O/T: One Down

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believed. Passionately. However, the world didn't end, Australia continues to prosper and we are still only spending 9% of GDP on health care under government control. I preface the following by saying that I understand that none of it may have any relevance to the US situation, - just sharing my experience and point of view. What caused me to change my view? It wasn't my concern for the health and well being of my fellow man. (I'm truly not that nice a human being.) It was economic benefits, something I haven't seen raised in this debate. Sick people can't produce wealth and pay taxes. Those who can afford to, will generally care for their health and remain productive longer and return to the workforce sooner. People without the means will not seek medical intervention until they are at crisis level and perhaps not even then. It becomes a chronic cycle. They fall by the wayside. Also, in my private view, that contributes to crime by the desperate and underprivileged. Government control of the system has seen a huge swing in emphasis, from the treatment of acute symptoms, which is what occurred under the private system, to preventative medicine as a large part of the mix. That has and will continue to do, more towards lowering costs than anything along with the spin off of increased output per capita. This country has, even today, a desperate shortage of skilled workers. Every sick day incurred is a loss we cannot afford. Keeping the population healthy makes a much sense to me as the rationale for sevicing your motor vehicle regularly. It's efficient and pays dividends.
At the end of the day, on a personal level, what freedoms did I give up? I still have a choice of private health care. I still can have any medical procedure that is not offered under the government system using the same means you referred to above. Insurance and my private means. Cost? My taxes increased. My insurance premiums fell dramatically. On balance, one cancelled out the other. What about the bludgers?, (leeches feeding off the taxpayer.) There seems to be no greater or lesser number of them than there always were. I sure as hell would like to see them weeded out, but it would seem that are and always have been, an inevitable part of any society. Financially, my income is far better than it has ever been. I still have every single one of the freedoms I had before. My fellow citizens are healthier overall because of it and therefore, so is the state of the nation. For 9% of GDP, against your 15%.
Maybe we're just cleverer. ; )
Overall, on reflection, I think that what I did give up, was merely an illusion.
diggerop
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diggerop wrote:

That IS an excellent point. In the U.S., several private companies provide both the facilities and incentives for their employees to remain healthy. Free counseling and check-ups, exercise rooms or gym memberships, bonuses if the employee gives up smoking or loses weight, and so forth. Virtually all the companies that have such benevolent programs are privately owned.
This is not the norm, however, in that for most corporations it's cheaper to fire the slaggards and hire replacements.
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diggerop wrote:

What was your country spending before the reform? If it hasn't changed, then I would submit you haven't seen any net benefit except giving the government more control -- control that I would suspect frames political debate. You also are not limited to only going to the government (as in the British system), that provides somewhat of a relief valve.
In the US, we have 87% of people satisfied with their insurance. For 13% of our people, we are proposing a government takeover of 1/6 of the economy (the only way they will save money is by rationing) and spending over $2 Trillion dollars in the next 10 years) -- and government programs never cost what they are originally projected nor deliver the results promised. Seems a steep price to pay.
Out of curiosity, how many new drugs or medical procedures have been developed in Australia? Part of the US cost is significant development of new drugs and medical procedures (yeah, some of them are frivolous, but other countries seem to like them after they are developed).

Or maybe your system just hasn't been in place long enough yet for the full effect to have occurred. Looking at the British health system that has been in place for significantly longer, the only way they are saving money is by rationing.

--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
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Maybe we have somehow arrived at the best of both worlds. There's been a very definite net benefit. The previously uninsured under the old system when compared to those of us who were insured, cost the country dearly by the time they were eligible for automatic age related benefits. The effects of that which was treatable for those of us that were financially able to seek preventative health care was minimised. For those who could not, or would not, the end result was a huge financial burden on the taxpayer when they ultimately hit the system. In the interim they were of far less value to the nation because they were less able. No altruism here. I just want the bastards out there working, paying taxes and supporting themselves. If that means forcing a system onto them to ensure the best possibility health wise of that happening, then so be it. ( I did mention that I'm not necessarily a nice person, did I not?)

It will interest me greatly to see where it all ends up for the US.

Extraordinary. Are you saying your drug companies are not- for -profit organisations, which don't recover development costs? If not, are you saying their costs form part of the national healthcare spending GDP %. And accordingly, are the profits they do make make offset against the overall GDP spending?

Has Australia developed anything of significance in the medical field? There's been the odd one or two, - a few examples of some more significant ones:
Heart pacemaker-In 1926 a doctor from a Sydney hospital, who wished to remain anonymous, invented the original heart pacemaker.
Penicillin-In 1941, penicillin was extracted and refined by a team led by Australian Howard Florey. It was successfully trialled on humans and went into production in time to aid Second World War casualties.
Ultrasound scanner-In 1961, two Australians built the first ultrasound.
Cochlear implant-In 1979, university professor Graeme Clark invented the cochlear implant, designed to help the hearing impaired and profoundly deaf.
Skin polarprobe-In 1998, a team of scientists developed the SolarScan, which can quickly detect cancerous sunspots.
Cervical cancer vaccine-Professor Ian Frazer received an Australian of the Year award in 2006 for developing the world's first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer
The world's first anti-influenza drug, Relenza, was developed in Australia in 1996.
Plus several Nobel prizes
a.. 1960-Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet a.. Awarded the prize in medicine for work on immunology, the basis for organ transplants. a.. 1963-Sir John Carew Eccles a.. Awarded the prize in medicine for work on how nerves and the brain function. a.. 1975-Sir John Warcup Cornforth a.. Awarded the prize in chemistry for work on the structure of living matter. a.. 1996-Professor Peter Doherty a.. Awarded the prize in medicine for work on immunology. a.. 2005-Professor Barry Marshall and Dr Robin Warren a.. Awarded the prize in medicine for the discovery of the Helicobacter pylori bacterium and the role it plays in inflammation of the stomach and in ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.
Not bad at all for a population of less than 7.5% of the US.
diggerop
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On Wed, 11 Nov 2009 16:53:24 +0800, diggerop wrote:

Damm it Digger, every time someone posts a rant, you dazzle'em with facts - that's just not fair :-)
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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Heh. Anyone opens their mouth becomes fair game. (Me included.) Too much time on my hands is the problem. Sitting in this chair for 4 x 1 hour periods a day having treatment leaves me with nothing better to do than bother other unsuspecting decent folk on the wreck. Messes up the momentum in the woodworking dept as well. The good news is that it's all working well and I will soon go onto a nocturnal treatment regime that will let me keep normal hours and most likely allow me to rejoin the workforce.
diggerop
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diggerop wrote:

... and herein lies the heart of the issue. The statists often use the argument that the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not have socialized medicine and therefore we should get with it and join the rest of the industrialized, free and oppressed world in implementing it as well. I would turn that around and state that the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that has a free market in health care with which 87% of its citizens are satisfied with their health care. If elements of the remaining 13% are so intent on the need for a socialized system and feel so strongly that socialized medicine is so critical, I would suggest that they leave the remaining 87% alone and find one of the other industrialized countries with socialized medicine, there are enough that they can pick the strength of flavor of socialism they desire and, along with their wealth and skills emigrate to that country where they can enjoy the benefits of the socialized health care system they so crave. I am sure that any of those countries would be more than happy to have productive, useful people add to their GDP. Why is it that people want to take away free choice from the only country that still has it?
... snip of Australian medical advances
Very good, although I think you might get some pushback on the penicillin credits -- Fleming of England discovered it and Florey's work was achieved at Oxford. I would also note that a significant number of those breakthroughs seem to have come before your 20 years ago comment about the start of socialized medicine.
--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
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That would solve that problem. (We'd probably be glad to have a lot of them, as long as they weren't lawyers.) Then the ones that don't like gun ownership could also leave, along with those who object to the US being involved militarily in other countries. Then there's the ones that want nuclear disarmament and the ones that want freedom of choice on abortion, the ones who feel they are over-taxed and under represented, the ones who want even less government than you have now. Left leaning media organisations could also follow suit along with all the greenies. Last but not least, every registered Democrat. You could have a really good cleanout. Sounds like utopia to me.
there are enough that they can pick the strength of flavor of

view, and also the unwillingness to give up freedom of choice. In a nutshell, we managed to keep the parts that enable us to retain freedom of choice. Government interference? It's their very nature and intended purpose. - in all facets of life. Easily fixed if a majority want it that way. Just abolish government and let your lives become an unfettered free-for -all.

by the left, almost immediately partially dismantled by the right when they gained office in the same year, re-named Medicare and it's 1975 components re-instated when Labor won office again in 1984. The 20 years I referred to was about when I still had the view that it was no good and unworkable. Subsequent to that, my view began to shift. For about the last ten years, the federal government has also encouraged private health fund membership via a tax rebate of up to 30% of premiums. Interestingly, had it been an election issue at the time it was instituted it would have been soundly defeated. It was unpopular on both sides of the electorate. Also, like most people, we hate change, simply because it is change.
We're a very parochial lot, us Aussies. We'll fiercely claim as our own anyone who can in any way be called an Aussie. As an example, we've had elite athletes who were born and raised overseas were fostered and developed in their field overseas, who then emigrated to Australia and took out citizenship. Any achievement will then be trumpeted as "Australian Champion ........" On the other side of the coin, one of this year's Nobel Laureates was a woman, born in Australia but living in the US and now an American citizen. Our local newspaper saw no problem in reporting her win with the headline "Australian wins Nobel Prize" : )
diggerop
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wrote:

Well said. Try explaining that to the Daneliuks of the world who insist on labeling it as stealing, mooching and evil. There's no allowance or consideration for the fact that it keeps people working and making a contribution. As far as they're concerned, it's someone else reaching into their pocket to survive.
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Question: Is your goverment able to stand on it's own feet, or is it special intersts groups who do the talking, as in the US?

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Rick Samuel said:

Good question, and I think we all know the answer to that one...
Greg G.
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Without doubt, governments on both sides of the political spectrum here are vulnerable to the pressures of special interest groups. They all want to buy votes, regardless of where they come from. Fortunately, the right tends to be less affected by the loony left and bleeding hearts, of which there are a significant number in this country. Unfortunately, we currently have a socialist Federal government. Ain't democracy wonderful? I have some personal experience of politics; - my grandfather was a federal politician and government minister for many years. (He described politics as the most dishonest profession in the world,) and at one stage I was myself directly involved in politics. I found the lies, duplicity and self-serving manipulation that formed a large part of the process (on both sides,) to be something that I was too idealistic to deal with effectively.
Now I'm just an curmudgeonly old armchair critic. : )
diggerop
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On Mon, 9 Nov 2009 18:40:21 +0800, the infamous "diggerop"

You're spot on, too, Dop. The same goes for our country Up Over. I think that the best thing the country could do would be to go out on the street and yank 525 folks from the general population (any person who did -not- want to be a politician) and replace those thieving bastards now elected to CONgress. And rather than keep them all in D.C., which we all know is a hotbed (literally in many cases) of money and other corruptions, convene via computer from whatever state they hail.
Let's see, we'll outlaw lawyers, clean up the courts, fix the prisons, legalize drugs, end the wars on drug/terror, cut the gov't ranks by 75%, concealed carry is OK for every sane person, and a lot more...
That's after I'm elected King. ;)
-------------------------------------------- -- I'm in touch with my Inner Curmudgeon. -- ===========================================
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King Larry ........ has a certain panache ........ : )
I miss the old style of politician, who got things done without all the hand wringing, indecision and obfuscation that seems to be a hallmark of today's lot. Some of them can't decide what to wear in the morning without running an opinion poll.
The sort I would like to see again were the likes of Sir Charles Court, WA premier and a wily and skillful leader who ruled with an iron fist. Wasn't always popular, rode roughshod over some things, seldom backed down. The electorate gave him 9 years in office. Chiefly I believe, because we knew what to expect from him and he got things done. Even those who were politically opposed to him had a form of trust in his actions and abilities.
One who best typifies my attitude to getting on with things, was NSW premier Sir Robert Askin. Your president, LBJ was on a state visit to NSW in 1966 when a group of anti-vietnam war protesters laid down in the roadway and halted the motorcade. Sir Robert was famously reported as having leaned over to the police officer controlling the escort and saying "Run the bastards over." Doubt there's too many today with the courage to voice that aloud, even if they thought it.
1966 ........ damn ....... I really am getting old : )
diggerop
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On Mon, 09 Nov 2009 05:49:23 -0800, Larry Jaques wrote:

I've often suggested drawing two or three names for each position and giving them 30 days to explain their views - then hold the election.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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Larry Jaques wrote:
... snip

I've a feeling you are not too far off. In our district, our representative, Gabby Giffords does not live here (she has an apartment so she can claim residency), she resides in Houston, TX. Now, I understand that she is married and wants to live in the same city as her husband, however, if she is not even living in the same state as that she was elected to represent, she has no business being our representative. This smacks more of aristocracy than representative government. "Yes, I represent a little backwater district in Tucson, Arizona. I need to go there during the winter and during elections. It's such a quaint little spot, you'd love it"
Just don't pick any of these folks: <
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
LYveaLctU&feature=player_embedded>

--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
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Rick Samuel wrote: <SNIP>

I read this to mean - or that you are implying at least - that our government is controlled not directly by the people, but by special interest groups. Care to guess what the single biggest and most influencial lobbying organization in Washington D.C. is?
Hint - It is NOT:
- The Financial Industry - The Insurance Industry - The Energy Industry - The Manufacturing Industry - The Medical Industry - The Legal Industry - The Military/Aerospace Industry
IOW - it is none of the usual suspects that everyone gets all exercised about. It is not the big eeeeeeeeeevil corporations or foreign governments, or any of the boogeymen you hear blamed for all our ills.
In fact, the largest and most influential lobby in the US is ... <the envelope please>:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_is_the_largest_lobbying_group_in_US
They don't necessarily spend the most amount of money, but the sheer size of the AARP makes them the most influencial lobby in D.C. What they don't spend in money, they sell in votes. It's also why you'll never see real healthcare reform. In the words of a sign seen recently at an anti-reform rally: "Don't replace Medicare with Socialism." (Apparently without any sense of the irony / stupidity / irrationality of said statement.)
So, don't blame the capitalists, the bankers, the lawyers, the influence peddlers, the agents of foreign governments, or the evil geniuses in the military-industrial complex. Blame grandma ...
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diggerop wrote:

More like food for further investigation. True, we spend more of GDP on health care than most other countries. That's possibly because we can. We probably spend more on pay-TV, eating out, earth shoes, and other non-critical items than other countries simply because we can. Some "health care" in the U.S. is discretionary (think breast implants - although I did see a recent article complaining that Australia was having to import 1000cc implants from the U.S. because of a severe in-country shortage...).
Life expectancy is also a poor metric for the efficacy of health care. For example, most countries count severly premature infant deaths as "stillborn" (such as France). In the U.S., Herculean efforts are expended on these unfortunate children. Regrettably, many don't make it and skew the "life expectancy" tables downward.
A better metric for health care may very well be life expectancy after a diagnosis. In this category, the U.S. leads. For example, life expectancy of five years or more after diagnosis of breast cancer is 95% in the U.S. vs. 56% in the U.K. This MAY be due to greater diagnostic capability in the U.S. than in other places. In that regard, consider: there are more MRI machines in my town than in all of Canada. Again, we have a greater diagnostic infrastructure, probably, because we can afford it.
Australian-rules football is plenty tough (I think knives are limited to 6" or less). But have you ever heard of an MRI machine at an Australian stadium? Several of our pansy-football stadiums have a machine readily available.
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wrote:

Not sure what your point is about the MRI machine, but again, it could only be because they can afford it. If it's for saving life, then more people would be saved by donating that MRI machine to some local medical clinic. Naturally the question then becomes, who has the greatest right to life ~ the football player or the pregnant mother who has recently experienced a car accident. Yes, there's certainly more money involved with the football player, but there' also more humanity involved with the pregnant mother. Unfortunately, "humanity" doesn't count for much, at least not as much as hoped.
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snipped-for-privacy@teksavvy.com wrote:

Repeat after me: "From each according to their ability to each according to their need." This worked really, really, really well in the past hundred years. It's good to see people continuing to defend it.

Ohhhh, I'm all gooey inside. We get to *vote* on who has the "greatest right to life". No doubt you'll be chairing the committee?

Translation: "I will decide just who- and who is not worthy of living."
I saw this movie somewhere before, or at least read about it a history book. It involved starvation, suffering, misery, death, genocide, and wholesale slaughter. It's good to know that these things always remain in fashion among the self-anointed saviors of mankind and their stooges ...
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Daneliuk snipped-for-privacy@tundraware.com
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