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We've been trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long,

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

We've Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don't Even Know How Much We're Missing

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future

Posted on June 26, 2009, Printed on July 4, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

Sometimes, when you're up to your chin in alligators, it's hard to focus on the fact that there's a big, broad, alligator-free world waiting somewhere out there, beyond the edge of the swamp.

In this case, it's hard for most Americans to even imagine that nobody in the rest of the developed world lives this way. We've been living inside the restrictions and making the trade-offs required to hang onto our all-important health care coverage for so long that we don't even realize that we're cutting those deals, or what we're giving up, or how thoroughly those choices have come to dominate and limit our lives.

If you're an American under 40, you can't remember a time that the health care system didn't work this way -- or that keeping coverage wasn't a dominant factor in making your life choices. If you're older than that, the memory of another, happier era beyond the swamp is dim, and fading fast.

This was one of the things that struck me hardest when I arrived in Canada five years ago. The swamp-blindness was so dark and deep that it took a while to adjust to a world without alligators. It's almost impossible to describe to folks back home how different life is when health insurance simply doesn't factor at all into how you choose to live your life. There's almost no language for it. Rather than even attempt it, I sometimes just ask my American friends and relatives to open up their imaginations, and answer the question for themselves:

How would your life be different if you never had to worry about getting, keeping, or affording health care again?

What other choices might you have made?

Where else would you be right now?

How would it change your plans for the future?

I've seen people reduced to tears of rage and frustration by these questions. When you really stop and think about it -- pause for a few minutes to take it all in, past, present, and future -- it becomes clear that the full absurdity and the sheer enormity of the sacrifices we have to make for an almighty health care card are the greatest obstacle to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that most of us are burdened with today.

Polls say most Americans who have health care are satisfied with it. But nobody ever asks them if they're satisfied with what they've had to do to get it, keep it, or afford it.

What would you do differently? I watch my Canadian neighbors live their lives, and the world beyond the swamp comes into sharp and stunning focus.

My neighbors go to the doctor when they need to -- and often, when they don't. If they're just feeling funky for a day or two, they go. If the splinter is too big to handle with a needle, they go. Anything goes a little bit sideways -- they go.

By American standards, they're probably overusing the system. (My husband once asked an employee who was nursing a cough, "Have you seen a doctor about that?" The guy just looked at him, confused. Of course he'd seen a doctor. Up here, only an American would ask such a stupid question.)

But the upshot is that the small symptoms of really big things -- little lumps, creeping blood pressure, wounds that don't heal right, coughs that don't go away -- are caught and diagnosed early in a GP's office, instead of months or years down the road in a full-blown crisis at the ER, which is now the American way. And this is central to cost containment: getting emergent problems calmly headed off right away in a $30 office visit is a lot more cost-effective than having to deal with the full catastrophe later on in a $3,000 emergency-room drama scene. And it allows people to maintain their good health through the years, instead of delaying treatment until it's too late to recover it and permanent damage is done.

My neighbors heal, recover, and go on with their lives. The U.S. disability rate last year was 19.1 percent, and rising fast. In Canada, it's 14.3 percent -- and Statistics Canada believes that the only reason their stats are creeping up these days is that people who once hid their disabilities are now more willing to admit them.

(rest of the article available here:

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

Sara Robinson is a Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future, and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.

© 2009 Campaign for America's Future All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

Edited by Kathryn41

“...Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

. Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Another Member of the VJ Fluffy Kitty Posse!

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Maybe I should get that cough checked. :unsure:

Once thing I noticed about healthcare here, even if you are insured, is that there is no periodic examinations given unless you request them. It seems the system presumes you are healthy, until you come in with a complaint.

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Interesting article.

Mister Bill, I didn't know that other countries request/schedule exams that you have not initiated. I guess that really emphasizes preventative care.

That's a good question., and I really dont know the answer. When I was in the military, we had check-ups once a year, and complete physicals periodically, annually if you are over 40.

I have had several primary care physicians over the last decade, and only one was proactive. And, she was given her walking papers by the HMO. Seems that they don't want to look for health problems, only treat the ones they know about.

Edited by Mister_Bill

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Brazil
Timeline
We've Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don't Even Know How Much We're Missing

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future

Posted on June 26, 2009, Printed on July 4, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

-----------snip!----------

© 2009 Campaign for America's Future All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

the preceeding has been a paid advertisement on behalf of the canadian immigration bureau.


* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline
We've Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don't Even Know How Much We're Missing

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future

Posted on June 26, 2009, Printed on July 4, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

-----------snip!----------

© 2009 Campaign for America's Future All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

the preceeding has been a paid advertisement on behalf of the canadian immigration bureau.

LOL!


“...Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

. Lucy Maude Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

5892822976_477b1a77f7_z.jpg

Another Member of the VJ Fluffy Kitty Posse!

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Filed: Timeline
We've Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don't Even Know How Much We're Missing

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future

Posted on June 26, 2009, Printed on July 4, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

-----------snip!----------

© 2009 Campaign for America's Future All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

the preceeding has been a paid advertisement on behalf of the canadian immigration bureau.

You just don't want your tricare messed with! :angry:

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Brazil
Timeline
We've Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don't Even Know How Much We're Missing

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future

Posted on June 26, 2009, Printed on July 4, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

-----------snip!----------

© 2009 Campaign for America's Future All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

the preceeding has been a paid advertisement on behalf of the canadian immigration bureau.

You just don't want your tricare messed with! :angry:

why do you hate people on tricare? :D

Edited by charles!

* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ukraine
Timeline
We've Been Trapped Inside a Bad Health Care System So Long, We Don't Even Know How Much We're Missing

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America's Future

Posted on June 26, 2009, Printed on July 4, 2009

http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

Sometimes, when you're up to your chin in alligators, it's hard to focus on the fact that there's a big, broad, alligator-free world waiting somewhere out there, beyond the edge of the swamp.

In this case, it's hard for most Americans to even imagine that nobody in the rest of the developed world lives this way. We've been living inside the restrictions and making the trade-offs required to hang onto our all-important health care coverage for so long that we don't even realize that we're cutting those deals, or what we're giving up, or how thoroughly those choices have come to dominate and limit our lives.

If you're an American under 40, you can't remember a time that the health care system didn't work this way -- or that keeping coverage wasn't a dominant factor in making your life choices. If you're older than that, the memory of another, happier era beyond the swamp is dim, and fading fast.

This was one of the things that struck me hardest when I arrived in Canada five years ago. The swamp-blindness was so dark and deep that it took a while to adjust to a world without alligators. It's almost impossible to describe to folks back home how different life is when health insurance simply doesn't factor at all into how you choose to live your life. There's almost no language for it. Rather than even attempt it, I sometimes just ask my American friends and relatives to open up their imaginations, and answer the question for themselves:

How would your life be different if you never had to worry about getting, keeping, or affording health care again?

What other choices might you have made?

Where else would you be right now?

How would it change your plans for the future?

I've seen people reduced to tears of rage and frustration by these questions. When you really stop and think about it -- pause for a few minutes to take it all in, past, present, and future -- it becomes clear that the full absurdity and the sheer enormity of the sacrifices we have to make for an almighty health care card are the greatest obstacle to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that most of us are burdened with today.

Polls say most Americans who have health care are satisfied with it. But nobody ever asks them if they're satisfied with what they've had to do to get it, keep it, or afford it.

What would you do differently? I watch my Canadian neighbors live their lives, and the world beyond the swamp comes into sharp and stunning focus.

My neighbors go to the doctor when they need to -- and often, when they don't. If they're just feeling funky for a day or two, they go. If the splinter is too big to handle with a needle, they go. Anything goes a little bit sideways -- they go.

By American standards, they're probably overusing the system. (My husband once asked an employee who was nursing a cough, "Have you seen a doctor about that?" The guy just looked at him, confused. Of course he'd seen a doctor. Up here, only an American would ask such a stupid question.)

But the upshot is that the small symptoms of really big things -- little lumps, creeping blood pressure, wounds that don't heal right, coughs that don't go away -- are caught and diagnosed early in a GP's office, instead of months or years down the road in a full-blown crisis at the ER, which is now the American way. And this is central to cost containment: getting emergent problems calmly headed off right away in a $30 office visit is a lot more cost-effective than having to deal with the full catastrophe later on in a $3,000 emergency-room drama scene. And it allows people to maintain their good health through the years, instead of delaying treatment until it's too late to recover it and permanent damage is done.

My neighbors heal, recover, and go on with their lives. The U.S. disability rate last year was 19.1 percent, and rising fast. In Canada, it's 14.3 percent -- and Statistics Canada believes that the only reason their stats are creeping up these days is that people who once hid their disabilities are now more willing to admit them.

(rest of the article available here:

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

Sara Robinson is a Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future, and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.

© 2009 Campaign for America's Future All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/140918/

I had the good fortune to live in Montreal for a year. Of the government health plans, Canada's is fairly good...when viewed in a vacuum. I now live just an hour from Montreal and 6 miles from the Quebec border (which IS Canada, whether the Quebecois admit it or not) And I have observed lots of things from both sides of the border.

For one, our hospitals here are full of Quebec lisence plates and people I know that work in hosptials say 30% or more of the patients are Quebecois. So what gives? People in Quebec that can afford it go to the USA for treatment, providing a "safety valve" for the Canadian system. Also the Canadian system sends patients here when they have waited too long and the system pays for it. A very large percentage of Canada's population lives very close to the US, 90% within a days drive. So the entire country benefits from the proximity of the "safety valve" of US health care.

The health system is Canada is administered by the Provinces. Quebec has one of the worst, in terms of financial soundness. They have limited Dr. income more than other Provinces. Many doctors, if not most, in Montreal also have practices in Ottowa and scarf up the fee limits in both Provinces, often working two days in Montreal and 3 days in Ottowa. It is virtually impossible to sue a doctor in Canada and they do not have to pay malpratice insurance. 3 of my bothers are US physicians. I know from speaking to one that is a family practioner, he pays over $50,000 per year for malpractice insurance, $1000 per week!! And never had a claim against him. He needs to see 100 patients per week, and charge each $10 JUST to cover the cost of his insurance! In addition he is performing many unnecessary tests in the practice of "defensive medicine", required by his malpractice carrier, to prevent getting sued! YOU pay for that also. So some sort of "tort reform" could go a long way to reduce costs, but politicians get big bucks from trial lawyers for their endless re-election campaigns and you KNOW that isn't going to happen. There is also an emerging two tier public/private system in Canada and the hottest job benefit is...you guessed it...private health insurance.

Another BIG item is that we provide protection for our good neighbors to the north. Now, mind you I am not complaining. Having a good, friendly neighbor on 5000+ miles of largely unprotected border is worth whatever it costs us. And not to speak badly of the highly qualified Canadian military (really trained well, virtually all what we would call "special forces") ...they benefit from Vermont Air Guard f-16s flying over MY house, just seconds flying time from Montreal if the you-know-what ever hits the fan. Canada has a very small military, effective and very cooperative, but small. It was US C-17s that delivered Canada's portable "Tim Horton's" to Afghanistan.

Benefiting from a small military, the country can use its considerable tax revenue (15% sales tax in Quebec including national and Provincial, and the Province charges tax on the National tax!) Quebec, not sure about other Provinces, also charges drivers for medical insurance with annual fees when they register their cars, upwards of $300 per year. Supposedly to cover the cost of vehicle accidents. They recently raised it even higher for motorcyclists in Quebec.

Another thing is that Canada has always been more dependent on Government, it is the way things run and hence the government is actually somewhat competent. They are not in endless re-election cycles. They are limited to 30 days campaigning before an election and Parliment is closed. AND if a Canadian politician doesn't do what they say, or the Parliment doesn't do what they say, they throw the bums out and have a new election! We get stuck with them. The former Soviet Politburo had a higher turnover rate of members than the US congress does.

Our government, by contrast, was never established to "run anything" and are completely incompetent at it. So what happens when the government manages health care? Well, number 1, Canada's sytem is going to take a major hit! We will no longer be treating Canadians, the wealthier Canadians will be over-burdening their system. Hospitals along the border will lose 30% plus of patients and many would be closed for government efficiency. Would the system run like USCIS? Scary thought!

My wife is from Ukraine. They have National Health Insurance also and the best advice is...don't get sick! Ukrainian medical technology is early 20th century, WW1 level. My mother in law had gall bladder surgey, they gutted her like a fish and she was hospitlized 9 days. Here it is an virtually outpatient surgery! When my wife visited her, they were not changing her dressings! Why? They didn't have any! Alla went to the pharmacy, bought all the needed supplies and brought them back with an extra stock she left in the room. Next day the dressings were not changed again. Why? Because the nurses had taken the dressings and SOLD them to other patients!! She had to buy another supply and bring them back and forth to the hospital! To see a doctor in Ukraine on any kind of reasonable time frame takes a bribe of the doctor. You have to "know" the doctor and pay something under the table to supplement their very meager government salary. That may be the dark side of government health care. I would imagine our system somewhat worse than Canada but not as bad as Ukraine, I hope.

Now I will admit that our current system is ridiculous. The average family should NOT have to pay more for health insurance than for their home, but that is the case. And it usually doesn't cover everything anyway. I am sure with 300 million people there has to be someone to come up with a better way, a uniquely American way of private medical insurance so we can keep the quality.


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Russia
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This post is more of selling the "free healthcare" fantasy that seems to be fooling a lot of people.

Example;

" How would your life be different if you never had to worry about getting, keeping, or affording health care again?

What other choices might you have made?

Where else would you be right now?"

In other words "healthcare will be free.... like air ...and all the money and worry you now expend over it will be a thing of the past.

Unless you are one of the growing group of Free-loaders in society ... you will personally pay and you will have no choice. Not only will you pay but the Gov will also be subsidizing it as well as you can be sure the cost of letting the Govt run this thing will explode the cost. (rather than reduce it).

Anyway why would we be looking at A small country such as Canada for guidance when California alone has a greater GDP than Canada?

My person objection to it has a lot more to do with "liberty" than it does anything else.

Anyone who knows the nature of Government knows it is always a consumer of Liberty, thats why the Founders worked so hard to keep it limited.

We will never hear the end of how the gov't needs to "control" this activity, that food, or those products because they directly effect "Healthcare".

The clear logic will be.... If you do anything which causes greater risk to your healthcare costs ..... "you make us all pay" so now we have the right to control it.

There is a very good reason they will not do this "healthcare-reform" in limited tests runs,.. such as try it in a few areas or let a few states do it and see what happens.

This is what you do when you Really Want to see "WHAT WORKS".

They know it will be a boondoggle and they want to do it so there is no turning back.

Unfortunately There are enough suckers who will go for the "Free healthcare bait".

And there are enough GOPers trying to act "Democrat-lite" to let this huge step toward Socialism take place.

So I think we are doomed.


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"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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Filed: Country: China
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Maybe I should get that cough checked. :unsure:

Once thing I noticed about healthcare here, even if you are insured, is that there is no periodic examinations given unless you request them. It seems the system presumes you are healthy, until you come in with a complaint.

do you really want some fellow demanding you come in twice a year so he can stick a telescope up your a$$?

if canada is so great, why are so many people coming to the states for elective surgeries?


____________________________________________________________________________

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I've seen first hand how people here will leave potentially life threatening health problems almost to the point of disaster before seeking help.

How can anyone justify a system that has people afraid of getting sick because of how much it will cost?

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How can anyone justify a system that has people afraid of getting sick because of how much it will cost?

The free market.

People worth treating will demand a pay rate that makes those people able to seek treatment. When one can not afford to seek treatment, that is nothing more than the free market setting a value on that persons life/health.

People are commodities. That's how it's justified.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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