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RE: [bafuture] Health care crisis

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  • Song, Janice Y.
    ... We might just change that on November 2. If the Democrats win the White House, we will get the ball rolling. I don t think Kerry and Edwards are paying lip
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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      >Single payer is a no-brainer in health policy, but then Americans don't
      >have a social democratic party to speak sense in policy debates, just
      >the lame Democrats, so we debate medical savings accounts instead.

      We might just change that on November 2. If the Democrats win the White
      House, we will get the ball rolling. I don't think Kerry and Edwards are
      paying lip service to the domestic issues. If they win, they will clean
      house. If the Bush administration is re-elected, at least they are forced to
      see (though they might not touch) the issue with their solution, supposedly
      medical savings accounts or personal investment accounts.

      Coincidentally, the issue was right on the front page of today's USA Today.
      I believe we are rapidly painting ourselves into the corner because other
      problems are compounding. Namely funding the baby boomers' retirement
      benefits, Social Security and Medicare. Life is full of ironies and one
      irony is that while we spend billions a year on chronic illnesses, we are
      also expected to have a longer life expectancy. So the math gets more
      complicated and the numbers reach into the stratosphere.

      USA Today printed a number of proposed solutions. I like the "Enact Price
      Control" idea. To quote the paper, a) "A national health care system,
      similar to those in other industrialized countries, could cut costs by
      setting prices, paying all bills and reducing overhead. A proposal published
      last year in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation would end
      private insurance and for-profit hospitals altogether." b) "Government could
      set best practice guidelines that doctors would have to follow. For example,
      the government might determine that standard treatment for arthritis is
      ibuprofen at 10 cents a day rather than Celebrex at $2 a day, unless there
      is a compelling reason to deviate from the best practice." c) "Price
      controls on prescription drugs, medical devices and doctors' services could
      be enacted. For example, drug prices could be reduced by allowing lower-cost
      imports or changing patent laws to shorten a company's monopoly on a
      medicine." The conservatives want to push tax-free personal investment
      accounts by diverting some of Social Security taxes into personal retirement
      accounts, at reduced benefits. Other ideas are making the affluent pay more,
      raise the retirement age, and cut Medicare and Social Security costs.

      Some other facts from the "Money" section: Total U.S. health care costs are
      14.6% of the GDP, compared to 5% in 1960. The cost of Social Security and
      medical care in the USA for the next 70 years are expected to hit $43
      trillion. In Sweden, the cost of a day's stay in the hosptial is $11 and
      there is a cap of $122 on medical fees per year. Sweden's national and local
      tax base is 53% while USA's tax base is 43%. Norway enjoys a budget surplus
      of 12% of its GDP.

      Janice
    • Greg Trifiletti
      Could we please limit futurist posts to futurist topics. There are plenty of other forums to discuss public policy. I enjoy some of the futurist thread
      Message 2 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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        Could we please limit futurist posts to futurist
        topics. There are plenty of other forums to discuss
        public policy. I enjoy some of the futurist thread
        conversations and links generated by this group and
        would rather not be driven off by off-theme banter.

        And no, I don't think this thread is futuristic in any
        meaningful way. Talking about how the technology of
        health care will change over time and what those
        implications might have on public health is one thing.
        Simplistic policy discussion ("Single payer is a
        no-brainer") is political talk. If you want to preach
        that fixing the health care system is an easy
        proposition, there are plenty of forums in the Bay
        Area that will lend a sympatheic ear.

        Thanks,
        Greg


        --- "Song, Janice
        Y." <janice.y.song@...> wrote:

        > >Single payer is a no-brainer in health policy, but
        > then Americans don't
        > >have a social democratic party to speak sense in
        > policy debates, just
        > >the lame Democrats, so we debate medical savings
        > accounts instead.
        >
        > We might just change that on November 2. If the
        > Democrats win the White
        > House, we will get the ball rolling. I don't think
        > Kerry and Edwards are
        > paying lip service to the domestic issues. If they
        > win, they will clean
        > house. If the Bush administration is re-elected, at
        > least they are forced to
        > see (though they might not touch) the issue with
        > their solution, supposedly
        > medical savings accounts or personal investment
        > accounts.
        >
        > Coincidentally, the issue was right on the front
        > page of today's USA Today.
        > I believe we are rapidly painting ourselves into the
        > corner because other
        > problems are compounding. Namely funding the baby
        > boomers' retirement
        > benefits, Social Security and Medicare. Life is full
        > of ironies and one
        > irony is that while we spend billions a year on
        > chronic illnesses, we are
        > also expected to have a longer life expectancy. So
        > the math gets more
        > complicated and the numbers reach into the
        > stratosphere.
        >
        > USA Today printed a number of proposed solutions. I
        > like the "Enact Price
        > Control" idea. To quote the paper, a) "A national
        > health care system,
        > similar to those in other industrialized countries,
        > could cut costs by
        > setting prices, paying all bills and reducing
        > overhead. A proposal published
        > last year in the Journal of the American Medical
        > Assocation would end
        > private insurance and for-profit hospitals
        > altogether." b) "Government could
        > set best practice guidelines that doctors would have
        > to follow. For example,
        > the government might determine that standard
        > treatment for arthritis is
        > ibuprofen at 10 cents a day rather than Celebrex at
        > $2 a day, unless there
        > is a compelling reason to deviate from the best
        > practice." c) "Price
        > controls on prescription drugs, medical devices and
        > doctors' services could
        > be enacted. For example, drug prices could be
        > reduced by allowing lower-cost
        > imports or changing patent laws to shorten a
        > company's monopoly on a
        > medicine." The conservatives want to push tax-free
        > personal investment
        > accounts by diverting some of Social Security taxes
        > into personal retirement
        > accounts, at reduced benefits. Other ideas are
        > making the affluent pay more,
        > raise the retirement age, and cut Medicare and
        > Social Security costs.
        >
        > Some other facts from the "Money" section: Total
        > U.S. health care costs are
        > 14.6% of the GDP, compared to 5% in 1960. The cost
        > of Social Security and
        > medical care in the USA for the next 70 years are
        > expected to hit $43
        > trillion. In Sweden, the cost of a day's stay in the
        > hosptial is $11 and
        > there is a cap of $122 on medical fees per year.
        > Sweden's national and local
        > tax base is 53% while USA's tax base is 43%. Norway
        > enjoys a budget surplus
        > of 12% of its GDP.
        >
        > Janice
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Troy Gardner
        ... Fiar enough, anybody care to venture an opinion to what degree medical technology rides Moores law curve, though externally quite the opposite seems to be
        Message 3 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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          > Could we please limit futurist posts to futurist
          > topics. There are plenty of other forums to discuss
          > public policy.

          Fiar enough, anybody care to venture an opinion to what degree medical
          technology rides Moores law curve, though externally quite the opposite seems
          to be getting more costly?

          Some ideas:

          Computers aren't yet sophisticated enough to model human/drug interactions in
          any meaningful way, yet. Thus they can't help that much.

          Much of the trials is still non-automatible, thus relying upon human perception
          and labor.

          Scanning technology is still to primitive (lack of visibility) and unaccessible
          to be used in replacements of normal checkups and tests, and/or AI isn't
          sufficently robust to use these scans to determine problems (lack of
          perception, understanding).

          The cost involved in many Hi-tech items (e.g. MRI's, robotic surgeons) has
          nothing to do with end manufacturing costs, and economies of scale don't really
          help that much since so few of them are being made, and the barrier to entry is
          so high. This is not necessarily the case for small medical devices (e.g. IV
          needle butterfly's, home dialsis, insulin etc) which have been riding the rapid
          curve provided by technology and rapid prototyping, but they still have to go
          through expensive hurdles(liability, insurance, R&D, medical trials, marketing
          ).

          It's getting more expensive as the problems are getting harder. One might draw
          a parrallel between biotech trials and the cost of newer building new
          semiconductor factories. We've run out of asprins, now everything is smaller
          lesser known pathway. Just guessing that biotech research probably fails at a
          higher rate at a higher cost as in trials of drugs, a few people get sick or
          die, and nobody uses the drug anymore. Rather than breaking a piece of silicon
          or something.

          Curious if people would feel more comfortable with a robot surgeon (guided by a
          real one) than a real surgeon. At siggraph they were showing virtual surgeries
          using real scans, for practice, and placement/construction of part of a
          (artificial) jaw, but saying that part of the procedure still has to be done by
          hand due to regulations/trials.


          =====
          Troy Gardner -"How you live your seconds, is how you live your days, is how you live your life..."

          http://www.troygardner.com -my world, philosophy, music, writings.
          http://www.troyworks.com -consulting & training in Flash, Java, and C#
          http://www.intrio.com -helping bridge the gap between the humans and machines. Home of the Flickey�
        • Joschka Fisher
          from joschka fischer: I don t completely agree. Grandstanding...ok, that s out. But no matter what the technological/medical advances. That computer isn t
          Message 4 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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            from joschka fischer:

            I don't completely agree.


            Grandstanding...ok, that's out.

            But no matter what the technological/medical
            advances. That computer isn't gonna walk up to your
            door and administer the surgery.

            From unnecessary procedures like botox, to face
            transplants to emergency medicine....we lack the
            ability/will to deliver appropriate medical care to
            the masses and it is a "technology", defined by
            hardware, software and people.

            An until you figure that one out....no matter what
            you come up with in the research lab...is useless in
            the field!





            --- Greg Trifiletti <gregtrif@...> a écrit :
            >
            > Could we please limit futurist posts to futurist
            > topics. There are plenty of other forums to discuss
            > public policy. I enjoy some of the futurist thread
            > conversations and links generated by this group and
            > would rather not be driven off by off-theme banter.
            >
            > And no, I don't think this thread is futuristic in
            > any
            > meaningful way. Talking about how the technology of
            > health care will change over time and what those
            > implications might have on public health is one
            > thing.
            > Simplistic policy discussion ("Single payer is a
            > no-brainer") is political talk. If you want to
            > preach
            > that fixing the health care system is an easy
            > proposition, there are plenty of forums in the Bay
            > Area that will lend a sympatheic ear.
            >
            > Thanks,
            > Greg
            >
            >
            > --- "Song, Janice
            > Y." <janice.y.song@...> wrote:
            >
            > > >Single payer is a no-brainer in health policy,
            > but
            > > then Americans don't
            > > >have a social democratic party to speak sense in
            > > policy debates, just
            > > >the lame Democrats, so we debate medical savings
            > > accounts instead.
            > >
            > > We might just change that on November 2. If the
            > > Democrats win the White
            > > House, we will get the ball rolling. I don't think
            > > Kerry and Edwards are
            > > paying lip service to the domestic issues. If they
            > > win, they will clean
            > > house. If the Bush administration is re-elected,
            > at
            > > least they are forced to
            > > see (though they might not touch) the issue with
            > > their solution, supposedly
            > > medical savings accounts or personal investment
            > > accounts.
            > >
            > > Coincidentally, the issue was right on the front
            > > page of today's USA Today.
            > > I believe we are rapidly painting ourselves into
            > the
            > > corner because other
            > > problems are compounding. Namely funding the baby
            > > boomers' retirement
            > > benefits, Social Security and Medicare. Life is
            > full
            > > of ironies and one
            > > irony is that while we spend billions a year on
            > > chronic illnesses, we are
            > > also expected to have a longer life expectancy. So
            > > the math gets more
            > > complicated and the numbers reach into the
            > > stratosphere.
            > >
            > > USA Today printed a number of proposed solutions.
            > I
            > > like the "Enact Price
            > > Control" idea. To quote the paper, a) "A national
            > > health care system,
            > > similar to those in other industrialized
            > countries,
            > > could cut costs by
            > > setting prices, paying all bills and reducing
            > > overhead. A proposal published
            > > last year in the Journal of the American Medical
            > > Assocation would end
            > > private insurance and for-profit hospitals
            > > altogether." b) "Government could
            > > set best practice guidelines that doctors would
            > have
            > > to follow. For example,
            > > the government might determine that standard
            > > treatment for arthritis is
            > > ibuprofen at 10 cents a day rather than Celebrex
            > at
            > > $2 a day, unless there
            > > is a compelling reason to deviate from the best
            > > practice." c) "Price
            > > controls on prescription drugs, medical devices
            > and
            > > doctors' services could
            > > be enacted. For example, drug prices could be
            > > reduced by allowing lower-cost
            > > imports or changing patent laws to shorten a
            > > company's monopoly on a
            > > medicine." The conservatives want to push
            > tax-free
            > > personal investment
            > > accounts by diverting some of Social Security
            > taxes
            > > into personal retirement
            > > accounts, at reduced benefits. Other ideas are
            > > making the affluent pay more,
            > > raise the retirement age, and cut Medicare and
            > > Social Security costs.
            > >
            > > Some other facts from the "Money" section: Total
            > > U.S. health care costs are
            > > 14.6% of the GDP, compared to 5% in 1960. The cost
            > > of Social Security and
            > > medical care in the USA for the next 70 years are
            > > expected to hit $43
            > > trillion. In Sweden, the cost of a day's stay in
            > the
            > > hosptial is $11 and
            > > there is a cap of $122 on medical fees per year.
            > > Sweden's national and local
            > > tax base is 53% while USA's tax base is 43%.
            > Norway
            > > enjoys a budget surplus
            > > of 12% of its GDP.
            > >
            > > Janice
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            >
            >
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          • Hughes, James J.
            ... I found this article interesting: The Impact of Medical Technology on Future Health Care Costs 2001 - Blue Cross
            Message 5 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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              > Fiar enough, anybody care to venture an opinion to what
              > degree medical technology rides Moores law curve, though
              > externally quite the opposite seems to be getting more costly?

              I found this article interesting:

              "The Impact of Medical Technology on Future Health Care Costs" 2001 -
              Blue Cross
              http://membership.hiaa.org/pdfs/FinalReport.pdf

              for all the things it left out:
              - anti-aging therapies
              - the disaggregation of the hospital into home diagnosis, treatment and
              care
              - nanomedicine

              Etc.

              > Computers aren't yet sophisticated enough to model human/drug
              > interactions in any meaningful way, yet. Thus they can't help
              > that much.

              Not true - there are quite a few experiments under way to model virtual
              drug trials.

              IMHO the other big cost saver (in addition to single payer) will be
              anti-aging therapy which will drive down the cost of treatment and care
              for the disabled elderly.

              ------------------------
              James J. Hughes Ph.D.
              Public Policy Studies
              Trinity College
              300 Summit St., Hartford CT 06106 USA
              james.hughes@...
              (office) 860-297-2376

              Executive Director
              World Transhumanist Association
              http://transhumanism.org
              Box 128, Willington CT 06279 USA
              director@...

              Author of Citizen Cyborg
              (Westview Press, 2004)
              http://cyborgdemocracy.net/citizencyborg.htm
            • Greg Trifiletti
              There are ways to dramatically change the cost of delivering effective health care to the greater population. As the species gains a better understanding of
              Message 6 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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                There are ways to dramatically change the cost of
                delivering effective health care to the greater
                population. As the species gains a better
                understanding of the genome, it is possible that
                medicine will experience significant increases in
                efficiencies.

                For example: if we can combine a deep understanding of
                the genome and strong computational power to allow for
                effective modeling, it may be possible to produce
                highly effective (and precise) drugs at a fraction of
                today's cost and time. A workable distribution system
                for drugs already exists; if the cost structure (to
                include government approval and oversight) are reduced
                significantly, it is possible to have a dramatic
                effect on health care with advances in just this one
                area.

                Will drug effectiveness increase that much? Will it
                be possible to have government oversight of health
                care altered in ways to help the market realize future
                efficiencies? I don't know - but the early 21st
                century seems to offer up real possibilities to
                improve health care in dramatic ways that may start to
                turn the tide of rising health care costs and
                shrinking health care access.


                --- Joschka Fisher <grabarkowic@...> wrote:

                > from joschka fischer:
                >
                > I don't completely agree.
                >
                >
                > Grandstanding...ok, that's out.
                >
                > But no matter what the technological/medical
                > advances. That computer isn't gonna walk up to
                > your
                > door and administer the surgery.
                >
                > From unnecessary procedures like botox, to face
                > transplants to emergency medicine....we lack the
                > ability/will to deliver appropriate medical care to
                > the masses and it is a "technology", defined by
                > hardware, software and people.
                >
                > An until you figure that one out....no matter what
                > you come up with in the research lab...is useless in
                > the field!
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > --- Greg Trifiletti <gregtrif@...> a �crit�:
                > >
                > > Could we please limit futurist posts to futurist
                > > topics. There are plenty of other forums to
                > discuss
                > > public policy. I enjoy some of the futurist
                > thread
                > > conversations and links generated by this group
                > and
                > > would rather not be driven off by off-theme
                > banter.
                > >
                > > And no, I don't think this thread is futuristic in
                > > any
                > > meaningful way. Talking about how the technology
                > of
                > > health care will change over time and what those
                > > implications might have on public health is one
                > > thing.
                > > Simplistic policy discussion ("Single payer is a
                > > no-brainer") is political talk. If you want to
                > > preach
                > > that fixing the health care system is an easy
                > > proposition, there are plenty of forums in the Bay
                > > Area that will lend a sympatheic ear.
                > >
                > > Thanks,
                > > Greg
                > >
                > >
                > > --- "Song, Janice
                > > Y." <janice.y.song@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > > >Single payer is a no-brainer in health policy,
                > > but
                > > > then Americans don't
                > > > >have a social democratic party to speak sense
                > in
                > > > policy debates, just
                > > > >the lame Democrats, so we debate medical
                > savings
                > > > accounts instead.
                > > >
                > > > We might just change that on November 2. If the
                > > > Democrats win the White
                > > > House, we will get the ball rolling. I don't
                > think
                > > > Kerry and Edwards are
                > > > paying lip service to the domestic issues. If
                > they
                > > > win, they will clean
                > > > house. If the Bush administration is re-elected,
                > > at
                > > > least they are forced to
                > > > see (though they might not touch) the issue with
                > > > their solution, supposedly
                > > > medical savings accounts or personal investment
                > > > accounts.
                > > >
                > > > Coincidentally, the issue was right on the front
                > > > page of today's USA Today.
                > > > I believe we are rapidly painting ourselves into
                > > the
                > > > corner because other
                > > > problems are compounding. Namely funding the
                > baby
                > > > boomers' retirement
                > > > benefits, Social Security and Medicare. Life is
                > > full
                > > > of ironies and one
                > > > irony is that while we spend billions a year on
                > > > chronic illnesses, we are
                > > > also expected to have a longer life expectancy.
                > So
                > > > the math gets more
                > > > complicated and the numbers reach into the
                > > > stratosphere.
                > > >
                > > > USA Today printed a number of proposed
                > solutions.
                > > I
                > > > like the "Enact Price
                > > > Control" idea. To quote the paper, a) "A
                > national
                > > > health care system,
                > > > similar to those in other industrialized
                > > countries,
                > > > could cut costs by
                > > > setting prices, paying all bills and reducing
                > > > overhead. A proposal published
                > > > last year in the Journal of the American Medical
                > > > Assocation would end
                > > > private insurance and for-profit hospitals
                > > > altogether." b) "Government could
                > > > set best practice guidelines that doctors would
                > > have
                > > > to follow. For example,
                > > > the government might determine that standard
                > > > treatment for arthritis is
                > > > ibuprofen at 10 cents a day rather than Celebrex
                > > at
                > > > $2 a day, unless there
                > > > is a compelling reason to deviate from the best
                > > > practice." c) "Price
                > > > controls on prescription drugs, medical devices
                > > and
                > > > doctors' services could
                > > > be enacted. For example, drug prices could be
                > > > reduced by allowing lower-cost
                > > > imports or changing patent laws to shorten a
                > > > company's monopoly on a
                > > > medicine." The conservatives want to push
                > > tax-free
                > > > personal investment
                > > > accounts by diverting some of Social Security
                > > taxes
                > > > into personal retirement
                > > > accounts, at reduced benefits. Other ideas are
                > > > making the affluent pay more,
                > > > raise the retirement age, and cut Medicare and
                > > > Social Security costs.
                > > >
                > > > Some other facts from the "Money" section: Total
                > > > U.S. health care costs are
                > > > 14.6% of the GDP, compared to 5% in 1960. The
                > cost
                > > > of Social Security and
                > > > medical care in the USA for the next 70 years
                > are
                > > > expected to hit $43
                > > > trillion. In Sweden, the cost of a day's stay in
                > > the
                > > > hosptial is $11 and
                > > > there is a cap of $122 on medical fees per year.
                > > > Sweden's national and local
                > > > tax base is 53% while USA's tax base is 43%.
                > > Norway
                > > > enjoys a budget surplus
                > > > of 12% of its GDP.
                > > >
                > > > Janice
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                > > --------------------~-->
                > > Make a clean sweep of pop-up ads. Yahoo! Companion
                > > Toolbar.
                > > Now with Pop-Up Blocker. Get it for free!
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                http://us.click.yahoo.com/L5YrjA/eSIIAA/yQLSAA/sVPplB/TM
                > >
                >
                --------------------------------------------------------------------~->
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                > >
                > > to:
                > > bafuture-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > >
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                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                === message truncated ===
              • Joschka Fisher
                Greetings from joscha fischer: I ll capitulate on this..., insofar as I d like to see some commentary & preferably data on not just some new medical technique
                Message 7 of 13 , Oct 5, 2004
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                  Greetings from joscha fischer:

                  I'll capitulate on this..., insofar as I'd like to
                  see
                  some commentary & preferably data on not just some new
                  medical technique but additionally how it's being
                  "gotten to the masses" for lack of a better term.

                  One poster keeps putting a computer between every
                  problem and the public. That's not the answer. The
                  French realized it and it's certainly bad for your sex
                  life :).

                  Anywho....solutions that exempt man's direct
                  interaction seem shortsighted



                  --- Joschka Fisher <grabarkowic@...> a écrit :
                  >
                  > from joschka fischer:
                  >
                  > I don't completely agree.
                  >
                  >
                  > Grandstanding...ok, that's out.
                  >
                  > But no matter what the technological/medical
                  > advances. That computer isn't gonna walk up to
                  > your
                  > door and administer the surgery.
                  >
                  > From unnecessary procedures like botox, to face
                  > transplants to emergency medicine....we lack the
                  > ability/will to deliver appropriate medical care to
                  > the masses and it is a "technology", defined by
                  > hardware, software and people.
                  >
                  > An until you figure that one out....no matter what
                  > you come up with in the research lab...is useless in
                  > the field!
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- Greg Trifiletti <gregtrif@...> a écrit :
                  > >
                  > > Could we please limit futurist posts to futurist
                  > > topics. There are plenty of other forums to
                  > discuss
                  > > public policy. I enjoy some of the futurist
                  > thread
                  > > conversations and links generated by this group
                  > and
                  > > would rather not be driven off by off-theme
                  > banter.
                  > >
                  > > And no, I don't think this thread is futuristic in
                  > > any
                  > > meaningful way. Talking about how the technology
                  > of
                  > > health care will change over time and what those
                  > > implications might have on public health is one
                  > > thing.
                  > > Simplistic policy discussion ("Single payer is a
                  > > no-brainer") is political talk. If you want to
                  > > preach
                  > > that fixing the health care system is an easy
                  > > proposition, there are plenty of forums in the Bay
                  > > Area that will lend a sympatheic ear.
                  > >
                  > > Thanks,
                  > > Greg
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > --- "Song, Janice
                  > > Y." <janice.y.song@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > > >Single payer is a no-brainer in health policy,
                  > > but
                  > > > then Americans don't
                  > > > >have a social democratic party to speak sense
                  > in
                  > > > policy debates, just
                  > > > >the lame Democrats, so we debate medical
                  > savings
                  > > > accounts instead.
                  > > >
                  > > > We might just change that on November 2. If the
                  > > > Democrats win the White
                  > > > House, we will get the ball rolling. I don't
                  > think
                  > > > Kerry and Edwards are
                  > > > paying lip service to the domestic issues. If
                  > they
                  > > > win, they will clean
                  > > > house. If the Bush administration is re-elected,
                  > > at
                  > > > least they are forced to
                  > > > see (though they might not touch) the issue with
                  > > > their solution, supposedly
                  > > > medical savings accounts or personal investment
                  > > > accounts.
                  > > >
                  > > > Coincidentally, the issue was right on the front
                  > > > page of today's USA Today.
                  > > > I believe we are rapidly painting ourselves into
                  > > the
                  > > > corner because other
                  > > > problems are compounding. Namely funding the
                  > baby
                  > > > boomers' retirement
                  > > > benefits, Social Security and Medicare. Life is
                  > > full
                  > > > of ironies and one
                  > > > irony is that while we spend billions a year on
                  > > > chronic illnesses, we are
                  > > > also expected to have a longer life expectancy.
                  > So
                  > > > the math gets more
                  > > > complicated and the numbers reach into the
                  > > > stratosphere.
                  > > >
                  > > > USA Today printed a number of proposed
                  > solutions.
                  > > I
                  > > > like the "Enact Price
                  > > > Control" idea. To quote the paper, a) "A
                  > national
                  > > > health care system,
                  > > > similar to those in other industrialized
                  > > countries,
                  > > > could cut costs by
                  > > > setting prices, paying all bills and reducing
                  > > > overhead. A proposal published
                  > > > last year in the Journal of the American Medical
                  > > > Assocation would end
                  > > > private insurance and for-profit hospitals
                  > > > altogether." b) "Government could
                  > > > set best practice guidelines that doctors would
                  > > have
                  > > > to follow. For example,
                  > > > the government might determine that standard
                  > > > treatment for arthritis is
                  > > > ibuprofen at 10 cents a day rather than Celebrex
                  > > at
                  > > > $2 a day, unless there
                  > > > is a compelling reason to deviate from the best
                  > > > practice." c) "Price
                  > > > controls on prescription drugs, medical devices
                  > > and
                  > > > doctors' services could
                  > > > be enacted. For example, drug prices could be
                  > > > reduced by allowing lower-cost
                  > > > imports or changing patent laws to shorten a
                  > > > company's monopoly on a
                  > > > medicine." The conservatives want to push
                  > > tax-free
                  > > > personal investment
                  > > > accounts by diverting some of Social Security
                  > > taxes
                  > > > into personal retirement
                  > > > accounts, at reduced benefits. Other ideas are
                  > > > making the affluent pay more,
                  > > > raise the retirement age, and cut Medicare and
                  > > > Social Security costs.
                  > > >
                  > > > Some other facts from the "Money" section: Total
                  > > > U.S. health care costs are
                  > > > 14.6% of the GDP, compared to 5% in 1960. The
                  > cost
                  > > > of Social Security and
                  > > > medical care in the USA for the next 70 years
                  > are
                  > > > expected to hit $43
                  > > > trillion. In Sweden, the cost of a day's stay in
                  > > the
                  > > > hosptial is $11 and
                  > > > there is a cap of $122 on medical fees per year.
                  > > > Sweden's national and local
                  > > > tax base is 53% while USA's tax base is 43%.
                  > > Norway
                  > > > enjoys a budget surplus
                  > > > of 12% of its GDP.
                  > > >
                  > > > Janice
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
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