Socialized Medicine

This is a discussion on Socialized Medicine within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Continuing somewhat from a thread twist here , I am curious about how folks already in countries with socialized medicine ...

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Socialized Medicine

    Continuing somewhat from a thread twist here, I am curious about how folks already in countries with socialized medicine feel about it.

    Do you find it adequate? Exemplary? Sub-standard?

    Do you get you money's worth?

    Or is it that once it becomes available to everyone "for free" that the demand goes up, so...
    • Then so does the cost, and so then goes the taxes?
    • It eventually gets to a maximum point where the price has gone up via taxes, so then the quality suffers?



    Disclaimer: I'll lay 50-50 odds on some hotly-argued bit about political systems breaks out. I'm not trying to provoke that, this thread is hoped to be about the opinions of folks living in countries that have socialized medicine already, and their opinions of it.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
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    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    I'm also curious if anyone has lived under both systems and what their feelings are.

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    The Right Honourable psychopath's Avatar
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    Well, I haven't had to do without socialized medicine before, and I really can't imagine it any other way, since it's the only way I've known my whole life.

    Do you find it adequate? Exemplary? Sub-standard?
    Adequate I guess. Just by comparing average life expectancy across various countries, those with socialized medicine generally outlive those without it. It's not a perfect system, but it works quite well IMHO. The only real problems with it that I know of, are the long wait times. It probably varies from province to province, but AFAIK waiting times can get pretty lengthy. In a private hospital (wording?), I guess it's more like buying a product. You pay, and then you recieve what you bought. With public health care, everyone is basically paying, through taxes. So the only way to decided who gets the "product" first, is to go on a first-come first-serve basis. Although not strictly first-come; it is also heavily based on urgency, and the patient.

    Do you get you money's worth?
    Definatly.

    Or is it that once it becomes available to everyone "for free" that the demand goes up, so...
    Then so does the cost, and so then goes the taxes?
    It eventually gets to a maximum point where the price has gone up via taxes, so then the quality suffers?
    I think that because it's "free", people are probably generally more inclined to make use of it even when not totally necessary. But I also think it's not enough to cause any major problems, and I also think that allowing everyone to have an equal chance to have proper health care far outweighs the (relativly small) added cost of the general "overuse" of the system.
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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychopath View Post
    Do you get you money's worth?
    Definatly.
    Do you have a fairly accurate gauge of the amount you paid in versus the cost of the services?

    For example, in a recent circumstance a health insurance option was about $1100 per month for my family [edit]of 4[/edit]. I chose not to, figuring it was unlikely for us to need $13200 worth of services for that year. During the 4 months of this situation, I believe actual costs were about $2500, roughly saving me $1900.

    In some simple hypothetical case, if this were the cost per year forever and I lived 72 years, that would be $950400. Now given co-pays and such, let's round it off to a cool million. Is that a reasonable guess for the average case?

    Since this stuff is built into salaries and taxes and such already in confusing ways, how great do you think the likelihood that you paid $20 for a...
    • $5 item
    • $10 item
    • $15 item
    • $20 item
    • $25 item
    • $30 item
    [edit]Obviously I've rather tipped my hand as to which side of the fence I'm on, but I'm trying my best to inquire about this as open-mindedly as I can.
    Last edited by Dave_Sinkula; 05-05-2007 at 08:00 PM. Reason: ...
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Also it's probably useful for you to post where you're from - I'd imagine it's different in every country.

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    The public health care system is definately not a perfect one, it has its holes (such as doctors being payed on a per-patient basis), and many (especially in Ontario) are considering private health care, but there is one thing that can never be qauntized or compared: the feeling that you are "covered" in the event that you experience a fatal or near-fatal injury and require some extensive/expensive medical surgery. There's nothing worse than having to worry about money while you are worrying about your life.
    The only other remedy for this is an equivalent "Health Insurance" policy, but once you buy into that, whether or not your paying for health care through taxes or insurance bills is really moot.
    So I think any form of subsribed health care (whether through taxes or insurance) can never really be debated about as to cost for service. It shares a lot of its dynamics with many forms of public or private "services", like the taxes you pay for public services that you may never use, or car insurance, which is notoriously and historically poor for its the cost vs. services report, yet it remains a necessary evil.
    I believe public health care in its perfect form subscribes to a more utopian, almost communistic society, in which it would thrive under a society of people who only use services when they need them and service-providers who administer services based on quality rather than private gain.

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    Yes, my avatar is stolen anonytmouse's Avatar
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    There is data on per-capita health care spending on this page. Some info on health care outcomes on this page. Some speculation on the reasons for the disparities on this page.

    America does have one 'socialised' health care system.
    I think that because it's "free", people are probably generally more inclined to make use of it even when not totally necessary.
    In terms of health care, 'overuse' can be a good thing. Treating the pre-indicators of heart disease with aspirin and statins can be significantly cheaper than treating heart disease with bypass surgery.

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    One item I've heard regarding Canada's health care system is that it works well because a very high percentage of its population lives within 100 miles of the American border. So Canucks, feel free to comment on that as well.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Sinkula View Post
    One item I've heard regarding Canada's health care system is that it works well because a very high percentage of its population lives within 100 miles of the American border. So Canucks, feel free to comment on that as well.
    What difference does that make?

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonytmouse View Post
    Apologies, I haven't visited these on a quality level at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by anonytmouse View Post
    America does have one 'socialised' health care system.
    Is Walter Reed an applicable example, pro or con?

    Quote Originally Posted by anonytmouse View Post
    In terms of health care, 'overuse' can be a good thing. Treating the pre-indicators of heart disease with aspirin and statins can be significantly cheaper than treating heart disease with bypass surgery.
    But the more common, "my kid has a cold" shouldn't be overlooked IMO. We already know it involves bed rest, clear liquids, etc. But should this cost $150 per visit by 10 million per year to be refactored into your share of income? [Made up numbers.]

    Again, I'm not trying to induce an issue. I'm looking at clarifications for my original question.

    Whether or not I'm succeeding, MMMV.
    Last edited by Dave_Sinkula; 05-06-2007 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Cartoon added much after the fact. Removed on second thought.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Govtcheez View Post
    What difference does that make?
    That those in Canada that have the means circumvent the their own system may skew the statistics by opting for an available US system.
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Sinkula View Post
    That those in Canada that have the means circumvent the their own system may skew the statistics by opting for an available US system.
    Gotcha. I was just making sure.

    FWIW, I work with someone from Windsor, ON. He and his wife recently had a baby, and they made sure it was born in Canada so it'd qualify for their health care. I've spoken to him about it and they refuse to use US services, even though he works in the States and lives just across the border. Just an anecdote.

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    In my country, we have this glorious entity referred to as the NHS. This means that medical care is available to all completely free in emergency cases, while secondary needs, prescriptions and dental care is offered at a subsidized cost.

    The main advantage to this system is, as already described, knowing that if you get injured or become gravely ill you can head down the hospital and will be seen. Eventually.

    The problem is that so many people take advantage of this that the scales have long broken and it's bleeding money. For example, we know that peeps come from other parts of the world to receive treatment for whatever condition they have (like pregnancy) and then return home, leaving us to pick up the costs. They're supposed to track and manage this, but more often that not the people in charge either say "Their country's not developed enough to allow us to persue this" or they're a bleeding-heart liberal that shouts "Oh, but they deserved it!"

    If we made sure that treatment was only available to UK citizens (and European citizens with the appropriate papers) then we wouldn't be laying off clinical staff so much.

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    The Right Honourable psychopath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Sinkula
    Do you have a fairly accurate gauge of the amount you paid in versus the cost of the services?
    Not in dollars, no. When I say that I get my moneys worth, I'm talking more about the fact, that it'll be affordable should I really need it. IMHO, it's a little hard to guage socialized medicine in terms of cost paid vs cost of services, because while I myself may never "get my moneys worth", I'm helping pay for the next guy who might not be able to afford a procedure on his own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_Sinkula
    But the more common, "my kid has a cold" shouldn't be overlooked IMO. We already know it involves bed rest, clear liquids, etc. But should this cost $150 per visit by 10 million per year to be refactored into your share of income? [Made up numbers.]
    Yeah, that's the sort of overuse I was talking about. But again, I think it has little impact on anything.

    I'm from Canada, BTW.
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    Just Lurking Dave_Sinkula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychopath View Post
    Yeah, that's the sort of overuse I was talking about. But again, I think it has little impact on anything.
    On the contrary, isn't that one of the major issues? That overuse diminishes quality and availability while increasing cost? ...

    Quote Originally Posted by psychopath View Post
    because while I myself may never "get my moneys worth", I'm helping pay for the next guy who might not be able to afford a procedure on his own.
    ...Such that by making the care available to many makes it so that when your time comes you get the care you seek in 6 months rather than 2 weeks? And so that both you and the other guy receive lesser quality care?
    7. It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
    40. There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.*

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