24 Dec 2008 @ 10:07 AM 

It seems the vast majority of military active duty and veterans I have ever met are vehemently opposed to socialized medicine for the country.  If you’re using socialized medicine, why do you want to deny it to others?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Dec 2008 @ 10:07 AM



Responses to this post » (3 Total)

  1. Rosanne says:

    Errrr… maybe because the feds are so inefficient at handling such programs?

    The military’s “socialized medicine” of which you speak was originally touted as “full medical care, for life, for retired vets and their families.” [To the quibblers: No, it wasn’t written into the contract – just into the brochures and recruiting spiels. It was “understood.”] This has gradually deteriorated. When bases started shutting down, the caveat “space available” was increasingly emphasized. The underfunded VA picked up more and more of the slack.

    Dependent care became a separate issue. Then dental care. HMOs took over. The retiree had to buy supplemental insurance (Tricare “Prime”) to fully cover self and family. Copays continually increase.

    Currently, as a military retiree, I carry Tricare Standard (still free, so far) and pay about $720 a year to a third-party supplemental insurance company for the privilege of choosing my own doctor and to cover the copays. They just instituted a $100 deductible, so make that $820. I’m on my husband’s civilian dental plan. So much for “free medical care for life.” If they do that to folks who gave 20 years of their lives to military service, and to whom extravagant promises were made, what are they going to do to the general population?

    Something has to be done – no argument there. I’m just not convinced that bigger government is the best answer. In fact, based on input from consumers in countries with socialized medicine, I’m pretty sure it’s not.

    Maybe the so-called “medical IRA”, or Health Savings Account, will be a step in the right direction. You contribute several thousand dollars, it rolls over from year to year, tax-free, and allows you to buy cheaper insurance with a huge deductible. You basically self-insure all but catastrophic medical bills. Since it’s still YOUR money, you shop around, encouraging doctors to lower costs.

    That’s only a partial solution. People living below the poverty level won’t be able to afford to stash away $5-10K in an HSA. Maybe a combination of HSAs and subsidized medical care… I don’t know.

  2. Gary says:

    You are on the hook for 800 bucks a year. Make me cry. I’m on the hook for over 500 every two weeks. I know a few people who just don’t pay medical bills, because they know that nobody is going to reposess their stitches.

    Meanwhile, we pay more per capita than any other country ($6000) and a larger portion of our GDP than other countries (15.3% vs average 8.9%), and what do we get for it?

    I’m not saying that socialized medicine is a panacea (notice this was a small “aside” post). But, what we’re doing is broken, and being lectured about how evil socialized medicine is by people who are using it every day is funny. As I mentioned on the LJ equivalent of this post, I notice that none of the retirees I work with choose to not use Tricare. That says something about its relative value, since I don’t work with idiots.

    To claim that government does a bad job of things is to say that America does a bad job of things. We have a representative government, we need to hold them accountable. I like to think we can learn from the actions of others and produce a better form of medical care than we have now, which won’t cost more and won’t force people into bankruptcy because they got sick.

    We already have many “socialized” things in our country, and complaints about them are not really overwhelming nor calling for their repeal. We seem to appreciate having one military force, having a fire department that doesn’t require payment in advance, police forces that don’t send you a bill each month, etc. Why is health care less important than police, fire, schools, road repair?

  3. Rosanne says:

    “But, what we’re doing is broken, and being lectured about how evil socialized medicine is by people who are using it every day is funny.”

    We’re making the best of a promise that wasn’t completely broken, but definitely devalued. I’m paying $720 for ASI, versus $230 for Tricare Prime. That extra $490 pays my 20-25% copay, and lets me choose my own doctor (from those that accept Tricare’s rates). Sure, I’ll use what’s available, but I’d rather see something in place that:

    – encouraged people to take responsibility for their medical care – going when they need to, but comparison-shopping for non-critical treatment

    – encouraged doctors to really practice medicine, instead of counting Q-tips and starting a timer when patients walk in.

    … even if it cost me more.

    “As I mentioned on the LJ equivalent of this post, I notice that none of the retirees I work with choose to not use Tricare. That says something about its relative value, since I don’t work with idiots.”

    Thank you :o)
    You’re right. I didn’t realize how much value was still left in the benefit until the company turnover illustrated the huge discrepancy between the retirees and <20yr vets.

    There were isolated instances that gave me some idea – it cost my sister a total of about $40 for prenatal care and delivery of two children… and that was for food while she was in the military hospital. Plus, they didn’t try to kick her out a couple of hours after the (normal) deliveries.

    I just saw an article in the Substandard Times that said La Esperanza’s subsidy should be raised. There was a comment that each patient encounter cost roughly $164, and that the amount was expected to rise to $174 in 2009. $174 to get a kid’s fever looked at? After looking at the charge slips for my plain old over-40 physical, I believe it, but it’s still insane.

    There’s got to be a solution other than more heavy-handed government regulation. There are already doctors that don’t accept Tricare patients because the fixed rates are too low. There are doctors that won’t accept Medicare patients as well (New York Times). Given the cost of their training, malpractice insurance, and business costs, it’s understandable. The solution will have to address the entire supply chain, not just the storefront.

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