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Old March 11th, 2009, 06:08 AM
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Default It's only Hump Day, So Get Out There....and get to work!

Good morning to all of my adored Cruisemates and all the ships at sea!

Gosh, how I'm gonna' miss hearing ......"And now you know, the RrrrrEST of the story!"

Dateline Greeneville: Only three more days to TGIF! Those of us who are retired are depending upon your labor to help support our lifestyle!

Speaking of work and support, it takes a lot of maneuvering for so many of those living on Social Secruity to pay their bills, especially the medical ones. Thankfully, I have been Blessed with a 100 percent funded (Still!) State retirement System that even reimburses me for not only my but also my wife's Medicare premium. You now understand why I feel I'm so Blessed.

I was nothing less than stunned and gasping when on Saturday, I received my first bill for my ICD implanted almost two weeks ago. Of course this is NOT the amount Medicare and my retirement insurance which is now my supplement will end up paying as a result of contractual obligations. This bill, however, reflected ONLY the cost for the device itself and the hospital charges...no surgeon, anaesthesiologist, pathologist fees, etc.

For less than 24 hours in the hospital, two and a half hours in surgery and the cost of the ICD itself, my bill was.....drumroll please.........ONE HUNDRED THREE THOUSAND, SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE DOLLARS! Fran and I both had to read it twice because we knew there had to be a mistake. No mistake.

What boggles my mind are some of the hospitals that are one day moaning they're falling into bankruptcy then six months later announcing enormous twenty and thirty million dollar expansions! Duhhhh.....?

But of course most are non-profit, right? If you truly believe they are non-profit in any way that the average layman would understand, then I so assure you, you have a big surprise coming. And that is why. my fellow Cruisemates, that I personally believe we're going to end up with socialized medicine and once you understand what that entails, I think at the least, you'll be extremely disappointed.........and often devastated.

The goose that laid the golden medical egg in this country has been shot out of the sky. That became clear to me Saturday morning.

Todd
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Old March 11th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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Good Morning from a very dark and dreery Montreal. Its raining and its just miserable out. At least it is melting the snow. A long drive to Ottawa today that is for sure.

Todd there are pluses and minuses to all types of medical systems. Personally, I am very grateful for the medical system that we have, and yes that is socialized medicine. Bottom line is , myself, my family, we have all had very good care and we have needed it alot. perfect, NOPE nothing is perfect but I surely never worry about losing my home to get that care. We have had heated debates on CM about medical care before so its best not to get into another one, BUT I will say that knocking systems of health care is not such a good idea unless we truly know all the ins and outs of all the types of care. From many of us looking into the States, we see a system that is unfair, unalanced and personally I have relatives that are left with the feeling their health care in the USA has left them "extremely disapointed and often devastated". My cousin lost her home to pay all her medical bills. The thought of losing my home to pay medical bills never even crosses my mind. I stress it is not perfect here, and things must change and evolve here as well , life is ever changing and evolving. BUT that also means things must change else where in the world including the States, as it is clear health care is not equal or delivered to all in the States. Horror storries and sensationalized stories happen on both sides of the border. We can spend endless amounts of time going back and forth quoting them, and bashing each others systems, but if we do that, then we dont spend time trying to fix the problem and be part of the solution. I do believe we all have the power to help fix whats wrong, because we all have a voice and its up to us to have our voices heard.

Time to get out the door. Have a good day.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 08:03 AM
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Good Morning All,

Can't really tell what the day is going to be like as it was still dark when I left for work - I do know it was COLD!! Yes, winter like weather has returned - gone are the warmer days which teased us last week - Spring doesn't really arrive til next week so I guess Ol' Man Winter is going to hang around as long as possible.

Glad it's Wed, I'm off tomorrow for a class and then return to work on Friday - so the rest of the week should go by quickly.

Everyone have a great day and prayers for all!
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Old March 11th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Delft,

I in no way meant to denigrate the Healthcare in Canada and I'm truly sorry you took offense. I honestly forgot about many of our posters being Canadian. But Delft, I'm only pointing out my personal opinion concerning healthcare here in the United States, not in Canada. If it works for Canadians and they're pleased with their medical care, then that is absolutely wonderful. If only because of our tremendously different demographics, I don't perceive Americans going for truly socialized medicine.

At any rate, before we choose go down that road, I believe it is compulsory that every American be fully cognizant of not only the benefits inherent in such a system but the astronomical number of very significant trade offs and sacrifices they will have to make before as well before such a system could ever by instituted in the United States. Maybe some type of combination of the two may work. I certainly don't know. Actually, the only point of my post was really what I beleve is the prohibitive cost of the procedure I underwent.

Todd
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Old March 11th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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Morning All, I'm back in Montreal, and as Delft said, it is absolutely miserable outside today!
At +2 degrees (35F), it is warmer than I expected, but with the rain, and the dirty melting snow, it sure is not as pretty as all the tropical green I saw in the last 10 days!

Needless to say, it was a wonderful cruise and I am now in love with the idea of 10 days as opposed to 7!

Unfortunately, our last 2 days were somewhat spoiled when we received an emergency phone call at sea (we had just departed Antigua for 2 sea days back to Ft. Lauderdale). The message, from James' son, was that James' 80 yr. old brother in England had passed away.
We were at sea, and there was absolutely nothing we could do except wait to get home. Poor James was beside himself with grief and frustration, and we were making all sorts of plans to go over to the UK for the funeral, and for me to take more time off work, and ask the dog sitter to keep our dog for a few more days...etc. etc.
Flash forward to yesterday afternoon, we arrived home and the first thing we did was check the phone message that had been relayed to us via my son and his son. It was instantly clear that James' brother Peter was still very much alive and well, and that it was his daughter's father-in-law Peter, who had become so ill and passed away a few days before!

Now of course, we were sorry to hear this, we knew the man, and we also knew that he had been very ill with lung cancer, but we also knew that James' brother had had lung cancer many years ago, and the original message had us believing that his cancer had come back.

A totally misconstrued phone message really put a damper on our last 2 days of the cruise, but the important thing is that James' oldest brother is still alive and well, and apparently vacationing in Alcudia Spain!

Anyway, I am anxious to get started ogo back to work........


donna
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Old March 11th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Morning gang,,,
It's a dark dreary day here on the east coast of Va. as well. No rain yet,,,but it's not far away.

Rd so sorry your last days of cruising were so upsetting,,,but so glad you got the good news when you got home,,,wow what a mix up.

Todd,,I agree about the health care as we are self-employed and our bc/bs cost us close to $1000 a month. Unreal !!! :evil:

Hope everyone has a great "hump" day,,,
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Old March 11th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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Good Morning Mates,

It is a dark, dull, day here. Rain, rain and more rain. Wind! Yucky. Mess, mud, flooding, ice jams. Schools delayed or cancelled.

I have a few errands, so I will have to go out in it, but I shant linger too long.

Kids are tired today and sleeping in. No big plans here.

You should see the hospital bills I have received. Even with insurance, the co-pays and such have added up to several cruises over the last few years, not to mention the amount deducted from my dh's paycheck to pay for the insurance. Now that my dd has graduated from college she is uninsured, which is so very, very scary! There are no easy answers to this mess we are in.

Be blessed mates, have a pleasant day
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Old March 11th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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Good Morning CruiseMates!
On the healthcare subject, my family now has full medical coverage. We have had medical coverage but the only thing it was good for was coverage of a catastrophic illness. Unless medical bills topped $10,000 per year we would not get any benefit from it. So now with d/h's job we have no deductible, and just pay a small copay, and life is beautiful and I am so thankful we are all healthy and didn't need the insurance. But Delft you do make a good point. Todd you are also correct. Medical costs are completely out of control.
I have had to deal with both medical systems in both countries in the last few years and they are both flawed to a degree. In the United States. In the United States one illness can be financially devastating, and I know many people go without care because of the fear of financial ruin. In Canada, while there is free healthcare available, there are certain things that are not covered and I know in my Mother in Law's situation, there were many times she was thankful she had a supplement to cover the extras that that OHIP didn't cover. For example I remember that during Chemo her supplemental insurance covered her wigs and such and after her mastectomy her supplemental covered prosthetic supplies. Which was nice. I think my biggest frustration with the Canadian Health System was just having access to specialized areas of medicine, for example, I can say without a doubt my Mother in law would not still be with us if I had not done research into a procedure called balloon kyphoplasty that is readily available here in the States. I know of a half dozen hospitals within 100 miles of my home that perform this procedure. Basically my MIL's vertebra were collapsing due to the Multiple Myeloma and she had numerous compression fractures that put her in unbearable pain. she was unable to move from bed and any movement what so ever was unbearable. I had her ask her oncologist about the procedure and they flat out told her it was not available in Canada. They would only offer a Vertebroplasty procedure that only had a 50% success rate and would likely not offer lasting benefits. So I searched and searched and stumbled across York Central Hospital in Toronto where they had just started to perform kyphoplasty. I phone the Chief of Staff's office and spoke to a lady and explained my MIL's dire straits. She gave me the names and numbers of the two surgeons who perform the surgery and I attempted calling them on my own. Well one had an answering machine explaining the Doctor was on Holiday and that new patients would have a wait time of 6 mos to be seen and 1 year until their surgery would be scheduled. The other one did not return my calls. Well knowing time was not on my side, I phoned back to York Central and and explained the issues. The lady in the Chief's office interceded and actually made things happen. But unfortunately without her help, I think my MIL would have died waiting for an appointment with the surgeon.

I wish we could combine the benefits of both systems and have cutting edge, affordable and accessible service for everyone.

On a positive note, I went to the school yesterday and checked it out. It was a very good meeting and the kids got a lot out of it. They use a lot of the same curriculum I use, so it should be an easier transition. I was impressed by what I saw.

Delft, it's funny that's another big difference between public schools in Canada and the States I have often discussed with my Sister in law. In Canada things are much more flexible. The schools seem to work with parents a lot more than here. Here it is sometimes very difficult to schedule time out of school in advance and often the school will not allow the child to have excused absences without a Doctor's Excuse. I know of one family who took a child out of school for a few days to go on a a family vacation and the school actually sent them a letter threatening them with legal action if there were any further absences. It is because the school funding is based on student attendance.

I need to get to cracking the books this morning, we have a lot of ground to cover.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Good morning everyone. Good to be back and not paying a small fortune for computer minutes so that I can spend more time catching up with everyone.

Beenie, I have decided to nominate you for president in the next election. You are one can do woman!!!!!! Maybe we will run you under the Cruisemates special party.

Todd, I am so glad to see you posting and hope you are getting to feel better.

Take care everyone. I'm keeping you all in my prayers.
Phyll
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Old March 11th, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Good morning, Mates!

Well, we still have a warm day, but temps will be dropping and (hopefully) precipitation is coming! The high today will be 80 or so, and tomorrow in the 50's. Such is Springtime!

Todd, I hope you are feeling better. Have you gotten any answers from the doctors' as to why you don't feel like you're improving? Maybe it just takes more time....are you impatient?

I need to go shopping today, for DH's birthday. The shopping area I like to go to is about 15 miles from here. Unfortunately, DH thinks he needs to come with me. I will also stop in at Barnes & Noble. Love that place!

Regarding health care.... even though I have never had an issue with it.... it makes me mad! It is broke, but I don't have a clue as to what would fix it. As Beenie said, probably the best of both systems!

Okey dokey, time to get moving! Make it a good one!
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Old March 11th, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Morning from the Pacific Northwest.............thougth I already posted but I guess it's somewhere in cyberland.........

Cold here....in the 20's.......very unusual for us for this time of year......hope it warms up by next week.......I wanna get out of here.....

Y'all have a good day...........




Sharon
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Old March 11th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Default It's only Hump Day, So Get out There and Get to Work

Let's try this again. This computer does a very annoying thing called "reconfiguring," and I lose everything I've posted. :evil:

Good morning from dreary Southern California. No rain out of it, tho.' except in the foothills and mtns.

Speaking of health care, this afternoon I find out when chemotherapy begins; possibly tomorrow. At least I don't have to wonder any more. The infection? Still taking pills. Will have to have the finger lanced. Everybody say, "Ouch!"

Keith plans to go to the gym and I have a long to-do list.

Have a good day. Welcome home Donna.

Judy
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Old March 11th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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Good Morning cruisemates!

Cold in Calgary, with record lows for March last night (global warming? ).

Been stuck at home since Monday since I broke my toe. Going to see if I can fit into a shoe today, as I have lots to catch up on.

My mother comes home from her exile with my sister in Arizona tomorrow. Thankfully, after my month away, I've contacted all the care-givers I had in place before I left, and they're all set to return. That should ease the transition back for her and for me.

Todd... my mother is now on her 3rd version of pacemaker, with the next replacement likely to occur in the next 6 months or so. Indeed if she'd have had to pay for all the procedures she's had she'd be in dire financial straits.

Health care systems are difficult to compare, as the shear size of the population in the U.S. compared to Canada seriously complicates the issues. To think we don't pay for our health care is erroneous. Canadian tax rates are considerably higher than in the U.S. We also don't have much of a defense budget that eats up dollars. The dynamics of it all are just quite different.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 01:20 PM
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Good afternoon from in the 70's, Virginia Beach. I agree with you, Todd, that good medical care can be quite expensive. Thank G-d, Rob went into the naval reserve after he was on active duty for four years. When Rob turned sixty, he was eligible to go on Tri-Care Standard, through the military. Instead of paying $400 every three months for his medication, he now pays about $40 because of the drug program through Tri-Care. We have Aetna as our primary insurer through Rob's work, but, Tri-Care is our secondary insurer and it picks up a lot of the co-pays and deductibles. I feel that that everybody in our country should have at least some form of basic insurance coverage. Instead of wasting money on "pork-barrel" earmarks, the money should go for good health care. A healthy nation is a more productive nation. Hope all of my fellow cruisemates have a wonderful day!
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Old March 11th, 2009, 05:55 PM
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Kuki you're right of course, the health coverage really isn't free. It's just how we American's think of socialized medicine because it is provided by the government, rather than by premiums that are paid by an individual or an employer.
When d/h and I became engaged we did all the comparisons when we were trying to decide which Country we wanted to settle down in and Canadians do pay a lot more taxes. So the old saying is right once more, "There is no such thing as a free lunch, or free healthcare".

One of the things I really envied was the Canadian Maternity Leave policies. They are really good to new parents and I would have loved to have all that time off to spend with my babies.

There are pro's and con's to both systems.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddDH
I don't perceive Americans going for truly socialized medicine.
Todd
Todd, Medicare is socialized medicine, available only to a minority of citizens.

Regarding medical systems in the civilized world outside the USA, I often hear scare stories about people waiting months for treatment, etc. I always try to look at facts over anecdotes, and there is one very telling fact in this debate. Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest and most popular and powerful conservative leaders in history, made ZERO effort to dismantle socialized medicine in the UK. The reason is the program is popular and it works. That's a fact, and her action speaks volumes and is much more telling than scare tactics.

Cheers, Aidan
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Old March 11th, 2009, 11:00 PM
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BW, Regional differances do exist because health care is provincial. Alberta, is the richest province, but they cover the least compared to other provinces especially when one takes into account its financial well being. Example, they only recently approved a cancer drug being used in all provinces for three years already. Its ironic that Alberta ranks almost dead last in terms of what they will pay, considering they have zero debt . Many people with Autistic children from Alberta head east because of the early intervention programs that the goernment wont pay in Alberta. I live in a province with very strong medicare princpals, although we also pay high income tax, HOWEVER it is income based.

The poor, working poor, lower middle class , middle class with two kids, seniors, students, disabled persons, pay very little or nothing towards "health care", let alone any income tax. Some provinces like Ontario where your MIL is and my Mother is, they are more limited also in what they pay and you must have extra insurance for things like wigs, drugs. etc, how ever Ontario does have a program for people without insurance for specialized drugs and in fact the cancer hospital supplies head coverings and wigs all donated at no charge to patients in need.

Where I live, ALL citizens MUST be covered for drugs. So if you dont have private coverage through work for drugs, you MUST have the government plan. It is paid for at income tax time. You must report the months you had private insurance, and then for each month you dont have private insurance, you must pay for the public drug plan. The maximum I think is just under 400$ for the year, but again income based, any one in the groups mentioned pay nothing. My son is a student, and he pays nothing for his drug plan and nothing for drugs. This means every one where I live can get their drugs. My drugs easily cost many K's per month,just for my regular meds, many of which are IV. If I am not well, the bill can easily double, and when I was very sick, dont even ask what I cost the "system". For drugs I pay 25% of the cost up to a maximum of just under 78$ a month, the maximum alloud per month in this province to pay out per 30 days period.

I believe in public system but would like to see public private partnerships. Like now private clinics will do x rays and mamograms, and many things like that, but the "medicare" pays for it. We have a day surgical clinic now that has opened that is private byut patients dont pay out of pocket, they use their medicare card. Its a pilot project and so far has been a success. I hope to see more of this. Quebec has strong leanings towards this and I dont disagree to it, as long as the patient doesnt jump the cue because of money, and that the patient doesnt pay out of pocket. I do belief it will help decrease wait times which can be long for non urgent things. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of doctors, especially family physicians, and people clog up emergency rooms with non urgent things because they feel it is urgent. The longer you wait in emergency is often a good indication of how medically ill you are. The down side of this system is quite frankly, as a nurse, to many people go to to many doctors for to many "ailments". There are clear abuses to the system. We have photo health cards now because in particular with immigrant families, they were having their sister come from their country of origein and use their medicare card as services were not available where they were. By the way, I had a few patients that did this with family from the States. This was quite common, and cheats the system costing a great deal.

The one thing I like about here is I pick my doctor, no one tells me who will be my doctor( insurance company) .

As for maternity leave, yes that is kind of nice here. One of the parents ( mother or father ) has one year paid with job guaranteed, and the other parent gets five weeks. This is very much in line with many European countries. This was done as it is felt to be essential that a parent spend the first year with a baby. I agree to this.

Any one who knows me knows I am very conservative with regard to moral principals,how I spend my money and so on. There are very few people I would not help, even though they live in a way I dont think is a healthy way of life. I am also in terms of health care, social justice, education very social. Its a funny balance.

There are pros and cons to all systems, that is for sure. I just caution people from making decisions based on "stories" or people who are pro and or con either way regarding care on this side of the border. BW, I always as a nurse say Patients must have people there to be an "advocate", thats true on both sides of the border, just as I am to my mother and you were to your MIL. Always looking for new things, new ideas and interviening when things go to slow or not OK.

My family in the States say If you have good coverage you are fine ,its just there doesnt seem to be a safety net for those that dont, cannot afford it, or what ever. The health premiums my relatives pay for , is far more than I could see myself pay out. Even then, my poor Aunt has had such battles with that insurance. Such difficulty to get her remicaide for crippling RA, they won't pay for one of her Doctors as he is not on their "list". She has gone to him for so long and he is very good. That is something we dont have here. Your doctor orders it, you get it.

Being whom I am, I feel strongly that every one is entitled to good health care.

As a nurse I prefere our system because I feel it over all covers more people in a fair way, but it also needs work to make sure that continues and to improve regional differances in health care delivery. I realize others will prefere their system of health care delivery in the States.

Horror stories happen on both sides as health care is delivered by human beings and they make mistakes. Guess thats what makes us human. Trick is to learn from them.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddDH
If only because of our tremendously different demographics,
Todd
Can you explain the exact demographic diffderences you are refering to and how they affect acceptance of socialized medical care.

I believe socialization is imminent simply because for the first time in American history, large numbers of *middle-class* people are discovering that unemployment means they cannot purchase health insurance at any price, if only for something as minor as hypertension. When tens of millions of voters are subject to potentially catastrophic consequences, policy changes.

Cheers, Aidan
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Old March 12th, 2009, 02:07 AM
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Aidan,

Geesh, I just wish folks would read what is written as opposed to what they may "think" the writer implied. It sometimes falls under the "Me thinks you doth protest too much" category. As for yours truly, I only wished to point out how ridiculously expensive I thought a procedure was. I fully do not intend to make nor will I allow myself to be dragged into a childish "class warfare" argument as such an exercise I consider to to be both futile and one that serves no purpose.

I never implied nor did I write that "socialized medicine" was wrong nor did I say it was right. I also did not imply nor did I state those countries who have it are in any way wrong for having such a system. If it works for them, than such is truly beneficial to that country's citizens. All I said was I didn't think the United States would go for it as practiced elsewhere simply because of its demographics. Well it may. Again, I just stated I didn't THINK this country would go to a socialized medical state. Others might think it will. Time will tell.

I am on Medicare (into which I paid since it's inception) which you are so very correct in pointing out is a form of "socialized medicine." However, as may be the case in other countries, it was not properly funded due to money being diverted elsewhere for other purposes and reasons.

I was also blue collar and in no way shape or form could EVER be considered even slightly wealthy. The entire Medicare system in this country is bankrupt and this country's Social Security system is getting there simply because there is more going out than there is coming in. Those are two incontrovertible facts. I am not of a level of education sufficient enough I consider necessary to even offer an opinion as to how the problem should be solved.

Oh and by the way, again I'm probably worng, but I have always considered demographics to be the result of statistical study and as such, to use today's slang, "It is what it is."

Todd
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