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POLICY: Health Care Problem? Check the New York Times Psyche

Hi, if you’ve wandered in from the Typepad blog of the day site, welcome!

Today the NYT lets its rational lefty business reporter Anna Bernasek make a rational if obvious and basic case for single payer health care, even though she quotes Vic Fuchs as if he was a leading opponent. He’s not—he’s just  a realist and he supports his own version of what the real opponents at Cato and Manhattan would call single payer.

The article is called Health Care Problem? Check the American Psyche. Of course  the real psyche that needs checking is that of whoever it is who controls (if anyone) what the NY Times writes about health care policy in its business pages. Last year they let several just appalling articles by Gina Kolata and David Leonhardt be published on health care spending—not to mention the odd op-ed by loony libertarians who think that the number of Nobel prizes for medicine awarded is a proxy for a good health care system.

And like a dog licking its own sore, they just could not stop.

Hopefully, with the debate getting real on health care, today’s article is a sign that the paper of record is beginning to be slightly less dense. And may even allow some rational voices to have a rational debate…

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John FembupseekerJoseph PadudaMatthew HoltMarc Recent comment authors
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John Fembup
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John Fembup

seeker,
you said “This is not primarily very poor people; they have Medicaid.”
But that’s not true. The fact is that about 2/3 of all the uninsured in the US today have incomes at or below 2X’s the federal poverty limit, and 98% of the uninsured are below 4X’s FPL. Being uninsured is very much a creature of poverty.
It is also a creature of Medicaid’s failure to cover the poor – thus so many uninsured poor. Replacing Medicaid with another government program sounds a lot like what Nipsy Russell called running through hell in gasoline pants.

seeker
Guest
seeker

It is so frustrating (to put it nicely) to read people fortunate enough to have no worries about their own healthcare talk about the wonders of a healthcare system that leaves 45 million people uninsured. This is not primarily very poor people; they have Medicaid. It is the working poor and an increasing number of people dumped on the individual market because their employers no longer offer coverage. Because of outrageous underwriting criteria and the exorbitant costs of individual policies, most people do not qualify for them or cannot afford them. Then to add insult, we are told that people… Read more »

pgbMD
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pgbMD

“In talking about how Europeans view the U.S. healthcare system, he said that they love us clinically (excellent academic medical centers, top scientists and docs, state of the art technical capability, etc.) but they hate our financing mechanism and the fact that we have a significant number of uninsured.” I agree with this. I think as a society we need to figure out a way to offer a barebones HDHP that would allow more people to enter the risk pool at a reasonable monthly price. Hopefully the MA and MD plans will achieve this. “To that end, I would look… Read more »

Marc
Guest

So what you’re saying pgbMD, there is no way to measure what country has the best medical care. You only believe the US is best, because “all the wealthy foreigners” (although you have since qualified that to mean mostly Middle Easterners) come here for care, because the US has the latest and greatest equipment, and if you’re rich and/or have insurance, you can get easy access to all that. That of course doesn’t mean US doctors have greater abilities, are more intelligent, or more caring now does it? Of course if you’re poor and don’t have insurance, then access to… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

I would like to make several points.. First, while I unfortunately cannot remember where I read it, I recall an interview with a leading healthcare academic. In talking about how Europeans view the U.S. healthcare system, he said that they love us clinically (excellent academic medical centers, top scientists and docs, state of the art technical capability, etc.) but they hate our financing mechanism and the fact that we have a significant number of uninsured. With respect to the health of the uninsured, since most uninsured are also poor, it is hard to know how much of their poor health… Read more »

pgbMD
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pgbMD

“Hey! I’m not the one making the claims. Why should I be making an effort to prove you right or wrong. That usually falls under the purview of the person making the claims.” I will try to get some hard data on this. Anecdotally, I just got off the phone with a friend of mine and he relayed to me that a partner of his (a world-renowned urologic surgeon) just recently treated a French patient who paid in cash to reconstruct a complex urologic injury. The US is fortunate to have some of the world’s finest surgeons who have through… Read more »

Joseph Paduda
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Not knowing Mr. Browning, I’m somewhat confused as to his point. It appears he is trying to drag Matthew into a debate about infant mortality rates and the relation of same to health care systems (and I assume the nature of those systems). I’ve noted the differences in outcomes and costs at my blog a time or two. While I don’t know that there is a tight correlation between the two, there is certainly ample evidence from around the world and up in Hanover NH that more costs does not equal better outcomes. And, the studies from RAND and others… Read more »

Marc
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Hey! I’m not the one making the claims. Why should I be making an effort to prove you right or wrong. That usually falls under the purview of the person making the claims. And, as far as using infant mortality and life expectancy as a measure of the quality of health care, I really wasn’t attempting do that. What I wanted to know was, if we can’t use measures such as those, what exactly do we use to measure the quality of US health care? Obviously you know, because you have already stated that US health care is the best… Read more »

pgbMD
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pgbMD

“You’re just spouting propaganda by those who have a vested interest in making people believe US health care is the greatest in the world.” Wow, this is the first time I have been called a propagandist. I will take that as a compliment! You obviously have a very limited fund of knowledge when it comes to American medical centers. Just go to Hopkins, The Mayo Clinic, etc and ask about the VIP wards. Unfortunately, I am not privy to the VIP data, but I am sure others here that are on the admin side of the house may be able… Read more »

Marc
Guest

Sorry pgbMD, but you did say “all the wealthy foreigners” and the “vast majority of foreign dignitaries”, come to the US for care. Still all we have is your word for it. I have never seen any stats for that, nor would you or could you name even one that has come here. You’re just spouting propaganda by those who have a vested interest in making people believe US health care is the greatest in the world. I’ll repeat what I have said on other blogs, I am in daily contact with many people from all over the world, including… Read more »

Stuart Browning
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Since Mr. Holt has been unable to refrain from personal insults, this will be my final post.
Nevertheless, now that Mr. Holt has deigned to offer a quick lesson in health econ 101 offering a veiled repudiation of the New York Time’s article linking life expectancy averages and government control of health care systems, I’m hoping that he will now cease using life expectancy and infant mortality rate differentials – which have nearly nothing to do with the quality of a health care system – in his propaganda.
I’m not betting on it.

pgbMD
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pgbMD

“So what you are saying, is that those foreigners who do come to the US for health care, aren’t actually from Europe, as most people claim who think the American health care system is the greatest in the world, but rather are from the Middle East.” I guess you have difficulty reading my posts. I said, “but there were several royal names that came from Europe as well”. You then interpret it as, “those foreigners who do come to the US for health care, aren’t actually from Europe”. Please stop misquoting me. Still, however, the US healthcare system is the… Read more »

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

I will say this only once, and for Mr Browning that may not be enough. Nothing in the piece that these comments refers to has anything to do with the Canadian health care system. I am not a proponent of adopting that system in America, although it would be better than what we have now. There is only a limited connection between a nation’s health care system and its health outcomes measures. That’s health economics 101 and what Mr Browning is talking about in these comments I do not know. However, it is abundantly clear from voluminous peer-reviewed research from… Read more »

Marc
Guest

Sorry pgbMD, I wasn’t suggesting the reason you were commenting was that you were pathetically lonely, after all I was commenting as well. It was simply an observation. So what you are saying, is that those foreigners who do come to the US for health care, aren’t actually from Europe, as most people claim who think the American health care system is the greatest in the world, but rather are from the Middle East. So based on your statement, I can only assume that all those wealthy Europeans must prefer the inferior health care systems in their own countries. Umh!… Read more »

pgbMD
Guest
pgbMD

Everyone should see Stuart Browning’s movie “A Short Course in Brain Surgery” at http://www.onthefencefilms.com. A very disheartening look inside the Canadian healthcare system through the eyes of a patient diagnosed with a brain tumor. This is not what the main stream media and politicians pushing a single payer system want us to see. I guess single payer “advocates” here in the US have no problem with Canadian patients waiting over 8 months for brain surgery to remove a tumor? Not wanting to wait 8 months, the patient was forced to have his MRI in Buffalo, NY and then he booked… Read more »