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The political, social networking site that integrates politics with popular culture.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@slava, I haven’t looked at any of the others yet but here’s some recent information about Canada’s problems with their socialized medicine.

If you note in the article that the politicians are saying that what they have done will stabilize their economy and if they watch their spending they should be able to eliminate their national debt. But if you look further what you will see that what they actually did was to drop a huge portion of the cost of the socialized medicine cost onto the Providences, which will put them at once again having to raise their taxes in order to maintain what they already have plus now pay this huge burden that has been dumped in their lap by their government.

As I am able to do a little more research on the other countries, I will update.

Would welcome any feed back on this article.

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Julia Wotten @juliaw

@slava @jlriggs57aol-comi have always been pro Obamacare. I have to admit that the recent roll out is disappointing. I was able to look at the prices and it seems I will be paying much more than I was promised from Obama. I believe that this bill needs to be altered. I believe in universal health care but I a starting to realize Obamacare isnt a good option for accomplishing that. We need to pay for the less health fortunate but and everyone deserves healthcare but to cripple struggling people like me is not the way to go about it. I have decided to cancel my health care and just pay the fee if god forbid soomerhung happens to me. Until then ill just pay out of pocket because my out of pocket fee would be about 10k under Obamacare anyway…

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I think the real question is this: do we want Socialized Health care or do we want the best health care? I don’t think there are any questions that Socialized HC is a lowere quality than private HC. The other question is can we afford a Socialized HC without raising taxes again under Obama?

My suggestion is this, if we as a country decide to move to a socialized HC system we will have to move away from defending the free world from evil like we do today. That would mean most for the Socialist European nation s would have to defend them selves. In my opinion this would lead to chaos and could lead to the next World War.

Obama lied to the country when he said he wanted to control the out of control cost of healthcare. He has done absolutely nothing to control the cost of healthcare, he has simply added regulation to insurance industry and manipulate the price of insurance. This is just one of the many lies we heard from the worst president we have seen in the last 100 years

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@juliaw 22, This may sound ingenuine to you, but I hate the fact that it took the loss of your health insurance for this to come into the full light for you. This will not come as any consolation to you but there are millions who are having the same revelation. I hope things turn around for you.

@gregory, I agree with what you said, 2 points in particular. The first is obama lied, yes he did, this is just one of a multitude he has told since he’s been in office. The second was the question, can we afford to raise taxes again under obama, you already knew the answer. No. Socialized medicine is a hole that has to be filled with money, the more you throw in it the bigger it gets.

@slava, I went to research Germany’s socialized medicine and to be honest everything I read on it said that they have excellent medical facilities and wait periods are short. Which are good things. I had trouble rounding up the cost of this medical service. The Germans don’t like to call their healthcare plan socialized, even though it is.

I looked at what the average salary was for a carpenter, since I am in construction that was the one I could relate to. OK according to the chart, which you can see by clicking the link below, a carpenter income tax is 27%, which isn’t too bad. If it ended there it would be great.

In addition to the 27% he/she also pays a 5.5% solidarity tax and a church tax which is between 8 and 9%. Then on top of all that he/she pays an additional municipal tax which is between 14 and 17%. If you notice this chart is from 2005, couldn’t find a more current one. If you want to you can kid yourself and believe the taxes went down since then.

When you add it all up, we’ll use the middle of the two that give differing rates, what your taxes end up being are 56.5%. Which means that for every 100 dollars you make, you get to keep $43.50

Let’s keep in mind that the longer socialized medicine is in place the higher the taxes have to be raised to keep it going. As I said above, its a money pit that keeps growing. Follow the link on my first post. This is why Canada is in the mess it’s in.

More to come as I have the time to do the research.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com


Wow, the information fairies must have sprinkled an extra dose of fairy dust on me.

If you follow the link below you will get a good look at the economy of France’s healthcare.

I like the part that says, It exceeds its budget by billions of euros each year.

Three down, two to go.

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David Welch @galvezguy

I think we can agree that the ACA, as written and attempting to be implemented, is not good for the middle-class that it purports to protect. The world’s best health care systems (Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, etc) use a public/private partnership where the public gets universal health care and those that can afford it get their own health care outside of the government system. Canada has this system de facto by using the United States for advanced and experimental procedures and treatments that the government-run monopoly will not fund. I believe that some form of public/private partnership combined with better insurance competition and tort reform will help the middle class far more than the current incarnation of the ACA.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@slava, You know for a little while I couldn’t find anything in regards to Italy’s healthcare cost and economic impact. I found a lot of articles that said it was only second to France as far as its medical care. I also saw a few where some of the Italian folks were complaining about non-sanitary conditions in some of the hospitals and there were some who were saying that they have antiquated equipment, but nothing that really pointed to the economics of their system. After talking about it with someone else I found out that Italy is very tight-lipped about their finances. They are in a debt crisis right now so it’s no wonder.

Italy’s healthcare is not a fully socialist system it reflects more of England’s mixed healthcare using tax funded mandatory government insurance and private insurance. Actually, theirs is probably the best I’ve seen as far as this kind of set up goes. Believe me I’m not praising it, it still drains the Italian economy. It takes over 50% of their taxes to pay for it.

You will see this if you follow this link and look under: Sources and Composition of Healthcare Financing

If you follow this next link you will find that the doctors in Italy went on strike this year and said “We want to defend a public service that is more and more impoverished and that is no longer able to guarantee proper care for the people,” said Massimo Cozza, head of the medics’ arm of Italy’s biggest trade union CGIL, who attended the protest at the ministry. He said that Italy’s public health service had reached “the limits of survival” as a result of spending cuts and hiring freezes linked to government austerity measures.

Stuart, I truly wish that socialized medicine worked. It would be such a great thing if it did.
But the plain and simple truth is that it destroys the economy.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@slava, Japan is the last on the list. Here is the information I came up with. These are excerpts from the sites and I will post the links from these sites at the bottom.

From the first site.

Our research indicates that Japan’s health care system, like those in many other countries, has come under severe stress and that its sustainability is in question.1 The conspicuous absence of a way to allocate medical resources—starting with doctors—makes it harder and harder for patients to get the care they need, when and where they need it. A vivid example: Japan’s emergency rooms, which every year turn away tens of thousands who need care. Furthermore, the quality of care varies markedly, and many cost-control measures implemented have actually damaged the system’s cost effectiveness.

Japan’s health care system is becoming more expensive. In 2005 (the most recent year with available comprehensive data), the cost of the NHI plan was 33.1 trillion yen ($333.8 billion at March 2009 rates), or 6.6 percent of GDP.2 By 2020, our research indicates, that could rise to 62.3 trillion yen, almost 10.0 percent of GDP, and by 2035 it could reach 93.6 trillion yen, 13.5 percent of GDP.

From the second site.

On the positive side, patients can nearly always see a doctor within a day. But they must often wait hours for a three-minute consultation. Complicated cases get too little attention. The Japanese are only a quarter as likely as the Americans or French to suffer a heart attack, but twice as likely to die if they do.

Some doctors see as many as 100 patients a day. Because their salaries are low, they tend to over prescribe tests and drugs. (Clinics often own their own pharmacies.) They also earn money, hotel-like, by keeping patients in bed. Simple surgery that in the West would involve no overnight stay, such as a hernia operation, entails a five-day hospital stay in Japan.

Emergency care is often poor. In lesser cities it is not uncommon for ambulances to cruise the streets calling a succession of emergency rooms to find one that can cram in a patient. In a few cases people have died because of this. One reason for a shortage of emergency care is an abundance of small clinics instead of big hospitals. Doctors prefer them because they can work less and earn more.


Socialized healthcare, in theory and in desire, is great. But in reality it just doesn’t work. Everyone of these countries has their own differences in the way they try to fund their healthcare and they all fail. We don’t have the ultimate solution to this problem because there is none. The concept is a failure, it always has been and it always will be.

I know there will be a lot of people won’t believe me when I repeat this, but it is the truth none the less. Socialism and/or socialized healthcare are money pits and the more you dump into it the bigger it becomes. It is a monster that never stops growing.

Stuart you seem like caring person, you are passionate about seeing something good happen for those who are less fortunate, and I commend you for that. I’m with you on that part. This just isn’t the way to get it done.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@galvezguy, I am a person who doesn’t like loose ends. The fact that you mentioned Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands left me with 3 loose ends that I will address here.


{Sweden is the world’s socialist wonder, however, Sven R. Larson tells about some of Sweden’s problems in “Lesson from Sweden’s Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt,” published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Spring 2008).

For example:

* One Gothenburg multiple sclerosis patient was prescribed a new drug but his doctor’s request was denied because the drug was 33 percent more expensive than the older medicine; he then offered to pay for the medicine himself but was prevented from doing so because the bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.

* Malmo, with its 280,000 residents, is Sweden’s third-largest city to see a physician, a patient must go to one of two local clinics before they can see a specialist; the clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor and the guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full.

* Uppsala, a city with 200,000 people, has only one specialist inmammography; * Sweden’s National Cancer Foundation reports that in a few years most Swedish women will not have access to mammography.

* The cost of the Swedish health care system is comparable to that of countries with similar standards of living. From 1980 to 1990, health care costs increased by 145 percent and the productivity of the sector fell.}

Also note the first paragraph on Norway. It tells about Swedens tax burden.


{The system is financed through general tax revenues, with no earmarked or dedicated tax for health care. (152) Thus, health care becomes one large contributor to a tax burden that consumes 45 percent of GDP. Among industrialized countries, only Sweden has a higher tax burden. (154)

The Norwegian health care system has experienced serious problems with long and growing waiting lists.(161) Approximately 280,000 Norwegians are estimated to be waiting for care on any given day (out of a population of just 4.6 million).(162) The average wait for hip replacement surgery is more than four months; for a prostatectomy, close to three months; and for a hysterectomy, more than two months.(163) Approximately 23 percent of all patients referred for hospital admission have to wait longer than three months for admission.

It is important to see (a) that, in a public health service of the Nordic type, any given amount of resources always has alternative uses. And (b) it is neither medically nor morally defensible to put scarce resources to uses which will foreseeably yield less favorable outcomes than other uses—save fewer lives, cure fewer patients.}


This the better of the 3 countries. Their system is very simular to the United States. The bulk of their system is privatized. They buy their health insurance from an insurance company and pay premiums to that company. Where they differ from the U.S., is that it is mandatory that you buy health insurance, which does make it a socilized system. So if you make 1000.00 dollars a month and the cost of a basic policy is 500.00 a month you must still buy it even though it takes away half of your living wage, and you still have a deductible to pay. On top of this, you have to make a payment to the government for the socialized medicine, which is basically an add-on to your policy.

Below are excerpts from the site.

{Every person living in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out healthcare insurance. The insurance must provide standard cover including, for example, the cost of consulting a general practitioner, undergoing a test in a hospital or buying medication at a pharmacy.

Private health insurance companies are obliged to offer a core universal insurance package for health care at a fixed price for all, whether young or old, healthy or sick. Everyone over 18 pays a flat-rate premium for the standard insurance package. This premium can vary from one company to another. Children under 18 do not pay premiums for health insurance cover. Instead, the state pays a contribution to the insurance company.

Employees also pay an income-related contribution towards health insurance costs, but this is reimbursed by their employers. Employees pay tax on the amount reimbursed.}

The AWBZ-care is the government social contribution to the healthcare. This part kicks in when an expensive procedure or extended care are needed. The last topic of this should be noted. They are going to have to reduce what it will cover and decrease the amount of what it will continue to cover.

{Personal contribution for AWBZ-care
Everyone aged 18 years or older pays a personal contribution for the following forms of AWBZ-care:


personal care;

residence in an AWBZ-institution.

The size of the personal contribution depends on age, income and composition of the family. An income ceiling applies, which leads to a maximum sum payable

The AWBZ is carried out by the health care insurers. The health care insurers delegate various responsibilities – in particular the contracting of health care providers, the collection of patient contributions and the organization of regional consultations – to regional health care offices. In the coming years this part of the system will change.
Reducing the cost of the AWBZ

Because expenditure on the AWBZ has risen substantially, the government is looking into restricting some of the conditions of the AWBZ. For instance:

* The personal care budget may, in future, be restricted to those patients who are assessed as needing intramural care;

* restricting access to the AWBZ for the mentally retarted; only those with an IQ below 70 will be automatically admitted;

* Youth care will be devolved to the municipalities and will fall under the Social Support Act, not the AWBZ.}

This isn’t as economically bad as the other two, because the cost of the insurance falls on the individual, which sounds familiar somehow. The downside is that if the premiums take the bulk of your living wage away, it’s just too bad, because its mandatory.

The private policy’s that the individual buys is not effecting the economy at all, however if you notice the in the section: Reducing the cost of the AWBZ – The truly social aspect of this system is in trouble and is not self sustaining and therefore is a growing burden on the economy, enough so that they are deminishing it use. It would not be surprising to me, that the social part of this will be dropped as time goes on, which will put them in a completely privatized system.

Socialism, in any form, doesn’t work.

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David Welch @galvezguy

Great information. Personally, I am against any sort of mandate as I am pro-freedom but even in the 1st world countries with socialized medicine, there is some sort of private option available except Canada. The single payer system simply collapses under its own weight and leads to rationing, which leads to shortages, which leads to higher costs. It is a vicious circle that reduces quality of care while increasing cost.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@galvezguy, There are a few others that don’t have a private option, but not many. From everything I have researched the socialized part of all of them collapse. No matter how much money you throw into it, its never enough. It always requires more and more.

Whether it’s full single payer or a mix of social and private, the social part will always collapse because, by it’s design, it is flawed. What has been, and is happening to the Netherlands AWBZ program, attests to that fact, and as I said, the Netherlands have the best of any of the socialized healthcare programs I’ve researched and it’s social side is failing.

If you can read this research and still say that it you believe socialized healthcare works, even in part, then you will just have to take what you believe on faith, because the facts don’t bear it out.

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Two Cents @twocents

@jlriggs57aol-com as always, seriously great information. I feel like I just got a world class education on socialized medicine around the world, big thanks!

No where in the media can I find discussions like these!

Everyone talks about Canada when discussing moving toward socialized medicine in the United States. I’ve never understood why. I’ve alway been aware of the health horror stories coming out of Canada. Endless wait times, even for emergencies. I think the average wait time for any ER visit is 4 hours. And can be months for elective surgery, MIR’s, etc. People from all over the world come to the United States for our doctors for special procedures. We had the greatest health care system in the world in my opinion. Its frustrating that people say we didnt have health care for all because that is false. EVERYONE in the United States gets health care, they just may not have insurance. Everyone that goes to the ER is cared for. And the poor and elderly are taken care of through of medicaire and medicade.

So this leaves the high risk individuals that cannot get coverage. I would love to find a study on this issue. I wonder if we could just provide subsidies for people with pre existing conditions to help them live more comfortable and try to cure if possible. Obamacare just went about this in the entirely wrong way in my opinion.

@galvezguy @slava @gregory @juliaw

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@epharmd, Yahtzee, Bingo, Hula Hoop, Same Issue. As all the evidence I have posted shows, socialized healthcare is an economic disaster. Did you see anywhere that I said what we have is perfect or even good? The government screws up anything they put their hands on. They should not be in charge of anything like this. When bureaucracy is involved it becomes bloated and huge amounts of money gets wasted.

The United States Government should have never had their greedy little mitts on Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. They have used and abused the money that was put into these programs since their conception.

As I have said on other topics and will repeat here, these programs should have been run by the private sector from the beginning. What makes congress think they are business men. Almost none of these people even have an inkling what it takes to run a business. Are SS, Medicare, and Medicaid an extremely huge burden on the American taxpayers? Yes.

Will trading one failing system for another failing system solve anything? No. If we want to continue with the programs we have in place and actually make them work. We need to get it out of the governments hands and have it put into the hands of those who know how business works.

You did not prove anything by posting a link that lead to information that everyone already knew. You did not show anything that proved that socialized healthcare is a good thing or that it doesn’t play havoc on a country’s economy.

To change someone’s opinion, first show evidence that what they are saying is incorrect.

Hang in there.

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John PharmD @epharmd

The evidence and facts are clear. Single payer healthcare is the most cost effective solution. You chose to ingnore that. The graph clearly shows that.

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James L. Riggs @jlriggs57aol-com

@epharmd, there is no way to make any health care cost-effective. Health care is expensive, it always has been and it always will be no matter what system you use.

What you seem to be trying to go around are the facts about what socialized medicine does to any country’s economy. Every country that has been mentioned here I have shown that their health care is burying them in debt. This is not just something I am saying, I have posted the evidences to back up what I say.

Is socialized health care efficient? No. Is our way less efficient? Yes. For anything to be monetarily efficient it must at least break even, forget making money. There is no way to make it efficient. To enact socialized health care will only create more problems than it will ever solve. As I have said before, the government should never have had any control over SS, Medicare, or Medicaid. The government will only abuse any money it gets its hands on. The private sector not only knows how to make money, but they are problem solvers to the nth degree. If there is a matter of trusting the private sector, give them a government overseer, to keep them honest.

Do I know all the answers? No, not even close. But I do know that you don’t replace one bad idea with another bad idea. It will fail every time.

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TKList @tklist


In the words of Hillary Clinton “What difference does it make.” There are a lot of things we do not do that other first world countries do.

All the other kids are doing it.

It is logical fallacy.

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TKList @tklist


In the words of Hillary Clinton “What difference does it make.” There are a lot of things we do not do that other first world countries do.

All the other kids are doing it.

It is logical fallacy.

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Michael @michaelstl

OK, I like some of the ACA ideas. Insurance companies must insure everyone regardless of health, no maximum allowance, preventive care. But the program in place seems to be just a wealth redistribution program. There is almost no programs to actually reduce health care costs, no cross state border selling, no fraud programs, no program to reduce unnecessary procedures, and no program to allow the customer to be involved with costs saving. (If I can get a better price for a drug or a procedure than the insurance company allows, lets share the savings, if I catch an unnecessary procedure, lets share in the savings)

So I am in a state health pool because of my preexisting condition, I pay a very high premium, I do not qualify for assistance, the state drops the program because of ACA, I now have a few plans to choose, I must eliminate some because they do not include my doctor or hospital and I worked to hard to find these doctors and work with them for 15 years to switch. So if I want something similar, it looks like I can get a program at the same high rate I am paying. The real kicker is that someone who was paying a lower rate no has to pay the same rate as me, that must be some sticker shock. I am also very wry of the quality of my health care will decrease. Already my General doctor tells me that I cannot combine a preventive care appointment with a “problem” appointment, that his income will be reduced by 20-30 percent. And I am sure there is more to come which will slow down approvals, eliminate coverage of certain items, etc.

If you are going to call it the “Affordable Care Act” I think you should be required to show ALL customers why it is affordable.

If this was done in stages:
Reduce fraud
Reduce unnecessary procedures
Allow cross state competition
Let customers get involved in costs and reward them for savings
Then start insuring those who really cannot afford health insurance

I think this could have worked.

I see problems, poor health care and increasing costs for everyone in the next two years.

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Two Cents @twocents

@michaelstl sorry to hear your story… It seems a lot of people will be faced with the same problems you are facing. I was wondering though, with your new plan through the exchanges how does your deductible and out of pocket costs compare to your old plan?


I would also like to just point out, that as Michael explained above Obamacare is not helping people with pre existing conditions. It is not paying for their care or making it less expensive in most cases. Some people will have access to health insurance now, and others are losing their health insurance. But this is not my point. My point is, that why are spending 635 million on a website of tax payer money, when we could have just spent that money on the 60 million without healthcare to actually receive health CARE. Health insurance isn’t giving them the CARE. They need health care. I would have rather paid for these people that cannot get covered through the federal government (with realistic limitations of course) than pay for everyone to get a website and over bearing regulations that mess up everyone else’s healthcare to end the end accomplish nothing of importance as Michael explained above. People with great coverage and great doctors are really getting screwed here.

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