‘Moderate’ Jon Huntsman Wants to Kill Medicare

Huntsman toes the anti-health care line
Politics • Views: 34,069

Former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, often touted as the most “moderate” of the possible Republican presidential candidates, told George Stephanopoulos this morning that he’s fully on board with the GOP’s plan to kill Medicare.

George Stephanopoulos: How about Congressman Paul Ryan and (the) budget? Former Speaker Gingrich had some trouble talking about that this week. If you were in Congress, would you have voted for it?

Jon Huntsman: I would’ve voted for it.

George Stephanopoulos: Including the Medicare provisions?

Jon Huntsman: Including the Medicare provisions. Because the only thing that scares me more than that is the trajectory that our debt is taking. And the trajectory that our debt is taking now beyond $14 trillion is going to have an impact on our currency. It goes south, and our currency’s going to have an impact on our standard of living and affect every family in this country, and�over time, our international competitiveness. So what is really scary I think to me and I think most Americans is our debt. And we’ve got to be bold, and we’ve got to have, I think, proposals on the table that perhaps in years past would’ve been laughed out of the room. And we’ve got to look seriously at them. We don’t have a choice. We’ve hit the wall.

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78 comments

1 nines09  Fri, May 20, 2011 10:58:06am

I guess this will put to rest the idea that there is "moderates" in this edition of the GOP/TP. What litmus test?

2 albusteve  Fri, May 20, 2011 10:59:01am

so without Medicare, how will that aspect of our national system move forward?....what is the alternative?

3 engineer cat  Fri, May 20, 2011 10:59:04am

OT

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[Link: www.aclu.org...]

4 martinsmithy  Fri, May 20, 2011 10:59:57am

I agree with 1/2 of the Ryan plan regarding medicare.

For seniors above a certain income/asset level, I think a voucher plan makes a lot of sense. If the cost of care goes up, or if medical care needs go up for the senior, they can afford to pay more and we can save some unnecessary tax expenditures.

However, for lower-middle income and lower income seniors, the Ryan voucher plan would be disastrous. I think standard medicare, or a government guarantee to pay any expenses beyond the voucher amound, is appropriate for this group.

I don't have a good idea as to where I would set the income/asset dividing line between the two categories. Perhaps even a sliding scale would work.

Of course, I don't think Ryan was thinking about making rich seniors pay more for the health care when he unveiled his budget plant.

5 martinsmithy  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:02:51am

And for those who say "there is no crisis," the medicare hospital fund will be insolvent by 2017 according to government estimates. Doing nothing is NOT an option, unless you want to ensure that medicare is killed through lack of funding.

6 jamesfirecat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:03:28am

Given that he's also against intervention in Lybia I'm getting the feeling that Jon Huntsman either is, or is at least shaping himself up to be into a isolationist libeterian style righty... which makes me wonder how he ended up doing what judging from the lack of press about him, at least a decent job as an ambassador, and why he thinks he has a chance of winning when Ron Paul is already running on that platform...

7 jamesfirecat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:04:21am

re: #5 martinsmithy

And for those who say "there is no crisis," the medicare hospital fund will be insolvent by 2017 according to government estimates. Doing nothing is NOT an option, unless you want to ensure that medicare is killed through lack of funding.

I say we repeal the Bush tax cuts on the rich and subsidies for oil companies and funnel the money into medicare.

8 makeitstop  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:05:00am

The sad thing is that either Huntsman or his advisors really believe that this will ingratiate him with the Crazy Wing of the GOP.

He's still nothing but a RINO Mormon Who Worked For The Seekrit Muslim in their eyes. Lunging to the right won't change that.

9 Four More Tears  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:11:20am

Hundreds show up at Columbia Tea Party rally.

10 Iwouldprefernotto  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:11:32am

The Republicans have no plans to win the White House in 2012.

11 theheat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:13:56am

For every "moderate" thing that's come out of his mouth, he's always guarded about stating anything with resounding conviction for fear of pissing off the base. His loyalty is with the base.

12 Four More Tears  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:14:53am

The genius of Lithgow performing Gingrich on Colbert: [Link: tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com...]

13 Romantic Heretic  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:15:29am

re: #2 albusteve

so without Medicare, how will that aspect of our national system move forward?...what is the alternative?

The alternative will be to let the sick and weak die, while relieving them of what little money they have left.

It's for the best, really. Plus none of these dickwads will be the ones doing the dying. Furthermore, America™ will be stronger for it.

major /

14 Killgore Trout  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:16:47am

re: #2 albusteve

so without Medicare, how will that aspect of our national system move forward?...what is the alternative?

As far as I can tell the plan is to just let everybody fend for themselves. The GOP also wants to do away with social security, welfare, unemployment eventually too. I think it would go over better if they worked to make these programs work better instead of just destroying them.

15 theheat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:20:02am

re: #2 albusteve

The alternative is "Gee, if you had the sense to build a fucking time machine, beginning when you first started working, you should have set aside X amount of dollars each week toward your retirement and future health expenses. It's your own damned fault. A penny saved..."

Which, pretty much, is the GOP's position on anything that has to do with a social support system, it doesn't matter if it's catastrophic medical expenses, pregnancy, unemployment, what have you.

16 JeffM70  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:23:18am

Huntsman doesn't get that all he's doing is pissing into the wind.

17 engineer cat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:25:09am

Including the Medicare provisions. Because the only thing that scares me more than that is the trajectory that our debt is taking.

grandparents that can't get medical insurance are not as scary to him as debt service

18 angel Graham  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:26:39am

Ah. I understand now. This is the GOP's version of:
Let's kill the poor, black, elderly, under or uneducated bastards and bitches that are on Medicare, food-stamps and living in public housing/Section 8. Then we can save money on all THOSE things as well, but we only tell people about cutting back on Medicare so that we look good Plan.

See, with just one pen stroke, we take out the "scourge" of our existence and no one will care or notice. They'll be thanking us come Election Day 2012.

Got it.

(Pure and unadulterated sarcasm for GOP in case anyone didn't catch that already)

19 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:30:28am

re: #2 albusteve

so without Medicare, how will that aspect of our national system move forward?...what is the alternative?

We'll know sooner than later now!!!
[Link: articles.latimes.com...]

20 Political Atheist  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:32:31am

I think it should be kept in mind that Huntsman is going for a "better" system, not the elimination of medicare without anything to replace it. We'll see a medicare reform whitepaper out of his campaign. Only then will we have an indication of what he wants to do by way of reform or change.

21 Sol Berdinowitz  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:33:08am

Bold enough to kill medicare but not bold enough to raise the upper bracket taxes by 3 percent?

22 Simply Sarah  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:35:07am

re: #20 Rightwingconspirator

I think it should be kept in mind that Huntsman is going for a "better" system, not the elimination of medicare without anything to replace it. We'll see a medicare reform whitepaper out of his campaign. Only then will we have an indication of what he wants to do by way of reform or change.

That's all fine and dandy, except that's not quite what he said. He said he'd vote for the plan in the Ryan budget. Other ideas that may come later or not, he was still saying he'd vote to toss seniors to the mercy of private insurers.

23 Political Atheist  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:35:23am

re: #21 ralphieboy

Bold enough to kill medicare but not bold enough to raise the upper bracket taxes by 3 percent?

Looks like bold enough to reform medicine in this country. As he sees fit, which we'll debate when we know more I'm sure. Tax policy will be another plank, another debate aside from this one.

24 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:37:31am

re: #7 jamesfirecat

I say we repeal the Bush tax cuts on the rich and subsidies for oil companies and funnel the money into medicare.

That won't work. The projected cost of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers is $830 billion over the next decade. We only give $4 billion in subsidies per year to oil companies. All together that will save us $870 billion over the next decade.

We have a $1.6 trillion deficit this year. Raising taxes and cutting subsidies will not solve the problem.

25 Political Atheist  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:37:42am

re: #22 Simply Sarah

But since he's running for Pres., what we really need to know is what he would propose as such. Beyond "killing" (a rather emotional term) medicare, what would he have the government-Fed or State, do instead?

26 leftynyc  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:38:38am

re: #20 Rightwingconspirator

I think it should be kept in mind that Huntsman is going for a "better" system, not the elimination of medicare without anything to replace it. We'll see a medicare reform whitepaper out of his campaign. Only then will we have an indication of what he wants to do by way of reform or change.

Not that it matters. He believes climate change is real and the right wing primary voters will not tolerate that.

27 Sol Berdinowitz  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:40:03am

re: #24 Max D. Reinhardt

That won't work. The projected cost of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers is $830 billion over the next decade. We only give $4 billion in subsidies per year to oil companies. All together that will save us $870 billion over the next decade.

We have a $1.6 trillion deficit this year. Raising taxes and cutting subsidies will not solve the problem.

Oil companies are not the only ones who profit from tax subsidies for exporting jobs overseas...

28 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:40:41am

re: #26 leftynyc

Not that it matters. He believes climate change is real and the right wing primary voters will not tolerate that.

I'm a "right wing primary voter" and I have no problem with it

29 jamesfirecat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:41:40am

re: #24 Max D. Reinhardt

That won't work. The projected cost of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers is $830 billion over the next decade. We only give $4 billion in subsidies per year to oil companies. All together that will save us $870 billion over the next decade.

We have a $1.6 trillion deficit this year. Raising taxes and cutting subsidies will not solve the problem.

We may have a 1.6 Trillion deficit but we also have a unemployment rate that's in the area of 8.9% last time I checked.

I just will not give a f*** about the deficit until its drop at least two full percent.

To put trimming the deficit above reducing unemployment in a economic situation like ours is EXTREMELY wrong headed in my opinion.

30 Sol Berdinowitz  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:43:46am

re: #28 sattv4u2

I'm a "right wing primary voter" and I have no problem with it


And I believe you are in a minority.

31 Simply Sarah  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:44:01am

re: #25 Rightwingconspirator

But since he's running for Pres., what we really need to know is what he would propose as such. Beyond "killing" (a rather emotional term) medicare, what would he have the government-Fed or State, do instead?

I see comments like the following:

And we’ve got to be bold, and we’ve got to have, I think, proposals on the table that perhaps in years past would’ve been laughed out of the room. And we’ve got to look seriously at them. We don’t have a choice. We’ve hit the wall.

and a large number of alerts go off in my head. To me, along with stating he'd vote for the Medicare part of the Ryan budget, that's code for "We'll spend less *government money* by offering less and privatizing things. The market will solve things", which is a complete non-starter for me in any shape or form on general healthcare.

32 angel Graham  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:44:01am

re: #20 Rightwingconspirator

If that's true, he should have a plan in place to talk about and let people have an idea of what he thinks could "replace" Medicare already. It looks to me like people are wanting to kill Medicare and then fly by the seat of their pants on how to take care of all the people on it, who will have no form of health care at all.

You think it cost too much already for the uninsured/under-insured with health care, wait until Medicare is taken away or privatized. I can already tell you how this works out. I lived with someone for 8 years that could not afford to pay the Premiums charged by Medicare.

What happens is, when an emergency comes up, the person fights themselves to decide if it's truly worthy of going to the ER. Then, when they get there, they feel guilty for being there and they feel like they are the "shit" of society for using the ER knowing that they can't afford to pay anything, because what $$ they have, they are using to pay utilities, food or medicine. Then, when they are seen by the Dr., they feel totally humiliated because the Dr. looks down their nose at them and treats them like the plague. Then, when they maybe get the meds prescribed they need (or not, depends on what mood the Dr is in that day), they go to the Pharmacy to pay what they can on it, and what they can't afford, they just don't get, even though this means that they may die without the meds.

So, this is what the plan is from the GOP. Let the bastards kill themselves by not taking the medication prescribed, that if they had just paid $$ to Medicare would have covered 80% of it and why the flock are the bastards worried about eating? Just die already. This is the GOP plan at it's best. You don't want to know what the above scenario looks like when it is the GOP at their worst. I've seen that one also.


Ugly Fugly.

33 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:44:04am

re: #29 jamesfirecat

I just will not give a f*** about the deficit until its drop at least two full percent.

To put trimming the deficit above reducing unemployment in a economic situation like ours is EXTREMELY wrong headed in my opinion.

I strongly disagree but at least you're consistent.

34 BongCrodny  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:45:17am

re: #28 sattv4u2

I'm a "right wing primary voter" and I have no problem with it


Yeah, but it's not you we're worried about. It's your knucklehead bretheren.

35 Sol Berdinowitz  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:48:02am

re: #32 sadangel

Not to mention neglecting preventive care until the condition is severe.

Like saving money by not fixing the roof until it collapses.

36 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:49:17am

re: #35 ralphieboy

Not to mention neglecting preventive care until the condition is severe.

Now that sounds like Canada's healthcare system.

37 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:49:52am

re: #30 ralphieboy

And I believe you are in a minority.

re: #34 BongCrodny

Yeah, but it's not you we're worried about. It's your knucklehead bretheren.

All those countless ones that gave the likes of Ron Paul 7%,,, Guiliani 4%,,, Thompson 1%,,, Huckabee 12% in the primaries last time around??

How did that work out for them!

38 Political Atheist  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:50:38am

re: #26 leftynyc

Not that it matters. He believes climate change is real and the right wing primary voters will not tolerate that.

Too soon to say AFAIK. The Tea party is hardly a permanent phenomenon.

39 jamesfirecat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:51:05am

re: #33 Max D. Reinhardt

I strongly disagree but at least you're consistent.

Thank you for acknowledging that in my mind a good argument on LGF should be like a good boxing match, tough, no punches pulled, but well mannered and with certain over hanging rules.

I personally think that trying to go from 1.6 trillion to nothing is a really bad plan, and that we should work instead to bleed our deficit bit by bit year by year.

If we are going to get serious about reducing it than the best plan possible is to lay everything on the table (from defense to social security) and see where cuts can be made that will truly save money instead of just incurring greater costs elsewhere.

The next step after doing that is to see how much of a gap still exists, and figure out the most humane way to raise taxes to cover that gap, or at least take a reasonable sized bite out of it.

That said in my opinion the most humane way to "raise taxes" is to grow the economy which given our current unemployment rate there clearly exists a considerable posibility to do.

40 makeitstop  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:52:07am

re: #37 sattv4u2

re: #34 BongCrodny

All those countless ones that gave the likes of Ron Paul 7%,,, Guiliani 4%,,, Thompson 1%,,, Huckabee 12% in the primaries last time around??

How did that work out for them!

They hold a lot more sway in the party than they did 'last time around.' Why do you think all the presidential hopefuls are pandering to them?

41 BongCrodny  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:54:48am

re: #37 sattv4u2

re: #34 BongCrodny

All those countless ones that gave the likes of Ron Paul 7%,,, Guiliani 4%,,, Thompson 1%,,, Huckabee 12% in the primaries last time around??

How did that work out for them!

Before he dropped out Huckabee was one of the only two candidates within striking distance of Obama for 2012.

[Link: www.sciencedaily.com...]

"Of those who identify as Republicans, about 49 percent said in the 2001 Gallup survey that they believe the effects of global warming have already begun -- a number that dropped to 29 percent in 2010."

They're still knuckleheads.

42 jamesfirecat  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:55:14am

re: #36 Max D. Reinhardt

Now that sounds like Canada's healthcare system.

Sounds more like America's system (somewhat ameliorated by Obamacare) what with how a person who is in a job that doesn't give them health benefits may not be able to afford an EKG, but hey he can always get wheeled into the emergency room after he has a heart attack.

43 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:56:54am

re: #40 makeitstop

They hold a lot more sway in the party than they did 'last time around.' Why do you think all the presidential hopefuls are pandering to them?

Seems as if I heard that in 2000,,, and 2004 ,,, and 2008 ,,,, and ,,,,,,

44 angel Graham  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:58:21am

re: #35 ralphieboy

Not to mention neglecting preventive care until the condition is severe.

Like saving money by not fixing the roof until it collapses.

Have you ever been so poor you could not afford Medicare, did not qualify for Medicaid and had no insurance? I have. When you are this poor, you do not have the money to pay for preventative care. This is what the whole thing is about and yet most people don't understand it.

When you are poor, this poor, preventative care is a pipe dream. You don't go to the Dr. to make sure your insulin is at the right dosage, because you cannot afford it. You end up waiting until it is almost too late, (or in many cases, it is clear that it is in fact; too late) to do anything.

You aren't saving money for when you can go to the Dr. for the big stuff...because you don't have the damn $$ in the FIRST place. So, your analogy pretty much sucks when compared to Medicare and why people don't pay for it, or can't pay for it.

45 Romantic Heretic  Fri, May 20, 2011 11:59:31am

re: #36 Max D. Reinhardt

Now that sounds like Canada's healthcare system.

As a Canadian I can safely say you have no idea what you are talking about.

46 engineer cat  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:01:01pm

re: #29 jamesfirecat

We may have a 1.6 Trillion deficit but we also have a unemployment rate that's in the area of 8.9% last time I checked.

I just will not give a f*** about the deficit until its drop at least two full percent.

To put trimming the deficit above reducing unemployment in a economic situation like ours is EXTREMELY wrong headed in my opinion.

i agree

we've had deficits forever. republicans never seem to worry about them except when they are looking for excuses to cut services

47 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:01:03pm

re: #40 makeitstop

They hold a lot more sway in the party than they did 'last time around.' Why do you think all the presidential hopefuls are pandering to them?

This your 1st time to the rodeo, cowboy?

I've been watching presidential hopefuls of ALL stripes "pandering" to groups since JFK!

48 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:01:26pm

re: #42 jamesfirecat

Let me elaborate. I have a family friend in Canada, he suffered an anurism in his aorta. The national healthcare service is refusing to treat him because it is not big enough. He cannot leave the island of Newfoundland to go on vacation without losing his care. He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

No preventative medicine, just let it get worse and then we'll treat it.

49 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:03:29pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

*aneurysm

50 makeitstop  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:05:04pm

re: #43 sattv4u2

Seems as if I heard that in 2000,,, and 2004 ,,, and 2008 ,,, and ,,,

So Huntsman has completely flipped on his own beliefs for what reason?

And New Gingrich - who has one of the biggest egos in politics and has to this point never acknowledged even the possibility that he may have been wrong about anything - apologized to Paul Ryan and called his own on-the-record comments 'falsehoods' - why?

Because they are afraid of their campaigns being snuffed out in the primaries for not being far enough to the Right for the TP wing.

Minimize it if you wish, but the TP has driven your party into the ditch, and all of their prospective 'leaders are too goddamned scared to call a tow truck.

51 jamesfirecat  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:05:11pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

To be fair, how many people in the US does that description fit?

That said your friend's case is deplorable, and I don't understand why any system should insist that people would loose their coverage if they went on vacation.

I hope it all works out well for him in the end regardless of how unlikely it may seem....

52 Simply Sarah  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:05:59pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

Let me elaborate. I have a family friend in Canada, he suffered an anurism in his aorta. The national healthcare service is refusing to treat him because it is not big enough. He cannot leave the island of Newfoundland to go on vacation without losing his care. He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

No preventative medicine, just let it get worse and then we'll treat it.

I'm really tired of hearing about Canada when the topic is healthcare in the U.S. Even if the Canadian system is deemed to be flawed, it's not the only alternative option for make sure people have access to healthcare. To me, bringing up Canada or the UK is a distraction and a minor straw man. And personally, I'd say that, for all their flaws, either of those systems beat what we currently have in the States.

53 makeitstop  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:06:59pm

re: #47 sattv4u2

This your 1st time to the rodeo, cowboy?

I've been watching presidential hopefuls of ALL stripes "pandering" to groups since JFK!

I've been watching just as long as you have, Satty.

54 engineer cat  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:07:45pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

Let me elaborate. I have a family friend in Canada, he suffered an anurism in his aorta. The national healthcare service is refusing to treat him because it is not big enough. He cannot leave the island of Newfoundland to go on vacation without losing his care. He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

No preventative medicine, just let it get worse and then we'll treat it.

does canadian law forbid him to get treatment if he pays for it himself?

55 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:10:17pm

Did I get down dinged because of the paltriness of my comment or because I criticized Canada's health care system?

56 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:11:36pm

re: #53 makeitstop

I've been watching just as long as you have, Satty.

So you know this "pandering" is nothing new

What MAY be "new" is the level to which we can now monitor it with the 24/7 news cycle as well as every blogger in the world with "access"

57 Simply Sarah  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:12:03pm

re: #55 Max D. Reinhardt

Did I get down dinged because of the paltriness of my comment or because I criticized Canada's health care system?

Well, I can't actually speak for the down dingers, but my best guess would be a variation on the latter supported a bit by the former.

58 Max  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:13:19pm

re: #54 engineer dog

does canadian law forbid him to get treatment if he pays for it himself?

There's no law against it but he won't. In Canada if you make over $100,000 then you pay more into the system. He feels like he's already paid for it. He also takes great pride in being Canadian and refuses to go to the US for treatment, even though I've advised him to.

59 makeitstop  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:13:59pm

re: #56 sattv4u2

So you know this "pandering" is nothing new

What MAY be "new" is the level to which we can now monitor it with the 24/7 news cycle as well as every blogger in the world with "access"

Good point.

But I think that new level of coverage may very well be what is making these guys over-react and walk back what are baiscally benign pronouncements.

I mean, could you imagine the 90s-model Gingrich backing off his words as quickly as he did this week? I can't.

60 sattv4u2  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:18:10pm

re: #59 makeitstop

Good point.

But I think that new level of coverage may very well be what is making these guys over-react and walk back what are baiscally benign pronouncements.

I mean, could you imagine the 90s-model Gingrich backing off his words as quickly as he did this week? I can't.

Hell, I think it was WORSE back then

They weren't held accountable ("walk back" ) because for the most part it wasn't reported that they said "YES" to that group followed by "NO" to this group the very next day

61 engineer cat  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:22:16pm

re: #58 Max D. Reinhardt

There's no law against it but he won't. In Canada if you make over $100,000 then you pay more into the system. He feels like he's already paid for it. He also takes great pride in being Canadian and refuses to go to the US for treatment, even though I've advised him to.

well, i have also heard that private health insurance palns in the united states have refused to pay for some procedures that the patient considers necessary from time to time

so what's the difference?

62 Interesting Times  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:22:36pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

Let me elaborate. I have a family friend in Canada, he suffered an anurism in his aorta. The national healthcare service is refusing to treat him because it is not big enough. He cannot leave the island of Newfoundland to go on vacation without losing his care. He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

Canada doesn't have a "national healthcare service." We have national health insurance, i.e. a single-payer system which itself varies from province to province (e.g. some may cover a certain treatment while others don't).

And in my experience, if a doctor flags a particular treatment or test as urgent, you'll get it. See my anecdotes here and here.

63 BongCrodny  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:29:43pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

Let me elaborate. I have a family friend in Canada, he suffered an anurism in his aorta. The national healthcare service is refusing to treat him because it is not big enough. He cannot leave the island of Newfoundland to go on vacation without losing his care. He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

No preventative medicine, just let it get worse and then we'll treat it.


The exchange here got me Googling and I found some pretty interesting stuff.

A 2009 Ipsos survey compared Canadian and U.S. health care, and found that only 50% of U.S. citizens felt they had access to the health care they needed vs. 65% of Canadian citizens, and middle and lower income Canadians felt they had better access to health care than did middle and lower income U.S. citizens.

However, Canadians had to wait longer for appointment when referred to a specialist (47% to 26%), were kept waiting more often when they arrived for scheduled appointments (48% to 38%, and were not often as able to get in to see their family physician (59% to 52%).

U.S. and Them

Obviously, there are tradeoffs. That rule with your friend sounds horribly arbitrary.

I think I'd still go with insuring more people than less, though.

64 iossarian  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:35:33pm

re: #61 engineer dog

well, i have also heard that private health insurance palns in the united states have refused to pay for some procedures that the patient considers necessary from time to time

so what's the difference?

More to the point, in Canada as in Europe, if you want to shell out for private health insurance, you can.

At the individual level, it's really just a tax vs. social justice question - do you want to pay a certain amount in tax so that everyone gets access to a certain level of care.

At the societal level, of course, there are large savings to be made through universal healthcare.

65 engineer cat  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:36:57pm

re: #63 BongCrodny

The exchange here got me Googling and I found some pretty interesting stuff.

A 2009 Ipsos survey compared Canadian and U.S. health care, and found that only 50% of U.S. citizens felt they had access to the health care they needed vs. 65% of Canadian citizens, and middle and lower income Canadians felt they had better access to health care than did middle and lower income U.S. citizens.

However, Canadians had to wait longer for appointment when referred to a specialist (47% to 26%), were kept waiting more often when they arrived for scheduled appointments (48% to 38%, and were not often as able to get in to see their family physician (59% to 52%).

U.S. and Them

Obviously, there are tradeoffs. That rule with your friend sounds horribly arbitrary.

I think I'd still go with insuring more people than less, though.

some of the tradeoffs look like this:

the canadian plan - nationalized health insurance - costs canadians considerably less for the same thing, but has a big problem with waiting times. the british system - totally nationalized health care - has lower costs and doesn't have canada's waiting time problems, has regional problems with poor care in out of the way facilities. of course, in the united states there are similar scandals concerning poor care in individual facilities

i remember vividly when in london describing to some brits how americans without health insurance could go into the hospital for an emergency procedure and come out less than a week later owing over $40 thousand dollars

this is one thing that could never happen in canada or the uk

66 iossarian  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:40:17pm

re: #65 engineer dog

Whatever else people think about Michael Moore, the most powerful moment of "Sicko", for me, comes when the UK hospital pays the guy's cab fare home.

Given all the recent research into the effects of stress on one's overall health, I firmly believe that eliminating the threat of bankruptcy from US healthcare would have an immediate positive effect on a lot of people's health.

67 BongCrodny  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:47:20pm

re: #65 engineer dog

some of the tradeoffs look like this:

the canadian plan - nationalized health insurance - costs canadians considerably less for the same thing, but has a big problem with waiting times. the british system - totally nationalized health care - has lower costs and doesn't have canada's waiting time problems, has regional problems with poor care in out of the way facilities. of course, in the united states there are similar scandals concerning poor care in individual facilities

i remember vividly when in london describing to some brits how americans without health insurance could go into the hospital for an emergency procedure and come out less than a week later owing over $40 thousand dollars

this is one thing that could never happen in canada or the uk

Isn't there a reverse correlation to that as well? If I visited London and were to take ill, would it cost me less (as a non-citizen) than whatever those same services would cost in an American hospital? Or would it still cost the figurative arm and a leg?

68 iceweasel  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:49:13pm

re: #67 BongCrodny

Isn't there a reverse correlation to that as well? If I visited London and were to take ill, would it cost me less (as a non-citizen) than whatever those same services would cost in an American hospital? Or would it still cost the figurative arm and a leg?

You'd be treated by the NHS regardless of your immigration status, at the same cost that it is to a citizen-- i.e., free.

69 Simply Sarah  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:49:56pm

re: #68 iceweasel

You'd be treated by the NHS regardless of your immigration status, at the same cost that it is to a citizen-- i.e., free.

Are you sure? My understanding was that they'd send you a bill after.

70 Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:51:51pm

Just as food for thought, There's only one group of people where the poverty rate is dropping, and that's for people 65+

All other groups have been increasing since about 2001.

you've got about 25% of the American children under 6 now living in poverty.

compared to just under 9% for anyone 65 and older.

What does this mean? it means that wealth (and power) is now concentrated more in the hands of the previous generation than ever before. Unfortunately that concentration is more a zero sum game than it should be. So the wealth isn't generating more wealth, instead it's leaving the generations that come after it in worse shape.

That's what makes the Ryan proposals so damning, because it places the burden of austerity on the people who are less and least able to cope with it.

God, some libertarian I sound like right now...

71 iceweasel  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:52:16pm

re: #69 Simply Sarah

Are you sure? My understanding was that they'd send you a bill after.

Depends on what you're in for. Some things are considered elective and you;d have to pay. I was treated in the ER here in scotland the week i arrived (kitchen accident). I wasn't yet formally registered with the NHS. They didn't care. Free treatment and Jim was horrified when I told him that in the US we would have gotten a gigantic bill.

they were even kind enough to change the dressing for me twice when I was lazy about getting a GP. No charge.

72 Simply Sarah  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:52:58pm

re: #71 iceweasel

Depends on what you're in for. Some things are considered elective and you;d have to pay. I was treated in the ER here in scotland the week i arrived (kitchen accident). I wasn't yet formally registered with the NHS. They didn't care. Free treatment and Jim was horrified when I told him that in the US we would have gotten a gigantic bill.

they were even kind enough to change the dressing for me twice when I was lazy about getting a GP. No charge.

Ah, OK. I guess that makes sense.

73 iceweasel  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:54:54pm

re: #72 Simply Sarah

Ah, OK. I guess that makes sense.

Scotland is more socialist than England, though, so it could be different in London. Example: all perscriptions are free to anyone in Scotland. In England, only for new mothers and people over 60.

74 dragonfire1981  Fri, May 20, 2011 12:58:05pm

My American wife nearly had to go to the ER when we were in Canada and it would have cost around $400. I don't know if such a policy is set at the federal or provincial level or simply on a hospital by hospital basis.

75 Romantic Heretic  Fri, May 20, 2011 1:14:16pm

re: #74 dragonfire1981

So far as I know, Canadian public healthcare only applies to Canadian citizens, and policy is set at the provincial level. When my wife gets up here one of the first things we'll do is apply for OHIP. As the wife of a Canadian citizen living in Canada, she's covered.

When she's visiting, we pray for the best.

76 jbryan  Fri, May 20, 2011 1:45:58pm

re: #6 jamesfirecat

Given that he's also against intervention in Lybia I'm getting the feeling that Jon Huntsman either is, or is at least shaping himself up to be into a isolationist libeterian style righty... which makes me wonder how he ended up doing what judging from the lack of press about him, at least a decent job as an ambassador, and why he thinks he has a chance of winning when Ron Paul is already running on that platform...

You don't have to be an isolationist to think the intervention in Libya was and remains a bad idea.

77 Bulworth  Fri, May 20, 2011 1:51:25pm
So what is really scary I think to me and I think most Americans is our debt. And we’ve got to be bold

Bold! The math demands it! Debt! Crisis! But no taxes can be be raised on anyone, ever. That's how serious the Debt Crisis!! is.

78 Renaissance_Man  Fri, May 20, 2011 1:54:25pm

re: #48 Max D. Reinhardt

Let me elaborate. I have a family friend in Canada, he suffered an anurism in his aorta. The national healthcare service is refusing to treat him because it is not big enough. He cannot leave the island of Newfoundland to go on vacation without losing his care. He's suffering and the government will mot do anything about it.

No preventative medicine, just let it get worse and then we'll treat it.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is not treated surgically (which I assume you mean by treatment) until it is over 4cm in size. That is the case in Canada, the US, and anywhere in the Western world. It has nothing to do with government vs. private health insurance at all. Evidence-based medicine shows that AAAs are best managed medically (ie. blood pressure meds and the like) until they expand over 4cm, because under that size, the risks of surgery are much greater than the risk of the thing rupturing.

If your friend were in the US and was lucky enough to have good private health insurance, the result would be the same - his insurance wouldn't pay for a surgical repair because it wouldn't be medically indicated. And that's even assuming he could convince a vascular surgeon to do it.

In short, doctors won't 'fix' his aneurysm because the research says they shouldn't, not because the big bad government won't let them.


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