Canadian Health Care vs US Health Care

  1. Canadian Health Care vs US Health Care

    Started this thread to take the discussion out of the Prohormone section where it doesn't belong.

    As far as the health are systems, they're no where near as a different as people think they are. First, both have one major thing in common: almost all health care costs are paid by a third party. In Canada it's the government. In the US it's insurance companies that are heavily regulated by the government. People try to compare the two as if one was socialized and one was free market, when both are essentially socialized systems to different degrees.

    In Canada you have price controls and predictably this leads to regional shortages and waiting lists for this or that procedure because there is no market price system to help distribute scarce services. There is also less of an incentive for doctors to go into this or that field because of the profit limitations imposed by following a national pricing schedule. Whether it's medical procedures or medication, there's no way to predict the shortages and no way to eliminate them without an honest, market determined price structure.

    In the US you have a very mixed system, and it's a really a **** up and to be honest a fully socialized system would at least be more honest and might even be better than what we have now in some ways. You have insurance companies who are prohibited from differentiating between different risk groups, forced to pool people with different risks together. You have HMOs, basically the result of needing to limit care because of the unpredictability of risk pools. You have whining, obnoxious people who think they should be able to pay 20 bucks a month and get unlimited coverage for everything, even if they have a high risk for a high cost disease, and they demand this coverage through an insurance system that relies on third party payments, so you see bills which when paid through insurance are ridiculously higher than if paid out of pocket. You have the government basically controlling the supply of doctors indirectly through the AMA. If you look back to late 19th century, early 20th you'll see a battle between those who believed in homeopathy vs aleopathy. The Flexner report was released in that time period, and it was the first step in what basically resulted in the nationalization of the US health care system, heavily in favor of proponents of alleopathy, who were not shy in admitting their goal was to restrict the availability of care to jack up prices. This was done basically by allowing the AMA to control the licensing of medical schools, the amount of seats available in those schools, etc.

    Basically both systems are heavily nationalized. The US is slightly more privatized. The basic difference between a private and socialized health care system is this: in a private system everyone has access to the healthcare they can afford, and as a consequence different qualities and quantities of care are available to people of different means, and to some who can't afford service there is none available, except through charity; in a socialized system everyone has access to essentially the same level of care, with all the attendant problems of a socialized system, such as rationing of services and supplies.

    What people don't seem to get or are not willing to admit is that the same market forces at work in other areas of the economy are applicable to healthcare. There's a reason why almost everyone has the ability to buy, or have access to, a computer, a car, a television, etc. There's way too many interferences in the US health care market to definitively say this or that action would make things better. One thing is definite though: the government has done more than its share in screwing it up.

    A true private system would see a lot of currently insured costs come directly out of people's pockets, with some catstrophic and other extreme coverages mixed in. It would allow honest pooling of risks no matter what the determining factors were. You'd generally see lower prices because of competition, but in the end staying alive and things that help you keep your life going will always come at a high premium. I would always disagree with the statement that medical care is a right, at least not in the way most people define rights these days. You don't have a right to live at someone else's expense. I have a right to buy a Lexus, just because I can't afford one doesn't mean anyone is trampling on my rights, nor would they be if I couldn't afford a new heart but needed one. The right to do something and the ability to do it are two different things. We can't have immortality through government fiat anyway. People want to live forever, they want the highest quality of life, which is understandable, but I don't think anyone has the right to force another person to provide the means to achieve this or any other desirable end in life.

  2. good post. well writen.

  3. Care to address the issue of the retarded waiting lists (in more depth) that you encounter when you get a very socialized system (e.g. Canada) of health care?

  4. nice commentary, CDB.
  5. Exclamation

    I have a right to buy a Lexus, just because I can't afford one doesn't mean anyone is trampling on my rights, nor would they be if I couldn't afford a new heart but needed one. The right to do something and the ability to do it are two different things.
    The problem is that you're making a comparison between something which is an item of social status and something which will sustain life. Remember food, clothing, shelter, the basic necessities? Well, none of them will do you any good if you are dying without proper health care. Are you aware of the cost of an operation such as a heart replacement even WITH insurance?

    The U.S. health care system is poorly designed and benefits doctors more than patients. Medical specialists charge exorbitant costs, typically not covered or mostly not covered by insurance plans. The HMO system is a bandage over the bleeding wound of health care costs. The affliction will not coagulate however, ad thus the cost of business is causing multiple HMO bankruptcies. That is not to mention the large number of uninsured in the U.S.

    A healthy populace is a productive populace. Where education and health care suffer, the whole country suffers. Shrugging off the cost of helping those in need is a tactic of the wealthy more than the middle class. If the middle class becomes discontented, it is because of the burden imposed on them by legislature that favors those who are already part of the upper class. The effect of Reagan's "trickle-down" economics has been to supress income growth amongst the lower and middle classes, the traditional "heart" of America. When the minimum wage is absurdly low compared to inflation, when jobs are exported to other countries with poor exchange rates and atrocious working standards and conditions, when what degree you have weighs greater than what you can actually do, when CEOs make what, 100 times what they did 20 years ago yet lay off the workers who are the actual backbone of the company, that is where the domino effect begins.

    You want to change health care, start with the domestic economic model. Remember, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"? That didn't just mean pay your taxes and put a U.S. flag sticker on your SUV.

  6. actually.. the US system doesn't benefits doctors as much as one thinks. I have known many of friends whom are doctors that have had to close their doors because of our current health care system. Those that benefit are the health care companies and RX companies whom of which, if you trace the line, are owned by the same small 3 Co. and i also think they can be traced down to kevin bacon too...

    I do not argue with anything else that was said :-)

  7. The two biggest moneymakers in the healthcare industry are:

    1) Insurance companies (HMOs, POSs, PPOs, etc.)
    2) Lawyers

    The ACTUAL cost of treatments hasn't really gone up. In fact, when you factor inflation, treatment costs have gone down. I'm not talking about treatment costs that people pay. I'm talking about what doctors and hospitals pay.

    What has gone up are insurance premiums and deductibles. WHat has gone down significantly is how much insurance companies actually pay doctors and hospitals for their services. The negotiated rates are insanely low. You add low payment to doctors and high premiums for insurance and you get a FILTHY rich insurance industry, poor doctors, and no healthcare for most people.

    Helathcare isn't really a choice. Saying healthcare is a choice is like saying if you put a gun to someone's head and tell them to do something they have a choice not to. The coice between death or life isn't one.

    How did this happen? The government relaxed restrictions on insurance companies. Insurance companies can do pretty much whatever they want now. They used to be forbidden from negotiating rates with doctors. They used to be forbidden from alligning themselves with a particular group of doctors. There used to be no such thing as "out of network." As a result, doctors charged far less for their services because they could be assured they were getting paid for their services. As a result fewer folks actually needed insurance except for serious ailments.

    Yet ironically there is a piece of government legislation that without none of this would have mattered: requiring doctors to have malpractice insurance. Because of this, insurance companies can charge whatever the hell they want for malpractice insurance because all doctors are REQUIRED to have it in order to practice medicine. You add that to the ridiculous settlements people get awarded in malpractice suits, and you get huge malpractice premiums that not even doctors can afford.

    So high malpractice insurance premiums + reduced income due to HMO negotiated rates + reduced patient count because they only get people from the HMOs they negotiate rates with = ridiculously infalted healthcare costs just to pay the bills.

    And as I said, the only ones who win out are insurance companies and lawyers. Everyone else is getting fooked.


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