What is wrong with the American health care system?

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Devil_Dog, Apr 16, 2008.

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  1. I am watching this program called "Sick around around the world" on our PBS and I am thinking 'what the feck is our big medical problem' and my immediate thought is: we are being screwed by the big medical companies.

    What to do?


    Makes me want to scream. Makes me want to fecking scream.

  2. The problem is the American Health System is not a system at all!
    It is in the words of Mr Zappa "Strictly Commercial".
  3. Its too expensive?

    End of thread and locked? :D
  4. Its too expensive?

    End of thread and locked? :D
  5. Nothing whatsoever.

    Providing you have adequate insurance and a good job and a few dollers in the bank.
  6. Everything is wrong with the US medical set up. My kids live in the States and when my daughter got really sick (close to death), her doctor said she wouldn't do anything for her because her mother was a little behind on payments for previous treatments.

    Any medical system that puts profit ahead of a childs life is SICK SICK SICK

  7. Sorry to hear about your kids.

    Unless we are carefull the same could happen to the NHS.

    The national ID card has been spouted as the best method of limiting the NHS facilities being abused by the holiday sick claimers.
  8. I'd agree with that if you tag on the end, "and don't ever get sick".

    Just because you have insurance, it doesn't mean the insurance company will pay the claim, if they don't feel like it.

    I'm firmly of the opinion that universal health care should be a right and not a privilege. The US system falls squarely in the latter category.
  9. Its a template for the UK Private health care Insurance system.

    Who have the right to dump you at the nearest NHS hospital if they are no longer able to treat your ailment.
  10. Then maybe she should have paid the bills. Furthermore as a last resort she could have taken the kid to the local ER and sought treatment. Any public hospital MUST treat regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

    What's wrong with health care and it's costs is Government involvment, laywers that are sue happy and insurance companies just paying out friviolus claims to avoid having to fight the non-sense in court.

    Next time she takes the kid to the Dr for a visit have her ask what it costs him to carry mal-practice insurance and how much he is required to carry. How much it costs him to have staff to process the claims through Medicare/aid, the various insurance companies, and then chase down the same for payment.

    The solution is quite simple HSA's and a tax write off of upto 15K a year. Let me deal with the Dr and let the Dr deal with me.
  11. My bold.

    Unofrtunately thats completely impossible and some would argue that unachievable rights are therefore not actual rights.

    As it happens, the US healthcare system is poor, but not nearly as black as you guys paint. The main problem lies not in treatment at hospital (of which there are a few annecdotes of appalling care, but I can provide many from the NHS to match) but in vaccinationg those without insurance. This is not covered by anyone, whereas hospitals will still treat the uninsured in emergency cases.

    Its an expensive system but the US govt actually pays comparatively little in comparison to this country. On an individual level the quality of care is much higher in general and those with the ability to pay the (actually quite small) insurance costs have access to world beating treatment. IT is indeed a shame about those who miss out and this needs urgent attention from the next president, but at least lets be clear on this before we rip the entire system apart.

    Edited to add: As ctauch said, we could cure most of the problems by getting rid of their litigation system. No fault litigation with structured pay outs would be a much cheaper way of running the system. It would also improve the quality of care as doctors wouldn't be scared of treating people.
  12. Every other country in the Western World manages it.

    The US spend far more on healthcare than anyone else, yet they don't have anywhere close to "the best" healthcare. Most of Ford's (and many other companies') problems are directly attributable to healthcare costs. Insurance is hugely expensive and the insurers will try everything they can to get out of paying up. Medical costs are the single biggest cause of debt and bankruptcy in the US.

    Some numbers from here:

    In 2007, health care spending in the United States reached $2.3 trillion, and was projected to reach $3 trillion in 2011. Health care spending is projected to reach $4.2 trillion by 2016.

    Although nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nations, and those countries provide health insurance to all their citizens.

    In 2005, the United States spent 16 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care. It is projected that the percentage will reach 20 percent by 2016.

    The annual premium that a health insurer charges an employer for a health plan covering a family of four averaged $12,100 in 2007. Workers contributed nearly $3,300, or 10 percent more than they did in 2006. The annual premiums for family coverage significantly eclipsed the gross earnings for a full-time, minimum-wage worker ($10,712).

    Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. Unless something changes dramatically, health insurance costs will overtake profits by 2008.

    A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses. Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.

    Retiring elderly couples will need $200,000 in savings just to pay for the most basic medical coverage.

    The United States spends six times more per capita on the administration of the health care system than its peer Western European nations.
  13. "Its an expensive system but the US govt actually pays comparatively little in comparison to this country. On an individual level the quality of care is much higher in general and those with the ability to pay the (actually quite small) insurance costs have access to world beating treatment. IT is indeed a shame about those who miss out and this needs urgent attention from the next president, but at least lets be clear on this before we rip the entire system apart."

    Couldn't have said it better. As it stands, 15% of Americans do not have health insurance. That is sad and unfortunate, and I would welcome some kind of limited free healthcare benefit extended to those who cannot afford it. At the very least for children (under 18). But socialized healthcare in this country is not possible. Right now, the 85% of Americans who can pay insurance have access to world class health care. Now before everyone cites examples from Michael Moore's latest flick, remember that there are health care horror stories everywhere, even outside the US. I have experienced the healthcare system in Canada and it would take me an entire day to point out all the wholes in the system. Just a few examples are the ridiculous waiting lists, the almost nonexistant specialists (there are only 2 ENT doctors in the greater Montreal area, for example), the 24 hour wait for lab results (when they should only take 30 minutes) and the lack of equipment and people that can treat an advanced illness (I know of a Canadian who spent his life savings in the States to remove a tumor that couldn't be done in Canada) . And Canadians pay almost twice as much in taxes we do, for a mediocre system. Yet the response by many is "well, at least it's free". I can't tell you how many times I had to let mother nature do all the treatment before I could see a doctor. The beaurocracy in the system is ridiculous. And for all the complaints, it isn't that hard to get insurance, even if your financial situation is less than ideal. 10 years ago my sister waited tables at TGIF's and got health insurance for both her and her kid for the cost of her 2.85 an hour minimum wage, which was an infinitestimal amount compared to what she took home in tips.
  14. Why is it completely impossible? Both the US and UK has universal education, so why not health care? The UK has universal health care and, despite the bad press it often receives, it is still a world class system.

    As it happens my wife is an RN and she has worked for the NHS in the UK, in the US health system and in other countries. The quality of care isn't an issue, on the whole the US and UK are fairly equal in terms of medical treatment and professionalism of the medical staff. There are some things, in her opinion, that the US system is better at and others the NHS are better.

    For me it's a no brainer, the more people that pay into an insurance system, the lower the premiums, combine that with an insurance system that is run at cost, rather than one that is commercial, which is the better? Surely it's the one with the most members and doesn't make a profit?
  15. I won't bother dealing with the statistics as they prove nothing, particularly as they change their point of reference casually throughout.

    No country in the world delivers universal healthcare free at the point of delivery. Almost all in the west achieve universal healthcare, including the US. There is a major difference between the two. The NHS does not and cannot provide universal care. Those in the medical profession already know that the NHS is in hot water, and the public will very soon realise that a comprehensive NHS is impossible without a massive hike in taxes and drop in burocracy. Even then, we don;t have the doctors to do the task. The problem is the same in the US but they have a diferent way of dealing with it. The difference is that it will not cost them much to deal with their problem (largely to do with vaccinations and community care) whereas there seems to be no way out of ours.

    The best healthcare in the world is considered to be in France (god knows how they managed it) which uses a combination of private and public health. The US is moving towards this, but an insurance led system actually would prevent many of the problems of the French system which requires you to pay up front for care and the recoup about 80% of the spending. The real point here, however, is that a pure public healthcare system is impossible to run.

    Edited to respond to psy: Our system has a lack of competition which drives up costs massively. We also do not have universal education, nor does the US. All that happens is that the governments tell us we do. To prove this, do any of you send your kids to private or grammar schools? If not, do you ever complain about the private or grammar schools? If the answer to either of these is yes then you don't believe in the universality of the system either.