Justice as percieved in America

Archived discussion from Toril-2.
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Justice as percieved in America

Postby Tasan » Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:37 pm

Branching off from the other thread, I just want to get some people's viewpoints on the justice system. I know there are quite a few law types in the community and I'm looking to hear some thoughts on fixing the problems(and what the major problems are) existing in our justice system.

As a "joe nobody" in society, I have only knowledge gleaned from the media reports(crap) and documentaries(more crap) produced on the subject.
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Postby moritheil » Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:47 pm

While touted as necessary and very helpful to police in extracting confessions and coercing criminals into behaving in a desired manner, selective enforcement of the law seems . . . unjust.
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Well...

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:06 pm

#1

Get rid of the well-intentioned, but currently dysfunctional jury system and implement a Professional Juror system. Jurors are certified and educated and have that as their professional job. I know many regard this as a possibility for corruption, but it pretty much is the same now. Use this until education in the country is fixed and restored to what it should be and what our forefathers thought it would be.

At least this way I know that I will be judged by my peers, instead of by retards.
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Postby Lilira » Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:28 pm

Institute harsher penalties for crimes commited and revoke the bazillion appeals permitted by our system. A man sitting on death row for 30 years is just rediculous. To even get the death penalty these days it practically takes an act of congress.

Also, reinstitute hard labor penalties. If you're in prison for 20 years, spend that 20 years doing the jobs no one wants to do instead of simply sponging off the taxpayers. Room, board etc should be deducted from any "pay" the inmates might receive, and they shouldn't be allowed to touch it until the day they are released. As for complaining about conditions in prisons.. if you make them work their butts off there is a chance they might be too dang tired to cause problems, not to mention their labor might be used to improve said conditions.

People commit 'petty' crimes because they are of the opinion that they can get away with it. The problem is, they're right. A slap on the wrist and they're out to do it again. The old "catch a thief, remove the hand that stole" might be barbaric but affective...
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Postby Corth » Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:17 pm

The biggest problem with our justice system, as far as I can tell, is the fact that we incarcerate millions of people for drug crimes. What a waste of valuable resources! Non-violent drug offenders without intent to distribute should not be jailed. Period.

In fact, drugs should probably just be legalized for those 18 or over. That would really take a load off of the justice system and allow us to concentrate on enforcing other laws that have been ignored. For instance, white collar crime, loan fraud, etc.
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Postby Vigis » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:04 pm

I agree with Corth. Possession without intent to distribute and drug use should not be punished.

However, the crimes people commit while on drugs or to get drugs should be punished much more harshly. It seems that people actually receive lighter sentences because they are on drugs and we should feel sorry for them.

As for professional jurors, very few things make me feel an icy shaft of fear in my gut than that thought. Creating an entire class of people whose responsibility it is to pass judgement on another person? The jury system has checks in place that allow both sides to influence the jury, and I think it works.
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Postby Sarvis » Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:28 pm

Vigis wrote:Creating an entire class of people whose responsibility it is to pass judgement on another person?


Err... you mean like judges?
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Postby Corth » Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:29 pm

Keep in mind also that by legalizing drugs, the price would plummet and people would not need to steal in order to obtain their drugs.

I agree also that crimes committed while using drugs should not be excused in any way because of the drugs. Responsibility for one's actions should be the goal here. Let people choose what they want to put into their bodies, but hold them responsible to the fullest extent if they break any laws.
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Postby Lilira » Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:18 am

Corth wrote:I agree also that crimes committed while using drugs should not be excused in any way because of the drugs. Responsibility for one's actions should be the goal here. Let people choose what they want to put into their bodies, but hold them responsible to the fullest extent if they break any laws.


Kinda like breaking laws under the influence of alcohol.

sarvis wrote:Err... you mean like judges?


1 judge.. 12 jurors.. I'll stick with the odds on the 1 professional judge vs. the idea of 12 professional jurors. A jury should be a group of your peers.. the selection of people from all walks of life is important.

The problem is, people no longer fear punishment because far too many people literally get away with murder.
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Postby moritheil » Sat Jan 27, 2007 12:50 am

I'm not sure that the problem is just people not fearing punishment. I think the idea that justice is broken incorporates people fearing punishment for things they didn't do as well as not fearing punishment for things they did do. Also, quite a few things are not technically "punishment" in a legal and judicial sense, but can be quite punitive in an economic sense, and can be done at will with relatively little supervision.

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Last edited by moritheil on Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ashiwi » Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:15 am

The surest way to fix what's wrong with our justice system in America....

Health care for everybody, and education through college instead of just high school.

Oh, and "Escape from New York" was on to something, I think.
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Postby Lathander » Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:55 am

Tort Reform!

There are too many nonsense class action lawsuits that lack a good basis. Also, control states like California from starting lawsuits against car manufacturers and other business with fuzzy fake science.

BTW, professional jurors? That was one of the reasons why America was founded. Britian had those and I believe still does.
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Postby rylan » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:25 am

A nationalized health care system would be a disaster in this country... in fact that pretty much is the case in other countries that have it.
While its a nice thought that healthcare and education would solve the problems and we'll all live in a big fuzzy warm Utopian society, thats not reality.
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Postby Ashiwi » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:58 am

Did I say "Utopian Society?" Did I say it would fix all our problems?

Nope, don't believe I did.

But you don't have a hope in hell of "fixing" the justice system and what plagues it until you can begin to address those two issues as part of the foundation of a larger problem.

Of course, an even more simplistic answer would be "a return to family values," but what do I know? Unfortunately, this is impossible for our government to force upon the people.

The justice system is an extension of the people, and until the people as a whole can make educated and informed decisions regarding their representation and the implementation of their laws, then the system is going to remain as dysfunctional as the society that supports it.

Please, do feel free to tell me how ignorance will contribute to the betterment of society, since education seems to be wackily Utopian.
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Postby Tasan » Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:56 pm

Corth wrote:Keep in mind also that by legalizing drugs, the price would plummet and people would not need to steal in order to obtain their drugs.


I think illicit drugs as they are now should be controlled by the gov't same as the rest. The gov't can import the products, set prices(and taxes) and hopefully provide not only a cheaper product, but also a cleaner/safer one. I would think that illict drug users would be all for having pure/untampered drugs.

I don't like the idea of a national healthcare system. As it is now, I pay money into 2 different funds for which I probably will never benefit from myself. I don't see why I should be forced to pay money to a program that will be bankrupt when I could finally benefit from it. Capitalism and socialism don't go hand in hand.

The gov't needs to step in and regulate the healthcare industry a bit more, but not take it over completely.
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:25 pm

Tasan wrote:I don't like the idea of a national healthcare system. As it is now, I pay money into 2 different funds for which I probably will never benefit from myself.


So you're one of those superpeople that never, ever gets sick or goes for checkups? I think the chances of you not using money paid into a national healthcare system are pretty slim, frankly.

EDIT: And frankly, you're paying for healthcare anyway. Companies use health insurance as part of their compensation, lowering the actual cash they give you while still making you pay on the insurance as well. Plus as an added business expense, they add the extra price to their products right?

Plus, we're paying more into healthcare than any country, let alone those with socialized medicine! You're still footing the bill, and a larger bill at that. For less benefit.

EDIT EDIT: Though really, while I think universal healthcare would be a good thing, I don't think it would have any effect on criminality or justice...
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Postby Lathander » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:56 pm

Sarvis,

What you miss is that any healthcare system really is about rationing. In the US, we ration is based on price and ability to pay although this really goes away in the lower income bracket because of social programs and medicaid. A socialized healthcare system simply rations based on availablity meaning that you tend to have to wait to get taken care of. A good example in the US is going to an Emergency Room. The wait for an Emergency Room is terrible.

Most people do not understand that socialized medicine would be bad for about 85% of the population because of higher taxes and less service. For the vast majority of Americans, the healthcare system is fantastic compared to what it would be otherwise.

This does bring up a terrible idea Bush is floating. His idea of a tax credit for health insurance, but tax "good" healthcare plans as extra income. Part of me thinks he is doing this to make people really think about how bad socialized medicine is. The other part thinks its just a giveaway to the car manufacturers and other employers that just want to pay less.

The history of healthcare in the US is pretty interesting. Roosevelt in the 30's proposed socialized medicine but it lost. During WW2, wages were frozen so employers could not pay more than their competitors. In reaction, businesses started giving their employees healthcare as additional compensation to get better people and keep them.
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eep

Postby Adriorn Darkcloak » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:32 pm

My neighbor comes over and tells me, "Hey man, we're going house to house around the block telling everyone they need to give us $300".

"What for?" I ask.

"Well, Bob next door to me has no health insurance because his company doesn't provide any."

"How come? Why doesn't he go work for another company that does give him health insurance? Or just get it on his own?"

"Well, that doesn't really matter. We just need everyone in the block to pitch in so he can get some."

"Like a donation?" I ask.

"No, you have to give us $300."


Yeah, pass.


I think Ashiwi was right in the education part. Right now the education system blows donkey cock. People aren't making the right decisions because they can't think rationally or for themselves. They can only make short term decisions, but long term plans are just not even a synapse. Which leads them to, socially, see social/political/economic issues in a short term manner, without actually analyzing the long term outcomes.

And yes, Ashiwi. Traditional family values = a better country, but like you said, it can't be forced, sadly.
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Postby Sylvos » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:41 pm

There's a lot more to the issue of a public health care system than I'm educated on or can bring up.

I'll just say though, that I certainly don't mind paying higher taxes for health care after watching my daughter get 4 months of intensive care service at approximately $1000 a day. Sure maybe if I had a job that paid medical benefits some or possibly all of that would have been covered, but my contract position doesn't offer that.

Sure, Bob, Bill and all the other folks along the block who've paid in taxes to help might not be all that happy about having done so. But I'll gladly pay the higher taxes I have up here, just so that the next person with a hefty ICU stay doesn't have to decide if they want their mortgage or their child.
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Re: eep

Postby Sarvis » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:46 pm

Adriorn Darkcloak wrote:My neighbor comes over and tells me, "Hey man, we're going house to house around the block telling everyone they need to give us $300".

"What for?" I ask.

"Well, Bob next door to me has no health insurance because his company doesn't provide any."

"How come? Why doesn't he go work for another company that does give him health insurance? Or just get it on his own?"

"Well, that doesn't really matter. We just need everyone in the block to pitch in so he can get some."

"Like a donation?" I ask.

"No, you have to give us $300."


Yeah, pass.


Yeah yeah, I know. All taxes are theft. I mean, it's not as if you decided to live in this country and abide by the decisions our representatives make or anything. :roll:

Oh and while we're at it, let's get rid of everything else our taxes pay for. You can buy your own private security guard instead of police, and build your own roads. Instead of all that money going to prosecutors, judges and courthouses we can just go back to mob justice instead. Let's see, we could all have the same phone company since there'd only be one without the government using tax money to break them up. (They're pulling a voltron as we speak anyway, actually.)

Meh, I could go on. The point is, we agree to pay taxes by continuing to live here. Just as much as your Bob agrees not to have health insurance by staying at his job.

They can only make short term decisions, but long term plans are just not even a synapse. Which leads them to, socially, see social/political/economic issues in a short term manner, without actually analyzing the long term outcomes.


You mean like knee jerk reactions against universal healthcare, even though the current system is massively more expensive for everyone involved, and provides worse care?
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Postby Tasan » Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:47 pm

Sarvis wrote:So you're one of those superpeople that never, ever gets sick or goes for checkups? I think the chances of you not using money paid into a national healthcare system are pretty slim, frankly.


Er... I don't remember recieving aid from anything but my medical insurance company, which is what their primary function is. Are we considering them national healthcare systems suddenly? I thought a national healthcare system would require a few more regulations ala socialism.

The two systems I mentioned were SS and Medicare.
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:02 pm

Tasan wrote:
Sarvis wrote:So you're one of those superpeople that never, ever gets sick or goes for checkups? I think the chances of you not using money paid into a national healthcare system are pretty slim, frankly.


Er... I don't remember recieving aid from anything but my medical insurance company, which is what their primary function is. Are we considering them national healthcare systems suddenly? I thought a national healthcare system would require a few more regulations ala socialism.

The two systems I mentioned were SS and Medicare.


It sounded like you thought a national healthcare system would be yet another contribution into a fund you would never use yourself. If there were national healthcare, medicare and your insurance company would probably go away.
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Postby Vigis » Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:22 pm

The problem I have with a national health care system is the same problem I have with the insurance I have through work. I pay a disproportianate amount when I look at how often I use it, the number of people on my plan (just me!), and the risk factors I exhibit which may lead to serious health issues.

We won't even look at the family coverage vs single coverage (although a person with 1 child has to pay the same amount as a person with 7 children).

I don't smoke.
I am not obese.
I maintain a healthy diet (food groups, vitamins, etc.)
The only history of cancer in my family is ovarian (I think I am safe from that one).

Yet, I pay the same amount as the chain-smoking, McDonald's eating, 325 pound guy with diabetes who has to visit the doctor at least 3 times a week and has a family history of prostate cancer.

Now, lump that together across the nation. We will have the healthy people paying for the unhealthy people, much as the wealthy people already subsidize the poor people.
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Postby Ashiwi » Sat Jan 27, 2007 6:32 pm

Wow, it amazes me that so many people oppose socialized medicine because they don't want to have to pay for it... and they seem to fail to realize that they already are.

One word for it is "welfare." There are a hundred words for it that encompass so many medical assistance and relief programs. You pay for it every time you go to the doctor. You pay for it every time you pick up a prescription. You pay for it every time you get a paycheck and it's taken out of your taxes. Lord knows you're gonna pay for it should you ever have the misfortune of being hospitalized. Or maybe you won't. Maybe you'll either get assistance to pay those bills, or you'll just walk away from them. Then the rest of us will be paying for it.

For every person out there who is uninsured, the rest of us can be sure we will be paying for their socialized medicine in one fashion or another. Your neighbors didn't have to come to your door to ask for that $300.00... the IRS already snuck through your back door and got it without you even knowing about it.

Oh, and just to clear something up... my desire to see more affordable healthcare for the masses along with education is more of a "tough love" approach. Give people what they "need" to succeed... then ditch welfare. The welfare system needs a massive overhaul because the one we have now breeds abusers of the system and encourages an under-the-table approach to life. Welfare is a blot on society and needs to be abolished as it is. You can't do that, however, until a system is in place that can offer a viable and more socially acceptable option.
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Postby Lilira » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:14 pm

Ashiwi wrote:Oh, and just to clear something up... my desire to see more affordable healthcare for the masses along with education is more of a "tough love" approach. Give people what they "need" to succeed... then ditch welfare. The welfare system needs a massive overhaul because the one we have now breeds abusers of the system and encourages an under-the-table approach to life. Welfare is a blot on society and needs to be abolished as it is. You can't do that, however, until a system is in place that can offer a viable and more socially acceptable option.


Amen sister. *grin*

I have absolutely no problem helping people who need a hand up. I am fortunate to be married to a man with a good job and decent benefits that keep my family and I healthy and allows me to stay home with my kiddos. My biggest heartburn is looking around and seeing all the people on welfare that aren't even required to look for jobs.

When I lived in Carlsbad, all to frequently I saw an unemployed girl who wouldn't know abstinence or birth control if it bit her in the hiney get pregnant out of wedlock, wander into the welfare office, manipulate the system with a sob story about her dead-beat boyfriend (lying) and get her entire pregnancy paid for as well as food stamps to pay for all of her meals, and everything afterwards. Half the time she already had one or two each from different fathers.

Then I think of the 2 years it took us to pay off all the medical bills incurred for each of my own pregnancies after insurance, (Good god 8 different doctors, 5 of which I don't remember seeing...) boy do I get steamed.

Far too often in this country everyone looks at the people who can't get jobs (therefor are qualified for welfare and medicaid) instead of the ones that have job, work their butts off and STILL can't make ends meet, get shafted by the system for healthcare coverage because their employers do not offer healthcare, but they have a job so obviously they can pay...

Our country is in a vicious cycle as far as welfare is concerned. The system is flawed, and far too many people on it know the flaws and milk the loopholes for all it is worth.

I would also love to see a flat tax rate instead of brackets. Gimme my check and 20% goes to the government. (Just tossing out a number folks.)
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Postby Corth » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:35 pm

Socialized medicine will just end up being even more inefficient than our present system. Which is not to say that I have any easy answers to the problem.

I think ultimately, the reason that health care is so expensive is that it is insulated from competition and market forces due to the fact that people don't pay for the actual services they receive, but rather, pay (or have their employer pay), for some sort of insurance plan that covers all necessary procedures. First off, it causes people to overuse healthcare resources because there are minimal out of pocket costs. Second, the HMO / Insurance industry is an extra layer of beaurocracy representing a few million extra people that need to be paid without actually doing anything of actual value. On the other hand, it is not practical to expect people who are already overextended to suddenly have to make huge out of pocket (and unforeseen) payments when they unexpectedly get sick.. so some sort of insurance program is obviously necessary.

If you look at it from this perspective, the health care providers actually have two types of customers. 1) Insurance Companies. 2) Non-insured individuals. The companies have a lot of leverage with the providers and get to pay significantly lower rates. The non-insured individuals, like Sylvos, get stuck paying the full amount, or end up with a court judgment against them for the full amount. So the existing system unfairly penalizes people who self-insure, which further undermines any type of free market moderation of costs.

One other thing to point out is that when you get very sick, you usually don't have the luxury of negotiating with different healthcare providers. You go to the nearest hospital and get treatment. This further undermines free market moderation of costs, since essentially you have a monopoly situation.

Ultimately, if it was completely free market, the price would be a lot cheaper? Why? Because if people are making an excessive amount of money in health care more people would get into that industry and competition would drive the price down. Some smart person is going to have to figure out how to apply market reforms to that industry. The alternative, socialized medicine, might improve things in the short term, but in the long term, its actually more of the same. More beaurocracy that has to be paid a salary (while not providing anything real of value) and more control of prices (causing misallocation of labor resources and overuse of the system). Its not a good long term solution.

As an aside, I really fail to see much of a link between healthcare and the criminal justice system. Shrug.
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Jan 27, 2007 7:53 pm

Corth wrote:Socialized medicine will just end up being even more inefficient than our present system.


What is it, besides your knee-jerk distrust of government, that leads you to believe socialized medicine would suffer more from all the problems you just listed? Especially when every existing socialized medicine system is cheaper per capita, and often provides better care?

Keep in mind that consumers have little direct choice over their health insurance provider as well. This means we have a bunch of companies with profit motive, who are insulated from free market correction, making all the decisions behind the scenes. I think the government can do better, and in many countries with socialized medicine... it is.
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Postby Lilira » Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:21 pm

A question for people who live in a country with socialized healthcare...

How are the actual doctors there? Are they good, caring, you'd love to return docs or are they "We're stuck with them cus the GOOD ones moved to a country where they can make a fortune?"

What is the level of healthcare?

When you have to go to a doc to get a procedure done that isn't life-threatening, but is medically necessary (knee, hip something replacement perhaps) how long does it take to actually get the surgery done?

These are just questions, I'm not trying to start a 'our medical pros are better than your medical pros' or anything.

Insurance companies do a fair amount of driving the market... has anyone looked at their Benefit statements? I will routinely look at one to see hundreds of dollars that are just excused due to agreements with my insurance company. So I have to ask... what about the people that aren't covered? *wince* Though I have heard there are a lot of doctors that will cut deals with uninsured people just because they will try and pay their bills cash.
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Postby rylan » Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:58 pm

Ashiwi wrote:Oh, and just to clear something up... my desire to see more affordable healthcare for the masses along with education is more of a "tough love" approach. Give people what they "need" to succeed... then ditch welfare. The welfare system needs a massive overhaul because the one we have now breeds abusers of the system and encourages an under-the-table approach to life. Welfare is a blot on society and needs to be abolished as it is. You can't do that, however, until a system is in place that can offer a viable and more socially acceptable option.


Agree with you there. When the system was created, it was called "Relief"... and thats exactly the purpose it served. People were ashamed to be on it for more than a short amount of time, because they were relying on the government and couldn't get by on their own. The system helped people get back on their feet when they truly needed it. Over the years it morphed into welfare, and now it is commonly also called entitlement. Instead of being used as a temporary crutch, it is being abused.

I think you made the best point about how the return to family values would fix things. Absolutely agree. Unfortunately I think the government has a large part to blame in driving our society away from that. Instead of people relying on themselves and their families to take care of things, they rely on the government to tell them what to do.

Yes our education system is broken... and when it comes to the jury, it seems that they generally try to pick the dumbest people. If you have a bunch of geniuses in the jury pool, they'll almost always get dismissed so that the lawyers can try to get morons for a trial. Even if the average education level in the country goes up dramatically, you'll still see below average juries.
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Postby Lathander » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:12 pm

Actually Llira, you are right about negoitated prices with health insurance companies. My wife's parents are self employed so they only have a catastropic health insurance plan. My wife's mom though after they get a bill calls up and raises hell and gets them to give her the health insurance company price. I think the key is to ask for a lower price. Similar to what Corth said, the consumer does have some power to negoitate their medical bills already. You just have to make the effort.

Ash, in terms of already paying for it, don't think for a minute they would tax you less than the government already does. They would simply tax you more. Also, yes, we do pay for it a bit for the uninsured but the congestion of emergency rooms creates a natural damper on how much the uninsured can use from a capacity standpoint. Also, look at hosiptals in good areas and in poor areas. Almost all of the poor area hospitals are going to be worse than the good areas. This is largely to do with the clientele in the poor areas who are on public assistance or other programs that really control what they pay and how long it takes them to pay the hospital.

Vigis, if you are that healthy do you have a low or a high deductible health insurance plan. If you are willing to take the risk, a high deductible plan is great. Pair it with an HSA and it is extremely powerful. Heck, if you know some of the recent tax law changes to HSA's, they are really amazing.

Sarvis, I think most folks are saying that Healthcare is not a civil right unlike what the thread is really about with the justice system. Healthcare is about how you pay for it and how much you should consume.

If you are self employed, you should get a high deductible health insurance plan at the minimum. Now if someone decides not to, then isn't that their personal mistake? Why should everyone else have to pay for an individual person's mistakes? Ever hear of personal accountability?

Finally, do you really trust the government with your healthcare? Boy, social security is going so well. The social programs for the poor really are working great huh? Let's not even discuss how the government handled Katrina.

As Ronald Reagan said, "The scariest words are 'We're from the government and we're here to help.'"
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Postby Lathander » Sat Jan 27, 2007 10:13 pm

Here's an actual justice system thing:

Eminent Domain

Let's stop the state and local governments from being able to take individual's property from them for below market rates to give to developer friends with the argument that it is to collect higher property taxes.
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Postby Ashiwi » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:44 pm

Lath... emergency rooms are full of people who could go to a regular doctor, but who don't have a family care physician because they can't afford out-of-pocket medical care. It happens all the time. Since they can't go to a doctor they go to the ER and then walk away from the bill.
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Postby Ashiwi » Sat Jan 27, 2007 11:59 pm

Oh, and sorry about the derailment. That happened because there is a tangible connection between societies that have easily accessible medical care for all, advanced education for all, and their violent crime rates.

I believe that if you want to fix the justice system, you have to start by fixing the people.
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Postby Lathander » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:07 am

You're right Ash, folks that don't have insurance just go to the Emergency Room. What I'm saying is that the long wait associated with an Emergency Room is a form of rationing to limit those that can't pay by waiting in long lines. The unfortunate thing is that it also hurts those that do have health insurance by also being in long lines at an Emergency Room. I believe that anyone going to an emergency room at a public hospital has to be treated.

Not all of them get away without paying. The hospitals have deb collectors that go after them to pay. I would assume that many negoiate with the hospital or debt collector to lower the bill or put them on a payment plan. Usually those that get away without paying are going to be folks that are down and out with no future or hope to pay for anything really.
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Postby Lilira » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:15 am

Only works if they give real information Lath.

I keep getting hospital bills for someone who used to live at my address. Its an ER bill dated June of last year. I've called the hospital to let them know the info they have is incorrect.. *shrug*

A lot of insurance companies now require you to go to an Urgent Care facility instead of the ER or doc unless you are literally DYING. I'd never seen one until we moved here, but now there are clinics all over with urgent care hours.
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Postby Sarvis » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:18 am

Lathander wrote:Sarvis, I think most folks are saying that Healthcare is not a civil right unlike what the thread is really about with the justice system. Healthcare is about how you pay for it and how much you should consume.

If you are self employed, you should get a high deductible health insurance plan at the minimum. Now if someone decides not to, then isn't that their personal mistake? Why should everyone else have to pay for an individual person's mistakes? Ever hear of personal accountability?


Is there some magic world you live in where everyone is either self-employed or making 6 digits? Seriously, what about the unemployed? What about people working at WalMart because their manufacturing job just went to Mexico?

Finally, do you really trust the government with your healthcare? Boy, social security is going so well. The social programs for the poor really are working great huh? Let's not even discuss how the government handled Katrina.

As Ronald Reagan said, "The scariest words are 'We're from the government and we're here to help.'"

[/quote]

But they're good enough to decide who can marry, right?
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Postby Lilira » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:22 am

*drags the thread back on topic and goes off to start another thread...*

Justice in the States.

God.. taxes.

I don't mind paying them, but its annoying when the person who paid maybe 100 bucks all year gets a $2000 refund.
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Postby Sarell » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:40 am

In australia we have mostly government healthcare through a program called 'medicare'. Over the last few years the federal government has pushed for more people to join private health funds. If you earn over around 50K a year you have to pay a medicare levy, however if you choose to be in a private health fund instead you do not have to pay this levy. So really you just have the choice, you can pay for private or state cover.

Both hospitals are good. There is a bit of a doctor shortage atm, my cousin just worked 20 days straight over christmas/NY, 12 hour _rostered_ days in ER.

Currently in my state the state government is streamlining the program under which specialists working for private hospitals are paid by the state to carry out operations under the medicare scheme.

The current federal government likes to be in bed with the private sector somehow playing second fiddle in support. So they are really promoting the private insurance companies earning more money, not that government officials and top end health care workers don't get some fancy kickbacks.

I think Corth's initially idea to stop wasting time on over age recreational drug use and crack down on fraud would really help the need for insurance dilemma. At the same time, a lot of over age recreational drug users might end up clogging up the ER even more. Last year my GF broke her elbow ice-skating and had to wait 5 hours at the ER, behind a bunch of drunks in line who had smashed up their hands and heads punching eachother several days earlier!

The Australian justice system involves a large boot and our prime-minister as you may have seen.
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Postby Lathander » Sun Jan 28, 2007 12:42 am

ROFL Lilira, EIC is the biggest gimmick in the book. Don't get me started on that one.

Sarvis, maybe their manufacturing job went to Mexico because the high taxes and regulatory costs here? Why are most of the new car manufacturing plants being opened in the South instead of in the Rust Belt? The reason is a better regulatory environment in southern states.

By the way, I'm boggled by your Wal-Mart reference. They offer health benefits pasted below for completeness. I do so hate it when someone complains about things they haven't bothered to look at.

************************************************

Our My Health benefits offer associates peace of mind and can help them take care of themselves and their families.

Associates' Medical Plan
Protection for the unexpected – that's the goal of the Associates' Medical Plan. If a major or unexpected medical event occurs, the coverage is there to help associates and their families. The Associates' Medical Plan is designed to protect associates from catastrophic loss and financial ruin.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. offers many options in their medical plan offerings so associates can tailor health care selections to their own unique needs.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
In addition to the Associates' Medical Plan, HMO plans are offered in some facilities.

Dental
A nice smile is one of our associates' greatest assets. The Dental Plan provides associates with a way to keep their smiles looking great. Under this plan, associates have access to a network of general dentists and specialists who have agreed to provide dental care at discounted fees.

Life Insurance
We want our associates to be prepared for the unexpected. Life insurance offers financial protection for associates and their families in case of death. Eligible associates receive Company Paid Life Insurance, and may also apply for additional life insurance coverage for themselves, their spouses, or their dependent children.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
AD&D coverage pays benefits to eligible associates if they have a loss of life, limb, sight, speech, hearing, or become paralyzed due to an accident while insured. Family coverage options are also available.

Business Travel Accident Insurance
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. offers associates protection when they travel on Company business by providing Business Travel Accident coverage to all associates at the Company's expense.

Disability Insurance
It is important for associates to think about protecting themselves and their families. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. offers both Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance which may provide associates with a portion of their income should they become suddenly ill or injured.

STARBRIDGE
STARBRIDGE is a limited medical plan that is available to associates and their families who are in an eligibility waiting period. STARBRIDGE is also offered to temporary associates.

Aflacâ„¢ Cancer Insurance
Aflac is a supplemental insurance plan that helps reduce financial worries if cancer strikes associates or their families. It can also help replace income lost if an associate is unable to work due to a cancer illness.
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Postby Eilistraee » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:12 am

This website is probably about as reliable for solid information as the official wal-mart page on their benefits, however as an example

http://wakeupwalmart.com/facts/

Now that link is obviously a person biased against Wal-Mart (as I myself am but I let my money do the talking there). However it is consistent with other big corporation policies on benefits eligability.

My own company provides fantastic benefits, they're among the top in the country however those benefits only apply to permanent positions within the company, and a high percentage of us who work there are actually on purchased services, e.g. contract. Thus they can have a steller reputation as a benefits provider, while at the same time only being on the hook for a small percentage of their workforce.
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Postby Sarvis » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:35 am

Lathander wrote:I do so hate it when someone complains about things they haven't bothered to look at.


*Reads Eilistrae's link*
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Postby Lathander » Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:58 am

They still offer health plans. The only problem is that Wal*Mart is bottom of the barrel in terms of quality. This is why they don't compete too hard for good people because you expect dregs to be working there. KMart is a bad example because it includes the Sears people as well.

What adult is idiotic enough to work for $8.23 an hour? Seriously, it is impossible to do it and you'd have to be stupid and irresponsible to try to have kids and have a main job at Wal*Mart. Hell, secretaries in my office make $14 bucks an hour. Now if you are in a depressed area like Pittsburgh, $8.23 an hour might actually be enough.

I'm just confused on why you would use the lowest common denominator as an example. Most folks would not expect to try to raise a family with the primary bread winner working at Wal*Mart.

Eili, not sure if you are in the States, but most self employed folks here get a high deductible health plan with a HSA. When one decides to be self employed, they accept the benefits and negatives. Usually, self employed folks make more money which helps for contributing to SEP's and solo 401ks. The cons are you double pay social security and you can't pool yourself with others for health insurance. Now some in Congress have been trying to let self employeed people in the same industry pool themselves to buy health insurance, but other politicians and the insurance companies have stopped this. Have you looked into a high deductible health insurance plan with a HSA?
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Postby Eilistraee » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:25 am

I'm actually neither in the USA nor dissatisfied with my own company's policies. You are correct, it is the trade-off you accept when you remain as a purchased services employee over a permanent contract. I simply used it as an example of how a company can be considered at the leading edge in terms of benefits available, while still not making the offer to a sizable percentage of their workforce.
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Postby Sarvis » Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:41 am

Lathander wrote:What adult is idiotic enough to work for $8.23 an hour? Seriously, it is impossible to do it and you'd have to be stupid and irresponsible to try to have kids and have a main job at Wal*Mart.


My god could you be any more disconnected from reality? Yes, I'm sure it was in everyones' plans to support their family of 3 on Wal Mart wages. :roll: Couldn't have anything to do with outsourcing, recessions, market shifts, or anything else that takes away jobs people were depending on.

Hell, secretaries in my office make $14 bucks an hour. Now if you are in a depressed area like Pittsburgh, $8.23 an hour might actually be enough.


You must live in a nice area. Third level analysts in my office are lucky to get $14 an hour. I barely break $14 myself, despite having internships paying more than that ack when I was in college.

I'm just confused on why you would use the lowest common denominator as an example.


Mostly because they were the first company that came to mind which was representative of the service industry jobs everyone says should be replacing our manufacturing, technical and telecommunications jobs.
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Postby teflor the ranger » Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:10 am

moritheil wrote:"Call a man a thief, and he will steal."


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Postby Cirath » Sun Jan 28, 2007 1:22 pm

Bring back hanging as a standard form of execution. It is simple, effective, and, above all, cheap.


Lathander wrote:What adult is idiotic enough to work for $8.23 an hour? Seriously, it is impossible to do it and you'd have to be stupid and irresponsible to try to have kids and have a main job at Wal*Mart. Hell, secretaries in my office make $14 bucks an hour. Now if you are in a depressed area like Pittsburgh, $8.23 an hour might actually be enough.


I live quite comfortably on less than that, and I have (legally, at least) been an independant adult for a number of years. Consider that cost of living is not the same everywhere, and not everyone requires the same amount of disposible income to be happy. As for kids, well, that isn't an issue, though I could support at least one other person on what I am paid without too much strain.
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Postby Tasan » Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:05 pm

Lilira wrote:A lot of insurance companies now require you to go to an Urgent Care facility instead of the ER or doc unless you are literally DYING. I'd never seen one until we moved here, but now there are clinics all over with urgent care hours.


Am I missing something? Doesn't ER stand for emergency room? If you aren't dying, wtf is the emergency? I can't understand how you justify going to ER if you aren't dying.

Sarvis wrote:My god could you be any more disconnected from reality? Yes, I'm sure it was in everyones' plans to support their family of 3 on Wal Mart wages. :roll: Couldn't have anything to do with outsourcing, recessions, market shifts, or anything else that takes away jobs people were depending on.


This goes back to personal responsibility. If you can't depend on your job, you should be looking for a new one. I don't feel the slightest shred of guilt for not caring if a guy lost his job and can't figure out a way to support his family. When you take on the responsibility of raising a child you should be aware of the costs and impacts upon your lifestyle that having a child will bring. Too many of the problems existing in our country are directly attributable to the rampant and irresponsible breeding that comes as a caveat of capitalism. Personal responsibility has been shoved under the carpet because bleeding hearts can't stand to see a child suffer. I've seen people who barely make 50k a year driving a Hummer, living in a double-wide with their 3 kids and complaining about gas prices. You want to solve a lot of problems in this country? Start by bringing back personal responsibility and stop giving handouts to people.

Also... what's with all the Wal-mart BS? Most of the Wal-mart employees are unskilled labor... why should I feel badly for the people working there? No one is forcing anyone to work at Wal-mart or anywhere else for that matter. Yeah it sucks that your company is taking advantage of you, so what... go find another job.
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Postby rylan » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:36 pm

In several states across the country (particularly in areas near the border with Mexico), the ER is being used and abused by illegal immigrants as a standard doctor for everyday problems. If someone has a cold, they go to the ER. If their child has a fever, the go to the ER. And guess who pays... anyone who has health insurance... or even worse US citizens who don't have insurance so the hospital goes after them for payment.
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Postby Lilira » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:42 pm

Psst.. we moved the healthcare convo to the other thread...

http://www.torilmud.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=19208
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