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Old 09-15-07, 06:54 AM   #1
Ornery
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20/20 - Whose Body Is it Anyway? Sick in America

20/20 - Whose Body Is it Anyway? Sick in America
The Case for Putting Individuals, Not Employers or Government, in Control of Health Care

I've always said we'd be better off having high deductible insurance coverage, instead of the current status quo. Now I've seen it spelled out in an even better package. The unused yearly deductible is put in a savings account for the insured. My God, people can certainly become frugal when they have an interest in how their health care money is spent!

Damn good episode, I hope everyone gets to see it.
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Old 09-15-07, 08:55 AM   #2
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yep...I agree completely with Jon Stossel on that one.
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Old 09-15-07, 09:17 AM   #3
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- i'm sorry i missed the episode...

- but reading the comments certainly made me laugh! amazing that one fellow termed free health care a "birthright"!
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Old 09-15-07, 09:19 AM   #4
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holy crap a doctor's time is now my birthright simply for existing as a person? sweet! do i get a house and a car and a new Bianchi to go with it?
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Old 09-15-07, 10:24 AM   #5
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Isn't it my birthright to be handsome? What happened?

The only birthright that I know is eventually to die. No one has ever been able to take that away from you.
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Old 09-15-07, 10:35 AM   #6
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Obviously something needs to be done with the healthcare system, but I'd be very hesitant to put it entirely into the hands of the gov't.
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Old 09-15-07, 12:13 PM   #7
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Obviously something needs to be done with the healthcare system, but I'd be very hesitant to put it entirely into the hands of the gov't.
What about if itwas state run? A federal run system would be a logistic nightmare, it might be better handled by states with decent guidelines.
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Old 09-15-07, 10:31 PM   #8
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- i'm sorry i missed the episode...

- but reading the comments certainly made me laugh! amazing that one fellow termed free health care a "birthright"!
How is it not? Every citizen of this country is entitled to healthcare. I can understand why people feel otherwise. Big healthcare has made nationalized healthcare into a boogeyman and scared people into thinking that insurance is the answer. If you don't feel that healthcare is an entitlement, do you feel that food is? What about shelter? What about 40 hour work weeks? Do you believe that your entire existence is of your own making? I suspect that you have healthcare and take a pride in that "you have provided for yourself", and probably "don't want people mooching off of your tax money".
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Old 09-16-07, 12:01 AM   #9
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How is it not? Every citizen of this country is entitled to healthcare. I can understand why people feel otherwise.
'
Phew, canada... for the win.
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Old 09-16-07, 12:22 AM   #10
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- i'm sorry i missed the episode...

- but reading the comments certainly made me laugh! amazing that one fellow termed free health care a "birthright"!
When you're born and brought up with free health care, you'll feel that way, I'm not surprised. Technically there is no REAL birthright to free speech or any other birthright people want to claim exists, it's all about where and how your brought up.

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holy crap a doctor's time is now my birthright simply for existing as a person? sweet! do i get a house and a car and a new Bianchi to go with it?
But a lawyer's time is your birthright in America when the government tries to prosecute you...*shrugs*

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What about if itwas state run? A federal run system would be a logistic nightmare, it might be better handled by states with decent guidelines.
I think constitutionally it would have to be, I believe public health is a state issue, and that the federal government can't step in unless certain guidelines are met. However you're right, I think that would be a better solution.


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How is it not? Every citizen of this country is entitled to healthcare. I can understand why people feel otherwise. Big healthcare has made nationalized healthcare into a boogeyman and scared people into thinking that insurance is the answer. If you don't feel that healthcare is an entitlement, do you feel that food is? What about shelter? What about 40 hour work weeks? Do you believe that your entire existence is of your own making? I suspect that you have healthcare and take a pride in that "you have provided for yourself", and probably "don't want people mooching off of your tax money".
I'm surprised that people wont pay to keep America healthy, but we'll put 60% of our taxes straight to the military without question.


Anyway, I think that universal health care is a good idea, being as a lot of the more civilized world has it... but not with the system we have, there are too many things that will cause it to be a huge mess. The government has never been a big fan of running things effectively, and is always more interested in gaining power or money, or both, than to benefit society as a whole. I mean crap, the government isn't even going to give enough of a damn to inform me if someone else is using my SSN, let alone care about my health.
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Old 09-16-07, 05:53 AM   #11
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Since I have no say in how people treat themselves health-wise, I shouldn't be asked to pay (in tax dollars) for their treatment. I don't expect the govt. to pay for my home or auto insurance, why should I expect my health insurance be paid for me? Likewise food and shelter. It's one thing to get a leg up when a catastrophe occurs, it's another to expect to be nannied your whole life.

The solution put forth by By Stossel and Sullivan is a good step toward bringing health costs down, which is a huge part of the problem.
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Old 09-16-07, 05:09 PM   #12
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What about if itwas state run? A federal run system would be a logistic nightmare, it might be better handled by states with decent guidelines.
Maybe in some states, but in NJ? No way. No doubt in my mind, this state would probably screw it up more than the federal gov't. They can't run DYFS, mayors are getting busted by the FBI on a monthly basis for taking bribes, and god knows what else goes on that isn't being exposed.
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Old 09-16-07, 06:31 PM   #13
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Since I have no say in how people treat themselves health-wise, I shouldn't be asked to pay (in tax dollars) for their treatment. I don't expect the govt. to pay for my home or auto insurance, why should I expect my health insurance be paid for me? Likewise food and shelter. It's one thing to get a leg up when a catastrophe occurs, it's another to expect to be nannied your whole life.

The solution put forth by By Stossel and Sullivan is a good step toward bringing health costs down, which is a huge part of the problem.
So you're for the, poor get no health service and rich can buy the best doctors camp. That's what I thought.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:22 PM   #14
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If our "poor" can be expected to buy their own shelter, auto insurance, renter's or homeowner's insurance and food, then there's no reason they shouldn't be expected to pay their way for health care insurance. Anyone not expected to pay for those essentials, wouldn't be expected to pay a health care insurance premium either.

It should be a top priority in every family's budget, ahead of cable TV, cell phones and bling in general. The more people paying in, the lower the premiums. The more people keep an eye on how their health care dollars are spent, the lower the costs. Unused money added to HSA's belong to the plan owners. Not a bad way to save money while staying healthy, and covered in case of catastrophic illness, with the added benefit of lowering all our health care costs in the process.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:01 PM   #15
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The more people paying in, the lower the premiums.
How do then explain the increase in the US population and an increase in health insurance costs? There are more people to pay in, yet costs keep on rising faster than inflation. Why is that?

http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...e_N.htm?csp=34
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Old 09-17-07, 01:15 AM   #16
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I would like a system with high copays, that way its not like, its January, I have to pay 2000 dollars now, and then get everything free again.
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Old 09-17-07, 01:42 AM   #17
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The thing that sickens me is that I was talking with an Australian, that has public health care, he pays $5 a visit, I have health insurance while I'm in school through my dad, I have to pay $10-$15. (Yes he pays for it in taxes, but they put way less money into military, so it balances out... oh well I can write like 10 pages on how other countries have better social care systems for health, education, and employment...)

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How do then explain the increase in the US population and an increase in health insurance costs? There are more people to pay in, yet costs keep on rising faster than inflation. Why is that?

http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...e_N.htm?csp=34
America is being more unhealthy in it's life choices? Not to mention Health Insurance is out there to make money, not make America healthy. They'll charge whatever gives them the best profit margin.

It's why I don't think corporations should have a hand in running health care. People's health should not be exploited for profit.

"Life is sacred until you're out of the womb, then you're on your own!"

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Old 09-17-07, 02:32 AM   #18
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Here are some things to think about:

1. Stossel is trying to introduce a free market approach to basic care. The problem is that he didn't stop to check where the majority of our expenditures are; exotic treatments and the elderly. If that's the case, our costs are going to increase. So we can save a few bucks by introducing a bit of competition. Great. Health care costs are going to increase 2.2X our ability to pay for them rather than 2.5X our ability to pay for them. Just great. We really solved that one.

Furthermore, a personalized account won't help the woman with cancer that had been rejected by every insurance company because of previous illness. Even if she was able to afford the $25,000/year coverage, they still wouldn't cover her cancer treatment. In a free market, people like that are SOL (see #7). Is that the best we can do in America?

2. We in America spend close to $6k / person / year on healthcare. It consumes close to 16% of our GNP. Yet between 40 and 50 million Americans have no access! It is estimated that another 50 million are under-insured. One third of our population does not have adequate access to health care. Huh.

Meanwhile Canadians spend 60% of what we do and everyone is covered. Scared of the Canadian system? Why? We can obviously afford to pay twice what they do. We could double their budget and see incredible returns. We are the laughingstock of the industrialized world.

People complain, "I'm not going to pay for freeloaders." But what if I told you that, yeah a few freeloaders will take advantage, but your yearly bill will still be cut in half. Think you'd complain?

Meanwhile, if you think that you aren't paying for the "freeloaders" now, go to a hospital and watch how the patient's expenses are spread out into everyone else's bill. In our current system they wait until the last possible moment to visit the doctor which means expensive treatment, driving the costs up even more. Wouldn't it make more sense to provide access to basic care up front? Even conservatives support a voucher program. You're going to pay for freeloaders one way or another, the question is which is the most efficient way to pay for them?

3. We fund and subsidize medical and pharmaceutical research which will increase demand for healthcare, driving costs up even further. Meanwhile more cost-effective initiatives to introduce preventative medicine, education and environmental solutions receive no attention. Our public conception of "healthcare" needs some serious thought.

4. Healthcare may not be a birth right, but it needs to be seen as a condition of the free market rather than subject to the free market. Why do we regulate utilities? Because we recognize that such regulation increases the overall productivity of society. Unrestrained profiteering decreases it. Health care costs are reaching a point where if we don't regulate a solution, our society will become counterproductive.

5. It's not immediately apparent that universalizing medicare would be inefficient. Recently an economist tried to give private insurance the benefit of the doubt and still concluded that analysis favors medicare. In the best possible scenerio, private insurers have administrative costs that account for around 9% of the bill (in reality its probably closer to 15%). Medicare was closer to 5% including all of the "hidden" costs. Now take into account that medicare primarily serves the elderly who need much more care than your average patient! They're doing fairly well all things considered.

7. We used to have Blue Cross and Blue Shield. These were coverage programs started by doctors in the 1930s to help finance health care. The idea was that Blue Cross and Blue shield would "community rate" its coverage, meaning that healthy policy holders would, at any given time, subsidize those who were sick. In return, the government passed regulations which protected them. Unfortunately health insurance was privatized in the early 1970s. The idea was that the competition inherent in the free market would increase efficiency and provide the consumer with more choices. No more New Deal inefficiency. What happened was that private companies not interested in community rating lured all of healthy policy holders away from BCBS, effectively dismantling community rating. BCBS could not cover the leftover sick folks and was forced to follow suit.

Now the only way to get anything like community rating is to work for a large organization that collectively bargains for its coverage. Individuals, as such, are fairly powerless to operate in the so-called free market. This is a clear case of the way in which corporations corner the free-market to reduce individual choice rather than expand it. What better way to stifle small business and discourage entrepreneurial adventure than make everyone terrified at the prospect of living a year without their corporate benefits?

Why don't we at least try to resuscitate the notion of community rating again? Oh wait, because regulation stifles the free market which, in turn, reduces individual choice and encourages inefficiency. Riiiiiiight.

8. The hidden advantage of nationalizing medicare is that, as a single-tier system, it can operate to ration medical resources and control costs. Maybe we can do something about health care costs increasing 2.5X our ability to pay for them?

9. The other hidden advantage is that such a system would ultimately be subject to democratic control rather than greedy execs and shareholders. But of course we all know how that goes in a society that is perpetually uninformed and apathetic.
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Old 09-17-07, 02:38 AM   #19
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We are the laughingstock of the industrialized world.
We're that way with our health care, our education (both public and colleges, funding, standards, cost for students, and student loans are all WORSE on American sides of things), our employee protection against unethical treatments, our minimum wage, our business structure (stockholders > employee loyalty AT ALL COSTS, opposite in Japanese companies)...


The list goes on and on, we love our ignorance as to how much of the world is ahead of us in caring for it's people.

Whats funny is in America, I can still end up waiting weeks to see a doctor, or get a misdiagnoses... I think the huge issue is that people with more money can't stand waiting behind someone with less money simply for the fact that they are more urgent than they are.


Also, if we improved our education system, and funding for college students, along with more student-friendly loans like other countries have (%0 interest loans, only inflation baring), we could possibly help fix the lag in doctors we've had in the past couple decades.


See, this is what I meant in "there are other things that need to be done first". America has a lot of hurdles that it's far behind in the race for humanity.
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Old 09-17-07, 02:46 AM   #20
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Here in Costa Rica we have health care - and it isn't bad. In fact, it rates just ahead of what you have in the USA.

If I were to need it, I can have open heart surgery for 25,000 dollars or about 2 years of what I was paying insurance up there. Being a cyclist, I probably am not in any immediate need.

To factors I think keep it down. One, prescriptions are handled by the Pharmacy. Need an antibiotic? Go to the drug store. Since they know everything you are taking, they tend not to kill you off with drug interactions. There doesn't seem to be any push to get people on a lot of prescriptions either. I think it is drug cost that are driving the price so high. I see so many people from up in the USA taking handfuls of pills - and they are relatively young.

Secondly, this is a fatalistic society. They live as long as people up there but they are pretty realistic that you are going to die someday. After 70, they won't do much for you based on the governmental system. They figure you had a good life and the resources to keep you alive a few more months might be better spent on young people. If you can afford to pay for private - go for it.

It has been a surprise to me that we don't get approached to help Momma in these situations (their Momma). Being that we have resources I thought I would have to be the hard nose. Nope. Though they grieve when relatives die, they understand it is a losing battle - and not something you should bankrupt your family over.

Third, the majority of people are in very good physical shape. Lots of walking, lots of cycling. I find keeping my weight in the right range here is simple - up there it was hard.

I think what you are experiencing in the USA is pretty simple. No matter how much money you throw at health care, it really doesn't change the end result. You are going to die. How long you live has very little to do with do you have health care by the way. Go find the longevity studies and you will see they don't ask you if you have health care - they ask if you live healthy and have good genetics.
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Old 09-17-07, 02:58 AM   #21
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We're that way with our health care, our education (both public and colleges, funding, standards, cost for students, and student loans are all WORSE on American sides of things), our employee protection against unethical treatments, our minimum wage, our business structure (stockholders > employee loyalty AT ALL COSTS, opposite in Japanese companies)...


The list goes on and on, we love our ignorance as to how much of the world is ahead of us in caring for it's people.

Whats funny is in America, I can still end up waiting weeks to see a doctor, or get a misdiagnoses... I think the huge issue is that people with more money can't stand waiting behind someone with less money simply for the fact that they are more urgent than they are.


Also, if we improved our education system, and funding for college students, along with more student-friendly loans like other countries have (%0 interest loans, only inflation baring), we could possibly help fix the lag in doctors we've had in the past couple decades.


See, this is what I meant in "there are other things that need to be done first". America has a lot of hurdles that it's far behind in the race for humanity.
I agree.

We have the most productive workers in the world, yet we enjoy far fewer benefits and protections.

Education is the condition of a functioning democracy, yet we treat it like an afterthought.

We have a knee-jerk reaction when anyone suggests socialization and believe it to be the antithesis of democracy, yet we allow ourselves to be socialized by corporations and call it a "free market."

We think ourselves a sovereign people, yet even the most inept of our politicians manage public opinion by repeating a handful of slogans.

I could go on and on...
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Old 09-17-07, 03:01 AM   #22
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Here are some things to think about:
People complain, "I'm not going to pay for freeloaders." But what if I told you that, yeah a few freeloaders will take advantage, but your yearly bill will still be cut in half. Think you'd complain?.
Americans are funny. They can't afford private care and our companies are being fleeced to pay for your premimums. Since you are not paying for it and our companies are uncompetitive or going broke- You all are freeloaders. You are all freeloaders, whenever we have to buy a foreign made consumer good rather than a US made good.
You want to not be freeloaders, pay that 800 dollar a month premimum out of your own pocket. Can you. Would you.
In addition, I am the second player in determining my own health care plan should a disease strike me. After I establish trust with a competent doctor, I am just to a great extent along for the ride. I do not have the expertise to be an equal player. I want my trusted doctor to be in charge, along with myself as a co pilot. Not some third person gate keeper trying to protect someone else's profit margin.
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Old 09-17-07, 08:45 AM   #23
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Maybe in some states, but in NJ? No way. No doubt in my mind, this state would probably screw it up more than the federal gov't. They can't run DYFS, mayors are getting busted by the FBI on a monthly basis for taking bribes, and god knows what else goes on that isn't being exposed.
I don't know what DYFS is, but point taken hahaha
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Old 09-17-07, 08:57 AM   #24
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The US Healthcare system has been the biggest economic boom to Canada, a decent company cannot afford to be world competitive and pay those premiums. But there are huge misconceptions about Canadian health care that have been sold to Americans. Firstly, it's not free, it's paid in part by the employer, in part by taxes. Secondly, a US person under full health care (not HMOs, which is now rare) is not as well covered as anyone in Canada, we don't have limits and fine print that insurance companies use to avoid paying.
There are no ties to physicians, no 'pre-existing conditions' and no one to just deny payment. No deductable, we treat people like human beings, not cars. No out-of-pocket payments for childbirth, and no 6 weeks off for new mothers -it's a full year, like it should be.

The other thing we don't have is sleazeball lawyers leaching off of the system and getting ridiculously rich (like John Edwards). It's now gotten so normal it's ridiculous, but every time I drive in a US town all I see are billboards for accident attorneys -this is the only industry left I can see in the Northeast.

It will never change, it would mean that you would have to set up a system without backdoor middlemen making 15+% for doing nothing, such a system does not exist in the US for anything. No way will people stand for CEOs not making $17M a year.
A universal health care system would mean the country's citizens supporting each other- that is not America, America is, and always has been, "f-ck everyone but me". Very few people understand government in the US, or understand the big picture. Everyone wants tax cuts, everyone supports war, this has been universal in the US since the 1800s. Eventually, the pool of insured Americans will get so small hospitals will have to close, and of course, no one will forsee this. People never think they will get sick, hell, most haven't even planned properly to retire, too busy buying gadgets.

You expect this to change? no way. If you don't like this, you should look at emigration to a decent country.
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Old 09-17-07, 10:58 AM   #25
ModoVincere
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Originally Posted by DocRay View Post
The US Healthcare system has been the biggest economic boom to Canada, a decent company cannot afford to be world competitive and pay those premiums. But there are huge misconceptions about Canadian health care that have been sold to Americans. Firstly, it's not free, it's paid in part by the employer, in part by taxes. Secondly, a US person under full health care (not HMOs, which is now rare) is not as well covered as anyone in Canada, we don't have limits and fine print that insurance companies use to avoid paying.
There are no ties to physicians, no 'pre-existing conditions' and no one to just deny payment. No deductable, we treat people like human beings, not cars. No out-of-pocket payments for childbirth, and no 6 weeks off for new mothers -it's a full year, like it should be.

The other thing we don't have is sleazeball lawyers leaching off of the system and getting ridiculously rich (like John Edwards). It's now gotten so normal it's ridiculous, but every time I drive in a US town all I see are billboards for accident attorneys -this is the only industry left I can see in the Northeast.

It will never change, it would mean that you would have to set up a system without backdoor middlemen making 15+% for doing nothing, such a system does not exist in the US for anything. No way will people stand for CEOs not making $17M a year.
A universal health care system would mean the country's citizens supporting each other- that is not America, America is, and always has been, "f-ck everyone but me". Very few people understand government in the US, or understand the big picture. Everyone wants tax cuts, everyone supports war, this has been universal in the US since the 1800s. Eventually, the pool of insured Americans will get so small hospitals will have to close, and of course, no one will forsee this. People never think they will get sick, hell, most haven't even planned properly to retire, too busy buying gadgets.

You expect this to change? no way. If you don't like this, you should look at emigration to a decent country.

[sarcasm]
Riiiiight
[/sarcasm]
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