3 Health-Care Misconceptions That Never Die

Rule of thumb: Wherever there is major legislation, trillions of dollars, and your well-being at stake, there will be claims driven by emotion instead of fact. Case in point: Health care.

Here are three widespread health-care misconceptions I personally used to hold before digging into the facts.

Myth: Europe has socialized medicine compared with a free-market system in America.
Fact: By nearly any measure, the U.S. government spends more on health care than most European governments.
Yes, most European governments offer universal health coverage, and the main health insurance system in America is private insurance. But the U.S. government spends a lot on health insurance for its elderly (Medicare) and poor (Medicaid), plus layers of other subsidies. It's actually bigger than the private sector. State, local, and federal governments spend about $1.3 trillion annually on health care, compared with less than $1 trillion from the private sector, according to David Leonhardt of The New York Times.

Here's the real mindblower: The U.S. government spends more money per citizen covering a minority of its population than most European governments spend covering their entire populations:

Source: OECD.

These figures are adjusted for differences in the cost of living between countries, so it's truly an apples-to-apples comparison.

There are other ways to view this. As a share of government spending, the U.S. spends more on health care than all European governments except Switzerland, according to the OECD. This chart is probably the most complete measure, showing government health spending as a percentage of GDP. It still puts the U.S. at above average compared with major nations that offer universal coverage:

Source: OECD, Kaiser Family Foundation.

It's pretty clear. Government health care in America is larger and takes up a bigger share of the economy than several countries we often tag with a "socialized" label. And it bears repeating: Government health care in America only covers a minority of the population, while other nations cover everyone. As Ezra Klein once said of these numbers: "This is serious pitchforks-and-torches stuff, if only people really understood it."

And what about private coverage? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65% of nonelderly Americans have private health insurance. By contrast, about 90% of French citizens carry private supplemental health insurance that covers payments not provided under the country's universal system.

Myth: The U.S. health-care system is more efficient than other bureaucratic behemoths around the world.
Reality: By most measures, America has one of the least efficient health-care systems in the world.
Health economist Henry Aaron once remarked:

Like many other observers, I look at the U.S. health care system and see an administrative monstrosity, a truly bizarre melange of thousands of payers with payment systems that differ for no socially beneficial reason, as well as staggeringly complex public systems with mindboggling administered prices and other rules expressing distinctions that can only be regarded as weird.

Measuring the administrative costs for health-care systems is difficult and prone to undercounting. A good example: Some tout a slim 2% administrative cost for Medicare, but that doesn't include the cost of collecting premiums (done by the IRS) and a raft of billing work done by private contractors.

A more complete measure of public health administrative costs in America is 6%, compared with a 4% average among OECD nations, according to McKinsey & Co.

Include the private market and it's worse. The measure for administrative costs used by the OECD -- the difference between insurance premiums and medical costs -- was $465 per recipient per year in 2004, compared with an average among OECD nations of $104, and as low as $15 a year in Sweden. The only country with higher administrative costs is Luxembourg.

Focus on private insurers alone and it's pitiful. As Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid writes:

U.S. health insurance companies have the highest administrative costs in the world; they spend roughly 20 cents of every dollar for nonmedical costs, such as paperwork, reviewing claims and marketing. France's health insurance industry, in contrast, covers everybody and spends about 4 percent on administration. Canada's universal insurance system, run by government bureaucrats, spends 6 percent on administration. In Taiwan, a leaner version of the Canadian model has administrative costs of 1.5 percent; one year, this figure ballooned to 2 percent, and the opposition parties savaged the government for wasting money.

One Motley Fool commenter recently explained the reasoning for forgoing health insurance by noting the appeal of "not contributing a dime to the $950,000 salary of an insurance or billing company vice president." It's a reasonable gripe. WellPoint's (NYSE: WLP  ) CEO has been paid $63.5 million since 2007. Remember that next time your premiums go up.

Myth: America's uninsured are cared for by churches, charities, and at last resort, emergency rooms.
Fact: Put starkly, the uninsured face a 40% higher mortality rate than those with health insurance, even after adjusting for income, health status, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol use.
In 2007, President George W. Bush said, "People have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room."

That's true for the most part. As part of law signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, hospitals with emergency departments that receive government funds, including Medicare (all hospitals, basically), are obligated to evaluate all patients and provide treatment until they're in stable condition regardless of ability to pay. This has become the de facto health-care system for millions of Americans.

But it's hardly adequate. ERs must treat those who aren't in stable condition. Anything less -- say, preventive care -- can be off the table, and is often too expensive for the uninsured. Surgeon Atul Gawande recently wrote in the New Yorker:

A vascular surgeon in Indianapolis told me about a man in his fifties who'd had a large abdominal aortic aneurysm. Doctors knew for months that it was in danger of rupturing, but since he wasn't insured, his local private hospital wouldn't fix it. Finally, it indeed began to rupture. Rupture is an often fatal development, but the man -- in pain, with the blood flow to his legs gone -- made it to an emergency room. Then the hospital put him in an ambulance to Indiana University, arguing that the patient's condition was "too complex." My friend got him through, but he's very lucky to be alive.

Another friend, an oncologist in Marietta, Ohio, told me about three women in their forties and fifties whom he was treating for advanced cervical cancer. A Pap smear would have caught their cancers far sooner. But since they didn't have insurance, their cancers were recognized only when they caused profuse bleeding.

Yes, the ER will see you if you're in dire need. But by then illness can have developed into a more complicated -- and expensive -- ordeal. Or to the point where it's too late.

A 2009 study by a group of Harvard researchers published in the American Journal of Public Health reviewed a public health survey of 9,000 people in the 1980s. Following up in 2000 showed about 3% of the survey group had died. Even after controlling for age, income, weight, education, employment, tobacco and alcohol use, and physician-rated overall health, the researchers found those without insurance had a mortality rate 40% higher than those who did.

Why is complex. There isn't one single reason. But a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides key insight: The uninsured are three times more likely to claim problems getting needed care than those who have insurance. "Over 40% [of uninsured] do not have a regular place to go when they are sick or need medical advice, compared to just 9% of those with coverage," the report wrote. And that was in 2006, before the financial crisis. It's almost certainly higher today.

All of these issues are complicated and can't be given enough attention in one article. But we know the system is broken. We also know, for the most part, what works and what doesn't. Many aren't in favor of current reforms, but no one should be in favor of the status quo.

Check back every Tuesday and Friday for Morgan Housel's columns on finance and economics.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Follow him on Twitter @TMFHousel. The Motley Fool owns shares of WellPoint. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of WellPoint. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


Read/Post Comments (162) | Recommend This Article (179)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 4:58 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Good article.

    "The U.S. government spends more money per citizen covering a minority of its population than most European governments spend covering their entire populations:"

    Absolutely true, and the statistics on Medicare and Medicaid have born this our for a number of years.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 5:00 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Let me also add that I have long wondered why the misconceptions about US government subsidized health care continues.

    I'll let the reader draw their own conclusions.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 5:19 PM, irvingfisher wrote:

    These problems only occur because people are not free to choose where they get their medical services from. Insurance companies have HMOs or preferred providers, etc. who negotiate their fees with the insurance in return for a captive pool of patients.

    If there were no insurance and everyone had to pay out of pocket, then people would get the best value and inefficiency would disappear, almost like magic.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 5:33 PM, slpmn wrote:

    This is off the main point, perhaps, but the numbers don't really make sense to me. If European governments spend less on healthcare per capita than the United States, but their citizens are taxed at a (much) higher rate, they must be spending more than us per capita in other areas because they're in the same deficit boat we are. It can't be defense. Maybe education? But I've seen similar "studies" that show we spend more per kid on education than other countries (with less results). So what is it? Or is it really not the apples to apples comparison that it's supposed to be?

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 6:09 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    Splm,

    Keep a few things in mind:

    1). Taxes aren't always equal to spending. There are also deficits. And the U.S. runs much higher deficits on average than OECD nations -- about a third higher than average over the last decade.

    2). Factor in state and local taxes, and taxes in America might be closer to some European countries than you think.

    3). On average, OECD old-age pensions are more generous than Social Security.

    4). Many others spend a considerable amount more on unemployment benefits, transportation and infrastructure than the US.

    Thanks for reading,

    Morgan

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 6:10 PM, Bimmer325 wrote:

    @irvingfisher: What is meant by "best value"? Isn't it true that if there were no insurance, providers would be able to charge whatever they want, and isn't that what happens already? Isn't it also true, that in a state of emergency one has no idea, or possibly even the ability, to select the provider much less have the medical knowledge to evaluate the quality of the care he/she is about to receive? It seems rather obvious that unless everyone has a fairly solid understanding of medicine and medical care and the ability to evaluate that against cost, nothing changes.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 6:35 PM, mauser96 wrote:

    The uninsured face a 40% higher mortality rate?

    So the insured have figured out a way to live forever?I thought everybody faced an eventual 100% mortality rate. Why hasn't anybody told me about it?

    Spending more for health care is bad? So spending less must be better. Why not just go all the way and spend nothing. We can even make it illegal to be sick. Then everybody would be healthy.

    Morgan Housel is logic challenged.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 6:59 PM, SunDevilDon wrote:

    Great article, thanks.

    I believe in most if not all of the OECD countries, higher education and medical training cost are mostly if not entirely paid for by the state. So doctors don't start out immediately deeply in debt. Could that be part of why they can better hold their costs down?

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:10 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Norway has unlimited resources to spend, because they are an oil-rich nation. I don't know Luxembourg.

    I do know Britain, because one of my relatives lived there for several years. The dental care is, "pull the tooth". The medical care is 10 minutes with a doctor you have never seen before, and may never see again. The doctor looks at the chart, and gives you medicine or orders that may or may not conflict with the last doctor, but there is no time to figure out what the conflict is about. So your care is in the hands of an overworked person who also, for extra fee, can see you in off-hours. But if you go to a private care facility, you will NEVER be allowed back to the public one. And if you are past retirement age, and need a hip replacement, you are past your "productive" period, so here is a wheelchair and a prescription for pain drugs. NEXT!!!

    The US system WONT EVEN TRY to address costs that can be managed, things like lawsuit abuse that drives up every doctor's insurance bill, and drives up your insurance company's bill from over spending on defensive medicine.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:14 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    What the government has done for your public education system, they want to do for your public health system.

    Public education was and is a great idea, especially when it was run by talented, principled people who managed employees and customers (students) well. Those people are now gone, replaced by other people for whom excellence is mostly a campaign slogan. In most areas, the quality of education isn't close to our parents' education. And those who really try to do a good job get burned out pretty quickly. Things have severely devolved, even though we are spending more as a percentage of GDP and in real dollars then ever before on public education.

    Start there. When you can reclaim real excellence for our education, we can talk about health.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:21 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Morgan,

    If everyone in the US was as intelligent and as talented as you and many other Fools, our systems would be in much better shape. The schools would be filled with children eager to learn. Their parents would all be happily contributing to their kids education by reading at home, helping at school. The parks would be clean. The medical system would have clients who work hard to be self-sufficient, and never overuse ER's for non-ER things. Investment advisors would all be Foolish in nature. Get where I am going?

    Pursuit of excellence "isn't my problem" for too many participants in our economy. So theoretical models don't account for a lot of the friction in the system that makes things so complicated. We need to account for people who act only in their own interests, so as not to drown the people who are more egalitarian. Maybe then we can all evolve together to a better place where nationalized anything can work well.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:21 PM, portefeuille wrote:

    OECD Health Data 2012 - Frequently Requested Data -> http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/52/42/49188719.xls.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:25 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Coincidentally, here's a link to a WSJ article"

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230444140457748...

    The title of the article is:

    "The Crushing Cost of Care

    A small percentage of challenging cases, often at the end of life, make up the great bulk of Medicare spending on hospital care. Are we anywhere close to containing the costs?"

    That is the problem. An example in the article required the expenditure of $2.1 million in Medicare dollars. Aren't we all worth that expenditure? Of course we are, and so the system should be prepared to spend $766,500,000 MILLION to keep each of us alive.

    Which of us is going to say "Nah, I don't need it?"

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:27 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Sorry, I meant "to keep all of us alive." There is no current evidence that any one of us will require $766 million for life extension. At least, not yet.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:28 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    There aren't enough rich people in all of history to pay for the tens of millions of people who don't trouble themselves to be self-sufficient. There are a few victims who I want in the safety net. There are millions more who jump in on their own and stay as long as you let them. You need a way to ensure that everyone is motivated to participate in a system, or else the system will fail.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:32 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    Darwood,

    Atul Gawande has a good rebuttal to runaway end-of-life spending costs:

    "Analysts often note how ridiculous it is that we spend more than a quarter of public health care dollars on the last six months of life. Perhaps we could spare this fruitless spending -- if only we knew when people's last six months would be."

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 7:56 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    Morgan,

    All I can say is "spend on!"

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 8:24 PM, Melaschasm wrote:

    Killing off... I mean letting old people die is a great way to reduce health care costs in the US.

    Remember the death panels? They already exist. Currently many people have input in the decision, while it is increasingly likely that a formula will soon have greater weight in such decisions.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 8:34 PM, Darwood11 wrote:

    "I'm baaack"

    The fundamental problem I have with the current health care system is that it spends as much as is necessary to provide "life extension" to those whom the system, via its own mechanasions, are considered to be "worthy." This is the currently the domain of politicians and bureaucrats, if public money is involved. Such taxpayer money is frequently the cause of problems.

    In the current system, we have children dying of malnutrition, and of various diseases. Many are in that predicament because they don't have the necessary credentials, be it a "medicare" card or are entitled to "medicaid." Besides, as we all know, starvation is not a medical condition!

    The medical establishment would have us believe that they adhere to the "Hippocratic oath." I do understand that this is something for ancient physicians to deal with. So the AMA, the government, the drug companies and your neighborhood pharmacy don't have to adhere to this. It's a left over from the once popular "Dr. Kildare" movies of the 1930s and 1940s. These movies served their purposes and we as a society have moved on.

    Ultimately, the real question is, what is a life worth? The lawyers, politicians and popular TV have decided it's worth unlimited sums. Remember when baby Jessica fell in the well?

    I have no problem if people spend their own money on these things.

    Perhaps we need the equivalent of an automobile mileage sticker which provides something like "truth in lending." For example, "Vote yes and it will raise your income taxes $855" or debit your bank account by that amount.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 9:29 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    Morgan,

    1) What provision of Obama Tax, aka Obama Care, increases the number of doctors, other Health Care professionals and overall Health Care resources to treat the millions of additional patients?

    2) How long will it take to position these resources?

    3) What do you think of the credibility of those that denied it was a tax when it clearly was?

    Fool On,

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 10:11 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    ----> But a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation provides key insight: The uninsured are three times more likely to claim problems getting needed care than those who have insurance.<----

    Just follow the money. Kaiser Family Foundation is ..... can you guess it? Kaiser Permante!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_J._Kaiser

    A major player in the health care industry and aggressive lobbyist for greater government regulation. It keeps out their competition. KFF has an main office on G Street in DC.

    Mmmm, the stench.

    I am going to take a wild stab here that KFF's "study" ain't worth a poopie flavored lollipop, much like all the other Big Pharma, Big Agra studies that get pushed as "science" when they are nothing of the sort.

    Morgan, give me a link to the actual study.

    David in Liberty

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 10:29 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    mexican turkey chile. that sounds like a gastronomic nightmare but it also sounds like where we are headed via obamacare.

  • Report this Comment On July 06, 2012, at 11:39 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Just follow the money. Kaiser Family Foundation is ..... can you guess it? Kaiser Permante!>>

    Why guess? "The Kaiser Family Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries."

    http://www.kff.org/about/index2.cfm

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:11 AM, Zolf wrote:

    While the status quo is not sustainable, the healthcare law will only serve to make it worse in every possible way.

    Increasing utilization for the uninsured, forcing coverage of pre-existing conditions while decreasing supply via reduction of reimbursements means rationed care. Hope you like waiting for substandard care. And no, the costs won't go down; not for those who can "afford" to pay, anyway.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:12 AM, ctonrick wrote:

    "Analysts often note how ridiculous it is that we spend more than a quarter of public health care dollars on the last six months of life. Perhaps we could spare this fruitless spending -- if only we knew when people's last six months would be."

    Maybe we don't know in some cases, but in many, many cases it is very clear that resources are being expended in a desperate, futile effort to gain not six months but sometimes just six hours or even six minutes.

    We all will die. We will all lose parents, grandparents, maybe even spouses and children. It sucks. Hard. But when my time comes, or if it ever falls on me to make the decision for one of my loved ones, I hope I can be brave enough to say, "My time with you has been wonderful. I have no regrets. Keep me (or him or her) comfortable. Goodbye."

    There are many problems with our healthcare system. It truly is broken. But pretending that we can't do anything about a clearly identifiable part of the problem because the solution can only be applied to some percentage of cases is silly. The perfect really is the enemy of the good.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:33 AM, easycome101 wrote:

    Here's a solution for one facet of Healthcare - - The High Cost of Near -End-of-Life Care

    SOLUTION: PIT Coverage

    Once a person retires in earnst, they are officially proclaiming "I am no longer contributing

    to society." Yes, there are exceptions but you need to start somewhere. The request to begin receiving Social Security cpayments would start the process.

    Once that occurs, the Federal government can offer that individual a policy (backed by the government 100%) which will pay for any medical expenses above and beyond the retiree's usual insurance or medicare coverage. The coverage would be called the Protected Individual Tent or the PIT for short.

    Of course the PIT would come with a hefty premium and MUST be either purchased or declined once an individual requests Social Security payments. You're not required to participate except to say, Yes or No to the coverage (this is important because then doctors will have a record of the value you placed on your life while you were in a non-crisis state of mind).

    If and when the time comes that the retiree is in a predicament of needing a VERY EXPENSIVE life-altering -medical procedure (that will run into the hundreds of thousands), then the doctor could simply pull up a file that would state whether the retiree "paid" for millions of dollars in coverage - - or not -- via the PIT policy signed by the retiree via a website (you'll also be given a card to carry around as well).

    Would you sign up?

    Most everyone say's they should get the best care that (real) money can buy but are they willing to pay for it? Well, having this policy reduces the burden placed on all of us as well as hospitals and doctors. If you think your life is worth it, then prove it before something goes wrong in old age. If your life is worth $10 million or an infinite amount of money for that matter, then buy the policy and you're good to go.

    As for what constitutes a hefty fee, that would be a percentage of that person's value to society based on a composite of factual/real information

    such as insurance policies, tax returns, retirement funds, investments and OFFICIAL documentation and would be adjusted each year or as needed.

    Yes, hiding your assets will reduce your premium's cost. BUT, as one of the rules of the game, if the governement learns of your hidden assets, they get to keep it and sell it off. If it's a vacation house, they get to keep its contents as well - anything on the property is fair game.

    So you'll take them to court and have endless delays? Well, another rule is that the medical procedure you need will not be paid for until the courts have ruled on your suit. Until then, you are required to pay the bill and you CANNOT use your frozen assets

    What you say, "I'm poor and can't afford it." Sure you can afford. The game goes like this: If you are retired and receiving a social security check and have a MEDIAN VALUE below the poverty level for that county, then you get to play for FREE* (well, FREE being we the people will pay - - no questions asked... well maybe a few).

    But the middle class can breathe easy because the drug addicts and other loons aren't likely to make it to retirement age. Remember, too, that you only begin paying once you retire and request SS payments.

    As for undocumented workers - - oh well, you had your chance. What you say, you couldn't sign up because the government isn't paying you SS.

    If you don't play by the rules you don't get to play the game. The UNDOCUMENTED WORKER RULE goes as follows, You need to be in the system (ie paying Federal taxes) for at least 20-years prior to retirement OR you must have earned enough money (taxed money) such that dividing it by 20 would equate to an income greater than or equal to the line of poverty (it's an easy game to play).

    Worried your PIT coverage will not be on file? As a condition of EVIDENCE of PARTICIPATION or DENIAL, you will not receive a SS check until you validate you policy status is viewed on-line (yes, you might need to go to the library to do this).

    Fiction or not, it's something to think about BEFORE you want the tax payor to pay $500K for an operation on a 88-year old. If it's worth it to you, and you bought the PIT coverage, then I'm willing to pay for the operation as well.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:53 AM, CHill8008 wrote:

    Thanks Morgan,

    I would like to add another to the list: that health care and health insurance are not the same thing. Health insurance is a way to finance, over time and across a population, the cost of health care. Health insurance is finance.

    The ACA compels individuals to engage in a financial contract with a private firm. There is a recent event where individuals were merely encouraged to aquire a financial contract from a private firm through artificially low interest rates, etc. These contracts (mortgages) resulted in the greatest economic contraction since the great depression.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 7:57 AM, JBKirtley wrote:

    Morgan, factor these two facts into our current costs of healthcare. 1: Prescription drug manufacturers pay huge, sometimes in excess of 50% "rebates" to pharmacy benefits managers (PBM's) for having their products on the PBM's formulary. These savings are not passed on to the consumer. 2. Failure to address tort reform in the new health care system forces medical providers to order many unnecessary tests just to protect themselves from lawsuits. This is not good care. It is malpractice premium increase aversion. And it could account for as much as 30% of our healthcare outlay. The issue is not that we spend more, but that our system, if properly adjusted, could cost significantly less. That is also not a myth.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 9:59 AM, mcbridefutures wrote:

    This is a good article. Remember all studies, numbers and reports can be made to look like whatever you would like.

    I am an administrator for a Clinic and Surgery center. We handle a large number of Medicare (as most Doctors). Surgery Centers are paid 53% of what Hospitals receive for the same Surgery. This was suppose to reach 80% within in 5 years as the government made a law. However, that time has past and no increase to Surgery centers. Doctors payments have decreased by 15- 25% over the past 10 years. This is to give you a bit more information from the Medical Providers side.

    Now with the Health Care Reform mostly in place and everyone is to have insurance. I have asked the question what happens to all the Clinics that have been funded by the government for low income and no insurance and non-citizens. We have some very large and Proud Clincs of this nature and Ms. Kathleen Sebilous came to our community just last year and touted about the great job these clincs are doing. She was also instrumental in getting new funding for them to continue their work. As of care, from these clinics - lets just say it is adequate at the best.

    I could go on and on but we tend to only look at a few things and base a decision on that. However, there seem to be too many variables for a simple fix.

    The other countrys that we compare ours to - lets just say that the whole story has not been told.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 10:03 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    I am the King. I know what is best for you. You are just a lowly citizen. You may have elected me, but I now have power over you.

    Health insurance is good for you. Buy health insurance or I shall tax you.

    Brocolli is good for you. Buy health broccoli or I shall tax you.

    Exercise is good for you. Buy a gym membership or I shall tax you.

    Vitamins are good for you. Buy vitamins or I shall tax you.

    Red wine is good for you. Buy red wine or I shall tax you.

    Scooters use less gas than cars. Buy a scooter or I shall tax you.

    If you don't like my commands, I do not care. I am the King. I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 10:20 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Europe is much better than America. We must strive to be like Europe. The ends justify the means.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 11:35 AM, cooncreekcrawler wrote:

    You really know how to stir up the hornet's nest and brink the Obama haters out of the woodwork. I only hope that all this agitation will eventually result in some positive change.

    Just remember, liars figure, figures don't lie.

    Good article and Fool on.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 11:47 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "liars figure, figures don't lie."

    Exactly! Thank you for sticking up for your King. I will reward you with an Obamacare waiver like I have to thousands of others of my supporters.

    I am not a crooked Chicago politician. I never lie. That's why it is imperative that all Americans trust and obey me.

    I shall reward you with waivers, food stamps, and cell phones. I will order ICE to ignore our illegal immigration laws. I am SO going to win the Latino vote.

    You WILL vote for me in November. I shall continue to buy votes to ensure that I am reelected.

    Now bow before your King.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 11:49 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "You really know how to stir up the hornet's nest and brink the Obama haters out of the woodwork."

    Don't worry, my friend. I will tax anyone who dares to question my wisdom.

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:23 PM, Gorm wrote:

    Great article!

    Our CORE problem is coverage is tied to employment and politicians are so influenced by special interests they FAIL to effect changes that are BEST for America.

    It is NOT only healthcare. Lobbyists and our corrupt representative system preclude ACTION on a multitude of problems, ie entitlements, energy, education, etc.

    A revolution is coming!

    Gorm

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:26 PM, leetabin wrote:

    May I say respectfully that you forget one salient point. The reason we spend more on health care is that we do and offer more procedures and innovations. The only reason healthcare in Europe limps along is because they borrow our innovations.

    Whenever anything is "free," there is less of it. In the UK for example there are long waits for non emergency procedures like hip replacements that people have to live in pain with for months even years. Canada until recently had NO MRIs and it is no accident that when people want best health care and can afford it they come here.

    Lots of medicines and procedures are not offered to older people either. The life expectancy argument is not accurate either as we have infinitely more deaths from cars than any other country as well as a gun culture that Europe does not have. We also start our life expectancy data at birth and many countries wait a year.

    I cannot help noticing that the people who PASSED Obamacare do not subject themselves to it and many of the waivers are granted to unions and other traditionally Democrat voters.

    None of this is to say that we do not need to overhaul health care. I would not permit minor care to be covered by insurance except for the truly indigent.

    Obamacare is an immitation of failed unsustainable systems.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:28 PM, vebb wrote:

    I get the "preventative " angle of healthcare. But having a career in healthcare , I can tell you that it is not a priority for many people who CAN afford it. They have an iPad, iphone , cable, a custom boombox in the car but to set aside something each month for a BlueCross policy is not even on their radar. I'm just saying!

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:29 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Skypilot wrote, "1) What provision of Obama Tax, aka Obama Care, increases the number of doctors, other Health Care professionals and overall Health Care resources to treat the millions of additional patients? 2) How long will it take to position these resources? 3) What do you think of the credibility of those that denied it was a tax when it clearly was?"

    Skypilot, since no one has answered your questions, I will answer them.

    Don't worry about the number of doctors. Don't worry about the doctors who have vowed to retire because of Obamacare. If your waiting times increase, SO BE IT. Just do what your King commands you to do, or I shall tax you.

    STOP using the word tax. Your King commands you to stop using the word tax. I command you to ignore the largest middle class tax increase in American history. Stop worrying about the deficit and $16 trillion national debt. THE DEBT DOES NOT MATTER.

    All that matters is that I take full control of ALL insurance companies. If they cannot profit, so be it. If they go out of business, so be it. Once all insurance companies are out of business, I shall implement single payer.

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:31 PM, vebb wrote:

    BTW, the end NEVER justifies the means. Look it up .......Aristotelian Ethics

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:44 PM, monchito7 wrote:

    @Leetabin "Canada until recently had NO MRIs and it is no accident that when people want best health care and can afford it they come here." Where did you hear/read this? It's true people with money go south for better service. You have some of the best services and shortest wait times (provided you have the money) http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/US-H...

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:45 PM, klk5439 wrote:

    One thing the media does is allow people access to all opinions and not just those from politicians, the People's Pharmacy had Dr. Roper, who was head of Medicare in the 80's and is now head of the UNC health care system. He makes the point pretty clear that we do have universal health care, called the Emergency Room at the public hospital, and they are running deficits that are paid for by taxpayer money, but since that is not coming from the Insurance Company's pocket all is well. The history of the Emergencty Room law deserves national TV exposure, to make light of the reasons behind its passing and its effects. (Interesting Bush II makes that part of his narrative on helath care.) Anyway the link is http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2012/05/26/859-medical-myths-...

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 12:51 PM, kabrink wrote:

    Our system is broken, yes. But, we're currently fixing it the wrong way. You attribute a lot of administrative costs to private health care providers. Remember that a lot of this is driven by overwhelming state and federal government over regulation. We need governments to simplify and streamline regulations and guidance and get out of the way.

    In my view, the federal government should set up a minimum health care standard that all companies (govt would not provide any) must provide nationally - not state by state. Companies are free to offer additional premium health care plans above that. Buyers would be free to change from company to company frequently. I don't know what is most appropriate, daily, monthly, quarterly? But currently the system is too sticky and with limited or no choice.

    This is intended to set up a nationally competitive health care market where companies will need to compete on quality and cost to please and retain patients.

    I personally am not that troubled by a mandate to carry health insurance. We are already compelled to buy liability car insurance. So, everyone would be required to buy the minimum national program described above. Government would subsidize people that need help. This of course is a complex means test but it can be figured out.

    I'm also fine with requiring companies to accept you with pre-existing conditions. However, just like car insurance you have to pay more if you are a higher risk person. That is only fair.

    Anyway, a more free market properly done would provide more and better care than a government operated one.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:07 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "I personally am not that troubled by a mandate to carry health insurance."

    Excellent, my servant! Your King is very flattered by your obedience. I now command you to buy a gym membership and a scooter. It's the right thing to do. I know what is best for you.

    "We are already compelled to buy liability car insurance. "

    You are absolutely correct! Although I do not own a car, I still buy car insurance because the government forces me to. I also buy business insurance even though I do not own a business.

    "Government would subsidize people that need help."

    Actually, other taxpayers including middle class taxpayers would be forced to subsidize people that need help. But I agree that it is better to make it sound like the money grows on trees. Well done, my friend.

    "I'm also fine with requiring companies to accept you with pre-existing conditions."

    Of course! We should also force car insurance companies to give new policies to people AFTER they crash their cars.....

    STEP ONE: Buy a car but do not buy insurance.

    STEP TWO: Crash your car.

    STEP THREE: Apply for car insurance even though you crashed your car. As King, I will force car insurance companies to cover you.

    STEP FOUR: Car insurance companies cannot profit this way and will go out of business.

    STEP FIVE: As King, I will create a single payer car insurance company.

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:12 PM, steveelcpo wrote:

    If this article is in response to the recent national debate over Obamacare, I would like to note some observations. This issue has been beat to death and by now, even the so-called fact checks are biased.

    The first source quoted is a New York Times writer; not exactly what I would call an unbiased source. The New York Times is nothing more than a liberal publication.

    Second, I agree wholeheartedly that the current system is broken. Obamacare, the so-called "Affordable Care Act", goes way beyond some of the reasonable reforms mentioned in the article. Tort reform, administrative standards across the nation as opposed to the "behemoth" currently existing, electronic medical records to cut out redundant testing, and a whole host of other improvements would be better than a nationalized health care system.

    Does anyone know how much this will cost?

    Has the government EVER run anything efficiently and at the lowest cost?

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:18 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    steveelcpo, how dare you question my healthcare law. As King, I shall tax you for your insubordination.

    DO NOT QUESTION OBAMACARE.

    Now buy health insurance as I ordered you to, you petty citizen.

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:18 PM, DSL102 wrote:

    If anyone took the time to read that so-called healthcare bill, you would know that the plan calls for everyone to be transitioned to the gov't. plan within 7 years. So as to Obama claiming that you can keep your own healthcare insurance and healthcare provider--it is a lie. It also states that the user will be fully responsible for the first twelve thousand dollars of the medical expenses plus 20% of the expenses up to $95,000. Do the math; the patient is responsible for $28,000 of that $95,000.00 bill. Which poor person can afford that?

    In Europe you must wait for an appointment for emergencies unless you purchase a private supplemental plan. If you take that responsibility, a doctor or dentist will make room for you. I know this to be a fact.

    Why is it that we have clients here in the U.S. who have the funds to collect expensive tatoos or body art (?) yet expect the government to pay for their children's medical and dental care?

    Did you know that if a patient has a visit scheduled and does not comprehend English, the government has a law that says the doctor MUST provide a professional translator (about $75.00per 1/2 hr.) and the office must eat that cost. It cannot be billed to the patient. If that same patient is on Medicaid, the doctor will surely not be reimbursed for the full cost of treating the patient, so in the end the doctor faces treating patients at his own expense. This is why the average person with insurance is charged high rates for services.

    Congress should never be allowed to vote on anything unless they, the Congressmen/women, actually read the bill for themselves.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:35 PM, quaker8 wrote:

    Great article Morgen and exactly what the doctor ordered.

    We spend the most amount of money (public and private combined) as a % of GDP on health care than any other nation on the planet. And the clincher: it is not spent on citizens, not even 9 out of 10 citizens but more like 8.5 citizens out of 10 and the trend was worsening.

    To appreciate what it means not having health insurance, try going without it to see what feels like, especially if you have had (through your employer or as a family member). I would be willing to bet that not one single contributor to this blog has ever been in that situation. Trust me, you do not want to know that sense of ultimate vulnerability especially when you see the largesse of the health care industry all around you.

    Next question: how many of you actually know someone who does not have health insurance? In this case l bet you do (because there are so many of them) and also bet you don't have this same discussion with them. Why? You would feel ashamed because of the estimated 50 million who are uninsured are not the perennial on the dole, but working poor or middle class who cannot afford the premiums, limited coverage, co-pays and deductibles, lifetime caps and the worst evil of all, pre-existing conditions. I would also be willing to bet that if I asked those of you with health insurance the question "are you happy with your provider in light of the aforementioned terms and conditions of private American health insurance, you would privately admit that in fact you are not happy with it. Any honest opinions on that out there?

    Our current system has the wrong incentives in place for a concept of health care and wellness and let's face it, the industry as with all industries has one motive: profitability. No industry can regulate or set objective standards for itself if this is the only objective measure of success.

    The majority of the European systems while not perfect, work well at a lower cost the citizens are prepared to pay and EVERYONE IS COVERED. Their industry, much like ours and yes, there are private insurance companies, also works on the profit motive but and here is the big difference: Society through their elected legislatures has set standards for health care that all players, public and private, have to meet if they want to play along. It is this standard setting that the Affordable Healthcare Act has now done and was long overdue. Both parties have tried their luck over decades to bring some sanity to the situation. Now it is law, imperfect like all laws, but in my opinion an important first step in the right direction. And haven't you noticed? Not one single health care provider has closed their doors, folded up the tent or even threatened such an action and why? Because they will still be able to make money what they do because the new standards are not onerous but in fact, reasonable and apply to all. A number of them in fact came out just before the Supreme Court passed judgement and indicated they planned to keep most all of these standards if the law had been overturned.

    This is the right thing to do. And do not forget: This in one of the few instances where all payees will have a direct benefit from their premiums i.e. you can now go the doctor without fear of not being able to afford it. How often do you get that opportunity with a "tax" which, in my opinion, it is not. There will be a penalty if you don't sign up but who would be so naive and act against one's own self interest?

    I could go on............

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:36 PM, robwg wrote:

    The first and third "myths" are not addresssed by the "facts" you cite.

    1. how much the respective systems spend per capita is not relevant to whether one is free market and the other socialist. The facts you present are true, but don't address the myth. Rather, you used a the myth as a straw man to present an incomplete comparision of spending patterns as if it somehow refuted the "myth".

    2. "America's uninsured are treated by..." - again, the fact that the mortality rate is higher for the uninsured does not refute the statement that they receive treatment by the generosity of those organizations.

    The article is a poorly constructed polemic to provide a platform for your views, not some myth busting exercise, ans serves as a reminder for why I rarely visit MF anymore, having long tired of its constant political propaganda and pump and dump investing "advice".

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:41 PM, UFOFred wrote:

    Regarding tort reform ---

    What to do about the occasional egregious failures of health care providers. Here's a relatively minor example from our family.

    My Mother-in-law had surgery to install a pacemaker. Next day, while in intensive care and supposedly under constant surveillance, she got confused, pulled off the monitoring instruments and got out of bed. She fell and broke a hip.

    When my wife asked a doctor how this could happen in intensive care, the reply was "she has a right to fall". That comment nearly brought on a law suit. Probably my wife should have sued the b***ards.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:46 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    quaker wrote, "This is the right thing to do. "

    That's exactly what I say all the time! You must have watched my speeches on television! As Americans, it our duty to take the personal property from the haves against their will and give it to the have-nots. All Americans MUST OBEY ME. Americans are too stupid to take care of themselves. As King, I will FORCE them to do "the right thing".

    quaker wrote, "How often do you get that opportunity with a "tax" which, in my opinion, it is not. "

    Of course it is not a tax, my friend! Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts LIED when he said it was a tax after my Solicitor General testified that it is a tax. So what if the only reason Obamacare passed through the SCOTUS is that it is a tax. As King, I will NEVER admit that it is a tax! And as my servant, I applaud you for denying that it is a tax! Well done, my friend!

    quaker wrote, "There will be a penalty if you don't sign up but who would be so naive and act against one's own self interest?"

    EXACTLY! This is why I now ORDER YOU to buy a gym membership and a scooter. IT IS IN YOUR BEST INTEREST!

    Finally someone gets it!!!!

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you!

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:54 PM, jimdog wrote:

    "But having a career in healthcare , I can tell you that it is not a priority for many people who CAN afford it. They have an iPad, iphone , cable, a custom boombox in the car but to set aside something each month for a BlueCross policy is not even on their radar. "

    Exactly. With the cost of cigarettes approaching ten bucks per pack*, who can afford health insurance?

    Heck with that. We OWE people. Hell, it's a basic human right, like broadband, nomesane?

    Safety net? Looks like a hammock to me.

    (*Mostly taxes that were intended to fund smoking cessation and to improve health care but were plundered to fund efforts to buy votes)

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 1:56 PM, CHill8008 wrote:

    Quaker8

    You've lost that bet. I went 3 years without insurance a few years back and I contribute to this blog. I still made my check-ups, had my teeth-cleanings, got my prescriptions for contacts filled, even had some blood work, and a minor procedure. I just paid for it directly. I'm by no means rich, and certainly wasn't then. I did notice they charge less if you are not insured, I guess it's a billing discount. They were also very, very good about making payment arrangements if i let them know in advance, without any interest.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:15 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    As King, I hereby create a new law. As of midnight tonight, obesity will be banned. All citizens will be required to show up at their local IRS office and be weighed on a scale. Any citizen found to be overweight WILL BE FORCED TO PAY AN EXTRA TAX.

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:26 PM, TMFVicki wrote:

    FIrst thing, great article Morgan!

    For folks who actually care to understand more about how all the other first world nations provide healthcare to their people without threat of bankrupcy or dying early from perfectly treatable diseases, I recommend you read -- The Healing of America, A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care" by T. R. Reid.

    And having witnessed how well my 104 year old grandmother was treated by our local Hospice for end of life care, I can honestly say there is already a way to provide compassionate care (keeping them comfortable and helping both the dying and their families with the process). Hospices' are aimed at providing care for folks in their last 6 months of life.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:37 PM, brianthern wrote:

    Having worked in the ER for 11 years, I have seen the results of President Bush's words.

    Everyone has coverage....just go to the ER.

    True! We treat everyday complaints such as back pain, knee pain, common colds, headaches.

    All because we cannot turn them away. ER has become a primary service.

    The article says ER will treat when in dire need... BULL!!

    They treat things that should be at the doctors office. If you don't believe me, go sit in a waiting room and see just how many appear "dire".

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:41 PM, ldewulf42 wrote:

    A very good article. One could also add that the health indicators in the US are very poor on average. But most analyst and readers belong to the insured class where health indicators are good/excellent and service first class. They pat themselves on the back. For the others/uninsured there is high infant mortality, poor mother-child health, lousy preventive care, high overaal mortality. These facts are known but omitted mostly from debates...as debates are held mostly by those that are well insured and care only about their own folks.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:42 PM, Crazylegs52 wrote:

    Being a physician, and having just lived in Europe for the past 3 years, I have several perspectives.

    #1. American health care needs overhaul. Not because it is bad, because it is too expensive.

    #2. European health care, for the most part, is below the standards of the US.

    #3. Europeans do not have the same health care expectations we do. They are more realistic about cause and effect of their own lifestyles. If they smoked for 30 years, and get cancer, they would say, well what do you expect! Thus, less litigation.

    #4. Litigation reform, as a single issue, if reformed nationally, and significantly, could alter the overall cost of health care in an unforeseen way. The costs to the doctor, the insurance, the hospital, the courts, the pharma companies, would be cut substantially by decreasing this one metric. Unfortunately, so would lawyer fees.

    #5. Subsidizing the training of health care professionals directly. Not the schools, the individuals. We are losing good people to other professions because the cost, and time, to train someone, is SIGNIFICANT. The next time someone talks about a "rich doctor", they should ask that doctor how many years of their life they gave up to take tests, write papers, go to classes, so they could get to where they are. Most, if not all physicians, have given up a significant part of their youth to study. We should provide an incentive, or we will end up with no doctors in some regions.

    #6. Although "crankytexan" likes to poke fun at taxing people, I am completely of the mindset that the typical American will only stop bad behavior by disincentives. Why on earth does anyone need a beverage other than water, larger than 16 oz? These drinks are one of the largest causative factors in the epidemic of obesity, and if they are not banned altogether, they should be taxed. Everyone says they should have a right to a 24 oz Super Duper Big Gulp, and no one can take that away from them. Well, either tax them and pay for their diabetes care, or force them to buy 3 separate 8 oz instead!

    Just some of my thoughts.

    Crazy

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:49 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    Morgan Housel,

    Oh you poor thing. So the KFF says it's not "affiliated" and you buy that hook, line, and sinker?

    Funny, since Henry Kaiser started both, and KFF lobbies for policies that benefit, you'd really have to be a journalist not to make that obvious connection.

    This in a microcosm is how liberals get fooled into helping big business. They can't see one step beyond the lobby to see that it is big businesses they supposedly hate that benefit from these big government schemes.

    David in Liberty

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:52 PM, quaker8 wrote:

    to crankytexan

    I believe it was Romney who said it was the right thing to do. And btw, why don't you answer the questions I posed? I bet you collect social security but don't whine about that, probably drive on public roads, used public sewer and water lines etc. but taxes for that stuff is OK. Did you attend public school? And do you ever consider the benefits of a tax? (see above) We can debate about levels of taxation but there ain't no free lunches so step up to the plate and put some skin in the game. Its in your interest as well.

    Just remember to weigh the benefits when talking about costs...as most of your kind forget to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:54 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "as debates are held mostly by those that are well insured and care only about their own folks."

    Don't worry. Let me be clear. As King, I shall use force to take the personal property of millions of Americans and use it to pay the medical bills of other Americans.

    Security is more important than freedom.

    It's the right thing to do.

    I know what is best for you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 2:58 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "And btw, why don't you answer the questions I posed?"

    quaker, why are you upset with me? I fully agree with you. As King, I fully support forcing Americans to do what I want them to do.

    It is obvious that Americans cannot take care of themselves. This is why people like you and me must force them to live the way that WE want them to. We must force them to spend their money the way WE want them to.

    I fully support your desire to control every citizen.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:00 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Although "crankytexan" likes to poke fun at taxing people, I am completely of the mindset that the typical American will only stop bad behavior by disincentives."

    What are you talking about? I agree that we should punish Americans every time they do something unhealthy. They cannot be trusted to take care of themselves. You and I must force them to.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:03 PM, quaker8 wrote:

    to chill8008

    I am not suggesting that there are not those like you who go to the doctor and pay for their services. But correct me if I am wrong, when you had health insurance, the price was never discussed...it was simply submitted to the provider and you were billed your co-pay or deductible. Now, I imagine you negotiate the price before going and it does work quite well. And this is the point: we need to separate the insurance from the health care providers. The health care provider wants to do just that and will adjust his billing model accordingly. The insurer just wants to cut costs or raise revenue with bottom line focus only. Without standards of care being set, it is you against them. And they have been winning.

    I assume you were working at the time while uninsured and had no catastrophic or serious injury. Could you have paid for this in that event.? The un- and underemployed cannot.

    Finally, the folks who can now buy health insurance want health insurance and are willing to pay for it. This is not about providing it for free by fiat.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:09 PM, quaker8 wrote:

    to crankytexan

    still haven't answered the questions and imagine you cannot....you can turn off your default response machine now and try using a little common sense

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:11 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "The insurer just wants to cut costs or raise revenue with bottom line focus only. Without standards of care being set, it is you against them. And they have been winning."

    I agree with you. This is why we should destroy every corporation and let politicians control healthcare. Capitalism is evil. The citizen base must be controlled.

    "Finally, the folks who can now buy health insurance want health insurance and are willing to pay for it. This is not about providing it for free by fiat."

    As usual, you are 100% truthful. No American will get free healthcare. Low-income Americans who pay zero tax will not be subsidized at all. In fact, they will required to work 8 hours a day in a government factory in order to get health insurance. In fact, food stamp recipients will be forced to work as well. Look into my eyes. I am not lying.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:16 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    quaker, I fully support your attempt to rationalize controlling Americans by pointing out that Americans are already being controlled.

    It's like saying that a rape victim should not mind being raped again because she is already used to it.

    If the USA someday becomes like North Korea, then maybe you and I will allow Americans to complain. Until then, you and I will control their lives whether they like it or not because we know what is best for them. HOW DARE they complain about new taxes.

    I am your friend, quaker. Freedom is bad. Government control of the people is good.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:21 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Let's review.

    1. Americans vote for a president who is supposed to be a public servant.

    2. The "public servant" forces Americans to buy health insurance or pay a tax.

    How can anyone complain about this? The citizens must be controlled. Freedom is evil.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:22 PM, CHill8008 wrote:

    Quaker8,

    Your bet was that nobody contributing to this blog has been uninsured, and I have done both.

    I was working for part of that time, most of the time I didnt think it was worth the premiums plus the deductible. Nothing major happened, but there is usually little risk of that.

    As I pointed out in a previous post, health care and health insurance are not equivalents. I find them being used interchangeabley to be enthymematic and intellectually dishonest. Insurance is finance, whether it's auto or anti-defamation or health insurance.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:26 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    By the way, quaker, did you by a gym membership yet? As King, I ordered you to do so or pay a tax. What is your decision?

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 3:57 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On July 07, 2012, at 2:49 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    “Morgan Housel,

    Oh you poor thing. So the KFF says it's not "affiliated" and you buy that hook, line, and sinker?

    Funny, since Henry Kaiser started both, and KFF lobbies for policies that benefit, you'd really have to be a journalist not to make that obvious connection.

    This in a microcosm is how liberals get fooled into helping big business. They can't see one step beyond the lobby to see that it is big businesses they supposedly hate that benefit from these big government schemes.

    David in Liberty”

    The I. R. S. also, benefits. They will be adding additional personnel to make sure everyone is in compliance with Obama Care.

    Obama Tax, aka Obama Care, must be good because, every great program has the I. R. S. enforcing it.

    Ya. Right on.

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 4:12 PM, Kauaicat wrote:

    CrankyTexan, your comments are spot on, but - judging by the responses - highlight the extent to which the citizens of this country are willing to hand over their freedom for the perception of security.

    It is truly frightening to see how brainwashed so many have become...

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 4:19 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Kauaicat, you don't know what you are talking about. Ben Franklin wrote, "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."

    Screw Ben Franklin. Screw Freedom.

    I want freebies.

    Healthcare is a human right. So is food, shelter, and clothing. I demand that the greedy 1% give me free healthcare, food, clothing, brand new house, and a new Ferrari.

    I do not respect personal property. I demand that the government take the personal property of Americans who have more money than I do and give it to me.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 6:28 PM, Gino77 wrote:

    The hospital emergency room is a good first stop for patients with broken bones, strokes or cardiac problems. For internal medical disorders I have found the ER to over test, overprice and misdiagnose the ailment. ER physicians will save your life but they are not adequately trained to deal with many internal medicine symptoms.

    A "minute clinic" run by a trained RN may be a safer and more economical venue for many patients when the family doctor is not available.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 7:09 PM, foolhardy7 wrote:

    Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.

    ~ Sir Laurens Van der Post

    My thirty year old son has a job, but no health insurance. I pay a couple hundred a month for a private BC/BS policy for him. Why? Because he cannot afford it and I can. Yes, but Why? It's his personal responsibility! Yes, but I sort of consider it to be insuring (as in protecting) myself. Because if I found out next month he had MS, or cancer, or leukemia, or any one of dozens of other long-term and expensive to treat health conditions, would I be willing to say, "Too bad. You should have bought insurance. Good luck."

    No, of course not.

    But place that fact on a more impersonal basis, as to the uninsured masses, and it is easier to turn one's head from the pain – after all, it's not your pain.

    So we criticize those who see humanity more personally, calling them impractical. And perhaps they are, but that is not the answer to the question raised by this article – which is that we should be questioning how to do it right.

    Yes, there is a problem with free riders. There will always be some who want to take advantage of what is offered.

    On the other hand, they may be fewer than we suspect. Many people want jobs, but most of the working class jobs coming available now come with low wages and no health care. Over several decades, in the name of free trade (and without requiring parity in labor and environmental protections) we shipped the working class manufacturing jobs of the 50s and 60s overseas. Politically, we did not support the businesses that provided the health care (and pensions), with tax incentives and other support for those programs. Instead we made it smarter for businesses to drop their defined benefit plans and their health plans – now they're gone. So we need to deal with that part of the problem too.

    But in the meantime, providing health care for the poor and uninsured only at the emergency room door is a truly stupid approach. We are a smarter country than that. We are a better country than that.

    Some of the comments here caused me to recall these lines from the second spirit in A Christmas Carol, after Scrooge learns that Tim is likely to die without better care:

    No, no,'' said Scrooge. ``Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.''

    ``If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,'' returned the Ghost, ``will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.''

    Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

    ``Man,'' said the Ghost, ``if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is.

    "Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die?

    "It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions -- like this poor man's child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!''

    Think about it.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 7:18 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    ""Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die?"

    This is precisely why we must destroy capitalism and embrace communism. Americans are dying in the streets under our greedy capitalist system. This morning alone, two people died right in front of my house!

    Only politicians can save us from ourselves. We must trust politicians to command us. Politicians never lie and never cheat. Politicians are our real saviors.

    It is the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 7:39 PM, Valrith wrote:

    "Analysts often note how ridiculous it is that we spend more than a quarter of public health care dollars on the last six months of life. Perhaps we could spare this fruitless spending -- if only we knew when people's last six months would be."

    We could "spare this fruitless spending" very simply -- by not spending public money paying for private citizens' health care.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 8:05 PM, HerrGlock wrote:

    It's just BS on the US being inefficient.....try waiting over 6 months for an MRI in almost EVERY socialized country and Canada is our nearest example of THAT!

    And hospitals here in Texas treat indigent patients routinely and get miniscule reimbursements from Medicaid. Any shortfall is then collected from the county hospitals thru property taxes, so we pay again for their treatment.

    Wise up

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 8:14 PM, maiday2000 wrote:

    How many ill-conceived and poorly supported articles on health care can Morgan Housel write in one year? The number seems endless.

    Everyone who supports Obamacare starts out with the assumption that universal health insurance coverage is both desirable and achievable (some may even say "affordable" as well). This assumption is wrong. Health insurance and health care are not analogous. Increasing the number of people insured does nothing to help them receive more care. Even with over 10% of the people not covered, there are still wait times at every doctors office I have ever visited.

    Here is a real "fact": Providing insurance or even universal coverage to the poor is not going to increase their survivability. The queue's will just get longer, a parallel private-cash system will develop, and those who can afford care will receive it at the expense of those who cannot. Sorry, I didn't know you believed in fairy tales and pixie dust.

    It doesn't matter what the government does, fairness and equality in health care outcomes is not possible. In any case, the government shouldn't be in this business anyway, especially if it is doing so at the expense of our individual liberties.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 9:21 PM, MattSEMO08 wrote:

    Question to those against obamacare.

    Do you really like the way healthcare is set up now?

    Do you really like that you can be denied due to preexisting condition

    Besides the taxes what is the problem with obamacare or is it we are not happy unless we are gripping about something. I know obamacare might not be perfect. And I agree something's may need to change. But it's a start. As it stands without obamacare some go to ER and they don't pay anything. And they never will without some kind of new plan in place.

    I think people need to take more social responsibility. Instead of the tax I think they should make it you can't be seen unless you have documentation showing that you have financing available to pay for the healthcare provided.

    In addition to obamacare I think there should be some sort of health insurance regulation were congress/obama regulate the amount of premium consumers paid to health insurance company based on your gross income.

    For instance

    You make

    10,000 yearly than your max amount per year for health insurance company is 100 or something like this

    I think there needs to be changes to healthcare. I think obamacare is a start and no one said that this is the best legislation or perfect but we need to try something new. And for those that say we need to repeal what r we gonna put in replacement. You can not possibly tell me you like healthcare the way it is today

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 9:29 PM, MattSEMO08 wrote:

    Maiday2000

    I believe your right the lines will be longer with everybody having insurance but I believe there should be more incentive from our govt to students to join the healthcare industry as nurses nurse practitioners biller et al.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 9:44 PM, MattSEMO08 wrote:

    Crankytexan what would be your solution to healthcare problem besides the 1% paying your healthcare and communism I am DYING to know how you would take care of this

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 10:20 PM, whereaminow wrote:

    MattSEMO08,

    If you don't like the current (pre-Obama) health care system, then you should be anti-government, since they set it up.

    Google Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.

    I swear to God statists have the shortest freaking memories on Earth.

    David in LIberty

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 11:29 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    MattSEMO08, I totally agree with you that insurance companies should be forced to accept new customers that are already sick. That way, I can wait until I need $100,000 worth of healthcare before I apply for health insurance......

    STEP ONE: Don't buy health insurance.

    STEP TWO: Wait until I am seriously ill.

    STEP THREE: Pay $100 to sign up for health insurance.

    STEP FOUR: Get $100,000 worth of health care!

    I will receive $100,000 of care for just $100! Think of how much the insurance company will profit!

    Ummmm, wait. The insurance company would lose $99,900. Oh well. They deserve to go out of business. Which is what you and I really want anyway.

    Destroy all corporations! Destroy capitalism! God Bless communism!

    Love, your friend, Cranky Texan.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2012, at 11:33 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    " I think obamacare is a start and no one said that this is the best legislation or perfect but we need to try something new. "

    Most intelligent post of the day! I agree that it is very smart to force citizens into the largest tax increase in history just to experiment with a hostile government takeover of the entire health insurance industry!

    If it doesn't work, so what? We know what is best for citizens.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 12:03 AM, pt722 wrote:

    As a health care provider for the last 36 years, I was incensed by Sarah Palin's comment regarding "granny death panels". Because of the lack of limits on spending for people who have no meaningful life left (alas, we don't have a cure for death from old age yet!), people with viable years ahead of them don't get the care they need. Not to mention, the things that are frequently done to elderly patients in pursuit of keeping them alive are downright painful, if not cruel. It is so important to have "end of life medical care" conversations with patients, if nothing else, to protect them from well meaning, if uninformed, relatives. It would also save the government billions of dollars in unproductive care.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 12:14 AM, neptuneakasquid wrote:

    Re: "The U.S. government spends more money per citizen covering a minority of its population than most European governments spend covering their entire populations:"

    I believe that our elected members of Congress are in this minority.

    Although I am a Vietnam era veteran, I am not able to obtain any treatment from any VA Facility. Supposedly, my income is too high at the middle five figure level, as I did not apply for a VA Identification card before 2003, when G. W. Bush and his hatchet men managed to enact this legislation. Of course, these same people, with incomes in the high six and seven figure brackets, managed to procure ID's (insider information?)before this legislation became effective, are eligible for the same benefits that many Veterans are being denied.

    One way to insure that our Veterans would receive the best care in the world, would be for the corporations that are making record profits from these wars or "police actions" to foot the bill for all damages.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 12:19 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "One way to insure that our Veterans would receive the best care in the world, would be for the corporations that are making record profits from these wars or "police actions" to foot the bill for all damages."

    Bravo! I agree. Let's destroy all corporations and destroy capitalism. Communism is the way to go. Politicians are completely trustworthy and smarter than the rest of us.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 1:02 AM, NYCDOG wrote:

    You asked how many ill-supported valentines to Big Gov't can Housel write in a year? How many HRS can Robbie Cano hit? How many hoops can Kobe sink? Washington Post, the "objective" Kaiser etc. When will Michael Moore be cited as expert??

    Like a previous poster, I too, have a relative in UK (Manchester) and the state system is, if anything, WORSE than the poster enumerates. Also, travel, as I have, to Europe often, and tell a few folk how long between diagnosis and being on the operating table? Europeans flat out won't believe it's as short as it is here. Rationing precludes such efficient care there. Like Canada, necessary operations are classified as "elective", hence people getting worse or literally dying before seeing a surgeon. Speaking of which...incentive to becoming a doctor falls off. Do they do anything better over there? Yep..shorter path to approval of new drugs. But to have Housel criticize the FDA bureaucracy,,fuhgetaboutit!

    How about the virtually unargued benefit to the insured of being allowed to buy health insurance across state lines and the cost saving free market competition it would kick off?? Not for Housel's Obamessiah. Hence not ever explored in these one sided screeds. No, cost savings not the statists' goal. CONTROL is.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 1:28 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    I'm not sure how pointing out that our government-run health sector is massive and inefficient has been twisted into the impression that I'm gung-ho for more of it. Obamacare has serious flaws. If I were seriously ill I'd personally want to be in America. The FDA is a bureaucracy and makes huge mistakes.

    I don't have any concrete solutions for a perfect health care system, and I don't think anyone does for that matter. It's a massively complex problem. But knowing the facts of the matter is important.

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 1:39 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Speaking of which...incentive to becoming a doctor falls off.>>

    U.S. is well below the OECD average in practicing physicians per capita, fwiw.

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/53/12/38976551.pdf

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 1:49 AM, labah wrote:

    As a physician since 1988, I find a number of comments rife with hyperbole. Most careful studies suggest that malpractice induced costs add 10-15% of the total waste in our health care system. Health care insurance companies now require upwards of 15 % profit, due to the changed investment world. While a large portion of emergency room visits are not emergent, this includes both the insured and the uninsured (Gotta have it when I want it!). As for hidden costs of medicare administration, Individuals as well as companies bear much of the bureaucratic burden. It would be difficult to differentiate IRS costs for personal and business costs of private insurance from those related to collecting medicare taxes. Neither are included in the computations for administrative costs of either financing model. Finally, the dearth of primary cary care physicians stems largely by the mushrooming of specialists. If I am not mistaken, the government used to constrain the number of graduating medical school students who could enter a given residency/fellowship, predicated on the country's requirements. This is because residency programs are paid through government funding (Medicare/Medicaid) through higher reimbursements. To those who would decry determining the number of specialty training positions, it might be worthwhile to keep in mind that they are publicly funded positions. It seems to me perfectly reasonable to annually determine how many training programs would be available for a given residency/fellowship based on careful assessment of society's needs. As a caveat, an increasing percentage of primary care care residencies (pediatrics, internal medicine & family medicine) are being filled by graduates of foreign medical schools, both ex-pats and foreign nationals (through J1 or H1 visas-I don't know which). Physician extenders are being increasingly used (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) - but their post-bac training amounts to 1 1/2 - 3 years, as opposed to 4 years of med school and 3-even 10 years of residency/fellowship. They are clearly not comparable.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 2:01 AM, goneskuba wrote:

    Want to fix medicine, give the doctors what baseball players, agents, lawyers, and crooked politicians make.

    This great Country which proclaims true capitalism should allow the best health care to be obtained...for a price. If every Md (Medicaid = Medi can't) patient would really only use the care that they really required from an ER (i.e.- abuse the laws and state I have chest pain to get morphine, dilaudid, percocet, fentanyl, oxycodone, oxycontin, or the numerous other opiates, then maybe we would spend less per capita. The money spent on out system does not treat the people that deserve to be treated (lets be real, elderly do not really support the system we live in, yet they along with the indigent people get the most out of sapping the resources for everyone else that should be getting care for FREE (18-65 hard working Americans!!!). The ones that are society and that put money into the system rather then take out of the system.

    If you believe the less fortunate should get your money, your hard money that is.... YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT A 99%er. You don't want Obamacare, you should not get Medicare or Medicaid or any other "Socialist program".

    Don't get me wrong, I am all for Socialist medicine in this Country, but we already have it to some extent and it 's all F'ed up right now, and its only gonna get worse if everyone were to get Universal healthcare in this Country.

    Keep slashing doctor's reimbursement fees based on bogus computational formulas that are outdated and bias in a "progressive capitalist economy"! The end result is cookie cutter, assembly line medicine where the doctor will address one of your issues and reschedule you for tomorrow to query maybe another problem...but really just to make another visit paycheck off you!!!!

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 7:22 AM, Lucy2007 wrote:

    I feel like this article really illustrates that there is something really wrong with our health care system.

    If we are paying more than places that have universal health care, something is wrong. Is it the doctors double charging insurance companies, is it the health care professionals charging exorbitant amounts for health care in the US that could cost a lot less, is it the unnecessary tests that people are taking?

    I feel like our current system has encouraged overcharging and insurance companies have taken advantage of it. A little here, a little there, and prices keep going up and up because they can.

    The current system is not working and I feel like this article really illustrates that.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 7:34 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    According to the House Ways and Means Committee, the IRS will be adding 16,500 new auditors, agents, and other employees to “investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans.”

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HEALTH_CARE_IRS?SI...

    Jul 7, 11:23 PM EDT

    The tax man cometh to police you on health care

    By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

    Associated Press

    Real nice. Great for the economy.

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 8:50 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On July 08, 2012, at 1:39 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Speaking of which...incentive to becoming a doctor falls off.>>

    U.S. is well below the OECD average in practicing physicians per capita, fwiw.

    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/53/12/38976551.pdf

    Morgan,

    Thanks, for the “link”.

    This clearly illustrates a major problem with Obama Tax. There is going to be a greater demand for services without a significant increase in those qualified to deliver it. That is a fact. This ratio is only going to get worse in the next five years.

    The result is going to be a lower quality of care for those currently insured. The only exception will be those who can afford to buy treatment out of the Government “System”. This is what happens when a partisan bill is pushed through Congress without compromise. Several members openly admitted they didn’t know what was in the bill before they voted for it.

    For those of us satisfied with our current Health Care, the only “choice” we have is to vote against those that support / supported Obama Tax this November. Our quality of health literally depends on it.

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 9:34 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "I feel like this article really illustrates that there is something really wrong with our health care system."

    I agree with you. America's healthcare is third world.

    "Is it the health care professionals charging exorbitant amounts for health care in the US that could cost a lot less?"

    Absolutely. Physicians are poorly-educated morons who deserve minimum wage. It is our disgusting capitalist system that enables physicians to earn more than fast food workers earn.

    "I feel like our current system has encouraged overcharging and insurance companies have taken advantage of it. "

    Absolutely. It has nothing to do with the fact that state of the art medicine is expensive. Just because a surgical robot costs a couple million bucks does not mean I should be charged over $10 to get my prostate removed. Greedy capitalist bastards.

    "The current system is not working and I feel like this article really illustrates that."

    I agree. We must abolish capitalism and adopt communism now. We must punish the 1%!

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 11:04 AM, cheers77 wrote:

    I have lived in several countries including USA. Currently, I live in Taiwan, where I am insured by the government-mandated National Health Care system. The Taiwan health care system is not only more efficient (as you mentioned), but the premiums are much lower (compared to US) and the care is, in my opinion, as good as, if not better than anywhere I have lived. I am surprised why some people in USA say that individual mandate would lower the quality of healthcare. I have not seen any evidence of it in Taiwan, where I think that the quality of healthcare is excellent.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 11:35 AM, RNonGroundZero wrote:

    I've seen it all. The enormous waste of resources on elderly patients, who are plugged up, tubed, IV'd, and lying on beds like slabs of vegetables. These patients cannot talk, are motionless, their bodies are riddled with disease and can no longer fight to repair or heal. They cannot urinate or move their bowels. Many are not medicated with narcotics or analgesics, so if they're in pain, they suffer silently. Temperatures are often too cold in rooms (to suppress germs), but older people can't regulate their bodies. So they lie their silently, with tubes feeding them, etc. in misery. For what purpose? These patients will never return to the realm of the living. They have NO quality of life. If you saw it firsthand day after day, you'd understand.

    And then there are the illegal immigrants, who receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare for the ruined liver--destroyed by alcohol. And the lifelong smokers who come here with advanced disease, like cancer, cross the border and use up our funds, costing us millions. I could enumerate hundreds of different abuses in the system. For illegal immigrants, I vote to patch them up and send them home. Let their own country care for them. Stop using our tax dollars.

    Healthcare professionals have excellent ideas on how to help repair the system, but everybody is too afraid to speak the truth. Because most don't believe we have true Freedom of Speech any longer.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 11:47 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    On July 08, 2012, at 11:04 AM, cheers77 wrote

    "I am surprised why some people in USA say that individual mandate would lower the quality of healthcare."

    It is simple math. A huge increase in health care services being delivered without a corresponding increase in qualified personnel to deliver them.

    Buying a comfortable pair of sneakers to wait in line,

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 12:08 PM, abitnaive101 wrote:

    Hi Morgan -

    This was a great article. However, I suggest that you either:

    -- Clarify the graph entitled "Public Health Spending as a % GDP" with a bold statement across the top of the graph that "this does not include private health spending in the US" as you mention repeatedly in the article.

    OR

    -- Express health spending as total health spending to make the countries equivalent.

    Otherwise, it might appear that there is a mismatch between the statement above ("As a share of government spending, the U.S. spends more on health care than all European governments except Switzerland, according to the OECD") and the graph below.

    Thanks,

    Jamie

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 2:05 PM, ledgeuno wrote:

    The administrative costs are especially maddening. My wife is a health care provider, and she has had to wait as long as 6 months to be paid for services rendered after submitting her paperwork. And even that was only after making numerous phone calls to follow up. Clearly the insurers are deliberately delaying payment, and many people are on their payroll with the sole purpose of bogging down the system. I'm sure this structure increases their profits, or they wouldn't do it, because it has been this way for a long time.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 2:09 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "I'm sure this structure increases their profits, or they wouldn't do it, because it has been this way for a long time."

    You're right. It's has nothing to do with the fact that the government is FORCING them to do it. In fact, insurance companies probably begged Obama to take total control of their industry.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 4:42 PM, ChrEconomicus wrote:

    Funny thing:

    The answers to myth 1 and 2 fits nicely together.. First you write that the US is one of the top spenders per capita, and then you say the US has one of the mos inefficient systems. Spending an enormous amount of dollars isn't good enough - we need to know that they are spent good. So the first 2 'facts' counter-act each other, in a sense.

    The same could possibly be said about my country (Norway) - 'winning' the spending bit doesn't really prove we have the best health care.

    All in all, this article barely covers the surface and is in no way fit to abolish or confirm any myths. We need much more.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 7:48 PM, Gyre07 wrote:

    There is one, and only ONE reason for this stat (which is highly misleading). That is that our health care costs (the cost of medical professional services, procedures and drugs utilized) have been increasing by double-digits yearly for the last decade at least. No controls, and no competition. What that amounts to is collusion on a national scale, and no regulations or anti-trust prosecutions occurring to prevent it.

    We weren't ready for our doctors and pharmacists to stick it to us the way they have. That's what comes with blind trust, and endless hoorah about the Hypocratic Oath.

    I guess the assumption that "women and children come first" has given way to "doctors, drug manufacturers, healthcare executives, and pharmacists" come first. Those are our new dictators, and just in time for the boomers to start getting really sick. Hmmmm. A coincidence?

    What about the fact that Obama's "affordable healthcare act" has zero provisions capping the costs of healthcare? Is that really the elephant sitting in the corner?

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 8:23 PM, shortonnotes wrote:

    Also remember Americans pay much more than other countries for drugs because the US can't negotiate prices. Thank you Right side thinkers

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-699606.html

    When you start out paying 10 times or more for the same pills, you start out in a deep hole. It's said there is more corruption in US Big Pharma than in all military spending?

    From a 2001 article;

    "Identical version of the antiretroviral combination cocktail that sells for $10,000 to $15,000 a year in the U.S. costs $3,000 in Brazil and less than $1,000 in India. "

    This same set-up is said to cost $250 on the African continent where incomes are $510 a year.

    Americans are buying over $1billion in medicines by smuggling them home from Canada. Who makes these drugs and why hasn't it been outsourced to China and India yet if they can't seem to make it cheaply? As in many other fields now, "we the people" run the risk of becoming outlaws just trying to get what we need to stay alive? Meanwhile, these same drug companies take the excesses and distribute them to pill Doctors spreading dependence out of Florida roadside clinics? Something we're suppose to believe they just can't control and they don't make any money from?

    Drug companies spend more on advertising than on true R&D. That's more to media companies than actually helping the poor & sick? Where have we heard these cry's before? It's not my fault? I spend $billions each year and it's just not my fault? You need to help me, please. Meanwhile they buy your representative out from under you and force you to comply with their greed.

    Big Pharma didn't beg Obama to do this, they paid him big money to do it. Along with the rest of the people's representatives. Those who advocated single payer were thrown in jail.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 9:15 PM, Bert31 wrote:

    So, lets add a tax on people who must sell their homes because they can not afford theproperty taxes anymore to pay for healthcare for the 10 million citizens who can not fund it themselves. That is a truly Democratic ideal.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2012, at 10:44 PM, AnnaKeppa wrote:

    First, any website that requires a user name that requires no spaces is utterly backwards,

    I suggest you fire your webmaster and get a competent person.

    Second, I want to know why ObamaCare is so much an improvement over what we have, when hundreds of politically-connected companies, labor unions etc. have managed to get themselves WAIVERS from having to comply with it.

    Why is it not good enough for them, and not the rest of us? Have you not heard, sirrahs, of the 14th Amendment and Equal Protection under the law?

    Fools? I got your FOOLS right here: they're the ones who agree with this freedom-destroying unconstitutional program.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 1:19 AM, valari25 wrote:

    Intuitive Surgical doesn't exist without our capitalist system. No Lipitor, either. Remove the profit motive and our healthcare innovation disappears. The rest of the world piggybacks our advancements or sells their own here to subsidize its use elsewhere.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 1:29 AM, thesafesurfer wrote:

    Why can't the poor access care? They can't afford it. Why can't they afford? Costs are too high. Why are are costs so high? Because consumers "patients" don't know the true cost of the good they consumer because a third party invariably pays for the good. The third parties are the government and insurance companies.

    Individual health savings accounts coupled with catastrophic care insurance promises to reestablish the link between use and cost that will reduce demand for health care relative to supply.

    Do you insure your care for oil changes and tire rotation? You insure for catastrophe only and pair for normal care out of hand.

    We need to end insuring doctors visits, x-rays, and the mundane like.

    We also need to end the AMA's hammerlock hold on certifying medical care. The AMA has a mission to maintain the economic standing of their clientele. The AMA makes it difficult and expensive to become a doctor to restrict supply relative to demand. The AMA also fights the use of lower priced competitive alternatives in the form of clinics instead of hospitals and the use of nurse practitioners instead of full doctors.

    Medical care is too expensive because of government and non-catastrophic insurance. Why everyone ignores this basic fact shows how poor the intellectual side of American society really is.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:09 AM, hbofbyu wrote:

    Thanks to CRANKYTEXAN my brain just surpassed the toxic absorption level for sarcasm.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:12 AM, ERPhysician wrote:

    I am an Emergency Physician. I have worked in a "socialized" system and here in the US. I have also been a patient both here and abroad.

    Both as a physician and a patient, I would rate the "socialized" system as greatly superior.

    It is also true that superior care can be provided for much less than we currently pay, but only if we get over the unreasonable, ideologically driven opinion that the government can do nothing right. The US government won two world wars and put a man on the moon without having to sub-contract the job. I think that they could probably match the efficiency of the Germans, French, English, Koreans, Taiwanese, and the rest of the long list of governments that administer effective single payer medical systems. .

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:34 AM, hbofbyu wrote:

    When discussing heath-care there are so many facets, that it becomes clearer once you back out and look at it from a larger perspective.

    The wrench, the rub, the monster, the saint, the paradoxical lynch pin in the entire scheme is...the INSURANCE COMPANIES.

    Insurance companies in a way have hijacked the system by not doing what they are designed to do; which is to act as a safety net in a time of catastrophe. They now overstep their role and become the mediators for every simple exchange between patient, employer, and doctor; in essence they have usurped the free market exchange between patient and doctor.

    The exorbitant cost of groundbreaking drugs and technologies can be paid for because of insurance companies. (good)

    Drug and medical suppliers can charge exorbitant prices because of insurance companies. (bad)

    If I require a major procedure like a heart transplant I don't have to declare bankruptcy because of insurance companies. (good)

    If I have a pre-existing condition I am denied access because of the insurance companies (bad)

    Lawyers have found a malpractice pot-of-gold in the health care industry because of insurance companies (good for lawyers, bad for you).

    It is common for doctors to pay over $100,000 a year for malpractice insurance premiums. (bad)

    I can go to the doctor and never worry about price because of my insurance company. (good for me, bad for you)

    The problem with government health care (that attempts to include the insurance companies) is that you are now laying a new work of scaffolding over an existing boondoggle thinking that you can achieve something more efficient and elegant.

    They are on their way to bankrupting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Why would anyone think Obamacare could somehow be financially achievable as conceived.

    "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!" - Thoreau

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:16 AM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Any time you have people spending other peoples money, you have a recipe for squander. This is easy to see with Cadillac medical plans and medicaid packages. Even in the case where you paid for your own insurance, now it is their money paying for care. So the doctor can practice defensive medicine to protect against your lawyer, and it is someone else paying for it.

    I am fine with changes in the US medical system, but not changes that pretends human nature doesn't exist.

    Wellness checks should be cheap or free.

    The next few thousand requires enough of a copay to keep the hypochondriacs and frequent flyer problems to a manageable level.

    Anything past several thousand is probably a real problem. That's the lowest cost insurance, because relatively few people get there. For that care, the copay is relatively low or zero.

    Whether you require people to pay for private insurance, or tax, or whatever, everyone needs to be required to kick in tor their own care or sign a waiver to allow hospitals to reject them.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 7:17 AM, tabs101 wrote:

    Regarding chart #1, can someone explain how cost of livings adjustments are made for #s in a chart like this? What would the #s look like if no cost of living adjustment were made?

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 9:48 AM, BDomin wrote:

    Do you want to do a serious analysis of some of what you consider misconceptions on health-care, and base your comments on "unbiased" articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker? Really?

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 9:52 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    ^ Do you disagree with the sources, or are you rejecting out of hand?

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 9:59 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    I am so glad the Motley Fool has become a harbor for hardcore leftist discussions. I truly hated when it was just a website for stock discussions. It is so much better now that it is full of posters who want to destroy insurance companies and have the entire healthcare industry run by crooked politicians.

    Why spend time at the Huffington Post when you can get your fill of anti-capitalist opinions right here?

    I want even more.

    Please give us articles suggesting that the government destroy all grocery corporations and take over the food industry.

    Then please publish articles suggesting that the government destroy all real estate corporations and take over the housing industry.

    Only crooked politicians know what is best for us.

    Capitalism is evil and must be destroyed.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 10:02 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker are not left wing at all. In fact, they are extremely right wing. They are almost as right wing as MSNBC and Newsweek.

    Anyone who disagrees with me is a greedy capitalist pig.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 10:03 AM, actuary99 wrote:

    I like this article.

    A few notes, if anyone is still reading comments this far down the page:

    (1) Health insurance is very highly regulated. A significant amount of administrative costs goes toward meeting regulatory requirements. Thus (if it's a competition) it's not really "fair" to compare private insurance administration costs to government insurance administrations costs, as government does not need to satisfy regulators/regulation.

    (2) Insurance is regulated, for the most part, at the state level. It is very costly for multi-state insurers to keep up-to-speed and comply with the regulations of each individual state. I think health insurance programs administered by the federal government (Medicare for sure) are not affected by this, so again, not really a fair comparison.

    (3) Federal government health insurance programs insure the people with the highest medical costs (Medicare, Medicaid). So if you look at administrative costs as a percent of total costs, government insurance programs have the advantage because the denominator is much bigger.

    This is a superb article on a comparison of private insurance administrative costs to government insurance administrative costs (it's a few years old, but the logic used in it still hold true): http://www.cahi.org/cahi_contents/resources/pdf/CAHI_Medicar...

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 10:16 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Housing is too expensive. Housing is human right. I hereby create a new tax. All Americans must buy a house or pay a tax. Only then will housing prices decline.

    Screw Freedom. You must do what I say or suffer the wrath of the IRS.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 10:33 AM, JohnReardon wrote:

    This article is not detailing misconceptions, it's perpetuating misconceptions the left wants you to believe.

    If you want to lose some real misconceptions, read this:

    http://www.american.com/archive/2012/june/the-healthcare-myt...

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 11:23 AM, troym72 wrote:

    What complete hog-wash.

    The reason the Govt. spends so much money on Healthcare is because of the outrageous cost of Healthcare which is driven up the insurance companies constantly pumping up profits and squeezing the amount they are willing to pay for procedures lower and lower.

    This is just completely unbelievable.

    All the Healthcare institutions in those countries are OWNED by the government, so they are not trying to make a profit or pay large sums of money to their board of directors or presidents or people who are stockholders. The doctors in those countries don't get paid rediculous amounts of money. The doctors in those countries don't have to charge a rediculous amount of money for malpractice insurance because of lawyers that are will in to sue for anything and juries that give money away like candy to anyone who's doctor did his best but did get the desired results.

    So, the cost of providing Heatlhcare (even though its universal for everyone) is a fraction of what Healthcare costs here in the USA.

    The fact that anyone would try to make the claims in this article infurates me (as if you couldn't tell).

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 11:29 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<All the Healthcare institutions in those countries are OWNED by the government, >>

    That's simply untrue. Page 9 here: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/F...

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 11:35 AM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<The fact that anyone would try to make the claims in this article infurates me.>>

    It took me less than a minute to find the above link with Google. It infuriates me that people make such inflammatory comments without putting in an ounce of effort to understand the facts.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 1:52 PM, SunDevilDon wrote:

    @ibuildthings. I lived and worked in the UK as an expat and my experience with their National Health Service is way different then you described. When I registered for NHS, I was given a list of primary care physicians that I could choose from. He remained my primary care physician for the 4 years I lived there and was the first doctor I saw every time. All prescription drugs were 5 Pounds, period. I saw little difference from my GP in the US. Never once was it "... 10 minutes with a doctor you have never seen before, and may never see again." So I can't imagine why your British friends have such a different experience for their non-emergency medical services.

    Once, when on a business trip to Switzerland, one of my expat colleagues got very sick and I rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital. They could see we were Americans, and started asking all kinds of questions about how he was going to pay, what US health insurance did he have and what coverage did it provide. But as soon as he produced his British "green card" and proof of NHS registration, that was the end of all the questions. He never saw any follow up bill or any paper work. The European countries all have (or at least had, this is the late 1980's) reciprocal agreements.

    Some of the UK residents I worked with had supplemental health insurance. They said that was to allow them to move up the queue if they ever needed to for non-emergency procedures. But they still used NHS for all their emergency needs and their primary care physician. They never said that if they ever used the insurance they would be dropped by their primary care physician. But I never really asked, and again, this is the late 1980's.

    The net of my personal experiences with the British NHS in the late 80's was, it worked well for emergency care and minor health care services. Once it was clear you were under NHS, there would be little to no delays and questions about coverage. I saw little difference in my primary care physician there from from my one in the US. I saw no difference in booking appointments with him as with my GP here. The main difference was, the office visit fee was set and known before I went, as were the costs for any prescriptions. Was it a panacea for all health care issues. No, but it sure was much more sensible then the system we had here.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:08 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Comparing USA healthcare with European healthcare is totally appropriate.

    Europe has the same obesity rate as America. In fact, absolutely no one in America is overweight. Since there is no obesity in America, the incidence of disease is exactly the same as Europe. As a matter of fact, there is absolutely no diabetes in America. Nor is there heart disease, joint disease, or high blood pressure. None of the diseases in America are related to obesity.

    Also, there are no problems with the American economy. The national debt is zero and the deficit is zero. We can by all means afford the biggest tax increase in history in the form of Obamacare. I am surprised that the USA does not plan to give health insurance to the entire world. Surely we can afford it.

    As you can see, it is a great idea for the government to take control of the health insurance industry, and force Americans to buy insurance.

    It is the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:12 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    American obesity rates have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that health insurance is expensive. Nor does state of the art technology. The only reason healthcare is expensive in the USA is because of greedy doctors who deserve to be paid minimum wage.

    We must destroy capitalism.

    it is the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:22 PM, keepmovin wrote:

    The posts from texas shows why there is no ressonable discourse in this country anymore. One side, more than the other, thinks themselves unalterably right and there is no discussion of what to do, there is only name calling and sarcasm. Reminds me of recess time when I was in third grade.

    Good article, TMF. maybe the ACA will give us a plaace to start in actually fixing this mess that iss our healthcare system.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:30 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "there is no discussion of what to do"

    Absolutely correct! The greedy neocons have never suggested making health insurance available across state lines. Nor have they suggested tort reform. Nor have they suggested expanding health saving accounts.

    Only the wise, ethical, honest Democrats know how to improve American health insurance via the largest tax increase in history.

    Down with the 1%! Down with neocons! Down with capitalism!

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:39 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Might I add that there is no illegal immigration in the USA at all. Absolutely no one sneaks across our border and uses our hospitals with the intent of not paying their bill. Since this does not happen, there is absolutely increase of the cost of healthcare to American citizens.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:41 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    << The greedy neocons have never suggested making health insurance available across state lines.>>

    ACA does allow for the sale of insurance across state lines.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:44 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Reminds me of recess time when I was in third grade."

    You hit the nail on the head, my friend. Americans have absolutely no right to complain about Obamacare being the largest tax increase in history.

    We have no right to be disrespectful to anyone who tells us to give up our freedom because Obama tells us to.

    In fact, we should totally abolish the First Amendment. We must keep the lowly citizens in line.

    Americans WILL obey.

    It's the right thing to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 2:56 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    Tort Reform doesn't do anything Cranky, you should know that:

    http://www.statesman.com/news/local/new-study-tort-reform-ha...

    Seems that the GOP only has an issue with the individual maindate because they are now just the party of "I am against anything the other side is for": http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourc...

    Nice collection of myths Morgan, if you need a part 2 you can probably just look at Cranky's posts.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:04 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "Seems that the GOP only has an issue with the individual maindate because they are now just the party of "I am against anything the other side is for"

    Let's get real. The only reason the greedy neocons hate the ACA is because they are RACIST.

    There is absolutely no reason to dislike the largest tax increase in history.

    There is absolutely no reason to dislike the giant increase in premiums that have occurred since Obamacare passed.

    There is absolutely no reason to dislike the high unemployment rate caused by employers not wanting to hire because of Obamacare.

    There is absolutely no reason to dislike the thousands of Obamacare waivers that Obama handed out to his supporters.

    There is absolutely no reason to dislike the fact that thousands of doctors have vowed to retire due to Obamacare.

    ANYONE WHO DISLIKES OBAMACARE IS A RACIST, AND MUST BE SILENCED!

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:07 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Hi SunDevilDon: Thanks for the thoughtful reply. The relative I wrote about lived there from 1993 to the late 90's as a British citizen, not an expat (parent is a citizen). I am relating their experience, things I heard several times. Around that same time, I heard that the reciprocity agreements were pretty good, and hoped that if the relative got sick again, they would do it in Germany or Switzerland, where the quality of care was (allegedly) better.

    I have no doubt that a national system COULD be better, but for that to happen, it would have to be paid for, and it would need to prevent the kinds of sand in the gears that plague our own national public school system here. Note that in another post, I say that I will be behind a nationalized health system as soon as they can get the education system to work as advertised. (Money isn't the problem, because we spend more now than ever before).

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:16 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    "The posts from Texas" might seem over the top, but there are some issues in there that aren't being addressed by the political class or the other posters. He seems a lot more conservative than me, but given that I have some experience negotiating agreements between opposing sides, the first thing I look for is, "is a legitimate issue being ignored"?

    One in particular that affects costs is the open borders policy of a lot of our political class, coupled with the free health care. The delivery of free health care might be changing, but that dynamic isn't even up for discussion. We have our own poor and a crowded safety net. We have some jobs that can't be exported, that might be done by some of those poor, if the army of unemployed people from other places was not subsidized by the taxpayers. It seems that the taxpayer are subsidizing a low-wage imported workforce and at the same time subsidizing those who might do those jobs, and perhaps could be required to apply if they were posted at state employment offices.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:35 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    "There is absolutely no reason to dislike the largest tax increase in history."

    - So how many people will have to pay more in taxes? You have any numbers? I know I won't have to pay more and per the reports I have seen the vast majority of Americans will not have to pay more.

    "There is absolutely no reason to dislike the giant increase in premiums that have occurred since Obamacare passed."

    - Guess those giant increases from 2000 to 2008 were enjoyable? Considering that the parts that people think have a chance to increase premiums have not gone into effect these increases seem to be a continuation of the failed system we had before. Also what do you think of the 1.1 billion the insurance companys had to pay back because they were not spending the 80% required? http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/26/report-health-car...

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/21/pf/health-care-rebates/index...

    "There is absolutely no reason to dislike the high unemployment rate caused by employers not wanting to hire because of Obamacare."

    - Could you please provide something that shows this? I couldn't find anything to support this other then lip service that say it could in theory happen but then these people also make claims like just owning a Credit Card means you will pay interest on what you buy with it.

    "There is absolutely no reason to dislike the thousands of Obamacare waivers that Obama handed out to his supporters."

    - You must mean the ones for the religous orginizations, that has turned out well for Obama, because those seem to be the only ones that come up.

    "There is absolutely no reason to dislike the fact that thousands of doctors have vowed to retire due to Obamacare."

    - Outside of your comment to this post by Morgan nothing in the first 5 pages of either a Google or Bing search has anything to support this claim. Can you please provide some support for this one too?

    Cranky are you just pointing out other Myths? Even if you are I think it is ok because it leads me to further learning as I try to figure out what is and isn't actually happening.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:35 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    One of pertinent issues is the profit margins in the major drug and insurance companies. One could say that a single-payer system would eliminate the insurance company cut. Then the drug companies would all be selling to a single buyer.

    It then becomes reasonable to ask two questions:

    Are the margins of the insurance companies, where you can fire or reduce pay of "wrong hire" employees greater than the loss in government of employees who aren't productive, but can't easily be fired?

    Will the drug and medical equipment companies push harder to invent new treatment options with the one single payer who (like in defense) will legislate a maximum profit?

    The answers to those questions may lead us toward, or away from a more nationalized system. I don't care as long as the questions are asked, and HONESTLY answered by people other than corporate shills and politicians who get elected by shifting other peoples' money around.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:43 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    CluckChicken, why the hostility? I am on your side, bro.

    Just like you, I want Chicago thug politicians to manage my life.

    Just like you, I hate anyone who dares to question thug politicians.

    Just like you, I want insurance corporations destroyed so we can implement single payer.

    Just like you, I hate greedy neocon one percenters.

    Just like you, I love the fact that Obamacare was formulated behind closed doors and Harry Reid had to bribe his own Democrat congressmen in order to pass it.

    What's not to like?

    I hate capitalism just like you do, my friend!

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:45 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "One could say that a single-payer system would eliminate the insurance company cut."

    I think you mean, "One could say that a single-payer system would eliminate insurance companies."

    FIFY.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 3:53 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Anyone else notice the irony of so many anti-capitalists posting their opinions on a website about investing in the stock of corporations?

    Down with capitalism! How are my stocks doing today?

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:01 PM, JohnReardon wrote:

    Uh, if profits are bad, how come we don't have the government running all industries? Why isn't the "drain" from profits a reason to nationalize everything?

    Hint, profits are not bad...

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:02 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    "how come we don't have the government running all industries YET"

    FIFY.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:05 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    1. Take over the auto industry.

    CHECK!

    2. Take over the health insurance industry.

    CHECK!

    Vote Democrat in November to continue the checklist.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:17 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    "CluckChicken, why the hostility? I am on your side, bro."

    Oh see that isn't what is coming across. To me and many here you just appear to be repeating the myths that Morgan is pointing out, at the kindest. At the worst you just seem to be an 'anti' that will shout out anything, no matter how silly or incorrect it is, in opposition, no research required and defently not wanted.

    "Just like you, I want Chicago thug politicians to manage my life."

    - If I wanted politicians from Chicago to run my life I would move to Chicago (wouldn't hurt my job status). Right now I have my local government and the US Federal government, which from last I checked was run by 3 groups and the majority are not from Chicago.

    "Just like you, I hate anyone who dares to question thug politicians"

    - For you that goes without saying you guys did elect Tom Delay over and over. As for me I am happy to question one of my US Sentors and US Rep at the local Y we all go to, they seem more then happy to discuss why they voted the way they did.

    "Just like you, I want insurance corporations destroyed so we can implement single payer"

    - I want them gone because, I know this will be difficult to believe, I have had far more success dealing with mistakes by the government (both local and federal) then I have with health insurance companies. Why should I pay for a flu shot when I got the shot at the location advertised on the denial of claim for a flu shot?

    "Just like you, I hate greedy neocon one percenters"

    - I also hate any of the greedy non-neocon one percenters and 99%, really for me it is just the greedy.

    "Just like you, I love the fact that Obamacare was formulated behind closed doors and Harry Reid had to bribe his own Democrat congressmen in order to pass it"

    - Already addressed this with links to the 3 GOP healthcare bills of 1993 and 2007 but it appears you haven't read them. Makes me sad that you haven't read them, tells me you have no interest in history or learning the lessons that the Fool try and teach.

    "What's not to like?"

    - Lima beans, but that is just a personal belief.

    "I hate capitalism just like you do, my friend!"

    - I hate unregulated capitalism but that would take far longer to explain why and this is a discussion about healthcare and you wouldn't read it anyway.

    I hope others have tried looking into all of your claims and come away with some useful knowledge.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:20 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    The irony is that I wasn't actually expecting you to agree with my stereotypical leftist views.....BUT YOU DID.

    Well done, my anti-capitalist friend. Well done.

    Stay thirsty my friends.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 4:22 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Cluck, here is a website you may like. It is my favorite website by far. You can thank me later.....

    http://www.cpusa.org/

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 6:15 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    "The irony is that I wasn't actually expecting you to agree with my stereotypical leftist views.....BUT YOU DID."

    "Cluck, here is a website you may like. It is my favorite website by far. You can thank me later.....

    http://www.cpusa.org/"

    I would like to thank you for Cranky, my brother didn't think I could get you to link the CPU in under 8 posts, I thought it would take 6 but you are more predictable then we thought you took only 3! We offer to buy you a Bud but that isn't American, Sam didn't believe in what you say, Coor's is Canadian and besides you clearly do not support the role of the government in making sure the beer is what it says it is, so you wouldn't take it anyway.

  • Report this Comment On July 09, 2012, at 6:27 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    I didn't realize that "CPU" was their nickname. Apparently you are very familiar with them.

  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2012, at 6:55 AM, jabel5 wrote:

    I call BS on leetabin. "Canada until recently had NO MRIs." This is just pure fantasy... it is entirely false. The first clinical MRI scanner went into service in Canada in 1985. In 2007, the most recent numbers that I can find, there were 222 MRI machines in Canada.

    http://www.numberof.net/number%C2%A0of%C2%A0mri%C2%A0machine...

  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2012, at 12:24 PM, zgriner wrote:

    Of course, there are no references to counter-arguments, so we don't have a fair rant here.

    I want to know what money goes into "public health care expenditure" for each country. I want to know where the numbers came from and how they were normalized for cost-of-living. I also want to know how the exchange rate was handled. Those multipliers and linear regression calculations can make any numbers look good or bad.

    For example, the US Government pays for most of the cost of running medical schools. This money comes out of the Medicaid budget. It has no bearing on patient outcome. What about the grants for teaching hospitals?

    I'm surprised that the article did not include a discussion of lifespans, since no discussion on medical care expenditures is complete without a discussion of outcomes.

  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2012, at 12:50 PM, zgriner wrote:

    Adding on to my previous comment, I read the article that someone above posted: http://www.american.com/archive/2012/june/the-healthcare-myt....

    It confirmed what I suspected. We are not comparing apples to apples, but apples to oranges to grapes to grapefruit.

    Many years ago, Handgun, Inc., an anti-gun lobby, published a study that "proved" that handguns were the number one killer of children. The problem was who they considered a child - anyone 21 years and under.

  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2012, at 12:58 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    ^ I've read that article. It's good -- I respect Asness a lot. But what is in it that contradicts this article?

  • Report this Comment On July 11, 2012, at 10:21 AM, YoungstownFool wrote:

    My thoughts after reading this article:

    1. US healthcare is very inefficient, if made efficient what effect would that have on unemployment. A significant portion of the people I know work somewhere in the industry

    2. Is healthcare more expensive because all innovation is in this country? All technology is most expensive when it is first discovered, why would healthcare be any difference?

    3. If the government were to cut their spending wouldn't that just contract our economy even more? Is this the web we have woven in this country that the government spends so much in a sector that the industry is almost completely reliant on the government spending? If the government backs out will the baloon of innovation and superior care deflate?

    I probably posed more questions that answers but I'm a fool so what are you going to do.

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2012, at 11:59 AM, jrj90620 wrote:

    I make an effort to eat right and exercise and have been able to go without health insurance for decades.When I did have to visit an emergency room,after a bicycle crash,I couldn't believe the ripoff.They charged about 10 times what equivalent services would have cost from any other business.I think the problem is that I was competing against all the insured people.They are driving demand and prices sky high.Not easy competing with you.Wish everyone took better care of their primary doctor,their own body, and only had insurance for major care.If you insured people had to pay,you would use a lot less healthcare and I'm sure these greedy hospitals/doctors couldn't charge these obsene rates.

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2012, at 10:00 PM, Zombie111 wrote:

    Good article. As someone who lives in a country with "socialized medicine" (by USA standards), it seems as though medical insurance companies face real competition here because they are having to compete against the govt-funded system. To attract and keep customers, they have to offer a better service, with nicer hospitals and shorter waiting lists (the specialists are often the same people getting paid more). Still, some people I know have used the public system instead of their insurance, as the wait wasn't too long.

    In the US, it looks as though insurance companies

    act as a monopoly, unless one is very poor or old.

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2012, at 11:19 PM, ministitcher wrote:

    I appreciated the article. I am infuriated by people who don't check the facts and spout off inflammatory comments just to get attention. I am a hospice nurse; both of my parents died with hospice in the last 18 months, and I believe that hospice care is most certainly one of the answers for eliminating excess cost at the end of life when there is no hope for a return to quality of life. I was uninsured for several years when my job did not provide insurance and I could not afford $600/month for premiums. As a nurse, I well knew the dangers of sudden illness or accident even though I was young and healthy. It affected my sleep at night. I don't understand why people don't realize the dangers of going uninsured. I don't know what the percentages are, but medical expenses are certainly a not-uncommon cause for bankruptcy. More people being insured and using the healthcare system for preventive care will decrease the number of people requiring complex care when it is too late. I have gone a full week in my hospice nursing without seeing a patient over 65. Last week the ages ranged from 39 to 56. This article just touches the surface, but it is an excellent beginning to a civil discussion among people interested in the true facts. Those who just want to rudely spout partisan politics need to leave. I was disappointed to find a MF discussion so full of nastiness!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2012, at 10:31 AM, michaelmar wrote:

    While govt programs may have lower administrative costs than private insurers, they also have a vastly higher fraud rate. It is estimated that it is as high as 20% for Medicare, as opposed to 1-2% in private insurance. Add this to to administrative costs and you have a truer picture of govt programs vs private. Besides the fact that the private is lower overall, I personally would rather pay the salary of an insurance company worker than overpayments to a dishonest medical provider or criminal enterprise.

    That said, the current system is inefficient and unevenly distributed. One major issue is that it is tied to employment instead of the individual. Over 10 years ago i proposed a voucher system to be used to purchase private insurance, in which private companies will compete for the business. The voucher amount is tiered based on the income of the individual (and easily reconciled on the tax return) and the policy purchased is based on the individual's needs (not the decision of the employer), and standardized policies would be designed in a collaboration of govt and the insurers with additional coverage riders available for those willing to pay for them. The funds currently used to pay for the uninsured in emergency rooms can be used to pay in part for the vouchers. On the other side, you could no longer discharge medical bills in bankruptcy, since there is no reason not to obtain a policy, so these costs will not transfer to others and medical providers could deny service or demand cash if no policy is effective. It may seem harsh but the incentive must be enough to make purchasing the insurance economically more beneficial than foregoing it, and with the voucher system there would be no excuse for anyone that cannot afford it to not obtain a policy.

    One last point- there is the entire issue of illegal immigrants, who make up a significant portion of the uninsured population that uses emergency rooms as medical providers, and getting them to participate in any plan (Obamacare or any other) is a challenge unto itself. Until we tackle that issue the healthcare one will remain as well. It might also be noted that the other countries that the author compares us to do not have the illegal immigrant issue that we do which is a significant difference.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2012, at 1:57 PM, gamblegold wrote:

    Please don't misuse the word 'myth'; a myth is an important historical and culturally-bound archetypical tale that passes on valuable information. hence, mythology.

    It is incorrect to use it as a synonym for words like 'lie' or 'distortion' or 'misconception'. a myth is not a lie, whatever our current lexicographical ignorance may be.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2012, at 6:55 PM, dobronics wrote:

    Why is it so many people from other countries want US healthcare? Also US physicians take much more difficult cases increasing our mortality rate stats. We also believe in humane treatment of the terminally ill which raises our cost. I could go on and on . Also remember MD's are spending sometimes 13-14 YEARS to get their credentials !!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2012, at 8:31 PM, ChrisBern wrote:

    "Many aren't in favor of current reforms, but no one should be in favor of the status quo."

    The problem with the current reforms is that THEY DO NOT FIX THE STATUS QUO. In fact, they just add more people to the same broken system.

    The U.S. government spends more per citizen on healthcare than other countries but with worse outcomes and far less coverage. Why exactly would we want the government more involved, then?

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2012, at 7:34 PM, classicmds wrote:

    Ibuildthings - you are completely wrong that if you take private healthcare in the UK you can't go public again. The NHS is there at all times for all permanent residents - no questions asked. You're also wrong that hip replacements can't happen after retirement. They can and frequently do.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1935455, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/1/2014 4:14:54 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement