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Huge demonstration for better health coverage

Original post made on Jun 20, 2008

Thousands of government officials, patients, union members and activists from throughout Northern California — including an unknown number from the Palo Alto/Stanford area — gathered in front of San Francisco's Moscone Center Thursday afternoon to advocate universal health care and protest insurance-company practices.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 20, 2008, 9:09 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by jim b
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

I wonder what these protesters would say if, God forbid, they were diagnosed with cancer -- and then the doctor said they had to wait 18 to 24 months to begin treatment. That's what's going on in Canada. In Canada, you can't get heart bypass surgery if you're over 55. So if you develop a heart condition at age 56, so long. There's a reason why Canadians fill up the doctor's offices and hospitals in U.S. northern border states.

Posted by Kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 20, 2008 at 12:53 pm

These huge socialist programs do not work. All Universal Health Care will accomplish is a two-tier system. One for the wealthy that includes the best doctors and one for everyone else. History backs me up on this fact.

If EVERYONE paid for health coverage for themselves and family, the U.S. would not be in this spot right now. What should be protested are all individuals who come to the U.S. and then expect free services. We as a country cannot afford to offer that. Our system is in crisis now and a major factor are illegals who think they are ENTITLED to free health care. Stop pandering to the illegal population and start focusing on the rights of most Americans who pay for their own healthcare, but are being priced out of coverage due to the millions that are here illegally. Please don't even try to tell me that it isn't the main factor in the rising costs of health care for legal Americans

Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2008 at 4:18 am

I raised a family never claiming against my catastrophic coverage insurance. I understand that is no longer available since courts have taken it on themselves to expand the liability of insurers beyond the explicit terms of coverage. My car insurance and my home insurance have the maximum deductible.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Jim , Mexico is where many Americans and Canadians go for health and Dental care. Some clinics in Mexico take US insurances. If you are traveling on vacation many more insurances will pay if you are injuried. I know several Canadians and US residents who are so glad there health care was in Mexico. With the amount that there insurance would not cover being tens of thousands less then that cost in the states. With great care.
Many Clinics,small hospitals in Mexico are getting there programs up to the world standard to accept more insurances.
Medical is one more service moving out of the USA..

Posted by Ed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2008 at 1:37 am

I have the best insurance coverage money can buy and it doesn't pay for squat when I actually need it. Insurance companies behave like crooks.

You people remind me of the way residents in the former Soviet Union used to believe their crumbling system was the best in the world, because they were ignorant of what was happening in the rest of the world. We have rationing, we have people going bankrupt left and right who HAVE insurance, we have people tyrannized and unable to lead free lives because of the morass of rules, paperwork, and financial sand traps that constitute our medical system because of insurance companies. We HAVE a multi-tiered system (I think a two-tiered system where the lower tier is actually getting care and the upper tier is actually getting their coverage honored would be better than what we have now) Statistically, we have longer waits than other wealthy countries with universal healthcare and we have less favorable outcomes for most conditions.

We spend less than half of the $2 trillion annual health care economy on actual care. The majority of the rest of it mainly goes to pay for non-care items like administration and profit, largely due to private insurance. There is no value added here. Do you even have any idea what a staggering sum $1 trillion is and how much better off we would be if we didn't have self-perpetuating entities sucking it out of our system annually with no value added?

Either market-based system isn't working, or we don't have a market-based system. As someone who strongly believes in the value of market-based economics, I just want to shake people - it's so obvious this is not a healthy marketplace!!

I am very concerned as someone whose father escaped from a Communist country that all this idiotic talk of keeping a market-based system - when we don't nearly have a healthy marketplace in health care - will persuade the younger generation to mistrust market-based economics. There is a lot of evidence this is happening already. You can't have a healthy market-based system if no one differentiates between the benefits of a healthy market-based system and the harm of corrupt monopolies or even criminal activity.

You can't have a healthy banking economy, for example, if the bank continually steals massive amounts of money from its customers, or if the customers regularly steal from the bank. It's not a market-based system just because someone is making (printing, or stealing) money. There have to be rules of conduct followed by all parties for healthy market-based economies to thrive. Unfortunately, ideologues have pushed laissez-faire beyond all reasonable limits as a cover for corruption. In the end, they pose a greater threat to future benefits of market-based economics in healthcare than single-payer does.

We can go to single-payer without becoming a communist country! It would really make the most sense for our overall business climate in the country for so many reasons: healthier workforce, more efficient administration, more efficient advances in medicine with doctors free to treat to the best of their training (rather than to some corrupt bean counter's needs), so many freedoms I can't even begin to list here. It would even create a healthier climate for innovation, since doctors wouldn't be so hamstrung outside of very limited settings.

Can you even imagine growing old in this country and hanging onto your hard-earned money if you have a health care problem? In the rest of the first world, you don't have to worry about that. And realistically, we no longer lead the world in healthcare outcomes. We no longer attract a significant segment of medical tourists seeking advanced care. In some specialized medical sectors, we used to be the place the rest of the world flocked to, but no more. Places like Switzerland and Singapore, which can provide advanced medicine for less money and better overall care, are getting that business now, especially for advanced heart procedures which were once bread and butter for some of our better hospitals.

Our inability to provide a decent level of healthcare for all of our citizens is making us the laughingstock of the rest of the world, which is already looking for ways to criticize us given current events. Maybe you don't care whether our reputation is utterly undermined, but as someone who cherishes our standard of living, I do care about our worldwide reputation for leadership and competence. We are enjoying the vestiges of past glories, it will not last forever and despite all follies.

Posted by Keep Health Care Private
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 9:43 am

People who have not paid much attention to this matter should read this article carefully (it's three years old, but things have not gotten any better):

Web Link

Canadian Health Care In Crisis
Free And First-Class — If You Can Wait

The average Canadian family pays about 48 percent of its income in taxes each year, partly to fund the health care system. Rates vary from province to province, but Ontario, the most populous, spends roughly 40 percent of every tax dollar on health care, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

It calculates that at present rates, Ontario will be spending 85 percent of its budget on health care by 2035. "We can't afford a state monopoly on health care anymore," says Tasha Kheiriddin, Ontario director of the federation. "We have to examine private alternatives as well."

Posted by Ed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Single payer proposals are only about consolidating insurance to a national plan. But CARE will remain private. This is different than in a country like England where doctors actually work for the health service.

Without engaging in a fruitless discussion above, your point about keeping healthcare private (which I am in favor of) or not has nothing to do with resolving the crisis we are in because the system - compliments of insurance companies run amok - is corrupt and we are not seeing the benefits of a market economy.

A bank robber is a private money-making enterprise. Mafias and organized crime syndicates are private money-making enterprises. Enron was a private business. No one except the criminals is better off when corruption hurts or destroys fair private enterprise. "Private" isn't a magic word; free, fair, healthy marketplaces is where you'll find the magic, that's not what we have in our healthcare system.

Getting to a beneficial, functioning marketplace in healthcare would be harder than going to single payer. If you want to see such a change, as I do, please stop with the unsupported scare tactics. Or at some point, our system will collapse and people won't listen at all when you say you want "private", they will equate that with corruption and bad business.

Posted by Keep Health Care Private
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 3:53 pm

> Or at some point, our system will collapse

The Nationalized systems of other countries are in big trouble everywhere they have been tried. So, claiming that our "private" system is going to collapse is clearly unsubstantiated and a scare tactic, whereas the Nationalized systems are well on their way to that inevitable event.

There is no way to predict what will happen when health care is in the hands of "the government" and the people running the post office are now running the hospitals.

The whole idea that health care should be "free" seems like a recipe for guaranteed bankruptcy.

Posted by Ed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:21 pm

>The Nationalized systems of other countries are in big trouble everywhere they have been tried.

Not true. People like you are keeping everyone scared of change; you pose the greatest threat to a true private market-based system through such delusional talk. You are inviting the backlash we are already experiencing. I have a lot of family in wealthy European countries where they provide far better care for far less cost. None of them has to deal with the horrendous uncertainly and paperwork that we have here.

You're just regurgitating old propaganda and clearly have no idea what's going on in the rest of the world! LIke I said, just like people in the old Soviet Union, who comically thought they had it so great because they had no idea how much better things could be elsewhere.

Posted by Keep Health Care Private
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:25 pm

> I have a lot of family in wealthy European countries
> where they provide far better care for far less cost

OK .. name the countries, please.

Posted by Ed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:26 pm

You don't even seem to have the most basic grasp of the difference between government run health care (which no one is proposing here, yet you are using it as scare tactic) and single-payer health coverage in a private delivery system.

I still remember when our CITY and COUNTY hospitals were the envy of the world, and doctors were free to practice medicine - which was more readily available then and much cheaper!

Posted by Ed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Sorry, not taking your silly bait, Private. We are statistically at the bad end of the first-world ladder when it comes to cost, outcomes, you name it.

What exactly do you think insurance companies are doing for our system that is saving money and making it more efficient? I don't know how we got stuck in the rut of believing it was good for our country to let insurers add up to $1 trillion in costs to our system, while failing to deliver on their contracts so egregiously. Where's the value added?

At least with single-payer COVERAGE (with PRIVATE health delivery), doctors and patients can act as a group against one entity when there are abuses of COVERAGE. Better balance of power will ultimately be to everyone's benefit - that's a fundamental underpinning of our free society.

Posted by get out of my pocketbook
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 7:07 am

I beg any of you who want health care to be government controlled to go live in a country where it is government controlled. Please.

We have too much control as it is, which is why it is so expensive here.

Let me, and all the rest of us, have the choice of catastrophic care coverage, no mandated accupuncture/fertility/counseling/chiropractor etc coverage...require proof of catastrophic coverage if you want a driver's license,..limit medical lawsuits results to reasonable compensation...and watch our costs for insurance plummet, our costs of medical care plummet, and our uninsured rate plummet.

simple, simple, simple, simple.

It is the busybodies forcing the rest of us into what they think is "better" coverage and lawsuits who have destroyed the affordability of health care in this country.

Please look at Mass and the WONDERFUL results of THAT system enacted a couple years ago. ( NOT)

Posted by You are right, Private
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 7:13 am

Dear Keep Health Care Private:

don't bother trying to talk to these folks about how this is govt control and therefore not private, and how the moment govt gets involved everything gets worse ( data mean nothing to evidenced by the dismissal of your factual references). They simply can't see how silly it is to complain about FEMA and Medi-Cal and Medi-Care and Social Security and how badly these have all been run, and then want the govt to be involved in our health care.

They don't understand what the proposals really mean by Obama/Clinton.

Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2008 at 8:27 am

Do any of you want a place like Palo Alto to conrol anything? Health care,airport selling cool aide on the corner. Hey who's travelers checks?

The city is self insured, look what they have done to the healh care.

If you worked for the city for a while you would remember. Mr Z
Not to pick a fight about this just to get the Older city employees to remember how smooth all that stuff was.
Mr Z was alright just like to talk a lot. Hope he is doing well.

Posted by think critically
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 9:14 am

FYI, we have half the death rate from cancer of France...with supposedly the "best" health care system according to UN.


The problem is using such metrics as infant a country as diverse as ours with as many single and uneducated teens having babies, as compared to France or most other nations, it makes our "health care" look bad, when in fact it is a matter of how we have incentivized teens to have babies they aren't ready to have, either physically or emotionally.

Posted by think critically
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2008 at 9:15 am

Actually, does anybody know if France's infant mortality rate has been rising in the last few years?

Posted by Keep Health Care Private
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2008 at 11:40 am

> won't rise to take the bait ..

Oh, come on now .. you have made a number of claims about how good European countries' health care is, so why can't you identify the countries which you know are better?

Here's a little list to help you out:

5|Czech Republic
27|United Kingdom

Just list the numbers, so that we can do a little research and try to find out:

longevity, health care costs (0-21), (21-65), (65-100), number of hospitals per 100,000 residents, number of doctors per 100,000 residents, percentage of budget spent on military preparedness, percentage of population owning own home, literacy rate.

You know .. just a few stats so we can make some sense out of your claims.

Posted by Keep Health Care Private
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 25, 2008 at 11:40 am

Here's a nice article in Slate that disputes the claims we've seen posted here-in, and other places involving the high cost of health care:

Insurers Aren't To Blame:
Web Link

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