Oh-oh, socialized medicine is coming to North Carolina.

Makes sense to me.

Starting in fall 2010 ... a new health insurance policy kicks in then, mandating that all students at UNC system campuses, about 215,000 people, have health insurance. Students must either prove they have their own, or buy insurance through a new plan designed to leverage the system's buying power to offer reasonable premiums and better coverage than most campuses do now on their own.

According to the article, the new plan would cost students $549 to $679 annually for $100,000 coverage with a $300 deductible, depending on the school they attend.

I'd take that deal, wouldn't you?


Wow !!

Hopefully that was all just in fun.

If not, here I was thinking you, James, are a capitalist and stand for private interprise.

Funny, I guess, if you look at what you've put here as "tongue-in-cheek". If it's something you want to present as your way of thinking, I'm extremely disappointed.

I wouldn't say "fun"

I find cartoonists have a way of cutting to the heart of hard truths. This one made me think about the history of tension between labor and capital.

How the World Has Changed

In the 1960s, every college or university that I attended had a Student Health Service that was the equivalent of a doctor's office and small hospital ward. Plus you were offered accident coverage for $25 a year.

So what we had was sorta like the British National Health Service. What happened to those over the past 40-something years?

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Capitalism run amok

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of free markets in many areas. But it is not the right solution to every issue, and it's clear that free markets don't get the job done in health care.

I went to college at the Naval Academy. We had all the care anyone could want, and then some. All at taxpayer expense.

Give me a break

"it's clear that free markets don't get the job done in health care."

Right, because health care is such a free market haha

"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Well actually James

I wonder why you are speaking to the health care issue in the U.S. by using your naval academy history and such. That has absolutely NOTHING to do with the issue at hand. I admire you for your service to our country and think you are just the best because you graduated from the naval academy, but that's really not revelant here. I am sure you'll present a very different picture on that and I know you are a front page presenter here and have a lot of "power" here, but, you get the picture.

I am most certainly FOR some government involvement in health care for those that don't have the wherewithall to have that for themselves. I'm NOT for just giving health care at taxpayer's expense willy nilly to those that just don't want to achieve and those that suck on the government tet. And, James, you know as well as I do that there are millions of people that do just that.

There has to be some balance, some oversight, some kind of enforcement in this. If not, you know as I do that it will be abused. That's the rift. And, I think you know this.

Not really sure what this:

I know you are a front page presenter here and have a lot of "power" here

is about, but I can assure you James does not flaunt or even exercise his authority here very often. He'll say what's on his mind, but he also has the patience of Job when taking criticism.

You misread me

I was referring to the fact that we have full-scale socialized medicine in our military, all paid for by you and by me. We could really cut our nation's health care bills by privatizing the army and letting the Blackwater mercenaries pay for their own care. No?

As to the millions sucking on the government "tet," what do you propose we do? When a twenty-something uninsured deadbeat decides to get in a shoot-out and takes a bullet in the back, what's your plan for dealing with that? Let him die on the street? Turn him away at the emergency room door?

When a chronically obese family in St. Louis hits the skids and the two of the children are diagnosed with heart problems and diabetes, and the parents lose their jobs because of absenteeism, what do you propose we do? Let the kids die? Let the parents die? Put them in jail for being stupid and poor?

When a teen gives birth to her third child before she's 20 years old and the kids are taken away from her because she's a heroin addict, what do you propose we do? Put her in jail where she'll continue to whore for drugs? Put the kids in a burlap sack and drown them?

What's your plan for dealing with real life?

Government public health programs

Foxtrot, you wrote "I'm NOT for just giving health care at taxpayer's expense willy nilly to those that just don't want to achieve and those that suck on the government tet." I need to point out that there are hundreds of thousands of families with children with special health care needs that are utilizing public health programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP for their children with special health care needs because they can't afford the extremely high cost of private health insurance. The adults on Medicaid make up a VERY small percentage because the cap for adults is $9004.00 assets and income per year in NC and the national average cap is around $11,000.00 assets and income per year which means that the adults that qualify for Medicaid are extremely LOW income.

It is a Republican talking point only that perpetuates the misunderstanding that adults and children use government public health programs because they are too lazy or don't want to achieve. Yes, there is a VERY small percentage that may be on public health programs because they don't want to work but you have to look at the life that they lead and how poor they are, so poor that food is a luxury. The majority of those on public health programs are there out of necessity because they can't afford private health insurance. And don't get me started on the sacrifices they have to make to qualify for those programs, again out of medical necessity. The highest majority of fraud and abuse in the current systems of care are committed not by individual citizens but by businesses in the insurance and health care industries.

The only way that we will ever have equality, decrease costs, increase accessibility, and stop insurance companies from discriminating against anyone that may have a pre-existing condition or chronic illness is to pass Health Care Reform with a Public Health Plan.

I know you are going to argue with me and ask me how I know any of what I have stated. I am an advocate for families with children with special health care needs and as such I am thoroughly involved in multiple organizations that address health issues for those families. Some of the largest barriers to access to care are cost, accessibility, and discrimination. We need to remove all barriers to access to care and the only way to do that is to pass Health Care Reform with a Public Health Plan that also includes regulations on the insurance and medical industries, provides incentives for folks to become primary care providers, and lowers costs.

Proposed plan won't work for special needs, illnesses, accidents

"the new plan would cost students $549 to $679 annually for $100,000 coverage with a $300 deductible" This will not work for the chronically ill/special health care needs population because they will reach the cap with their first major hospitalization. It also will not work for anyone that suffers a major illness or accident while attending college. I know first hand how expensive health care is because I have 3 kids with Cystic Fibrosis, 1 adult child with a Brain Injury, and we have survived a major car accident. Just for children with special needs such as Cystic Fibrosis, two of their dozen medications costs $11,000.00 per month. An average of $200,000.00 a year per child is spent on doctors fees, hospital fees, durable medical equipment, testings, and prescriptions and that is all without a major hospitalization. When they have to be hospitalized, it is on average for a 3 month period for intravenious IV therapies and if their lungs fail or infections worsen then it is even more expensive and can be longer than that. The average serious accident treatment and recovery can easily cost well over a hundred thousand. It is a good annual rate and I wish I could get private insurance for that price but I don't agree with the caps and think that is wrong. The college just isn't thinking about every portion of the college population nor what could happen to their students. This is just another plan for the perfectly healthy that think nothing could or would ever happen to them.

Good points

Raise the caps? Lower the medication prices? Raise taxes? Reallocate money ... from where to where? I wish I had the magic answer.

How would your ideal American Health Plan change things for you and your family?

I appreciate hearing the details of treatments and costs. It put things in practical terms, which seems like the right way to be thinking about all this.

My ideal American Health Plan

My ideal American Health Plan would provide coverage for everyone, regardless of health condition, income, gender, sexual orientation, race, or anything else that could be discriminatory and the cost should be a small percentage of annual income. I would love to see no caps and very small, if any, co-pays. I would love to see more use of generic prescriptions with an easy to access option for name brand meds based on a persons health need and I would love to see the costs of meds decrease. I would love to see physicians and patients and their families making medical decisions instead of insurance companies, beaurocrats, and hospital administrators. I would love to see the costs of medical care decrease and think that physicians need to be held to quality standards. Some of those costs can be decreased by Health IT that would reduce the waste and stop physicians from ordering the same tests a dozen times which would also impact consumer safety and health outcomes. Great example of what not to do - when I was seeking medical care for myself, they ran an MRI on my back, then another on my neck, then another on my right leg, then another on my left leg but all the while they needed to do one on my head but never did and they should have done one MRI on my entire body at one time. Same thing for the CT scan. Same thing for the X-Ray. I also had 4 spinal nerve blocks within a month and a half, you would think that after the 1st one not working they would stop or after the 1st one caused my heart and breathing to decrease and caused me to code then they would have stopped. When my daughter was on life support and they wanted to give her Penicillan, I told them not to because since I am allergic then more than likely she is to. They refused to listen and did it anyway. Five minutes after that she broke out, they had to increase her O2, and still fought with me over whether or not she was allergic for the next 12 hours. I have many more examples of how broken the system is. I would love to see the cost of DME decrease and feel that it is criminal to charge public health programs $16k for a $900. O2 Concentrator or $1200.00 for $150.00 wheelchair. I would love to see more primary care physicians in practice. I would love to see all medical providers provide patient and family centered care and adopt the Quality Medical Home concept. I would love to see all medical professionals that deal with children accept parents as partners in the care of that child. I would love to see hospitals held to high quaility standards that also has consequences for discrimination and mis-diagnosis. I would love to see all medical providers adopt a physical and mental health (all inclusive) approach because the occurance of mental health issues affecting the individuals with a physical disability is quite high. I would love to see mental health issues get the attention and funding that they need. I would love to see the costs of testings decrease. I would love to see all hospitals engaging in research and clinical trials and adopting stem cell therapies. I would love to experience a medical professional that truly listens to everything said, researches causes and treatments, and makes decisions based on what the patient and family says and what treatments and therapies will actually work for their patient and with any family considerations taken into account. I would love to see strong arm tactics that are commonly used to obtain compliance stopped. I would love to see the costs of therapies such as PT decrease. I would love to see all publically accessed buildings fully ADA compliant with ramps that don't drop off to one side or have a ridge that tips wheelchairs or have an incline so steep that a wheelchair is hard to push up and will easily wheel out of control on the way down. These buildings should also have button controls for all doors, especially entrance and restroom doors. Have you ever been in a wheelchair and tried to open a door that has a pressurized automatic closing contraption? Or have you ever been in a wheelchair and tried to go up the ramps at UNC Chapel Hill or down the ramps without assistance? Or have you been in a wheelchair and been going along just fine until you hit a ridge or a missing piece of pavement - they have sections of sidewalk that have a rubber part in between the sections at Crabtree Mall and at the top of some ramps where the ramp meets the floor - that causes the person in the wheelchair to tip forward violently? I would love to see more outreach, public education, and public partnerships.

That is my basic off the cuff dream of my ideal health reform plan. There are so many aspects to health care reform. My response is just from what I have personally experienced with my own health care and lack thereof and my childrens. You made me think though, maybe I will write up a more detailed explanation and post it.

I don't have any easy answers on funding. I am all for taxing those who earn in excess of $280,000.00 per year, taking the bonuses away from private health insurance executives and decreasing their pay to what their average employee earns, and stopping the fraud and waste in the systems of care. I believe that health care should be a right, not a privilege. I like the House proposal and the Presidents statements of what he wants to see in Health Care Reform. I don't agree with any of the other proposals nor do I agree with Co-ops. I believe we can completely reform our Health Care System to include a Public Health Plan, even though I personally would rather have single-payer, just with the taxes on the rich and the savings from Health IT, fraud, waste, and abuse along with the savings from what we would have paid to private insurance companies and hospitals.

What I can definately tell you is that we have been through h*ll in trying to obtain health care for our children and for ourselves. We have sacrificed far too much, we have lost far too much, and we have gotten to the point where we either see Health Care Reform passed with a public plan or we will have to find some way to sell everything and move to another country that has universal/single payer. For us, because of my deteriorating health, it is a do or die time. We are waiting to see what happens and being as involved as we can to show our support for the President and Health Care Reform to include a Public Health option but if it fails then as much as we love this country and where we live, we will have to find a way to give it all up and move to somewhere that I can get treatment to save my life and allow my chidren to survive without killing the family financially.

Wild guess

ke851, but I'm willing to bet John Lennon's Imagine might just be on your iPod...

The Beatles, David Cook, and a few others

You should have bet some money on that one, you would have won. I also have David Cooks "Permanent", Creed "Weathered", and a few others. I love Rock and Roll and have a varied collection of music that makes me think or helps me direct my emotions when needed. Back in the day, when I was young and scar free and thought I was invincible, I wore mini skirts and had spiked green hair too, I've always been sort of a rebel. My husband still laughs at how we met and what we both looked like. To think it's been 25 years and how much has changed. Now I look like the average mom and every now and then get to dress up in a business suit. But I still love good rock and roll.

Healthcare and Markets

Markets ration scarce resources by intensity of demand and ability to pay. Applying markets to healthcare assumes that people "want" healthcare services in the same way that they "want" the latest DVD. Most folks approach healthcare with a bias not to want it even when cost isn't a factor. They would rather be healthy and avoid it altogether.

And if you want everyone to be healthy--you do want the cook in the fancy restaurant or the fast food joint, the nursing assistants tending to you in hospitals and nursing homes, and everyone on your flight to be healthy, don't you--then rationing based on ability to pay is loony.

Therefore, markets don't work well for delivering healthcare to the people who need it.

You can make a similar argument for police protection, fire protection, education, and other services that it is in your interest for everybody to have. Note that this is not true for the majority of goods and services in an economy. These services, by the necessity of delivering them to all independent of the ability to pay, inherently require some degree of government intervention or support. This is social, not socialist; socialism is an ideology. Just like capitalism is an ideology, independent of the way private businesses operate. Both ideologies express what should happen. Both are absolutist, and in most situations wrong-headed.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts