Universal healthcare grassroots movement - page 4

IT'S TIME TO ESTABLISH A POPULAR GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE As the economy slows down, and more Americans are facing the potential financial burdens of inadequate health... Read More

  1. by   fergus51
    Wow. Thanks for the reply feistynurse. Now that you mention it, I have never heard of Canadian nurses moving to Mississippi or Alabama for the money. The money spent on health care is very interesting too.
  2. by   fiestynurse
    fergus51--It's nice to discuss universal health care with somebody who has experienced both systems first hand. I realized that I have to be careful when I throw-out statistics and data, when discussing such a highly debated and hot topic. I have to make sure I state where I retrieved the information from.
    This is an area that I have researched heavily and am very well versed in. Since my involvement with "Health Care for All" here in California, I have taught classes in Health Care Policy. So, I do get a little cared away. (to say the least) This BB really helps me refine my arguments, because I get such a wide variety of responses. Thanks fergus51!!
    Last edit by fiestynurse on Aug 1, '01
  3. by   RNed
    A few points to ponder have been brought up.

    If the Canadian system has so many healthcare workers unionized then why does the system appear to have difficulties with keeping and mantaining a work force? Numerous posts talk of nurses joining unions and bringing power to the unions by increasing membership in the U.S. Yet, if Canada has so many members wouldn't one think they would be a power force demanding postive work environments and increased pay and then acheiving those demands. I support increased union membership in the States, yet, I had not considered this large membership in Canada. It would be interesting to know why with this type of membership conditions are not better for nurses in Canada over nurses in the States.

    If the Canada system needs to put more money into its healthcare, why should we consider a like system? It appears the same problems exist in both - lack of adequate healthcare and lack of funding.

    Univeral healthcare insurance is a method to insure all people, but its primary goal is to provide healthcare for the working poor and non-working. A noble idea, however, it mandates the working individual to pay and does not demand accountability or responsibility to non-working individuals. This is a tax. The big hurtle is that not all working people are willing to be taxed for healthcare for non-working people. How many are willing to lose their childrens college education, sacifice their vacations, retirement, savings, etc. to fund another subsidy program? The problem with universal healthcare insurance is the only portion of society paying - is the workers. It will reduce adminstrative cost and it will increase delivery and cost of healthcare by inclusion of an additional (40 - 60 million) non-paying subscribers. Will the difference provide that much savings?

    If we adopt a universal system, we will also have a private pay system. Therefore, those with additional insurance and private money will take first position with our medical providers and they will continue to court this group because the bottom line is -healthcare is a commercial product. The only way for universal heatlhcare to save money is by making all other medical insurance illegal and that is not likely.

    What is so wrong with being rich that all others must demand their money. Because of that wealth are they suppose to pay more and receive less? Just because they were prudent, lived below their means, invested, worked three jobs and put themself thru college and made good financial decisions, should they be mandated to pay more? Those who have sacrificed and done things right, do desire more and are entitled to more, otherwise there is no reason to work so hard !!

    Are we going to solve the problem of people dying? No, we continue to deny the fact that people die. And more times than not no amount of money is going to change that fact. We have failed to educate society about medical care. We continue to do open hearts on people who will not survive. We continue to provide drug and alcohol rehab as many times as needed knowing they will drink as soon as released. We need to establish limits to the type and the amount of care provided.

    Healthcare is not a "right". It is a commercial product not unlike carpentery, home building, accounting or banking. Those with money or insurance are at the top of the heap, those without are at the bottom. Universal heatlhcare insurance is not going to change this fact. Making healthcare a "right" is not going to work in a supply and demand economy.

    The current health system can be improved. However, I am unwilling to finance another system "sight unseen". When I say a healthcare policy, I make a mistake, I should say show me the insurance policy, let me see what is covered, what is not covered, what is the deductable, who pays if I'm unable to pay the deductable, what are my maximum out of pocket expenses, is there an increased financial penalty for risky behaviors and is there healthy option discounts? What is the estimated monthly cost of universal health care insurance, per single individual, per couple and per family ?

    Tell me how much it will cost and then and only then I will decide if I am willing to "buy".

    I find the information shared to be of value. I have learned why universal insurance would be of value and I like the concept however, I am not convinced we can do or make the hard choices necessary for it to work. To often we find our Courts making judical mandates and we lose intent and purpose over the long haul. Soc. Securty is a great concept, why is it not working? poor planning, poor decisions, poor rulings, not enough foresight ?
    Last edit by RNed on Jul 29, '01
  4. by   fergus51
    RNed- The Canadian workforce in health is becoming inadequate for the same reasons as in the US. People can make better money elsewhere working in easier jobs, and a lot of nurses are retirement age. The system in place doesn't really make a difference.

    The unions here are, in my opinion, very powerful. We have been offered a 22 percent raise over 3 years. The consessions still suck, but I think that is pretty good $$ to get from the gov't. And in my opinion, conditions are better here on average. I wouldn't still be here if they weren't. I know a lot of nurses are seduced by the big bucks they can make in the US, but I always say they need to pick where they are going to work very carefuly. I have worked in a fabulous hospital in the US, and one that I wouldn't want my dog cared for at as the staff were basically sweat shop workers.

    Feisty- do you have a web site or anything for your "health care for all" or others that would show such statistics? I am interested. Thanks
  5. by   fiestynurse
    Here is the "Health Care for All - California" Website:

  6. by   fergus51
    Thanks, feistynurse, I appreciate it. I'll look it over more when I have some sleep.
  7. by   donmurray
    I suspect that the answer to the point about unionisation, and the Canadian healthcare system's current difficulties, is another question. How bad would things be for Canadian RN's if they were not unionised?
  8. by   fiestynurse
    RNed, you ask many good questions. Even though I can tell you that single payer will not cost anything more than what you are paying now and for many it will even cost less, I know you want the hard cold facts. This is why "Health Care for All" worked so hard to pass SB480, which calls for an evaluation and comparison of alternative strategies for achieving universal coverage and lists criteria to be met by all reform options. They include cost controls, comprehensive benefits, patient satisfaction and outcomes and various measurements of the quality of care. Hopefully, this will be our last hurdle in convincing people that it will work. Nobody will be sacrificing their children's education, losing retirement savings, vacations, etc. Did you know that people are already losing these things in the present system. Health care debt is becoming the number one reason for people to file for bankrupcy.
    These are people who thought they had adequate health insurance.
  9. by   fergus51
    Originally posted by donmurray
    I suspect that the answer to the point about unionisation, and the Canadian healthcare system's current difficulties, is another question. How bad would things be for Canadian RN's if they were not unionised?
  10. by   RNed
    Fiestynurse I reviewed your posting and read information on the Web site you shared regarding HCA. I am not totally against a universal system designed to improve the heatlh and care given in this country.

    Like many I have lost faith in our government processes to make the necessary changes to accomplish a very difficult task.

    There is a substantial problem in distribution of funds rather than an absence of funds.

    We are not getting the funds (healthcare) to the people that would benefit the most. Repeatedly I care for alcoholics, drug addicts and others who are using subsidized healthcare dollars, yet, as soon as able to stand vertical, they return to unhealthy habits. While at the same time we are unable to provide bone marrow transplants, etc. to our children who would have a full life ahead of them if healthcare was timely and appropriate.

    Our goals are the same, it is our paths that are different. I can support a review (HCA), however, as I read the information, my concern is that it has developed a solution and therefore will be more prone to find data supporting that solution rather than reviewing other options or thinking "outside the box".

    A single payer system will not change the fact - that the rich and educated will receive better care then the poor and uneducated. In our society if the rich have the money there will be a medical market designed to access that money and it will be better care because the rich will not buy average or less care. We are unable to level the playing field in a supply and demand economy even if it is a noble plan.

    Once the data and review is completed would (HCA) review a single payer system for the uninsured, indigent, poor and working poor and can this review include all subsidized services including housing and food and leave the private market as is?

    If we consolidate all services thru one clearinghouse we could increase efficency, lessen adminstrative expenses and have better followup and outcomes. It seems to me good healthcare needs to include shelter and food and it is appropriate that we include those items now rather than later. The current support systems are fragmented and allow abuses and duplications in service.

    Yes, it would recognise and define a two tier system, but there is a two tier system in play now. We can deny it or we can accept it. This has been one of the major failures impeding healthcare improvement and many other programs.

    We continue to strive for a fair system in an unfair world. When we have the wisdom to accept - it is unfair, we will be another step closer to developing an acceptable plan.
    Last edit by RNed on Jul 31, '01
  11. by   fiestynurse
    I understand the loss of faith in our government. I am skeptical and discouraged at times, too. Why should we trust our health care dollars to the government, when they do such a poor job managing the rest of the money they get from us?

    However, it is untrue that government managed health care financing is more expensive or inefficient than the current private insurance system. Medicare, consumes only 2.2% of its revenue for administration. The Canadian health insurance system consumes only 2.5% for administration. If you include all other administrative costs, hospital and clinic administration, billing, marketing, insurance profits, the U.S. spends 35-30% of all health care revenues for bureaucracy, contrasted with 8-12% in Canada.

    Moreover, a government controlled system allows us access to
    information about the way decisions are made. In private corporations this is considered "proprietary" and not open to public view. There are scandals in government, but these pale in comparison to those in health care. Have you ever heard of a government official getting away with the $1 billion Leonard Abramson got for the Aetna-U.S. Health-care merger?

    In addition, the single payer system is equitable. Everyone has access to personalized care with a local primary care physician. Hopefully, we would finally remedy the racial and ethic disparity in health care with better access. The 44 million uninsured would be covered. Discrimination of any kind would be strictly prohibited.

    Finally, the study that HCA helped to pass is being done by an independent facilitator. Three systems will be studied, including single payer. All this information will be presented to a task force that will consist of all the stakeholders whose buy-in will be crucial during the legislative debates expected in 2002.
  12. by   Mijourney
    Hi feistynurse and fergus51. As an FYI, I have learned that the American Public Health Association plans to have a conference in Atlanta, GA in October. I briefly reviewed the schedule for that event in their website and discovered that there are supposed to be presentations on single payor systems or universal health care. I also just read my local newspaper and noted a prominent doctor in the area who wrote a letter to the editor strongly endorsing a single payor system.


    I am still concerned about doctors dictating the tenor of a single payor system. We do not need representatives (ie doctors and administrators) from the narrowly focused medical-industrial-complex model solely dictating all the funding or care in a reformed system.
  13. by   fiestynurse
    The American Medical Association
    Newly Adopted Principles of Medical Ethics, June, 2001

    Principle IX: "A physician shall support access to medical care for all people."

    The greatest impediment to access is the lack of adequate health insurance. Although access problems related to our health care infrastructure must be addressed, truly universal access is impossible without comprehensive, universal insurance. Creating a universal health insurance program is the greatest and most urgent priority if we are to realize this goal of universal access. Let's start the process now. After all, the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association has declared it to be unethical not to do so!

    P.S. Thanks for the info Mijourney