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  • Flu season is peaking.

    As many as three of four Colorado children who died of flu complications may not have been vaccinated, state health officials said Thursday.

    Note the implication. However, flu vaccine makes you "flu-resistant", not "flu-proof" (maybe 70% efficacy), but it's still a good thing to do. Flu trends in your state can be found here.

  • NY Times: be at the table, or be on the menu:

    Many of the parties, from big insurance companies to lobbyists for consumers, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, are embracing the idea that comprehensive health care legislation should include a requirement that every American carry insurance.

  • Oh, Canada!

    Nancy Folbre:

    There’s no evidence that Canada’s public provision of health care and social benefits has reduced its economic growth, and the federal budget just presented is the first to show a deficit in 11 years.

    Fareed Zakaria:

    Canada has been remarkably responsible over the past decade or so. It has had 12 years of budget surpluses, and can now spend money to fuel a recovery from a strong position. The government has restructured the national pension system, placing it on a firm fiscal footing, unlike our own insolvent Social Security. Its health-care system is cheaper than America's by far (accounting for 9.7 percent of GDP, versus 15.2 percent here), and yet does better on all major indexes. Life expectancy in Canada is 81 years, versus 78 in the United States; "healthy life expectancy" is 72 years, versus 69. American car companies have moved so many jobs to Canada to take advantage of lower health-care costs that since 2004, Ontario and not Michigan has been North America's largest car-producing region.

  • Reuters:

    A prominent private U.S. health policy group on Thursday proposed creating a major new public health program and government-operated insurance exchange as part of a plan to expand coverage and rein in health care costs.

    The Commonwealth Fund, a leading private health policy research group, unveiled a comprehensive plan for changing a U.S. health care system that is the world's most expensive yet lags many other nations in important measures of quality.

    They hope the Obama administration and lawmakers consider the ideas as they move forward this year with plans for major changes in the health care system. This plan is one of many being advanced as U.S. policymakers move toward action.

    The proposal favors a mix of public and private insurance options over the idea of a fully government-run health system.

    More here.

  • Eat healthy, or else.

    According to a new study, people who live near fast food restaurants have a higher risk of stroke than those who do not live near these restaurants.

    The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan and focused on various areas of Nueces County, Texas.

  • The Thursday Night Health Series from Daily Kos features ramara on child and adolescent mental health care. In many states like mine, there just aren't enough services, including inpatient beds.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  For medicinal uses, only (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, axel000

    There's always money for booze and in hard times, you need hard liquor.

    Jim Beam Got My Mom Pregnant w/poll.

    The Tutoring Room is updated (new diary) on Wed. mornings. 2/18: Up the Down Staircase

    by algebrateacher on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:32:46 AM PST

    •  A "happy Buddha" statuette got my mom pregnant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just before my mom passed away, I found a charmingly well-crafted "happy Buddha" statuette among her bounteous collection of antiques and tingaleechees. It was in such good condition I was surprised to learn he was ~50 years old, made in post WWII Japan. She said she packed him away in the mid-'50s right after she rubbed his little pot belly for good luck and immediately got pregnant with my baby sister! Sssssneaksssssy Buddha....

      (The Jim Beam came later, when she was raising 3 teenagers.)

  •  Texas State representative to march with veterans (0+ / 0-)

    In latest push for VA hospital

    AUSTIN, February 19 - State Rep. Aaron Peña announced Thursday that he will once again march with Rio Grande Valley veterans in their push for a VA hospital.

    As first revealed in the Guardian on Wednesday, the 250-mile trek takes place during spring break week, starting in Edinburg on Saturday, March 14, and finishing in San Antonio on Friday, March 20.

    A veterans’ march along the same route and for the same cause was held in November 2005. Peña participated in that march, thereby helping to bring added state and national attention.

    "It was an honor to walk along with these South Texas heroes in 2005," Peña said. "It has been four years and there may be question as to whether or not the body is able but my fire for the causes of our Valley veterans still burns. I will walk and talk, file bills and do anything I can to help our veterans. I am ready to join these men, women, their families and friends on another march to San Antonio."

    Read Rest Here

    "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

    by jimstaro on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:33:24 AM PST

  •  Raise hand if health ins more than mortgage (9+ / 0-)

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:33:52 AM PST

  •  Obama didn't mention while in Canada... (9+ / 0-)

    that not one single Canadian bank has failed.

    Maybe Americans might want to stop criticizing Canada's health care and look at its banking system.

    Member of the "Fellows of the Ass Society." Dedicated to reminding people that most knowledge still comes from books. Not Wikipedia.

    by David Kroning on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:33:54 AM PST

    •  BTW, Canada's budget shows a deficit... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      relentless, Egalitare, Meggie

      largely because of the huge expenditures related to its continued involvement in Afghanistan.  We are a nation of 30 million and have shouldered a disproportional burden.  It's time for Canadian soldiers to come home.

      Member of the "Fellows of the Ass Society." Dedicated to reminding people that most knowledge still comes from books. Not Wikipedia.

      by David Kroning on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:36:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lower revenue is the real reason (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Canada is largely a resource-based nation so lower oil prices, dramatically lower exports, have had a huge impact.

        Also, the conservative government decided 2008 was a good year for tax cuts. D'uh..

        Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

        by Scarce on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:51:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once again, all associated with American madness. (0+ / 0-)

          George Bush's nasty mad-cow retaliation, his soft-wood lumber tarrifs that were decried by the WTO.  Draconian and confusing enforcement of the border have all contributed to a slow-down in trade.

          Member of the "Fellows of the Ass Society." Dedicated to reminding people that most knowledge still comes from books. Not Wikipedia.

          by David Kroning on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:15:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It wasn't just 2008. (0+ / 0-)

          The Cons have slashed government revenue in the past few years since coming to government - lowering the GST, nice corporate tax cuts (the oilpatch loved those), and (comparatively) small cuts to personal income tax.  

          The deficit the Cons predicted for this year - only after prodding by the Opposition - wasn't really a big surprise.

          ... Where is Baldwin?
          ... Où est Lafontaine?

          by Wisewood on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 12:36:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, thank you and your country for your (0+ / 0-)

        continued support after 9/11.  I hope Americans do take the time to thank your country for its continued help, even when we re-elected an idiot who no longer cared about the issue.

  •  I'm wary, to say the least (8+ / 0-)

    that negotiations involving insurance companies and Big Pharma will produce a good ultimate result.

  •  4 out of 5 dentists recommend... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, DJShay, stonepier, COkdub

  •  Our own insolvent Social Security? (4+ / 0-)

    Wait a minute!!!

    Just four years ago we had no serious Social Security problem and George Bush was just being alarmist so that he could create a bonanza for Wall Street.

    There was no crisis, no crisis at all.

    How can this be -- unless, perhaps, John Kerry wasn't completely and 100% truthful...

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:35:30 AM PST

    •  Social Security's only problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      geordie, Robobagpiper, stonepier

      is a bunch of greedy, deadbeats are supposed to pay it back and they don't want to, because then they would have to pay more taxes in to pay for their wars and other unecessary expenditures like shoring up the banks.

      The gov is legally entitled to borrow the surplus. The Social Security Administration buys treasury bonds with the surplus, then the government uses the money. Since the interest on treasury bonds is 0% now, they should put it in a safe place and not spend it. That way at least we would be assured of the principal of the surplus we pay in from now on.

      Why are they spending it if they can't pay it back?

      Do we have leaders?  I think not, I think we have had muggers in our government long enough.

      Obama needs to stop the madness and take Social Security off the table, unless he is prepared to do the right thing and insist they quit borrowing it. And they should pay back the surplus as it is needed and quit listening to the Peterson/republican leaders crowd.

      •  The government isn't permitted to spend the money (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, axel000

        from the SS surplus. It's required to. That's what happens to bonds, they go into the treasury.

        That's why the "trust fund" has been a scam from the start. It was basically a way to subsidize general revenues now via social security and to kick the crisis in the treasury down the road, when the treasury would have to pay it back.

        No one wants to admit this, not even Dems, so they're trying to portray SS and FICA as the one with the problem, not the general tax base.

        •  It's not a scam. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What do you think a bank does when you set up a trust account?  It lends the money out while you don't need to use it.  Ditto for the Social Security Fund.  It's nothing more than a national savings account.

          If Treasury bonds are indeed at 0%, that's a real scandal.  Of course, the persistent reduction of interest rates by the Federal Reserve has been screwing up seniors for years.  When prudent seniors put their spare cash into CDs in the late nineties, they could earn 6%--i.e. six thousand dollars of income ($500 a month) on a nest egg of a hundred thousand (probably from selling a house).  That's now been reduced to less than a thousand a year--doesn't pay for rent, meds or food.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:32:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a scam because it was engineered, from the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            start, to be a transfer of money from FICA to general revenues to hide the deficits caused by Reagan's arms build-up and tax cuts for the rich. The "threat" of the boomer hump was coupled with a brief shortfall in FICA in the late '70s into scaring people into changing FICA from pay-as-you-go into a surplus-generating machine.

            And it's a scam because NO ONE is talking about paying down the trust fund the honest way, by raising income and other taxes, they're talking about further increasing FICA revenues and writing off the trust fund.

            Washington's panic over social security is entirely about the fact that the FICA surplus-diversion gravy train is coming to an end, and will start becoming a drain on the treasury instead.

            •  I would love to know for sure, (0+ / 0-)

              but I don't think we have to loan Social Security.

              If we do loan it, we have to buy non marketable treasury bonds and that is how the government gets the money.  Social Security's bonds are as good as any bond that is in a 401k or IRA.

              We would be better off to park it in a safe vault, than let the government touch it.

              It was set up for the bonds to be non marketable, so they couldn't be sold, then defaulted on.

    •  SS is not insolvent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Zakaria is repeating a Village lie.  In this case, he's probably repeating the lie unthinkingly to contrast the Village's fantasy of a broken SS to Canada.  That lie is so ground into Village thinking, they no longer know they're lying.

      In truth, SS runs surpluses until 2040.  Surpluses for 30 more years!  Contrast those surpluses with anything else in the budget.  So it's cash-flow positive, and nowhere near insolvent.

      After 30 years, the real issue is projecting population increases and economic growth.  Because you can't accurately predict the economy over that period of time, it's insane to claim with any confidence exactly what the economy will do.

      And 30 years from now, if the benefits exceed revenue, we can easily raise the revenue slightly to match the facts on the ground 30 years from now, not the Village fantasy of the future.

      There is no crisis.  Social Security is solvent.  Zakaria is another fucking Village liar.

      •  Actually, SS doesn't run surpluses (0+ / 0-)

        until 2040; it does so thereafter.

        SS will soon require that the treasury pay it back the money the treasury borrowed from all the surpluses SS has run in the past.

        But that's the treasury's problem, not SS's.

        •  Surpluses until 2027 (0+ / 0-)

          I apologize.  I just double checked the trustees report and I quoted the wrong date.  The surpluses are until 2027 according to the trustees report.  Read it carefully, and remember that treasury bonds earn interest.  Because the trust fund contains trillions in treasuries, it earns almost $100 billion annually in interest payments.

          The general fund only needs to pay back the treasuries after 2027, according to economic projections 20 years in the future (which is a joke.)

          •  Interesting. What effect does the lousy current (0+ / 0-)

            return on Treasury bonds have on that?

            If Social Security Trust fund is lending money to the general fund, presumably interest is to be paid, and that interest is part of future projections.

            So -- what have low returns done to that?

            Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

            by dinotrac on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:48:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  we'll see in march (0+ / 0-)

              with the new report.  

              Since SS has been buying treasuries for years, it has a mix of interest rates.  Because most of them are at higher rates than today, it's earning a higher rate than the headline rates.

              But that income will certainly go down somewhat.

          •  Yes, but as the pay-back date approaches (0+ / 0-)

            The amount SS chips into the treasury dwindles until it becomes zero.

            That's the real cause of the panic.

            •  adjustments are normal for social security (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              denise b

              It's always necessary to tweak revenue and benefits every decade.  That's completely normal because it's not possible to predict the future exactly.

              The last reform was in 1983, 25 years ago, and they did a surprisingly good job at matching expected expenses to revenues.  Good enough that we don't need to touch it for another 15-20 years.

              So we tweak the FICA and/or benefits in 10 years.  That's not a panic.  Anyone claiming that the normal tweaking of the program is a crisis is flat-out lying.

              •  I'm not talking about SS being the cause of the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                panic. I'm talking about its dwindling ability to subsidize general revenues.

                I agree with you: SS is, in itself, fine, doing as it was intended.

                But because official Washington doesn't want to talk about taxes, it manufactures a "SS Crisis" which it then proceeds to solve by raising FICA caps (in the case of Dems) or cutting benefits (in the case of Repubs).

              •  They were saying the life expectancy was 84 (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                denise b

                but now say it is 78.  That makes a good difference there.

                We raised the full retirement age to 67 in 1983 to take care of living longer.  It is not that much longer than people lived in 1939.

                I looked up the treasury rates.  I was focused on the short term, which probably I shouldn't have been.  1 month is .22%, 10 yr is 2.85%, 20 year is 3.92%, 30 year is 3.6%.

                Unless it is put in bonds for 20 years, or more, it probably wouldn't keep up with inflation over time.

                Social Security won't be paid back all at once, but as the retirees need it, so it could be over a long period of time.  Boomers are said to have been born from 1946 to 1964 so that would be 18 years.

                The government should not spend any more of the Social Security money that is paid in, if they can't pay it back. It would be better to forfeit the interest to keep the principal intact.

                If interest goes up, which it will, that would help with Social Security costs, too.

                •  Life expectancy at 65 (0+ / 0-)

                  is only 4 years higher than it was in 1940; I just read that someplace today. Not as big an increase as people seem to think.

                  "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

                  by denise b on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 09:43:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  And to be fair, I had thought the pay-back (0+ / 0-)

            date came about a decade sooner, but the projections may have since been revised.

            •  they never report the 2027 date (0+ / 0-)

              You need to look deep into the trustees report to find it.

              The village maintains a fiction that the trust fund doesn't earn interest.  So they report the date where social security taxes (not including the interest it earns), matches the expenses.  Which is a totally fictional number.  It's like claiming the federal budget is in surplus because interest payments on the debt and military spending doesn't count.

              •  I wasn't getting my info from the village (0+ / 0-)

                but from Krugman's columns a few years back. Or at least insofar as I remember them.

                Though you make a good point; I wonder if Krugman didn't miss it.

              •  Also, where is that interest coming from? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                General Revenues, that's where. SS may be fine, but the rest of the treasury is a mess.

                If you're looking at the health of SS independent of the health of the rest of the treasury, your position is self-evident.

                My position is that Washington wants and needs SS to remain a gravy train, and that it's not the moment when SS starts spending more than it gets (FICA plus trust fund interest) that matters to Washington so much as the day that net transfer to treasury goes negative.

                •  agreed (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  relentless, Robobagpiper

                  Good.  I agree with everything you're saying.

                  The general fund is totally screwed.

                  Personally, I agree with Pelosi that we should reverse the Bush tax cuts for the rich as soon as possible as a down payment for dealing with the debt.  We balanced with budget with Clinton, so we can do it again.

      •  And it does so thereafter on baseline (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        demographic and economic projections.

        Only in the most dire projections does SS fail to meet obligations in 2040, paying only 78% or so of promised benefits, which are - because of the way benefit increases are calculated - more generous, inflation-adjusted, than benefits are today.

  •  Do the Republicans consider (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings, axel000

    Canada a socialist/communist country?

    Dogs have masters, Cats have staff.

    by DJShay on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:41:26 AM PST

  •  Barack Obama on Canada's banks (9+ / 0-)

    "One of the things that I think has been striking about Canada is that in the midst of this enormous economic crisis, I think Canada has shown itself to be a pretty good manager of the financial system in the economy in ways that we haven't always been here in the United States," Obama said.

    "And I think that's important for us to take note of, that it's possible for us to have a vibrant banking sector, for example, without taking some of the wild risks that have resulted in so much trouble on Wall Street."

    Canada has avoided the mortgage meltdown and banking crisis that are hitting the United States and Europe hard.

    The country has not experienced the failure of any major financial institution and Canada's banks now have the largest market capitalization's in the world. Royal Bank of Canada has a $30 billion market cap compared to Citigroup's $16 billion market cap.

    The stock prices of Canada's banks are down but not nearly as much as U.S. or European bank stocks. Canada's financial system is dominated by five banks, unlike in the U.S. where there are scores of banks.

    The World Economic Forum said recently Canada had the soundest financial system in the world, with a rating of 6.8 out of 7.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:42:57 AM PST

  •  Thank you and Zakarriah (7+ / 0-)

    for getting out the most important policy number in a North American context. Canada's health care system is spectacularly cheaper than the U.S. system. And having joined the ranks of heart attack survivors a year ago I can tell you that the care is second to none when the chips are down. I probably got several hundred thousand dollars worth of super high-tech care, the ambulance was at my hous faster than I could put on my clothes (I was functioning and not in much pain, just short of breath), the emergency workers were spectacularly competent and caring, the surgeons the same, the operating room spectaclarly high tech with six to eight highly paid people on the job. Total cost: $75.00 for the ride back home from Toronto (since my son who was with me doesn't drive) plus $50.00 for eight weeks of uncovered and excellent (optional) cardiac rehab classes.

    The reason the system here is cheaper: it is administratively simple, doctors are always paid so they can charge a little less, everything is bought in bulk since it is one big system.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:43:15 AM PST

    •  Zakaria (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Churchill, axel000

      Zakaria, Zakaria, Zakaria. That should do it.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:44:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What insolvent Social Security system? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Churchill, Robobagpiper

      Fareed must be talking out his ass again, because his head knows better.
      We really need to kill that meme.

      St. Ronnie was an asshole.

      by manwithnoname on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:52:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        It might need some adjustments especially to the upper salary level that is taxed but I do not think that it is too far off. The Canadian adjustment was fairly minor and they timed it well by doing at a time of very low unempoyment when there was a surplus in the unemployment insurance fund adjusting that slightly downwards as they adjusted the social security tax upwards.

        A national single-payer health insurance would solve the Medicare and Medicaid deficits so it makes some sense to fix it all at the same time. They could probably fix social security out of the efficiency savings on health care if they had the courage to just take out the private insurance schemes -- though there would be job losses because a unified public system would need fewer clerical workers and accountants both in insurance companies and in doctor's offices.

        We have only just begun and none too soon.

        by global citizen on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:40:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Our Soc Sec system isn't involvent, liar zareed (0+ / 0-)

        SIGN UP for NetRoots Nation! 80 % of success is just SHOWING UP

        by Churchill on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:56:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I recently saw Sicko for the first time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, global citizen

      It blows my mind that Canadians can fall ill, or be injured, and they all just go see a doctor.

      They don't hesitate, wondering which portions of their care their expensive insurance company will deny them coverage for, they don't dread having to pay out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions if they're uninsured, and they don't have to just blow their illnesses and injuries off altogether because they are uninsured and cash poor... They just go, and let doctors and nurses take care of them.

      I don't blame Canadians one bit for refusing to let American health care providers lay a finger on you without insurance from Canada.

      I had no idea that I had yet more capacity for amazement at how willing (eager, even) the U.S. government is to sit back with it's feet kicked up on a desk and see it's citizens be robbed by the profit motive.  I thought I hit my limit, but it turns out there's more disbelief in me.

      Right now, I've got a sinus infection.

      Were I a Canadian, I would have already been to see the doctor and the infection wouldn't have a chance to become unmanageable - I gather.

      But I'm an uninsured American. The doctor's "visit" alone (30 minutes of filling out redundant paperwork, 30 to 60 minutes of waiting alone in an examination room  and a two minute pat-n-chat with a doc) approaches unjustifiable. I liked my doctor and he liked me but why the fuck would I pay hundreds of dollars for that? It's a quarter of my mortgage - for two lousy minutes of his time.

      And we haven't even broached the subject of what Big Pharma will charge me to unload a barrage of their finest newfangled antibiotics on this thing.  

      The last time I got a sinus infection, my general practitioner (who's since retired) openly acknowledged that there was no way in hell I could afford the medication. We treated the infection with a series of samples and I was all but asked not to return - he had been my doctor for 20 years.

      It boils down to this: they don't want cash customers anymore. Plain and simple. I'm too poor to play.  

      But the infection is back... Now what?

      If memory serves, my former doctor mentioned something about surgery being necessary if the infection becomes chronic.

      Surgery? Not happening.

      I'm not selling my home for surgery on my sinuses. I won't trade the security of having a roof over my head for that. I shouldn't have to. So I won't - no matter what.

      I the idea that there are millions (perhaps tens of millions) of taxpaying Americans facing problems like these down every day while our politicians rail against the very "socialized" medical care that they themselves are afforded... Appalling.

      Totally. Fucking. Appalling.

      •  hm... (0+ / 0-)

        This is why I believe a huge part of the problem in America is education. I recently got a sinus infection as well and when I finally decided to stop sucking it up and get treated for it, I was walking out of a clinic with my prescription within 2 hours of deciding I needed to go. When I hear people discuss how long they had to wait at a doctors office/ ER/ etc... the problem is usually misuse of resources on their part.

        I work in an ER if the reason we are so inundated and have such huge wait times is that people misuse and abuse the ER. You wouldn't believe how often you hear "I'm not dying, I shouldn't have to wait this long!" in an EMERGENCY ROOM.

        As a side point, if you've been in the military like I have, you've experienced America's version of socialized medicine and it SUCKS. Tricare is the most inefficiently managed health care system in the universe. If you want to fix America's health care system, you start with the law suits and the HMOs.

    •  have to disagree... (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, that's not at all why it's cheaper in Canada. It's expensive as hell in the US for many reasons, most of which fall under the category of "lawyers". Doctors can charge less in Canada because they don't have to pay INSANE insurance fees on their license.

      I submit that the US also spends so much on health care because it has so many people, not to mention a much more diverse social structure (see: more poor people who can't pay for insurance OR medical fees).

      Bottom line, I think when people point out how screwed up our health system is (which can't be understated), I think it's an easy trap to fall into to compare us to other countries because it's really comparing apples to oranges.

  •  Fox News are bastards!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Churchill, axel000, COkdub

    I can't believe they posted Rihana's photo!  How classless can you get??  Not one other news agency did that, but then again, they aren't NEWS.

    Sorry I know I should post on healthcare, but those bastards tick me off I had to say something.

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:44:34 AM PST

  •  Re: (3+ / 0-)

       According to a new study, people who live near fast food restaurants have a higher risk of stroke than those who do not live near these restaurants.

       The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan and focused on various areas of Nueces County, Texas.

    causality causality causality  ... what came first, the fast food restaurants, or an area with closely located commercial/residential zoning (i.e. one more likely to have low-income housing?)

    •  Thanks, I was just about to post the same point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Considering most fast food places are just off heavily traveled roads, would other factors (pollution, noise, etc.) be factors?

      Correlation != causality, folks.

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:57:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so much for calling out ramara's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless, wa ma

    diary.  Creating systems of care for children's mental health is absolutely essential. As it is, our children are equity for privatized jails. This is a topic near and dear to my heart.

    "Big boss ain't so big, just tall, that's all."

    by TheFatLadySings on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:49:52 AM PST

  •  How is our Social Security insolvent? (8+ / 0-)

    Because it's going to eat up the trust fund?

    It's supposed to eat up the trust fund. Always was.

    Doesn't mean SS will be insolvent: it just means the general revenues will have to stop sucking at SS's teat and start paying it back sometime soon.

    •  Thank You! (0+ / 0-)

      The surplus is all that matters to the political class.
      A hidden tax to use on pet projects.

      St. Ronnie was an asshole.

      by manwithnoname on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:54:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And when liberal pols talk of removing the FICA (0+ / 0-)

        cap to "fix Social Security", what they're really saying is:

        "There's no way we'll ever be able to raise general revenues enough to pay back SS the money Reagan and Greenspan shifted from SS to the treasury, so we'll just write off the whole thing as lost and make SS pay-as-you-go again on the backs of top earners".

        Personally, I'd rather see them do it the honest way and raise income taxes on amounts (coincidentally) above the FICA cap by the appropriate 8 or so percent. Otherwise, you're validating the trust fund scam.

        •  Social Security has to be paid from payroll (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferg, Robobagpiper

          But there is no reason that it can't be paid BACK with income taxes.

          •  It's already been paid from payroll (0+ / 0-)

            but that money was spent by general revenues. General revenues should pay it back, then, by the means general revenues is funded.

            But that would take political courage.

            The weasel-dick thing to do is to say "why not remove the FISA cap?", which amounts to an income tax increase of 7.65% on incomes above $106k. But since that's what they're proposing, why don't they just do that, rather than pretend SS and FICA are the ones with the shortfall problem?

            •  Obama said he would skip (0+ / 0-)

              over the $100,000 group until he reached those who earned $250,000 then charge the latter group only.

              They could tax all payroll including all CEO pay and lower the rate for everyone, but I don't know if we can trust them to touch it, to be honest about it.

        •  I understand your perspective (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And whatever way one chooses to "reform" Social Security, we should be honest about how much it cost to create a solid social safety net. I generally agree that the income cap for FICA is stupid -- and I say that as a spouse of someone who stopped paying FICA in mid-October.

          Single Payer...NOW!!!

          by Egalitare on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:15:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think the income cap is stupid at all (0+ / 0-)

            If we had kept FICA as pay-as-you go all along, and hadn't muddied the waters with the trust fund issue, FICA would be unemployment and disability insurance. One's benefits are keyed into what one pays in: so if benefits are capped (which they are), so should be contributions.

            FICA should not be viewed as a tax: it should be viewed as an insurance premium.

            FICA premiums created a surplus, which was then borrowed and spent by general revenues. SS will need that surplus in the future to get through a demographic hump - so paying back that borrowed money can only honestly be done through raising taxes, not raising FICA revenues.

            Doing the latter is simply writing the SS trust fund as lost; and moreover, it violates the principles of fairness in SS, that one's contribution ties to one's benefits.

            •  I agree, but it is better to raise the cap (0+ / 0-)

              than to reduce benefits or raise the retirement age.  It should be paid back by those who used the Social Security money to pay the bills while they enjoyed tax cuts.

              •  Better to raise the top income tax rate (0+ / 0-)

                and pay it back from that. Because the problem isn't in SS, so why should we confuse the matter that way.

                "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

                by denise b on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 09:41:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Social Security is a solid safety net (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            denise b, relentless

            While the rest of the budget is bleeding red to $1,000 billion a year, Social Security is running surpluses for 30 years until 2040.

            How much more solid do you want?  It's the only part of the budget that's in good shape!

            Every other part of the budget is complete screwed and running massive deficits and we're supposed to be worried about the part that's running surpluses for 30 years?  That's crazy.

        •  I don't think that's what they're saying (0+ / 0-)

          I think they're not really liberals at all.

          "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

          by denise b on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 09:38:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, I don't think that's it. (0+ / 0-)

        The Social Security Fund provides capital that would otherwise have to be raised in the bond market and generate a stream of revenue for the financiers.  When the federal government provides grants to local and state governments for capital projects, it also undermines the private bond markets.  Pay-as-you-go is not attractive to people who make a living issuing debt instruments and drawing interest.

        Just as the opposite of "right" is not "left" but "wrong," the preferred alternative to "tax and spend" is "borrow and spend" because of the revenue stream it sends to the borrower's friends.

        Middlemen are the bane of our existence.  Instead of facilitating transactions, as the historical sottweed factor did, they add layers and layers of bureaucratic interference for which they insist on getting paid.
        When they call for tax cuts, what they're trying to insure is access to their "cut" of the revenue stream.
        Both the bailout of the banks, turning them into debtors instead of creditors, and the mortgage relief are reversing the usual process and that's why the banks are upset.  In effect, their normal business practices are being pre-empted.  That's their punishment for having messed up.  The money, literally, doesn't count.  What's important is the direction of the flow.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:52:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would that revenue have been raised in the bond (0+ / 0-)


          The collection of FICA premiums is compulsory; bond sales are not.

          •  Considering that brokers have been trying (0+ / 0-)

            to convince states to bond already built infra-structure, such as highways and parks and airports and convention centers, in order to cover current financial needs, it's my guess that there's keen interest in investing in government bonds.  They are, after all, a guaranteed revenue stream, backed not only by the capital assets but by governments' ability to tax, if nothing else works.

            That investors are keen on risk is a myth.  What they are after is guaranteed revenue whose size can be increased by asserting risk.  Personally, I've never understood why a riskier enterprise should be balanced out by a higher return.  If the project is marginal to begin with, making people pay a higher rate of interest only increases the chance it will fail.  Which leads me to the conclusion that much American enterprise is destined to fail.

            Why would that be?  Well, every failure means that somebody else gets a chance at a bargain.  Every failure is someone else's opportunity.  Vide NOLA.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 11:46:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Fareed is an idiot, SS isn't insolvent, idiot! (0+ / 0-)

      SIGN UP for NetRoots Nation! 80 % of success is just SHOWING UP

      by Churchill on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:56:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we move to a single payer healthcare (2+ / 0-)

    system what would happen to the thousands of people employed by the health insurance industry? I think single payer is good, but how do we get there from here?

    Terrorists want to destroy America but it's the Republicans who are actually doing it!

    by lookit on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:51:13 AM PST

  •  We would lose the CEOs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who get multimillions and early and multimillion dollar retirements.  We would lose the owners who are increasing prices as much as they can as often as they can.

    We would still need a lot of the workers.  Medicare wll work like other insurance, but without the profit.  

    Maybe it will give some of the young mothers who work for them and who want to the chance to stay home while their children are small.

    At this time, many have to work to pay for high insurance and other expenses.  This would affect young mothers who work for the insurance companies and other mothers who have to work for other companies to pay for insurance.

    And it may open up new jobs.  It won't cost as much to start a new business and hire employees.  People may have more money to spend, etc.

  •  Dwo Jones just hit its' lowest low since Jan 1998 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:03:02 AM PST

  •  Tamiflu resistance in type A, but the vaccine... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Futuristic Dreamer

    this year's vaccine prevents type A (H1N1) flu, which is the type that has become largely resistant (this year) to Tamiflu. The vaccine doesn't work against the type B virus circulating, but Tamiflu does.  Note: there are still drugs available if you get the H1N1.

    more info available from a CDC press release in early January

    •  "70% effective, maybe?" Not quite. (0+ / 0-)

      Wiki says flu shots generally are 75% effective in preventing hospitalizations.

      Keeping mind that flu viruses, when they run rampant, have killed millions of people in the past; and could kill billions today, it's probably a good idea that healthy adults get their shots.

      •  unclear comment (0+ / 0-)

        are you critiquing my comment that "this year's vaccine prevents type A (H1N1) flu"?

        anyways, 50-70% effectiveness at an individual level should prevent more than 50-70% of infections through "herd immunity."

      •  there's a growing recognition that flu shots for (0+ / 0-)

        the elderly and certain other populations are in need of further study. Further, the efficacy of the vax will change from year to year depending on vaccine match. Some years it's as low as 55% or lower, some years it's much better. But whether it's 70 or 75% in a given year, the flu vax is a wonderful thing, and something folks should do... but should not be sold as "if you get the vax, you therefore won't get flu."

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 02:02:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  more... (0+ / 0-)


        Overall, in years when the vaccine and circulating viruses are well-matched,  influenza vaccines can be expected to reduce laboratory-confirmed influenza by approximately 70% to 90% in healthy adults <65 years of age. Several studies have also found reductions in febrile illness, influenza-related work absenteeism, antibiotic use, and doctor visits.</p>

        In years when the vaccine strains are not well matched to circulating strains, vaccine effectiveness can be variably reduced. For example, in a study among persons 50-64 years during the 2003-04 season, when the vaccine strains were not optimally matched, inactivated influenza vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed influenza was 60% among persons without high-risk conditions, and 48% among those with high risk conditions, but it was 90% against laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalization (Herrera, et al Vaccine 2006). A study in children during the same year found vaccine effectiveness of about 50% against medically diagnosed influenza and pneumonia without laboratory confirmation (Ritzwoller, Pediatrics 2005). However, in some years when vaccine and circulating strains were not well-matched, no vaccine effectiveness can be demonstrated in some studies, even in healthy adults (Bridges, JAMA 2000). It is not possible in advance of the influenza season to predict how well the vaccine and circulating strains will be matched, and how that match may affect the degree of vaccine effectiveness.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 02:05:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not to defend fast food... (7+ / 0-)

    ...but that study saying people who live near fast food restaurants have a higher risk of stroke than those who do not live near these restaurants is a bit of bunk if indeed that is all it says.  Fast food restaraunts don't pop up in the vicinity of mansions and gated communities.  They are typically in areas where the adjacent homes are lower income -- in which case all sorts of factors would put residents at risk for strokes and other ailments.  

  •  Colorado flu cases (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    axel000, COkdub

    The article presents a more complicated situation than that suggested by the short quote at the top of the diary.  

    At least two had other serious medical conditions before getting the flu, officials said.

    One child had not been vaccinated against the flu, while two others might not have been, health officials said. Officials said they did not know the vaccination status of the fourth child, who died Wednesday.

  •  Re Canada, (0+ / 0-)

    I had an enlightening exchange with ObserverinVancouver a few days ago:

    Of Fareed Zakaria on Canada

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:07:36 AM PST

  •  That is so true (0+ / 0-)

    My daughter went to the doctor this week with a bad flu plus sinus infection.

    He asked her if she had gotten the flu shot. She said no.  He said, it was the wrong one anyway.

    I will tell her about tamiflu.  The doc didn't give her antibiotics, he said it was viral.  I would have thought he would have given her something for her sinuses though.

    •  thats not what I heard (0+ / 0-)

      There are two major flu strains this year and the vaccination treats the more serious one but only mildly protects against the lesser one.

      Government for the people, by the people

      by axel000 on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:10:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just talked to her, (0+ / 0-)

        she lives in Colorado and she went to the emergency room and they gave her antibiotics, then, because she couldn't breathe and was low on oxygen.

        Google Colrado flu.  There is some interesting info on the links it finds. You may have to click on news at the top to get the newspaper reports.

  •  Costs of individual health plans soar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Futuristic Dreamer, axel000

    Increases of 30, 50% and more reported in today's USA Today.

    •  Oy... (0+ / 0-)

      • Anthem Blue Cross in California has notified about 80% of its 800,000 individual policyholders of double-digit increases, many above 30%. Spokesman Ben Singer says rising medical costs are prompting the increases.

      • Blue Cross of Michigan is seeking state approval for a 56% increase in individual premiums. Spokesman Andy Hetzel says the company needs to offset losses stemming from state rules making it the sole insurer required to take all applicants.

      • Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon will raise rates for approximately 10,000 Washington state customers by 27.1% on March 1.

      No problem though, just don't ever ever be unemployed or self-employed.

      Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

      by Scarce on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:24:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Part of the problem we are facing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo, Deep Harm

        is a consequence of the fact that the household maintenance and health care services that used to be provided for no payment by wives and other female care takers were never accounted for when the transition of these people into the paid workforce was considered.

        One of the main advantages of paid labor is that it's relatively easy to quantify.  But, the comparisons over decades are flawed because there's no equivalency formula for paid and unpaid labor.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:17:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, and on a larger scale (0+ / 0-)

          The way our nation's progress is measured is flawed in many ways, from ignoring the unpaid labor of women to ignoring the decline in quantity and quality of natural resources.  If money does not exchange hands in a transaction, it doesn't exist in the usual assessments.

        •  We women took care of our parents a lot (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Harm

          more, too, instead of putting them in homes.

          •  Just to get it on the record, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            relentless, Deep Harm

            a slot in an assisted living facility for a person who requires no nursing care is currently $3000 a month.  $36,000 a year may seem like a lot, but back in the 1980's the State of Florida was paying $87,000 a year to keep a child in a psychiatric facility that did her no good (mainly because she didn't have a psychiatric problem).

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 11:36:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Does anyone have any advice (0+ / 0-)

    on how to fight your health insurance when they deny a claim? I recently had a claim denied and want/need to fight it. We have new health insurance after the employer changed who they're providing health insurance through starting this year.

    I don't know what to do or how to do it. Any good first steps? Any pitfalls to avoid?


  •  In patient beds vs community-based service (0+ / 0-)

    Sometimes in child/adolescent MH- in-patient treatment is a misnomer-- in a lot of cases community-based treatments, where people are being served in their homes, can be much more effective and less traumatic for the child and family.

    An example- in Kansas, we have as a Medicaid service Positive Behavioral Support Specialists, who can come into a home and work with a child who has Autism, and set up a behavior plan - in a lot of cases, families who believed they needed an in-patient option found that having a solid functional behavior assessment and in home support worked much better and benefited the family long-term.

    •  absultely! (0+ / 0-)

      however, there are still depressed and suicidal kids who need in-patient care, and placement is difficult. kids spend days in EDs or acute care beds waiting placement.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:38:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is now fashionable to use your real name.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...what's up with you sticking to the old school moniker? lol

  •  Many of the parties in the health care (0+ / 0-)

    industry have a mistaken understanding of our system of laws.  Mandates and requirements to do things are imposed on public servants.  That's what we hire and pay them for.
    The people come under a different regimen.  Certain behaviors are prohibited and, if carried out anyway, subject to punishment and correction.

    Although the earliest version of the Constitution countenanced involuntary servitude and a remnant of that persisted in the form of the military draft for some period of time, we no longer go that route.

    That there's a persistent effort to make people do what they don't want (make a horse drink) does not change the fact that it's almost impossible and not worth the effort.  Our inability to make parents responsible for the care of their children should serve as a caution.  When people neglect or abuse their children, we remove the children and pay someone else to do the job.  
    If we want all children to be immunized, we should order the health department to do it.  If we did that, we would also realize economies of scale.  

    There's no good reason for routine services to be delivered by specialists.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:22:06 AM PST

  •  Required Insurance! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I guess the insurance industry would love if the government required that everybody buy their product. The auto industry would love it if the government required everybody buy their product.

    As far as employees of health insurance companies if we go to single payer- they will get jobs. The government will have to hire claim adjusters/clerks, underwriters, actuaries and such. There might be a net loss of jobs, but we will still need people to handle the work, it will just be shifted to the government. Many insurance companies will probably retool to sell supplemental insurance. My company sells Medicare Supplement. If the single payer is set up like Medicare, there will still be a need for supplemental insurance, and my company would just expand.

    Signature Impaired.

    by gttim on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:13:20 AM PST

    •  Well, despite all the lip-service to the (0+ / 0-)

      glories of competition, the fact is that American industry and commerce has always aimed to secure monopoly conditions.  Indeed, they even made it seem that they were entitled to an assured monopoly (like fixed air routes) in exchange for "accepting" safety regulations.

      The best we got where safe waste disposal is concerned was agreements to keep track of their toxic effluent in exchange for permits to pollute.  

      The idea that the environment is man's to muck up persists and any restraint on man's wasteful behavior is supposed to be compensated with some preferential treatment.

      Bunch of spoiled children.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:24:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  no mandates! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, raincrow
      1.  mandates don't control costs
      1.  mandates do nothing about quality
      1.  mandates line the pockets of the health ins co
      1.  mandates don't demand the insurance cover anything
      1.  another expense to us - who are already struggling under the premiums and the lack of coverage now - is going to help HOW?
      1.  mandates don't require health ins co to cover pre-existing conditions.

      Now if it was mandated with very reasonable rates and 100% coverage of people and their conditions we could talk but mandates without coverage will take people already overwhelmed and provide yet another bill to not be able to cover.

      And who gets to decide what you and I can afford?
      And what is the penalty for not complying?

      •  Affordability and enforcement issues unsolveable (0+ / 0-)

        Agreed, affordability and enforcement issues will be very difficult. I'll argue that they will be impossible to solve and will doom the idea, as anyone who thinks it about it for more than 5 minutes will also realize. Suppose my unemployed husband weren't able to get the insurance I'm getting from my job. How would they determine what we can afford to pay? You can't squeeze blood from a stone. If we don't have the money we don't have it. A tax credit when we file doesn't help pay the monthly premiums. He's unemployed so they can't garnish his wages. Would they forceably extract money from my paycheck or from our checking account?

        Then there's the cases for people who can't get or afford insurance now due to extraordinary medical problems. My mother-in-law had a traumatic injury many years ago, and would almost certainly not be able to get insurance on her own at all, or it would be at such a prohibitive rate (~$5000/mo) as to effectively not be available. Will the insurance companies be forced to offer her an "affordable" policy? What do they consider affordable? What would my MIL consider affordable and would those numbers have anything to do with each other?

        This whole idea is stupid and unenforceable. If you want to drive a car in California, you have to have car insurance. If you can't afford the car insurance, you don't drive the car. What are you supposed to do if you can't afford health insurance, stop breathing? It's not only stupid, it's immoral.

        A word after a word after a word is power. -- Margaret Atwood

        by tmo on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 09:54:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some seem to think if we should spend (0+ / 0-)

        our last dollar for insurance, giving up all pleasures in life that cost money.  I would do that if it were necessary, but to feed the coffers of greed, NO WAY, HOZeA.

  •  "Eat healthy" >>> JUNK SCIENCE ALERT! (0+ / 0-)

    This so-called "study,: at least as portrayed in the linked article, is perfect horseshit, coincidence passed off as causality.

    I lived 1/2 a block from a MickeyD's and a Hardee's for 10 years and my blood lipid numbers were FAR better than they are now that I've lived 7 miles from those 2 same restaurants for a subsequent 10 years. Moreover, I now live in a rural setting, in immediate proximity to gabillions of chorus and tree frogs, and I can assure you that said proximity has not translated into my eating concommitantly more itty bitty frogs than I consumed at my former abode.

    Now, if the study actually tracked the diets of people living at various distances from various slider emporia and found a statistically significant correlation between distance and slider intake, THAT's an entirely different matter. Otherwise, I'd hypothesize that less affluent people tend to live closer to strip developments, interstate exits, and other places where fast food joints abound, than wealthier people; and less affluent people, as a demographic, tend to eat a lot more cardiovascular-unhealthy foods than wealthier people.

    And then I'd have to follow up on that hypothesis with some actual, real-live scientific research and analysis.

    Horseshit! Horseshit horseshit horseshit! AAAAARRRRGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!

    < /rant >

  •  DemFrmCT, from what I understand... (0+ / 0-)

    I know healthcare only from an issue standpoint and admit my ignorance other than hearing the two camps superficial arguments about nationalizing or not nationalizing (my strong point is ed reform, not healthcare).  From what I've heard is that, in Canada, not only does their health care system not slow down the economy, but doctors are also happier because they actually get to practice their craft.  Wouldn't it make sense to gain leverage through doctors, who have traditionally voted for the republicans, and have them be the foot soldiers in a grassroots campaign to reform health care?

    Your thoughts and opinions.

    There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, not as many separate ones. ~Anwar Sadat

    by villagepark on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 10:23:03 AM PST

    •  I have had doctors and nurses (0+ / 0-)

      say we would be better off without insurance companies.  That we would get better care at lower prices.

    •  drSteveB has a few links (0+ / 0-)

      (I've tossed them around, too) showing docs coming around.

      This is from TAP, 7/08

      Doctors have historically been the watchdogs of the U.S. medical system, with the American Medical Association scaring New Dealers into dropping national health coverage from the Social Security Act and then the AMA shredding Harry Truman's reform efforts in the late 1940s. But a new poll and other significant indicators suggest that doctors are turning against the health-insurance firms that increasingly dominate American health care.

      The latest sign is a poll published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine showing that 59 percent of U.S. doctors support a "single payer" plan that essentially eliminates the central role of private insurers...

      The new poll, conducted by Indiana University's Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research, shows a sharp 10 percent spike in the number of doctors supporting national insurance: 59 percent in 2007 compared to 49 percent five years earlier. This indicates that more physicians are eager for systematic changes, said Toledo physician Dr. Johnathon Ross, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program.

      "What this means is the usual bloc of anti-reform is breaking up," he told The Toledo Blade. "These doctors are looking in the eyes of sick [uninsured] patients every day."

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 01:57:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why U.S. Health Care System Broken (0+ / 0-)

    They tell us national health costs too much.  Why?  Our government spends too much money on military defense.  The reason why Europe can afford national health for its citizens is because their defense budgets are low.  Nations like Germany have depended on the U.S. military to defend them and our government seems delighted at the opportunity to protect so many foreigners on our dime.  Canada's defense system is also a tiny percentage of its budget.  The U.S. can afford national health if it just stops spending these insane amounts of money on fancy, hi-tech military systems no longer needed in the age of urban one-on-one warfare against terrorists who don't wear uniforms.  This is a no-brainer, folks.

  •  Hey any Canadians in the crowd: (0+ / 0-)

    I watched the CSpan/CPac QnA session before coverage of Obama in Canada started yesterday.  A "tourist" from US called in saying that he would not be likely to visit and spend money in Canada since you got rid of the GST rebate program.

    Mahoney responded, saying that it was a bad idea to get rid of the rebate program, but they thought not enough people were using it for the expense.

    Well, I think it's about time you got rid of the GST program.  I did use the program a time or two, but then we moved to IL where, after I take time to fill out the paperwork to get back money from Canada, I have to turn around and fill out MORE paperwork to PAY ILLINOIS SALES TAX ON THE STUFF I BOUGHT IN CANADA!  Since I travelled to Canada and purchased in Canada, I thought it was better to leave the money in Canada.

    The GST rebate program has NO effect on if I travel to Canada or not. Keep the money.  

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