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Author Topic: Big day for the US  (Read 21167 times)

Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2010, 11:47:46 pm »

Quote from: JeffKohn
Sure, it's quite simple actually.

Yes ... it is quite simple.  We are a society ... a community ... a big extended American family.

And ... as such ... we should do some basic things to make it a nice community.

We should take care of our elderly and the less fortunate ... simple.  That's the society that I want to live in.  That's my philosophy.

And we can afford it.  We absolutely can.

So ... if you want to call that sad - and you know who you are - go ahead ... call it sad.  You can even call me a hippie ... I won't mind.
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Ray

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« Reply #61 on: March 24, 2010, 12:38:35 am »

I wasn't aware that this was a topic that Michael had initiated on 'What's New', and also wondered 'what the heck has this to do with photography'.

Indirectly, of course, the issue does affect photography, as it affects everything else. If anyone is suddenly faced with massive health bills, his entire lifestyle may be radically changed, including further upgrades to camera equipment.

I consider myself fortunate to be a national of a country which has an excellent health system. I'm amazed that a country like America that leads the world in so many respects should have such a poor safety net for the  under-privileged.

I don't pay anything for health insurance, except for a small charge on my tax return to support the national medicare system.

Fortunately, I'm blessed with good health, so far. But I recently slipped down a bank after a shower of rain, and fractured my right wrist as I attempted to protect my fall. My arm was in plaster for a few weeks and I've made several visits to the physiotherapist after the plaster was removed. All of which has not cost me a penny. Furthermore, I have interesting conversations with my physiotherapist, ranging from the importance of keeping fit to my boasting of my exploits in the Himalayas, which brings me to the main point of my post.

The most effective, and by far the cheapest health insurance ever devised, is a lifestyle practice of eating wholesome food and taking plenty of exercise. If you are not doing that, not eating wholsome food and not exercising, then I'm afraid the reality is, you are unwittingly booking yourself into a hospital bed in the future, in the hope that such beds are available if you don't subscribe to expensive private health cover.

Prevention is always better than cure.

Whenever I have to visit a clinic or a hospital, as I have recently because of my wrist fracture, I see other patients sitting in chairs to wait their turn. They are more often than not, overweight slobs. They look as though they've never taken a day's exercise in their life. What do they expect?

It's a sad fact of world nutrition, that many people in wealthy countries not only over-eat, but over-eat the wrong sort of food because it's tasty, whilst many of those in poor countries cannot get enough food whether wholesome or not.

One section of the world is making itself ill through overeating, resulting in massive medical expenses, whilst another section of the world is making itself ill through undereating, causing massive damage to brain development and intelligence.
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John Camp

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Big day for the US
« Reply #62 on: March 24, 2010, 12:41:02 am »

I think there might have been a way to provide universal care, but this wasn't it. Almost all major issues, including things like Social Security and Medicare were accomplished in at least a somewhat bipartisan way, with popular approval, and had a lot of people working together to get the law right. This was true even of terribly controversial things, like the Civil Rights acts of the 50s and 60s, which saw Republicans and Democrats working together on them.


This was totally partisan, and not only partisan, but because the Democratic leadership didn't even have the basic votes in their own party, it became completely corrupt -- so thoroughly corrupt that one US Senator, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, sold his vote for special treatment for Nebraskans, and saw his 60+ percent approval rating vanish in his own state. He is now considered unlikely to be re-elected, because his own constituents -- the people who would benefit from this corruption -- were so disgusted with what he'd done. Large portions of the American population also get special treatment under this bill, while others are disproportionately hurt (and not the wealthy.) If you have a negotiated plan set up as a part of a union contract, your health care insurance won't be affected. For you, nothing changes. You are simply out of the deal. But that means that the total number of people who have to pay more, to subsidize those who can't pay, is smaller, and so their rates will be even higher; further, those "gold-plated plans" retain their tax exempt status, so while the rest of us pay for medical insurance with after-tax dollars, the union plans, worth thousand and thousands of dollars, are not taxed at all. Those provision were Democratic concessions to their labor union supporters

I'm a Democrat, and even a liberal one, who has contributed substantial sums to Democratic candidates, but this whole thing stinks so badly, and pits so many interest groups against each other, that I'm ashamed of the party for doing it. There had to be a better way. The time for universal coverage may be here, but all Americans ought to be in it together -- there shouldn't be different classes of beneficiaries, depending on who bought or sold a vote to whom. I wanted a medical bill, but was praying that this one would be defeated, and that perhaps Mrs.Pelosi and her accomplices would be pushed out of their positions. We needed to start over, and try to preserve some semblance of fairness.

Now what? I think there's an excellent chance that the Republicans will get control of the House this fall, or if not, be so close as to be able to thwart the plans for actually operating this mess. I don't think they could repeal it -- there will be too many beneficiaries, even in Republican districts -- but what we could get is the worst of all worlds: a terribly corrupt, convoluted law that is further gummed up by Republican intransigence.

By the way, the people who use phrases like "a country as rich as this one," etc., simply have no idea of what this will cost. We are essentially talking about a takeover of about 1/5 of the American economy by the same people who set up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and made possible the enormous financial crash of the past few years (the bankers were the gamblers, all right, but it was Congress that built the casino.) And that stuff about the cost of the "war of choice" -- the cost of the "war of choice" is trivial beside the cost of this. America could run the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without noticing the cost, even though there are tens of billions of dollars involved. But the cost of the medical bill is so huge, that it *had* to be done right.

For people interested in finance, by the way, it should be noted the the bonds Warren Buffett just sold to pay for his acquisition of the Santa Fe railroad sold for interest rates *lower* than new US government bonds. That is seriously ominous -- that people would bet that the US is more likely to default than Warren Buffett.  

I think in most ways, Canada did their medical system pretty well. They have some problems that could probably be alleviated by allowing private clinics and add-on insurance policies, but basically, even without those things, they did it pretty well. This is nothing like Canada.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 12:44:02 am by John Camp »
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Dan Carter

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Big day for the US
« Reply #63 on: March 24, 2010, 01:14:49 am »

Just want to go on record as being in absolute disagreement with Michael and the rest of you who think this is a Big Day for the US.

To believe that a minority of the US population and a socialist, lying, law breaking congress has the right to enslave the majority in order to pay for anything is shameful. With luck, come November, all of the Democats who voted for this 2000+ page marxist handbook will be unemployed. And you, who were reaching into the rest of our pockets to pay for your health care will have to go to work and PAY YOUR OWN WAY.

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Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #64 on: March 24, 2010, 01:17:10 am »

Quote from: John Camp
For people interested in finance, by the way, it should be noted the the bonds Warren Buffett just sold to pay for his acquisition of the Santa Fe railroad sold for interest rates *lower* than new US government bonds. That is seriously ominous -- that people would bet that the US is more likely to default than Warren Buffett.

Sounds like an arb to me ... short the BRK and buy the treasury bond.

The US Gov't can't default as it borrows in its own currency ... so it has zero credit risk.

Berkshire has SOME credit risk ... albeit not much over a two year horizon.

The only risk in the treasury is inflation ... but the Berkshire bond has the same inflation risk + credit risk.

Your conclusion that the US Gov't has a higher probability of default is incorrect.
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Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #65 on: March 24, 2010, 01:19:05 am »

Quote from: Dan Carter
marxist handbook

What a laugh ... marxist ... say it again ... louder ... maybe it will  make sense if you scream it at the top of your lungs ...
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Big day for the US
« Reply #66 on: March 24, 2010, 01:19:24 am »

Quote from: John Camp
... And that stuff about the cost of the "war of choice" -- the cost of the "war of choice" is trivial beside the cost of this. America could run the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without noticing the cost, even though there are tens of billions of dollars involved...
Trivial!? Hmmm... let me see: the cost of war so far in Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be above $1 trillion... the cost of healthcare reform is estimated to be... $1 trillion. Looks like the only "trivial" thing is the difference.

Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #67 on: March 24, 2010, 01:23:25 am »

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
Trivial!? Hmmm... let me see: the cost of war so far in Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be above $1 trillion... the cost of healthcare reform is estimated to be... $1 trillion. Looks like the only "trivial" thing is the difference.
... and ... the direct and indirect costs of the Iraq/Afghan wars have been estimated to be as high as $3 trillion ...
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John Camp

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« Reply #68 on: March 24, 2010, 01:24:53 am »

Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Sounds like an arb to me ... short the BRK and buy the treasury bond.

The US Gov't can't default as it borrows in its own currency ... so it has zero credit risk.

Berkshire has SOME credit risk ... albeit not much over a two year horizon.

The only risk in the treasury is inflation ... but the Berkshire bond has the same inflation risk + credit risk.

Your conclusion that the US Gov't has a higher probability of default is incorrect.

Far be it from me to challenge one of the Masters of the Universe, but that's not what they're saying at the WSJ or Bloomberg:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/fundmastery/2...bonds-we-trust/
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Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #69 on: March 24, 2010, 01:28:39 am »

Quote from: John Camp
Far be it from me to challenge one of the Masters of the Universe, but that's not what they're saying at the WSJ or Bloomberg:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/fundmastery/2...bonds-we-trust/

I'm not disputing the fact that there was a minimal negative spread ...

I'm disputing the interpretation.
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John Camp

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« Reply #70 on: March 24, 2010, 01:29:56 am »

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
Trivial!? Hmmm... let me see: the cost of war so far in Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be above $1 trillion... the cost of healthcare reform is estimated to be... $1 trillion. Looks like the only "trivial" thing is the difference.

That's eight years of war. Nobody but the Congress (and its creatures) estimates the cost of the medical bill at $1 trillion: the actual cost is estimated by most authorities at about $2.4 trillion. I'm not saying the war is a trivial matter -- too many people have been killed -- but the cost of the war can also be borrowed and then amortized over a long period of time. The cost of the medical bill is annual, and never ends.
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Dan Carter

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« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2010, 01:31:57 am »

Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Yes ... it is quite simple. We are a society ... a community ... a big extended American family.

And ... as such ... we should do some basic things to make it a nice community.

We should take care of our elderly and the less fortunate ... simple. That's the society that I want to live in. That's my philosophy.

And we can afford it. We absolutely can.

So ... if you want to call that sad - and you know who you are - go ahead ... call it sad. You can even call me a hippie ... I won't mind.

Well, that's just fine. If you want to live in that type of society, by all means do it. But don't use a socialist congress to force those not interested in your philosophy to pay for it. I personally don't want to be part of a family that's busy picking my pocket.
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Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #72 on: March 24, 2010, 01:40:44 am »

Quote from: Dan Carter
Well, that's just fine. If you want to live in that type of society, by all means do it. But don't use a socialist congress to force those not interested in your philosophy to pay for it. I personally don't want to be part of a family that's busy picking my pocket.

I do live in a society like that ... it is called the United States of America ... whether through government or other means, we do take care of each other ... you think that is a bad thing?

Where do you draw the line ... would you abolish public schools? social security? medicare? fire departments?  police?
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Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #73 on: March 24, 2010, 01:44:22 am »

Quote from: John Camp
That's eight years of war. Nobody but the Congress (and its creatures) estimates the cost of the medical bill at $1 trillion: the actual cost is estimated by most authorities at about $2.4 trillion. I'm not saying the war is a trivial matter -- too many people have been killed -- but the cost of the war can also be borrowed and then amortized over a long period of time. The cost of the medical bill is annual, and never ends.

You just don't get it ... WE ALREADY PAY FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE ... far more than we should.

We need healthcare ... we didn't need to take $3 trillion and burn it in the backyard.
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Dan Carter

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« Reply #74 on: March 24, 2010, 01:48:07 am »

Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I do live in a society like that ... it is called the United States of America ... whether through government or other means, we do take care of each other ... you think that is a bad thing?

Where do you draw the line ... would you abolish public schools? social security? medicare? fire departments? police?


Very simple. I draw the line when, due to taxation, 50% of my income is confiscated not donated for others I could care less about instead of my family.
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Jeremy Payne

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Big day for the US
« Reply #75 on: March 24, 2010, 01:52:00 am »

Quote from: Dan Carter
for others I could care less about

Exactly.  I can't believe you actually said it ... but that's it in a nutshell.

You don't care about other people ... now THAT'S sad.

Good night, y'all ... it has been fun ...
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ErikKaffehr

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« Reply #76 on: March 24, 2010, 02:15:09 am »

Hi,

All countries here in Europe have a healthcare for all system. Still costs in Europe are much lower than they have been in the US, see the figures from 2007 here:

http://www.angelfire.com/rnb/y/universal.htm#stat

Quality of health care obviously differs between countries.

I don't know what's wrong with the US health care system, it's obviously not very cost effective. Note that in the diagram above total spending in OECD average is about the same as public spending was in US, still discussing 2007 figures.

Another issue is that whether the spending is private (mostly payed with insurances) or public (mostly payed with taxes) it still needs to be payed. Having an efficient health care system would be beneficiary for the total economy of a nation.

We have a lot of problems with health care here in Europe, too. Costs are high and there are issues with availability.

Best regards
Erik




Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Yes ... it is quite simple.  We are a society ... a community ... a big extended American family.

And ... as such ... we should do some basic things to make it a nice community.

We should take care of our elderly and the less fortunate ... simple.  That's the society that I want to live in.  That's my philosophy.

And we can afford it.  We absolutely can.

So ... if you want to call that sad - and you know who you are - go ahead ... call it sad.  You can even call me a hippie ... I won't mind.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 02:16:35 am by ErikKaffehr »
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Erik Kaffehr
 

Gellman

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Big day for the US
« Reply #77 on: March 24, 2010, 03:57:01 am »

Quote
If anyone is suddenly faced with massive health bills, his entire lifestyle may be radically changed, including further upgrades to camera equipment.


Finally, a relevant comment. What we really need is upgrade reform.
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Rob C

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« Reply #78 on: March 24, 2010, 06:34:51 am »

I don't live in the States and all I know for sure about going there is that, whenever I had to, the relevant travel insurance went through the roof compared with most other places to which I travelled.

I don't see this as a negative thing about the States I see it as a negative thing about the muscle of the US doctor industry and the lawyer industry.

People in the UK complain about going into hospital and not being able to understand the doctor or even the nurse because they are often non-native English speakers; people have been killed by under-trained medical staff coming over to the UK to practise (probably in BOTH senses of the word!) and fucking up big-time. A man was recently killed by an Indian doctor who had previously worked in Germany who overdosed ten-fold. I can see that happen very easily: here, in Spain, they don't write 10.7 when they mean ten and seven tenths - to confuse fractions with decimal points for a moment - they write 10,7. (After almost thirty years of living here I can still become doubtful over that tiny difference when figuring out whether the writer is thinking millions or hundreds when I read newspaper reports about finance.) And the reason there are so many non-native English speakers in UK hospitals is because of the huge money that so many people make deserting where they trained in order to go and work in medicine in the US: the golden lure sucks the talent and blood out of other countries. And it spreads everywhere: Spanish nurses we had would speak to us about waiting to travel to work in Britain - the chain goes on and on. That's why medicine is so needlessly over-expensive; go look in the carparks at the private hospitals: I walked one an hour a day, ever day, as exercise for five weeks during one of my wife's stints as a patient. The same huge shiny cars sat there during that 'holiday' as well as during all the others we spent there. They were NOT patients' cars, or if they were, the medics sure weren't doing a good job of sending the patients home any time soon!

That's probably the root of it all, the fear about costs of medicine for all: the huge money that goes into one private pocket based on another's private distress.

As I have said before, I have experienced and paid for both the private and state medical services and it turns out that the differnce comes down to whether you share a room with another patient or have a room to yourself. Frankly, I'd rather just get well as quickly as possible. As I also mentioned elsewhere, there is the situation happening in some organisations where the private hospital becomes part of an insurance group; when that occurs, the result seems to be that patients facing serious or doubtful outcomes to intervention can find themselves shunted off to the state alternative by the private hospital (assuming they are entitled to it, as most are) which doesn't want to spend the money nor face the risk of losing a patient in its care.

I am no 'socialist' in an ideological/political sense, but I do feel that there are such things as basic human rights to health and some dignity in life that should transcend the power of the individual wallet.

Rob C
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 06:37:19 am by Rob C »
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Jim Pascoe

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« Reply #79 on: March 24, 2010, 06:55:28 am »

Quote from: perl_monger
I am sympathetic to the story of and am grateful to Michael for having a print sale in support of a friend in need. There are stories and anecdotes on both sides of this argument - I work for a UK company and read the newspaper accounts of neglected patients, denied care, shortages, how bureaucrats outnumber doctors 2:1, and the like. This comes from UK papers, not US. And I know people in Buffalo, NY, who work in hospitals that do a very good business from Canadians seeking care here. Didn't Danny Williams choose to come to the US for heart surgery - 'my heart, my choice'?
I live in the UK and you would be foolish to believe everything you read in the newspapers here.  Most of the editorial has a political angle and are looking for 'bad news' stories to horrify people.  I am nearly 50 years old and in my lifetime I, my family and friends, and pretty much everyone I have come into contact with have had excellent treatment within the National Health Service (NHS).  Are there problems?  Of course there are. The NHS is the biggest employer in the UK and a massive organisation.  Money is tight now and always has been.  The cost of treatment and drugs is escalating and it is difficult to keep up with the investment needed.  But on the whole it is perceived as a fair system that treats everyone and is free at the point of treatment.  I worry about paying off my mortgage and providing for a pension in old age, but one thing I do not have to worry about is healthcare.

Jim
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