Our current system of health care rationing

by CynthiaYockey on June 13, 2009

Via Drudge Report:

Go to Watching the Watchers here for the full story, with photos:

This is what not having health care for a year and a half when you’re diabetic and have high blood pressure looks like.

This is what our American health care system looks like. It is as broken as my kidneys.

I don’t want sympathy; I want single payer universal health care. I don’t want pity; I want single payer universal health care. I don’t want commiseration; I want…

I want this not to happen to anybody else’s kidneys.
I want this not to happen to a single other woman, or man, or child.
I want people in this country to get the preventive care they need to keep this from happening. I want them to get the chronic care they need to keep this from happening.

And I want it to happen seamlessly for providers and patients alike, without bankrupting a single patient or causing another patient to lose his or her home.

I want people to be secure in their retirement. I want them not to fear what will happen when a major illness or condition is found.

I want cancer patients to get treatment without having to lie awake nights wondering how they’ll pay for it.

I want one class of people who have health care in this country: everybody. I want no more of this stratified system where it’s determined that Joe can have care but Susan can’t because she can’t pay.

There’s more — it is worth clicking to read the full story. It will only take a minute or two.

For the record, my big heresy from fiscal conservatism is universal health care. I think we lose too much in productivity from people without access to health care, or with high deductibles, or with insurance that excludes the care they really need due to pre-existing conditions. Liberals do not understand the word “socialism” or dread the stagnation it produces. And I think as a nation we are in dramatically different circumstances than we were in when the Clintons proposed universal healthcare. Now when people have to decide between the death of capitalism and their own personal death from lack of health care, they may be willing to sacrifice capitalism.

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  • Peg C.

    From everything I have read, with universal health care that woman will become legion. And many, many, many more of us will die for lack of good health care. When healthcare is universal, we will all get poor and rationed healthcare. The young Obama voters refer to it as generation killing – i.e. it will kill off the Boomer generation. Now, I’m a boomer and hate my generation as much as the next person, for many, many things. But 70 million of us dying agonizing deaths because healthcare is poor, rationed, and no good doctors will practice in the U.S. anymore? Not what I ever want to see. THIS is what liberals want. No good conservative could ever want such a thing.

    I’ve been a lefty. I know for a fact they want millions of people dead. Lefties HATE HUMANITY.

  • You make some compelling arguments for nationalised health care, but you do fall for the fallacy that some idealized government program will be an improvement over the existing system — the warts of which are well known. And beyond the economic arguments (which I could spend hours elucidating) is the loss of freedom we’ll experience with a national system.

    It can’t be helped. Our liberty will suffer. That’s a very high price for “free” health care.

    • Craig,

      My real point is that the capitalists have not gotten busy making sure that enough people have health insurance AND health care for capitalism to continue to be trusted to provide health care. We have shot past the critical mass point and conservatives are still in a fog about it. I am trying to wake up my fellow fiscal conservatives that if they do not get busy right NOW with a better plan, there are so many people who must choose between their own immediate death or the death of capitalism, I think the majority are going to choose the death of capitalism.

      Also, our current system rations and is killing people, so the arguments that socialism will do the same thing are cancelled out. The care that would have kept the woman in this article from kidney failure is not very expensive. We’ve thrown away her life for pennies. How much productivity would we have gotten for the small amount of money that would have extended her life by decades? This kind of waste of life is what we cannot afford.

      Cynthia

  • Before we go to government health care, let us try shoes first. Shoes are a basic human need. Everyone needs shoes. We should assure that everone has shoes through a single payer system. People shouldn’t compete to provide shoes, nor should they be denied shoes because of poverty. We shouldn’t permit shoes to be imported into the country because they may not meet our high standards. We should force everyone who makes shoes to work at full production rates, without additional compensation so that the demand for shoes can be met. We should be able to sue anyone who makes shoes that pinch, or shoes that wear out too quickly to get compensation for our loss.

    When we know what government shoes look like, we may try government health.

    Government pension plan: Looks less like a funded pension plan, and more like Social Security.
    Government school system: Looks less like the little red school house, and more like a jail.
    Government College: looks less like Harvard, more like West Point.
    .-= Don Meaker´s last blog ..The Stimulus Is Really a Stopulus =-.

  • Marian

    I recently discovered your site and am enjoying it very much.

    I do not like to see people with outcomes such as this woman has. But single-payer socialized medicine will not fix the underlying problem that got her into this state. I lived in a country with socialized medicine. Her wait for a specialist would have been from about the time she became symptomatic, in Jan 2008, until now. You could see a dentist ONLY two times a year, regardless of your need or desire. You could see a primary care provider, and come out every single visit with a prescription for Tylenol, and have it filled for free. We all joked that every ailment was evidently a Tylenol deficiency.

    I lost a good portion of my hearing because of this system. When the infection started I went to the doctor, got Tylenol. I needed a specialist, but could not see one for six months. I was in excruciating pain, as this infection was in the ear canal which pushes on bone, and that means there is no place for the pressure to go for release. It went on for weeks. It finally drained on its own, and I was left with tinnitis so loud that I can hear it over the engines when I’m on a jet during take-off. My threshold for hearing voices is over 75 dB, which means everyone sounds like they’re mumbling, and I can’t pick out voices from background noise. I have to lip-read half of the time. What’s more, this infection is evidently still in my body, because I have periodic relapses which rob me of more of my hearing. Yes, I need hearing aids, but having them in the ear canal starts the infection raging again.

    Thanks to socialized medicine.

    It ain’t all that.

  • Peg C.

    Just imagine the DMV running your healthcare. Believe it or not the folks we deal with now in healthcare are NOT those nasty, stupid and lazy people. The government IS those nasty, stupid and lazy people. You want these idiots to have yay and nay power over your health decisions?

  • silvermine

    The problem, Cynthia, is the first set of Progressives that came to power. During WWII, there were wage freezes. People were not allowed to get paid more than X amount. So businesses would additionally offer health care as a perk, and wouldn’t report it to the IRS. Eventually the IRS caught on, but in order to keep from making everyone angry, they decided to make business-supplied health coverage non-taxable.

    Therefore, people are tethered to having their company give them health coverage. They get to pick the plans, they get all that control, and individuals have little idea of how much things really cost. Every set of government makes it worse, by requiring companies offer more and more and more to be covered!

    Or, from a different point of view — no one expects car insurance to buy them gas. Or car maintainance. It’s just for big giant disasters. Why is health coverage so different? People will get as much free gas as they can, because they never face the cost. They can get their car tuned up every week for a low price. They sue if you don’t run tons of diagnostics on your car in case there might be a problem that no one knows about. It’s insane.

    And frankly, if people would rather spend their money on a TV than their own health, who am I to tell them what to spend their money on? Let everyone be free to choose.

  • Obladioblada

    The problem is that what one wishes to destroy one gives to the government to manage. Let Washington first show that it can be trusted with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the VA.

  • Kirk

    While I greatly admire and salute your switch to the right (God, I bet you lost some “friends”), you really can’t be politically conservative and want nationalized healthcare. It’s not that it’s written down in some rulebook somewhere; it’s simply not logical.

    “Also, our current system rations and is killing people, so the arguments that socialism will do the same thing are cancelled out.”

    What current system are you referring to here? This statement makes no sense to me. You have to be more definitive here – private, Medicare, Medicaid. Which is it, and why haven’t the rest of us heard about how our current system is killing people.Why should we believe one woman, at one site, who is so sure that a single-payer system would have made her all better. Single-payer is a euphemism for socialism, so nothing is cancelled out here.
    Sorry if I sound cynical, but I’m sick and tired of getting continually lied to. And when someone is so sure they have the answer, my “bullshit alert” kicks into high gear.
    IMHO, the thing that’s probably driving you towards supporting a single-payer system, is fear. Specifically, fear of the unknown. I know we don’t know each other, so please excuse my being presumptive. It just makes sense. And that’s totally cool – been there, doing that now (won’t bore you with details in this post). Just remember: conservatism and a single-payer health care system are not compatible in any form of reality.
    I love your site. Bookmarked it. Plan on visiting regularly. You’ve got guts, woman. And you encourage me to show mine – thank you for that.
    Kirk

    • Kirk,

      Thank you for your praise and thoughts. By “current system” I meant the entire way we handle health care in the U.S. — the whole patchwork quilt of self-pay for health care, self-pay for health insurance, employer-provided insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. I am skeptical of the way the capitalism vs. socialism dichotomy is being used to analyse the problem — I think it’s a way for people to put a high-flown gloss on their self-interest. I just don’t see the free market and competition favoring sick people. I believe we are throwing away a vast amount of productivity due to lives damaged or lost due to lack of health care. I believe that we have enough creativity and intelligence to figure out a system for providing universal health care without burdening the taxpayer so much that we become a socialist country. Notice that I did not specify “single payer.”

      One way to make universal health care affordable is to be able to reduce the demand for health care by improving the health of the general population. This is possible without forcing behaviors and/or behavior changes on every single person in the population. How? In future posts I will discuss ways we are neglecting to improve the health of entire populations, including the Transcendental Meditation program, which is the most-researched and validated program for developing your full potential and improving your health ever developed. Due to the Maharishi Effect, which I explained briefly in one of my first posts on this blog, comprehensive positive changes occur for an entire population when as few as one percent practice the TM technique anywhere, or as few as the square root of one percent practice the TM-Sidhi technique together. The TM and TM-Sidhi techniques are not a religion and do not require faith to work. For more info, please look at my blogroll and click on “TruthAboutTM.org.”

      I look forward to future conversations! And I’m glad you feel encouraged!

      Cynthia

  • No. No, no, no. The ONLY way the government can do anything that results in everyone being treated the same is to bring everyone down to the lowest level. No kind of government healthcare can ever be anything more than the absolute minimally acceptable healthcare–see medicare.

    In addition, government healthcare will be quite the choice plum for fraud, waste, and abuse by the political haves–again, see medicare. Meanwhile, the political have nots will be rationed to death–please see Megan McArdle’s work for how many more deaths government healthcare will cause.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..The Field Guide to Homeschoolers =-.

  • Gekkobear

    “I believe that we have enough creativity and intelligence to figure out a system for providing universal health care without burdening the taxpayer so much that we become a socialist country.”

    Believing something can be done is a nice thing; but right now this looks like cold fusion. Nobody anywhere has ever seen it work in action consistently… and most Fiscal Conservatives are certain that even if this is possible the Government can’t possibly get this right.

    When is the last time the Government took over something and the cost went down? When is the last time the Government correctly or overestimated the cost of a program? When is the last time the Government had a bureaucracy that didn’t turn into a bloated mess with failures in oversight, spending, fraud and waste?

    “One way to make universal health care affordable is to be able to reduce the demand for health care by improving the health of the general population.”

    Sadly, this won’t do as much good as expected. Lets say for one thing, we stop everyone from smoking (in some freedom loving way, we just convince everyone to stop smoking). Total health care costs per person go down slightly immediately, and go up slightly long-term. If you don’t die of something at a younger age, you die later (often cancer or other prolonged illnesses).

    Everyone will eventually die, and terminal illnesses are never cheap. It would be a nice thing to have people healthier, live longer, etc. but there aren’t major cost benefits to be had from this (at least from the studies I’ve read that actually analyzed the outcome of these proposals).

    Health care is expensive because the R&D to find new cures and treatments is expensive. Insuring providers is expensive, and training doctors is time consuming and expensive. These are the costs that exist and cause the major difficulties in coverage expense.

    Do we stop new treatments, end malpractice suits for bad treatment, or lower skills and training for doctors? I’m sorry, but “healthier people” still get cancer, have costly treatments, and die every day.

    Some sourcing and information from peer reviewed articles regarding my previously unsupported statements:

    http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029

    “Conclusions

    Although effective obesity prevention leads to a decrease in costs of obesity-related diseases, this decrease is offset by cost increases due to diseases unrelated to obesity in life-years gained. Obesity prevention may be an important and cost-effective way of improving public health, but it is not a cure for increasing health expenditures.”

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/337/15/1052

    “Conclusions If people stopped smoking, there would be a savings in health care costs, but only in the short term. Eventually, smoking cessation would lead to increased health care costs.”

    Healthier people would be a good thing, a beneficial thing to society, and something to work for… but it will not have any significant effect on healthcare costs; at least from the results of the studies I’ve read on this topic.

    • Gekkobear,

      I believe costs can be reduced dramatically if we ever have the small, but sufficient, number of people voluntarily using the three technologies that have been proven to work to bring down health costs AND reduce the costs of a broad spectrum of problems in society: the Transcendental Meditation technique, the TM-Sidhi program and the Maharishi Effect. I have a post about the TM technique here, which features Howard Stern and his sidekick, Robin Quivers, speaking favorably about their experiences as long-term practitioners of the TM technique. I have another that briefly explains the Maharishi Effect here.

      The most authoritative information on the Web about the scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation technique and the Maharishi Effect is run by Dr. David Orme-Johnson, who is the pre-eminent researcher in the field and who has edited several volumes of collected research on the TM technique and the Maharishi Effect. His site is http://www.TruthAboutTM.org.

      The HUGE advantage of the TM technique and TM Sidhi program is that the benefits have been shown to extend to entire populations where at least one percent is practicing the TM technique regularly twice a day, or a group of at least the square root of one percent of a population is practicing the TM-Sidhi program together twice a day. I learned the TM technique in 1974 and the TM-Sidhi program in 1978. It is not a religion. It is not a cult. Both programs work and are very pleasant to do.

      One of the things people have found difficult to comprehend is how the benefits of practicing the TM technique or TM-Sidhi program can be so comprehensive. Interestly, sleep research, which is practically a brand-new field, also is showing that sleeping well provides an amazingly broad spectrum of benefits. This suggests a model for understanding how one thing can have so many apparently related benefits. I suspect we might find that the model for seeing how all the benefits are related will be like finding out that apples hang from branches, which grow from a trunk, which is rooted in the ground, and grew from a seed. Right now we just coming out of the stage where we perceive each apple as an individual phenomenon and we are just starting to be aware of where they come from.

      The bottom line is that these technologies have a proven ability to eliminate expenses. If we don’t have to spend as much, then we CAN afford universal health care.

      Cynthia

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