Health Care Reform discussion
Posted by Kass Portra (+36) 12 years ago
I'm very interested in the current health care reform efforts. We have a daughter that will require a liver transplant at some point. Our hopes and prayers have always hinged on our belief that the longer she could hold out, the better. Now she is getting closer to an age where she will not be covered by our insurance anymore. It is just plain terrifying to think of what may happen. Her meds alone right now would cost $800 a month with no insurance!

Is healthcare a privilege or a right? Discuss...
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Posted by Stone (+1590) 12 years ago
"The only way to solve this problem is to get the bureaucratic over-regulations out of the industry and foster competition in the marketplace."

Richard, honest to God you are telling Montana's about deregulation and how it will save them money after we lived through Montana Power. You are a serious idiot in need of an enema.

Deregulation has saved no one and I repeat no one money. What is wrong with our economy now is 100%, the cause of deregulation.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
You are making an apples and oranges comparison.

There are many differences between a power company that has a captive audience, and removing some of the bureaucracy from health care.

What is wrong with our economy right now is the result of the government spending money it doesn't have, on programs that are not constitutionally mandated.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (6/12/2009)]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
Translation: Richard only cares about his fellow American citizens if it is Constitutionally-mandated for him to do so.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
Brian, I think if you look at the nature of what you're saying, that's more projection than truth.

Gunnar, you're right in that it's probably the most difficult problem facing us today. But one of the main enablers of the problems we have today is the near-ubiquitous presence of health insurance, both public and private. Combine it with the life-and-death nature of the subject, and you have a recipe where demand is trying to ignore supply.

Of course this isn't possible. But single-payer tries to enshrine this economic impossibility in law.

Inconvient health care fact...

By some estimates, up to 80% of health care dollars are spent during the last two years of life.

Significant savings will not be had without addressing this in some form or another. There are no easy decisions in this area.

[This message has been edited by Rick Kuchynka (6/13/2009)]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
"Translation: Richard only cares about his fellow American citizens if it is Constitutionally-mandated for him to do so."

Brian, I am convinced that you must have been toilet-trained at gunpoint. Every time someone rings the liberty bell you pee your pants. There simply is no other explanation for your constant derogatory assault on other peoples' character.

I care about my fellow American citizen just as much as you. This "care" is demonstrated by the fact that I am not a economic burden to anyone and that I have assumed responsibility for myself and my family. I pay for my own healthcare. I could go on here, but it's not my style.

My "care" is also demonstrated in that I don't want to see a federally mandated economic burden placed on those who cannot afford it. It is interesting to note how often liberal policies hurt the very people they are intended to help. Single-payer healthcare will be another of many examples of the failure of such liberal policy. It will result in economic slavery. I don't about you, but I happen to like the economic and other liberties I currently enjoy. I don't need/want the federal government telling me who I have to help or how much I have to give. I am very capable of making those decisions myself. It is the responsible way to live.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (6/13/2009)]
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
"This "care" is demonstrated by the fact that I am not a economic burden to anyone and that I have assumed responsibility for myself and my family. I pay for my own healthcare. I could go on here, but it's not my style."
_____________________________Oh, really?

What happens if you do become a burden? No matter how much planning and insurance you buy it CAN happen. 6 years ago all 4 of us in this family were employed, insured, and healthy. Good insurance, as insurance goes, mind you. We were so set for retirement that it was my plan to retire at 51 and my husband at 54.

But--I lost my hearing to a rare disease. 3 surgeries and an implant later I am able to work. To the tune of $50,000 beyond my insurance and hearing devices that cost $10,000 that I must buy every 5 years that are not covered by insurance.

Then a few months later, my husband came down with Parkinson's. About $1000 out of pocket per month for uncovered needs. In March he had brain surgery followed by another surgery. Again, astronomical bills not to mention 10 hour round trip trips weekly to Seattle to a doctor who charges $800 per hour due to his expertise and so few docs in the nation who can do this.

Then, my son developed a neurological disorder requiring medication and treatment for life. An expensive disease and half the medications are not covered, nor are 50% of the doctor bills due to the location of the doctor and travel required.

NONE of these diseases were the result of irresponsibility, lifestyle, or choices.

Yet, we may become a burden to society despite a huge amount of planning. Additionally 3 of us have masters degrees and had great earning potential in addition to owning 2 businesses. Guess what, a whole lot of that is now not very useful to keeping us from being "burdens" as you put it.

Had my son gotten his disease at an earlier age, it would have been likely that he would have never gone to college and been self-supporting. I guess he should have been more responsible.

3/4 of our family has disabilities we got in that last few years. It can happen to you.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
And so your unfortunate circumstances justify revamping the entire system so that everyone has to pay?

I am well aware that life can suck and then you die. I have coronary artery disease, have multiple stents and angioplasty and have recently been dealing with hypoglycemia. It makes me all the more determined to make enough money that I can continue to pay my own way rather than become dependent on the government.

I agree the system needs to be revamped. I simply don't think that the government is the proper entity to do the revamping.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
My "care" is also demonstrated in that I don't want to see a federally mandated economic burden placed on those who cannot afford it

You would rather see a burden caused by extremely high medical bills due in part to a lack of insurance placed on those who cannot afford it. Got it.

I'm not attacking your character, Richard. I'm just using your own words against you. You make it easy and it's fun. Keep it up!

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (6/13/2009)]
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
My unfortunate circumstances, as you call them, are not that rare. I hardly know a family that has not been touched or will not be touched by having to make choices about whether people in their family can get adequate care or not. And I am talking about INSURED AND EMPLOYED people, not to mention those less fortunate.
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Posted by Kass Portra (+36) 12 years ago
As others have tried to say, those who can pay are already subsidizing those who can't in the form of highet premiums, higher costs, and more expensive care (as opposed to preventive care). it's just a fact.
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Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
If the profit is taken out of medicine it will pay for the cost....There should be no profit on medicine, ever.....
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
Umm... that ship sailed about 20 years ago...

Context, Brain, context.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (6/13/2009)]
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
Kass, you are absolutely correct. It could be done more fairly and more efficiently with the result that all will get care without losing their homes over it.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
Dress it up all you like, Richard.

The fact remains that you don't like spending money on anyone but yourself. You've made that clear on numerous occasions.

Once you cut to the heart of the matter, what you refer to as "context" is irrelevant.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
My context is that I want to make sure that everyone keeps as much of their money as possible. I don't want to see them have to spend it on healthcare for themselves or on additional taxation for a single payer system. I am trying to focus my conversation on solving the problem. You seem to be focusing on making snarky comments about peoples personal motivations.
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
Everyone keeps as much money of their own as possible?

So survival of the fittest? Those who can afford the kidney transplant get it and the others have to watch their 9 year old die because they are laid off and don't have insurance?

How about survival of the community, of the human race? Or even better yet, how about progress. Keep everyone healthy, educate them well. I imagine the results of that will benefit the whole too. Can you not look outside your own selfish little heart to see your self as part of a whole?
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Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
Richard since you are infamous for your Christian leanings and teachings on this web site, how can you justify your beliefs with that?...What would Jesus Christ think of your beliefs??
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
Time to read the book of James---you know, the poor, the jailed, the homeless, the sick, the mentally ill, the children, the widows, the blind and deaf.

There is also something about not laying up treasures on earth but rather doing good with them.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
"There is also something about not laying up treasures on earth but rather doing good with them."

You are exactly right, here. And the decision about helping those in need should be an individual choice based on the love and forgiveness we have in Christ. The government is not going to deliver the message of hope and compassion. Christians are call to deliver that message.

I have stated numerous times here that one of my reason for maintaining economic liberty is so I can help others in need. The more the government lets me keep the more I can share with others. I believe that Jesus approves of that way of thinking.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr (6/13/2009)]
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1290) 12 years ago
If the profit is taken out of medicine it will pay for the cost....There should be no profit on medicine, ever.....

That a sure fire way to make sure we have no new medicine, one less (and maybe the most motivating) reason to fund research and a medical system years behind where we are today.

You know that Howdy.
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Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
you can have incentives instead of constant profits...Other countries do it...why can't we..
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Posted by Jim Brady (+431) 12 years ago
And the countries that do this are.......???????

And they do it....How??????

And they finance the science with....What????????

C'mon howdy. Pony up the facts.
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
Germany does it. My husbands neurologist is from Germany, his neurosurgeon is from Germany. My ear specialist is from Germany. Want cutting edge? Get a doctor who has been trained in Germany because of all the research going on there.
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Posted by howdy (+4949) 12 years ago
Sorry don't have the exact facts, but I know that there are other nations that have government health care and they also have cutting edge research...I have read about it...How it works I don't know...but somehow they must have built in incentives....
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
Jesus was a notorious communist.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6113) 12 years ago
Richard's lack of caring has Jesus' blessing?

Gad.
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Posted by cubby (+2645) 12 years ago
As a college grad who is about to head out into the healthcare field I am somewhat appalled by certain comments on this thread. I have lived without health insurance for many years while I worked my way through college. However, I have almost always found a way to pay for office visits. If I was seriously ill, as I have personally seen many other people, I would have no way to pay for it. Except for minimal monthly payments. I do believe that healthcare should be a right, and also a priveledge. I think of my future career as a nurse and wonder what will happen to our healthcare system. I utilized the Medicaid system as a single mother when I was pregnant and during my delivery. I then asked to be dropped from it as soon as I was able to work again (within one month). I have paid taxes as an employee for years, how was I abusing the system by using Medicare? My father was a narcotics agent for 24 years and worked for the US govt and Mt govt. When he had to retire for medical reasons he was left without any medical insurance. Because of the things he went through and saw as an employee of our govt fighting the war on drugs he now needs medication for his mental health. Who do you think is paying for that?
I am truly terrified about what is going to happen to our health care in the US. I just know that no matter what, no matter why, and no matter whom, I will be there and undjudgmental. Everyone deserves at least the preventative healthcare. Not all are as smart as we may be, or even literate, yet they are still human beings with feelings.
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Posted by cubby (+2645) 12 years ago
I think that the bitterness from certain people has to do with the people who may be taking advantage of the heathcare system. We should really think about those who truly deserve it, and cannot afford it for many reasons.
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Posted by Amoo Daboo Dabutsu (+115) 12 years ago
Never mind I'm tired.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15076) 12 years ago
I fail to see how my unwillingness to accept socialize single-payer medicine translates into me "not caring". That is simply a mis-characterization of what I have said. On the other hand when I consider who is leading the charge it makes perfect sense.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
I forgot that Bridgier's bible contains an extra chapter detailing Jesus' petition to Pilate demanding government action on the condition of the poor.

http://www.nytimes.com/20...nd&emc=rss

In real terms, spending on American biomedical research has doubled since 1994. By 2003, spending was up to $94.3 billion (there is no comparable number for Europe), with 57 percent of that coming from private industry. The National Institutes of Health's current annual research budget is $28 billion, All European Union governments, in contrast, spent $3.7 billion in 2000, and since that time, Europe has not narrowed the research and development gap. America spends more on research and development over all and on drugs in particular, even though the United States has a smaller population than the core European Union countries. From 1989 to 2002, four times as much money was invested in private biotechnology companies in America than in Europe.

Dr. Thomas Boehm of Jerini, a biomedical research company in Berlin, titled his article in The Journal of Medical Marketing in 2005 "How Can We Explain the American Dominance in Biomedical Research and Development?" (ostina.org/downloads/pdfs/bridgesvol7_BoehmArticle.pdf) Dr. Boehm argues that the research environment in the United States, compared with Europe, is wealthier, more competitive, more meritocratic and more tolerant of waste and chaos. He argues that these features lead to more medical discoveries. About 400,000 European researchers are living in the United States, usually for superior financial compensation and research facilities.

This innovation-rich environment stems from the money spent on American health care and also from the richer and more competitive American universities. The American government could use its size, or use the law, to bargain down health care prices, as many European governments have done. In the short run, this would save money but in the longer run it would cost lives.


In the big picture, almost all the medical progress in Europe has come through the expense of research done in the United States. When we stop spending the research money, the progress will slow. There's no reasonable way around that fact.

And even at that, most Europeans wait years for some of the most expensive (yet promising) treatments developed here because in a Socialist system, the government counts its money first, and then determines whether your life is worth the cost.

You're fooling yourself if you think socialized medicine takes cost considerations away. It just takes them away from you.
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
"And even at that, most Europeans wait years for some of the most expensive (yet promising) treatments developed here because in a Socialist system, the government counts its money first, and then determines whether your life is worth the cost."

UNTRUE---during my stay in Europe I talked to many people about this very thing. Not a one says this is true. Due to my own personal experience with serious illness while I was in Europe I will have to say we got care immediately, NO questions asked. They did not even care who they would bill and left it to our own honor to go pay before we left after being released. There were no lines, no waiting, ---it was superior care. In fact, we learned later that we got more cutting edge care there than we would have gotten here. If I ever get really sick I will consider moving to Europe based on FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE with their medical system. We had outstanding, top notch, cutting edge care for a situation which was really complicated and we would have waited months in this country to get into the specialists required.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
That's a common style of argument. But in reality a health care system can't be accurately judged from the perspective of a tourist. First-time appointments and routine care are what most socialized health care systems are adept at providing.

I'm not sure which country you were in. But one thing that prevails in socialized systems is a very prompt and professional front line of care. Politically its easy to see why that happens. It gives the appearance of a 1st-class health care solution by focusing on providing the easiest and cheapest health care(the kind required by a majority of people on a routine basis) to most of the electorate.

People always complain about the cost of care here, but on front end appointments and whatnot, it's really not very expensive. I can barely get my car looked at for what it costs to see a provider.

Where socialized systems always suffer is where our healthcare gets expensive. When you start to access high end diagnostics and specialists. Many people in those systems think their country provides wonderful care, right up until the point where they really need it.

Some are obviously worse than others. But Canada's and Britain's are among the worst, because they do their best to try to force everyone onto the same boat. The best socialized systems are two-tiered. A very basic level of coverage for everyone, while those who are able and willing to pay extra can get services denied by the government.

France operates a two-tiered system, and it's usually the liberal standard-bearer for socialized medicine. Then again, as Kyle pointed out, it's hemmoraging cash. And liberals tend to hate some being able to pay for treatment unavailable to others. So they tend to push towards a system that eventually denies expensive treatments to everyone.
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4454) 12 years ago
But in reality a health care system can't be accurately judged from the perspective of a tourist.

Yes, judgement is best left to the Rickenhawk.
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Posted by Jim Brady (+431) 12 years ago
Donna

"Germany does it. My husbands neurologist is from Germany, his neurosurgeon is from Germany. My ear specialist is [i]from[i] Germany. Want cutting edge? Get a doctor who has been trained in Germany because of all the research going on there."

(Italics added)

All "from" Germany? Why are they all practicing here in the US if the German system is so "cutting-edge"?

I think Rick's post answered the question.

Follow the money.
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
To the last question: They are Americans who lived in Germany solely to get the best education in medicine possible.

To Rick's assumption that routine care is good in Europe but that it breaks down for anything other than first time appts. and routine care? Wrong again.

Our care was highly technical, requiring 3 different hospitals, 2 ambulance trips, 6 doctors, 4 of whom were specialists that if we wanted to see in this country we would wait for months for. Our situation was rare, emergent, complicated, and required a team of diagnositians and specialists of the highest caliber. Within 12 hours we had a diagnosis. Within 24 hours after that, the condition was so under control that we could not believe it. We stayed in the area for follow up care because we felt that further touring via Eurail could leave us in an area far from good transportation to a hospital. We had 5 follow up visits. Our experience superceded even the best care we have had in the US and believe me we see the top doctors here.

All 3 of us travel to University of WA and to Virginia Mason in Seattle (a 10 hour round trip for us) in order to see the very top doctors in the nation for our conditions. In Europe we had these doctors at our fingertips without at wait. Our whole medical care in Europe cost around $700, which our insurance paid in full. The same care, according to our insurance Explanation of Benefits forms in the US would have cost us well over $50,000 on average. Average hospitalization for this situation in the US would have been 10 days. They got the patient well enough to leave the hospital in 2 days. When I asked about this they said unlike the US, there is no incentive to "run out the insurance and THEN release the patient". No reason to keep you a minute longer.

We were there for an extended period. This was not a tourist situation where we passed through in 3 days. We used the care over a period of time without a single glitch and we were not even citizens!
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Posted by Gail Finch Shipek (+88) 12 years ago
A couple years ago I read a story about an American fellow who went to India to have an elective surgery. Apparently he was able to travel, have the surgery, and stay for recovery for less $$ than he would have to pay here.

Did anyone else catch this story?
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
Huh. 3 hospitals. 6 doctors, 4 specialists, ambulance, couple days admitted. $700.

Wasn't an Albanian veterinary clinic was it?
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Posted by Bob L. (+5100) 12 years ago
It's called medical tourism.
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Posted by Amoo Daboo Dabutsu (+115) 12 years ago
Klingt wie ein sehr gutes Preis wenig Missy.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
You might spend $700 on two nights in a hotel in many parts of Europe.

A whole bunch of Doctors must make it cheaper.
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
All 3 were very prestigious hospitals in Paris.
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Posted by Gail Finch Shipek (+88) 12 years ago
After reading these postsI was sure "Medical Tourism" would come up with somethin on Google. First hit was

[url]http://www.healthcaretrip.org/{/url]

They even list France as one of the destinations.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
But France is one of the world leaders in per-capita health care spending at around $3,400 per person annually.

Does that mean the average Frenchman takes around 5 ambulance rides, visits 15 hospitals, sees 30 doctors, 20 of whom are specialists, and stays 10 days in the hospital every year?

I'm not saying you didn't only pay $700. I am saying that if that's the kind of care you received, you likely didn't pay anywhere near the whole cost of your treatment. (lucky you )
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
Who knows the true cost of such treatment as it has been speculated that for each of us who pay we are paying for many who cannot pay.

Exaggerating my numbers to make your point says a lot.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4457) 12 years ago
What I'm saying is yes, France spends less than we do per capita. But they don't do $50,000 worth of treatment for $700. At least not routinely.

They spend roughly $3400 per year per capita to our $6400 per year. I'm not exaggerating. Just dividing your $700 into how much the French really spend on health care every year. If services there are as cheap as you're saying, they'd have to get pretty creative to spend $3400 a year per person.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9297) 12 years ago
You're new to arguing with Rick, aren't you Donna?

Rick - I don't think it was ever claimed that $700 was the full cost...
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Posted by Bob L. (+5100) 12 years ago
They spend roughly $3400 per year per capita to our $6400 per year. I'm not exaggerating.


-------------

So, riddle me this, Rickenhawk:

If "socialized health care" is so evil, why is France's cost PER CAPITA less than ours?
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Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+403) 12 years ago
Yes, I overestimated his ability to make a coherent argument.
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