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Below are excerpts from a letter sent by the big three automakers to the Canadian government.
"Canada's publicly funded health care system provides essential and affordable health care services for all Canadians, regardless of their income.

"For both employers and workers in the auto industry, it is vitally important that the publicly funded health care system be preserved and renewed..."

The letter sent by GM, Ford, and Daimler Chrysler, concludes: "In addition to reinforcing the quality and accessibility of health care for Canadians, these measures would also help to ensure the long-run success of Canada's auto industry."

I guess the automakers hate America...

American business is facing a crisis regarding health insurance.  The US is 1 of three members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that does not have some kind of nationalized health care.  And the costs are killing US business. First, companies have to devote a large amount of time to looking at plans and containing the costs of these plans.  In addition, rising health care costs a major reason why companies are loathe to add new employees to their payrolls, contributing to the anemic jobs recovery during the latest economic expansion.

American business realizes that national health care is in their economic self-interest.  The Democrats have a prime opportunity to start building a coalition with these interests to further this policy goal.

Originally posted to bonddad on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 05:58 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Le's not forget (1.33)
    that the Canadian Supreme Court found that Canada's Helath Care System was unconstitutional, so that may not be the best place to compare.  Also, I think the Big 3 here have all at least in words supported a notion of national health care in the US.  I really don't think selling national health care to most (non-health care) businesses in the US will be the problem, selling it to the people is.  
    •  Maybe you're talking about (4.00)
      something else, but a quick Google search reveals that Canada's Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to outlaw private health insurance.  It didn't actually rule that the currently in place system is unconstitutional.

      For a second I thought you may have meant that they found the methods of funding it unconstitutional, which has repeatedly happened with schools here in Ohio.

      Jumping on the bandwagon: (-3.63, -3.03) - Does that make me part of the right wing here?

      by someone else on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:13:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  right (2.00)
        and since the current system outlawed private insurance, it is unconstitutional until changed.
        •  No (4.00)
          The aspect of the system outlawing private health insurance was ruled unconstitutional insofar as it prevented people from seeking immediate medical attention through the private system.  The system itself is quite constitutional.  Besides, if I'm not mistaken, you can get private health care in Canada, you just can't charge it to the government; you must pay out-of-pocket.

          There are many Canadian private clinics:

          Private Clinics
          In addition to public health care providers such as primary care doctors and hospitals, many private clinics offering specialized services also operate in Canada.
          Under federal law, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide services covered by the Canada Health Act. Regardless of this legal issue, many do offer such services.
          The advantage of private clinics is that they typically offer services with reduced wait times compared to the public health care system. For example, obtaining an MRI scan in a hospital could require a waiting period of months, whereas it could be obtained much faster in a private clinic.
          Private clinics are a subject of controversy, as some feel that their existence unbalances the health care system and favors treatments to those with higher incomes.
          Costs in private clinics are usually covered by private insurance policies, which will typically pay around 80% of the costs.

          Thus, your analysis is incorrect; it would essentially say that Brown v Board of Education found the U.S. educational system unconstitutional.  It did not - it found an aspect of it, as practiced in certain areas (i.e., the South and its ideological appendages) to be unconstitutional.

          •  My original point (none)
            of not trying to sell the American people Canadian style health care is still valid though, even more so from your blocked quote.  Try telling the american people that they would have to wait months for an MRI or telling them that private companies cannot offer competing services and see how far that pushes the single payer health care cause in the US.  The Canada comparison is a terrible one (Britain's may be far better).
            •  While not perfect (4.00)
              it's a hell of a lot better than your system.

              Waiting months for an MRI is better than not getting one because you can't afford it, while watching some rich guy get it right away (that makes you feel valued, doesn't it).  Or going into debt over similar, STANDARD diagnostic procedures that are completely covered by Canadian health care (pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies etc).  

              Anyway, the point of the diary is excellent.  A new Toyota plant is opening in Woodstock, Ontario and it was chosen by Toyoto over Mississipi b/c of
              1. government funded health care, and 2.  higher literacy/education of citizens.

              "There is no spoon."

              by L0kI on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:37:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Six months for an MRI? (none)
                That'll make my stepfather laugh. He got his in one day.

                Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.
                (The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not understood it.)

                by sagesource on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 09:57:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Usually if you really need it (4.00)
                  there's not a long wait at all...

                  "There is no spoon."

                  by L0kI on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 11:39:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The "six month for an MRI" canard (none)
                  All you hear about are the times the system fails. What isn't told is how much more the system works fine.

                  I've had family go for MRI... took a little over a week in a part of the country that isn't exactly the most densely populated. My boy's gone in for a CAT scan same-day. Most other diagnostics are quick and easy as well (ultrasound, xray, etc).

                  Yes, some people in some places have to wait a long time. Things are being done to address that. Claiming that Canada's system is completely broken based on some people having to wait for some things on occasion is like claiming that the US system is completely and utterly and irrevokably broken and poor people will be stacked like cordwood outside emergency rooms because a couple people couldn't afford the treatment they needed.

                  Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

                  by Hatamoto on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:44:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Man, you've inhaled too much (3.90)
              Try telling the american people that they would have to wait months for an MRI or telling them that private companies cannot offer competing services and see how far that pushes the single payer health care cause in the US.

              Which American people would these be? The 45 million who currently can't get any access to these services at all? Or the millions more with HMOs that ration care and determine which day you're going to die, because it costs too much to keep you alive? I suspect they'd be willing to wait a little.

              As for "competing services", your competitive healthcare service costs DOUBLE per capita what ours does, and offers LESS per capita than ours. Unless you're wealthy enough to afford the best. And, by the way, the waiting lists for certain types of services are sometimes too long, but this is not due merely to the structure of the system (which needs an overhaul), but to poor planning a decade ago and a neighbour to the south that siphons off a good number of our doctors and nurses. Obviously because they like to hire inferior Canadian medical personnel, I guess.

              The point is, the waiting lists are not due to it being a single payer system; they are due to the inability of polticians at the federal and provincial levels to make decisions about it. In that regard, we aren't much different than the US.

              But I'll take my health care over yours 365 days a year, brother. And I don't mean because it's "free" (we do pay with taxes, after all), but because it's damn good too. Check out some of the statistics if you feel like having your eyes opened (which it doesn't sound like).

              And stop drinking the kool-aid. The US doesn't need to appropriate the Canadian system lock, stock and barrel. It just needs to develop its own, sensible, rational, effective and less expensive single-payer or mediated collective payer system. It does not do so purely at the pleasure of the very wealthy and the insurance companies. Even the doctors in this country support medicare.

              -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

              by thingamabob on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:39:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wait a little or wait... (4.00)
                forever. Forever as in dead, or slowly dying from pleading your case, or choosing between medicine or food, or dead broke.

                The boogie man of "6 months for an MRI" is straight from a healthco flack's brainstorm session. Been there; used to done that. If you dig deep into any US healthcare provider, network or insurer you will find more administrative horror stories, inefficiences and just plain incompetence than a whole bargeload of comparable govt programs. Simple fact of accountability and general accounting principles to hide behind in the private sector.

                (Yes, i speak specifically from experience working with a private sector co, amongst others, which also handled admin for Bedicare Part B, etc. To see the "confdential" overhead and claim accuracy and -velocity cost breakdowns compared on one P&L was quite illuminating.)

                As in many cases in business, truth and factual long-term customer benefit does not have a sponsor.

                •  Flabby fingers: "Medicare Part B" (none)
                  "confidential," too I guess. Duh.
                •  I just had an MRI (none)
                  I live in BC, Canada. The wait was 6 weeks, yes, weeks.
                  •  That is not as long (none)
           I had to wait to get one through my crummy HMO.

                    And didn't I see a poll that said most Americans support a National Health plan?

                  •  Hope all is well with your melon (4.00)

                    But the fruit analogy brings to mind another: this is an apples and lacrosse balls comparison. Many US MRI centers (often physician-owned parnerships) are running at capacity, often stretching to a month or more in scheduling. The "recommended" paper trail of prior diagnostics before shooting a golden tube only grows longer daily. Unless your neurologist is suspecting perhaps a handful of pathologies supported by indicators from other hard-to-schedule tests, nobody's going to express anybody to the front of that line.

                    American health care is busted, askew and mal-managed from the hard ball-bearing center of that lacrosse ball on out.

                    US structural costs to manufacture and do any number of things are the world's highest thanks to the relative everyday (meaning not heroic-measure or isolated whiz-bang tech) inefficiency of said system for the sheer dollars paid and the non-wellness achieved.

                    No, I'm not a doctor, just a motivated observer, paid occasionally to twist their arms to put them back in touch with Hippocrates or their inner-Florence Nightingale. I spend too much time trying to help these kinds of orgs realize they're in the compassion business, not "healtcare delivery" or "asset acquisition." Also working in the financial services and IT/security fields lets my group see way too much scary spillover and number-centric, tech-worshipping group-think. Call it invasion of the Body Snatcher MBAs in this case.  

                    Simple equation: you can choose people or gadgets, sensing or numbering. Fall in love with one and the neglected parties will take note. Those MBAs (yes, me too) like the inert latter choices because they're spreadsheetable--easier to navigate short-term, but mostly out of touch with the core business or human scale They're magical when you want to justify a new building program or some of those MRIs, crappy when it comes to determining exactly why everyone in your town thinks your hospital is the 7th level of patient hell and don't want to be in your beds.

                    Not a surpise really. In this way, healthcare is a microcosm of America--its military through to its business culture. More tech, less finesse and intuitive thought. Shiny "best-practices" shoe-horned into ill-prepared places leading to "negative patient outcomes."  And so, people--patients, consumers, voters, soldiers--lose.

                    Phew. Did I write all that? Pardon my rantage.

                  •  Ditto (none)
                    I also live in BC and had the same experience. Was initially warned that I wouldn't even get a call confirming an appointment witihin 2 months.

                    Instead the call came that same week with an appointment set for 5 weeks later.

              •  You know (4.00)
                I admire the Canadian system a great deal, but it has a safety valve.  The bottom line is the waiting lists are tolerable because you can always go to the US.  Having lived near the Canadian border I have seen this happen ALOT.

                The Canadian system cannot be evaluated without understanding that it benefits in many ways form having a different system to the South.  It cuts drug deals that are better than they would be, it has shorter waiting lines the otherwise would exist.

                The point about losing Dr's to the South is a good one - I have a great pediatrician from Toronto.  But the one's that I talk to came here less for the money (though of course, they may be lying about that) than out of frustration with the current system.

                Of course, since I live in Florida, some also come for the weather.

                •  asdf (none)
                  I suspect a sungle payer solution in the US would lead to the rise of clinics whos clients will pay big money for premium service.  That wont go away.

                  But the US system needs reform because right now we  pay over double per capita what the rest of the world is paying (actually over double what the next most expensive is - way more than double the rest of the industrialized world) for what by most measures is lousey health care.

                  It's dragging down our ability to compete in the global market in all industries, not just automotive.

                  •  asdf (none)
                    Actually, let me amend that answer a bit.

                    Already the quality and low cost of health care combined with the low cost of travel has patients traveling to India for major surgery.  Trends like that increase too.

                •  It's a good point (none)
                  Which is why Trotsky believed in permanent revolution--as long as there is a system which operates outside the parameters of the system, there will be this kind of issue. But it is not built into the structure of medicare; in other words, if it were not there, medicare would still take care of things.

                  What it represents is a dodge or compromise by politicians, applying (quite correctly, I think) the old notion that rules were meant to be broken. There is a set of principles which govern the application of the entire system. But it would be inhumane not to obtain necessary urgent care when needed, simply because "that is not the way the system operates."

                  The problem is, of course, it is a slippery slope.

                  -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

                  by thingamabob on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 10:32:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  so do we. (none)
                  I went to Canada for my LASIK surgery.  Better price, better technology.  
                  And of course there's all those seniors buying drugs.

                  "Anything that's good for your heart is good for your penis." Dr. John Mulhall,New York Presbyterian Hospital

                  by sayitaintso on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 12:02:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I so disagree (4.00)
              In emergency situations you can get the care that you need in Canada.  And everyone can get it.  As my health care access gets worse and worse and worse and my out of pocket costs get higher (and frankly I am lucky that I am in a rural town with a hospital that is a bit larger than strictly necessary and with a medical school so I can always get in), I think fondly of the Canadian system.  As to the British one, it is not as accessible for everyone (it is a combination of public and private that is pretty annoying in many ways -- I have a friend who has been dealing with a daughter who has a recurring but non-specific fever and spends a lot of time with the British healthcare system).  But even that would be a fantastic improvement over what we have now (rationing by ability to pay rather than by need).
              •  is this even an issue? (none)
                any US single payer plan would presumably allow supplemental private health insurance; it's a certainty that any plan that did not allow the ability of citizens to supplement government provided health care with whatever they wanted would be both blatantly unconstitutional, and incredibly unpopular on both sides of the aisle.

                In all the discussions over single payer programs in the US, i've yet to hear anyone propose a system that bans supplemental private care.

                So let's not have straw man arguments.  Wealthy citizens would be able to get their expensive and personally tailored health care, if they were willing to pay for it.  The issue is whether for that first level of health care, it would make more sense to shift to a government run and sponsored program (instead of the company sponsored system we have now).  

                And frankly, all the data points seem to be screaming SINGLE PAYER.  the system we have now is the worst of all worlds.  It is incredibly bureaucratic, as anyone who's ever been on the phone with their HMO or PPO provider knows; it is incredibly expensive (with costs increasing exponentially); it is incredibly inefficient; and it leaves huge gaps in coverage.

                If you asked a representative sample of 100 US businesses which they would prefer between tax cuts and subsidized health care, I would guess that more than 60 of them would prefer the latter (and that's including the arseholes who've read too much Ayn Rand and are ideologically opposed to government on principle).  Our health care system is literally killing the ability of US businesses to compete in the global workplace.

            •  My canadian relatives (4.00)
              Have done quite well on the canadian system. If my grandmother had lived in the US, where I do, she might have bankrupted the family with her end of life care needs.

              As it is she was able to move on in dignity with her kids still financially sound.

              In California I often had to wait 6 months to get an appointment with a doctor who had more than a year's experience. That is NOT an exaggeration.

              The immorality of the US system--leaving so many uninsured--is one thing I object to. But the other is that I believe a citizen of the wealthiest country on earth should have zero risk of medical bankruptcy. Period.

            •  I guess you have never had (4.00)
              an MRI in the USA. There are want times at nearly every imaging facility in the USA.  Emergency imaging is always placed ahead of diagnostic services.  Need a heart by-pass operation - think months ahead in scheduling.

              Americans have such a wrong image of their own inadequate health care system, because the majority of them don't use it enough to know better.

            •  I can't even get an MRI ordered! (4.00)
              I'm an RN, I work in healthcare and my employer is a provider under my plan. I have a good HMO plan.

              Recently, I tore the meniscus in my left knee. X-rays do not show this type of injury, only an MRI does. I tore it over 2 months ago, and all that's ever been ordered is an x-ray! I finally got a physical therapy visit over one month after it was ordered, where the therapist confirmed that it tested out as a pretty bad meniscal tear. We're going to try some exercises, and he'll get the MD (the same one that insisted it was just arthritis) to order an MRI if it isn't improving in a couple more weeks.

              This is a life-altering injury for me. My work requires that I get in/out of a car about a dozen times a day and be able to stand for extended periods. Were I still working as a floor nurse, I would just flat be not able to work!

              And folks, this is coming from a healthcare professional who has been trained to be an advocate for patients and who has some knowledge of how that system works as well as what might actually be wrong with my body. I was telling the MD that it was a meniscal tear, for crying out loud! Why wasn't an MRI ordered? Because the HMO will not do it without all these intervening steps, and by the time you can get it, the damage is that much more difficult to repair. Remember: it's been over 2 months since I requested an MRI, from an MD that said all I had was arthritis, and it took a month to get a physical therapy visit which was finally offered after 3 MD visits because the knee was getting worse and not better, and it was the therapist who tested me for the meniscal tear and sent findings to the MD that I tested strongly positive for it -- he can't diagnose.

              Anyone that thinks that the average American is happy with the status quo on healthcare hasn't talked to many folks who've had to use it for anything beyond the common viral illness.

              •  Attitude of doctors (4.00)
                Some years back I broke an arm while visiting Holland. Walked right into a hospital, got it diagnosed and treated quickly. Their attitude towards my health insurance as an American was, "That's nice. Okay, we'll bill you." But the most amazing thing was the attitude of the doctor. None of the self-important posturing all American doctors do. A week or so later I was running a fever (not unusual with a broken bone on the mend) and walked into an neighborhood clinic. Again, no attitude at all from the doctor.

                The worst thing about American healthcare is that most of our physicians have their swolen heads up their tight rears, and can't get them out. I've had not one but two relatives die because doctors got left and right confused when going in after cancer. It's well-documented that your typical odds with any illness are at least 25% that the physician will just sloppily misdiagnose — and then typically stick with the misdiagnosis because his or her head is in that wonderful place.

                Doctors complain about malpractice insurance, but state medical boards by-and-large do nothing about the 2% of doctors who commit 50% of the malpractice. The typical American doctor has the moral attitude of a Rumsfeld or Cheney. The problem is bigger than the insurance system; it's the whole way they're educated and oriented.

                The drug industry's theivery comes from a similar bad attitude. They regard themselves as so superior to everyone else, so necessary, so in a position to blackmail (cooperate or die, after all).... Yes, there are good people in American medicine, especially among nurses. But much more typical is Senator Frist.

                National health care, we need. But to really fix this mess will require serious changes in how doctors are educated, and how they embody, or not, the contempt towards "normal" people they currently by-and-large share with our other self-styled elites.

              •  Not a solution, but... (none)
                What about having your knee scoped??  They should be able to see a meniscal tear with that... it's likely going to require surgery if it's a good tear and the piece is still moving around in there.

                Just a thought...

                "There is no spoon."

                by L0kI on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 11:47:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  ER ... ahem (none)
                  Cmyst is a registered nurse. I suspect she's at least as, if not far more, aware of what diagnostic and therapeutic measures are involved in dealing with the knee issue ...

                  The problem is the financial structure behind a HealtMaintenanceOrganization. Under that structure, each patient is analogous to an investment asset (producing a defined rate of earnings) in a portfolio. The revenue stream does not change whether healthy or otherwise. Under that circumstance, rationing care becomes a budget-based decision, instead of involving what most of us understand as a patient-doctor interaction that determines what diagnostics and treatment are proper and then orders same.

                  Effectively, the healthcare profession, under the HMO model, is more analogous to portfolio management than what we tend to believe it should be.

         ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

                  by wystler on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:34:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps (none)
              you have difficulty reading.  If so, then your ignorance should be excused.  I merely said that you incorrectly characterized and/or misunderstood the Canadian Supreme Court ruling.  I expressed no opinion on the merits of either the American or Canadian system.

              A short recap may be helpful for the mentally challenged:

              You: The Canadian Supreme Court said that the Canuck healthcare system was unconstitutional.

              Whore: No, it said an aspect of it was held to be unconstitional.

              You: Canadian healthcare bad.

              Whore: WTF?

            •  Wait Months for an MRI? (none)
              Excuse me, but many of us here in the states wait months already. Heck, I have to wait 4 months to see the opthomologist for an exam after being diagnosed with Diabetes 2. So don't tell me Americans would be upset waiting months for an MRI under a Canadian system. We already are and have to pay for it out of pocket to boot since most of our health plans don't cover what might be considered "non-essential" procedures.
              •  Amended to say (none)
                "Essential" services by the insurance company's narrow definition.  For instance, many plans don't have vision coverage which would be an essential exam for diabetics and others who have certain conditions affecting the eyes.
            •  It's prioritized (none)
              If you need it, you get it.  If it's less essential, you wait.

              "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

              by fishhead on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:09:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Delay happens right here in the USA (none)
              That's what happened to me.  It wasn't that the hospital coudn't do it any day they or I pleased, but that the insurance company made me go through 6 months of pointless physical therapy (that even the physical therapist said was pointless) before they'd approve it an MRI.

              The insurance comapny's goal is to prevent provision of expensive care (like the surgery I needed, as the MRI made clear), thus keeping more money in their coffers.  They know from long experience that patients are more likely to give up in frustration than to continue to push for the coverage they need (and to which they are entitled under their policies) if they can only make the experience frustrating enough.

              Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

              by mataliandy on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:38:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I work in Canadian health care. (none)
              If you need an MRI now, you get an MRI now.
              There is no wait time.  If you are booked for an
              elective MRI then you are placed on a list, and you will get your MRI in a reasonable period of time.  Resources are finite and need to be used
              with skill.  If there are any Canadians that want
              an MRI but their doctor does not believe they need one right now, that person is at complete liberty to cross the border and get an MRI from
              you people.  See, when you have a critically ill
              person, they need their MRI now, but if not critically ill, then they do not have the right to misplace someone who has more urgent needs just because their own bank balance is larger.
              In Canada, we believe that there are no second class citizens.  The philosophy of Canada, is
              "we all belong", so if you happen to have brown
              skin and work stocking shelves, you still get to see the same doctor that the CEO of your company
              sees.  If the CEO wants to go to Mayo Clinic, or
              some other prestigious US clinic, they can pay for the priviledge and prestige, but the bottom line quality, the actual health care product is
              the same.  The Prestige or Cadillac clinics will provide gourmet meals, and amenities, but the actual health care outcome is identical.
          •  Being able to 'go private' (none)
            is an important 'safety valve'.  Sometimes it reassures a patient; sometimes it's an outlet for a patient who can't be reassured; sometimes it's an outlet for a family that can't be reassured until they've spent a fraction of their inheritance on mama; sometimes it turns up something the socialized system missed for whatever reason.

            I wasn't aware there are private clinics in Canada, but something like 90% of Canadians live within a two hour drive of a medical center in the United States that'll be happy to take cash patients.  Canadians could always 'go private' in the USA.  If we copy the Canadian system, we need to formalize a 'safety valve'.

            We're all pretty crazy some way or other; some of us just hide it better.

            by david78209 on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:22:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  If by "the people" you mean... (4.00)
      ...the people, you're wrong.  Americans have long supported the idea of single-payer system by comfortable majorities.  The notion of a single-payer system has often been described as "politically impossible," but when you dig to see what people mean by that phrase, it turns out to mean that significant corporate interests -- especially, obviously, the insurance, HMO and health care industries -- are against it, thus rendering it "politically impossible."  Any president who overcame the significant corporate resistance to a single-payer system would find no obstacle in "public opinion"...if, in fact, we are talking about the "people."

      "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

      by scorponic on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:35:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not so sure (none)
        although the insurance/hmo/physicians may be against it, I imagine most big industries would be for it (shifts the burden off of them).  The problem is going to be overcoming the people (that currently have insurance) who believe that socialized medicine means long waits and possibly more in taxes than they pay in premiums now.  Getting the teachers unions and the auto workers unions on board may be the most difficult task of all.
        •  Like they were for it in '94 (none)

          What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

          by strandedlad on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:03:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Absolute nonsense. (4.00)
          The problem is going to be overcoming the people (that currently have insurance) who believe that socialized medicine means long waits and possibly more in taxes than they pay in premiums now.

          This is the kind of crap I hate from the right wing.  "Socialized" medicine?  Nice try on the framing, making it sound like caring for our whole population is commie.  Clearly you're all about protecting the interests of the mega-rich and the plain old selfish.  This is such a short-term outlook; do you not understand yet that conservatism like this is killing the country?

          And if you do understand that, then get to work explaining it to others of your ilk who think that 45 million uninsured Americans and healthcare costs for those who DO have it spiralling out of control thanks to profiteers in the insurance industry and American industry moving overseas so as to avoid the crippling costs of paying private insurance for employees is somehow good for the country.

          I don't give a rat's ass about the people who think they suddenly won't be able to get their tennis elbow massaged before they jaunt off to St. Bart's for their monthly vacation.  They just need to pull themselves together and stop acting like they'll die if they don't get that unsightly mole removed before the lung cancer patient goes in and selfishly takes up the doctor's time.  Grown-ups in all the other industrialized nations are quite capable of coping with this, you know.  Why are rich Americans such soft little delicate flowers?  Why aren't rich Americans ashamed of the fact that their country, far from being the shining beacon of hope of their fantasies, is decades behind other developed nations in terms of guaranteeing a reasonable and fair minimum standard of living for everyone?

          And as for the more taxes thing -- well, if the poor little rich people you're so desperate to protect wouldn't keep encouraging pricks like Bush to spend $270 billion of OUR MONEY on futile wars to line HIS pockets, perhaps we wouldn't need a tax increase to pay for healthcare for everyone!

          You set up these arguments as if they're some kind of insurmountable obstacle and we should carefully back away from the idea of single-payer healthcare so as not to insult or alienate the top few percent of this country who think they should have everything and the rest of us jack shit.  Well, if a policy insults or alienates people who would send us all back to a feudal society where people like you and me till the fields and live in huts, to my mind that's a good-lookin' policy.  You're in a tiny minority on this one.  Get over it.

          •  Bravo! (none)
            And I would add this for the frame-conscious among us:

            The right will frame arguments like this as a call for "class warfare" which, to the minds of most Americans weaned on anti-commie propaganda, is a very bad thing.  Except... it's not at all a bad thing when you're fighting a defensive class war.  These assholes have been fighting their own covert class war for decades.  At this point, we have little choice but to fight back.  

            If they want a class war, let's give 'em a class war.  Our numerical advantage is profound.  So many people get suckered by the "class war is bad" meme because they think that they're doing much better than they actually are; I read somewhere that most people in the 90th percentile think that they are in the 99th percentile, and it just gets worse until you get down to the bottom half -- the many millions who either languish in poverty or teeter on its brink.

            Those of us in the middle class must fight a class war.  If we lose much more ground, the vast majority of us end up as serfs.  

            And the poor, well, if they were a bit more organized, they might just put the fear o' GAWD into the top .1 percent.  

            In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

            by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 02:45:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know what basis... (4.00)
 have to make these statements.  I study the polls on this question, and the public is solidly in favor a national health care system.  Take this 2003 WP poll, for instance:

          47. Which would you prefer - (the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance); or (a universal health insurance program, in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by taxpayers?)

                       Current     Universal     No opinion
          10/13/03        33           62             6

          48. (IF UNIVERSAL, Q47) Would you support or oppose a universal health insurance program if it limited your own choice of doctors?

                       Support     Oppose     No opinion
          10/13/03       57          41            2

          Q47/48 NET:

                                           ------IF LIMITED CHOICE------
                       Current     NET     Support     Oppose     DK/REF     No op.
          10/13/03        33       62        35          25          1         6

          49. (IF UNIVERSAL, Q47) Would you support or oppose a universal health insurance program if it meant there were waiting lists for some non-emergency treatments?

                       Support     Oppose     No opinion
          10/13/03       62          33            5

          Seems pretty clear to me.

          "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

          by scorponic on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 09:30:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The only problem here... (none)
   that once you get some kind of a universal health bill before Congress, you get Harry and Louise on TV telling you, whether it's true or not, that the bill will limit your choice of doctors.  Then, public opinion on that particular bill drops from the 62-33 who generally favor universal health to 58-35 against a universal health option that limits choice of doctors.  (add the Q47/48 NET numbers for "current" and "oppose")

            Of course, the argument on choice of doctors is a load of crap, because if we have universal health care, all of the doctors will be forced to participate in the system or do without a steady stream of patients, as they take in only those who can afford to pay for their services separately.  Thus, you will most likely still be able to choose whatever doctor you want.  The only constraint is that there will be a longer wait to see a more popular physician than to see a less popular one.  This assumes, of course, that physicians stay in private practice, i.e., that we adopt the Canadian model of universal health care rather than the British NHS model.

            The Chimperor Has No Clothes

            by DC Pol Sci on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 02:55:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  From someone who benefits from UHC... (none)
              ... I can honestly say I've never felt 'locked' to one particular doctor. When I lived in vancouver, I had one doctor (Schlagentweit... if you have him as your P.D., run. He's a terminal asshole.) who decided that any medical problem you presented him with was a result of poor diet and lack of exercise. I went to talk to him about a mild but congenital heart eurythmia that had been acting up and he fought with me on three separate visits before I said to hell with it and got another P.D. who had me hooked up with a monitor immediately after the first visit.

              The "huge waiting lists", "doctor lock-in" and other such canards are basically just scare tactics. They don't bear resemblance to reality in any but the most extreme of situations, and when they DO happen it's a result of bureaucratic mismanagement or personell issues, not something inherent to the system.

              Plot your political compass scores at KosCompass

              by Hatamoto on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 04:00:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  funny, that ... (none)
          there's plentiful evidence to suggest that many, many members of the medical profession favor a single-payer model over the heavy-handedness of insurance companies' differing standards of therapeutic determinations, pharmaceutical formularies, etc., and over the de-humanizing HMO model under which the majority of covered working Americans are covered ... an MD doing a work-up now must be mindful of what a given patent's insurer is willing and unwilling to authorize if (s)he doesn't want to create a massive appeals process problem in getting paid ... that hardly results in the practice of good medicine ...

 ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

          by wystler on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:40:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The idea (none)
        that people want single payer assumes that they know what it means.  I don't think 1 in 20 knows the difference between single payer and multi-payer.

        See this thread for proof.

    •  Thats not what the ruling did (none)

      Four of the seven justices ruled Thursday that the provincial policy violates the Quebec charter. But they split 3-3 on whether it violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, meaning there is no immediate impact on the Canadian health-care system as a whole.

      It had to do with wait times......and only applies for certain things where wait times are too long but it doesn't effect the overall system.  Just means a parrell private system for MRI's and other services may develop if the governemtn doesn't fix those problems.

    •  Wrong! (none)
      What the ruling determined was that unreasonable wait times for necessary procedures denied Canadians the fundamental right to security of the person, and so ruled that they could access private health clinics as a remedy.  Presumably, if the wait times were made reasonable, provincial governments could legallly restrict or ban private clinics.

      "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

      by fishhead on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:07:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At this point B.C. does have Private and Public (none)
        I paid 3 doctors "privately" for a diagnosis when I returned from the U.S. to Canada.  (Had to wait 6 months, for my residence to kick in before I could access B.C. Med.) My son's therapists are also private therapists not covered under B.C. Med. but  paid for privately by the B.C. Government.

        On the flip side, I still saved money paying privately in Canada.

        If 1 in 166 children were kidnapped in America we'd have a national emergency. We do... AUTISM.

        by Sleeps in Trees on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:12:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We're facing a transit workers strike in NYC . . . (4.00)
    and the major obstacles to a settlement are pension contributions and . . .health care.

    I don't want a strike, but anything that shines a light on our collapsing health care system and our need for single payer health care is necessary.

    by nyceve on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:03:09 AM PST

    •  Support the TWU if they strike (none)
      If the transit workers strike it will do a lot more than shine a light on the health care crisis. It will also be an important act of defiance against the Taylor Law which prohibits public employees in New York from striking. The Taylor Law has had a crippling effect of the power of public employees and therefore on organized labor as a whole. But it will never be eliminated unless somebody stands up to its draconian provisions and defies them. The only union with the power to really do this is the TWU since they have a literal stranglehold on the global center of finance and commerce.

      A strike will really inconvenience me personally, but frankly I welcome it. A TWU victory could do a lot to energize organized labor in NYC and beyond. There is no progress without struggle and there is no struggle without at least some inconvenience.

      "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

      by Christopher Day on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 11:43:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a little disappointing... (none)
        ...that they seem to have chickened out.  The MTA is swinging a big stick, but the workers need to rally and sing "Union Maid" or whatever gets their mojo up to swing their own stick -- the mass withholding of their labor.  If such a strong union with such a powerful bargaining position can't make a stand, then goddess help the rest of us poor unorganized slobs.      

        There was a column in Metro the other day in which the writer was whining about how the average transit worker makes $47,000 a year, just slightly less than the average college-educated New Yorker (which I doubt, actually, but give the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument); if that's the case, it doesn't make her case at all (i.e., "Unions=greedy"), in fact, it works against her.  Maybe if more college-educated private sector workers were UNIONIZED, they would get a better deal.  Why try to drag the transit workers down?  Why not pick yourself up!

        The "unions are greedy" thing pisses me off to no end.  What about the MTA, sitting its fat ass on a billion-dollar surplus and getting ready to raise rates once again?  We need to turn that argument around and shove it back in their faces.  

        Greed?  You wanna talk about greed?  Let's just see who's greedy, here...

        The decline of organized labor is possibly the key reason why things have gotten so out of hand in this country over the past 30 years.  Things were good back in the '50s when a dude could get a union job out of high school, raise a family, buy a little house, put a little something away for retirement...

        It's not worker benefits that are making American business uncompetitive, it's the absurd profits of insurance companies and other financial services firms.

        Solidarity with the MTA workers, even though a strike would inconvenience me, personally.      

        In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

        by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:02:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  & this is a surprise ... (none)
    ... why?

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

    by synth on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:10:51 AM PST

  •  Of course we can't have universal healthcare (4.00)
    Bible thumpers, rednecks, and other conservatives would yell communism. Of course, that is exactly what Republicans want them to do.

    A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

    by Tux on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:11:19 AM PST

    •  We are headed (4.00)
      for a Grapes of Wrath moment among the rural in healthcare in this country.

      I think nothing will move universal healthcare forward until some evangelical minister gets on T.V. and talks about it as his only social issue - not being against gays, abortions, etc.

      When that mainstream, big name Baptist minister gets in front of his huge televised congregation week after week and talks about access to healthcare being a basic human right and that the denial of that right is un-Christian then...

      If that would ever happen.

      "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." - Pynchon

      by HairOnFire on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:58:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. (none)
        What will finally push us toward universal care is when the price of health care gets so high that the major corporations can't afford to pay for insurance for their employees anymore and demand that the government take it over.

        We're getting there.

        The Chimperor Has No Clothes

        by DC Pol Sci on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 02:57:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's Those Same (4.00)
      Bible thumpers, rednecks, and other conservatives that are more than glad to have Medicaid for their aging parents isn't it?

      The hypocrisy of the Right is incredible.

    •  Ironic (none)
      1. Jesus healed the sick.

      2. The early Christian sects were the original model of communism.
      •  Protestants De-Emphasize (none)
        the instructions of Jesus. They emphasize allegiance to the name of Jesus to bring salvation, which can't be earned by human efforts. This is a very basic difference between the Protestants and the Catholic side (RC and Episcopal). Unfortunately there's gospel precedent and quotes of Jesus on both sides.

        All the Protestants are this way to some extent. But all Christians have to treat his instructions as non-literal because his teachings about money completely forbid it: earning it, saving it, or praying for it or the things it buys.

        The fundamentalists are more opposed to Jesus than followers, except for sexual restraint.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:21:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You mean like the communism (none)
      of the state-financed defence, prison, and agriculure industries?

      "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

      by fishhead on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:11:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The GOP congress (none)
    isn't going to do much to further any type of sanity in regards to healthcare, nope, instead they are busy trying to protect the symbols of Christmas while ignoring all that Christmas is supposed to stand for.

    "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

    by SanJoseLady on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 06:12:01 AM PST

  •  Why tell Canada? (4.00)
    It's swell that they applaud the Canadian health system, but why aren't they banging down the doors of Congress and phoning Dumya non-stop? Why don't they publicly endorse universal health care in every newspaper and magazine that will listen to them?

    So many wealthy people are happy to blame unions for the terrible state of the US auto industry, and solemnly repeat the tidbit that "heath costs add $1500 to the price of every UAW-made autromobile in the US." Why don't the Big Three inform their stockholders that universal health care would be a big help in improving the bottom line?

    This is the story that we never hear. The conventional wisdom is to pile all those extra high costs on to the worker, who is already struggling under the weight of higher fuel costs, rocketing prices of higher education, etc. The wealthy "elite" Republicans have to start calling for the costs to be managed in a better way, and one way would be to have a single payer.

    I won't hold my breath.

    •  Yes, I do not understand why big business (4.00)
      is not working for this. Eliminating the beaurocracy of the private insurers would save a hell of alot. Many small companies (under 50 employees) no longer offer it, or make the employees pay for the plan themselves.
    •  There's an election coming in Canada (none)
      and the auto industry are probably afraid of the Conservatives getting into power. If the Conservatives ever manage to form a government, they will do everything they can, covertly and overtly, to disrupt and destroy national health care in Canada.

      Steven Harper and his bigoted ilk are just salivating at the opportunity to be bribed by U.S. insurance companies into handing the system over to them, to make Canada just another marketing region.

      I am become Dubya, Destroyer of Words...

      by Swampfoot on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 04:18:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And Japanese companies support the (4.00)
    Canadian Education system (in addition to the health care system)

    Via the apostropher and Blog on the Run, I found this story about a new Toyota plant being built in Woodstock, Ontario.  This is important because Toyota is building the plant in Canada despite the offer of millions of dollars in subsidies to put the plant in the U.S.  Why turn their back on U.S. money to give jobs to our friendly northern neighbors?  Well, two reasons really.  The first is that Toyota is tired of training ignorant (i.e. illiterate) American workers, and the second is that in the long run it's cheaper to operate in Canada because of the reduction in corporate health care costs.

    Industry experts say Ontarians are easier and cheaper to train - helping make it more cost-efficient to train workers when the new Woodstock plant opens in 2008, 40 kilometres away from its skilled workforce in Cambridge. "The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association....

    He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment....

    •  Of course (none)
      the question is why wouldn't toyota put the plant in Ohio or MI (where the workforce is skilled), and the answer is the won't deal with our unions.
      •  Yup (none)
        The brain-dead crackers and hillbillies of the CSA (Considerably Stupid America) won't have anything to do with thems unions!  They gots a taste for more practical-like stuff, such's snake handlin' speakin' in tungs an' waitin' on th' rapture.
        •  Unfortunately for you (none)
          my point is quite valid.  Foreign automakers hate to deal with US unions and avoid them at all costs.  That is why they went to the illiterate south in the first place.  The only thing the South could offer these companies was non union workers, thats it.  We in the North had better infrastructure, better skilled workers, better quality of life, but in the end the decisions were made based on where they could avoid the UAW.
          •  I agree (none)
            I never said you're point wasn't valid.  The reason why manufacturers have moved South is to avoid unions and the concomittant higher wages and benefits, and the protections offered by a union.  My criticism is more of the Lil' Abners working on the line at auto plants in Mississippi et al.  Luckily for them, the foriegn automakers have a knack for making cars that people actually want to own.  But when they get a downturn, they won't have the UAW there to protect them or retrain them.
          •  illiteracy and health costs (4.00)
            are a bigger issue than unions in automakers choosing Canada rather than the US.

            SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

            by mollyd on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:43:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not really... (none)
            ...organized labor is unquestionably stronger in Canada than in the U.S., and it would be more than reasonable to assume that the Canadian UAW is already forming an organizing campaign directed at the plant in Woodstock.  Furthermore, I'm quite certain that Toyota factored the strength of Canadian organized labor into its strategic calculus surrounding the location of the plant.  

            In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

            by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:13:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  That's no doubt true (4.00)
        But doesn't really address why they'd site a plant in Ontario (which also has strong unions - with ties to their brethren in MI/OH) if concern of dealing with unions was the only issue.
      •  Not to mention (none)
        the foreign car manufacturers were also enticed by very low taxes of the Southern states.

        The problem is that these low local taxes result in a poor local education system so I have litte sympathy for Toyota et al's complaints about workforce literacy.  They should have known what they were getting into.

        (-2.75,-4.77) "Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose." Senator Barack Obama

        by Sam I Am on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:32:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is not such a big deal (none)
          But every now and again, when I read a comment like this, I wonder if people in the rest of the country see Southerners as fully equal--indeed, fully human.

          What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

          by strandedlad on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:09:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  hmmm (none)
            But every now and again, when I read a comment like this, I wonder if people in the rest of the country see Southerners as fully equal--indeed, fully human.

            cant comment on your country, but in mine, we can never take seriously a geographic unit that in 2005 is still debating evolution and terrified of gay marriage. its dark ages mentality down there (i know not everyone but enough to make these decisions)
            how can you defend that social climate?


            •  Hmmm (none)
              how can you defend that social climate?

              I suppose that I would say that I have never had to debate evolution, and the only thing about gay marriage that I ever had to debate was whether it should be called "marriage" or "civil union." And the guy I was arguing with thought I was a terrible person because I didn't think it was a big deal what it was called. (He thought "civil unionists" were for "separate but equal" and therefore homophobes and racists.) You know, "Fahrenheit 911" sold out here, too...

              What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

              by strandedlad on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:24:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry if the truth hurts (none)
            But this is the reality-based community. Taxes in the South are indeed far too low, especially on the rich--and the South suffers mightily for it.
          •  Science has conclusively proven (none)
            that the "Bible Belt" correllates negatively with IQ, level of education, crime and poverty.  That is, the "Bible Belt" could also be termed the "Moron Belt."  Spare me you flames, for this is not my opinion.  This is science, a concept with which, if you are from the South, you may not be familiar.

            Now, once we wrest control from the huckleberry hate-mongers, we will certainly start basic literacy programs in the deep wilds of the CSA (Contemptibly Stupid America).  After all, they keep killing our missionaries.  Until then, they'll simply have to live with their ingorance.

          •  I have lived most of (none)
            my adult life in the deep south as well as long stints in the NE and west.

            The South has a many pluses but it is my simple observation that public education in the rural South does lag behind that of the rural and small city areas of the NE and West.  

            My wife, a pubic schoool teacher in South Carolina, has made the same observation.

            (-2.75,-4.77) "Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose." Senator Barack Obama

            by Sam I Am on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:32:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  If You're Looking For An Illiterate Work Force (none)
          NYC is the place to go.

          According to the NYT story a couple of weeks back, roughly 80% of the public school students in NYC don't score at the basic level for their grade which essentially means they are functionally illiterate.

          The NYC HS dropout rate continues to hover around 50% and , given the low academic hurdles posed by most NYC high schools, that is a damning stat indeed.

          And NYS, to avoid the embarrassment of only a few students qualifying for HS diplomas,had to push back the Regents exam qualifications until 2007. And you can bet in 2007, the Regents will delay the qualifications for another couple of years. And on and on.

          When it comes to an illiterate work force, NYC and NYS give Mississippi a run for its money.

          •  Strangely, according to BLS statistics (none)
            New York City's illiterate work force had a mean annual salary of $49,670 and Mississippi's  illiterate work force had a mean annual salary of $28,630.

            Bottom line: it pays to carefully decide to live when you're illiterate.

            •  Cost-of-living? (none)
              Far be it from me to defend a tax policy that causes education and literacy to stagnate, but that's not what I'm doing.

              I don't have any data to back this up, but offhand I'd say it costs a lot more to live in New York City than just about anywhere in Mississippi.  I don't imagine it's $21,040 more on average, but the NYC data probably includes a lot more "high-powered" jobs, like the day traders.

              Jumping on the bandwagon: (-3.63, -3.03) - Does that make me part of the right wing here?

              by someone else on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 11:04:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oops, there I go showing my own illiteracy (none)
              that should say

              Bottom line: it pays to carefully decide where to live when you're illiterate.

              In interests of full disclusore, I was educated in Kansas (and, not surprisingly, have been described in other threads as the biggest moron on this site).  By contrast, my wife is a product of the NYC public school system and has two advanced degrees from prestigious universities.  Go figure.

          •  I read that article, too... (none)
   did not say that failing to meet grade level in litercy=illiteracy.  You are aware that the average U.S. newspaper is written at a sixth grade literacy level, are you not?  A tenth grader reading at an eighth grade level would still be functionally literate.  

            You obviously do not live in NY.  There are two kinds of high school diplomas here: one, a Regents diploma, confers some status on the bearer and most of its holders advance to higher education; the other, a non-Regents diploma, is still a diploma, but it won't get you into any of the MANY top-level institutions of higher learning in NY (though it would probably be enough to get you into Mississippi State).  If 50 percent of NYC kids are getting Regents diplomas, I'd say that's a pretty good batting average considering that less than 30 percent of Americans complete a college education.  

            In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

            by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:26:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Toyota is like Honda (none)
        They treat their workers like f*cking Gold... they don't need/want unions b/c there is no abuse; it's this weird kinda Japanese theory where they think that treating people well makes them feel valued and makes them want to work for you and want to do a good job... they end up with more productive workers with plenty of bonuses and time off and all kinds of great perks, who love their jobs and don't have to pay union dues b/c they're so happy...

        Anyway, I would wager the workforce in Ontario is still more/better educated that those in the states you mentioned; we have better public education, period.  

        "There is no spoon."

        by L0kI on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:46:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  educated workers (none)
          Anyway, I would wager the workforce in Ontario is still more/better educated that those in the states you mentioned; we have better public education, period.

          In a previous life, I was a machinist in Chicago.  I worked in a large plant, making parts for printing presses and other stuff.  In my area, there were American and foreign-born workers.  To a one, the foreigners (Korean, Ghanian, Indian, Polish, just to name the four points of origin that come first to mind) were far better educated - and far more generally informed and aware on many levels - than their American-born counterparts.

          The Americans were largely nice people, to be sure, but many were not only undereducated but seemed content with it.  Scary.

          If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

          by MN camera on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:45:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't know about other groups you mention (none)
            I do know that most Asian-born Koreans, Chinese, Japanese need at least an 8th grade level of education if not higher to be considered "literate" in their native countries. Their written language is very difficult to read and write. Whereas English speakers need about a 6th grade level of literacy to read the average newspaper, Asian-borns needs a much higher level to decipher the pictogramic aspect of their languages.
            •  Not quite true... (none)
              ...Korean (Hangul) is actually easier to read and decipher than English -- I learned it in one afternoon, then spent the better part of a year reading and thumbing through my dictionary to get the meanings of the words that were so easy to pronounce.  Of course, scholarly work in Korea includes many Chinese characters, but basic literacy is not difficult to achieve in that language.  

              In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

              by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:31:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Bullshit! (none)
          They treat their workers like anyone else.  What they do to avoid unions is prescreen job applicants and don't hire pro-union ones.  If they do get through, they fire them if they try to organize.  If they have a union vote, they hire a PR firm and tell everyone that the plant will close if they form a union.  If they form a union, they hire union-busting lawyers.  It's the same in every factory . . .

          The reason that those tactics generally don't work up here is that those of us who are familiar with unions know that the company line is complete BS.  Those in "right-to-work" states, however, are generally not familiar with unions and lap it up.  But Toyota and Hond <HEART> their workers?  Puh-leeze!

          •  You're only partially right... (none)
            ...Japanese business culture sees the company as more than a means of making a profit; it's sort of like a family.  This explains why layoffs are so rare and, when they do occur, devastating for the workers -- it's like being disowned by your family.  

            On the other hand, since the Japanese basically see us as barbarians, they probably don't treat their American workers as well as they do their Japanese workers.  

            In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

            by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:34:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Why, because you say so? (none)
        Canada's a lot more unionized than the US.  If unions themselves are the problem, you would have to explain why their demands are so unreasonable.  Is it because they want to keep the same level of health care without their premiums going through the roof?  Convenient scapegoat: the issue is the high cost of health care to begin with.  Besides, I didn't read anything about OH or MI offering hundreds of millions in corporate welfare like MS did.

        All you redstaters argue basically the same way.  First the misleading half-truth (Canadian health care is unconstitutional).  Then you pick a side point in one of the rebuttals and quibble with it, only to be thouroughly trounced again.  And now the baseless assertion about the evil unions being the problem.  Priceless.

        Still, I admire your nerve in posting that drivel here.  No cowardly editors to tilt the field in your favor.  Here, the flyerhawks have teeth.

        Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

        by Cream Puff on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 11:34:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What hoerseshit (none)
        They have unions in Canada too. Toyota is building the new plant in Canada because it costs less because of universal health care in that country, and the workers are just as skilled as down here.


        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:13:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  re: "Ontarians are easier" (none)
      As a single male in Toronto, I can categorically state that this is not the c...

      What's that?  Oh, "easier... to train".  


  •  I'm pretty sure Heath Care (none)
    is one of the reasons the Canadian Auto Workers broke from the US union.
  •  Is there a link to the letter from (none)
    the Big 3?

    Also, like anything, the Canadian system is not w/o some problems. Perhaps some Kosians from north of the 49th can tell us some of their experiences. I have a friend that works for a Canaian parts supllier in the US and is always blasting their system. I have read that delays in some medical treatment are caused by a shortage of providers (some of whom have emmigrated to the US).

    •  Never had a problem (4.00)
      I've never experienced much of a wait for anything, I've always been in and out with no trouble. There seems to be a myth out there that people with life-threating illnesses are put on waiting lists but that is never really true. I do know friends that have had to wait several months for a knee operation or similar procedures to fix things that may be uncomfortable but aren't going to kill you.
      •  Thank you. I hope to hear other (none)
        reports as well. I agree that there seems to be this myth that life saving treatment isn't readily available. And regarding wating periods - it's not like one doesn't wait for 'elective' surgery here in the States either.
        •  b/f is Canadian (none)
          He's never had a problem with getting medical care, and neither has anyone in his family.  

          Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

          by AMcG826 on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:03:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Or get denied (none)
          from your insurance company or end up with a large bill of leftovers when you have the procedure - we paid over $1000 a month last year to COBRA to keep up our benefits when my husband was laid off and still had bills in the neighbourhood of $1500 when my 1 year old had a seizure and had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital.  

          When we were in Ontario visiting my folks and my other son had to go into the ER for an infection the grand total there was about $350.  x-rays, IV antibiotics, treatment of the wound...everything $350.  

          Now, they both received excellent medical care but in both cases it was life threatening - if you walk into the ER and you've got an ear infection then you're looking at a wait time.   If you walk in with a heart attack you're going to the front of the line in Canada and you're not worrying about how you're going to pay for it.

          Nobody ever lost their house because they got sick in Canada.  

          (poster formerly known as confusedintexas name changed to reduce confusion)

          by lonestar canuck on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:37:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A febril seizure? (none)
            Our daughter has had a few, caused by a fast rise in body temp. We have read that she should grow out of them by 5 years, and she seems to have done that. Talk to your doc, but whenever she was getting warm, we started the every three hour dose of tylenol, switch to advil, etc. Makes for a few really long nights. Worst was when she had one on the cellar stairs.

            And yes, we also had an ambulance ride to pay for - on New Year's Day. Got that deductable right out of the way!

            •  Yup (none)
              Scariest thing I ever saw.  He went and had a second one a month later - not if he even looks at us hotly we hit him with the Tylenol.  

              It's a funny thing though - it's one of those commmonly uncommon things that kids get - if you mention it you'll find that everyone knows someone whose kid had one.   It's been a few months since he's had one and he's had fevers that didn't result in a seizure so the doctor thinks he's out of the woods.  We thought since he was #3 we'd seen everything but kids just keep thinking up new ways to scare the snot out of you.  

              (poster formerly known as confusedintexas name changed to reduce confusion)

              by lonestar canuck on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:50:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  May I add: (none)
            The time that folks have to take to argue and fight private insurers to cover their claims is ridiculous. And in many cases, people are not working in an office where they can ppick up a phone and do this.

            On top of this, many people do not get paid sick time - which also means that they cannot take paid time off to take their sick child to the doc. Ever wonder why day cares are such breeding grounds for illness?

            This system we have is so fucked up - and so short sighted. Hard to imagine that we sent anyone to the moon.

      •  As I understand it.... (none)
        the Canadian health care system puts a huge emphasis on preventative care through primary physicians, while also maintaining a pretty robust urgent and emergency care component. The issue with wait-times in Canada, to what extent they exist, seem to be mostly confined to elective or non-urgent procedures.
    •  My limited experiences (none)
      I've made a few emergency room visits over the years (for stitches and such) and, once you've been triaged, there is usually a three-plus hour wait, if you're not ciritcal.  But anytime you go, all you have to do is show your health card and you know that you're not going to be out of pocket.  

      That said, my dad had a heart attack three years ago and was treated immediately.  Got the blood thinners and whatever else he needed right away and had a comfortable stay for the next week or so, first in the cardiac unit and then in a regular room.  The doctors and nurses were fantastic (if overworked).  And at the end, his only out of pocket was for the ambulance ride (which may have been covered by supplemental insurance, I can't recall).  

      •  Triage (none)
        IS an effective system, while it is true there may be discomfort for those not in life threating situations or in great pain it allows the system to work.....

        Most complaints regarding the canadian system are for surgury and procedures that are not life threatening....and in some cases delays in threatment of serious conditions is a concern.   These are the key issues for most people, and they are hopefully being addressed.

        It's a tricky thing but it works for the most part and there is a passion for most Canadians to make it work.

        41 billion to the provinces over the next few years will help.

        Imagine for a sec if Bush put 350 million new resource to health care...then imagine that the Canadian system is so far ahead tthat for Bush to make the system equal it would cost Trillions.

      •  asdf (4.00)
        I've made a few emergency room visits over the years (for stitches and such) and, once you've been triaged, there is usually a three-plus hour wait, if you're not ciritcal.

        Doesn't sound any different from here. Honestly. I've spent amazing amounts of time sitting around emergency rooms in CA, depending on the time of day, etc. I'm never particularly that grumpy about sitting around waiting for my piddly wounds or sprains or whatever to be addressed, when there are people being ambulanced in all over the place.

        And with the "elective" surgeries, I think a lot of people should bear in mind just a couple of things about the US system:

        1. Many, many of us either don't have health insurance or have such crappy insurance with high deductables/whatever that we simply can't afford to do it unless it's emergency. That costs everybody more in the long run.

        2. The wait for many of these surgeries here is similarly often very long.

        3. Our system is absolutely crappy when it comes to, for example, any kind of preventive care.

        4. For all of this, we wind up paying a crapload, both as employees and as employers. My girlfriend (domestic partner) and I pay enough, not counting what her employer (the public library -- with our tax dollars) pays, that if I weren't worried about catastrophic/emergency care, it would be far cheaper to be uninsured and deal with routine costs and the like out of pocket.

        The thing that gets me is that every time I listen to my Canadian friends complain about the problems that are there in their system, I think to myself, wow, we have all of those problems, plus some, and we pay more.
      •  as opposed to our system (none)
        which just discharged my mother with pnuemonia. Handed her four precriptions to fill and sent her home, where we had to call around to four pharmacies to find out who had what name brands and generics in stock. $50,000 and they can't give her a fucking two day supply so we can get her settled in.

        At the last Osco drugs there was an insurance agent on contract to sell Medicare plan D for an insurance company contracted by Osco. He had a sign saying "Plan D info" like he was there to do everybody a big fat favor.

        He was getting $25 an app, and he was tossing numbers at heart disease victims and diabetics fast enough to make my head spin, and I've done quite a bit of research on this.

        Fuckin' 21st Century in America and it's still the guys on the back of wagons sellin' snake oil.

        I guess that's the charm Reader's Digest means by "This American Life"!

        not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that y'all continue to do that

        by le sequoit on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 02:35:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Another Canadian Healthcare data point (4.00)
      My wife (a prof at a local college, medical field) worked with a Canadian woman who's husband was doing research at a research hospital in town.  They saw the US and Canadian healthcare systems from both the consumer and provider points of view. They were politely (being Canadian) astonished that americans would put up with the US system. That includes the Docs.

      Oh, and as my wife is fond of pointing out, the US has worse infant mortality rates than a number of third world countries.

    •  Nova Scotia here... (none)
      Four times in the last 7 years we've had to use the ER, and every time, the service and treatment has been outstanding and immediate. And the beauty part of it was... NO BILL OF ANY KIND!

      Sure, we pay 15 percent sales tax, but fuck, it's worth it to me.

      No one in my family has waited more than a day or two to see their family doctor, and we can pick any doctor we want.

      My father-in-law had to have hernia repair surgery earlier this year (not a strangled bowel emergency, either) and he had it done three weeks from the day he saw the specialist.

      Prescriptions are not covered under national health care (unless you're poor), but our company plan is great (ten percent co-pay) and they are cheaper than in the US anyway if you don't have a prescription drug plan.

      When I hear people in the US complain about the Canadian healthcare system when they have never set foot in Canada, it boggles my mind.

      I have no complaints so far, none at all. And I'm a transplant from Louisiana who's lived here 8 years.

      I am become Dubya, Destroyer of Words...

      by Swampfoot on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 04:39:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is the Canadian VAT sim (none)
        to the one in the UK? I know that theirs is dedicated to the national health care system. I have read some about it, know that it is a regressive tax, but that it seems to work. Comments from the UK?
        •  British VAT (none)
          Not quite right: Vat (our sales tax) is at 17.5%, but just goes towards the general taxation pot. The Health Service is, theoretically, funded by National Insurance, essentially a payroll tax. I pay about 5% of my wages, and my employers about 10% (it may be a little more). There is a cut-off so that after a given maximum monthly contribution, you don't pay any more. N.I. also covers old-age pensions, unemployment benefit and other minor benefits.
      •  May I add: (none)
        I am discouraged at the use of prescription drugs, or in my mind, the overuse. Triage is mentioned in this thread, and part of triage:

        is the care given going to be effective?

        It seems that in many cases the drugs administered have little or no effect, but the cost!!! My mom is taking 8 or more meds - I'm sure we all have this story - and I ask her if ANY of them make her feel better.

        This topic seems radioactive amongst politicians. They, and their constituents (us) just want to find a way to pay for them, and no one seems to ask if they are necessary.

  •  Recently Ontario surpassed Michigan (none)
    in annual automobile production.

    It seems that the US auto producers have been voting with their feet for government provided health insurance for quite some time.

    Perhaps the Big Three are getting tired of indirectly paying fo rhte health care of Wla-Mart's employees.

    The Dems need to frame National Health Insurance as a way to maintain our industrial base.

    (-2.75,-4.77) "Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose." Senator Barack Obama

    by Sam I Am on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:29:32 AM PST

  •  ontario vs michigan (4.00)
    i lived in ontario all my life, now attending law school in michigan

    people immediately complain that when you spread the  same amount of resources over the entire population, of course wait times will increase, well of course, we are not inventing medicine with a wish, the US and Canada have to deal with what they have.

    universal health care is a better use of public resources however, since health care is a public good, i benefit by living in ontario where people are heathy and dont get sicker, keep thier jobs, keep paying taxes, dont get depressed or desperate, dont resort to crime or drugs if they cant work and so on.

    why does canada have lower crime?
    we are we (a little) healthier then americans?
    you guys spend way more per person when you visit the hospital.

    its because health care has secondary effects which help everyone. when i lived in my old apartment, i walked by a "party" (beer) store everyday. without fail all the men hanging around it were, black, and often unhealthy (crutches, oxygen tanks, coughing,)

    i have never imagined such a strong race-health correlation in my life until i moved to michigan.

    think of it this way - there are what, 45 million people without insurance in the US right? the population of the US is growing by over a million a year? health care is getting more expensive?

    where will this leave you guys in 20 years? it could be that half of your country wouldnt have health care at this rate. wont your productivity and lifespans start regressing? wont that affect the social fabric of your nation?

    its obvious that sooner or later, when there are enough people who are always sick, it will weigh down society enough to be a crisis.

    and even know its retarded to say that the "uninsured" in america are not insured. they ARE insured, its all the money that goes into public services like hospitals, police services, ambulances and such that take care of their problems when they hit rock bottom that is paid for by taxpayers that is their insurance.

    i cannot imagine how america, the strongest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world, cant find the will to organize quality health care and education that leads the industrialized nations.

    its a good thing there is so much money for the somewhat smart (apparently i am one of them because i am on scholarship here, but i plan to go  back to canada since now that i am here i cant imagine living here without being in a gated community to hide from the social problems) because its the top 33% of american socity that brings up the overall productivity average to anything respectable.

    if you guys dont elect a democrat in 08 i will never talk to you again


    •  What law school do you go to Bitch? (none)
      And what brought you down into the Den of Vice that is lovely Michigan?
      •  well... (none)
        well i would rather not say too much since my radical leftist views could conceivably get me in trouble somehow (there are repulican chapters and federalist societys at all lawschools and they are pretty agressive about pointing out anything that is anti-war or anti-bush as being unpatriotic, and since i am not even a citizen, i am sure they would accuse me of being a spy or something, i am minorty to boot so i would get a one way trip to guantanamo!) i have been known to say some very stupid things on the net in the course of heated poltical debate.

        but i came here because i am doing a duel degree so i get both my US and canadian degrees in 4 years instead of 6 by doing 2 years at each school.
        then i am heading back to canada to practice in either international trade/NAFTA stuff (to make sure we get those softwood duties back and such) or intellectual property stuff.

        most of the trade is ontario-michigan based so i want to be licensed to practice in both states/countries

        actually i am surprised by how polite michigan people are, generally good natured and in good spirits. but the racial divide is just crazy, i guess the poverty that spills out of detriot and flint is unique, but all the educated blacks and whites live on teh good side of town, and everyone else lives together. its such a segregated society based on social-class, its amazing.

        and such consumerism, when did christmas become about buying out best buy? where does everyone get all this money to spend on SUVs? man your econonomy is strong, low interest rates, lots of credit. talk about consumer society. nowhere else in teh world even comes close to this kind of broad based consumerism. even middle class people here buy like kings!!

        unfortunaty michigan is as cold as canada right now


        •  Interesting (none)
          but i came here because i am doing a duel degree

          I did something similiar: I majored in unarmed combat and literary criticism.

          If necessary, I can kill a man with irony. But only in self defense. :)

          •  Suppose that a duel degree (none)
            is never out of date, at least as long as Alexander Hamilton in on the $10 bill.

            As an aside, too bad Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush didn't settle their differences in a similar manner . . . . (don't think it takes alot of imagination to predict the winner . . . )

          •  I'm torn... (none)
            ...On the one hand, your comment brought forth a hearty chuckle; on the other, I consider it bad form to prey on what could have been an innocent typo.  

            In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

            by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:49:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well, (none)
          I went to UM and still live in the mitten, so welcome to MI.  Sorry about all the rednecks, but some of them are good folk (really).  

          Yes, the Feddies are, well, evil.  Back when I was in law school, they were mainly concerned with domestic policy, specifically how to get the mostest to the richest and have a screwfest on the poorest.  They seemed to attract the libertarian types, back when they were allied with the right.  Seems like the libertarians have faced a the moment when their true colors can be seen - they can side with civil liberties or economic elitism.  Not surprisingly, most have chosen the latter.

          Interestingly, most of the Canadians I've met who come to America, specifically those who coem to attend law school, are conservatives and fit in here so well that they don't want to leave.  Glad to see we snagged a lefty this time.

      •  lovely nicks (none)
        "Whore, this is Bitch"

        "Bitch, meet Whore...and welcome to Michigan"


    •  We've Elected a Democrat (none)
      Four times in a row.  It's just that the last two times they were not allowed to actually take office because we have become a fascist state.

      P.S.  Will you marry me so I can move to Ontario?

  •  Well... (none)
    ...They support canadian healthcare in CANADA.  When are they going to band together and write a letter to DC asking for a single payer health care plan?  I'll bet the airline industry would jump to sign onto THAT letter.

    The GOP Love the soldiers like they love children: Seen but not heard.

    by DawnG on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:46:44 AM PST

  •  oh another thing (none)
    yes we have longer waits then americans,

    but  NOBODY in canda ever worries about loosing their job and coverage and being bankrupt because of medical bills like the US. it never crossed my mind until i lived here and i see the political commercials about loosing health care coverage. so much resources are wasted down here on private plans  you guys could cure cancer with it.

    and as much as wait times such, imagine who many americans delay and put off medical treatment because of the costs? that is the same thing as not having resources, if you must ration your purchase of health care.

    canadians actually live longer then americans right?
    so is our waiting times (as much as they suck sometimes) actually making us sicker? in most cases i would say no. from a national view, i would take the chance that i have to wait to live in this country.


    •  Actually, I am starting to think that we dont (none)
      have longer waits then americans

      Have you seen any hard data about this? All I see is anecdotes, suppositions, hear-say and accusatory insinuations. And whiny old rich white men who refuse to wait for their hip replacement surgery because the surgeons are busy with a 10 year old boy in critical need. And then there is Daily Kos and many many people in many diaries, just like that RN above, who describe not only long wait times, but services outright denied by the HMOs and the private insurers in the US.

      I am starting to strongly believe that this whole "wait time" meme is a Rovian sabotage campaign intended to indoctrinate both Americans as to "inferiority" of the Canadian system and to prepare us Canadians for "two-tier" profit-mongering privatization of our Universal Medicare, "for our own good, you understand". Never you mind the sea-view palaces and 40-footer yachts being already pre-ordered by the chief promoters of those "improvements".

      •  Well, I waited four months... (none)
        ...for double hernia surgery, though I wasn't in any sort of critical condition. But my parents, in their 80s, seem to have no trouble getting everything immediately, up to and including brain scans and surgery if necessary.

        Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.
        (The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not understood it.)

        by sagesource on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 09:44:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A different type of waiting (none)
      There is a common misconception that the Uninsured don't get health care.

      They do - just visit your local ER.  What happens in the US is that the poor will put off seeing a Dr until the problem becomes so severe the only option is to go to the ER.  This has 5 results:

      1.  Their condition becomes far worse than it would have been if they had been able to see a Doc when it first developed.
      2.  The total cost to the system is actually far higher since the condition will probably be worse, and ER's are ungodly expensive.
      3.  The poor will often face bankrupcy since the bill will be far beyond their ability to pay.
      4.  Those with insurance will ultimately pay the bill, since the hospital will have to recover the amount it writes off as a result of care provided to the uninsured.
      5.  Since the care was provided by an ER, there will be little/no follow up after the ER visit.
      •  Sidelight on cost deterrence... (none)
        About a month ago in Vancouver, the newspapers were headlining a study done, I think, for the provincial government. It concluded that making seniors pay ANYTHING for ANY of their drugs was a money-loser in the long term, because if there is a charge for medicine, it is inevitable that some people (cheapskate or very poor) will be reluctant to pay it, and will skimp on their pills or not take them at all. These people have a high likelihood of ending up in hospital, where they cost the system thousands a day. Thus, footing the entire bill for the prescriptions of seniors, as well as for their doctors' bills, makes good economic sense.

        Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.
        (The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not understood it.)

        by sagesource on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 09:42:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You Forgot #6 (none)
        The poor person will have his credit rating obliterated, his mailbox stuffed with dunning notices and multiple phone calls from bill collectors for money he/she doesn't have.
      •  and #7 (none)
        Go to the ER and use someone elses name and address.
    •  Another 'benefit' often forgotten (none)
      although one might not wish to encourage it, you can quit a shitty job in Canada with no fear of losing your health insurance. Same goes for a layoff.

      One less thing over your head if you can't stand your boss.

      I am become Dubya, Destroyer of Words...

      by Swampfoot on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 04:51:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  HSAs and "personal responsibility" (4.00)
    Even though big companies hate the costs of health insurance, and would rather start factories in countries where health care is nationalized, I think the reason the big companies are not demanding national health insurance now is they are sold on the concept of HSAs replacing employer provided health insurance in the US, for which they would pay very little.  The employee would be responsible for his or her own health care (and if you look at the details of these plans anyone with a chronic illness may as well be dead); the corporate employer would be off the hook both for the cost of insurance and for the (perceived) extra taxation needed to pay for national health insurance.  Plus a lot of the big corporations are now running insurance businesses, e.g., GE Long term care insurance.

    Hence I don't think we'll get the big corporations on our side on this issue.  

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:50:29 AM PST

    •  HSAs cannot take the place of (none)
      employer provided insurance.  They can only cushion (for the employer) the effect of constantly rising premiums.  A basic employer sponsored $1500.00 deductible policy now runs $250-375/month per insured.  This is more than a $250.00 deductible policy cost a few years ago.  Employers and employees are paying more for less, and HSAs don't begin to make up the difference, even if employees can afford to contribute to them.

      "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - Monty Python

      by MadRuth on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:21:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that's not it (none)
      The extended relationship between the existing lobbying and political funding organizations' current aims run counter to proposing single-payer in the US. Thus, the problem is one of inertia/momentum. ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

      by wystler on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 02:07:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Personally (none)
    If we were to have a single-payor health care system, I would prefer we stick to the American Medicare-Medicaid style system as opposed to the Canadian single-payor system with premiums in the form of payroll taxes and no cost-sharing (co-payments, deductibles, etc.).  Most Americans are comfortable and like the Medicare-Medicaid program, so selling such a program would not require as much selling to the American public as going to a Canadian-style system would (not that selling a single-payor system isn't already an uphill battle).  Also, with no co-pay and no deductibles, there would be just too much moral hazard.  I like having premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc. and having Medicaid subsidize these payments for low-income families.

    The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

    by jim bow on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:07:42 AM PST

    •  Stop and think about what you are saying here. (none)
      Where do you think the funds come from to support Medicare?  Ever take a look at your pay stub and wonder what those deductions were?  Most companies probably still use Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), but this figure (matched by your employer) is actually comprised of two components Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI, aka Social Security) and Medicare.

      If you want to overpay for healthcare, in order to subsidize the thousands of administrators and CEOs, you are more than welcome to do so, but I would prefer to get a much better bang for my buck.  If we were to switch to a program where Medicare would be available to everyone, there would actually be a net savings per person.  Only a portion of what is already being paid as insurance premiums, co-pays, and out-of-pocket costs would need to be contributed into the Medicare pool. The rest would be available as actual wages for the employee portion and a contribution to net profits for the employer portion not paid out under this scenario.

      The administrative overhead for Medicare is at roughly 3%, while it is more like 25-40% for "regular" health insurance.

      •  I don't understand your point (none)
        I wrote that I would support expanding Medicare to everyone.  I just oppose a plan with no deductibles and no co-insurance -- like Canada's.  Medicaid would subsidize Medicare deductibles and copay for low income families.  I also think that for those who prefer private insurance, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), which I have as a federal employee, should also be open to available to everyone.

        The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

        by jim bow on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 02:17:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not understanding (none)
          what value you see in deductibles and co-pays.  Neither of these add any value to the healthcare you will receive.  However, as I understand the Canadian system, anyone can purchace additional insurance products, which seems to be what you are looking for in a similar system here.  Also, as I understand things, the FEHBP is essentially Medicare without having to wait until 65.
          •  Deductibles and copays (none)
            Imagine if there were a soda machine at your office that costed $0.10/can.  How would people behave?  Everyone would race to the soda machine each day.

            Well, health care is similar.  Without deductibles and co-pay, there would be complete overuse of health services.  We would have to ration health care (as we now do in the form of pricing over 45 million Americans out of health insurance) in some form to lower costs.  That's why I oppose eliminating deductibles and co-payments.

            The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

            by jim bow on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 08:08:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It's disgusting... (4.00)
    the entire US health care system is completely broken. HMOs and other so called managed care providers are to blame. I bet they've actually increased costs per patient over the long haul... because by nickel and diming everything... you end up with doctors ordering tests, extra visits, consults, that aren't necessary just to squeeze a few more bucks out of the system. The claim that it's the cost of high tech care that drives our system up, I sincerly doubt this, it this lack of oversight and the poor management of Health Insurance companies. The insurance industry is about as poorly run as you could possibly imagine.  You include this mismanagement with the insane overhead created by their management of insurance and insurance claims, etc. and you end up with costs through the roof.

    Universal health care just makes so much sense. And those of us who are most likely to complain about wait times, etc. already have the means to buy more insurance, or to pay out of pocket.

    There's no pro-business justification either. Because I'm sure the eventual tax burden on businesses will be far less than what most employeers are paying in health insurance now. Let's not forget about all  the other insurance you have to buy to feel even a little comfortable if you had a long term illness like some disability insurance, etc.

    •  Another way Businesses (none)
      would benefit is that fewer people would be claiming their non-industrial injuries as work related, and workers' comp rates would go down.

      A company I used to work for made all non-exempt employees part time so they would no longer be eligible for medical benefits. The WC cases doubled. When they made everyone full time again and they got their eligibility back, the WC injury rate went back to normal.

  •  A new "Starve the Beast" (4.00)
    Lately, I've been wondering if the Republican reluctance to act on the health care crisis in America comes from indifference to the suffering of the poor and middle classes, or if this is something intentional.

    In the past few weeks, we've seen unions and employers battling it out over the issue of healthcare. Besides the well publicized issue of the UAW and GM, there was a transit strike in Philadelphia over healthcare costs, and a teacher's strike in southern NJ (I'm sure there are more local examples across the country).

    In each of these cases, the union was forced to compromise. In the the case of GM, this was not enough, and GM then laid-off several thousand unionized employees. The result was that the UAW compromised with Ford rather than have the same outcome as with GM.

    Seeing how the healthcare crisis in America seems to be having an adverse effect on unionized workers and unions in general, could this lack of action on the issue of healthcare by our GOP-controlled government be intentional?

    Just as "Starve the Beast" is about creating a crisis so as to weaken government, could the healthcare crisis be a way for the Republicans to weaken the position of workers in the worker-employer relationship?

    We know that the GOP likes to use crisis to their adavantage -- see 9/11, Katrina, or the made-up "crisis" with Social Security. Is this perhaps just more of the same?

    •  Rationing (4.00)
      I really do not beleive it is intentional but more of a fear of the alternative.  The "haves" in control in America now get their healthcare just fine with minimal rationing effecting them!  Any alternative system will cause a different form of rationing which can only be bad for them.  Add to that the provider supply issues problem, and any healthcare system based more on an  egalitarian approach can only effect the "haves' adversely.  That is why this issue goes nowhere.  The good solutions are not good for enough powerful folks. Se my recent diary about this for some insights.  

      IMO, solutions to our healthcare system crisis will be unbelievably difficult in this coutry because we are selfish and not egalitarian at heart!

      Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

      by truthbetold on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 08:40:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's good for GM is good for the Canada (none)
    errrr- "country" ... how did that go again?
  •  Automakers don't want (none)
    national health insurance here so they can use it as an excuse to move prduction to China.
  •  Canadian vs US systems (4.00)
    While I very much doubt that the big three automakers could ever agree to do anything together, I seriously doubt that they would infringe on Canadian politics like this when Health care is not really in any danger of changing.  But, with all the rhetoric on which is best Cdn or US keep in mind this:  All health care has a cost and , in Canada, it is kept under control by not making doctors millionaires and paying less for the medical staff than the US (which is why many leave) and also reducing administrative costs and not wasting money on marketing as well as not being profit making.  In the long run, how can ANYONE think, with all those advantages, that Canada is not , overall, more economical a system?  The US has too much invested in the corporate culture of healthcare.  It is not about providing a basic health service to all, it is about making the most profit from those who are capable of paying.
    •  Here's some research for you (none)
      The group to which I belong, the Democracy Club of Elk Grove Township (IL) held our monthly meeting with a guest speaker from Physicians for a National Health Program.  The speaker was Dr. Basil Bradlow, who presented many comparisons between the US and Canadian (as well as UK, France, Germany and Sweden) "Healthcare Systems."  I'm not sure if the figures he was using are at their site, but the presentation essentially boiled down to the fact that we are paying nearly twice as much per capita and getting half as much when it comes to health care.

      If I remember things correctly (help me out here my good friends to the north), the only thing missing from the Canadian system versus ours is the profit motive.

  •  This is what we need.... (none)
    corporations that will back national health care...because let's be honest for a second, the only way we're going to get EVERY American health care is if it benefits the damn corporations!

    Now I just hope the Dems stand up and get to the negotiating table with these companies...sure, the insurance industry will freak out, as will the pharmacuticals....but with SOME corporations on our side (even if for the wrong reasons) we should be able to put up a bigger fight.

    •  Those are going to be some uncomfortable times (none)
      at the country club in Palm Beach this winter when the Auto industry execs are seated at a table next to the healthcare execs.  

      Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

  •  They Just Won't Offer Healthcare Benefits (none)
    To Americans.  It's very simple.  Healthcare is simply disappearing in America.  There is increasingly no such thing.

    The future is: hope you don't get sick until you finally do and then die broke.  Hopefully you left some poor kids behind to continue the cycle and replace you at your job as a Wal-Mart shelf-stacker.

    I expect within the next few years you'll see bills before Congress assigning healthcare and credit card debts incurred by deceased parents to their children.  These will pass easily.

    America is becoming a giant prison and slave labor camp, just like our hero China.  We are now living in a fascist nightmare from which we cannot awaken.

    •  That's pretty defeatist (none)
      Are there forces pushing that way?  Hell yeah.  That's why we need to push back.  History shows us nothing if not that dark times come and go, but (for lack of a better term) evil is always kept at bay.  

      I have no idea how bad things are going to get, but I'm not about to declare the situation hopelesss and give up.  Besides, the worst case scenario is thermonuclear annihilation or perhaps drastic climate change that makes Katrina look like a walk in the park.

      In that case, one word:  Atlantis.  Humanoids have been on this planet for about a million years.  You don't really believe that technology only appeared in the last 10,000 years, do you?  Big Momma Earth kills off "great" civilizations and leaves little trace of them.  The survivors tell stories that become -- 50,000 years after the total collapse -- myth.  In 40,000 years all the cars, malls, trinkets and gadgets will be nothing more than interesting rock formations.  Civilization is a Phoenix.  Frankly, if we kill ourselves off, yeah, it's gonna suck, but it won't be the end of the world.  

      In every stage of these Oppressions...: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury." DoI, TJ

      by ChuckLin on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 07:00:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone who wants National Healthcare (4.00)
    must read "One Nation, Uninsured" by Jill Quadagno. Once you read the book you will have a much better grasp of why developing national healthcare has consistantly failed in the US and the history of its defeat. Think AMA and insurance companies.... think Ohio and Florida.....

    Once you read it you will have a greater understanding of what you are up against.

    Know your enemies!

  •  one way to skin a cat (none)
    This might be the only way to defeat the pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists is to have the other corporate lobbyists gang up on them and crush them.

    by BobOak on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 11:48:42 AM PST

  •  Universal Government-Provided Health Care (none)
    Our system up here is great. Sometimes you'll hear a few negative comments, but they mostly come from our wealthy neocons who can't jump ahead of a poor person for surgery. These people usually go where their money does talk - the good old U S of A.

    My father-in-law just spent three days in hospital intensive care on heart monitoring equipment and another two days in a regular room. The television rental was $3.00 a day and parking for visitors was $2.00 upon exit. Those were the costs. What's not to like?

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 12:07:18 PM PST

  •  Slightly misleading diary headline (none)
    although it gets at something important. U.S. automakers support Canadian-style healthcare in Canada, but not in the U.S. Rick Waggoner, floating trial balloons for pension-dumping and ugly financials earlier in the year, specifically disavowed any interest in moving to universal healthcare. I know Ford has made similar noises, though I'm having little luck Googling it. Whether that's due to simple change-averseness or because the GOP and Engler's NAM have his dick in a clamp, I don't know. But the question should be put to them: if they support such a system in Canada, why shouldn't they support one in the U.S.?

    "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    by Septic Tank on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 12:07:32 PM PST

  •  The Economist Survey on Health Care (none)
    Approximately two years ago the Economist did a survey of Health Care of western countries. One of the measures they used for success was the survival rate of persons treated after major surgery for certain cancers and heart problems in all of the countries in the survey. Britain, Canada, US, Germany and Japan were a few of the participants.

    If memory serves me correctly,comparing the dollars spent by the US vs Canada per capita, the US spends more overall on health care , did not translate into longer survival rates. The rates of survival were similar. The US may spend more but it does not translate into higher survival rates.

    This is an excellent measure of the two systems.

  •  Edit (none)
    US Auto Companies Support Canadian Health System
  •  We have to compete (none)
    This isa trend. Wether or not the US desires government funded health care we must compete or our businesses must compete against countries whose businesses do not have to worry about healthcare cost or management of the systems. One day we will have to have it and we may as well accept it.

    Worst President Ever!

    by tchoup on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 01:05:56 PM PST

  •  It's a Progressive Plot (none)
    Years ago, way before First Lady Hillary pushed for univesal health care, a group of Progressives formed a vast underground network of operatives to infiltrate the conservative movement.  Their goal was to undercut anything that helped make health care affordable.  Anything that drove up the price was good, and it was all masked as "free market forces."  

    Their aim was to drive up the cost so much that the traditional enemies of "socialized medicine" would find that their ability to compete against other more-progressive societies was undermined, pushing them to the brink of bankruptcy.

    After over twenty years of subtrafuge, their plot is bearing fruit as the behemoths of industry begin to push for universal health care...


    Ok, that was fiction.  Wishful thinking, actually.  Because if that was a conservative aim, that's exactly how the consevatives would have gone about achieving their goal.  

    Oh, well.  As GWB sez: the end justifies the means.

  •  You know what's funny (none)
    These same automakers have not publicly come out in defense of a universal healthcare system in the United States. It makes you wonder why? Is their political hackdom getting the better of them?
    Instead, we are hearing people like Rick Wagoner, the CEO of GM discussing how the healthcare crisis means employees should pay more out of their pocket.

    Mikhail Khaimov San Francisco, CA

    by Tsarrio on Fri Dec 16, 2005 at 03:15:05 PM PST

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