This just came up in another thread and I've repeated it here..

The socialised medicine issue in the US confuses the hell out of me - what's the problem? I just can't make sense of the case against.

Here in Britain I get healthcare from the state.

Northing's perfect - but it works. It's high quality. It's free apart for a nominal prescription charge (waived for those on a low income). It's been running for over half a century and the sky hasn't fallen in.

If I want to pay for private health care I can - the medicine is no better but the hospitals have better art on the walls. But I'd still pay my full taxes - that's non negotiable and you don't hear complaints.

Tell the British or the French that socialised medicine is a Bad Thing and that the American model is better and we'd laugh so hard we'd puke. Try to take it away and there'd be a revolution - pitchforks, torches, the works.

Watching Michael Moores' Sicko made me realise just how lucky I am to live here.

I don't understand how the American right can maintain the belief that it wouldn't work, can't work, when there is so much evidence to the contrary and working models around the world to emulate.

Saying it would be too expensive to set up seems like a hollow claim when $700bn has just been pulled out from a box under the bed - what have they been saving up for? How much more is in that box? What's more important?

People are dying and bankrupting themselves and their families - It's immoral.

Anyway - this is a international forum. If our American cousins want more information, facts, personal stories, resources, history, kick ass ethical arguments - you only have to ask and I'm sure the rest of us can provide them.

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They scream about "socialized medicine" but have no problem with socialized police forces, fire fighting, churches (yes, given that they're tax exempt and now getting government funds under the "faith based initiative" they're very much subsidized by the government) and countless other programs.

They cry "do you want some bureaucrat deciding if you can get health care?" . Yet they take no issue with the decision being made by some penny pinching accountant whose concern is how giving you health care will affect the CEO's ability to make $148,000,000 this year.

The issue with the RW, IMO, is that they support the notion of they who can afford it deserve it and those who can't don't. It's right in line with their general philosophy of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps or die in the gutter you lazy bum". Those who happen to have jobs that provide (affordable) insurance fall into the category of "those who can afford it".

But where does that leave people who work but happen to not have employer provided insurance, and can't get it for one reason or another? Insurance is not cheap by any means, and under the current system providers are inclined to deny you for any reason they wish. The very fact that you have known health needs means you're going to eat up their money, so they don't want you. They only want healthy people who will pay premiums but unless they have an occasional unexpected accident or illness take nothing out of their coffers.

Case in point: My current employer does not provide health insurance. I'm having a bear of a time getting insurance because I have chronic migraines ($$$ medication) and I'm overweight. Just imagine if I had something like asthma, diabetes or cancer. I'd likely never get insurance. It's also not like I make enough to go offering myself to the highest bidder who doesn't give a damn about what I have. Otherwise I could just not give a darn about insurance and pay cash.

Yes, we definitely need to do something about the health care system and fast.
You raise an interesting point here.

Is Heaven a democracy? I think not.

At best it's a benign dictatorship with a bureaucrat deciding on your eligibility for entry based on arbitrary and poorly documented rules and with no right of appeal.

Socialised health care ought to feel real comfy.
As a humanist, national healthcare seems to be the best solution for caring for the people of any given country. Why don't we have it? I blame big pharma and insurance companies. We'll see if Obama can make any headway against these two groups if he gets elected. Actually, if he doesn't get elected, I'll meet you at your local pub because I'm outta here!
Insurance companies are a huge obstacle. I don't even know how we begin to work with them. Their interests just seem incompatible with national health care.
The US has historically been a culture of believing that socialized anything is bad. On top of that, Americans are not really all that confrontational to the government when it comes to changes. There is also the problem of the "Defense" budget, which since World War II, has been dominating the policy of this country. President Eisenhower, who himself was a General before he ran for president, warned the public of the Military Industrial Complex. Because we spend so much on "defense" which is about half of our budget, most of it in hidden cost; and are told that most of the budget is in social programs, people often don't relate to any benefit to social programs while paying for bloated taxes.

The real task that people will need to understand is that there is no real benefit to security for the US in sending troops to Iraq, and Afganistan, and neither do the people in those countries. In fact most of them would be more than happy to show us the door, with the exception of some opium farmers.

Currently, more than half of the worlds military budget is spent on the us "defense" budget, which really has little to do with defense since WWII.

It may seem like a digression to talk about the US "defense" budget, but as long has we spend all the money on it, and paying off the debt, which now seems unlikely due to its size, we may not see universal health care in our lives.

This whole thing pisses me off, because I have been living with AIDS for close to 19 years, and so healthcare has often been a consideration on going from one job to another.
Further proof that America can't be a Christian nation, as is so commonly touted by the religious right! Wasn't Jesus the guy saying give all your possessions to the poor, and going around healing the sick, not asking for any money, even raising the dead( oh but if only our medicine could do that, though it'd cost so much you'd wish you were dead again...)! For followers of Christ, they aren't really following much. So I say we demand socialized medicine in return for them being able to call this a majority christian nation. I think that might be a somewhat fair trade, though of course why should we have to give them anything for following their own damned book...
Something happened to me lately that was relevant to this topic.

They're putting out information at my uni for students who want to study abroad next year. I'm really keen on it, and the U.S was the first country to spring to mind, as I've always wanted to visit there. But then I considered the health system they have, and to be honest, it's really put me off. I'm not somebody who gets sick often, and I don't have any health problems that require regular treatment, but the idea that something unexpected could happen, and I'd find my finances ravaged by medical bills just seems like too much of a needless worry, especially for a full-time student. To move to a country with such an innefficiant medical system seems like a step down, like I'd be living in a poorly-run developing nation.

Perhaps the above sounds like I'm just being blatantly insulting and smug towards the U.S. But my point is that it would be interesting to see what the people in power would have to say about potential visitors such as myself giving the self-proclaimed 'Greatest Country on Earth' a wide berth because of it's backwards health system.

I think I'll study in Canada instead.
If you can get insurance while you're over here it's not a big deal, they can't weasel out giving you coverage in the case of an accident or unexpected illness. A friend of mine once told me that he sets up traveler's insurance whenever he visits, there might be something similar available to students wanting to study over here.
The "Greatest Country on Earth" idea is so important to our mythology that I don't think anything short of a total collapse would shake its grip on the collective psyche of Americans. I wouldn't have such a problem with this idea if it wasn't constantly being used to justify invading weaker countries and persuade me of how happy I should be with a health care system that makes it's money by denying care.
Most often the university supporting your stay should be able to offer some sort of insurance too, or at least they do that here in Sweden.
I think HMO's (Have Money or Die) in this country herald the warning for what a full on government administered health care system would afford the tax payers. That and increased income taxes so as to afford it all. Canada has socialized medicine programs as well as an income tax rate that makes ours pale in comparison.

I think what many in this country think would to occur in a socialized medicine system, is that they'd be able to choose their private physicians, obtain the care or treatments prescribed, for free or at government expense. However, that's not the case. The facts and figures from advocates of such a U.S. implementation are skewed. The model usually referenced is that of Canada. But all is not what it seems if we but lose the fear of not being able to afford private insurance, and look at just how incompetent, in care of we the people, government has been thus far on all other social programs.
Do we really want them mucking about with our health care access?!


Dead Meat


Dead Meat is a 25 minute short film which shows the reality of health care under Canada's socialized medical system: Canadians wait ... and wait ... and wait. ... And sometimes they die while waiting for free government health care.
Canadians wait ... and wait ... and wait. ... And sometimes they die while waiting for free government health care.

Doesn't the same thing happen in the same things happens in the U.S.? What is more, HMO's operate on the principle of healthcare for profit not people. I am guessing that you are enjoying at least a moderately comfortable level of income and experience tyranny most palpably in the form of taxation. The reason so many people are worried about not being able to afford insurance is because they CAN'T afford insurance. However, I contest that there are far more tyrannical forces in our society than the government, and that maximum market efficiency can not exist without a betrayal of humanist values.

The IRS might seem like an authoritarian institution (and in a perfect world it would be), but a libertarian stance in conditions of inequality exacerbate existing injustices and have a result that is not conducive to human freedom. It is difficult to understand poverty when contemplated abstractly, but the truth of the matter (in my opinion) is that the overzealous American focus on individual gain is at the core of the current financial crisis, broken healthcare system, and military adventures around the world.

I would also like to clarify something. I am an American living in the Midwest.

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