Universal Healthcare: It Will Cause Doctors to Quit or Move To Another Country

In my travels throughout the SE USA, I call on people that are generally somewhere around middle-class (engineers, etc) or upper middle class (owners of those companies). In almost every conversation I have, one of the biggest rationales by these against Universal Healthcare is that the good doctors will leave America or find something else to do.They fall for the meme that we have “the best healthcare in the world” and I can swear as a personal testimony that this is just a downright lie. My daughter has a sore throat and was forced to wait three days to see a doctor.

But, back to my point, I have done enough investigation to understand that by and large, this is an untrue statement (when comparing to other countries that have a similar system). Even with England (who, according to some, has a horrible system), the doctors aren’t really all that unhappy or underpaid.

But, I have asked three of my personal doctors (including an eye man) how they felt. In all three cases (and I intend to ask as many personally as I meet) they have explained that they WANT it. They understand that many of their patients wait for and/or totally go without help that could have truly benefited early on.

They understand that the problem is Insurance Companies and their stranglehold on our politicians. But now someone other than this redneck has done a poll and what does it say?

From CommonDreams:

Doctors Support Universal Health Care: Survey

WASHINGTON – More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea, according to a survey published on Monday.The survey suggests that opinions have changed substantially since the last survey in 2002 and as the country debates serious changes to the health care system.

Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The 2002 survey found that 49 percent of physicians supported national health insurance and 40 percent opposed it.

“Many claim to speak for physicians and represent their views. We asked doctors directly and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most doctors support national health insurance,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who led the study.

“As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care,” said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. “More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem.”

PATCHWORK

The United States has no single organized health care system. Instead it relies on a patchwork of insurance provided by the federal and state governments to the elderly, poor, disabled and to some children, along with private insurance and employer-sponsored plans.

Many other countries have national plans, including Britain, France and Canada, and several studies have shown the United States spends more per capita on health care, without achieving better results for patients.

An estimated 47 million people have no insurance coverage at all, meaning they must pay out of their pockets for health care or skip it.

Contenders in the election for president in November all have proposed various changes, but none of the major party candidates has called for a fully national health plan.

Insurance companies, retailers and other employers have joined forces with unions and other interest groups to propose their own plans.

“Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy,” Ackermann said in a statement.

The Indiana survey found that 83 percent of psychiatrists, 69 percent of emergency medicine specialists, 65 percent of pediatricians, 64 percent of internists, 60 percent of family physicians and 55 percent of general surgeons favor a national health insurance plan.

The researchers said they believe the survey was representative of the 800,000 U.S. medical doctors.

Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Will Dunham and Xavier Briand

© 2008 Reuters

Do Alabama Rednecks Support “Compassionate Care”?

From the Drug Policy Alliance:

Support Compassionate Care in Alabama

Dear Supporter,

Last week, a medical marijuana access bill was introduced in the Alabama Legislature. Our bill, HB 679, has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and now needs to get called for a hearing. Can you take two minutes to ask the Judiciary Committee to bring this bill up for a vote?

HB 679, the Compassionate Care Act, was introduced by Representative Laura Hall. The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana as recommended by their physicians. You can read the legislation here.

Judiciary Committee members need to hear from you. They need to know that Alabamians support Compassionate Care.

Last year, our Compassionate Care bill made it to a Judiciary Committee hearing. Patients, family members and concerned citizens all testified in support of the bill, and the press coverage we got was extremely positive. But the committee tabled discussion of the bill, and it didn’t move any further.

Let’s get this bill all the way through the legislature this year. There are four things you can do right now to help make sure this bill is brought up in the Judiciary Committee for a hearing:

  1. Send a message to your legislator now, urging them to support medical marijuana for the seriously ill.
  2. Forward this action alert to five of your friends. Every time someone contacts his or her legislator about HB 679, it increases the likelihood that the bill will pass!
  3. Help us get in contact with sympathetic doctors and patients. This is especially important. If you know of a doctor or patient who supports Compassionate Care, please contact me at gsayegh@drugpolicy.org  or call my direct line at 212.613.8048.

With your support, we will pass HB 679 and win compassionate medical marijuana legislation in Alabama!

If you have any questions about medical marijuana in Alabama, contact me at gsayegh@drugpolicy.org.

Thanks for all you do.

Gabriel Sayegh
Director, State Organizing and Policy Project
Drug Policy Alliance
More Information

Alabama’s Compassionate Care Act, HB 679, would provide much-needed protections for patients suffering from debilitating diseases and conditions. The legislation allows for patients to use medical marijuana under a physician’s care and direction. For individuals living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and other serious conditions, doctors and patients need to have every option available to alleviate severe pain and suffering.

Alabama residents strongly support the medical use of marijuana–a 2004 poll administered by the Mobile Register found that 75% of Alabamians support allowing access to medical marijuana as prescribed by a physician. This strong support for compassion is consistent with the levels found in other states and in national polls. A 2004 AARP national poll found that 72% of those surveyed support allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Numerous medical and scientific organizations, including the American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Lymphoma Foundation of America all support allowing access to marijuana for medicinal purposes when recommended by a physician.

Tuesday Curveball: Bush was Lying…. What?!?!?

From The Independent (h/t Phoenix Woman at FireDogLake):

Out of hiding: The engineer whose ‘evidence’ led to war in Iraq

By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Wednesday, 26 March 2008

An Iraqi engineer who provided the information that became one of the key planks in the Bush administration’s case justifying the invasion of Iraq has been tracked down by undercover reporters to a drab residential block in southern Germany.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan, code-named Curveball (a baseball term for deception), has been in hiding since the invasion five years ago, and lives under an assumed name. He was questioned by German intelligence in the late 1990s when seeking asylum in Germany and told them that he had witnessed a biological weapons programme in Iraq. His “evidence” was made public in a compelling speech to the UN security council by US secretary of state, Colin Powell on 5 February 2003, when he said that Iraq possessed stockpiles of biological weapons that threatened the world and the mobile weapons laboratories to produce them.

Although German intelligence officials had warned the CIA that Curveball’s claims were unreliable, and UN inspectors had failed to corroborate them, the Bush administration promoted the existence of such mobile labs for months after the invasion.

Now Curveball denies having made the claims in the first place. The BBC 2 programme Newsnight broadcast last night secretly filmed footage of the discredited agent who was approached by Der Spiegel magazine in his German hideout where he declined to give a formal interview. His face was blanked out in the footage in which a reporter asked him on his doorstep whether he had ever spoken about Iraq’s biological weapons. Curveball replied “No.”

Der Spiegel, describing the stocky man with a full shock of black hair and a stubbly beard shown for the first time on television since the war, said it is clear that Curveball “is an impostor, a fabulist.” However the magazine also criticised German intelligence for remaining loyal to its source, despite the “serious doubts” over his information.