U.S. favors health-care prevention, poll finds

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  • CGW
    June 11, 2009 12:44 a.m.

    Nowchange: Oh, I see. Since government is a THING it can't have compassion. Unlike our oh-so-compassionate warm and fuzzy, warm hearted health insurance companies. They're so busy making big profits that they even hire people to find out where they can KEEP from paying for your health care--though they have no problem accepting your monthly premiums of course. And some of your unhonored premiums wind up as political payoffs to keep those profits growing. If our current system was working, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Stop any stranger on the street and ask for his or her health care horror story. I assure you, s/he'll have one. Freedom? Yeah, freedom to be ripped off by greedy insurance companies, for they are the ones who are currently making the decisions about whether you get needed health care. And if they can save money on denying you medical procedures, they will.

  • RE: nowchange
    June 9, 2009 4:23 p.m.

    Government is a thing, it has no capacity for love or compassion,

    nor does Government have anything of it's own to give,

    it can take away from one and give to another.

    but if you give it power it will control things and people, that is a certainty,

    which means what you are doing is gieig it the power to decide who gets care and who doesn't,

    which it must do to control costs.

    MUch better is to leave life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the people,

    Where you will always have TRUE freedom.

  • wallofvoodoo
    June 9, 2009 1:06 p.m.

    Belgie, I have a no frills lifestyle. No gadgets, but I still cannot afford healthcare. What am I doing wrong? I'm not asking for a handout, just for something that I can afford.

    National, I don't have a problem with people getting a profit or making money. But why are we paying CEOs of these companies millions when they can't even come up with an affordable product? It seems like we reward incompetence. That is why having a private company administer a national plan will not work.

  • Tax deductions
    June 9, 2009 11:55 a.m.

    Give a tax deduction for health club dues (after verifiable improvement), and for annual physicals, bicycle events, 10k runs etc. You have to incent people if you want positive outcomes.
    But wait, this won't work because then the people who have self-caused health problems will protest, just like they do with welfare reductions, social security, low income housing, everything else. Punish the people who are doing well, reward those who don't.
    So just like when I am successful I pay more taxes, when I keep myself healthy, I'll be punished with an increase in healthcare costs that I don't have.

  • Facts
    June 9, 2009 11:41 a.m.

    Lawsuits account for less than 1% of total health care costs. (And McDonald's did not pay Stella all the money you read about in those chain letters.)

    President Obama is in the forefront of finding ways to REWARD preventive actions.

    The very people who can least afford health insurance (the poor), are also the people who complain if cigarette taxes go up.

    Over 80% of total lifetime medical costs occur in the last two years of one's life. Once someone is deemed terminal, why do we give them other healthcare (ie, lasik surgery, etc)? Yes, that happens.

    We "save" ultra-premature babies by spending millions on them, then have to care for them for the rest of their lives, because they have severe medical issues. Why? If God creates life, and God had the baby emerge early, why don't we let God's will prevail?

    We make NO sense...but we want it all.

  • national
    June 9, 2009 11:41 a.m.

    why not national insurance run through private companies like blue cross and some of the other good companies, in compation for contracts

  • Wassup
    June 9, 2009 11:21 a.m.

    To make preventive care a success, you have to change the behavior of those who have put themselves at risk for health problems. Good luck. If they had any sense of control, they would be involved in preventive care now.

    Show me a study where behavior has changed as a result and then I'll believe this nonsense.

  • to Martie et al. cont
    June 9, 2009 8:55 a.m.

    To all of you that want private (market run insurance) I hope one day you have some real medical catastrophe so that you get the personal experience of dealing with the US insurance companies when you make a claim that costs more than a regular doctor visit. When the company finds some reason to drop you, and no one else will pick you up because you are "high risk" I imagine you will start to sing a different tune.

    The reason the US system is so screwed up has been described by other posters. Americans feel entitled to everything. They sue everyone for any stupid thing. The juries award crazy settlements causing the need for outrageous liability insurance costs to the health care providers. That cost then gets passed on to the insurance companies who pass it back to the taxpayer/worker/company, etc. It's a vicious cycle that will only stop when Americans stop being so greedy and self centered and start worrying about someone other than themselves.

  • to Martie et al.
    June 9, 2009 8:54 a.m.

    All you people who claim that some relative couldn't get care in (insert your favorite country here) because that government had a State run health care crack me up. If there is such a backlog for MRI's why hasn't some enterprising person bought a machine and started scanning people for cash? You can have a government health care system, and private health care both exist at the same time. I live in Japan and that is exactly what we have here. With the government health care (for which I do pay a premium, although not near the premiums that I was paying in Utah), I can go to the local hospital and get treated. I don't need to worry about being bankrupt if I get cancer, etc. I am also free to purchase additional insurance coverage if I so desire from any number of private insurance companies. I will always have the ability to pay that premium and receive coverage. The government insurance will not drop me if I make a claim that ends up costing them.

  • Brian
    June 9, 2009 7:53 a.m.

    The free enterprise system could have gone a long way towards solving the problem we now face. We have a shortage of doctors in this country and an excess of lawyers. Lawyers are low cost up front in terms of tax dollars spent on their education but very expensive to maintain with costs of $700,000 per year for their support system of courts etc. Doctors are expensive up front in terms of their education but with more doctors there would be actual competition and some of the rapidly increasing fees would start to come down in time.
    Fewer law schools and more medical schools could lead eventually to a situation where you had a shortage of lawyers and an excess number of physicians!

  • Cb
    June 9, 2009 7:42 a.m.

    People would be more interested in prevention if they paid their own cost for healthcare. As long as insurance has low deductibles and copays people will not take responsibility for their health. Insurance does not mean healthcare. If you pay your own costs you take better care of yourself.

  • Martie
    June 9, 2009 7:32 a.m.

    To all of you who want a government-run system...the government now has 36 trillion dollars (yes, trillion with a "T") in future unfunded liabilities. And you want to tell me Medicare is a great system? Obamacare will add several trillions over the next 10 years. I only have one child and one grandchild and am not excited at their future life prospects.

    You don't think there will be rationing of care? How will the same number of docs take care of an additional 47 million patients, who, because health care will now be cheap (govt subsidized) will run to the doc every time they have a runny nose? The only way will be to ration the care. And then you'll have a situation like my fist cousin in a western European socialized medicine country who wasn't sent for an MRI for 18 mos because the governor of the area decreed that one MRI facility for a population of 400,000 was all they can afford. She died of lung cancer. She had experienced excruciating pains in her arm and back for nearly 2 years before the MRI. Physical Therapy was obviously not working.

  • chris
    June 9, 2009 6:22 a.m.

    Medicare is the one of the worst payers in medicine. They set the fee schedules and pay what they want. Many physician groups opt out of Medicare because a practice full of medicare patients barley pays the overhead. The quality of your health care will just as likely decrease in a Government run system.

  • FixItNow
    June 9, 2009 12:55 a.m.

    Balancing a budget would be nice. One of the many ways would be to have a healthy nation.

    Unfortunately the healthcare industry is corrupt with ethic problems. The government has turned a blind eye because of the payouts to our senators and representatives to look the other way.

    Time to fix it is now! Take over it and clean it up.

  • nowchange
    June 9, 2009 12:06 a.m.

    We all have a right to life. Not just the rich americans. It is time we have insurance for all, whether or not they have a job... How many us have jobs anyway in this economy?

    The majority of Americans are without insurance and its time the government cared about our healthcare instead of the auto industry.

    Time for results is now. Stop the greed. Focus on Love.

  • Dan
    June 8, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    Does anyone else wonder why health care cost so much? I believe it is because 50% is subsidized through medicare and medicare. If I wasn't an engineer but rather a doctor, I would charge however much people are willing to pay. In our current situation they can charge anything they want because 50%!!! will be payed from deep government pockets. (In other words our childrens and grandchildrens future incomes)

    If there was no subsidized health care then doctors would have to compete for what others are willing and able to pay just like any other market.

    Its simple folks. Its time we elected government representatives who can actually balance a budget, perform the math that would help them understand decisions and elect those who understand who they are working for!!

  • To worried
    June 8, 2009 11:31 p.m.

    You say we will dislike the new problems with a gov't run health care system worse than the problems we currently have. What is worse than having no health care or insurance at all?

  • worried
    June 8, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    re: xscribe: I think you hit the nail on the head, perhaps without recognizing it. It isn't likely the gov't run "nanny-state" healthcare has much to do with those outcomes: diet and exercise is clearly the reason. Any system where people eat/exercise to keep themselves healthy is going to cost less than one, like we have, that is focused on trying to fix people after they become sick, even though a significant portion of that disease burden is preventable. But having a gov't run health care system will not fix that problem, or even affect it. Switching to a gov't program will just change our current problems to different ones, not solve them. Personally, I think we will dislike the new problems worse than the ones we currently have.

  • @Belgie
    June 8, 2009 10:10 p.m.

    What a smug individual.

    You place yourself on a pedestal as if you alone support the uninsured, when in all likelyhood, you don't even pay your medical bills. Heaven help you if you actually have a catastrophic medical issue in your family. No amount of insurance or savings will help you if you hit your policy's maximum coverage. And no provider would touch you after that. 3 months savings equates to one night in intensive care.

    Spend a day at Primary Children hospital. It might give you some perspective.

  • xscribe
    June 8, 2009 9:43 p.m.

    Hey, Belgie, guess what? Lost 10 pounds in Norway in 5 months, and didn't need to drag myself out to do it. Why? No need for a car, so a person walks constantly. How and why? First, awesome public transportation, run by the government. No sprawl -like America, especially the west - so everything you need is, guess what, within walking distance. Again, no sprawl, so hiking mountains was, guess what, within walking distance, and you didn't have to worry about being in someone's backyard. And the attitude of the people there was to be in nature, not to "drag" themselves out for a run. And I mean all the people there, the old and young. Aside from a mere handful of people, the only ones that were overweight were, guess what, Americans, and the occasional tourist. Guess what? Norway has a government-run - ah, "nanny-state" healthcare system, and it works beautifully and cheaply. Americans are too hung up on drill here, drill now, can't walk a block to the grocery store to ever prevent most illnesses caused from being overweight. Can't imagine what the next generation will be like.

  • Conundrum
    June 8, 2009 8:27 p.m.

    We have usually paid more in premiums than we have used, being generally healthy people. One family member is overweight and has a pacemaker. Everyone else does routine preventive checks, etc. Counting the premium our employers have paid on our behalf, insurance companies have made plenty on our family, since our out of pocket would typically be far less than the full premiums charged by insurance companies.

    I'd love to have some of that coverage pay more (instead of offer minimal contracted discounts) for health education, customized diet and lifestyle education (everyone knows about the food pyramid and 30 minutes 3x a week general guidelines), and mental wellness education. Maybe it would help motivate our struggling, overwhelmed family member to think less and do more.

    We're not pros, but we do the best we can.

  • Jess
    June 8, 2009 7:29 p.m.

    Before I retired I regularly worked out during my lunch hour during which time I walked past the snack bar where fat people ate their calorie rich lunches and complained about how they couldn't loose weight and blamed their problem on "heredity." Since retiring, if I stop exercising regulary and am not careful with my diet, I gain weight. Then I have to loose it by exercising and watching my diet. It's as simple as that.

    I would be interested in a government assisted health insurance program in which the individual or family would be responsible for a reasonable deductable amount and insurance or government would pay for catastrophic costs only (deductable based on the person or family's income). But I would have a problem if the catastrophic costs paid for by the government were because of the recipient's drug or tobacco or alcohol abuse. Or because of gluttony or sexual promiscuity or other health issues in which the person placed themselves at risk.

    I also would like to see tax sheltered health savings accounts. But liberals hate that idea.

  • Belgie
    June 8, 2009 6:25 p.m.

    Re: to Belgie | 4:29

    Well, you're close, but as usual, the statistics are deceiving. I think you're referring to the Harvard study, which said 50% of bankruptcies were caused by "illness and medical bills".

    Of those 50%, 75% of the people did have insurance, but 38% lost their coverage because they could pay for it. Besides the medical bills, I'm sure than general irresponsibility had a lot do to with it. People should plan for at least one disastrous event in their lives.

    Reports like the one you cite serve themselves if they can make alarming and sensationalize claims. I read last month that 20% of Utah children are hungry, which is crap, unless you count teenagers because they're always hungry.

    Look around you. How many people have 3 months salary in the bank? How many people have disability insurance? How many people have a boat, RV, iPhone, Sony PS3, 3000 sqft home, new cars, etc. It's incredible to see where our priorities are.

    And, I do have a right to get mad and criticize. I'm paying for your medical bills.

  • Anonymous
    June 8, 2009 6:24 p.m.

    "But, I'm adamantly opposed to a nanny-state, where all the hard decisions are made for us."

    Do you beling to a religion that is essentially a "nanny church" where all the hard decisions are made for you?

    Just wondering...

  • Constructive Criticism cont'
    June 8, 2009 6:14 p.m.

    Have you ever tried to count calories? It's hell and it's not sustainable. So, I'm currently trying to change my list of recipes and try that. People aren't always willing to share their healthy recipes either. So, unless you're willing to share your recipes, keep your ignorance to yourself. Also, getting out for 30 min. a day isn't easy either when you're already running faster than you have strength. I think weight is a problem too when you're too responsible and won't let things go. It needs to be a priority to prevent weight additions, but then people need to never visit, never be critical of ones home without being willing to help clean it, weed it, or otherwise fork out money to help maintain it. Watch children so they can exercise! Never sign up to bring desserts unless it's fruit, never bring sweets to peoples homes with weight problems, never keep it out so that a person with a weight problem doesn't have to suffer trying to not eat it. Any weakness/problem has been given to strengthen them. Don't give up, find a way!

  • Belgie
    June 8, 2009 6:08 p.m.

    Re: criticize constructively - You're right. I've never had a weight problem. But, I still drag myself out to run 3-4 times a week to maintain my fitness (no coaches, buddies, or expensive exercise equipment required). I also try to make good decisions about what I eat.

    Everybody has problems. Some are just more visible than others. I don't see why a predisposition to obesity is any more of a societal problem than low IQ or just plain laziness.

    I'm fine with programs to educate people. In fact, I'm all for them. I also enjoy helping my neighbors and providing support when they need it. If you happen to live in the Portland area, I'd love to go for a run with you.

    But, I'm adamantly opposed to a nanny-state, where all the hard decisions are made for us.

  • Anonymous
    June 8, 2009 5:55 p.m.

    Wow where did that come from Criticize?

  • Insurance Man
    June 8, 2009 5:52 p.m.

    Well, Woody and Belgie have it right. The people who cry the loudest for preventative care being taught or forced on every one, cannot work unless there is incentive. If you want preventative (By the way AGREE preventative does cost a lot in some cases more that insurance.) then define those things that can be prevented and let the insurance companies exclude treatment for those conditions, if you aren't doing your preventative, then you don't get coverage for it. If the people using the health care system don't have "skin in the game" then they don't and won't take care of preventative issues. Most of you don't take your cars in for full diagnostics and tests when it is running fine, and most of you don't go to the doctor, unless there is a problem, that is unless someone else is paying for your checkups. In all the health reform in Utah and US every one is bellying up to the trough to get their share of the freebies. None are saying Hey I am willing to pay for that, let the other guy pay it.

  • to Belgie | 4:29
    June 8, 2009 5:52 p.m.

    "...the core problem is entitlement, laziness, and greed..."

    Actually, the core problem is with people like you, who have no ability to see the larger picture, and use only your personal experiences in dictating what you think is correct.

    Here's the reality check. 60% of bankruptcies are due to medical bills, and 75% of those bankruptcies had medical insurance but were still overwhelmed by the costs (American Journal of Medicine). These aren't entitled, lazy or greedy people! They are hard working, tax paying Americans who were financially destroyed due to a medical condition in the family. Yet you would label them as leeches on the system. The irony is that unless you are infinitely wealthy, or already covered by some government program, you also are only a medical emergency away from a similar fate and label.

    There are many countries who do health care more effectively and less expensively, while covering ALL their citizens. Failure to examine and adopt a better, cheaper system puts the US at an economic disadvantage, and amounts to nothing more than nationalistic hubris.

  • criticize constructively
    June 8, 2009 5:49 p.m.

    RE: Belgie and RP,
    Have either of you had a weight problem? If not, you're ignorant, your criticisms aren't constructive and criticism without construction is judmental, and harmful! The recommendation of 2,000 calories a day is wrong. There needs to be a list of calorie intake per height, age, weight, active, and inactive. I've lost 80 pounds (postdate) by eating 1200 calories for my 5'4" height. In order to stay a decent weight, I'll have to count calories the rest of my life. Weight Watchers works-they count calories by a point system. When I was single and extremely active, able to have a support system of guys, roommates, etc. I exercised daily. I got married, my support gone and I ended up living in an area where I was frightened to go out by myself. Husband worked all the time, responsibilities in the home and elsewhere doubled. I wasn't caring for myself anymore, and now I had an overwhelming learning curve. We couldn't afford the expensive exercise equipment. My diet didn't change, exercise did. To my surprise, I fattened! Constructive critics buy equipment, become exercise buddies, and don't criticize.

  • Woody
    June 8, 2009 5:20 p.m.

    I think most of you miss the point. I actually work in the health care industry, and the biggest problem is the Government. Costs could be reduced a great deal if physicians didn't have to use defensive medicine to protect themselves from lawsuits. Belgie is correct, people buy motorhomes, cell phones, ATV's, expensive cars and homes, but won't pay for health care. The government can't even run the post office, or GM, and you expect better health care with a government run program. GET REAL!!!!!

  • Belgie
    June 8, 2009 4:29 p.m.

    As with so many things, the core problem is entitlement, laziness, and greed. Americans feel entitled to health care, are too greedy to pay for it themselves (but manage a host of other "necessities" like cell-phones, cable TV, Nintendo DS, etc.), and too lazy to maintain their good health.

    ANY government program will only exacerbate the situation.

    But, we all seem too stupid to realize this, so, let's let China continue to pay for our gluttony and we'll just saddle our children and grandchildren with the responsibility of paying the piper.

  • I doubt it
    June 8, 2009 4:19 p.m.

    Most Americans favor prevention only for OTHER people.

    But when it comes to their own health care, they want the best their money can buy.

  • rp
    June 8, 2009 4:11 p.m.

    How do you get people to just walk 30 minutes a day and eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day? That will add about 14 years to your life. A fish or two a week and red meat maximum once a week. This is the prevention that works.

  • Anonymous
    June 8, 2009 4:08 p.m.

    The reason there is more money in health care's treatments than there is in it's prevention is because the health care industry exists, for the most part, to treat ill people. Whoever said it was responsible to make sure people live healthily? Prevention responsibilities belong to individuals themselves.

  • Agree
    June 8, 2009 4:03 p.m.

    Thank goodness this logic is getting through. How ever that does not mean prevention of government healthcare for the poor.

    In fact a government healthcare program that everyone could have access to would keep the other insurances honest. The government would see the value in Quality healthcare care and prevention programs.

    The government would be interested in us being healthy because it would not cost them if we are healthy. It would be a great start on monitoring the private healthcare industry which is corrupt with ethic problems and Republican handouts.