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    Postby Drunken Idaho » 13 Feb 2009 13:35

    Freakzilla wrote:
    Drunken Idaho wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:If the majority of people in my house want ice cream for dinner, that doesn't make it right.


    You fascist dictator!!! :P

    But households are not democracies. Father knows best, right?


    That's right.

    But I hope you see my point. I don't think the general population is intelligent as my children, I don't want their majority ruling my life.

    Most citizens may want free college and healthcare but that doesn't mean it is necessarily best for the country.

    Daddy still has to pay for all those goodies eventually.


    I did see your point, but I still disagree. In fact, there is a majority running the country in a way that you, and many many others don't approve of. A majority of your population decided that they wanted a government that spoke for how they felt, and about real solutions for important challenges like climate change, energy independance, military withdrawal, etc. Your country made a choice, and I find that beautiful.

    Also, I'd like to say something about free health care being best for the country. Don't you think that if any citizen could get the medical attention they desperately need, without having to become destitute, then that would be best for the country? We have capitalist systems that depend on a chunk of the population being poor and/or unemployed. Is that chunk also expected never to get sick or injured? I'm tired of this notion that what's best for the US is whatever is going to help private firms, and be the least taxing on everybody. I think what's best for the country boils down to the quality of life provided.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2009 14:42

    Drunken Idaho wrote:Also, I'd like to say something about free health care being best for the country. Don't you think that if any citizen could get the medical attention they desperately need, without having to become destitute, then that would be best for the country? We have capitalist systems that depend on a chunk of the population being poor and/or unemployed. Is that chunk also expected never to get sick or injured? I'm tired of this notion that what's best for the US is whatever is going to help private firms, and be the least taxing on everybody. I think what's best for the country boils down to the quality of life provided.


    Where are you going to get quality healthcare when the economy is ruined (partially) from it and it decreases the quality of doctors willing to work in the government system? If it bankrupts the country and decreases the quality of care, where is the improvement?

    Sure everyone gets care, but they have to wait six months to see a doctor who gets paid with government cheese!

    No thanks!
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    Postby Drunken Idaho » 13 Feb 2009 15:10

    Freakzilla wrote:
    Drunken Idaho wrote:Also, I'd like to say something about free health care being best for the country. Don't you think that if any citizen could get the medical attention they desperately need, without having to become destitute, then that would be best for the country? We have capitalist systems that depend on a chunk of the population being poor and/or unemployed. Is that chunk also expected never to get sick or injured? I'm tired of this notion that what's best for the US is whatever is going to help private firms, and be the least taxing on everybody. I think what's best for the country boils down to the quality of life provided.


    Where are you going to get quality healthcare when the economy is ruined (partially) from it and it decreases the quality of doctors willing to work in the government system? If it bankrupts the country and decreases the quality of care, where is the improvement?

    Sure everyone gets care, but they have to wait six months to see a doctor who gets paid with government cheese!

    No thanks!


    Canada never became bankrupt, nor had its economy partially ruined. Yes, you have to wait in line here, but that's because everybody gets their turn. In the US, millions are just plain denied access to the waiting line.

    And try thinking of it this way... Maybe having socialized health care simply filters out the doctors who are only in it for the money. Canada isn't exactly notorious for having crummy doctors, you know. Besides, the income is still quite hefty up here. The bottom line is that there are people who actually want to save lives, and will do it regardless of how much they are paid, whether they're in the US or Canada or anywhere else. There will always be a drive to help sick or injured people, regardless of salary.

    So instead of doctors having four cars, they might only have two or three. What's the up-side? Everyone in the country gets the care they need.

    Don't you think that there's something wrong when people get turned down for treatments just because they can't pay the inflated prices put forth by private firms? I think it's disgusting that your health care is in the hands of profit-driven CEO's.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2009 15:25

    But was Canada near bankrupcy when they instituted socialized medicine?

    Now is not the time for the US to start new spending. Maybe one day, when we aren't going a trillion dollars further into debt every year (which Obama is going to do) we can think about giving shit away for free.

    I think Congress needs to be cut off financialy.
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    Postby Drunken Idaho » 13 Feb 2009 16:45

    Freakzilla wrote:But was Canada near bankrupcy when they instituted socialized medicine?

    Now is not the time for the US to start new spending. Maybe one day, when we aren't going a trillion dollars further into debt every year (which Obama is going to do) we can think about giving shit away for free.

    I think Congress needs to be cut off financialy.


    Oh I definitely agree that now is not the time to start with the free health care. Kull wahad! I'm talking more about morals, and the monster capitalism that's going on in the US. I think we can all handle just a little of the hypothetical.

    I think the US has a lot of bullshit policy and dogma that their shoving down the citizens' throats. It even bleeds into other governments, such as ours. Things like how even the mention of socialism is evil, or that you're truly in danger from Al Queida, or that M.A. is gonna nuke the whole world. It must be so easy to buy into it when everyone else is.

    It seems to me like you've baught into a lot of this, and I'm just trying to provide some perspective. I know you have your reasons, IE raising a family etc, but I'm looking out for both your family and the family over in Iran, or wherever else. I like to look at the big picture, see where all sides are coming from. I always remind myself that not everything is black and white. I might sound like a hippy liberal douche (to quote South Park :D) but I really think most of the things I talk about are about morality, and what's best for the world.
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    Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2009 16:58

    Well, yes. That's why I am here discussing this. To get other people's perspectives. My opinion doesn't mean crap. I know next to nothing about politics. Peace, free healthcare and education would be ideal... but I don't live in lala land. SOMEBODY has to pay for it.

    The capitolist system supports those who want to work. If I can hold down a job and pay for health insurance for my entire family others have the exact same opportunity and I don't think the government should be responsible for any private citizen's welfare. I'm paying for mine, why should I pay for people who don't want to work?

    Fuck them, let 'em rot.
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    Postby Drunken Idaho » 13 Feb 2009 17:08

    But what if the addition to your taxes due to socialized health ended up being considerably less costly than your current health insurance? Whoa, I feel like I'm telemarketing again (shudder)...

    If you could save mad bucks and help your fellow man (whether he has good work ethic or not) wouldn't you feel better about your country and your childrens' future in it? What if they choose to defy the system and slack off themselves? Wouldn't you support them in that? :P

    And yeah, I'm not the most politically adept myself, especially with my own country's politics. :oops:
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    Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2009 17:12

    But what if I loose my choice of doctors or the quality of care suffers? Is that worth lower health insurance rates?

    I think this should have it's own topic...
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 18:21

    Ah, good points all.

    Freak, I agree with your veiw of pure capitalism in principal (read: on paper) but in real life it just doesn't work that way, end of story. Everyone does NOT have the same opportunities within our nations, that's just a fact. I support a system that does indeed reward the hardest working, but also one that tries to give a boost to people who start off life behind, or are thrown behind by circumstances beyond their control (understand, not one that carries them their whole life, just one that tries to give them a more reasonable chance). We can have both, as matter of fact, not only can we have both, we MUST have both, or the whole thing comes tumbling down.

    Pure capitalism is a pipe dream that would eventually result in 99% of the world being starving. Pure socialism is equally a pipe dream that would have the same result. That's my opinion, and I think most of us would agree we NEED to be somewhere inbetween, we just all seem to dissagree on a couple degrees of latitude. I would argu that there is actually NO correct position between the two ideals, there must be constant readjustment to the situation at present.
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 19:03

    I agree, but there simply is not equal opportunity. Yes, everyone has the right to a basic education... but I know more than a few people who dropped out of highschool to help bring in money for their household because there wasn't enough. Also, we don't have any right to further education than 12th grade, maybe that's right, maybe that's wrong, but our post-education system certainly does favour those with parents who are better off. I know there are student loans, but they cut it really bloody close. I'm not saying our post-education system needs any changes, I'm just using it as a clear example that equal opportunity is not what we have.

    Trust me, I agree with you on the free-ride issue, but there's no way around some people taking advantage of the system, we just have to try to minimize that as best as possible, there will never be 100% efficiency. I get just as pissed off at people who abuse the system as anyone else, but unless we're going to take their kids away from them (not necessarily a bad idea) we just have to live with them abusing it for the sake of their children having even a chance.

    And I know damned well that equal opportunity is impossible, I just want it as close as is humanly possible.
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    Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2009 19:36

    Back to health care. In concrete terms:

    How much do you pay for "free" health care per person per year? (How is it determined?)

    They have socialized health care here in Japan. There are two payment plans, "social" and "national"; the deductible on both is 30%. The difference is that with the "social" plan, your employer matches funds and pays half; under "national", you pay the entire monthly premium. How much you pay is based on how much you earned the previous year, with a fixed cut-off level for people over a certain income level.

    At my previous places of employ, I was covered under the social plan. For the two years before taking my current position, during which time I did freelance translation and interpreting and taught part-time, I was able to extend the social coverage from my previous job by paying the same half-amount I was paying when my job at the old school came to an end.

    When I got my current job, I was told that I would have to take care of all my health insurance on my own, that the uni wouldn't pay half for the social plan. Since I'm not Japanese, I also couldn't join the national teachers' union health plan. That left only the national plan. Since this is essentially a second income tax, amounting to about 8% of your annual earnings, I said no thanks. (When I thought back over the number of times I actually used the insurance during my freelance period versus the amount I paid and the hoops they made me jump through just to keep the coverage active, I came to the conclusion I would have been better off just banking the money and paying full out of pocket.)

    Up until last year I've been in relatively good health and haven't needed to use the system. Now I take meds for my blood pressure and am also having a bunch of dental work done. Everybody keeps telling me I should join the health insurance, I won't have to pay as much for the meds or the visits to the doctor.

    But the way I see it, even paying full price out of pocket I'm still paying much less than I would be under the system, for the same care.

    And I guess that's my big problem with socialized medicine: why should I pay more for the same level of care just because I make more money? (And I've heard all the arguments about being able to have my current level of success because of the support of society, and paying that back, yadda yadda. Not impressed. Call me selfish if you will. Who isn't?)

    Anyway, just how do you handle the practical aspects in Canada?
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 19:48

    BB? you want to feild that? I really don't know what of our taxes ends up into the healthcare system. No idea.
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    Postby DuneFishUK » 13 Feb 2009 19:54

    Social healthcare relies on the majority not needing it. It spreads the insurance payment throughout the entire population reducing it for everyone.

    For a few blood pressure meds, or the amount I have used it so far, you're right - it doesn't make sense. BUT when something terrible does happen (a serious accident or £1000/year cancer drugs) it's a mandatory safety net that ensures that someone doesn't die because they're poor.

    I am fully converted to some form of the capitalist system - I don't believe in free rides. But equally I'm opposed to a "If you're so smart then why are you poor/dead" mentality - People can't go on to make money if they die from cancer or something.
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 20:00

    Baraka Bryan wrote:
    thing wrote:Also, we don't have any right to further education than 12th grade, maybe that's right, maybe that's wrong, but our post-education system certainly does favour those with parents who are better off. I know there are student loans, but they cut it really bloody close. I'm not saying our post-education system needs any changes, I'm just using it as a clear example that equal opportunity is not what we have.


    the entire scholarship/bursary system is skewed to those who need money. bursaries are supposed to be for those in financial need, but now almost all scholarships (note the root word and what that means regarding the intent of the award) have an addendum after the merit-based requirements for eligibility that reads "and demonstrate financial need." completely bullshit in my opinion. a few real-life examples to illustrate:

    1. me
    I worked my ass off in high school, graduating top of my class, with the expectation that it would help me in terms of scholarship money. I got 1 entrance scholarship which covered about half my tuition, but nothing more. I didn't receive any OSAP (ontario student assistance program) because my parent's made too much money - never mind that they don't pay a cent towards my post-secondary and i've had to be self-sufficient for the past 4 years. Had I not had part-time and summer jobs since 6th grade and saved up over 10 grand before university, I would be in huge debt right now. I've since been top of my program after 3 years of my degree, and yet I get no more scholarships because I can't demonstrate 'financial need.' absolute bullshit. Does my university expect me to be a generous alumni when I'm rich and successful when they won't reward my hard work now?

    2. my girlfriend and her room-mate / cousin.
    my girlfriend had great marks coming out of high school as well, and received a decent scholarship for first year that she can renew all 4 years. However, since both her parents work just to pay off their 2 Christian private school tuitions and make the house payments, their income level is too high for her to get OSAP, and since the cutoff is the same, she doesn't get any of the scholarships for her continued academic success because she too can't demonstrate 'financial need' despite the fact that her parents can't afford to pay for her tuition/dorm/food. she'll end up way in debt (see: I guess I'll have student debt afterall :evil: )

    Her roommate/cousin on the other hand also comes from a pretty well off family, but they tend to fudge the numbers on taxes as he's a sole proprietor and can pull it off. her mom doesn't have to work, and they have no extra tuitions to pay, thus increasing discretionary income. Her parents also declared her independent so that she can claim she's getting no assistance from them (which she is), and therefore demonstrates the coveted "financial need." She gets a bunch of scholarships for her decent marks and about 12 grand in OSAP, which rather than saving up and earning interest on to pay back later, she goes off and spends on $300 shopping sprees for herself and her "brand-name boy" boyfriend (yes she's used this term and i threw up in my mouth).

    I realize this post is getting really long so I won't go on about my other friends who are either cheating the system, or getting handed loads of money from the government in 'financial need' scholarships with much lower marks than mine, but the system is broken and skewed towards either those who have less money, or pretend to have less money, giving no real motivation to actually accomplish something with one's degree. Bullshit.

    edit: maybe Thing's and my posts should be broken off into a thread on "politics and post-secondary education?"


    I hear you, I wasn't thinking about anything other than the loans. To be honest, I don't know much about the scholarships and such, all I know is that my girlfriend's parents don't make much, and she doesn't qualify for any of them that she's applied for so far. Like I said, I wasn't saying we need to change our post-secondary system, I just think it is skewed against those with less money. In this case, I see your dispute, but I dissagree over all. I think you make a good point for the system being somewhat against those in the middle though.

    I stand by my statement about there not being equal opportunity, even for highschool, it's just a fact. I've seen to many people not even have a reasonable chance to get going - I think we need to either support some of these people better, or take their kids away and take care of them as a society, or whatever works.
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    Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2009 20:05

    B.B. wrote:40% of our provincial taxes go directly to health care (Ontario figure)

    OK, but what percentage of your income goes to taxes, in general?
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 20:14

    SandChigger wrote:
    B.B. wrote:40% of our provincial taxes go directly to health care (Ontario figure)

    OK, but what percentage of your income goes to taxes, in general?


    Tough to tell since they nickle and dime us all over the place instead of just taxing us in one fell swoop.

    Depends on how much you make for your income tax though, let's see if I can work this out. I make 36K, and I think I get about 20% (oops, BB is right, 15% it is) in income tax, plus 5% GST, plus 7% PST (but that's only on some products, and not in Alberta... dear sweep Alberta), plus a bunch of gas taxes, and liquor taxes... I have no idea what it all adds up to for me really.

    I know my dad gets about 50% taken in income taxes alone though, but he can handle it, not about to go broke.

    EDIT: I see BB beat me. And did a better job...

    Baraka Bryan wrote:
    Maybe there's less motivation or push for low-income earners' children to finish high school and go on to post-secondary, but I disagree that the opportunity isn't there.


    It isn't equal. Maybe it's as close as we can get it, maybe not, but it isn't equal. I don't see how anyone how's lived even a few years after highschool can think otherwise.
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 20:30

    Do we have any real averaged estimates on what Canadians in different tax brackets end up paying total (%wise)? It would be interesting to see those numbers.
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    Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2009 20:40

    Hmmm.

    The cut-off on the health care payments over here, in my city, is 600,000 yen annually. (The last time I checked.) It also depends on the municipality how many premium payments you make (monthly, ten times a year, etc).

    It's been forever since I've had medical insurance in the States, so my perceptions are probably skewed. Is 50,000 yen (US $544) a month for one person, with a 30% deductible, a reasonable amount, or excessive? :?
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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 21:11

    That's how much you have to pay to get in on the health plan? Shhhiiiittt.
    I have no idea how that compares to the US, but I used to pay 160$ three times a year plus my taxes. Now Alberta (rest of Canada too, or just us Albertans?) pays all the premiums for us, so it's just my taxes.

    If BB is right, that about 40% (lets just call that a ball-park) of the provincial taxes pays for healthcare, I have to wonder how much of the federal taxes goes to healthcare? Must be a fair bit, or else I'm paying very little indeed.
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    Postby SandRider » 13 Feb 2009 21:19

    hate to bring it up again, but my employers have paid 100% of health insurance
    and disability insurance premiums for about 33 years now. And paid into my pension.
    And paid me an ungodly hourly wage. And tax-free per diem.

    My medical bills from this go-round with L4/L5 disc are over $75K at this point,
    the insurance will pay much less than that of course with the "provider discounts" &etc.
    my out-of-pocket is capped a $1,000 a year, so since this stretched over the new year, I'm out 2 grand.
    And I can live with that, since I was declared temp
    disabled and they sent me a check for $10K.

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    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 13 Feb 2009 21:20

    Mind if I ask what you do?
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    Postby SandRider » 13 Feb 2009 21:27

    Union Electrician - Outside Lineman (meaning high-voltage distribution, sub-stations, etc.)

    Inside Journeyman (meaning inside industrial work, power plants, etc)

    I have current Residential Masters licenses in several states, meaning I can
    wire up houses, or hire and supervise journeymen & apprentices to do
    the work, and sign off on it. Don't really use that much, side jobs ....

    I strung high-voltage lines in the seventies.
    I worked hydroelectric & nuclear plants in the 80s into late 90s,
    then got into the wind projects, which is technically what I do now.

    And rodeo clown ....
    ................ I exist only to amuse myself ................
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    Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2009 21:33

    He is a lineman for the county!
    And he drives the main road,
    Lookin' in the sun for another overload.


    :D

    A Thing of Eternity wrote:That's how much you have to pay to get in on the health plan? Shhhiiiittt.

    That's how much I would have to pay. I make a little bit over the amount where the 8% or so exceeds the 600,000 cut-off.

    (Not as good as it sounds, considering how fucking ridiculous the cost of almost everything over here is.)
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    Postby Robspierre » 13 Feb 2009 23:16

    SandChigger wrote:
    It's been forever since I've had medical insurance in the States, so my perceptions are probably skewed. Is 50,000 yen (US $544) a month for one person, with a 30% deductible, a reasonable amount, or excessive? :?


    The last quote I got was $620 per month, 40 dollar copay on visits (the low income per visit cost is $70), $20 dollar prescriptions from their approved list, no dental, an ever growing list of things they do not cover etc.

    I have depression that requires treatment every few years, chemical imbalance, that is the only major health issue. I've been dropping my weight slowly and my overall health is good. I would say 600$ a month for an individual is pretty average.

    I know of couples who pay around $1000 a month for coverage.

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    Postby SandChigger » 14 Feb 2009 03:23

    OK.

    Well, sorry, but that's just fucking ridiculous. Looks like I won't be getting covered right away if and when I move back to the States, either.

    Ah well, good thing I never planned to live forever, huh? :P
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