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Ear to the Ground

Report: U.S. Health Care System Squanders Up to $800 Billion Per Year

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Posted on Oct 26, 2009
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The ailing U.S. health care system could use some serious triage, according to a new report released Monday by Thomson Reuters that rooted out the many ways in which hundreds of billions of dollars are being wasted annually. Meanwhile, Americans aren’t getting any healthier.  —KA

Reuters via Google News:

Some other findings in the report from Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters:

* Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of healthcare waste or $200 to $300 billion a year.

* Fraud makes up 22 percent of healthcare waste, or up to $200 billion a year in fraudulent Medicare claims, kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services and other scams.

* Administrative inefficiency and redundant paperwork account for 18 percent of healthcare waste.

* Medical mistakes account for $50 billion to $100 billion in unnecessary spending each year, or 11 percent of the total.

* Preventable conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes cost $30 billion to $50 billion a year.

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By the waiver, November 2, 2009 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Ardee, if you were right about anger and the usage of caps, I would have used other stronger words (without cussing)-(without profanity)but I assure you—-my thoughts about Congress, Obama’s Czars, and this President would have been much stronger.

When it comes to you not questioning my accuracy, go to 60 minutes website—interview with the President 09-13—ABC George Stephanouls interview with the President on 09-20-09.  Read the transcript for yourself. 

If you can live with Obama’s statements and you want him to have the final say in regards to your family’s health then by no means do nothing.

When it comes to my usage of CAPS—is insignificant!  If I have anger, it is because Obama offered the American a bill of goods—a package of CHANGE in which he failed to mention—part of the change was controlling the banks (by placing all banks under the jurisdiction of the Federal Reserve) where no one can see or audit the financial reports.  The Federal Reserve is only accountable to the PRESIDENT—reports to Congress—but can be selective in what he reports to Congress. Obama and one of his Czars will know your checking accounts—-your savings accounts—any CDS—-the Government will review every aspect of your accounts.  I have worked for the FDIC and to determine the banks solvency—these facts are known—especially if used for collateral on any private or commerical loans.

The President wants to rewrite the health care reform—by doing so—Obama will have the goods of every Americans medical condition—list of meds—treatments—and if the treatments aren’t working or making them any better—he will take those monies and give it to someone that doesn’t have insurance!
Pick and choose!

Now we know the banks and our financial information will be under Obama’s roof.

Our medical diagnosis—prognosis—meds—everything private about every Americans health—will be under the Obama’s roof.

The IT Department inside the White House—where all important data is kept—-contains all of the functions and secrets of the White House will soon be taken from the White House and will shortly be moved to the GOOGLE PUBLIC INTERNET—.  Google told the White House—nothing to worry about because we will have a special area made just to contain all the goods of the White House!  After all, Obama’s advisor is the CEO of Google. The CEO gets paid by Google for being the CEO—-Obama pays him as an advisor.  So Google gets a double whammy!

Now Obama will have the most confidential information of the White House taken from there and placed into the Google system.

So—the financial system—the health care information of Americans—-all the White House private—confidential information will be placed to the hands of Google.  And you are judging the usage of my typing in caps—when America is being compromised every moment behind the scenes—and people don’t know it—realize it—and nick—pick about someone using caps!

America is at her highest risk—-68,000 troops in Afghanistan have been waiting for back up support from a President who doesn’t know what strategy to take our troops—so the troops are being killed every day one by one—then 2 by 2—with the enemies ultimate goal is kill a massive number of American troops.  Whether it is the Taliban—al-Queda—they are determined to show their power—with one common enemy—American troops.

God forbid!

Wake up—Caps or nothing to what is going to be happening to America!

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By ardee, November 2, 2009 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

Without commenting on the accuracy of your quotes I would note that linking would be an essential element thereof. Also, if I may, caps do not help you make your case, they only seem as shouting.

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By the waiver, November 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Ardee—your response to my comments on what Obama says and my use using all caps need to be addressed!

First of all, I heard those statements from Obama—you know—cut costs—well the waste and abuse from those who won’t get healthier—we will take those monies and give it to someone it will help!

The statement from Obama about not making Americans change if they like their physician—-but Obama didn’t let it alone—Obama said:——WE’the Govt—-will watch your insurance provider like a hawk—we will see if your plan is doing all it is suppose to—this means the Govt will look for ways to shut them down—and only his health care reform will rule and rein across the USA!  If you think all Caps to make my point shows a rage, I am sorry your profiler feels that way—-

All caps such as the USA—AMERICA AT RISK—WHEN I THINK AND FEEL SO COMPASSIONATE ABOUT DOING MY PART—WITH MY HEARTBEAT TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WITH THE RISKS BEING SO HIGH—IT IS A BURNING PASSION—IT IS A CRY OF MY HEART NOT TO SEE OUR FREEDOM GO OUT THE BACK DOOR OF THE WHITE HOUSE WHILE USHERING IN A NEW WORLD ORDER—I DON’T THINK THIS IS THE CHANGE PEOPLE WANTED!

So tell your profiler this for me——-first they need to have a HEART for AMERICA—-eyes that can see the REAL THING—WISDOM!

Some one told me once—-believe half of what you see—and nothing you hear—WITH LIVE TV—WHAT HAPPENS IS REAL YOU CAN TAKE THAT KNOWLEDGE TO THE BANK!

When Obama takes AIR FORCE ONE—THE AIRCRAFT REPRESENTING EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN—-GOES TO NEW YORK—LOOKS AT A BLIND BLACK GOVERNOR AND TELL HIM NOT TO RUN AGAIN!

Americ WE have a problem!  A blind man—who had to work harder—put up with ignorant people (both black, white, and every other race—people making fun of him—yet HE MADE IT==

If the President has no compassion with a disabled blind man—and BLACK—-why would anyone want him to be in charge (or OWN) their health care!

To help you get even more in-tune with why I use caps—some people when they look at regular print—they may lose your message because there is not a spark to make the difference—to get their attention—so this is still a free world—-

ALSO—MORE IMPORTANTLY THAN THAT—OLDER PEOPLE READ THIS TOO—SO TELL YOUR PROFILER SHE THINKS SINGLE MINDED—NOT CONSIDERING ALL PEOPLE—ALL AGES—WHO NEED HELP BY SEEING THE BIGGER PRINT—

MY PROFILE OF THE PROFILER—SHE IS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM—TAKE HER TO THE NEAREST SHRINK!

This is the attitude of DC—maybe CONGRESS—AND THE PRESIDENT BETTER DO THE SAME!

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By ardee, October 31, 2009 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

the waiver, October 29 at 11:28 pm

Without commenting on the accuracy of your quotes I would note that linking would be an essential element thereof. Also, if I may, caps do not help you make your case, they only seem as shouting.

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By the waiver, October 29, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

To correct a paragraph in my other statement about For all those reasons, I base my facts from Obama’s own words on 60 Minutes—-DUE TO OBAMA’S OWN WORDS ON 60 MINUTES—

I FEEL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BETTER CLING TOGETHER—SUPPORT EACH OTHER—BECAUSE RIGHT NOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOT ON OUR SIDE!

On 09-20-09 on ABC with George Stephanouls—Obama was asked about the fines and taxes for those individuals who may not be able to afford the premiums—-

OBAMA SAID:  Why should my insurance premiums pay for those who refuse the insurance?

Getting back to 60 minutes-Obam was asked:
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO CUT COSTS OBAMA’S OWN QUOTE——
  the waste and abuse such as:  the money that is already being spent that is not MAKING PEOPLE HEALTHIER—THAT MONEY CAN GO TO PROVIDE A BETTER DEAL FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE!

That sounds like—pick and choose who is getting healthier and who isn’t—OBAMA DID NOT elaborate any further—so this is what Obama said—BELIEVE IT!

Also about preventive care—do we want our President—Congress—saying how much you can weigh?

The is a behind the scenes on Preventive care—-if we allow the health care reform to pass—every person will have to take a physical.  The fact finding mission of this Administration is—know the goods—every Americans health!  If after your physical, something should show up—-YOU WILL BE TAGGED—THEY WILL VIEW IT—DECIDE IF TREATMENT WILL ACTUALLY MAKE THEM HEALTHIER—AND FROM THAT—-YOUR CARE WILL BE DETERMINED!

Obama said this is the only way he can get a LONG TERM BUDGET!  Wake up America!

THIS IS REAL—THIS IS TRUE—PLEASE FOR THE SAKE OF AMERICA—MAKE YOUR CALL TO EVERY SENATOR—REPRESENTATIVE—WHETHER IN YOUR DISTRICT OR EVEN IN YOUR STATE—WILL IT WORK—-YES!  I have heard from those Senators and Representatives!

Do I dislike Obama?  No!  The family is cute!  Obama and his wife accent each other!  That is the God’s truth!

There is no pleasure in warning America on what is behind the faces and smiles of our politcians!

Obama said: “if anyone misrepresents this health care reform—YOU WILL BE CALLED OUT”!

Well, for me—OBAMA—PELOSI—AND ALL THOSE BEHIND DOORS MEETINGS—

NEED TO BE CALLED OUT THEMSELVES!!

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By the waiver, October 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

The fear of the unknown has fallen on the face of America and the American people. When people take a risk on CHANGE—you can guarantee it will take you from your comfort zone—into the unknown!

With that being said, we focus on truths!  How do we determine the truth? This day in time it is a Challenge.

A Challenge can inspire—disrupt—and abrupt the routine.

What I have learned from the Obama Administration and our Congress—-is how arrogant—domineering—CONTROLLING—and how disrespectful our elected officials feel toward the people they represent!

This (to me) is the basis of my concern about the health care reform!  When Obama hit the airways 5 times in one day after the August recess, showed some truths in Obama’s feelings about health care reform.

60 Minutes 09-13-09—Obama said: if you have insurance we’re not going to legislate anything that would force you to change your doctor or your plan!

“WE ARE GOING to IMPROVE the stability and security of your plan—
okay this tells me—Obama is going to know my private insurance provider—my plan—my physician—my diagnosis—my prognosis.  All the pertinent details to assist him to make sure I am not being taken for a RIDE by my insurance Company!  At that same time—Obama will KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME!  This to me is an INVASION OF MY PRIVACY!

On the same 60 minute program—Obama said:  “AFTER THE HEALTH CARE REFORM PASSES—I WILL OWN IT!”
okay—OBAMA WILL HAVE THE FINAL SAY ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER—ANYTHING THAT HE DISAGREES WITH—HE WILL DEAL WITH IT! 

Regarding my care, Obama will have all the information about every American—

After the behavior of some Senators—Represenatives—Harry Reid—the President—and SPEAKER PELOSI—and Pelosi really spoke what she thought about Americans—and most of the other Democrats really didn’ care about the people’s fears. 

The POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT RULES and REINS WITHOUT ANY EMPATHY TOWARD PEOPLE THAT ARE HURTING—-PEOPLE WHO HAVE STOOD IN UNEMPLOYMENT LINES—-LOSING THEIR HOME—-SO WHY WOULD I TRUST THIS GOVERNMENT—THE CZARS WITH MY HEALTH CARE?  WHY WOULD I WANT OBAMA TO HAVE THE FINAL SAY ABOUT MY LAST BREATHE ON EARTH?

For all those reasons, from Obama’s own words—-AMERICAN PEOPLE BETTER CLING TOGETHER—SUPPORT EACH OTHER—BECAUSE RIGHT NOW OUR GOVERNMENT IS NOT ON OUR SIDE! This was seen by the town hall meetings in August.  I saw what Harry Reid did to the people who disagreed with him and how he handled the people he represented.  Speaker Pelosi kept speaking over and over how she thought it is ridculous for people to be acting the way they were about health care reform! Why would I trust someone who has worked—who has pushed—twisted every Democrat to be on their side for health care reform!

Obama intends to take the IT Department of the White House which contains ALL AMERICANS MILITARY SECRETS—ABOUT US!  EVERY PART OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE WHITE HOUSE!  GOOGLE IS GOING TO TAKE THIS OVER!  GOOGLE’S CEO IS AN OBAMA’S ADVISOR—MONEY FOR HIS COMPANY AND FOR HIMSELF! 

If the American people will cling to each other—there won’t be any force that can stop us! 

United we will stand—Divided we fall!

fyi—I heard Ahmadinejad (Iran leader) say to a reporter—-WHEN IT COMES TO GAYS IN THEIR COUNTRY THEY ARE SHOT!  I don’t believe in their life style, but they have choices to live the way they want in THIS AMERICA—However, in other SOCIALISTIC GOVT COUNTRIES—YOU PAY THE PRICE!

LET AMERICA BE AMERICA—THOUGH NOT PERFECT—WE DO KNOW FREEDOM—AND WE WANT TO PASS THAT HERITAGE TO OUR CHILDREN!

Since Pelosi compared the outbursts in the town hall meetings as when the gays were persecuted!  Well, we know how Muslims—the Nation of Islam—feel about our rights.

Let your politicians know how you feel before November 4th—go to Lou Dobbs website and find Sentors—Representatives—the White House—

If under this National Emergency, we may not get to vot

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By ardee, October 28, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Xntrk, October 28 at 1:55 am

I, too, have been a member of Kaiser for a long time. My eldest daughter, now almost forty one, was born in Kaiser, as were three of my four kids. I do not , fortunately, share your seeming long history of unfortunate health care needs, but I am of the opinion that Kaiser provides only adequate care, defining precisely how much time a Doctor can spend with each patient in fact…twelve minutes is the current recommended allotment.

Further there was, a number of years back, a memo from Kaiser circulating on the internet explaining why allowing law suits from patients or their surviving relatives was more cost effective than actually providing health care.

I find the V.A. a fine option for my care frankly, a govt run health care facility. I share this sentiment with our Senators and Congresspersons apparently,a s they also use Govt run Health Care.

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By Xntrk, October 27, 2009 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

For most of my life, I have volunteered for what is as close to ‘Socialized Medicine’ as you can find in the US, outside of the Military.

My Step Dad joined Group Health Seattle in 1948 when it first opened. It was started by a coalition of Unions, as a Non-Profit Cooperative. Sixty years later, it continues to provide excellent Health Care to the citizens of Washington State. I belonged to Group Health until I moved to Hawaii in January 2000. I am still a Member of the Coop, with voting rights, and can rejoin the system if I return to Washington State.

In Hawaii, I am a member of Kaiser, which operates in a similar fashion to Group Health. But, it is no longer a Non-Profit System. They split the Health System off from the Kaiser Foundation a few years back. Now it operates somewhere in between an HMO, and Group Health. But, it does provide good health care, as well as preventative care, and hires excellent Specialists.

In both systems, I have my own Doctor, and can change for any reason - ie: I don’t like the Doctor. I am referred to Specialists as needed, and provided with transportation to Oahu, if necessary. I have gotten MRIs for just about every joint in my body. Had a subluxed thumb rebuilt, a torn Rotator Cuff surgically repaired, and surgery on 3 discs in my lumbar spine. We are now talking about knee replacements for both knees. I also had cataract surgery on both eyes.

The only cost to me for the surgeries was my pain and inconvenience. I pay a small co-pay for both prescriptions and doctor visits. Plus a monthly premium. If the rest of the country had as good care as I get, I don’t think they would find much to complain about. OTOH, I think I have only taken antibiotics once in over ten years, so much for ‘unneeded’ medicines.

Some things are more efficiently provided by the community at large [Usually called a Government] then they are by private industry seeking to make a profit. IMO, those things include, Public Transportation, Roads, Mail Service, and Energy Systems. Washington State has several City and County Energy Companies that charge half to 2/3s what Puget Power [Private] does.

Most cities have municipal Water, Sewer, and Garbage Service. Roads are built and maintained by various Governments. We used to have an excellent Public School System. But, for the past 30 years we have been busily destroying all of that in the name of Greed and Privatization. Now we are in the process of privatizing our Military, so Corporations can enrich themselves with Defense Contracts as they have with the Private Prison System.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think many of us have had frontal lobotomies. Maybe they did put something in the water to ensure rampant stupidity in the population.

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By Marshall K, October 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Gosh think of the wars we could wage with that money!

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By turbamagna, October 27, 2009 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

By ardee, October 27 at 7:49 am #
Re: “I guess the waste of all that money and the deaths of all those people denied health care are acceptable when considering a “socialist” solution….”

Absolutely correct!
Having lived in both New Zealand and Australia for some 50 years, one cannot comprehend how on earth any intelligent person could construct an argument supporting the current “system” that you are currently compelled to suffer!

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By ardee, October 27, 2009 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

But, on the other hand, if we go with public health care then we run the risk of inept oversight and massive fraud with higher taxes.  Looks to me like this is a no win-no win situation.  How do the other industrialized countries do it or do they?!

I guess Blackspeare has swallowed the Reagan KoolAid of inevitable govt incompetence. It simply doesnt have to be so. The nations who are ahead of us in providing health care to their citizenry, all 36 of them, do so by rejecting Reaganisms like this and finding their govts to be quite capable. As can ours if we the people choose to make it so.

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By glider, October 27, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

by hammering in the morning

>>We have a media which reports rumor, speculation and fact as being equal.  Journalism is about finding the truth not allowing a scholar and a conspiracy theorist to debate like they both have legitimate arguments<<

Excellent points,  news has become entertainment and investigative journalism has pretty much died and been replaced with manipulative pundantry (scholars unfortunately are not excluded from this category).  Another symptom of our irreversible slide into corporatocracy.  Good post on all accounts hammer-man.

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By NYCartist, October 27, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Upon further reflection, and reading of the comments, I’ll add these points.

“Squandered” - by whose definition?

  I have a severe medical illness: CFS/ME, which was mentioned in “Ear to the Ground” around Oct.8, when a new study came out.  It’s an illness that “dissed” isn’t a big enough word, to discuss how the gov’t and medical establishment has denied this illness for over two decades.  On Oct. 21, 2009, the NYTimes (one of the major offenders of people with CFS/ME) ran an op ed by Hillary Johnson that’s great on ending the “chronic denial” of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - from the political act of giving it a trivializing name “fatigue” instead of ME, myalgic encephalomyelitis, as it is called in England.  (If you think I’m exaggerating the popular, as well as media “trivializing” and denying of this illness that makes me a wheelchair user, along with symptoms to every system of my body- brain on down, see the comments, besides mine, that appeared below the “Ear to the Ground” article on TD.)

  “Squandering” implies something clear.  Keep in mind that some illness are trivialized so no money need be spent on them, “blame the victim” and make the illness “a head trip”.  The gov’t does that with
CFS/ME (and it’s being done in England,too), has done so with PTSD of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Gulf War Syndrome (which has similarities with CFS/ME), formerly done with AIDS and MS multiple sclerosis.  Some still deny AIDS is an illness.  In the 19th century, tuberculosis was considered a “character flaw”.  And not that long ago, there was babble about “the cancer personality”.  All forms of denying illness because the medical profession can’t say “I/we don’t know” and governments/health insurers don’t want to pay.

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By NYCartist, October 27, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

I’d move “medical mistakes” to the top of the list, but how do you quantify an amount of money for it?

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, October 27, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Let me see now——if we stick with private health care and bow to the God of Greed then we run the risk of health care denial for the sake of profit.  But, on the other hand, if we go with public health care then we run the risk of inept oversight and massive fraud with higher taxes.  Looks to me like this is a no win-no win situation.  How do the other industrialized countries do it or do they?!

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By bondwooley, October 27, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Fraud, waste… And what’s worse is they won’t even cover the therapies that might actually cure you:

http://bit.ly/xPZHh

(satire)

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By hammering in the morning, October 27, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

To: joedee1969, October 27 at 6:52 am #
“How can we trust them with health care when we see
what they did with the swine flu vaccines. Read this
link:”

http://americaspeaksink.com/2009/10/swine-flu-what-
to-do/

joedee, Your link points to an opinion piece written
by someone who admits that he does not understand
the issue. He is confused but who wouldn’t be. We
have a media which reports rumor, speculation and
fact as being equal. Is it any wonder that people
are confused. The writer of the piece seems not to
understand that hand washing is the best defense
against getting sick not healing yourself after you
have the virus. at that point hand washing is the
best way to keep others from getting sick.

The accusation that the Government is responsible
for there being a shortage of vaccine is just stupid
ignorant. Starting with the fact that the Government
is not making Vaccine, private companies are. The
reason that Vaccine is in short supply is that there
has not been enough time since the virus was
identified for it to be made. If you want to know
what is going on the information can be found at the
CDC’s website.

It always amazes me that people who don’t trust the
Government end up not knowing anything about
important issues because the listen to lies, and conspiracies told by other people who don’t trust
Government. The real problem is with the reporting
when these crackpots are given equal time with
actual scientists. Journalism is about finding the
truth not allowing a scholar and a conspiracy theorist to debate like they both have legitimate
arguments.

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By GW=MCHammered, October 27, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The U.S. spends twice as much as other
industrialized nations on health care, $7,129 per
capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison
and still leaves 45.7 million without health coverage
and millions more inadequately covered.”
http://www.pnhp.org

The World Health Organization’s ranking of the
world’s health systems
http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

Study Of State Results Finds H1N1 Not As Prevalent As
Feared
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/21/cbsnews_investigat
es/main5404829.shtml

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By loneagle, October 27, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some one who, in their new health-care-
reform-stipulated regular scheduled checkup,
year to year demonstrates sound health, ought
to get a reward. Those who correct or fend off
maladies through diet, exercise and
studied/intelligent use of supplements will of
course naturally receive greater rewards than
those relying on the meds route.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, October 27, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 27 at 7:49am,

ardee said: “all those people denied health care are acceptable when considering a “socialist” solution….”

ThomasG’s answer:  What you are saying is that YOUR death is acceptable to YOU if YOUR medical care requires a “socialist” solution.

I accept YOUR standard of medical care for YOU and, so does the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMISTS.

So, how long is it going to be until YOU lose your job in the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST boiler room, lose, as a result, YOUR health care and die from a lack of health care that YOU willingly reject as “socialist”???????

Those of us that want “single payer health care” do not subscribe to YOUR “death therapy”.

It takes all kinds to make a world “ardee”; I am certain that the world will be a better place for YOUR personal choice of health care——death therapy.

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, October 27, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

This is not surprising, at all. My Doctor, the only one in his office, has at least 4 full time administrators. I would guess their combined salaries is more than my Doctor’s salary (maybe not, but close). And all my Doctor does is write prescriptions, order tests, and refer people to specialists. OF COURSE, the specialist orders the same exact tests again. In between patients, my Doctor has to see one of many pharmaceutical sales reps.

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By ardee, October 27, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

I guess the waste of all that money and the deaths of all those people denied health care are acceptable when considering a “socialist” solution….

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By Adam, October 27, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do anyone really believe that more government bureaucracy is the way to reduce waste?  If so, you need to reevaluate the situation.

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By joedee1969, October 27, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

How can we trust them with health care when we see what they did with the swine flu vaccines. Read this link:

http://americaspeaksink.com/2009/10/swine-flu-what-to-do/

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