Does private healthcare stop everyone having access to medical treatment?

Should every country have universal healthcare? Nthabeleng from South Africa will argue we should do this. More here…

Does every person in your country have access to free healthcare? If the answer is yes, then are you happy to pay taxes to fund it? If the answer is no, would you want it or are there better ways of caring for everyone that publicly funded hospitals? Does the private sector offer a better way of providing efficient healthcare? And anyway, if you have the money why shouldn’t you be able to spend it on looking after your health? Tell us about what works and what doesn’t with your healthcare system? And is private healthcare a welcome addition?

52 Responses to “Does private healthcare stop everyone having access to medical treatment?”

  1. 1 Dennis
    June 17, 2008 at 20:15

    Yes it does…Because if you have health insurance private coverage.

    Syracuse, New York

  2. 2 Zak
    June 17, 2008 at 20:20

    It definitely weighs the cost against the results; fundamentally you cannot cover the cost of everyone having healthcare without making it universal. Alternatively some people may never need health care.

    So the answer to the question is yes, “Does private healthcare stop everyone having access to medical treatment?”

    It’s the question of whether you feel that everyone needs healthcare. What are the reasons to make sure people don’t go without, weighed with the cost of implementing it on a mass scale such as Canada has done, but America would be even more of a challenge.

  3. 3 EM in Cleveland
    June 17, 2008 at 20:35

    I think you have to weigh the lesser of two evils here. I work so that my husband and I can have amazing health coverage. That doesn’t make me angry.

    That amazing health coverage will go away, I think, if health care were universal. Why go to school for a million years and work a 60 + hours a week providing exemplary care or researching new treatments and drugs if you cannot make any money doing it.

    As the wife of someone with a chronic illness that has not had any medical breakthroughs in its treatment in the last forty or so years, I will glady pay for my health coverage if it encourages competition and innovation.

  4. 4 Jaclyn
    June 17, 2008 at 20:37

    I am an American who happens to be an issue advocacy campaigner for health care reform. While I advocate for health care reform that allows private market insurance to continue, I also would welcome more oversight of the insurance industry. In my state, Pennsylvania, car insurance rates are regulated by the state, while health insurance rates can be set arbitrarily and are subject to zero government regulation. This allows private insurers to deny coverage, charge exorbitant premium rates and use premium dollars on advertising and executive bonuses rather than actual health care. Through my work I have met many people who have worked their whole lives and made the right decisions only to be forced into poverty by skyrocketing health costs; however, these same people would prefer any type of insurance, be it private or government-run, as long as they are covered. The type of insurance is not the issue. The abuses of the insurance industry are causing the current health care crisis in my country.

  5. 5 Rashid Patch
    June 17, 2008 at 20:53

    Let’s get health care for everybody, first. Then, if somebody wants to pay from their own pocket for special treatment – we can discuss it. But when 47% of Americans don’t have any health care, and when health care is the most profitable industry – no more discussion of side issues. Health care for everybody. First. Right NOW!

  6. 6 Thomas Murray
    June 17, 2008 at 21:02

    “Does private health care stop everyone from having access to medical treatment?”

    Yes and No. It depends on how honest the patient is.

    Being unemployed, I had to stop paying for health insurance. Though I’m a reasonably healthy 54-year-old, I’m one automobile accident away from being destitute, a circumstance I try not to worry about.

    But physicians have to treat the patient they are confronted with. And if the patient is willing to endure rough treatment at the hands of medical students in so-called “teaching hospitals,” and skip out on his bills, then I suppose we have what amounts to free medical care in the states. But I could not, in good conscience, live with myself if I had to do that.

    The best solution would be a tiered system: Those who can afford health insurance could receive better care (like a private room and premium cable). Those too poor to afford health insurance, should still be able to receive care.

    Rich and poor entering the medical system with a broken leg should still both exit the system in the same condition.

    But actually requiring people to pay for health insurance (what some states are considering) would just be adding to our misery.

    Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  7. 7 Jessica in NYC
    June 17, 2008 at 21:12

    Yes, it does. Private health insurance exist to make money not to do what is in the best interest of people. In the USA universal health insurance seems like a fairytale. It’s so divisive, because our politicians pockets are filled with big pharmaceuticals company donations and special interest groups. Decisions don’t seem to be made on what’s best for people by our leaders. While I think we should have universal health care, I’m pessimistic about is viability.

  8. 8 Rachel in California USA
    June 17, 2008 at 21:35

    Well, of course a private health insurance system means that some people (about a fifth of all people in the USA) don’t have any insurance at all.

    With private insurance, insurers want to figure out who’s likely to get sick, and deny insurance or charge extremely high rates for people who are likely to require expensive care. Only those who are unlikely to need health care or who have high incomes can afford to buy their own medical insurance.

    And people without health insurance in many cases don’t get medical treatment at all, or get very inadequate medical care. This has happened in my family. Young people sometimes are tempted to do without. Sometimes it works, but for others the result is disastrous. Many of the mentally ill people living homeless on our streets could be housed and employed if they had adequate medical care.

    I don’t get insurance through an employer. I’m currently paying about a third of my income for medical insurance and am considering giving it up. But remembering what happened to a beloved family member, I keep paying through the nose.

  9. 9 Kwabena Owusu-Ampratwum
    June 17, 2008 at 21:41

    Ghanas recently introduced universal health insurance scheme promises to be very advantageous to the ordinary ghanaian and this is an issue i would love to share with the world, so this subject wins my vote

  10. 10 Jerry Cordaro, Cleveland OH USA
    June 17, 2008 at 21:47

    It sure does. Many years ago while unemployed, my then-fiancee had to take me to the emergency room one night with a very high fever and shortness of breath. Fortunately it turned out to be a bad case of the flu; I received IV fluids and Tylenol to bring my fever down, and was sent home several hours later.

    But I had no insurance. It took us almost two years to pay off one night’s medical bills.

    Ten years later, my wife wa rushed to the emergency room with what turned out to be the most severe case of gallstones the surgeon had ever seen – her gall bladder looked like it was full of gravel. She spent almost a week in the hospital with post-op infections an recovery.

    She had insurance, and we were both employed. We paid off her medical bills in a matter of a few months.

    Now, imagine if the situation had been reversed – if I had needed emergency surgery without insurance.

    There was a case where a man collapsed while visiting a friend in a local hospital. He needed emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Part of his skull was literally removed,and when the hospital found out he had no insurance they refused to reattach his skull until he paid up!

    Yes we need universal health care, probably something similar to Medicare in the US – a basic package that everyone gets, along with the ability to buy supplemental insurance.

  11. 11 Will Rhodes
    June 17, 2008 at 21:55

    You have hit a topic that is so close to my heart I feel that if there was to be one thing and one thing only in a written constitution of every nation on this planet it would be this.

    Very soon the UK will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the NHS (National Health Service), the first true universal health care system. I will be blogging all that week with stories about the NHS and how it has changed peoples lives from the early days to today and beyond.

    Before the NHS an insurance system was used, hospital plans that meant such things as people who has cancer had to wait for a hospital bed to be treated – this meant that they had to be almost dead before getting to see a Dr. Many people could have been saved. They weren’t because they could not afford any health care nor insurance to cover them.

    It costs money to run a universal health care system and a lot of it. When it is private and insurance based it is run for profit, so care that is needed is denied!

    Many Americans will tell you that their system is the best, they will tell you that you can see whichever Dr you want, they will tell you that their waiting lists are far shorter than the NHS – this, as has been proven only applies to those who can pay – you can pay under the BUPA system in the UK and jump the list, too.

    There is nothing better than a universal health care system administered for all citizens.

  12. 12 christopher
    June 17, 2008 at 21:55

    my ex-wife is in remission from cancer (non hodgekins lymphoma), my girlfriend died two weeks ago from lung cancer (six months after diagnosis), and i am recovering from a radical neck dissection, the last stage of “treatment” including radiation and chemo for my own tonsilur cancer.
    we all were employed and had insurance but due to the profit nature of “private” insurance we were all late getting diagnosis – both women were in stage 4b – because rather than focusing on the whole person profit demanded looking at symptoms, on expensive treatments rather than low cost prevention, and “marketing” rather than science……..what hope hope does one have who has NO insurance of getting any break let alone a fair shake?

  13. 13 P. Dewsnap
    June 17, 2008 at 22:06

    I live in the US but grew up in England and saw the birth of the National Health system which was copied world wide but not in the US. I still have family and friends in England, Canada and Australia. Basically, they are very happy with their systems. In the US, some 40% do not have health coverage but, under law in some states, can get treatment at Emergency Rooms. This includes illegal immigrants. The rest of us pay for it. I am retired and on Medicare which covers some costs but it is necessary to have supplementary insurance. That cost me $17 a month when I retired in 1991. Lats year it was $418 a month. There goes my savings.
    We need a good National System but who is to run it efficiently for the benefit of the people? Certainly not this Government.

  14. 14 Gloria
    June 17, 2008 at 22:06

    Yes, yes, I am in agreement with what Rashid said. My vote also goes for Universal Health Care. Perhaps we could change our mindset/perspective to view universal healthcare as being our compassionate action towards a healthy population.

    As regards the statement, “some people may never need health care”, this is true, and how fortunate for them; however, so many do crucially need it. As a society, we gladly pay taxes for fire & law-enforcement protection, even though many do not have need to call upon their services. But, if needed, it’s there & available for all.

    Jaclyn’s comments above are right-on with content of truth as regards insurance industry and the need for oversight. (Undercurrents of greed, yet again, no?)

  15. 15 Barry8
    June 17, 2008 at 22:09

    Health care for the masess – yes, it is right and proper. Being wealthy should not be the be all of everything. Money can buy health care, but it should not be at the expense of the poor. As to whether one requires more care it surely is a matter of random incident as what illness may befall one. None of us choose to be ill although living a poor lifestyle does not help. Education may help us to improve our life style. We should all take responsibilty for our own health and life style; though it is somewhat odd that tobacco, the cause of much illness, was once, virtually sponsored by authority! Spuds, entirely good for us, obtained through the same source! Hopefully, we
    live and learn. Were the situation with regard to druge so completely clear. Self inflicted injury does

  16. 16 Linda in Portland Oregon
    June 17, 2008 at 22:09

    I vote for either the healthcare or the gender equality issue as discussion topics. As a US American, it would be beneficial for those in countries without universal healthcare to hear about the successes (or challenges) of the system where it does exist.

    Regarding gender, the fact that men are still say that childrearing isn’t “work” tells me that we have a long way to go in how we value the role of child rearing, let alone focus on gender equality. Most of the women I know who “take a mommy break,” suspend their careers, raise their children for the first years of their lives, then can’t wait to go back to paid work because it’s easier than staying home with the kids. Pull your heads out, dudes.

  17. 17 randall Miller, Master sargent ,U.S. air force/retired
    June 17, 2008 at 23:47

    why is that , what was the richest, strongest country on earth, still does not have universal health care ?
    yet countries i have been stationed in, England for example, and others, do?
    yet we throw money away on yet another conflict (Iraq war), we can not win
    yet more foolishness from the government that made the same mistakes in Vietnam
    thank you

  18. June 18, 2008 at 01:39

    Health insurance and subsidized insurance makes it harder for everyone to have decent healthcare. If there were no health insurance companies willing to pay the outrageous cost of medical treatment, then the cost would have to come down. You can only sell your services for as much as people are willing and able to pay.

  19. 19 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 02:27

    I respect the workd of Mr. Reid. T.R. Reid is a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, a commentator for NPR, and the author of nine books. He is currently working on his 10th book, titled “We’re Number 37!” …

    Excerpts from TV shows & interviews:
    Reid: The [WHO] hired a Harvard Prof. to [rate] all the world’s [191] health care systems. The U.S. did fairly well on quality, but we had a rotten score on fairness…

    DAVID SLOMAN, CEO, Whittington Hospital: Ninety percent of people who use [Britain’s National Health Service] think it’s good or excellent… People who don’t use it don’t think so well of it… NIGEL HAWKES, Health Editor, The Times: …primary care…is pretty good. And emergency care works quite well. Where I think it can fall down is on elective care…

    Reid: [E]verybody in Germany is offered health care. While the rich are allowed to opt out and pay privately, about 90 percent of Germans choose to stay in the national system. And that system…also pay[s] for alternative therapies, like homeopathy.

    …the Taiwanese hired a professor at Harvard to study health care systems around the world and choose a model for Taiwan. In the end, they picked the Canadian model…it is cheaper and fairer than the for-profit insurance system used in the U.S.

    Canada uses…private providers but public financing. …our system of Medicare for the elderly is a good example of the Canadian-style…model. Canada…spends about half of what we do, on a per capita basis. That’s why Canadians often have to wait to see a specialist or have elective surgery.

    These [other] capitalist countries don’t trust health care…to the free market. They all impose limits. … First, insurance companies must accept everyone and can’t make a profit on basic care. Second, everybody’s mandated to buy insurance, and the government pays the premium for the poor. Third, doctors and hospitals have to accept one standard set of fixed prices.

    more info:


  20. 20 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 02:45

    In my opinion, anything less than universal publicly funded health care is unjust. I used to be in a situation where I rubbed shoulders with both poor people who couldn’t afford enough food to feed their families and rich people who complained when they could no longer spend three or four digits in one place on accessories. I myself was in a situation where I was expected to dress a certain way accessorise myself in a certain way, and interact with others in a certain way according to the protocols of higher class society. It was emotionally painful for me, because I saw that while I and those with whom I associated wore name-brand clothing, others subsisted on hand-me-downs left in bags at the local community centre. We ate out, had prepared meals, and enjoyed name-brand snacks. Others whom I came to know were desperate for daily meat and rice. We carried baby wipes and Purell on us as a standard to keep clean and germ-free; others could only dream of Purell.

    I myself came from a not-well-off background and felt as if I were looking at my family from outside a cage from which only I had been released. I’ve since moved to a community that more resembles where I grew up and am living on the same level as others around me; and I am so much happier this way. And even now that I am in a not-well-off situation again, I save aside anything that I can to donate to local community centres.

    I hate injustice. I hate having what others cannot. I think that the current system of for-profit health coverage that is only available for those who can afford it is a sick slap in the fact to the indigent and the working poor. If it means that some of us have to decrease our standard of living and maybe even wait for the same time to obtain the same quality of treatment as the rest, then so be it. Luxury should be expressed by the possession of and access to things that we want, not things that we need.

  21. 21 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 02:46

    It’s weird that some people take for granted what they have. I’m not the biggest fan of my job, but they pay 100% of my health insurance premiums, which includes some dental insurance. What is left over if I have a medical claim (other than dental) is that I pay 20% of the bill. Fortunately, thus far, I’ve been in good health. I presume I’m saving $200 a month in health insurance bills right now because of my job.

    Some places, which shall go unnamed, like CANADA!!!!!! have universal healthcare, but doesn’t cover dental for some reason, but I think the reason some of these nations have this because they don’t spend money on defense. I believe Canada has universal health coverage because they realize the US would protect Canada from an invasion, so canada doesn’t need a large military, so the money can be spent on social welfare. Is that right?

  22. 22 Will Rhodes
    June 18, 2008 at 02:54

    I believe Canada has universal health coverage because they realize the US would protect Canada from an invasion, so canada doesn’t need a large military, so the money can be spent on social welfare.

    Are you being serious?

    Does this mean that all countries that have universal health care are reliant on the US for protection hence they can afford health care?

    I truly cannot believe you have made that assertion, Steve.

  23. 23 Bob in Queensland
    June 18, 2008 at 04:14

    I’ll start off by saying that I am a firm believer in universal, government funded public health systems. To have a basic human need like health care rationed by the ability to pay is barbaric. Yes, I’m looking at you Mr. USA.

    However, once you have a working health care system, there is an argument that letting those who want to pay extra (that’s pay extra, not opt out) for frills like private rooms and wine lists actually HELPs the public system by taking some of the pressure off.

    So long as private health insurance is used just to provided frills and extras, then I see no problem. However, if it becomes necessary to have it to jump queues or get basic services then the public system needs fixing. I don’t see this as the fault of the private insurance; rather the insurance companies are just patching up flaws in the public system.

  24. 24 Bob in Queensland
    June 18, 2008 at 04:22


    Even we accept your assertion about health care vs. military spending, your whole argument could be turned on its head.

    Perhaps if the USA prioritised health provision rather than spending billions of dollars on invading Iraq, you wouldn’t have a sizeable proportion of your population suffering third world conditions in terms of health care. I know where my priorities lie.

    Of course we could also get into an argument about how the US justifies its low tax levels while the country continues to pile up its multi-trillion dollar national debt. If you think you’re in a “credit crunch” now, wait until the world community starts to call in the markers you’re running up.


  25. 25 steve
    June 18, 2008 at 04:30

    @ Bob

    my point was because the US has a military, it cannot afford it. If canada had to pay for her own defence, she couldn’t either.

  26. June 18, 2008 at 05:17

    A health care system based on profit is not workable. Too many cheap plans that charge a lot of money yet protect themselves by not covering expensive things that always ends up not paying for most things, when people need it.

    There needs to be a universal National Health Care System where all citizens are covered who pay taxes. I you do not pay into the system then you are responsible for your own brain storms.

    The first $2,000 you pay into income tax pays for your half of the insurance program. The government matches that. The Social Security System and the Medicare System can administer it for 5% of the program. Presently the Government pays one trillion in health care costs, private citizens pay another one trillion dollars into their private health care plans…….and it does not work, as too many people just cannot pay for their own care.

    The tax code needs to be simplfied to be simple, and thusly a fair health care plan can be a by product.

    The entire tax system can be put onto a card 4″ X 6″

    Gross Income……………………………………………………………………….60,000
    business expenses………………………………………………………………20,000

    Adjusted net income……………………………………………………………..40,000

    Pay Federal Government 10%…………………………………………………4,000

    If you make over $200,000 pay 20% of Adjusted net income.

    All people who refuse to pay federal income tax go to a church or red cross center type thing.


  27. 27 Bob in Queensland
    June 18, 2008 at 05:35


    my point was because the US has a military, it cannot afford it. If canada had to pay for her own defence, she couldn’t either.

    Are you seriously arguing that the richest country in the world couldn’t afford a health care system if it chose to prioritise such spending? You further seem to be arguing that it’s a straight choice between military spending and health spending.

    Clearly, neither of these “facts” are true.

    First, if all the money presently going into private health insurance, HMOs, basic medicare for the poor and so on was put into an effective health care scheme, you’d have the beginnings of a national health service in a completely cost-neutral way.

    Second, there’s no doubt in my mind that the US could have a totally effective defensive military for a fraction the cost currently being spent. I daresay the existing American military is funded and set up to fight entirely the wrong enemy. Look how a few thousand insurgents in Iraq can tie up 150,000 troops with the most high tech weapons in Iraq.

    If I was an American taxpayer I’d certainly be asking searching questions about government priorities, both in terms of health care and about the value-for-money of a military set up to fight a large scale conventional war.

  28. June 18, 2008 at 05:44

    Interesting that EPI (economic policy institute) has ‘Health insurance crisis for young adults’ as the headline this week. The brief that’s there talks about the need for colleges to expand the coverage for students and raise the age for dependents to be claimed on their parents insurance, some States have gone to 24, or 25.

    All of that pails to show a real solution though, there’s still the kids who don’t go to college or even have parents with coverage willing to add them to it at additional cost. That’d be bucking the odds no doubt to count on those resources to keep people covered.

  29. June 18, 2008 at 05:56

    The argument is still flawed that the trillions the US has paid to the military could not be reduced because it will, we won’t pay for education if we don’t. It comes down to which debts can be paid and which have to be forgiven, military spending will never be forgiven, the budget allocation for military is not part of the general fund. Education or health care we stand a much better chance of justifying.

    From 2007 fiscal year budget:
    Defense: $548.8 billion
    About as much as Medicare and Medical combined. As a comparison:
    Education: $89.9 billion

    Now how can you say America couldn’t reallocate those funds spent on war?

  30. 30 Bob in Queensland
    June 18, 2008 at 08:16

    At the risk of moving this question off topic, I think it’s worth pointing out to Steve that Russian military spending this year is $32.4 billion and Chinese spending is estimated at $57.2 billion. Since those two countries are, I assume, considered to be your two greatest enemies (terrorism aside–and conventional armies will never defeat terrorists), I wonder how the USA justifies this level of spending for “defence”?

    The phrase “toys for the boys” springs to mind. The phrase “value for money” certainly doesn’t.

  31. 31 Sulayman Dauda
    June 18, 2008 at 08:48

    it will have been intresting for a free global medical care. and medical personnel should be given the most attention to improve thier profession and for encouragement for more people to that profession since Health is life and Health is everything.

  32. 32 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 10:58

    Either I am stuck in a mental rut, or the figures that you have been presenting also reflect the dichotomy between culture of life and culture of death here in the States.

  33. 33 selena
    June 18, 2008 at 12:01

    Steve said:

    “Some places, which shall go unnamed, like CANADA!!!!!! have universal healthcare, but doesn’t cover dental for some reason, but I think the reason some of these nations have this because they don’t spend money on defense.”

    Should we let Steve vote? 🙂

  34. 34 selena
    June 18, 2008 at 13:01

    Just a note to Steve…

    I don’t think you will find many people in Canada who believe the US would come to Canada’s aid if it needed defending, unless the US itself was threatened.

    You will find many people who expect, at some future time, that he US could invade Canada for her resources, especially water and oil.

    It might be time to come out of the cocoon and examine what the world really thinks. 🙂

  35. 35 Bob in Queensland
    June 18, 2008 at 14:05


    As a Canadian (albeit one now living in Australia) you can count me as one who thinks the biggest (indeed only real) threat of invasion comes from the USA. I have no doubt that, if they need oil or water badly enough, the tanks will roll over the border.

  36. 36 Will Rhodes
    June 18, 2008 at 16:20

    As a Canadian (albeit one now living in Australia) you can count me as one who thinks the biggest (indeed only real) threat of invasion comes from the USA. I have no doubt that, if they need oil or water badly enough, the tanks will roll over the border.

    As an Englishman living in Canada – I agree 100%!

    IF you want to carry on this debate (US vs Canada) you can on my blog. We shouldn’t be doing it here.


  37. June 18, 2008 at 16:42

    Bob and Selena I’ve been to both your countries and love them dearly. But you two need to get a grip. America invade other countries for their resources. Sorry guys that is not in our make up. Colin Powell put it best when he said of Europe, occasionally we take a bit of ground, but that is only for our dead who we need to bury when they die in such numbers so far from home trying to help our friends, or words to that effect.

    We sure as hell are not in Afghanistan for the pomagranites or the fruit they grow in some of their valleys, nor are we in Iraq for oil as some have suggested.

    I too believe that the American tax payer can ill afford sending billions to other nations in Africa and expending its future wealth on others. We really are not a wealthy nation. We are in fact the highest debtor nation on earth. We need to take care of our own poor people first. There are millions of us below 20,000 per year……..who scramble to make it. We need at least to get our citizens covered so they don’t just die in a corner some place with their cancers and other real health problems.


  38. 38 archibald in oregon
    June 18, 2008 at 17:51

    @ troop

    As one American to another, time to remove your head from the military brainwash machine and tumble dry, our current gov’t will do ANYTHING to preserve itself, even invade Canada, oil and water are heavy motivators, plus, it’s a lot closer than Iraq………..The fact that the US spends more money on killing than it does on healing speaks for itself. We may be the largest debtor nation on earth, but much of that money has gone into supporting regimes that are pro US, regardless of their policies and actions. The only reason that millions of our own people are barely making it is because they have to pay through their hindquarters to get basic health care and/or insurance to afford that basic health care. Profit is the bottom line and as long as that remains true, everyone will suffer………..universal healthcare is the only humane way…………

  39. 39 Shirley
    June 18, 2008 at 18:22

    But Bob, Will, Selena – in only half an hour, we’ll have another TP page, anyway. (right?) We can always carry on the U.S. vs Canada buildup there.

  40. 40 Will Rhodes
    June 19, 2008 at 01:39

    @ Shirley

    I don’t think there is going to be a TP thread today.

  41. 41 Shirley
    June 19, 2008 at 02:14

    Hi, Will, I kinda noticed. Must be a lapse of some sort?

  42. 42 steve
    June 19, 2008 at 02:19

    @ Shirley:

    No, they are having the people in scotland decide the topics this week, so the thread is unecessary.

  43. June 19, 2008 at 02:20

    I don’t think there is going to be a TP thread today.

    Out of respect for the youth I will refrain from putting one up, but otherwise I wouldn’t hesitate to give voice to the people – I am of the thinking that the Pink Floyd line applies here: “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way…”

  44. June 19, 2008 at 03:11

    Ironically that Pink Floyd line also describes the state of heathcare in America.

    It’s foolish to think that universal won’t happen some day, if not Hillary some other candidate will make it happen and then the reform ball will just keep rolling because it’s really an either or situation there’s no way to do and. Obama will probably have the most trouble with just that if he wins, he doesn’t want to truly reform healthcare, he just wants to fix it. That reason could be a bigger obstacle then any other; people could’ve seen Obama going along with Clinton on that plan but he won’t have it at the top. The calls of inexperience on that front are just beginning. But then again, compared to McCain who “doesn’t understand the economy very well” that could be the lesser of 2 evils.

  45. 45 Bob in Queensland
    June 19, 2008 at 03:46

    @Will Rhodes

    At your suggestion, I’ve posted something over on your blog!

  46. 46 Shirley
    June 19, 2008 at 03:49

    Thank you, Steve, Zak.

  47. 47 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    June 19, 2008 at 04:06

    Wow. Has this group ever been less disagreeable? At least concerning the topic in question. Finding so little to argue with, I was going to use up my remaining space running with the Pink Floyd theme, from THE DIVISION BELL:

    “All we really need to do is to keep talking.”

    But then I thought of the early Clinton years, when the insurance profiteers took our premiums and spent them terrorizing us with lies about single payer health care. And it was words from The Who which came to mind:

    “then I get on my knees and pray… We won’t get fooled again.”

  48. 48 Will Rhodes
    June 19, 2008 at 04:17

    Yep – I got that, Bob – replied to you. As you can see I don’t moderate posts, well, until the day after if they are naughty!

  49. 49 Catalina
    June 19, 2008 at 22:47

    @ Zak

    “It’s the question of whether you feel that everyone needs healthcare”

    Is that even a serious question? Of course everyone needs healthcare. How is that even a factor in whether or not healthcare should be universal? Everyone gets sick, people break bones, people need dentists, every single person has needed healthcare at one point or another.

    As an 18 year old living in the US whos family does not have insurance, i can tell you that life is most definitely better with insurance. My dad’s been living with a knee injury for about 4 months now (and he works in construction) and a filling came out. My mom has problems with root canals and bridges also, as does my little sister who has a metal filling (she’s 7). But because my dad is an independent contractor and is self employed, healthcare is too expensive. My mom works for a firm that doesn’t extend health insurance to family members.

    So all of you that oppose universal health insurance, and to those that want to “help competition” how is any of that fair? Or cases that are definitely worse than mine?

    I guess ignorance is bliss when you have healthcare. Bottom line, the US needs universal healthcare because the system that is in place now simply doesn’t cut it. We don’t provide preventative treatment, but we do provide treatment AFTER something happens. Even then, the quality is poor. Now try going to the emergency room for a broken hand and see how you’d like to pay $300 for a band aid. and about $250 just for walking into the ER.

  50. 50 Zak
    June 19, 2008 at 23:35


    In America we used to have a society of Native America. That society existed for 30,000 years free of disease. My question was a hypothetical one to propose that traditional Western medicine healthcare isn’t the only way people accept. Some few healthcare insurance companies are just starting to cover alternative medicine and my belief is until it’s accepted as mainstream the time for universal healthcare has not yet been reached.

    But how does that question affect universal healthcare? It affects people who don’t want to pay for it when it becomes universal, and then it becomes a matter of how you’re going to force people to pay for it who aren’t sick, especially if you’re talking about transitioning from not having it. Reform takes time and money and until you can convince people that they’re going to be able to have it without need basis alone; they won’t vote for it and their representatives won’t vote for it.

    So the ultimatum in transitioning, which I’m not against, is how you’re going to make people see the benefit of it. Imagine people of Native American decent, are they going to be forced to move back to the reservation if they don’t want only western medicine, no. So you’re going to have to edify the public as to why and how universal medicine could be good for them. Teaching the benefit beats the resistance, but we have a history of bad edification in this country, I’m glad that youth now has no memory of this but that is what’s behind my question, learning from the mistakes of history so as not to repeat them.

  51. 51 Jens
    June 20, 2008 at 00:00

    In America we used to have a society of Native America. That society existed for 30,000 years free of disease.


    that is nonsense.

    every living life form has parasites that live of them. i can garantee you native americans were suffering from bacterial and viral infections as much as any population. however, due to the much lower density of population they had a lot less expossure to different diseases as well as a much lower mutation rate of these diseases. when the european came along they brought a differnt set of diseases alon, some they were previously exposed to and some they were not. think about it we had fairly crowded towns in europe with persistant infections while many tribes here were nomadic or very isolated.

  52. 52 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 00:26

    So which of those diseases from Native America became present in modern day society? Viruses and Bacterial infections are not classified as diseases. Actually you I don’t need an expert to tell me because we learned that in 4th grade; none of our modern diseases came from native America, have all the bacterial infections you want.

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