Societal Ills

I like your ideas to solve societal problems, and, to me, this is one of your most compelling posts. (I am sorry for the wandering conversation with regard to the original post.)
Federal law in the United States provides public access to emergency room care regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. I believe that most people realize this, and it is posted at the entry of all emergency rooms.
Spending for healthcare in the United States is more than 15% of our gross domestic product.
The United States has the largest GDP in the world, at 13,807,550.*
Japan has the second largest GDP at 4,381,576.*
*These numbers are expressed in millions of U.S. dollars from the 2007 list by the IMF.
That means that we spend almost 50% of Japan ’s GDP on healthcare! Nearly half of what we spend on healthcare already comes from the government. So we have a system that is not only supported by U.S. business but also by the U.S. government. Don’t worry, your taxes are already funding healthcare in this country to an astronomical degree.
Do not be too persuaded by infant mortality rates. Infant mortality rates in the U.S. are extrapolated from the initial data of births which show “any sign of life.” That is not how Cuba defines “infant mortality rates,” so…garbage in, garbage out. In the 1970’s, in the U.S., there was a surge of litigation with regard to neonatal morbidity and mortality. Now, even neonates which are born without a pulse or respirations are resuscitated. A life preserved is not necessarily a life which should have been. There is absolutely no sense in preserving the life of an infant which is so brain injured that it will not ever see a quality of life worth experiencing (this is a debate that could justify it’s own forum). Infant mortality rates in Africa, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Bhutan, and Laos can arguably be considered a failure of their governments to provide adequate healthcare for their citizens, but this data should not be used to support socialism in the U.S. If the U.S. Switched to a universal healthcare system, it would not enhance our love for our infants, and I can’t really see how we could possibly spend more than we currently do for healthcare.
The real heroes in the battle against children’s health problems include organizations like:
The true source of healthcare solutions globally are imperialism, capitalism and philanthropy, NOT SOCIALISM!
In California, we recently had a proposition which would have dramatically reformed criminal law regarding addiction. It would have mandated rehabilitation programs for people who found themselves in the criminal justice system for drug or alcohol related offenses. The proposition failed, and it could be argued that it’s for the best, even if one believes in abstinence.
Arguments have been made which criticize alcoholics anonymous of spreading a belief that addiction to alcohol or drugs is a disease. Indeed, the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous is:

  1. We admit that we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.
    Who bought the alcohol?
    Who did the math to determine whether there was enough money to buy alcohol?
    Who poured the alcohol?
    Who drank the alcohol?
    This is another component of the new American culture… the idea that people need not exhibit any personal responsibility, that, like in Denmark, no one should work until they are superior. We are all just egalitarian ants with no talent, no ability, no responsibility and no claim to a better existence.
    If our government sponsored, free educational system has failed so many people, why do you have faith in a government sponsored free healthcare system?
    Why do Indian, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese…ect. Nationalities come to this country and build dynastic strength and wealth? Personal responsibility.
    Mike (property manager) has arguably lifted countless people out of the hopelessness of poverty by posting on this forum and others like it and by publishing a FREE MARKET book which teaches the very skills that you mention. The aspiring investors will only benefit from his experience if they exhibit a degree of personal responsibility.
    If it weren’t for free market capitalism and individual rights, we wouldn’t have infant mortality data, we wouldn’t have an internet, and we wouldn’t have a healthcare system to evenly distribute.
    I have worked locally directly and indirectly with homeless people and I can tell you that even when these people become domicile, they continue to engage in the acts of panhandling and loitering. This is a cultural norm as much as entitlement mentality and the abuse of government sponsored enterprises like Medicare, Medicaid, HUD and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The poison in the well of the U.S. is the myth that socialism will ever improve the quality of our lives.

I’ll take it one step further… why would you want to transfer to the governement the entire healthcare system (1/7th the econonmy), which is infinitely more complex than Social Security, for example, and they cannot get even that concept down since it’s inception. We are always hearing from politcians how social security is going bankrupt, and this is BEFORE nationalizing healthcare!

When Social Security was enacted in 1936, there were 33 workers for every 1 retiree. By 2015, that number will have dwindled down to 2 workers for every retiree. The payments from 1937 - 2005 have totalled 8.9 TRILLION dollars, but during this same time, the Social Security System has received more than 10.7 TRILLION in income. The difference between what was brought in and what was actually paid out to retirees on Social Security, disability, etc. was 1.8 TRILLION. Over the past 68 years, from 1937 - 2005, that means that to administer the program was over 26 BILLION PER YEAR. Now, we all know that it does NOT take that amount of money to administer one program, so you guessed it, admin cost, loans against it, basically ANOTHER HIDDEN TAX within a tax. Even with this SURPLUS of 1.8 TRILLION dollars they have dwindled the number of worker to retiree recipients down to a 2 to 1 ratio.

Now, you want to give them even MORE money and control!!! What insanity!

On top of that, you will be giving a nameless, faceless, beaurocrat the power to decide what care you receive instead of your doctor.

By law, EVERYONE has access to healthcare. If they have to wait in an emergency room to get FREE HEALTHCARE, why not? Do people not have to make ANY sacrifice to get something for FREE?

Funder and Positive Outlook,

Your arguments just don’t go far enough.

Today my bookkeeper was trying to decide if she should pay their $500/month Health Insurance premium, or pay the electric bill and buy food for the kids. She is going to need surgery and HAS to pay the premium I told her. “But we need groceries and gas,” she said. “My husband’s job as a mechanic has slowed way down. He’s just hardly bringing in any money. I don’t know what to do.”

The working poor cannot afford to pay for their health insurance! As a society, we have no choice. We need Universal Health Coverage.

And Social Security has been providing that safety net for old people for a long time now. It provides a measure of dignity to get a check in the mail every month that you have worked for. So you don’t have to eat dog food. Even if you weren’t smart enough to invest for old age.

Yes, entrepreneurs like you all will do all right. It’s the working poor, the not-so-smart, just getting by working poor that need help.

I don’t want to live in a walled-off, gated community so that I can’t see the starving people on the street. We have to have the safety nets or the quality of life here for all of us will deteriorate. We could slip into becoming more like the Third World.

Work hard, but have a heart.


Today my bookkeeper was trying to decide if she should pay their $500/month Health Insurance premium, or pay the electric bill and buy food for the kids. She is going to need surgery and HAS to pay the premium I told her. "But we need groceries and gas," she said. "My husband's job as a mechanic has slowed way down. He's just hardly bringing in any money. I don't know what to do."


Why don’t YOU just pay her insurance for her? Have a heart. I’m being serious here. This is exactly what socialism involves - those of us that work paying for those who don’t. So, why not cut out the middle man and pay her health insurance for her?



You are missing the point entirely, and BTW, I reject that the assertion that because I do not want to see the healthcare industry put under the control of the government under the guise of helping the working poor, that I somehow don’t “have a heart”. Quite the opposite. I’ve been working poor, and worked multiple jobs at once to pay the bills and get by.

I think the problem here is that you are operating under the dillusion that by nationalizing healthcare, that healthcare will become “free” or more affordable. NEITHER is the case. The point I was making with Social Security was that it is a program constantly in “crisis”, and is COMPLETELY mismanaged. And now you want to give the same entity the CONTROL not only of 1/7th of the economy, but CONTROL over your choices in healthcare, while having NO OPTION of what you WILL be paying for.

That $500 your bookkeeper is looking for pay for her heathcare? Under a goverment run system, just like with Social Security, it will have ALREADY been taken out of her paycheck, so she will not have to make the choice between healthcare and food/electric - it will have already been made FOR her WITHOUT her input. Get that, she will have NO CONTROL over how her money is being (mis)spent and how much is being taken, which over time, JUST like Social Security will be more and more and more, just at an ever-increasing rate. She will not have the flexibility to “float” her payment or work something out with the insurance company (as I have on many occassion in the past when times were tough), as it will ALREADY BE GONE.

At the level of “working poor”, The “dignity” of receiving a pathetic Social Security check each month, is easily replacement by a part-time job.

BTW, she doesn’t have to make a choice betweem food and heathcare, there are food banks all across this country which will gladly provide her with food. If her situation is that dire, she does have choices, IF she puts her pride aside. That being said, I would rather she get $500/month for food from the goverment so she could pay her healthcare… this way she would have a choice in how both are spent.

What is sad to me is that you seem to define “having a heart” as giving people “free” (no such thing) healthcare which puts more and more of their lives under the CONTROL of the government. This is nothing more than financial slavery. Under a government run system, YOU WILL HAVE NO CHOICE, it is what they say it is, and you will pay (and EVERYONE will) what they say you pay because they will take it from you upfront. And just like EVERY OTHER PROGRAM usurped by the government, it will be mismanaged, cost more and more and more, and ruin peoples lives. Just ask any retiree how frustrating it is to deal with Social Security at retirement age, and imagine that ten-fold with healthcare at ALL ages…

Have a heart, why would you want to put them through that?..

P.S. - Just saw your reply before I hit “post”, and Mike, that was a GREAT point.

Does you bookkeeper have a cell phone. Does she live in a house or rent? Does she have cable? A bigscreen TV? Does she go out to eat? To the movies the day after payday?

I don’t mean to attack your bookkeeper, because I don’t know her. My point is a general one that I have observed of many of the “working poor”. They spend money freely and then have too much month at the end of the money. I know one guy who struggles like your bookkeeper who is a security guard. He averages about $250 a month on his cell phone bill, then wants the government to make it easier to for him to get insurance.

I just have to agree with the others. If this is a real problem, then history suggests that we need to find some other solution other that the government to solve it. Making it harder to sue would also bring health care costs way down.

As PositiveOutlook said, if the government has control, the $500 would come out of the paycheck, it would also probably cost at least $1200 the difference coming from someone elses taxes, and the level of care would be much reduced. I don’t understand how anyone can look at the programs that the government runs and not figure that healthcare will also be a disaster as well. As bad as our healthcare system is right now, I can’t think of a single government program that is more efficient.


No it wouldn’t. The saving would not be passed on to us in cheaper prices, it would be absorbed into higher profits.

Bluemoon, I’ll tell you what, I would rather have the dollars go back into the private sector than into the black hole of the government anyday.

Did you not just see the $78 BILLION, or 22% of the first half of the $700 billion TARP money go up in flames with the government OVERPAYING financial institutions? Without interest consideration, this equates to $262 for every man, woman and child in the US! An amount equal to almost to 40% of the $13/week taxpayers are scheduled to get back from “stimulus” debacle.

And you want to give healthcare (17% of the Gross National Product) to these same people? The taxpayer gets what they deserve…

What has not been mentioned here is the drop in quality of health care we would see if a universal health care system were to be implimented. As it is now malpractice insurance is forcing doctors out of business. Imagine how many more good doctors we would lose f the Government starts dictating how much a doctor gets paid for every procedure they perform. In addition to that universal healthcare would overwhelm the system just like it does in other countries with universal health care. Do u have any idea how long it takes to get a simple appendecomy in some countries with universal health care? Up to six months!!! That is unless you are wealthy and can afford to “subsidize” the doctor with some under the table money. I have no problem contributing to social security even though I will never see a dime of it myself because baby boomers built this country and I know when my grandparents were alive social security and Medicare allowed them to live a halfway decent retirement. But I am absolutely against my hard earned tax money going To pay for health insurance for someone to lazy to go out and pay for it themselves. When I was in college I waited tables at night and had to pay for my health coverage out of my own pocket, but you know what I sucked it up and paid $175 a month to make sure that if something happened I would not be screwed for life. Much the same way I pay for AFLAC now out of my own pocket just in case…

I think the problems we have are the result of decisions made by people who really do not have serious medical care needs until later in life, namely white, wealthy males. I think you all make a good point that the government would be a mess at handling this for everyone. But the government is paying already so I’d rather it benefit me too. For example, I looked into public preschools for my son but we make too much money (so I guess my paid taxes can’t benefit my child). You all talk about how horrible it would be but it could be a great system if it wasn’t only used by the poor…I liken that point to public transit. Many people thinking buses and rails would be a waste but guess what? They are GREAT when the middle-class and wealthy actually use them (NYC, London subways, Honolulu Buses, SF subways).

I’m not sure if Furnished is a woman but it’s women and children who need care sooner and most often and are usually at the mercy of the ridiculous hospital bills and insurance stupidity. And we are hit with at a younger age in life, (even though we are married!). The fact is doctors in America send you for this test or give you that pill… A healthy America means less profits for the system. Americans are an overworked, unhealthy lot and we are all paying for it. The fact is there are several governments that have an excellent system for their citizens based on preventative care. I do not believe we should be a government only system but if we create an “efficient” base-line of care I am all for it.

I do think our medical care is very good. The fact is a good American doctor will still be a good American doctor no matter where their pay check comes from. But when I’m on the table I don’t want to worry about whether or not the anesthesiologist who shows up is in my network. I’d rather pay $250 extra in taxes and have it all covered than $250 cobra and get the anesthesiologist bill for $4,000 more just because he was “out-of-network”. By the way, this really happened to me and I followed all the rules.

Healthcare will never be fixed until it becomes just what the name implies. Now it is Sickcare, not healthcare. Sickcare is big business and I think a vested interest in making sure that we get sick. Do you know that one hospital in Houston (M.D. Anderson) only deals with cancer. It has a $2.5billion budget every single year. It employs 17,000 people. If we cured cancer or reduced it to a minor illness this would be a horrible blow to the economy.

A fact is that you get what you reward. If you reward the doctor/hospital system for sick people then you will get sick people. What we should do is pay for healthy people. If the doctor/hospital system received $25/month for every healthy person in the system a zero dollars for every sick one, the incentive would be to make sure everybody was healthy. People only die of 3 reasons 1) heart disease 33% 2) infections 19% 3) cancer 12%. Every other cause of death is in the noise or other category. All these causes of death are behavioral based diseases. We get them because of how we act. This means they can be cured. If the USA decided to make these 3 things as rare as polio, we could all live a better quality of life and a longer life. We would jog everyday instead of having a beer and a cigarette after work, McDonalds would be the largest seller of salads in the USA instead of the number one seller of french fries. We would all wash our hands 10 times a day. We would only get sick at the end of our lives just before our bodies shut down at 110 years old. We would look good at the nude beach well into our 50s instead of looking like beached whales in our 20s. Viagra would not be needed. Like I always say it not about the money it is about the lifestyle. This would raise our lifestyle at the same time it reduced our cost for that system.

Why not? Because most liberals believe that it is important for everyone to have good healthcare. Unfortunately, It’s just not important enough for them to reach into their own pocket to pay for it. Guilt has much to do with their opinions. They feel guilty for being a “have” while someone else is a “have not”. Being for universal healthcare assuages that guilt. Another way of assuaging the guilt would be to give as much money to charity as it takes for you not to feel guilty!!! Believe me, it works!!!


This has become a hot topic–here goes…

I can not pay my bookkeeper’s $500/month health insurance premium because then I would have to pay it for the other 5 employees as well. Then I would be out of business. Do you even KNOW that 80% of small businesses can not pay for health insurance?

Last year we did a lot of research on getting health insurance. We had our local independent insurance agent come to our office to sign up everyone eligible for different self-pay programs. One cleaning lady was able to then get a much-needed and long-deferred hysterectomy after her waiting period ran out.

I gave everyone a generous raise specifically to help with their premiums. My employees are well-paid by local standards and I live not much differently than them.

My bookkeeper has been to the local food bank but she is not eligible because “SHE AND HER HUSBAND BOTH HAVE JOBS AND OTHERS ARE MUCH WORSE OFF”. She does not have $250 cell phone bills, eat out a lot and go to movies. That writer obviously hasn’t been around the working poor much.
The working poor have to choose between groceries and the gas bill. Between taking their child to the doctor with a crying ear infection or toughing it out.

Why the huge fear of universal health care? We need it. I have lived in Europe and in Japan with government health care, and it is much better on preventative maintenance. In Japan we got regular notices to show up for chest xrays for TB. In this country, there is a scary resurgeance of new drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis. That upper middle class lifestyle won’t prevent you from inhaling a virulent TB bacillus when you go to the Mall. Only widespread preventative health care can handle that. Health care for the poor.

I have a close friend in Canada (universal health care) who, darn it, won’t ever immigrate here because of our dismal health maintenance.

The person who wrote that “Social Security checks for the elderly can be replaced by a part-time job” (!) is just plain ignorant. Writer, have you BEEN to an old folk’s home lately? Why do you think that people around the world mostly quit working at age 65? Let me see–just get those elderly slackers to self-medicate their senile dementia, arthritis, incontinence (surprise! that happens too), glaucoma, and heart disease away. Then they can go to work and forgo those Social Security checks. Those slackers.

I have been working on my taxes. I just noticed that I paid charitable tax-deductible contributions last year to Amnesty International, the NAACP, Public Radio, the Red Cross, etcetera. I wonder if I might be a LIBERAL? Or did I just lose that chit to the EIP Network?


Almost anything would be better than the disastrous system we have now–maybe a hybrid of gov’t/private enterprise like Section 8 (everything comes back to real estate I guess :biggrin) where people pay a reasonable premium every month for their healthcare and the rest is subsidized. Right now people get laid off thru no fault of their own and their only option is unaffordable COBRA. We all end up paying the costs anyway in our current system, when people use an ER, give a false name and skip out on the bills, and cause overcrowded ER rooms because they went there for the flu instead of going to a doctor’s office. Those costs get passed on to everyone else eventually. Why not have some kind of organized system instead of the chaos we have now.


I put this under the “It can’t get any worse than this” category. FWIW, It can and likely will get worse. Government created the problem and has not transcended the level of thinking they had when they did.


And the tax the rich business owners philosophy to pay for a bloated government program of health care would be affordable?

So you are saying that the current liberal welfare state encourages people to drop their jobs in order to get benefits from the government? You don’t see a problem with this? I have a hard time believing that they have two incomes, and you say you are paying them above average, and yet it is not a spending problem in their budgeting.

I know and live around many “working poor”, and came up myself. 95% of their money problems are because of poor decisions. Rewarding them with free benefits does not help them. They have to learn the lessons of money management and life to move up. I have heard many rags to riches stories ( a hobby of mine ) that start with a hungry belly and no health care. But not too many that start with being made comfortable with government benefits.

I have lived my whole life on a reservation near the border to Canada. Much of our business took us over the border. I know many Canadians. I apparently never met your friend. I know many ( almost everyone I talked to about it ) that envy our health care. They use their own free system until it gets life threatening, then instead of wait in line for years to get treated, they come down to the States and get immediate treatment and pay for it themselves. Because at least here they can get treated and by the best in the world.


Sunnysky / Furnishedowner…

I’ve got news for you… health maintenance IS the main focus of health insurance… it’s alot cheaper for the insurance companies to pay for annual physicals, well-baby checkups, mammograms, immunizations, teeth cleanings, flu shots, etc. than it is to treat the desease afterwards. Think about the illogic of what you are saying - insurance company would avoid paying for health maintenance that costs hundreds vs. paying for the full-blown desease costing in the thousands! What do you think HMO’s are? Health MAINTENANCE Organizations! In addition, most health insurance follows this model. You either didn’t do your due diligence, or you are getting screwed…

I would respectively suggest that there is definite ignorance here, but it is not on my part… Maybe because I have a wife who’s a nurse, a brother in-law who is in the health insurance industry (working directly with doctors), a business owner providing health insurance, that I may have a more accurate insight into the subject.

With regards to your friend and food banks, again, I would suggest the ignorance is not on my part - There are more than one type of food bank… if it is county driven (i.e. - government driven), then they do screen and because they are employed, own a home, cars, etc. (i.e. - have means), they would most like have been turned away… BUT you can go to the local food pantry, OR any church, and you will find people ready and willing to help NO QUESTIONS ASKED! BTW, there are also organizations setup with local churches to assist in paying your utilities and church’s also help with this. I know all this, because I participate in local food drives (i.e. - the actual collection not just the giving) through Scouts (we just completed one for Scouting for Food we do every year), the Church, annual food drives locally (my kids were on TV for this one - they loved it), etc. I’ve personally helped the “working poor” of which I’ve been one, not only coordinate with our local Church’s to get their rent covered so they were not evicted, but their car insurance payment, electric, phone, etc. taken care of. These are done through what are called Benevolent Committee’s. Food is a no-questions asked issue, other services, rightfully so, they ask for info, but it has been my experience that few are turned down, as they look to help those in need. I would suggest that your friend has many more options than she has explored. She could get both her electric and food covered and then she could make her health insurance payment.

Tell you what, privately email her name and number to me, and I GUARANTEE that I can find a local solution to her short term problem. That is if pride is not a factor - and if it came to a choice of my kids eating and my pride, pride comes second. In the meantime, if her husband’s business is slow, he can always pick up part-time work on the off-hours. McDonald’s is having a boom right now, and they are AWLAYS hiring, and he would only have to work 10-12 hours a week to cover that $500. Or she can… Of course, if pride is a factor… I would suggest, BTW that provided her info, i could easily show her ways to decrease her costs at least $250 EVERY MONTH, but some sacrifice would be required. WHAT? You mean she would have to sacrifice to get something she wants… yes, it is a novel concept… talk to the people who LIVED through the Great Depression, and two world wars, and you can see the utter digust they have for the way people nowaways think they are “entitled” to everyting…

BTW, Sunnysky, I find bogus your assertion that you couldn’t help her because you would have to cover everyone elses health insurance. You could easily (and privately) give her a personal loan, gift (which you can write-off along with your other giving you felt the need to list - add one more), or an advance on her pay that she could pay off over time in small increments (I mean we’re talking $500 here) to cover her food and electric, allowing her to pay her health insurance, and now you don’t have to worry about others complaining that you paud her insurance. You just have to WANT to… Where there’s a will, there’s a way… It’s just obvious that you don’t… and you criticize others for not wanting to increase their costs?

The reason your friend’s health insurance is so much, is because of the mass amount of people who get it for FREE or at a greatly reduced cost. EVERYONE else pays more for this to happen.

Family in “old folks home” - yes, my wife’s grandmother is in one, and we intimately aware of it’s surroundings and pitfalls and utter misery. And after their personal means are exhausted Medicaid and Medicare take over, and you have a picture of government run healthcare. HOWEVER, that was not what I was referring to… The point I was making was that people have been forced to contribute to a system (Social Security) their whole lives only to find out the “benefits” they receive equate to a part-time job… pathetic… and you want to do the same with healthcare… BTW, did you know that of the 30,000 suicides in Japan, a study was done that found that 50% of them were related to health problems? People are routinely rejected two- three times before FINALLY being seen. The elderly many more times, usually into double-digits. I guess we define compassionate differently. I can’t believe you tried to equate Japan, Europe and Canada to our health system.

It is routine for the ederly to be denied life-saving operations in socialized medicine, as there is only so much money to go around. The more people on the system, the younger this REALITY of socialize/nationalized healthcare presents itself… a nameless, faceless, beaurocrat (whom you can’t sue BTW) to make your healtcare decisions FOR YOU… Thanks, but NO THANKS!

If you like the other systems globally, go live under them… I hear Canada is nice, and I’m sure whatever you do there can be transplanted…

It could get a lot worse or it could get better, IMO. But staying with the current system guarantees that it will slowly get worse. I don’t think the current system is sustainable long term. What we have now isn’t a real system actually–more a hodgepodge of different entities and people who don’t work well together.

Read the above post from Positive Outlook.

Let me start by saying that capitalists are the first to throw out free market principles when it doesn’t benefit them and socialist liberals simply think they know better than individuals. These are both contributory reasons for the situation the industry is in.
I want you to think of every dollar as a vote. When a consumer buys a good or service they effectively “vote” for that good or service over a competitors’ good or service. In this way, investment and innovation will bring better products/services to the market, where they compete for more votes “dollars”. When you take that amount of voting power away from the general public and have the government provide it many things are likely to happen.

Innovation/Investment is reduced both in quantity and scope
Demand for services will increase
Costs and Prices Rise (These are not the same thing but both happen)
Inefficiencies grow because of the lack of free market forces to correct them
Quality Decreases
Poor will get poorer

BTW: There will be TWO Healthcare systems. One for the annointed and one for everyone else.

One system will have no waiting access to the finest doctors.

The other will have long lines, limited services as dictated by the government. They will decide who is worth saving and who dies by their value system (or lack of).

Which system will you be participating in?



I have a different opinion of Japan’s health care because we lived there with our family for 5 years. This was not on a military base, but as part of society.

The clinics were full of people getting seen. Big companies, like Hitachi, also had their own health care clinics. If you were a Hitachi worker, you would just go to their clinic without an appointment and get your bronchitis treated. That clinic would know if your immunizations and check-ups were up to date. They would require that you came back for follow-up and more medicine. The Hitachi Company had a large interest in keeping their workers healthy and productive. If you didn’t show up for your medical appointment your boss would hand you a note to go.

I never heard of any one waiting for surgery. Our daughter had to have a hernia fixed and it was scheduled and done.

Some aspects of the Japanese health care system were harder to take: the almost total lack of privacy while being examined, and their underuse of pain medication. The cancer wards were known as “the groaning wards”.

As far as the suicide rate, that is a complex problem. The rate is so high because of multiple things. Laid-off salaried workers (salarymen) kill them themselves because it is so demeaning to be without work. And they need to provide for their families. INSURANCE PAYS OUT FOR SUICIDES. So a guy provides for his family by offing himself.

Suicide is also part of popular culture. Suicides are routine in TV teenage love stories. There is no Western Christian prohibition as suicide being a “sin”. Instead there is a sense of fatalism. Suicide is an honorable way out.

And thanks for the tip to research other food banks, we will do it. McDonald’s in this town does not pay $12.50/hour. No way could you make $500 by working 10 hours a week. The bookkeeper’s husband is already working 60 hours a week.

Sometimes other people’s problems look simple. But I am telling you that this health care crisis will not go away. We need universal health care. This last election proved that half the country agree with me.