There will always be "horror stories" aout any health care system, often because when you really need it, you are under horrible circumstances. There are plenty of instances of doctors removing the wrong organ or extremity or prescribing the wrong dose or medicine in the US system. One of the reasons malpractice awards shouldn't be capped. I'll elaborate below. But the proof of the pudding is that neither the citizens of Canada nor any other nation with universal national health care I am aware of are clamoring for a private insurance system anywhere remotely resembling ours to replace their own. In fact our own government, in one of the few items planned for reconstruction in Iraq was that they would eventually have a single-payer universal national health plan that covered all Iraqis. Unfortunately, a few other unplanned for details have gotten in the way. All that might be very compelling if it were true and not based on propaganda and half-truths.(I'm not implying they're your propaganda or half-truths) You won't get any argument from me there are too many lawsuits filed in this nation, many of them frivolous. However, the vast majority are filed by businesses and corporations against individuals, not the other way around. And suits filed by corporations are much more likely to be cited by judges as being frivolous. http://reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate_accountability/corporate_junk_lawsuits.html http://citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=1799 Businesses and corporations only seem concerned about lawsuits when they're the ones being sued. And that's what all this "tort reform" talk is all about. It's to limit individual lawsuits, NOT lawsuits brought by businesses and corporations. So if a corporation has a beef against you, it's balls to the wall! If you've got a problem with them, you're out of luck! I'll bet you enough drinks to make you drunk in a Texas bar that none of the "tort-reform" proposals include limiting business and corporation lawsuits in any meaningful way, ONLY individual lawsuits! Now, as far as malpractice insurance and suits specifically, something like 90% of all malpractice suits are brought against 5% of doctors. Why don't we get rid of those 5%, thereby eliminating 90% of the suits? Well, doctors stick together. And if you start disqualifying doctors for being incompetent quacks, who knows who'll be next? So there is no national licensing system for doctors, it's all done by state medical associations, associations run by doctors. They rarely sanction their members except under the most extreme cases of malfeasance, and then only when it gets publicized and may reflect poorly on the rest of them. They maintain no public databases on things you MIGHT like to know when choosing a doctor, like if and how many times they've been sued for malpractice, and how many times they've lost. And the umbrella organization, the AMA(American Medical Association), maintains no such databases or easily volunteers such information either. Which is why so often we hear of doctors who've lost their license in one state, simply moving to, and being accredited by, another state. Case in point- http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0310.mencimer.html I know it's a lot to swollow, but you get the gist. The problem with "malpractice suits" isn't the suits, IT'S THE MALPRACTICE!!! For patents on pharmaceuticals, I'd be willing to concede it seems fair that the patent should start when the drug is appproved by the FDA and can be sold to the public. However, I wouldn't hold my breath that prices will "drop by 1/3 across the board". Drug companies spend more on advertising than R&D for new drugs. Any additional revenues will more than likely be poured into more advertising and more record profits. Besides, these drugs, manufactured by the same companies, are selling for less than that now in Canada and other countries. Are Phizer and Lilly losing money in those countries? Then why don't they stop selling there? In the US, there's a symbiotic relationship between drug companies and health insurers. Drug companies can charge whatever they want and insurance companies will simply raise premiums, citing the higher costs. And we'll pay it because we have no choice nor bargaining power and that's precisely how the drug and insurance companies like it! Ok, this is getting way too long and way off topic. So in conclusion ladies and gentlemen! Real wages for the median and lower income family have not risen in real terms since the seventies while the gap between the middle and affluent classes has increased dramatically. The only way many families can keep their heads above water is with two full time wage earners, an anomaly in my day and for most of the history of this country. Yet, politicians and others have been able to lay the blame squarely on things like the minimum wage and malpractice suits. It just doesn't add up. If McDonald's should have to raise the price of a Big Mac five or ten cents, or heaven forbid lower their quarterly dividend, it's not going to cause another Great Depression, nor will you or McDonald's go bankrupt. Employee wages are certainly a part of the cost of business. But they are not the only part, nor for most businesses the majority part. Raw materials, transportation, physical plant, advertising, etc. all contribute. Yet we are led to believe that raising wages is the ONLY thing that ever adds to the cost of goods and/or services. What's the items risen most in cost recently? Petroleum! Wages had nothing to do with that. Or while we're on the subject, pharmaceuticals. I don't recall any major labor actions against them recently either. Yet the costs of drugs and health insurance keep rising. And as best I remember, Exxon/Mobil and Merck are not staffed by minimum wage employees. You're beating a dead horse. Labor cannot give up any more wage and benefit concessions unless they start paying their employers!