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The Great Train Wreck: News from Canada

Some "death panels" take action through incompetence.

Our Future Health Care
Our Future Health Care
When discussing health care, proponents of the PPACA often get around to talking about Canada.  They say that what they have in Canada is our future.

If this news article about a man who died in a 34 hour wait in an ER is our future, I'm not interested.  He died while waiting to be seen, and was only "discovered" when another patient pointed out that he was dead. (also read here and here)

The news articles are appearing because the inquest started today, five years after he died, September of 2008.  Take careful note that in proper bureaucratic style, it was "no one's fault", which translates to: They followed the rules. Nothing will change to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

The inquest will include some political grandstanding.  Real action is unlikely.  No one will be punished.  No one is accountable.  Stuff happens, I guess.

This is the nature of bureaucracy.  They follow rules.  Remember that next time you are waiting in line at the post office.

A "death panel" need not have life or death decisions in its job title.  It can just be an organization that doesn't do its job very well.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Donald Lee August 08, 2013 at 11:49 PM
3 thoughts for Old Coot. First, the idea that socialistic medicine "makes health care more broadly accessible" is true only in theory. In practice, it is sometimes true, and sometimes not. Cuba and the Soviet Union did a lot of grandstanding about their health care and shipped doctors abroad to show off, but those who lived it knew that it was not as advertised. Many third world countries have a similar situation. In theory, you get care. In practice you pay bribes. Socializing medical care does give up control. What proponents keep denying is that once you socialize medicine, you often lose the OPTION to pay for it yourself. With insurance companies, if you can scrape up the money, (or the good will) you can get the care. Once medicine is socialized, the desire to prevent "disparities", can drive laws that make "private pay" illegal. This is what we have today with Medicare. If Medicare does not cover something, your doctor is prohibited from accepting your payment to do it anyway. If you want to sell your house and pay a large fee to live a few more years, you can't. If Medicare says no. You don't get it. Period. Fortunately, you can still go to another doctor... at least today. You are exactly right about NY and premiums, however, those mythical "young people" actually have strong incentives to NOT sign up. We will see what they do. My bet is that the economic incentives will dominate. There is no real penalty for not being insured. Insurance is really expensive, and getting more so. With "no pre-existing conditions", (guaranteed issue) you can get insurance AFTER you get sick. A rational person will choose the fine, simply because it saves a bunch of money.
Simon D August 09, 2013 at 05:09 AM
Donald, you are just using another popular scare tactic by pointing to public healthcare in countries with the worst living conditions on earth and saying that's what it could be like here. Assuming we would become more like Russia, Cuba, or any 3rd world country medically is a logical leap at best. Its better to compare us to the advanced, industrialized, stronger economies in the world, most of which now have socialized healthcare. Additionally, your statement that "If Medicare says no. You don't get it. Period." is just false. There is no law preventing doctors from treating the sick after Medicare denial. Many doctors and hospitals choose not to treat after Medicare denial, but those are their own underwriting rules. I don't have to look outside my own immediate family for two examples of medical treatment after Medicare denial. Nice try, though.
Donald Lee August 09, 2013 at 09:11 AM
My point in this article is about incentives and human behavior, not how "advanced" we are. We have great examples here in the DMV, the post office queue, and the VA. Ask the veterans about the years-long delays in getting care that is supposedly "free". It's not always true, but like the DMV, it's about "the system", not about customer service. Be careful about your ideas on Medicare. Doctors are not permitted to accept payment for service if they also accept Medicare. That's true. Free care is sometimes available, but at the option of the provider, not yours. Remember that once medicine is "socialized", the options of the PROVIDER are necessarily constrained. Can a socialized system allow an individual doctor or hospital to spend that socialized resource in unauthorized ways? Clearly not. Only private medicine can provide charity care, because only private medicine has its own "care" to give.
Donald Lee August 09, 2013 at 09:18 AM
By the way, the term "scare tactic" implies that I am simply pushing an agenda. I think that's a fair point. My agenda is the truth, and I think we should be scared. The truth is that the reality of socialized medicine is much worse than the glossy marketing materials we get from its advocates. We are destroying our medical industry in favor of a Train Wreck. Only a fool would not be scared.
Donald Lee August 09, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Exactly. Incentives matter.
Joyce August 09, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Donald Lee wrote: 'By the way, the term "scare tactic" implies that I am simply pushing an agenda. I think that's a fair point. My agenda is the truth, and I think we should be scared. The truth is that the reality of socialized medicine is much worse than the glossy marketing materials we get from its advocates. We are destroying our medical industry in favor of a Train Wreck. Only a fool would not be scared.' ................... It certainly is a scare tactic to characterize the new ACA as "socialized medicine"; it is, in fact, a market based approach to increased coverage, and approach, I might add, which was first developed by the Heritage Foundation, that veritable fount of socialist ideas (that was sarcasm). ...................... Even Medicare, AKA single payer, is not socialized medicine; we do have socialized medicine in the country already, in the VA Medical system and the military hospitals. The only modern western nation that has socialized medicine is Britain; the other nations have various versions of single payer.
Mike B. August 09, 2013 at 02:07 PM
The solution is simple.... every person should buy health insurance just like he buys auto insurance. There would be an incentive for people to eat more healthful foods, get exercise, stop smoking, etc. if they knew they had to suffer the consequences of doing stupid things. As it is now, obese people continue to eat Doritos and Mountain Dew, then expect their health insurance to pick up the tab for diabetes treatment, with little or no co-pay. Of course, the Democrats would term such people as "victims" of the food industry's marketing.
Donald Lee August 09, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Incentives matter. Proponents of the PPACA insist that they don't; that they can take the "sting" out of poor choices, and still expect good behavior. It's not true.
Donald Lee August 09, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Incentives matter, and who decides matters. The core problem with our health care is that almost all of it is third party payer, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Let me point to two posts: http://mendotaheights.patch.com/groups/donald-lees-blog/p/bp--freedom-and-the-power-to-choose http://mendotaheights.patch.com/groups/donald-lees-blog/p/bp--ppaca-again and some background: http://mendotaheights.patch.com/groups/donald-lees-blog/p/bp--health-care-exchange-not-what-it-seems
Donald Lee August 11, 2013 at 05:23 PM
I am in awe of Thomas Sowell. The clarity and insightfulness of his writing is wonderful.
Donald Lee August 12, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Thank you for reading, and thank you for commenting. There are lots of people, I believe, who see these posts other than those who comment. Repetition is required because I doubt anyone who comes to the thread anew will go back and read 500 comments. I agree that that one is getting bit out of hand.
Roy Roscoe August 12, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Donald pointed out in some countries it's necessary to pay bribes in order to get socialized health care. It's true there are places where the socialized government clinics waiting rooms are filled and people can wait all day for several days unless they know somebody, pay or trade favors. Socialised is so bad that businesses will build there own clinics and have doctors shared with other businesses spend several hours a day seeing patients at the factories. It is a benefit instead of providing insurance that attracts employees. The problem for employees is the benefit ends the minute the employer says so or the employment ends.
Joyce August 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM
David Hansen wrote: 'Donald pointed out in some countries it's necessary to pay bribes in order to get socialized health care. It's true there are places where the socialized government clinics waiting rooms are filled and people can wait all day for several days unless they know somebody, pay or trade favors. Socialised is so bad that businesses will build there own clinics and have doctors shared with other businesses spend several hours a day seeing patients at the factories.' _________________ That is not true, David, of any western, advanced nations; other nations somehow manage to provide comprehensive access to health care, at lower cost and with better outcomes than we have. _________________ You and Donald do tend to toss the term "socialized medicine" around rather indiscriminately; in fact, the ONLY industrialized, western nation with socialized medicine is Britain. The others have either single payer or a hybrid of single payer and private insurance similar to the PPACA.
Colin Lee August 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Joyce, fools always throw around words like "socialized medicine" without understanding what they actually mean. It's how you know that they haven't actually researched what they intend to write about. The only socialized medicine I'm aware of in America are the VA, military hospitals, and government employee hospitals like the one I mentioned in Montana. Some of these hospitals are very good. It all depends upon funding levels. However, it's irrelevant to the topic you claim to be writing about.
Roy Roscoe August 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Joyce, I did not say Industrialized. You jumped to that conclusion. Why do you assume we will be industrialized forever. The trends don't indicate that. Would you be asking for socialized healthcare in the United States if everyone in the US could easily afford private healthcare? I bet not. I bet the reason you want socialized care is not because you think it is better care. I bet the reason you want it is because you think there are too many people that can not afford healthcare. Another way of saying it is you want it because our nation has people who are too poor to get healthcare. I guess that makes us the same - or at least moving in the direction - as the very real country I accurately mentioned but you in accurately denied. The truth will set you free.
Roy Roscoe August 13, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Socialized Medicine or Healthcare used here are broad terms to reflect a care system where government is highly involved in dictating how resources are to be allocated. It takes freedoms away from professionals and patients. It drives up costs primarily due to misallocation and down utility again by misallocation.
Joyce August 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM
David Hansen wrote: 'Joyce, I did not say Industrialized. You jumped to that conclusion. Why do you assume we will be industrialized forever. The trends don't indicate that. Would you be asking for socialized healthcare in the United States if everyone in the US could easily afford private healthcare? I bet not. I bet the reason you want socialized care is not because you think it is better care. I bet the reason you want it is because you think there are too many people that can not afford healthcare. Another way of saying it is you want it because our nation has people who are too poor to get healthcare.' __________________________ A) I do NOT want socialized medicine, I favor single payer; they are not the same thing. ________________________ B) Tens of millions of Americans do not have access to health care; does that seem like a good thing to you? Should health care be a privilege reserved for the wealthy? Is that what your Christianity tells you?
Joyce August 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM
David Hansen wrote: 'Socialized Medicine or Healthcare used here are broad terms to reflect a care system where government is highly involved in dictating how resources are to be allocated. It takes freedoms away from professionals and patients. It drives up costs primarily due to misallocation and down utility again by misallocation.' _____________________________ And yet, David, Social Security works extremely well. _________________ You, it seems, would prefer to have private insurance companies dictating health care access based on the profit motive.
Roy Roscoe August 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Let me give an example of "socialized healthcare" waste: My Dr made house calls as prescribed by the government in the country I was living - it was because of my employment visa status and connections - my Dr graduated from Harvard Medical School in Boston but was required by terms of the agreement to practice in the country I was living - his ability to allocate resources, ie his time was mandated therefore he could spend 30 minutes traveling for a 15 minute visit thus taking 45 minutes to do what could be done in 15. The charge to me $5. Does anyone really believe that in a free system that is how resources would be allocated? Using a Harvard education to drive 30 minutes? Meanwhile, others waiting in the SS clinic with the same Strep-throat waited several days. Are you not for fairness? Should Congress and Unions have a different option than us?
Roy Roscoe August 13, 2013 at 12:32 PM
What I want is deregulation, free competition across state lines, tort reform and a punitive consequences for frivolous law suits. And, much less reporting expenses associated with government. I was at the dentist and a second person came in and she spent at least ten minutes filling out a questionnaire that was mandated and gathering information for the state of MN at the dentist's expense and ultimately mine. So the state can have a data base that tells how long I brush my teeth and which teeth have cavities etc. What a ridiculous waste of intrusive government.
Donald Lee August 13, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Two changes in the law would totally transform medicine. First, change the tax law so there is no advantage for an employer paying for your health insurance. That can be done by providing the same deduction to an individual, or by withdrawing the deduction from business. Economically, it does not matter which. Politically, one is hard, and the other is really hard. Second, remove the many, many mandates on insurance that drive up the cost. Insurance regulation is crazy, and most states demand policies include everything AND the kitchen sink, while limiting competition and profit. Either one of these would make a huge difference. Doing both would be a sea change, and would drive more change throughout the industry as everyone - patients, insurers, hospitals and doctors - adjust to a world where costs matter, and the person paying the bill has a direct connection to the care being given. Tort reform, state lines, etc. Those are also good, but have other issues. The two I suggest are fully constitutional, and undo the very things that cause the problem in the first place.
Joyce August 13, 2013 at 05:26 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'What I want is deregulation, free competition across state lines, tort reform and a punitive consequences for frivolous law suits.' ____________________________ Well, there are already punitive consequences for frivolous law suits; as for free competition across state lines, you'll have insurance companies relocating their headquarters (all they need is a PO Box, they don't have to move any buildings or personnel) to states with few or no regulations. I'm sure you'll just LOVE having your insurance coverage dropped retroactively as soon as you get an expensive diagnosis such as cancer or heart disease. Do you think that cannot happen? It already does, in states with fewer insurance regulations: _______ http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/12/magazines/moneymag/insurance_rescission.moneymag/ ___________________ http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/09/02/think-youve-got-health-insurance-better-double-check-and-be/
Simon D August 13, 2013 at 06:39 PM
David Hansen says "What I want is deregulation, tort reform" and so on. Wow, did you ever buy into a load of crap. Or maybe you are secretly David Koch. What you are talking about only benefits corporate CEO's and their bottom lines. It benefits no one else. Deregulation has already been happening, that's why oil companies and the like get to carelessly destroy our planet without consequence, that's why Georgia Pacific doesn't have to abide by the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act, because responsible disposal of their toxic waste would mean they only make $9.5 billion a year instead of $10 billion. You've bought the line on tort reform also, which means when corporations do great harm to people, they will just get an inexpensive slap on the wrist. That's all tort reform is about. Its got nothing to do with "frivolous lawsuits". But go ahead, keep buying into those corporate sponsored talking points they trumpet on Fox News. Your parroting skills are quite impressive.
Roy Roscoe August 14, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Simon D can your mind imagine that we and CEOs all live on the same planet, breath the same air, drink the same water, that the great grand children of CEO are often factory workers too, that CEOs aren't born such and mist often don't die such, that the 1% is a transitional lot, that poor people rise and rich fall. Your heart is hardened by your bigotry and your mind does not see the truth. Competition and free markets always allocate resources better. Unless you prefer the manner of the gulag.
Roy Roscoe August 14, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Joyce said "Social Security works extremely well". Please define "works". SS is a pathetic use of resources! It has bloated the role of government and constrained the nations GDP. It's ROI is pathetic compared to free markets, it's security is in question and its payout feeble. The only ones who benefit are politicians who promote big government, people who pay in less than they received, or paid nothing at all. Every other hard working American will work until they die with nothing to will to their church or alma mater or favorite charity. Is that your brand of justice? Or, the will retire when they are older than their parents and live out their days on a determined by Uncle Sam schedule. That is more than likely a fraction of what they would have if it was invested 60/40 in S&P funds and bonds. Then too, for younger payers the same risk as putting cash in a mattress. Your definition of works and mine are totally different. But you want to force all of us to live by yours. So much for my liberty.
Joyce August 14, 2013 at 02:05 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'Competition and free markets always allocate resources better. Unless you prefer the manner of the gulag.' ____________ Perhaps you do not realize this, David, but there is a middle ground between laissez-faire capitalism and the now defunct USSR. _____________ As for the supposedly better allocation of resources under unbridled, unregulated capitalism: __________ http://www.verisi.com/resources/prosperity-upward-mobility.htm _____________ http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/07/30/business/Measuring-Us-Against-the-World.html?ref=economy
Joyce August 14, 2013 at 02:11 PM
David Hansen wrote: 'Please define "works". SS is a pathetic use of resources! It has bloated the role of government and constrained the nations GDP.' ______________ Before Social Security, nearly 50% of seniors lived in poverty; with Social Security, the number of seniors living in poverty is reduced to about 10%. I would call that a success. __________ http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1863 _________________ ' Meanwhile, the Census Bureau stated in its recent report that Social Security was keeping millions of people out of poverty: "In 2010, the number of people aged 65 and older in poverty would be higher by almost 14 million if Social Security payments were excluded from money income, quintupling the number of elderly people in poverty." If you added 14 million additional seniors to those already in poverty in 2010, the poverty rate for American over age 65 would be 45 percent, not 9 percent. We also found a 2008 report on Social Security from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service that analyzed ways to improve the future financing of Social Security. The report starts: "Social Security has significantly reduced elderly poverty. The elderly poverty rate has fallen from 35% in 1959 to an all-time low of 9% in 2006, in large part because of Social Security. If Social Security benefits did not exist, an estimated 44% of the elderly would be poor today assuming no changes in behavior."' _______________ http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/19/rachel-maddow/rachel-maddow-said-social-security-keeping-older-a/ ________ As for relying on the stock market for retirement income, apparently you don't realize that the stock market is volatile and that people can lose everything there.
Simon D August 14, 2013 at 03:21 PM
David Hansen, if you think CEO's and their families are really drinking the same water as the rest of the population, from wells contaminated by fracking, you have bought another b.s. story. CEO's drink the same water, breath the same air, huh? That's rich!
Roy Roscoe August 15, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Joyce, What do you expect the government to spin about their favorite tool? They could as easily have said home equity keeps seniors from being poor. The question is would the money taken out of checks improved the economy if left in the private sector and created even more wealth.
Roy Roscoe August 15, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Simon D, I think we all drink the same water and none of us are getting dysentery. You shouldn't hate do much one day your grand child may be a CEO. That is if we still have free enterprise.

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