British socialised medicine is so much better and cheaper than the US model.

Today a lady I know felt she was having heart problems. She told me her heart seemed to lurch. I'm no doctor but I do have a first aid/biology background. I took her pulse. It was slow and every seventh or eight beat it seemed to miss a beat followed by a big beat and a couple of ragged beats and then back to normal. I told her there was definitely something that needed checking.

 

We rang the doctor. Within the hour we were in the surgery and she was checked. After a full examination she was given an ECG and bloods were taken. The ECG was examined. She was reassured that there was nothing life-threatening but there was a need to examine the bloods and sort out a treatment. She had a bradycardia with an ectopic beat which many people had. It might indicate the need for further action and that could require medication or a pacemaker. It may not require anything at all.

 

The blood results will be back in three days. If an operation or medication is required then that will be organised.

 

An hour after entering the surgery she had received the ECG, had blood taken and had two consultations. She left thoroughly reassured, able to know that she could resume her normal life without fear and that in three days time a further consultation would sort the treatment. She was instructed what to do if her symptoms worsened or changed. She was visibly relieved.

If the unlikely event that the worst came to the worse this might require heart surgery.

The cost? Nothing

 

Could it have been quicker or more efficient? No.

 

If, in the unlikely event, she requires major surgery that will be arranged and a top surgeon will operate. The cost? Nothing.

 

 

When we moved to the States back in 1979 my two year old son suffered a potentially strangulating hernia. We rushed him to the doctor as we did not know where the hospital was. He projectile vomited on the doctor. The doctor examined him - ears, nose, throat, chest, stomach, gave him a shot of penicillin for an ear infection - while I stood aghast. Then he checked the hernia and declared that it was serious and required treatment.

 

He told me where the hospital was and told me to drive him there. I did. The hospital addressed the hernia, enquired why the doctor hadn't eased the hernia. He needed an operation which he had that night.

 

Following the harrowing experience we received the bills. The doctor's bill itemised the examinations and shots. He'd charged $700 dollars for ten minutes work. The only thing of value was the directions to the hospital. As soon as we came through the door his eyes had lit up - insurance (we'd popped in the previous week with my daughter). He knew he could milk it and milk it he did.

 

The operation was itemised. Every suture and procedure noted and costed from anaesthetist to surgeon. It cost thousands and used up all our insurance for the year. We tried not to think about it but if one of us had gotten ill we effectively had no more cover and would have had to sell our house. Fortunately we had no further problems and after a year we were able to return to the security of our good old National Health Service.

 

I certainly know which system I prefer. Give me efficient social medicine any day.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:37pm
I think there are reams of scare stories put out in the USA. They paint a bad picture of the British NHS. It does have some problems and is underfunded but it costs a tenth of the American model, is there when you need it, cares for you well and cares for everybody without question or charge. I find that immensely reassuring.
George N Romey Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:49pm
Socialized medicine works.  Its been the insurance industry and their shrills in Washington that make it out to as a horror story.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:50pm
 
The cost?  Nothing!!!   Well, holy crap Opher why didn't you let us know that in the UK the hospital staff, nurses, doctors, surgeons, x-ray technicians all work for free!!! 
 
Opher - you don't have to come to the USA to read horror stories about the UK's NHS, there are plenty in Britain.  But hey - if it's "free" then who's to argue???
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:51pm
George - that is so true. It is true that the British system has faults; it is badly underfunded, but if the funding was doubled it would be fantastic for every single person and it would still come in at a fifth the price of American health.
wsucram15 Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:53pm
Opher..
The ONLY THING that stops this in the US to some degree is medicare, thats it.
I can discuss my lifelong history of medicines and treatments, what they cost and how it got done sometimes when I had no insurance and made just enough to not qualify to any medical cards but definitely no where near enough to pay for even the prescriptions.
I can talk about at least some of the cost to my Aunt for her cancer treatment because her insurance was cut off and her home state back then had no assistance.
I would love to talk about the difference in cash price to my mom, and medicare part D pricing.  Makes me sick how the pharmaceutical companies literally steal from people that are sick and/or dying.
 
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 5, 2017 - 12:58pm
Opher,
Thank you for writing this, great article!
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 1:02pm
wsu - I think it is scandalous. And I read the lies that are made up about British Health Care. It has its problems but it is first-class in so many ways.
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 1:04pm
Thank you Michael. It was opportune that this event occurred today because John G was lambasting British healthcare with a nonstop barrage of propaganda. My experience today clearly illustrated how good it is.
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 1:07pm
Mike - if you come to England and are taken ill you will be treated for free and you won't require insurance.
Our health care is centrally funded. We all pay in with contributions from our pay - a fraction the cost of your insurance. When you need care there is no cost. Visitors are treated for free with no questions asked.
Dino Manalis Added Sep 5, 2017 - 2:29pm
British health care is better, but taxpayers pay the costs, no country has lowered health costs, we have to do that before countries go bankrupt.  Many Britons come to the U.S. for quicker treatment.  We need to deal with providers' expenses effectively, it's not just the insurance.
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 2:35pm
Dino that is true but it is a hell of a lot less than Americans pay and the care and treatment is great. Americans are being fleeced by the Medical companies. I only know of celebs who go to expensive health care in America - mainly drug rehab and cosmetic. Many foreigners come to England to take advantage of our system. It is a bone of contention.
john guzlowski Added Sep 5, 2017 - 3:19pm
I've got Polish American friends who have sought out dual citizenship so they can go to Poland and get some good free socialized medicine.  
 
They laugh when I tell them it's unAmerican.
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 3:27pm
Hi John - I bet they do. Fancy cheating those poor medicare firms out of cash. They should be ashamed.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 5, 2017 - 4:25pm
Opher - I appreciate the offer, I will keep it under consideration if I am ever ill in the UK.  Likewise, if you are visiting the US feel free to take advantage of our health care system - it's not free, but then you get what you pay for.
John G Added Sep 5, 2017 - 4:58pm
There is far more medical tourism from the USA than to it.
Free at point of delivery is the only rational system.
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 6:40pm
Mike - if you bother to read the article you will see that I have already availed myself of the US model on a number of occasions. It was extremely poor and extremely expensive. The doctor I saw in Los Angeles was so bad he should have been locked up.
I have also availed myself of the services here on many occasions. It has always been first class and a tenth the price.
The difference - British health care looks after the patient - American health care looks after the cash.
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 6:40pm
John G - I'm right with you on this one.
opher goodwin Added Sep 5, 2017 - 6:41pm
Mike - sometimes you don't get what you pay for do you?
Leroy Added Sep 5, 2017 - 8:04pm
I can't speak about the British Health Care System.  I know that the US system is broken.  I had a Scottish colleague.  I assume the system is the same or similar.  He was satisfied with it, even though he needed an operation and he was on a two-year waiting list.  It wasn't life threatening, obviously.  And, I heard about the Charlie Gard baby.  Really tragic.  The system owned him and refused to let him be treated in the US.  If they allowed one person to go outside the system and if he were successfully treated, it would open up a can of worms.  From the NHS point of view, it was better to let him die rather than risk the rise in medical costs.  Death panels are the only way a socialized system can work.  It may be cost efficient, but it is also cruel.
Saint George Added Sep 5, 2017 - 10:57pm
and is underfunded
 
Would Opher object if the UK government doubled the amount it spent for the NHS that it currently spends?
Saint George Added Sep 5, 2017 - 11:04pm
 I think there are reams of scare stories put out in the USA. They paint a bad picture of the British NHS.
 
All of the scare stories with which I'm acquainted have been put out by natives of the UK, not the USA, including patients, physicians, and NHS personnel. All of the horror stories about abuse, intolerably long waiting periods, lack of modern pharmaceuticals, bullying by healthcare bureaucrats, and shockingly low health outcomes, are homegrown in the UK.
 
We in the USA simply listen to them with a wry grin, thinking to ourselves, "Thank God we don't have such a shitty system."
Saint George Added Sep 5, 2017 - 11:51pm
From the NHS point of view, it was better to let him die rather than risk the rise in medical costs.
 
Concur. But that doesn't explain why the NHS didn't let the parents take their own child to the U.S. where treatment awaited. I think the NHS could not admit they were wrong . . .  that perhaps some kind of treatment from a profit-based system in the U.S., was in fact available.
 
Death panels are the only way a socialized system can work. 
 
Yep. Britons are in denial over that basic truth. When you tell them that the only reason their 25 year old daughters received prompt maternity care was because the system pulled a plug on someone else's 85 year old grandmother "upstream", which freed up the resources (hospital rooms, beds, doctors, nurses, drugs, food, etc.) for the new mother.
 
Tell that to a UK native (especially someone young and naïve) and watch him stare at you in disbelief. They all think healthcare resources just "appear" out of thin air, with no real costs (time, land, labor, capital) attached to them.
 
It may be cost efficient, but it is also cruel.
 
Cruel, yes. But I don't know how cost efficient it is, either. There's a constant cry by the hoi-polloi in the UK that the NHS is "underfunded", yet the system already siphons off over 9% of the country's GDP. If you asked any UK native if doubling that amount would be a good idea, he or should would nod enthusiastically and say, "Oh, my, yes!" That would make the NHS's share of the UK's GDP over 18%. Yet when you tell the same person that the U.S.A. spends about 17% of its GDP on healthcare, they shake their heads and sadly claim, "17%! That's far too much!"
 
So, 17% of a country's GDP is "too much", while 18% of some other country's GDP is "just great; the more the better!"
 
I used to believe the hoi-polloi simply wanted "free stuff." Now I believe they simply want the illusion of "free stuff". They want to be fooled into thinking they're receiving something for nothing; something with no cost attached, a real cost measured in terms of time, land, labor, or capital.
John G Added Sep 6, 2017 - 12:18am
As Goodwin said, the silly scare stories have come out.
There is no known treatment for Charlie Gard's condition.
What is enough is what it takes to best utilise the available resources in accordance with need.
The Tories love to underfund the NHS because their goal is to privatise as much as possible so that their rich friends can extract rent direct from the system without having to go to the trouble of producing something useful.
Government spending is self funding. Every pound spent is extinguished by taxation in the limit.
If it takes more spending to utilise the available resources as per need, so be it.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:36am
Leroy - the Charlie Gard situation was obviously misreported in the States. The poor kid had a genetic condition that meant he had a massive set of problems. His brain had not developed and he was being artificially kept alive on a machine. There was no hope for him and the hospital deemed it was best to turn the machine off and let him die rather than continue to suffer with no possible way forward. It wasn't a question of money.
Of course the parents were distraught and were clutching at straws. They found some guy in America who said he could work miracles and Trump even stepped in and made it a political issue.
The doctor came over and agreed that he could do nothing for him.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:44am
Saint I don't think the UK needs to double its money to get a first class service.
Current healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP for G7 countries, 2014



 
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:46am
Saint - the data disappeared:
here's the link:
http://visual.ons.gov.uk/how-does-uk-healthcare-spending-compare-internationally
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:50am
Saint - that's not my experience as you can see from the anecdotes. Things get blown out of proportion. I have always had great service here and money grabbing service in the States.
But I'm sure the millions without care don't feel the same as you and the ones who are ill and have limited cover are not feeling too complacent either. The US service is the most expensive of all and is designed to make profit out of illness.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:55am
Saint - your description is way off the mark. You believe too many scare stories. Look at the data. The NHS does not have death panels. Every case is looked at medically not financially. In the States they might keep brain dead patients on machines to cream in the cash but what is the point?
I don't want NHS spending to be anything like the US. I want a small increase to cover the costs. You distort things.
Our service covers everybody without fear or anxiety. We don't leave anybody out in the cold.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:56am
John G - thoroughly agree again. You've hit the nail on the head.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 6, 2017 - 6:10am
Opher
 
We have a similar system in Switzerland. Health insurance is compulsory, often taken off directly of your salary. It's not cheap - around 200$ a month, but you can go to whichever hospital you like and choose your doctor, and you don't have to worry about any costs, except if you decide to demand special food or luxury treatment at the hospital.
Leroy Added Sep 6, 2017 - 7:39am
I've been a victim of the Canadian healthcare system.  The treatment was fine but waiting two weeks for something that was an emergency was a little upsetting.  If the doctor hadn't just opened practice, I would have been out of luck.  The issue was that I was in a rural area.  I was told that I could go to a major city and walk into a doctor's office and be treated immediately for a hang nail.  So, maybe I judge too harshly.
 
Concerning Charlie Gard, I agree that his life was likely a lost cause, but, you miss the bigger issue.  We will never be able to prevent or treat this type of issue unless we try.  The first heart transplants weren't particularly successful, but they were a giant leap forward to what we have today.  By treating Charlie Gard in the US, we could have gained some understanding of this disease, and maybe future Charlie Gards could be saved or prevented.  This is the question that the NHS didn't want to be answered.  Death panels cannot be questions.  It is your duty to die.
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 6, 2017 - 8:31am
"Two studies show that the National Health Service performs poorly compared to other nations. Yet the British were the most satisfied
with their healthcare of all the populations surveyed,"  by the Los Angeles Times August 08, 2012 | By Theodore Dalrymple.  "On several measures, the NHS came out the worst of all the systems examined. For example, it ranked worst for five-year survival rates in cervical, breast and colon cancers. It was also worst for 30-day mortality rates after admission to a hospital for either hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke. On only one clinical measure was it best: the avoidance of amputation of the foot in diabetic gangrene. . . . Traditionally, the NHS has been inexpensive compared with most healthcare systems. But this reality is changing quickly. The NHS was inexpensive in part because it rationed care by means of long waiting lists. I once had a patient who had waited seven years for a hernia operation. The surgery was repeatedly postponed so that a more urgent one might be performed.
Such rationing has become increasingly unacceptable to the population. This was the ostensible reason for the Labor government's doubling of healthcare spending from 1997 to 2007. To achieve this end, the government used borrowed money and thereby helped bring about our current economic crisis. Waiting
times for operations and other procedures fell, but they will probably rise again as economic necessity forces the government to retrench.
But the principal damage that the NHS inflicts is intangible. Like any centralized healthcare system, it spreads the notion of entitlement, a powerful solvent of human solidarity. Moreover, the entitlement mentality has a tendency to spread over the whole of human life, creating a substantial number of disgruntled ingrates."
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:34am
SEF - that sounds the same but a bit more expensive.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:38am
Leroy - I've heard that Canada has quite good health care. But living out in the sparsely populated areas must prove difficult. A bit like living out in the outback in Australia.
Charlie Gard was just a lost case. Sadly nothing could be done for him. They agreed to let the US doctor look at him and he agreed that there was nothing he could do. It became a bit of a political football. I felt sorry for the parents.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:41am
Thomas - while there are some areas, as you cite, that come out worse, there are other areas that come out better. A recent survey put the NHS right up there at the top for overall care - despite the cuts that this government is making.
The waiting lists are for nonessential operations. All essential operations are carried out speedily. It's a good system.
John Minehan Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:47am
Well, if you want to be honest about it, the best type of system (in terms of clinical effectiveness and low cost) by most studies are Bismarck Systems, such as those in France, the FRG and Japan.
 
Those are mandated private insurance systems.
 
The US has tried to do similar things in the past (the rise of health insurance during WWII as a reaction to wartime wage and price controls and even PPACA).  In each case, the attempt has failed because the US economy is more reliant on small business and entrepreneurs.  The good thing about the ACA is that it is an attempt to address that issue, by disengaging health care from employment.      
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:47am
Opher
 
We ARE an expensive country........!
John Minehan Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:55am
"I can't speak about the British Health Care System.  I know that the US system is broken.  I had a Scottish colleague.  I assume the system is the same or similar.  He was satisfied with it, even though he needed an operation and he was on a two-year waiting list."
 
One thing that is often ignored about the NHS is that the systems in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England/Wales are separate.  Scotland's system is much better funded that that of the rest of the UK as the Scots put a lot of North Sea oil revenues into the system.
 
Most people from England who have moved to the US that I have meet had horror stories about the NHS.  That did not square with what relatives of mine in Scotland said.  The fact that funding is local probably helps explain the different reactions.    
John Minehan Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:57am
Local control is a valuable thing.  The Socialized healthcare system in Scandinavia tends to work well because of a high degree of local control.
John Minehan Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:06am
On "Death Panels," the only way any health care system can work is to limit treatment.  With any patient there is a point beyond which further treatment is futile.  It ceases to benefit the patient and can in fact compound the harm ("Medical Nemesis"  and iatrogenic effects).
 
This is why the ancient Hippocratic Oath said, "Refrain from that which is deleterious" or "Primer non nocere."
 
However, those kinds of decisions, to the degree possible should be kept between attending physicians, patients and families to ensure they are legitimate.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:10am
SEF - yes that is the impression I got. Why is Switzerland so expensive?
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:13am
John - I guess at the end of the day it is about what your personal experience is. Some people have good experiences and some bad. I was talking to a friend of mine this lunch time who had brain surgery a year ago for a tumour. He was really complimentary about the treatment.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:14am
John - I would agree. There are medical decisions that have to be made concerning when a patient should be allowed to die. To call them death panels is a tad melodramatic. It happens in all countries - though I've heard of some cases where they keep people technically alive for various reasons.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:15am
John - thanks for that observation - local involvement is always preferable isn't it?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:39am
The NHS is quite possibly the best thing ever done by the Government of this country.
 
Probably the best thing about it is the way that it removes everyone's anxiety about medical costs.  You simply don't have to worry about it here.   And Mike and others would have us believe that the US system is better?   Don't know what they are smoking....
 
I can understand why the US medical market might want to keep things the way that they are.   After all they are taking everyone to the cleaners...   They are rolling in it.    So good of Mike and the others to want to make sure that their doctor can always buy a new Ferrari each year and take his holidays on the moon...
 
Someone has done a very good propaganda job in the US, and effectively robbed you all.  
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:48am
Robin - I totally concur. Health should be about caring not profiteering.
Dave Volek Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:51am
I've been a consumer of Canadian Health Services all my life. The notion of long lineups is often misrepresented by right-wing American politicians.
 
There are times when emergency rooms are full. And maybe that alleviates some the "entitlements" Thomas is talking about as those who are not so sick decide to wait a while longer to let their ailment either heal or worsen to where it will get attention.
 
And there are some surgeries and procedures that take a little longer than they should. But waits are not that unreasonable.
 
Most of the time, I can see my family doctor within 48 hours of calling him. Most of my emergency room visits are handled within 2 hours.
 
Currently I have a job that would probably qualify for health insurance in the US. But I would likely not have any insurance for other jobs I have had. And if I am unemployed, I am still covered in the Canada--but not in the US.
 
 
 
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 6, 2017 - 12:33pm
Opher
 
Why is Switzerland so expensive?
 
Because the salaries are so high.
 
But then: Food can be really cheap here, almost all big stores like COOP, Migros, Lidl or Aldi have budget products, for example 1 kg Spaghetti for approx. 1 US$, bread for 1$, rice and other basic foods can be really cheap, 1.5 kg of can Ravioli for US$ 2. The nutrition value would be another subject. For 1 month of public transport in the canton of Zurich I pay US$ 140, and a can of 1 pint of German beer can be bought for US$ 0.60 in any store round the clock.
 
What is really expensive is rent. A 3-bedroom-flat can easily cost US$ 1'500 a month, even outside of downtown big town.
A Classicist Writes Added Sep 6, 2017 - 12:57pm
I concur; the NHS is amazing: providing quality care, even under the constraints of austerity, recruitment and retention crises, etc.
 
Of course it has flaws; however, it does work and I can regale anyone who will listen with stories of lives being saved.
Leroy Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:21pm
When we talk about health care, the US is second to none.  When the US health care is criticized, it is usually because of health care costs, not the care.  ObamaCare is not health care.  It is insurance.  It is the cost of health care and how it is paid that is the issue.  It is that part which is broken in the US.
 
For example, my wife went in for outpatient surgery.  For the operating room and all the nurses and technicians and equipment, we were billed $19,800.  That's outrageous for 2 hours.  The problem was that it was billed as out of network by mistake.  If I had no insurance, it would have been even higher, I am sure.  It took months to correct, but after we were correctly billed, it came to $3,300 thereabouts.  Not too bad.  The doctor charged $1,330.  Again, not bad for a two-hour surgery.  If you are some poor sucker without insurance, you get stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars for which they can make good money for one-sixth of that.  Even if you have insurance but are treated by a facility without negotiated rates with your insurance company, you get screwed.  A French colleague came to work in the US.  He was provided with health insurance.  He was reimbursed 80%, but he had to pay out of pocket.  He was treated as though he had no insurance.  Twenty present of too much is still too much.  He complained bitterly, and rightfully so.  It's all a ruse. 
 
The best system would be one without insurance and private.  When you go to the hospital in the US, you have little control over the charges.  If some doctor you have never seen walks in and asks how you are feeling, you will be charged.  It works fine for most people because the insurance pays for it.  The insurance company doesn't care; it just passing along the costs.  The is no negative feedback.  There is little pressure to keep the prices down.
 
If it were completely private with no insurance and more transparent, it would be like the prisoner's dilemma.  Most providers would tend to low ball the services for fear of losing customers.  We would see the costs directly.  You couldn't have the situation where one facility charged one customer six times what it might charge another.  Most people could afford it.  Without state involvement, we wouldn't have the death panels.  We could decide just how much we wanted to afford. 
 
I don't know how much the Chinese government subsidizes health care.  But, I know that everyone pays before treatment.  No pay, no care, unless it is a dire emergency.  You can negotiate the costs of surgery.  My wife did it for hers and mine.  She even negotiated it to include meals.  Inside the first tier cities, the medical care is pretty good.  Basic care is dirt cheap.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:49pm
Dave - I feel the same. If I have a non-urgent health issue I don't mind waiting. If I have a need I know it gets sorted really quickly. That's great. I have no complaints.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:51pm
SEF - sounds like a complete mix - some things real cheap and others expensive.
The way the pound has dropped through the floor makes everything abroad really expensive. Brexit has been a nightmare.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:52pm
Leroy
 
If it were completely private with no insurance and more transparent, it would be like the prisoner's dilemma.  Most providers would tend to low ball the services for fear of losing customers
 
When it would be completely private, it would work according to profit only. Would mean cheaper instruments, lesser educated personnel, and the ones which have money would be preferred and the rest left out with the most basic "care".
 
As in Africa. Without paying forehand, you don't even get to see a hospital from the inside. Might be a bit exaggerated, but you know when profit rules, quality lessens. My first PC lasted 15 years. Now, I have to get a new one each 4-5 years, or work on it to keep it going ;-)
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:55pm
Lerpoy I wish I could get a job paying close on $700 an hour.
You are right though. Most of the care is first class. But sometimes it isn't. Sometimes they treat you for things you don't have. They are in it for the money. You're paying for their mansions and flash cars.
Health care should be about care not profit.
I still contend that socialised care produces the cheapest and best care.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:56pm
A Classicist Writes - good to hear from you.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:58pm
Robin - I wish we could somehow get back to the idealism of that first Labour Government. They changed the country and made it fit for heroes.
The NHS is the jewel in the crown and the greedy Tories are looking to privatise it so they bring in profit and put money into the pockets of their rich pals.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 1:59pm
Sorry - typo - I meant Leroy.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:01pm
SEF - my experience of hospitals in Zambia was dire. The wards had no sheets. There was no food and the poor doctor was putting in sixteen hour days and not getting paid. It was atrocious. We did a big fund-raising for him.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:03pm
Opher
 
I will write an article on that subject - thanks for the input.
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 2:06pm
SEF - I'll look forward to that.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 6, 2017 - 3:06pm
Want to know how "health conscious" the British are on the whole?  I have never seen a country that smokes and drinks anywhere near what the UK does.  And dental care - don't even get me started! 
Jeff Michka Added Sep 6, 2017 - 4:05pm
opher goodwin sez: They paint a bad picture of the British NHS.-Yup, mainly to keep fuelling the John Wayne fires against single payer healthcare.  Look at the reaction from HaHaHaluska and his boy, Leroy.  They don't want people to get healthcare, they want them to suffer.  "Oh, you're poor?  Must be you didn't work harder, or you aren't white."-AND SEFa notes: Might be a bit exaggerated, but you know when profit rules, quality lessens.-Oh, but according to WB rightists it's the only way.  Profits=healthcare for the wealthy.  Or is it if healthcare doesn't bankrupt you, they won't get assets to buy for pennies on the dollar when you have to declare it.  It's kinda like Trump's immigration "policy" and his "base."
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 4:47pm
Mike - it is sure true that some do all that. But isn't that a bit of a generalisation?
opher goodwin Added Sep 6, 2017 - 4:50pm
Jeff - the best way is the cheapest way to provide quality healthcare for everybody. That is certainly not what the States has.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 6, 2017 - 4:54pm
Opher
 
Just finished an article on hospitals in Africa. Wait for the 48 hour delay LOL
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 8:01pm
that's not my experience as you can see from the anecdotes.
 
No one is convinced by personal anecdotes since 1) they comprise only a shallow data-set, and 2) they are not corrected for bias.
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 8:03pm
I can regale anyone who will listen with stories of lives being saved.
 
And what do you do about the massive amounts of data indicating lives being lost? Just ignore it?
John G Added Sep 6, 2017 - 8:24pm
LOLz. His personal anecdotes are more relevant than your cut and pasted lies from US 'think tanks'.
John G Added Sep 6, 2017 - 8:26pm
Give us the statistics on medical misadventure in the US, the proliferation of unnecessary procedures and illness and deaths caused by medical bankruptcy.
Like for like an' all then guvnor.
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:01pm
His personal anecdotes are more relevant than your cut and pasted lies from US 'think tanks'
 
HAAAAzzz!!! Heee, heee, LOLzzzZZ! Yeah, shit-for-brains? WHY?
 
By the way, sheep-humper. Fuck you AND all of your buddy BDS-holes. Lying, conniving, pricks.
John G Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:06pm
sheep-humper. 
Typical juvenile racist comment from you. Misguided as it is. I'm not a New Zealander.
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:15pm
I'm not a New Zealander.
 
LOLzZ!
 
You deny being a New Zealander but you don't deny being a sheep-humper!
 
Well, you certainly have your priorities straight, don't ya!
 
Funny!
 
You're just pathetic.
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:20pm
NHS hospital death rates among worst, new study finds
 
"NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh says he is taking very seriously figures revealed by Channel 4 News which show that health service patients are 45 per cent more likely to die in hospital than in the US.
 
Numerous reports and inquiries have revealed serious failings in the National Health Service. From the Bristol heart babies to Mid Staffordshire, fundamental problems with care have been exposed.
 
But what Channel 4 News can now reveal is previously unpublished data which shows just how badly our hospital mortality rates compare with other countries. And never more so than for the elderly.
 
The figures prompted Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, to say he will hold top-level discussions in a bid to tackle the problems.
 
“I want our NHS to be based on evidence. I don’t want to disregard stuff that might be inconvenient or embarrassing…I want to use this kind of data to help inform how we can improve our NHS,” he told Channel 4 News.
 
“I will be the first to bring this data to the attention of clinical leaders in this country to see how we can tackle this problem.”
 
The data is the work of Professor Sir Brian Jarman, who pioneered the use of hospital standardised mortality ratios (HSMRs), as a way of measuring whether death rates are higher or lower than expected and which are adjusted for factors such as age and the severity of the illness.
 
It was by using HSMRs that Professor Jarman was able to identify the higher than expected mortality rates at the Mid Staffs trusts.
 
For more than a decade, Professor Jarman has also been collecting hospital data from six other advanced economy countries, adjusting them where possible to take into account the different health systems.
 
What he found so shocked him, he did not release the results. Instead, he searched – in vain – for a flaw in his methodology and he asked other academics to see if they could find where he might have gone wrong. They, too, could not find fault.
 
‘Shocking’ findings
So now he is releasing the findings. And they are shocking. The 2004 figures show that NHS had the worst figures of all seven countries. Once the death rate was adjusted, England was 22 per cent higher than the average of all seven countries and it was 58 per cent higher than the best country.
 
That meant NHS patients were almost 60 per cent more likely to die in hospital compared with patients in the best country.
 
“I expected us to do well and was very surprised when we didn’t,” Professor Jarman told Channel 4 News. “But there is no means of denying the results. They are absolutely clear.” 
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:22pm
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/26/nhs-accused-of-covering-up-huge-data-loss-that-put-thousands-at-risk
NHS accused of covering up huge data loss that put thousands at risk Exclusive: More than 500,000 pieces of patient data between GPs and hospitals went undelivered between 2011 and 2016
 
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/21/nhs-vaginal-mesh-implants-scandal-suppress-media
NHS and medical devices regulator tried to limit scandal over vaginal mesh implants Minutes show NHS England and MHRA worked together to try to ‘avoid media attention’ of problems faced by women
 
https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2016/mar/04/national-health-service-nhs-inquiries-what-have-they-changed
There's a long list of NHS inquiries, but what have they actually changed?
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhss-darkest-day-five-more-hospitals-under-investigation-for-neglect-as-report-blames-failings-at-8482566.html
NHS's darkest day: Five more hospitals under investigation for neglect as report blames 'failings at every level' for 1,200 deaths at Stafford Hospital
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:24pm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_National_Health_Service_(England)#Scandals
Criticism of the National Health Service (England)
 
In making health care a largely "invisible cost" to the patient, health care seems to be effectively free to its consumers - there is no specific NHS tax or levy. To reduce cost and ensure that everyone is treated equitably there are a variety of "gatekeepers." The GP functions as a primary gatekeeper - without referral from a GP, it is often impossible to gain higher courses of treatment, such as an appointment with a consultant. These are argued to be necessary - Bevan noted in a 1948 speech in the House of Commons, "we shall never have all we need... expectations will always exceed capacity".[2] On the other hand, the national health insurance systems in other countries (e.g. Germany) have dispensed with the need for referral; direct access to a specialist is possible there.
 
There has been concern about opportunistic "health tourists" travelling to Britain and using the NHS while paying nothing.[3] British citizens have been known to travel to other European countries to take advantage of lower costs, and because of a fear of hospital-acquired superbugs and long waiting lists.
 
NHS access is therefore controlled by medical priority rather than price mechanism, leading to waiting lists for both consultations and surgery, up to months long, although the Labour government of 1997-onwards made it one of its key targets to reduce waiting lists. In 1997, the waiting time for a non-urgent operation could be two years, there were ambitions to reduce it to 18 weeks despite opposition from doctors.[5] It is contested that this system is fairer - if a medical complaint is acute and life-threatening, a patient will reach the front of the queue quickly.
 
The NHS measures medical need in terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), a method of quantifying the benefit of medical intervention.[6] It is argued that this method of allocating healthcare means some patients must lose out in order for others to gain, and that QALY is a crude method of making life and death decisions.[7]
 
The lack of availability of some treatments due to their perceived poor cost-effectiveness sometimes leads to what some call a "postcode lottery". NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, are the first gatekeeper, and examine the cost effectiveness of all drugs.
 
Until they have issued guidance on the cost and effectiveness of new or expensive medicines, treatments and procedures, NHS services are unlikely to offer to fund courses of treatment. The same of true of the Scottish Medicines Consortium, NICE's counterpart in Scotland.
 
There has been considerable controversy about the public health funding of expensive drugs, notably Herceptin, due to its high cost and perceived limited overall survival. The campaign waged by cancer victims to get the government to pay for their treatment has gone to the highest levels in the courts and the Cabinet to get it licensed.
 
The House of Commons Health Select Committee criticised some drug companies for bringing in drugs that cost on and around the £30,000 limit that is considered the maximum worth of one QALY in the NHS."
John G Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:53pm
The would be privatise Ra's lies have been long exposed.
You are a shameless corporatist.
 
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 9:55pm
Like for like an' all then guvnor.
 
No problem. But, uh, that's YOUR homework, sheep-dip, not mine. I'm not your personal research army, you racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, BDS-hole.
 
(Um, but instead of comparing one system's fuck-ups with another system's fuck-ups, how about comparing HEALTHCARE OUTCOME PER CAPITA (UK) vs. HEALTHCARE OUTCOME PER CAPITAL (USA). Wouldn't that tell us which system offers higher quality care? Yes, I think it would.)
John G Added Sep 6, 2017 - 10:00pm
Of course you do, Petey. LOLz.
Saint George Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:02pm
Of course you do, Petey.
 
???
 
Hey, BDS-hole. You're truly one pathetically sick dude.
Bill H. Added Sep 6, 2017 - 11:52pm
 
I have relatives in NZ and they love their healthcare system. Price gouging by the pharma and insurance companies, along with the hospitals is what ruins our system here in the US.
My wife spent over a week in a local hospital about 6 years ago. We demanded a detailed bill and found that we were being charged for many services and commodities that she didn't receive, which amounted to about 20% of the total cost. Of course, insurance covered most of the costs but it should make people wonder how many bills to the insurance companies from hospitals are similar. I suspect most are. This practice, along with the totally outrageous costs of medication are drivers for the extreme costs we face for our insurance. 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 7, 2017 - 12:02am
I'm confused. Why would he be so foolish to live in DUHmerica in the first place? Surely his blessed plot, his earth, his relm, his England is so much better in every way?
John G Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:02am
He doesn't.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 2:32am
What is so interesting to me is the way that so many of you seem to get so het up about trying to prove that the NHS is no good.
 
It is great.
 
I live here.   I have used it (and paid for it through taxes) for 60 years.
 
I would not now, vote for any other system.    It is the best thing ever done by a Government for its people.   We must now fight the Tories desire to try and dismantle it through under funding and creeping privatisation.    No way will the people accept the kind of insurance slavery that Americans seem to live under.   It keeps you in a sort of permanent insecurity... dare not lose that insurance cover.   I guess that it also one more way for the corporate world (your real owners... you slaves) to frighten you into submission.
 
The NHS is one thing that makes the dear, little, old, UK great. 
 
If you Americans want to be the cash cows for a rampant insurance and medical industry, then that is up to you.    It is just one of the reasons why we find you all so charmingly strange....
 
That and of course your love affair with guns, voting for an orange baboon and many other charming quirky things.
 
But don't get so angry with us just for telling you the truth.
 
After all, you need to watch your blood pressure.   It might affect your insurance premiums.
 
 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Sep 7, 2017 - 2:41am
You presume I live in that warmongering terrorist cesspool. I don't. I just finished at the dentist. A difficult filling at the gum line. Walked in no appointment. Never saw the guy before. Did a great job. In the chair almost an hour. B1000, about $27. As he left to go get lunch he drove off in a new BMW. Imagine that.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:47am
Jeffry
 
Same thing in Senegal. Best-educated doctors. When my friend needed to fix a hole and get a filling, he finally paid CFA 20'000 for it. That's $40. Here in Switzerland he'd have paid about $600 for the same thing. A return ticket from Switzerland to Senegal costs $500, so one might as well combine dentist with holiday :-)
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 5:58am
Bill - that is what I've heard too. New Zealand seems to have got it sorted.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:03am
Saint - the trouble with all this cut and paste skepticism is that it is not real data. You can go on sites and select articles that come up with the exact opposite picture.
Sometimes the accumulated anecdotal evidence based on yourself, friends and relatives (quite a large representative number of all ages) can provide a clearer picture.
The NHS does very well and has served me and my family (and friends and colleagues) well through generations. I don't know of a single negative story. That's quite a sample group.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:04am
Robin - couldn't agree more. The only thing I'd change is to get rid of the Tories with their creeping privatisation and put a bit more funding in.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:06am
SEF - this 48 hour thing is a pain.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:07am
SEF - dentists here are on the NHS too - though there are smallish charges.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:08am
Jeffry - they like the USA because they are protected by their guns.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:14am
I think that the most interesting question is why many Americans seem to want to believe that the NHS does not work well.  It is almost as if we are questioning an article of faith of theirs.
 
What is their problem?   Apart from the fact that they are being taken to the cleaners by their own health care system that is...
 
I reckon that many Americans have this psychological need to believe that their country is the "greatest" at everything.   When the facts from the outside world prove this to not be true, they get upset... sometimes downright abusive.
 
Not our problem.  Theirs.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:43am
Robin - I like the States. I think the people are somehow easier in their own country and I have enjoyed my time there and made some good friends. I like its dynamism and can-do attitude. But you've hit the nail on the head. They have a John Wayne bravado, still think they are back in the Wild West (who needs government, laws and civilisation anyway? We don't need to pay taxes), they are arrogant and think they are the best at everything even when that is manifestly not true. I've been amazed by the blindness to the faults - the stupidity of the gun laws, the social divisions on race and wealth, the showing off, the rip-off health care, the gross inequality and this immoral acceptance that exploiting people to earn vast sums is somehow alright, the gung-ho attitude and fuck the consequences, the poor education.
I think we are better at understanding the faults in our own society than they are in theirs.
I was amazed when I lived in America and read the newspapers. It was all about America. You wouldn't think the rest of the world existed. They even have World Series with only American teams. They only reported on American wins in athletic meetings. It made me realise that our view is much more diverse than theirs.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:54am
Opher
 
I made the same experience when I lived in the US. Maybe some kind of "island" syndrome.....
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:02am
SEF - I think it made me feel that I come from an old society where all of that has been rubbed smooth over the years. Theirs is a new country and they are still trying to get it to work. In many ways it is still partially living in the 1890s. I actually met an old lady who, as a young girl, had met Butch Cassidy. There is also the vastness of it. You can get lost. You can get out into the back-country and be totally alone. It makes you feel that you are not needing everyone else. It is still a bit Wild Westish.
Then when there's a terrorist bomb somewhere they are all scared to go abroad.
Strange psychology.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:06am
Opher
 
Then when there's a terrorist bomb somewhere they are all scared to go abroad
 
Because no one there has lived in war times over there since generations. They SENT soldiers all over (which are now not even rewarded for their service!) but never had trouble on their own soil. That's why.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:18am
SEF - it seems such irony to me - all this macho posturing and a scaredy pants in reality. A society of ironic contrasts.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:30am
Hi Opher:  
 
I also like the states and most Americans.   But they are definitely not like us and most are insular in their outlook.
 
Perhaps this issue of wanting to think that they are the best at everything is due to an insecurity.  Maybe this is down to the young country syndrome.
 
They also tend to squander resources when we tend to marshal them more carefully.   Hence the view on global warming etc.
 
I believe that some historians have pointed up similar traits in ancient Romans in their view of the older Greek civilisation.   Yes their military could wipe the floor with everyone else, but they still had this inbuilt psychological insecurity.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:41am
Hi Robin - interesting isn't it? Living in America certainly made me feel European. It made me realise that I had much more in common with French, Italian, German and Spanish cultures than I had with Americans. Though we speak the same language (almost) our cultures are quite different. The other thing that struck me was religion. In Europe, or at least Britain, it is largely dying out. We pay a bit of lip service to it but the only people in the churches are the elderly and immigrants (a few evangelical youths). In America it is firmly seated into the community. You can't do anything without religion.
If a politician says he has religion here they are shunned and viewed with suspicion. In the States it is mandatory. You can't get elected if you are not religious (or pretending to be).
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:50am
Having lived in the US, Europe, and China, I have come to the conclusion that the US has more in common with China than it does Europe.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:51am
Leroy - I've done that as well - though only a short while in China - but I'm not so sure about that. In some respects maybe. What are the traits in common?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:51am
Perhaps it is all to do with an inherent need for certainty.
 
I also note that religion is a known coping mechanism for status anxiety.    It helps to believe that you are actually part of something greater... so your personal failure to get to the top of the heap is easier to bear etc.
 
In US society I think you are considered to be a failure if you are not wealthy, despite your personal situation (health, parents wealth, education opportunities, social network etc etc).   So perhaps there is a greater need for a religious belief.
 
I personally am very suspicious of religion... any religion.   I tend to judge if it has any worth by what it does for the vulnerable in society.    Of course, in a civilised world, there would be no need for religious charity.   We would all contribute to helping others through our tax system instead.
 
Religious charity can have a corrosive effect on people's self esteem (any charity can).   Reading "Down and Out in London and Paris" by George Orwell shows that I think.
 
 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:52am
BTW Social anxiety is a difficult thing to beat... there is always someone else who is richer, better looking etc etc than you are...
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 7:53am
Robin - It's a long time since I read that book.
I think your observations are on the right lines.
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 8:01am
I put it down to the more local you are, the more you hang together.  The French and the British fight like dogs.  I always enjoyed the dynamic.  There was one British guy that had a knack for pissing off the French.  It was a classic love-hate situation.  I remember the day we went to a gas station.  He asked the attendant to put 50 Franc of gas in the tank.  As he was filling the tank, the British guy reaches in pocket and says, "And another 185 centimes."  The attendant grumbled obscenities under his breath.  I asked the British guy why.  He replied that it was just to tweak the guy because he didn't like the French.  I know that deep down there was love else he wouldn't enjoy it so much.
 
But, the US is further away.  In any debate including the US, the Europeans will always hang together, despite their animosity towards each other.  I suppose it is only natural.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 8:11am
Leroy - yes there is a deeply entrenched animosity towards the French in a lot of English - yet others love them to bits. I think it is because of their proximity - plus of course that we've had a few wars with them (one a hundred years or so). Do you think it is what happens with derbys? Rivals close to each other? Like Shia and Sunni? Brothers?
It's reciprocated by the French. They certainly have a chip about the language.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 8:12am
Well Leroy we have fought the French more often than we have fought the Yankee Doodles.   
 
They are also, though we hate to admit it, more like us than Americans are.   You always tend to fall out with neighbours...
 
I was Gerant for a small French company with offices in La Defense.   My management style was to get them to think that something was their idea... and then they would do it.   At the same time I was Geshaftsfuhrer for a small German company where the style had to be more dictatorial.
 
I have also worked for a US corp in Portland Oregon where the style was macho and bullying.  Perhaps that simply reflects the abuse you often see thrown around on this site by some Americans.   Europeans tend to be more polite.   You may say that that is to protect other feelings or...
 
I guess workplace legislation is also not as protective for employees in the USA as in Europe (certainly they have fewer holidays etc).   After being on the receiving end of a management tantrum I quietly got myself another job...
 
We all have different ways and I guess tend to prefer what we are most used to.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 8:12am
Robin - I think social anxiety is deeply seated in American culture. They don't have a class system like us. Strangely that gives us a bit of stability even though it is repulsive.
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 8:58am
Robin, it is hard to hate someone if you have little connection to them.  Before I married my wife, I could count the times I had raised my voice on one hand, and only one was out of anger, and even that was feigned.  You have to love someone enough to care enough to be angry.
 
"My management style was to get them to think that something was their idea... and then they would do it."
 
I never saw a problem with that.  They would take a paper written by an American and white out the name and put their name on it.  But, I have to say that the French are brilliant thinkers.  They are not so good with implementation and should be kept 10m from anything programmable.
 
"At the same time I was Geshaftsfuhrer for a small German company where the style had to be more dictatorial."
 
The Germans seem to have a well-deserved reputation for organization.  They seem to have a high disregard for the technical abilities of anyone non-German.
 
"I have also worked for a US corp in Portland Oregon where the style was macho and bullying.  Perhaps that simply reflects the abuse you often see thrown around on this site by some Americans.   Europeans tend to be more polite.   You may say that that is to protect other feelings or..."
 
I agree that the US management style is abusive, but I also thought the French style was more abusive.  Managers were required to tell you "three truths" about you; i.e., three things that suck about you.  There was no trust.  You were always tightly controlled.  You could only assess the facility at certain times.  In the US, if you have business outside the factory, you just leave and come back when you are done.  In France, your boss had to sign a permission in triplicate.  If you did not have a copy when you return, you could not re-enter the facility.   However, you could always find a guard who would rather not argue in English or bad French and would just let you in. "Dezolay. No parlay bocoupe French."
 
I don't know that Europeans are more polite.  I would disagree.  I would agree that there are more abusive Americans here, but, then again, more of the commenters are American.
 
"I guess workplace legislation is also not as protective for employees in the USA as in Europe (certainly they have fewer holidays etc).   After being on the receiving end of a management tantrum I quietly got myself another job..."
 
Probably true.  There seems to be a proclivity for hiring sociopaths for management.  But, if you are a government employee, it doesn't matter how bad you are.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:44am
Leroy - I think there's good and bad everywhere. It's just overlaid with a layer of culture.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:44am
Leroy
 
The Germans seem to have a well-deserved reputation for organization
 
That's certainly true, as we Swiss have as well. But often it only appears well-organized on the surface, but when you dig deeper you'll find chaos LOL
 
I don't know that Europeans are more polite.  I would disagree.  I would agree that there are more abusive Americans here, but, then again, more of the commenters are American.
 
Hmmm...that depends. Some of us are more polite but seem more likely to use that as a façade in order to talk behind your back. I really appreciated the Kiwis and Australians for their directness. They tell you right out if they think you're an asshole or a nice guy. I prefer that to any politeness. That's something we Swiss mostly lack.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:45am
BTW: Very interesting comments here. That's become a truly international thread :-)
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:46am
" I think social anxiety is deeply seated in American culture. They don't have a class system like us. Strangely that gives us a bit of stability even though it is repulsive."
 
The class system was something difficult to get used to and is antithetical to the American character.  In the US, you could rise from being an hourly employee to a high-level management job based strictly on merit.  In France, you were pigeonholed into a job based on education and connections.  Education was based on connections.  If you graduated from certain schools, you automatically started in management regardless of your ability.  I had two bosses.  Both were arrogant idiots.  One sat at his desk all day.  He would place a pencil on the desk with part if it hanging over the edge.  Then he would flip the pencil into the air with his hand.  He whistled and flipped the pencil all day every day.  He delegated management to another grade ecole new hire.  The de facto manager was a colleague since the other guy didn't know diddley. He pretty much ran the show.   My colleague could never be manager because he didn't graduate from a grande ecole.   The manager earned his position in top management today not knowing diddley.  That created anxiety for me.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:47am
SEF - it's good when people get to talking instead of just being abusive. It is interesting to reflect on the differences in cultures.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 9:48am
There seems to be a proclivity for hiring sociopaths for management.  But, if you are a government employee, it doesn't matter how bad you are.
 
Same here. Exactly the same.....seems to be a worldwide phenomenon...
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:34am
SEF - they are so plausible and black and white. They are good at decision making and people respect that. They like people who are direct and clear. The trouble is that they are like that because they don't care about people and actually enjoy hurting them. Sums Trump up to me.
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:36am
"That's certainly true, as we Swiss have as well. But often it only appears well-organized on the surface, but when you dig deeper you'll find chaos LOL"
 
I had a German immigrant has a boss.  Ask him for a document he wrote twenty years ago and he would pull it from his file in seconds.  He told me one day, "You have no visible signs of organization, but you must have some system or you would be able to do what you do.  I will let it go at that."
 
I met a German girl on the train on my way back.  She asked if I spoke German, to which I replied, "No."  "Would you like to learn?" "Sure."  She opens her bag and it contains files indexed alphabetically.  This is what she took on vacation.  She pulls out a lesson plan and immediately proceeded to give me lessons.  Incredible.
 
"Hmmm...that depends. Some of us are more polite but seem more likely to use that as a façade in order to talk behind your back. I really appreciated the Kiwis and Australians for their directness. They tell you right out if they think you're an asshole or a nice guy. I prefer that to any politeness. That's something we Swiss mostly lack. "
 
It is interesting how different cultures perceive Americans.  The Chinese say Americans are direct.  Filipinos say Americans speak with forked tongue, always having a double meaning.  It could be that Filipinos have a better grasp on the language in general. Europeans think we are cowboys.  I don't even ride a horse.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:37am
Leroy - there are a lot of managers like that. One guy used to tell me that he never looked out of the window in the morning so that he had something to do in the afternoon.
The class system in the UK stinks but it does reduce social anxiety as long as you don't find yourself in the wrong place.
I think the class system is dying a little.
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:38am
Everyone seems to get along well with the Britains here.  I just can't figure out what language they are speaking.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:42am
Leroy - it's English.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:45am
+++ Off Topic +++
 
Sorry, but I can't write an article on this. But it touches US awareness and psychology as well. Do you believe it ? Just curious, because what happens THERE will eventually come HERE....
 
Why does Walmart close stores ?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:46am
BTW: Walmart and medicine aren't so far apart. The more you buy there the more you'll need the pharma ;-)
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:52am
"it's English"
 
That's what they claim.  Those that speak BCC English are easy to understand.  Some of it is so fast, choppy and full of idioms, it is difficult to comprehend.  It might as well be another language.  If a woman tells you that she loves to shag, it means something totally different here.   I remember the reaction from an American woman the first time a British guy told her that he would come by and knock her up.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:58am
Leroy - I know - we are full of quirky shit. But Americans are too. I got into trouble a number of times with rubbers, screwing things up and asses.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 10:58am
opher -
 
You seem to believe that whatever you state must be true as if you are the sole arbiter of truth.  Your contentions center around the cost, access and quality of the US "free market" system of healthcare. 
 
First of all, the US has been migrating AWAY from free market everything since the days of FDR, LBJ and have accelerated out of control under Obama.  If you actually ask a US medical practitioner about his practice now compared to 20 or 30 years ago, he/she will tell you that  government regulations and interference:
 
1) have taken him from seeing 40 patients/day to less than 20 
2) resulted in patient costs skyrocketing due to administration costs
3) choice of options is severely restricted
4) liability insurance premiums are unmanageable
 
Second, the issue of cost is deliberately misrepresented by liberals.  In order to make a fair comparison of cost, you have to compare "like to like".  For example, I am quite sure that the per capita spending on health care in Botswana is much less than the UK - does that automatically mean that's a "good thing" for Botswana???  What do you actually get as a patient in the US vs the UK?  The difference in life saving technology is hugely in favor of the US.  As an example, MRI machines are a vital tool for diagnostics and preventing unnecessary exploratory surgery, misdiagnosis and radiation treatment.  Here are the per capita stats (MRI machines/per million) for several nations:
 
USA - 38.96
Germany - 30.5
Finland - 25.95
France - 12.59
Slovenia - 8.73
UK - 6.16
 
Of course there are "hidden costs" that are difficult to quantify, but I am certain that UK Physicians would agree that there are a lot more deaths in the UK as a result of the paltry MRI availability.
 
Third, the issue of "lack of access" in the US is another myth that ignorant proponents of single payer use to scare the general public.  They deliberately confuse the public by equating "ability to pay" with "access".  The fact of the matter is that NOBODY is ever turned down for treatment in the US because they can't afford it - PERIOD!  If you disagree with that statement find me ONE case of a US hospital turning away someone to die just because he/she couldn't pay.  I repeat this many times and liberals like yourselves simply ignore it and keep repeating your bullshit even though you know it's simply NOT TRUE.
 
Fourth, the issue of quality is another that needs to be compared on a "like to like" basis.  As far as the patient is concerned, QUALITY is independent of cost.  If you were dying on an operating table, you wouldn't tell the surgeon to use the lowest quality surgical disinfectant, suture thread, anesthesia, antibiotics, etc.  When you read the left wing propaganda "rankings" they are always slanted towards spending, not actual outcomes (despite the title of the study!).  Here is a real world statistic - people from all over the world who can afford to go ANYWHERE for treatment invariably seek out places like the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical, University of Chicago, Stanford University, etc.
 
Finally - the ruling elites of the "Single Payer" nations NEVER use the healthcare facilities that they mandate that the masses use exclusively!  It reminds me of the "Pigs" in the George Orwell novel "Animal Farm" who rewrote the original law:
 
                             "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL"
                                                     to
"ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS"
 
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:05am
Nice conspiracy story, Stoney.  I got a good laugh.  A Walmart closed in my hometown not long ago.  It opened 24/7.  It wasn't long before they figured out it was being robbed blind in the off hours.  Ultimately, they cut back on the operating time.  Still, theft was too high.  It was easier to close the store than to prosecute.  No conspiracy.  It was just business.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:09am
Mike - thanks for that input.
The point I was making was that the British model is very efficient and cost effective. The ethos is patient care. The American model is extremely costly, does not serve all the population, creates anxiety and has a big element of profit before care.
Many, if not most, of our MPs do use the NHS. You always get some who like to show some status by being prats.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:11am
SEF - LOl - I'm not sure that Walmarts are being earmarked for population control. An interesting take though. Maybe they will use them for refugee centres when the floods come and the waters start rising?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:12am
Leroy:  I can't really comment on French and German management styles... since I was the one doing the managing...or trying to!
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:15am
Mike Haluska here seems to be the one who most wants to believe that America is the greatest at everything.
 
Just for the record Mike, the UK spends less than half as much per capita on health care as the USA for a 2 to 3 year greater average life span.
 
i.e. spends less and gets more.     In what way can that be worse?    I can understand that it is worse for insurance companies and doctors touting high tech, high cost treatments, but surely, for the average citizen it has to be way better... doesn't it?
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:17am
opher - one other question/comment:
 
Since liberals/progressives are all freedom loving, independent, "for the people", how about this suggestion:
 
Give the citizens of the UK the freedom to decide on their own whether they want to pay the healthcare tax and stay on the NHS or simply purchase health insurance on their own.  In other words, if the NHS is as inexpensive and wonderful as you say it is then let it (God Forbid!!!) STAND ON ITS OWN MERITS! 
 
Of course, the Left would never approve of government programs having to  "stand on their own merit".  The Left doesn't actually care about the people, they care about CONTROLLING the people.  And by controlling the people's health care and making sure they have NO ALTERNATIVE the Left has basically turned them into serfs completely dependent on the Labour Party.  So stop the pretense of the Labour Party as the "caring party" and admit your real intentions - the total domination and control of the people and elimination of private ownership of the individual's own LIFE and property.  The function of the people will be to serve the interests and perform the work necessary to keep the Labour Party elite living in a grand lifestyle.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:20am
The idea of social class is not a good one.   I personally think that we should get rid of the royal family as having no relevance in the modern world
 
However class exists everywhere including in the USA.   There the class divisions are mainly:   those who have money and those who do not.   The wealthy and the underclass.   The wealthy tend to avoid mixing with the rest lest they become contaminated.
 
One thing that I do like about dear old Blighty is that, when you go in the pub, you leave your class and status at the door.   There, in the best pubs, you meet each other as equals.
 
 
Leroy Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:28am
" I know - we are full of quirky shit."
 
English is far from being standardized in the US.  Every region has its dialect and idioms.  The Mid-West is the closest to being standardized.  Perhaps you are not attuned to it so much, but if an American goes to Canada, the Canadians can usually pinpoint where you are from.  One even pinpointed me to the city, but it could have been a lucky guess.  Funny.  Most people around here think I am from Canada.  The Chinese assume I am Russian.  Most assume I am German when in Europe.  I'm from a region known for its quaint expressions.  They say it is from British influence.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:29am
Divided by a common language.
 
Once I was in my office in the UK when we had a visit from a head office accountant from Portland, Oregon.   They were investigating our expenses which they though too high (naturally us being foreigners, we were fundamentally untrustworthy).
 
Outside my office, in the open plan area, the accountant was grilling an Indian engineer who had just returned from a trip to West Africa.   The guy was a very proud and upright, Warrior caste, Keralan.
 
So, said the accountant:   "You have claimed to have five pairs of pants cleaned whilst you were away.   That is totally unacceptable.   No American would ever dream of doing that!"
 
"I have my standards."  Says our Keralan Warrior.
 
This continues for some minutes with each of them basically repeating the same thing, suitably amplified.
 
Finally, when I am able to stop myself laughing, I call in the accountant and explain to him that when an Englishman or an Indian refers to "pants" he means "underwear" and not "trousers".
 
We teased the accountant mercilessly about this for some time...  "So, in America, you would wear your underwear for, say a week, then turn them inside out and wear for another week?   Finally wear them outside your trousers like Superman perhaps?"
 
Eventually his style became less bullying....  No doubt he complained about me to management...
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 11:35am
opher - you really need to take more than a superficial view:
 
"The other thing that struck me was religion. In Europe, or at least Britain, it is largely dying out. We pay a bit of lip service to it but the only people in the churches are the elderly and immigrants (a few evangelical youths)."
 
and actually understand why the American Founding Fathers emphasized the proper place God holds in a society based on individual freedom, personal responsibility and Rule of Law.  Our Founding Fathers wanted to ensure our rights as individual citizens could never be trampled on - especially by power-hungry politicians.  This is the reason our basic rights in the Constitution are said to be "Inalienable and God-given":
 
If our rights were given to us by the highest power and we are all "endowed by our Creator with the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit (not guarantee) of Happiness" - the NO GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL can take them away from us.
 
Most of the rest of the nations in the world don't have a "Constitution" in the sense it was intended by the American Founding Fathers.  When the UK has an election, the winning party can pretty much take over and make up whatever laws they see fit.  That is NOT what is supposed to happen in the US - although the previous administration and administrations prior (Dem & Rep) frequently ran rough-shod over the Constitution. 
 
For example, President Trump recently ended President Obama's "DACA" Executive Order on Immigration - which was un-Constitutional because the President's power is limited to ENFORCING the law - not MAKING the law!  President Trump has given Congress (the proper government body) six months to write a proper Immigration Law that he will sign.  Of course the Left is claiming this action is "cruel" in an effort to maintain Obama's unlawful acts.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:27pm
Mike - that's right! I just want domination and control! You'll believe what you want.
The strange thing is that the British people love the NHS. We are most proud of it. The Tories want to privatise it and put money into the pockets of their rich chums but the British don't want that so the Tories have to do it clandestinely, by stealth. If they tried to dismantle the NHS they'd be out like a shot. Strange that isn't it? We don't want anything to do with your expensive profit-ridden system.
What you propose is ludicrous. You cannot organise I system with free health care at the point of use with people opting out.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:29pm
Mike - "endowed by our Creator with the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit (not guarantee) of Happiness"
What creator? Who is this supernatural manmade construct? This product of nomadic Arabs? How can a fictitious being guarantee anything?
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:32pm
Leroy - I was quite taken when travelling around the States that each State has its own character. They are really like different countries. It is remarkable that these social/cultural/dialect/idiom/pronunciation differences should have sprung up so quickly.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:34pm
Robin - who was it who said - 'Two nations divided by a common language'?
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:36pm
Robin - the class system is disgusting and the Royal Family an outdated institution that should be immediately scrapped and their lands seized for the people. They can all go and live in semis in Islington.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:37pm
Robin - the other class division in America is race.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 2:42pm
opher - it didn't take you 3 minutes to start spouting off lies:
 
"The American model is extremely costly
- compared to what other nation that provides as high a level of service?
 
does not serve all the population
- again, tell me specifically WHO doesn't get care?
 
creates anxiety and has a big element of profit before care."
- the only anxiety is created by the dismal implosion of Obamacare, where people were told "you can keep your doctor", "you can keep your health insurance" and "your premiums will drop 25%
 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 2:55pm
opher - it is typical of the left that they believe their opinions are universally held by EVERYONE!!! 
 
"The strange thing is that the British people love the NHS. We are most proud of it."
 
I've been to London many times (my daughter spent 7 years in graduate school at Regent's College and I consulted to British Steel before that).  I love the UK and its people.  The US and UK have a special bond and relationship that no other 2 nations can come close to. 
 
But don't kid yourself into thinking that the NHS is wildly popular with everyone or even a majority.  NHS is having a hard time keeping doctors and is "importing" inferior doctors.  Everything is rationed - by necessity - because of government budget funds are always limited.  It's popularity is solely based on the fact that for many people it's "free".  It will always be hard for a private industry (no matter how good they are at what they do) to be as "popular" as a "free" source. 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:12pm
opher - regarding your statement/question:
 
"What creator? Who is this supernatural manmade construct? This product of nomadic Arabs? How can a fictitious being guarantee anything?"
 
Whether God really exists is beyond the scope of this discussion.  Despite what the left spews, belief in God and belief in science are NOT mutually exclusive.  Not believing in God doesn't make you intellectually superior or more "rational". 
 
What is important is that the people who want to live and work in the United States of America believe that NO HUMAN should be allowed to take their fundamental rights away from them.  By the Constitution we Americans are ALL endowed from birth with these rights - we don't need to "earn" them, they're not dependent on our family blood line, no monarch dispenses them or can remove them.  Americans never had to kiss somebody's ass for permission to live as they please (until lately).
 
For my part, I would rather believe in a Supreme Being I can't see that I know will never harm me than a "real" person cloaked in "Royalty" with the power to strip me of my rights, property and life at a whim.
 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:28pm
opher - your statement:
 
"You cannot organise I system with free health care at the point of use with people opting out."
 
clearly displays the hypocrisy of the left!  If your "free health care" (a flat out lie in itself - do doctors work for "free"?) was half as wonderful as you claim, nobody would "opt out".  And cursing anyone that works for a profit is the ultimate hypocrisy!  I don't know what you do or did for a living, but I am sure that you wouldn't do it if it cost you more to go to work than you were paid. 
 
Want to know how I KNOW your system is far from the best?  Because the BEST doctors, nurses, aides, technicians spent a LOT of their time and money getting the education and experience necessary and they want to be fairly compensated based on their individual skill and experience!  Why should a NHS doctor bust his ass learning more, attending to more patients, investing in new training seminars, etc. if he get paid the same salary as some slug who barely does the minimum to get by?  Rather than striving for excellence, there is a decay to lowest common denominator.  
 
I can PROMISE you that the BEST doctors in the UK are busy treating MP's, Royals, Senior Bureaucrats (the liberal elite who exempted themselves from NHS) - not some mine worker from Manchester!   
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:34pm
Mike - the constitution was made by people. It is old and, like all human things, flawed. Much of it needs updating. I cite the ridiculous gun laws which see murder committed on a daily basis. We no longer live in a world which requires an armed populace against a power from outside. Those days are gone. To try to make out that only god can change it is laughable.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:36pm
Mike - I can assure you that we have a bunch of great doctors and nurses who are quite happy to operate on miners.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 3:39pm
Mike - my elder son works in the NHS. He doesn't get paid a huge salary but he is respected. A percentage of our doctors and nurses will train and move abroad for higher salaries. The Tory government is lamentable on pay for public workers. But most choose to stay and treat miners and refuse collectors.
The NHS is held in high esteem by a big majority of the public.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:23pm
Methinks that Mike doth protest too much...
 
He really does have a bee in his bonnet doesn't he.
 
Why do you have to believe that the NHS is no good Mike?   Would it rock your whole world if you did?   Would the pillars of your personal identity sway and come tumbling down?
 
Take a chill pill man and accept the fact, from those of us who use it all the time, that it is a bloody great system.
 
BTW many of the best medical people I know are not primarily motivated by money.  Yes they want to be paid appropriately, but most are not money grubbing.    Certainly the medical people that I mix with tend not to flaunt their wealth, even though some of them are much better off than me.   Must be an American thing.   God is money.   Money is God etc...
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 4:35pm
Robin - there is a mindset for Americans on wealth. I think it's because of the social system in America - money is status. They find it strange to think that not everybody is motivated by money and that there are more important things.
Shane Laing Added Sep 7, 2017 - 5:26pm
You can't beat the NHS over here if its an emergency its top notch. Other things are not so good. My good lady wife had a frozen elbow and was told it would take three to four months to be seen by a consultant. Fortunately my daughter had bought us medical insurance. Within two days we had an appointment booked in a private hospital and a week later we saw the consultant and she had steroid injection to help her recovery. All for £20 a month. I am happy to pay for the NHS from my wages but low cost private medical insurance is definitely a benefit.
opher goodwin Added Sep 7, 2017 - 6:27pm
Shane - I think there is a bit of a lottery depending on where you live. There are waiting lists for some conditions, that is true.
Shane Laing Added Sep 7, 2017 - 8:50pm
True enough Opher its very much a postcode lottery.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 3:23am
Whether the NHS is the best system or not is debatable. I lived in the UK for a couple of years and thought that Australia's system was better and now in NZ the system here is pretty good too.
All these systems have problems that are largely the result of neoliberal penny pinching and lack of will to invest by politicians who are clueless about economics and think balancing the budget is their main task.
What is obvious is that the US is the only industrialised economy on the planet that does not provide a close to adequate health system for its people.
Talking to right wing Americans about health care is like talking to right wing Americans about guns.
It's utterly pointless. Their wires have been fried by corporate propaganda aka prolefeed.
Saint George Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:19am
Skidmark-john-g trolls this site because he shills for Russia and Palestinian terror organizations. Who are your ideological compliance officers, skid-mark-g? Do tell.
 
Curious minds want to know.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 4:22am
John G - for once I totally agree.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:35am
And I'll add that talking to Democrat believers about health care is as pointless as talking to the wingnuts.
The Dems stand in the way of universal healthcare more so than the Repugs.
The Repugs are ridiculous, The Dems are dangerous, divisive and the willing doers for the .1%.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:51am
John G - that doesn't leave many on the side of the angels does it?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:02am
About the NHS:
 
Is it a better system:  yes, without question.
 
Is is adequately funded:  not by a long way.   It would do much better if it was.   The shortcomings due to under funding are often used by the ideologues on the right wing to try and say that the system is flawed.   I, for one, ain't buying that.
 
Does it upset the .1%.   You bet.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:09am
Robin - that is a catch 22 isn't it? You don't fund it properly because it's flawed; it's flawed because you don't fund it properly.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:26am
America is a fascist state every bit as much as Nazi Germany was. They don't have to purge the left because there isn't one.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:28am
Robin - that is a catch 22 isn't it? You don't fund it properly because it's flawed; it's flawed because you don't fund it properly.
That's the neoliberal model. Your mate Tony Blair did it slightly differently with PPPs but it amounts to the same thing.
 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:38am
Not really John.    If we spent as much, per capita, as the Americans, then the system would be vastly superior.   It delivers better overall results as it is with inferior funding.   So I say that, as a system, it delivers better output for given input.   I just argue that we want more output so, therefore, should put more in.
 
There is another question of course:  how far should centrally funded medicine attempt to go.    Should it, for example, cover cosmetic surgery?   You may say yes, if it is for the victim of an traffic accident but no if it is just someone who feels they want a differently shaped nose.   For the latter it might be more appropriate to refer them for therapy to help them be happier in the skin they are in...
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:49am
John G - I would agree with that - it is a fascist State and there is no left wing to speak of.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:50am
John G - under Blair it was better funded and the pay of doctors, nurses and others was increased substantially. It worked much better.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 7:52am
Robin - now that is a hot chestnut. What should the NHS fund and what should be treated privately? Cosmetic surgery? Fertility treatment? That's an interesting one.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 8, 2017 - 8:05am
There is that and also the question of very expensive treatments e.g. drugs costing $100,000 a year or more.
 
Given that we can only pour so much into health care, putting a lot of money into one area of treatment much always mean that there is less to go round elsewhere.   So morally difficult choices have to be made.  I guess that this is where the so called "death panels" that Mike and co like to talk about come it.   In reality it is a group of people with the thankless task of trying to maximise the health care delivered from a pot of a fixed size... with all the personal points of view and value judgements involved.
 
Of course in America it is much simpler.   If you don't have the money, or your insurance company refuses to cough up, then you simply go without and die
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 8:08am
Robin - that's right - and meanwhile the drug companies take everyone to the cleaners.
Leroy Added Sep 8, 2017 - 8:22am
"But don't kid yourself into thinking that the NHS is wildly popular with everyone or even a majority."
 
I've never met anyone who was dissatisfied with the NHS.  I can't say that about the US system.  I am deeply dissatisfied with it.  Not the medical care itself, but how the system operates.  It is enormously complex.  Couple that with the blood-sucking lawyers and you have an expensive system.  Having said that, the British are accepting of crappy service.  Asking an American to wait two years for surgery and continually being bumped by others deemed more important would not set well.  I guess when something is "free" is makes it easier to accept. 
 
The level of service in China is directly proportional to how much you are willing to pay.  How the system works is the best I have seen--other than the chaos.  The only issue is the quality of the care.  That is no small issue.  If we could combine the Chinese system with the American health care, I think we would have the best situation.  Insurance is almost unheard of and is not really necessary for the Chinese.  To give you an example, if you want to see a specialist, you start lining up outside the hospital a 06:00.  You get there early if you want to see the specialist.  It is cheap.  Or, you can pay for VIP service and see a doctor almost immediately.  Or, you can go to an international clinic.  Same doctors, but you get a pretty nurse to hold your hand.
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 8, 2017 - 8:32am
opher g. and John G., the problem is that Fascism and Communism, a branch of Socialism, in the end produce similar governments.  They start from different end left and right respectively but since they end up the same I do not care.   "Vladimir Tismaneanu, a professor of comparative politics at the University of Maryland, noticed how communism and fascism, despite coming from separate ends of the political spectrum—extreme left for the former and extreme right for the latter—surprisingly have much in common." ref: The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century  
 
Communism is a branch of socialism that employs force to achieve a socialist state.  Britain, Europe, and USA are following a different branch: Fabian Socialism that takes over the government from within by small steps.  Any socialist states as the author says in comparing socialism to capitalism,  "Capitalism, despite being an imperfect system with many problems, understands what Marx failed to grasp: if you socialize the means of production, you undermine the incentives to work and produce poverty instead of wealth. Furthermore, anyone in the communist system unlucky enough to be born in the wrong class or ethnic group were branded enemies of the regime, becoming helpless victims in the mass killings that so often took place in the name of ideology."
 
Fascism, "a more thorough definition, it might be better to turn to political scientist Robert Paxton: “A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victim hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a massed-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
Tismaneau notes that all fascists shared a common bond in the idea of leadership, their abhorrence of liberalism, and a belief in ultranationalism.”  http://www.thedailybeast.com/communism-and-fascism-the-reason-they-are-so-similar
Mike Haluska Added Sep 8, 2017 - 12:24pm
Robin - your statement:
 
"Why do you have to believe that the NHS is no good Mike?   Would it rock your whole world if you did?   Would the pillars of your personal identity sway and come tumbling down?"
 
merits a response.  I never meant to say that the NHS is "no good" - the debate as I understood it was between which system was "better" and it what terms was it "better".  I never claimed a private system is perfect - to criticize a system because it isn't perfect is a logical fallacy because NO SYSTEM is perfect.
 
Despite my criticism of NHS, I would never try and do anything to alter it in the slightest.  That is the perview of the British people and is none of my business.  All I advocated was that as a whole, the people are better served when providers are faced with true competition for customers. 
 
Whenever proponents of anything demand protection from freedom of choice and fair competition, I seriously doubt their expressed convictions and look for hidden motivations.  I believe that the Labour Party looks after its own self interests ahead of the people - otherwise they wouldn't demand that their programs be exempt from choice and competition.  Likewise the Tories look out for their own interests by only pretending to be "free market advocates" and in reality are looking after their own investment portfolios.  It would be very interesting to audit the investment portfolios of BOTH parties - I am sure that BOTH parties are lining their pocketbooks by directing legislation and contracts in their favor. 
 
 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 8, 2017 - 12:32pm
Robin - regarding your statement:
 
"In reality it is a group of people with the thankless task of trying to maximise the health care delivered from a pot of a fixed size... with all the personal points of view and value judgements involved."
 
when I read about ONE MP, Royal, Senior Government Bureaucrat, Ambassador, Union Leader, etc. having to wait years for surgery or is denied drugs because they're too expensive THEN I will go along with singing the praises of a bunch of Fat Cats who get to decided who lives and who dies. 
 
Again - find me ONE CASE where an American died because they couldn't afford to pay for drugs, care, therapy, etc.  I'll save you time - you won't!
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Sep 8, 2017 - 1:39pm
Opher
 
Just published my article on health care in Africa LOL
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:01pm
So Mike, who pays for them then?
 
I had heard stories of NHS doctors going on a mission to parts of America to give health care to those living in tents in some parts where homes had been re-possessed etc.   Are those stories also "fake news"
 
What else accounts for your lower life expectancy figures?   If you have the best health care, why don't you live longer than the rest of us?
 
Or is it the guns causing more premature death?
 
Or maybe the pollution from all those cars....
Thomas Sutrina Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:05pm
Social Security picked up dialysis responsibility for the poor as part of not being able to work.  The dialysis network of facilities is all due to the them paying for it.  It has benefited all citizens rich or poor by reducing cost significantly.  
Edward Miessner Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:22pm
Socialised medicine is definitely a boon judging from your report and from what else I've heard, but I'm wondering just how successful it would be in the USA.
John Minehan Added Sep 8, 2017 - 2:33pm
The NHS is not a particularly good system compared to systems like France, Japan and the FRG.  Those tend to have consistently the best clinical results at the lowest cost. 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 8, 2017 - 3:25pm
Robin - I will address your points in sequence:
 
So Mike, who pays for them then?
please be specific, using pronouns instead of proper nouns makes me guess 

I had heard stories of NHS doctors going on a mission to parts of America to give health care to those living in tents in some parts where homes had been re-possessed etc.   Are those stories also "fake news"
 
Hmmmm . . . I get called on the carpet if I don't cite every bit of data I provide but you get a pass?  I did an internet search on
"NHS doctors going on a mission to parts of America to give health care"  
and found nothing relevant.  You made the claim, you provide the proof.  I claim I have heard nor read anything of the sort, and if it did occur CNN (Communist News Network) would run the story 24/7 for months.
  
What else accounts for your lower life expectancy figures?   If you have the best health care, why don't you live longer than the rest of us?
 
According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in the UK is 80.7 years and the USA is 79.8 years.  Not a big statistical difference - certainly not big enough to cause a mass exodus.   

Or is it the guns causing more premature death?
 
I'm sure it has a factor in the calculations
Or maybe the pollution from all those cars....
 
Car pollution today is negligible compared to 40 years ago, but still it's a factor.
 
Of course, the Right to Bear Arms is the reason all of the other rights are secured to begin with. 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 8, 2017 - 3:28pm
Politicians are the only profession allowed to completely screw up an industry (health care, steel, auto, etc.) and then walk away like they had nothing to do with it and STILL get credibility from the left/progressives on how to "fix things" by throwing even more money down the rat hole.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:28pm
Leroy - perhaps you are right - we are not so hung up on the niceties. But I think it does the job and removes the worry. That's what is important.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:32pm
Thomas - I think that one can achieve a much higher degree of fairness in society without losing incentive. A social democratic system is not so extreme as a communist State.
Our health system is socialised and does not lose its incentives.
I am sure that we have come a long way and can devise a system that is fair and works. It has happened in the past.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:34pm
Mike - you think all those millions in America without healthcare get first-class treatment and none of them have died from neglect?
I already know of Bessie Smith and she was rich and famous.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:36pm
Thomas - I'm not aware of this dialysis scheme. How does that work?
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:37pm
Edward - I think it works well here and is very cost-effective. I can't see why it wouldn't work in the States.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:39pm
John - I have heard that their systems are good as well. There are definitely areas where the NHS could improve and it definitely needs an injection of funds - but the comparison I was making was with the States. I think that system is very expensive, not inclusive and puts profit before people.
opher goodwin Added Sep 8, 2017 - 5:41pm
Mike - I don't give politicians too much credibility.
John G Added Sep 8, 2017 - 6:10pm
Robin. In reality it is a group of people with the thankless task of trying to maximise the health care delivered from a pot of a fixed size... 
Any 'fixing' of funding is an arbitrary political decision. There is no 'pot' of government money.
Leroy Added Sep 9, 2017 - 11:28am
True story.  I had a Canadian colleague who thought he was smarter than the average Canadian bear.  He was so confident that he could beat the market that he quit his job to become a stock trader.  Sounds pretty dumb, but is it really?  His reasoning was that he had a little savings that would get him by for a little while.  Worse case, he could put his wife to work.  Most importantly, he had "free" health care.   Health care costs are my biggest concern.  If I could socialize the risks, I, too, would take on greater challenges.
opher goodwin Added Sep 9, 2017 - 1:58pm
Leroy the cost of health care hangs over people. That must cause great anxiety. People take crappy jobs just to get health care for their family.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 9, 2017 - 3:07pm
Sorry Mike:  Let's start with one specific question about medical care in the USA.
 
If you have diabetes and can't work.  You have no insurance because it is a pre-existing condition.   Who pays for your long term treatments and other medical interventions when necessary?   Clearly this is not something that could be addressed by the accident and emergency room.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 9, 2017 - 3:15pm
The question on guns was not whether you had a right to them, but whether their proliferation in the USA was a contributing factor to your lower life expectancy.   I know that in other countries with similar cavalier attitudes to firearms that I have visited, e.g. Yemen and Pakistan, firearms are commonly used to cause harm to others.
 
I hear that US police, for example, killed more people in March 2017 than the British police did in the whole of the 20th Century.   I don't think that Americans are particularly more criminal by nature than Britons.    So guns must be having some impact on violent death.
 
Not arguing about your right to have them.   You can do what you like in your own country, even if it is bloody stupid.   Just asking how many deaths result because they are around in such numbers. and with such poor controls.
Edward Miessner Added Sep 9, 2017 - 4:30pm
Opher: "Edward - I think it works well here and is very cost-effective. I can't see why it wouldn't work in the States."
 
I can see a few good reasons why it wouldn't work--penny-pinching by politicians who call themselves conservative, front-line employees who only pretend to work, and administrators soaking up much of the money intended for health care delivery. A prime example of this is the VA--it was ridden with scandals throughout the Bush and Obama administrations.
opher goodwin Added Sep 9, 2017 - 5:53pm
Edward - we have penny-pinching politicians too. The NHS is scandalously underfunded but is still good. If it had a little more money it would be excellent.
Front-line employee in the health service?
We also have too many administrators who are poor.
What is the VA?
Leroy Added Sep 9, 2017 - 6:02pm
"If you have diabetes and can't work.  You have no insurance because it is a pre-existing condition.   Who pays for your long term treatments and other medical interventions when necessary?   Clearly this is not something that could be addressed by the accident and emergency room."
 
Medical care is really only expensive if you can afford it.  If you are indigent, you will likely be covered by Medicaid.  If you were working and become disabled, you will be covered by social security disability.  If you have little or no income, you receive subsidies, so it is really cheap.  A young man told me it was like $35 a year.  It depends on your affordability.  If I quit my job today and signed up for ObamaCare, it would cost me around $28,000 a year, pretty darn expensive.  But, if my unemployment continued and I had no income, it would eventually be cheap.
 
If you do go to the emergency room and can't pay, they can't refuse service.  They can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.
John G Added Sep 9, 2017 - 8:21pm
Why do so many people die each year in the US for lack of health care for preventable illnesses then?
 
Edward Miessner Added Sep 10, 2017 - 4:24pm
Opher, the VA is the Veterans Administration--sorry, I thought you heard of it and its acronym when you lived here in the US.
 
Well at least your NHS is well-run. We have partial single-payer (Medicare, Medicaid) and partial insurance rackets for our health care coverage scheme here and still the elderly and the poor have some out-of-pocket costs that Medicare and Medicaid should pay for, complete. It is a bad patchwork made overly complicated by compromises with right-winged ideologues who insist everyone contribute at least something even if they can't afford it, enabled by our "liberal" politicians who would be to the right of the Conservatives in the UK and Canada.
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 6:07pm
Leroy - it sounds like a messy system.
opher goodwin Added Sep 10, 2017 - 6:10pm
Edward - thank you. I should have known that.
My situation was an exchange programme for a year. I had to have insurance to come into the country. We used it all up in the first month. If something else had happened I don't know what would have happened.
Politics in the States seems incredibly right-wing to me.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 11, 2017 - 12:50pm
opher - your claim:
 
"Mike - I don't give politicians too much credibility."
 
but your willing to put your most valuable asset - your health - in there hands???  Think about it for a second, why would a politician want to control your health care?  They're NOT doctors and know next to nothing about health insurance, why do they think they're qualified to manage the health care system for the entire country?  It has NOTHING to do with controlling the population as a whole?  Their exempting themselves from the system doesn't strike you as suspicious? 
 
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 7:02pm
I'd rather have my health in the hands of a government funded medical system than a Wall St banker.
Does that strike you as suspicious Haluska?
Saint George Added Sep 11, 2017 - 8:31pm
I'd rather have my healthcare decisions made by me and physicians of my own choosing, and not by a government-appointed bureaucrat whose only mandate is to stretch tax revenues as far as possible by spending as little as politically necessary for his party to remain in power.
 
The government-funded mental health division of the NHS has obviously failed skidmark-john-g by withholding his meds due to the usual shortages that occur under a system of price-controls and rationing.
Saint George Added Sep 11, 2017 - 8:36pm
why do they think they're qualified to manage the health care system for the entire country?  It has NOTHING to do with controlling the population as a whole?
 
Indeed.
 
"Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state." — Lenin
 
In place of the grandiose image of a "keystone" and an "arch", think of socialized medicine as the "thin end of the wedge of controlling people by the short-hairs."
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 11:32pm
"Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state." — Lenin
Oh what utter bollocks. Lenin never said that.
John G Added Sep 11, 2017 - 11:34pm
Corey: I'd rather have my healthcare decisions made by me and physicians of my own choosing, and not by a government-appointed bureaucrat 
Typical Corey false dilemma. I can choose any doctor I wish.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 12, 2017 - 10:29am
John G - your assertion:
 
"I'd rather have my health in the hands of a government funded medical system than a Wall St banker."
 
is nonsensical bullshit and is a false equivalency. 
 
First of all, Wall Street Bankers (the last time I checked) don't sell health insurance.  The Insurance Industry provides funds to the Wall Street Bankers, since insurance companies are usually flush with cash they need to invest.  Wall Street Bankers kiss the Insurance Industry's ass - not vice versa!!!
 
Second, there is no "government funded" medical system!  There is a taxpayer funded system that is completely mismanaged by government bureaucrats who couldn't care less about your health and well-being, are held accountable by no one and are practically untouchable no matter how badly they screw up!  At least with private health insurance you can "fire" your carrier any time you like, file a lawsuit if they screw up or simply take your business elsewhere.  What recourse do you have when the government screws up???? 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 12, 2017 - 10:36am
John G - your response to the quotation:
 
""Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state." — Lenin
Oh what utter bollocks. Lenin never said that. "

 
doesn't prove Lenin never said it.  It also doesn't invalidate the truth of the statement.  You proponents of Socialism know that it is unworkable as evidenced by the fact that you are always using euphemisms and dodges to defend it.  When Socialist nations are portrayed accurately, you always run away claiming that "Russia/Cuba/China" aren't "true" Socialist States and if "ONLY THE RIGHT PEOPLE WERE IN CHARGE" then Socialism would be terrific!
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 12, 2017 - 7:37pm
Mike - we all know that politicians are in cahoots with business people and they want to get their hands on our health to make a profit out of it. That is what is happening in the good old USA. People are profiting out of people's illness. They are ripping people off - hence the high costs. I personally do not want to go down that road.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 13, 2017 - 2:16am
It seems to me that you have two basic choices.   You have a system like democracy where, in principal at least, the people have some say over how they are ruled.    Yes, you get politicians with their snouts in the trough, but you at least have the ability to sniff them out and prosecute them.
 
Or you have the system that Mike prefers where we will all be ultimately disposed of by the directors of corporations who treat us all as nothing other than a resource to be exploited... including our health care.
 
As Winston Churchill said (approximately), democracy is the worst possible system, apart from all of the others.
 
I just feel better having my health cared for by a system which, at least in principle, has as its primary aim the maintenance of my health.     Much better than one which has, as its primary objective, taking as much of my wealth as possible to line the pockets of the corporations which participate in it.
 
 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 13, 2017 - 2:28am
Mike, along with other social networking warriors for the corporation, us a particular technique to try and muddy the waters around indefensible positions such as "climate change is a myth".   They try and pick on individual issues with such vast subjects and then say "look, this is obvious rubbish... so the whole issue must be nonsense".
 
In "Denial" the film about the Holocaust denier David Irving, Irving argues that the remaining deposits of Zyklon B within the fabric of some building at Auschwitz  were higher in some known store rooms than they were in the (in his words) "so called gas chambers".   Zyklon B was used to kill insects such as cockroaches.  
 
Therefore he said, joyously, these were clearly not actually gas chambers and Auschwitz was not a "death camp".
 
The explanation for this was that, actually, it takes more poison to kill cockroaches than it does humans.   But, for a while at least, it gave Starkey room to peddle his own particular poison.
 
I think that Mike is doing the same thing.   He is trying to defend the indefensible generally... that we should allow corporations to rape and pillage our planet and to rob us of our wealth all in the name of "freedom" and the creation of wealth.   Yes such destruction creates wealth.   But not for the likes of you and me... only for the 0.1% and our birthright... planet Earth is destroyed in the process
Mike Haluska Added Sep 13, 2017 - 10:56am
opher - I agree 100% with your claim:
 
"Mike - we all know that politicians are in cahoots with business people and they want to get their hands on our health to make a profit out of it."
 
but it is naïve to think that this only occurs in America or non-socialist nations!  I personally see no better way to insure that the health care I am being provided by a trained, licensed professional is to see to it he/she is compensated properly.  In a free market system, if the healthcare professional doesn't provide proper care, I can FIRE him, SUE him, etc and it gets him where it REALLY HURTS - his pocketbook!!!  In a socialized medical system, there is no realistic recourse for harm caused by incompetent practitioners.  There is also no incentive for one practitioner to innovate, take reasonable risks, improve/expand his skills because everyone is paid on a scale.
 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 13, 2017 - 11:12am
Robin - your allegation:
 
"Or you have the system that Mike prefers where we will all be ultimately disposed of by the directors of corporations who treat us all as nothing other than a resource to be exploited... including our health care."
 
was never advocated by me and is a poor attempt at false equivalency on your part.  I find it amusing that the very people who decry corporations for their "monopolistic practices" have NO PROBLEM turning EVERYTHING over to a bunch of hacks with no experience in the real world - GOVERNMENT!!!  Not that I advocate monopoly of any sort, but why is a GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY so superior to a CORPORATE MONOPOLY??? 
 
You can check my past articles for my position on corporate/political corruption.  In summary, you can't place all the blame on corporations - it takes two to Tango and there is no corruption if government doesn't go along with it.  My solution has been to institute government policies that severely restrict/eliminate the power of politicians to grant "special favors" that make monopolies possible.  These "special favors" include tariffs on specific industries/products, regulations that limit/prohibit competitors from entering the market.
 
Government anti-trust laws and committees never work in the long run.  The best way to "catch a thief" as they say is to "set a thief to catch him".  In other words, when competition flourishes monopolies never last.  Look at today's Fortune 500 - only 12% remain from the 1950's.  Once thought to be invulnerable corporations like Standard Oil, Sears, Bethlehem Steel no longer exist. 
 
John G Added Sep 13, 2017 - 5:09pm
You can in theory vote out a corrupt government.
Not too bright are you, Mike?
John Minehan Added Sep 13, 2017 - 5:16pm
The USSR did not have a functioning healthcare system until just after Lenin died.  Early on, it was more like a Bismarck System with compulsory "union" plans.  (Not quite like a Western or Japanese Union.)
 
Later became more like NHS.  Effective against expensive disease compared to the Czarist system , but had funding problems after about 1950.
John Minehan Added Sep 13, 2017 - 5:17pm
Should have been "infectious" not "expensive!"
opher goodwin Added Sep 13, 2017 - 8:11pm
Robin - those are my views entirely.
Saint George Added Sep 13, 2017 - 9:46pm
I can choose any doctor I wish.
 
You're in the UK?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 14, 2017 - 10:08am
Mike:   Why is a government monopoly superior to a corporate one?
 
Because we, the people, own it.   It's not owned by the Government but by us, the people.   If the Government, our hired managers, misbehave, we can fire them.   It's called an election.
 
You keep saying Government as if it is a dirty word.   Government is, or should be in a democracy, us.   The people.
 
With Corporates, they only answer to their shareholders (the .00001% in practice) or, if forced to by regulation, to us on some specific issues.    Of course they have people like you to argue that such regulations should be removed in the interests of "freedom".
 
Personally I resent the idea of being enslaved by Corporate managers.   However imperfect, democracy is better because it gives us, the people, more overall freedom.   I mean genuine freedom... not what you mean by freedom...licence for Corporates to rape and pillage at will.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 14, 2017 - 10:13am
In the UK you choose a doctor to sign up with.   Usually part of a practice which comprises a number of services to look after you on a day to day basis.   I have regular check ups with the practice nurse for example.   Things such as flu jabs are dealt with by special surgeries at set times.
 
At my practice, if you want to see the doctor, you call them and they give you an appointment for the same day.   It's very quick and convenient.   Other practices may have different policies.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 14, 2017 - 2:01pm
Robin - your statement:
 
"Why is a government monopoly superior to a corporate one?
   Because we, the people, own it."
 
poses several interesting questions. 
First of all, don't PEOPLE own corporations (the stockholders)?  And if those greedy Capitalist Pig Corporations are making "obscene profits" isn't true that anyone can pick up the phone, buy some stock and share in those profits?
 
The "people" of the Soviet Union "owned" the entire country (in theory).  How well did that work out?  When EVERYBODY owns something than NOBODY takes care of it!  It is just human nature not to look after something that doesn't belong exclusively to you.  Look at the condition of your public housing in the UK - it's a national disgrace just like public housing in the US! 
 
And just how are you "enslaved" by corporations?  Do they put a gun to your head and force you to buy their products?  Do they say you can't be a participant in their success because you're not welcome?  You - as an individual - can "fire" any corporation you want any time you want.  As a subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, do you get to "fire" any politician on your own or do have to "vote" with millions of others and live with that outcome?  Do the politicians give you ONE OPTION and penalize you if you don't participate?  If your NHS doctor screws up your heart surgery through negligence can you sue him for damages?  Your government controls YOU through dispensation of health care - you do as THEY say - not vice versa. 
 
If Blue Cross/Blue Shield pisses me off, I can purchase health insurance from hundreds of other sources at competitive rates.  I can call any doctor in the country - specialists if necessary - and see them.
 
Michael Cikraji Added Sep 14, 2017 - 2:23pm
Opher, this is a valuable article because you have relevant, real-life experience with both the US and UK healthcare systems. Not many people do. This issue is excessively complex, but you're entirely right that in general, socialized medicine is the way to go. Thanks again for this contribution.
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:28pm
Michael - thank you for you comment. It is much appreciated. It is indeed a complex thorny issue and one that is crucial for so many people.
opher goodwin Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:30pm
Mike - doctors and hospitals are sued for negligence over here. We're becoming as litigious as the States.
Edward Miessner Added Sep 15, 2017 - 3:40pm
Mike Haluska, they have socialised medicine in the UK, it works like single payer does in Canada and Australia, you get to choose your own doctor.  It's not at all like Obamacare here in the USA where you have to buy in and pick a plan or else pay a fine and then hope that the plan's network include doctors who are both competent and likeable.
opher goodwin Added Sep 16, 2017 - 9:46am
Edward - I'm not sure how Obamacare actually works but from my perspective it looked like a good idea that needed a few flaws kicked out of it. At the moment there seems to be a split system which is incredibly expensive. The health-care companies are running a scam for profit and not everyone is covered. It is the cause of a lot of anxiety and poor care for the poor.
opher goodwin Added Sep 17, 2017 - 5:44am
Robin - I can get to see my doctor without a problem any day of the week. But I know that is not standard everywhere.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 18, 2017 - 10:44am
Again - it comes down to this:
 
1) Should one group of citizens decide what is "best" (as you can see from all of the comments, "best" has many definitions) for another? 
2) We are a Constitution based government and our Constitution does NOT list "providing/managing health care" as a duty of the Federal Government.  Therefore according to Article 10, "government health care" should be an issue for each state to decide.
3) If "government health care" is so superior and cost-effective as its proponents claim, why not make it an option for individuals to decide?
4) Is it a proper function of government to act as a forced charity? 
 
It seems to me that the vast majority of the supporters of "government health care" are those people that are getting it at the expense of those people paying into it.  It is difficult to honestly debate the relative merits of anything when some people are getting it for "free".  And why stop at health care?  People a constant and immediate need for food - does the fact that someone "needs" something necessarily mean that the government gets to confiscate from some to give to others?  What about housing?  What about college education?  What about clothing?  We all "need" these things - where does it end???   
Edward Miessner Added Sep 18, 2017 - 5:49pm
Mike, the Supremes have already affirmed that the likes of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are perfectly constitution. Yet they are all "forced charities" necessitated by the fact that no matter how much people try to save, they still find themselves short in their senior years.
 
PS Please reread Article I Section 8 and get back to me.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:37pm
Mike - that is pretty much how society works. All its members are guaranteed basic needs - food, health care, education, shelter. There's more than enough to go round. The rich would hardly notice it.
Society is about compromise. The best of something is never perfect. There are good and bad aspects - it is the best compromise. To be part of a society we all must compromise and contribute. What we all get out is greater than what we put in - safety, care, support, stability, education, a standard of living - it counts for a lot. In exchange we give up some freedom and have to compromise and contribute.
Sure there are some freeloaders. Sure there are some wasters and scammers. There's much more scammed from the top than the bottom. But we still need to invest in it. Society is better than anarchy. We just have to make it work as smoothly as we can.
opher goodwin Added Sep 18, 2017 - 6:39pm
Edward - a well run society caters for its weakest members - the disabled, poor, old and infirm. I think America, the richest country in the world, does this very badly. We do it much better in England (though this current government is doing its best to undo that.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 19, 2017 - 10:32am
Edward -
SCOTUS has gotten their past rulings overturned many times.  In EVERY instance this happened, it was because majority liberal judges IGNORED Article 10 and their used their personal opinions confirm it.  Take Roe vs Wade as an example - there is NO MENTION of abortion in the Constitution, yet the SCOTUS ruled it "Constitutional" based on "freedom of expression"???  SCOTUS should never base their opinions on "whether or not European nations do it", "it SHOULD be the law", "the issue didn't exist when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution", etc.
 
Article 1 - Section 8:
"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."
 
Do you interpret the above to mean that Congress (they "make laws") can just pass anything they want out of thin air?  "Necessary and Proper" means within the constraints of the power authorized to them by the Constitution.
 
What you are advocating is a means to ignore the Constitution and create a totalitarian state.  I freely admit that this has been going on under the auspices of both political parties since FDR and even back to Woodrow Wilson.  That it has happened doesn't make it right or Constitutional. 
 
Look - the sole function of the Constitution was to expressly define and limit the power of the Federal Government.  Article 10 is there to make sure there is absolute clarity - if the issue in question is NOT in the Constitution, then it is to be decided by the states and people.  For example, if Bernie Sanders wants "Single Payer" that's fine - he should work on drawing up a Constitutional Amendment giving the Federal Government that authority and see if he can get it passed.
 
The problem is that when liberals tried the Constitutional Amendment approach in the past they have always been defeated.  Most recently, the Equal Rights Amendment failed to be ratified by 2/3 of the states.  Since then, there has been an historic siege on the judiciary to get liberal judges appointed (e.g. United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit).
 
If Hillary Clinton would have won the election, it would have been the end of America as a nation of independent, free thinking, personal responsible people and the beginning of a serfdom based on government dependence and "entitlement".   
Mike Haluska Added Sep 19, 2017 - 10:45am
opher - your claim:
 
"Edward - a well run society caters for its weakest members - the disabled, poor, old and infirm. I think America, the richest country in the world, does this very badly."
 
deserves scrutiny.  First of all, there is no such thing as "a society caring" - individuals care.  In America, we (the remaining Constitutionalists) hold ourselves accountable as individuals to look out for and care for those deserving of assistance.  This begins with our own family members and neighbors and extends outward.  Those individuals that practice this approach and DON'T RELY ON "SOCIETY" OR THE GOVERNMENT do it very well.
 
The massive failures of caring for the less fortunate in America (and the UK) are almost exclusively on the GOVERNMENT SIDE!  Whether it's the Welfare State's deplorable housing, education or the abysmal treatment our Veterans get from the Federal Veterans Administration - government does it BADLY.  Private charities in America face prosecution if their administration costs exceed 10% of their donations.  Our government programs are lucky to get 30 cents on the dollar to the "dependents" they're supposed to "help". 
 
Edward Miessner Added Sep 19, 2017 - 2:27pm
Mike - that paragraph at the end of Article I, Section 8 refers to the powers granted to the Congress within that section. The first power refers to the power granted to Congress to provide for the general welfare: 
Article I, Section 8, Clause 1.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
 
This is a big enough loophole to pilot a communist or fascist totalitarian state through, provided the laws establishing it are "necessary and proper". The term "necessary" of course, means "required, needed." And "proper" doesn't necessarily mean "constitutional" but merely "appropriate to the subject, addressing the need that required the law in the first place". It took ten amendments to cut down on that loophole and in some people's opinions, including yours apparently, not nearly enough. For you said, "I freely admit that this has been going on under the auspices of both political parties since FDR and even back to Woodrow Wilson. " Actually Lincoln started it when eleven Southern states seceded from the Union. There were so many extra-constitutional and anti-constitutional actions being committed that Lincoln set in train in his prosecution of The War Between the States.
 
You said further, "Look - the sole function of the Constitution was to expressly define and limit the power of the Federal Government.  Article 10 is there to make sure there is absolute clarity - if the issue in question is NOT in the Constitution, then it is to be decided by the states and people. "
 
There is no Article 10. The US constitution has only seven articles. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript You're thinking of the Tenth Amendment. And no, it doesn't crimp the power of Congress that much.
 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 19, 2017 - 5:27pm
Edward - back up the truck.
 
from a copy of the Constitution:
Article [X] (Amendment 10 - Reserved Powers)
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
 
This is so simple and straightforward that only Frakkin' 20th Century lawyers could screw it up!  The only reason it hasn't tightened the reins of Congress is because the SCOTUS hasn't done their job!  For example, Jimmy Carter started the Department of Energy in the '70's.  This has lead to the creation of over 1,400 Federal Agencies - 99% of which are Un-Constitutional because of Article X - (Amendment 10 - Reserved Powers)!!!
 
Preamble
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
 
In the preamble, the word "promote" is used rather than "provide" -
 
Section 8
1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
 
You know as well as I do that the Founding Fathers wrote "provide for the common defense and general welfare" they meant it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to pay everyone's grocery bill, rent, medical costs, etc.!!! 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 19, 2017 - 6:20pm
correction to above:
"they meant it is the responsibility"
should read
"they never meant it is the responsibility"
Edward Miessner Added Sep 20, 2017 - 4:48pm
Mike -- I wished you left that last paragraph uncorrected, it's awfully funny!
 
No you full well know the same as I that the phrase, promote/provide the general welfare means to promote/provide for the state of being or doing well especially in relation to happiness, well-being, or success; the health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group; and the availability of resources and presence of conditions required for reasonably comfortable, healthy, and secure living. (I culled these from three dictionary websites.) What you don't seem to get is that single-payer, that is, Medicare for all, accomplishes exactly that, what with our sorry patchwork of health insurance schemes and the ability of the large health care providing businesses/organisations and the large health insurance companies to promote their own welfare at the expense of the rest of businesses and of everyone else including their own rank and file employees.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 21, 2017 - 11:55am
Edward -
 
You are practicing sophistry if you think you can make the case that "promote" and "provide" are equivalent.  You also know full well that the "government" can't "provide" anything to anyone without first confiscating it from the citizens.  ALL of the problems with our current health care system stem directly from government interference between the patient, doctor and insurer.  Want to see how well government runs health care?  Go visit VA Hospitals, talk to people who now PAY skyrocketing health insurance premiums (not the people who get benefits for "free").
 
The whole justification for Single Payer is a promise that is NEVER delivered and never will be.  If it is such a wonderful, well-managed, cost-effective, compassionate system then WHY DO THE POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRATS EXEMPT THEMSELVES FROM MANDATORY PARTICIPATION???
 
Here's the Litmus Test for any government program:
If it is such a wonderful, well-managed, cost-effective, compassionate system then why not give citizens the choice of selecting Single Payer among other choices???  Or give them the opportunity to opt out of Single Payer if they're not satisfied???
 
The fact that socialists/liberals must always use government force to implement their programs says everything you need to know about the morality and compassion of those who advocate it.  They either see themselves as "beneficiaries" who get someone else to pay their health care costs for them or as "benevolent leaders" who are "above us all" and can't be bothered with using the health care system of the unwashed masses.  
 
Socialism is the fastest route serfdom and only gathers support through lies and manipulation.  It ALWAYS collapses under the weight of its own evil - WITHOUT EXCEPTION!
John G Added Sep 21, 2017 - 7:54pm
You also know full well that the "government" can't "provide" anything to anyone without first confiscating it from the citizens.
So you don't want $US as payment for your time or your stuff?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 22, 2017 - 3:04am
Mike is still carrying on here.
 
Once again, as a customer of the NHS, I repeat.   This is probably the best thing ever done by a Government, whether or not it was done for the right reasons.    No politician here, that even suggests a reduction in the NHS, can hope for election.
 
That is a clear demonstration of customer satisfaction, in anyone's book.    The NHS has been in place since 1948... 70 years.  So plenty of time for it to fail if it was going to.
 
No-one, apart from the very rich and the insurance industry (and maybe their agent, the Daily Mail), argues here that we should adopt the American system.   In fact most fear the very idea.
 
This is an argument that you have lost Mike.   Get over it.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 22, 2017 - 3:06am
Oh, and as I said before, we spend half as much per capita on health care for a longer life expectancy than you guys.
 
By the way, it is perfectly possible to make it much better by putting more funding in.   If we spent as much as the Americans we would have a superb system.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 22, 2017 - 11:21am
John G - your question:
 
"So you don't want $US as payment for your time or your stuff? "
 
Has NOTHING to do with my point!  I stated that the "government can't give anything to one citizen without first confiscating it from another person"
 
Here's the basic difference between us:
I am of the belief that the Constitution prevents the transfer of one person's property to another against their will. 
You are of the belief that a proper function of government is to confiscate other people's money so it can be "given" to you.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 22, 2017 - 11:43am
Robin - your statement:
 
"This is an argument that you have lost Mike.   Get over it."
 
is misplaced.  I never said that the UK should drop its health care system - that's for Brits to decide.  You all had a crappy system well before NHS and there is still significant debate about the job NHS does in your own country.  So a move from a lousy system to a "less lousy" system doesn't impress me.
 
Let me make my position as clear to you as possible:
 
As an American I believe that I know what's best for me - not some politicians or bureaucrats in Washington DC.  If some people in the US favor a Single Payer system they have that right.  What they DON'T have is the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.  And that is what the Liberals have been doing since FDR!  It is no mystery that without exception EVERY LIBERAL PROGRAM REQUIRES FORCE!  The Liberals simply cannot stand the thought of their terrific ideas having to STAND ON THEIR OWN MERITS!!!
 
In less than 200 years we have developed the most powerful economy in history despite the rest of the world having a 3,000 year head start - and NONE of the advancements were mandated by bureaucrats in the government.  Our economy and freedom are tied hand in hand - our economic success is dependent on our people being "free to choose". 
 
I can understand that in Europe this makes no sense.  Europeans are accustomed to bowing before royalty or cowering from dictators, we detest the very notion of either behavior as beneath human dignity.  The  election of President Trump befuddles most Liberals and Europeans because he is the voice of real Americans who have been ignored by the mainstream media and silent far too long.  We don't want a "Nanny State".  We don't want a "Welfare State".  We want the government to function according to the Constitution - period!   
Mike Haluska Added Sep 22, 2017 - 12:01pm
Robin - I also take exception with your statement:
 
"Once again, as a customer of the NHS, I repeat."
 
You are NOT a "customer" of the NHS - you are a forced participant who has no choice but to use their services.  If you had the choice to pay taxes to participate in the NHS or get a tax credit to purchase private health care insurance - THEN you're a customer. 
 
If given a choice, I wonder how many UK citizens would "opt out" of the NHS and get health care insurance based on their unique needs?  Do you think a healthy 25 year old wants to pay a lot of money for full coverage or just a small amount for catastrophic coverage?  Of course, we'll never find out because the government bureaucrats would actually have to get a real job if NHS went away. 
John Minehan Added Sep 22, 2017 - 12:22pm
"You are NOT a "customer" of the NHS - you are a forced participant who has no choice but to use their services."
 
Not quite true.  Private insurance is available in the UK and many people take advantage of it to "jump the queue." 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 22, 2017 - 12:27pm
Give it up Mike.   We have established that you are happy to pay twice as much for a service that delivers a worse outcome.
 
That is your choice.   But it does not say much for your judgement and calls into question some of your views on other things such as climate change for example.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 22, 2017 - 12:32pm
And by the way, I am a customer.  I pay for the service through taxes.
 
I do, by the way, also have a certain amount of choice about which doctor to use.   I can even, if I want to splash the cash, decide to pay privately.
 
Your choice is confined to which insurance company is going to rip you off.
 
All this assumption that choice is a good thing is not, IMHO, necessarily correct.   You can run a system much more efficiently if you do not allow individual choice thereby having better overall outcomes.    However you do need to have a method of ensuring that everyone works hard within the system.   That certainly works in the NHS.
 
To think that everything has to be market driven to work well is actually bollocks.   IMHO
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 22, 2017 - 12:33pm
To quote one obvious example:  the SAS is not run by the market, yet is still pretty damn good at what it does.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 22, 2017 - 2:06pm
I think that the basic situation with Mike is that he hates the idea of co-operating with other human beings.   The thought that a public service, paid for by everyone through taxes, delivers a better service that just relying on an unregulated market, just drives him nuts.
 
But why?   He has simply swallowed some brainwashing pill given out by his masters... the corporations of the world (tm).   I suspect that he might be on their payroll.  Anything that involves such central co-operation he calls "Socialist" and is, in his mind, de-facto an evil thing.   He does not really know why he has this phobia.   He just re-acts to the word like Pavlov's dogs.   I suspect that he has never really experienced what socialism is actually like when you are on the receiving end.
 
All other things being equal, a centrally paid for service is bound to be more efficient because you can strip out a whole layer of accounting and cross referencing.   There are, for example, no insurance companies and shareholders to support and pay for.  Neither do you have to pay for glossy advertising or sales people.
 
One central service also has much bigger buying power.  It can drive down the cost of the services and products that it buys in.
 
The only possible counter argument is that people in a market driven situation work harder.
 
In medicine I don't think money is a primary motivator.   If you become a doctor because you want to become rich, then you are in the wrong job.   Helping people must be your primary desire.
 
Certainly, from personal experience, the people I have met, at all levels, in the NHS, seem driven to to the very best for their patients.  
Edward Miessner Added Sep 22, 2017 - 4:15pm
Mike: "You are practicing sophistry if you think you can make the case that 'promote' and 'provide' are equivalent."  
 
I wasn't making them equivalent. I only put them together because they are verbs.
 
"You also know full well that the 'government' can't 'provide' anything to anyone without first confiscating it from the citizens."
 
Which you don't like under any circumstances.  So if you don't want to pay for a defense department you get no national defense. (PS we've bollixed up defense, too just for the record.)
 
"ALL of the problems with our current health care system stem directly from government interference between the patient, doctor and insurer.  Want to see how well government runs health care?  Go visit VA Hospitals, talk to people who now PAY skyrocketing health insurance premiums (not the people who get benefits for 'free')."
 
The central government grossly interfered with the private market because the private market was beginning to fail---when Bush was president! Hence Obamacare.
 
"Socialism is the fastest route serfdom and only gathers support through lies and manipulation.  It ALWAYS collapses under the weight of its own evil - WITHOUT EXCEPTION!"
 
You mean state monopoly.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Sep 23, 2017 - 3:12pm
Mike - a government cares for its people. It passes laws to look after the weakest. It collects taxes in order to protect, educate and provide healthcare. The weak are powerless. If a government is allowed to not care for its weakest members I think it is a symptom of moral corruption.
For America, the richest country on earth, to have people without adequate healthcare and living on the streets is an indictment of that whole society. There is something rotten.
This cold, callous attitude of people deserve what they get is uncaring and immoral in my judgement.
Edward Miessner Added Sep 23, 2017 - 5:00pm
Mike, as I was saying to your without exception comment about Socialism: "You mean state monopoly."
 
What I meant was State Monopoly in an authoritarian state. You know, like the Soviet Union (complete state monopoly) and Venezuela (partial state monopoly).
 
But democratic Socialism seems to be working well, at least up in Canada, over in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and in the UK and Europe on the other side of the pond. I would like to think that democratic Socialism would work well here, too, but we're not talking about other countries, we're talking about the United States.
 
 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 23, 2017 - 5:32pm
I believe Mike that the housing market in the USA was completely private until it imploded in 2008.  Then, I guess, you were only to happy for the Government to step in and stop complete catastrophe.   Although we are still paying the price now for capitalism nearly collapsing under the weight of its own greed/evil....
John G Added Sep 24, 2017 - 1:06am
Why do Americans equate socialism with state monopolies?
Because capitalist indoctrination, misinformation and scaremongering.
Why do Americans think equate capitalism with free markets and competition?
Because capitalist indoctrination, misinformation and scaremongering.
John Minehan Added Sep 24, 2017 - 11:52am
"Why do Americans equate socialism with state monopolies?"
 
How do you define "sate monopolies?"
 
In Healthcare you have some level of local control in socialized systems (a great deal in Scandinavian Countries, where a lot of the decisions are made on a local council-level, a good amount in Canada, where Medicare s a federal-provincial program and even in the more top-down UK, there is an NHS for Scotland and a spate NHS for Northern Ireland and yet another one for England and Wales).
 
Each of these countries rely on private insurance, at least,  to afford  people the opportunity to "jump the queue," to prevent bottlenecks.  (Even in Quebec.)
John Minehan Added Sep 24, 2017 - 12:02pm
"But democratic Socialism seems to be working well, at least up in Canada, over in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and in the UK and Europe on the other side of the pond."
 
That is interesting from a healthcare point of view.
 
Canada and the UK have single payer systems (with a role for private insurance).  The UK has a socialized delivery system (the NHS) and Canada has socializ.ed insurance (Medicare).  Taiwan has a system very much like Canadian Medicare, which they adopted in 2000.  Japan and most of Europe  have Bismack Systems, mandated private insurance offered through employers and unions.  Much of Asia has different approaches, Singapore has a system of mandatory health savings accounts. Thailand has an almost entirely free market system except for basic care which is subsidized and costs no more than 40 Baht.
 
India has an excellent health care system with high quality, low costs, little use of insurance and notable problems with access.     
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 24, 2017 - 12:32pm
I think that the reality is that any system, pushed to extremes, produces unpleasant results... be that communism or capitalism.   What is needed is some common sense to help decide how individual needs are best catered for.
 
Health is not something that should be left to the vagaries of the market IMHO.   Likewise other things such as defence (private armies definitely not a good idea), police, prison staffing, judiciary etc etc.
 
Other things such as mass consumer manufactured goods probably should be free market except for regulation to ensure consumer safety etc.
 
Some things, such as food, should perhaps have a more mixed approach.    Food is a critical resource which, in times of crisis, we might need more direct public control over.    So, for example, in the UK, most food might be grown according to market forces... but we might also subsidise the growing of some crops which make little immediate market sense... but which might be crucial in times of war.   Sugar beet, might fit this case, for example.
 
No every organisation should have as it's primary aim the maximisation of shareholder value.   For some it might be the maximisation of life expectancy, or the keeping of national security or, indeed, the maximisation of citizen happiness and welfare generally.
 
Of course the free market argument is always that business will move to fill any niche in order to make a profit.   This is true.   But not every niche (need) is a profitable one to fulfill.... however essential it might be to the people that need it
Edward Miessner Added Sep 24, 2017 - 3:54pm
John Minehan, thanks for clearing things up. I've forgotten that there are so many different approaches to providing and insuring health care. The US system is an ungainly kludge of Socialised Medicine (VA), National Single-Payer (Medicare), State Single-Payer (Medicaid), and the Bismarckian system of mandatory private insurance. Of all the insurance schemes the third seems to fit the US best because it's the least fucked up (although not for lack of trying).
John Minehan Added Sep 24, 2017 - 7:14pm
This is interesting from Harvard School of Public Health.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 25, 2017 - 10:15am
 
Edward - you're deliberately misrepresenting what my position:
 
"Which you don't like under any circumstances.  So if you don't want to pay for a defense department you get no national defense."
 
The Constitution clearly states that the nation's defense (from BOTH foreign and domestic enemies) is a primary function and duty of the Federal Government.  What I advocate is for the President to call a Joint Session of Congress (he has that authority) and review the list of Federal Agencies (over 1,400 of them) and check to make sure their functions are authorized  as duties/responsibilities of the Federal Government based on the Constitution.  IF they are not, then they are by definition Unconstitutional and should be defunded and phased out. 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 25, 2017 - 10:28am
Robin - your idiotic suggestion:
 
"I believe Mike that the housing market in the USA was completely private until it imploded in 2008.  Then, I guess, you were only to happy for the Government to step in and stop complete catastrophe.   Although we are still paying the price now for capitalism nearly collapsing under the weight of its own greed/evil.... "
 
needs a rational response.  The "Housing Collapse" was the DIRECT RESULT of "do-gooders" in the government pandering to the electorate.  The federal government "Community Reinvestment Act" forced lenders to make loans to millions of unqualified borrowers ( there were literally "dogs" that were granted loans!).  What do you think is going to happen when:
 
1) unqualified (no job, no income "NINJA's") were given GUARANTEED mortgages with NO DOWN PAYMENT or even dumber yet, mortgages that were 30/40/50% higher than the property value?
2) the federal regulators virtually abdicated any oversight of Wall Street and allowed the creation of bonds based on "sub-prime loans". 
 
You want to blame greedy Wall Street - fine.  I prefer to recognize that when the government just puts out $billions for anyone to grab, then they are responsible for leaving the henhouse open to wolves.  It has NOTHING to do with Capitalism vs Socialism, it has to do with human nature - some of us are thieves.  And you are sorely mistaken if you think that Socialism cures any of the "evils" of Capitalism!  Plenty of fraud goes on under the auspices of Socialist Governments - more so because there are no police to stop them!!!
 
Mike Haluska Added Sep 25, 2017 - 2:52pm
opher - your statement:
 
"Mike - a government cares for its people."
 
is factually wrong - PEOPLE care for PEOPLE.  The proper major functions of government (in the USA) are:
 
1) Defend the nation from foreign and domestic enemies
2) Provide courts of law so disputes can be settled non-violently
3) Debate and make the nation's laws.
 
As the primary author of the Constitution plainly stated:
 
"The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
-- James Madison, speech in the House of Representatives, January 10, 1794
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Mike Haluska Added Sep 25, 2017 - 2:56pm
opher - our John Adams foresaw the ruin of both our nations:
 
"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching.
 
Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society. "

-- John Adams, Novanglus Letters, 1774
Mike Haluska Added Sep 25, 2017 - 3:04pm
Edward - exactly what is "democratic Socialism"?
 
Of course you'll give me some "mixture of personal freedom and government dependence" - ignoring the fact that the terms "freedom and "dependence" are mutually exclusive!  Dependence invariably replaces freedom and grows continually over the years until the government is in total control.  Name ONE "democrat socialist state" whose power over the population has NOT risen since its inception.  I'll save you the time - there isn't one!!!
 
DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM EQUALS INCREMENTAL SERVITUDE
Edward Miessner Added Sep 25, 2017 - 3:05pm
Mike - "What I advocate is for the President to call a Joint Session of Congress (he has that authority) and review the list of Federal Agencies (over 1,400 of them) and check to make sure their functions are authorized  as duties/responsibilities of the Federal Government based on the Constitution."
 
Good luck with that! What is likely to happen in my estimation if such a session were to take place, is that both houses would find the existence of all the agencies to be constitutional. 
Edward Miessner Added Sep 25, 2017 - 3:21pm
What do you mean, "mixture of personal freedom and government dependence"? There isn't any! It's more like a mixture of government dependence and corporate dependence, i.e., a mixed economy with LARGE private corporations and banks dominating the smaller ones, and government solutions or mandates for society-wide needs so that people aren't dependent on the caprice of large heath insurance corporations to get their health care costs paid, even partially. "Personal freedom" itself depends on personal self-sufficiency, itself basically gone the way of the dodo, except as the province of the rich or the lucky.
Mike Haluska Added Sep 26, 2017 - 10:08am
Edward - don't be an absolutist!  There is no such thing as "corporate dependence" - people own corporations and reap the benefits.  Corporations are not autonomous beings uncontrolled by humans!
 
So when I talk about "government dependence" I am talking about ANY person or entity that is being directly or indirectly subsidized by the government.  Your allegation:
 
"Personal freedom" itself depends on personal self-sufficiency, itself basically gone the way of the dodo, except as the province of the rich or the lucky."
 
Personal freedom and self-sufficiency is being assaulted, but is not yet been marginalized.  The proof of this is that there are still many more people working for a living rather than mooching off the government (us).  Keep in mind that over 70% of millionaires were poor or average Americans before they made their fortunes. 
 
They weren't all "lucky" - they were just willing to do things that ordinary people won't.  Things like saving every penny they can, sacrificing luxury items, performing home repairs/improvements themselves, limiting eating out at restaurants, avoiding expensive vacations - but most important - risking everything they had (job, career, retirement fund, home) to start a new business.  
Mike Haluska Added Sep 26, 2017 - 10:16am
Edward - your statement:
 
"What is likely to happen in my estimation if such a session were to take place, is that both houses would find the existence of all the agencies to be constitutional."
 
is fallacious.  There are legitimate functions of the federal government specified in the Constitution and the agencies supporting those functions would remain intact.  There would also be a lot of consolidation of agencies with similar or parallel missions to eliminate duplication of effort.  The vast majority would be defunded and the individual states would determine if they should pick up those functions.
 
I estimate a 75% reduction in spending on personnel at the federal level.  Right now the federal government is the single largest employer in the USA - that is just wrong!  As Thomas Jefferson said:
 
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."
  
Mike Haluska Added Sep 26, 2017 - 10:20am
opher - your silence regarding my responses to your posts speaks volumes
opher goodwin Added Sep 26, 2017 - 1:55pm
Mike - I've just got back here. It was off my list.
I don't agree with your premise. The government is the people's representatives. Their function is to care for people. That is their only mandate.
Edward Miessner Added Sep 26, 2017 - 3:27pm
When I state "corporate dependence" I mean people who rely on a corporate pension or who need to work at a job for a corporate employer.  This second class of people arguably have less personal freedom than those who are dependent on the government or on a corporate pension, for individuals in those two classes of persons don't have to get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, five or six days a week, ad nauseam! On a different note, people who own corporations and reap the benefits thereof are a good portion and probably the bulk of the rich and the lucky.
 
So you find my opinion of what would happen in a federal agency contitutionality check to be fallacious? I find your opinion of such goings-on to be equally fallacious.
 
Like opher, I don't agree with your premises and I find your strident method of argumentation to be tiring. That's it, I'm done here!
Robin the red breasted songster Added Sep 26, 2017 - 5:06pm
Mike:   You have lost the argument.  Face it.  Empirical evidence shows that the UK spends half as much per capita to achieve a greater life expectancy.    The NHS is, and always has been, very popular with the electorate.   This is not, repeat not, fake news.   It's nothing to do with ideology... it's just a fact.
 
None of your labyrinthine arguing changes any of this.   I realise that you have more time than me to spend arguing the toss on this site.   I have a life, so I too will not bother to read or comment on any further rants from you on this thread.
opher goodwin Added Sep 27, 2017 - 3:00pm
Edward/Robin - I believe my premise still holds true - the British system is by far the best.