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RSL

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2012, 01:12:32 PM »

I'm not about to get into an argument about health care systems since my wife and I are covered under Tricare for Life.

But I do want to say: HANG IN THERE MICHAEL, GET WELL, AND LIVE LONG. You do fine work, but even if you didn't, Luminous Landscape itself is an achievement to be proud of.

Steve Weldon

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Re: May we ask how Mike is doing?
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2012, 05:45:49 PM »

I was not acting as a proxy for Mike...Mike is perfectly capable of saying what he thinks if he is so inclined...personally, I would just simply like a thread where Mike (or Chris) can come and give us updates or well wishers can offer their support without a lot of off topic gyrations...hey, opinions are like assholes...everybody has one and nobody but a proctologist really likes to go there.

I have a lot of thoughts about the US healthcare system...I have a daughter that is privately uninsurable (at any price) because of preexisting conditions (she has an Illinois State provided insurance that is itself pricy) and my wife and I, being sole proprietors, pay a massive premium with lots of deductions. I wish I got some coverage from being an employee but, well, I don't do so well working for a "real" boss, ya know?

Everybody has their cross to bare...but knowing people here in the US as well as friends all over the world, the US system, like any system works "ok" if you have means...if not then it's the luck of the draw.

Personally, I'm really glad Mike got the level of care he got in the time frame he got it...Mike & I had gotten together in mid-June (with Eric Chan) just before all the stuff happened...it was a shock how quickly all tis happenedI wish him well and hope for the best.

1.  I see    Healthcare is a hot topic and I doubt that will change any time soon.  Like anyone else I'd like to see improvements for everyone in every country, but I'm far past the knee jerk responses so typical from the extremes on both sides of the issue.   The truth is most of the western world single payer systems with the UK leading the way are in dire trouble and there's less progress being made fixing a system we're told we should be going to, than we're making with our old system.  The world is changing and for the many of the same reasons healthcare costs are rising in the USA, they're rising everywhere.  All our different systems are being stressed outside of their design parameters.  There is no "free" for any taxpayer who has reached the taxable brackets.  Someone is paying.  

2.  Sorry to hear your daughter is having such issues.  I think this is one of the areas (pre-existing conditions) we should and could have fixed in short order, but instead it's being used by a tool on both sides of the issue to hit the ball back and forth.  They should be ashamed.  Not allowing out of state medical insurance is another major flaw easily fixed.   There are many easy fixes we could easily do, but they're held hostage.  We don't need a single payer system to fix them either.  We just need to act like adults.

3.  Me either and I knew it.  But I suffered through the first 20 years of my working life telling myself I'd do whatever it took to set myself up for the remainder to work for myself.  

4.  I think in most cases it's more than that.  In most cases it's more a lack of knowing a quite complex system.  My mother worked in a hospital for 30+ years qualifying insurances and programs, my sister has been doing if for 15+.. listening to them talk it's a rare case they can't get qualified in one system or the other, and I've listened to them talk for years, well before this became a big issue.  The writing was on the wall.  Most of the time the person seeking help is handled by someone paid min wage and who isn't really qualified.. they're punching a time clock and really don't care enough to put in that extra mile.  

5.  Absolutely.  I think we all are thankful.  
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 11:11:38 PM by Steve Weldon »
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2012, 05:47:10 PM »

Steve, you stated your position quite eloquently, so will I:

booooooooooooooooooo!!!



Not yet I haven't, like you I'm still working on it.. :)
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Steve Weldon

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Re: May we ask how Mike is doing?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2012, 06:04:54 PM »

That comparison is between health outcomes in 17 developed nations.
That research and analysis was not done by a government department or agency -- so it really isn't enough to claim bias without presenting some justification.
Obviously, many of those programs are funded by federal and state taxation.

Individual clinics and hospitals often do have "Charity Care" programs for those who do not qualify for tax-supported programs and have no recoverable assets.
Not by all employers, and not for all employees.
I had the luck to be born healthy and clever.

"There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford,"

1.  "Health Outcomes" by themselves are the result of many differences.  Like I said, healthcare is complicated.

2.  So in your experience if the groups doesn't claim affiliation with the government then there is done?  Really?  The fact that they didn't state who paid them to do the study says all any reasonable person needs to know.

3.   There are other programs, but sure.. in the US we have a system and the system says if you haven't provided adequate insurance then your assets must be considered.  We're all familiar with this, we all drive cars with insurance, own homes with insurance, etc.. and we're bound by the limits of those policies..  I'm comfortable  with this, looked at the system at early age (17), and made decisions.  When it came my unfortunate turn to run up over several million in medical bills I was covered.  If not, I would have been selling the assets I wasn't already selling because of my change in incomes, need to re-educate myself, move, etc.. I would never have knocked on your door with my hand out and said "I'm sorry, but I saved $100 last year by buying cheaper insurance and now I find myself without adequate coverage, could you spare an extra $10,000 or so?  I have absolutely no problem with letting adults make adult decisions and live with the consequences.

4.  Not all employers should have to.  Obviously many rather large companies who supported Obamacare don't think so either as they've applied for waivers so they don't have to either.  It's a less than honorable world out there.
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2012, 06:08:31 PM »

I'm not about to get into an argument about health care systems since my wife and I are covered under Tricare for Life.

But I do want to say: HANG IN THERE MICHAEL, GET WELL, AND LIVE LONG. You do fine work, but even if you didn't, Luminous Landscape itself is an achievement to be proud of.

This is a great program.  I think we other systems could learn a lot by studying Tri-care.  And Tri-care Prime is a great supplement program as it's possible for someone with a modest program to get eaten up with deductibles, co-pays, etc..   

Thanks for your service.
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Ray

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2012, 08:03:29 PM »

The entire isssue of health care is an enormous problem. I can't speak for the American system because I've never lived in America, but I get the definite impression that those who are poor, unemployed or plain dysfunctional, and who do not have private health care cover, frequently die due to a lack of proper treatment, in the USA.

If this is true, and I see lots of reports on the internet claiming that it is true, then that seems a disgrace to me for any wealthy, developed country.

The situation in Australia seems to be that one gets the best treatment available, and promptly, even if one doesn't have any health insurance, provided the ailment is considered to be serious and/or life-threatening. Frequently the same surgeons who operate on insurance-covered patients in the Private Hospitals, will travel to a Public Hospital to perform similar operations on uninsured patients.

One might ask, if this is the case, why would anyone buy private health insurance in a country like Australia? Since I'm rather healthy and very rarely need to visit a doctor, I can't speak much from personal experience, but I get the impression that private health cover provides treatment for lots of non-essential, non-life-threatening conditions without delay, and provides better accommodation in the hospital, such as a private room of a more luxurious standard, and provides the opportunity to choose one's own surgeon or specialist etc.

Another issue is the rising health care costs in general. Just recently during a conversation with a neighbour who had returned from a visit to America, I got a few impressions of life there from an Australian perspective. My neighbour was amazed at how cheap and plentiful junk food and restaurant food was, everywhere he travelled. A standard $10 meal would often be sufficient in quantity for two people with normal appetites, and frequently such a meal would include huge quantities of sliced beef and unlimited top-ups of Coke. It's no wonder obesity is on the rise in America.

Prevention is always better than cure. It's been known for years, if one wants to have a long and healthy life one should eat wholesome food with plenty of fibre, vegetables and some fruit. Eat moderately, eat less meat, and avoid as much as possible not only all junk food, but processed food in general with its added fructose. In addition, of course, one should take regular exercise.

My general impression of the situation, not only in America but more-so in America, is that we have a massive, processed-food and advertising industry, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, whose main purpose, or raison d'etre, is to encourage people to eat as much tasty and junk food as possible, the consequences of which require frequent medical care later in life.

In this sense we could consider much of the nation's health-care systems as subidiaries of the food industry, not to mention the Weight-Loss industries which thrive on providing diets that rarely seem to work in the long term.

Okay! I've had my rant.  ;D
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Schewe

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2012, 10:43:41 PM »


My general impression of the situation, not only in America but more-so in America, is that we have a massive, processed-food and advertising industry, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, whose main purpose, or raison d'etre, is to encourage people to eat as much tasty and junk food as possible, the consequences of which require frequent medical care later in life.

In this sense we could consider much of the nation's health-care systems as subidiaries of the food industry, not to mention the Weight-Loss industries which thrive on providing diets that rarely seem to work in the long term.


Actually, it's worse than that...the taxpayers end up subsidizing the farm/food industries...in the US, there are price support schemes that kick in to help keep corn & dairy (in particular) plentiful and cheap. These price supports were put in a long time ago when most farming was done by families on their farms. Corporate farming has pretty much decimated a lot of the family farms and the corporate farms have a lot of power and influence in Washington. The net result is that carbs, high fat and sugar (from high fructose corn sirup) are really cheap. Processed foods are cheap (because of the mass production and cheap ingredients) but come with a lot of unseen costs such as the carbon footprint for mass farming and the impact of pesticides and herbicides.

I live in Chicago where we have fresh, organic, regional and seasonal produce. We have one of the largest Whole Foods store (about 5 blocks down the road) and my wife strongly believes in the above "fresh" approach. But, I gotta tell ya, it costs a LOT more than going to a normal supermarket. In Chicago's poorer parts, the typical highly processed food is cheap by comparison. It's really expensive to eat healthy so by and large, poor people can't. A lot don't have reasonable health insurance either.

But it's not just food, it's the whole lifestyle...smoking, drinking, drugs, poor sleep and stress are all controllable choices but it's amazing how many people still smoke (yeah, ok, I smoked a long time but quit).

Heck, in Illinois, you don't even have to wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle (I always do as well as a protective suit). A lot of brain injuries which doesn't always kill.


The whole thing sucks...but it's what we've got, ya know? There's only so much individuals can do...but one thing you can do is vote. I don't care who you vote for, but I sure hope you vote in whatever country you may live in. And no, I don't want to talk politics (or religion)...

:~)
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2012, 11:07:57 PM »

The entire isssue of health care is an enormous problem. I can't speak for the American system because I've never lived in America, but I get the definite impression that those who are poor, unemployed or plain dysfunctional, and who do not have private health care cover, frequently die due to a lack of proper treatment, in the USA.

If this is true, and I see lots of reports on the internet claiming that it is true, then that seems a disgrace to me for any wealthy, developed country.

The situation in Australia seems to be that one gets the best treatment available, and promptly, even if one doesn't have any health insurance, provided the ailment is considered to be serious and/or life-threatening. Frequently the same surgeons who operate on insurance-covered patients in the Private Hospitals, will travel to a Public Hospital to perform similar operations on uninsured patients.

One might ask, if this is the case, why would anyone buy private health insurance in a country like Australia? Since I'm rather healthy and very rarely need to visit a doctor, I can't speak much from personal experience, but I get the impression that private health cover provides treatment for lots of non-essential, non-life-threatening conditions without delay, and provides better accommodation in the hospital, such as a private room of a more luxurious standard, and provides the opportunity to choose one's own surgeon or specialist etc.

Another issue is the rising health care costs in general. Just recently during a conversation with a neighbour who had returned from a visit to America, I got a few impressions of life there from an Australian perspective. My neighbour was amazed at how cheap and plentiful junk food and restaurant food was, everywhere he travelled. A standard $10 meal would often be sufficient in quantity for two people with normal appetites, and frequently such a meal would include huge quantities of sliced beef and unlimited top-ups of Coke. It's no wonder obesity is on the rise in America.

Prevention is always better than cure. It's been known for years, if one wants to have a long and healthy life one should eat wholesome food with plenty of fibre, vegetables and some fruit. Eat moderately, eat less meat, and avoid as much as possible not only all junk food, but processed food in general with its added fructose. In addition, of course, one should take regular exercise.

My general impression of the situation, not only in America but more-so in America, is that we have a massive, processed-food and advertising industry, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, whose main purpose, or raison d'etre, is to encourage people to eat as much tasty and junk food as possible, the consequences of which require frequent medical care later in life.

In this sense we could consider much of the nation's health-care systems as subidiaries of the food industry, not to mention the Weight-Loss industries which thrive on providing diets that rarely seem to work in the long term.

Okay! I've had my rant.  ;D


1&2  -  I was going to ask where you get your impressions but then you told me.  The internet.  In that case it must be true.. :)   Seriously though, we need to be careful what we believe.  We all know the political machines of our countries are doing their best to make us believe what they will and vote accordingly.. and voting is in essence taking our power (and subsequently wealth) and giving it to them.  Yet, in our systems, democracies, representative republics (America), and others..  we must vote and put our representatives in power.  The problem with this is that it takes a high level of dedication, work,and time spent to keep up even to a reasonable level of knowledge, so we tend to take shortcuts.   We often vote with others we respect, family, spouses, teachers, etc.. as one type of shortcut.  Another type (among many others) is we fall victim to news reports and the such in our media, internet included.

Are there bad things happening due to lack of insurance in America?  Yes.  Are there bad things happening in one-payer countries despite a promised coverage?  Yes.  How do we sort it out to a point we can actually make comparisons and finally decide on needed changes?  The work mentioned about is one way..  Another way is trust your gut.. common sense.  You sounded above like you found it hard to believe a disadvantaged group of people would be left to die without any help.  I'd agree with that sentiment.  And before I believe it I want someone to show me.  And then I want to find out if it's a one off occurrence, if it happens once per week, a hundred times a week, a thousand times a week.  And should it have happened with the current system in place, or was something else in play.  Again, lots of work to get anywhere near the truth.  

3.  I can't think of a private hospital in America who excludes the poor, or refuses government welfare/medicare rates for their treatment.  I know we've had problems trying to push certain patient groups to certain hospitals for less than great reasons.. but through it all the person is still getting treatment.  But I'd say it's the rule rather than the exception that most doctors practising non-elective care (elective care would be cosmetic surgeries, experimental treatments, etc) have a steady stream of patients from all payment groups coming through.

I've noticed in other countries with one-payer systems.. you tend to get networks of private doctors/hospitals treating patients with better standards of care.  Not just nice rooms and that sort of thing, but doctors equipped and trained to perform to higher levels.  They'll have newer more effective drugs, diagnostic equipment, and all that available.   Basically, there becomes two standards of care.  One for the rich and the larger one-payer system for the poor.  I've had fellow expats tell me this goes on in Australia, the UK, Canada, to name a few.  

In the states we tend to have better doctors available through better hospitals, which are mostly a function of geographic proximity.  If the hospital services an area, then whoever lives in that area gets serviced.  However, if you're rich and everyone knows the best doctor for his surgery is in another state.. then they have the resources to travel.  Of course your HMO might not cover you if you did, so if this was the case the level of "rich" you'd need to be goes up a lot.  But here it's geographical.. not because this private hospital was built to service a certain income group and no one else.  They're built to service their geographical areas.. which could be mostly rich.. we do have geographical pockets of wealth.

4.   This fast food stuff..  I just returned to the states after being gone 7-8 years.   If you would agree that fast food is defined as tasty food, often fried in unhealthy saturated fats, at a low price, ready in minutes.. then Thailand/Laos/Cambodia/Myanmar probably have a density of fast food being served to the public in rates never seen in the western world.  Seriously.

They're even close on McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Pizza Company, Subway, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, etc, etc.. and they all deliver.  What a great country eh?   ::)

When arriving back to the states after 7-8 years..  I noticed while indeed there is a great number of fast food places, they appear to have started a trend towards more healthy fast foods.  New franchises who seem to specialize in in healthier fare.. and even the old places like McDonalds are offering more an dmore healthy items.  McDonalds recently released their nutritional  information guides.. and people were shocked to see they were one of the more healthy fast food places around.

I'm saying all this.. because the fast food industry has become complicated, maybe in response to consumer habits, news reports, etc.  And to say fast food is a problem here, but not nearly as much as people make it out to be.  Just because one fool makes a movie about only eating Big Macs, this doesn't mean we have a problem with everyone only eating Big Macs.  What we have is someone trying to make a name for himself and sell movies.   And it's try that food here is cheaper than in Oz by a great deal.. but so is good health food.  That's a good thing right?    But I'm not sure where two people can eat as you described for $10.. or $20.  One person can easily spend $10 at a fast food place, most of them.. So two for $10?  Only on a limited value meal..

Along these lines.. we've recently had politicians taxing soft drinks, only allowing small sizes, and all kinds of other silly stuff..   Do we really want to the government regulating what we choose to eat for lunch?  Every time we ask for our government to pass some silly nanny law we're telling them we can't handle the problem ourselves.  Yet I've been handling what goes in my mouth for a long time.  So they tell me that I might be able to choose right, but what about those with less education or experience (code for "dumb people"), should we look out for them by making laws restricting food types?    I say no.. food is one of the most basic parts of a person life.  If they can't take care of their food they've probably got more serious issues to worry about.  How would your fellow Aussie's feel about restricting beer intake?  Or tacking on hefty new taxes?  We have much better things for our politicians to do.. and they don't get a lot done anyway..

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Schewe

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2012, 11:33:09 PM »

Along these lines.. we've recently had politicians taxing soft drinks, only allowing small sizes, and all kinds of other silly stuff..   Do we really want to the government regulating what we choose to eat for lunch?  Every time we ask for our government to pass some silly nanny law we're telling them we can't handle the problem ourselves.

So, do you read the National Enquirer, go to NASCAR races, listen to country & western music and ride motorcycles without a helmet? Note, I have nothing against NASCAR & C&W but when you add them all up, then yeah, some people don't seem to be able to manage their lives. Should the government try to help? I suppose...on the other hand, I think survival of the fittest also works. But some people fall through the cracks and get handed the shitty end of the stick.

Tough questions...tougher to decide. Smart people tend to do better in life...(not always), is that fair?
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2012, 12:40:52 AM »

... The practical advice (p158) is to "... split anything you order in half."...

Indeed. But the real question remains: why? Why do we have to order double, pay double, only to split it? For restaurants, doubling the size is the easiest way to justify doubling the price, while not proportionally increasing the cost at the same time.

That is one cultural difference between Europe and the U.S I have trouble figuring out. Why aren't European portions the size of American?

For a short while, Buffalo Wild Wings chain had calories on their menu. Not any more. I guess they figured that scaring customers is bad for business.

Is it perhaps because of the vicious circle of obesity: people eating more become obese, and obese people need more to eat? And restaurants only happy to oblige?

Is it perhaps because of the puritanic obsession with alcohol that borders on lunacy? Where alcohol is demonized, while sugary drinks glorified?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 12:48:51 AM by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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Ligament

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2012, 05:59:36 AM »

The US medical system would be wonderful but for one, major, cancer. That is malpractice attorneys and their frivolous malpractice suits. Physicians are forced to practice CYA medicine - cover your ass medicine - ordering countless tests and studies to protect themselves against a lawsuit should their patient have a very unexpected, statistically remote disease that would not be addressed or picked up with "normal" studies and tests.

Literally, physicians are forced to order at least 50% more studies and tests than they need to in order to protect themselves against these leaches known as malpractice attorneys.

I swear to you, if we could get any sort of reasonable tort reform passed on a nationwide scale, costs would plummet 50-70% in the course of 6 months.

We could deal with the rest of the problems later.

It is not the physicians that are to blame here; their very homes are at stake should they have the misfortune of missing a .01% condition.

Of course tort reform will never happen, because Washington is run by these very same leaches called attorneys.
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Ray

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2012, 07:23:27 AM »

You sounded above like you found it hard to believe a disadvantaged group of people would be left to die without any help.  I'd agree with that sentiment.  And before I believe it I want someone to show me.  And then I want to find out if it's a one off occurrence, if it happens once per week, a hundred times a week, a thousand times a week.  And should it have happened with the current system in place, or was something else in play.  Again, lots of work to get anywhere near the truth.  

Steve,
Let's not exaggerate. I'm not trying to equate America with India where, in my experience, poor people are frequnetly left to die on the streets without any help at all.

The words I used were, "die due to a lack of proper treatment". By proper, I mean the standard, accepted procedures for the treatment of any particular life-threatening illness.

Quote
I've noticed in other countries with one-payer systems.. you tend to get networks of private doctors/hospitals treating patients with better standards of care. Not just nice rooms and that sort of thing, but doctors equipped and trained to perform to higher levels. They'll have newer more effective drugs, diagnostic equipment, and all that available. Basically, there becomes two standards of care. One for the rich and the larger one-payer system for the poor. I've had fellow expats tell me this goes on in Australia, the UK, Canada, to name a few.

There are always situations of malpractice that can occur in any hospital, public or private. However, the principle that applies in Australia, is that no-one should be disadvantaged regarding availability of best-practice medical care if he is in a life-threatening situation. But there are always non-essential medical procedures for which there may be a long waiting list for the uninsured.

Quote
When arriving back to the states after 7-8 years.. I noticed while indeed there is a great number of fast food places, they appear to have started a trend towards more healthy fast foods.

That's certainly a move in the right direction. But I'd still be very concerned about additives such as fructose, which I've never seen listed amongst any food indredients. It's always hidden under the general heading of 'sugar'.

Fructose is about twice as sweet as ordinary table sugar, or cane sugar, (known as sucrose) and as Jeff Schewe mentioned, it's cheaply available from processed corn syrup. It's the cheapest and most effective way of sweetening food, which is why it's widely used in the food-processing industry.

However, recent research, is beginning to reveal that excessive fructose, which is also the natural sugar of fruit, can have serious health consequences. There are strong indications that it can contribute towards the following conditions:

Gout, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and High Triglycerides,  Kidney disease, Heart disease, Fatty liver disease, and Alzheimers.

Quote
. This fast food stuff.. I just returned to the states after being gone 7-8 years. If you would agree that fast food is defined as tasty food, often fried in unhealthy saturated fats, at a low price, ready in minutes.. then Thailand/Laos/Cambodia/Myanmar probably have a density of fast food being served to the public in rates never seen in the western world. Seriously.

I guess you are referring to the vegetables and stuff which are fried in the wok.

Again, recent research is revealing that saturated animal fat, lard and real butter is actually better for you than polyunsaturated fats from sunflower seed and canola, provided you don't eat too much of the saturated fats, of course. Margarine and skimmed milk is not recommended. The rationale for this modern view is that we are animals and have to produce our own fat and cholestrol which is very similar to the saturated fat and cholestrol in real butter, lard and meat. The human body struggles to generate its required fat and cholestrol from these highly processed margarines and fat-free milks.

There's emerging evidence that such artificial, fat-free foods can increase the risk of cancer.

However, one gripe I have about Asian countries is their insistence on using white rice all the time. In the West (not sure about America, though) we've long since realised the benefits of wholemeal bread. Go into any supermarket in Australia, and most brands of bread are varieties of wholemeal. White loaves are still available on the shelves, but in very small quantities. They're almost extinct, as they should be.

I've only ever come across one restaurant in all my travels that offers a choice of brown rice or white rice. And that's a restaurant by the name of Moon Dance in the city of Pokhara in Nepal.

So, for all you landscape-loving photographers, when you visit Nepal to take fantastic photos of the Himalayas, don't forget to visit the Moon Dance restaurant and experience their fine brown rice, if you also happen to visit Pokhara, which is a great centre for trekking.

To keep the thread related to photography, I'll now show a couple of pictures for the very discerning, of that brown rice being threshed. Looks like thrashing to me. "Oh! No! Please don't thrash me. I've done no wrong."  ;D

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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2012, 02:22:01 PM »

So, do you read the National Enquirer, go to NASCAR races, listen to country & western music and ride motorcycles without a helmet? Note, I have nothing against NASCAR & C&W but when you add them all up, then yeah, some people don't seem to be able to manage their lives. Should the government try to help? I suppose...on the other hand, I think survival of the fittest also works. But some people fall through the cracks and get handed the shitty end of the stick.

Tough questions...tougher to decide. Smart people tend to do better in life...(not always), is that fair?
Agree.. tough to decide.  When I arrived in Illinois roughly 18 months ago I was gobsmacked to see people riding motorcycles without helmets considering the politics of the land.  My first thought was "that guy is going to get a ticket.."  But it didn't take long to catch on..

Where are our limits?  Are we seeing those limits more clearly as our economies crumble around us?  We spend an ungodly amount of money in our national budget.  How much of what we buy do we really need?  I'm sure if me and 9 other people here went through the budget we'd have 10 different sets of priorities.. at least on the bottom 50%.. and that might be where we make things hard.  We tier what it takes to approve the bottom 50%..  it would take some organizing and a decade or two of politicians having to work for a living but we could get there.

Where would I personally draw the line for healthcare?  Children.  I'd vote today to issue every child with a single-payer government funded insurance card.   No one else though I might be swayed to extend that to 25 if still FULL time college.   And let's see the proponents of a one-payer system run this one, the proponents of the alternative run theirs.  See where we are 20 years from now and if one deserves to consolidate both, or maybe they work better separated. 

On the alternative side.. I'd allow heath insurance companies to compete across state lines (competition ALWAYS makes the difference), eliminate pre-existing condition clauses, and STOP all care going to those who are not here legally.

I see all of the above as solutions of compromise.  What would be acceptable to you?
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2012, 02:27:19 PM »

Indeed. But the real question remains: why? Why do we have to order double, pay double, only to split it? For restaurants, doubling the size is the easiest way to justify doubling the price, while not proportionally increasing the cost at the same time.
I'm reminded of this franchine when I was living in Pensacola years ago, no idea if it's still there.  "Po-folks" was a buffet style featuring all you can eat southern food.  All the drinks you can drink served in mason jars, a very elaborate ice cream bar, Mexican food bar, and then the "spread.."   

The people who regularly went there.. it was just sad.  I talked to the manager one time and he told me their chairs were all tested to 400 pounds because they anticipated law suits..


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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2012, 02:45:46 PM »

... I'd vote today to issue every child with a single-payer government funded insurance card... I might be swayed to extend that to 25 if still FULL time college...

... I'd allow heath insurance companies to compete across state lines (competition ALWAYS makes the difference), eliminate pre-existing condition clauses...

+1

(See? I am working on my eloquence ;))

Generally being a pro-free market guy, I was always puzzled by the lack of competition in the insurance industry. And why not foreign competition as well? If we can have, say, Russian gas stations here, why not Russian, Chinese, Canadian, etc. insurance companies?

Quote
...and STOP all care going to those who are not here legally...

As much as I am against illegal immigration, I could not agree with the "all" part. There is a certain floor, simply defined by humanity, that would oblige anyone, let alone Hippocratic Oath signers, to help someone in an emergency.

Steve Weldon

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Re: May we ask how Mike is doing?
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2012, 03:01:28 PM »

Lots of things are complicated - that does not put them beyond understanding.
Please don't put words in my mouth - the only objection you provided was that the report was from Canada.  
You seem to be making some kind of insinuation - why don't you just state what you mean in plain terms?
Do you have absolutely no problem with letting adults who will never have your abilities or your opportunities, suffer the consequences?
When health insurance is employer provided, isn't that a problem?



1.  Not beyond understanding, but more hard to understand.  And judging by the simplistic responses it's evident that bar isn't very high.   When I say "it's complicated" what I really mean is "please try and think at least one move ahead."

2.  At the most I reorganized your words.

3.  Fair enough.  It's been my experience that the overwhelming majority of these "research groups" including recently some sterling examples on the global warming side, are bought and paid (financed by or hold allegiances to) special interest or government groups.  In which case they are flawed by design.  Studies (independent of course  ;D) have shown this time and again.  You tell me, who's financing and motivating this research?  Is there some rich billionaire out there who really wants to know, so he finances research?  I'm sure there are some, but they're very few.  Many are financed through special interests, government, or academia which taints them with the politics of their institution.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  We might get smaller or bigger portions, but it's always paid for by it's  very existence.

4.   Yes I do.  It makes me sad they've been led down this primrose path by those who have used and abused them by telling them the government owes them healthcare, or the police can protect them, or any of those types of promises.  There is no utopia.  I want to help them, but mostly those who would follow, by showing them the truth so they can select alternative routes.  And yes my heart goes out to them.  But not enough to take money from your pocket to buy it for them.  I respect your pockets and what it took for you to fill them however full they might be.   I only ask for the same in return.

5.  Not at all.  Because it shouldn't be. At this time, according to the Census ONLY 55% of Americans get their health insurance through their employer.  It used to be MUCH less than that.   It started out as a fringe benefit during WWII when we had so many men at war, companies needed to compete for scarce labour.  Because of existing caps on salaries and other benefits health insurance was added on as a fringe benefit.  Not a right, not as direct compensation, but as a minor benefit to entice new employees.

The NRLB later found it should be taxed as a "fair part" of their wages because of extreme pressures by special interests groups aligned with.. well.. you can find that answer yourself, I'd had to be labelled a nutcase..

Health insurance as a employee provided benefit would have been dropped right there if not for these same special interest groups who started offering tax breaks to employers to keep it on.  

And it's all history from there..  Employers started health insurance as they would any other promotional means to lure in workers.. and special interest groups turned it into an expected right.  

So.. it's not a problem because it never should have been.  Many who are self-employed and run their own businesses such as photography studios buy 100% of their own health coverage.  I see no reason why, if wages are properly adjusted, we can't do that now.  And I'd prefer it.
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2012, 03:03:28 PM »


As much as I am against illegal immigration, I could not agree with the "all" part. There is a certain floor, simply defined by humanity, that would oblige anyone, let alone Hippocratic Oath signers, to help someone in an emergency.

Being a reasonable guy I can compromise on this to the extent we treat them to STABILIZE so they have every expectation of a safe return to their own country for further treatment if required.   
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2012, 03:07:37 PM »

The US medical system would be wonderful but for one, major, cancer. That is malpractice attorneys and their frivolous malpractice suits. Physicians are forced to practice CYA medicine - cover your ass medicine - ordering countless tests and studies to protect themselves against a lawsuit should their patient have a very unexpected, statistically remote disease that would not be addressed or picked up with "normal" studies and tests.

Literally, physicians are forced to order at least 50% more studies and tests than they need to in order to protect themselves against these leaches known as malpractice attorneys.

I swear to you, if we could get any sort of reasonable tort reform passed on a nationwide scale, costs would plummet 50-70% in the course of 6 months.

We could deal with the rest of the problems later.

It is not the physicians that are to blame here; their very homes are at stake should they have the misfortune of missing a .01% condition.

Of course tort reform will never happen, because Washington is run by these very same leaches called attorneys.

I'm not sure on the numbers, but they are high..   Good post!
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Ligament

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2012, 03:14:10 PM »

I'm not sure on the numbers, but they are high..   Good post!

Unfortunately, as a physician myself, and seeing how the system works, I honestly think a minimum of 50% healthcare spending would be eliminated with good tort reform. This is the sentiment of every single EVERY single physician I have discussed this with. The physicians in this country know what the problems are with the system, yet nobody listens to us or even asks our opinions.

BTW, we do not profit from all these excessive tests and studies. We actually lose money as 99% of us do not own these labs or imaging centers, and we have to pay our staff to schedule these studies, get the records and reports from these studies which takes significant manhours.
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Steve Weldon

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Re: National Health Systems
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2012, 03:23:35 PM »

Steve,
Let's not exaggerate. I'm not trying to equate America with India where, in my experience, poor people are frequnetly left to die on the streets without any help at all.

The words I used were, "die due to a lack of proper treatment". By proper, I mean the standard, accepted procedures for the treatment of any particular life-threatening illness.

There are always situations of malpractice that can occur in any hospital, public or private. However, the principle that applies in Australia, is that no-one should be disadvantaged regarding availability of best-practice medical care if he is in a life-threatening situation. But there are always non-essential medical procedures for which there may be a long waiting list for the uninsured.

That's certainly a move in the right direction. But I'd still be very concerned about additives such as fructose, which I've never seen listed amongst any food indredients. It's always hidden under the general heading of 'sugar'.

Fructose is about twice as sweet as ordinary table sugar, or cane sugar, (known as sucrose) and as Jeff Schewe mentioned, it's cheaply available from processed corn syrup. It's the cheapest and most effective way of sweetening food, which is why it's widely used in the food-processing industry.

However, recent research, is beginning to reveal that excessive fructose, which is also the natural sugar of fruit, can have serious health consequences. There are strong indications that it can contribute towards the following conditions:

Gout, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and High Triglycerides,  Kidney disease, Heart disease, Fatty liver disease, and Alzheimers.

I guess you are referring to the vegetables and stuff which are fried in the wok.

Again, recent research is revealing that saturated animal fat, lard and real butter is actually better for you than polyunsaturated fats from sunflower seed and canola, provided you don't eat too much of the saturated fats, of course. Margarine and skimmed milk is not recommended. The rationale for this modern view is that we are animals and have to produce our own fat and cholestrol which is very similar to the saturated fat and cholestrol in real butter, lard and meat. The human body struggles to generate its required fat and cholestrol from these highly processed margarines and fat-free milks.

There's emerging evidence that such artificial, fat-free foods can increase the risk of cancer.

However, one gripe I have about Asian countries is their insistence on using white rice all the time. In the West (not sure about America, though) we've long since realised the benefits of wholemeal bread. Go into any supermarket in Australia, and most brands of bread are varieties of wholemeal. White loaves are still available on the shelves, but in very small quantities. They're almost extinct, as they should be.

I've only ever come across one restaurant in all my travels that offers a choice of brown rice or white rice. And that's a restaurant by the name of Moon Dance in the city of Pokhara in Nepal.

So, for all you landscape-loving photographers, when you visit Nepal to take fantastic photos of the Himalayas, don't forget to visit the Moon Dance restaurant and experience their fine brown rice, if you also happen to visit Pokhara, which is a great centre for trekking.

To keep the thread related to photography, I'll now show a couple of pictures for the very discerning, of that brown rice being threshed. Looks like thrashing to me. "Oh! No! Please don't thrash me. I've done no wrong."  ;D



1.  Ray, I wasn't exaggerating.  I was trying to find your bar, where you thought the problem to be.

2.  So your bar is one person?  Okay, but can you tell me if this happens any more/less than in any other westernized country?  I can't.  It's very easy for one person to slip through the cracks because of a less than skilled or motivated worker..   To me where the real problems are is when POLICY allows this to happen and policy stops being enforced.  This has not happened in America.  I would read different newspapers or internet sites..

3.  Non-essential medical procedures.. wow.  But I hear this a lot from single payer systems.   It really says it all doesn't it?  Healthcare is being rationed.

4.  Frutose is on our ingredients here.. and many people shop by if a product (say orange or fruit juice) contains frutose or regular sugar.   Though, it's been amusing listening to our politicians be lobbied by special interest groups who are telling us that frutose is just as safe and healthy, in fact more so, than cane sugar..

5.  But  will they flip on the next study?  It seems like every day some study is showing us without a doubt that we're being killed by our favorite foods.  Seems a shame.  The bar for "research" or "studies"  needs to be set a lot higher and I've got a plan on how to do this.  Don't base policy on research funded by special interests, government, or academia.  Too bad we can't trust our own governments.

6.   Enjoyed the pics!
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