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Why doesn't america have an NHS??

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posted on May, 1 2006 @ 06:53 PM
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Nygdan has pretty well answered the thread question, although probably not in the manner he intended. The thread question is not "why SHOULDN'T America have a NHS" -- which I think is what Nygdan supposed, erroneously, that he answered -- but rather, "why DOESN'T American have a NHS." And the answer is, in part, because of ingrained attitudes towards government that Nygdan has expressed.

He is, however, somewhat selective in expressing them, because of all the things that government might be called upon to do, the one that bothered the founders the most, and that they tried hardest to prevent, was the creation and maintenance of a standing army. Sure, government spending on health care (or education, or roads, or a postal service, or whatever) costs money in taxes and so requires a certain amount of government intrusion. But it's soldiers that might break down your door in the middle of the night and whisk you away to arrest without charges. It's soldiers that might be called upon to fire on citizens expressing their dissent. It's soldiers that will have to implement martial law if the government goes truly bad.

That's the reason for the limitation of two years' worth of Army spending in any Congressional apportionment. That's the reason for the Second Amendment and all the attendant parts of the Constitution aiming at defense of the country by a militia rather than a professional army. That's the reason why, until the end of World War II, the U.S. never had a standing army of any real size or power, but only an officer corps around which an army of recruits could be built in wartime.

So if Nygdan is asserting that we have no NHS because that's the way the founders envisioned the country, he'd be more credible if he also argued for the retreat from superpower status and the dismantling of our vast standing military machine in favor of a minimum required to defend the country. But he does not; indeed he specifically speaks in favor of a military capable of dominating other countries.

Even if he did this, I still think he would be wrong. The government did not shrink from the idea of public education, which is surely a comparable expense to public health, indeed it was Thomas Jefferson himself who championed public education in Virginia. (Granted, it was mostly a state and not a federal responsibility in those days. We had a far more decentralized government in the original Constitution. That relationship had to be modified after the Civil War, however, to prevent a recurrence.) That it did not provide for public health care was due, I think, more to the primitive and unreliable nature of medicine in those days, and hence the practical futility of trying, than to any philosophical aversion to the idea.

This attitude towards government expense for public welfare purposes is one reason why we don't have a NHS; it's fairly common among Americans. However, it is a reason why we don't have a NHS, only because it is used by those who profit from the lack of one for propaganda purposes, to prevent public support. The real underlying reason why we don't have a NHS is because the U.S. government has lost its democratic character in a flood of campaign money, and is now the bought and paid for chattel of American corporations, including the health-insurance and pharmaceutical industries, which would stand to lose a lot of money if we did have one.

That's the real reason. Everything else is just window-dressing.

[edit on 1-5-2006 by Two Steps Forward]




posted on May, 1 2006 @ 07:38 PM
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Originally posted by Two Steps Forward
This attitude towards government expense for public welfare purposes is one reason why we don't have a NHS; it's fairly common among Americans.
[edit on 1-5-2006 by Two Steps Forward]


Though just to clarify, we do have public welfare and those on welfare DO have health benefits. Let's not lose sight of that.

It is the working poor and possibly soon the working middle class that are in trouble on this count, and no one is doing a thing about it. Oh, and the retired people on Social Security who have no prescription coverage. Don't anyone even go there about the new prescription drug plans for seniors - this is a debacle in itself, another shameful failure.

A shame, but this whole discussion is even losing sight of that. Second thread I've seen this month where the real problem is not considered worthy of discussion from what I can see.


EDIT: Oh look, more good news just breaking - the camels back. New report states Social Security and Medicare funding is even worse than we thought. The funds are sinking faster than we realized.


my.earthlink.net.../445587c0_3ca6_15526200605011481903944

A year ago, the depletion of the Social Security trust fund had been projected to occur in 2041, one year later than the current estimate, and the Medicare hospital insurance fund had been forecast to last until 2020, two years longer than the current estimate.

The trustees, who include the head of the Social Security Administration and three members of President Bush's Cabinet, painted a sober assessment of the health of the two programs in advance of the looming retirements of 78 million baby boomers.


I wonder how many legally working americans it would take to remedy the situation? Perhaps another reason to let the honest hard working immigrants who want a shot at life in America the same shot my grandparents got? (Not to get off topic, but seriously, can we possibly stop cutting off our noses to spite our faces?)



[edit on 5/1/2006 by Relentless]

[edit on 5/1/2006 by Relentless]



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 08:39 PM
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Just a few quick quips here.
People are migrating out of Detroit, they have been for the past few years. The city is down under a million people. To be fair alot has to do with the auto industry, either nearby plants closing or moving.
I am not sold on a national health care in America. What some foreign people fail to realize is there is a good majority of Americans that will take something that is free and run it into the ground, most situations with the help of the federal government.
I am a firm believer that higher learning should be free, but a person needs to keep the grades up, I mean .900. Screw up just once and you are booted and have to pay to return. I don't see why a person should go to college just to get a degree so they can afford to pay off the student loans.
Public schooling is more of a problem in America than health care is.



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 09:19 PM
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We don't have a NHS, because the people who run the country and the insurance industry don't have to administer their own nutrition through a feeding tube. For the same condition that would require a temporary feeding tube, someone whose insurance would pay for the hospitalization would have a health care worker administer the nutrition, but someone without (adequate) insurance would be sent home to recover with a relative taking off work to care for the patient. We read of the horrors of the debtors' prisons, will we someday read the same of the current health system?

A story (which was posted elsewhere) I share to illustrate life w/o a NHS:
A 15 year old in town became pregnant, did what her church and society requested and didn't have an abortion. Finished high school. Worked three jobs to support her and her son. When she was 19, her son fell and required medical care. No health care, so $2000 fell to her to pay. Advised by family to apply for public assistance for medical aide for her son. Assured by social worker paperwork was proper, even though they at first erroniously tried to say she wasn't being honest about one of her (minimum wage) jobs, accusing her of not reporting a W2 when she repeatedly told them the company name on the W2 was the parent company and not the business name of where she worked. She continues her education and betters herself, only one job needed. Ahead 5 years, gets a letter from the DA stating she has a court date for welfare fraud or pay the $2000. She doesn't have $2000, a lawyer says don't worry the case will be thrown out. She goes to court, judge has her arrested. No one has ever told her that after 24 hours in jail you can go on own recognizance without bail, so bail bondsman bails her out 15 minutes before 24 hours. She had to pay for bail, have wages garnished, pay for monitoring device to be worn back at her job.



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 10:01 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
America is the land of oppurtunity because of those old liberal values. Its a place where you can go and make your fortunes, IF you have the skills and are lucky. The government's not going to tax your business or interfere with the market. Thats what the oppurtunity is.


The perception of the USA as "the land of oppurtunity" is a myth. Compared to most Europen countries, it's way down there:
politics.abovetopsecret.com...

I don't know the historical reasons for the lack of a NHS in the US, but I suspect the reason you don't have one now is because someone is making a lot of money out of you.



posted on May, 1 2006 @ 10:33 PM
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Rizla, I think you're right on the money about the money. When the health system can figure a way to get money from Washington (as the pharmacueticals found out), we'll have a NHS.



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 12:44 AM
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Originally posted by st3ve_o
just wondering why the US doesn't have a 'national health system' (NHS)??

Im just wondering what your views are for a NHS system in your country, (for or against)?

[edit on 30-4-2006 by st3ve_o]




During May 1-7, 2006 thousands of activities will take place across the United States to tell Congress that health coverage for Americans must be their top priority. Find out how you can get involved!

www.covertheuninsured.org...


There are some lobbyist seeking to have a NHS, ubsure of how successful this has been.




[edit on 4-5-2006 by LadyPropag8r]



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 01:01 AM
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Isnt it up to the individual to take care of themselves so they dont get sick? You cant rely on the government for everything. Where the citizens are completely dependent on the government. Dont get me wront, if it werent for the govt, I wouldnt be able to attend college right now. But theres a line to draw in the sand between govt dependency and personal accountablity for ones own well being. If you dont exercise, eat well and such, then dont blame the govt for not taking care of you when you get sick. Not how our system works.

[edit on 5/4/2006 by ludaChris]



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 07:41 PM
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[edit on 4-5-2006 by shortmanx5]



posted on May, 4 2006 @ 08:01 PM
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America has to many people in the country for that system to work. Also here in america i would prefer to have a good military to helping out the poor dead beats anyway. Also we have to many minorities here for it work. Illegals get free stuff like school,o.r visits, etc and these people dont even pay taxes. THe only people here that want a system like europe are poor black and other minorities, but thats becuase they always seem to buy the wrong drugs. We have food stamps here and they sell them for booze and drugs . so we arent ones that like to give rewards to undeserving people. looks at katrina, everyone felt so bad for them after then after they moved those people to houston for example. now the crime is up, ie violent crime and drug crimes. the last thing we should give people liek that is free health.



posted on May, 5 2006 @ 01:34 AM
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Good question St3ve_o


As mentioned before american political philosophy has always been geared towards a weak central government. I don't think this will change anytime soon. However that doesn't mean we don't have socialized health care. It just depends on where you live. Hawaii has a healthcare system on par with any european system. California and Minnesota have fairly generous systems based on your financial situation. And Massachusetts may soon put them all to shame.

Those are just a few that come to mind

I have first hand knowledge of the Californian system. Which does the job for me


I think we could improve our healthcare by leaps and bounds if we took the common sense approach of focusing on preventive care rather than waiting until a problem becomes much more serious and expensive.



posted on May, 5 2006 @ 09:36 AM
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Why doesn't america have an NHS??

Posted by: Liberal1984:

Firstly Nygdan I don't fully understand the link between European tyrants and an NHS. Any way to my knowledge the NHS was a British invention (certainly we had one of the very first).


Yes Agrees it was Britain that introduced the NHS not other European Countries. "The NHS was based on principles unlike anything that had gone before in the UK, and few other countries followed these.
The NHS was founded just at the time when massive innovation was occurring in the availability of drugs. "

link below:
www.nhshistory.net...

This is My opinion look at the size of the population in America compared to Britian:

United States People:

Population:
295,734,134 (July 2005 est.)

United Kingdom People:


Population:
60,441,457 (July 2005 est.)

Big difference dont ya think?

Figuring it out how much it costs now to run the Health Service In the Uk wouldnt it cost more for the US tax payer to fund an NHS in America?

Oks looking at the advantages of the NHS and the level of medical breakthroughs it has had and not to mention introduction of new and advanced drugs. The NHS is like a bottomly pit takes up most of the UK's Financial Budget, does it not?

Although im glad least Us in the UK can say we have a free health service, compared to the us I dont think they would be able to afford it LOL. Tell me if you think Im wrong....



posted on May, 5 2006 @ 12:18 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan

So yes, america doesn't 'care' about the world all that much, I recognize that. BUt why should america be expected to care about it??



1)Because you caused SOMe of the problems

2) Seeing as your a country based upon strong moral values, by default, you should

3) If you dont, hten dont expect other countries to LIKE or HELP you, at all, ever.., and you shouldnt get pissed when a country resists you (economicly, militartily, religiously, politicly ect.)

Just my $0.02

And sorry if it came across offensivley ><



posted on May, 5 2006 @ 03:14 PM
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Your not wrong Spencerjohnstone, at least not yet.

The facts are with our current budget priorities we can't afford a NHS here in the US. That may however change. As our population ages I believe their will be more of a move towards domestic spending and against spending on foreign aid and defense.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 04:20 PM
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i'm british but just wondering why the US doesn't have a 'national health system' (NHS)??


Well, as it has been said, it's an excellent idea but it costs money that is against the American ideology.

I look at our neighbors to the north, Canada, and they have such a system. But actually, it fails the consumer in many ways. Most wealthy Canucks come down here for serious medical care. They actually have a 3-tier or 3-social class of medical care in Canada.

When I'm sick, I don't want to have to wait weeks or maybe months to se a doc.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 04:24 PM
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3) If you dont, hten dont expect other countries to LIKE or HELP you, at all, ever.., and you shouldnt get pissed when a country resists you (economicly, militartily, religiously, politicly ect.)

Whoa. Let's not get too worked up over health care, 'K?



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 07:39 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Well, as it has been said, it's an excellent idea but it costs money that is against the American ideology.


Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that it's against American ideology because it costs money, or are you combining two thoughts, one that it costs money, two that it's against the ideology? Whatever, I'll treat it as two.

In net terms, it doesn't cost money. Americans spend more on basic health care (for the same services) than any other citizens of an advanced economy. (Well, any economy, actually, but poor countries don't usually deliver decent care, either, so that's not a fair comparison.) The profits of health insurance companies, HMOs, and pharmaceuticals, which our lack of a national health system protect, amount to a kind of "privilege tax" on health care, requiring that we pay more.

As for it being against American ideology, I am not sure why it is, if Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Guaranteed Student Loans, and free pre-college universal education are not. I think, given an opportunity to vote for such a system, Americans would probably support it.



I look at our neighbors to the north, Canada, and they have such a system. But actually, it fails the consumer in many ways. Most wealthy Canucks come down here for serious medical care.


That depends on what you mean by "serious" medical care. Countries with NHSs generally deliver better preventive care, pre-natal care, and basic health care to more people. The U.S. does have the best system for delivering high-cost, high-profit, cutting-edge treatments that matter only to a small percentage of medical patients, and can be afforded by only a small percentage of those who can use them. It's true that very wealthy Canadians suffering from diseases that can be treated with these methods sometimes come to the U.S. for treatment. However, the number who do that is tiny compared to the number of Americans who, when it was allowed, made use of Canadian prescription drugs, which are priced much more reasonably than their identical U.S. counterparts.

Also, it isn't clear to me that the American superiority at delivering cutting-edge treatments would suffer from the adoption of an NHS. We have a stronger economy and technological base than Canada overall. Could our superior cutting-edge medicine not be a product of that, rather than government policies?



When I'm sick, I don't want to have to wait weeks or maybe months to se a doc.


Me, either. But on the other hand, I'd like to be able to see one at all! Which all too many Americans can't.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 08:01 PM
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Originally posted by Two Steps Forward

Originally posted by jsobecky
Well, as it has been said, it's an excellent idea but it costs money that is against the American ideology.



Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that it's against American ideology because it costs money, or are you combining two thoughts, one that it costs money, two that it's against the ideology? Whatever, I'll treat it as two.


It's just that I think we'd spend endless energy fighting over "why should *I* have to pay for *his* kids. Sort of like the property tax/school budget type of arguments we always have. Not really important anyway.


In net terms, it doesn't cost money. Americans spend more on basic health care (for the same services) than any other citizens of an advanced economy.
:
The profits of health insurance companies, HMOs, and pharmaceuticals, which our lack of a national health system protect, amount to a kind of "privilege tax" on health care, requiring that we pay more.


I absolutely agree. If you think about the long term, net benefit for the entire nation to have a healthier citizenry, an NHS makes perfect sense.


I think, given an opportunity to vote for such a system, Americans would probably support it.


You may be right. It would be interesting to see a poll on this, after all pluses and minuses have been fairly presented.



I look at our neighbors to the north, Canada, and they have such a system. But actually, it fails the consumer in many ways. Most wealthy Canucks come down here for serious medical care.



That depends on what you mean by "serious" medical care. Countries with NHSs generally deliver better preventive care, pre-natal care, and basic health care to more people.


I don't know if I totally agree with that. I haven't done serious research on the issue, I'm just going by what I hear about long wait times, etc.


However, the number who do that is tiny compared to the number of Americans who, when it was allowed, made use of Canadian prescription drugs, which are priced much more reasonably than their identical U.S. counterparts.


Hah! That's a topic unto itself, the disparity in cost for the same drugs.


Also, it isn't clear to me that the American superiority at delivering cutting-edge treatments would suffer from the adoption of an NHS. We have a stronger economy and technological base than Canada overall. Could our superior cutting-edge medicine not be a product of that, rather than government policies?

Yes, plus our excellent medical schools.



When I'm sick, I don't want to have to wait weeks or maybe months to se a doc.



Me, either. But on the other hand, I'd like to be able to see one at all! Which all too many Americans can't.


Well, *anybody* can walk into an ER and receive basic treatment, regardless of ability to pay. But longer term attention requires money or a health plan, I agree.



posted on May, 10 2006 @ 11:28 AM
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I'm going to introduce a bit of economic philosophy that has a bearing on this topic, and, even better, may start an argument.


What is the basic premise of a free market? I suggest that it is contained in the word "free," implying that all parties are choosing, without coercion or duress of any kind, to do business with each other. Central to this idea of freedom is the ability of any party to walk away from the transaction.

In any economic transaction there is a buyer and a seller. For the buyer to buy freely, I suggest that of the following three statements, #1, and either #2 or #3, must be true:

1. More than one source of what is being purchased exists, so that the buyer could freely choose to buy from someone else; AND, EITHER:

2. What is being purchased is desired, but not needed, i.e. the buyer could choose not to buy it from anyone at all without suffering unacceptable hardship; OR:

3. What is being purchased is in such abundant quantity that the cost is experienced as easily affordable.

For someone earning a median American income, diamond jewelry purchasing is freely done. There are multiple sellers of jewelry -- it is not a monopoly -- so the first statement is true. And since diamond jewelry is a luxury, not a necessity, anyone who can't afford it or doesn't want to pay the price can walk away from it. For the same person, food is also a free purchase. There are multiple food sellers, and although food is a necessity, not a luxury, it is in such abundant quantity that the cost to a person on a median American income is easily affordable. So we can say that the markets for diamond jewelry and for food are free markets, at least from the buyer's point of view.

Is medicine a free market? I don't think so. It meets the first criterion, but neither of the second two statements is true. It is a necessity, not a luxury, and the cost is so high that it is not easily affordable.

When a market is, for its own intrinsic reasons, not a free market, it does not make sense to treat it at law as if it were one. Too much power lies in the hands of the sellers in the case of medicine (or in the hands of buyers in the labor market), resulting in coercion and duress. There are benefits to a genuinely free market that render socialism (in the strong sense of that word, i.e. government owning and running business) undesirable. But medicine is not a free market, and therefore doesn't show those benefits. In a case like that, a socialized market makes more sense.



posted on May, 11 2006 @ 11:14 AM
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Well, the final sentence of your post is a strong argument for needed reform in the area of health care costs. I've never heard the argument presented from that angle before. Health care is a necessity. In a perfect society, competition would drive prices down to an affordable cost. But medical care has too many remoras, from the cost of malpractice insurance to the hidden burdens piled on by the paper pushers and everything else. And the pharmaceutical companies also add to the problem.

It's a complex set of problems, I agree.



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