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Health Care

A government program designed to cover all residents of a political region.

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How would this change the social pressure to be healthy

  • Sep 11, 2009
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Conceptually, I'm in favor in providing health care to everyone, however I'm also concerned about the costs associated with such a universal benefit.  As part of the cost benefit analysis i started thinking about some new social pressure it could create.  Here's what i mean. 

We know that living a certain way creates a higher likelyhood that you will be healthy.  For example, if you don't smoke and aren't obese the odds are that you will live longer/healthier and will cost the heath care system (regardless of whose paying for it) less.  So let's assume that we can get to the place where we have a universal health care system in the US and as part of that system, we as taxpayers will be shouldering a portion of everyone's health care costs... both healthy and unhealthy people. 

I'm wondering how social attitudes will change toward the more expensive people in the system.  Will smokers get more stink eye than normal when they light up?  I can see a situation where they would especially if more people know how lengthy and expensive the treatment is for COPD or lung cancer.  I experienced it first hand when my father got that type of stink eye from actual nurses at the hospital treating him for COPD as a result of his smoking. If the staff at the hospital was so irritated at my father for smoking, how upset will the average person be when they see someone walking down the street smoking?  Would it be enough give a dirty look?  Say something? Start a anti smoking group? 

What impact would this have on the smoker?  Would this social peer pressure be enough to encourage them to try harder to quit and break the addiction or would they be more emboldened in their smoking?  Probably both, so we would then have a certain group of smokers who may quit, which would be a good thing overall for them and for the rest of us who would otherwise be paying for their treatment.

So, from the social pressure side of things, I'm definitely in favor of universal health care even it has the potential to create a type of Heath Vigilantism.  But like most things, I'd be supportive of the Health Vigilantes right up until the point where I'm doing something that they think is unhealthy.

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October 04, 2009
You have to consider incentives when considering universal health care. In one survey, 50 percent of doctors said they'd quit under such a regime. But why are doctors so relatively unresponsive now? (Few even do email, yet my Netflix service sends me one after each movie I download, just to check on quality!) Doctors are unresponsive because there isn't a price tag on everything. When everything is priced, we consider our alternatives. The way things are today, we stay with our doctors because our insurance plan ties us in. Doctors order more tests than necessary because insurance pays. Imagine if car insurance covered even oil changes. It would all be much more expensive than it is now, because we wouldn't shop around. This all started when companies were given a tax deduction for offering health care. It was during World War II, the time of wage and price controls, and they couldn't raise salaries, so they gave health benefits. As a result, employees stopped considering the price of procedures, figuring that if insurance covers it, why not have it? So prices naturally went up and continue to go up. Another thing driving prices up: the lack of competition. Doctors have a virtual monopoly, yet many of the things they do could be done by physicians' assistants or nurses. This too keeps prices up. Things that would help: 1. The ability to buy insurance across state lines. (pro-competition) 2. More walk-in clinics, allowed to provide services that hospitals do 3. Letting doctors' assistants and nurses perform easy procedures.
 
September 11, 2009
Same thing could be said about alcohol abuse, fast food, inactive lifestyles... You can't create a tax incentive around it as you could be an athlete and eat fast food (woudn't be fair to pay a tax in that case on unhealthy food) but they could encourage the insurance underwriters to provide a discount for people that pass certain health tests that are lifestyle related (not genetic, etc.). Kinda like the good driver / good student discount on auto insurance. But yeah, if there isn't some separation and they are paying the same for what will likely be way more cost... I'd be troubled. Perhaps smoking related illnesses should be excluded from coverage or max out faster? You deserve it at that point. I read that 75% of healthcare costs are related to chronic diseases, half of which could be prevented or reduced with a healthier lifestyle.
 
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review by . July 17, 2009
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review by . October 16, 2009
I don't know why people are against a single payer health care.  This country needs some form of basic health care coverage for it's population.  The argument I always hear is taxes.  You have these plants in some of these town hall meeting jumping up and down about saying "We pay enough taxes, we don't want to go in debt."  Where were these same people when we threw away billions upon billions of dollars at Bush Jr.s War in Iraq?  Do they care that we have spent …
Quick Tip by . January 23, 2010
This country's politicians still can't make up their mind about Universal Health Care. They need to come up with something fast!
Quick Tip by . August 22, 2009
Here's some common sense: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/congress_deadlocked_over_how_to?
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2009
Nooooo! Don't do it! Taxes will increase to make up the ever increasing deficit. DEBT KILLS
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2009
As Canadian, I see universality as the problem not the solution.
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2009
A much worthier place to spend money than dumping trillions into black hole, incompetent banks, but sadly, I doubt the gov can pull it off
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J.R. Johnson ()
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Universal health care is health care coverage for all eligible residents of a political region and often covers medical, dental and mental health care. These programs vary in their structure and funding mechanisms. Typically, most costs are met via a single-payer health care system or national health insurance, or else by compulsory regulated pluralist insurance (public, private or mutual) meeting certain regulated standards. Universal health care is implemented in all but one of the wealthy, industrialized countries, with the exception being the United States. It is also provided in many developing countries and is the trend worldwide.

Universal health care is a broad concept that has been implemented in several ways. The common denominator for all such programs is some form of government action aimed at extending access to health care as widely as possible and setting minimum standards. Most implement universal health care through legislation, regulation and taxation. Legislation and regulation direct what care must be provided, to whom, and on what basis. Usually some costs are borne by the patient at the time of consumption but the bulk of costs come from a combination of compulsory insurance and tax revenues. Some programs are paid for entirely out of tax revenues. In some cases, government involvement also includes directly managing the health care system, but many countries use mixed public-private systems to deliver universal health care

The United States is the ...

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