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  1. #1
    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Default Michael Moore's "Sicko"

    Michael Moore's missing pieces
    By JOHN C. GOODMAN
    DALLASWhile Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko" opened predictably to media raves in late June, it shouldn't be used as a launching pad for reforming America's health care system.

    Generally lauded as "thought-provoking" and "affecting" by critics, Moore's new polemic was applauded by many for "asking the right questions." But "right questions" is a subjective phrase, and is defined far differently by those familiar with the issues Moore is attacking than by those who make their living as movie reviewers.

    The film is actually full of errors and omissions, but that is almost beside the point.

    Since the stated purpose of the film is to compare the worst features of American health care with the best features of health care in Britain, Canada, France and even Cuba, who can complain about a few errors here and there?

    "Sicko" isn't a movie about health care and how to fix it. It is a one-sided attempt to drive a very specific agenda - single-payer, government-run health care.

    Moore recently told ABC's "Good Morning America" that in Britain and Canada, people "have a basic core belief that if you get sick, you have a human right to see a doctor and not have to worry about paying for it." By contrast, according to Moore, "people are dying in this country as a result of the decisions that get made by [private] health insurance companies."

    If you've never tried to see a doctor in Britain or Canada, you might even believe that.

    People who actually live there, however, know they have no right to any particular health care service. A Canadian, for example, has no "right" to an MRI scan or heart surgery. There is not even a right to a place in line. Far from enjoying a "right to health care," people in other countries often have long waits for needed care.

    For example:

    In Britain, about 1 million patients are waiting to be admitted to hospitals at any one time.

    In Canada, more than 876,000 are waiting for treatment of all types.

    In tiny New Zealand, the number of people on waiting lists for surgery and other treatments is more than 90,000.

    Patients who wait often are waiting in pain. Many are risking their lives. People have to wait for care because of a conscious decision by the government to limit health care resources.

    When Moore boldly asserts that Britons "wouldn't trade their NHS cards for his Blue Cross card," he could not be more wrong.

    In fact, people in other countries often have to pay out-of-pocket for care that has been denied them by the government.

    Why then, is national health insurance in other countries as popular as Moore says it is?

    One reason is that people do not realize how much they pay for it in taxes.

    Even mediocre care looks good if you think it is free.

    A second reason is that doctors in other countries often don't tell their patients their care is being rationed. Instead, they say, "There's nothing more we can do."

    A third reason is that most people are healthy.

    Relative to U.S. levels of provision, countries with national health insurance routinely under provide to the seriously ill and over provide to patients with minor ailments. Thus, the scene where patients in Canadian waiting rooms are asked how long they had to wait, and they all reply with times under an hour.

    Moore didn't bother to revisit these patients and ask how long they would have to wait to see a specialist. Seventeen and half weeks - par for the course north of the border - definitely adds to the average wait time.

    In a typical U.S. private health care plan, 4 percent of the enrollees spend more than half the money. In a government-run, universal health care system, politicians cannot afford to spend half of the budget on 4 percent of the voters, many of whom are probably too sick to vote anyway. The temptation is always to take from the few who are sick and spend instead on the many.

    So what are we to make of Moore and his "documentary"?

    Economists, like other scientists, study reality in order to adapt to it. Artists, by contrast, selectively focus on some facts and ignore others in order to recreate reality.

    For some, this subjective recreation doesn't cease just because the camera has stopped rolling.

    Contact Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative, free-market think tank, at NCPA, 12770 Coit Road, Suite 800, Dallas, TX 75251.
    I've been around the medical field enough to know that a government-run healthcare system would be the wrong choice. I know that the government gives our military a pretty raw-deal when it comes to health care choices. If the Fed treats individuals who put it all on the line for this great country, how are they going to treat the average-joe?
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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDAIC485 View Post
    If the Fed treats individuals who put it all on the line for this great country, how are they going to treat the average-joe?
    Probably no worse than the way average joes are treated by private carriers.

    The US healthcare system is an umbrella that melts in the rain.
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    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    Probably no worse than the way average joes are treated by private carriers.

    The US healthcare system is an umbrella that melts in the rain.
    I've got private insurance and it works for me and my family. I have to pay for their coverage and it does not bother me. It's part of the whole "roof over their heads and food in their mouths" thing. It doesn't bother me. If anyone thinks that it is up to the federal government to provide them with anything, in my opinion, is dillusional.
    I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

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    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    Probably no worse than the way average joes are treated by private carriers.
    Form what Ive seen of VA hospitals, I wouldnt take my dog there. The two VA hospitals in this area are constantly in the fish wrap for one f-up or another.

    If thats an example of government run health care, Ill pass.
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    Forum Member medicmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDAIC485 View Post
    I've been around the medical field enough to know that a government-run healthcare system would be the wrong choice. I know that the government gives our military a pretty raw-deal when it comes to health care choices. If the Fed treats individuals who put it all on the line for this great country, how are they going to treat the average-joe?
    This is a bad comparison though...

    The VA system is an example of a socialist healthcare system...where care is provided by the government, in government owned and operated facilities.

    Universal healthcare is still provided by private and public facilities, by medical professionals that are not government employees. It's just paid for by the government.
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    Forum Member SapphyreBlues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    Form what Ive seen of VA hospitals, I wouldnt take my dog there. The two VA hospitals in this area are constantly in the fish wrap for one f-up or another.

    If thats an example of government run health care, Ill pass.
    My grandpa went to a VA hospital because he was having chest pain. Congestion they told him. Maybe pneumonia. (they didn't bother checking). Well he had to go back to the hospital, only it was the Bristol one and not VA. He was having a heart attack.

    And that's just one example. To be misdiagnosed at the VA is very common, and I wonder how many times a person has ended up dead from it.

  7. #7
    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDAIC485 View Post
    I've got private insurance and it works for me and my family. I have to pay for their coverage and it does not bother me. It's part of the whole "roof over their heads and food in their mouths" thing. It doesn't bother me. If anyone thinks that it is up to the federal government to provide them with anything, in my opinion, is dillusional.
    Pray that no member of your family ever suffers something catastrophic that exceeds your insurance's policy limits.

    The primary cause of personal bankruptcies are health related indebtedness. And from what I've been able to determine, the majority of those individuals had health insurance.
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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Of course Moore glorifies the Canadian system, and the others, but that is what documentary and movie makers do.

    We have an issue with procedure wait times in Canada, but not because of the failing of the health system in principle. We have a serious lack of qualified doctors and health care workers. Most of the top doctors and nurses actually move south of the border to the US where they can realize greater career opportunities, make more money, or live in more hospitable climates. And health care isn't alone. Canada has faced the "Brain Drain" for decades. It is just fact that many professional, research, and science/tech jobs pay better (and offer more opportunity) in the US.

    If we could keep our medical graduates in the country, a huge amount of our problems would dissappear. There is still the issue of cost, and universal health care is not cheap. Unfortunately, the staffing issues only make that problem worse as well, as we are forced to pay overtime to compensate. And those that do stay can often negotiate pretty aggressive compensation packages.


    Even with all of our problems, you can't knock the Canadian system that badly. Canadians still live longer than Americans, and most studies show that Canadians are healthier. Europe's numbers are even better.

    The issue is not so much how to build a perfect system, but how to build a system that is morally, and culturally right. A Democracy is no bed of roses either, but I think we can all agree that it is the best option among the choices we have. Health care is the same. Do you adopt a system that recognizes a persons right to life, and medical care, regardeless of the hurdles. Or do you adopt a survival of the fittest system, where only those of means can see quality care. What kind of nation do you want to be? It is your choice.
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    MembersZone Subscriber SteveDude's Avatar
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    Have you seen the state of the NHS over here???? It is absolutely knackered. I have private health insurance becuase I don't trust NHS Hospitals.

    Don't get me wrong, get critically injured and one of the best places you can be for Trauma care is the UK. But get an illness or get old...forget it.The NationalHealth Service is being bled dry by 'Health Tourists'... nice peopel from far flung ladns who bring their illnesses and ailments ot this country for 'Free' treatement while I am paying for it.

    Meanwhile, old men who fought in WW2 are left on trolleys for hours laying in their own sh1t because there is no room to treat them. My father was a WW2 verteran, he was sick with cancer that eventually killed him. How many times did I arrive at the Royal London Hospital in the East End...a great Teaching and trauma centre...to find the Emergency Room looking like somewhere from Bangalore full of rude demanding 'locals' insisting their sick or elderly relative (probably fresh from the airport) was a higher priority than anyone else.

    Eventually no more could be done for my father, it was a relief to move him to a Hospice where he was able to die with dignity.

    Just do a few Google checks on the 'MRSA in British Hospitals', 'Crisis in the National Health Service'...you will soon see that Moore is full of sh1t... a National Heatlth Service is the last thing you Guys need IMO.
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    Michael Moore is a socialist who wants everybody else to live under a socialist system. Except him. After making millions in the free enterprise system with his movies (which I applaud him for) he then harps on how evil the system is. It is extremely hypocritical. He does not give a rip about the people he portends to help. If they couldn't make him any money he would walk by them on the street w/o a second glance.

    What's even more ironic is that he hates this country with a passion. But he uses the very freedoms that this country grants him to send out his anti-US hatred.

  11. #11
    Forum Member medicmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Michael Moore is a socialist who wants everybody else to live under a socialist system. Except him. After making millions in the free enterprise system with his movies (which I applaud him for) he then harps on how evil the system is. It is extremely hypocritical. He does not give a rip about the people he portends to help. If they couldn't make him any money he would walk by them on the street w/o a second glance.

    What's even more ironic is that he hates this country with a passion. But he uses the very freedoms that this country grants him to send out his anti-US hatred.
    I can't say that I disagree with your point here George...you may be very much right about Michael Moore's views.

    However, as I said above, he is advocating for a UNIVERSAL healthcare system, not a SOCIALIST healthcare system.


    Medicare and Medicaid are examples of Universal healthcare payor options in existence in the US. The problem is, they are woefully broken and are not administered properly. The beauracracy that has developed in medicine as a result of policies like EMTALA and COBRA, not to mention the legal risk involved in practicing medicine these days contribute to this.

    Medicare is not broke because of an aging baby boomer population, or the fact that people are living longer...it's broke because of the unecessary admissions and ambulance transports that occur because of CYA medicine, inefficient patient education of how to manage chronic medical conditions, and lack of access to primary medical care.

    Medicaid suffers from the same faults. Too many people have Medicaid and treat it as a golden insurance card. Cut your finger? Call the ambulance. Have a cold at 3am on a Sunday morning that you've dealt with for the past week, and for some reason can't take it anymore? Go to the ER. Can't afford OTC cough medicine for your child, or other OTC meds because you need to buy your menthol cigarettes and malt liquor? Go to the ER so you can get a Rx so Medicaid will pay for it.

    I hear alot of people say that Universal healthcare won't work in this country because it will cost too much. I have no doubt it will be roughly the same cost, if not cheaper than what we pay out for Medicare and Medicaid for a relatively small percentage of the population.
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    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDude View Post
    Have you seen the state of the NHS over here???? It is absolutely knackered. I have private health insurance becuase I don't trust NHS Hospitals.

    Don't get me wrong, get critically injured and one of the best places you can be for Trauma care is the UK. But get an illness or get old...forget it.The NationalHealth Service is being bled dry by 'Health Tourists'... nice peopel from far flung ladns who bring their illnesses and ailments ot this country for 'Free' treatement while I am paying for it.

    Meanwhile, old men who fought in WW2 are left on trolleys for hours laying in their own sh1t because there is no room to treat them. My father was a WW2 verteran, he was sick with cancer that eventually killed him. How many times did I arrive at the Royal London Hospital in the East End...a great Teaching and trauma centre...to find the Emergency Room looking like somewhere from Bangalore full of rude demanding 'locals' insisting their sick or elderly relative (probably fresh from the airport) was a higher priority than anyone else.

    Eventually no more could be done for my father, it was a relief to move him to a Hospice where he was able to die with dignity.

    Just do a few Google checks on the 'MRSA in British Hospitals', 'Crisis in the National Health Service'...you will soon see that Moore is full of sh1t... a National Heatlth Service is the last thing you Guys need IMO.
    So, the people who still want premium healthcare will be spending for private insurance will paying a butt-load more taxes. Sounds like a losing proposition to me.

    Yeah, the VA system may not have been a fair comparison. However, I think we are screwing our military when it comes to benefits. They should be getting the golden ticket after they serve. It is the least we can do for these Great Americans. The VA system should be overhauled today.
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    Forum Member scfire86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Michael Moore is a socialist who wants everybody else to live under a socialist system. Except him. After making millions in the free enterprise system with his movies (which I applaud him for) he then harps on how evil the system is. It is extremely hypocritical. He does not give a rip about the people he portends to help. If they couldn't make him any money he would walk by them on the street w/o a second glance.

    What's even more ironic is that he hates this country with a passion. But he uses the very freedoms that this country grants him to send out his anti-US hatred.
    All of this blabbering about Moore doesn't change the state of the health care system in America.
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    Forum Member BKDRAFT's Avatar
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    I do not care for Michael Moore personally but I do agree that this nation needs universal healthcare. It would be better for all of us.

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    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Universal health care is not necessarily the answer. As one who works full-time in health care now - as a Physician Assistant (in an Emergency Department nonetheless) - this is a grossly misunderstood situation.

    I have seen a lot in the past 4 years moving through school, clinical rotations, and now working on my own.

    Granted there are disparages in our health care system, but this exists everywhere. My experience is tremendously warped from my world in the Emergency Department, but it is the real world.

    I have seen people with Blue Cross insurance come in for the same ridiculous complaints that I see uninsured people come in for that I see Medicaid patients come in for.

    I want everyone to be covered. I want everyone to be taken care of. But the FEDERAL government providing this is not the way to go. I would rather see it truly run at a state or county level. A health care system and coverage needs to be as narrowly tailored to a service population as necessary.

    If you think that the health care system will be less expensive than it is now if the Feds run it, you are wrong. Medicare and Medicaid refuse to say no to any procedure. I say again ANY PROCEDURE. This is regardless of comorbidities and financial cost.

    Medicaid and Medicare are going broke. They will go broke worse with the Baby Boomers. These additional millions of men and women will DEMAND each and every health care treatment for their maladies regardless of the cost or overall health benefit. It is happening now. There is only a finite source of money to pull from and it is rapidly drying up. We are in the hole because of it now, and it will only get worse.........

    It will also not change the inundation of our Emergency Departments. People do not want to practice preventive medicine. Do not want to see their Primary Care Providers. The Primary Care Providers can't see their patients so they constantly tell them to come to our EDs.......For nothing........

    Diabetics do not want to properly control their sugar levels.....so they end up with DKA, amputations, strokes, kidney failure, neuropathy, MIs.....

    Hypertensives refuse to take their medication and adjust their lifestyles to accomodate their disease......So they end with MIs, strokes, kidney failure, dialysis, CHF, and cardiomyopathy.

    It goes on and on. All you need to do is look at the Presidential debates and primaries. Not a single candidate will mention a word about health care prevention.

    Adding to this is the move of providers from the Primary Care Specialties of OB/Gyn, Family and Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics to specialties because of money. Again, no one wants prevention, and the government puts a premium on procedures performed to compensate for the lack of a person's preventive care and measures.

    The Feds running it will not do anything to change the system.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    All of this blabbering about Moore doesn't change the state of the health care system in America.
    No doubt. It always cracks me up how so many righties here rant on about the horrors of "socialized" healthcare being provided by the government, but they have absolutely no problems with the "socialized" taxpayer funded fire departments that give them a paycheck every week. In fact, search any thread on companies like Rural/Metro that fight fire for a profit and, chances are, you'll see the same bunch howling about the horrors of privatized fire protection. I guess capitalism is only cool when it doesn't affect their pay checks or livlihood.

  17. #17
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    So....continuing,

    I work in an area of medicine that I truly love. Yet it pains me when people get to the ED and demand everything for themselves. It hearkens back to the post about people waiting less than hour to be seen. Never going to happen here unless you hit the right time in the ED on the right day.

    It is ridiculous. We'll recap from just the past week of what I have seen in my 1 single ED in a city of 280,000.....

    Ankle pain for a week screaming "I am in extreme pain" while walking around the ED in front of the staff. While I have a guy with a cardiac contusion from an MVC who tells me "I have dealt with the pain from my lung cancer, I will deal with this" at the same time as I have a 20 year old in DKA who actually controls her glucose well but has been having recent difficulties.

    The guy who gets ****ed at us because his grand daughter has a broken arm and he has spent 3 hours in the ED while I have a person who is having a stroke.

    The people screaming about thier grandmother's nosebleed (that has stopped) not being treated while I have a 28 year old who was just creamed by a car and is now a paraplegic has a trauma team evaluating him and our resources are being directed to try to assess injury severity and initiate pre-surgical care for EMERGENT spinal cord decompression in an attempt to allow him to at least try to walk again. (By the way Grandma had Medicare while the paraplegic is an Illegal Immigrant who has no insurance.) No sense of entitlement there huh?

    The repeat visitor (32 times in a year) for abdominal pain after drinking (yeah, those 32 times were EACH for this) while we have a 90 year old with an unknown bleeding source whose blood level is critically low.

    The 26 year old woman who screams for narcotics for her headache, verbally abuses the nurses, techs, PAs, MDs, and Police after leaving the other hospital in town after doing the same (an hour earlier) to the staff there and demands all of our resources while we have a man having a stroke, another room with a woman having a heart attack.

    More recent highlights:

    The parent whose child has had a fever for 3 days and comes to the ED (on a Friday) expecting all to be dropped to care for her child with a cold. When I told her that I was sorry for her waiting 90 minutes to be seen because we had "some very sick people come in" she looks at me and says "well my baby sick too" (verbatum quote there, no mistype." Those very sick people were being intubated, one an MI, one a multi-systems trauma, and the other abdominal pains etc...,

    The mother who brought in her child in the middle of the week, during the day.........."Because she threw up." "How many times?" "Once."

    The parents who don't give their child with a 103 degree fever any tylenol or ibuprofen. When asked "Why?" (Straightfaced they reply......) "Because we wanted you to see for yourself."

    The guy who was rear ended with no loss of consciousness, LITERALLY called his lawyer the next day and returned to the ED "Because my lawyer wants me to get a CT scan."



    These are everyday occurrences for us. People will not call their Pediatricians or PCPs for care on a business day. They demand care that is not appropriate for them (antibiotics, narcotics, MRIs, CT scans).....And they use the Emergency Department for inappropriate reasons taking providers away from providing care to those who truly need it to care for them while they b!tch about having to wait 4 hours in the ED to be seen for their toothache they have had for 6 days.

    This will not get better with the nursing shortage, rapidly aging population, longer life spans with more health problems, more medications, and more demands.

    To think otherwise shows a lack of understanding of the issues that face us that no one will do anything to fix. Let alone politicians.

    Remember, politicians do not want to fix any problems.....because if they do, they lose that rallying point to run on next time.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    DaSharkie, short and to the point! Ok, well maybe not short.

    The EXACT reason why a government run health system would fail. Our politicians have a problem telling people NO! Oh, and that little thing called ENTITLEMENT which has run-a-muck in the lower income class. Generation after generation being raised to be dependant on the government to supply them with everyday needs. Food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, all being supplied by your tax dollars. Get a J.O.B. nah, I aint gonna work at no McDonalds. I cant buy a Lexus and fancy clothes and all my bling bling off a McDonals salary! Go to college? Hell, I dropped out of high school in 10th grade with a 4th grade education.

    Im not sure I got the answers, but I sure do know what the problems are!
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    I don't believe in free health care nationally but I think a government backed cheaper health insurance may help.

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  20. #20
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Another thought that has come to mind.........

    How are you going to control the costs of healthcare? One must understand the billing system. Yes it costs a lot of money to come to the ED or be admitted to the hospital, or even be seen by a PCP or specialist......There is a reason why, and I do not say this out of arrogance.

    There are three people who make decisions that can be billed for.....Doctors, Physician Assistants, and Nurse Practitioners.

    We must order labs, radiographic studies, and procedure materials. Nurse techs, nurses, orthopaedic techs, phlebotomists, X-Ray Techs, janitors, and registration personnel don't generate money. Their services cannot be billed for unless they are ordered by one of those 3 people.

    This is why a Tylenol tablet costs $16. A 4x4 bandage is $5. The cost must be built into the system. If the Feds or anyone else take over the system these costs remain the same. They indeed increase annually with raises as well.

    And Medicaid and Medicare (the closest things we currently have to Nationalized Healthcare) set reimbursement rates for hospitals - all in an attempt to control costs. It has failed. While they are not totally responsible for it, they are a large contributing responsibility for practices and hospitals closing thier doors. In the last 15 years in Massachusetts alone, over 30 hospitals have closed thier doors. The situation is worse in California.

    The only way the government could do it would be if they took over every single hospital in the country. Standardized rates of pay whether you are in Boston, LA, or Padukah, KY.

    While not impossible to do, it would likely not be a successful venture.

    In addition, these situations are going to get exponentially worse. One of the biggest reasons???????????????? The rapid increase in obesity in our society.

    All of the health problems that this cause are going to clog (no pun intended) our health care system. The costs for treating Diabetes have exploded in the past decade - and it has NOTHING to do with the pharmaceutical industry. It has to do with the huge increase in the number of diabetics.

    Emergency Cardiac Care has exploded as well, because these people all become hypertensive, cardiomyopic, and can't move a damned bit. I live in North Carolina where I must take care of at least a dozen people a week that weigh over 300 pounds. Probably 2 or 3 a month over 400 pounds.

    My point? The lack of preventive medicine, the philoophy that a pill will solve all of their problems and no one giving a damn that they are killing themselves.

    We are to blame. The solution lies somewhere in between Socialized Healthcare, Nationalized Healthcare, and third payer systems. But no one wants that, they only want 1 system.
    Last edited by DaSharkie; 07-23-2007 at 06:54 AM.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

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