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The New National Health Plan Is Texting

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the how-is-babby-formed dept.

Medicine 191

theodp writes "With a gushing press release, Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra announced the launch of Text4baby, 'an unprecedented mobile health public-private partnership' designed to promote maternal and child health. Expectant women are instructed to 'Enter the date of the first day of your last menstrual period' to start receiving 'timely and expert health information through SMS text messages' until their child reaches the age of 12 months (limited to 3 free messages/week). The White House Blog has more information on the 'historic collaboration between industry, the health community and government.' Separately, the White House announced plans to spend $3,000 on 'Game-Changing' Solutions to Childhood Obesity. Once again, Dilbert proves to be scarily prescient."

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Uh, rant much? (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31044970)

So you don't like health care reform. Fair enough.

And you don't like this program. Fair enough.

Therefore this program equals health care reform?

WTF?

Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045044)

Remember, slashdot is run by young rich white guys whose parents were all well-off. They don't need health-care right now, so screw everybody else.

For those of us on the continent, this whole thing is just another sign of the US tearing itself apart for some reason I at least cannot understand.

I am reminded a bit about the trouble britain went through in the 60/70's wear it was close to falling apart, almost as if the people hated their own country.

In the US it seems people hate so much the idea that someone else might get a penny out of them, they rather spend a dollar even if that someone is themselves.

Really, what is so damned scary about a national health care system. Surely paying less for a system (the US spends more and gets less then any other western nation) would be a good thing? Or is spending 1000 dollars on bad health care to a private company good and 100 dollars on good health care to the government bad?

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0, Troll)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045116)

The U.S. is one of the most charitable countries in the world. For the most part, however, we don't appreciate coercion.

It's quite simple. Government is not charity, it's legalized theft. If you don't understand the distinction, please read this excellent article. [townhall.com]

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045220)

don't appreciate coercion

Your flaky legal system hands out massively excessive prison sentences. Then uses prisoners in forced labour camps.
The US is built on coercion. Slavery is your principle.

Mod this down if you're a nationalist with their head stuck in the sand.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045226)

So, in exchange for the government not taking money from you, you'd rather pay more than the government would take to a third party, to get worse service? That doesn't make sense.

The way I see it, money is money. If in place A getting a good health plan costs $X and in place B a bad one costs $2X, then place A is better regardless of who is getting the money.

Yeah, you can rant about "choice" and "not being forced to", but you don't have any real choice anyway. You're guaranteed to have to pay for medicine at some point in your life, one way or another.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (2, Interesting)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045354)

You'd rather pay more than the government would take to a third party, to get worse service?

It's going to take quite a bit of convincing for me to believe that this is the case, especially considering the traditional efficiency of U.S. government.

Really, you expect that because the government is paying, quality of service will magically increase? And that any possible increase in efficiency would not be offset by the overhead of a single payer system? And you have proof that this will be the case IN THE U.S., whose government cannot even pay for its current obligations, who routinely has annual deficits greater than the GDP of most countries, and whose problems will only compound as the population ages?

Okay....

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045968)

Yes, I do, because the US already has a single payer system: Medicare. It has an overhead of about 1% compared to about 30% for traditional health insurance.

To paraphrase a very good comment I read not too long ago: the issue in this country is that we need health care, not health insurance. Insurance is a small payment that you make on a regular basis to offset the possibility of huge expenses at a later time. However, if you already have a medical condition, then the insurance model doesn't apply to you. You (and your insurance company) know that you already need expensive treatment. Thus, the people who need help paying their bills the most are the least likely to get it.

What we need is a system for care rather than insurance. Just passing legislation to prevent discrimination based on pre-exisitng conditions would be a major start; however, I truly believe that we need a public option if we wish to make our healthcare system comparable to the rest of the developed world.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31046128)

I would be in favor of the following medical changes:
  • Posted prices at medical facilities (dentist, dr, specialist, whatever)
  • Single payer health care (not insurance), so long as private facilities were not banned. Sure private facilities will be expensive as hell, but don't ban them. There will be a lot less people going to the private facilities, meaning less of a wait.
  • No minimum insurance coverage. Right now some states mandate things to be in insurance packages, which increase cost. Let insurance companies balance risk pools.
  • Buy insurance across state lines. I'll decrease my rates by being able to pool with middle of nowhere, USA and if someone wants to step in and only serve MoN, USA then they'll get even cheaper rates.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045976)

So, in exchange for the government not taking money from you, you'd rather pay more than the government would take to a third party, to get worse service? That doesn't make sense.

I get better service from Blue Cross / Blue Shield than anyone I know has ever gotten from Medicare. If I don't like Blue Cross / Blue Shield, I can switch to someone I do like, and still get better service than what Medicare gets, for me.

What the left wing always forgets is that health insurance is a risk management tool. I can tailor the coverage that I want, to the risks that I actually have. Things that are not "risk", I can pay out of pocket. That's why the left always screws up insurance by having carriers be mandated to provide things like doctors visits and some prescription drugs... those aren't risks often, and I can do better with myself.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045240)

Here [google.com] is some data to support your wild claim of America as the most giving. See figure 1 on the bottom of page 2, figure 2 on page 6 and table 1 on page 9. It should be noted that this data is based on private philanthropy, not government handouts, as other studies often are.

Personally, I think the best table there is on page 13, as it is adjusted against average income level, and not GDP (which may be biased for countries that have a high per capita GDP, like the US). In this table it can be seen that America is still the top giver internationally, but not by nearly as high of a margin.

Unfortunately, I still don't think this is a fair comparison. For example, people who make more money can afford to give a larger percentage to charity, as their cost of living is a lower percentage of their income. Possibly charitable donations over (per capita GDP minus average cost of living) would be a better scale. Regardless, by the given metric, America is the top charitable giver.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (2, Interesting)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045318)

Government is not charity, it's legalized theft.

According to the "centrist" "founding father" James Madison - the principle task of government is economic regulation,
FP #10 Principle Task of Government. [bit.ly]

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045590)

bit.ly? Seriously? Why is it not possible to just include a real link to the actual website? It's not like you're on twitter here, or you're hiding goatse. You're just keeping people who might actually think you're being honest from believing you by hiding your link behind a notorious troll cave.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045882)

bit.ly? Seriously? Why is it not possible to just include a real link to the actual website

You are correct. I used a bit.ly link from a twitter message, because when using TweetDeck it gives the expanded url to approve or disaprove. I didn't stop to think that slashdot works differently.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045804)

What Madison meant by regulation, and what our government does today, are greatly divergent. To Madison, "regulation" meant to keep commerce regular, by enforcing the rule of law, and providing a court system to adjudicate contract disputes.

-jcr

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045320)

Depends on how you define and measure "charity".

We don't cover all our citizens with health care, and private charity does not by any stretch of the imagination come even close to making up that gap. If we include taking care of our own people European social democracies fare better than if we exclude that.

Now with the exception of anarchists, who have an internally consistent position, nobody literally believes that "government is theft." What people mean is that "government taxation to support programs that are morally indefensible is theft." That's a position a Republican stalwart can share with a socialist pacifist who can't abide Democrats because they are too right wing. The only difference is in the details of which programs are considered morally indefensible.

"Government is theft" is the kind of emotional political slogan I can't abide from either side ("TAX WEALTH - NOT WORK"). Such slogans are nearly always in code. There is an underlying paradigm people have in mind when they say them, usually an irrefutable one (the meddling, officious government bureaucrat, the ruthless, well connected crony capitalist who games the system) that by process of synecdoche they stretch to cover a broader class (all government workers, all wealthy people).

It's not possible to have a rational discussion on this kind of basis.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (3, Informative)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045474)

"Government is theft" is the kind of emotional political slogan I can't abide from either side

This is not a political slogan, it speaks to the nature of how government achieves its goals. The power of government stems from the threat of violence and loss of liberty. To deny that is to deny reality.

When people sit in wonderment as to how anyone could possibly oppose *favorite government program*, it's worthwhile to remind them of the ultimate source of government power, because this is the premise of the argument (call it libertarian, conservative, what have you).

The reason the U.S. Constitution was so revolutionary was because it was one of the first times these issues were taken into account. To ignore that and simply argue over a plan's perceived efficiency and pass it because "we want to," rightly gives thinking Americans pause.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045598)

Then would you say that "theft" is necessarily morally indefensible?

If so, then anything that the government does must also be morally indefensible. That includes enforcing criminal laws and providing redress in case of breach of contract.

If *anything* the government does is morally defensible, AND if theft is necessarily morally indefensible, then "government is theft" is necessarily wrong in a literal sense. But it could still be right in a poetic sense.

The term for a political statement that is wrong in literal sense but right in a poetic sense is "political slogan".

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045692)

Even if I agreed with you 100% on everything else... the phrase "government is theft" paints the user of that phrase into a tight box. That person now can't accept ANY government without appearing complicit in the crime of theft. This, by the way, is essentially the same lesson Omaba was truing to impart to Republicans last week.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045506)

We don't cover all our citizens with health care, and private charity does not by any stretch of the imagination come even close to making up that gap. If we include taking care of our own people European social democracies fare better than if we exclude that.

Exactly. And private charity doesn't work very well if people suddenly decide to cut down their donations. For example, because of an economic crisis.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045824)

Depends on how you define and measure "charity".

Charity is voluntary, by definition.

-jcr

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0, Troll)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045372)

Government is not charity, it's legalized theft.

Thursday is not purple, it's amortized transit.

us most charitable ? (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045374)

This is a really complicated thing - defining "charity' and doing cross country comparisions the wikipedia article shows the us as having low official aid and high private aid however, see the thread here http://www.jonholato.com/2007/06/26/us-more-charitable-than-any-other-country/ [jonholato.com] for some perspective

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045532)

If it's legalized, by definition it is not theft.

Moderate parent up. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045124)

SmallFurryCreature, I agree with what you said: "... this whole thing is just another sign of the US tearing itself apart for some reason I at least cannot understand."

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (3, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045190)

Or is spending 1000 dollars on bad health care to a private company good and 100 dollars on good health care to the government bad?

If it could be clearly demonstrated that we'd get the same healthcare as we're getting now for a lower price on government-run healthcare, I doubt you could find more than a handful of people in this country who'd oppose it.

Alas, so far, not a single proposal for government-run healthcare has met that criterion. Certainly this last go-round didn't. What we keep getting from the government is "we'll improve your healthcare by making it cost more, but not deliver more"....

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (4, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045270)

I give you H.R. 676 [loc.gov] , a bill which would provide simple, single-payer health care to all legal residents of the United States, but keeps getting buried by Congress in favour of their massive, complex "health reform" bill that ironically does far less for the people. This bill would actually make the US health care system better than that of most Canadian provinces, since it covers things like dental and prescription medication.

It has been shown several times that single-payer care costs far, far less in the long run, and allows you to keep everything you have now, minus the insurance company that wants profit over your own health. Unfortunately, it seems that the right wing has successfully equated the term "single payer" with socialism or communism (OMG THE REDS, RUN AWAY!), so I doubt we'll see anything this sane in the next ten years.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (3, Insightful)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045420)

Insurance provides management of risk. Using it as a middleman for payment of routine health care costs is an inefficient perversion of its purpose.

And please explain how the overhead of any middleman between me and a doctor would be more cost-effective.

Even a very basic mathematical analysis shows that any of these systems is less efficient than "customer pays."

If your answer is that the government will have none of the problems that using insurance companies as a middleman have, because the government is good and insurance companies are bad, please try again.

It's like this: routine care has a cost x. Redistribution of money to pay cost x has an additional cost y, no matter who does it. If the customer pays cost x, adding cost y will increase costs.

Do you expect your car insurance to pay for your gasoline? Why not? If I offered to provide you with a gasoline payment policy, in which for a monthly fee I'd pay all of your gasoline bills, would you sign up expecting to get a good deal? Would you expect the price or availability of gasoline to change? What if everyone signed up for the same program? Would the incentive be to conserve your usage of gasoline, or to use as much as possible?

If the overhead for my gasoline single-payer program is only 10%, you're worse off in the program unless your gasoline usage is greater than 10% of the average among all users. Essentially, the bottom 60% is subsidizing the top 40%, and the system as a whole is 10% less efficient than everyone paying for their own gasoline.

If you're saying that people should subsidize others who can't afford basic care, fine. We have medicare and medicaid, which a majority of those people already qualify for. If there are 5% that don't, expand that program; don't force me into a single-payer program I don't want.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045706)

Even a very basic mathematical analysis shows that any of these systems is less efficient than "customer pays."

You're right, of course. We can just conveniently ignore all the moral implications of that. And comparing people's health to simply fueling their cars? Brilliant. Oh, and let's also pretend that everyone should be covered already since Medicare exists, even though it's heavily restricted and there's a huge subset of working poor that don't qualify for it simply because they work. Those people should totally quit their jobs so they can get on welfare for the health care! Or alternately, pay for a private health insurance plan that they can't afford (somehow). What's that? They should have insurance through their employer? Fat chance for a large percentage of people who work for small companies that don't have employee health insurance plans.

By the way, HR676 doesn't in any way affect your relationship with your doctor and/or hospital other than who they bill. Doctors and hospitals are still private. But feel free to conveniently ignore that and rant on anyway.

I mean really, we could just boil this down to "I've got mine, so fuck the rest of you."

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045434)

I give you H.R. 676 [loc.gov], a bill which would provide simple, single-payer health care to all legal residents of the United States, but keeps getting buried by Congress in favour of their massive, complex "health reform" bill that ironically does far less for the people.

I read the bill. It doesn't actually require that you be a legal resident of the USA. Nor does it look to be "simple", with both a National Board, and 50 State Boards used to determine salaries, costs, etc.

It has been shown several times that single-payer care costs far, far less in the long run, and allows you to keep everything you have now, minus the insurance company that wants profit over your own health.

It has certainly been claimed several times. I'm not sure where it's been shown. I'm not, by the by, talking about "well, the British NHS works, so our system will work just the same". I'm talking about someone doing an analysis of OUR system, and showing where the costs would go down with National Healthcare.

Let's see, fine print in that bill...

The part about having to issue T-Bills (which means increasing the National Debt) to pay the entire health system to non-profit.

The part where any Doctor or Hospital doesn't actually have to take part in the system if they don't want. Sure, that might just marginalize those doctors/hosptials, but if there's only one hospital where you live, and it opts out, you're paying for National Health Care without really getting any benefits for same. And if the very best doctors/hosptials decide not to play, then the general quality of care will go down slightly, not up.

Also, I didn't actually see anywhere in the Bill where it mentioned how the system was to be paid for. So there's really no way to say whether it'd be cheaper.

Now, all that said, what I really think of the bill you mentioned is that it's completely unnecessary. If we really want National Healthcare, all we have to do is write a very short (the Table of Contents might be longer than the text) bill which lowered the age of Medicare eligibility to zero (birth). There, simple solution to the problem.

Note that we'd want to add a requirement that any politician in the USA must use the same system as the masses, of course. That'll add an extra line or two to the bill....

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045860)

It has been shown several times that single-payer care costs far, far less in the long run, ...Unless you value your life, that is.

-jcr

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045298)

I know several Canadian citizens who moved to the states in a large part to escape the inferior national healthcare system up north. I suppose if you work part time at McDonalds, government run health care seems like a good idea, but if you have a job where you can actually afford real healthcare, it's terrible.

[sarcasm]Maybe we should raise the voting age to prevent those pesky poor college kids from voting their silly liberal views. That would eliminate a large portion of the support for this![/sarcasm]

But really, I have no idea what would be a better plan. Maybe not privatizing it, and actually have government employed doctors and government run hospitals. Like that would ever happen.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045416)

I suppose if you work part time at McDonalds, government run health care seems like a good idea, but if you have a job where you can actually afford real healthcare, it's terrible.

Except that's nonsense. Perhaps Canada has a poor system (I really don't know), but why compare with the worst example?

I know the UK isn't the best in the world, but we pay less on public healthcare (per capita) than the USA does.

And I also believe our private healthcare is far cheaper too; I know it would be for me. Look at this [moneysupermarket.com] and see for yourself how it would work out for you, bearing in mind that most people don't bother with private insurance as they're quite happy with the NHS.

Actually, the most expensive UK option there, Platinum cover with zero excess, was cheaper than the cheapest US quote I could find, but I admit I don't know the ins and outs of the US system.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045462)

Well, I compare with Canada because I know a bunch of Canadians, and I don't know any UKians.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045596)

So you concede that it was wrong to generalise that public healthcare was a bad idea, from your limited experience?

BTW, did you look at the link I gave in my previous post? Was the quote comparable to what you pay now? I really don't know what's "usual" for the USA.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045810)

Well, presently I pay nothing for first rate healthcare for my entire family in NYC, so I'm not exactly an ideal candidate. Nevertheless that website puts me at around 90 pounds for similar care in the E4 6AA [londontown.com] postcode of London (I have no idea where that is, but I don't exactly live in Manhattan, so it seemed comparable), but doesn't cover dental or the cost of anything but out-patient surgery, as far as I can tell (doesn't cover surgery? then what's the point?). But about $140 a month is nearly a tenth [finweb.com] of the average per-family cost in the US (presumably it would be higher than average here in NYC, and not cover dental either). That's very impressive.

But then, isn't the UK system government run? I'm fairly certain that most [wikipedia.org] of the proposed US systems are going to still be private, just with Uncle Sam footing the bill. I would hardly say that the UK system is comparable, and by the same token neither is the public hospital system in Canada.

I think the only valid comparison might actually be right here in the US: our defense budget. According to the FY2011 budget [google.com] , the present spending is about 700 billion dollars per year. Is that going to be enough to cover a $2.5 trillion [finweb.com] (same link as "a tenth") industry? Or will people finally stop complaining about DoD spending when healthcare spending totally eclipses it?

That was oddly rambling and rife with parentheticals. My apologies if I got lost somewhere...

But, ya, when I needed surgery, I didn't have to do anything but sign my name somewhere. Is it like that in the UK? Does your healthcare cover the PRK [wikipedia.org] I also got for free?

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045984)

There actually can be an easy solution for the possibly problem of the healthcare quality: basic universal healthcare that covers most important things can be provided. If someone wants more service they can either pay cash or have a private insurance. This combines the best of both worlds.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045376)

Alas, so far, not a single proposal for government-run healthcare has met that criterion.

My rule of thumb: Those without power tend to suffer.

I_Voter

Citizen's Political Power in the U.S. [google.com]

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045750)

If it could be clearly demonstrated that we'd get the same healthcare as we're getting now for a lower price on government-run healthcare, I doubt you could find more than a handful of people in this country who'd oppose it.

When you say "this country", what country are you referring to? I happen to live in America and there are plenty of people who hare happy to cut off their own noses to spite their faces. Just about everybody agrees that is true, too. They just differ on who the people advocating that are.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045864)

Ever heard of medicare? Know any seniors that want to give it up?

Not just rich, out of touch and reading challenged (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045194)

Slashdot criticism: "Once again, Dilbert proves to be scarily prescient."

From the article, Text4baby founding partners include:
National Healthy Mothers
Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB)
Voxiva
CTIA - The Wireless Foundation
Grey healthcare group (a WPP company)
Founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson
WellPoint
Pfizer
CareFirst
BlueCross
BlueShield
"... wireless carriers are distributing free text messages."
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Defense Military Health System
BabyCenter LLC
Danya International
Syniverse Technologies
Keynote Systems
The George Washington University
"MTV Networks is a media sponsor."

So, your comment, "Remember, Slashdot is run by rich white guys" could be changed to read "Remember, Slashdot is run by rich, out-of-touch white guys who didn't read the story they posted."

Re:Not just rich, out of touch and reading challen (1)

kms_md (991224) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045492)

where is the american college of obstetrics and gynecology or the american academy of pediatrics (you know, the national bodies whose members actually take care of these ladies and their babies)?

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045300)

I can maybe answer some of that.

Having lived in countries with national health care systems (someplace in Asia), with private insurance (US), and with no insurance at all but low prices (some other palce in Asia), I have found the highest level of care by far to be in the United States. The worst care, by far, was in the place with no insurance but cheap prices. In most hospitals there, if you're not bribing the staff (and thus raising the price), you'll get almost no care. The place with a national health insurance system was a middle case. Primary care and ob/gyn care is reasonably good (but not as good as the US; our first child was conceived in that country but born in the other place in Asia) and the co-pays were roughly price-equivalent to the US. Hospital stays there, however, fall far short of what you get here. I spend a week in the hospital there, and it was most unpleasant. The national health insurance only paid for a bed in a six-patient room and I was surrounded by people who were far sicker than I, with all the noise, smells, and potential cross-infection that goes with that. The equipment was lousy (I couldn't even get an IV tree with wheels; I had to carry the thing to the communal bathroom; no in-room bathroom or shower). The nursing care was fair, and the food was disgusting. I lived off the convenience store in the basement and a pizza a friend brought me.

Do I want the US health care system to become like the middle case I described? No way. We're way, way better than that now. My wife, who is from one of those other places, agrees that our quality of health care is the best. Going to a national insurance system will probably pull that quality down.

What, then, do we need to fix? A few things:

1) Fix the extremely hostile and litigious malpractice lawsuit industry; it's a major factor in what makes health care and insurance so expensive here. It desperately needs reform. And by "fix" I mean that it needs to be far, far harder to sue someone for malpractice, that you need to really prove they fucked up hugely, along the lines of something that could cause a license suspension or revocation.

2) The way health insurance companies can screw people by doing things like declaring a pre-existing condition uncovered, charging people who actually get sick and use their insurance more money (it's supposed to be a shared risk pool; everyone should pay the same).

3) Get better standardization of forms, etc., so it doesn't cost doctors so much to deal with health insurance. The best thing about the country with national health insurance is that doctors easily knew where they stood and didn't need to employ one or more insurance specialists.

4) Use the forms in points 1-3 to make health insurance cheaper and available to all. Subsidize the cost with tax credits for people who are low income if you have to.

That's how we need to reform health care. What we definitely don't need is national health insurance.

What's so scary about a national health insurance system? To *really* fuck something up requires a government. The US government, in particular is very good at that, and is also very good at ridiculously underestimating what something will cost (or more likely, lying about it). One thing is for certain: spending 100 dollars on government health care will most certainly not get you better health care than spending 100 dollars on private health care. The government never, ever does things better and cheaper. Typically, it's both worse and more expensive.

Government is rarely the solution. More government is even more rarely the solution. Mostly, government is the problem. Sure, we have improvements to be made, but a huge, bloated and expensive government health care bureaucracy isn't the way to do it.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045422)

since you don't specify the countrys, it hard for /. readers to know if your comments are reasonable as to your "solutions" without malpractice, what saves me from bad doctors - isn't malpractice the free market solution to bad care ? your other cost savings ideas are good, but show a lack of understanding of true costs, which are driven by technology: it is not how (paperwork) that costs money, it is new technology and an aging population that are the true cost drivers; fixing forms will provide a temporary relief and anyway, isn't making evryone use the same form sort of gov't control ? isn't the point of diff forms free market magic, diff companies try diff things ?

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045616)

When I read your post, I could see you have an amazing sense of entitlement, which probably comes with the American culture.
You seem to think that a hospital should be like a hotel, where everybody gets their own room and a continental breakfast. Well, surprise -- You're not there on vacation, you're there to get medical treatment.
Space is a commodity; I, for one, will put up with a little less room if it means that the impoverished family down the street's daughter gets necessary treatment.

I live in Canada. Yes, I've been on a wait-list for surgery, and I've had to wait a couple weeks for an x-ray.
Why?
Because the girl with stage III skin cancer should get those things first, regardless of how much money her parents have.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045626)

I'm not sure why that posted anonymously.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045888)

It's becoming clear that Americans can't afford care better than the "middle case" that the rest of Western world has, and tweaking malpractice liability and medical forms will only reduce costs trivially. Large private companies are just as bad if not worse than governments when it comes to bureaucratic incompetence, and it doesn't make sense to put health care into their hands since it is primarily an entitlement or charitable service to which profit calculations don't apply. The government already pays for most health care in the US, which you claim is the best, so saying it is "the problem" is ridiculous.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045912)

I live in the US without health insurance. I've lived in Asia with a national healthcare system and low cost health care. I've lived in Europe in a communist/socialist country.

Maybe American healthcare is ok if you have insurance. If you don't, it sucks. You get treated like shit, and I can actually afford to pay for it, I just don't have insurance. The health care is slow and expensive.

In Asia, the government hospitals were fast, efficient and reasonably priced whether you had the national insurance or not.

In Europe the government healthcare was fast [and free if you had a job]. They did not have the latest technology, but the doctors wanted to help people. In the states we all know why people choose to be doctors. It's to make money. There is nothing wrong with making money. But there is an qualitative difference between the people who choose to be doctors here and there.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31046040)

Fixing the litigation problem is a good idea, but it won't make a significant difference to the fact we are heading toward spending 20% of our GDP on health care.

So far as our health care being the best in the world, it depends on how you define and measure that. If you look at customer satisfaction of people who have the means to buy good insurance, that's probably true. For example if you want a particular procedure and have the insurance to cover it, you're probably happier about that procedure.

If you define health care quality by outcomes (e.g. infant mortality, cancer survival, life expectancy) the situation becomes a lot more complex, and it is not at all clear that the US has the same lead in outcomes as it does in spending as percent of GDP. I don't want to oversimplify the case, because there's all together too much of that sort of thing going on. We might pick one measure, such as cancer mortality after initial diagnosis, and we might see some advantage to the US. In other cases, such as life expectancy, there are confounding factors such as the obesity epidemic and the resulting prevalence of metabolic syndrome.

What you can't do is take one person's experience, or even the experience of a class of (privileged) individuals, and make that stand for the whole.

That said, I think it is fair to say that the financial efficiency of the US health care system is low relative to other advanced nations. We clearly spend a lot more for outcomes that aren't clearly better. It's also true that if we imagined doing a perfect job on tort reform (which we should), this situation would not change. It would reduce costs by a few percent, not the 30-50% it would take to put is in line with other advanced nations.

I think the reason we don't have efficient health care as measured by outcomes is because our health care system is not designed around outcomes, it is designed around patient satisfaction for the most profitable segment of patients. This not only excludes unprofitable patients, patient satisfaction is not a perfect proxy for outcomes.

Recently I had elective surgery. I only had to wait about a month. In some countries I might have to wait three or four months for that surgery. So I'm very satisfied with our health care system with regard to this one procedure. If I lose my job and health insurance, and I can't get insurance at my new job because of preexisting conditions, then I'd be very dissatisfied with our health care system.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31046152)

I would argue that either you've been to some less than exemplary countries, and/or you've fallen prey to "window dressing" in US hospital care. The stats speak for themselves - the US spends way more than other Western countries for worse results. The only winners are the people at the top of the food chain (as in most areas in the US).

The people working to turn the public against public health care in the US are the people who will continue to suck your cash out of your pockets.

I do not understand US anti-government sentiment - it's part of the reason for the faults in your government system. Instead you should all be looking for better government, not less government. I can only assume it is deeply ingrained attitudes from both the experience way way back of British rule, plus the experiences of ancestors who emigrated to the US when things were not so hot in their original country, or they had an attitude of not trying to fix things but just leaving when there were problems.

Anyways, it is very annoying that the US can't sort themselves out because the elite here in Ireland/UK keep looking to the US for ideas of how to screw us plebs here too, and use a lot of the same tactics to turn the populance against more civilised European ideals. Even on the continent there are those working to place more money and control in the hands of the wealthy few, based on following US examples - for example less regulation of business (see where that has got us).

The US, "land of the free" has less social mobility than stuffy "Old Europe", and I sincerely hope that Europe avoids following their examples.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (3, Insightful)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045346)

P.S. Nice try with the racist reference to rich, young white guys. There's nothing wrong with being rich, young, and white, and it doesn't make you somehow automatically wrong.

P.P.S. We don't spend more and get less than any other western nation. Health care may be tremendously expensive here, but it's also by and large tremendously good. Far better than any other country I've been to. My wife - who is not an American - says the same. She's constantly astounded by how good the health care system is here. That doesn't mean there aren't spending areas to be fixed, but the suggestion that we don't get good health care for the spend is preposterous.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (2, Insightful)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045574)

We don't spend more and get less than any other western nation.

Yes you do.

Health care may be tremendously expensive here, but it's also by and large tremendously good.

No it isn't.

Far better than any other country I've been to.

Perhaps you should visit more countries.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31046148)

How 'bout you just move there already.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (3, Interesting)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045592)

I was in Nebraska last year with my 7 year old nephew who needed medical assistance. They billed his mother stating that they do not accept out of state insurance. A couple of years ago I was in charge of distributing my mother's money. I made the mistake of giving my niece her money. The government seeing that she had a little bit of money(just $10,000) stripped her of medical and food benefits. While she had that money she had a $2,000 medical expense so they took her state income tax refund to pay for it. Why didn't I just give the money to the government instead? I did have to pay the federal and state governments over $15,000 in taxes. The gross national income is around $50,000 per person in this country and yet we have to take away money from the people who make less than the poverty level. I sure hope the tea party members are enjoying themselves while on their expensive cruise and while they are listening to the $100,000 speech by Sarah Palin. I am sure they can justify taking from the poor so they can spend all that money.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045634)

Enough with the racist comments SmallFurryCreature
"Rich white guys" are not the problem, maybe rich selfish people are a problem but last I checked a person from any race can be selfish.

You are right, us Americans do pay too much for our health care.
Instead of fixing the cost problem, you advocate replacing the whole system?

The single payer, in a single payer system, will decide what the re-reimbursement rates are, not doctors.
The result of this is obvious, if the doctor is forced to earn less he will be forced to cut corners somewhere.
I would not feel safe visiting a doctor who must think of cost as a more important factor than my health.
Obama said it best "UPS and Fe-Ed are doing just fine. It's the Post office that's always having problems"

I could care less if someone in need gets my tax dollars, as a matter of fact I often help people in need myself without the government forcing me to do so.
What I have a problem with is being forced to help people who will not help themselves.

Sure there are people who are down on their luck looking for work that just is not there. I'm all for helping these individuals and families.
But there are also people who choose not to work and live off the system. These people maybe deserve Darwin Awards but not health care, welfare and food stamps.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045782)

>Really, what is so damned scary about a national health care system.

Rationing by congestion is no walk in the park. You should do a bit of research on it.

-jcr

there goes the racism... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045948)

Remember, slashdot is run by young rich white guys whose parents were all well-off. They don't need health-care right now, so screw everybody else

So basically, anything a white guy has to say doesn't count? That's pretty racist to me.

Really, what is so damned scary about a national health care system

Those who have good medical care already, will get less medical care, as a national health care system really means rationing. That's pretty much what it is. If you have the money and a good job in the USA, you get the best health care in the world. Everyone says "the USA as a whole gets less", but a lot of that is because our doctors can get sued for just about anything. If you wanted to make health care reform like the rest of the world, let's get rid of malpractice lawsuits, as is the case in Britain, and you'd watch costs fall dramatically, and then, other people -could- afford health insurance.

The right national health care reform was the one proposed by John McCain. He would have had tort reform to lower costs, unlinked health insurance from employers and moved that to individuals, which would have gotten rid of some huge social problems (like pre-existing conditions, etc), and then, we could have taxed the benefits to help those in need.

All Dems have to offer, instead, is that everybody who is young must take their tiny paychecks and buy health care they don't need, or go to jail or face fines. Sounds like a dumb ass plan to me.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045992)

US public opinion is wilfully uninformed (not you, dear readers, the OTHER ~300,000,000 morons you share space with).

There are only "identity politics", where the morons seek affirmation. The nation being split between religious zealot white bigot conservatives (not to say they don't have some good ideas) and leftists who want complete redistribution of wealth (not to say they don't have some good ideas) along the "forty acres and a mule" promise model.

None of the issues in the US are actually about the issues, they are about stupid mobs who hate each other (and love free stuff ONLY for their pet projects). We relentlessly elect mediocrities because our people are mediocre, we hate the exceptional and gifted, and prefer "leaders" who won't challenge us to think. Each mob is self-righteous and blind to its own numerous defects.

The American public think their country is the center of the world, and since they don't read history they don't remember when it was not. They want to recapture past glories but are unaware of the mechanism and historic context of those successes. They confuse their ignorance and immunity to humility with strength. Decades of being rich (note even our "poor" have cars and are fat as hogs by choice) have removed the challenge that is REQUIRED for humans to rise to greatness. While Americans fap to the glorious Greatest Generation they forget that the "GG" was hardened in (real) poverty and war.

We deserve the periodic train wrecks we create, and we need one to force down our wages to compete with the rest of the world (the Industrial Revolution workplace looked a lot like mainland China today).

PS:
Much of the distrust of national health in the US is based on the absolute certainty that it will be very badly implemented.
Unlike Europe, the US has a vast unproductive underclass swelled by immigration policies that are part of the deliberate demographic war against those who precede the current immigrant groups. Because resources WILL NOT be conserved by access controls, national health funds will be sucked dry.

Re:Remember, slashdot is run by rich white guys (2, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#31046134)

I pay for my own healthcare and I didn't have wealthy parents yet I'm against publically funded healthcare. Why, you ask? It's because it is NOT the Government's job to be our nanny. People need to care for themselves. If someone truly cannot do so then yes there should be safety nets, but the health care of the bulk of the population should not be paid for by their fellow taxpayers. Get a fucking job and earn some money and care for yourself.

Yeah I'll get modded down but I'm sick of everyone with their hand stuck out wanting 'free' this and that.

Re:Uh, rant much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045052)

Well, /. editors are libertarians (as should be blindingly obvious to everyone by now) and don't even try to cover it the slightest bit. Which is fine: Most people have some opinion on politics and I like to know the political bias of journalists whose posts I read. Even so, it's a shame they don't even try to be neutral. At all.

I would blame the author of TFA but frankly, I don't know what is TFA. There are seven links in the summary, 6 if you exclude Dilbert. I do like to RTFA every once in a while but I am not going to read 6 articles about this and won't be bothered to try and find the correct one.

Re:Uh, rant much? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045230)

Well, most libertarians I know aren't that bad at logical reasoning.

If having a political ideology means accepting any sloppy thinking that comes up with a conclusion your particular herd likes, then what does it mean to have a political ideology? It becomes a kind of irrational brand loyalty. We might as well duke it out in the streets as debate our positions.

Re:Uh, rant much? (3, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045324)

Well, I think most stories are reader-submitted. Since the majority of readers are of like-mind, I would presume the majority of stories submitted would have one particular political slant. Even perfectly impartial editors would end up releasing submissions primarily focused toward the political views of the submitter base.

In short: If you want more stories with a specific view-point, submit them.

Re:Uh, rant much? (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045428)

You know, with each new government action that gets posted here on slashdot, my hope in democracy as it stands now fades away, I thought at one point it would disappears but now it appears I have negative hope towards democracy.

That system is now so corrupt it itself has trouble keeping track of what it stands for and makes decisions like.. texting health plans. That sounds like someone needing mass attention or wanting mass distractions to me.

Re:Uh, rant much? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045732)

Well, I see nothing a priori wrong with a "texting health plan" so long as we don't intend it to be the only way people can get health information.

Railing against this seems to me to be like railing against a web site with health information on it because people should be getting this kind of information from their primary care physician. That's absolutely true. It's also true that many people don't have a PCP and many family's don't have a pediatrician, and *nobody* has a plan on the table to fix this. Not the Democrats, and certainly not the Republicans.

It seems to me if we have a system that is financially predicated on many people who need health care information not having a physician or family pediatrician, it is not unreasonable to look at other, cheaper ways of getting that information to those people. Ridiculously inadequate? Sure. Better than nothing? Maybe a little, but you'd have to ask an expert in pediatric public health whether it has any useful impact.

I understand that some people have a philosophical position that says that government should not help people who need things like prenatal and postnatal health care information. That's fine, but you ought not sail under false colors, saying "This is obviously an inadequate program." Of course it is! But you can't really pretend to make common cause with people who think *more effective* action ought to be taken.

Re:Uh, rant much? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045446)

I'm not sure that's even the low point of the "summary". The last sentence

Once again, Dilbert proves to be scarily prescient.

equates a private company abolishing its health care provision for employees with a government creating a scheme to provide people with information.

Re:Uh, rant much? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045790)

The implication is that the government is going to take away our private health insurance and make us *all* make do with text messages.

Of course everyone knows that's not true, but it doesn't stop some of us feeling like that is true.

Re:Uh, rant much? (3, Insightful)

ojintoad (1310811) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045996)

Moreover, from the Press Release:

The infant mortality rate in the United States is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise. Each year in the United States, more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday—signifying a public health crisis. Prematurity is often cited as being leading cause of infant mortality. Key predictors of a child's chances for survival are birth weight and gestational age. (emphasis mine)

Given this, providing information to young mothers with cell phones makes sense. While the Dilbert cartoon brings up valid points on using the internet for self diagnosis because you potentially can't trust the source of the data and might misinterpret it, this program does the exact opposite by creating a trusted source of information. In addition, the Dilbert article is critiquing corporate practices of cutting health care - what the hell does that have to do with limited government sponsored initiative to distribute specific information via cell phone to potentially low income individuals who can afford a cell phone but not health care since they work at a low paying job without benefits? In addition, they're partnering with the commercial sector so the costs are offset from taxpayers in exchange for the advertising and goodwill publicity for those partner companies.

Also, the word "gushing" in the summary should be a big tipoff (potential dogwhistle?) to the bias of the summary writer. If you read press releases at all, you'll know they tend to be either gushing, or defensive, or editorializing in some way. They're press releases, not pieces of journalism.

So, the Fetus *IS* a Child, then...? (-1, Flamebait)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31044996)

Thanks, Obama Administration! Glad to hear it! Was starting to think that maybe your political agenda was getting in the way of your science...

Spend ? (2, Informative)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045018)

Quoth TFS:

Separately, the White House announced plans to spend $3,000 on 'Game-Changing' Solutions to Childhood Obesity.

3,000 bucks sounds amiss. So, quoth the linked press release:

  • Incentives: We discussed government limitations on the size of the prize ($3,000 – a purse we’ve awarded in public service announcement contests as well). Design questions focused on the degree to which other stakeholders might supplement the prize with privately raised funds; develop new markets for educational games, including schools, parents, and after-school programs; and recognize finalists at the White House or other venues. What incentives would you recommend we deploy to maximize high quality participation?

(Bold italics mine)

Ah, they mean to give each "winner" kid $3,000 as an incentive/prize for being fit.

Re:Spend ? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045362)

Whatever happened to academic ability? Wouldn't this system further reinforce the kids who waste their childhood playing silly games, ultimately instilling a desire to contribute nothing to the development of mankind?

Additionally, I'm all for being healthy, but let's be honest here: no kid is going to be interested in these hollow shells of entertainment. Even at the age of 12 children can differentiate between what essentially amounts to government propaganda and actual entertainment. I'll give you a hint how they know: it's not entertaining.

Re:Spend ? (2, Informative)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045636)

Actually no, the prize is to developers to make a game that promotes nutrition. That is there will be several 'medals' awarded to developer teams and each medal can get up to $3k. They are awarding two medals worth 3k and an undeclared but it looks like small number of medals for lesser competitors.

I would actually expect something more like what you described given how our society seems to work sometimes, but in this particular example it's NOT the case. I'm not sure what level of development they expect for a possibility of $3k, but it will probably end up being bored flash developers and computer-precocious grammar school classes that compete.

Re:Spend ? (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045980)

I'm not sure what level of development they expect for a possibility of $3k, but it will probably end up being bored flash developers and computer-precocious grammar school classes that compete.

Thanks for the correction - it was not entirely clear to me with all the buzzwords the measly $3k led me to think that it was for the kids (their families).

Now come to think of it, how on earth is a videogame going to make kids exercise and eat healthier? I remember a silly flash game on Dilbert.com where you caught fruit and other healthy morsels and dodged pizza, burritos, etc. as they fell down the screen.

Great. (-1, Flamebait)

Megane (129182) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045020)

So who is paying to make sure every pregnant woman has a cell phone during this time period? Or are free cell phones run by the government next?

Re:Great. (5, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045046)

Demographically, most people have a mobile phone.
Now, you have a nice, efficient, easy way to get a big win with about 90% or more of the population that could help stave off a lot of resource being spent in treatment down the line, and you gripe that it doesn't cover 100% of the population? Wow.

Being part of the NHS in the uk, I get to see a lot of initiatives rolled out. Some politically driven, and they're frequently not so great. Some well thought out. There's always discussion on who gets left out, or missed, and how they can be brought into the system effectively. There's a (much derided) program that has a web, and phone presence that gives you the general idea of whether or not you should go see a GP, or head to the hospital (or in some cases, take a paracetamol, and wait for a day to see what happens).
Though it's not the greatest system, in the majority of cases, it does the job. Now, for this, you need an internet access point, or a telephone. If you don't have either of those, then you can't use the service, and have to go to see your General Practitioner to see if you have a problem.

This isn't a "you take this service, or you have no support", it's a method of aleviating the load on the system by offering a lightweight alternative that you can use if you have the resources to use it, having a low cost on both sides (provider and client), rather than much higher resource cost (time and/or money) otherwise.

Improving the NHS (3, Interesting)

OldEarthResident (1724062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045308)

I agree with you that the NHS provides some good things and for a routine or otherwise well known illness I have found the NHS to do a good job.

However, when you have a unusual condition, as I apparently do [blogspot.com] , and which standard testing doesn't reveal any insight into, then you can be basically ignored by the NHS until your condition becomes debilitating. Unfortunately, by that time, it's generally too late to do something about it.

I have no real idea why the consultants will not spend any extra time trying to track down the problem, but I suspect it has to do with the NHS been very target driven and getting people through the door as quickly as possible. To any NHS workers here, I am sorry if that seems harsh, but it's how I currently feel.

The opinion of this patient is that the NHS needs to develop procedures for been able to spend time diagnosing patients with unusual conditions and not leaving it until it's too late to do any good about it, because right now, my only real hope is that this condition (whatever it is) stabilises before my vision gets too dim to be of use.

(BTW Slashdot, if anyone here has any ideas about why a person's perceived brightness level would dim without any MRI or VEP tests been positive, I would be very interested in any suggestions you may have.)

Re:Improving the NHS (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045542)

Often, it's down to the consultant. I've been to see one or two for various things, and they just haven't been interested, and I've seen some who pull out all the stops.
If you have no result from the consultant you've seen (having the condition marked as ideopathic), and you know that the problem is ongoing or worsening, as to be referred to another more senior consultant. If they refuse, to and talk to the Patient Liaison service (ask at the front desk of the hospital; they're a good avenue to follow to make a complaint of that nature).

The chances are that although your hospital has an opthalmology department, and a neurology department, they're not research/specialist places (you'll find that there are some hospitals that have real specialities; ask for a referral to another hospital with a research department in that area). The patient Liaison service would again be a good place to check out to see what can be done about that. Alternatively, you could ask the GP for a referral to a specialist hospital. If you really want to go to town, do a little research of your own to find out which hospital has the closest speciality match to your condition, and use "choose and book" to your preferred choice.

I may be telling you things you already know, so rather than keep posting here, I'll drop you a line on the details mentioned on your blog, and start communications properly. I'll see if I can leverage any channels in the hospital where I am to find out the best methods of getting you to where you need to be..

Re:Improving the NHS (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045868)

you can be basically ignored by the NHS until your condition becomes debilitating.

Political medicine sucks when you're only one voter.

-jcr

Re:Great. (0)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045380)

You're likely right, people who can't afford healthcare in the US (15% [google.com] are uninsured) probably don't buy cellphone plans (82% [gearlog.com] have plans).

Re:Great. (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045778)

I'm not convinced this is true. Healthy young people may decide to forego health insurance, but at the same time couldn't live without a cell phone.

Re:Great. (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045832)

You're absolutely right, and I personally know people who make that choice. Cell phones are much cheaper, even with the crazy prices we pay in the US.

Re:Great. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045970)

Yes, actually. It's called the Safelink program, it's been around for years, and it's immensely beneficial to a large number of working poor.

https://www.safelinkwireless.com

Those who say "cellphones aren't a necessity" obviously haven't worked with the poor in this country. For most folks I know who use Safelink, it's their only means of communication with employers, social services, etc. How do you apply for a job when you don't have a phone number for the employer to call you back at?

Equal opportunity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045024)

I am a parent, but not a mother, you insensitive clog!

Why do only mothers get this?! They shouldn't be using a cell phone during pregnancy for healthy reasons anyway!

Re:Equal opportunity? (2, Funny)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045138)

You can use it too! Text them the day of your last menstrual period and you're good to go.

WHAT (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045156)

'Enter the date of the first day of your last menstrual period'

I'M NOT TELLING YOU THAT! YOU MEN YOU'RE ALL THE SAME!

Re:WHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045258)

Since you've not been through sex ed or haven't had a child, you should become educated. The due date is calculated based on the the first day of the last menstrual cycle. It's 10months. All care is based on this date.
Due date. [babycenter.com]

Re:WHAT (1)

kms_md (991224) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045514)

unfortunately, not all pregnancies are dated by the first date of the last menstrual period (LMP). first date of LMP roughly assumes regularly occurring 28 day cycles with ovulation/conception occurring around day 14. not all cycles are regular or 28 days in length. a significant number of pregnancies are dated by first trimester ultrasound.

Re:WHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045926)

Until the fetus is large enough to measure by ultrasound, everything runs on the LMP. Nearly every doctor revises their timeline once they perform that ultrasound. The ACOG labor & delivery sheets and most laboratory requisitions are all designed to deal with this.

Re:WHAT (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045386)

Yes, we all want desperately to know every detail of your menstrual cycle... *cough*

Re:WHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045430)

Written like a man who has never had to spend significant time around a woman.
One quickly learns to avoid being around them during PMS days if at all possible.
Best case you can get them to recognize that they are PMSing and the good ones will try to tone it down. Worst case, they couldn't care less what day it is and its all your fault anyway so what does it matter?!!?

Re:WHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045496)

'Enter the date of the first day of your last menstrual period'

I'M NOT TELLING YOU THAT! YOU MEN YOU'RE ALL THE SAME!

So ... today, then.

Re:WHAT (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31046030)

"I'M NOT TELLING YOU THAT! YOU MEN YOU'RE ALL THE SAME!"

That's rather harsh. We're not all like that.

Pics with timestamp will do.

/ dotted at 9am saturday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045322)

quote
The connection has timed out

The server at blog.ostp.gov is taking too long to respond.

Great; the national CTO's blog can't handle /dot traffic at 9am saturday eastern time

ignoring the real problems (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045466)

1) the health care debate is about how to ration care currently, we ration care by income (largely) - good income, less rationing you are working class, with problems, to bad for you bub. single payers like me want to ration care fairly; basically on a doctor decided need to basis for those of you about to howl about socialized medicine, you want some gov't doc rationing your care or you want a private insurance company, which is what we have now 2) Costs are driven by technology It is new technology, an aging population, and our changing standards of what is "good care" that drives costs, eg, super $$ new drugs like those offered by Genzyme all this discussion about how much money we are going tosave by having electronic records, or making averyone use the same form, or better diets, sure we will save some - maybe a lot - in the short term, but over the next 10-15 years, gains in $$ technology will wipe out any of these savings 3) nurses will be replaced by robots where is the cost ? having a 60K a year RN take your temperture is ludicrous; you may laugh, but you heard it hear 1st as soon as robots are available, nurses are going to be toast as soon as better robots are available, doctors are toast it will take a while, but given how much people costs , especially when you need them on call 24/7 they will be replaced - it is a question of when not if (VCs, u listening, this is whre to put your money)

HIPAA privacy regulations are problematic (2, Interesting)

techentin (121099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045544)

Haven't these people heard about HIPAA? You can't just transmit personal health information over arbitrary text message networks. It doesn't matter if they have a "secure server" somewhere(*). The whole network needs to be secure and auditable. And something tells me that this isn't the case for text messages.

(*) Google can find exactly two mentions of text4baby and HIPAA, both of which just say that there is a secure server.

Text4Baby advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31045604)

The advice that would help the babies the most would be something like:

1) Stop getting drunk and high

2) Stop using crack

3) Eat proper meals (WIC can help if you need it)

If these simple rules were followed there would be a huge drop infant mortality. Without following them no amount of "free" health care will make any difference.

Re:Text4Baby advice (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31046046)

The advice that would help is not to breed what you can't care for, but the people who have the most brats are the least intelligent.

Fanastic (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045612)

Seeing as a new born baby is a worry bomb for most parents, and the infact morality rate in america is trival, all mums and dads need is some text service to baby babble, until they get used to it, (some 20 years later). Capitalism does pretty well out of this sort of stuff, so i don't think the government need pay for it, and its the sort publc guesture that goes down well, until looked into.

---

Baby Care [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

"Historic" (2, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045660)

Love how everybody's been throwing this term around lately.
This is not historic.

Um...did they think this through? (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045718)

Suppose the woman delivers prematurely? Will she keep getting text messages telling her to do the wrong things?

A system like this is great but it must be done in conjunction with a medical professional. To just turn this thing on and have it spout pre-programmed recommendations regardless of real-world conditions is naive at best and damaging at worst.

What is wrong with USA health care reform? (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31045762)

Coming from a country where we have public and private health care, I can't seem to understand why people are so against it in the USA. Worse yet, it appears that the people who it would benefit seem to be against it!? Can someone explain to me the issues?

Re:What is wrong with USA health care reform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31046170)

Very few people trust the Democrats, and especially the Obama administration, to get it right.

Medicare and Medicaid are atrocious money pits; Obamacare would make it much, much worse without solving the real problems. Yet another wealth transfer/entitlement program is not what the country needs or can afford now.

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