Weekend Open Thread (2010-02-26)

Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday February 26th, 2010. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

57 comments:

  1. 1
    AMS says:

    I’ve been working on some slogans for my Church of Real Estate.

    How about:

    “Where home ownership isn’t just a dream, it’s a religion.”

    Once we hook up with the Church of Debt, we’ll rank owners by credit score–those with the highest scores will be able to “buy” the best homes.

    “Home ownership is forever.”

    (Defaulting on debt would suggest leaving the place, and that would be a violation of a sacred vow. If an owner abandons his home, we should toss him in the county jail with all the other deadbeats!)

  2. 2

    RE: AMS @ 1 – “Ownership is next to godliness.”
    “The Man in the Sky says to buy!” (reference to The Invention of Lying).
    “Which agent would Jesus use?”

  3. 3

    I think the King County SFR median will take a slight hit this month, but it’s primarily because volume will be a bit light, while Short Sale and REOs are plugging along at their normal volumes. The median on short sales is about $50,000 below the total median, and the median on REOs is over $100,000 below the total median. If you exclude both, the median would still be about $400,000, which is about where it’s been running.

    Vague estimates of future numbers are from NWMLS sources, but not compiled or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

  4. 4
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3

    The median on short sales is about $50,000 below the total median, and the median on REOs is over $100,000 below the total median. If you exclude both, the median would still be about $400,000, which is about where it’s been running.

    Hopefully we can agree that the mix of REO/short sales is different than the non-REO/short sales. Even if not sold in a distressed environment, the short sales/REOs would not command $50k-$100k more.

  5. 5
    AMS says:

    Existing home sales:

    As many of you know, I expected a spike in the number of sales around the initial expiration of the housing tax credit.

    CR writes,

    Sales in Jan 2010 (5.05 million SAAR) were 7.2% lower than last month, and were 11.5% higher than Jan 2009 (4.53 million SAAR).

    This is a sharp drop from November when many of the transactions were due to first-time homebuyers rushing to beat the initial expiration of the tax credit (that has been extended). That pushed sales far above the historical normal level; based on normal turnover, existing home sales would be in the 4.5 to 5.0 million SAAR range.

    Source: http://is.gd/9fsrq

    Chart:

    http://is.gd/9fqyq

    I do expect another increase in sales, spread over a few months because of the difference between under contract and close deadlines, as we approach the April 30 and June 30 deadlines. I do not expect the second spike to be as pronounced or as large.

  6. 6
    jj says:

    See all you Seattle doubters? We’re set for a housing rebound. Buy in Tacoma now, prices on Hilltop are sure to “shoot up!”

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/real_estate/1002/gallery.Housing_recovery_bets/index.html

  7. 7

    RE: jj @ 6

    Hi JJ

    It’s not just SB bloggers saying it; it’s the same CNN MSM that predicted pink pony days ahead several months ago. CNN article today in part:

    “…Despite signs that the real estate market might be lurching forward, prices are expected to fall further this year and next….”

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Duck-Watch-out-for-falling-cnnm-2203896884.html?x=0

    We’re broke, IMO, don’t expect a health care reform bill for the same reason you shouldn’t expect more welfare tax credits to America’s upper middle class that qualify to purchase homes. The upper middle class welfare debt spigot is getting turned off.

  8. 8

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7

    Hi Again JJ

    The approx 2% increase in Tacoma’s 2011 prices CNN predicted late last year or even more recent spins of the same rosy predictions mean nothing IMO coming from CNN. This was the same CNN news reporting last September, in part:

    “…More good news. The combination of low home prices, low interest rates and a tax credit for new home buyers has helped stabilize the housing market….”

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/09/18/mainstreet.summit.transcript/index.html?iref=allsearch

    Bottom line in my book, if a source admits defects it’s one Hades of a lot more trust-worthy than a source that points it’s all a rosy perfect future, then contradicts itself months later.

    LOL, reminds me of Lou Dobbs’ Good Economy spin on real estate….just before CNN bottomed out last year as the worst cable news station, I wonder why CNN went down the toilet?

  9. 9

    RE: jj @ 6
    For sure, Tacoma real estate agents are doing a ” bang up” job.

  10. 10
    AMS says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 9 – Easy money!

  11. 11

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 9

    Especially When Even CNBC is making a 180 Degree Spin On Real Estate Bottoming Too

    Article in part:

    “…The recent slump in housing is making some analysts uneasy about a recovery that many thought sustainable just a couple months ago and comes at a time when the Federal Reserve is nearing the end of a critical, year-long program to support the mortgage market….”

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Housing-Recovery-Is-Looking-A-cnbc-1706073918.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

    I think we’ll all need to see the later 2010 news report contradictions to size up 2011….the MSM lately is like Jeckyl and Hyde on real estate bottoming. 2012 the movie makes that year a moot point too…..LOL

  12. 12
    AMS says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 11 – When trend analysis fails, blame the efficient market hypothesis!

  13. 13
    patient says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3 – Kary, how can you be sure that short sales and reos are not also impacted by the season and that the increased influence of distresssed properties will continue as overall volume increases next month?

  14. 14
    AMS says:

    On the CFC deadline & initial housing tax credit deadline, CR has a nice chart:

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/02/tax-credits-vehicle-and-existing-home.html

  15. 15

    RE: AMS @ 12

    And Blame the Horrifying Federal Deficit that Has to End Now

    Per Hillary Clinton in part:

    “…”We have to address this deficit and the debt of the United States as a matter of national security not only as a matter of economics,” Clinton said. “I do not like to be in a position where the United States is a debtor nation to the extent that we are.”

    Having to rely on foreign creditors hit “our ability to protect our security, to manage difficult problems and to show the leadership that we deserve,” she said.

    “The moment of reckoning cannot be put off forever,” she said. “I really honestly wish I could turn the clock back.”…”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2511749320100225

    Why didn’t she say these things when the approx $1T Stimulus Bill was rammed through early last year?

  16. 16
    AMS says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 15 – Don’t we need another extension to the already extended, extended, extended unemployment benefits?

    I know a machinist in Michigan that’s quickly approaching being unemployed for 2 years. He was unemployed just after the first extension deadline. He has essentially no education. His eyesight is poor, and he is in his late 50s. It was bankruptcy related–the raw materials (iron) and work are now found in China. If I remember right, his unemployment is about $350 per week.

  17. 17

    By patient @ 13:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3 – Kary, how can you be sure that short sales and reos are not also impacted by the season and that the increased influence of distresssed properties will continue as overall volume increases next month?

    Say what? ;-)

    I don’t record the numbers from month to month, but from memory is seems like SS have stayed fairly level at about 100 a month and REOs about 150. I’m assuming that these levels are not demand driven, but artificially restricted supply driven. If the banks devoted the personnel to the task, they could probably close 1500 short sales in March and put more REOs on the market.

    If the numbers do go up, it would most likely be due to more personnel rather than the change into Spring and Summer.

  18. 18

    RE: patient @ 13
    I don’t see anything that suggests that short sales and REOs are going to become a smaller percentage of the overall sales. They’ll probably increase as a percentage of total sales. In fact, lenders are being encouraged by the Federal government to make the process of short sales easier and quicker.
    There’s certainly no shortage of lender owned properties out there. If there’s any truth to the rumors that lenders are going to be releasing more of their foreclosed homes to the market (the so called ” shadow inventory”), then I can’t see short sales/foreclosures becoming a smaller part of the marketplace.

  19. 19

    RE: AMS @ 16

    Money Burned in a Hay Bale

    That’s too much extended unemployment benefits, when sooner or later it’s joblessness anyway.

    Money spent on a Buy American only idustrial base anything provides 3 jobs for every one that’s paid for and all 4 jobs created pay taxes back….making the any item manufactured totally [material and piece parts too] in America free to the tax payer and provides a high paying domestic employment surge now, not in some distant green industry pipe dream [that will never happen anyway IMO].

    The foreign corporations controlling our politicians and manufacturing would call me a “fringe nut” for even suggesting the above paragraph….LOL.

  20. 20
    Cheap South says:

    News from FL – my neighbor is desperate to sell his duplex in order to move up to something larger before the credit expires. Not easy; 1550 sq.ft. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage, and about 1000 sq.ft. backyard, built in 2002 in great shape for $149K and no takers yet (7 walk ins).

    My uncle just bought a condo in East Orlando, 5 minutes from the University of Central Florida, Siemens Power Division (US headquarters for all 50HZ plants), and about 30 minutes from Cape Canaveral. Do not know the size; but he paid $30K.

  21. 21
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 7:

    RE: jj @ 6

    We’re broke, IMO, don’t expect a health care reform bill

    I don’t know how much you pay attention to politics but healthcare is going to pass- by april.

  22. 22
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 15:

    RE: AMS @ 12
    Why didn’t she say these things when the approx $1T Stimulus Bill was rammed through early last year?

    uh, because the economy was collapsing and it wasn’t because of the government’s debts.

  23. 23
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 19:

    RE: AMS @ 16 not in some distant green industry pipe dream [that will never happen anyway IMO].

    the green industry is going like crazy. wind is growing. solar is growing. electric cars are way ahead of where they have ever been. tesla is going public. there are advances batteries, flywheels, solar thermal, lighting, smart grid and etc.

  24. 24

    RE: pfft @ 23

    One Simple Question Pffft

    Where the hades are the domestic jobs?

  25. 25
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 24:

    RE: pfft @ 23

    One Simple Question Pffft

    Where the hades are the domestic jobs?

    they are on the way. as the dollar “collapses” US exporters will hire tons of workers and export to europe and especially the emerging economies. as the dollar falls and commodities rise the commodity regions will boom and hire rig workers, miners, railroad workers and etc.

    don’t you think that in every recession there has always been the question about where the growth will come from?

  26. 26

    RE: pfft @ 25

    I’ve Never in My Life Seen Anything this Bad in America Called a Recession

    And I’ve lived through the 60s-today.

    To answer your question and assuming we rely totally on small businesses and other companies to magically produce the green industrial base jobs [as we have to date]; I haven’t a clue.

    But suppose we magically create ideas for green manufacturing, what’s to stop those American inventors from outsourcing all the manufacturing anyway [without a Buy American contract]?

    Then we likely end up employing one American inventor and 1000 Chinese.

  27. 27

    RE: pfft @ 21

    From News Released Minutes Ago

    Article in part:

    “…Democrats pushed hard to revive President Barack Obama’s stalled health care overhaul on Friday — and pointed to glimmers of hope — but the long odds facing them seemed little changed after Obama’s extraordinary summit with both parties’ leaders….”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100226/ap_on_bi_ge/us_health_care_overhaul

  28. 28
    The_Dude_Abides says:

    Don’t forget that the WinterGrass(Bluegrass) Festival is in Bellevue this weekend. Heard some great freebies at the Hyatt last night. Looked over the program hoping to see Doc Watson, Norman Blake or Chris Miller, but no, not there.

  29. 29
    EconE says:

    RE: AMS @ 1

    I still kinda like “God Hates Renters”

    Short, simple and honest.

    Would probably look good on a T-shirt too.

  30. 30

    RE: pfft @ 22

    I Beg to Differ

    The economy was in serious turmoil [collapse is a probably a premature term, we’ll never know if collapsed was moot without the stimulus now, we never tried it] and added debt was horrifying then as it is now. Nothing has changed much since then, except unemployment is much worse and we have the dark side of the added debt to pay this year, higher interest rates with lower real estate prices.

    In your favor though, we may have slowed the inevitable train wreck economy down a bit.

  31. 31
    AMS says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 19 – I should say that he complains that the unemployment is too little, not enough. Yet if he would have been unemployed about 3 weeks earlier, he would have only received 26 weeks of benefits. As it is, he gets 100, or whatever it is.

    I will say, however, that his personal situation is bad. Basically he’s waiting until he qualifies for Social Security, but it’s too far away. He cannot afford to put forward the time and energy to get an education, yet with his current education level he’s not competitive.

    The job was good until the bankruptcy papers arrived.

  32. 32
    AMS says:

    The Tim-

    Will you fish that $2M trailer out of the spam box?

  33. 33
    AMS says:

    By EconE @ 29:

    I still kinda like “God Hates Renters”

    Yes!

  34. 34
    Willy Nilly says:

    RE: EconE @ 29

    Homeowners go to heaven
    Renters go to hell

    What about the Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Taoists? Perhaps a franchise template so everyone can be serviced to own, or die trying. If you only go to services once a year, does that mean perhaps you can own a timeshare instead?

    Brother Freddie and Sister Fannie, can I get an amen!

  35. 35
    AMS says:

    Jim the REALTOR has some interesting stats on North SD County. Basically with the median price staying relatively flat, but cost per square foot going down, Jim concludes:

    You can say pricing has come down, or that you’re getting more for your money.

    http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2010/02/26/visual-squishdown/

    Large sample, but who knows about mass shifts in consumer behavior.

    Is it fair to conclude that if median prices remain the same, but the cost per square foot goes down that someone is getting more home for the same money? Thus we could have a situation where individually homes are going down in value ($/square foot metric), yet buyers are spending the same cash, just buying better homes, so the median price is stable.

  36. 36
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: AMS @ 33

    The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shall not rent.

    New ending to the Book of Genesis: And on the eighth day God listed the earth for sale and said: “Buy now or be priced out forever!”

    The Promised Land! In fee simple absolute. For those who aspire to be one of the Chosen People.

    Take it from St. Peter, renting is not an option for those seeking entry to the most exclusive in gated communities.

    It’s not just any old REO, its the original distressed property. The Garden of Eden.

  37. 37
    The Tim says:

    RE: AMS @ 32 – Sorry, I accidentally deleted it! Too quick on the “empty spam” trigger. If you repost I’ll keep an eye out for it and make sure not to do that again.

    Also, please drop me an email. There’s a project I’d like to discuss with you.

  38. 38
    AMS says:

    Two more expired banks, one from Tacoma, Washington:

    “Rainier Pacific Bank, Tacoma, Washington, was closed today by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Umpqua Bank, Roseburg, Oregon, to assume all of the deposits of Rainier Pacific Bank.”

    http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2010/pr10041.html

  39. 39
    AMS says:

    FSBO: $2M Trailer

    “I know what your thinking. That’s a trailer for $2,000,000. That it is.”

    http://is.gd/9fWXd

  40. 40
    jj says:

    RE: Ira Sachoff @ 9
    thanks for the token of appreciation.

    RE: everyone else

    i actually thought the article was pretty humorous. i work in health care in tacoma, and ER patient volumes have probably doubled in the last 2 years, i think because of the incredible number of unemployed and underemployed. from my perspective, violence and drug problems are getting worse in the city, and with Russell leaving, there are a ridiculous number of high end homes ($700K+) in a city that really doesn’t have a discernible growth industry. UW students don’t buy real estate, and given that they mostly live in the cheapest digs they can find, most probably won’t build a high regard for tacoma. i thought it was also funny that the article argued seattle has all these high end employers – boeing, msft (plus other IT, biotech companies) – that will support a rebound in the housing market. did they not notice that boeing and pretty much all the IT and biotech companies are into cost control and outsourcing jobs to lower cost states or overseas?

    from the health care perspective, i think we actually need to have an honest discussion about what our society expects in terms of health care. it is a pretty limited resource (practitioners, facilities, therapeutics). it is really expensive. everyone dies. at the end of life, care can cost on the order of $100,000 per day (i saw a patient chart years ago – a 15 day stay in ICU had billing of $1.1 million). I’m pretty progressive minded, and I’d like to have universal primary care, but ultimately health care is a limited resource and needs to be rationed. keeping the 4-5 million americans who die every year alive an extra week at the end of life could cost us 1-2 trillion dollars a year (4 million people x 7 days x $40,000 – 80,000/day), which makes the stimulus plan look good. a friend made a pretty funny analogy earlier this week, saying that everyone felt entitled to the “best” universal health care – so we give them the most expensive diagnostic tests and medications regardless of their ability to pay. that’s like saying that no one should starve, so everyone has a right to lobster and filet mignon at every meal. i don’t know the best way for society to decide how to ration limited resources – but at least we should be honest that they are limited…

  41. 41
    JimN says:

    jj

    In regards to health care, I’m a bit old fashioned. If you want to save money, you have to figure out how to spend less. (yes, occasionally spending more to get emr’s up to speed, talking to each other and some other infrastructure type spending will help a bit.)

    Right now the climate in medicine is terrible. For the most part it’s still pay for procedure. Care is impersonal. If you have condition x, say a stroke, you will get a series of tests. The emphasis/marketing is to do everything possible to prevent the next.
    Nevermind that the patient is severely demented at a nursing home without much quality of life. I don’t think this equates with the “best” care.

    I believe many patients/families would chose more conservative/non invasive care depending on the overall circumstances if it were offered upfront. It’s in the hospitals/doctors interested to aggressively treat/test first. This is right for some, probably wrong for others.

    Perhaps we need the antithesis to the specialty hospital, maybe a nationwide network of geriatric/palliative care hospitals for elderly patients that choose this or are triaged there.

  42. 42
    EconE says:

    By Willy Nilly @ 34:

    RE: EconE @ 29

    What about the Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Taoists?

    Blasphemers!

    All of them!

    I noticed that you conveniently left out the Christians and Catholics.

    HA!

    Jesus was born in a manger…and he sure didn’t own it!

    Bwahahahaha.

    ;^)

  43. 43
    David Losh says:

    By JimN @ 41:

    jj

    In regards to health care,

    Perhaps we need the antithesis to the specialty hospital, maybe a nationwide network of geriatric/palliative care hospitals for elderly patients that choose this or are triaged there.

    My family was discussing last night about a Friend who has cancer and is refusing treatment. He has insurance, but is choosing to let things take their own course.

    I’m a widower and my wife asked at the time of diagnosis how long she had. She had a year. She worked for the State and I had Blue Shield. Our insurance was the best and could afford the best treatment. After all the extraordinary measures to treat her she died almost to the month of the year she was given.

    I have also done extensive hospice work and know that there is a higher power to patient care. Quality of life, along with death with dignity, should be a choice. I’m sorry, but it’s true that there are effective treatments that destroy any quality in a patient’s life.

    In the national debate there is talk of death panels or stories about socialize medicine denying treatment, but I know those same things go on in today’s current system in this country.

  44. 44
    Markor says:

    RE: jj @ 40

    Good post! On that “15 day stay in ICU had billing of $1.1 million”, I’d wager the profit margin was more than 50%, such that the same services might cost the Canadian gov’t $500K, say. (Non-profit vs. for-profit splits hairs as I see it–neither has salary caps, e.g.) We need rationing but wouldn’t have to limit so much if it was all socialized.

  45. 45
    HappyRenter says:

    Greetings! I’m in Switzerland right now. It’s interesting to compare the real estate market here with the US. It seems like prices (especially around Zürich) have never fallen here in the last 10 years. Home prices have more than doubled in the last 10 years (both houses and condos). I wonder whether real estate here is in a bubble, too, which has not burst yet or will never burst. In any case, it’s very very hard to get a loan here – and home prices are beyond reach anyway.

  46. 46
    pfft says:

    By jj @ 40:

    RE: Ira Sachoff @ 9
    thanks for the token of appreciation.

    RE: everyone else

    i actually thought the article was pretty humorous. i work in health care in tacoma, and ER patient volumes have probably doubled in the last 2 years, i think because of the incredible number of unemployed and underemployed. from my perspective, violence and drug problems are getting worse in the city, and with Russell leaving, there are a ridiculous number of high end homes ($700K+) in a city that really doesn’t have a discernible growth industry. UW students don’t buy real estate, and given that they mostly live in the cheapest digs they can find, most probably won’t build a high regard for tacoma. i thought it was also funny that the article argued seattle has all these high end employers – boeing, msft (plus other IT, biotech companies) – that will support a rebound in the housing market. did they not notice that boeing and pretty much all the IT and biotech companies are into cost control and outsourcing jobs to lower cost states or overseas?

    from the health care perspective, i think we actually need to have an honest discussion about what our society expects in terms of health care. it is a pretty limited resource (practitioners, facilities, therapeutics). it is really expensive. everyone dies. at the end of life, care can cost on the order of $100,000 per day (i saw a patient chart years ago – a 15 day stay in ICU had billing of $1.1 million). I’m pretty progressive minded, and I’d like to have universal primary care, but ultimately health care is a limited resource and needs to be rationed. keeping the 4-5 million americans who die every year alive an extra week at the end of life could cost us 1-2 trillion dollars a year (4 million people x 7 days x $40,000 – 80,000/day), which makes the stimulus plan look good. a friend made a pretty funny analogy earlier this week, saying that everyone felt entitled to the “best” universal health care – so we give them the most expensive diagnostic tests and medications regardless of their ability to pay. that’s like saying that no one should starve, so everyone has a right to lobster and filet mignon at every meal. i don’t know the best way for society to decide how to ration limited resources – but at least we should be honest that they are limited…

    europe and canada gives all citizens good healthcare at half the cost. I think you’re wrong.

  47. 47
    jj says:

    RE: pfft @ 46

    i probably phrased that wrong. i believe in providing universal “primary care”, including complete universal care for minors until age 21 or 25, and universal emergency care for trauma/accidents. in europe, they definitely have better health care metrics than we do. and it is at half the price. but to argue that health care isn’t rationed in europe is also wrong. and as david losh noted, sometimes you have consider whether the care actually provides high quality of life for a prolonged period of time.

    obviously the biggest roadblock to reform here is the immense profit health insurers and hospital corporations make in the US. my impression (i haven’t read the bill) is that the health reform bill that is in the senate and house now is basically just the US government making sure people have to by insurance from for-profit insurance companies – think of an annual TARP for health insurers and hospitals (i’m actually not sure why insurance companies don’t like it)… its a racket, like paying giant farm corporations to destroy excess crops or providing tax breaks to arms manufacturers. the other part of that roadblock is if we go to single payer or some other version of universal health care, how does the government deal with the capital invested in health insurance companies, the shareholders who stand to lose their wealth (including government and corporate pension funds), and the loss of jobs in the health care industry? maybe the swiss model is the only one that would work in the US – its illegal for health insurance companies to make a profit and there are limits on executive pay. keep the existing system and just cut out the pillaging that is going on.

    but none of this seems to be the topic of conversation in our government does it? we just aren’t having a realistic conversation at any level – except maybe at the bubble…

  48. 48
    The Tim says:

    RE: AMS @ 1 – Paging AMS… Paging AMS… Drop me an email please.

  49. 49
    Trigger says:

    RE: pfft @ 46 – What? So why do Candians and Europeans come to the US for major surgeries? Ok. if you have asthma – it does not matter if you are in Iraq, France or the US – they generally know how to help you a little so you don’t suffocate. But if you are having a heart transplant – where would you rather have it? I agree that heart transplant seems like extreme situation but it could happen?

  50. 50
    Haybaler says:

    RE: AMS @ 4
    “even if not sold in a distressed environment, the S/S REO’s would not command $50K-100K more.”

    Hmmm. In a Non-distressed environment, comparable properties would sell at similar prices, agreed?

  51. 51
    David Losh says:

    RE: Trigger @ 49

    The for profit system has more money for research. Investors give money for life saving procedures, and clinics. Doctors congregate at Chapel Hill in North Carolina, or the Mayo Clinic. There is a Cancer Center in Phoenix that is highly sought after. Heart Surgery, yes, you want to be in the United States.

    Patent Protection is limited for surgical procedures and related medical activity, but it is available. Congress has struggled against these practices and we are now seeing more money going into pushing pills.

    We may all benefit in the trickle down process, but there is considerable debate about the costs making procedures unaffordable, globally, for decades. While it’s good to have these new procedures, AIDS has made it clear that we can treat a disease, but only at a very high cost. Organ transplant has taken decades to become main stream.

    So, yes people come to the United States for treatment. Yes we have state of the art technique. You can only get the treatment here in the United States. Is that a good system? Heck no. Does this insane patent system kill millions of people globally, yes. Is it greed? Yes.

    Health Care is an industry where people do the research for a variety of reasons. The research would go on, globally, more efficiently, at a lower cost, if we did away with all patents pertaining to medicine.

    If you want to go down the path that without the money in these get rich quick medical schemes there would be no research, I’m happy to debate that. It’s a non starter argument.

  52. 52
    Cheap South says:

    I never understood the statement “Europeans and Canadians come to the US for treatment”. Have you seen your co-pays lately?? Can you imagine hospital stays w/o insurance??? All of the sudden those foreign “socialists” are millionaires and can afford to come here for treatment?? How much did Steve Jobs pay for his transplant?

    Sure, the Prince of one of our oil pimp countries can fly in in his gold plated 767 and get a penis transplant in the US. But please stop generalizing.

  53. 53
    pfft says:

    By Trigger @ 49:

    RE: pfft @ 46 – What? So why do Candians and Europeans come to the US for major surgeries? Ok. if you have asthma – it does not matter if you are in Iraq, France or the US – they generally know how to help you a little so you don’t suffocate. But if you are having a heart transplant – where would you rather have it? I agree that heart transplant seems like extreme situation but it could happen?

    if the US is so great why do we travel to India to get medical treatment? you don’t think people from the US and the rest of the world ever travel to canada or europe for treatment either?

    the US ranks low in health care.

  54. 54
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 53

    When the dollar collapses they will flock here for our cheap health care. As the saying will go: “it may be crap. . . but it’s cheap!”

  55. 55
    Ross says:

    By Trigger @ 49:

    RE: pfft @ 46 – What? So why do Candians and Europeans come to the US for major surgeries? Ok. if you have asthma – it does not matter if you are in Iraq, France or the US – they generally know how to help you a little so you don’t suffocate. But if you are having a heart transplant – where would you rather have it? I agree that heart transplant seems like extreme situation but it could happen?

    And sometimes americans go to Europe or other countries for surgery too. Sometimes the *best* doctor does not live in the same country as the patient.

    US government spends more per capita than the Canadian government, and gets far far less. The *problem* that needs to be solved in the US is the cost of healthcare; which has been and continues to grow unsustainably.

  56. 56
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 54:

    RE: pfft @ 53

    When the dollar collapses they will flock here for our cheap health care. As the saying will go: “it may be crap. . . but it’s cheap!”

    the dollar has already collapsed peter schiff.

  57. 57
    pfft says:

    there are those other problems with our health care system.

    Study: 45,000 Uninsured Die a Year
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/17/eveningnews/main5318652.shtml

    When staying alive means going bankrupt
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20201807/ns/us_news-gut_check/

    Health insurance caps leave patients stranded
    Serious illness quickly exhausts lifetime limits of $1 million or more
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25644309/

    Insurers Not Committing to End Rescission
    http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/06/17/insurers-not-committing-to-end-rescission/tab/article/

    Democrats vow to ban domestic violence as ‘pre-existing condition’
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/06/domestic.violence.insurance/index.html

    Pre-Existing Health “Conditions” — Cops, Firefighters, Expectant Dads, and Those Suffering From Allergies, Acne and Toenail Fungus Are Uninsurable According To Internal Documents
    http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/patients/articles/?storyId=29526

    We can’t afford our health care system!

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