If the middle class is non-existent, then who is living in all these homes in
this valley? Unless you are in a hovel somewhere and never get out, you are
missing a massive middle class. And don't tell me there is some big foreclosure
thing going on because there isn't, less than 2%, it's all a manufactured
crisis, from the press and those who wish to spread fear and make people believe
they need the government, and where is the unemployment rate? Around 5%. I
don't know how Anonymous can shoe-horn reality into his world view. And Mike,
get the Dr. to get you and your wife, those apnea sleeping things, you are too
nice a guy to be oxygen deprived!
Your intent is honorable Mike, but expecting anybody who is earning gazillions
in the health care system to take a second look at The Big Picture and
voluntarily accept less money is the same as expecting lawyers to police other
lawyers.This may be a job for Superman (aka some watchdog Senate
Committees willing to shake things up)
What I'm trying to say is that the health care system is broken. Whether I pay
the bill, or my private health insurance company pays the bill, or "government"
provided health care pays the bill, the system is still broken. For almost
twenty-five years, I had high-deductible health insurance ($2,500 before
Blue-Cross paid a dime). During that time, no tests were ever advised - for
anything. Now that I have a different plan (again through Blue Cross), the same
doctors want to run endless tests. The symptoms have not changed. Only the
method of payment has changed.Let's fix the problem with the medical
system before we go to war over who should be in charge of health
Yep, the healthcare system is a mess.But don't tell that to the modern
American conservatives - they don't think anything is wrong with anything and
believe drawing attention to problems is just another liberal ploy.
Mike, you'll get no argument from that that medical costs are insane. Just
trying to help.What's the answer? From what I've seen, socialized
medicine is not perfect but it's a heck of a lot better than what we have
now.For all of you free-market enthusiasts, have you ever been
denied any kind of coverage because of a pre-existing condition? I have. Yet,
the symptom that got me denied isn't even an issue any longer - it was THAT
Thanks for sharing that personal info Thomas.Based upon what you've just
said, I'd say you may be wanting to align yourself with the growing
movement that's taking place in America today.Come on in. The water's
The last thing anyone wants is to learn that some poor physician or
pharmaceutical CEO is going to have to forget about that second Lamborghini
sitting in the garage at his estate.It ain't American I tell ya!It
Most people my age have sleep apnea. Should it cost $1,200 to have a doctor
hell me that I have sleep apnea? Should I be told that I need to go to the
emergency room because I have sleep apnea? It seems to be the
latest medical fad. Just before last year ended, my wife was told that she had
sleep apnea. That was after she was referred to a lung doctor to see whether
her persistent coughing was related to a skin caner and a large fatty tumor that
she had. The doctor took a quick look down her throat and decided that she had
sleep apnea. ($210 for three minutes.) He said that she needed to spend one
night in his sleep disorder test center to verify the problem - at a cost of
$1,200. She declined.Two weeks ago I visited my cardiologist and
told him I had trouble sleeping. He suggested a $20 test to check my oxygen
levels - which led to another doctor telling me to get to the nearest emergency
room. Guess what? I'm still alive, but I do use an extra pillow to help me
Sure, Anon 3:22. Thanks to student loans, my net worth is negative. That
places me squarely in the bottom 1% of Americans as far as personal wealth
goes.EVERYBODY in your circle may be "aware" of the "disappearing
middle class," but most people who actually measure these things calculate the
American middle class as encompassing roughly 40 to 50 percent of the
population, and run from the $35,000 income level to just over $100,000.
Obviously, where you live makes a huge difference. My income (near the upper
end of the "middle class" level) would let me live very well in Utah, but
certainly not in California. (It would qualify me to buy a fixer-upper in a
thoroughly middle-class neighborhood in my area.)I will tell you
this: A person making $100,000 in southern California is definitely not "rich,"
and absolutely should not be taxed as if he is.
If you think health care coverage is expensive, try getting along without it.We are still the only industrialized country in which you can go
bankrupt by getting sick.We treat premies that are terminal until
the $1 million lifetime coverage runs out. Then the baby dies anyway.We keep many people alive...because we can. Many would just like to end their
suffering.Preventive medicine is the best medicine, but many
insurance companies won't pay for that low cost treatment. They will wait until
you get really ill and then pay an obscene amount of money to get you better.
None of my business really but it sounds like you have sleep apnea. It's
relatively easy to treat with a nighttime breathing aparatus.
Why not tell us how rich YOU are Thomas? (after taxes of course)That way
it will be easier to come up with what class you might be placed in and this
might make the point easier to comprehend.
I just had another medical test - that I failed. Let's face it. I'm getting
old. I'm overweight. I have high blood pressure. Someday I'm going to die.
What I don't need is a another doctor calling me and telling me that
I need to get to the hospital immediately because my overnight oxygen level is
low. Chances are that the oxygen level has been low for years - because I've
been waking up about every half-hour for years to take a deep breath. Whether I live to be 60 or whether I live to be 85 is not the issue.
Personally, I would rather live to be 60 and then suddenly croak from a heart
attack or "oxygen deficiency" than to live to be 85 with a tubes running from my
chest and an oxygen mask strapped to my face.I'm here to help my
wife and my children become all that they can. I'm not here to break some kind
of heart-beat record. Life is to be lived. The journey is it's own reward.
Spare me from dealing with doctors whose biggest concern is whether they can
bill the insurance company because I don't breath properly.
You are hilarious Thomas! I'd like to oblige you and supply you with definition
after definition for every word, sentence, phrase, or paragraph imaginable, but
why would you want that?I thought EVERYBODY was aware of the disappearing
Thomas, where are you getting your cost figures? 9% for pharmaceuticals seems
very low to me. Is there a cost breakdown that you can point me to?
"Middle class all but gone"Let's have some clarity, please. First,
what is the "middle class," and how much money do you need to be counted as
When the rich are getting richer by the hour and the middle class all but gone
leaving the struggling masses to fight over the scraps from the haves' table -
it may be time to find ways to level the playing field.
Joe -- That's a semi-good point about pharmaceutical costs. Those costs can't
be ignored; drugs account for about 9% of health-care spending (up from 6% about
a decade ago). Again, though, you could cut the amount spent on
pharmaceuticals in half, and you'd still only reduce spending by about 5%.
Still not enough to get us anywhere near European cost levels.In
addition, how many revolutionary drugs can you name that came out of state-run
R&D programs? American pharmaceutical companies pretty much lead the world in
developing new treatments. It's a highly speculative and capital-intensive
business. Such businesses don't attract investment capital without an elevated
potential payoff to compensate.My mind is open to any convincing
argument that you can lower returns on capital and still get the same capital
investment, but I know of no instance where that logic operates. That said, it's interesting that the greatest rises in pharmaceutical costs
parallel the increase in third-party payment for them (i.e. government or
insurance companies). When it's patients themselves who have to pay for drugs,
pharmaceutical companies can't raise prices beyond the ability of people to pay.
Thomas, I won't take you to task on your figures but one glaring ommission in
your information is pharamaceutical company costs. Using Liptor as an example,
costs are as follows: 15% research & devolopment, 35% marketing, 24% profit,
26% other including CEO pay.Would you claim that this is just how
things work in a free market system? If so then it's time for a change.
"Cold and heartless" are key buzzwords of the modern American conservative
movement.The others are Liberal and Socialized Medicine ... again, and
again, and ...
hey Runaway... your thinking is a little cloudy, must be all the cigarette
smoke. That's an awful lot of "begatting" going on in your family.2
people responsible for the spawning of 325 people in 60-70 years?That is more irresponsible that choosing to smoke cigarettes and make really
dumb comments. Hopefully the spawn is smarter than you demonstate.
To YouGoFirst 12:30Illness and medical bills caused half of the
1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the
journal Health Affairs. This is a Harvard study. You should read it.According to the study - Most of the medical bankruptcy filers were middle
class; 56 percent owned a home and the same number had attended college.So before we blame those Mexicans again, lets look at the data. Medical
costs are ridiculous and even middle class American Citizens are not paying.And you are right, you do sound cold and heartless.
It's easy to bash "profits" as being responsible for the high cost of American
healthcare, but only if you're ignorant.Private insurance profit and
administrative costs amount to 4.5% of American healthcare spending. Government
administrative costs amount to 2.5%. (And from what I've seen in Medicare fraud
litigation, the government could benefit from spending a bit more on
administrative oversight to keep crooked doctors from robbing us quite so
blind.) So at most, if we got rid of for-profit health insurance altogether,
we'd save 2% of our total healthcare spending. That's not exactly going to
solve the problem.One major source of the explosion in healthcare
spending is the profileration of medical specialists, and the dramatic increases
in their earnings. A big part of that problem comes from Medicare's arcane
fee-setting policies, which historically had the perverse effect of
*encouraging* doctors to raise their rates. Medicare has since dialed back
somewhat, but the incentives are still thoroughly fouled up. Furthermore, even
though direct litigation and malpractice costs are relatively small (about as
much as health-insurance profits), they encourage "defensive medicine" -- the
prescribing of treatment with marginal, if any, utility, in order to head off
If you want to cut costs for medical care, it can be easier than you think.
First, eliminate the requirement for hospitals to take care of anybody who walks
into their emergency room doors. If they are required to stabilize then ship to
a facility that only works with people who cannot pay. The government will also
have to re-imburse the hospital 100% for its costs. Next, a doctor should work
with a judge in malpractice cases so that the judge with a law degree can
understand the medical information. Along with this, caps on cash settlements
should also be set up. Finally, the US or each state should sue Mexico or
collect money for all medical procedures/care given to its citizens. (The
Mexican government is essentially the insurer for their people.)Yes
I sound cold and heartless, but if you look at how much a hospital has to write
off because of inability to pay, their costs would be cut nearly in half if they
only had to take care of people who can pay.
It's capitalism uber alles ( we certainly don't want anybody in the medical
community to be going without that yacht or 3rd vacation home do we?So
don't even think about any socialized program.What are ya, one of them
liberal commie America-haters?
Any idea how powerful the AMA and pharmaceutical lobbies are?They will
never allow universal health care.This a very, very good time in history
to be rich and they know it.
Thinking Man, good post. As Shakespeare said, "The first thing to do is kill
all the lawyers."
The basic problem with health care is not insurance coverage, it's COST. If
medical costs were affordable, there would be no perceived "crisis." We need to
attack high costs at all their sources--bureaucracy and administrators,
middlemen like pharmaceutical reps, government-mandated paperwork, ridiculous
lawsuit awards, tests done only to cover potential lawsuits, outrageous hospital
overhead, high prices set by collusion between providers and insurance
companies, etc., etc., etc. THAT's where the problem lies.
Universal insurance is NOT the answer--those companies only reap the benefits
and keep costs high.Why aren't any politicians talking about cost?
Makes you think.
Commenter at 2:39 a.m.,I guess your personal experience with ONE
smoker trumps all that data from millions of studies of millions of people that
says smoking and second-hand smoke actually DO give you lung cancer. Well
here's one for you: My grandfather smoked and died of lung cancer when he was
49. There was no history of lung cancer in the family. There - my data now
cancels out your data and we're left with.....what?And by the way,
AIDS is nothing like a cold where you're "going to get it or not".....getting
AIDS is a predictable result of engaging in risky behavior. AIDS is the result
of CHOICES. While there are things you can do to reduce the risk of a cold,
even the most careful person will get one now and then - there's a certain
degree of random chance when it comes to colds. Not so with AIDS.
What do you suggest: Hillary Care? That's sure going to be cheap. Just the
thought make me sick.
Agreed. Record profits are being posted by both the insurance and
pharmaceutical industries on the backs of average Americans. Where's the
More mounting evidence of an overpopulated society in freefall decline.
Private enterprise will find a way. It may simply be to deny coverage to those
that have insurance, and make more uninsurable, but it will find the answer.Anything else is socialism. Don't know what that is, really, but it's a bad
Runaway health-care costs are like cigarettes.Excuse me but, People that
belive in second hand smoke are the first that do not believe in the great big
cloud in the valley does not cause it.From a family that smoked sinces
Rockwell, No one in my family has the disease. Mom 93 and lived with it all her
life. 10 kids , 57 grandkids. approx 200 great grand kids and 75 great great
kid. We do not have that gene that causes it.Cancer is like AIDs or
a cold you are going to get or not.