Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More on Medicare for All

This subject seems to spark interest. Several responses were short and related to each other, and so I’m putting them all in one posting.

The first is from cousin Tom Van Hon in Des Moines.

“I realize I don't understand all of the complications of financing health care but I seem to agree with your friend Gielich. From a layman's perspective, why not start with a Medicare paid major medical for everyone like Humana or Secure Care and let the people pay for the nickel and dime stuff. Then work into more coverage if the US can afford it. But let’s start someplace if we're going to do it.”

The second is another response from friend and one-time colleague Pete Geilich.

“I am somewhat humbled by the realization that my modest thoughts got an insightful reaction. My thanks to Bob Odean. Perhaps from his Canadian exposure he can give insight into that country's health system. Yes, I now believe that universal health insurance is inevitable - and the right thing to do. Yes, there is a connection between clout and quality - just look at the JCAHO. In my opinion, the system would be paid by payroll taxes and perhaps, in time, by a dedicated value added tax. No system is perfect, but wouldn't most professionals agree that the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France etc have quality health care systems at much less cost? If a change is not made soon, our economy will suffer even more. We have 'lost' textiles, shoes, even coat hangers. The automobile industry is in serious trouble. Costs must be controlled.”

The third is another comment from the referenced Bob Odean, long-time friend now living in Ottawa, Ontario (I assume OMA refers to the Ontario Medical Association).

“All is not well in paradise. Apparently, Canada's socialized medical system has problems retaining doctors because of "low" pay and unsatisfactory working conditions related to how the health services are managed.

The OMA president expressed feeling that "stealing" doctors from other countries where the need is even greater is "improper." I wish we felt that way in the United States. One solution: increase the number of medical graduates -- seems reasonable -- why can't we do that?

I went to a Canadian doctor recently -- lower back pain -- I have a return visit coming. I will ask how he seems to be able to practice independently. My half-hour cost $125 Cnd.”

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