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Friday, August 19, 2005

Moving Back to America: Health Care

Latte isn't just a blog; it's a full service newspaper.  How can you not love somebody who has a category called "Doublespeak?" Overseas Will and Latte are relatively new to me, but I will be back often. Overseas Will is an intriguing writer/thinker with coherent, sometimes unique, well formulated opinions about politics and issues that make up the political sphere, and are a pleasure to read.  Looking forward to Overseas Will's return to the USA.

In his post for Bring It On! Overseas Will tackles a subject that is both timely and not discussed enough. I believed that one of the markers of a civilized society is its health care system(s).  Without further editorializing, here's Will.

In a few months, I’ll move back to the United States after five years of living abroad. I can’t wait to be home again and to be closer to family and friends. However, there are some annoying administrative details to sort out, the worst of which is researching health care plans for my wife and me. The process is only slightly more enjoyable than a Chlamydia test.

In England, we were covered by National Insurance. While hospitals are dreary and long delays for non-urgent care are common, the system is universal and it works better than ours—the average life expectancy in England is 78.5, slightly higher than America’s 77.2. 

In France, the system is more expensive for the state, but it is luxurious for the ill. (France spends 10.1% of its GDP on health care compared to 7.7% for the UK.) Quality of care is excellent in France. Prescription drugs are readily available at low cost. You choose your doctor, and it costs only 1 € per visit. Almost all of your medical expenses are reimbursed by the government. And the results are there: life-expectancy in France is 79.4.

I have long expected it would be difficult to readjust to the parlous US health care system. But after looking into it for only two days, I’m already depressed.

The bureaucracy of it all is so boring and irritating. HMO, PPO, HSA—I have no idea what these things are, but I know I better learn quick. I’m worried about high deductibles and loopholes which will mean we are not fully covered. I’m worried that if I end up starting my own small business, I’ll start every month $1,000 in the red to cover health care just for my own family. Even I work for someone else, the cost is enormous—in the five years I have been away, US employee health care costs have more than doubled. And we’re spending 15% of our GDP on this atrocious system—more than any other developed country, and more than we spend on defense, let alone counter-terrorism.

So why isn’t this a major political issue?  I know that it’s not a priority for the Republican Party, but where are the newspaper editorials and letters to the editor? Are Howard Dean and Harry Reid talking about health care every day? If so, I’m not hearing about it. Why aren’t people protesting in the streets? Let’s get angry, people! I’m already sick of the health care system and I’m not even back yet. I know I'm not alone.

Posted by Pia Savage at 12:00 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink

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So why isn’t this a major political issue?  Well it is a major political issue, but getting angry with it solves nothing. America needs to have a long sit down about a lot of things and this just managed to fall off the top of the list after the first few years of Clinton I. One of the reasons we have such a tough time doing anything that improves health care is because any change in the consumers favor is branded as "Socialist Medicine," and that is simply not the case. But that is the fear that keeps it from getting done., along with lobbiests for pharma, etc. You know Pharma cracks me up they made a boner pill that we now find will potentially make you go blind. Think about it.

but the funny think is that, that same pill is what the public has a demand for and in the process of creating it, said company turned its resources away from other more important or cheaper drugs it could have made. Such as say a next gen of antiboitics or some other important therapy. And really what I'm trying to say here is that in general the public is getting jacked off by the same industries it wants to "fix" and in the proscess we have lost sight off the really important issues like what do you do if you get cancer and don't have health insurance? Will you even discover it in time let alone treat it if that is the case? But is even simpler than that it come down to giving all kids a fighting chance in this world regardless of who their parents are or what their parents are worth. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN! THE CHILDREN I TELL YOU! ...UH..but seriously yeah, do it for the kids.

Posted by: BYOC | Aug 19, 2005 2:21:12 AM

Something is wrong when cigarettes and hard alchohol are banned from advertising on public TV but it is perfectly OK to advertise legalized narcotics and erectile disfunctioning drugs. They spend billions on advertising that could otherwise go for research and subsidized medicine.

Lifes gonna be a bitch when you are the victim of a terrorist attack but can't get coverage for treatment of those wounds suffered from being an unwilling participant of this noble cause for the fight for freedom!!

I suggest trying to see if France can still cover you after you get back to the U.S..

Posted by: The Bastard | Aug 19, 2005 6:36:36 AM

Hey "Bastard,"

I completely agree with you about the advertising expense. Because there is national health care here, you don't see ads for prescription medicines on TV. Basically, if you're sick, you see the doctor and they give you what you need. There is no creating of artificial market demand, and no commercials which suggest that you "ask your doctor about boneron" with an image of a young stud galloping in a field as backdrop.

If we did come back to France we would have the same coverage here we do now. Course, booking a flight when you've broken an arm may be an extreme measure. ..

Posted by: Overseas Will | Aug 19, 2005 10:02:06 AM

I say Will should take his ass back to France or the U.K.!

I have no problem with our healthcare system! Yeah, get some of the crooks out of the system and lower my rates a little. Hell, I've always been covered because I PAY FOR IT month in and month out! Yes, I WORK and PAY for it. Sad thing is I never really end up using the healthcare I pay for because I'm seldomly sick.

Here is my opinion: You want to own a car? Get a job and fucking pay for it! You want to live in an apartment or own a house? Get a job and fucking pay for it! You want to have children? Get a job and plan on paying for them for many fucking years! You want a girlfriend/wife? Get a job and be yes, yes, yes get prepared to PAY for IT, lol!

Listen, I'm tired of listening to babbling bullshit! I'm 40 yrs. old, barely highschool edgeubicated and I've always had a JOB, CAR/BOAT, HEALTHCARE, BITCH/WIFE, and children now for almost 9yrs. And yes, I WORK to pay for all of it. I DON'T WANT A FUCKING HANDOUT!

YOU WANT HEALTCARE? FUCKING PAY FOR IT YOURSELF!

I don't want the government telling me what, where, how or why I should be getting my healthcare for! Shit, look at what they did with social security and YOU want to TRUST the government with your FUCKING HEALTH? You people are sick!

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 10:10:07 AM

Will, how's the unemployment rate going for ya over in France? As far as I'm concerned the French can go fuck themselves.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 10:15:05 AM

"And another thing..."

BYOC says that Health Care "is a major political issue, but getting angry with it solves nothing."

I'm not sure I entirely agree. I'm pretty angry about what I have to put up with just to get health care. I'm also angry that people aren't even discussing the problem anymore.

Getting angry can make a difference, as long as that anger translates into action. Conservatives are pretty good at that. But many liberals are quietly seething about the direction of the country. We must translate anger into action.

The 1,600+ plus Iraq vigils inspired by Cindy Sheenan are a great example of this.

I'd like to see protests every weekend in major cities about the state of our health care system. We've got to make this a political priority again.

Posted by: Overseas Will | Aug 19, 2005 10:18:43 AM

Man once again TCO shows why he is less than astute. Think about it - we are ALL SPENDING a shit load of money on a broken health care system. BROKEN. Busted. FLAT OUT DOESN'T WORK WORTH A DAMN. I have insurance. I work my ass off. I have a degree, and the system still sucks. Every year my costs go up up up faster than my earnings. Every year the restrictions get tighter and tighter.

And to cap it off, I have been forced to cut staff and NOT HIRE people we need because of benefits. My company is suffering because of health care. Get it? It is killing the capatlist model because it is so fucking outrageously expensive to cover people. We spend more than ANY OTHER country and get less. We leave 40 million folks uncovered, but all you have to say is "Get a job"

You point out the unemployment rate in France, but look at the numbers again they SPEND LESS than we do on health care. Therefor the cost of healthcare is NOT driving down their employment. They have several SEVERAL other problems, that isn't one of them

Also, the English economy is robust so um where is your answer to that? Should Tony Blair go "fuck himself?"

Nice answers. Not helpful, not evern remotely close to being right, but nice answer. It just shows you have no freaking clue about the issue. Just like the guy ruining the country.

Posted by: The Cranky Liberal | Aug 19, 2005 10:32:59 AM

Cranky,

Thank you for pointing out how clueless you are. Although I do love the way you type and write.

I gave you the answer to the healthcare but YOU and everyone else hear are way to busy with your proper "english" shit. GET THE CROOKS OUT OF THE SYSTEM! When I had my ACL/MCL surgery almost ten years ago here were a couple items my insurance covered:

2-asprin $20.00
1-slippers (pair) $22.00

Never mind what the rest of the fucking bill was inflated! I should have brought my own asprin and slippers and it would have save me and the system at least $35.00 just alone.

The system is "broke" because of the Crooks who are running it. It's that simple! Don't make it so god damn complicated!

Finally, yes, GET A JOB! Pay for it yourself!

Opps, No Tony B. doesn't need to go fuck himself. He's doing just fine. Our economy is robust also. Took a little longer to recover from Clinton's recession and 9/11 but since we have a great President at the command things are getting a lot better.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 11:01:32 AM

Uh Cranky why even bother answering he who knows nothing?

I'm self employed. My health insurance costs a small fortune. I can only afford it because I bought my apartment before the stampede and my monthly housing costs plus my health insurance equal rent for a luxury Manhattan studio. Since I live in Manhattan I pay more in premiums, but New York is a state where all people who want to buy private health insurance are eligible.

However there is much it doesn't cover.

Still I can't pick out my own doctors, and have to wait for months for necessary things such as a mammagram

Just as I was going to buy long term health care, I developed a minor lung condition, but major enough to make me ineligible for now. I could have lied, my doctor would have made certain records go away, but I don't feel comfortable with that.

Since I pay my bills and don't ever want to depend on the government for anything, this does make me sleep less well. One or two major illnesses, and I'll be wiped out

My friends who have health insurance through their jobs have had their deductabiles raised to very high amounts, and have lost many benefits while paying more each month.

When you're 40, many people can be like the chosen one. Add a decade and it hits and hurts. Have a sick kid and it can knock you to the floor.

I don't ever want to be dependent on the government. But we need safety nets and a national debate on health care plus action. After all the baby boomers are getting older, and while we might want to be invincible, we're not. Long term care insurance is something that everybody should have--and no it doesn't come with every work health policy or HMO

Great post Overseas Will and just think of the Chosen one as somebody with too much time on his hands, and a penchant for being as broad as possible and acting much more stupid than he probably is.

My worst fear is being dependent on others. I certainly don't want to be dependent on the government, especially this one.

But what if it comes down to one non-insured very expensive experimental treatment for something or doing nothing and dying? I would opt for the first, thank you, but then my assets would fall significantly and I just might have to turn to the government

So where is the national debate that we all need, because almost everybody in this country is one major illness away..or they die and their spouse is left footing the bills

Posted by: pia | Aug 19, 2005 11:05:32 AM

Get the crooks out of the system?

Hmmmm? uhhhhh? sheeeesh?

Your fucking president allows them to be there in the first place ass hat!!!!!

He executes executive orders like they are fucking IOU's but he can't tell the Pharma industry to go fuck themselves. Get a clue asshole. We are all paying for Asshole numero uno to cater to campaign contributions.

Why don't you jump on the band wagon and come on in for the big win. Otherwise stick to the get a job scenario and blame the crooks that Bush allows to stay.

This is not their country, it is ours, they are merely allowed to sell their goods here. It is up to Bush & Co. to regulate that for us.

And as for spelling and typing, IT'S A FUCKING BLOG!!!!!!!!!!! NO TIME TO SEND SHIT THROUGH PROOFREADING!!! TO BUSY REPLYING TO ASSHOLES!!! GET OVER IT!!! IT'S A FUCKING BLOG NOT FOX NEWS!!! OOOPS I MENT THE WASHINGTON POST!!! Oh wait they all make fucking mistakes and they are "professionals"!!!!!!

If you want to make someone look stupid next time provide links to you aqcusations, OK???

Posted by: The Bastard | Aug 19, 2005 11:21:55 AM

Thanks for the back-up, Cranky Liberal and Pia. (And thanks Pia for the very kind introduction).

Actually, I think The Chosen One summed up my point pretty well:

"Yes, I WORK and PAY for it. Sad thing is I never really end up using the healthcare I pay for because I'm seldomly sick."

Uh, yeah. That sounds great -- so you pay a lot, and you get little in return, and you are happy about it. OK.

But that's a great example of why our system is more inefficient than any other first world country.

The Chosen One complains about Social Security, but it is has remarkably low administration costs. If only we had such low overhead in our health care system, maybe he wouldn’t be paying $10 for an aspirin.

And let's get one thing clear: I don't recommend that the US adopt the policies that have actually driven up French unemployment (like the 35 hours work week, or an annual tax on net worth—see the linked article for more detail). But spending MORE on healthcare than the French, per capita, is not good policy either –especially when 30-40 million Americans don't even have coverage, while everyone in France does.

One last thought for The Chosen Oneu. You sound like you’re pretty happy with the US employment rate— which according to gov't statistics, is remarkably low; yet you claim the answer for people who aren't happy with the healthcare system is to "get a job." Well which is it?

Posted by: Overseas Will | Aug 19, 2005 11:28:14 AM

pia: "just think of the Chosen one as somebody with too much time on his hands, and a penchant for being as broad as possible and acting much more stupid than he probably is."

Thank you for the kind compliment. I like it and will keep it close to my heart at all times. It's probably the niceset thing anyone here has ever said about me and ranks right up there with what my family thinks of me. Thanx. again. You've made my day. Your a wonderful person. Maybe when I come into N.J/N.Y. September 15-24th to visit the good 'ol family me, you and TheBastard can grab lunch one day and a case of beer and chat. That would be nice. P.S. I don't bite.

First of all, I choose not to live in N.Y/N.J, and California. Why! The cost of living! Wow, what a concept. If I chose to live there it would be MY choice, therefore, I couldn't bitch and moan about the cost of everything.

Second, let's stop it with all the "what if's". When healthcare was "cheap" 10-15 years ago one or two major illnesses would wipe anyone out back then also.

Third, Pia wrote: "My worst fear is being dependent on others. I certainly don't want to be dependent on the government, especially this one." Gee Pia, would have been nice if you'd said something like, "Gosh, I agreed with TCO on something and he made alot of sense with that remark. TCO is such a nice person."

Fourth, Pia wrote: "because almost everybody in this country is one major illness away..or they die and their spouse is left footing the bills".

My wife would cash in big time if I got sick and died off our life insurance policy. What's wrong with that.

And Pia, what about the major illness I have right now. I get sick every day coming to this site. You know something? 'Yall should kick the living shit out of TheBastard for inviting me to the site. Don't worry, TB has a very good healthcare plan. So, really give it to him!


Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 11:29:35 AM

TB,

You must have gotten the wrong message. What I said was most of 'yall here are to worried when someone makes a typo "butt wad". I dontt caree iff myy spellling issnt correcctt. Brad likees toooo pooiintt outt typo'''s alll thee timmme becaussse he'''s sooo, sooo, smarrrt.


TB, are you saying Mr. Bush is the only one over the past 30 yrs, 20yrs, 10yrs, that fucked up healthcare? If you are, you are then you really are stupid and fucked up.

I'm not linking shit to you people here! Why? Because 'yall just disregard it anyways or don't read it and say, "oh, that's from Fox. or that's from Rush, or that's from shit". It's not worth my time and effort.

When I want to say something I say it. It's a free country shithead. And TB stick your links up your ass please. I'll wipe it for you when I get home next month.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 11:41:10 AM

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes you are right!!! There I said it TCO is right! Almost all administrations have fucked up on health care but you should not defend this one because of that.

He had a chance to make it right and "CHOSE" not to! Just like you "CHOSE" not to live in the tri-state area.

He will have 8 years in the end to make things right but nope won't happen, why?

Because we are fighting evil doers, fuck the domestic front!!!! Keep them concentrated on the evil doers abroad and the evile doers at home will make him rich. STOP ALREADY!!!!

Stop playing devil's advocate, just admit that the man you voted for sucks wind!

Posted by: The Bastard | Aug 19, 2005 11:50:27 AM

chosen one--didn't think that my return would affect you like this. Had I known....

I was an SSI Claims Rep. I have seen families that were making big bucks wiped out because of catasphrophic illnessess.

It's not a pleasant reality but it is a reality. It's not pleasant to see people who had worked all their lives reduced to living off SSI, but it happens every day.

Many major companies have reduced their health care benefits; they shaft people onto disablity as soon as possible. Can't make the mortgage on disablity, have to go into savings. Soon as possible the disablity runs out; so do the savings.

People put their spouses into nursing homes not because they usually want to but because the first hundred days is usually covered by Medicare, then they "spend down" until Medicaid kicks in. There are many variations of this.

We can't all leave our hometowns even if it happens to be New York for various reasons.

The rest I won't answer because your ignorance is appalling. If you get sick coming to this site everyday, there's a simple solution. Don't.

And I'm probably the only person, on Bring it On! (aside from your brother) who actually likes you--I assume TB does

Posted by: pia | Aug 19, 2005 11:55:39 AM

pia wrote: "The rest I won't answer because your ignorance is appalling. If you get sick coming to this site everyday, there's a simple solution. Don't."

Pia, I enjoy getting sick everyday. So, I'll have to stick around until I get banned.

pia wrote: "And I'm probably the only person, on Bring it On! (aside from your brother) who actually likes you--I assume TB does"

Pia, that's actually kind of sad. Never really ran into someone in my life that didn't like me (and that's not trying to be conceided). Real funny thing is most of my friends are Democrats. Living in Minnesota that is kind of a given. Thanks for liking me though. And to anyone reading this post...I don't hate or dislike anyone who posts at this site. I think 'yall do a great job and are passionate at what you do here. Most of us just see things a different way. To me, it doesn't make anyone of 'yall a bad person. Heck, your all included in my prayer at night. At least now I know I have a Hate Club to go with my fan club.

So, I'm assuming pia that we are on for lunch in September with TB? I'll make TB buy so it doesn't cost us anything. And, it'll be a great chance for you and TB to convert me.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 12:54:05 PM

Food for though, I think what really gets progressives on this issue is that as a nation seem to have no problem running up a three hunded billion dollar tab for a war that is begining to rip our country apart at the seams and maybe founded on a bold lie. What would happen if we spent that money on a "War on Outrageous medical Bills".? I don't want to see a socialized Medical system, I want the industries involved to give the consumer a break. You know when employees come up with cost saving innovations you have a choice you can increase you profit or you can pass the savings on to the consumer. In most industries giving a consumer a break means your going to sell more product but that is not always the case with health care because the demand condition is that you would be sick before you went to see your doctor. But then again cost is a factor that keeps many people from seeking medical diagnosis and care at the early stages of many diseases. I wonder if there would be a reduction in insurance premiums and the entire system cost if more people who get sick are treated earlier and therefore do not require say a hospital bed because thier condition never gets out of hand thanks to early detection.

Posted by: BYOC | Aug 19, 2005 1:01:49 PM

You pray????

That's a first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Conversion it's gonna be more like an exorsism!

May the force be with you!

Meanwhile healthcare goes down the tubes (sorry Terri, didn't mean it like that)!

Posted by: The Bastard | Aug 19, 2005 1:02:12 PM

I lived in Germany for three years. My wife had two of our children there. My wife also broke her leg. I had the opportunity to use the German health care system in all these cases as well as the simple doctor visits that we all have.

When people talk about the limitations of a national health care system they are blowing smoke out their ass. There are at least two clear advantages of a national system like the one in Germany.

1) They have prices for every procedure listed. These prices are what the doctor or hospital can be expected to get paid from the government for performing a procedure. This gives everyone a way to know what things cost, and what reasonable prices are.
2) You can opt out of the system and buy your own insurance. They call this “private” insurance. Using private insurance allows you to select doctors and hospitals and like the Chosen One has said: “pay for it yourself.” Of course the procedures for private insurance is higher than the prices paid by the government. And, on your bill the percentage of the national rates are listed. So, it might cost 180% for a room in a hospital. It might cost %300 for a shot of novocaine at the dentist. In this way you have an idea of how much a doctor is charging above the national prices.

These two things help keep the prices down. People know they are being ripped off and they feel comfortable changing doctors if they have “private” insurance. If they can’t afford health care they can still be seen by a doctor who will get paid for his trouble at some minimal rate.

When I was in Germany was being paid through a US company and hence had US insurance. I simply filed the bills with this insurance company. After the birth of my daughter the insurance company was confused because the price for everything involved with my daughter’s birth cost about 15% of what it would cost in the US, even though I had “private” insurance.

If you want to control the cost of health care there needs to be a way for people know what reasonable prices are so they have the information needed to vote with their wallets.

Posted by: Dr. Forbush | Aug 19, 2005 1:54:54 PM

BYOC--you're exactly right; preventative health care isn't a priorty in this country. Actually it works against you. Say you have borderline high blood pressure--and the numbers that make high blood pressure keep on being lowered.

You see a doctor, lose weight, exercise, but the numbers stay the same or go up. then you go on medication which significantly lowers your blood pressure.

If you lose your job, can't afford COBRA, or it runs out and you live in state where not everybody is eligible for any health insurance they want, if they can afford it, you're denied health insurance because you're considered high risk. Though the medication has made the high blood pressure controlled and you're less of a risk than somebody who didn't do what you did.

Then you're put in a pool and assigned the worse possible health insurance.

high blood pressure is an easy example because it's so blatant. If the medication is for depression, anxiety or many other medical conditions, insurance agents will simply hang up on you.

Guess the real answer is to join Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley in Scientolgy. Of course they never have to worry about the costs of becoming truly sick so they can preach all they want about the dangers of psychotropics. Personally I would rather know that certain people are on them then not.

Back to insurance companies; between them and pharmacetucical companies we don't stand a chance. My insurance premiums have been raised almost a hundred dollars a month each year for the past three. What began semi-affordable is now becoming a luxury. Though I don't consider my health to be a luxury.

Chosen one would probably tell me to get a 9-5 job in another city. The reality is I live in New York; another reality is that companies are cutting back like crazy. And they find ways to get rid of sick employees so that they don't have to pay for extended benefits, and guess what? The life insurance policy that came with the job goes with the job.

People can't afford to keep up the premiums on a private policy, after a catasrophic illness, or prolonged period of unemployment.

Fortunately there's mortgage insurance which helps immensely if a spouse dies. Unfortunately not everybody can get it; keep up the payments, and many people sell their houses in order to have money to live, rent and then of course it doesn't come into play.

An interesting fact about Social Security: Ronald Regean tried to distmantle the system; the first Bush had to put it back together. He might not have liked it but recognized how neccessary it was.

I can attest to its low admin costs. One Claims Rep does the job two and a half people used to do. As Claims Reps are the people who decide on the dispersement of money this leaves much room for error. Clerks? Who are they? Claims Reps do everything from taking the initial claim to xeroxing all relevant documents to making all resource and some medical decisions.

Then there are redeterminations to see if a person is still eligible to reconsiderations where a person has been denied and the Claims Rep has to adjucicate that.

It's a demoralizing position. I could never figure out if I had a lot of power with no authority or it was the opposite way around.

TB we can really perform an exorsism? That's about the only thing I didn't do at Social Security.

I left because I felt as if I was part of the problem not the solution and went to grad school in large part because I was confused about the health care system and my role at Social Security.

You see Chosen One a lot of people work as hard as you do and for reasons not of their own making fall through the safety net--because the rope broke sometime ago.

I don't blame doctors. Actually I'm amazed that people still go to medical school. Between paying off student loans, malpractice insurance, the high cost of equipment that they're forced to buy to remain competitive, and the very little money that they get back from health insurance companies, I don't understand why they all don't work for pharamcetucial companies and insurance companies.

Think it's something called a conciencse and liking to work with patients. Yes some specialities make a great deal of money but the high cost of malpractice insurance, and equipment forces them to charge more. Only the insurance companies will only reimburse them so much so they're forced to opt out, and only patients who can afford to pay privately remain.

USA health care is very sick, and the answer isn't whining about everybody who should get a job, because that has nothing to do with the problem.

The Clinton's were on the right track, 13 years ago. Unfortunately Newt blew into town and...

Posted by: pia | Aug 19, 2005 2:08:39 PM

One other point.

The IBC "Drug Discovery Conference" was held in Boston last week. The direction that pharmaceutical companies are taking along these lines are revealed at conferences like this. Pharmaceutical companies base these ideas on the government support or lack of support.

http://www.drugdisc.com/section.asp?view=&page=faq

The trend for drug discovery has shifted because of the Bush administration and the Republican congress. Pharmaceutical companies have said that they are not looking for cures any more, because they can’t make enough money curing disease. Instead they are concentrating on treating symptoms of long term diseases. In this way they can build a clientele who will buy monthly supplies of drugs to treat these long term diseases. This is what happens when you take government support for rare diseases out of the system.

Is this policy good for our country?

Posted by: Dr. Forbush | Aug 19, 2005 2:26:48 PM

Pia,

Not being sarcastic here but could you explain something here. If my memory service me correct the only plan put forth under President Clinton for Healthcare was by Hillary C. which took place the first two years of Bill's first term and was shot down big time by the Democratically controlled House and Senate.

I was going to make this point earlier. Why did under President Clinton and the best economy in American History healthcare nor social security get touched? I'm also going to through this in because it wasn't just Clinton's fault. It was the Republican controlled Senate and House that fucked that up. They are all assholes and on the take is the reason why. That means your party AND my party. They both suck and all we here can do here is bitch at each other about who's fault it is and you guys/girls aren't right and I'm not right and neither of us are wrong. It's the shitheads we elect and that means ALL OF THEM.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 3:17:34 PM

Chosen one, Didn't take it as sarcastic. Believe that Newt and the class of '94 stiflied the incredible work the Clinton's were doing on health care, and stopped any debate on Social Security.

Don't forget while the stock market began going up on April 1, 1991, the effects weren't felt until 1994 and weren't full fledged until 1996-'97.

Clinton was fighting the house in everything, and then came the impeachment which stopped the country in its tracks, except for making play money.

I was much more issue oriented then,(health care and aging at the time) but the impeachment made me so sick I went to work for a First Amendment organization.

But I know because I worked in them that our health care and our treatment of old people (and I used that word on purpose--they are "old")is disgraceful.

On my blog I did a character sketch of an old person the other day, and it freaked people out because it was depressing, and wasn't my usual sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

Wasn't their fault; they haven't been exposed to it yet.

I need to ensure my future money wise, and the costs of health care and possible scenarios are very expensive. Only I have seen them all, and know that they're possiblities.

Good health care is simply pragmatic.

Posted by: pia | Aug 19, 2005 3:42:36 PM

Speaking of the Clinton-era, what happened is laid out clearly in the following quote:

December 2, 1993 - Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill" -- not amend -- the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the "Contract With America," Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America's majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest. Until the memo surfaces, most opponents prefer behind-the-scenes warfare largely shielded from public view. The boldness of Kristol's strategy signals a new turn in the battle. Not only is it politically acceptable to criticize the Clinton plan on policy grounds, it is also politically advantageous. By the end of 1993, blocking reform poses little risk as the public becomes increasingly fearful of what it has heard about the Clinton plan.

That about sums it up.

Posted by: Overseas Will | Aug 19, 2005 5:36:16 PM

Well here is an interesting point of view:

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/050110/10barone.htm

1/10/05
By Michael Barone
The lessons of Clintoncare

Social security overhaul seems to be the Bush administration's first priority for 2005. To gauge the prospects of success, it may be helpful to compare Bush's formidable task with the No. 1 goal of the incoming Clinton administration in 1993, healthcare finance overhaul. On the surface, Clinton's odds of a win looked better in early 1993 than Bush's do today.



But Bush actually has a better chance of prevailing. Keeping in mind that in the early stages Clinton had offered few details of his plan, just as Bush has been unspecific so far, the policy environment for Bush today looks better than it was for Clinton 12 years ago.

Most Washington observers in early 1993 thought that Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton would pass a healthcare plan. The polls showed public demand. The Clintons had big Democratic majorities in Congress--57-43 in the Senate, 259-176 in the House. Not all Democrats were reliable liberals, but most were in favor of expanding government to help ordinary people. The relevant committees had able and friendly chairmen--Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Edward Kennedy in the Senate, Dan Rostenkowski and John Dingell in the House. All were of a mood to help the new president and first lady. Important Republicans--notably Bob Dole, ranking member on Senate Finance--were sympathetic, too. Political pros could be forgiven for expecting a Clinton healthcare plan to get through.

Compare the situation of Bush on Social Security today. The polls do show majorities in favor of individual investment accounts as part of Social Security. But they also show voters favoring Democrats over Republicans on the issue. Bush's majorities are smaller than Clinton's--55-45 in the Senate, 232-203 in the House. And as in 1993, not all majority lawmakers can be relied on to support their president.

House Republicans are particularly skittish. Anyone who has accompanied a congressman as he makes the rounds in his district will know why. Few people will go out of their way to see their congressman, and so he appears mostly before captive audiences--schoolchildren and senior citizens. And at the senior citizens center, the first question always is "You aren't going to take away my Social Security, are you?" House Republicans would like the Senate to vote first on a restructuring bill. But it's not clear whether Senate Republicans can clear the 60-vote hurdle if Democrats filibuster. House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas has shown he can pass tough bills on party lines. But Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley is more inclined to seek bipartisan agreement. And few if any Democrats seem inclined to line up with Bush on the issue.

Health overload. So, if the Clintons couldn't do it, how can Bush? Because in broad terms the Bush plan is better policy and a more salable idea. The Clinton healthcare plan failed because it took on too much. We do not have one healthcare finance system in this country, but many. Powerful interests representing millions--HMO s, private insurers, labor unions, teaching hospitals, rural providers--feared they would lose from change. Social Security, in contrast, is a single national system. It does not have regional variations that create regional interests.

In addition, the Bush Social Security plan is more in line with the direction in which society is moving. The Clintons were seeking more government control of one seventh of the economy at a time when people had more respect for decentralized markets and less for centralized bureaucracy. The midcentury assumption that progress meant more government perished in the stagflation and gas lines of the 1970s. Bush's individual accounts, in contrast, are intended to give more people access to markets to accumulate wealth at a time when most voters are investors. At midcentury it seemed wise to rely on big institutions to provide a safety net. But as big corporations default on their pension promises and when the Social Security trust fund is projected to fall to zero when today's 30-year-olds reach retirement age, it seems wiser to rely on savings multiplied by compound interest.

All of which is not to say that the Bush plan is a slam-dunk. There is still plenty of disagreement among Republicans and hostility from the Democrats. The politics isn't easy. But the policy is more in line with the changing character of American society.

Posted by: TheChosenOne | Aug 19, 2005 6:07:07 PM

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