Gary Varvel by Gary Varvel

Gary Varvel

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  1. ODon

    ODon said, over 3 years ago

    Universal Healthcare would resolve all the “ills” listed above.

  2. Chillbilly

    Chillbilly said, over 3 years ago

    That’s our punishment for forcing consumers to use private medicine.

  3. mickey1339

    mickey1339 GoComics PRO Member said, over 3 years ago

    As an accountant who has dealt with health care programs often in my career, I tend to side with the actuaries. The insurance industry, doctors and other health care organizations are raising their estimates on the cost and questioning the effectiveness of the program. There are still issues with coverage of family members that is unresolved and would exclude spouses and children from coverage. It is just one of several issues that need to be defined and reworked within the context of the law. I’m sure there will be lots more.

    It is usually a fantasy to expect government programs to actually save money or operate on their proposed budget.

  4. The Wolf In Your Midst

    The Wolf In Your Midst said, over 3 years ago

    One of the reasons premiums are so high is because many people do without insurance right up until they need it, which means they haven’t been paying into the “pool”. It’s a sort of self-perpetuating problem. Then there’s the folks who have to do without medical care until something serious occurs, who then have to go to the ER, and those costs are transferred to the rest of us in the form of higher prices for treatments.
    Of course, another reason premiums are so high is that insurance companies- like any other for-profit enterprise- exist to charge as much as possible while providing as little as possible in return. And with most of us having our insurance choices tied to our jobs, true “competition” is lacking!
    Single-payer may have its own host of problems, but I can’t figure out why so many people believe the mess we’re stuck with now is not only preferable, but the ideal.

  5. Hamstersbane

    Hamstersbane said, over 3 years ago

    Which is why “single-payer” won’t work either. If anything, it’d be worse than this hybrid monster.

    From Forbes (

    A report by Britain’s health regulator found that 20 percent of hospitals were failing to provide the minimum standard of care legally required for elderly patients. As part of the study, inspectors dropped by dozens of hospitals unannounced. They found patients shouting or banging on bedrails trying to get the attention of a nurse. At one hospital, inspectors identified bed-ridden patients that hadn’t been given water for over 10 hours.

    The Health Council of Canada conducted a study that found, among other things, about a quarter of chronically ill respondents skipped their medications or neglected to fill a prescription because it was too expensive. Further, many Canadians travel to the United States and pay out of pocket for treatments and procedures to avoid the overly-long wait times.

    (My personal favorite was an anecdotal account of a pregnant woman who was told she could see an OB in 10 months.)

    And from this account (

    More than 1 million Britons must wait for some type of care, with 200,000 in line for longer than six months.

    More than 1.5 million Ontarians (or 12 percent of that province’s population) can’t find family physicians. Health officials in one Nova Scotia community actually resorted to a lottery to determine who’d get a doctor’s appointment.

    For leukemia, the American survival rate is almost 50 percent; the European rate is just 35 percent. Esophageal carcinoma: 12 percent in the United States, 6 percent in Europe. The survival rate for prostate cancer is 81.2 percent here, yet 61.7 percent in France and down to 44.3 percent in England—a striking variation.

    M. D. Anderson in Texas, a prominent cancer center, spends more on research than the entire nation of Canada.

    And people really want that kind of system here? I don’t think so.

    In reality, the biggest driver for out-of-control costs in this country isn’t the cost of insurance. It’s the lack of market forces. Basic economics: People will shop around to get a better deal, so the place that manages to find the best corner of quality and price tends to get the business. That puts pressure on other establishments to follow suit or wither and die. But because insurance is so ubiquitous these days, we don’t pay attention to what it costs. We just go to whatever location is most convenient regardless of the costs involved.

    This is also part of the reason insurance has gotten so expensive. When medical insurance was first “invented,” it was almost entirely catastrophic coverage. Over time, we have demanded insurance cover more and more. Guess what? That makes it more expensive. Now we demand that it cover everything. An attempt was made at insurance programs that would control costs. It worked, but people said the HMOs were evil.

    We need to get the market back into the medical game. Open insurance markets more (rather than leaving them confined to individual states). You have the government in control of this, you’re going to have the same thing that happens in every other single country: Long wait times, stagnant medical technology and byzantine bureaucracies making the decisions about what kind of treatment you get — if you get it at all.

  6. dannysixpack

    dannysixpack said, over 3 years ago

    no one thinks this republican / mitt – romney / obamacare is ideal. and no one claims it is except the people who use it as a straw horse argument to take it apart.

    a single-payer system NOT hooked up to employers would be ideal, but the republicans never would have passed it.

    So this solution is the intersection of what is possible politically with what is needed nationally.

    Unfortunately a small but necessary group who are needed to pass healthcare are far more concerned about the money that goes into the pockets of teh chief officers of the health insurance companies. The chief officers of the health insurnace companes increase their own personal wealth by squeezing doctors, squeezing patients and putting that “squeeze” money into their own pockets and into the pockets of their ‘bought and paid for’ congressmen.

    clearly sub-optimal all the way around. but so long as american employers are hobbled with the cost of healthcare, while our competitors abroad either provide slave labor with disposable people (like china), or provide healthcare from the country (like europe), it makes our inefficient system unable to compete.

  7. Quipss

    Quipss said, over 3 years ago

    Fun fact, UHC works in other countries, however it does involve essentially taking over healthcare. The Obama administration was in favor of the companies and instead pinned bets that health care providers would pass the savings on vs pad their stock value, and ceo wages. Suffice to say we know what happened

  8. wbr

    wbr said, over 3 years ago

    quipss fun fact uhc does NOT work in other countries example uk [ see hamsterbane] canada med assoc head said it is imploding ,see va as an attempt at gov h c

  9. dannysixpack

    dannysixpack said, over 3 years ago

    ^unc in other countries works better for more people than our private system does here.

  10. dtroutma

    dtroutma GoComics PRO Member said, over 3 years ago

    The simple fact is the “privates”, as in mandated insurance providers, started talking their increased premiums and deductibles, and salivating over their increased profits (actually payments to staff and CEOs to keep “profits” lower) the minute the Act passed with the Republican mandated “private” mandate, just as pharmaceutical companies did when REPUBLICANS banned “bargaining” for drugs for Medicare!

    Overly done tests mandated by insurance company protections (profits) are a huge part of high medical costs in the U.S. compared to any other “industrialized nation” that has “public health care”, not necessarily “socialized” medicine.

    Their are lots of opportunities to reduce costs, and make doctors medical practitioners with offices staffed by nurses, not accountants and bookkeepers, and “single payer” is a huge part of that solution, period.

  11. TJDestry

    TJDestry GoComics PRO Member said, over 3 years ago

    Difference between premiums and cost, silly man. Do you know that and make the comparison to fool us, or are you the fool?

  12. wbr

    wbr said, over 3 years ago

    overly done test is the result of lawyers

    make doctors medical practitioners with offices staffed by nurses, not accountants and bookkeepers, and make patients pay cash and file own claim

    great idea an " imploding " single payment system like canada

  13. lonecat

    lonecat said, over 3 years ago


    Interesting post. How come, then, the US ranks #2 in percentage of health care costs to GDP and #24 in healthy life expectancy? (
    Comparison of the health care systems in Canada and the United States are often made by government, public health and public policy analysts.1234 The two countries had similar health care systems before Canada reformed its system in the 1960s and 1970s. The United States spends much more money on health care than Canada, on both a per-capita basis and as a percentage of GDP.5 In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in Canada was US$3,678; in the U.S., US$6,714. The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in that year; Canada spent 10.0%.5 In 2006, 70% of health care spending in Canada was financed by government, versus 46% in the United States. Total government spending per capita in the U.S. on health care was 23% higher than Canadian government spending, and U.S. government expenditure on health care was just under 83% of total Canadian spending (public and private) though these statistics don’t take into account population differences.6
    Studies have come to different conclusions about the result of this disparity in spending. A 2007 review of all studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the US in a Canadian peer-reviewed medical journal found that “health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States, but differences are not consistent.”7 Life expectancy is longer in Canada, and its infant mortality rate is lower than that of the U.S., but there is debate about the underlying causes of these differences.

  14. lonecat

    lonecat said, over 3 years ago

    swr says, “name me one country that you would live in where single payer has worked.” I’ve lived in the US and I’ve lived in Canada, and I prefer the Canadian single payer system.

  15. lonecat

    lonecat said, over 3 years ago

    Would you please listen? A friend of mine (here in Toronto) just two weeks ago was diagnosed with esophageal cancer — these are often diagnosed late, since they often don’t present any symptoms until they are well developed. She had surgery within two days (that’s two days) with a surgical team of ten doing the operation. She then had follow up chemotherapy, and now she’s waiting for the second set of treatments. The prognosis is guarded, because (as I said) these are often caught late, but the treatment has been first rate. There’s a lot to worry about, but the standard of treatment is not among her worries, nor, for that matter, is there any worry about paying for treatment. So, cora, if you have any regard for the the truth, you must add this case to your stock of anecdotes about health care in a single-payer system. I await your response.

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