Matthew Holt

A liberal is a conservative exposed to the NHS

The old adage is that a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged. So I was much amused by this letter from a Republican to the local paper (Salt Lake Tribune) in the most conservative state in the nation (Utah). I particularly love the line I’ve bolded below because that—not all the right wing BS about effectiveness of cancer care or waiting lists—is the difference between universal health care and what America has—MH

After being laid off, I joined the 300,000 Utahns too poor to pay for health insurance. There are 47 million uninsured Americans and millions more are underinsured. Being a staunch Republican, I always resisted the notion of universal health care. But after having spent time with my son’s family in London, I’ve had an awakening.

My son’s old back injury got prompt and thorough attention. My daughter-in-law received comprehensive care for her challenging pregnancy. My new granddaughter was attended to by skilled nurses and physicians. In virtually every other civilized nation, no one fears losing everything due to some medical catastrophe. (MH emphasis added)

Americans deserve better than what we now have. Choice is an important American tradition. Let people choose between the for-profit insurance they have and a public health-care option like Medicare. A public health-care option is the only way to guarantee health care for all Americans. Any legislation without it is just more of the same broken system.

Insurance companies are afraid of a public health-care option because they will have to provide better service at lower cost to compete. But if President Barack Obama’s health-care plan gets changed to exclude a public option, then it is not health-care reform.

Ty Markham Torrey

Categories: Matthew Holt

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31 replies »

  1. Why not pass healthcare?
    If we do not regulate healthcare eventually in will
    bankrupt our Nation’s economy.
    Out of controlled healthcare cost will eventually
    bankrupt America &
    Without money we-
    Cannot fund education, we cannot maintain the prison system.
    We cannot pay public service officers.
    We cannot continue to fund the military.
    What’s wrong with ciphering millions of dollars
    from Enron or Government Contracts or
    extremely high insurance premiums? Well eventually
    it will destroy America .
    When the NYFD stormed the World Trade Center
    were they concerned about the welfare of America ?
    The people using politics to endanger America
    by raising taxes on the poor to fight wars or
    eliminating rich people’s taxes to lower to the deficit
    or sucking money from huge corporations by embezzling
    the poor with the use neo-Nazi tactics, prejudice, hated and
    lies to incite the mind of the stupid are irresponsible
    should step down from office or
    hopefully should be voted out of office immediately!
    They are evil unaccountable and could care less about the
    welfare of this nation.
    & furthermore if this nation should fall be because of the greed
    of power-hungry blood sucking goons they personally should
    line up their families, children, spouses and close friends
    for execution because of their own stupidity and
    lack of common sense!
    I know you all have a flag to burn- besides who listens to me anyway.
    My name is Gabriel Givens- your brother from another mother and
    occasionally I do try to reason with you idiots.
    Oh yes-by the way
    May God Bless America !
    Gabriel Givens

  2. Join in this debate. Conservatives are taking over: Should Americans have equal access to health care? Good or Bad?. – What do you think?

  3. I always find it interesting that opponents to health care reform argue that it will be the “death to all of us” or “it will restrict our choices” or “medical decisions will be made by bureaucrats”.
    It is the current unregulated capitalistic private insurance companies who are actually fulfilling their worst nightmare right now. “Death to us all” – private insurance companies are literally killing patients right now by denying lifesaving care like in the case of Cigna’s denial of Natalie Sarkisyan’s care.
    “It will restrict our choices” which is exactly what our private insurers are doing. I have private coverage myself as a medical professional through my hospital who employs me. I’m restricted to a list of doctors I can see and also to only 4 hospitals in the local Tampa Bay area and if I seek medical care outside of this my insurer will put a majority of the financial cost on me so if I want somewhat affordable medical care I’m forced into their restrictive measures.
    “Medical decisions will be made by bureaucrats” – in the private insurance market medical decisions aren’t made by myself or my doctor but rather by bureaucrats (executives and internal business analysts) from my private insurers when they decide what is covered and what is not.
    Healthcare reform would put a stop to all this and I’ve actually researched for hours on what the best way to achieve this is. Here’s my solutions –

  4. Again, please tell me what the govt has discovered/invented by way of innovative health care solutions in the last 30 years?
    It seems to me that many of you are just anti-capitalist and would be content to see the govt do for pharma and health ins what they have done for Detroit.
    As to the education system- is that a joke? Are there people outside of the NEA who think our public school system has been doing an acceptable job?
    Teachers of course are more likely to send their kids to private school than the general population is.
    I wonder what percentages of the uninsured are illegal aliens, workers with the resources to carry ins who chose not to and folks who were insured recently and will be insured in the near future.
    I’d like to see what O’s crew do with the banks before I get too enthusiastic about them taking over healthcare.
    By the way, how’s Mass’s plan working?

  5. This thread started with someone who freely chose to travel to one of the most expensive cities on the planet instead of buying health insurance. He has that freedom of choice…for now. But don’t tell me you cannot afford health insurance. It was a matter of personal priorities. This is what makes America great.
    The only sustainable program for healthcare for those who cannot afford it is an old concept. It is called charity. Charity was never extended to those whom the givers perceived as making bad choices. It was always for those who were perceived as unlucky and humble and deserving of help from others.
    Government politicized charity. It usurped the joy of giving and made it into the joy of getting taxed so the politician could look like the giver. Then they borrowed so as to avoid the political pain of limited resoures. And here we are. If Medicare and Social Security were not destined to go broke there would be no political will to destroy American healthcare. If these programs were solvent they would not try to change anything.
    People are not entitled to something for nothing. It is not reform when you steal by legislation from the taxpayer, the next ten generations of Americans, and from entities that loan the US money that they can never repay. This will cause a global conflict that will make WWII look like child’s play.
    People live and die. They should do so on their own terms, not mine and not Obama’s. Death is not a failure of healthcare access or availablility. The death of the country is a failure of vision. Preserve, prottect and deffend the Constitution. Everything else will be as it should be. Fairness is not part of the Contitution.

  6. Hugh B, the answer is: very many. And a lot of research is done with public money, e.g. from the NINDS etc.
    Are you aware that the US pharma companies spend more on PR than on R&D? And did you ever hear of “me too drugs”? I seriously suggest you start reading about these things.

  7. Did someone say that our education is thanks to the dept of education?
    Did someone hold up the Pentagon as an example of efficiency?
    As to the PO, well you never hear of an employee going “FedEx”.
    Once the nation’s healthcare is in the hands of the govt. it will never return to the private sector.
    How many new therapies and drugs to the nationalized systems invent/discover?

  8. “Are you not aware of the graduation rate in Detroit”
    From Detroit News:
    “While this report uses old data and a flawed formula, the fact is any student dropping out is one too many,” Flanagan said Wednesday.”
    The report, called Diplomas Count 2008, projects that 1.23 million students won’t graduate this year, and that the lowest graduation rates are among African-American, Hispanic and Native American students.
    The analysis showed wide disparities between graduation rates reported by states and estimates from the Maryland-based nonprofit research center. That’s one reason the U.S. Department of Education proposed rules requiring states to calculate graduation rates by tracking cohorts of students as they go through high school, the study said.
    For instance, Michigan’s official graduation rate for 2005 was nearly 88 percent, significantly higher than the report’s rate for Michigan at 70.5 percent. Detroit’s official graduation rate for 2005 was nearly 68 percent — also higher than the research center’s report showing a graduation rate of 37.5 percent.
    Nate, not sure what the real numbers are but will accept they’re too high. But why are the graduation rates worst for minority groups? I won’t defend incompetent teachers but teachers can’t solve all the social problems that contribute to poor educational outcomes.
    Also Detroit News: Social Services
    “One out of five Michigan residents is now living in poverty as hundreds of thousands of jobs disappear, leaving the state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate. Since Oct. 1, welfare caseloads have grown by 3,000 and 43,000 more people have qualified for food stamps. Also, energy assistance requests “are growing by leaps and bounds,”
    “With half a million Michigan children living in poor families, “our overall focus has been poverty reduction,”
    “Staff has been gutted … programs have stagnated or eroded because the Legislature hasn’t funded them,”

  9. surfer78, lol you do realize half those educated in Liberal school districts are illiterate don’t you? Are you not aware of the graduation rate in Detroit, Cleveland, DC, etc….
    “Healthcare is an essential service for any human-being and so it can not be entirely left with for-profit insurance companies.”
    please, this is about a weak of an argument as you can come up with. Food is essential, as is housing what are you suggesting for government overtake of them? insurance is hardly alone in it’s management of healthcare, it’s highly regulated.
    keybrd take a few steps back and look up some facts. What Medicare loses in fraud per person is considerably larger then what private insurance spends to adminitser, market, profit and everything else. Private insurance is far more efficient then any of the public plans.

  10. There are millions of non-medical healthcare folks in the industry…in health insurance, third party admin, sales agents/brokers, claim processing, claims transmission, consulting, application systems, etc besides lawyers. By keeping all these people in any system, cost can not be contained. Thats why, public plan is the only way to go. If someone wants private plans, let them have such plans.
    Someone in the blog talks about just 0.5% profit for health insurance companies. Two questions: 1) How much they spend on marketing (unlimited tv commercials, etc) as well as for lobbying? 2) With the level of inefficiencies, had they been in any other industry, they would have lost hundreds of billions.

  11. “Secondly, why are so many people enthusiastic to turn over such a vital and large part of the economy to government control”
    Seems like we were eager to turn all of the (vital and large) economy over to private unregulated financial institutions – where did that get us.
    “We need only look to the Pentagon,”
    Do you feel protected? How much would you pay for safety?
    “the Post Office”
    Great service and great prices. They loose money because they rely on postage for revenue, not tax dollars.
    “the Dept of Education”
    The literacy of western nations was built on departments of education.
    “and exerted heroic effort on behalf of my mother in her last few years”
    Most of the cost (heroic efforts) of the system is in the last few years. Do we spend what it takes (like the Pentagon), or do we spend it wisely? Did you (she) pay for this or did Medicare (taxpayer) – a government run institution?

  12. In 2006, the nation’s six biggest private health insurers collectively earned almost $11 billion in profits.
    Total healthcare spending in 2007 was $2.4 Trillion – so if we get rid of insurer profits, we drop spending by .5%, all the way to $2.389 Trillion.
    Then when the health care cost trends continue to rise by 8-10%/year, the question will be – Now what?
    Actually, health insurance companies pay billions in premium tax (1-3% of GAAP revenue), so that $$$ will dry up if we go the “Medicare-for-all” route.

  13. Tye,
    I am so good to read your views. That is what we have been saying. I infact did a preliminary idea presentation at
    There are many other artciels….but this one talks about creating a tiered structure where the basic health is a guarantee. We could open lots of community clinics.
    I also think it is a big national security issue. What is going on today is less about universal healthcare….

  14. Public Plan must be a part the healthcare reform, at least for basic services just like public education(k-12). Imagine a scenario without this k-12 public education, probably half the population may be illiterates today.
    Healthcare is an essential service for any human-being and so it can not be entirely left with for-profit insurance companies.
    Sure, health insurance companies will be shouting at the cost and inefficiencies of any public plan. But something is certainly much better than nothing. No one should be expecting a ‘perfect’ solution given the current crisis.

  15. Perhaps we should start at the beginning.
    Why not spend “alot” on health care. What would you rather spend the money on? The enhancement and preservation of human life is the point of civilization after all, isn’t it?
    Secondly, why are so many people enthusiastic to turn over such a vital and large part of the economy to government control when the government has proven itself, time and again, in field after field to be profoundly inept.
    We need only look to the Pentagon, the Post Office and the Dept of Education to see the benfits of government monopoly.
    What, by the way, was the energy department up to last year?
    I am not a practitioner or in any way associated with the medical community ( other than as a patient), but I do know that our dysfunctional system cured me of a dangerous disease and exerted heroic effort on behalf of my mother in her last few years ( and exhibited personal kindness while doing so), so perhaps I’m a bit leery of providing government with the power of life and death outside the previously ordained realms of war and crime.

  16. For what it’s worth here is an interesting world health study/comparison from 2000:
    Here in the U.S. any public system run along side a private system will fail as money will flow to higher paid private system and drain resources from public system. This of course will be held up as a failure of the public system.
    Nate, I’m not sure about bankruptcy of European health systems but given our 16%+ going to 20% GDP for healthcare expendatures it appears we’ll get their first unless bankruptcy comes first from our unregulated, private financial sector bailouts caused by the success of the financial free market.
    A single-pay U.S. system will mean less pay for professionals, less profits for business, less income for hospitals, less compensation for CEOs, less utilization and more government regulation, unless you want the same for healthcare as we got from Wall Street. Anyone who thinks we can continue with the same system with less cost is either stupid or naive.

  17. While I’m a strong believer in market solutions whenever possible, I would be willing to give a public health insurance option a try under the following conditions, which would probably never pass legislative muster: (1) the premium charged must reflect ALL administrative costs including those provided for CMS by other government agencies and should include state premium taxes if private insurers are subject to those too, (2) the public option’s ONLY source of revenue will be its premium income with no help from general federal tax revenues, (3) provider reimbursement rates must be negotiated, not dictated, (4) providers can refuse to accept the public option insurance while continuing to accept seniors on Medicare if they want to, and (5) the regulatory body that sets the rules for all insurers must be completely independent of CMS and as insulated from the political process as possible.
    Insurers, for their part would have to accept all comers at community rates with each company receiving risk adjustment payments to reflect the health risk of the population it winds up with. Individuals would have to buy health insurance with subsidies provided for those up to 400% of the poverty level income to help them do so.
    While the public option may avoid costs like broker commissions and, to some extent, advertising, private insurers would probably outperform on fraud mitigation, medical management, and they would have the benefit of investment income on their capital base.
    rbar – I, for one, while satisfied with my own insurance that I get through my employer, I think we should use already available data to simply refuse to pay for cost-ineffective treatments from PSA tests to proton beam therapy for prostate cancer to clearly futile end of life care. If surgical interventions, drugs, or devices can’t pass a reasonable QALY metric, we shouldn’t pay for them. People who want these treatments can self-pay if they can afford to. We also need tort reform to protect doctors from suits based on a failure to diagnose a disease or condition if evidence based standards were followed and we need to replace juries with specialized health courts to resolve these disputes in a consistent and objective way.

  18. I am actually a former German physician, Nate (I am in the US because my wife is US American), and I can tell you that German physicians, especially hospitalists are underpaid (many physicians in private practice do reasonably well, though). I hear from friends and family that Germany is paying a price for that by seeing many physicians go abroad (England, Switzerland), being replaced by doctors from Eastern European countries who are often faced with language- and cultural barriers. But I don’t know why you want to discuss this fact here – I have read former calculations that physicians’ pay is only 5% or so of US health care costs. I personally don’t think that physician compensation in excess of 300-400 K (that is where most US proceduralists start, easily going up to 700K) is so completely different from executive pay excesses (although it definitely pales in comparison).
    Re. the cost explosion in France – I don’t have the exact number at hand, but France is not coming close to spending 15 of their GDP on health care.
    The longer I live and practice in this country, the more it seems to boil down to the following 2 camps:
    On the one hand, the people who do think that they have good insurance and who are not afraid of medical bankruptcy or being uninsured. They tend to have a rather unrealistic view of the benefits of maximized techno-pharmaceutical care practiced throughout the US (“innovative care for people for whom the ‘standard’ treatments do not work” – as if there was a silver bullett for every condition if you just try enough), while they are not aware that peak care by academic centers in both the US and Western Europe deliver comparably fancy care). They believe that they could be denied the benefit of this care if there was health care reform. They even fear that this will result in loss of self determination, even when most industrialized nations have private facilities.
    On the other hand, there are people who look at the health (care) of other people, too, and they note that outcomes in other industrialized countries are at least as good as they are in the US, for a fraction of the expenses in the US.
    Unfortunately, it is as simple as that. Naked self centeredness coupled with unrealistic expectations what most aggressive healthcare really accomplishes, vs. respect and concern for your fellow citizens’ need. Yes, there are and always will be problems with bureaucracy, abuse, false entitlement, ineffectiveness etc. with any kind of generalized coverage … but itl will be negligible compared to the bureaucracy, abuse, false entitlement, ineffectiveness etc. we have right now.

  19. If we take nothing else from this conversation, I hope everyone at least walks away understanding that the comparisons to other countries are useless. Not only do the comparisons not factor in lifestyle issues, but also many of the comparison countries healthcare systems do not get good ratings among their citizens. They get better ratings than the U.S. system, but Burger King would get better ratings that McDonalds if they gave out free burgers (financed by a burger tax).
    Matthew – I have to wonder if your buddy Ty was complaining when he had coverage. My guess is no.

  20. ” .. We should look carefully, especially, healthcare systems in place in Taiwan and the Netherlands.”
    Wonderful! All we have to do, is become Asian!
    How is that done? Getting the eyes redone, that is? And all TWN culture — will it be on an exam?
    Comparing the USA to Taiwan is like comparing the NFL to the NBA. Dumb and dumber.

  21. This is so much fun I need one more page of logic and fact posting. Want to know how to solve our cost issue….
    German doctors!
    “Christoph Heinrich, an anesthetist making 25,000 euros ($30,295) a year in the northern German town of Jever, works two weeks each month at a private hospital in Britain to supplement his income.”
    What does an American anesthetist make? A nurse anesthetists $134,820 according to Wiki.
    “German doctors earn about 15 percent less than their counterparts in the U.K. and about 40 percent less than U.S. doctors,”
    Who wants to have fun with math? If 80% of our spending goes to providers and we “overpay” 40% by using all German doctors we could save 32%? Math is a little simple but I think importing all German doctors and teaching everyone to speak German we could still save 20%, and they do have better results, ignoring like 1,000,000 factors that make the comparison worthless.
    “Heinrich was among the 20,000 people who protested this week in Germany against pay and working conditions, the biggest public show of unity by the medical profession since World War II. More than half of Germany’s doctors closed their practices on Jan. 18, according to the NAV-Virchow-Bund, a group of self- employed doctors that organized the event.
    The six-week-old government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, 51, plans to cut 14 billion euros of health costs in the three years ending in 2007. Germany needs to reduce public spending to meet European Union budget deficit limits, after having exceeded them for four years.”
    So let’s get this strait, the progressives claim it is wrong for an insurance company to ration your care. But it is acceptable for a body like the EU to do it? It’s much easier to renegotiate national treaties then it is to shop for insurance right!
    Apparently the Germans have a paperwork problem as well
    “The reforms will only add to the paperwork that already takes up 20 percent of a doctor’s workday, said Klaus Greppmeir, a spokesman for the Cologne-based NAV-Virchow-Bund”
    We already know about the problems in Canada. How do we get rid of FFS here, if it is so bad and antiquated, yet model a Canadian system based on FFS?
    “To maintain equal access to care by both rich and poor, the law states that a Canadian physician cannot extra bill; if the physician bills the patient directly, he or she cannot bill for any more money than the government would have paid for that service. This makes Canada—along with Cuba and Korea—one of three countries that effectively ban private health care.”
    Um not to throw words around but that sounds sorta socialist no? Ya America already does it by extorting people into taking Medicare, but this is even worse.
    “Without a private system, Canadian patients have nowhere to turn, which is why so many seek care in the United States. In fact, the United States is the private arm of the Canadian healthcare system. The Cleveland Clinic, for example, has an office in Toronto.”
    I’m sure this Canadian doctor is lying,, we are the slum of healthcare, they would never come here.
    This is just confusing; many a lefty here has blasted CDHP and high deductibles, what’s that trendy phrase you all use to disparage efficient insurance? That’s right the underinsured! American’s pay for 18% of their healthcare…
    “Canadians pay out of their own pockets for about 30 percent of their health care”
    Does that mean every Canadian is underinsured?
    So any other health systems you progressives think we should immediately implement? So far it seems every suggestion you have made is barreling towards insolvency, hardly seems prudent to spend all this effort changing systems to something that is unsustainable. Or is insolvency acceptable as long as it is government controlled?

  22. I just love it when people make proposals they don’t understand, Ty apparently wishes we replace our broke and over priced system with another broke system.
    At least a dozen NHS hospital trusts are technically bankrupt, with no chance of meeting a legal obligation to balance their books, a Guardian investigation has revealed.
    The true scale of the NHS cash crisis is five times worse than ministers have claimed, new figures revealed yesterday. The NHS as a whole officially recorded a deficit of £536 million last year, but the Tories claim that the real figure was actually £2.7 billion. Official Department of Health statistics have revealed that health chiefs spent £74.3 billion in 2005-06 – much more than their cash limit of £71.6 billion.
    WOW what a shock, politicians lie about the true cost of government plans? I’m shocked.
    Maybe you prefer the French model?
    France offers its citizens the best healthcare in the world, and it isn’t only the French who will tell you so. The World Health Organization ranks France at the top of its list.
    The trouble is, the country cannot afford it. The French public health insurance scheme is heading for a $15.5 billion deficit this year, threatening to bankrupt the system.
    Matt why haven’t you ever suggested this great French cost control method?
    “In the 1980s, France decided to reduce the number of students passing through to the second year of medicine by imposing strict quotas. At the end of the 1970s there were almost 9,000 medical students; that number crumbled to about 3,500 by 1993. The reasoning behind the decision was that if there were fewer doctors, there would be fewer prescriptions – and the health system would save money.”
    It’s so simply brilliant I don’t know why we never thought of it, just limit the number of doctors and you limit spending, nothing bad about that right? Oh wait we did try it!
    “WASHINGTON (CNN) — In an effort to reduce a glut of physicians in the United States, the federal government will pay training hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars not to train doctors, The Washington Post reported Sunday.”
    Here is a great way to control cost, import doctors and pay them salve wages, these French are brilliant!
    “The French government trusts Dr. Bakar with the lives of his patients but only pays him 2,400 euros a month, which is half of what his French and European counterparts make. Additionally, he gets paid 70 euros an hour for overtime, compared to the 200 euros an hour for his French and European colleagues.”
    Liberals bitterly oppose importing low cost computer programmers but are ok with cut rate medical care?
    ITS hospitals gleam. Waiting-lists are non-existent. Doctors still make home visits. Life expectancy is two years longer than average for the western world. With such a shining bill of health, the French medical system has good reason to boast. So why is the “crisis” in health care France’s hottest political issue? Because of a near-bankrupt public health-insurance system, whose deficit is set to leap from €13 billion ($15.5 billion) this year to €229 billion by 2010 unless radical surgery is performed.
    OH NOW I see, the progressives aren’t suggesting we mimic French Healthcare circa 2008 they want to implement circa 1995. Just a curious stupid conservative and I am sure there is a logical answer but um what happens 13 years after we implement it, won’t we be in the same broke unsustainable position?

  23. Hugh,
    It is great that you pointed that out because no one over does and I do not know why?

  24. Dear Jennifer S.
    Note that all the countries you list with the exception of Japan are “white” or European nations. If you look at the statistics for longevity amongst whites and Japanese living in the USA I think you’d find similar statistics.
    The US has a large population that is subject to self-imposed health challenges not found in the nations you cite.
    I wonder how Iowa, Vermont or Nebraska stack up in these statistics?
    This is my first time on this blog. Do we usually have so much in the way of snide political comments?

  25. A “public plan” will only mean more TAXPAYER bailouts and another ENTITLEMENT that is adding to the $60 trillion deficit in Medicare A,B, and D.
    That Part D has been effective in costing less than expected without a ‘public plan option’ gives lie to this pure propaganda.
    Yet, Part D still is an unfunded mandate on all of us in our 20s and 30s and all of today’s children.
    Let the Ty’s of the world explain EXACTLY how they will REALLY control costs first– everyone agrees COST is the problem…
    After he presents the cost control— perhaps the support will wither?
    DENIED– care for the elderly since they have ‘already lived a good life’ (paraphrasing from Ezekiel Emanuel, who is on the national rationing board— because it’s a crisis)
    DENIED– innovative care for people for whom the ‘standard’ treatments do not work
    DENIED– extreme life saving measures for sick children because the greater good will be to have needle exchange clinics, or some Washington determined ‘public good’
    SACRIFICED– your rights to control your body

  26. Jennifer,
    Experts in this field will tell you that the health status of the population is driven 40% by personal behavior (diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, etc.), 30% by genetics, 20% by socioeconomic status and environmental factors, and only 10% by the quality of healthcare that people can access. So, even if we could immediately import whichever system from another country you want and cover all the currently uninsured and under insured, it is unlikely to move the needle on life expectancy.
    People keep citing life expectancy and infant mortality statistics as indicators of healthcare system quality, primarily because they are easy to measure. With the other three factors I mentioned being so much more important in driving these metrics, the comparisons have no credibility. In short, the analysis is simple, straightforward and WRONG. Further complicating the issue with respect to infant mortality is that countries differ in how they define a life birth with the U.S. using the most comprehensive World Health Organization definition. The most important factor driving up U.S. infant mortality statistics is a greater incidence of poverty than in other OECD countries. These comparisons are not helpful and we should stop using them.

  27. “In virtually every other civilized nation, no one fears losing everything due to some medical catastrophe.” Ty, your words will resonate with many.
    I think a public option is absolutely essential. The for-profit focus of our insurance companies has gotten out of hand, not unlike AIG and Wall Street.
    Public option, and single-payer in various forms, have worked well in many, many countries around the world.
    From The CIA Website: Here’s a 2008 list of the life expectancies countries with single-payer systems, some of which have, essentially, a public/private option. The US, without any such system, is at the bottom of the pack.
    Canada: males:78.65 females:83.81

    France: males:77.68 females:84.23

    Germany: males:76.11 females:82.26

    Japan: male:78.73 females:85.59
    Luxembourg: males:75.91 females:82.67
    United Kingdom: males:76.37 females:81.46
    Ireland: males:75.44 females:80.88

    Lichtenstein: males:76.38 females:83.52

    Netherlands: male:76.66 females: 81.98
    Belgium: males:75.9 females:82.38
    Spain: males:76.6 females:83.45

    Norway: males:77.16 females:82.6
    Sweden: males:78.49 female:83.13

    Finland: males:75.31 females:82.46
    Italy: males:77.13 female:83.2

    Austria: male:76.46 female:82.41

    Switzerland: males:77.91 female:83.71
    ——–>The United States: males:75.29 females:81.13
    Many countries with public healthcare systems have better outcomes than the US.
    We should look carefully, especially, healthcare systems in place in Taiwan and the Netherlands.

  28. Dear Ty: Many thanks for sharing your epiphany with us. Health care ought to be a public service, not a corporate enterprise. There have to be limits, of course, but basic care should be available to all…even Republicans.
    Regards, dCK

  29. I truly think that what comes out of this economic mess will eventually be health care for all. I spent the past week with my incredibly conservative parents and the discussion of health care was raised. As we were about to enter into an argument all I had to say was that had I not had good health insurance I would not be here to be having this discussion, instead I would be dead. Conversation ended without a harsh word.

  30. Dear Still-Bitter Brit: Will never happen. Even King Barack admits that. Pity.
    BTW: one of those silly things called “facts” — Salt Lake City’s mayors have been among the most lib-burr-al Democrats in the U.S.
    Yours in defeating Communism’s child Socialism,