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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Would Someone Please Ask Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, Romney, Palin, and Cain About Kyle Willis and Deamonte Driver, Please?

Posted by on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Some folks feel that Brian Williams should've asked Rick Perry about Cameron Todd Willingham—a likely innocent man who was executed in Texas after Perry signed his death warrant—by name last night. I wish that everyone on the stage had been asked about Kyle Willis by name. We're the greatest, richest, most awesomest country in the whole history of the entire world and we can't manage to do what every other Western, industrialized, developed country on earth already does: provide health care for all our citizens. So shit like this happens:

A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn't afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.... Kyle Willis' wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance. When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn't afford both, so he chose the pain medications. The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday....

Willis' story is not unique. In 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver also died when a tooth infection spread to his brain. The Maryland boy underwent two operations and six weeks of hospital care, totaling $250,000. Doctors said a routine $80 tooth extraction could have saved his life. His family was uninsured and had recently lost its Medicaid benefits, keeping Deamonte from having dental surgery.

I think Justin Bieber said it best:

"You guys are evil," he says with a laugh. "Canada's the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don't need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you're broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard's baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby's premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home."

Republicans oppose a single-payer system because socialism, of course, but some relatively reasonable people I know oppose a single-payer system because why would they want to pay into a system like Canada's when they've never been sick and will never get sick—because they're immune to all known human ailments and have unbreakable bones—and they have jobs and there's zero chance that they'll ever lose their jobs so they'll go on getting health insurance through their employers forever. What's in a single-payer system for them?

Not much, I'll concede. There's nothing in a single-payer health care system for immortals with titanium bones who can't be fired. For the rest of us—for those of us who are lucky to be healthy but know that we could could get sick or injured, for those of us with children who could get sick or injured, for those of us who have health insurance through our employers but know that we could, like so many other Americans, lose our jobs and our health insurance—here's what in a single-payer system for us even if we never get sick: peace of mind. A single-payer system means not having to worry about going bankrupt, or losing your home, if you or your child should get sick or injured—and, remember kids, it's not just the uninsured who lose everything when they get injured or sick. People with health insurance are bankrupted by medical bills.

And the chief absurdity of our current, employer-based health care system—well, assistant chief to the fact that our system costs more than Canada's and delivers much worse results—is this: if you're too sick to work odds are good that you're going to lose your job and your health insurance at the precise moment that you need your health insurance most. Like this young woman.

I don't think it's hyperbolic to draw a line from the bloodlust on display at last night's GOP debate to the Republican Party's indifference to the suffering and death that our current health care "system" visits on the American people. If anything Alan Grayson was too polite.

 

Comments (109) RSS

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KittenKoder 109
@108 Mr? LOL I love how assumptions rule the day.

The problem with all religious laws, interpretation. It is not doing harm to walk past someone who is being harmed, FYI, but in this case, are you so angry because some people are starting to see that we need to attack the real problem, thus hurting the bottom line for the medical industry? Yep, we are hurting someone if we do that, but the trade off is we save people for real instead of just mask some hatred for corporations and businesses in some lame feel good slogan. If the new Seattlites hate businesses so much, then move into the middle of nowhere and live without them, or at the very least admit that's the only reason you attack large corporations and insurance companies, stop covering it up with bull like this. Pretending to do something out of caring to mask your hatred for something is not at all good, it's lying.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 12, 2011 at 12:23 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 108
@84- "Do as though wilt so long as you harm no one, this is the whole of the law."

You're a shitty witch, Mr. Let's-Kill-A-Few-Billion.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 12, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 107
@105- "And the story that tells you all your political opponents are heartless is wrong. "

Except when they're right.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 106
@105 Aaah yes, forgot about you NZ people, a prime example of what happens when only part of the system is employed without looking at the real problem. ;) People here have gotten well ... lazy, looking for quick fixes and forgetting to look at who actually profits from it or where the problem starts.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 11, 2011 at 10:24 PM · Report this
105
I don't get people trying to convince me that stories like this prove their political beliefs right. I live in NZ and we've got socialized medicine as you know it. If the unemployed like Mr Willis get a tooth infection they will have it pulled out for free, after perhaps having to go through a claims process (very easy to do). So yes, he'd live.
Nevertheless, in our society some (e.g. myself) complain that we have to support the dental care of those who are unemployed. Some get thousands upon thousands of dental care done at no charge, while I work at just above minimum wage and have to pay large sums ($150 min, more likely $300) to get anything done (e.g. tooth extraction).
So I think thats unfair, but apparently I'm now some sort of advocate for allowing people to die? I'm at fault but we cant consider a another persons failings? Surely theres a middle ground, that rational people can argue about, where bad things still happen to people who are essentially good and didn't deserve what came there way? My point being that even your solutions to the above story will involve injustices.
This notion that politics be reduced to whether you care or not is crazy. I feel empathy but that doesn't translate to particular government policies. Policies involve trade-offs, which may or may not impact upon essential notions of responsibility, duties, and yes, justice. Many of the commentators seem to ignore this and pictures all opponents being cruel, mean, and harsh people. The story above only reinforces this. And the story that tells you all your political opponents are heartless is wrong.
Posted by Jgribble on September 11, 2011 at 8:32 PM · Report this
104
@103 Seriously, how can anyone believe this garbage? "I must pop into Marks & Spencer and buy a Victoria Sponge for tea, the vicar's coming. What else? Oh, yes, I promised Mummy I'd go to the death panel with her. Blast! The plumber's supposed to come this morning. Oh well, I'm sure she'll understand."
Posted by FeralTurnip on September 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM · Report this
KaraC 103
@31 "In Canada or the UK they are more inclined to say "Sorry Granny, no more dialysis for you. Time to die."
Have you ever been to these countries, or seen such a thing? One of my relatives, still living in the UK is in his 80s and still receives prompt and aggressive treatment for cancer. No one has suggested that he try the "death option". This is the sort of scare-mongering that is always trotted out about "Obamacare". It is clearly nonsense.

But I have a Cadillac health plan myself, so screw everyone who doesn't, or is too stupid to ask the right questions about which medicine to choose, or how to get it on Medicaid. It's just Darwinism in action, getting rid of poor and stupid people. OK, so apart from the Cadilac health plan bit, the remainder of this paragraph was sarcasm, which is perhaps the lowest form of humor, but does seem to typify some of the posters' attitudes
Posted by KaraC http://www.facebook.com/karaconnor1 on September 11, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 102
@101 Yep, but that's not what they are looking for, which is the problem. Any other possible solutions, as I said, are called crazy, which is stupid and annoying, and why I'm pointing out the largest flaw in the current medical industry, what doctors charge ... it's just insanity plain and simple.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM · Report this
101
To be fair there are ways to set up universal health care that aren't single-payer; I believe the Germans and Dutch have such systems.
Posted by QuixoticWindmill on September 11, 2011 at 2:01 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 100
@99 Morals are subjective, to me the right thing to do is kill off 4 billion humans so the species can survive longer, everyone else (mostly) disagrees with that. That is why the guilt angle only exacerbates things, because then it's who's "right" are we talking about? There is no universal moral, not right and wrong, there is what's good for the species, what's bad for the species, and lots of in betweens.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 11, 2011 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Frau Blucher 99
@98 - It's not a "guilt trip angle."

You can spin it, color it, re-package it anyway you like, but in reality it simply is-what-it-is; the right thing to do.
Posted by Frau Blucher on September 11, 2011 at 10:42 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 98
@97 "Whenever someone says there aught to be a law, there usually aughtn't." Using the guilt trip angle will only make people stop looking for a real solution. Because then you have nothing but extremists on either side screaming while all the people thinking about the problem being called crazy for seeing another possible, and probably better, solution. "Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results." It's proven by this. Medicaid was formed just for this reason, to pay for insurance for those unable to pay, yet it's almost completely gone, nothing left, it failed. It didn't fail because some insurance company destroyed it, it failed because medical costs got too high, no one even tried to stop the medical industry from raising the prices, and they know, you need the services so you are willing and even in many situations forced to pay whatever they want to charge. They could lower the cost, instead of charging $50 for a meal you can get at Subway for $5 they could charge ... $5. But they won't, because they don't have to.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 11, 2011 at 6:18 AM · Report this
Frau Blucher 97
Just my opinion, so I'll weigh in on this matter, but I just do not see how anyone can think of themselves as being a decent human, when they care more for tax breaks in purchasing a yacht than they do for helping their fellow human beings' health and well being.

Seems like a no-brainer to me. Seems like the human thing to do. Seems like the Christian thing to do (if you consider yourself a Christian). Seems like the "right" thing to do. Can't understand why not for certain others.
Posted by Frau Blucher on September 10, 2011 at 9:53 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 96
I wonder why it's so hard to believe that one group is robbing you but not the other when there is the same amount of evidence and logical people like to find the source of the problem instead of shooting the messenger. I miss logical people in Seattle.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 10, 2011 at 9:36 AM · Report this
95
@93 I'm sure he's a nice boy when he takes his Lithium.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 10, 2011 at 8:28 AM · Report this
94
I think KK is right that if more healthcare was paid for out of pocket hospitals and doctors would find cheaper ways to do stuff. In countries like Mexico and Thailand the medical community is a lot better at doing things on the cheap. Not that third world medicine in the USA is a good idea.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 10, 2011 at 8:23 AM · Report this
venomlash 93
@90: Are you naturally this dumb, or did you just eat a big bowl of stupid this morning?
Posted by venomlash on September 10, 2011 at 8:04 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 92
@91 What lovely caring hospital do you go to? However, the ones trying to make it easier for you to pay (the few that won't turn you away if they can that is) only proves my point, they are inflating the costs.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 10, 2011 at 1:51 AM · Report this
91
@72: What? Insurance companies, or the government, decide what's covered. It's listed in your insurance plan. Doctors and hospitals don't tell you what's covered and what's not, and they don't make that decision. I don't really understand what you mean.

I have been without health insurance and paid out-of-pocket (but with a credit card, not cash). Usually they'll help you reduce the cost by eliminating all but the most important items, and sometimes they'll even give you a discount if you're uninsured.
Posted by BlackRose on September 10, 2011 at 1:13 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 90
@88 Way to not understand anything about religion, but thanks for playing, I'm done feeding you troll.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 10, 2011 at 12:49 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 89
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424…
Look, pretty pictures to help: http://www.aetnabetterhealth.com/Pennsyl…
Such a nice little comparison app here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story…
Average annual per-person spending:
US: $6,402
Great Britain: $2,723
Nice huh, we're paying almost triple, and these are converted to US dollars. Check the link for more examples, it's quite interesting when you learn something instead of recite campaign slogans made by the people who run giant corporations, like Obama's or Bush's.

Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 10, 2011 at 12:48 AM · Report this
venomlash 88
@87: You think that the burden of proof is supposed to be on the defendant, and I'm the one who fails at logic?
Do you really think it's worth paying the Devil your immortal soul in exchange for some piddling arcane abilities?
Posted by venomlash on September 10, 2011 at 12:36 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 87
@86 just because you fail at logic, doesn't mean it's insane. Do you really think it's worth paying a doctor $1,000 an hour for no actual treatment?
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 10, 2011 at 12:20 AM · Report this
venomlash 86
@84: So you are to be burnt at the stake. "Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live" and all that.
It's because of things like this that we have an "innocent until proven guilty" policy in this country. To wit, YOU must prove that doctors ARE thieves and frauds if you want anything done. The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the accuser.
Posted by venomlash on September 9, 2011 at 11:50 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 85
Cthulhu forbid we actually look for a real solution, Republicans don't want it because it will hurt their profits, that is at least understandable, but the Democrats don't want a real solution because ... it will hurt their profits. Thought we were above this. All Republicans have to do in a single payer system is invest more in hospitals and clinics than insurance, though they'll still control the major stock in whatever insurance company (aka committee) is in charge. Everyone complains about the government siding with big corporations, well, doctors are part of major corporations, that's how the medical industry works. You'd think everyone would be more open to making something that's needed not a business, instead of just perpetuating the business and giving it more money and control. Sad really, If you want good health care you have to go to unlicensed doctors because the licensed ones charge a fortune for something as routine as an x-ray.

I see no one is brave enough to go into a doctor with only cash, no insurance, and those who have didn't have a choice, but at least they know. Instead of asking for a handout, ask for a hand up, sad that a conservative slogan is actually accurate in this matter, but that's the problem, you want to see it as Us Versus Them instead of even listening to reason. The politicians play for money, using people as pawns, they con you into picking one team or the other, so you blindly follow that. Wake up little zombies, anyone who won't at least look it up is a fool, anyone who won't think about it is brain dead. My favorite liberal phrase (use to use it a lot back in the day) was "follow the money", ironically didn't originate with liberals but we used it. There is a lot of truth to that, because it's where the money ends that needs to change, not where it starts. It starts with us, insurance companies are the middle, we should not need middle men, so why do we need middle men? The only logical and sane conclusion is that doctors are charging too much and not doing enough, period, any other conclusion is not based on logic but is instead based on blind hatred or blind following.
More...
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 9, 2011 at 9:36 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 84
@83 I am a witch, your point?
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 9, 2011 at 9:24 PM · Report this
venomlash 83
@82: I'll tell you what I told Loveschild a while back.
You want me to prove that doctors are not stealing? Okay, I'll play your game.
But first you need to prove to me that you're not a witch. I mean, a kitten that knows how to write computer programs? Sounds like a witch's familiar to me! And until you can prove otherwise, we'll have to assume that is was you who used forbidden magics to sic my own chair on me. Prove me wrong, anyone, prove that KittenKoder is not a witch. No one has, and I doubt anyone will.
Posted by venomlash on September 9, 2011 at 9:14 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 82
@75 I have the scars to prove it, until you do, you have no knowledge of how the medical system works, doctors do NOT care about health, they care about their yachts, period. Prove me wrong, go ahead, anyone, prove that doctors are not stealing. No one has, and I doubt anyone will.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 9, 2011 at 8:52 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 81
@78 I take it you work in the medical industry. The only people who could and would deny that doctors are ripping us off would be someone who makes money on it.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 9, 2011 at 8:48 PM · Report this
80
I live in Ontario. Pharmacare, dental, eye-care, etc. is not covered by the government (unless you are on some kind of social assistance). If a doctor writes you a prescription and you have no health coverage through your job, you are out of luck, just like in the U.S. If you need to see a dentist and you have no health coverage, you pay for it yourself. A visit to a family physician is free (and likely any specialists they may refer you to), but treatment itself is not necessarily without cost (I will be honest that I don't know where the divide occurs, although I think it is basically down to whether the doctor administers the treatment. Chemotherapy, for example, would be covered. Antibiotics given by your family doctor would not be) . I can quite easily see this same thing happening in Ontario.

Obviously, the man did not deserve to die for this, but he made a very bad decision that I discussion with his doctor (or even his pharmacist) would have avoided. "I can't afford both, the pain is really bothering me. What should I do?"
Posted by Lemonista on September 9, 2011 at 8:07 PM · Report this
79
I live in Ontario. Pharmacare, dental, eye-care, etc. is not covered by the government (unless you are on some kind of social assistance). If a doctor writes you a prescription and you have no health coverage through your job, you are out of luck, just like in the U.S. If you need to see a dentist and you have no health coverage, you pay for it yourself. A visit to a family physician is free (and likely any specialists they may refer you to), but treatment itself is not necessarily without cost (I will be honest that I don't know where the divide occurs, although I think it is basically down to whether the doctor administers the treatment. Chemotherapy, for example, would be covered. Antibiotics given by your family doctor would not be) . I can quite easily see this same thing happening in Ontario.

Obviously, the man did not deserve to die for this, but he made a very bad decision that I discussion with his doctor (or even his pharmacist) would have avoided. "I can't afford both, the pain is really bothering me. What should I do?"
Posted by Lemonista on September 9, 2011 at 8:05 PM · Report this
Ophian 78
Seriously KittenKoder? You're outclassed, and your "it's a conspiracy of doctors" theory does not have a basis in reality.
Posted by Ophian on September 9, 2011 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Lissa 77
@72: Ooooor they don't have a cash register. We're not talking about Starbucks here, after all. Any medical procedure is going to cost a fair chunk of change, (certainly more than a latte) so that would mean the office or ER would have to have quite a bit of cash on hand which obviously poses its own set of issues.
Maybe when you hear hoof beats you should look for a pony before assuming a herd of zebras
Posted by Lissa on September 9, 2011 at 3:25 PM · Report this
venomlash 76
@66: Here's what you do:
You say something batshit insane. Someone calls you on it. You claim that you never said it in the first place, and everyone is just reading into your comment too much.
Whatta newfag.
Posted by venomlash on September 9, 2011 at 12:24 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 75
@66- You're a lying sack of shit. Thanks for clearing it up.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 9, 2011 at 10:50 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 74
@73- "But what happened to President Obama and the Democrats after they passed healthcare reform? In the 2010 elections, Teabaggers were voted in -"

The Democratic base didn't show up for that election because the health insurance reform was so weak it made us physically ill. The Democrats did something very close to nothing with their majority, so the kind of independents who go with a winner (they're idiots, but they swing elections) went with the people shouting the loudest.

It's not what the majority of Americans wanted. It's what the majority of people who bothered to vote in certain geographical areas wanted.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 9, 2011 at 10:48 AM · Report this
73
I agree with Dan 100%. As a former Canadian citizen, I can say that the Canadian healthcare system is second to none and I don't recall any horror stories about people dying because of lack of health insurance.

But what happened to President Obama and the Democrats after they passed healthcare reform? In the 2010 elections, Teabaggers were voted in -- effectively crippling the federal government. From that vote, it seems that the majority of Americans do not want healthcare for all US citizens. Single payer will never be passed here.

I'm not even sure if President Obama's modest healthcare reform will survive with all the legal and political challenges.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on September 9, 2011 at 7:39 AM · Report this
KittenKoder 72
@71 ... not entirely accurate. "But if their care is funded through insurance or government financed, someone is going to be deciding which treatments are covered and which ones aren't." In reality it's the hospitals and doctors who are making that choice, by saying "it's not covered by your insurance here, go somewhere else." Try this experiment, if you're brave, go to a hospital and request treatment, willing to pay in cash, see how they respond. They WANT you to go through insurance because then they can add stuff to the bill, in cash payments they have no cushions, if it costs less to treat you, you pay less, and they don't want you to be able to pay less.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 9, 2011 at 7:06 AM · Report this
71
@36, 68: Let's be real here. If people are paying for their own care, they can buy whatever treatments they want. But if their care is funded through insurance or government financed, someone is going to be deciding which treatments are covered and which ones aren't.

Someone who is old and sick could theoretically use as much money as he wanted on health care trying different types of treatments and therapies. Rich people do that. But because there are scarce resources that need to be distributed, insurance and governments put a limit on which treatments are covered. No health care financing plan covers any treatment that anyone asks for.

So, yes, end-of-life care is rationed, any time a person isn't paying out-of-pocket.

The ironic thing is that the Republicans were very upset about this idea, because it means only rich people would be able to get unlimited care. Not like our current system or anything...
Posted by BlackRose on September 9, 2011 at 2:48 AM · Report this
Tetchy Brit 70
Justin Bieber said something that wasn't dumb? Dear lord, it's the end times...
Posted by Tetchy Brit on September 8, 2011 at 11:01 PM · Report this
69
The problem with medical insurance companies is that they are like a casino. They take their cut off the top. They have no incentive to control costs.

My partner fell and hit his head in the middle of the night a few years ago. I awoke to the sound of him hitting the floor, just in time to see him have a grand mal seizure. Not knowing what the fuck was happening, I called an ambulance and he was taken to the hospital. After three days of tests he was released. It turned out the seizure was caused by him falling and hitting his head, and there were no further complications. His hospital bill for the ambulance, three days in the hospital and several diagnostic tests was $25,000. Luckily, he had insurance. But his insurance company settled the bill with the hospital for $4500. Of course, if my partner had not had insurance, the hospital would have demanded 25 grand.
Posted by mshawn on September 8, 2011 at 10:28 PM · Report this
68
End-of-life care is not rationed to Canadian seniors. End of story.

The American system is broken and needs to be fixed. I don't know what is wrong with your politicians, or the fact that you seem to willingly accept this fallacy that 'if you have insurance, you're safe'.

Canadian doctor shortages are only in a certain profession really- family med. There are specialist shortages, but that's mainily a construct of funding within the individual hospitals. The one specialty that is severely lacking is rural med. I can tell you as a med school applicant in Canada, that the admissions process to medical schools is very much to blame for the situation.FYI- I live in Whitehorse, which is pretty remote, and I will have great trouble being accepted to a Canadian school, partially because of the lack of opportunities I have to build my get-into-med-school game playing here.

Oh, and BTW- I will a
Posted by kmonkey on September 8, 2011 at 10:09 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 67
@65 You see the whole picture, not surprising to me just nice to see someone who understands. The thing is, we are the only country that they do get away with charging what they want for medical treatments, unlike the insurance issue which other countries don't have "single payer" systems but still don't have as much of a problem as we do. The only common factor in anything successful is capping what they can charge, and since we're the last country to really do this, of those wealthy enough to attract doctors, then if we did it, they'd have no where else to go. It should balance out a bit better. But that's not what everyone here is whining about, and when pressed they still blame the insurance companies for the high costs. I'm having medical problems that won't get looked at, instead they keep pushing me to different specialist appointments and not one has even done an actual test, they just ask the same questions over and over again and charge the state about $5,000 each visit. I alone have run up medicaid and medicare expenses to over $100,000 each this year, when all they have to do is a simple procedure to fix the problem, or at least do tests to verify (not just to me) that it is actually all in my head. But they won't, they like getting the money. To add insult to injury, Medicaid will no longer cover emergency room visits for anything considered a chronic condition, though many chronic conditions are wrongly diagnosed (almost died because of that one recently) and others do require immediate care which cannot be received without an emergency room visit. I will use up the 3 leeway ones in a matter of months, the rest will likely go to collection agencies which, oddly, have no power over me, so guess who gets to pay ALL the fees now? Sorry, but this anti-health insurance rally is just a distraction from the real issues.
More...
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 6:29 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 66
@64 Wow, I love how people just love to read into something that's not there, did I say specifically that they don't like their healthcare system? Nope, didn't think so. However, as I pointed out, there is much more than who pays for it to how their system works, as well as how some areas have problems meeting healthcare demands because of a lack of doctors, which ironically is because of them doing something I have proposed instead of trying to put a bandaid over our system. Their doctors were coming here, because here they are allowed to charge whatever they want. For wants and desires that's fine, but for needs there should be a limit and the doctors should have to do their jobs, instead we have morons suing doctors when they actually do their jobs, and doctors setting prices so high that no one can afford it. Look at this statement very closely: People with health insurance are bankrupted by medical bills. .... health insurance companies are not bottomless bank accounts, neither is the US government ... so if they can't pay after health insurance pays what's possible .... where is the real problem? Seriously, think about it more instead of jumping on a band wagon. Doctors here are crooked, lots of people are, but the doctors are the heart of the problem, they are the driving force, stop making excuses for them.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 6:19 PM · Report this
65
@59

I can't speak for elsewhere, but one of the things universal care does in BC is set the fee for a given procedure. So the government works out the reasonable cost of a procedure and that's what they pay out whenever the procedure is performed. So that's how it BOTH makes sure that every cancer patient has access to care and makes sure that said care is fairly priced for the insurer (itself).

Of course the downside to this is that medical professionals who feel underpaid move south where they can make better money.
Posted by Aealias on September 8, 2011 at 5:48 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 64
@55- You're a either a lying sack of shit or a deluded ass wipe.

Canadians overwhelmingly prefer their system to our system.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 8, 2011 at 5:46 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 63
@61 But Canada forces doctors to moderate their charges as well, an aspect that is largely ignored by people here. Also, that was a general comment, not about the medical stuff specifically. ;) We all have our troll moments.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 5:38 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 62
@60 ... ahh ... but many do, just because they don't get spotlights when they give money, doesn't mean they are uncaring heartless droids.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 5:36 PM · Report this
61
@55

Poor Canadian, here. Well, 'not rich' is more accurate. We live close to the line, but my family's medical premiums are paid by my employer, not by social assistance. I've never had a press conference, but I'm strongly in favour of the Canadian system.

In my 20s at university I unexpectedly needed surgery to correct a problem in my arm that made it difficult to write and impossible to type or play my instrument (I was taking a music degree.) A broke student, I had to spend three days in the hospital and undergo general anesthetic and treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. What did it cost me? 3 days of my Christmas break.

When my husband was looking into school in a very specialized program, we automatically ignored any schools in the US. See, we knew we wanted kids, and we knew we couldn't afford to pay for a pay-per-use *pregnancy*, much less a hospital delivery. Books for expectant parents out of the US have chapters on financing, and suggest planning to pay 16 to 30k for delivery alone! In Canada I went to an OB every month, and every week towards the end. I was registered at an excellent hospital, and admitted on the day to a private room. I had a nurse largely devoted to me, and an OB and pediatrician present at the birth. I stayed overnight in the hospital and left the next day because I *wanted* to, not because I needed to. What did it cost me? Roughly $200 for prenatal classes and vitamins. A far cry from 16k.

Incidentally, my employer pays roughly $250/year for me to get this excellent service and I pay taxes of about 25% of my gross income. I'll keep my 'socialist' system, thanks.
Posted by Aealias on September 8, 2011 at 5:35 PM · Report this
60
"What's in it for me?"

Living in the kind of society where the well pitch in to help the sick.
Posted by agony on September 8, 2011 at 5:24 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 59
@58 But how will this "universal health care" help those who get cancer more than forcing doctors to do their jobs at reasonable costs?
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 5:18 PM · Report this
58
A child dying after a quarter million dollars worth of surgery and hospital care for an ailment it would have cost $80 to cure. So there you have it, America. Would you rather spend $80 to help pull that boy's tooth, or $250,000 to unsuccessfully try to save his life. Because goodness knows his family can't afford the second price tag any more than they could afford the first one.

I'm all for personal responsibility, but those who argue against universal health care using that argument take it to an illogical extreme. It's magical thinking. "Because I make good choices, I don't get sick, I don't get injured. And if you made good decisions, you wouldn't either. If you get cancer, it's not my problem. If you get land in the hospital because, I don't know, say a drunk driver t-bones your car, it's not my problem."

Of course, any of those things could happen to you, me, or anyone, so if they happen to you, me, or anyone, you'd better believe it's your problem.
Posted by Daniel_NY on September 8, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 57
Here's a perfect example of attempting to cure the symptom, a great one actually. The thing is, no one should NEED insurance to pay for medical needs, period. Do what you want to the insurance industry, it won't help at all. The problem is that doctors won't do their jobs and still charge outrageous fees for what little they do, then their administration adds on a lot more fees for whatever they can because someone will pay it all. That is the illness, the symptom is that the insurance industry is a mess, the insurance not the illness. People being unable to pay their bills is not because the insurance company is setting high prices, the first people to set the prices are the medical institutes themselves, and I know this from experience. Go in for a CT scan, a machine that costs millions yes, but they charge $500 for five minutes operation time, not including what you pay for the doctors and staff (which most are just pushing buttons anyway, it's almost fully automated). Now, let's assume that the machine will last ten years (most are older than that now) and take a rather loose guess of 100 patients a month (CT scanning is their lazy diagnosis tool and serves better as a way to make money, more on that in a moment). 100 x 500 x 12 = $600,000 a year ... easy cash for five minutes of operation per patient. Now, the guestimations are very low, an emergency room probably does a hundred of these per day, plus the scheduled appointments, we're talking paying off the price for the machine itself in a matter of days. But that's not even the heart of the problem. Many problems are not always visible to these machines, take gallstones (the problem that almost killed me because of their lazy diagnosis using nothing but CT for a long time), gallstones are easier to see with sonar, yep, an old school technology that uses one technician and some real skill, but costs a lot less. Many others are more easily detected before they become serious problems with other simple and inexpensive tests, but do emergency rooms do this? No, hospitals (most) want to get your money, doctors want their yachts, surgeons and nurses are underpaid, and the administrators vacation 80% of the year. But none of this is addressed by either side, political parties are bullshit, because it's not about making things better, it's about blaming and finding a way to get the money that the other side is getting.
More...
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 4:28 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 56
@54 .... the bill, you mean how much doctors and their administration teams charge.
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 4:15 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 55
Why is it that famous and rich Canadians think they are the best country but the poor Canadians who don't get press interviews complain about it?
Posted by KittenKoder http://digitalnoisegraffiti.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
54
No direct experience here, but some limited experiece in the U.K.

A few years ago, my father celebrated his 80th birthday in London. The next morning, as we were in the hotel lobby waiting for the car to take us to the airport so we could come home, he fell over. He had just had a stroke.

It was serious, but an ambulance was on site in less than ten minutes and brought him to a nearby hospital within ten more. Even though he was a US citizen and had not paid into the British system, he was given immediate care. Over the course of the next three days he recieved constant physician care, multiple diagnostic tests, plus physical, occupational and speech therapy. When he was released after three days and we were literally starting to walk out of the door, somebody said, "Before you go, would you be good enough to show us your insurance information"

My father--at 80--was on Medicare, and we knew that wouldn't cover overseas travel, but he had a Blue Cross supplement, so we showed them that card. They copied it and allowed us to leave.

Eventually we got a bill, which my father had to submit first to Medicare (so they could deny the claim) and then to Blue Cross (which only covered costs that Medicare wouldn't). The bill for three days of physician visits, diagnostic tests, plus physical, occupational and speech therapy? Three thousand five hundred dollars! In the US the bill for the ambulance alone would probably have been more than that.

I WISH we had socialized medicine!
Posted by Clayton on September 8, 2011 at 3:55 PM · Report this
53
@37
Know what's holding back many small entrepreneurs? Having to pay for health insurance as part of startup costs.

In a single payer system your business will still have to pay into the system. But if your business goes bust and you're unemployed, you'll still be able to get healthcare while you're figuring out what to do next.
Posted by KCFrance on September 8, 2011 at 2:30 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 52
@18- "It also REALLY sucks ass to have a chronic condition, especially a "we-aren't-quite-sure-what-the-fuck-is-up" condition, because months can pass between specialists with no treatment."

So in that respect the Spanish system is identical to the American system.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on September 8, 2011 at 1:56 PM · Report this
venomlash 51
@48: Not off the ridge, off the crest of the ridge. By less than a millimeter. It's really all taken care of for next thirty to forty years.
Look, if you want to insult me, just say it straight out like a big boy. Don't make an even bigger fool out of yourself by trying and failing to be witty.
Posted by venomlash on September 8, 2011 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 50
@47 - Its not a matter of cutting people off, e.g. removing life support or discontinuing dialysis. Rather, the US does more "life-extending" procedures for the elderly. An American 80 year old with an arrythmia is more likely to get an EKG and invasive surgical revisions than a similarly situated Canadian. Wait times for specialties in the US, especially for the elderly are far less than Canada.

Break your knee playing hockey in the US - you will have a choice of several MRI clinics within the hour and access to several orthopedic surgeons who specialize in knee care. The same isn't true in Canada (or at least wasn't my experience). But a Canadian will eventually have his knee competently surgically addressed without regard to personal financial strain.

Look, I am not saying the system here is perfect - I agree with Dan that no one in a civilized country should be denied access to necessary medical care. But there are trade-offs to a going single-payer government run system and benefits to the status quo.
Posted by Tim Horton on September 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
49
@41 I don't know what argument I was trying to make, but don't go assuming I thought Mr. Willis was "stupid", and that I think "stupids" shouldn't get medical care. I simply don't have enough information from the news article about this guy to know if he's stupid. I do know that the news account of this particular man's death is being used to evoke an emotional response and advance political action, which I don't think is warranted based on the incomplete contents of the news report. My posting was more about the fact that the news article left so many questions unanswered.

Let's parse the situation. Instead of using the word "stupid", I'll use the word "ignorant" or "unknowing" because there are fewer negative connotations.

Let's assume Mr. Willis was "ignorant". He was ignorant of the fact that a septic tooth infection could kill him. Did the medical staff then inform him of this fact when he went to the ER? Impress upon him the seriousness of his medical condition? (I personally believe it's the medical staff's responsibility to relay this type of information and ensure that the patient comprehends it). The news article doesn't address whether this occurred.

Let's assume Mr. Willis was "ignorant". He was ignorant as to the difference between the two medications that were prescribed for him as he left the ER - one, taken for the prescribed course of time, would cure the infection - the other merely treated the pain symptom of the underlying infection. Did the medical staff inform him which medication was which? Did they tell him the costs of each and the relative importance of each, knowing that he could only afford one? The news article doesn't address this. The news article says that Mr. Willis chose to take the pain medication and not the antibiotic. The news article implies he chose the pain medication over the antibiotic because of the costs, but nothing the the news article says what the costs were of each.

Let's assume Mr. Willis was "ignorant". He was ignorant to the fact the there may have been free or lower-cost medications available to him as an unemployed and uninsured patient. Did he seek out this assistance? Did the hospital staff assist him in this regard? Did Mr. Willis seek out assistance from the hospital staff, financial or otherwise? Did Mr. Willis seek out the assistance of his family, financial or otherwise? None of these questions were answered in the news report.

More...
Posted by Piano Tuna on September 8, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
48
45

wow.
if your orthodontist moved your teeth off the ridge you got screwed over. (he was lying when he said the Bugs Bunny look was coming back into style....)
gum grafts are just the beginning....
too bad your parents were too damn cheap to send you to a decent American dentist. (Haitian dental schools are not known as among the best in the hemisphere.....)
don't be so cheap when you hire a lawyer to sue the fuckup orthodontist.
Posted by Bucky on September 8, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
Dingo 47
#31: having lived in both England and Canada, I've never once heard of anything that suggests your claim about cutting people off treatment to save money is true. I'd frankly be surprised if it wasn't illegal, given that both assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal in both countries.

#39: I was under the impression that a major cost of US health care was paperwork associated with insurance companies.
Posted by Dingo on September 8, 2011 at 12:34 PM · Report this
BritishRichard 46
Thank fuck for the NHS
Posted by BritishRichard on September 8, 2011 at 12:27 PM · Report this
venomlash 45
@30, 35: Brushing and flossing had nothing to do with it. Believe it or not, you sad cocksuckers, it was braces that made me need the grafts. When braces move your teeth around, sometimes they move them slightly off the crest of that ridge of bone your teeth sit on and a little bit onto the slope instead, causing the gum to recede and necessitating a graft.
I can now add dentistry to the long list of things that Alleged has proven himself ignorant about. Now THERE's a hole with no bottom!
Posted by venomlash on September 8, 2011 at 12:21 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 44
@40,

Generic antibiotics are pretty cheap here, probably not much more than $30, even without insurance. What probably broke the bank was the painkillers. The guy chose expensive painkillers over cheap antibiotics. It's unacceptable that he had to make that choice, but there it is.

@36,

I don't know about the Canadian system specifically, but most universal systems ration care, particularly following an equation of __ amount of money divided by __ number of months of increased lifespan equal we will pay for that procedure or medication. Private insurance in the United States follows a similar formula. If a treatment is really expensive and doesn't extend life for more than a few months, it won't be covered by private insurance. It will, however, be covered by Medicare. I've heard of many cases where no private insurance will cover a treatment because it's too expensive and too ineffective, and Medicare still covers it. That's the problem with extending a government program exclusively to a politically powerful demographic.

@21,

I don't know what you're talking about. Many dentists will perform extractions (especially in this economy).

They may not be particularly good dentists, but then extracting a tooth isn't exactly brain surgery.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 8, 2011 at 12:07 PM · Report this
43
True Story : I worked at a homeless shelter for families, and all but one family had landed there because of a medical bill--meaning they literally had to choose between housing their children and getting them the surgeries and medications they needed. AND these weren't all "single parent families". Plenty of dads around, and nearly everyone had at least one working adult . WTF, America?
Posted by sallybobally on September 8, 2011 at 12:06 PM · Report this
42
^^^ sorry for the double post :*|
Posted by puddles on September 8, 2011 at 11:42 AM · Report this
41
@27 The very fact that he had to choose between two medications is outrageous. How much exactly do antibiotics and painkillers cost in the U.S.? Here I could probably buy any antibiotic for under $30 and that would still be VERY expensive, on average it would cost no more than $10.

And, great, now you have a healthcare system that weeds out the "stupids". Seriously, that's your argument, that he just should've known about the dangers of a septic tooth infection? Next you'll be saying he should've just diagnosed himself at home using the Internet. Hell, he could've probably extracted the tooth himself. See, of course, a smarter person might have chosen the antibiotic and survived in his situation. The problem is, the healthcare system in a normal country should benefit everyone, even those with zero medical knowledge.
Posted by puddles on September 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
40
@27 The very fact that he had to choose between two medications is outrageous. How much exactly do antibiotics and painkillers cost in the U.S.? Here I could probably buy any antibiotic for under $30 and that would still be VERY expensive, on average it would cost no more than $10.

And, great, now you have a healthcare system that weeds out the "stupids". Seriously, that
Posted by puddles on September 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 39
@31 is correct. One of the biggest reasons US spends more per capita on health care versus Canada is the amount we spend on procedures for the very elderly. While I would not use the pejorative "death panel," Canada does a better job of rationing scarce financial resources.

Which is why so many elderly are concerned with government take-over of health care.
Posted by Tim Horton on September 8, 2011 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Cui Bono 38
Thank you actual Canadians for giving your own actual experiences as opposed to the banal anecdotes of ignorant Americans.
Posted by Cui Bono on September 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 37
Know what's holding back many small entrepreneurs? Having to pay for health insurance as part of startup costs. Yah, that's a $400 month expense you don't need when bootstrapping. It's like that old rule about not putting up your house as collateral for a business loan. Oops, your biz fails and you lose your house too. Want to lose your health as well? Hell no...

Single payer = more jobs!
Posted by Westlake, son! on September 8, 2011 at 11:15 AM · Report this
36
@31

"One of the reasons we pay more for healthcare and get worse results is that old people get pretty much as unlimited medical treatment. In Canada or the UK they are more inclined to say "Sorry Granny, no more dialysis for you. Time to die." Obama's healthcare plan included some steps to curb Medicare costs. That was the basis of the whole "Death Panels" controversy. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking the current system doesn’t benefit some people. "

I have never once heard of that happening. Elderly people in the Canadian system receive wonderful care, and very much respect is given to end-of-life, and late-in-life complications. There are no "death panels" and it's irresponsible for someone to suggest that.
Posted by kmonkey on September 8, 2011 at 11:11 AM · Report this
35
30

That was cruel and uncalled for, Troll.
Venon caught a nasty resistant flesh eating virus from his skank girlfriend that ate hunks of his gums away.
The warning should have been when he compared kissing his skank girlfriend to rimming a crack whore in the alley.
Posted by The Troll's Momma on September 8, 2011 at 11:09 AM · Report this
34
Yet another reason why I love Dan.
Posted by other coast on September 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
33
if the guy went to the ER he racked up a couple of thousand dollar bill that taxpayers will have to cover.
why didn't the cheap bastards just give him the $25 antibiotics while he was there?
Posted by ER doctors are Cheap Bastards on September 8, 2011 at 10:59 AM · Report this
32
antibiotics OR a case of malt liquor.....

damn. life is cruel sometimes.
Posted by Drunks in Canada don't have to choose.... on September 8, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
31
@25 One of the reasons we pay more for healthcare and get worse results is that old people get pretty much as unlimited medical treatment. In Canada or the UK they are more inclined to say "Sorry Granny, no more dialysis for you. Time to die." Obama's healthcare plan included some steps to curb Medicare costs. That was the basis of the whole "Death Panels" controversy. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking the current system doesn’t benefit some people.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
30
23

if you flossed once in a while you wouldn't need gum surgery at your young age, you lazy fuck
Posted by something stinks in Junior's mouth on September 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM · Report this
29
12
wow your relatives sound like total shits....
Posted by something stinks in Denmark on September 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM · Report this
luke1249 28
That father could've gotten the medication free through medicaid.
Posted by luke1249 on September 8, 2011 at 10:42 AM · Report this
27
Can we also comment here about the lack of quality journalism in the United States?

The quality of news stories like the one about Mr. Kyle Willis dying because of a tooth infection disappoint me because I come away with more questions than answers. I also come away feeling there's an agenda behind the story as told. From reading this news report, (and others I've seen), I get the sense that Mr. Willis was a complete victim of his unemployment circumstances and his uninsured status. None of the burden of his health and wellness was his responsibility. Only universal health care would have prevented Mr. Willis from dying!

Didn't Mr. Willis know the dangers of a septic tooth infection spreading to his brain? Did the medical staff not explain this to him? Mr. Willis doesn't know the difference between a pain killer and an antibiotic? If he didn't know the difference, was the medical staff that prescribed them negligent in not explaining the difference? C'mon! Where are the REAL journalists who would ASK these questions and then get them answered?

Was Mr. Willis a deaf mute? Was he incapable of asking questions about his own health care? Upon being discharged from the hospital Mr. Willis should have said "You know, doc, I'm unemployed and can't afford both these prescriptions. Can I get away with only one of them?" The doctor would likely have told him that the antibiotic was the more necessary of the two drugs. (The doctor would have also likely given him a few free painkillers that were just left behind by the BigPharma rep that had just been visiting the hospital.) There are also medical social workers at every hospital that I know of that could have assessed Mr. Willis's eligibility for subsidized prescriptions.

I do feel terrible for Mr. WIllis and his family. No one should die of a tooth infection. However, that's not necessarily the fault of our medical care system. I'm also fairly certain that had Mr. Willis opened his mouth and asked a few questions, or asked for help, this tragedy could have been averted.
More...
Posted by Piano Tuna on September 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM · Report this
26
Let's be honest here what they have in Canada is nothing close to socialized medicine because while the government pays the bills everything else is private. It a great system but its not socialism.
Posted by Democrat1234 on September 8, 2011 at 10:32 AM · Report this
Bonefish 25
Stories like these are masturbation material for these right-wing sickos. They won't feel any remorse.

It's also worth pointing out (ad nauseum) that denying that kid his tooth medicine didn't SAVE taxpayers $80; it COST taxpayers $249,920. We spent close to a quarter million in order to kill a kid, all in the name of feeling "special" and accomplished for having insurance ourselves.

Our private health care system, even though it does a great job making the insured feel important and successful, does nothing for us. Not only is it more expensive, but as the above blog entry points out, there are many times that "having insurance" means nothing. Insurance is something where you just pay a bunch of money per month to some company, and then you just... fuck off. It's a donation.

As long as I'm paying money into a big pool, I'd like to know that this pool will be used to provide health care to me and others, rather than used to provide Learjets to 3 or 4 executives.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 10:25 AM · Report this
24
This happened to my cousin, except he didn't die, he just got over $13,000 in medical bills. He knew his tooth needed to come out, the bill for that was going to be anywhere from $200-$400 and he couldn't afford to pay and didn't think it was that serious. Infection got into his bloodstream and he passed out. Ended up in the ER for almost a week, the doctors told his parents he could have died.

Medicaid step in to cover all but $1,200 of the bill after the fact, because my cousin really is poor, which I assume comes from us taxpayers away. This Country can be so backwards it's both infuriating and deeply depressing.
Posted by sarat on September 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM · Report this
venomlash 23
I'm recovering from two gum tissue grafts. Nothing too big, but thank God I have insurance. EVERYONE should have insurance, whether or not they're lucky enough to have a parent with good employment benefits.
Posted by venomlash on September 8, 2011 at 10:15 AM · Report this
22
Single-payer is fine, it's better than what we have in the U.S. now, unless you're on Medicare/Medicaid, which is single-payer. But, why not go all the way? The UK's NHS and the V.A. medical system are examples of government-run, non-profit systems that work. They have enormous administrative savings, as there are no payments that have to be made for patient visits or procedures. All costs are basically fixed, and those costs pretty much follow inflation, unlike our U.S. "system" where they run several times inflation.

Evidence from Britain suggests our country could slash aggregate spending on medical care by two thirds and cover everyone at the same time if we had a fully-developed NHS-type system here.

The downside, of course, is a death sentence to the for-profit hospital industry and the health insurance industry, major donors to political campaigns, which is why it won't happen. You want to talk waste, fraud and corruption? There it is, right there, people.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on September 8, 2011 at 10:09 AM · Report this
meanie 21
Citing the fact that an $80 tooth extraction would save them is a bit of hyperbole considering dentists in the US will flatly refuse to perform them.

Dentistry in the US is a mercedes benz or the highway proposition, which is why people travel to mexico to get it done.

The people in question knew they were looking down the barrel of a $5k worth of work for a root canal, crown and prep and decided to wait themselves to death. Its sad, but stop floating around extractions like they are a real option.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on September 8, 2011 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Cracker Jack 20
Maybe we've got this whole "let the South secede" thing wrong. Dear Canada, how would you like the Norther tier states as your new South? As long as Washington (Madonald? I suppose we should go from the first president to the first prime minister?) and New York (that one should still work) are in, I'm golden!
Posted by Cracker Jack on September 8, 2011 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Tim Horton 19
Born and raised in Canada. Now live in the US. Have undergone surgery, been hospitalized in both countries. I have had excellent experiences in the US. I had several poor experiences in Canada. I don't pretend my experience is universal but I prefer the US system.

That all being said, Dan is 100% correct IMO that we cannot have a system where people do not have access to necessary health care. I would wholeheartedly support reforms aimed at ensuring coverage for all.

Also, what @17 said is very true. Employer based coverage is hurting the American economy by preventing free mobility of labor.
Posted by Tim Horton on September 8, 2011 at 9:52 AM · Report this
18
In Spain you can get an appointment with your GP within a day or max 2. If you don't want to wait that long, you can show up and wait until all the scheduled appointments are done and then walk in. If you're too sick to go but not enough for the ER, you can get a house-call in the evening.

It does suck for routine specialties however. General gynecological exams take months, since pregnant women have priority, though women under 21 can go to public youth clinics (think government run Planned Parenthood). It also REALLY sucks ass to have a chronic condition, especially a "we-aren't-quite-sure-what-the-fuck-is-up" condition, because months can pass between specialists with no treatment. Acute treatment, for cancer, for trauma etc. is excellent. Prescription medicine is subsidized, with a 40% discount for most, though seniors get it for free. There's a private system as well, but it has to compete with a universal system that everyone, including their clients, knows they can fall back on.

There's a lot that could improve in the system, but not even the conservatives here would advocate an American system. The American system is widely viewed as the one thing you want to avoid at all costs.
Posted by Lynx on September 8, 2011 at 9:50 AM · Report this
17
I fully believe to remain economically competitive on a global scale we NEED single-payer healthcare. Our success has always come from our entrepreneurial spirit. Back in the day, healthcare was relatively affordable, primitive and often ineffective, so no one was really worried about it. Now, with more effective healthcare, the argument can be made that the person who walks away from a job with a health plan is actually ENDANGERING not only their life and health but the lives and health of their dependents as well. This inhibits the risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit that put us at the top of the global economy.

I've witnessed it firsthand myself - I worked for a Lehman Brothers in a support capacity. We all knew something was wrong with the company, but not what was wrong. I was the only one who left my department 18 months before the company failed to go freelance and then join a startup. I was single and childless, with no mortgage to worry about. I had that freedom, and my good health meant that even if I couldn't afford COBRA, I would be reasonably safe. My coworkers did not have that option, in their eyes, and many of them have struggled terribly. But the point is, the fear of being left without affordable healthcare was a huge deterrent to them, and it meant that some very intelligent people were not putting their abilities to the best use (they could have gone out on their own and started businesses or joined a start-up as I did) and were instead helping a failing and corrupt company to limp along and inflict further damage to the economy.

I also have a relative who, when unable to find affordable childcare, almost refrained from starting what is now a thriving electrical business in favor of becoming a stay-at-home dad because his wife had health insurance through her job that they could not afford to give up. Fortunately, they found the needed childcare at a reasonable rate, but it was strictly concerns over healthcare (and pre-existing conditions) that caused him to hesitate.

Our standard of living has changed, because we are a developed nation. We must acknowledge that and realize that innovation can now only thrive when people don't feel they're putting themselves or their loved ones at risk.
More...
Posted by JrzWrld on September 8, 2011 at 9:41 AM · Report this
16
Health insurance in this country does not always involve access to dental or vision coverage. Individual coverage for both is insubstantial and not really worth the expense of the coverage .. dental & visual health are treated like they don’t affect a persons general health, which is obviously not true.

we are such a messed up country and aside from it’s sketchy environmental legislation Canada is so much more evolved than us
Posted by olive oyl on September 8, 2011 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Dingo 15
Wait... Justin Bieber is Canadian? Who knew?

Waiting forever for an appointment? I can usually get one within a day or two of calling for one, or I could go to one of many free walk-in clinics and see someone the same day, often following a rather long, boring time in the waiting room. It is true that there's a shortage of family physicians, but for most people who aren't mentally ill or homeless that's not a barrier to receiving primary care, it just makes things a bit harder.

Quality of care? I'm not sure what measure people who claim the quality of care in Canada is lower than in the US are employing, but I know several people who've had serious illnesses or accidents and who have no complaints about the treatment they received. If 2 dental operations and 6 weeks of hospitalization cost $250,000 in the US and still couldn't save a kid's life, and when none of that would have been necessary if he'd been able to have an $80 outpatient procedure, I don't know how a reasonable claim can be made for superior quality of care. I know someone in Canada who required major orthopaedic and facial surgery, weeks of hospitalization, and months of specialized physiotherapy following an accident. He paid $0 and survives to this day.

As for surgical wait times, that is a legitimate complaint. But if it came down to a choice between death, permanent disability, or permanent financial ruin on the one hand and waiting a few months for surgery on the other, I know what I would pick.
Posted by Dingo on September 8, 2011 at 9:31 AM · Report this
Delishuss 14
<---$20,000 bill for an uninsured emergency appendectomy.

I did two full shifts at work walking around on a ruptured appendix. At a job that used all the loopholes possible to make sure I couldn't get insurance until next year.

Fuck the GOP. I suppose if I just kept working until the sepsis killed me, that would've opened up a job. Look! They're job creators!
Posted by Delishuss on September 8, 2011 at 9:29 AM · Report this
The_Shaved_Bear 13
A point that should be made is that it is more economically sound to have health care for all. We already have socialism - people without insurance just end up racking huge, preventable bills at the ER and that $ comes out of taxpayer pockets. So would you rather pony up a little bit early on so a man can get the $80 procedure that saves his life, or force him to suffer and then rack up a $250,000 ER bill that you taxpayers now have to pay because he cannot? You pay a huge premium for Idee Fixe.
Posted by The_Shaved_Bear on September 8, 2011 at 9:23 AM · Report this
kim in portland 12
How sad.

Our eldest had her wisdom teeth out this summer, even with insurance it cost us $2000.00. I don't get the resistance to universal health care, especially amongst self-professing Christians (its the whole love your neighbor and I don't remember Jesus asking for an insurance card in the Gospels). Members of my own family are staunchly against it and the weird thing is that they love going to Denmark to spend the holidays with family, they will talk endlessly about how wonderful the doctors are there (one broke their leg; another had conjunctivitis; another an ear infection) and how they didn't have to pay anything because the Danish government took care of them. They seemingly ignore the fact that someone did pay for their care, the Danish people. It appears that it is okay to for the Danish people to pay through their taxes for their visiting relatives care. But it isn't right for them to be taxed so that people can have health care too in the US. It sounds an awful lot like a case of "I have mine and tough for you if you don't". *depressed face palm*
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 8, 2011 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Banna 11
It's not because he couldn't afford medication; it was because he couldn't afford TWO medications. He was prescribed pain meds and antibiotics, and he chose to pay for the pain meds. If he was smarter, he would have gone for the antibiotics and suffered through the pain like Jesus wanted him to. This was a failed test of smarts and faith, people! He was SUPPOSED to be alive and suffering.
Posted by Banna http://www.ucp.org on September 8, 2011 at 9:18 AM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 10
If you have Jesus, you already have peace of mind. When your infected tooth kills you you'll go to Heaven. Who needs dental insurance? (P.S. the Lord will take care of your kids to the extent that they have Jesus too. Make sure they have Jesus, so that when their infected teeth kill them, they'll go to heaven too.)
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on September 8, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
9
@1
I'm a 27 year old Canadian living in Toronto. I can have an appointment with my LGBT focused family doctor within the week for typical stuff or could get an emergency appointment within a day or 2. I get excellent care and could go to an emergency room as a last resort (emergency rooms are where the wait times are quite long) if needed.

When I was diganosed with cancer in 2005 it was a weeks wait until my first surgery. They wanted to do it the following day after my diagnosis. Wait times? I didn't experience any. That surgery was curative. My second surgery (to confirm that the first was curative) was less than a month later.

I would be in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical debt and would be burdened with that the rest of my life if it wasn't for our health system. I would have never thought I'd get cancer at 20!?!?!?

Medicare (our name for it) has its problems but nobody dies from tooth infections. I never have to worry about bills that will come from calling my doctor or showing up at an emergency room!

I'll take socialism anyday of the week over what's being served up down south!
Posted by silvertears on September 8, 2011 at 9:12 AM · Report this
raindrop 8
A single-payer public option is not antithetical to conservative principles. But what was rushed through known as ‘Obamacare’ is won’t bring much peace of mind at all.
Posted by raindrop on September 8, 2011 at 9:06 AM · Report this
7
The people who get fucked over by our healthcare system tend to be minorities, the young, and the poor. Such people tend not to vote and almost never vote Republican. As a result Democrats aren't all that concerned about the plight of the uninsured and Republicans aren't concerned at all.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2011 at 9:02 AM · Report this
DOUG. 6
You sound like Dennis Kucinich, Dan... the congressman you and much of your staff endlessly mock.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on September 8, 2011 at 9:01 AM · Report this
JF 5
Did we just get shitted on by Bieber?
Posted by JF on September 8, 2011 at 8:59 AM · Report this
4
I'm feeling like commenting a lot today, but oh well.

I'm a 31-yr-old Canadian. Knowing I have health care if and when I need it has given me so much FREEDOM! I was free to leave my job at age 27 and go back to school. I know that if I get pregnant unexpectedly, I'll be OK.

Sometimes, I don't get the standard of care I would like. Once, I had a back problem and had a bone scan, but I really wondered (in my girl-with-a-biology-degree-and-health-research-but-not-a-doctor way) if an MRI would have been better. I now know that an MRI was not needed in my case, and the system served me well, and everyone else too, by not slotting me in.

Yes, there are problems in the Cdn system, but for you guys, with all your talk about freedom from taxes, regulations, all that... I am so incredibly fortunate to have been able to follow my dream, due in part to the education and health care systems we have here.
Posted by kmonkey on September 8, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
3
A 17 y.o Canadian has more sense than most of his American fans. Of course, I wonder if Bieber's management is providing his body guards health insurance.
Posted by apres_moi on September 8, 2011 at 8:53 AM · Report this
Vince 2
Republicans don't care about the common good or compassion or even what's cost effective and life saving. All they care about is getting theirs. Selfishness and greed are their only motivation.
The reason for this is mostly because they fear they will have to pay for poor blacks. They would rather see them die.
Posted by Vince on September 8, 2011 at 8:51 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 1
When I mention to someone that I'd rather live in Canada where I could see a doctor when I need to, I sometimes hear "Yeah, but the quality of care is crap" or "Sure, but you have to wait forever for an appointment." What I take from that argument is that it's preferable that other people should go uninsured and die of tooth infections so that their wait time is short and the hospital staff is chipper and friendly.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on September 8, 2011 at 8:49 AM · Report this

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