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Author Topic: Star Trek ahead of the curve again...(warning, opinions freely given here)  (Read 4011 times)

Offline Squire James

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I usually shy away from this discussion, given experiences on other forums, but here goes.

Being British and living in the USA, I can see both sides. Most Americans I talk to seem to have the belief that Socialised/Universal Healthcare merely replaces the current private healthcare companies with a government controlled equivalent. I am no expert on the NHS, and boy it has it's own set of problems, but as far as I recall I never had to call a government or private healthcare company and ask if I was 'covered' for a life saving operation.

The fact that a healthcare company can arbitrarily decide who gets what treatment when that person is PAYING for the privilege is abhorrent. We're not talking about proposed bills or legislation, this is happening, now.

I've personally worked for healthcare companies (actually working for a company working for a healthcare company, but I digress) and the bureaucracy behind the current system is horrendous. I've also been hospitalised twice over here (neither times my fault) and the resulting pain i've had to go to to try and resolve the issue of payment. If they got rid of the enormous amount of employees they have merely present to calculate, process and collect payment, their salaries alone would pay for healthcare.

Not sure where these extra few hundred thousand now-redundant workers would go, but that's another problem.

I think the fundamental issue is the wording. As I said earlier, most people cannot imagine a healthcare system without a HMO system in operation, hence they assume that the government would more or less take over this role in a public system. If this were the case i'd agree, the idea is even more foul than the current system. Government deciding what treatment you can have? One step away from Soylent Green indeed. Also, when most Americans hear "Socialism" they think two things, either "Nazi" or "Communist". This is a legacy of McCarthyism, the Cold War etc etc. Of course, this is not the case, but that's why most Americans are so frightened by the idea of any socialist type activity.

I had this discussion with a fellow worker and friend at my last job. He said that now infamous line "Why should I pay for your healthcare?" I responded with "Why should I pay for your sewers? Your policemen? Your firemen?". He said "but they are services for the people, we all use them so we all pay"

I said simply "exactly"

It took a few months but gradually he began to agree that "hmm, I guess it is no different". Eventually I think this will be the case with most Americans. It's just a cultural clash, and it will take many years for any new idea to become the norm.

Not to mention, we all already pay taxes that support government health programmes. We all pay for Medicaid, Medicare and so forth. If you want to get uppity about "paying for your medicine" well, you already are! Surely you'd prefer to get some use out of a system you already paid for. If the fire department was paid for by all, but only 20% of the population (arbitrary number) could rely upon them, well there'd be an understandable uproar.

Or better still. A new road is built. Everyone in the town pays a few percent more taxes to pay for it. However, when it's unveiled, only those who are approved to use the new road by the government are allowed to use it. That's medicare and medicaid as they stand.

Kind of interesting, from what I see on the news, we have one side basically shouting "get your hand out of my wallet" when universal healthcare is suggested, when they don't seem to realise they are already paying for a system they don't use, and on the other side you have those freaked out by the idea of a government denying healthcare arbitrarily, when, well, HMOs already do, and regarding government denial, well government healthcare is already dished out based on income, eligibility such as age, current conditions etc.

Closing the barn door when the horse has bolted indeed.

Healthcare should be for all, with treatment determined on medical ground only. Those who currently have private healthcare, well, they can keep it, get potentially faster treatment in private health clinics etc if they so desire. But of course they pay for the privilege.

However, even when I suggest something such as that, I get complaints. It seems that it's not even a case of "your stealing my money" as "why should you get something that you can't afford?" Healthcare basically becomes another thing to be prideful of. Look at me, I have a Porsche, a big house, a vacation home at Martha's Vineyard and the best healthcare money can buy. You can't give poor people equal medical care. I won't be special if you do!

Blegh! I'm waiting for a "Let them eat cake" type line from half the people I speak to. What do you mean they can't get healthcare? Why don't they just go to a hospital?

Because they can't pay for it moron! I was fortunate to have the charity care commission at my local hospital pay for my bill for me, else I would have owed nearly 15 grand for two visits to the ER. Even before I lost my job, that was 3 grand over my yearly income.

and don't even get me started on the racket that is chronic care in this country. Want to live Mr Palfrey? That'll be $80 a month for insulin. Eeeeerm?

Anyway, the crux of the matter seems to be that people are afraid to lose quality for availability. There is no reason why quality would suffer, unless the healthcare system here is intended to only work for a select few in society (basically, oh noes, the healthcare system will collapse if it's socialised because it's only intended to treat the richest 10% of the population!) in which case it's a massively flawed system to begin with. Again to use a fire service analogy, it's like having a fire service that's only intended to put out 10% of the fires in a city and complaining that if it was made available for everyone who needed it, it wouldn't work.

If the healthcare system can't handle treating all the sick in this society, then it needs to be overhauled. If it can, but its a matter of prestige for those who can afford the ridiculously overpriced HMOs, we need to drag this country out of the French regency period and into the 21st century. If it's down to fear of some Communist take over, we need to educate people that socialism is merely a government caring for it's people. (If a charity gives needy people food, clothes, pays their bills etc thats a great and wonderful thing. If a government does it, who are far better equipped and after all are supposed to help their people, and it's suddenly 'EVIL COMMUNISM!!!!111oneoneone').

Either way, change is needed. It's not working. I will agree though that deciding what changes to make is far from easy. I also understand that change scares many people just because its change. There is a mentality of nostalgia that "everything was better when" when in fact things were worse, they just don't always want to admit it to others or themselves.

The American people need to uncloud their views and make a sound, rational judgment. Forgive me if my statistics are off, but I believe I read that in 2008, 45,000 people in America died of complications directly related to HMOs deciding that they were not covered for life saving medical procedures, or dragging their feet until such a time that a treatable illness became terminal. In a modern, western country, arguably one of the richest, most developed and in theory culturally advanced societies in the world today, is this morally acceptable?

If your answer is yes, well, not sure I want to live in your idea of a good country let alone a bad one. If the answer is no, then great, we need to do something about it. End of.