USA Elections

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martinr Saturday 8 November 2008 3.19pm
Laphroaig wrote:
Getting back to the topic, interesting commentary by Matthew Parris, currently in Australia:

I'm not sure I agree with him. Yes it's true that lots of people are placing unrealistic expectations on Obama. And nobody expects him to do anything other than protect the interests of the US first and foremost. For example it'll be interesting to see what happens with the US car makers. Expect squeals of protest from Europe (quite rightly) about unfair competition if he agrees to bail out General Motors or Chrysler.

However I think he doesn't really have to do that much after the disaster of Bush to really change the way the world feels about the US and to garner respect. Some strong statements about respecting international law, working with global bodies that were just ignored by Bush, closing Guanatanamo Bay, ending extraordinary rendition and torture and so on would go a long long way to restoring US credibility in the eyes of the rest of the world.
martinr Saturday 8 November 2008 3.34pm
Laphroaig wrote:
Jackie and martinr, as I said, there is one hospital (usually the county hospital) in every big city that must take anyone who needs emergency care, regardless of the ability to pay. (You may have seen "ER", which portrays such a place.) That doesn't mean they all do, and Americans are used to digging out their proof of insurance cards. Most people I know carry the card with them at all times in case of emergency, as if you aren't able to show it you will be sent to the county hospital. (Though in San Francisco, at least, the county hospital is by far the best place for trauma victims.)

For people with insurance, the advantage over the UK is that you don't run into problems such as being put on a two-year waiting list for a hip replacement.

No but my point is that the Govts in the UK and the US spend roughly the same per person on public healthcare. For that in the US you get systems such as Medicare and Medicaid and emergency treatment. In the UK it buys universal coverage. That's not to say that the NHS is perfect - far from it - although I don't know anyone that's ever waited for 2 years for treatment - a friend of mine has just had a hip replacement after a 2 month wait.

The US undoubtedly has some of the best healthcare in the world, for those that can pay. I have friends in the US and am constantly amazed at how if they have a problem they will be having scans and all sorts of investigative treatments. Here they'd probably get told to go home and take an aspirin and come back if it hasn't cleared up.

But ultimately life expectancy in the US is slightly less than in the UK - so what does all that extra spending through private insurance really do other than increase the profits of the various parts of the healthcare industry ?
Laphroaig Saturday 8 November 2008 5.07pm
Yeah, as I said, I'm not going to defend it. For one thing, I'm not an expert in health care.

However, I do know that one of the major reasons it is more expensive is our legal system. People are very willing to sue if something goes wrong, or even if nothing went wrong but they don't like the outcome. Plaintiffs' attorneys work on contingency, which means they represent injured people for free and get about a third of any award, after expenses--which means that in some cases they end up with the majority of the money. Cases in the US usually drag on for years (I'm always surprised at how quickly cases are tried here), and they are extremely expensive to defend, especially a medical case that will require expert witnesses. And if the plaintiff loses, he is not required to reimburse the defendant, so the defendant is out the money even if he is completely innocent. Juries tend to treat trials as opportunities to award defendants jackpots that rival lottery awards, regarding doctors and hospitals as having deep pockets. Huge punitive damages can be awarded on top of actual damages that are meant to compensate the plaintiff.

Because of this, medical professionals and hospitals must carry malpractice insurance, which is extremely expensive due to the large potential payouts. Insurance companies would rather settle with plaintiffs, even when they don't really have a good case, than spend more money to defend, especially when the jury may decide for the plaintiff. As a result, plaintiffs' attorneys seek out plaintiffs in order to make a quick buck off the insurance companies. The jokes about them being ambulance chasers is not far off in some cases. I dealt with some of them when I practiced law, and they're a slimy bunch, in my experience.

Then of course there is out-and-out fraud, where, e.g., someone will suddenly slam on the brakes in front of you, causing your car to rear-end his. He will then present fake reports showing major physical damage, from a doctor and chiropractor who are in on the fraud, all in the effort to get a quick payout from your insurance company. But this is getting WAY off the topic ...

Just a last comment, though: Americans also do not get compensated by the government for being raped or beaten up. I don't really understand the rationale behind the compensation system here.
Laphroaig Saturday 8 November 2008 5.34pm
This just in: It's Sarah Palin's fault that crackpots threatened to kill Obama.

Pretty soon she'll also be responsible for the spread of AIDS, global warming, and World War II.
martinr Saturday 8 November 2008 9.08pm
Laphroaig wrote:
This just in: It's Sarah Palin's fault that crackpots threatened to kill Obama.
Pretty soon she'll also be responsible for the spread of AIDS, global warming, and World War II.

You mean she's not responsible ;-)

I don't understand much about the criminal compensation scheme either. Perhaps because the Govt has failed in its duty to protect citizens from crime ?
mickysalt Saturday 8 November 2008 11.08pm
The nest time we hear from her she will be claiming to represent the centre ground,and standing for presedent.

Hhhm will any one believe it.
wjfox2004 Tuesday 20 January 2009 7.46pm
A fantastic day for America and the world :-)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/obama_inauguration/7839229.stm


mickysalt Thursday 22 January 2009 5.29pm
I noticed in his speech he toned town his health care wording, just saying it was to expensive and not effective enough, he didn't use the word universal. Which is prity important.
jackie rokotnitz Friday 23 January 2009 10.02am
Yes guys. I started this thread, way back, when I was just bowled over by this classy, brilliant, charismatic figure. At last, someone in the White House with an A+ brain. Please God keep him safe and good luck to him in this horrible world.
Current: 31 of 34


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