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Rally for Healthcare in Sacto with Michael Moore!
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by Anne, Green Acres,
on Jun 12, 2007
Go SiCKO in Sacto today with Michael Moore, 1:45pm! Rally with Mike and California nurses!
Great quote for the Executive Director of the California Nurses Association: "Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of CNA/NNOC, who attended a private screening in New York, notes that SiCKO is 'not just an indictment of an indefensible healthcare industry in the U.S. It's a rejoinder for those who think we can fix the soulless monster by tinkering with an unconscionable system that puts us further in thrall to those who created the crisis.'" Web Link
There will be a CNA-hosted screening of SiCKO at 3:30pm at the Crest Theatre. See the links above for details.
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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2007 at 6:44 am
re: Insurance regulation: In fact, I think that is one of the problems with our health care prices, too much insurance regulation. This has resulted in a lack of competitive market prices for insurance, and at the same time a decrease in the availability of typically necessary services because the payment/hour to physicians has decreased for time consuming procedures, like actually examining and talking to a person, and increased to pay for specialty tests. Hence, more money on tests than on day-to-day physicians like pediatricians, family practitioners, internal medicine etc.
In states such as ours, Blue Shield costs much more than in other states, because our state mandates that all insurances cover such things as chiropractors, more psychiatric counseling than other states, accupressure,etc. The result? Those of us who would rather not pay the extra monthly premium this coverage demands are forced to pay. Hence, fewer people choose to spend their money on insurance, since even the cheapest is not cheap. Or, conversely, if I would rather pay the same premium I am paying now, but it all goes to paying only physicians and ancillary traditional medecine, I can't choose that. If I could,there would be an increase in the availability of these services because more money would go toward paying for them.
I am completely for "deregulating" insurance at the state level, so that an insurance company in Nevada, say, which lets me pay half my monthly premium for health care here than I pay now, but I give up my "right" to get chiropractic ( not knocking it, by the way, just making the point) or accupressure in response to something that may happen.
I am also for individual incentive and competition. Insurances that can offer high deductibles and high individual co-payments have much lower monthly premiums, because they know that when the 25$ per officr visit comes out of someone's pocket for a doctor's visit, but a non-emergency ER visit ( like for a chronic back ache or a cold) takes $200, then people are incentivize to use the less expensive, more planned approach of scheduling and appt and using the better option. The waits in ERS are from, frankly, non-"emergency" visits, usually, often by people who either have no insurance and know they will at least be triaged through the ER, or who have no incentive to use the less expensive day-time option.
I agree, we have real problems in our health care system. But, to the person who thinks France's health care system is so great. Here, we can buy insurance to pay for our nursing home placement when it becomes necessary. There, you can't, and you must wait until there is an opening in a state-run facility..sometimes 5 years beyond when you need it, by which time you have spent all your money on in-home help. They have switched to high per-office visit payments because of the severe overuse of "something free" has strained the system to the breaking point ( lots of complaining about this!!). They couldn't attract physicians to the field because they couldn't "compete" for salaries. Family practitioners there became quite scarce because who wanted to go through all those years of extreme hard work, then work 60 hours per week for the rest of your life, when all you could afford was the same as your neighbor who was an engineer, went to school half as long, and worked only 40 ( at that time) or 35 hours per week? Or as a nurse here in the USA?
As for long wait when in pain, I was referring to such things as a hip replacement for someone in so much pain they can barely walk. In France, you wait until you are so disabled you can barely walk before you get your hip. Here, even if you are on Medicaid, you get your hip much faster.
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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2007 at 8:16 am
Ok Anon: Don't ask me why I am spending time on this on vacation, but I just hooked up and saw someone tried to "carry on" while I am gone, so I just want to make a quick comment ( then back to a vacuum for a brain)
The basic difference between your solution and mine is this. You want more regulation, to the point where there is no more "private" insurance and we all are part of an insurance run by our govt for 300,000,000 people. I want less regulation to the point where there is a REAL choice in insurances in every state, so that I can choose which type of insurance I pick, like my car insurance, based on what level of risk I am willing to assume and what level of coverage I want. Deregulate health insurance, and the vast majority of what you see ( and I agree with most of it) will disappear. The problems you see are from legislators trying to muck about with a system they do not understand, taking away choices from people they think are too stupid to figure out their own desires.
I believe more "privatizing" through less regulation about what each insurance company will provide will work much better, leaving people with true choices in what they are willing to pay for, and result in much better coverage than we have now ( with the only caveat that every person be required to purchase a minimal amount of insurance, like with cars, and every insurance company be required to insure some percentage of "pre-existing" so that every person has the chance to buy insurance).
For example, I would pay a lot less for the same because I would choose a health insurance that would still provide me with what I use now..one that doesn't cover elective abortions, IVFs, cancer treatment or daily dialysis after the age of 80, accupuncture, more than minimal "counseling", etc. There are a lot of services I pay for that I will never use, or don't want to ever use.
Did you know half of all Medicare dollars are spent on the last 6 months of life? That is insane, and a result of people not actively choosing how to spend THEIR dollars, just choosing to spend dollars that "someone else" is spending. Sounds heartless, but honestly, if you knew that you were going to spend every last dime of your money on taking chemo at the age of 80, and have a 10% chance of living another 5 years, would you do it? No, but that is the type of decision people make every single day in hospitals because there are no checks at all in this very emotional decision tree.
I want us each to know the value of our own health care, by having some personal connection to the dollars that go out on our behalf. That is the only way to contain costs and still provide everyone with care they actually value.
Where do all the greatest new medicines come from? The USA. Where are most of the best medical advances made? The USA. Where do the new life saving or quality of life improving machines come from? The USA. These things happen here, not because our hearts are bigger ( though I also think that is true in general), but because of the PROFIT MOTIVE to pharmaceutical companies, medical tech companies, etc. Doctors are motivated to devote energies, and their teaching hospitals to allow them the freedom to do so, not just crank out patients, to creating new and better surgeries because if they do, they become "famous", they make a lot more money, the teaching hospital gains grants and high paying patients, etc.
If you take away profit motive through a single payer system, you take away more than just profits, you take away the willingness to take the financial, personal and time resource risks to create and invent the very life-saving drugs and devices and techniques we all want to use.
This is not "ideology", this is simply fact. You are an unhappy consumer. I understand that. I sympathize. We have problems in our system. Absolutely agree. Let's fix them, not through more "regulation" (which has been the reason prior "fixes" for the most part of failed, and only made things worse), but by opening up insurances to more free-market reforms.
1) More freedom for people to buy what they want
2) Require every person to buy insurance at a minimal level.
3) Require every insurance company to "absorb" a certain percentage of "pre-existings".
4) Assure full info for all people choosing insurances so that they know what risks they are assuming for themselves.