Do the Homeless Get Free Medical Treatment at American Hospitals?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Ro_Laren, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. DanCPA

    DanCPA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Location:
    TrekBBS C/O 2001
    Of course there are restrictions. There is a reason that affluent people from these nations come to our hospitals and do not stay in their system. Supplies and resources are limited and must be rationed by someone.
     
  2. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    CoveTom
    ^ And that's my point. The post to which I was replying said it was an "abusrd" notion that universal or "socialized" healthcare systems do not have unlimited money and, therefore, someone somewhere must eventually decide what to cover and what not to cover. It's true of insurance companies today and it will be true of government tomorrow. Yet somehow it is eeeeeeeeevil when insurance companies do it, but fair and benevolent when government does it. Go figure.
     
  3. DanCPA

    DanCPA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Location:
    TrekBBS C/O 2001
    People don't listen to facts... they choose to live in fantasy.
    They mocked "death panels." But eventually there is going to be one machine and two people that need it and someone will choose who gets it. There is going to be someone that will decide that a treatment is not likely to have significant effect and decline it. Resources are not limitless. Whatever you call the decision makers, someone will be making those decisions.
     
  4. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    The thing is, though, it's not serious medical care that gets rationed because it's not an every day need. With pre-planning, it's possible to make sure everyone who needs it gets it. It's routine care that gets rationed instead, but that strikes me as less harmful.

    Rich people come here because we have some of the best hospitals. However, these are hospitals that the poor in our country can't go to either. They are elite hospitals deigned specifically for those who want to pay more. They're not going to go away either way.
     
  5. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    You just don't get it.

    Some of the most expensive care is already suffering free riders--namely, people who wait until they need emergency care to go to the hospital, then stick everyone else with the bill. This happens now. The situation you're worried about is one in which lifesaving/emergency care is withheld because there isn't enough to go around. The stress is already on that type of care, and we are all paying for it. Moving the stress to routine/preventive care allows for much better planning and much less expense--something you should be in favor of.

    Let me tell you a story. I had a friend who was bitten on her ankle by a spider (or something, she was never sure what.) She had no insurance, so she couldn't go to the doctor. The bite turned into a quarter-sized ring which kept growing. She tried to keep it bandaged and clean but there was only so much she could do.

    Well, within a couple weeks, she developed a high fever and one of her arms swelled up to three times its normal size. She was rushed to the ER and they had to operate immediately. Basically, the bite had led to a blood infection, which settled into her arm and was working its way to her heart. If she'd waited any longer, she would be dead. She had to spend three weeks in the hospital for observation, too. She did not have one penny to pay for this, given that she had a job that paid slightly over minimum wage (which she lost because she was in the hospital for weeks.) Total cost: about $60,000, paid for by people like you and me.

    It probably would've cost a couple hundred bucks' worth of a GP visit and proper disinfecting/bandaging treatment right after the bite happened, if she'd had insurance.

    But, no, universal coverage is somehow more expensive and will break the system. :lol:
     
  6. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    It's distressing how often irrefutable evidence has no effect on some people.

    CoveTom and TighsEye, let me give you an example. Let's say you're in a grocery store and there's 5 cashiers available and you have groceries you want to buy. All 5 cashiers are currently busy with customers. By your logic, you drop your groceries and go home because there's no available resources for you. Fortunately, we over in the civilized world, have developed this wonderful new concept known as a "line". You see, people will line up in front of the cashier, and, when the person in front of them is finished, the next one moves up to take their place. This way everyone can buy their groceries and everyone is happy. It's pretty revolutionary, I know.

    Yes, there are no restrictions what-so-ever on health care for anyone. However, you will have to wait if your case isn't serious. I won't deny that waiting times aren't a serious problem in Canada, but you absolutely will not be refused for anything that you need. And no, you're not going to be left waiting in an ER for 10 hours with a heart attack; you'll be seen immediately, and those with minor issues will be forced to wait longer.
     
  7. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Location:
    fresno, ca, us

    I didn't look up the case, but I bolded the reference in the following quote. A rather old case (1979) is referred to. All it takes is one or two people to really muck up a system. That's with anything.

    While the two men here DO have chronic issues (which I agree, should be treated), their repeated abuse of the ambulance service for non-emergencies (See they will "walk away if they have to wait too long," which someone in a life-threatening situation or even just severe pain is not likely to do) is not justified.



     
  8. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Location:
    2 mi S of Capt Braxton's shopping cart
    Except that none of those systems provide "unlimited healthcare with no restrictions."

    That is simply an impossibility. Not everyone is going to get everything.

    There are, for example, only so many hearts available for transplant.
     
  9. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Location:
    2 mi S of Capt Braxton's shopping cart
    That's very different than what you said before. Details, details.

    I've never looked at the Canadian system in that depth, but I'd bet real money that there's a managed care system in place as well. In other words, you can't demand your doctor give you something that's not going to do anything positive for your condition.
     
  10. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn thestrangequark
    ^But the American system has the same limitations on treatment -- if not more, and they're imposed by the insurance companies. You certainly can't get any treatment you want here. And just like Americans can do, if someone in a country with socialized health care wants something that is not provided, they can pay for it privately.
     
  11. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    CoveTom
    ^ But Kelthaz said, "Yes, there are no restrictions what-so-ever on health care for anyone." You say "You certainly can't get any treatment you want here." Those can't both be true.
     
  12. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn thestrangequark
    ^By 'here' I meant the US.
     
  13. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Location:
    2 mi S of Capt Braxton's shopping cart
    Actually, some restrictions are simply because it's good medicine. We don't give antibiotics for a viral infection anymore. They're worthless for the illness & cause more problems down the road.

    And, yes, there are lists for organ transplant. Patients undergo screening to determine if they can handle the follow-up necessary. We're not going to give a new liver to someone who won't quit drinking. If someone can't be compliant with a medication regimen, they're not going to get a new kidney.

    An MRI is not the first diagnostic test offered if you have a headache.

    And no amount of begging, pleading or offering money is going to get you those things if they aren't medically necessary.

    My point is (and this is from 30 years in healthcare administration): All healthcare is rationed. It's not an infinite resource.

    In the US, we ration largely on a person's ability to pay for care--and I find that an immoral way of doing things.
     
  14. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn thestrangequark
    ^I agree with everything you said. That was the argument I was attempting to make: it is immoral to ration based on ability to pay rather than medical necessity.
     
  15. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    It seems a lot of the argument against universal coverage/single-payer is the belief that people will "use up" healthcare resources just because they can and because they don't have to pay directly for it. While this is a concern to some extent, it is hardly a fatal flaw, and people already fraudulently consume healthcare resources in the US (such as the homeless guys calling the ambulance in propita's example), so things like that aren't going to change much if we switch to a single-payer system.

    What will change is people having access to preventive care, and individuals with chronic conditions being better able to take care of themselves, both of which lead to a reduced reliance on emergency medical services, which are expensive and often very strained.

    There will always be abusers. The presence of abusers does not present a valid argument against implementing such a system in the first place. You do what you can to mitigate abuse, you don't just throw out the whole concept.
     
  16. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Of course there are some restrictions. If I get a cold I can't call for a private jet to take me to the hospital. And you can't demand whatever insane treatments you want at a moment's notice. But, well, there are no restrictions that will compromise your health*. No matter who you are, no matter how much money you have, you will be given access to proper medical treatment. You might have to wait for a long time if your case isn't life-threatening, but you won't be denied anything that your doctors deem necessary.

    Keep in mind that the United States is the only first world country that does not have Universal Health Care. Clearly, if wealthy countries with high standards of living all have Universal Health Care with just one exception there's some merit to the idea. It's not just some hippy, idealistic pipe dream.

    * Okay, okay, dental isn't usually covered in Canada and that can compromise your health, but meh. I never said Canada was perfect.
     
  17. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    CoveTom
    I realize what the value of anecdotal evidence is (read: virtually none), on both sides of the issue. However, we are all colored by our own experiences.

    All I can tell you is this: I live in the United States. I have not had health insurance for many years. And health care, including routine preventative, what we call "urgent care," and emergency, has never been denied to me because of my ability to pay. Doctors, urgent care centers, hospitals... all have been willing to work with me as someone who did not have health insurance and could not simply fork over thousands of dollars out of pocket. In some cases, it was by setting up payment plans that I could manage. In other cases, it was by reducing the bill by a substantial amount. On a daily basis, I have to take an extremely expensive medication that the maker, AstraZeneca, provides to me at absolutely no cost because I can't afford it on my own.

    In short, I have found the notion of being denied health care in the United States because you can't afford it to be as much of a myth as many of you claim to have found things about 'socialized' systems to be myths.
     
  18. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Location:
    comments 2 my butt
    All I can say is, you've been very fortunate in your experiences.
     
  19. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2000
    Location:
    QC, IL, USA
    I went to the emergency room once without insurance and got charged $90 for an ibuprofen. Just because they treat you doesn't mean everybody can afford it or work something out. People rack up doctor's bills in the tens of thousands of dollars that they can't pay off. God forbid they ever try to get a mortgage or something.
     
  20. teya

    teya Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Location:
    2 mi S of Capt Braxton's shopping cart
    So, who pays for your care?

    Setting aside the drugs (and most pharmaceutical companies have similar plans), who pays for the reduction in your bill?

    The hospital eats it.

    Now, that might not be an issue for you, but when a hospital eats non-payments over and over and over and over, they eventually run in the red. Then they close.

    Or, they raise their rates & the discount you get is paid for by other patients.

    But, in the spirit of anecdotal evidence...

    My SIL was born with a dislocated hip. As a child, she had what was considered state-of-the-art surgery for the condition. She's now 42. The hardware in her hip is breaking down & one of the pins has worn a groove through the cartilage on the head of her femur. Every step she takes is shaving off a bit of bone, and that's a very vascular bone. It's excruciating.

    Her orthopod says she needs a hip replacement. Because of her prior surgery, there are only 2 hospitals in the country where it can be done (there's a danger of shattering her pelvis if the old hardware isn't removed properly). Fortunately for her, one's in NYC, a short 40 miles from her home.

    Her insurance company refused to authorize the surgery. Why?

    Because she's 42 years old & the artificial hip will need to be replaced within her lifetime. They told her she'd be approved for a hip replacement once she turns 55.

    By the time she's 55, she'll be permanently disabled, unable to walk or work.

    She could pay for the surgery out of pocket--if she had $75K to spend. She doesn't. She lives in pain.