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Sunday, November 11

America’s Lagging Health Care System




Editorial in New York Times about this survey taken


America’s Lagging Health Care System

Published: November 1, 2007
Americans are increasingly frustrated about the sub par performance of this country’s fragmented health care system, and with good reason. A new survey of patients in seven industrialized nations underscores just how badly sick Americans fare compared with patients in other nations. One-third of the American respondents felt their system is so dysfunctional that it needs to be rebuilt completely — the highest rate in any country surveyed. The system was given poor scores both by low-income, uninsured patients and by many higher-income patients.


Do you agree or disagree that America should go to a more universal heath careprogram?

54 comments:

Angelica D. said...

I really would not want to pay the taxes to fund a Universal Health Care System, BUT, I would say that I would support it because of the outrageous costs of medical care & prescriptions. I would especially support it because my father was just laid off from his job, after 30+ years, about a year shy from his retirement... and due to the costs of healthcare coverage, cannot afford a DECENT plan.. I stress the word decent because the lower priced options have very high deductibles and co-pays and are HMO's....Because he was laid off, now my mother does not have coverage, and she is ill to begin with.... Which actually trickles down to me, because I just left work to go to school full time, and now, I am questioning school to go back to work. And this is just two people - So I can't image the number of citizens that are in way worse predicaments. Maybe if more people could secure healthcare, there would be less illnesses, people would live longer, and some people would possibly have extra income because they could fund their bank account, not just live to pay off medical debt. I know someone whose daughter had a rare disease, but he did not have medical coverage.... He worked three jobs to try and pay off the $800,000 in medical bills he incurred, from multiple surgeries. I also had another friend whose mom had diabetes and needed dialysis every week - They did not have medical coverage either, and they ultimately had to file bankruptcy and their home was foreclosed. It is a very sad situation.

Athena Smith said...

Actually we have close to 50 million Americans in the same situation. The health care system was planned on the assumption that the forces of supply of demand would make it efficient. However the supply of doctors and hospitals became limited, the pharmaceutical costs have reached unprecedented levels (I recently bought a tine bottle of anti-biotic ear drops for $120) and thus the fees for services exorbitant.
The fees for doctors are lower in other countries but the hospitals face the same running costs. The universal health system in most countries runs a deficit. But so does ours. So one can not knock the British universal health system on that basis because we are in deep red too.

I believe whatever viable solution is found will be fought by the insurance companies that charge an exorbitant amount of money. If I wanted to insure my children under my PPO plan I would have to pay more than $700 a month.

But I am at a loss with the mess I observe and I see no solution in the near future.

Having said that there are many Americans, who are nicely insured through a federal program, and simply state that health coverage is not a human right but a privilege. So we have some public opposition on the matter as well.

I don't agree with the argument of having to pay more taxes because even if we do we are being spared the vast amount of bankruptcies due to medical costs... let alone a personal tragedy in case we get sick and we have no insurance or inadequate insurance.

Michael Rose said...

For as powerful as America has become I think it is sad that all of us are in many ways playing a big games of Russian roulette. Without implementing, some form of universal heath care in America I think the problems will only get worse.

Michael Rose said...

In response to Professor Smith, I also do not agree that higher taxes are a resign not to support a universal heath care program, but at the same time I think that many people will take advantage of such a system and that the real problems with are current health care is directly connected with the insurance companies. I mean, doesn’t anyone else find it a little disturbing that the richest people in the U.S. are the people that get paid for are misfortune?

brooke said...

I agree that we should do something about our medical care but im not sure a Universal Health Care System would be the right solution. We spend a lot of money on taxes and living is very expensive in the United States. But there is def a problem with our medical care I work at a surgery center and the prices are outrageous and then you have patients that are paying a lot of money for insurance and half the time the insurance doesnt even pay the bill you couldnt imagine all of the denials we receive from insurance companies. ANd from my personal experience i never go to the doctor when i get sick because everytime i go i spend $30 for my doctor to tell me its a virus and i need to wait it out or they give you another number to a specialist to get medicine and they still take your money even though they could have told you a number over the phone. This issue needs to be addressed.

brooke said...

I agree with angelica d it is very hard to find a plan that actually covers half of the charge without haveing a $500 deductible or $150 copay. It is ridiculous how much money you have to put in to an insurance company and then you still have to pay more than half of the bill.

HoneySweet G. said...

No offense but health care sucks here in the US. I would rather go to... Sweden and get health care, because their system works! Everyone pays taxes and EVERYONE gets health care. No matter how poor you are, you get some kind of basic care.

We can't do that in America, "Because the 'world' is run by the Man." And 'the Man' can't seem to get his head out of the clouds and put his money to better use.

(Don't start gripping about how can we put it to batter use, because there are too many factor to take into account before you can make a solid plan. We as Americans only get the tip of the iceberg to our real problems. So there...)

Alexandra said...

I think a Universal health care program would have a positive effect on people because most health care is pretty crappy now and even with health care prescriptions and medication and een doctors visits are SO expensive.

Being a college student from new york, i have new york based insurance. there is NO doctor i can go to here that will cover me under my insurance. i had to get an x-ray last year and the hospital gave me the HARDEST time with my insurance... and the funny thing is.. my insurance is through my mom who WORKS IN A HOSPTIAL!

something has to be done about this!

Alexandra said...

I agree with angelica d and brooke in the fact that it it is very hard to find a plan that actually covers half of the charge without haveing a $500 deductible or $150 copay. It is ridiculous how much money you have to put in to an insurance company and then you still have to pay more than half of the bill... when i went on that hospital visit and all they did was take 3 x-rays... my bills were WELL over $500. that is just outragouss!!!

GatorGirl06 said...

I think that the Universal Health Care system should possibly be optional do those who have crappy or no insurance..because some people do have pretty good insurance already and shouldn't be forced to switch. It is rediculous though that people pay all that money to go to the doctor just to be told they need to go to a specialist. I went to the doctor one time for a sinus issue and had another question about my shoulder b/c it was hurt at the time and the doctor wouldn't even look at my shoulder...they told me I had to make another appointment to come back for that, I was in the office for MAYBE 3 min to get my sinus prescription ... it's all about money these days.

GatorGirl06 said...

I agree with alexandra... it is rediculous how much money you have to put into your insurance company... and then in the long run they screw you over when you get sick. I have a relative that was recently diagnosed with mental health problems and even though the doctor knew she wasn't ready to be released...they release her anyway because her insurance only covered so many mental health days.. I think she only got like 1 week of mental health care in the hospital and the rest she had to pay out of pocket (which was like 400 per day).. thats crazy because if a drug addict is in the hospital for OD or something .. the insurance will cover it no problem.

bdraper said...

Health care is expensive no matter what. There are things that this country is trying to do to lower the costs of the health care system. Im not quite sure what a Universal Health Care System is or what it would entail but I do think that the costs of the heath care system is extremely high. Although, there are many programs that are out there to help people in need. I will become a single parent soon with hardly any income and going to school full time. I undrstand how expensive health care is for just being pregnant and delivery charges. But there are companies out there that are helping pay for my medical bills.

When it comes to American doctors offices and how people cannot get into a same day appointment or even the following day appointment, do people realize how many people there are in this world that need or would like to be treated. There are only so many doctors and nurses to go around. And when it comes to medical mistakes, yes they do suck and they can be fatal, but it does happen. There is no doctor out there in this entire world that knows medicine perfectly. That is why when you ask someone who is a doctor what their profession is they say "I practice medicine". They can only practice what they learn because everyday something new in the medical world pops up for them to try or fix or learn from.

bdraper said...

I agree with Honeysweet. The US health care system is sucky, but the grass is always greener on the other side. No matter where someone travels they will still find things wrong with that system. I fear that too many americans want this country to be perfect and there is no way for that to happen. The health care system is horrible because of its costs. Anyone in America can get treated for something, even if they dont have the money, they will just have an outstanding bill.

Jeneice said...

this situation is very unfortunate because i know from experience of health insurance and i have a serious medical problem which causes me 2 spend 400 a month with jus copays and orescriptions no to mention the 500 and change that is taken out of my dads paycheck monthly and i have a ppo so i definatey understand and beleive me 30 dollar co pays add up quick. and before i got my ppo i had a hmpo and i was spendng double if not trouble because i needed to see specialist and wiht hmo they usually dont cover specialist or if htey do only a certain percentage, so something needs to be done about health care over here. a friend of my momes died of health dailure because she couldnt afford her heart medicine and when she tried to get help from the government she made 20 dollars over the allowed ammount for medicare ! thats crazy innocent people are dying in such a rich country and it saddens me !

Athena Smith said...

bdraper
A universal health care system is based on the government being the main insurance company. In the US we have an aversion towards big government, and this is why there is so much opposition. The main argument against it, is that since it will be state controlled and financed, it will become inefficient.
So, to get back on track, the government is the main insurance company, every employee and every employer has to contribute, (now it is up to employer and only if the employee wants to cover his family he pays extra... under the universal health the employee's family is covered automatically) and there are many public hospitals which you are entitled to use.

The problem besides the aversion towards big government? We don't have many public hospitals. Would the private ones lower their prices? We have squeezed ourselves in a nice mess, we spend more on health care than anybody else in the world, and 50 million of us are without insurance.
I doubt it it can get any worse.

Athena Smith said...

Check out this story on Ty Ziegel , a marine who lost his face in Iraq and the problems he has had with VA.

Crimsonzero said...

"I really would not want to pay the taxes to fund a Universal Health Care System, BUT, I would say that I would support it because of the outrageous costs of medical care & prescriptions. I would especially support it because my father was just laid off from his job, after 30+ years, about a year shy from his retirement... and due to the costs of healthcare coverage, cannot afford a DECENT plan.. I stress the word decent because the lower priced options have very high deductibles and co-pays and are HMO's....Because he was laid off, now my mother does not have coverage, and she is ill to begin with.... Which actually trickles down to me, because I just left work to go to school full time, and now, I am questioning school to go back to work. And this is just two people - So I can't image the number of citizens that are in way worse predicaments. Maybe if more people could secure healthcare, there would be less illnesses, people would live longer, and some people would possibly have extra income because they could fund their bank account, not just live to pay off medical debt. I know someone whose daughter had a rare disease, but he did not have medical coverage.... He worked three jobs to try and pay off the $800,000 in medical bills he incurred, from multiple surgeries. I also had another friend whose mom had diabetes and needed dialysis every week - They did not have medical coverage either, and they ultimately had to file bankruptcy and their home was foreclosed. It is a very sad situation."

I agree with angelica d.'s comment because I am sure that there are a lot of people that have went through the same thing as her dad one way or another. Healthcare is very important, especially as you get older into the 50's-60's range. Americans should be able to have better healthcare benefits as they get older, no doubt, especially when your dad is out of a job and your mother is ill. How else will the family support itself?

Crimsonzero said...

Also despite what is going on, I do believe that America should somehow improve the healthcare situation. It may be true that even after improving the healthcare system it may still not be perfect, but the world is run be men and men arent perfect, and so long as the world is run by man, there will always be imperfections one way or another. Even still America has to make the best effort to improve the situation, and I believe that we can somehow do better to be AT LEAST not the second-worst country when it comes to healthcare.

mmedina10 said...

I can relate to it at this moment. I have been sick for about 5 days, yet i do not go to the doctor because i do not have insurance, and if i choose to go it will rip a whole in my pocket. Yes, our technology in the medical are excellent, yet when we go to the ER all they give us is Motrin. why charge a hundred dollars plus for something you can get at walgreens for around five dollars.

mmedina10 said...

I agree with angelica. No one wants to pay taxes, but imagen if we did not pay taxes that help reduce the cost of medial treatment imagen how much more each doctor visit would cost

Athena Smith said...

Mmedina
Please read this article. It might help you get free care.

However I know there are some clinics that offer free services in the area... I don't know how to locate them but maybe the student services at HCC have more info. Or if anybody in here knows more, please let us know.

chris martinez said...

i dont know to much about the helth care system i just know that it has been efecting alot of people and alot of people are not geting the help they need to get better.

chris martinez said...

Do you agree or disagree that America should go to a more universal heath careprogram?

like i said before i dont know to much on the heath care problem but i will agree on a more universal helth care

chris martinez said...

Do you agree or disagree that America should go to a more universal heath careprogram?

like i said before i dont know to much on the heath care problem but i will agree on a more universal helth care

chronos said...

America really needs a better health care system. I got injured just a couple weeks ago and I did not want to go to the doctor because I knew it was going to be very expensive. On top of that the wait time in an emergency room is absolutely horrible. Another time that I got hurt at work I went to the university hospital and waited in the ER for about 13 hours. There really needs to be a serious change in not only the pricing but the actual care that the hospital gives. Many Americans have faced these same problems when they visit a hospital and have decided that they are better off just staying at home and trying to get through whatever their aliments are. We need another form of health care such as like Canada's for example.
Then more Americans will be able to get the treatment that they so desperately need.

chronos said...

I agree with GatorGirl06 it seems like the hospitals want nothing more then to take our money. My grandparents go through this sort of thing on a daily basis. Every time they go to a doctor for something not only does it take weeks for them to get back to them they usually tell them that they need a different doctor that is more specialized in a particular field. The end result is that most of their spare time all they do is see different doctors because they need so many specialists.

EP said...

I think that the United States should go to a Universal Health Care System, I know a lot of people who can't afford to have health care, but what they don't realize is that if something bad happens where surgery is needed they will be paying hospital bills forever. A very close friend of mine recently got in a car accident and had to be air-lifted and hospitalized for eleven days, he has no health care and just got his first bill and can't pay it because he is still recovering and hasn't been able to go back to work.

EP said...

I agree with Michael rose many people in the United States are playing a game of Russian Roulette and something needs to be done and fast.

peachykeach said...

I am torn between the two. I have fmaily in Canada that complain about their Universal Health program. My Aunt needed knee surgery so that she could perform her job, while she sat and waited several months for her surgery she was on government assistance & disability. This seems to me to be a flaw in the plan. The right wing part of me feels that those that have money should receive the best health care. I pay a lot of money each month to be on my husbands county HMO plan because it provides better coverage than my empoyer's PPO. I get frustrated at my OBGYN's office when I see many women in thre receiving tax payer funded medical care for the 2nd or third child that they can not afford when I am trying to have a child that I can afford and have private health insurance to cover. Don't get me wrong I do feel that every one deserves health care to an extent. Maybe if we had Uinversal Health Care doctor's wouldn't charge so much. They are able to charge so much because we are willing to pay that much.

peachykeach said...

In response to bdraper becoming a single parent soon. Becoming a parent is very expensive and if you can't afford medical coverage than how can you afford to raise a child?

Athena Smith said...

Peachykeach
The high prices mainly reflect a shortage of doctors. If we started accepting three times the number of med students in our prestigious med schools, and if the market became a bit saturated... then their product would sell at a more reasonable price.

To fix that we have moved towrads medical tourism. Many oof our scans are read in India whether we like it or not. Many insurance companies will charge you less if you accept to travel to India to be operated for a non emergency situation. A heart operation that costs here more than $100,000, only costs there $10,000 including the airfare and a trip to Taj Mahal.

Neishia said...

I feel that our economy has its priorities mixed up. We are wasteful when its comes to money. Everyone deserves a fair shot at decent health care. People would rather put up money for other things besides health care. The terms of health care should be fully explained from the beginning. There should be any hidden agendas behind anything. I mean they're screwing around with the well being of others.

kenny said...

I have not experinced the high medical bills due to the fact that i was brought up in a military family that covered every bill at no cost at all. Yet now that i am older and have knowledge of what cost people actually pay to simply have some stronger cough medicine or a cheack up is outrageuous.

This summer my brother had a compund fracture in his arm and had to have surgery to close the skin where the bone had came out and put a metal road in his arm. He stayed at the hospital for 3 days becasue he was on a antibiotic givin through an ivy. About a month oago we recieved bill from the hospital saying our medical coverage covererd mostly all of it making us pay about only 50 bucks, but just to be curious i looked at the full cost and was horrified of the amount of money it was. 88,000 dollars was the cost of the bill.

I can imagine now that using the Universal Health Care system will help many Americans with the outragious medical bills.

kenny said...

I agree with GatorGirl06 when she states that now in days everything is about money. I think its pretty outragious if you go to the doctor (which is supposed to be there to help you) for something like a cold and you ask if he or she can look at you shoulder or something and they tell you to come back for another appointment with out even looking!!! just to get more money off you.

Athena Smith said...

Kenny
Only $88,000?
I think I should put a post where people can upload their medical bills and then forward it to our representatives...
Maybe next term!

dfrank22 said...

I agree with angelica b/c I would hate a rise in taxes to fund a Universal Health Care System. Although with the current prices of medicare, and suffering service in hospitals somethings got to change. And if that was the change needed to get us back on track so be it.

dfrank22 said...

There is no excuse for such poor reviews for the U.S health care system. As wealthy a nation as we are health care should be top notch. It just seems like mis management of money and messed up priorities.

Sierrablue said...

I think it is really sad that a country that is considered the one of, if not the richest and most powerful countries in the world, is so far behind in taking care of its citizens. Even people with insurance have tremendous problems paying their medical bills or even finding a doctor at times. I believe in people making a living and I know there has to be profit in business for that to happen, however any business involved in health care such as insurance, HMOS, doctors, drug companies, pharmacies, etc, make entirely too much profit on the pain and suffering of other Americans. Health care is a major issue that needs to be addressed. It is time America tends to Americans.

Sierrablue said...

I think a Universal or National health Plan is something that needs serious consideration by our government. Other countries that have way less resources than America have these programs in place and they work. Yes, they all have some problems, however none of the problems these programs have compare to the problem the U.S. faces with so many Americans having no heath insurance or funds to get the care they may need. A few of the comments mentioned taxes. Just think how much heath care could be delivered on the money being spent in Iraq. We are spending billions and billions of our tax dollars to help them. Why are we AMERICANS not just as deserving as them?? I don't think tax money is a problem I think one of the major problems a Universal Health Care system faces in America is opposition from insurance companies, drug manufactures, American Medical Assoc., etc. These organizations have too much influence on our legislatures and how they vote.

HoneySweet G. said...

"What a wonderful world" as said best by Louis Armstrong. I say that facetiously to the utmost extreme. Our world sux in a very glamorous way.

Taxes, they pay for what exactly, surely not the schools, and surely not for health care. What do they go to? They go to the people who plays poker with our lives and our state and call that a good job. The sick part about it is that we actually let them. I wish the gov't would hold up their end of the bargain.
But you know what they say about politicians; "Change our politicians as frequently as a dirty diaper."

(Because most of them are full of...)

Angelica D. said...

Comment to Sierrablue-

In regards to your comment referring to healthcare businesses making a living and a profit -

I used to be an insurance adjuster and handled commercial claims - many were doctor's offices whose normal business operations were suspended from water, fire, hurricane damage etc... I used to request their financials to review, not only were they making so much many in the first place - but I assigned many special investigators to their case because they were attempting to commit insurance fraud to walk away with even more money.

Are there any doctors that are doctors for the sake of people and not the almighty dollar??

mattsarnowski said...

Ahh, I get to comment on one of my favorite movies now. Micheal Moore made a movie recently called, "Sicko." If you get a chance, WATCH IT! this movie really will blow your hair back with the things that HMO's are doing to people throughout the world. Just one example taken from the movie was when a cancer patient needed a few treatments of chemo to help finish with their progress, the Insurance company denied them coverage saying that the chemo was "experimental."

One good point that the movie made was that who are the insurance companies to have us go see a doctor, get our diagnosis and then call a person that is thousands of miles away in a cubicle that is deliberatly TRYING to deny you coverage. You basically have to ask this person if you can receive treatment or not. It's the law that insurance companies are to "maximize profits for the shareholders" and what this means is denying many a people coverage so they don't have to pay out and loose money.

mattsarnowski said...

We can also talk about the "French Paradox" for a moment as well. Basically what the French Paradox is is that with a culture that is accustomed to eating fatty foods(this crepes and french bread) and drinking wine and smoking cigarettes on a regular basis, how are they to live longer and suffer fewer geart disease cases every year? Part of it may be in the red wine that they drink, but the big picture is that they have the universal health coverage to help take care of them for their entire lives. And just a little reminder, France has one of the best economies in the world, so who is to say that UHC will bring us down.

Monica Rivera Agard said...

Monica Agard- I would like everyone to get medical care. I do believe that a Universal Health Care System in the US is a good theory. I say theory because someone would figure out how to abuse it or take advantage of the system. A perfect example is the fact that normal employees have to pay huge a dectutions or co-pay, while federal emplyees have to pay close to nothing. A retired government personnel pys about $ 150 a year for them and their spouse. Most company employees pay this a month just to go to the doctors.

I agree with Mrs. Smith the insurance companies are the one that are getting the benefits they are getting all the money and not paying out any money for us to get the care that we need. They get to earn all this money and save in the process by not paying out.

I agree with bdraper people should stop complaining about the healthcare and see that at least we do have doctors to go too no matter if it is two days after the fact. In countries like Africa people travel days to see a doctor and many can not get to them and die. When have a chance to see a doctor even if there is a huge bill at the end.

bigbuddy said...

There is a serious problem with our health care system today. About 10 years ago i was diagnosed with cancer, i had what was considered great insurance and still my out of pocket costs where astronomical. the insurance company refused to pay for my operation but decided to pay for the chemotherapy. now tell me if that makes sense. i spent over a year while being ill in court trying to fight the insurance company for a 15000 dollar bill that i had. we finally settle on a smaller amount but this took years of litigation. i still have insurance now and im currently a diabetic. i've had to spend so much money on diabetic supplies. im continuously getting the run around. the pharmacy says that the prescriptions are not covered, the insurance company says that it is. its all bureaucracy. now i have to request my medication through the mail so that its covered. its sad because i contribute money toward my insurance premiums in order to get the best coverage. there are constant copays and deductibles to deal with. we do need universal health coverage it works for the canadians- why not us ?

bigbuddy said...

i agree with michael the problem is just getting worst. these pharmaceutical companies are making billions in the us. they usually have a patent for years on necessary medication until your able to get it generic for a cheaper price. thats why more americans are chosing to buy there medicines outside the us. there's no red tape involved and there cheaper because of it. also patients are not getting the proper care that they deserve. the doctors are forced by the insurance companies not to spend more than 15 minutes with patients i recently learned.

jeje 21 said...

I don’t think that the universal plan would be the best thing to do for the people. Millions of people in this country are taking prescription drugs, and millions more who should be are not because they cannot afford it. I don't believe tax breaks for personal insurance will improve coverage. Adverse selection will still eliminate the chronically ill and disabled, and prevent coverage for all those conditions for which an individual knows more about his or her risk factor than an insurance company can, as a result of an information asymmetry.

jeje 21 said...

I aagree with "Bigbuddy" the problem i s getting worse and keep getting more money. I don't support single payer health care either, but I'm sick of hearing this tired line about expense and how tax breaks are the answer to everything. Conservatives should fight for less tax breaks, not more.

jeje 21 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danatrose said...

I think that it is very sad that big bad america can't even take care of its people but is constantly trying to reach out and "save" others. If no universal health plan comes about we will all be up a creek with medical bills all over our credit reports.

anthony kolodziej said...

I agree with what michaelrose has to say that higher taxes will shy people away from the universal health care program. Even if it had jus enough votes to win out and take action, it would still leave almost half of society upset with higher taxes. Lets face it with the war being a huge conflict already jackin up the taxes, i highly doubt anyone wants to see it increase greatly due to this.

anthony kolodziej said...

I think that its ridiculous to see they even think about this situation. We are the wealthiest country by far in the entire world and the government wants to tax higher? give us a break.

irishbabe said...

i would support it but i would not want to pay the taxes. i agree that we need better health care only because medicine is getting more expensive but it is getting in higher demand.

irishbabe said...

i also agree with angelica d. we do need to do something with out having to pay ridiculous price tags for it. our helth is more important than some bill.