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Introduction

The US political and economic elites have always bragged that capitalism is far superior to socialism in terms of providing people’s personal welfare. They claim that citizens live longer, healthier and happier lives under capitalism.

The debate between the supporters of the US Affordable Care Act or ‘Obamacare’ and its most vehement opponents under President Trump is not part of any larger system debate since bothsides’ base their vision and plans for medical care on private, for-profit corporate insurance schemes. This source of funding would ‘harness market forces’ to deliver quality medical care…in a marketplace of ‘free competition’, in which every American, even the most fragile, cancer-ridden patient, would be an engaged stakeholder, weighing a huge menu of free choices…

The real comparison of how these economic systems provide basic health care should be based on showing which provides the best population outcomes, personal satisfaction and community security across national boundaries. National health systems top the chaotic private system in these parameters.

On the other hand, the US tops all European countries in terms of the percentage of workers and family members who avoid necessary trips to the doctor because they fear financial ruin from the inflated costs of their private health care. In other words, majorities of people, dependent on private for-profit insurance schemes to provide health care, cannot afford to visit a medical facility, doctor or clinic even to treat a significant illness. The type of economic system funding health services determines the likelihood of a patient actually going to seek and receive important medical care that will preserve life, one’s ability to work and enjoy some level of satisfaction.

This essay will include a brief discussion of the social and political conditions, which gave rise to the socialized, and clearly more effective, health care system. And we will touch on the consequences the two health systems in terms of people’s life expectancy and quality of life.

Comparing Costs of Medical Visitation by Economic System

The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population. In contrast, all countries in the European Union have some form of publicly funded and delivered health plans for its workers.

One of the key quality measures of a health care system is a patient’s access to timely competent medical care.

The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OCECD) recently conducted a systematic comparison of seven countries, with different levels of GDP, and the percentage of people in each country who are able to afford medical consultations for necessary medical care.

The European countries all have established national public health programs with clear goals and measures in terms of outcomes. The US is the only nation to rely on privately administered and funded health care systems for its working age population.

The Results

Over one-fifth (22%) of the US working age population believe they cannot afford to consult a doctor or medical clinic – in the event of an illness or accident. In contrast, less than eight percent of European workers view themselves as unable to afford necessary medical care. For the largest EU nations, less than 5% of the working population avoids care because of a perceived inability to pay for essential services. US workers are five times more likely to voluntarily forego health care, often with disastrous long-term consequences.

If we compare the US with its ‘free market’ private insurance run system with any EU nation, we find consistent results: Access to competent, essential medical services in the US is far worse!

In Germany and France, the EU’s most developed nations, working age citizens and their family members have three to ten times better access to health care than the US. 8% of workers in France and 2% in Germany postpone necessary visits to the doctor because of a perceived inability to pay. Among middle developed EU nations, 4% in the UK and 4.5% in Italy cite financial reasons for skipping essential medical care – compared to 22% of working age Americans.

Even in the least developed EU nations, Spain and Portugal, with the highest unemployment rates and lowest per capita income, workers have greater access to health care. Only 2.5% of workers in Spain and 7.5% in Portugal view costs as a reason to avoid visiting their doctor.

High Tech Billionaires Speak of ‘Values’ while Maximizing Profits

Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits’, the multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg opined this month, after his company, Facebook posted its first ever $10 billion quarterly earnings result. (FT 11/16/17 P 8)

Zuckerberg and entourage had apparently ventured into Middle America discovering to their shock that American communities were in the midst of a narcotic addiction crisis, which had caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and disrupted the lives of millions of addicts’ family members. The natives of Middle America were more concerned about access to effective addiction treatment than their access to Facebook! Zuckerberg, with his legions of highly educated foreign workers on the West Coast, conveniently missed the chance to identify the source of the American addiction crisis: The over-prescription of opioid pain medications by tens of thousands of private US medical practitioners, pushed by the giant US pharmaceutical industry in a 2 decades-long medical genocide that the nations of Europe had so ‘miraculously’ avoided because of their centralized, regulated, socialized health systems.

While the US may have the least available and least affordable health care for working people, it can certainly boast about producing the highest number of super-rich in the world. Five of the world’s largest companies are US-owned with a combined market capitalization of $3.3 trillion for the top US tech giants. Europe’s largest tech company, SAP, is sixty notches below.

ORDER IT NOW

The US giant mega-billion dollar tech companies and CEO’s are also mega-billion dollar tax-evaders who stash their fortunes overseas and avoid the inconvenience of having to contribute to any national health programs for workers – whether in the US or elsewhere. The monopoly tech corporations’ wealth and power are one important reason why over a fifth of working age Americans cannot afford necessary medical care. As one acute observer noted, ‘The new high tech elite tend to cloak their self interest by talking about values which has the collateral benefit of avoiding talk about wealth.’(FT 11/17/17 P9)

The scarcity of European multi-billion dollar tech CEOs, like the American Zuckerberg and Gates, is linked to the domestic tax systems that provide public financing and management of effective medical service serving hundreds of millions of European workers.

In other words, the US, with its far more extreme concentration of wealth and social inequality, continues to have the greatest level of health care inequality among industrialized nations.

Europe is not without inequalities, monopolies and underfunded health programs but it delivers far better and more accessible care to its citizens than the private capitalist health system promoted in the US.

Historical Roots of the Superior European Health Care System

The power of monopoly capital is one of the key factors resulting in the deteriorating quality of health care for the US working population. Another factor is the lack of consistent working class struggle in the US compared to Europe. After the Second World War, there were huge waves of working class strikes across France, Italy and the UK. Various communist parties in continental Europe played a leading role within the trade unions demanding for publicly funded, national health care. In the UK, Socialists and the Labor Governments were pushed by their trade union members to craft a national health system to meet the needs of workers and their families. While Germany had a basic national health system dating from the time of Bismarck in the late 19th century, the socialist economy and public services developing in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after the Second World War provided an alternative for West German workers who then successfully pushed for the implementation of an advanced welfare state, including a socialized medical care system, within the thoroughly capitalist German Federation.

In the 1970’s Spain and Portugal shed their fascist past and post-war dictatorships. The militant trade unions and leftist parties ascended to power on promises to implement social-welfare programs, which, even with their economic limitations, included highly effective national health programs. Life expectancies rose dramatically.

The US has neither welfare nor national medical programs for its working population. Despite a brief interlude of American workers’ strikes shortly after WWII, leftist militants, communists and socialists were purged and corrupt business-linked trade union leaders took over. Rather than struggle for an effective national system of publicly funded medical care, the trade unions, linked to the Democratic Party, pushed their membership to struggle for ‘nickel and dime’ wage increases – accepting a system of the most expensive, and unaccountable private health care in the world.

The capitalist US has been the only country to deprive its working age citizens and their family members of an effective national health system. After over 60 years, the results are damning. Providing essential medical care for American workers, through the various forms of private, for-profit insurance schemes, has resulted in an uncontrolled health care cost inflation making manufacturing in the US far more expensive than its European, Japanese or Canadian competitors.

From 2001 up to 2018, under Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump, the US taxpayers have spent $5.6 trillion dollars on privately delivered, for-profit medical care with unimpressive results in terms of population health and life expectancy. On a per-capita basis, this is twice the amount spent on citizens of the EU who have consistently enjoyed rising life expectancy and improving health parameters. Despite this enormous investment of money in a chaotic, ineffective private system, the US Treasury has steadfastly maintained it could not finance a National Health Program for the population.

Present and Future Consequence of a Capitalist ‘Health System’

Today millions of US wage earners can expect to suffer shorter and less healthy lives than their counterparts in other industrialized countries in Europe and Japan. The opioid addiction epidemic among US workers, caused entirely by uncontrolled prescription of highly addictive narcotics by private practitioners and pushed by the profit-hungry US pharmaceutical industry, has led to over 600,000 deaths by overdose and millions of lives shortened by the brutal realities of addiction and degradation. This legally prescribed epidemic is unique to the United States where an estimated 15% of construction workers need treatment for addiction, millions have dropped out of the labor market due to addiction and the medical plans of numerous US building trade unions are facing bankruptcy because of the cost of addition-treatment for its members. The anti-addiction drug, Suboxone, is the most expensive and heavily prescribed medication for some union health plans. The reasons for this atrocity are clear: Injured American workers were being prescribed long courses of cheap, but highly addictive opioids to address their pain during cursory visits to ‘medical clinics’, rather than providing them with the more expensive but appropriate post-trauma care involving physical therapy and rest. The bosses and supervisors, who just wanted ‘warm bodies’ back on the job, were oblivious to the impending disaster.

ORDER IT NOW

Mega billion dollar private drug companies manufactured and promoted highly addictive prescription narcotics and paid ‘lobbyists’ to persuade US politicians and regulators to ‘look the other way’ as the addiction epidemic unfolded. Corporate hospitals and for-profit physicians, nurses, dentists and others participated in a historic catastrophe of medical irresponsibility that ended up addicting millions of American workers and their family members and killing hundreds of thousands. A huge proportion of prescription narcotic addicts are white workers in poorly protected manual jobs (construction, factories, farms, mines etc.). They lack access to effective, responsible medical care. In new millennium America, their jobs would not provide for ‘time off’ or physical therapy following injury and they unwittingly resorted to the ‘miracle’ of prescription opioids to get back to work. In many cases, their private medical insurance plans blatantly refused to pay for more expensive non-addictive alternatives and would insist the workers receive the cheap opioids instead. The rare worker, who demanded to take time off to seek effective medical and physical therapy for an injury, would be fired. US capitalists could easily ignore the growing shortage of healthy American construction and other workers by importing cheap, skilled labor from abroad and sanctimoniously blame American workers for their disabilities.

Conclusion

Workers in even the poorest European Union countries have greater access to better, more effective medical care then their US counterparts. They continue to enjoy rising life expectancies and longer lives without disability. Their injuries are treated appropriately with rest and physical therapy. Injured European or Japanese workers are never prescribed ridiculously long courses of highly addictive narcotics given to Americans. Certainly any increase in overdose deaths from prescribed opioids in the European Union or Japan would have generated rapid public health investigations and corrective action – a marked contrast to the two decades of callous indifference within the US medical community that bordered on Social Darwinism considering the working class identity of most victims. In Europe and Japan, long-term narcotic therapy is reserved for terminal cancer patients suffering from intractable pain. It would never have been offered to rural or working class teenagers for sports injuries – a common practice in the US!

The European public medical care systems are the product of class struggle and socially conscious mass movements and political parties that produced welfare states where improving population health was a central goal of its social compact. In contrast, the private-for-profit health system in the US is the shining example of the triumph of capitalism – the consolidation and further enrichment of capitalist control and the subordination of labor in each of its phase – from low to high tech business. In this ultimate triumph of capitalism, the old class struggle slogans were revised – becoming – Long live the bosses! Early death to the workers!

Private health care and the drive for higher profits provided enormous benefits for the pharmaceutical industry, making billionaires out of the owners and CEOs. This spawned the ‘ultra-philanthropic’ billionaire Sackler family whose Purdue Pharmaceuticals peddled the deadly Oxycontin to tens of millions of Americans. For profit-hospitals, private medical practices and rapacious insurance companies all reaped the bounty of mismanaging a bloated, unaccountable system that has provided the American worker with an early death by overdose or a shortened life of despair and disability.

Private capitalist employers and insurance companies continue to benefit from the epidemic of pre-mature deaths of their former employees: Pension costs and health care liabilities are slashed because of the decreasing life expectancy – Wall Street is jubilant. There will be fewer communities to educate and protect and this will lower taxes. Cheap imported replacement workers (educated or trained on their own societies’ dime) can conventiently be deported or replaced.

It is undeniable: increasing life expectancy and a decent life free of disability has disappeared for the American worker. With poor health and inadequate care, maternal and infant mortality are on the rise especially in rural and de-industrialized areas.

By every health and living standard indicator, the history of successful class struggle led to the implementation of effective national welfare and health programs. Their societies have reaped benefits for their citizens that were clearly superior to corrupt boss-worker class collaboration under private capitalism in the US.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Capitalism, Health Care, Opioids, Socialism, White Death 
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  1. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    To put it bluntly, the US is just a shitty place to live in.

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    • Replies: @Michelle
    We are definitely going down the toilet!
    , @Astuteobservor II
    basically if you are a retired middle class, if you ever need some big medical care, you would probably go bankrupt if you have no insurance(very few have this besides a few grandfather pensions) or if there is a cap. the govt would force you to sell everything before it decides to help you. even though you have been a good, tax paying citizen all your life. without medicare for the elderly, all middle class retirees would get fucked with just a single big health problem.

    that is usa.
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  2. An anecdote: I know of a couple large companies whose goal is to have zero sick days off, so their Workman’s Compensation premiums don’t get jacked up. They have made informal deals with the local ER doctors to make sure that no doctor writes orders for time off work for injuries, with the threat of sending business to other hospitals if the docs can’t comply with their wishes. All hurt workers, unless needing in-patient care, are sent back to in-factory sick bays with hospital beds to do whatever they are capable of doing, even if only coloring in coloring books. This also has the effect of cutting down on malingering to stay home and watch TV. Loose part of a finger? You go to work the next day with your hand all bandaged up and lay in bed and count ceiling tile and get paid wages to count ceiling tile, no “sick time” ever accrued.

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  3. JackOH says:

    Thanks, Prof. Petras.

    Here’s a portion of an unpublished letter I sent my local newspaper regarding a failed state-wide health care initiative:

    “Who wouldn’t want to uncover the veil of sorcery that has many folks qualifying for bazillions in medical treatment at little cost to themselves, while others are forced to throw themselves on the mercy of the emergency room only to be dunned for years after for the full cost of treatment that may be too late?”

    Trick question, of course. Neither elites nor the general public actually want to know squat about how that health insurance card got stuffed in their wallets. They dish up explanations of convenience for their good fortune, and reduce their questioning of health care to something like: What’s my co-pay? They’re insurance-drunk.

    We’ll get a Medicare for All scheme, and the driver will be group health insurance acting as a poorly checked and destructive excise tax on labor, pushing legacy industries into bankruptcy, ditto legacy cities such as Detroit, and possibly older states into bankruptcy.

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  4. A rec my trip overseas shows the cost of healthcare as run in the USA. Italy, Germany and other Western European countries could hardly be considered “cheap”by global standards. But eating out? We were consistently able to dine, very well, in Italy for one half the cost, or even less, in New York, Chicago, and a few other places. It might be the cost of the food, but more likely it’s the cost of labor and the cost of rent, which as James has pointed out is siphoned off as interest to pay the debt that strangles the USA.

    My guess is costs are lower in Ohio and places like that, but I’d still wager that for the quality of food served you pay much more in the USA. I’d think a capitalist would want to fix this problem, but we only have crony capitalists using Federal tax policy to feed at the trough.

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    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    My parents visited Italy twice in recent years and certainly did NOT find it to be cheaper to dine out than it was at home in northern New Jersey (near NYC), which is an expensive area.

    With a TWENTY-TWO percent Value-Added Tax , which seems to be applicable to restaurant bills in Italy -- compared to 6-8% in most US locations -- it's hard to see how it could be much cheaper, if cheaper at all, to dine out in Italy than in most places in the USA. Even Washington DC levies 10% sales tax on restaurants, a far cry from Italy's 22% VAT.

    , @RobinG
    You obviously didn't visit Switzerland (or London, if I can believe reports). And there's no comparison to how much more Europeans pay for food in the grocery store.
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  5. I hate this debate. Doctors are white-robed terrorist quacks.

    On the other hand, the US tops all European countries in terms of the percentage of workers and family members who avoid necessary trips to the doctor because they fear financial ruin from the inflated costs of their private health care. In other words, majorities of people, dependent on private for-profit insurance schemes to provide health care, cannot afford to visit a medical facility, doctor or clinic even to treat a significant illness.

    The only necessary trip to the doctor is for traumatic injury. Bone fractures, stab wounds, gun shots, etc.

    Everything else is the consequence of poor habits such as improper hygiene & cleaning, poor food safety practices, consumption of carbohydrates and industrial seed oils, failing to lift weights, and not getting enough sun.

    To this we can add those born with genetic diseases. The state should mandate that these people never be born in the first place.

    The bottom line is that healthcare is for losers.

    The only medical intervention I recommend for winners is donating blood (reduces ferritin accumulation).

    Instead of figuring out how to cover people or make healthcare more affordable, we should make healthcare illegal. Or at the very least we should at least ban fat people from any kind of medical treatment ffs.

    Tired of all these whinging sick fags.

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    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Everything else is the consequence of poor habits such as improper hygiene & cleaning, poor food safety practices, consumption of carbohydrates and industrial seed oils, failing to lift weights, and not getting enough sun.

    Like all those whining sick fags at the Shriner's Hospitals?

    A lot of medical problems come from simply living past 65. We are also finding out a lot of diseases are congenital. I saw a show where it was determined that Elvis Presley had a genetic predisposition to cardiac hypertrophy. He didn't know it and continued to ignore the symptoms such as his massive sweating on stage. With proper care he would likely have lived well into his 70s.
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  6. Michelle says:
    @Anon
    To put it bluntly, the US is just a shitty place to live in.

    We are definitely going down the toilet!

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  7. @TomSchmidt
    A rec my trip overseas shows the cost of healthcare as run in the USA. Italy, Germany and other Western European countries could hardly be considered "cheap"by global standards. But eating out? We were consistently able to dine, very well, in Italy for one half the cost, or even less, in New York, Chicago, and a few other places. It might be the cost of the food, but more likely it's the cost of labor and the cost of rent, which as James has pointed out is siphoned off as interest to pay the debt that strangles the USA.

    My guess is costs are lower in Ohio and places like that, but I'd still wager that for the quality of food served you pay much more in the USA. I'd think a capitalist would want to fix this problem, but we only have crony capitalists using Federal tax policy to feed at the trough.

    My parents visited Italy twice in recent years and certainly did NOT find it to be cheaper to dine out than it was at home in northern New Jersey (near NYC), which is an expensive area.

    With a TWENTY-TWO percent Value-Added Tax , which seems to be applicable to restaurant bills in Italy — compared to 6-8% in most US locations — it’s hard to see how it could be much cheaper, if cheaper at all, to dine out in Italy than in most places in the USA. Even Washington DC levies 10% sales tax on restaurants, a far cry from Italy’s 22% VAT.

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    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    It certainly might have something to do with cities visited, which were not the Rome-Florence-Venice big three. So perhaps there was little tourist overcharge where we went; we certainly heard more locals talking than English conversation in Bologna, Verona, and Turin.

    VAT was included. The price on the menu, plus the pane e coperto which I think goes to the waiter, was what you paid.

    Some examples of things that you might compare to US prices: full bottle of mineral water, we never paid more than 3€, VAT included. That's about $3.50. Wine by the glass: cheap, 3€, very good 5€, top of the line 10€, this for Valpolicella reds. One place put a liter of the local plonk on our table, Unasked for, for €7; we did drink and enjoy it. The most expensive entree I saw was 25€ (note: we did not go to one VERY expensive place in Turin where entrees were in the 30s), and in fact we had very good meals made up of entrees priced no more than €14. They were also too large a portion to have a primo and a secondo course.

    Mineral water around NYC goes for $5 minimum for places with the quality of food we ate in Italy. A cheap glass of red wine is Minimum $8; you occasionally find a place with promotional glasses at $5. And for good sit-down restaurants in NYC, the under-$20 entree is gone.
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  8. bossel says:

    the socialist economy and public services developing in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after the Second World War provided an alternative for West German workers who then successfully pushed

    That’s nonsense. After the founding of the FRG they re-introduced the health insurance & abolished some nazi regulations, which made it essentially into the health insurance as it existed before 1933. Later changes were inclusion of pensioners (1957), farmers (1972) & university students (1975). There were always fairly small changes to the system depending on how much money was available, but the basic structure didn’t change much & is still fairly similar to what Bismarck had planned.

    Your idea of GDR influence sounds very much like you’re simply trying to make socialism look good. The only more or less direct influence socialism had, was on Bismarck, though. He introduced the health care system partially because he tried to prevent the growth of socialist influence in society. Nothing like that was necessary in the FRG.

    BTW, considering this biased depiction of the German situation, it’s probably fair to assume that the rest of your article is just as biased in favour of socialism.

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    • Replies: @JackOH
    My understanding of Bismarck's motives are pretty much like yours: deflate the socialists, accrue prestige to the German emperor, and--wish I had a reference--the charitable impulse within Lutheran Christian piety.
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  9. JackOH says:
    @bossel

    the socialist economy and public services developing in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after the Second World War provided an alternative for West German workers who then successfully pushed
     
    That's nonsense. After the founding of the FRG they re-introduced the health insurance & abolished some nazi regulations, which made it essentially into the health insurance as it existed before 1933. Later changes were inclusion of pensioners (1957), farmers (1972) & university students (1975). There were always fairly small changes to the system depending on how much money was available, but the basic structure didn't change much & is still fairly similar to what Bismarck had planned.

    Your idea of GDR influence sounds very much like you're simply trying to make socialism look good. The only more or less direct influence socialism had, was on Bismarck, though. He introduced the health care system partially because he tried to prevent the growth of socialist influence in society. Nothing like that was necessary in the FRG.

    BTW, considering this biased depiction of the German situation, it's probably fair to assume that the rest of your article is just as biased in favour of socialism.

    My understanding of Bismarck’s motives are pretty much like yours: deflate the socialists, accrue prestige to the German emperor, and–wish I had a reference–the charitable impulse within Lutheran Christian piety.

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  10. @RadicalCenter
    My parents visited Italy twice in recent years and certainly did NOT find it to be cheaper to dine out than it was at home in northern New Jersey (near NYC), which is an expensive area.

    With a TWENTY-TWO percent Value-Added Tax , which seems to be applicable to restaurant bills in Italy -- compared to 6-8% in most US locations -- it's hard to see how it could be much cheaper, if cheaper at all, to dine out in Italy than in most places in the USA. Even Washington DC levies 10% sales tax on restaurants, a far cry from Italy's 22% VAT.

    It certainly might have something to do with cities visited, which were not the Rome-Florence-Venice big three. So perhaps there was little tourist overcharge where we went; we certainly heard more locals talking than English conversation in Bologna, Verona, and Turin.

    VAT was included. The price on the menu, plus the pane e coperto which I think goes to the waiter, was what you paid.

    Some examples of things that you might compare to US prices: full bottle of mineral water, we never paid more than 3€, VAT included. That’s about $3.50. Wine by the glass: cheap, 3€, very good 5€, top of the line 10€, this for Valpolicella reds. One place put a liter of the local plonk on our table, Unasked for, for €7; we did drink and enjoy it. The most expensive entree I saw was 25€ (note: we did not go to one VERY expensive place in Turin where entrees were in the 30s), and in fact we had very good meals made up of entrees priced no more than €14. They were also too large a portion to have a primo and a secondo course.

    Mineral water around NYC goes for $5 minimum for places with the quality of food we ate in Italy. A cheap glass of red wine is Minimum $8; you occasionally find a place with promotional glasses at $5. And for good sit-down restaurants in NYC, the under-$20 entree is gone.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Dual USA-EU citizen here.

    Food prices in the European Union are typically lower than they are in the United States, mainly owing to how CAP functions compared to America's farm programs. Bear in mind that agriculture does not operate in a free market in any developed country (the USA is obviously an inherently lower cost producer than Europe in agriculture).

    That said comparing second tier Italian cities to New York is not a reasonable comparison. New York City has some of the highest rent per square foot in the entire United States, and there are also substantial regulatory costs.

    I live in a rural area for instance and can "enjoy" (unlike New York or Italy, all restaurant meals besides fast food are bad) an entire meal for $10. $20 if I want an appetizer, steak, and a cocktail. You'd need to go to Eastern Europe to find prices like that in the EU.

    Prices also vary by country in Europe. Costs on the continent are reasonable--typically much more affordable than major American cities, and as you note wine is quite cheap in the wine producing countries of Europe.

    Once you get to the North Sea things change. Restaurant in Britain and the low countries tend to be considerably higher than in America, and in the Nordic countries they are shockingly high (even if you ignore Norway).

    The basic breakdown on consumer prices between Europe and the USA works like this:

    Real estate: cheaper in America
    Manufactured goods: cheaper in America
    Energy: much cheaper in America
    Telecommunications: cheaper in Europe
    Food: (mostly) cheaper in Europe
    Healthcare and education: much cheaper in Europe

    Of course the breakdown isn't complete without considering income. Here it really depends on your social station. Blue collar labor is substantially better off in Europe. White collar labor is about the same on both sides of the pond, though with some differences depending on the profession (e.g. doctors are grossly overpaid in America). Business owners and executives are substantially better paid in America.

    If you've got something on the ball and avoid healthcare and education costs you are better off (materially) in America. Most other people are better off in Europe, especially if rural areas aren't an option.

    Obviously there are quality of life issues not related to money per se. Europe has nicer cities, America has more countryside. Can't find a good steak in Europe, but cuisine in America is awful outside of the major cities (to be fair it's really only Italy, France, and Spain with good cuisine in Europe). Americans considerably fatter than Europeans, and despite Merkel's blunder Europe including its cities remains far whiter than America.

    In general the differences between America and the EU are exaggerated, especially today as things have been converging for some time. This includes even healthcare. Costs are rising in Europe (they finally stopped rising in America), various rationing schemes have been introduced in many national medical services such as copays and doctor visit fees, and of course the madness for "privatization" (e.g. the state-owned Swedish medical service was "privatized" in the 90s leading to charming news stories like elderly people having their diapers weighed to see if they really needed to be changed).
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  11. @TomSchmidt
    It certainly might have something to do with cities visited, which were not the Rome-Florence-Venice big three. So perhaps there was little tourist overcharge where we went; we certainly heard more locals talking than English conversation in Bologna, Verona, and Turin.

    VAT was included. The price on the menu, plus the pane e coperto which I think goes to the waiter, was what you paid.

    Some examples of things that you might compare to US prices: full bottle of mineral water, we never paid more than 3€, VAT included. That's about $3.50. Wine by the glass: cheap, 3€, very good 5€, top of the line 10€, this for Valpolicella reds. One place put a liter of the local plonk on our table, Unasked for, for €7; we did drink and enjoy it. The most expensive entree I saw was 25€ (note: we did not go to one VERY expensive place in Turin where entrees were in the 30s), and in fact we had very good meals made up of entrees priced no more than €14. They were also too large a portion to have a primo and a secondo course.

    Mineral water around NYC goes for $5 minimum for places with the quality of food we ate in Italy. A cheap glass of red wine is Minimum $8; you occasionally find a place with promotional glasses at $5. And for good sit-down restaurants in NYC, the under-$20 entree is gone.

    Dual USA-EU citizen here.

    Food prices in the European Union are typically lower than they are in the United States, mainly owing to how CAP functions compared to America’s farm programs. Bear in mind that agriculture does not operate in a free market in any developed country (the USA is obviously an inherently lower cost producer than Europe in agriculture).

    That said comparing second tier Italian cities to New York is not a reasonable comparison. New York City has some of the highest rent per square foot in the entire United States, and there are also substantial regulatory costs.

    I live in a rural area for instance and can “enjoy” (unlike New York or Italy, all restaurant meals besides fast food are bad) an entire meal for $10. $20 if I want an appetizer, steak, and a cocktail. You’d need to go to Eastern Europe to find prices like that in the EU.

    Prices also vary by country in Europe. Costs on the continent are reasonable–typically much more affordable than major American cities, and as you note wine is quite cheap in the wine producing countries of Europe.

    Once you get to the North Sea things change. Restaurant in Britain and the low countries tend to be considerably higher than in America, and in the Nordic countries they are shockingly high (even if you ignore Norway).

    The basic breakdown on consumer prices between Europe and the USA works like this:

    Real estate: cheaper in America
    Manufactured goods: cheaper in America
    Energy: much cheaper in America
    Telecommunications: cheaper in Europe
    Food: (mostly) cheaper in Europe
    Healthcare and education: much cheaper in Europe

    Of course the breakdown isn’t complete without considering income. Here it really depends on your social station. Blue collar labor is substantially better off in Europe. White collar labor is about the same on both sides of the pond, though with some differences depending on the profession (e.g. doctors are grossly overpaid in America). Business owners and executives are substantially better paid in America.

    If you’ve got something on the ball and avoid healthcare and education costs you are better off (materially) in America. Most other people are better off in Europe, especially if rural areas aren’t an option.

    Obviously there are quality of life issues not related to money per se. Europe has nicer cities, America has more countryside. Can’t find a good steak in Europe, but cuisine in America is awful outside of the major cities (to be fair it’s really only Italy, France, and Spain with good cuisine in Europe). Americans considerably fatter than Europeans, and despite Merkel’s blunder Europe including its cities remains far whiter than America.

    In general the differences between America and the EU are exaggerated, especially today as things have been converging for some time. This includes even healthcare. Costs are rising in Europe (they finally stopped rising in America), various rationing schemes have been introduced in many national medical services such as copays and doctor visit fees, and of course the madness for “privatization” (e.g. the state-owned Swedish medical service was “privatized” in the 90s leading to charming news stories like elderly people having their diapers weighed to see if they really needed to be changed).

    Read More
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Thanks for the thoughtful overview. Wine really was the most dramatic difference in price. It would make sense that the Nordic countries, with their ridiculously high alcohol taxes, would not be cheap on wine or spirits.

    That having been said, I first noticed the restaurant disparity in London in June, which shocked me because London is even more expensive than NY. We spent about 75% for comparable meals, though London was more expensive than Italy.

    It's depressing to read of medical costs going up in Europe. I have to agree with most of your evaluations.
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  12. Ben Frank says:

    Obamacare was unconstitutional and broken from day one.
    Socialized medicine does not work.
    Europe coasts along using R&D paid for in USA.
    Media was forever whining about how great medicine was in USSR and Cuba – until the facts came out.
    Read Market Ticker; monopolies ruin anything.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    Read Market Ticker; monopolies ruin anything.
     
    https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-perils-of-hospital-consolidation

    This suggests trust-busting should be applied to the hospital sector.

    If I recall correctly, this is something Karl Denniger aggressively supports.

    Incidentally in the United Kingdom it is very easy to get price quotes for medical procedures from private clinics (most of the state-run NHS services are free at the point of delivery).

    See here for instance (scroll down to "Pricing"): https://www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/treatments/orthopaedic-surgery/knee-arthroscopy

    When I telephoned the local hospital (and there is only one) and asked for a price quote on blood work (knew exactly what tests I wanted), not only would they not tell me but they informed me I had to schedule a doctor's appointment and that the doctor would order any blood tests he considered necessary.

    I ended up instead ordering tests from a company outside of the formal healthcare system. I was able to do this online and all prices were clearly posted.

    As they are outside of the system, I was unable to use my health "insurance"--not even my Health Savings Account (only works on merchant terminals which code for medical). I also need to drive 90 miles to a lab where my blood can be drawn (I live in a rural area).

    These inconveniences are a small price to pay for the freedom of controlling my own health with definite prices. I do everything in my power to avoid the conspiracy of white-robed terrorists and armies of parasitic bureaucrats.
    , @Old fogey
    Many thanks for suggesting that folks read Karl Denninger on health care. He is the best mind on the economics of the medical system in the U.S. that I have found.

    Most of us do not need health insurance, except for rare catastrophic emergencies. When I think of how much money went into health insurance for my family while I was working (retired now) that could have been paid directly to me and then I could have chosen an insurance plan sensible for us as a family (one that covered only catastrophic events) I despair.
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  13. @Ben Frank
    Obamacare was unconstitutional and broken from day one.
    Socialized medicine does not work.
    Europe coasts along using R&D paid for in USA.
    Media was forever whining about how great medicine was in USSR and Cuba - until the facts came out.
    Read Market Ticker; monopolies ruin anything.

    Read Market Ticker; monopolies ruin anything.

    https://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-perils-of-hospital-consolidation

    This suggests trust-busting should be applied to the hospital sector.

    If I recall correctly, this is something Karl Denniger aggressively supports.

    Incidentally in the United Kingdom it is very easy to get price quotes for medical procedures from private clinics (most of the state-run NHS services are free at the point of delivery).

    See here for instance (scroll down to “Pricing”): https://www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/treatments/orthopaedic-surgery/knee-arthroscopy

    When I telephoned the local hospital (and there is only one) and asked for a price quote on blood work (knew exactly what tests I wanted), not only would they not tell me but they informed me I had to schedule a doctor’s appointment and that the doctor would order any blood tests he considered necessary.

    I ended up instead ordering tests from a company outside of the formal healthcare system. I was able to do this online and all prices were clearly posted.

    As they are outside of the system, I was unable to use my health “insurance”–not even my Health Savings Account (only works on merchant terminals which code for medical). I also need to drive 90 miles to a lab where my blood can be drawn (I live in a rural area).

    These inconveniences are a small price to pay for the freedom of controlling my own health with definite prices. I do everything in my power to avoid the conspiracy of white-robed terrorists and armies of parasitic bureaucrats.

    Read More
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  14. @Thorfinnsson
    Dual USA-EU citizen here.

    Food prices in the European Union are typically lower than they are in the United States, mainly owing to how CAP functions compared to America's farm programs. Bear in mind that agriculture does not operate in a free market in any developed country (the USA is obviously an inherently lower cost producer than Europe in agriculture).

    That said comparing second tier Italian cities to New York is not a reasonable comparison. New York City has some of the highest rent per square foot in the entire United States, and there are also substantial regulatory costs.

    I live in a rural area for instance and can "enjoy" (unlike New York or Italy, all restaurant meals besides fast food are bad) an entire meal for $10. $20 if I want an appetizer, steak, and a cocktail. You'd need to go to Eastern Europe to find prices like that in the EU.

    Prices also vary by country in Europe. Costs on the continent are reasonable--typically much more affordable than major American cities, and as you note wine is quite cheap in the wine producing countries of Europe.

    Once you get to the North Sea things change. Restaurant in Britain and the low countries tend to be considerably higher than in America, and in the Nordic countries they are shockingly high (even if you ignore Norway).

    The basic breakdown on consumer prices between Europe and the USA works like this:

    Real estate: cheaper in America
    Manufactured goods: cheaper in America
    Energy: much cheaper in America
    Telecommunications: cheaper in Europe
    Food: (mostly) cheaper in Europe
    Healthcare and education: much cheaper in Europe

    Of course the breakdown isn't complete without considering income. Here it really depends on your social station. Blue collar labor is substantially better off in Europe. White collar labor is about the same on both sides of the pond, though with some differences depending on the profession (e.g. doctors are grossly overpaid in America). Business owners and executives are substantially better paid in America.

    If you've got something on the ball and avoid healthcare and education costs you are better off (materially) in America. Most other people are better off in Europe, especially if rural areas aren't an option.

    Obviously there are quality of life issues not related to money per se. Europe has nicer cities, America has more countryside. Can't find a good steak in Europe, but cuisine in America is awful outside of the major cities (to be fair it's really only Italy, France, and Spain with good cuisine in Europe). Americans considerably fatter than Europeans, and despite Merkel's blunder Europe including its cities remains far whiter than America.

    In general the differences between America and the EU are exaggerated, especially today as things have been converging for some time. This includes even healthcare. Costs are rising in Europe (they finally stopped rising in America), various rationing schemes have been introduced in many national medical services such as copays and doctor visit fees, and of course the madness for "privatization" (e.g. the state-owned Swedish medical service was "privatized" in the 90s leading to charming news stories like elderly people having their diapers weighed to see if they really needed to be changed).

    Thanks for the thoughtful overview. Wine really was the most dramatic difference in price. It would make sense that the Nordic countries, with their ridiculously high alcohol taxes, would not be cheap on wine or spirits.

    That having been said, I first noticed the restaurant disparity in London in June, which shocked me because London is even more expensive than NY. We spent about 75% for comparable meals, though London was more expensive than Italy.

    It’s depressing to read of medical costs going up in Europe. I have to agree with most of your evaluations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    Rents, business rates, an innumerable swarm of obscure permits, regulations and (often "green") taxes which all need money or (often cash-in-hand/under-the-table shhhhh) labor thrown at them, constantly. That, and parking/"congestion" charges meaning it would be more efficient to have the stuff brought in by pack-mule from Hampshire or somewhere.

    After dealing with all the rent-seeking, I'm always surprised they have time or funds to cook anything at all. Catering, in That London, is very much not a license to print money, unless your clientele is Inner Party politicians, journos and their expense-account corporate cronies.
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  15. @Anon
    To put it bluntly, the US is just a shitty place to live in.

    basically if you are a retired middle class, if you ever need some big medical care, you would probably go bankrupt if you have no insurance(very few have this besides a few grandfather pensions) or if there is a cap. the govt would force you to sell everything before it decides to help you. even though you have been a good, tax paying citizen all your life. without medicare for the elderly, all middle class retirees would get fucked with just a single big health problem.

    that is usa.

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  16. RobinG says:
    @TomSchmidt
    A rec my trip overseas shows the cost of healthcare as run in the USA. Italy, Germany and other Western European countries could hardly be considered "cheap"by global standards. But eating out? We were consistently able to dine, very well, in Italy for one half the cost, or even less, in New York, Chicago, and a few other places. It might be the cost of the food, but more likely it's the cost of labor and the cost of rent, which as James has pointed out is siphoned off as interest to pay the debt that strangles the USA.

    My guess is costs are lower in Ohio and places like that, but I'd still wager that for the quality of food served you pay much more in the USA. I'd think a capitalist would want to fix this problem, but we only have crony capitalists using Federal tax policy to feed at the trough.

    You obviously didn’t visit Switzerland (or London, if I can believe reports). And there’s no comparison to how much more Europeans pay for food in the grocery store.

    Read More
    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Switzerland was more expensive, or as expensive, as New York. No question about it, but that was 2015.

    We ate out regularly this summer in London's West End, sit-down restaurants albeit not Le CordonBleu type places. Generically middle- to upper-middle-class places. London entrees were regularly in the 10s and lower 20s of pounds; with the pound at the time about $1.2, it worked out to less than NYC prices for food in restaurants, about 75%. This greatly surprised me as I expected London to be 25-33% more than NYC.

    I didn't compare much on grocery food, lacking kitchen facilities. Of course, the exquisite hams of Europe were cheaper over there, and cheese also cost less. I'm looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market. Chocolate cost about the same for the same brands we could get in the USA. Coffee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you'd have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.

    In sum: Italy and London SHOULD be more expensive, but aren't at present. Perhaps this is because the dollar is going to collapse, or US prices are going to go down. It strikes me as similar to what friends reported in the early 80s when Reagan's tax cuts and deficits caused a massive inflow to the USA and drove the dollar sky high against the franc, mark, etc. maybe the same effect now.
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  17. Governments of countries with National Healthcare Systems spend relatively little on their Military. Their populations if asked to whether to spend defence or healthcare always opt for healthcare. What would the American people choose if asked the same question? If they chose a National Healthcare System the world would be a better and safer place.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anarchyst
    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military "umbrella". THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.
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  18. @RobinG
    You obviously didn't visit Switzerland (or London, if I can believe reports). And there's no comparison to how much more Europeans pay for food in the grocery store.

    Switzerland was more expensive, or as expensive, as New York. No question about it, but that was 2015.

    We ate out regularly this summer in London’s West End, sit-down restaurants albeit not Le CordonBleu type places. Generically middle- to upper-middle-class places. London entrees were regularly in the 10s and lower 20s of pounds; with the pound at the time about $1.2, it worked out to less than NYC prices for food in restaurants, about 75%. This greatly surprised me as I expected London to be 25-33% more than NYC.

    I didn’t compare much on grocery food, lacking kitchen facilities. Of course, the exquisite hams of Europe were cheaper over there, and cheese also cost less. I’m looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market. Chocolate cost about the same for the same brands we could get in the USA. Coffee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you’d have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.

    In sum: Italy and London SHOULD be more expensive, but aren’t at present. Perhaps this is because the dollar is going to collapse, or US prices are going to go down. It strikes me as similar to what friends reported in the early 80s when Reagan’s tax cuts and deficits caused a massive inflow to the USA and drove the dollar sky high against the franc, mark, etc. maybe the same effect now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    I’m looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market.
     
    There is grassfed, raw milk cheese at my local health food grocer for $10 per pound. It is aged three years as well.

    offee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.
     
    Coffee is not grown in the EU or America (there may be some trivial cultivation in tropical territories) and thus is not subject to farm subsidies. The price is a genuine market price.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you’d have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.
     
    EU farm subsidies total 400 billion Euros per year: https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/20/how-the-eu-budget-is-spent-common-agricultural-policy/

    Feed lots are widespread in Europe.

    Corn is not a cash crop in Europe, so cattle are instead fed other grains like wheat and barley in European feed lots.

    The marbling in feed lot beef is not "artificial". That's actual fat from the animal's muscle tissue. There's simply more fat than would be the case if the cattle were purely grassfed.

    @anarchyst

    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.
     
    This is overblown. US defense spending is 3.3% of GDP. European countries vary between 1-3%.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well. Medicare and Medicaid cost as much as national medical systems in other countries.

    And I'm not too sure our defense "umbrella" is protecting Europe from anything. The Warsaw Pact dissolved a generation ago.
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  19. anarchyst says:
    @Ed in Kanata
    Governments of countries with National Healthcare Systems spend relatively little on their Military. Their populations if asked to whether to spend defence or healthcare always opt for healthcare. What would the American people choose if asked the same question? If they chose a National Healthcare System the world would be a better and safer place.

    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Right. The US needs to immediately reduce military spending that is financed by other countries. Scale it way back and end the free
    ride once and for all.
    , @Expletive Deleted
    Blighty agrees, on the whole.
    US, please concentrate on making the US impregnable for the 21st century, not fiddling about, bleeding cash in every scruffy little 20th century troublespot on the planet. Leave the troublemakers to their neighbors.
    Oh and can the Jerries and the Iranians be allowed their own nukes now please? It's only fair, we've got a few, and so have the Frogs.
    , @Giuseppe
    "Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist."

    Bingo.

    , @silviosilver
    But they spend less for equivalent/comparable healthcare outcomes.

    Can you not grasp the significance of this fact?
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  20. anarchyst says:

    Columnist John Myers, a Canadian who often visits the United States wrote this about the Canadian vs. American health care system:

    United States: “My wife picked me up from the pool and took me to Rockwood Clinic. In minutes, I had a cardiologist hooking me up to an EKG machine and a nurse giving me an aspirin and testing my blood to see if I was having a heart attack. I got the results while I was there and was told nothing to worry about. I was suffering tachycardia, which is when the heart beats dangerously fast.”

    Canada: “I couldn’t catch my breath, so my wife rushed me to the emergency room at the Rockyview General Hospital. Even as I gasped for air, the triage nurse would not look at me. When my wife, who had once worked at that hospital, complained, she was told that the emergency room was ‘very busy.’

    “I didn’t want to die on some cot in a hallway. And that kind of thing happens too often in Canada. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, a man named Brian Sinclair died during his 34-hour wait to see a doctor at an emergency health clinic. The medical examiner said that he had been dead for a couple hours before the clinic staff even noticed him.

    “Because of such stories and my own personal experiences with socialized medicine I begged my wife to take me home. Once she measured my pulse at a reasonable 110 beats per minute, she did take me home. I continued to improve throughout the night. The next morning, we lined up for two hours at a nearby doctor’s clinic. I was one of the 60 or 70 patients the doctor would see that day. The good news is that the doctor said my heart seems to be ‘OK,’ whatever that means. And he gave me an appointment to go see a cardiologist — in February”

    This took place in September, and an example of what we Americans will soon be subjected to. Anyone who says otherwise needs to explain how it’s going to work when 40 million new recipients of Obamacare come into the system without an attendant rise in doctors. He or she needs to explain how there WON’T be rationing of health care. You will be standing in long lines behind the third world to receive American health care.
    How’s that Hope and Change working out for you Obama voters now?

    As a Canadian, I don’t think my country’s health care system is really that good at all. It’s harder and harder to get health care that is ‘free’. If I want to see a dentist, I can see one tomorrow, but I pay either out-of-pocket or via private insurance coverage. If I want to see a doctor (which unlike a dentist is ‘free’), I have no choice but to go to a walk-in medical clinic and wait hours for a surly doctor who doesn’t even listen to me and ushers me out as fast as he/she can. Contrast this with a visit to the dentist, who is invariably chatty and pleasant and provides top-quality care. That’s what free health care is about – hardly anything is free, and getting that which is free is invariably not a pleasant experience to go through at all!

    A relative of mine in Canada died while waiting for his chemotherapy to begin. As in waiting months for the treatment to start after his diagnosis. Besides, the media in the US and Canada simply post poll information that’s made up – “adjusted” – in many cases. I know this from having actually worked as a television news writer for several years. I was just a kid, and thank heaven I woke up and made a run for it. The “news directors” all seemed to come from the same mold; fat, messy hair, grimy beard, slovenly, Marxist to the core, self-deceptive hate filled red diaper babies from New York. And when I say hate, I mean an easily discernible hatred of Whites, America, and the West in general. Self satisfied pigs, all of them. Tom Wolfe would have had a field day watching what went on.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ed in Kanata
    My experience with the Canadian healthcare system was quite different. I suggest if this should happen again call an ambulance, they are given priority in the hospital emergency dept. I had a massive back pain at home around 8:00 pm, my wife called an ambulance, which arrived in about 15 minutes. They put me in the ambulance and made tests to decide which hospital to take me to. After the ECG they opted for the heart institute (20 miles away). When we arrived the medical team were together and I went straight into the operating theatre. By 10:30 pm I had had an angioplasty and was sent to a ward. They made me stay for two days although I felt great and was ready to go home the next morning.

    Maybe this level of service is not available in e very part of the country, but here in Ottawa the service is first class.
    , @Ilyana_Rozumova
    Oh my! So many rocking hospitals? Coincidence?
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  21. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @anarchyst
    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military "umbrella". THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.

    Right. The US needs to immediately reduce military spending that is financed by other countries. Scale it way back and end the free
    ride once and for all.

    Read More
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  22. @TomSchmidt
    Thanks for the thoughtful overview. Wine really was the most dramatic difference in price. It would make sense that the Nordic countries, with their ridiculously high alcohol taxes, would not be cheap on wine or spirits.

    That having been said, I first noticed the restaurant disparity in London in June, which shocked me because London is even more expensive than NY. We spent about 75% for comparable meals, though London was more expensive than Italy.

    It's depressing to read of medical costs going up in Europe. I have to agree with most of your evaluations.

    Rents, business rates, an innumerable swarm of obscure permits, regulations and (often “green”) taxes which all need money or (often cash-in-hand/under-the-table shhhhh) labor thrown at them, constantly. That, and parking/”congestion” charges meaning it would be more efficient to have the stuff brought in by pack-mule from Hampshire or somewhere.

    After dealing with all the rent-seeking, I’m always surprised they have time or funds to cook anything at all. Catering, in That London, is very much not a license to print money, unless your clientele is Inner Party politicians, journos and their expense-account corporate cronies.

    Read More
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  23. Giuseppe says:

    Obamacare is an ugly hybrid monster, neither fully socialist nor capitalist.

    European countries and Israel can afford to provide health care (and higher education) because US citizens pay for the national defense of these other nations.

    The US will not be able to provide basic healthcare for workers until it takes back the federal budget from the military-industrial complex. To make progress we are simply going to have to end our love affair with war and hegemony.

    The indispensable nation will never be able to afford a national health system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    The Democrats depend on having plenty of people who can vote but never contribute to society. The Republicans depend on having so many people who make so little that they can never contribute to society. Both of these groups will have to be carried by the other 25% of the country. What do you think the likelihood of that is?
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  24. @anarchyst
    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military "umbrella". THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.

    Blighty agrees, on the whole.
    US, please concentrate on making the US impregnable for the 21st century, not fiddling about, bleeding cash in every scruffy little 20th century troublespot on the planet. Leave the troublemakers to their neighbors.
    Oh and can the Jerries and the Iranians be allowed their own nukes now please? It’s only fair, we’ve got a few, and so have the Frogs.

    Read More
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  25. @TomSchmidt
    Switzerland was more expensive, or as expensive, as New York. No question about it, but that was 2015.

    We ate out regularly this summer in London's West End, sit-down restaurants albeit not Le CordonBleu type places. Generically middle- to upper-middle-class places. London entrees were regularly in the 10s and lower 20s of pounds; with the pound at the time about $1.2, it worked out to less than NYC prices for food in restaurants, about 75%. This greatly surprised me as I expected London to be 25-33% more than NYC.

    I didn't compare much on grocery food, lacking kitchen facilities. Of course, the exquisite hams of Europe were cheaper over there, and cheese also cost less. I'm looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market. Chocolate cost about the same for the same brands we could get in the USA. Coffee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you'd have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.

    In sum: Italy and London SHOULD be more expensive, but aren't at present. Perhaps this is because the dollar is going to collapse, or US prices are going to go down. It strikes me as similar to what friends reported in the early 80s when Reagan's tax cuts and deficits caused a massive inflow to the USA and drove the dollar sky high against the franc, mark, etc. maybe the same effect now.

    I’m looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market.

    There is grassfed, raw milk cheese at my local health food grocer for $10 per pound. It is aged three years as well.

    offee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.

    Coffee is not grown in the EU or America (there may be some trivial cultivation in tropical territories) and thus is not subject to farm subsidies. The price is a genuine market price.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you’d have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.

    EU farm subsidies total 400 billion Euros per year: https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/20/how-the-eu-budget-is-spent-common-agricultural-policy/

    Feed lots are widespread in Europe.

    Corn is not a cash crop in Europe, so cattle are instead fed other grains like wheat and barley in European feed lots.

    The marbling in feed lot beef is not “artificial”. That’s actual fat from the animal’s muscle tissue. There’s simply more fat than would be the case if the cattle were purely grassfed.

    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.

    This is overblown. US defense spending is 3.3% of GDP. European countries vary between 1-3%.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well. Medicare and Medicaid cost as much as national medical systems in other countries.

    And I’m not too sure our defense “umbrella” is protecting Europe from anything. The Warsaw Pact dissolved a generation ago.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Giuseppe

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well.
     
    Wrong. According to sources, and by sources I mean Wikipedia, Medicare and Medicaid are slightly less than all military expenditures (28% and 31%).
    , @TomSchmidt

    This is overblown. US defense spending is 3.3% of GDP. European countries vary between 1-3%.
     
    You sure about that? From here, we get: "The U.S. military budget is $824.6 billion. That's the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which covers the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018." there are some quibbling dollar amounts in there (FBI?), but eliminate them and you get about 800 Billion. That's about 4% of GDP. Don't forget that there is debt piled up for defense expenditures, as when Reagan raised defense spending to 7% of GDP. "Net interest payments on the debt are estimated to total $276.2 billion this fiscal year, or 6.8% of all federal outlays." Could we assign $140Bln of the interest paid to debt incurred for "defense?" Then you're talking pretty much 5% of GDP.

    There is grassfed, raw milk cheese at my local health food grocer for $10 per pound. It is aged three years as well.
    Ah, good. It seems it's about the same then. I chose the first raw-milk, grass-fed example that came to mind.

    EU farm subsidies total 400 billion Euros per year: https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/20/how-the-eu-budget-is-spent-common-agricultural-policy/
    I guess that's why the higher quality food is so cheap where land is so expensive. That makes sense.

    The marbling in feed lot beef is not “artificial”. That’s actual fat from the animal’s muscle tissue. There’s simply more fat than would be the case if the cattle were purely grassfed.
    Yeah, more like induced is the better term. The fat will be largely Omega-6, having come from grain, instead of Omega-3, from grass. Either way, I've stopped eating it.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well. Medicare and Medicaid cost as much as national medical systems in other countries.
    Yep. My guess is the Defense fat gets cut to support granny in coming years. We can pay for Medicare/Medicaid with the defense funding, or we can try to rule the world and cut medicare spending. Both cannot continue.
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  26. Giuseppe says:
    @anarchyst
    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military "umbrella". THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.

    “Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.”

    Bingo.

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  27. Giuseppe says:
    @Thorfinnsson

    I’m looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market.
     
    There is grassfed, raw milk cheese at my local health food grocer for $10 per pound. It is aged three years as well.

    offee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.
     
    Coffee is not grown in the EU or America (there may be some trivial cultivation in tropical territories) and thus is not subject to farm subsidies. The price is a genuine market price.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you’d have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.
     
    EU farm subsidies total 400 billion Euros per year: https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/20/how-the-eu-budget-is-spent-common-agricultural-policy/

    Feed lots are widespread in Europe.

    Corn is not a cash crop in Europe, so cattle are instead fed other grains like wheat and barley in European feed lots.

    The marbling in feed lot beef is not "artificial". That's actual fat from the animal's muscle tissue. There's simply more fat than would be the case if the cattle were purely grassfed.

    @anarchyst

    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.
     
    This is overblown. US defense spending is 3.3% of GDP. European countries vary between 1-3%.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well. Medicare and Medicaid cost as much as national medical systems in other countries.

    And I'm not too sure our defense "umbrella" is protecting Europe from anything. The Warsaw Pact dissolved a generation ago.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well.

    Wrong. According to sources, and by sources I mean Wikipedia, Medicare and Medicaid are slightly less than all military expenditures (28% and 31%).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    Wrong. According to sources, and by sources I mean Wikipedia, Medicare and Medicaid are slightly less than all military expenditures (28% and 31%).
     
    Medicare and Medicaid combined cost $906bn.

    And this doesn't include state level Medicaid spending or Obamacare spending.

    Department of Defense's 2016 budget was $534bn. You can add non-Pentagon defense spending (DoE nuclear weapons, Dept of Veterans Affairs, etc.) and you still get to $906bn.

    You sure about that? From here, we get: “The U.S. military budget is $824.6 billion. That’s the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which covers the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.” there are some quibbling dollar amounts in there (FBI?), but eliminate them and you get about 800 Billion. That’s about 4% of GDP. Don’t forget that there is debt piled up for defense expenditures, as when Reagan raised defense spending to 7% of GDP. “Net interest payments on the debt are estimated to total $276.2 billion this fiscal year, or 6.8% of all federal outlays.” Could we assign $140Bln of the interest paid to debt incurred for “defense?” Then you’re talking pretty much 5% of GDP.
     
    The Pentagon itself has a budget under $600bn.

    The higher figures come from including a few other things, such as:

    *Department of Energy, which operates nuclear weapons labs
    *Supplementary war funding not part of the normal defense budget
    *Department of Veterans' Affairs
    *Department of Homeland Security on occasion

    So yes, perhaps we get to 4% of GDP. That doesn't mean we can't afford a national medical service if we want one, nor does it mean Europe can't afford higher defense spending. During the Cold War defense budgets in European countries were much higher as a share of GDP than today (4.4% in the UK under Thatcher for instance).

    Many Americans operate under the patriotard delusion that Europe is only able to afford its social insurance programs because of the US military. The truth is they afford them through taxes.

    Russia spends 4.5% of GDP on defense and has a national medical service. They also have a 13% flat income tax.

    Israel spends 5.2% of GDP on defense and has a national medical service.


    Yeah, more like induced is the better term. The fat will be largely Omega-6, having come from grain, instead of Omega-3, from grass. Either way, I’ve stopped eating it.
     
    Grain fed beef has less omega 6 fatty acid than any kind of chicken or pork. It's not an issue worth worrying about.
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  28. @Thorfinnsson

    I’m looking at a hunk of grass-fed raw-milk mountain cheese bought in Italy that cost me €18.90 per kilo, about $10 a lb. pleasant ridge Reserve is a raw milk, grass-fed cheese from Wisconsin that costs about $25 a lb in my local market.
     
    There is grassfed, raw milk cheese at my local health food grocer for $10 per pound. It is aged three years as well.

    offee was about the same, excepting that I can buy roasted beans locally for about $5 a lb and I did not see anything that cheap there. For packaged, pre-ground, about the same.
     
    Coffee is not grown in the EU or America (there may be some trivial cultivation in tropical territories) and thus is not subject to farm subsidies. The price is a genuine market price.

    Mass-produced food that I would call feed would have to be cheaper in the USA. There are no fields of subsidized corn growing over there, and no industry stuffing cows with corn and antibiotics to make artificially marbled meat. My bet would be that supermarket beef costs a lot more over there, but I did not check prices. Of course, you’d have to compare grass-fed meat here to what is sold there since I doubt there are feedlots in the EU.
     
    EU farm subsidies total 400 billion Euros per year: https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/20/how-the-eu-budget-is-spent-common-agricultural-policy/

    Feed lots are widespread in Europe.

    Corn is not a cash crop in Europe, so cattle are instead fed other grains like wheat and barley in European feed lots.

    The marbling in feed lot beef is not "artificial". That's actual fat from the animal's muscle tissue. There's simply more fat than would be the case if the cattle were purely grassfed.

    @anarchyst

    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military “umbrella”. THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.
     
    This is overblown. US defense spending is 3.3% of GDP. European countries vary between 1-3%.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well. Medicare and Medicaid cost as much as national medical systems in other countries.

    And I'm not too sure our defense "umbrella" is protecting Europe from anything. The Warsaw Pact dissolved a generation ago.

    This is overblown. US defense spending is 3.3% of GDP. European countries vary between 1-3%.

    You sure about that? From here, we get: “The U.S. military budget is $824.6 billion. That’s the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which covers the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.” there are some quibbling dollar amounts in there (FBI?), but eliminate them and you get about 800 Billion. That’s about 4% of GDP. Don’t forget that there is debt piled up for defense expenditures, as when Reagan raised defense spending to 7% of GDP. “Net interest payments on the debt are estimated to total $276.2 billion this fiscal year, or 6.8% of all federal outlays.” Could we assign $140Bln of the interest paid to debt incurred for “defense?” Then you’re talking pretty much 5% of GDP.

    There is grassfed, raw milk cheese at my local health food grocer for $10 per pound. It is aged three years as well.
    Ah, good. It seems it’s about the same then. I chose the first raw-milk, grass-fed example that came to mind.

    EU farm subsidies total 400 billion Euros per year: https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/20/how-the-eu-budget-is-spent-common-agricultural-policy/
    I guess that’s why the higher quality food is so cheap where land is so expensive. That makes sense.

    The marbling in feed lot beef is not “artificial”. That’s actual fat from the animal’s muscle tissue. There’s simply more fat than would be the case if the cattle were purely grassfed.
    Yeah, more like induced is the better term. The fat will be largely Omega-6, having come from grain, instead of Omega-3, from grass. Either way, I’ve stopped eating it.

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well. Medicare and Medicaid cost as much as national medical systems in other countries.
    Yep. My guess is the Defense fat gets cut to support granny in coming years. We can pay for Medicare/Medicaid with the defense funding, or we can try to rule the world and cut medicare spending. Both cannot continue.

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  29. densa says:

    Healthcare in America is an asset-stripping industry, systematically changing America from a land of middle and working class to one of a propertyless underclass ruled by billionaire overlords.

    Those who are working and insured are being squeezed out of prosperity. Those formerly solvent but now on Medicaid will see any assets they may have left to their children confiscated to pay for their care. Yes, Medicaid is only “free” for those with no assets, i.e. immigrants.

    Medicare is slowly being degraded to be as useless for preventing bankruptcy as the rest of health insurance.

    The Democrats, the party of the people, had the opportunity to instate a Public Option in Obamacare but refused. Leading the opposition to it was the Unions, who want to keep the current system in which healthcare is a benefit they provide to members.

    The medical mafia is opposed to the Public Option, which would have made Medicare a governor on costs by providing a non-profit price anchor. If you liked your for-profit insurance, you could keep it.

    The Public Option was a move against the insurers’ racketeering, something Congress allowed back when they promised that the free market unleashed would make care too cheap to meter. Yet a comparison of American costs that covers very few people adequately, and European costs, which prevents bankruptcy, show an enormous gap of pure profiteering instead.

    [MORE]

    You would think that capitalists and their running dog lackeys in Congress would do something about the problem they created before it destroys the country, not kill the goose. Instead, they work to get their base to double down on free markets providing an answer. There is only one free market, that is one in which there is no insurance, no mandate to treat, and the poor (75% of the country?) seek mercy from any Sisters of Charity not already jumped in with the profiteers. I suppose that could happen, although I’m not sure why it’s seen as a preferred outcome.

    Meanwhile, Obamacare was instituted to create as many monopolies as possible, all with complex, offshore drains to siphon profits. When Bernie eventually gets his wish to make healthcare a human right (long after the working and middle classes have expired), we will get single payer to send billions and trillions to same.

    We had an alternative to socialized care, which was to socialize the insurance instead of the care. If taxpayers provide the bulk of profits to pharmaceutical companies, for example, they should have the ability to demand accountability instead of being on the hook for “your money or your life” pricing. If providers aren’t satisfied with Medicare pricing, they are free to step outside the program. And patients can keep their doctors or change them as they see fit. It’s about as free market as it’s going to get.

    Of course once Amazon is the sole provider it’ll just be a glorious monopoly of single payer to the moon. Thanks Bernie and labor and Democrats and the ethnic medical mafia that rode Obama into power. And thanks to the GOP for continuing to spout free market nonsense when the only free market that really exists is in the DC bribery that created and sustains this mess.

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  30. @anarchyst
    Columnist John Myers, a Canadian who often visits the United States wrote this about the Canadian vs. American health care system:

    United States: "My wife picked me up from the pool and took me to Rockwood Clinic. In minutes, I had a cardiologist hooking me up to an EKG machine and a nurse giving me an aspirin and testing my blood to see if I was having a heart attack. I got the results while I was there and was told nothing to worry about. I was suffering tachycardia, which is when the heart beats dangerously fast."

    Canada: "I couldn’t catch my breath, so my wife rushed me to the emergency room at the Rockyview General Hospital. Even as I gasped for air, the triage nurse would not look at me. When my wife, who had once worked at that hospital, complained, she was told that the emergency room was 'very busy.'

    "I didn’t want to die on some cot in a hallway. And that kind of thing happens too often in Canada. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, a man named Brian Sinclair died during his 34-hour wait to see a doctor at an emergency health clinic. The medical examiner said that he had been dead for a couple hours before the clinic staff even noticed him.

    "Because of such stories and my own personal experiences with socialized medicine I begged my wife to take me home. Once she measured my pulse at a reasonable 110 beats per minute, she did take me home. I continued to improve throughout the night. The next morning, we lined up for two hours at a nearby doctor’s clinic. I was one of the 60 or 70 patients the doctor would see that day. The good news is that the doctor said my heart seems to be 'OK,' whatever that means. And he gave me an appointment to go see a cardiologist — in February"

    This took place in September, and an example of what we Americans will soon be subjected to. Anyone who says otherwise needs to explain how it's going to work when 40 million new recipients of Obamacare come into the system without an attendant rise in doctors. He or she needs to explain how there WON'T be rationing of health care. You will be standing in long lines behind the third world to receive American health care.
    How's that Hope and Change working out for you Obama voters now?

    As a Canadian, I don't think my country's health care system is really that good at all. It's harder and harder to get health care that is 'free'. If I want to see a dentist, I can see one tomorrow, but I pay either out-of-pocket or via private insurance coverage. If I want to see a doctor (which unlike a dentist is 'free'), I have no choice but to go to a walk-in medical clinic and wait hours for a surly doctor who doesn't even listen to me and ushers me out as fast as he/she can. Contrast this with a visit to the dentist, who is invariably chatty and pleasant and provides top-quality care. That's what free health care is about - hardly anything is free, and getting that which is free is invariably not a pleasant experience to go through at all!

    A relative of mine in Canada died while waiting for his chemotherapy to begin. As in waiting months for the treatment to start after his diagnosis. Besides, the media in the US and Canada simply post poll information that's made up - "adjusted" - in many cases. I know this from having actually worked as a television news writer for several years. I was just a kid, and thank heaven I woke up and made a run for it. The "news directors" all seemed to come from the same mold; fat, messy hair, grimy beard, slovenly, Marxist to the core, self-deceptive hate filled red diaper babies from New York. And when I say hate, I mean an easily discernible hatred of Whites, America, and the West in general. Self satisfied pigs, all of them. Tom Wolfe would have had a field day watching what went on.

    My experience with the Canadian healthcare system was quite different. I suggest if this should happen again call an ambulance, they are given priority in the hospital emergency dept. I had a massive back pain at home around 8:00 pm, my wife called an ambulance, which arrived in about 15 minutes. They put me in the ambulance and made tests to decide which hospital to take me to. After the ECG they opted for the heart institute (20 miles away). When we arrived the medical team were together and I went straight into the operating theatre. By 10:30 pm I had had an angioplasty and was sent to a ward. They made me stay for two days although I felt great and was ready to go home the next morning.

    Maybe this level of service is not available in e very part of the country, but here in Ottawa the service is first class.

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  31. Che Guava says:

    Wow! This site is getting jammed a lot. Last night url not found in Dn seruer.
    Never seen that bfore.

    Now, i was posting on-topic, unlike most others in the thread, and post is suddenly to vanishing and to be irrecoverable.

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  32. @anarchyst
    Europe exists under the AMERICAN military "umbrella". THIS one fact makes it possible for their socialist systems to exist.

    But they spend less for equivalent/comparable healthcare outcomes.

    Can you not grasp the significance of this fact?

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  33. Old fogey says:

    I am 80 years old and know quite a few people my age and older. In my group, I am the only one who stays away from physicians. I have not had a physical exam since my younger son was born 50 years ago – and I remain the healthiest by far. I never took HRT during menopause, making me unique. I have never had a mammography. In other words by staying away from the medical establishment I avoided all the procedures that subsequently we learned cause more harm than good. You might notice that no one has calculated the total cost of such procedures. The cost never figures in press coverage of medical matters.

    It seems to me that Medicare has led to my whole generation being constantly worried about their health and continually going from specialist to specialist making sure that they are getting every single “benefit” that they are “entitled to” under the law.

    For example, I have a friend in her 90s who keeps track of how many hours of physical therapy she is “covered” for under Medicare. When she has received the annual limit she complains bitterly that she is no longer seen by the therapist. As she is quite comfortable financially I suggested that she pay for some additional hours out of her own pocket. She looked at me as if I were out of my mind.

    If you want to see the mind-set that results from government-paid medical treatment just ask an elderly relative how much a recently received treatment costs. They will tell you that it did not cost anything – but of course that is not true. When you do not pay for something yourself you have no interest in the cost of anything.

    I intend to call on the medical profession whenever I need help. Some years ago I fell and fractured my wrist. I received superlative care at the local hospital, for which I will remain continually grateful. But I have no intention of ever visiting a physician again unless something else untoward occurs, despite the fact that my previous employer pays for excellent medical insurance over and above what Medicare covers.

    A suggestion. There is a group known as the Cochrane Collaboration in the UK that does meta-analyses of clinical trials whose website is well-worth visiting should you want to know whether a routine medical procedure really has value. Most do not.

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  34. Old fogey says:
    @Ben Frank
    Obamacare was unconstitutional and broken from day one.
    Socialized medicine does not work.
    Europe coasts along using R&D paid for in USA.
    Media was forever whining about how great medicine was in USSR and Cuba - until the facts came out.
    Read Market Ticker; monopolies ruin anything.

    Many thanks for suggesting that folks read Karl Denninger on health care. He is the best mind on the economics of the medical system in the U.S. that I have found.

    Most of us do not need health insurance, except for rare catastrophic emergencies. When I think of how much money went into health insurance for my family while I was working (retired now) that could have been paid directly to me and then I could have chosen an insurance plan sensible for us as a family (one that covered only catastrophic events) I despair.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "Most of us do not need health insurance, except for rare catastrophic emergencies"

    Everybody needs health care, insurance not so much. The catastrophic emergency can typically follow not having access to health care. I'm not referring only to cancer or heart attacks. Your issue is the same as any advocate of single payer and surprisingly Karl Denniger. Everybody in, nobody out and you can put your wallet away.
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  35. @Giuseppe

    Healthcare expenditures far exceed defense spending in America as well.
     
    Wrong. According to sources, and by sources I mean Wikipedia, Medicare and Medicaid are slightly less than all military expenditures (28% and 31%).

    Wrong. According to sources, and by sources I mean Wikipedia, Medicare and Medicaid are slightly less than all military expenditures (28% and 31%).

    Medicare and Medicaid combined cost $906bn.

    And this doesn’t include state level Medicaid spending or Obamacare spending.

    Department of Defense’s 2016 budget was $534bn. You can add non-Pentagon defense spending (DoE nuclear weapons, Dept of Veterans Affairs, etc.) and you still get to $906bn.

    You sure about that? From here, we get: “The U.S. military budget is $824.6 billion. That’s the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which covers the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.” there are some quibbling dollar amounts in there (FBI?), but eliminate them and you get about 800 Billion. That’s about 4% of GDP. Don’t forget that there is debt piled up for defense expenditures, as when Reagan raised defense spending to 7% of GDP. “Net interest payments on the debt are estimated to total $276.2 billion this fiscal year, or 6.8% of all federal outlays.” Could we assign $140Bln of the interest paid to debt incurred for “defense?” Then you’re talking pretty much 5% of GDP.

    The Pentagon itself has a budget under $600bn.

    The higher figures come from including a few other things, such as:

    *Department of Energy, which operates nuclear weapons labs
    *Supplementary war funding not part of the normal defense budget
    *Department of Veterans’ Affairs
    *Department of Homeland Security on occasion

    So yes, perhaps we get to 4% of GDP. That doesn’t mean we can’t afford a national medical service if we want one, nor does it mean Europe can’t afford higher defense spending. During the Cold War defense budgets in European countries were much higher as a share of GDP than today (4.4% in the UK under Thatcher for instance).

    Many Americans operate under the patriotard delusion that Europe is only able to afford its social insurance programs because of the US military. The truth is they afford them through taxes.

    Russia spends 4.5% of GDP on defense and has a national medical service. They also have a 13% flat income tax.

    Israel spends 5.2% of GDP on defense and has a national medical service.

    Yeah, more like induced is the better term. The fat will be largely Omega-6, having come from grain, instead of Omega-3, from grass. Either way, I’ve stopped eating it.

    Grain fed beef has less omega 6 fatty acid than any kind of chicken or pork. It’s not an issue worth worrying about.

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  36. ” Private capitalist employers and insurance companies continue to benefit from the epidemic of pre-mature deaths of their former employees: Pension costs and health care liabilities are slashed because of the decreasing life expectancy – Wall Street is jubilant. ”

    A book was written on the Clinton effort to introduce decent health care for every USA citizen.
    The book, cannot find it since a long time, asked the question why it is possible for European countries to provide decent healthcare for any citizen at some eleven % of national income, while the USA cannot at seventeen %.

    The answer is quite simple, European health care is not for profit.
    Health care is not insurance, it is a solidarity system in which anyone pays the same, if one needs care or not.
    Incomes of doctors, nurses etc. are regulated, as well as incomes of pharmacists.
    Hospitals do not make profits, they are just balancing their budgets.
    What we cannot regulate is costs of medicine, drugs.
    The expensive ones have been developed abroad.
    This problem gets more and more political attention, voices are heard to abolish patent rights.

    Long ago I discussed all this with a USA citizen, he wrote to me that such a system is unthinkable in the USA.
    I fear it is.
    And so in the USA the poor die early.

    We do have ever increasing life expectancy, this does create financial problems, there is no doubt about it.
    And this inceased life expectancy leads to euthanasia, logically.
    The Netherlands seems to be one of the few countries where euthanasia has been legalised.
    Not for financial reasons, just to prevent unnecessary suffering.
    Few people seem to understand that the logical result of medical treatments to prolong life ever more must be that some people no longer find life worth living.

    In order to get euthanasia one must have filed a statement with one’s GP, the GP must judge that it is appropriate, and a second opinion doctor must approve.
    Afterwards a commission judges any case against regulations.

    I am old and ill, my statement is with my GP since nearly three years.
    The illnes cannot be cured, when treatments stop being effective, nobody knows, months, a few years.
    I’m glad to live in a country that makes it possible to end my life when it is no longer worth living.

    Read More
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  37. Heros says:

    “The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population.”

    Switzerland has a private, for profit health insurance system that is arguably the finest on the planet. Clearly James Petras is not only an ignorant fool, he is clearly a communist liar.

    As the cultural marxists parade around the planet destorying all Goyim health care, their useful idiots love to spew lies about how the only solution is letting the government have complete control over your health.

    Last week the Honolulu police chief announced that he was going to grab all the guns of anyone using MEDICAL marijuana. Next stop medical users of: valium, prozac, ambien, vicodin, etc. etc. Next stop after that: Grab their drivers licenses. And how about “keeping your doctor” and all those other great lies from asshats like Petras?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    can that system be emulated by the usa? and how fine is it? is it affordable? how? what is coverage for the population? 100%?

    details bro :)
    , @anarchyst
    “The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population.”
    Not true...
    Almost EVERY developed and even third-world countries have "supplemental insurance" available that in almost all cases is needed in order to receive decent "health care"... the "public systems" are almost always restricted as to types of medications and even medical specialties.
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  38. @Heros

    "The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population."
     
    Switzerland has a private, for profit health insurance system that is arguably the finest on the planet. Clearly James Petras is not only an ignorant fool, he is clearly a communist liar.

    As the cultural marxists parade around the planet destorying all Goyim health care, their useful idiots love to spew lies about how the only solution is letting the government have complete control over your health.

    Last week the Honolulu police chief announced that he was going to grab all the guns of anyone using MEDICAL marijuana. Next stop medical users of: valium, prozac, ambien, vicodin, etc. etc. Next stop after that: Grab their drivers licenses. And how about "keeping your doctor" and all those other great lies from asshats like Petras?

    can that system be emulated by the usa? and how fine is it? is it affordable? how? what is coverage for the population? 100%?

    details bro :)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Go to Forbes, they write glittering generalities. Compelling, ideologically based blather that at one point implied Obamacare and LaMal are the same. Stale corporate propaganda has destroyed health care. Much as one would expect in an imperial backwater like the United States.

    Obamacare is not a version of LaMal. The Swiss system is vastly superior to Obamacare, which isn't saying too much. An example of this superiority is forbiding insurers from making a profit from the sale of the mandatory package and imposing a system of risk equalization.

    Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer.
    , @Heros
    Health insurance in Switzerland is mandatory, but employers are never forced to pay for it. People with low incomes receive subsidies. Basic healthcare insurance coverage is determined by the state and the insurance companies who are required to offer it. Supplemental healthcare insurance allows entry into private clinics with private rooms, etc. It is much more expensive.

    Another key difference between the Swiss system and most of the world is that health insurance is not the same as accident insurance. Employers provide accident insurance since most accidents happen on the job. This allows for a much clearer cost accounting where people with cancer are separately accounted for from people who broke their back on the job or in an accident. Automobile accidents are covered by automobile insurance.

    Swiss insurance executives are scrutinized heavily and salaries are less than 1/10 of a US health insurance executive.

    One big problem is hyper-expensive drugs used to subsidize Roche and Novartis and other Pharma companies.

    The US is far too corrupt and splintered to be able implement a Swiss type system. However, it would be perfectly feasible for a smaller state to implement it (forget California or New York) if the federal government would set the states free to determine their own healthcare systems. That is not in the cards because single payer is about goyim control not goyim well being.

    Besides, where is written in the US Constitution that the federal government gets to cram its yid-created system by the likes of Emmanuel and Gubler down the throats of US citizens?

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  39. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Astuteobservor II
    can that system be emulated by the usa? and how fine is it? is it affordable? how? what is coverage for the population? 100%?

    details bro :)

    Go to Forbes, they write glittering generalities. Compelling, ideologically based blather that at one point implied Obamacare and LaMal are the same. Stale corporate propaganda has destroyed health care. Much as one would expect in an imperial backwater like the United States.

    Obamacare is not a version of LaMal. The Swiss system is vastly superior to Obamacare, which isn’t saying too much. An example of this superiority is forbiding insurers from making a profit from the sale of the mandatory package and imposing a system of risk equalization.

    Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
    oh, so, that was another bullshit attempt trying to disparage the single payer system :)

    ACA got butchered for 2 years before a version of it was passed. if I remember correctly, it was the version mostly written by insurance companies.

    wonder when usa will have a single payer system. hell, even china have insurance for their retirees now. it covers 70% of everything.
    , @Heros
    "Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer."

    The Swiss clearly are not "increasingly unhappy", they had a referendum on single payer a couple of years ago, and it was easily defeated. Since every Swiss is forced by the government to pay $450 a year to the cultural marxist SRF (Swiss radio and TV), the people were clearly not correctly informed on the true costs of Health Slavery or the referendum would have been defeated by about 90%.

    Cultural Marxists and Useful Idiots love socialized health care, just look at the cesspool that Scandinavian man-hating feminists demanding free birth control and years of paid child leave financed by exorbitant VAT, Income and Wealth taxes extorted from their men have created.

    Switzerland does not have the most expensive system, the US does. That 30,000 freeloading immigrants from Schengen area are refusing to pay their premiums has nothing to do with anything but Cultural Marxism.

    Swiss Citizens with low incomes get their health insurance heavily subsidized, and if they are completely worthless basket cases then they can fall back on the towns where they are registered which are forced to provide the insurance for them.
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  40. MarkinLA says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    I hate this debate. Doctors are white-robed terrorist quacks.

    On the other hand, the US tops all European countries in terms of the percentage of workers and family members who avoid necessary trips to the doctor because they fear financial ruin from the inflated costs of their private health care. In other words, majorities of people, dependent on private for-profit insurance schemes to provide health care, cannot afford to visit a medical facility, doctor or clinic even to treat a significant illness.
     
    The only necessary trip to the doctor is for traumatic injury. Bone fractures, stab wounds, gun shots, etc.

    Everything else is the consequence of poor habits such as improper hygiene & cleaning, poor food safety practices, consumption of carbohydrates and industrial seed oils, failing to lift weights, and not getting enough sun.

    To this we can add those born with genetic diseases. The state should mandate that these people never be born in the first place.

    The bottom line is that healthcare is for losers.

    The only medical intervention I recommend for winners is donating blood (reduces ferritin accumulation).

    Instead of figuring out how to cover people or make healthcare more affordable, we should make healthcare illegal. Or at the very least we should at least ban fat people from any kind of medical treatment ffs.

    Tired of all these whinging sick fags.

    Everything else is the consequence of poor habits such as improper hygiene & cleaning, poor food safety practices, consumption of carbohydrates and industrial seed oils, failing to lift weights, and not getting enough sun.

    Like all those whining sick fags at the Shriner’s Hospitals?

    A lot of medical problems come from simply living past 65. We are also finding out a lot of diseases are congenital. I saw a show where it was determined that Elvis Presley had a genetic predisposition to cardiac hypertrophy. He didn’t know it and continued to ignore the symptoms such as his massive sweating on stage. With proper care he would likely have lived well into his 70s.

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  41. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Old fogey
    Many thanks for suggesting that folks read Karl Denninger on health care. He is the best mind on the economics of the medical system in the U.S. that I have found.

    Most of us do not need health insurance, except for rare catastrophic emergencies. When I think of how much money went into health insurance for my family while I was working (retired now) that could have been paid directly to me and then I could have chosen an insurance plan sensible for us as a family (one that covered only catastrophic events) I despair.

    “Most of us do not need health insurance, except for rare catastrophic emergencies”

    Everybody needs health care, insurance not so much. The catastrophic emergency can typically follow not having access to health care. I’m not referring only to cancer or heart attacks. Your issue is the same as any advocate of single payer and surprisingly Karl Denniger. Everybody in, nobody out and you can put your wallet away.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Old fogey
    "Everybody needs health care." True, everybody needs health care at some times in their life. The average person does not need to see a physician every year or even every five years during their peak healthy years - starting, say, at age 10 and going through age 50. Instead of spending a fortune on one of the "see a doctor today, tomorrow, and forever" health insurance schemes that most employers offer their employees to take advantage of the government not taxing that part of the employee's salary, you could buy whatever kind of health insurance you want. If you fear that not seeing a physician regularly would cause you to develop a catastrophic illness (which I do not) you could use your own funds to buy such a policy without forcing people like myself to subsidize your decision.

    Routine health procedures, such as the birth of a child, need not cost the outlandish prices demanded by physicians knowing exactly how much each insurance company pays toward them. Think too about the contradictions we continually hear from the medical profession about which drugs can or cannot be bought off the shelf. If birth control pills are as safe as we are always being told why are they not available without a prescription? Is not the true answer to that question lie in the fact that to get that prescription a perfectly healthy young woman needs to see a physician?
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  42. @Anonymous
    Go to Forbes, they write glittering generalities. Compelling, ideologically based blather that at one point implied Obamacare and LaMal are the same. Stale corporate propaganda has destroyed health care. Much as one would expect in an imperial backwater like the United States.

    Obamacare is not a version of LaMal. The Swiss system is vastly superior to Obamacare, which isn't saying too much. An example of this superiority is forbiding insurers from making a profit from the sale of the mandatory package and imposing a system of risk equalization.

    Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer.

    oh, so, that was another bullshit attempt trying to disparage the single payer system :)

    ACA got butchered for 2 years before a version of it was passed. if I remember correctly, it was the version mostly written by insurance companies.

    wonder when usa will have a single payer system. hell, even china have insurance for their retirees now. it covers 70% of everything.

    Read More
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  43. MarkinLA says:

    I just had an interesting little stay in the hospital that highlights much that is wrong with our healthcare system.

    I was given a drug to control high blood pressure. It wasn’t working as well as expected so a stronger version from the same family of drugs was substituted. I was having mini episoides of adverse effects to the drug but kept taking it. I had a major episode and went to the ER with chest pains and expanding pains into the shoulder similar to a myocardial infarction.

    The EKG and blood tests were negative for infarction but the EKG did show a possible constriction of the left side arteries. I was kept overnight and the pain did not completely go away. They scheduled me for a LEXY imaging test to check the arteries.

    While under their care, I did not recieve my normal medication to control my atrial fibrillation problem that I have had since 31 when I was an exercise fanatic. Just as I was being prepped for the LEXY test, I went into atrial fibrillation. They couldn’t do the test with my heart beating that fast.

    The cardiologist tried to get me back to sinus rhythm using drugs which I have never before taken. I asked why didn’t they used the medication I told them I was taking when they admitted me and they said they would but it was not in the hospital’s formulary. Their drug did not work and they put me on a drip they said would slow the heart rate down and convert me. I was on that drip for over a day and finally converted just before taking the LEXY test the next day.

    So the original problem was due to a drug approved by the FDA administered by a licensed doctor. The care in the hospital may have contributed to the atrial fibrillation as well. The care there likely cost me another full day in the cardiac ward.

    Luckily I had Obamacare. But even with that I am out at least 6500 dollars and the bill from the hospital was likely 30-40K knocked down to 8500 by the insurance company. The hospital had the chutzpah to send me an “estimate” asking me to pay them now before I get all the paperwork from the insurance company. They also let me know that this does not include the doctors, radiologists,… and could be billed separately.

    None of those providers told me they did or did not take my insurance. I could be billed for the full amount by them even though they made no effort to make sure they were part of my insurance umbrella which I told the hospital “If you don’t take this take me somewhere else” when I was admitted.

    Technically this does not rise to malpractice even though I should not have to pay for a lot of this. This is the problem, you have to pay for everything they do, even if it is worthless.

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  44. MarkinLA says:
    @Giuseppe
    Obamacare is an ugly hybrid monster, neither fully socialist nor capitalist.

    European countries and Israel can afford to provide health care (and higher education) because US citizens pay for the national defense of these other nations.

    The US will not be able to provide basic healthcare for workers until it takes back the federal budget from the military-industrial complex. To make progress we are simply going to have to end our love affair with war and hegemony.

    The indispensable nation will never be able to afford a national health system.

    The Democrats depend on having plenty of people who can vote but never contribute to society. The Republicans depend on having so many people who make so little that they can never contribute to society. Both of these groups will have to be carried by the other 25% of the country. What do you think the likelihood of that is?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Giuseppe
    The apparent difference between the two groups is due to an epistemic illusion, a product of a defective way of understanding. They are virtually identical. Your own words support the idea that in reality we have just a one party system, functionally speaking.

    But, you digress...
    , @MarkinLA
    No, the difference is the working poor and the non-working poor. The Democrats don't care if the poor are working or not. The Republicans want everything but them to be working poor with the non-working poor removed somehow.
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  45. anarchyst says:
    @Heros

    "The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population."
     
    Switzerland has a private, for profit health insurance system that is arguably the finest on the planet. Clearly James Petras is not only an ignorant fool, he is clearly a communist liar.

    As the cultural marxists parade around the planet destorying all Goyim health care, their useful idiots love to spew lies about how the only solution is letting the government have complete control over your health.

    Last week the Honolulu police chief announced that he was going to grab all the guns of anyone using MEDICAL marijuana. Next stop medical users of: valium, prozac, ambien, vicodin, etc. etc. Next stop after that: Grab their drivers licenses. And how about "keeping your doctor" and all those other great lies from asshats like Petras?

    “The US is the only developed country relying on a private, for-profit insurance system to fund and deliver medical care for its working age population.”
    Not true…
    Almost EVERY developed and even third-world countries have “supplemental insurance” available that in almost all cases is needed in order to receive decent “health care”… the “public systems” are almost always restricted as to types of medications and even medical specialties.

    Read More
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  46. Heros says:
    @Anonymous
    Go to Forbes, they write glittering generalities. Compelling, ideologically based blather that at one point implied Obamacare and LaMal are the same. Stale corporate propaganda has destroyed health care. Much as one would expect in an imperial backwater like the United States.

    Obamacare is not a version of LaMal. The Swiss system is vastly superior to Obamacare, which isn't saying too much. An example of this superiority is forbiding insurers from making a profit from the sale of the mandatory package and imposing a system of risk equalization.

    Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer.

    “Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer.”

    The Swiss clearly are not “increasingly unhappy”, they had a referendum on single payer a couple of years ago, and it was easily defeated. Since every Swiss is forced by the government to pay $450 a year to the cultural marxist SRF (Swiss radio and TV), the people were clearly not correctly informed on the true costs of Health Slavery or the referendum would have been defeated by about 90%.

    Cultural Marxists and Useful Idiots love socialized health care, just look at the cesspool that Scandinavian man-hating feminists demanding free birth control and years of paid child leave financed by exorbitant VAT, Income and Wealth taxes extorted from their men have created.

    Switzerland does not have the most expensive system, the US does. That 30,000 freeloading immigrants from Schengen area are refusing to pay their premiums has nothing to do with anything but Cultural Marxism.

    Swiss Citizens with low incomes get their health insurance heavily subsidized, and if they are completely worthless basket cases then they can fall back on the towns where they are registered which are forced to provide the insurance for them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
    I see that the Swiss have a system comparable to the Dutch, we just pay a lot more, some E 1300 a year per person.
    Then there is that we must pay the first E 400 ourselves, except for visiting a GP.
    Good health care is not cheap.
    , @Anonymous
    The Swiss must pay particular attention to the US demand for security through militarism. Useful idiots will maintain how dependent the Swiss are on these security needs. Morever, the economic threats that have always existed - if the Swiss don't devote attention and resources as the US sees fit damaging things will happen - are fading but not without a fake war on terror doing everything it can to maintain the status quo.

    The eventual destruction of socially redeemable systems (including superior health care) is primed by forcing overwhelming immigration from war zones into countries that are unable to adequately plan for and accomodate the influx, but otherwise would be without the overwhelming effort by the US to destroy these abilities.

    The Empire used to toast the Swiss - frugal, neutral (unless it was the Nazis) and gold backed.
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  47. Heros says:
    @Astuteobservor II
    can that system be emulated by the usa? and how fine is it? is it affordable? how? what is coverage for the population? 100%?

    details bro :)

    Health insurance in Switzerland is mandatory, but employers are never forced to pay for it. People with low incomes receive subsidies. Basic healthcare insurance coverage is determined by the state and the insurance companies who are required to offer it. Supplemental healthcare insurance allows entry into private clinics with private rooms, etc. It is much more expensive.

    Another key difference between the Swiss system and most of the world is that health insurance is not the same as accident insurance. Employers provide accident insurance since most accidents happen on the job. This allows for a much clearer cost accounting where people with cancer are separately accounted for from people who broke their back on the job or in an accident. Automobile accidents are covered by automobile insurance.

    Swiss insurance executives are scrutinized heavily and salaries are less than 1/10 of a US health insurance executive.

    One big problem is hyper-expensive drugs used to subsidize Roche and Novartis and other Pharma companies.

    The US is far too corrupt and splintered to be able implement a Swiss type system. However, it would be perfectly feasible for a smaller state to implement it (forget California or New York) if the federal government would set the states free to determine their own healthcare systems. That is not in the cards because single payer is about goyim control not goyim well being.

    Besides, where is written in the US Constitution that the federal government gets to cram its yid-created system by the likes of Emmanuel and Gubler down the throats of US citizens?

    Read More
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  48. Somehow we “as a society” decided that we wouldn’t allow people to die in the streets because they couldn’t pay for medical care. Once laws are put in place mandating that hospitals treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay, socialized health care becomes inevitable. Since the poor cannot pay but are treated anyway, the rest of us have to cover their costs as well as our own. This means that, for the productive who have to pay, the value of medical care can never equal its cost. This leads to the whole cost-shifting infrastructure of private health insurance, while simultaneously making such a system non-viable.
    Either cut loose the worthless and let them sink, or get used to socialized medicine. Those benefits that you worked your whole life to earn? They’re now being handed to some deadbeat who can’t be bothered to get a job. You are just a resource to be exploited for the benefit of “the less fortunate.” Yeah, “less fortunate” as if everything in life were determined by the vicissitudes of fortune – never by merit.

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  49. Old fogey says:
    @Anonymous
    "Most of us do not need health insurance, except for rare catastrophic emergencies"

    Everybody needs health care, insurance not so much. The catastrophic emergency can typically follow not having access to health care. I'm not referring only to cancer or heart attacks. Your issue is the same as any advocate of single payer and surprisingly Karl Denniger. Everybody in, nobody out and you can put your wallet away.

    “Everybody needs health care.” True, everybody needs health care at some times in their life. The average person does not need to see a physician every year or even every five years during their peak healthy years – starting, say, at age 10 and going through age 50. Instead of spending a fortune on one of the “see a doctor today, tomorrow, and forever” health insurance schemes that most employers offer their employees to take advantage of the government not taxing that part of the employee’s salary, you could buy whatever kind of health insurance you want. If you fear that not seeing a physician regularly would cause you to develop a catastrophic illness (which I do not) you could use your own funds to buy such a policy without forcing people like myself to subsidize your decision.

    Routine health procedures, such as the birth of a child, need not cost the outlandish prices demanded by physicians knowing exactly how much each insurance company pays toward them. Think too about the contradictions we continually hear from the medical profession about which drugs can or cannot be bought off the shelf. If birth control pills are as safe as we are always being told why are they not available without a prescription? Is not the true answer to that question lie in the fact that to get that prescription a perfectly healthy young woman needs to see a physician?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Regular screenings are justified, and for some populations, the annual once-over is not only worthwhile, but necessary. This is one of those flammability of gasoline things, not too much debate about it.
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  50. Giuseppe says:
    @MarkinLA
    The Democrats depend on having plenty of people who can vote but never contribute to society. The Republicans depend on having so many people who make so little that they can never contribute to society. Both of these groups will have to be carried by the other 25% of the country. What do you think the likelihood of that is?

    The apparent difference between the two groups is due to an epistemic illusion, a product of a defective way of understanding. They are virtually identical. Your own words support the idea that in reality we have just a one party system, functionally speaking.

    But, you digress…

    Read More
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  51. @Heros
    "Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer."

    The Swiss clearly are not "increasingly unhappy", they had a referendum on single payer a couple of years ago, and it was easily defeated. Since every Swiss is forced by the government to pay $450 a year to the cultural marxist SRF (Swiss radio and TV), the people were clearly not correctly informed on the true costs of Health Slavery or the referendum would have been defeated by about 90%.

    Cultural Marxists and Useful Idiots love socialized health care, just look at the cesspool that Scandinavian man-hating feminists demanding free birth control and years of paid child leave financed by exorbitant VAT, Income and Wealth taxes extorted from their men have created.

    Switzerland does not have the most expensive system, the US does. That 30,000 freeloading immigrants from Schengen area are refusing to pay their premiums has nothing to do with anything but Cultural Marxism.

    Swiss Citizens with low incomes get their health insurance heavily subsidized, and if they are completely worthless basket cases then they can fall back on the towns where they are registered which are forced to provide the insurance for them.

    I see that the Swiss have a system comparable to the Dutch, we just pay a lot more, some E 1300 a year per person.
    Then there is that we must pay the first E 400 ourselves, except for visiting a GP.
    Good health care is not cheap.

    Read More
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  52. TG says:

    Indeed. But here is another angle.

    The market is not a bad thing. Try to outlaw market forces at your peril (example: the old Soviet Union). But there are circumstances where a market simply cannot function, and health care is one of them.

    Anybody who is sick or who has a sick child, is under duress. There cannot be a free market when you are under duress. Anyone who is taken unconscious or dazed to an emergency room cannot make informed decisions. Pricing of health care is opaque, as is the quality: without clear knowledge of costs and benefits, there can be no real market. Even highly educated doctors have trouble evaluating different treatment regimens outside their specialty: good luck for non-physicians. And nobody can know in advance when, or how, they will get sick. So should you pick the insurance plan that is better at cardiac disease, or the plan that is better at cancer? How can you know? And of course, in reality you can’t even know which plan is better at which disease in the first place. And when you get sick, you can’t change plans. It is madness to think that ‘the market’ will magically fix health care.

    The free market (with a little modest regulation) works great for growing food, or making cars and computers, or grilling hamburgers, building houses, etc. It is simply the nature of the beast that health care does not jibe with classic market principles.

    But then we know this already. That is why national defense is ‘socialized.’ Why not just let each citizen decide individually on what defense against foreign invaders they are willing to pay for? Madness! And roads: the old medieval system of private roads and bridges strangled the economy – because almost every bridge and road is a natural monopoly. A public system of roads has been shown over and over to be far more efficient than a for-profit system of toll-roads. Ditto for utilities like electricity and water.

    So respect the market, but the market is not God. If a group of people living in an area freely agree to pool their resources for a common cause – be it defense, or roads, or health care, this is no more communism than a gated community charging for common area maintenance – as long as it is transparent, democratically agreed to, and procedures to fight corruption and make the common enterprises accountable are put in place.

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  53. My friend went to Florida on vacation.
    He got a cold.
    Went to see a doctor.
    My friend is not a retard. He had a stomach reduction few months before. So he worried.
    Doctor checked his throat, heartbeat, and breathing. Recommended over the counter drug.
    My friend got the bill, for less than 10 minutes of doctors time: $600.

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  54. @anarchyst
    Columnist John Myers, a Canadian who often visits the United States wrote this about the Canadian vs. American health care system:

    United States: "My wife picked me up from the pool and took me to Rockwood Clinic. In minutes, I had a cardiologist hooking me up to an EKG machine and a nurse giving me an aspirin and testing my blood to see if I was having a heart attack. I got the results while I was there and was told nothing to worry about. I was suffering tachycardia, which is when the heart beats dangerously fast."

    Canada: "I couldn’t catch my breath, so my wife rushed me to the emergency room at the Rockyview General Hospital. Even as I gasped for air, the triage nurse would not look at me. When my wife, who had once worked at that hospital, complained, she was told that the emergency room was 'very busy.'

    "I didn’t want to die on some cot in a hallway. And that kind of thing happens too often in Canada. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, a man named Brian Sinclair died during his 34-hour wait to see a doctor at an emergency health clinic. The medical examiner said that he had been dead for a couple hours before the clinic staff even noticed him.

    "Because of such stories and my own personal experiences with socialized medicine I begged my wife to take me home. Once she measured my pulse at a reasonable 110 beats per minute, she did take me home. I continued to improve throughout the night. The next morning, we lined up for two hours at a nearby doctor’s clinic. I was one of the 60 or 70 patients the doctor would see that day. The good news is that the doctor said my heart seems to be 'OK,' whatever that means. And he gave me an appointment to go see a cardiologist — in February"

    This took place in September, and an example of what we Americans will soon be subjected to. Anyone who says otherwise needs to explain how it's going to work when 40 million new recipients of Obamacare come into the system without an attendant rise in doctors. He or she needs to explain how there WON'T be rationing of health care. You will be standing in long lines behind the third world to receive American health care.
    How's that Hope and Change working out for you Obama voters now?

    As a Canadian, I don't think my country's health care system is really that good at all. It's harder and harder to get health care that is 'free'. If I want to see a dentist, I can see one tomorrow, but I pay either out-of-pocket or via private insurance coverage. If I want to see a doctor (which unlike a dentist is 'free'), I have no choice but to go to a walk-in medical clinic and wait hours for a surly doctor who doesn't even listen to me and ushers me out as fast as he/she can. Contrast this with a visit to the dentist, who is invariably chatty and pleasant and provides top-quality care. That's what free health care is about - hardly anything is free, and getting that which is free is invariably not a pleasant experience to go through at all!

    A relative of mine in Canada died while waiting for his chemotherapy to begin. As in waiting months for the treatment to start after his diagnosis. Besides, the media in the US and Canada simply post poll information that's made up - "adjusted" - in many cases. I know this from having actually worked as a television news writer for several years. I was just a kid, and thank heaven I woke up and made a run for it. The "news directors" all seemed to come from the same mold; fat, messy hair, grimy beard, slovenly, Marxist to the core, self-deceptive hate filled red diaper babies from New York. And when I say hate, I mean an easily discernible hatred of Whites, America, and the West in general. Self satisfied pigs, all of them. Tom Wolfe would have had a field day watching what went on.

    Oh my! So many rocking hospitals? Coincidence?

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  55. MarkinLA says:
    @MarkinLA
    The Democrats depend on having plenty of people who can vote but never contribute to society. The Republicans depend on having so many people who make so little that they can never contribute to society. Both of these groups will have to be carried by the other 25% of the country. What do you think the likelihood of that is?

    No, the difference is the working poor and the non-working poor. The Democrats don’t care if the poor are working or not. The Republicans want everything but them to be working poor with the non-working poor removed somehow.

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  56. How to brush your teeth correctly!

    I have seen advertizing of toothpastes.
    I did see people brushing their teeth.
    I did see people brushing their teeth in movies.
    All were done incorrectly.

    (So I will give you benefit of my wisdom!)

    here it is:
    Wash your hands.
    Take a tooth brush and wet the bristles.
    Put the toothpaste on top of toothbrush bristles.
    With your thumb push the toothpaste entirely into bristles.
    Brush your teeth.

    You do observe the difference!!!!

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  57. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Old fogey
    "Everybody needs health care." True, everybody needs health care at some times in their life. The average person does not need to see a physician every year or even every five years during their peak healthy years - starting, say, at age 10 and going through age 50. Instead of spending a fortune on one of the "see a doctor today, tomorrow, and forever" health insurance schemes that most employers offer their employees to take advantage of the government not taxing that part of the employee's salary, you could buy whatever kind of health insurance you want. If you fear that not seeing a physician regularly would cause you to develop a catastrophic illness (which I do not) you could use your own funds to buy such a policy without forcing people like myself to subsidize your decision.

    Routine health procedures, such as the birth of a child, need not cost the outlandish prices demanded by physicians knowing exactly how much each insurance company pays toward them. Think too about the contradictions we continually hear from the medical profession about which drugs can or cannot be bought off the shelf. If birth control pills are as safe as we are always being told why are they not available without a prescription? Is not the true answer to that question lie in the fact that to get that prescription a perfectly healthy young woman needs to see a physician?

    Regular screenings are justified, and for some populations, the annual once-over is not only worthwhile, but necessary. This is one of those flammability of gasoline things, not too much debate about it.

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  58. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Heros
    "Nevertheless, the Swiss are increasingly unhappy with treating health care as a business, rather than a social good. A growing number find health care unaffordable and are failing to pay their premiums.The Swiss system is the third most expensive in the world primarily because the system is hijacked by the usual suspects even with the strong Government role. A better informed Switzerland will ultimately choose single payer."

    The Swiss clearly are not "increasingly unhappy", they had a referendum on single payer a couple of years ago, and it was easily defeated. Since every Swiss is forced by the government to pay $450 a year to the cultural marxist SRF (Swiss radio and TV), the people were clearly not correctly informed on the true costs of Health Slavery or the referendum would have been defeated by about 90%.

    Cultural Marxists and Useful Idiots love socialized health care, just look at the cesspool that Scandinavian man-hating feminists demanding free birth control and years of paid child leave financed by exorbitant VAT, Income and Wealth taxes extorted from their men have created.

    Switzerland does not have the most expensive system, the US does. That 30,000 freeloading immigrants from Schengen area are refusing to pay their premiums has nothing to do with anything but Cultural Marxism.

    Swiss Citizens with low incomes get their health insurance heavily subsidized, and if they are completely worthless basket cases then they can fall back on the towns where they are registered which are forced to provide the insurance for them.

    The Swiss must pay particular attention to the US demand for security through militarism. Useful idiots will maintain how dependent the Swiss are on these security needs. Morever, the economic threats that have always existed – if the Swiss don’t devote attention and resources as the US sees fit damaging things will happen – are fading but not without a fake war on terror doing everything it can to maintain the status quo.

    The eventual destruction of socially redeemable systems (including superior health care) is primed by forcing overwhelming immigration from war zones into countries that are unable to adequately plan for and accomodate the influx, but otherwise would be without the overwhelming effort by the US to destroy these abilities.

    The Empire used to toast the Swiss – frugal, neutral (unless it was the Nazis) and gold backed.

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  59. Sinuk says:

    There is more than something amiss in our health care system, but this article only makes allegations and assertions and provides no reference links to source material. This is no way to convince the growing body of skeptical believers that a universal national health care system will be better than our current stinking system.

    I would like to decide for myself if your position is warranted from the evidence.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    No way to defeat corporate propaganda? Probably not in the way most people assume rebellions need to be successful. Using the Google you'll hit insurance, pharm - all the underwritten propaganda, an appeal to the free market and you'll also find a withering list of single payer vapor organizations.

    These are much worse than the death panel or horror-of-Canadian-health-care-stories - They represent an insidious prevention of a superior healthcare system by being the controlled opposition. If you're reading anything, it is typically someone you believe in.

    The Counterpunchers, Wendell Potter, Amy Goodman, the CIA spooks we all know and love et al. These noisemakers are the most effective in making sure the US never gets a single payer system. They don't really question anything, especially the status quo. Appearances are carefully created to be deceiving, that's all that matters. More formally, our illegitimate system of fraudlent representation routinely guarantees a kind of defeat. This was always Ralph Nader's purpose, to disempower and disable to maintain security of the Republic.

    Don't use the Google as much, use first hand accounts of people you know. It will blow your mind how much the web is mostly a propaganda truncheon when it comes to all things health care.
    , @TG
    Here's another thought: there are many examples through the world of national health care policies that work pretty well. Japan, Singapore, Norway, etc. And sure, there are examples of national health plans that don't work so well - but that is true of ANYTHING that is in general a good idea. And most of these (like England) have been deliberately sabotaged by people with a political agenda.

    And yet: there are ZERO effective and affordable modern health care systems based purely on market forces (no, the 19th century USA does not count). The current US system is a hot mess and wildly expensive. There are no better examples.

    So given that national health care systems can be made to work pretty well, and there is currently no real-world evidence that a modern system of medicine can be made to work using purely private insurance, surely basic conservatism should give the nod to national health insurance plans.
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  60. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Sinuk
    There is more than something amiss in our health care system, but this article only makes allegations and assertions and provides no reference links to source material. This is no way to convince the growing body of skeptical believers that a universal national health care system will be better than our current stinking system.

    I would like to decide for myself if your position is warranted from the evidence.

    No way to defeat corporate propaganda? Probably not in the way most people assume rebellions need to be successful. Using the Google you’ll hit insurance, pharm – all the underwritten propaganda, an appeal to the free market and you’ll also find a withering list of single payer vapor organizations.

    These are much worse than the death panel or horror-of-Canadian-health-care-stories – They represent an insidious prevention of a superior healthcare system by being the controlled opposition. If you’re reading anything, it is typically someone you believe in.

    The Counterpunchers, Wendell Potter, Amy Goodman, the CIA spooks we all know and love et al. These noisemakers are the most effective in making sure the US never gets a single payer system. They don’t really question anything, especially the status quo. Appearances are carefully created to be deceiving, that’s all that matters. More formally, our illegitimate system of fraudlent representation routinely guarantees a kind of defeat. This was always Ralph Nader’s purpose, to disempower and disable to maintain security of the Republic.

    Don’t use the Google as much, use first hand accounts of people you know. It will blow your mind how much the web is mostly a propaganda truncheon when it comes to all things health care.

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  61. TG says:
    @Sinuk
    There is more than something amiss in our health care system, but this article only makes allegations and assertions and provides no reference links to source material. This is no way to convince the growing body of skeptical believers that a universal national health care system will be better than our current stinking system.

    I would like to decide for myself if your position is warranted from the evidence.

    Here’s another thought: there are many examples through the world of national health care policies that work pretty well. Japan, Singapore, Norway, etc. And sure, there are examples of national health plans that don’t work so well – but that is true of ANYTHING that is in general a good idea. And most of these (like England) have been deliberately sabotaged by people with a political agenda.

    And yet: there are ZERO effective and affordable modern health care systems based purely on market forces (no, the 19th century USA does not count). The current US system is a hot mess and wildly expensive. There are no better examples.

    So given that national health care systems can be made to work pretty well, and there is currently no real-world evidence that a modern system of medicine can be made to work using purely private insurance, surely basic conservatism should give the nod to national health insurance plans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mark G.
    The countries you mention with effective national health care systems are mostly mono-ethnic and can't really be compared to a multiracial society like the U.S. Americans of European descent actually have lifespans close to Europeans. The U.S spent eight percent of GNP in 1960 on medical care compared to sixteen percent currently. The U.S. certainly had a more free market economy then than now so you can't say a free market economy causes high health care costs.
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  62. Mark G. says:
    @TG
    Here's another thought: there are many examples through the world of national health care policies that work pretty well. Japan, Singapore, Norway, etc. And sure, there are examples of national health plans that don't work so well - but that is true of ANYTHING that is in general a good idea. And most of these (like England) have been deliberately sabotaged by people with a political agenda.

    And yet: there are ZERO effective and affordable modern health care systems based purely on market forces (no, the 19th century USA does not count). The current US system is a hot mess and wildly expensive. There are no better examples.

    So given that national health care systems can be made to work pretty well, and there is currently no real-world evidence that a modern system of medicine can be made to work using purely private insurance, surely basic conservatism should give the nod to national health insurance plans.

    The countries you mention with effective national health care systems are mostly mono-ethnic and can’t really be compared to a multiracial society like the U.S. Americans of European descent actually have lifespans close to Europeans. The U.S spent eight percent of GNP in 1960 on medical care compared to sixteen percent currently. The U.S. certainly had a more free market economy then than now so you can’t say a free market economy causes high health care costs.

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