack of competition risks stifling innovation, producing inefficiencies, and limiting resources.

There must be a reason why people travel outside their socialized system for treatment. I’m not in any hurry to adopt a system, such as that seen in Canada or Britain, when they are moving in the opposite direction and citizens of both countries exit for medical care.

I’ll agree with you that we should look at how other nations provide healthcare, but I’m not willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The best approach in my opinion is to identify the top 5 factors that drive healthcare costs in this country, effect changes, and measure results.

Let’s keep the good, tweak the bad, and measure results.

The Obama HC legislation is so complex it will take decades and billions of dollars before we can separate the good parts from the bad parts.
Yep, and that is what partisan politics is all about. Moreover, what’s the difference between the Republicans and Democrats in regards to your comments? I’ll answer that for you – your political affiliation – nothing else.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Sorry for the cut and paste

Sorry for the cut and paste problem with the last two sentences. I wish the edit button worked.

RONALD RIML's picture

You'll be history.

Mark my words.....

well, wayne

First the constitution is a living document changing over time to reflect the needs of the people. Second. Hiding your identity helps you to hide proudly behind your words (my opinion). I do not agree with personal attacks, snarky comments and outright distortions of facts. I am a liberal independent. While I lean left, I find the middle a lonely place over the last few years. The Healthcare debate, imigration all should be solved by now but, the polarizing left and right continue to vilify eachother like a couple of 5 year olds. Disagreement is healthy, Shouting so loud as to drown out the opinions of others (personal attacks, snarky comments )has become to normal and poisons the debate.

In short I agree with 1, 2, and 3. I hope you stay around

MARK GRAVEL's picture

None of which will reduce Health Care Costs!

There are two sides to any balance sheet. How much will the added benefits cost? Who will be paying for them? How will mandating more benefits reduce overall health care costs?

The entire Obama HC plan has more to do with partisan politics than it does to address the underlying factors that are driving health care costs.
Mandating more benefits and adding more people into the system does nothing to dress the underlying factors that are driving health care costs. From 1964 to 2008, the percentage of government funded health care grew from 20% to 47% [1, pg. 14]. There seems to be little evidence that more government funding of health care will reduce health care costs. The only actions a government can take to reduce health care costs are to restrict access or reduce re-imbursements.

We would be better served if our elected officials understand the underlying factors that drive health care costs and address them directly instead of creating a whole new system with a whole new set of problem.


My best answer to you is to

My best answer to you is to ask the simple question: why have some Canadian provinces including Quebec succesfully sued the government to allow private insurance and hospitals, and health care providers if the universal government care is so great. Canada is not alone in this; there are many countries which provide universal health care, but also have a private system to take care of people who can afford better treatment. This, unfortunately, is what will become of Obama care, a second class system for the majority of Americans, and a "private" system for people of means further dividing this country. If "Obama care" were so great, why have the congress people exempted themselves from it with their private system of care?

Barry King's picture

Choice is a GOOD thing!

Having more than one option available, and having the freedom to make your own choice is one of the things that makes America GREAT! I do NOT agree with mandated insurance coverage, but I do believe that having a government subsidized, "Universal Health Care" program available is a good thing. It is better than no health insurance at all.

Except for some occasional "temp work", and a seasonal cashier job that ended on Christmas Eve, I have been unemployed for 2 years. My only available health care "option", is to wait until I am so sick that I can no longer function, then seek treatment at the local Emergency Room.

So even if the first draft of a "Universal Health Care" program isn't perfect, it is, at least, a beginning. Through a series of ammendments, chosen by the MAJORITY of Americans, it CAN become the finest public health care program on the planet. We did this with our Constitution and we can do this with health care, but in order to improve upon a system, we need a system to improve upon.

RONALD RIML's picture

"Obama care?" - WTFO??

This is not really what Obama had in mind - so to call it "Obama care" is absurd.

They had to end up placating Insurance Companies to get that Pig to sing - so call it what it is - "Insurance Care"

Giving Americans a "right" to

Giving Americans a "right" to quality healthcare is far from cummunism. The Problem is Democrats are spineless. Had they stood up the the Radical Right Wing and exposed them as being in the pockets of Pharma and the Insurance industry, The right wig would have had no choice but to come back to the center and do what is best for all americans.

RONALD RIML's picture

Wayne - When you've been here for more than 49 hours

You'll learn a bit about Pigs.

Welcome to the Forum, Rookie.

RONALD RIML's picture

And you can teach us about

Posterior placement planning and positioning. ;)

RONALD RIML's picture

You should go with what you know.... Or was it Nepotism???

As "UM Director of Stadium Seating" you must have some responsibility with the planning, logistics, and execution of folks plopping their azzes - "Back."

Too bad none of the tools in your chest were sharp enough to pick up on that, so you immediately went anal. Very telling.


There is great passion and power in your views (which I mostly agree with). But using name calling make you as bad as any "Tea Partier" looking to excersize there "second amendment remedies". Ht them with the facts and contiue puting your strongest passion into your views. But don't sink to their level. We are better than that.

MARK GRAVEL's picture


Yep, and that is what partisan politics is all about. Moreover, what’s the difference between the Republicans and Democrats in regards to your comments? I’ll answer that for you – your political affiliation – nothing else.


I will agree with you that the word scumbag was poor choice. Shame on you Tron (finger wagging and all). That said, there seems to be no right wing beyond radical right and that is a shame also. If you are impressed with the way republicans have conducted themselves in the last 20 years then you have also lost sight of the middle. Conservative values are important to this country. So is disagreeing without being disagreeable. the middle is where the left and the right have a meeting of the minds to benefit this country. It is where compromise has taken place since the birth of our country. This is where we should all strive to be (in my opinion).

Thanks for letting me know the origin of the word scumbag as I had never heard the definition before. Now get verified and stand proudly behind opinions.

Douglas Mac antSaior's picture

Qualify the statement "does a

Qualify the statement "does a great job". Oh, and no throwing around used condoms here, please.

Barry King's picture

I clicked Agree, but...

I clicked Agree with this posting, but I wanted to qualify my vote by saying that I agree with the entire post EXCEPT for the last two sentences. Generalizations are NEVER accurate and not all republicans follow their "party line" any more than democrats do.


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