[ExI] How to get a healthy country

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Wed Oct 17 07:00:10 UTC 2007

At 11:02 PM 10/16/2007 -0700, J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
>MRIs are available to all individuals in the US as well, though the
>routes to them may vary depending on your situation.  The US has de
>facto universal healthcare even though it does not have it
>officially.  A lot of the healthcare argument is about whether or not
>to make the "de facto" into "official".
>The problem with your reasoning is that you are effectively denying
>MRI access to a much broader swath of the population than the small
>minority that hypothetically might be denied in the US.   Have you
>looked at the average wait times for MRIs in Canada?
>Does it count as "universal access" if you die or suffer permanent
>injury in the intervening months while waiting for your scheduled MRI
>because treatment was not possible?

quoting from somebody on another list:

<Now, I am quite aware that private insurance in the US accounts for 
a far larger quantity of GDP than it does in a largely public system, 
but then insurance companies are businesses whose primary motivation 
is business profit. In such a scenario, it doesn't surprise me at all 
that the GDP percentage is higher, for the same reason that I cannot 
share your enthusiasm for insurance company-run healthcare. In your 
response you accepted that much of the additional 5% represents waste 
in the system, but appeared to suggest that this was primarily within 
the socialised aspects. I am sure this is true to some degree, but I 
wonder if you are sufficiently accounting for the quantity of money 
that simply disappears from the system in the form of insurance 
company profits.

I personally consider it dangerous and inefficient to trust your 
healthcare system to organisations akin to gambling empires whose 
primary motivation is profit creaming.

I personally have argued the toss with an insurance company who held 
that a 40 year old working single mother, fully insured, was 
demanding "elective" surgery when asking for a new hip replacement, 
when her old one was well over a decade old, had come loose four 
years previously, and was hammering into her femur with every step 
like a mortar and pestle, having already shortened her leg on that 
side by an inch, and split the top of the femur. We of course had 
letters from various prominent surgeons attesting that this surgery 
was vital, and in no way elective. But the company was willing to go 
to the mat, and their litigation gamble worked, since she simply 
couldn't afford to argue the toss further in court. Contrast this 
with the immediate, as-required hip replacement for my wife's 93 year 
old grandmother, on the NHS.

I personally helped a woman suffer through the indignities and 
distress of residing in self-catering hotel accommodation while 
receiving "compassionate" treatment at the Texas Medical Center in 
Houston, while barely able to breathe due to constant flooding of the 
pleura secondary to clear-cell renal metastases, since her insurance 
wouldn't cover residential treatment in this case, and hospital beds 
were thousands of dollars a night, just for the bed, in that 
facility. In that case, the "hotel" was more like a sizeable village, 
or town, whose inhabitants were almost exclusively patients of one 
stripe or another, inadequately covered to afford them a place in an 
actual hospital. This suggests that hidden in that 15%, apart from 
all the reinsurance dollars laundered in Bermuda and the Caymans, are 
whole subsidiary profit making sectors, such as provision of medium 
or low-cost accommodation, creaming slices out of the insurance 
company profit stream at the fringes of an over-inflated central market. >

Damien Broderick

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