Monopolistic health care system needs competition

At the always excellent TPMMuckraker, Zachary Roth points out the lack of competition in health care.

But the notion that most American consumers enjoy anything like a competitive marketplace for health care is flatly false. And a study issued last month by a pro-reform group makes that strikingly clear.

The report, released by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), uses data compiled by the American Medical Association to show that 94 percent of the country’s insurance markets are defined as “highly concentrated,” according to Justice Department guidelines. Predictably, that’s led to skyrocketing costs for patients, and monster profits for the big health insurers. Premiums have gone up over the past six years by more than 87 percent, on average, while profits at ten of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007.

Far from healthy market competition, HCAN describes the situation as “a market failure where a small number of large companies use their concentrated power to control premium levels, benefit packages, and provider payments in the markets they dominate.”

Most Americans are not going to find this surprising, but as opponents of the public option blather on about the “free market,” it’s definitely worth keeping in mind that the health care market is about as free as the west coast electricity market was during the Enron era.

Just once I would like to see advocates of “market solutions” admit that oligopolies are a distortion in the system that have to be addressed, or things break down. But then, none of this is ever actually about “free markets,” it’s about lining the pockets of whatever industry is paying for astro-turf groups to sing the praises of “free markets.” Just substitute the words “coal” or “banking” in their arguments and it’s always the same baloney. Actual competition is the one thing they fear most.

Comments

  1. 2

    Nathe lawver spews:

    We have an example in Tacoma.

    About 10 years ago the city decided to wire itself with fiber optic.

    Part of the endeavor created a municipal cable system, known today as Click! network.

    This has helped to keep Comcast’s monopolistic rates lower for the market place.

    Click also supplies internet lines for local ISPs, so there is competition for Qwest, Comcast and the others.

    All in the realm of the so-called ‘free market’.

  2. 3

    rhp6033 spews:

    With a system which is predominately based upon employer-selected health insurance, the only competition is based upon whatever price the employer is willing to pay and the insurance company is offering. Only a few employers offer more than one plan, and in that case the employee has to pay for the other choices. Those lucky enough to be in unions at least get some say in the matter.

    Private insurance is workable for the very young, but by the time you hit your 40′s its not a realistic option for most of us. By then, at least some time in your life you have to answer “yes” to one of the 100 or so questions they ask about your previous doctor visits/hospital stays, at which point they push you into the “high-risk” catagory which makes the private insurance to be not economically feasible. How many workers can afford to pay 2/3 of their paychecks for a health-insurance plan with high deductables, high co-pays, maximum payouts which make you uninsured after an overnight hospital stay, and a claims department where the adjusters take bets to see which happens first – you die, or hire a lawyer to force them to pay.

    In addition, we have a real shortage of primary care physicians in this country, to the point where it’s easier to go to an emergency room to get a couple of stiches (or have them removed) than it is to find a doctor who will do it for you. And this is the system which the conservatives argue is “more efficient” because it’s managed by private enterprise?????

    The right wing will push hard against any government solution, saying it will put a “government bureaucrat between you and your doctor”. Right now we’ve got insurance company adjustors and management who are trying to maximize stock values/bonuses between me and my doctor, it couldn’t be much worse under a government plan.

    One of my colleagues is returning to Japan for a vacation, and plans to schedule doctor’s visits while she is there. She’s given up on trying to work her way through the system here, and she says the medical care she gets in Japan is superior (and free!) to that she would receive here under our company plan.

  3. 4

    Now you see it spews:

    Nonsense…the lack of competition never makes prices go up. If that were true, when Sirius and XM satellite radio merged into one single monopolistic company they would have immediately raised prices. Oh wait, what? They did? You could previously get their stations over the web if you paid the $13 a month, but weeks after the merge they immediately demanded an EXTRA $2.95 a month if you wanted to CONTINUE to get the stations over the internet, on top of the $13 a month you are paying anyway. Huh.

    I’m sure this is JUST satellite radio and in no way influences health care. Duh…there is NO competition in health care, never has been. You get shot, the ambulance crew doesn’t doctor shop for the CHEAPEST hospital. If you get cancer you don’t look for the cheapest radiation treatment. In theory if you have non-emergency surgery coming up you could shop around the local 3 or 4 hospitals…now GOOD LUCK calling up St. Mercy and getting them to give you the complete costs, in writing, for what they’ll charge for say kidney transplant. LOL. Competition exists in cell phones and car, but there is NO consumer competition in the health industry.

  4. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 When citizens who are being gouged by monopolies get together and provide services for themselves, other folks call it “socialism.”

    Those other folks generally tend to believe they possess a God-given right to other people’s money without giving value in return.

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The American people are bottom-lining this issue, and that’s why we’re GOING to have real health care REFORM. Polls show 85% of the U.S. public is dissatisfied with the status quo. Rarely has any industry earned so much enmity so quickly.

    Lack of competition
    Skyrocketing premiums
    Mind-numbing fine print
    Arbitrary claims denials
    Swiss cheese policy coverage
    50 million uninsured
    Nonrenewals, exclusions, copays, noncovered items
    Medical debts causing 2/3rds of personal bankruptcies
    People losing homes and life savings
    Stratospheric insurance executive salaries

    Yep, there’s an endless list of stuff here to hate, but if you ask for a better deal they call you a “socialist.” Nobody’s listening to the name-callers anymore, though. Americans have had enough of this shit.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    We don’t need the private insurance industry at all. They skim 30% of our health care dollars off the top and provide no value in return. That money only pays $50 million CEO salaries and an army of cubicle slaves whose only function is to deny claims. In contrast to the 30% A&O in the private sector, Medicare spends less than 1% on administration and the rest goes for actual health services. Private health insurance is the largest featherbedding racket in history. If it were up to me, we’d go single payer and let government run the financial side of health care. We’d all be better off that way, including our wingnut friends. By eliminating the private health insurance skim we could cover the uninsured, improve care, and still have enough money left to give everyone a hefty premium cut.

  7. 8

    spews:

    I agree, the current system looks nothing like a free market.

    I agree, there are more elements of our health care system that need thrown out the window than that are worth keeping.

    But whether people are robbed through “competing” insurance companies or through taxation is immaterial at the moment. Going single-payer with our system in the state it is would be like building a concrete floor over loose sand – the foundation is still messed up, and you’ve just put a big obstacle in the way of anyone seeing the real problem.

    I have no problem with plenty of proposed solutions a wingnut might call “socialist.” I just sincerely don’t think government-powered single-payer care is the ideal solution.

  8. 9

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    rodent said,

    “Those other folks generally tend to believe they possess a God-given right to other people’s money without giving value in return.”

    Like the teachers’ union here in WA.

  9. 10

    ArtFart spews:

    @8 “I just sincerely don’t think government-powered single-payer care is the ideal solution.”

    It remains that it’s the system in use in the rest of the industrialized world, and it works a heckuva lot better than what we have here.

  10. 11

    ArtFart spews:

    @4 That’s actually something of an apples-to-boulders comparison. Satellite radio was a horrible idea to begin with. The “merging of two companies to create a monopoly” is actually a desperation move by two companies that were going out of business, and the combined company is likely to go under in a few years or be reorganized into something radically different. Even if they try to morph into a webcasting operation, they’re then trying to compete with their dozens of channels against the thousands already out there, with a pile of indebtedness and a lousy business model.

  11. 12

    WatchmanOnTheWall spews:

    Government run health care with a gonvernment health board is not competition.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....&eurl

    This is government run health and remember you also could have kids,grandkids that are disabled and parents that grow old and become disabled, or possibly yourself how valuable are you and yours?

  12. 13

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Hey Jon–
    Here is the report card from Liberal Massa2shits–

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Twenty-six percent (26%) of Massachusetts voters say their state’s health care reform effort has been a success. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds that 37% say the reform effort has been a failure, while another 37% are not sure.

    Only 10% of Bay State voters say the quality of health care has gotten better as a result of the reform plan while 29% say it has gotten worse.

    Careful what you wish for Jon.
    Why do you think a community activist with zero decision-making experience can somehow run National Health Care???
    What are Obama’s qualifications other than winning an election??

  13. 14

    Doctor Proctor spews:

    Monopolistic Health Care System Needs Competition …

    from … of course! Single payer! The single perfect OneBestWay to cure monopoly.

  14. 15

    Haywood Jablome spews:

    How can private business compete with govt when:
    1. The govt does not need to make a profit – hell, they dont even need to break even – and rarely do.

    2. When in doubt, the govt can just print money – how many businesses can do that??

    we are foooooooked.

  15. 16

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Liquid Fart Art

    It remains that it’s the system in use in the rest of the industrialized world

    Here’s the latest from Canada. Nephew broke his arm. It wasn’t correctly set and he has a permanent deformity. Now due to this incorrect procedure, he has additional pain in his neck. His proposed MRI time is six months from last week.

    Yep it’s a fine system in Canada.

  16. 17

    YLB spews:

    The right wing loves to ignore all the people that have died or lost everything due to ruinous health care bills in this country. Don’t change a thing they bleat. Everything’s just fine.

    They love the occasional horror story from a more progressive country – all gussied up in fear.

    What a bunch of despicable ghouls.

  17. 18

    WatchmanOnTheWall spews:

    Progresive my foot, they come her to get good medical care, regressive is more like it.This being a polical issue is just sick, government can not mandate freedom of health care choice.
    They cant even run medicare,madicaid, veterans care which btw ALLLLL THREEE are government health care,Right wing left wing blah blah blah, what possibly will government do to protect you from losing every thing if you become ill and cant work. Not a damn thing except confiscate what you do have to pay the bill(they already doit all over the country) even if the care is available to you. Yeah its progressive( progressively getting worse)losing ones freedom to choose is not progressive. All this rhetoric from obaloney is just being ate up by some, well go for it put your life in the hands of obaloney.

    Let them eat cake at the obama love fest, even cake is to sweet for the goodness to last long.

  18. 19

    correctnotright spews:

    @16: Once again poor Puddy confuses facts with anectdotes. Only a really stupid person tries to make a case with one example. Only a truly myopic person tries to ignore the actual facts in favor of an anectdote.

    I could give over one hundred examples of medical errors, drug overdoses leading to death, patients denied care etc. So what? What are the overall numbers and do they support what Puddy thinks?

    The answer, of course, is NO. Once again Puddy is making a third-grade level argument. I guess the actual facts do have a liberal bias.

    Medical errors in the US:

    A new study published in Health Affairs found that “[t]he United States often stands out with high medical errors and in-efficient care and has the worst performance for access/cost barriers and financial burdens.”

    The study looked at the health care delivery systems in Germany, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

    The study reports that “p]atients in the United States reported the highest rate of disorganized care at doctor’s offices – 33 percent – followed by Germany with 26 percent, Canada with 24 percent and New Zealand with 21 percent. Patients in Britain and Australia reported 19 percent.”

    http://www.dayontorts.com/medi.....in-us.html

  19. 20

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    What we should do is enact this socialized medicine thingy and see how it works. Give it a 10-year tryout and see if we like it.

    After 10 years, have a national referendum. If the folks vote to keep it, we just continue on with the socialized thing. If they don’t vote to keep it, we can always go back to what we have now.

  20. 21

    Mr RcGuy spews:

    In WA we had “competitive” regulated right out at the suggestion of a past Insurance Com. (Deborah Senn) Regulations in WA are so restrictive smaller insurance companies cannot compete due to the overhead. Beyond that there are a number of different insurance companies nationwide.

    I guess it really depends on what the definition of competitive is. Large corps and drug companies have a huge effect on the price of health care, but so does frivolous litigation. I’m sure there are a number of Drs. on this blog that can tell you what their malpractice insurance is and what happens even if you are litigated against, let alone lose.

    And to be fair since insurance companies subsidize unhealthy policy holders with money from healthy ones we should also take into account sickly people. Insurance companies also eat uninsured health care consumers (emergency room visits for colds, etc.). Not all of those uninsured costs are reimbursed through govt ins. (medicaid).

    Oh… EMR (Electronic Medical Record) conversion and adoption (mandated by the govt.) also cost 10′s of millions of dollars. Portability requirements (HIPPA) costs the same (both mandated govt. requirements). Data retention requirements which are combination of both cost millions.

    I think it is fair to also take into account the myriad of governmental requirements and regulations along with the lack of tort reform as a contributor to skyrocketing prices.

    Then there are the technological advances that our hospitals are using to save lives. Operating room procedural robots, advances in nuclear medicine technologies, advances in medical imaging. All things that greatly increase quality of life but cost literally millions of dollars per machine.

    So we have a system that is one of the most advanced in the world. A system that people all over the world come to use. A system that is expensive but innovative. But basically a system that isn’t run by the govt. Now we are being asked by our legislators to subsidize another very large govt. system. To do this they are going to set up a completely new program from scratch. Artificially set prices low and subsidize those low prices with tax money that will be taken from us. More than once actually if we choose to keep our private/corporate health care plans since it is actually being proposed that we get taxed on our benefits as if they were a dollar amount.

    Now our govt. doesn’t do anything small or efficiently. I’ve seen a lot of posts on this blog about how Medicare/Medicaid is a great example of how this would work. Sure, a wholly subsidized system that is bloated and phenomenally slow and ponderous. Pretty much the exact opposite of what is needed (if we need one) as an alternate to the current system.

    What I don’t see are proposals on how we can use the current system, help the current system, etc. Why hasn’t it been proposed to reimburse current systems for the billions of dollars of changes due to govt regulation? Why isn’t it proposed to 100% subsidize uninsured health care consumers? Why does the govt. want control of the health care delivery system?

    There is really nothing that can come of a govt system except the decline of the private sector industry because they will be competing against a system with unlimited cash and no need to profit. A govt system won’t need to have profits to upgrade equipment, learn new procedures, etc. They will just go to the tax well. The private industry can only do any of those things by turning a profit and earning capital.

    Does the private industry have issues? Yes.
    inefficiencies
    organizationally
    etc
    Why aren’t we talking about helping alleviate those issues (even with govt. help)? Some/many of those issues are caused directly by govt. requirements. People need health care administrators just to navigate their medicare/medicaid plans. Do you think the govt, the creators of the Homeland Security Department, FEMA, EPA, etc. are going to do a more efficient or better job than the private sector? And why are our legislators asking to be exempted from that same plan. Shouldn’t they be required to be the VERY FIRST users? Of course they should. But they know it won’t be anywhere near the care that they get now. How disingenuous is that?

  21. 22

    Mr RcGuy spews:

    hmmm. medicare/medicaid. Why don’t you ask the very large trauma hospital in Seattle why they have two separate care tracks for people with private insurance vs. medicare/medicaid. hmmmm I say.

  22. 23

    Daddy Love spews:

    @21

    I think it is fair to also take into account the myriad of governmental requirements and regulations along with the lack of tort reform as a contributor to skyrocketing prices.

    Yes, if only we would repeal the regulations that guarantee medical privacy and indigent care, and also make it impossible for those harmed by physicians and screwed by insurance companies from suing to obtain just compensation for injury, then everything would be perfect in American health care.

  23. 24

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    NutsTooTight farts:

    Once again poor Puddy confuses facts with anectdotes.

    You want to speak directly to my nephew in Canada and determine if he is an anecdote? Post your cell number and Puddy will have him call your directly NutsTooTight!

    I could give over one hundred examples of medical errors, drug overdoses leading to death, patients denied care etc. So what? What are the overall numbers and do they support what Puddy thinks?

    Did they have to wait six months for medical care Fool? Did they have to wait on knee surgery like that poor girl in Nova Scotia had to wait three years for her knee surgery NutsTooTight? Does lunacy and stupidity run in your family or are your the initial case?

    You focus on medical errors. Puddy is focusing on the time it takes to get the medical treatment not the error? What a moron NutsTooTight is!

    Why are you such an ASS NutsTooTight?
    Why doesn’t my nephew’s pain and suffering bother you?
    Why does he have to be the sacrificial lamb to your worthless argument?
    Why are you so nutty?

  24. 25

    Daddy Love spews:

    By the way, we aleady have both single-payer health care (medicare) and government medical care providers (VA) and both work very, very well with extremely low overhead.

    But of course what we really need more of is more insurance company execs eating off golden plates in private jets flying to Barbuda, financed by recission.

  25. 27

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Daddy Love, To Puddy what happened to my nephew is not interesting or amusing, especially his six month wait for an MRI. It’s sad. Maybe if NutsTooTight used another word fine.

  26. 28

    Daddy Love spews:

    So what has higher customer satisfaction, private health insurance plans or the Medicare program?

    Find out

    (And if you guessed private insurance, go back and do your homework.)

  27. 29

    Daddy Love spews:

    27 Pud

    In a conversation about what the real merits of “something-or-other” might be, a reference to an anecdote does not imply that the anecdote reciter is telling a joke. The reference is to the difference between anecdotal evidence and statistical evidence.

    Specifically, that point is that one can tell nothing about the real merits of the thing in question based on mere stories about individuals, because such individual experiences always vary widely. In a nearly-perfectly run program it is still probable that someone will have a problem of some sort. But the existence of that problem and a story told about it in no ways proves that the program is well (or badly) run. Only statistical evidence of overall characteristics can provide that insight.

    Get it? Yet?

  28. 30

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Daddy Love, Puddy provided statistical evidence to British and Canadian health care systems wait times, treatment times and other times over the last two weeks. Puddy used ABC and CBS news for the evidence. Each time NutsTooTight used the word anecdotal. He claims everything he disagrees with is anecdotal. Capiche? So when Puddy rejects his use of anecdotal, it’s not due to the definition; it’s due to his worthless use of the word.

    Get it? Yet?

  29. 31

    Mr RcGuy spews:

    @23 Daddy:
    Fortunately I didn’t say any of that. I’m not surprised that you would turn around and interpret it that way. Reform does not HAVE to mean “get rid of”.

    Good troll tactic though. Take the absolute outside meaning, a meaning that in no way could you construe from my post (if you read it), and bleat it out there hoping that people won’t have the attention span to actually go read what you just commented on.

  30. 32

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Predictably, I see you KLOWNS totally ignored my post about the report card from Liberal Massa2shits–

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Twenty-six percent (26%) of Massachusetts voters say their state’s health care reform effort has been a success. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds that 37% say the reform effort has been a failure, while another 37% are not sure.

    Only 10% of Bay State voters say the quality of health care has gotten better as a result of the reform plan while 29% say it has gotten worse.

    Careful what you wish for KLOWNS.
    Why do you think a community activist with zero decision-making experience can somehow run National Health Care???
    What are Obama’s qualifications other than winning an election??

  31. 33

    rhp6033 spews:

    For every “horror story” the right-wingers give about health care in Canada or Great Britain, I can give two (or three or four) about horrendous mistakes made here in the U.S. under our current system. Of course, when that happens the right-wingers like to ignore the facts and collectively call all the malpractice lawsuits “frivolous”, but that’s another issue.

    The current health-care system in the U.S. does some things very well. It produces drugs for which rich people are willing to pay a lot of money (Rogain to cure baldness, several pills to enhance sexual performance, etc.). It can also provide the best diagnosis and treatment for quite a few illnesses or health conditions, provided you can afford to pay for it.

    What it doesn’t do well is provide low-cost, medium-quality general medical care for the large majority of Americans. Insurance companies and managed-care institutions have been training doctors to spend as little time as possible with each patient so they can cycle them through their office at the rate of ten an hour or so, pretty much insuring a few mistakes a week. Insurance companies drop insureds at the first opportunity if their is an inkling that they will cost more than the amount the insurance company budgets as an “average per-patient expenditure”. Although companies are prohibited from firing a person due to a disabiiity, the insurance company can (and some do) provide a powerful incentive for them to do so, simply by claiming that their “group expenditure” is beyond the norm, and they will have to pay high-risk rates unless they can somehow “bring it down” (which usually means, find an excuse to fire the lady who’s been battling breast cancer for the last two years).

  32. 34

    rhp6033 spews:

    Hey, let’s see how the Wingnuts would like it if we “created” a government system which works like the present orivate one:

    1. It provides medical insurance coverage for is partially paid by the employer and partly by the worker. The employer can choose what percentage each one pays.

    2. Employers who choose not to participate get to have the government foot the bill for emergency-room treatment by it’s employees and their families. Employers who choose not to participate have an economic advantage over those that do.

    3. The insurance company takes 30% of all the premiums for “administrative expense” in processing the claims paperwork, denying claims, litigating claim denials, ane executive salaries and bonuses which are indirectly tied to how many claims get denied outright.

    4. In any denial of claims, the insurance company will assert an arbitration clause, requiring the denial to be litigated before an arbitration panel consisting of one insurance company representative, one doctor selected by the insurance company, and one other arbitrator selected by you. Most claims are decided against the insured by a 2-to-1 vote of the panel.

    5. The arbitration clause requires the insured to go to whatever state the insurance company chose to insert into their documents in order to litigate their denial, and in addition to pay 1/2 of the costs of the arbitratration in advance (which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars).

    6. If a claimant wins, then the insurance company will misrepresent the facts of the case and label the claim as “fraudulent” and “frivolous” in decades worth of advertising in an attempt to get new laws passed to stack the deck even further in the insurance company’s favor.

    7. The insurance company will select which doctors, hospitals, and labs will provide services to the patient, based almost solely on who is willing to provide the service at the lowest imaginable price. If a patient wants to select their own doctor, they must pay for it out of their own pocket (even though they’ve already paid for the premiums).

    8. People who aren’t employed are not covered by the plan, they have to purchase the insurance on the private marketplace. Current premiums can range from $500 to $1,500 per month PER PERSON, depending upon age and health history. (Multiply this by a family of four persons!).

    9. Doctors will not schedule an appointment for anyone who doesn’t already have insurance, so there is no treatment for minor illnesses. You just wait for the cold to become pneumonia (sp?) and then get treated in the emergency room at 20X the cost of the original treatment, which will in the end be born by the taxpayer.

    Does this really sound like a logical plan which anybody in their right mind would enact if they had a chance to do it from scratch?

  33. 35

    Mr RcGuy spews:

    @33:
    Can you provide a specific. Currently the drs. I know see between 10-15 patients in an avg. work day. Avg. work day is 8-5 – 1hr lunch. 8hrs total. So approx. 2 patients per hr. I could see a clinic of multiple drs. or nps. 4-5 on duty at a time cycling that many patients but that would be a pretty good sized clinic. I can also tell you that those same drs. will do almost anything to NOT make a mistake. This isn’t just a liability thing either. They genuinely want to make sure the are providing the best care and diagnosis as possible. But there are many complaints that drs. are asking for tests that aren’t medically necessary. When you look at a liability case that could cost millions as a opposed to a test the cost a couple hundred $’s

    You are correct about low cost medium care. Because our system currently spreads the huge cost of specialized care over all insured the cost goes up to all. Our hospitals also currently charge more since they have to recoup the cost of uninsured patients someplace. Medicare/Medicaid doesn’t cover all those expenses (not even close).

    People on each side of this argument keep ignoring very valid points from the other side. Your point about low cost general care is very valid. I would love to see an affordable solution.

  34. 36

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    rhp6033: It’s not about mistakes in the medical system, it’s about wait times and other real facts. Did the libtardos know the Canadian government dictates how a hospital provides the number of beds for health care services cost control? Can you imagine “the messiah” and the Dummocraptics tell hospitals how many beds they can provide to patients for health care services cost control? Can you imagine the uproar that would happen if a hospital is disallowed to expand its bed offerings and services even if there is demand for them because the government won’t allow the hospital freedom? Well this is America and most of the libtardos are drinking “the messiah’s” kook-aid.

    This is the problem trying to discuss topic to libtardos. They have to deflect the argument from real facts to some obscure argument they can make a point on.

    Ever heard of the Canadian Wait Time Alliance rhp6033? No? Well per NutsTooTight, it’s another of Puddy’s anecdotal stories. Since my wife’s sister and brother-in-law work in one of the biggest hospitals in Canada Puddy was directed to this group.

    For instance, if you are a Canadian cancer patient, the study found that the median wait time for radiation therapy was almost seven weeks.

    “If I have cancer, I don’t want to wait at all. I want to be a priority and not because I have money or influence, but because I need care,” Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Robert Ouellet June 18, 2009 Montreal Economic Institute.

    WTA Report determined emergency room waiting time was an average of nine hours for treatment. If needed admission from the emercency room the average wait time was almost a full day, just about 24 hours.

    Now Puddy never said the US system is perfect. Puddy was turned down for a procedure which Puddy described here.

    Wait a minute…… this whole report is anecdotal. Damn!

  35. 37

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Mr RcGuy: You forget “the messiah” only takes 13 questions at one time in any televised news conference. So why should a doctor take more patients. What’s more important answering questions about the world or seeing sick patients?

  36. 38

    GBS spews:

    BREAKING NEWS

    FRANKEN WINS!
    FRANKEN WINS!

    Republicans have just lost their last legal tool to slow down the Democrat’s agenda.

    With no way to control the House and now no way to filibuster, it’s FULL STEAM AHEAD and finally mow down the Reagan Republican agenda once and for all.

    The Republicans are on their backs with their tails tucked between their legs after being neutered by the electorate. Now the Dems have their foot on the throats of Conservative Christian, Moral Majority, Reagan Republican Party and are just about to serve the coup de grăce.

    Say good bye and good riddance the unpatriotic fools known as the Republican Party.

    Life’s soooooooo good.

  37. 39

    Steve spews:

    @36 “Can you imagine the uproar that would happen if a hospital is disallowed to expand its bed offerings”

    Imagine this, idiot, the number and type of beds a hospital can have in this state has long been controlled by DOH.

  38. 41

    Steve spews:

    @38 BREAKING NEWS

    FRANKEN WINS!

    heh- I think I just heard some troll’s heads explode. My goodness, there must be goatshit everywhere!

  39. 42

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Nope Steve, the only goatshit is on your lunch plate. Now wash it down with a good chug of Steve’s Stupid Solution.

  40. 43

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    GBS, this allows the electorate to see the proposed libtardo solutions and taxes being rammed down their throat. Puddy doesn’t think it’ll be 40 years of Dummocraptic rule again.

  41. 44

    Daddy Love spews:

    According to Republicans, goverment is bloated, wasteful, and inefficient, and private insurance companies can’t compete with that.

  42. 45

    Daddy Love spews:

    Yes, Democrats want to pass health care reform because it will destroy their electoral chances, and Republicans oppose health care reform because if it passes it will destroy the Democrats’ electoral chances.

    And this all makes perfect sense in Winguttia.

  43. 46

    Daddy Love spews:

    @31

    Like there is any mystery about what you guys have in mind when you say “tort reform.”

    Sure, the language is poll-tested, but the goal is to insulate corporate entities from liability for their injurious actions.

  44. 47

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    See how the HA libtardos run from facts? Wait a minute… it’s just anecdotal evidence!

  45. 48

    Steve spews:

    Geez, Puddy, was it too difficult for you to say something like , “Thank you, Steve, for pointing out how ignorant I am and also for schooling me so thoroughly on DOH and hospital bed counts”?

  46. 49

    Daddy Love spews:

    O Canada…

    The problem with references to the Canadian or other EUropean systems to scare the ignorant about a public health option is that a Canadian-style system IS NOT ON THE TABLE.

    Yes, public health care is so bad and so scary that 3/4 of Americans want it.

  47. 50

    GBS spews:

    Puddybud @ 43:

    Puddy doesn’t think it’ll be 40 years of Dummocraptic rule again.

    I agree, the Democrats may just hold both houses of Congress into the next century.

    Because what this country needs is 8 more years of the Clinton years, not 8 more years of Reagan, Bush 41, or Bush 43 years.

    PERIOD!

    Did you really pin your hopes on returning to power because the American electorate is totally stupid and will vote for Reagan Republicans any time soon??

    Hell, brother, face the facts. As I said long before this election we are witnessing the end of the Reagan Republican ideology.

    The American People tried in earnest your model of governing. It FAILED.

    We are NOT ever going back to that kind of government — no matter how many “PuddyFACTS” you distribute.

    Got it?

    Now, what your conservatives need to do is figure out how far to the political left you need to come in order to attract people to your camp again.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hope you yum-yums don’t figure out that you need to make a hard left turn politically.

    I hope you, Sean Hannity and the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world keep stomping your feet and holding your collective breaths to get your way. I really do.

    But until you heed my advice, you are going to be permanently lost in the political wilderness.

    Them are da’ GBSfacts.

  48. 51

    Mr RcGuy spews:

    @46:
    Again somebody putting words into my mouth. Maybe I should have said litigation reform because Tort Reform carries too much emotional baggage when discussed.

    I’m not for a nuclear options. I am for trying to figure out the best blend of action to come to a fair and sustainable solution for all of us.

  49. 52

    correctnotright spews:

    Poor Puddy – you talked about medical errors in your little anectdote.

    Now due to this incorrect procedure, he has additional pain in his neck.

    I just showed the evidence that the US has MORE medical errors.

    You want to talk about wait times?

    OK – how about the 65 million os so that don’t have ANY health insurance and are STILL waiting for ANY coverage….hmmm, Puddy won’t mention them.

    Or how about the underinsured waiting for approriate coverage.

    Or how about those insured but denied coverage – waiting to get paid for the procedured they THOUGHT were covered.

    Your pathetic little examples FORGET all those people.

    EVERY single person I know from Canada would NEVER trade their system for ours – and I know a hell of a lot more people from Canada than Puddy has ever met (considering I used to own a place up there).

    sorry Puddy – the facts (that you must have FORGOTTEN) again – are that people in the US PAY more (MUCH more) and are less healthy than in Canada.

    Our system stinks – period.

  50. 53

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Steve @48: from DOH as Puddy suspected…

    “However some specific services (uses of beds) are reviewable, but not specifically forecast as a subtotal of bed need.”

    So how dies this disagree with what Puddy wrote above:

    Can you imagine the uproar that would happen if a hospital is disallowed to expand its bed offerings and services even if there is demand for them because the government won’t allow the hospital freedom?

    Steve, smacked side his head, again!

  51. 54

    Steve spews:

    @53 You are so delusional.

    Puddy. Wrong about everything but in his head he’s never wrong about anything.

  52. 55

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    NutsTooTight farts:

    OK – how about the 65 million os so that don’t have ANY health insurance

    Last week it was 46-47 Million and Puddy showed from the Census Department what they estimated to be the number of millions of illegal aliens in that number. So how cum you elevated the number by 18-19 million NutsTooTight?

    Butt that’s not the point NutsTooTight. Puddy gave you more real Canadian data. We’re discussing wait times and you throw in another of your canards, trying to change the argument you first presented above. Is it “anecdotal” again fool?

    Why are your NutsTooTight here?
    Why are you changing the debate AGAIN?

  53. 56

    Steve spews:

    @53 “Can you imagine the uproar that would happen if a hospital is disallowed to expand its bed offerings”

    You don’t need to imagine anything, you blathering idiot. The government is already denying hospitals an expansion of their bed count. You quite obviously don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.

  54. 57

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Steve, how is Puddy wrong when that comment is right from DOH?

    As Homer would say DOH!

    Is Steve like Pelletizer now? Facts and Steve are like opposite magnet poles?

  55. 58

    Daddy Love spews:

    Given their record on the issues of the last twenty years, the mere fact that Republicans oppose public health care competition is reason enough to pass it, and is probably why about 75% of Americans favor it.

  56. 59

    Steve spews:

    Has the Franken news fucked with Puddy’s head? He’s even more dense than usual. In fact, I’d say he’s about as dense as a massive black hole.

  57. 60

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Steve, you shouldn’t be talking about your Rainier Ave companions like that.

  58. 61

    Steve spews:

    Good grief, mention “massive black hole” and Puddy, of course, bends over and takes a look.

    “Oh no, Steve, it ain’t massive at all!!”

  59. 62

    Puddybud is shocked SHOCKED spews:

    Ummm Steve, Puddy ain’t flexible like dat. Butt, Puddy is glad you are flexible like dat. So how’s them goats feeling again?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahaha

  60. 63

    Steve spews:

    I’m surprised Mr. Klynical didn’t chime in.

    “You PIN-HEADED KLOWN! Puddy’s ass is just fine, thank you!”

    Or Marvin.

    “You racist! You bigot! What have you got against black assholes?”

  61. 66

    rhp6033 spews:

    33: A doctor told me once that the insurance network I belong to would only will pay up to the equivilent of an eight-minute visit as a “general office visit”. He used to be a solo practitioner, but the paperwork burdens of dealing with the insurance companies led him to join a larger group of doctors. That group was bought out by a large “health-care provider”. The larger company, seeking to maximize profits, dictated the six-minute limit per visit (allowing them to be “more efficient” by squeezing in even more patients than the insurance company’s lower limits of payment).

    The doctor eventually left that company, but since he’s no longer on my “preferred provider” list, I can’t use him. I had to pick another doctor – which really means I had to pick another “Heath Care Company” and settle for whoever is on duty and happens to be assigned to deal with me. With one exception (a specialist), I haven’t seen the same doctor twice in the past ten years.

    Apparantly the doctors to whom you are referring (who spend more time with patients) are in a better provider network than the one my insurance company uses.

    I really don’t blame the doctors. Most, I’m sure, really do have the patiet’s well-being at heart, and nobody wants to make a mistake. But the system is pushing them in that direction. We need to “incentivise” (man, I hate that overused word, but it applies) better health care.