Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another reason to be worried about ObamaCare

I found a telling story about a woman who got a medal in Britain for standing up to the local health authorities (and her name is also Helen Smith!):

Helen Smith was a gifted student with a bright future when she was struck by a cruel and devastating blow.

She was 24 and had just started studying for a doctorate at London's Imperial College after graduating in biology from Bath University when she was struck down with virulent meningococcal septicaemia.

As she lay in a coma for three weeks, surgeons amputated both her legs.

Most of one arm had to be removed and her other hand amputated....

More than anything, she wanted to lead a "normal" life again.

But her pleas for realistic-looking prosthetics that would make that possible were turned down because they are available only from a private clinic.

Instead, she was given a hook for one arm and false legs which didn't fit.

Helen took on her local health authority and even offered to pay most of the cost after raising £65,000.

But the answer was No.

Thousands of Mirror readers moved and angered by her plight donated more than £20,000 - and next month she is due to get the full set of limbs she has worked so hard for.



Is this the path ObamaCare will lead us down?

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31 Comments:

Blogger Grim said...

I don't get it... she wanted the most expensive kind of replacements for limbs and she had to buy them privately?
Sounds about right. Any type of government health care is just going to provide the minimum level of care, hence the hooks and crappy legs.

I don't think the government prevented her from getting the limbs, she just couldn't afford it.

2:13 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

Insurance is supposed to be about protecting you from unlikely events and helping you pay for them when they happen. Part of the problem with health insurance in the US is that it pays for everything. It is like having your homeowners policy pay to clean your carpets when they get dirty.

If your house burns down, do you want the insurance company to say "you're only entitled to the minimum level of housing, so here is a tent"?

No US medical insurance company would get away with this kind of thing. Only governments can, which is why we really *don't* want government run health care in the US!

4:15 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger Grim said...

JP,
So the government is basically providing rock bottom insurance for medical care. That sounds like any national health care system. Any government system is always going to be crappiest level of care they can get away with.

I do disagree with you on the 80,000 pounds, very few private plans would cover a replacement that cost that much when there was other systems that cost much less.

5:14 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

Yes, exactly why we don't want national health care.

Private plans wouldn't spend more if there was a reasonable alternative that cost less. But I don't think most plans in the US would give you hooks. They don't mind spending the big bucks for the unusual cases. They are more likely to try to avoid the $2000 MRI in favor of the $100 x-ray that happens a million times a year.

5:42 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

I don't get it... she wanted the most expensive kind of replacements for limbs and she had to buy them privately?
Sounds about right.


The article didn't say she wanted the most expensive replacements (those are full of electronics and can do some amazing things), just realistic looking ones. A hook is hardly a realistic looking replacement for a hand. Maybe they thought she wanted to be a pirate.

Anyway, you can expect that kind of treatment from Obamacare. Obama and the Democrats keep saying the program will save money. Poor quality care, lack of choices, and lack of recourse when bureaucrats turn you down are how they plan to save money. In the end, it'll still end up costing far more than they say because government is fundamentally incapable of making intelligent decisions. Of course, if you have sufficient political connections (and are willing to pay the proper juice), you can get better care than the rest of us. Political favoritism is something the government is very good at handling.

5:43 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger Doom said...

It wouldn't work with Obama care. I do believe, along with the rest of the world being socialized medicine, private medical will be pushed out of existence. There will be no options. Those options only exist in those nations, I believe, because the US provides the research and development. Something that does not exist in a worldwide socialized medical community.

6:53 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

Helen, please stop trying to scare the "children" with scary anecdotes. There are horror stories in all health care systems. By the way, I just came back from Norway, Denmark, and Lithuania. In fact, I had some dental work done in Lithuania because it was cheaper. I had a 4 root canals on one molar. I got right in and had 4 consecutive treatments over the course of a month. The dentist was pleasant, fast, and gave me great care! The total cost was $300.00. The same treatment would have cost me about 1000.00 with my a-hole Republican dentist, who I simply do not trust. My American dentist gives me the impression he is working the system by doing unnecessary procedures.

I am a person who doesn't have health care insurance at the moment. I simply don't think it is worth it because it costs too much. When I told my Lithuanian and Norwegian friends about how expensive our health care system was and the fact some people aren't covered, they were appalled. They said they wouldn't trade their health care for ours. The lesson for you all is that for every horror story you hear, there is an equally wonderful story about European health care. That's why you go to the stats and find a more consistent answer. The fact is, countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Lithuania provide great health care and the people are satisfied with it. Moreover, they wouldn't trade theirs for ours. People, you need to read scientific studies or go to Europe and find out yourself.

11:36 PM, July 26, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

Miles: Let's assume you are right about the countries you mention. That is irrelevant because we know what kind of care we would get under the government in the US. You just have to look at medicare and medicaid. They are both disasters that only work at all because they are subsidized by the rest of the health care system in the US. If the government took over the health care system in the US, there is no doubt that we would follow the UK and Canadian model of rationing, because Obaba and congress have already said that they would achieve savings by setting prices for services, which inevitably leads to rationing.

12:54 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

I do not deny there are problems with medicare and medicaid, but this simply gives me the impression Americans don't know how to provide quality health care at a reasonable price. If we did model the Canadian system, it wouldn't be all bad. 70-75% of Canadians are satisfied with health care and WOULD NOT trade their health care for the US system. Moreover, 70-80% of Canadian physicians like the system. Canadians single payer system reduces costs to about 600-800 dollars a person. The Canadian govt gets to negotiate prices with pharaceutical companies. I have also read the research on wait times. Wait times are variable just as they are in the U.S. However, EMERGENCY procedures are done immediately, provided one goes to the emergency room in Canada. In regards to rationing, it already happens, it just happens in a different way. I suggest doing some research on rationing in the current US system and see what you find.

7:58 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"The same treatment would have cost me about 1000.00 with my a-hole Republican dentist, who I simply do not trust."

Miles, what kind of guy goes to an asshole dentist that he does not trust? And what kind of guy cares about his dentist's politics? Both are weird. It makes me wonder if you are just making this all up.

Trey

8:28 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger pdwalker said...

Is this the path ObamaCare will lead us down?

Yes. And worse.

9:02 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

By the way, I just came back from Norway, Denmark, and Lithuania.

Let's see, Norway: population about 4.8 million, about the same as the population of Colorado.

Denmark: population a little over 5.5 million, about the same as that of Wisconsin.

Lithuania: population about 3.55 million, about the population of Connecticut.

You're comparing 3 small countries, each with relatively homogeneous populations roughly equal to typical US states and somehow believing that because they can do nationalized health care for a diverse country of over 300 million people. Yeah, right.

9:06 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

My American dentist gives me the impression he is working the system by doing unnecessary procedures.

Said the guy who got 4 root canals at another dentist. After that, what could possibly be "unecessary"? Extra flossing?

Speaking of foreign systems. it ought to be the Canadians that threaten to revolt if the USA changes its health delivery system. Without our private system on the other side of the boarder, their own system is in danger of collapse. I suppose the Bahamas will get some great hospitals set up in the next few years.

9:29 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

You say 75% of Canadians like their health care system. I'm guessing those would be the healthy 75% :-)

9:32 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

hi...canadian resident here. the cost of our health care system is unknown, as it is a tax funded system. i am grateful that my girlfriend`s work benefits cover me now that we`ve been together for over a year otherwise if i really got sick, i`d have to pay for my own treatment/meds...like her sister who has a degenerative disease and has to pay for her own medications..which total $4000 a month.

luckily her husband`s work benefits cover her medical costs...but where is the tax funded healthcare?

apparently her illness isn`t on the list.

don`tcha love bureaucrats?

yeah, the healthy canadians love the system....

i`m 48, fit as the butcher`s dog and illness free, and it makes good sense to stay that way.

oh yeah, and my main point in responding...

....my dad flew in the r.a.f. in two wars and spent two years in cyprus stopping the turks and greeks from shooting eachother, and all he got for his trouble was teeth made for someone else.

the national health service sucks. the english have shitty teeth for a reason.

obama wants that sort of provision for americans?

11:03 AM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Moreover, 70-80% of Canadian physicians like the system.

Don't know if this is true or not but do you want to risk 20-30% of doctors quitting their profession of moving to another country like my doctor and his doctor wife, who moved here from Canada, did?

Bahamas sound awful good to me.

12:21 PM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

And for the real look at how insurance messes over those in need of health care: and this is not one or two cases!

http://baselinescenario.com/2009/07/27/health-insurance-innovation/

Doctors want out? let them go. Create jobs for our young, who will work to make people better and First Do No Harm...
Canadia doc left to make more money in the US and is in... California!

1:30 PM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

Doctors want out? let them go. Create jobs for our young, who will work to make people better and First Do No Harm...

Medicine is one of the many areas where experience counts for a lot. Sure, you can let your most ambitious doctors leave and replace them with younger doctors. You'll just lose all of the experience that makes some doctors far better than others.

2:49 PM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger Michael said...

Miles said: Helen, please stop trying to scare the "children"...

This kind of condescension is common with 'universal health care' advocates.

We're all too stupid to look after ourselves, so we need their annointed, grand vision to save us.

I'll pass, thanks. Look after yourself, if you can manage that. Don't worry about me. I don't need your help.

8:33 PM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

TMink said: Miles, what kind of guy goes to an asshole dentist that he does not trust? And what kind of guy cares about his dentist's politics? Both are weird. It makes me wonder if you are just making this all up.

Tmink, a guy who believes his dentist does good dental work, whether the work is necessary or unnecessary. The guys politics do not really matter, however, since this is a political forum, I thought the extra descriptor was appropriate.

Larry J said: You're comparing 3 small countries, each with relatively homogeneous populations roughly equal to typical US states and somehow believing that because they can do nationalized health care for a diverse country of over 300 million people. Yeah, right.

Larry J, The size and the homogeneity are irrelevant in relation to affordable and good quality health care. Try putting your argument into a syllogism and notice the illogic.

JP said: You say 75% of Canadians like their health care system. I'm guessing those would be the healthy 75%

JP, Guessing isn’t a good way to promote your point of view. Try doing some research.

Dadvocate said: Don't know if this is true or not but do you want to risk 20-30% of doctors quitting their profession of moving to another country like my doctor and his doctor wife, who moved here from Canada, did?

Davocate, Canadian doctors determine their own salaries and we can do the same in the States. I won’t mind of doctors who are motivated merely by money leave the profession. They would be the most likely to do unnecessary procedures.

Michael said: This kind of condescension is common with 'universal health care' advocates.
We're all too stupid to look after ourselves, so we need their annointed, grand vision to save us.
I'll pass, thanks. Look after yourself, if you can manage that. Don't worry about me. I don't need your help.

Michael, if you believe you can make a generalization about a proposed health care plan based upon one or even 100 patient anecdotes, you are definitely stupid.

11:39 PM, July 27, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Miles, I think you are making that stuff up.

Trey

2:27 AM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger Paulus Magnus said...

And do we have any reason to believe that this is somehow a typical outcome of amputations in the United Kingdom or other nations with national health insurance? Furthermore, it would be useful to show how many Americans have any degree of prosthetics coverage on their health insurance and whether it will cover useful prosthetics.

4:32 AM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

Miles said: JP, Guessing isn’t a good way to promote your point of view. Try doing some research. When you quoted my text, you left of the ":-)". You do know what that means, don't you?

What my comment was meant to suggest was that 75% is not a very good number when you are talking about something as important as health care. By comparison, 90% of US medicare patients are satisfied with their health care.

7:17 AM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

JP, 75% is an adequate number. The number is comparable to the US. "While 85 percent of respondents said the health care system needed to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt, 77 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their own care"(Sack & Connelly,2009).This number has held steady since last march. Where did you get your number and what question was asked?

7:48 AM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

Miles: On what do you base your statement that 75% is adequate?

My number came from a University of Washington study. The question was whether senior were very or somewhat satisfied with their care.

7:56 AM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

Larry J, The size and the homogeneity are irrelevant in relation to affordable and good quality health care. Try putting your argument into a syllogism and notice the illogic.

You're making an assertion without any evidence to back it up. Do you think I'm just going to take your word for it? Show me some evidence that the diversity of a population has no effect on health care. Show me some evidence that the size of the population has no effect on the effectiveness of a nation's socialized health care. Otherwise, you're making an illogical and unsupported assertion.

8:56 AM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

JP, I base my statement on comparison within other industrialized nations, including the U.S. JP, asking seniors about their health care is important, however, seniors alone do not make up the majority of Americans. My number comes from a random sample of U.S. citizen, which is in line with the Canadian sample.

9:54 PM, July 28, 2009  
Blogger JP said...

Miles: You aren't very good about reading between the lines, are you? The reason I quoted medicare statistics it to compare one government program (Canada) with another (US).

Comparing a random sample of Canadians who are all covered by the govt. plan with a random sample of US residents, 15% of which have no coverage is not a very good comparison. The question is how effectively a particular govt. plan addresses the needs of its citizens.

Also, turnabout is fair play. You asked me to back up my numbers. Now you should back up yours. A 75% satisfaction number represents a %150 increase in dissatisfaction for current medicare recipients. Please back up your claim that 75% is adequate for the population at large and in addition that it would be adequate for a population that currently has a 90% satisfaction rate with their current plan.

12:22 AM, July 29, 2009  
Blogger CyndiF said...

Grim: "I don't get it... she wanted the most expensive kind of replacements for limbs and she had to buy them privately?
Sounds about right. "

I think it's a little more complicated than that in the British system. If she had "opted out" by going to a private medical practice for the limbs, I'm not sure that the public system will treat her after that--it's all or nothing. Since she has had multiple serious problems after her infection, this would be unaffordable. Any experts on the British public health system here?

2:20 PM, July 29, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:54 PM, July 29, 2009  
Blogger Miles said...

Larry, It is up to you to prove that size and homogeneity are relevant factors when it comes to providing good quality and efficient health care. If someone thinks the air temperature has something to do with cost and quality of health care, they need to make a case for it Otherwise, it's a non factor.

5:56 PM, July 29, 2009  

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