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"Liberal Healthcare Would Kill Ted Kennedy"

Discussion in 'Topics in Healthcare' started by MDANDERSON'SBOY, Jun 6, 2008.


    MDANDERSON'SBOY 5+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 2006
    Interesting article by Robert Goldberg.

    June 5, 2008 -- IRONICALLY enough, the dangers of the liberal health-care agenda are being made clear by the care that a liberal icon, Sen. Ted Kennedy, has received since his brain seizure last month.
    One day after an MRI detected a tumor, Kennedy was quickly diagnosed with a malignant glioma - a rare and often-fatal form of brain cancer. Less than two weeks later, his tumor was being removed by one of the world's experts in brain cancer at Duke Univeristy Medical Center. He'll follow up with chemo and radiation therapy tailored to the genetic makeup of his cancer to keep the cancer from spreading.
    He'll likely take Avastin, a drug that in experiments with brain cancer has extended survival by months. A new cancer vaccine being developed in partnership with Pfizer could extend his life by six years.
    Of course, with his wealth and power, Kennedy would get good treatment anywhere. But the same care is available to every American.
    Not so - if we make the health "reforms" called for by Kennedy and other liberals.
    Filmmaker Michael Moore gives their standard line when he says: "There are problems in all health-care systems, but at least Europeans and Canadians have a health-care system that covers everyone."
    Problem is, governments that promise to "cover everyone" always wind up cutting corners simply to save money. People with Kennedy's condition are dying or dead as a result.
    Consider Jennifer Bell of Norwich, England. In 2006, the 22-year-old complained of headaches for months - but Britain's National Health Service made her wait a year to see a neurologist.
    Then she had to wait more than three months before should could get what the NHS decided was only a "relatively urgent" MRI scan. Three days before the MRI appointment, she died.
    Consider, too, the chemo drug Kennedy is receiving: Temodar, the first oral medicine for brain tumors in 25 years.
    Temodar has been widely used in this country since the FDA approved it in 2000. But a British health-care rationing agency, the National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness, ruled that, while the drug helps people live longer, it wasn't worth the money - and denied coverage for it.
    Barack Obama - and other Democrats - have been pushing a Senate bill to set up a similar US "review board" for Medicare and any future government health-care plan.
    After denying this treatment completely for seven years, the NICE (did whoever named it intend the irony?) relented - partly. Even today, only a handful of Brits with brain tumors can get Temodar.
    And if you want to pay for Temodar out of your own pocket, the British system forces you to pay for all of your cancer care - about $30,000 a month.
    Things are no different in Canada, where the wait for an MRI (once you finally get a referral) has grown to 10 weeks. For Canadians relying on their government health care, the average wait time from diagnosis of cancer to surgery is beyond the guideline set by both the US and European societies for surgical oncology.
    And HealthCanada, the government system, similar refuses to pay for treatments that are often covered in America.
    Chad Curley, a 37-year-old auto worker from Windsor, Ontario, had a brain tumor like Kennedy's but can't have surgery because his is too large to be operable.
    His tumor didn't respond to Temodar and the same doctors now treating Sen. Kennedy told him and his wife that the Avastin combination could stop his tumor from growing and add months to his life. But HealthCanada wouldn't pay to use Avastin to treat his tumor.
    Chad's family and friends scraped together the $5,000 for the first round of treatment in mid-November; they later saw Chad's left-side paralysis start to subside. But the money ran out - and he died on Feb. 21.
    In pushing for government-run health care, liberals are pushing for a system where only the Ted Kennedys of the world can get cutting-edge - and life-saving - care.

    Robert M. Goldberg is vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. [email protected]
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  3. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!' Administrator Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2002
    Moving to Topics in Healthcare
  4. nogolfinsnow

    nogolfinsnow 7+ Year Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    You can't cite 3 examples to say a system works or doesn't work. Under John McCain's health "plan", he probably wouldn't get coverage were he not a member of the federal gov't. These cases are heart breaking and frustrating, but how about people who can't get health insurance in the US and therefore pass on primary care and die earlier than average due to problems related to heart disease, diabetes, etc? Not trying to start any form of debate here, there are plenty of threads around for that, just saying that one writer sensationalizes a few cases to try to extend an argument to 300,000,000 people and I don't think that's an intellectual way to try and get your point across. I don't think most people want to mimic Canada or the UK, but people are looking at those programs as just one example of a way to cover the entire population, not perfect examples.
  5. McDoctor

    McDoctor Over One Billion Cured 5+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    In a socialized system, Kennedy would still be able to pay for private healthcare.

    The author cites two anecdotes. big deal.

    Brain cancer will kill Ted Kennedy, not "Liberal Healthcare". Nice to see nothing is off limits to this a$$hole when it comes to pushing his political agenda, not even terminal cancer patients.

    I don't even advocate national healthcare or support Ted Kennedy's politics, but this Robert M.Goldberg clown is a TOOL, with a capital T. There's no disputing that.
  6. cpants

    cpants Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    Liberals and socialized medicine proponents always tend to ignore the fact that you give up the right to make your own healthcare decisions when you put the government in charge of your healthcare. You only get to make decisions inasmuch as the government allows it. When they decide that a treatment that could extend your life is too expensive to justify, you are out of luck. Sure you could pay for the treatment yourself...if you have the money and if the government allows it. Believe it or not, the PNHP plan would not allow anyone to purchase better or different care from the government's national health plan. Mainstream groups are actually proposing things like this for our country.
  7. kronickm

    kronickm even par. 2+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2007
  8. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    No, it's not exactly the same. Instead, he creates a giant beauracracy that both forces everyone to have health insurance and brings everybody under the government umbrella in an even more astonishing way than already happens. On top of it, the government doesn't run "all" healthcare. Private insurance companies have the privelege of existing as long as they succumb to the whims of the "watchdog" group that the government creates and cover a whole host of what will become ever changing ailments based on political expediency (rather than economic sense).

    Bravo Mr. Obama.

    We will of course pay for this with a giant wealth redistribution scheme of subsidizing people to various degrees based on income. No, it's not like Canada. Instead, it's kind of like the worst of both worlds.
  9. kronickm

    kronickm even par. 2+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2007
    Some of us don't think this is such a bad thing.
  10. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Ah yes, because the government does such a good job with other people's money. Before the government got involved, healthcare = 5% of GDP. After they got involved to make more affordable, = >14% now.

    Also, did you read the entire rest of that post? A strong desire to create some sort of "social justice" by stealing other people's money still doesn't explain the desire to utilize that particular plan.
  11. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Strange...I only waited five weeks for my MRI up here in the Soviet Republic of Canukistan, and that was for back and hip pain (chronic, but not debilitating).
    Depends on the kind of surgery.

    Rich and powerful people get the same care no matter where they are. Kidneys fail? Go to China and buy one harvested from an executed political prisoner.
  12. AwesomO

    AwesomO 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    This is true, even if we were a socialist society there is no way in hell a politician would be waiting in the public line for health care.
  13. m3unsure

    m3unsure Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    Be grateful that you're rich. If you are not, well then go F yourself and accept it. Welcome to the way the world has worked since ever.

    Funny how people think governments can create material equality. That's why Marxism failed. It never addressed the need of people respecting themselves and their bodies plus never addressed motivation. It was a fantasy scheme that somehow the people could run their own lives.

    If we had true democracy, we would have anarchy. I couldn't imagine 50 percent of the patients in our hospitals having truly equal say. They would vote for the guy who would give them free cigarettes for life rather than something useful. People are stupid. It's good that things are unfair. Well, unfair is subjective term.
  14. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member


    In our own democracy, I'll point out that the original intention of the democracy was that it was the best way that could be determined for the maintenance of the republic. It was never supposed to be an end unto itself. It of course fell apart when it was clear that people wanted free stuff from the government more than enumerated individual rights.
  15. MOHS_01

    MOHS_01 audemus jura nostra defendere Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    Post of the year.
  16. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    But is it free stuff if you pay for it with your taxes?

    At least on paper, the government of a democracy is accountable to its citizens. But behind many of the voices decrying "big government" are people shilling for large multinational corps, which are accountable to no one but the shareholders.

    So instead of more individual rights, the little guy ends up twisting in the wind.
  17. MOHS_01

    MOHS_01 audemus jura nostra defendere Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    Oh yes... those crying the loudest are those who pay the least (%wise, absolute amount, any way that you want to slice it).

    Now that I think about it, maybe you are right... it is not free at all (since someone is paying for it). I believe that you are onto something -- they are not asking for anything for free per se; they just want someone else (insert you and I) to pay for it.
  18. docB

    docB Chronically painful Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV
    I've gotta agree with MOHS_01. Excellent post. This is the best summation of the rise of the entitlement society and the reciprocal decline of the country I've seen. You Ron Paul folks need to get this to his speech writers stat.
  19. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    It isn't when you pay for it with your own taxes. In those cases, it's just horribly inefficient. However, everyone has an opinion as to whom should pay for everything, and the only thing they have in common is that the person with the opinion is never the one who is supposed to pay.

    P.S. "Big Corporations" are accountable to an incredibly large number of entities. Their shareholders, the FTC, and the IRS. Every local office is accountable to local government licensing. "Big corporations" usually spend millions a year defending themselves in court from all sorts of violations, both real and contrived. There are obviously some instances of trying to skirt the rules, but many of the violations are in fact failure to follow local rules that vary from square mile to square mile. This is not easy to do when you've got a thousand entities in different cities. However, much of the regulation that people demand as some sort of payback to the "big corporations" that involve themselves in evil projects like providing transportation, low cost goods, or generating wealth for millions of people, are actually secretly accepted by these entities because they effectively stifle smaller competition.
  20. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    I've worked for government for the past 11 years, and as a civil servant, I can speak to government waste. But to say that government is, by definition, wasteful and inefficient is a myth. If properly run, that just isn't the case.

    An example: at the jail where I work, we purchase our drugs from a government-run non-profit drug and medical supply service that in turn negotiates the lowest possible prices for what they stock. We pay much, much less than what retail pharmacies would, as profit is out of the equation.

    There was a private jail run by an American corporation in our province. But the province took it back because the private jail was more expensive, and the quality of health care provided was inferior. For instance, we would send schizophrenics on olanzapine to them to serve their sentences, and the doctor there would d/c the olanzapine because it's "too expensive" and give them subtherapeutic doses of quetiapine instead, and their psychoses would return.

    Or our doctor would give celecoxib, and the doctor at the private jail would switch them to diclofenac because it's cheaper. Then they'd come back to us, and we'd have to hit them with the PPIs. Lots of our inmates are heavy drinkers on the outside and have chronic alcoholic gastritis, and our doc has seen a few nasty GI bleeds from the diclofenac. The celecoxib seems to be better for these guys.

    Basically, on the health care side of things they were penny-wise pound-foolish, scrimping on the drugs only to have more expensive medical situations occur.

    I'm by no means a socialist (by Canadian standards, I'm slightly left of centre). But I feel that the government and the private sector have their strengths and weaknesses, neither being a cure-all. And both require lots of checks and balances to work best.
  21. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Many in the US see slightly left of center by Canadian standards to be the definition of socialist ;)

    I think one of the key points here, is that you and I live in two different countries. While they may look similar on the surface, the underlying philosophy and culture is not remotely the same. I admit that while I have numerous Canadian friends, I have never specifically dealt with the Canadian government. I will say this however, I am not and have never been in favor of privatization of the specific functions given to the government in the US constitution. Defense (within which I include maintaining law and order) IS a government function. In fact, it has got to be one of the few functions that the government has always had. Privatization of a jail is going to lead to inefficiency, because there is no such thing as a free market in jails. Privatization only works if it is put in effect with a free market in which to compete. Showing that the entity who managed to win a government contract was less efficient than the government itself only proves that the government awards its contracts to poor choices.

    Many people attribute certain failures of the state to the free market, and we then turn around and blame the market for those failures. Central Banking is NOT free market. Privatization of government functions is NOT a free market. Any entity that gets its funding from the government is by definition NOT part of a free market. Blaming an inefficient jail healthcare system put into effect by a private entity that is essentially taking government money to run a jail after getting a contract (which I'm sure was obtained in a completely honest fashion;)) on the free market is sort of like blaming bank failures induced by artificially low interest rates set by the central bank on the free market.

    I have always opposed privatization of jails, law enforcement, government funded highways, etc... because these things are not purchased on the free market. What "privatization" means in these cases is awarding your political buddies a cut of the taxpayer's money.
  22. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    That's true, you capitalist running dog :D

    Also true, though you'd probably agree that the best-run systems around the world have certain elements in common.

    Not a bad point, though in my province, we had a right-wing government that cut funding to government services. When the inevitable decline in service happened, they said it pointed to inefficiencies inherent in government, and privatized away.

    I seem to agree with lots of what you say.

    But do you think what you're saying also applies to health care? In my country, there's an ongoing tug-of-war between those who want a completely government-run system (what we don't actually have in fact; there are private components to our particular single-payer scheme) and those who want more private-sector involvement.

    Personally, I'm mistrustful of the private-sector promoters for some of the same reasons you got into (looking to make money for their buddies, etc). They claim to be bringing "the efficiencies of the free market" to help reduce wait lists and improve access to services.

    But I've always maintained that people who propose a multi-tiered health care system, with access determined by the ability to pay, don't see themselves on the bottom tier.
  23. kronickm

    kronickm even par. 2+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2007
    Would you really say that Health Care/Insurance in its current incarnation is "free market"?
  24. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    technologically, absolutely

    I consider myself more libertarian than right wing. Socially, I'd even have been considered a bit liberal about 20 years ago. I disagree with that sort of thing here in the states as well.

    You see, I think part of the problem is that we try to have a "system" at all. I don't have a problem with a healthcare industry that incorporates "systems," but saying that everything should be a part of some large system inevitably leads to a lack of ability to evolve, and innovation takes place much faster when numerous entities compete with new technologies, rather than trying to run everything through some centralized committee.

    Of course no one wants to be on the bottom tier, but the fact of the matter is, that giving something to someone always hurts someone else when the exchange is not mutual and agreed upon. People raise this banner of "social justice" and use it as some sort of excuse to claim that everyone snorting a line of coke deserves the finest treatment at someone else's expense. Here's a fact in the US. We give more money to private charity than any other country on earth, both in absolute and relative numbers. The truly sad cases often can garner charity (and it's charity whether it's from the government or not).

    The healthcare entitlement that we already have has lead to a sinister system in which homeless people are using the hospital as a shelter and every welfare dependent mother of 12 with 11 baby daddies and no intention of ever supporting herself is granted the privelege of suing the OB who came in at 2 AM to deliver the macrosomic baby that had a birth complication after she refused to change her diet or control her diabetes.

    I believe that the role of government in healthcare is basic sanitation and the control of infectious disease (as this is part of national defense). The role of the government is to protect the public. Creating a system in which someone with TB can be treated protects the rest of the public from getting TB. This is different than someone with an MI, cancer, diabetes, etc... which are not contagious.

    Before the 1900s, no one ever thought that most healthcare should be the work of the government. I am a firm believer in the precepts of the US constitution (American Remember ;)) and it is clear that there is no legitimate way for the federal government to create any sort of national healthcare agenda outside of the control of infectious disease. Of course, no one in my country believes in the constitution any more, or the 10th Amendment (which explicitly states that all rights not given to the federal government in the constitution are beyond its scope), so we've already allowed Medicare and Medicaid to destroy what was once the most envied healthcare environment on earth.

    At the end of the day, I don't believe in a system in which there is private sector involvement or not. I believe in the federal government or state governments providing a limited number of services to control the spread of public disease and otherwise allowing the free market to determine what is available. Before Medicare and Medicaid (when in the US, healthcare was the envy of the world, cost only 6% of GDP, and people still weren't dying in the streets), we had a local county hospital system that provided healthcare at cheap to no money while providing sovereign immunity to their providers. These were local endeavors, and individual communities could make these determinations. I'm not opposed to that. They also made great training programs. There were also numerous charity hospitals that did the same. I'm not opposed to that either. Someone has to be the first patient treated by a new physician, and such a system gave a great training environment to new doctors while creating a safety net for those of little to no means to access healthcare in a time of need.
  25. MOHS_01

    MOHS_01 audemus jura nostra defendere Physician 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    No he would not. Below is a quote from the last post:

    "Any entity that gets its funding from the government is by definition NOT part of a free market."
  26. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Yes, in agreement with MOHS, I would definitely say that it is not. Of course, the influence on the market at the hands of the government payouts to the insurance industry is only overshadowed by the ridiculous overregulation of the industry, which does much more to keep out competition and innovative practices than create access to health insurance.
  27. kronickm

    kronickm even par. 2+ Year Member

    Feb 20, 2007
    I realize that you are not Miami and are simply speaking on his behalf, but I will quote him:

    I think it is fairly obvious that Miami does indeed support the privatization of, or least opposes the governement's involvement in health care. I would stress then the last sentance of that quote as a very good description of John McCain's health care plan.

    I, personally, would prefer an inefficient, but honest, method of health care delivery, to one which essentially bloats the profits of HMO's with taxpayers money.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2008
  28. Alteran

    Alteran 10+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    Border war zone
    Be very careful what you wish for.
  29. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I vehemently support privatization of healthcare, but I don't believe in the federal government paying for it with taxpayer money. I oppose welfare of both the personal AND corporate variety. Like me or not, I'm quite consistent.;)

    I would agree with you on your last statement, except that I believe that an honest system is also efficient, and it takes the form of a free market. A government run system is nothing if not corrupt. In a world where we make jokes about government hired road workers taking breaks and call military intelligence an oxymoron, I think that the honest thing for the government to do would be to admit that it is failing at its essential functions and go take care of business there. A free market without government is the most honest thing that we've got. I try and sell something, and you decide whether or not to buy it. I don't have a problem with regulating false advertising.
  30. Punchap

    Punchap Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    This says it all...perfectly. Great post!

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