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The British media is now reporting the ridiculous attacks on the British NHS by the Republicans. There was an interesting debate on BBC Radio yesterday. They had one of the men who produced one of these anti-NHS television commercials. They used a expert in the subject to show that these so-called facts were lies. The American replied that the facts did not matter. He was trying to explain with the commercial that the British have a system based on fairness whereas America had one based on freedom. He was unable to explain what sort of freedom this was for those who cannot afford health-care. :tomatoes

It is the deep seated belief in the freedom of the minority to make money. Many americans seem utterly wedded to the flawed concept that the free market delivers the best for humanity. The problem in 'basic need' areas like food and health is that the market system only recognises 'effective demand' i.e. demand backed up by hard cash. You are be starving and dieing but unless you have the 'do re mi' you don't exist as far as markets are concerned.

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Interesting email from JFK researcher, Dr. Gary Aguilar:

As you know, I'm a practicing, private physician. As we've seen already with the military-industrial-congressional complex, the Big Agra-congressional complex, the Big Pharma-congressional complex, and, more recently, the Big Banking-congressional complex, the upshot of whatever the govt. does with health care will be to transfer massive amounts of the public's dwindling assets to private healthcare corporations -- insurance companies and hospital corporations.

For in America, it's not 'one man, one vote;' it's 'one dollar, one vote.' And the health care lobby has been spending $1.4 million dollars PER DAY lobbying to ensure that whatever is done by the feds helps them first and foremost.

As a former Ayn Rand objectivist, a Milton Friedmanite (who was my patient), a Young American for Freedom Member, etc. and as a student of Ludwig von Mises(!), I know to what uses von Mises is put nowadays: it's put to scare people from govt so that they'll agree to cede even more public power and more public money to corrupt, powerful, private corporations, health care in this case.

Just think about what's already happened to the country, what with the myriad financial calamities that were caused by "anti-regulatory, free market ideologues." If Adam Smith had been right about that "invisible hand," the house of cards would not have collapsed. But it collapsed because powerful corps got control of the govt. and engineered their own golden parachute while the citizenry was thrown from the plane without a parachute. And to whom did both Bush and Obama turn to salvage our financial train wreck? Why, the same guys who were driving the train when it crashed, that's who.

Two newish books lay this out particularly clearly: Ha-Joon Chang, Ph.D.'s "Bad Samaritan," (he's an economics professor at Cambridge), and James Galbraith, Ph.D.'s "Predator State" (he teaches econ at U. Texas, Austin). Both make the point that private interests now use the power of the state to fleece and impoverish the American public. They've done a helluva job, too.

"For example, according to a series of studies reviewed in the Wall St. Journal, no foe of capitalism, it, and against all "patriotic" beliefs, .. the USA is now tied for DEAD LAST AMONG ALL FIRST WORLD COUNTRIES in one's chances of rising to prosperity if one starts out life poor ..." Sound crazy? Well, check it yourself:

http://www.acces.us/PDF/WSJ.com%20_As_Rich..._Gap_Widens.pdf

And then ask yourself this question: If you have a really excellent public university system in your state - say, a U. Michigan, U. Wisconsin, U. California, etc. - how much did it cost you to go to this university when you were young, as opposed to what it costs now? UCLA Medical School cost me - tuition, room, board, books and supplies - $2,000.00 year in 1974 and I got lots of scholarships and grants that helped. (I came from a very poor family.) Today, the tab is $45,000.00 a year, and few outright grants are given these days.

Inflation correct all you want, but these costs have skyrocketed to the point that there are lots of kids who are capable but don't now go to decent colleges because they can't afford to come out owing 10s of thousands of dollars. And in young doctors's cases, something I know about since I teach at UC San Francisco, young practitioners often begin their careers owing as much as $250,000.00, or even more.

In America, the "free market" isn't free; it's a market that's completely rigged by enormously wealthy and powerful corporations that keep their predations buried behind noble ideals of free markets that have absolutely nothing to do with what actually goes on these days.

Look, if you haven't figured it out already concerning the recent banking bailout, you'll not see what hit you until after the, "pro-capitalism" health care lobby is done with ya.

Best,

Gary

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To give you an idea of how expensive the present system is, I have what is considered an excellent family health insurance plan. Under that program, I pay about $8000 per year in automatic deductions from my paycheck. Because of "changes" that have been instituted every year for the past decade or so, I also have to pay 10% for any hospital stay, surgery or emergency room visit. Considering that any surgery now costs several thousands of dollars, you can only imagine how catastrophic a lengthy hospital stay coupled with surgery would be. My co-pays on everything else, from office visits to x-rays, have also steadily increased. About the only thing I don't have a co-pay for any more are regular cleaning and checkups at the dentist. So at least we'll all have white teeth.

I find these figures amazing. Yet, you still have to pay 10% for any hospital stay, surgery or emergency room visit. Even when you are insured a long-term illness is disastrous. How do the insurance companies get away with it?

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To give you an idea of how expensive the present system is, I have what is considered an excellent family health insurance plan. Under that program, I pay about $8000 per year in automatic deductions from my paycheck. Because of "changes" that have been instituted every year for the past decade or so, I also have to pay 10% for any hospital stay, surgery or emergency room visit. Considering that any surgery now costs several thousands of dollars, you can only imagine how catastrophic a lengthy hospital stay coupled with surgery would be. My co-pays on everything else, from office visits to x-rays, have also steadily increased. About the only thing I don't have a co-pay for any more are regular cleaning and checkups at the dentist. So at least we'll all have white teeth.

I find these figures amazing. Yet, you still have to pay 10% for any hospital stay, surgery or emergency room visit. Even when you are insured a long-term illness is disastrous. How do the insurance companies get away with it?

I'm not sure Don told us the entire story.

What's his personal deductable, his Family deductable, and his maximum yearly of of pocket expense for covered services? How about his lifetime maximum coverage and lifetime maximum out of pocket expense for covered services?

Most health insurance policies have these items and spell it out to the policy holder. And if his coveraage sucks he has the option of finding a different insurance company. There is nothing forcing him to keep the policy his employer is providing for him.

I'm bafffled why anyone would complain about a co-pay. Does Don expect his car insurance company to pay for all of his oil changes, new tires or brake jobs? Does he expect full payment for repairs to his car when he crashes it and it's his fault? If he does is he willing to pay for the extra coverage?

Does Don expect his home owners policy to pay for a new roof when his old one wears out? To pay for new curtains, or new paint when he decides his old stuff needs refreshing?

How about the insurance on Don's boat, if he has one? Does he expect it to pay for a new cover when the old one rots? Or a now moter when the old wone croaks?

Is what Don wants really health "insurance" at all?

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Craig is partially right about me perhaps not being completely clear about this. My plan is a family option, so my entire family is covered under it (wife and 2 kids). That being said, we still have co-pays (which steadily increase) for everything except cleaning at the dentist, and would have to pay 10% for any hospital stay, surgery or other medical procedures. A co-worker of mine almost died a few years ago, and his medical bills added up to over $500,000. He had to pay 10%, so you figure out what kind of financial devastation that caused.

Craig and others can try to defend the present system, but it is indefensible. Doctors, administrators and nurses alone make far too much money from it for the system to ever be reformed in any meaningful way. It has to be totally scrapped, and a single-payer, English/Canadian style system instituted. Or, we can simply acknowledge that health care is a privilege that we will reserve for a small portion of our most fortunate citizens.

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Craig is partially right about me perhaps not being completely clear about this. My plan is a family option, so my entire family is covered under it (wife and 2 kids). That being said, we still have co-pays (which steadily increase) for everything except cleaning at the dentist, and would have to pay 10% for any hospital stay, surgery or other medical procedures. A co-worker of mine almost died a few years ago, and his medical bills added up to over $500,000. He had to pay 10%, so you figure out what kind of financial devastation that caused.

Craig and others can try to defend the present system, but it is indefensible. Doctors, administrators and nurses alone make far too much money from it for the system to ever be reformed in any meaningful way. It has to be totally scrapped, and a single-payer, English/Canadian style system instituted. Or, we can simply acknowledge that health care is a privilege that we will reserve for a small portion of our most fortunate citizens.

So Don, whats your DEDUCTABLE, and your YEARLY MAXIMUM out of pocket expence? Also how much EXACTLY did your friend actually pay for his 500k in medical bills? 5k, 10k?

Whats the REST of the story Don?

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