Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html en-gb 30 Sun 05 Jul 2015 21:15:32 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html wantmyfreedom http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=98#comment81 All men are created equally, it's what happens after we are born that can't be equal. We are born with different DNA, different learning abilities, different parents, environments all of which make us individuals.What we do with our lives is a choice we all have to make and to think it should all be equal is not an intelligent thought.The choices are out there and if you decide to stay drunk while I decide to continue with my education, I shouldn't have to pay for your liver transplant one day. That, my friend, should be your responsibility. Mon 27 Jul 2009 02:33:41 GMT+1 dianaatkin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=97#comment80 It's a sad fact that much of America's history conflicts with its well-intentioned written Constitution. All 'men' are created equal certainly didn't apply under segregation, discrimination amongst minority & not so minority groups, and it certainly doesn't apply under an asinine system of health care that is called 'insurance'. Insurance is for profit. Insurance assesses risk and tries to minimise it for itself. It must surely now be a time to re-order at least the health system to align itself with the Constitution and provide a national healthcare system that does treat all people equally. Sat 04 Jul 2009 16:43:11 GMT+1 squirrelist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=96#comment79 77. At 2:37pm on 27 Jun 2009, RomeStu:Obviously ethics aren't involved. Only affordability. You seem to hear the argument "everybody should pay for what they can afford or go without and die" mostly from the healthy, it seems. Along with the implied corollary "if you get ill it's your own fault".Yet something tells me if those who present this argument were seriously injured in a car crash caused by their own negligence they would soon change their tune if they were told "it's your fault, you pay, we won't". Mon 29 Jun 2009 09:42:00 GMT+1 bloggyLyda http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=95#comment78 I do not want to be forced to a certain health care program. I have an HMO that I am pleased with. I believe Obama national health care will hurt private companies like HMO that already provide health care. My employer, one of the largest in the world provides choices for all it's full time and part time employess. Also, if I were to leave this company I can--currently---like many other Americans buy directly from my HMO or other health care options. Those type of options should always be available. America being the land of freedom of choices and rights. But if we Americans are forced to be in a Government operated health program than America as the founding fathers created it will be again be destoyed from the inside. It is one thing to provide for actual needy people-the senior citizens, the real disabled Americans, our VETS and even I would go as far as providing health care up to age five, and any mother bearing a child. But that is it. There is to many lazy Americans. Americans that every day lie in order to collect welfare. If you choose to be pregnant and stay unmarried. If you choose to not work when you really can. Then you do not deserve health care and I should not pay for it for you. And according to Obama if you are of senior age, like 90 plus (forget the age referred to) and you want a pacemaker but the doctor says not covered than you do not deserve one and should just stick to the pain killers. Why should researchers come up with life saving things to help provide for a longer life if our own President says no. Why? Sun 28 Jun 2009 13:21:42 GMT+1 Jim Currie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=93#comment77 I didn't know where-else to post this. Can anyone explain the philosophy behind printing stories about wonderful new treatments that can be read by those who are terminaly ill? Surely this is a cruel use of news - a contradiction - like showing a picture of food to a starving person?I refer to the recent new cancer drug. I ask myself how would I feel reading about this, knowing I can't have it because it's not easily available? Yet the rep[ort tells me it might just make my life and the lives of those round me more bearable. Sat 27 Jun 2009 17:43:13 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=92#comment76 76 GrizzlyI may be a little slow today ... the weekend and all, but I have no idea of what point you are trying to make with reference to cellphones and Russian eye surgery.I was giving a fairly common example of how Europeans often choose to go private for elective or non-urgnt surgery to avoid wait-lists, and how even if we do that it still does not cost much by US standards. By paying about $5000 I can have my operation when I want and choose my surgeon, and my point was that many Americns would be faced with an insurance excess of a similar amount, after having forked out on insurance in the first place.What exactly was your point?Do you think healthcare is an ethical issue? Sat 27 Jun 2009 13:37:22 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=91#comment75 romestu "An exmple from Europe. I live in Italy. I have a minor condition requiring a small outpatient surgery. It is non-urgent.In Italy the wait-time is 4-6 months.Or I can choose to go private in Italy or any other country of my choice."Alot of Europeans go to Russia for surgery, even elective, ie eye surgery to shed eyeglasses. So what are the Socialists doing about that, probably what they always do, nothing. More individuals voting with there feet and money. Hmm. Maybe a cell phone is a necessity, bills are around $70 amonth with text. Thats only $840 dollars years, that could be saved, maybe for medical expenses. But ya gotta have a cell phone, even the poor have them go figure. I suppose they say there is 3 for every person on the planet. Thats taking a lot of calls. Fri 26 Jun 2009 23:04:32 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=90#comment74 bere54 "But you see, the U.S. is really not a civilized society. The attitude here has usually been "every man for himself." You know, that Wild West individualism. And now, when it seems a majority of Americans have finally outgrown that childishness, our elected leaders still cling desperately to it. Of course, they all have top-of-the-line coverage, paid for by the rest of us.re54 " Yeah! we are from the government we are here to help! Like FEMA, Federal Savings and Loan, opps that one collapsed not at all childish to pass a stimulus package without reading it, maybe one individual should. So I am not civilized, as the world is every man for himself. Bunch of bleeding hypocrites the socialist utopians are, every man for the party, or the party will decide for you! Totalitarinism is dead. You preach fall in line like sheep led by the shepards of government. Well it isn't a wolf in sheeps clothing, it is a wolf in shepards clothing.Hitler said when the people need guns Germany would arm them. Watchdog of the media in America, ha. Thank our forefathers for the second amendment, because most of the journalists sold out on the first(I can't blame Justin Webb as he is a foreigner, milking staying close to Obama for leads, stories, or personality). But I will look for your book at the library to read, because as an individual who makes his own choices I won't buy it, but I will read it, an by the way have a nice day. The Loyal Opposition Fri 26 Jun 2009 22:51:03 GMT+1 Quillan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=89#comment73 To qualify United States health care as grotesquely unfair is to say there is an element of thievery involved in the system(s). That is also to say, the health care owned or earned by some is being robbed by others. If one is saying that whatever system implemented contains inconsistencies, this might be true but even so, nevertheless debatable based on ones view. Short of those things human beings are naturally equipped with at birth, all others must be acquired by the individual or by another. This is true whether it is fur for clothing or meat for food both requiring hunting, cotton or corn both requiring farming, a sweater or blanket both requiring weaving, or finally, televisions or health care both requiring manufacturing, training, mining or foraging for raw resources, etc. All cases consistently demand the expenditure of scarce labor upon scarce resources. Barring the impositions of slavery, robbery, or other coercive acts, the disparity among the acquisitions by individuals or groups is not an ethical dilemma (i.e. fairness versus unfairness), rather a state of actuality. For an individual to give to another out of his/her abundance (that is, abundance acquired by ones scarce labor upon scarce resource) is certainly benevolent, commendable, even noble and perhaps encouraged, but it is not a case of fairness. What is worthy of consideration is for the second individual to put a gun to the head of the first, takes from his/her abundance by force. Regardless the motive of the second individual, most reading this comment would say it is unfair and wrong. So it follows the matter is inconsequential, whether the issue of subsidy is health care, housing, food stamps, minimum wages, or bailout funds for banks or automakers. The government acts on behalf of some by imposing upon others, by so doing, violently taking via forced taxation (i.e. using a gun to head, or prison) from the abundance of others. This, ladies and gentlemen, is grotesquely unfair. By the way, do not judge Unites States as capitalism, it is not, it is mercantilism and has been such for many decades. Like socialism, mercantilism is equally unfair. Fri 26 Jun 2009 14:52:04 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=87#comment72 71, RomeStu: "IMHO in a civilised society access to reasonable healthcare for all should be a no-brainer." But you see, the U.S. is really not a civilized society. The attitude here has usually been "every man for himself." You know, that Wild West individualism. And now, when it seems a majority of Americans have finally outgrown that childishness, our elected leaders still cling desperately to it. Of course, they all have top-of-the-line coverage, paid for by the rest of us. Fri 26 Jun 2009 14:10:42 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=86#comment71 50. rodidog wrote:"I have not noticed in the debate on insurance coverage the billions of dollars hospitals spend every year across the country when they remodel existing facilities or construct new ones. Will a new health care plan pay for these passed-on costs or will hospitals be limited in any new construction or remodels?"Anything to do with the financing of health is important and should enter the debate .... however I believe the start point for the debate sould always be.."Do we believe that all Americans have the right to basic free healthcare?"It is a very simple ethical/moral issue - those who can put their hand on heart and say "No" are making a clear statement about their personal ethics.It is well known that free access to doctors prevents more chronic illnesses from developing due to lack of treatment, thus reducing the overall cost of helathcare - spend a buck to save 10! Prevention is better than cure.There are so many ways of saying it.Good health to you all Fri 26 Jun 2009 07:58:52 GMT+1 RomeStu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=85#comment70 Bere54 & Chrono (and probably others- I haven't time to read all posts!)Healthcare as an ethical issue!How can it not be. IMHO in a civilised society access to reasonable healthcare for all should be a no-brainer. We have "socialised education" so why not socialised medicine.As ever the "antis" point to waiting lists and possibly not getting this weeks new $500 a pop cancer drug, but the nub of the argument is the cost to society of leaving people out.As with education, where the rich send their kids to private school, in health, the rich can buy superior care. No one is suggesting bringing down the top level of care - only raising up the bottom level (from ZERO).Also once the single-payer, non-profit, state-run system is in place, the private compnies do not have to write off huge sums on medicaid/medicare (I still get confused over which is which). They just treat their own clients.An exmple from Europe. I live in Italy. I have a minor condition requiring a small outpatient surgery. It is non-urgent.In Italy the wait-time is 4-6 months.Or I can choose to go private in Italy or any other country of my choice. Having costed this it will be cheaper for me to fly to England and pay £3000 ($5000) to have this surgery immediately in a fully private hospital. This seems like alot of money in Europe, but is around the cost of the policy excess that many Americans would pay, even after paying for health insurance.Health is an ethical issue and should be promoted as such. The hypocisy of those who promote an otherwise moral or ethical lifestyle and disagree makes my blood boil.The secret is to run the system well and fund it properly - which is the failing in Europe. The system is not at fault, the funding and admin is.Good health to you all Fri 26 Jun 2009 07:50:24 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=84#comment69 69 Grizzly.Yes, in Zurich, and it was quite controversial when introduced. A lot of people thought it was a mistake. But it has been there more than ten years, as far as I know, and seems to be working.I would never call the Swiss soft on drugs or crime, though. It's just that they are smart, they do research and learn from it. If the old ways of dealing with drugs don't work, they study the problem, and figure out a different way. And they work hard.The thing is, Switzerland has the lowest rate of crime, the lowest rate of poverty, and the most cost-effective government I have ever seen, anywhere. The countryside is stunningly beautiful, the cities are comfortable and cultured. The lifestyle is beguilingly attractive, if expensive. A remarkably well run country. If I had the money, I would retire there. Fri 26 Jun 2009 03:08:43 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=82#comment68 Interestedforeigner wrote:The Swiss already do have universal health care. High quality it is, too.Don't the Swiss have free needles for heroin addicts. How high quality it truely is! Fri 26 Jun 2009 01:06:34 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=81#comment67 pinko " It was Bush Jr. and the neo-cons who went back to Iraq to 'finish the job.' They were the guys real big on bringing 'democracy' to the arab masses."Obama sent 21,000US forces into Afghanistan, as he tries to close the prison that contained them. Obama called Afghanistan America's War, not his? Oh, I see he just is President. Even John Kerry said it wasn't wise to send troops to Afghanistan, it is costly in both people and funds. But people who make comments tend to omit Obamanations started by this new president. Both parties are failed machines as well as the hacks that join them. It took two weeks of listening to peoples opinions on the news, in the world, before Obama said he was appalled and outraged about Iran. I liked the question of what took him so long. A public opinion polls to control the mob??? What a lame leader. I pray for a true watchdog of the press to ask real questions. Instead of we have come to praise the messiah, not question him. An polls show this and that, well the Gallup Poll asks anyone, it doesn't care if they vote, or are an illegal alien, or a lunatic just escaped. So polls can be quite slanted. 80% say sell off GM and Crysler and get out of the auto business. Well the bond market is collapsing, maybe now we can buy a new auto with a 13.99% interest rate. If we have a job from the stimulus package, opps a saved job. How do you measure a saved job? How do you count them? Ahh, doublespeak. If you die that must be retirement. I get so confused, with all these man made disasters in Iran by the government. But I thought Obama's speech set them free? But Iran said the British and Americans caused the mess, man made disaster, or whatever. I guess someone needs an apology. Fri 26 Jun 2009 01:03:11 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=80#comment66 22. Chrono"Is is right or reasonable that the wealthiest society on the planet cannot guarantee all its citizens, regardless of their employment status, their health history, their wealth, their place of residence, and etc., a guaranteed level of quality healthcare?"The Swiss already do have universal health care. High quality it is, too. Fri 26 Jun 2009 00:39:40 GMT+1 thundertraveler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=79#comment65 Most of the People who are complaining about a new Health Care Plan,are the ones who already have good Coverage and dont care about the less fortunates ones who need coverage too. Thu 25 Jun 2009 21:07:56 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=78#comment64 #44 Richard_SM. . .My apologies!After having reread this entry, I see your point and how I misunderstood the entry before, and regret very much my attempt at correcting you. Although I believe you should know, though, that I meant in no way to be condescending in my remarks! I was honest to God just trying to be polite. Based on my understanding of the entry at the time of writing post #27, the '"Isn't it obvious?" tone that I had intended to apply in it obviously didn't come across that way; and for that I ask your forgiveness. But regarding Sanford, I'm sure you already know this, but Justin did explicitly state that Sanford is a Republican in his '"Reaching out to Foreign Media" entry, in which he also goes into more detail about the disappearance. So perhaps that will help explain things better.PS. I also would like you to know that I'm a woman. Thu 25 Jun 2009 05:26:34 GMT+1 KScurmudgeon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=76#comment63 I have my doubts that any part of our health care problems will be solved this year. I have little doubt that something will be done - some measure or measures will be passed - but it looks unlikely that there will be any effective change or improvement in any of the core issues.The inertia of those who profit from the current system seem much more powerful than the momentum coming against it. The public will for change just isn't up to it. This is a failure by the nation: of individuals and of interests. It also demonstrates the inadequacy of our leadership to the task. Obama may be spread too thin - he does not have the depth to pull us through this. and Congress shows no leadership - only a panting, drooling eagerness to take full and malicious advantage of their recent victory, or paranoia verging on a hysterical fear of being swept into irrelevance, depending on the party. We are too distracted, which works to the advantage of those who care only for their own immediate gain and who are eagerly selling their own nation down the drain to scrape out another dollar, and another, racing to get the very last one. Where have we seen this sort of capitalist, just here and recently? Medicine has for a long while plotted its aspirations in terms of increasing it's share of the Gross National Product. It is not truly capitalism where there is no actual competition. Business is not honest and has only a very short future without transparency.Eventually we will address this problem. It cannot actually consume us all. What would we eat? But will it be any better system then, for having ignored tens of millions of us, and bankrupted tens of millions of families and businesses - for how long?KScurmudgeon Thu 25 Jun 2009 05:03:24 GMT+1 neil_a2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=75#comment62 Help me out here! What poll has that ridiculously high percentage thinking socialized medicine is a good idea in America? I think someone doubled up on their medication to come up with the 85% figure.I expect the second article references a poll that does not exist or a poll that used a hand selected population for a predetermined outcome. The numbers are nonsense.Remember, Obama's $787 billion "Stimulus Plan" has not created a single permanent job that would provide health care for a single employee (except for government workers).Obama has no concept that children not yet born will spend their lives repaying his spending spree. Why add to their burden? Thu 25 Jun 2009 03:29:22 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=74#comment61 Were the US to pull out of NATO and remove its military from Europe in what is now an obsolete mission, the US government would go a long way towards saving money to pay for health care for American citizens. If it limited free health care to those who are here illegally and can't pay for it, that would help a lot too. Of the five billion dollars a year California alone wastes on subsidizing illegal aliens, much of it goes to health care these people can't possibly pay for. It's time America started looking out for its own interests and stopped worrying about the rest of the world. It can no longer afford the seemingly limitless generousity it habitually doles out to everyone in trouble or need. Thu 25 Jun 2009 03:17:58 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=73#comment60 #3. Richard_Berry: "Justin - Again you've posted something that assumes readers have been following US political news closely. . . . Can't really appreciate your humourous comment about whoever has been walking in the woods because don't know what you're talking about."If you have been following US political news closely then you would know to what party the Governor belonged. Doesn't appear that you're following US political news closely at all!#56. AmericanGrizzly: "So like a tumor it will continue to grow until it kills the patient"An unfortunate analogy since cancer only kills if it is discovered in a timely fashion and left untreated. It seems to me that the President wants to treat the problem rather allowing it to continue and spread. Thu 25 Jun 2009 03:02:23 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=71#comment59 All that one has to do to see that healthcare costs could be radicallyreduced is to take a dog or cat to the vet and see what quality of carethat they receive. My experiences have been excellent, compared to whatmy family has received in hospitals. OTOH, as a society, we deserve an extra pat on the back for taking bettercare of our pets than of ourselves. Thu 25 Jun 2009 03:00:09 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=70#comment58 grizz -- I mean after all as they die for this liberal crud of nation building, hearts and minds (as ours crumbles).It was Bush Jr. and the neo-cons who went back to Iraq to 'finish the job.' They were the guys real big on bringing 'democracy' to the arab masses.Yours,Pinko Thu 25 Jun 2009 01:43:14 GMT+1 U14047556 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=69#comment57 This post has been Removed Thu 25 Jun 2009 01:18:14 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=68#comment56 "It does seem very odd that with a Democratic majority in Congress and polls indicating most Americans approve of a public plan (and some polls showing a preference for single-payer), Obama's intent seems to be to please the Republicans. It appears that the Republicans are still running the country."I don't think anyone is running anything in this country, but putting bandages on hemmorages. Sounds to me like both parties stink to high heaven. But Obama is in charge, lately he just dodges the questions. Iran, Korea, his war in Afghanistan, the new and improved let the US soldiers die if necessary but don't hurt the natives! Currently out of all Congress,Senate, and Presidentcy. There is only 2 two children of all these esteemed elites serving in the Armed Forces. So at least the poor and middle class kids who are joining (because the economy,feel our pain,) are joining the all volunteer forces. (So this is fair? As we risk their lives, because they need a job.) No lofty Obamanation ideals, just young people trying to find their feet in this mess the world is now in. These politicians are so out of touch, I can see why they fear a revolution doing this to these brave souls. I mean after all as they die for this liberal crud of nation building, hearts and minds (as ours crumbles). They will be zipping the body bags of their friends and fellow soldiers for this policy of abandonment of a clear and present danger. As this administration holds their lives as appropriate to a necessary loss in this endeavor. GET THEM OUT OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN! Bring them home. 8 years is too long already. Thu 25 Jun 2009 00:57:03 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=67#comment55 While sitting in the doctors office just 2 weeks ago. After my problem had been addressed, and the basic how is everything else. I asked my doctor what he thought about this healthcare debate? He related to me that if anything, healthcare in the US would continue to grow more and more expensive. Doctors are also using economic factors in their decisions. Most Doctors are becoming specialists, as they can command hire earning for the work. General practice doctors are not coming forth as there isn't any incentive to go into this field. Currently there is a shortage growing into a much greater shortage, and costs will continue to rise (supply and demand). No matter what the governments plan is it will surely fail. As it fails due to failing in recognising what the actual problems are by careful examination of all those involved in this field. So like a tumor it will continue to grow until it kills the patient the American taxpayer. Thu 25 Jun 2009 00:35:14 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=65#comment54 "a piece that is hostile but fair I think in pointing out the downsides of the British and Canadian systems."The downside of the British system only become apparent if one relies entirely upon the NHS for treatment for every ailment. There's nothing to stop anyone from purchasing supplementary insurance, something which many now do. For those who cannot afford anything, the NHS is better than nothing, and surely that's what Americans want, some kind of basic coverage. Thu 25 Jun 2009 00:15:35 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=64#comment53 "it seems tough that a walk in the woods can torpedo an entire presidential bid."Argentina's a long way from Appalachia as we now know. Sanford will be lucky to survive as Governor, let alone be considered as a potential Republican presidential nominee. It seems that extra-marital dalliances have become the norm, but given his promotion of morality, the public will not soon forget - and should they do so, will be reminded of it. Wed 24 Jun 2009 23:59:47 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=63#comment52 Ref 19, Bere"It does seem very odd that with a Democratic majority in Congress and polls indicating most Americans approve of a public plan (and some polls showing a preference for single-payer), Obama's intent seems to be to please the Republicans. It appears that the Republicans are still running the country."I agree, the Obama Administration is catering too much to the GOP on several issues, perhaps because they prefer government by consensus, but I think in this case they simply want to make sure they have 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. Another consideration may be that Obama and his strategists are becoming concerned with the inevitable barrage of criticism that will be levied on Democrats next year and in 2012 as a result of growing budget deficits and subsequent increases in the national debt. The President must do a better job in explaining the plan and how it is going to be funded. If the reform is passed along party lines and it adds another $1.6T to our out of control deficits Obama and all Democrats running for re-election better come up with a good justification. Thankfully, my grand daughter's medical problem turned out to be a false alarm. Wed 24 Jun 2009 23:57:13 GMT+1 dervish132 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=62#comment51 All this talk of ethics and expense is a little foolish to me. I am finishing a degree in Philosophy with a emphasis on ethics/political philosophy and folks there is no major ethical theory of action that would not be for a universal health care in a system such as ours. Its not good for the individual or the citizen body at large.Till recently according to a ethics course on health care I studied the major reason for bankruptcy in the US was health care costs. (This by the way was not lower classes but actually our dwindling middle classes being hit hardest.)As a 33 year old I am fully aware of the flagrant abuse the system is in. I developed Ulcerative Colitis and in the US I simply must go without the medicine for the condition.( I am from a military family and have worked since I was 10, yet society does not see my health and well being as important over the need for the drug manufacturer to keep its trademark and ban generic drugs to be available to me,thus dwindling my productivity and sense of investment to society at large, Rousseau's alienation seems to grow in this state we are in) Even to get the procedure to diagnose with my student health insurance was a fight which thankfully the state required them to fund as to the threat of immediate cancer risk. My European relatives in Austria find this barbaric and I think ethically and in the view of posterity it is. I mean who thinks kindly of Cassius and his private fire dept.? The expense so moaned about would be pricey in America not the least because to be honest our system is not set up to actually help all Americans. But if money is being made for banks and road development it is irrational to not develop the macro health of the nation. Finally I will state a unpopular idea, America MUST reduce its military! Our old adversary (Soviet Union) crumpled under the costs of being a Super power and we will now to if we do not relent. I find it irritating that America is seen as a needed instigator for world stability by some. If (and this is a important international legal issue as in respect to treaties and the Westphalia idea of nation sovereignty) a police state is needed for the international community than it must be born out by all nations, right now that definitely is not happening. 2009 military US budget? 770 billion and growing... yet we cannot heal our sick, ethical America?, no, rational? no. Wed 24 Jun 2009 23:52:46 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=60#comment50 ref #40Sanford should resign because of the lie. I am curious if media like the NYT who treated John Edwards with such kid gloves do the same with Sanford Wed 24 Jun 2009 23:12:07 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=59#comment49 I have not noticed in the debate on insurance coverage the billions of dollars hospitals spend every year across the country when they remodel existing facilities or construct new ones. Will a new health care plan pay for these passed-on costs or will hospitals be limited in any new construction or remodels? Wed 24 Jun 2009 23:05:50 GMT+1 SamTyler1969 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=58#comment48 #28Aqua,It's worse than that. It is a service rationed by nameless faceless beurocrats in an administratively burdensome inefficient system with limited choice for the consumer and with hidden taxes paying for the whole sub standard exercise.It's communism by any other name. Gosh darned anti American and it needs to end.Patriot Sam Wed 24 Jun 2009 22:13:02 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=57#comment47 This post has been Removed Wed 24 Jun 2009 21:57:02 GMT+1 canadacold http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=56#comment46 aquarizonagalMay I join others to welcome you back, had been hoping all was well and that you now fully recoveredI cannot understand how your country has by far the most expensive health service in the world and yet makes it so complicated and unaffordable. The lies being told the public is beyond belief.Your Senator Mitch McConnell (June 8)suggested that the residents using KIngston General Hospital in Ontario were getting inferior care because of huge waits for necessary surgery under our system. This happened to be the home town of Canadian Conservative Senator Hugh Segal who is outraged by the the gross misrepresention of wait times. (The Globe and Mail, June24This helps no one Wed 24 Jun 2009 21:55:48 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=54#comment45 #12 saintDominick,It's nice to hear your family is pitching in to help with the insurance costs. In case no one mentioned it, COBRA is an extension of your previous coverage, your granddaughter is covered based on whatever policy her husband had. I believe most insurance coverage is 80/20. This means your family might need to come up with 20% of the final health care costs. I hope everything works out for your granddaughter. Wed 24 Jun 2009 21:49:05 GMT+1 tpapp157 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=53#comment44 Well it seems as if Sanford turned up in Argentina. The entire time his party thought he was hiking the Appalachian trail and his family had no idea where he was. And on his return from Argentina he admits to having an affair for the past year. It's almost funny. You just can't make stuff like this up.Speaking from Atlanta and watching Sanford from relatively close range, most people have known he was a moron for a while. No one took the talk about a potential presidential run seriously. Could you imagine that man as president? Good thing he won't even have a chance now. Scratch another Republican. Wed 24 Jun 2009 21:45:43 GMT+1 Richard_Berry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=52#comment43 #27 NoRashDecisions. Not only should you have read Justin's post properly, but you should also have read your own username. Justin does NOT say the Democrats are formulating their adverts against this governor, whoever he is. It simply says we can imagine the Democrats' adverts if he stands. Not adverts for, not adverts against.I know Americans treasure their negative adverts, but surely your parties also do occasionally run adverts favourable to their own candidates?But thank you - there really is nothing sweeter than being told you've made a mistake when the accuser is themselves completely unaware. Especially when done with your gloriously inappropriate condescending tone.Justin - please, can't you see this? This reader knows the story and thinks the facts are so obvious that he's reading things that aren't even written. Wed 24 Jun 2009 21:11:29 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=51#comment42 The real problem with the health care plan as proposed by the Dems is thatthe CBO projects its cost as $1.6T over 10 years, not the $1T that they maintained.Now that they've been shot down, we're on to the bipartisan coop proposal,which revolves around non-profits replacing insurance companies.Please try to keep up. Wed 24 Jun 2009 19:41:16 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=50#comment41 #26 tpapp157: Who's being the quick to judge one here? You think that just because Obama's not talking about imigration and social security reform right now, that he doesn't plan to act on them in his administration? Try to take some of your own advice and please have some patience. Wed 24 Jun 2009 19:37:19 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=48#comment40 #19 Bere54: If the Republicans were still running the country, we would have declared war on Iran on the day after their election, and we would be lucky if one person on the planet were still alive by now.#26 tpapp157: Actually I was refering to the (I believe it to be the third reason for establishing the constitution,) guaranteeing the citizen's right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happyness." Are those who are under insured or uninsured "happy?" I think not. But your reference is an even better argument. Those without adiquit health care coverage are not "well off," are they? Either way you look at it, both guarantees in our preamble alone are being flagrontly dismissed with every day that passes in which we don't have universal basic health care coverage. With violations such as this happening, it is no wonder successive presidents have, and continue to continually disregard the first and fourth amendments on a greedy wim disguised as a necessity for our protection against a (perceived or actual) threat!#30 tpapp157: Thanks for explaining Chronophobe's post to me. Your annalogy between a need for universal health care and the necessity for all the citizenry to pay for its protection via the military as aposed to only those who personally need the protection was right on! We all need protection, and we all need good health. Wed 24 Jun 2009 19:26:53 GMT+1 upstater http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=47#comment39 To turn things to Sanford for a moment, please update! I'm curious to see your take now that Argentina and the Other Woman have come to light. Wed 24 Jun 2009 19:07:53 GMT+1 moderate_observer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=46#comment38 #35 au contraire , once you are a customer of any health care system whether public or private you become a consumer. Make no pretense about it, The satisfaction of these consumers is what will be needed to make the system survive. As for private insurance, well it is of course impossible for a for profit business to compete with one who does not intend to make a profit so if introduced they should just shut shop immediately. We probably wont miss them unless we work for one of these companies or is somehow connected to one. The economy could use some shrinkage. Correct?But as i said before, if that is what the nation wants collectively , they should have it, and not worry about taxes and be willing to pay for it just as canadians and europeans do. Stop financing it with debt. Florida, delaware, wherever, pay income taxes if you want the government to take care of you. Be realistic. Wed 24 Jun 2009 18:37:46 GMT+1 ladycm http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=45#comment37 I have written both senators about how important it is to people like me and many others who are unisured, those who are underinsured and even those who are okay with their insurance. I used to have insurance, and I was okay with it but; things happen and I lost my coverage. If we cannot pass health-care bill that will actually help the millions in this country who deserve health-care (this is the richest country in the world!) then I WILL lose all faith in my government. I am so tired of big companies and lobbyists being in bed with my government.11. At 2:52pm on 24 Jun 2009, carolinalady:You are 110% correct. Why has it been legal to deny people for ridiculous reasons? If everyone is not covered than we haven't fixed the underlying main issue which is all, of the people who are insured paying for those who aren't that use the E.R. as a doctors office. We cannot bring costs down effectively is there are people who are uninsured, it's just not logical. Wed 24 Jun 2009 18:28:05 GMT+1 ladycm http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=43#comment36 I cannot believe that the democrats are trying to pass a plan that still leaves about 30 million people uninsured. I'm sure I would still one one of those lucky folks who was still uninsured just as I am now and have been for awhile. If that many people are going to be uninsured than the plan needs to go back to the drawing board. It is important to get health care and I think especially a public option but, it is also important to get it right. How in the world can we save on costs if we still have so many uninsured with this plan? I suspect these people will still by law have the right to be helped regardless of their income or whether or not they have insurance which is MUCH of the reason our health care system is so ridiculously flawed and so many people are going broke due to hospitial bills they just can't pay. Why have I been paying for seniors and those with low income to have health care when I cannot afford it for myself? Wed 24 Jun 2009 18:15:38 GMT+1 publiusdetroit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=42#comment35 Ref 28 aquarizonagal-Welcome home.How could health-care industry CEOs and doctors afford the finer, materialistic things in life without gouging out huge profits and charging absurd fees?If they had to run a tight ship, like us mere mortals, we may be back to using remedies from the kitchen.On a more serious note. I expect the health-care industry bubble to be the next one to burst and threaten our all-too fragile economy once again. It doesn't need to happen. It can be fixed by the industry itself, but there is still far too many who still have not recognized that they can no longer continue down the path of 'business as usual'. Who is going to be able to pay for their services when the employer-provided health-care insurance collapses from the weight of unemployment? They will need to learn how to do business in a more efficient, productive way than the current 'business as usual' practices and procedures.Hope your well. Wed 24 Jun 2009 18:10:31 GMT+1 U14047556 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=41#comment34 This post has been Removed Wed 24 Jun 2009 18:08:46 GMT+1 U14047556 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=40#comment33 This post has been Removed Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:56:31 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=39#comment32 Aqua - Welcome back! I hope your health care problem wasn't serious. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:49:59 GMT+1 U14047556 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=37#comment31 This post has been Removed Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:48:09 GMT+1 moderate_observer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=36#comment30 #22 chrono citizens vs consumers? They are one and the same. The challenge is that with the provision of a public system these citizen/consumers will have to feel that as individuals they are getting what they paid for or what they were promised. Lets not pretend. Nobody is truly willing to sacrifice too much for the 'greater good'. Telling someone that their sacrifice is for this purpose gives them no comfort. Its a tough sell and runs a risk of those who the system needs more for support, (the wealthy) abandoning everyone else because they do not feel it is worth it. This is a cultural shift in the US and should be treated as delicately as such. If single payer health care is rammed down the throats of americans expect a huge fall out even from those who currently want it. Everyone has high expectations some unrealistic, like believing only tax increases on the wealthy can pay for it.Everyone has to chip in,new taxes has to be introduced. Good luck selling it. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:44:51 GMT+1 tpapp157 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=35#comment29 #27In reference to #22. You misread his sentence. He meant guaranteed health care regardless of personal wealth or place of residence. Not guaranteed health care, wealth, and place of residence.#25Chronophobe makes a very good point. Alot of the arguing over healthcare happens over the details like treatment availability and wait times and industry innovation. The fact is, however, that there's absolutely no way to prove one way or the other in what ways a government plan would improve or degrade healthcare. There's simply no way. So we can argue all year long about these details but no one can win that argument. In essence those who don't want healthcare reform can win because they can effectively filibuster the government plan by channeling the arguments to areas that are purely conjecture and ungrounded. If the debate can take place in the realm of national duty then suddenly everything changes.For example. I could argue that my house is no danger of being attacked by terrorists or being invaded by a foreign country. So why should I personally have to pay for a military? Maybe only those people who are in danger of being attacked or invaded should have to pay for the army because they're the only ones that need it. Of course if you actually asked that question then most people would think you were a fool but at some point someone made the decision that it is a national duty that every citizen should support the national defense. Is it, then, the duty of the government (and each citizen by proxy) to support the health and wellbeing of every citizen? Or should only those who need treatment have to pay for it.The question becomes not which method is better (which is an impossible question to ask anyway) but whether or not it's the government's responsibility on a fundamental level. The government is tasked with promoting the general welfare by the Constitution. Does a government healthcare plan fall under that? This is the question people should be asking and debating. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:38:32 GMT+1 arclightt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=34#comment28 @22: I'll agree with you that this is a citizenship issue, as are most of the large issues in play today. Unfortunately, I have to agree with bere54 here. There's not much in the way of real ethics in play. If there were, we'd be staring at a real balanced budget and debt retirement, and an awful lot of "nice things to have" from our tax dollars would be long gone, because if we were really handed the bill for what we are currently getting from the Federal coffer we couldn't pay it. We are already $43 trillion into unfunded obligations to Social Security and Medicare, over and above the $13 trillion in "acknowledged" debt (no figuring where the "off budget" expenditures wound up, or if they are ANOTHER debt to pay). That's about another $500,000 per taxpayer in debt. Do you see any reasonable plan being formulated to pay this off? If not (and I sure don't) then ethics is off the table, because ETHICAL ADULTS PAY THEIR BILLS. Instead, we are enslaving our children and grandchildren to pay for the biggest, stupidist block party ever conceived. I have to say I've never heard of a culture that enslaved following generations to pay for their own pleasures (if there's a historian out there that can cite one, I'm all ears). Certainly this may be a worthy cause; I'm not judging it one way or another. All I'm saying is that if we are not going to absolutely crush the following generations with debt, we are going to have to make some very difficult financial choices, and we are about 50 years behind schedule on getting it done (and both parties are guilty guilty guilty...they are just different about which political contributors they pay off).I'll keep looking for leadership to do the hard things, but I'm less and less convinced that it matters much to bang that drum. I'm beginning to suspect that the folks who really are in a position to know already know that we are going to default on our debt, and that there's effectively nothing that can be done to stop it because our political leadership absolutely will not fall on its sword and tell the American people the hard things they must hear, but will not hear. Last estimated date of the crash I have found was a joint presentation by the Pew Research Center and the Heritage Foundation (imagine that--left and right teaming up!) to the Congress back around 2004 or thereabouts. At that time the crash date was projected to be around 2040. GAO has reported some similar things, although they never did spell it out quite as succinctly. One thing's for sure; I'm glad I'm not a grandchild right now. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:37:25 GMT+1 aquarizonagal http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=32#comment27 While visiting outside the USA, I needed emergency health care in a so called 'third world country' with a national health program. The care I received was more than adequate and I only paid for my bed in the hospital because I was not part of their health care system. They were horrified when I asked about paying for medical care I received and apologized for having to charge me for the bed!In the US, health care is a business for profit on the misery and sickness of people who will pay and pay and pay. Elsewhere, it is compassionate care and considered a right for all to be healed of pain. If the US continues to treat sickness as business, I think I will stay where I am. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:21:24 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=31#comment26 #3 Richard_SM: Actually, if you'll kindly have a look at this entry again, you'll find that Justin clearly stated that the "Democrats" are already formulating their adds against Sanford should he decide to run in 2012. That should give you a pretty clear indication that Sanford himself is indeed a Republican. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that most of the people around the world know the names of the two main parties in one of the mose powerful countries on earth.#12 Saint Dominick: That's it, give foreigners yet another reason to hate and/or take pitty on us and for us to be ashamed of ourselves! Cause we don't have enough reasons already!#22 Chronophobe: I wholeheartedly agree with your statement on health care, but am I understanding the rest of what you are trying to say correctly? Do you honestly think that along with sound, quality health care coverage, government should also guarantee its citizens their wealth and place of residence as well? Please explain. Thanks Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:09:46 GMT+1 tpapp157 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=30#comment25 #23The preamble does list "promote the general welfare" as the fourth reason for establishing the Constitution.Everyone needs to calm down over Obama. He's only five months into his presidency (that's 5 out of 48 or not even 1/8th) and still has plenty of time with a majority in congress. Just because he hasn't introduced some amazing foolproof and perfect healthcare plan doesn't mean that he doesn't have people working on one or that he's going back on his campaign promises. The fact that he's still talking about it (and maintaining this issue as a primary national debate) means that he still intends on doing something about it. It's the things that he's not talking about like social security or immigration that he's not planning on doing anything about. Keep your expectations reasonable but don't let up on the pressure. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:06:32 GMT+1 moderate_observer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=29#comment24 Ethics are never on the table with modern politicians and perhaps with the ancient ones as well . Everything that a politician does is due to public pressure and fear of losing their jobs. Their might be individual politicians who may be passionate about a thing or two but collectively as a group you can trust that they do not consider ethics over their own survival. Wed 24 Jun 2009 17:05:53 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=28#comment23 22, chrono - "Frame healthcare as an ethical debate"Ethical debate? Are there such debates here in the U.S.? Our misrepresentatives in Congress understand only money. Their money. Which comes from industry. Ethics are not on the table. (Of course, VT Senator Sanders is the exception, probably the only one.) Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:55:38 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=26#comment22 I found it very interesting indeed to discover that Scott "W." Atlas didn't even make one reference to the recent New York Times pole proclaiming loud and clear that 72%, 72%! of Americans would like to have the option to choose a -- shock! horror! -- "government run" health insurance plan in his article, But that instead he quotes a pole that was conducted two years ago, and further more doesn't even seem to let the thought enter his mind that perhaps, just perhaps, the Republicans arguing so hard against Obama's proposals are doing so based on falsehoods and/or out of selfishness and greed, and not with the true best interests of the nation at heart. He just assumes they're all totally right, and that the world as we know it will definitly come to an end if we even adopt one tenth of Obama's plan. Disgraceful!! So those things happen to people in the UK and Canada. Noone has ever claimed or is claiming that their systems are perfect. And I can guarantee you that the amount of people in those countries who are made to suffer said cruelest of elequently described fates is a whole lot less than he likes to incinuate. Ask anyone, rich or poor, American or non-American, if they would prefer to be cared for should they fall ill, and they will give you a swift, resounding, blunt reply: "yes." That's what this comes down to here. That's all. Those other issues can be worked around, but this basic essential element to a "happy" life (which is promised in our preamble) can not. If Republicans truely cared about the average person's plight in this country they would support it. Selfish sons of bitches!That second article is right on, though. Obama has a golden opertunity to get his health care reform (or should I say health care introduction) through, and he won't because of his obsession, still, with getting Republican cooperation and approval on everything! Its like he's deathly afraid of the 72% desire of Americans for health care reform. As if he believes its fictional or something. Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:40:45 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=25#comment21 One other thought: much of the healthcare debate I am hearing is focused on the advantages and disadvantages of changes for individuals as consumers. I would like to remind us all that we are also, and even foremost, citizens. That is, not only are we individuals using healthcare products and services, and therefore have a concern over the quality of those products and services, we are members of an ethical community who make decisions on what is right and wrong. Is is right or reasonable that the wealthiest society on the planet cannot guarantee all its citizens, regardless of their employment status, their health history, their wealth, their place of residence, and etc., a guaranteed level of quality healthcare?To my way of thinking, this is the point to start from. If there was a broad public consensus in the US that the goal of an ironclad, hell or high water public system must be articulated and implemented, it would be done. It is the right thing to do, and the questions of paying for it and etc. will fall in train.What I am hearing a lot of now is hand wringing about perceived threats to 'consumer choice' and loss of 'service quality,' which always seem more than a little ironic, given the warm fuzzy feeling most people seem to have toward HMOs and the like. The Hoover Institute report linked to by Justin is a case in point. Go to the Canadian or British systems, and you'll wait for your hip, and won't be cured of cancer, is what they threaten. Much of what is said in that report goes completely counter to my own empirical experience with the Canadian Healthcare System. Perhaps my experinces have been anomalous. But it makes me wish to dig a whole lot deeper into some of the assertions made (esp. the cancer survival rate stat -- this sounds highly politicized at first glance).In any event, all of the excellent choice and top notch care you will presumably be getting in the US system of course supposes that 'you' are a previously healthy person who is able to afford top notch insurance. But what if you lose your job, or just can't afford good insurance. What if you have a 'pre-existing condition' and can't get insurance. What if you are covered, but your new spouse or college aged kids aren't. Then what? Private insurance may be great for consumers who are able to buy, but not so great for citizens. And what's not great for citizens is not good for society. Such a fundamental inequality in such a wealthy society exacerbates cleavages based on income, race, education, etc. A society of haves and have-nots, with the gulf growing wider, and harder to cross by the day, is the result. Frame healthcare as an ethical debate, and let the economic wrangling take place within a framework of committed to it as the right thing, as that which must be done for the good of the Republic. Yours,Canadian Pinko Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:31:11 GMT+1 canadacold http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=24#comment20 The health care system is inefficient when it has so many restrictions and does not cover all people. I am not rich but am aware that most who are know how to get what they want The time spent finding out what is covered or not and is argued about costs moneyA relative in your fair country went in for back surgery, was all hooked up to an IV then the surgeon and neurosurgeon (who was not covered but agreed to watch pro bono) came in and recommended not operating after seeing the the xray together. This non treatment has already cost money that could have been used to treat someone without coverage and helped that particular personNo system is perfect Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:25:04 GMT+1 tpapp157 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=23#comment19 @chronophobeThe argument made in the article is that public health insurance would stifle innovation because it would deem new treatments/medicines as too expensive for the benefit they provide and not support them. So as a company, what is the incentive to dump huge amounts of money into developing a new drug if the health system won't support it? It is a very legitimate argument.What the article fails to take into account is that private health care also prescreens new treatments according to their benefit/cost ratio and frequently denies access to treatments deemed "experimental" (in other words: too expensive). I don't really see a difference between one organization or another both doing the same exact thing. What the article also fails to take into account is that the driving force behind where a company does its medical research and testing is experimental law. The US has relatively lax medical testing laws compared to European governments. It's no surprise then that companies would rather do their medical R&D in a country where testing permits are quicker, easier, and cheaper to get. Many of the benefits that the article attributes to private insurance have little or nothing to do with who provides the insurance and much more to do with the fact that the US government takes a very pro-business stance in terms of deregulation and tax incentives. Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:13:07 GMT+1 bere54 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=21#comment18 "Obama has to pick whom to disappoint and what to fight for. Above all, he should drop the obsession with winning wide Republican support for health reform. Time to stop idling and gun it out on the road."--- from the second link.It does seem very odd that with a Democratic majority in Congress and polls indicating most Americans approve of a public plan (and some polls showing a preference for single-payer), Obama's intent seems to be to please the Republicans. It appears that the Republicans are still running the country.Of course, Congress has the power here and could give Obama a decent bill to sign, but they won't because then they'd lose a major source of campaign contributions. None of them have the interests of the American public at heart. Obama is backpedaling in circles so fast he's making me dizzy. Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:09:53 GMT+1 moderate_observer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=20#comment17 #17, You can leave the innovation part out of my statement. I re-considered that after posting. Insurance is just a means of paying. Im thinking of the path of least resistance really. I am also thinking that with a one size fits all centrally governed insurance plan, you will have less choice as to how you are covered and you will probably have the government dictating how much they are willing to pay, which might scare some doctors off. They already tend to avoid medicare customers. But no, I don't think that the method of insurance impacts innovation directly in the short term. Wed 24 Jun 2009 16:00:16 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=19#comment16 re: 15 moderate_observer That way you dont kill private insurers and medical innovation in the process of covering everyone. I don't understand this line of thought (not being snarky, I honestly don't get it). Medical innovation is driven by large sums of gov't money, plus endowment money, plus corporate money, all chasing innovations that confer glory and profits on those who make breakthroughs. What difference does it make who is ultimately purchasing the final product? That is, how does private insurance contribute to medical/scientific innovation and discovery?Yours,Canadian Pinko Wed 24 Jun 2009 15:39:16 GMT+1 Risforme http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=18#comment15 In the US if you sign up to be an organ donor but don't have health insurance they will gladly harvest your organs just as quickly as they can declare you legally dead. However there is very little chance you'll be able to receive organ transplants. Because they take a look at your insurance and want to make sure you can pay for as many fees as possible. The result being not the neediest or who would do the most good but only those able to afford it. People are donating organs to save the lives of their fellow man. Yet those organs are turned into a for profit scheme so a few people on the business end can pad their incomes. The problem with for Profit health care is that money is an extremely poor reason to sentence someone to death. Wed 24 Jun 2009 15:20:11 GMT+1 moderate_observer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=17#comment14 the underlying issue is that as health care becomes more expensive and out of reach for many, the country on a whole will be less healthy and for those who care about things only in the term of dollars and cents, the economy cannot be supported and cannot grow if the nation is unhealthy. Health expenses is the cause for bankruptcy more than 60% of cases.The article stated by realclearpolicitics is true in its comparison of the 3 health care systems discussed, especially about the effects government mandated control will have on the industry. But the system as it is currently is not sustainable in any way.I heard the french has a good system, I do not know the details.As for the government available health insurance, I believe that this coverage should be a last resort where your qualification for coverage is based on your tax returns or incurred expenses in the case of illness. With that in place there would have to be an understanding that everyone is expected to spend some of their personal income on health insurance depending on what they make. A safety net based on your wealth and not just a general safety net that will 'crowd out' private business. That way you dont kill private insurers and medical innovation in the process of covering everyone. Special considerations in the case of someone losing their income (job). just a thought. Wed 24 Jun 2009 15:15:09 GMT+1 tpapp157 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=15#comment13 @Young-Mr-GraceAs far as I know, no major health insurer in the US has ever gone bankrupt so I don't think that anyone knows what would happen. Certainly no one wants to think about such a scenario. If you consider the recent financial crisis, no one thought it was possible for such large banks to go under so quickly but when they did the government had to make up rules on the spot. I imagine much the same would happen if a 'health crisis' occurred. The government would have to step in and arbitrate because as you point out, a large portion of patients would not be able to transfer to another company easily or at all and I would guess that the majority would see a price increase as a result.More to the point, I think that the point people are missing is that under private health insurance a company makes more profit when it provides less coverage. Therefore, a private company has a very powerful incentive to deny patients access to medical treatments because it means they'll make more money. It is a fundamentally flawed system. Private companies should ideally have incentives to provide more treatment, not less. This reason is why a public system is immediately better. After all, the US government is the largest non-profit organization in the world. I'd rather pay my money to the government where I know that that money will come back around to me in some way than pay my money to a private company where most of it will just go to lining some billionaire CEO's pocket while I still have to pay my deductible. Wed 24 Jun 2009 14:31:31 GMT+1 All4Generics http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=14#comment12 It's so sad and true about chronic patients not being able to afford health care. I did some research online and stumble across a new search engine that finds generic prescriptions within your ZIP code. It's called www.Medtipster.com and consumers type in their drug name, dosage and ZIP code, and can find prescription drugs available on discount generic programs and where they can find them in their neighborhoods. The site will eventually offer users information on scheduled immunizations, health screenings and mini-clinics in their area; recalls and warnings; an "Ask the Pharmacist" feature; and an online community in which individuals can share information.My friends have saved time and money using Medtipster.com Wed 24 Jun 2009 14:29:12 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=13#comment11 Hopefully people understand that the healthcare crisis in the USA goes well beyond the 46 million Americans who do not have insurance and the burden that the current system imposes on our corporations. It also includes millions of people that are under insured because they can not afford the exhorbitant premiums charged by insurance companies for unlimited eligibility to services, those with pre-existing conditions that are denied coverage for their ailment, and those transitioning from one job to another.My granddaughter's husband quit his job a month ago and got another job a week later at a Ford dealership (that's the good news.) He and his wife will be eligible for insurance coverage after a 3-month probationary period. Two weeks after quitting his job my grand daughter had a pap smear done and the results were positive. A gynecologist found growths in her cervix and did a biopsy to determine whether or not it is malignant. We should get the results today. The only option at their disposal, besides paying thousands of dollars if surgery is necessary (which they do not have) is COBRA. Because of their financial situation family members will have to pitch in to pay the COBRA premiums...hopefully they will not claim pre-existing condition and refuse coverage.We need healthcare reform as soon as possible. The problem goes well beyong the unfairness and inhumanity of the system, and the cost to corporations, the fear that millions of Americans feel as a result of what passes for the "best healthcare system in the world" does not have a price tag. Wed 24 Jun 2009 14:20:19 GMT+1 carolinalady http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=12#comment10 NOW LISTEN, Y'ALL: There are 3 key issues in the US healthcare system that must be dealt with before anyone can say this is free, fair and equitable. My spouse worked in the industry for 25 years and I've been well-covered, partially covered and left out in the cold, so I know what I'm talking about on this topic.#1 Full coverage: EVERYONE has to be covered! People who use the ER as their primary health care burden the system with costs that are never repaid. If they had primary care physicians and the proper preventive care and meds up front at reasonable or no cost to them, the charitable institutions could afford to be more charitable. #2 Transferability: we're a mobile population, so pegging health insurance to one's job was stupid to begin with, since it doesn't transfer from one to the next. #3 Pre-existing condition coverage: a result of #2. If we got rid of this stupidity, the out of pocket costs of individuals wouldn't drive them into bankruptcy.If whatever bill comes out of Congress in the next year "fixes" these 3 things, it can be said to have fixed healthcare, whatever else it does. All that political hoo-haw about single-payer and government interference is simply GOP/Big Insurance scare tactics. Wed 24 Jun 2009 13:52:14 GMT+1 Young-Mr-Grace http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=10#comment9 A quick question....What happens to an individual in the US if his health care insurer goes bust? (if it could happen to AIG...)I assume that a fit healthy young person would have no problem transferring to another insurer but what about the old or the sick? If someone is undergoing a lengthy and expensive course of treatment they would hardly be the sort of customer another insurer would want. Would their treatment be stopped? Would the govt step in to take over the cost of treatment? Would the law force other insurers to take on the customer even through they didn't want to as he would just go on the books as a loss?You're all doing very well !! Wed 24 Jun 2009 12:54:27 GMT+1 Andrew Prescott http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=9#comment8 Some others have done a good job of making some of the major points. The central facts are that the US health care has some of the best in the world at a huge cost, and some of the worst for a sector of the population. Most developed countries have decided to have a reasonable/basic level of health care at a reasonable cost for all. The main difference between the US and a third world country is that the best of the best is available to a larger proportion of a sector of the population the 'middle class' not just the very wealthy. But the main similarity between the US and a third world country is that such quality of life needs such as health care is not generally available to a larger sector of the population. You can debate if a long wait for hip replacements is 'reasonable' but is people dying because they have no health care a reasonable price to pay for some getting the best of the best. People can still choose to have extra private coverage and get the best of the best. And clearly no one is denying the right of people to get the best of the best if they are willing to pay extra. But for me the bottom line is a public health sytem avaiable to all at a reasonable price. Wed 24 Jun 2009 11:20:52 GMT+1 verycynicalskeptic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=8#comment7 The comments about not getting timely access to specialists only applies to the rich and powerful who have all encompassing insurance. As always americans discount those who do not have a hope in hell of getting a referral they could possibly afford as worthless and who cares if they die in the process. I suspect that these polls only ask those Americans who "matter". Wed 24 Jun 2009 11:01:20 GMT+1 saintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=7#comment6 According to recent polls 70% of Americans are in favor of healthcare reform, what many of us are concerned with is how are we going to pay for a system that, given our record, is bound to be prohibitively expensive. Sadly, the President has not done a good job at explaining his plan and unless he does a better job in explaining how it is going to be deployed, who and what it includes, how it is going to be run, and how are we going to pay for it I fear this effort is heading for disaster once again, not because of lack of merit but because of political incompetence...or fear. Wed 24 Jun 2009 10:58:41 GMT+1 vagueofgodalming http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=6#comment5 I think your'e missing an important part of the argument, Justin, which is that American healthcare is astonishingly poor value for money. As I understand it, the consensus is that, in the round, American health outcomes are broadly similar to those across the OECD (say), but costs are about 40% higher (as well as the unfairness aspect in distirbution of the outcomes - I couldn't get that link to open properly).Of course, right now, Obama doesn't have a healthcare plan - it's the Dems in Congress, but you're probably right that they'll need his engagement to succeed.While your 'hostile' link may be fair on the British and Canadians (who cares?), I don't believe it's fair on the US: he talks a lot about 'state-of-the-art' and 'modern' and 'choice' - but what people actually need is access to good, basic, primary care, preferably with a strong preventive dimension.I assume as part of your job you routinely read Ezra Klein, but, if not, he's the go-to source for this topic. Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:50:58 GMT+1 SaintOne http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=4#comment4 #4I suppose they aren't contradictory, but you can see how they have been used in such a way to "prove" a bias point. Also I have some beef with the articles as neither offer a fair view, both are very single-minded. O well, such is life. Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:43:39 GMT+1 dekehoustie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=3#comment3 The polling reults are not necissarily contradictory. 80% of Americans may be satisfied with their health care and still want a fundamental change in the system. All that requires is that they care about those that do not have good (or any) coverage and want to do something about it. Perhaps showing that Americans are more community-minded/willing to act collectively/not afraid of government being a supplier/socialist (pick your own label) than they are given credit for. Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:27:55 GMT+1 Richard_Berry http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=2#comment2 Justin,Again you've posted something that assumes readers have been following US political news closely.You are supposed to BE the main source of US political news for the British audience!Can't really appreciate your humourous comment about whoever has been walking in the woods because don't know what you're talking about. Managed to piece it together from following the link, but would have been easier if you'd written one sentence in introduction.Even with the link you've left ambiguities in the story. Neither you nor the link have stated which party this governor comes from. Surely that's quite important? I assume he's a republican from various clues in your posting and the article. Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:21:38 GMT+1 SaintOne http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=1#comment1 One of those articles say 85% of Americans want a fundamental change in health care, the other says 80% of Americans are satisfied with their health care..... I think that about sums up how unreliable polls can be.Obviously neither the British, the Canadian nor the American system is perfect, but out of the three, I would rather get ill in Britain if I were poor. If I were not poor, I would still choose Britain because I could always use my hypothetical money to go to a private hospital. I think the piece of mind knowing that you will get healthcare even if you have no money is a fantastic thing, and if you do have the money and think the NHS isn't all that great, you can always go private. Wed 24 Jun 2009 08:51:15 GMT+1 Young-Mr-Grace http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2009/06/big_week_for_healthcare.html?page=0#comment0 Now that the US govt has underwritten and/or nationalised in whole or in part much of the financial services industry which underpins the private health insurance companies and has also "rescued" the car manufacturers who had large health care commitments it could be argued that large numbers of americans now have de-facto governement health insurance.You're all doing very well !! Wed 24 Jun 2009 08:44:08 GMT+1