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Health care needs a solution, but not from Europe

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  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 12:31 a.m.

    Europeans pay far less than we do and have healthier populations as a result. No system is perfect, but ours is in many ways the worst in the rich countries. There are a few treatments available here that are not available in Europe, but they do not seem to make us healthier. It is largely a myth that Europeans have to wait longer for care, in fact in many cases they can get care quicker than we can.

    I'm willing to listen to any proposals, but the few things suggested in this letter would come nowhere near solving our problems. Obamacare does not solve all of our problems either, but it will be a small improvement over the current system, and it can be upgraded as time goes by.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 1:22 a.m.

    "They [Republicans]need to focus on such possible answers as vouchers for catastrophic coverage, health savings accounts, curbing malpractice suits on a state level, encouraging imitation of some first-class clinics and promoting interstate health insurance competition."

    Trouble is, not of these measures are a fix, not even close. To make health care work we have to do what other advanced countries have done, namely spread risk over the entire population. This requires one system which enrolls everybody.

    Now as to medicare, it is in trouble because the FICA tax which supports it is massively regressive - taxation stops and $113,000 of personal income. The fix for medicare is a progressive FICA tax, tapping high incomes.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Nov. 24, 2013 7:03 a.m.

    Despite the hysteria by conservatives surrounding the ACA things are starting to improve. Enrollment is picking up steam, the website is improving, and states like Washington, California, and Kentucky are off and running with their exchanges.

    The fanatical Obama haters are so invested in the failure of the ACA that as it starts to succeed they will be forced to ratchet up the negative rhetoric.

    How about a little positive press on the ACA and a little less mindless negativity. We want all Americans to have healthcare!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    So,
    this article reflects the opinions of "various think-tanks".

    Picking and choosing which "think-tanks" is called being "bias".

    Reading about "various think-tanks" and actually living in one is different.

    BTW- Having lived in Europe, Canada, Japan, and serving in the US military [also a socialist system],
    I can testify that a single-payer Government regulated system is by FAR better than what we have in the United States.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    But the current system we have imposes rationing more than any single payer system would. A lot of people are rationed right down to no care at all. We don't deserve all the health care we want, if for no other reason than it's unnecessary. We can make a single payer system work, and should.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    I think we're seeing the official end of workable ideas conservatives have for addressing healthcare.

    Let's examine the Health Savings Account idea.

    McDonalds, in attempting to help their employees manage their finances, suggest such things as cutting up food portions for young children into smaller pieces, turning down the heat, and getting a second job.

    Conservatives have always pushed for parents to be engaged with their childrens' educations, which is unquestionably a good idea. However, if these young parents are working a second job in the evenings, how are they supposed to help their kids with school work, let alone set up and contribute to a Health Savings Account?

    Yet, the Deseret News laments the low birth rate, and pushes for young couples to have children, apparently without consideration for an emerging conservative "you're on your own" social ideology.

    Can conservatives see any kind of link between these issues, can you see serious conflicts and glaring infeasibilities in the recommendations?

    My kids are grown. I got help from older people in subsidizing their education, and my kids now help pay for my healthcare. This isn't evil.

    It's called "life".

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    @ Roland, You are dead wrong (no pun intended) about Europeans paying less for healthcare. Europeans still pay about the same or more, except that taxpayers pick up a much higher cost than we do (at least before Obamacare). It just depends on who is actually paying for it! Socialized medicine robs Peter to pay for Paul's healthcare. Paul may like it but it doesn't make it better for all the "Peters" who are forced to pay for something they will not receive. Eventually, Peter will run out of money, like America, France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, England, et al. Heck, even Sweden has been forced to cut back.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    Here are per-capita healthcare expenditures for several developed countries:
    USA 8235
    Norway 5388
    Switzerland 5270
    Denmark 4464
    Canada 4445
    Germany 4338
    France 3975
    Sweden 3758
    Australia 3670

    Getting our spending down to the level of Norway or Switzerland, the next highest spenders, would be the equivalent of getting all of our defense spending for free.
    Getting it down to the level of France or Germany would eliminate most of our long term deficits.

    By any objective measure all of these countries achieve better health outcomes than we do. So we don't have to sacrifice quality to get lower costs. By the way, Switzerland has the system that most fully resembles Obamacare. You might investigate it.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 10:49 a.m.

    Roland Kayser

    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Here are per-capita healthcare expenditures for several developed countries:
    USA 8235
    Norway 5388
    Switzerland 5270
    Denmark 4464
    Canada 4445
    Germany 4338
    France 3975
    Sweden 3758
    Australia 3670

    ========

    Roland,
    please don't use things like "facts", and "numbers" and "data".

    It disrupts the conservative neighborhood of make-believe,
    and skews their made up world of reality.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    "Europeans still pay about the same or more, except that taxpayers pick up a much higher cost than we do (at least before Obamacare)."

    Nope, they may pay more in taxation but it's more than balanced out by their much much reduced individual/corporate payment side of the equation. As a result they're paying 9-12% of GDP as a nation on healthcare while we're spending 17.9% of GDP on healthcare. We're paying a lot more than they are.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    More of the same inaccurate propaganda that the GOP has been pushing for how long now? Readers need to carefully fact check claims made in this op ed.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 24, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    ..... absolutely. What ever you do, don't take any learnings from people who have been doing it for 60 years now... what in the world could they know.

    Lets keep bumbling along fighting donkeys and elephants, and not fixing anything that would increase our global competitiveness. Other empires have failed because they failed to respond to change... looks like we haven't learned that lesson yet either.

  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    No healthcare system is perfect, but a single payer system would be significantly better than the healthcare feudalism we currently have in the US. When it comes to healthcare we essentially face two ways of rationing it and they are money and time. Single payer systems often use time to ration healthcare, but our system uses money.

    I don't believe healthcare should be treated like a commodity or it will eventually become superior healthcare for some (the rich/elite) and garbage healthcare or no healthcare for the rest of us (middle class and down).

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Nov. 24, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    Not from Europe? Like others have already pointed out they pay less per captita, are healthier and cover everyone!

    The only people I have heard "suffering" is the Dr's that "only" make $150,000 a year instead of $250,000 a year.

    When I was in Spain an American lady stepped out in front of a bus and was critically injured. Her husband was pleasantly surprised and grateful to find out there was no bill for the 2 months in the hospital.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Nov. 24, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    Vouchers, interstate commerce, and malpractice caps. The same sleight-of-hand distractions that right wingers have been trotting out for years instead of offering real legislation.

    Look, guys, Obamacare is here to stay. If you want to improve it, offer real suggestions instead of holding your breath and wishing that Mitt Romney had been elected instead.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Nov. 24, 2013 6:56 p.m.

    It's like saying the Falcons need a solution, but not from the NFL.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:52 p.m.

    Ninety-One percent of Americans think Obamacare should be abolished or changed.

    I agree. I also agree that the Republicans did nothing, when they had the chance, to improve the health care industry.

    What could they or the democrats do?

    I just talked to a man who is being billed $59K for a knee replacement operation.

    The anti-inflammatory medicine he was given burned three holes in his stomach and one pill cost $9.

    Americans adopt unhealthy lifestyles such as gluttony, drunkenness, drug addiction, promiscuous sex, heterosexual and homosexual. Millions kill their own offspring while still in the womb. They trust in the arm of flesh when it comes to professionals in health care and other professions. They eat a lot of animal fat and red meat.

    Perhaps the gov'mt should advise us to avoid these life styles adding a few choice statistics to drive the point home.

    They should gradually un-involve themselves in health care and leave health care to the states and to the people. There should be no mandates. This is a free country or should be.

    They could insist that doctors and hospitals publish their charges.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    Since ninety-one percent of Americans now think Obamacare should be abolished or changed, this subject is a propos. The problem of how it can be changed must relate to the fact that health care insurance is not an ennumerated power of the federal government.

    That being the case Obamacare must be abolished as a federal program and it will be up to the states and the people to decided what they want to do about health care and medical insurance.

    It is my view that there is a problem and that something should be done. After having recently talked to a man who was bill $59K for a knee replacement and $9 for the administration, and suffered, in the process three holes in his stomach resulting from the prescribed pills to reduce inflammation after the operation, I am reminded that health care costs are out of control.

    Perhaps it would help if doctors and hospitals would be required to publish their charges for the various operations and procedures and make those publications easily available. Whatever else everyone should be able to choose, without penalty, to opt out of health insurance.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    Elections have consquences. The people have spoken, Obamacare is here to stay. At least for 3 more years.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    I'll start listening to alternatives…

    when the Republican party has one.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 25, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    "Whatever else everyone should be able to choose, without penalty, to opt out of health insurance."

    I would agree with this... on the condition that these same people as accept the responsibility of all charges, and will never expect either the public or the health care delivery system to absorb the cost of them not having insurance.

    Their choice to not pay should not come at the expense of someone else. Which it does now - today. And a child should never be denied medical care because they have irresponsible parents.

    If you can figure that out - and preserve the opt out option - you have my vote.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil
    Durham, NC

    If you can figure that out - and preserve the opt out option - you have my vote.

    11:28 a.m. Nov. 25, 2013

    ---------

    I was thinking a living will corresponding with a permanent tatoo.

    That way, emergency personal, doctors, lawyers, etc. can all save us time and money knowing who opted -- and they can leave them up to their own demise.

    Just they way they wanted it.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 11:21 p.m.

    Healthcare in Europe is much better than in the US and much less expensive.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    To "Ernest T. Bass" actually it isn't. Their cancer survival rates are lower, and they have limited the types of procedures available. Not to mention all of the strikes that occur because of lack of funding for doctors.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:32 a.m.

    Gildas, I agree that health care costs are stupidly high, especially compared to the rest of the world. That knee replacement surgery would have cost around 13 to 18K in England or Sweden. It so happens knee replacements are one of the surgeries routinely compared. However do you really want American doctors to bring their cost for knee replacement surgery down to 18K by simple market competition?

    I think it's clear we have too much third party involvement in health care but I would suggest the third party that needs to go is private insurance along with employer involvement.

    England looked at a battered and injured population at the end of WWll and said theirs no way a private insurance market can meet the needs of our citizens and then correctly opted for the system they have.

    We now look out over a battered and injured population after 70 years of private insurance and say, hey just let the markets do more of what they've all ready done, it will get better.

    Of course it will?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:06 p.m.

    Redshirt, actually it is.
    NPR interviewed a man who needed a hip replacement. For some strange reason his American health insurer wouldn't cover it (surprise, surprise).
    He flew to the Netherlands where he had it done for a total cost of $16,000 which included follow up care and airfare.
    In the US, the hardware alone cost more than $16,000.
    Imagine a healthcare system not based on greed.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    To "Ernest T. Bass" how about this. Lets look at what you get in a few European countries for care:

    From the Canadian NIH and their study "Cumulative incidence for wait-list death in relation to length of queue for coronary-artery bypass grafting: a cohort study" we learn that people die because they are waiting for surgery or the surgery occurs too late.

    From the UK Telegraph "Lung cancer victims denied lifesaving scans". Isn't it nice to have the government condemn you to death just because you get lung cancer?

    From France we read in IBD's article "Vive Le French Care?" that it costs French citizens 1550 Euros/month ($2100/month) for health insurance. They pay more for their insurance than we do in the US by a factor of 3.

    From Germany we read "Germany cuts health care spending, raises premiums" in the Washington Times. Isn't it nice that they cut care and raise prices. All for 15.5% of your Gross pay.

    From Reuters we read "Greek health system crumbles under weight of crisis". Isn't it nice when you tie healthcare to government that when there is a problem with the government, everybody suffers.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Nov. 28, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    @Redshirt

    I personally know someone in the US who has to use medicine intended for horses because they are unable to get insurance. A forum I go on has a sub forum dedicated to Americans talking amongst themselves on how to get cheap medicine, some of them requesting advice on how to do dentistry on themselves. Some of them show their medical bills after they have been to hospital, I have seen mostly 5 figure and some 6 figure sums for things that would be treated as routine in my country. America is universally recognised as having the worst healthcare system in the first world. You lead in survivability in some types of cancers in some of the age brackets (over 65's) but thats about it. How many countries have you lived in Redshirt?

    You produce a list like this everytime, here is the difference, things like that make national headlines in those countries. A child dying from a jaw infection due to lack of care is common news in the US. People losing their homes because of medical bills is not reported

    Also if you think every French citizen is paying 1550 euros a month you have no idea.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 2, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    To "UT Brit" I know of people in Germany that are exicted about getting a new medical procedure. It is a procedure that has been available here for over 20 years.

    I don't think that every Frenc citizen is paying 1550 euros a month. Some are spending a lot more because they are taxed as a percentage of their income, not a flat rate.

    If you don't like my list, please give me a list that shows a systemic problem in the US. Don't just find articles about isolated incidences, find something that shows that there is a problem with medical care throughout the US.