Djcnor’s Weblog

GoodTimePolitics Is a Coward

Posted on: March 4, 2009

GoodTimePolitics is a blogger. He or she is on the conservative side of the political spectrum. I am on the left side. I noticed on WordPress’s tag surfer that we had posted on several of the same subjects, so I posted a comment on his blog. This is the link:

http://goodtimepolitics.com/2009/03/01/an-interview-with-john-goodman-on-the-future-of-health-care-europe-socialist-governments-provide-free-universal-health-care-for-everyone/#comment-6535

It was a bit disappointing to find that the blog was simply a borrowed interview from another source, but since conservatives often borrow their arguments from a set of talking point sources, I gave him the shadow of a doubt and posted anyway. Perhaps he would be willing to use some of his own thoughts in any discussion that followed.

This particular borrowed opinion piece insisted, though it provided no sources, that the reason universal healthcare appeared to cost half what Ameircans pay was that the true costs are hidden. Although it admitted that life expectancy was, if anything, longer in countries with universal healthcare than in the US, it chose to discount that measure of healthcare quality and cherry pick certain types of cancer for which the US has better 5-year survival rates than Europe does.

This seemed unfair to me, since it was cherry picking, and those types of cancer are not truly a large proportion of health problems for the US or Europe. A better choice might have been cardiovascular problems. But I knew of a more general measure that few could really question.

So I asked, if he thought deaths that could have been prevented by access to timely and effective healthcare was a good measure of healthcare quality. This measure is especially pertinent because opposers of universal healthcare in the US keep insisting that universal healthcare would prevent timely access to effective healthcare. Unfortunately, for that argument, the US comes out at the bottom by that measure, allowing many more preventable deaths. I provided a reference.

http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN07651650

and I quoted from it:

“In establishing their rankings, the researchers considered deaths before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections and complications of common surgical procedures.

Such deaths accounted for 23 percent of overall deaths in men and 32 percent of deaths in women, the researchers said.”

I asked that he explain why he did not consider it a good measure, if he didn’t.

Did I get a reasoned argument in return? Not at all. He blew right by the fact that apparently universal healthcare managed to provide effective care in a timely enough manner to out-perform the US system, and gave a source on waiting times in the UK, ignoring my question as well, and zeroing in again on cancer.

I countered with my own experience of British healthcare, chronicled elsewhere on this blog, along with a recent encounter with a neighbor who had gotten a hip replacement. I included what my family, living here in the UK, have learned about how UK waiting lines operate, moving the most urgent cases to the front on the line very quickly.

He said I didn’t know what I was talking about. (How he knows more, never having lived here, he did not explain.) In fact, he insisted there was no waiting time at all in the US, a laughable proposition, so it’s no wonder he got so upset when I presented him with proof otherwise.

Then he brought up TV licenses, as an attempt to side-track the discussion, I presume.

It didn’t work. He tried again, maligning the BBC as a government mouthpiece, something it clearly is not, and showing his general ignorance of things outside the US. He, of course, didn’t bother to answer my question of whether he had any personal experience of any other system, and when the BBC side-track did not work, decided to move on to Canada’s healthcare system, probably a good move, since it is debatable whether it is better than the UK’s system or not. (The UK system is considered one of the worst universal healthcare systems.)

More quoting of other sources, almost all anecdotal. Again I explained how the waiting system deals with urgency. More anecdotes of his own experiences with military medicine, which wasn’t good. How it was supposed to aid his case, I don’t know.

Having been doing a little research in the meanwhile, I posted the following two references:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-burger/ugly-health-care-waiting-_b_55749.html

which actually quotes the chief medical officer of Aetna insurance, speaking at an investor’s conference as saying:

  • The U.S. “healthcare system is not timely.”
  • Recent statistics from the Institution of Healthcare Improvement document “that people are waiting an average of about 70 days to see a provider.”
  • “In many circumstances people initially diagnosed with cancer are waiting over a month, which is intolerable.”
  • In his former stint as an administrator and head of a physicians’ organization he spent much of his time trying “to find appointments for people with doctors.”

and

http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=7af65822-8a73-46cc-afb6-808e49be3eff&sponsor=

“Canada tops U.S. in health care comparison study. Canada’s health-care system is as good or better than that of the United States and is delivered at half the cost, new research shows.

Strangely, my post did not appear. I tried again. It did not appear. Another poster was asking for evidence for my arguments, but I wasn’t being allowed to post it.

Finally, GoodTimePolitics posted saying that if my post had contained more than one link, it would have been filtered out by his restrictions.

So I posted each link in a separate post. Still it did not appear.

Faced with the facts that totally refuted his insistences, he refused to let them be posted. My opinion is that this makes him a coward.

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6 Responses to "GoodTimePolitics Is a Coward"

You posting this makes you look like a whiner.
If you have cancer, there are steps to follow. You can’t just go in and get kemo, so it’s working, but no health care can get you in at the drop of a dime! You have an empty argument. There’s availability of the facility, the doctors or nurses who perform the kemo. How about open heart surgery, you think you can just go to a drive thru and order it? Unless you are in the ER and near death, it won’t happen! There are too many factors. Just like my knee surgery that I explained on the other blog, doctors have steps to follow. Otherwise they can get sued for malpractice. To end my rant, no healthcare is “timely”, but if you go to the ER you get seen that same day and I can call my doctor and get same day appointments as well. It’s all about if they have any openings. That will never change. If you can’t get same day appointments, you need to change doctors.

Hi. Thanks for the comment. Unlike GoodTimePolitics, I welcome comments from those with all kinds of views. I do, however, favor the ones that actually contribute facts, public research, evidence other than anecdotal evidence, because anecdotal stories are just that. Stories are told about the deviaitions from normal, rather than about the way things go normally.
Yes, if you have cancer, there are steps to be taken. The same steps on either side of the Atlantic and on either side of the Canadian border, and yes, for some types of cancer, the US has better 5-year outcomes. But overall, especially when you weight considerations according to the prevalence of a problem within the patient population, there is endless evidence that universal care does better.

Do you dispute being able to deliver timely and effective care in such a way that preventable deaths are prevented as a measure of healthcare quality?

All I asked of GTP was that he allow facts relative to the discussion going on to pbe presented. That’s a standard I believe most blogs adhere to. It’s a standard I hold other blogs to. Your standard, and his can be lesser, but it is just that, lesser.

You seem to be not taking in the basic facts presented in this blog post, since you seem to be countering them by simply denying them. I ask more of you. By the way, in the UK you are guaranteed to see your doctor within 48 hours of calling. They make openings if necessary. It’s interesting that you mention that “no healthcare can get you at the drop of a dime”. But no one in any universal healthcare nation is vulterable to that because we all have access, there are no uninsured.

[…] GoodTimePolitics Is a Coward Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Breast cancer drug approval worries […]

Since GoodTimePolitics will not allow me to reply to this on his blog, I’ll reply on mine.

Yes, universal healthcare systems make decisions regarding how to spend their limited funds. So do all medical coverage systems including insurance companies. When universal healthcare systems make the decisions, they use a board consisting of doctors and citizens and their considerations are whether the benefit delivered by the drug, in this case a few extra months for patients with terminal cases of a particular cancer outweighs the benefits of the cost of the drug spent otherwise, for example, in a way that would actually save a few more lives among patients with perhaps that same cancer, not yet terminal. These are not easy questions. Insurance companies make the same types of decisions on different bases, often on the basis of how much they have already paid on behalf of a particular patient, always with profit in mind. I’d rather have the doctors and citizens deciding on the basis of comparative benefits. Apparently, GoodTimePolitics would choose the insurance company.

OMG! Stop holding onto things. Move on! I don’t agree with your views on MANY things, but I don’t have a blog dogging you about your views! You are an adult, try acting like one. Put yourself above what you believe to be childish and ridiculous!

I get a ping back that is relevant to one of my posts, I answer it. That’s my pollicy. You can have a different policy. I don’t feel as strongly on this one as I do about the issue of not allowing a comment with a contrary view on your blog. I only answer ping backs when they’re relevant to the subject at hand. And healthcare is such an important issue to me that I will not stop countering any and all arguments against universal healthcare that come to my attention. If that bothers helochick or GoodTimePolitics, so be it.

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