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Ontarians wait up to 30 weeks for key tests
October 2, 2002 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Ontarians wait up to 30 weeks for key tests
Waiting lists for common exams to detect major diseases are growing at an alarming and outrageous pace in Ontario, says the National Post. The Waiting lists are longest ever, One million people waiting for medical treatments, A Hostpital with no nurses or beds, and, Medical errors killing thousands. Over the pond... more bad news. 36-hour hospital wait for 87-year-old , and worse yet, Woman dies 'after hospital wait'.
Bad news for govt. run health care, or media hype?
posted by Blake (39 comments total)

 
>Bad news for govt. run health care, or media hype?

The former. Medicine is a profession like any other: Doctors and nurses who are well compensated will provide the best care. Socialized medicine is a boondoggle.
posted by McBain at 9:49 AM on October 2, 2002


Its funny how the rest of the world provides it to their citizens, since it apparently sucks so badly...
posted by bshort at 9:57 AM on October 2, 2002


Clearly it's not quite that simple a problem. The NP article indicates that some communities are able to maintain reasonable waiting periods, while others seem to have very serious problems. The article is only highlighting the peak negative cases, and fails to show how that compares across different types of community, let alone with the rest of Canada or a system like in the US (where plenty of HMOs generate similar complaints). Is it only the big cities, like Toronto? Are rural communities better, or worse, served? What might be the underlying reasons for the differences? This article barely scratches the surface of those questions.
posted by dhartung at 10:03 AM on October 2, 2002


I'd love to see some research on this sort of thing that was making an attempt at being unbiased. For example, are the number of people dying from "medical errors" statistically higher in countries with socialized medicine? What about when you factor in people who can't afford medical care?

That first article is also completely biased on the statistics, they keep saying "as long as" and "as high as" -- can you please just give me the average or median? What if that 30 weeks is just a few exceptional cases? They certainly don't say. The second article, however, is quite a bit more revealing (since it gives us average "wait list" times), certainly seems to indicate a problem with the system.

However, In new york city, I regularily wait a month or even two to get an appointment with my doctor, so most of the statistics for common check up tests aren't really impressing me either.

Be great to see reports on these studies from a source with less of an axe to grind.
posted by malphigian at 10:06 AM on October 2, 2002


Yes it is true that Canadian health care is facing difficulties.

While it is doing okay now, the real fear is that 10 or 15 years down the road, without additional funding, socialized health care will deteriorate to the point where it is as bad as the U.S. system.
posted by bobo123 at 10:08 AM on October 2, 2002


the real problem with U.S. health care now, is with the shortage of people going into the profession...not just a nursing shortage, a worker shortage. The pay scales are lower than most other jobs and the reimbursements from the government are getting smaller and smaller each year while the cost keep going up.
posted by mkelley at 10:15 AM on October 2, 2002


The health care system in Canada/Ontario used to be good. Then, in Ontario there were a lot of funding cuts. Now it is bad, and the government in Ontario, who has wanted to privatize health care for years, and who instituted many of these funding cuts, is claiming that socialized health care doesn't work.
They are right--it does not work if the government is not willing to pay for it. It certainly doesn't work if you don't want it to work so that you can justify privatizing the system like you have wanted to all along...
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:17 AM on October 2, 2002


Medical errors are not a problem unique to Canada. In fact, the United States has been cited as a big source of these problems. Without going through various "anti-conventional medicine" sources, this CNN article mentions a study that estimates betwen 44,000 and 98,000 deaths each year occured because of medical errors.

Assume that the 10,000 figure given in the link mentioned is the original post is the "upper end" estimate (which the article implies), and Canada's population is 31 million, compared to America's 270 million. Taking the upper end of the American error rate, as well, this would mean that US and Canadian medical error rates are about the same, with the US's slightly higher.
posted by deanc at 10:17 AM on October 2, 2002


41,000,000 Americans can afford no heath insurance. Thanks for doing your part to eliminate those pesky waiting lists for the rest of us.
posted by JackFlash at 10:19 AM on October 2, 2002


>Bad news for govt. run health care, or media hype?

The latter.

1) Canadians, correct me if I'm wrong, but Ontario is generally doing the worst with its management of its health care global budget. Other provinces are doing much better. 2) I think you could probably argue that many people in the US might be 'waiting' for services, too, if their HMOs covered them, didn't reject them, or if they had health insurance at all to begin with. 3) The US is facing a very frightening nursing shortage itself. 4) Medical errors are terrible in the US, too. (And you're more likely to receive poorer care in for-profit HMOs and nursing homes than not-for-profit ones). 5) There are always going to be errors, mistakes, and problems with any system. It's easy to point out when big bad ones happen. And you can't really compare the Canadian and British systems, they function completely differently. McBain: Canada is not socialized medicine. Britain is (or is closer to it.)
posted by gramcracker at 10:20 AM on October 2, 2002


communism doesn't work. Those people up there should know this by now!
posted by Postroad at 10:21 AM on October 2, 2002


It's a sad situation in Ontario right now.

It has gotten to the point that you may receive better and more timely medical attention (for non life-threatening conditions) if you go to a casino rather than going to an hospital.

The typical wait to even see a doctor at the local emergency room is several hours unless you bleed or scream lots.
posted by Shrike at 10:31 AM on October 2, 2002


communism doesn't work. Those people up there should know this by now!

I haven't seen any mention of communism, and socialized health insurance ain't communism. Hell, it ain't even socialism. It's *gasp* providing health care for all! What a malicious concept!
posted by gramcracker at 10:31 AM on October 2, 2002


And then there's this poor New Zealander...
posted by whatzit at 10:33 AM on October 2, 2002


The 41 million person figure is not who "can't afford" health care. Why?

1) Health care, such as a yearly checkup, is far, far cheaper than health insurance. As long as nothing terrible happens, you'll be allright with just an occasional checkup.

2) Many of the people without health insurance can "afford" it, but simply have other priorities. Nothing wrong with that, it's their choice. In a nation where 98% of people can spare the change to buy a TV, I find it hard to believe that 16% can't afford any health coverage. Further, many people are in professions, by choice, that simply don't pay a lot. That's a choice one has to make. Do what you love, but don't expect other people to pay for what you want. I understand that many poor are poor simply because they don't have needed skills, are injured, etc., but many simply want to work as, say, an artist.

Though, certainly, I can "afford" anything as long as my rich neighbor is paying for it, huh?
posted by Kevs at 10:42 AM on October 2, 2002


The National Post article took vagueness to new heights. There's no indication of whether the problems exist across the board in the same communities or if some communities show good access to one test and poor access to another test. There's no indication as to whether the problems are more dominant in smaller or larger communities. The words 'some communities' and 'most communities' are used repeatedly. Is some 3 of 60? 10 of 60? Is most 31? 50?

I live in Ontario and while I don't doubt there must be terrible things wrong with our health care system, I've certainly never experienced any of them. I've typically had diagnostic tests scheduled within 2-3 weeks, specialists visits in the same time frame. ER visits for relatively minor complaints generally involve waits of 2-3 hours, and that's after being triaged to the back of the line. I don't doubt that there are wait time problems but the continued look at 'up to' and 'as long as' tends to represent worst cases as the norm.

About the only useful statistic in the whole story is this one: In the case of CT scans, the diagnostic wait is considered medically inappropriate 98% of the time. I don't know what 'medically inappropriate' means, but at least I have some idea of the actual scope of the problem instead of how bad it was once somewhere.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:44 AM on October 2, 2002


"It's *gasp* providing health care for all! What a malicious concept!"

If I threatened to imprison you for your refusal to pay for my health care, and I had the means to do it, would you think me malicious?
posted by trharlan at 10:51 AM on October 2, 2002


Bad news for govt. run health care, or media hype?

Neither. As has been partially mentioned in other posts, the "crisis" in Ontario's health care system is a direct result of the bumbling, incompetent manner in which the govt of Mike Harris overhauled the system. (Non-Canadians in the audience should picture a slightly younger and less politically astute Reagan, only as a golf pro instead of a B-movie actor.)

Harris' "reforms" flat-out ignored the reasonable recommendations of Ontario's doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators - dismissed, all of them, as "special interests" too biased to inform public policy.

Basically, what Ontario's problems now indicate - and I should mention here that as a Toronto resident I've received competent, reasonably prompt and entirely free basic health care in recent weeks - but what the problems indicate is how badly things get botched when a govt attempts to fix a problem based not on observable fact but on ideology. (In this case, Harris & Co. began from the belief that universal health care can't work.) So they mucked up the system nearly beyond repair, and now claim that only a two-tiered system can fix their mess.

And lest there be any mistaking this for a rant, I'll admit my bias: I think the govt of Mike Harris was the stupidest, most willfully ignorant govt in Canadian history, and is in the running for worst anywhere. This is not because it was a right-wing govt, but merely because it was a colossally uninformed govt. In its early days, when it made its most dramatic changes, its education minister was a high-school dropout who had literally once been a horse trader, and its transportation minister was a former used-car salesman. Plus, as mentioned, the premier was a former golf pro.

Several of the links in this post come, I notice, from the National Post, which gave unrelenting support to Harris throughout his reign. (Again, for non-Ontarians: Harris retired, and his successor is an equally clueless - though less mean-spirited - boob named Ernie Eves.)
posted by gompa at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2002


Gramcracker:

Ontario is better than average for heath delivery, Quebec is the worst. In 2001, the latest year for which we have statistics, 94% of Canadians visited the doctor. 18% of them had problems. Of the 6 million who saw a specialist, 24% had problems. These are subjective; most were long wait times (more than 2/3rds of the problems). Interestingly, however, 90% of the respondents said that their service was excellent (40%) or good (50%).

The system is showing some major stresses, however, it is in for an overhaul at the end of the year. Also, it is becoming increasingly clear that the real problem is a shortage of health-care professionals, not just a lack of money. This is a combination of ill-advised education cut-backs in the late eighties, early nineties and a rapidly-aging population.

Canadian medicine is socialized---it is funded by general tax revenue. Also, Postroad, no five-year plans in Canada. In fact, given that we are not limited by HMOs, the average Canadian arguably has a wider range of health choices than an insured USian.
posted by bonehead at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2002


"Health care, such as a yearly checkup" isn't health care, Kevs. Everyone gets sick several times a year, and without insurance, if you have to go to a doctor just to get antibiotics, it can get expensive. And if you don't have insurance, you're more likely to *not* go to a doctor because of the huge expense, so you have a greater chance of getting even sicker, making the costs even higher.

I also don't know where you're getting the idea that health insurance is affordable. It costs an employer, on average, $6,300 a year to provide insurance for an employee, and that's supposed to increase 15% next year.

Most people without health insurance are hard-working Americans. They make too much to be covered under Medicaid, and too little to have a job that provides health insurance, or too little for them to afford it themselves. Do you really think a huge number of that 16% are people that " are in professions, by choice, that simply don't pay a lot"? Yeah, those busboys, service workers, and fast food workers are really in their positions for the fulfilling work they do.

tharlan: I'm having trouble following your logic and analogy. The government forces me to pay taxes, can lock me up if I don't, and doesn't always spend the way I want them to, but I don't think it's malicious. National health care generally *saves* people money, so I don't know where the payment problem is.
posted by gramcracker at 11:06 AM on October 2, 2002


Of all the things you could force me to spend my money on by threatening to lock me up--free health care for humans is not one that I would get too angry about.

Further, many people are in professions, by choice, that simply don't pay a lot. That's a choice one has to make. Do what you love, but don't expect other people to pay for what you want.

What? Are you saying it's important to do what you love, but you have to accept that you might get screwed for it, and that it would probably be better to do something you don't like that pays well?

...many simply want to work as, say, an artist.

Or a teacher, or a social worker, or a public defender, etc...
Also--where can I find this job that pays me to be an artist? I'm interested.
posted by Fabulon7 at 11:18 AM on October 2, 2002


Bad news for govt. run health care, or media hype?

If it's in the Post, it's just one of their regular 'privatize everything' columns. The Post can be entertaining, but it's not a newspaper - it's a newsletter that has a clear agenda.

Socialized medicine is a boondoggle.

Until you get stuck needing treatment from someone who rejects your coverage. I'll take the inefficiencies in trade for guaranteed access, thanks.
posted by holycola at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2002


Hmmmm...

"Ottawa Citizen
The waiting list for X-ray exams in most Ontario communities is medically unacceptable, says a report by the Ontario Association of Radiologists."

A report by the Ontario Association of Radiologists finds that in Ontario more money should be spent on radiology facilities and procedures. Colour me skeptical.

I live in BC, and I only comment on my own experience. I recently suffered a sports injury involving my back. It was by no means an emergency situation, though I was experiencing a high degree of discomfort ( pain :). I spent 20 minutes in the emergency waiting room at my local hospital, after which I was examined by a doctor. He ordered x-rays, which were performed after about another 10-15 minute wait. I was given a prescription pain killer and anti-inflammatory (sp?) and sent on my way.

I was very pleased with the level of service provided and am always skeptical when I hear horror stories regarding our health care system.

BTW, we do have a two tier system. Nothing is stopping those with the resources from utilizing our friendly neighbours to the south's pay as you go system
posted by canucklehead at 11:24 AM on October 2, 2002


I live in Florida, in the US, and I remember visiting the emergency room in high school with a rather seriously broken leg. Although not a compound fracture, my lower leg was broken in two places, swollen, and at a seriously wrong angle to the rest of my leg. I ended up waiting in the emergency room for close to 2 hours for someone to even look at it, much less prescribe pain killers. While I realize that it wasn't a life-threatening emergency (necessarily), I was in a significant amount of pain. The real kicker is that the hospital wasn't even all that busy that night.

And yes, I had health insurance, so the medical bills were *only* around a thousand dollars. Would I have preferred some for of socialized medicine? In a New York minute.
posted by bshort at 11:37 AM on October 2, 2002


What full-time teachers, social workers, or public defenders don't have employer-paid health insurance? It must be a very small minority of the whole.
posted by MattD at 11:46 AM on October 2, 2002


well hmmm... my dad needed an MRI and some other tests (drummer's injuries - crushed disk, tinnitus) and was afraid he'd have to wait 6 weeks or more because of all the bad press... he had his mri appt in 8 working days and was seeing a specialist in musician's health 2 days after seeing his GP. my nana and one of my aunts have needed many tests and surgeries (hip replacements, heart/bypass) in the last 2 years and they too have had them done in a timely fashion. my dad's best friend developed cancer and received the best of care, both in the immediate and long term. i nearly took my index finger off in a gory blood-soaked vegetable chopping incident this summer and was seen immediately in the er of a busy downtown toronto hospital.

uhm, the sky isn't falling...?

and when will you people realize that the nat'l post only exists to line my cat's litterbox...?! that tabloid shape fits like a charm.
posted by t r a c y at 11:56 AM on October 2, 2002


Interesting link. I thought I'd do some digging around the web for some statistics to put it in context.

According to the World Bank, life expectancy in Canada is 79 years, compared with 77 in the United States (and 76 in Cuba). It's possible to make comparison with other countries using the World Bank's basic data tables. The World Bank is not known as a hotbed of leftist ideology.

Also worth reading is this 1997 article - 'An international comparison of health care costs, access and outcomes.'
Excerpt :-
'The United States spends more on health care and fares worse on health outcomes than most industrialized nations. Gerard Anderson, in his article "In Search of Value: An International Comparison of Cost, Access,
and Outcomes," published in the November/December issue of Health Affairs, uses data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to compare the performance of the U.S. health care system with that of other industrialized countries. '

According to the article's bar graph, the US spends a total of 14.2 per cent of its GDP on health care, compared with Canada's 9.2 per cent, and spends far more than the other developed nations in the table. This disparity grows when you consider that United States' per capita GDP is appreciably higher than that of Canada.

So, if we believe these figures, it appears that Americans as a group spend far more per head on health care, for little or no appreciable improvement in life expectancy.
posted by plep at 12:29 PM on October 2, 2002


"it appears that Americans as a group spend far more per head on health care, for little or no appreciable improvement in life expectancy"

I wonder how much of that excess spending is because (by not participating in price controls) the US subsidizes drug research for the rest of the world?

Or because (If my co-workers are any indication) Americans abuse their low co-pay insurance by seeing a doctor every time thay have the sniffles?

Or because Americans have more to spend on Prozac and Ritalin?

Or because Americans refuse to lock up for life people who defraud Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance companies?

Causation is a wily beast.
posted by trharlan at 12:56 PM on October 2, 2002


kevs:

The 41 million person figure is not who "can't afford" health care. Why?

1) Health care, such as a yearly checkup, is far, far cheaper than health insurance. As long as nothing terrible happens, you'll be allright with just an occasional checkup.


Pretty much as long as nothing happens you'll be okay with an occasional checkup and no insurance. Have you paid for the costs of a Doctor visit lately?

I have. Last February I went to a doctor over some persistent abdominal pain. It was a student health clinic, which meant I got charged $40 for two visits, rather than a typical $150 that a private practice would have cost me. Of course, the lab work cost about $100 on top of that.... nothing fancy, just taking my blood and urine and evaluating it. $140. If I hadn't recently been a university student, that could have easily been twice as much. By the way, I do have insurance, but there's still the deductible.

2) Many of the people without health insurance can "afford" it, but simply have other priorities. Nothing wrong with that, it's their choice. In a nation where 98% of people can spare the change to buy a TV, I find it hard to believe that 16% can't afford any health coverage.

I just looked at the income distribution figures from the 2001 census last friday. According to that figure, at least 10% of the male population sampled makes less than $2500 per year. Another 10% doesn't break $10,000. 20% of the population is living on less than $1000 per month. Decent health insurance -- decent, not good, mind you -- will cost you at least $100 monthly. If you add $400 per month for rent and utilities (probably conservative), $60 for food, $100 per month for transportation costs (unless you're lucky to live right next to your job or get free public transportation). Add in clothing furniture and a few other such ammenities, and you're over the $600 monthly mark. 18% of the population doesn't make that much.

It isn't so hard to understand why 18% of americans might not have health care after all.



Further, many people are in professions, by choice, that simply don't pay a lot. That's a choice one has to make. Do what you love, but don't expect other people to pay for what you want. I understand that many poor are poor simply because they don't have needed skills, are injured, etc., but many simply want to work as, say, an artist.

The poor are poor because they choose to be. Classic.

Though, certainly, I can "afford" anything as long as my rich neighbor is paying for it, huh?

Since the rich neighbor made their wealth in a vacuum with no help or cooperation from society or anyone else, why should they have to even pay taxes, huh?
posted by namespan at 2:45 PM on October 2, 2002


Namespan, you provide the overused (to those of us who actually make enough to support ourselves) argument that those "with" should be penalized simply because it is their civil duty to help out those "without."

Speaking as someone who has worked from the very bottom all the way to where I am now (single, mid-20s, making only about $22,000/year), I can honestly say that I am *SICK* of paying the way for people who feel they should be getting a lot of something for nothing.

The old addage says, "There ain't no such thing as free." Every time I get my paycheck, I see the repercussions of all of the socialized crap we have right now. My last paycheck, for example, had $188.23 in tax taken out.

If we socialized health care, not only would I have to wait for days, weeks, months to get the tests that, with my hard-earned insurance, I can get within a day, but you would charge me in taxes a LOT more than the money I fork out in insurance each month.

No thanks. I'd rather spend the money **I** earn how I **choose.** Isn't that one of our most basic of rights -- the freedom to choose?
posted by mychai at 3:53 PM on October 2, 2002


Mychai: Sorry, but you're absolutely, 100% wrong on this one.

The taxes would not be "a LOT" more than what you choose to pay in insurance each month. Employers, in general, pay LESS in a single-payer system than in a privatized one. (See this thread for details.)

You would absolutely not wait for "days, weeks, months" to get tests back. If you have some evidence to support your claim, I'd love to see it. Otherwise, it's just plain ignorance on your part.

You want to talk about the freedom to choose? How many doctors to you have the option to go to under your plan? 50? 100? Because in a single-payer national health program, you can go to ANY doctor. Any one. You could go anywhere in the United States, see any doctor. Go to any hospital emergency room. And not have to worry about if your insurance will cover a procedure, if you'll be able to pay the bill--because you won't see one.
posted by gramcracker at 4:07 PM on October 2, 2002


Mychai: something for nothing? Did you go to public school? Ever check out something from a public library? Benefit from public roads or water works? From an innovation brought to you by a company that was moved along on the backs of minimum wage laborers and a few smart people? Take out a student loan?

I'm all for the part of our system where people get rewarded proportional to their ability to work and create actual things of value. I don't mind if some people get very well rewarded. I hope to get very well rewarded myself off of worthwhile work and maybe some clever ideas.

But the idea that all that is *just* your money is just wrong. No man is an island, and it's all to easy to forget that half of what you have is given you because you participate in a society of other people. People who aren't willing to give a percentage of it back -- and begrudge it being used to help others -- forget that the money that happens to be in their stewardship by law and common consent is a convenient fiction which represents a lot of goodwill, value, and work added by others, from the minimum wage worker to the clever CEO.

View your taxes as a membership fee to a club you're lucky to be part of. View their use to sometimes fund social programs which help everybody as a chance to make that club better. And think of it this way: you could have started out in a third world country and maybe never had the chance to be part of the club.

And for what it's worth, I make about what you do, or at least did until the tech economy slump, and don't mind 20% of my check going to help others and make the U.S. a better place to live.
posted by namespan at 4:37 PM on October 2, 2002


View your taxes as a membership fee to a club you're lucky to be part of. View their use to sometimes fund social programs which help everybody as a chance to make that club better. And think of it this way: you could have started out in a third world country and maybe never had the chance to be part of the club.

And for what it's worth, I make about what you do, or at least did until the tech economy slump, and don't mind 20% of my check going to help others and make the U.S. a better place to live.


Funny how the words that can make some people swell with pride, can make others want to vomit. I guess as long as you're happy, I should just push aside my feelings that I am being screwed over. *UNH* Wow, America is so shiny!

This thing is harder to quit than a health club.
posted by thirteen at 4:47 PM on October 2, 2002


mychai: Do you make enough money to be happy? Can you generally afford the things you need? Can you, say, go out to a movie or dinner or drinking when you feel like it? If so, you are doing better than almost everyone else on the planet. To whine that some of the money you make goes to help others is petty and childish.
Like namespan said--do you enjoy driving on paved roads? Do you enjoy the protection of police officers? How about garbage collection?
There are many things tax dollars pay for. Things that are important. Things all people use. Taxes are good.
The "welfare takes money out of my pocket" argument is a fallacy. Welfare payments are a miniscule portion of the budget of the Canadian and American governments. Politicians use welfare as a smoke screen by playing on people's greed. ("Why should I work hard every day so Jane can sit at home with her nine kids and do drugs for free?")
Would that $188.23 really make you a whole lot happier? Happier enough that it is worth telling poor people they have no right to health care?
posted by Fabulon7 at 6:13 PM on October 2, 2002


mychai: (single, mid-20s, making only about $22,000/year),

Fabulon7: Do you make enough money to be happy? Can you generally afford the things you need? Can you, say, go out to a movie or dinner or drinking when you feel like it?

If where mychai lives is much like where I do, the answer to those questions is: no. I've been there, though.
posted by goethean at 6:50 PM on October 2, 2002


National Post articles are a horrible place to get a good picture of what is going on in Canada. It is however an excellent place to get an idea of what conservative Canadians think

I have endured long waits and delays at Canadian medical facilities. I have however ALWAYS received treatment. Even when I was a completely broke unemployed grad school dropout.

I also received a life saving appendectomy that I probably would have delayed until it ruptured if I were required to pay for private medical treatment.

So given that I am probably alive and healthy because of socialized health care I am biased...in favor of living..
posted by srboisvert at 6:50 PM on October 2, 2002


a) This is a Canadawide problem. BC and Quebec have had healthcare on _strike_ due to cuts, for crying out loud. No way Ontario is that bad.

b) The PCs were elected this second time with 4 years of their "heavy handed" rule under their belts. The voters knew EXACTLY what they were in for, and they've been getting what they asked for. Some would even say the gov't has put on the kid gloves this round.

c) Healthcare funding to the various provinces from the feds. is pathetic.

Don't bash Mike Harris -- His Gov't is doing EXACTLY what the Province voted him in for (and if they didn't think this would happen, were they all asleep during the teacher strikes?). And the Feds have mucked up his plan -- but he presses on with what he said he would do.

You might not like him or his policies, but the majority in this province do. Either that or they just feel they can trust a man who (in the general sense) doesn't lie.

The big question I have is: With the Liberals or the NDP *ever* get elected on their "We'll kick the PCs out of office" plan? It just seems... so... 20 minutes into the future style thinking.
posted by shepd at 11:07 PM on October 2, 2002


Everyone gets sick several times a year,

I haven't had more than a sore throat since February 1998.

That, of course, is meaningless to this debate, but so is the sentence above if such silly hyperbole is going to be used.

I pay for a level of insurance I am happy with. Pretty much, if it costs less than $20,000, I will have to pay for it myself. I do this because I can afford, if absolutely necessary, up to $20,000 and the odds of such an expense are low.

So far, I have been employing this plan for 10 years. My total medical expenses over that period are approximately $500 (and that would be much less if I hadn't been required to get various TB tests and innoculations when I moved to Hawaii). I've come out ahead so far (if I paid for Kaiser through work, that would come to about $1300/year).

So, ignoring the question of whether I should be forced to pay insurance for others, I don't want to be forced to pay the government to insure ME.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:46 PM on October 2, 2002


Damn; Hillary-care sounded so good on paper.
posted by shamelesselitist at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2002


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