The power of myth

This piece, by T. R. Reid, does a pretty good job of dispelling right-wing myths about the horrors of health care in the rest of the first world. This kind of thing just breaks your heart as an American:

In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don’t bother to make an appointment. One Thursday morning in Tokyo, I called the prestigious orthopedic clinic at Keio University Hospital to schedule a consultation about my aching shoulder. “Why don’t you just drop by?” the receptionist said. That same afternoon, I was in the surgeon’s office. Dr. Nakamichi recommended an operation. “When could we do it?” I asked. The doctor checked his computer and said, “Tomorrow would be pretty difficult. Perhaps some day next week?”

It’s almost hard for me to believe this kind of thing, but I’ve seen it first-hand. When I was in France with my parents a few summers ago, my dad had a nasty flu and was afraid he might need medical attention if he didn’t improve soon. We called up and were told that a doctor could stop by the next morning if he still felt bad.

And we pay over 50% more per person for health care than Japan or France.

Let the eagle soar.






140 replies
  1. 1
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I just want Government out of my dern Medicare.

  2. 2
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    You commie libtards.

  3. 3
    Zifnab says:

    Yeah. I love how conservatives harp on Canada and England and always fail to mention Spain and Japan. And Switzerland and Norway and Italy and Greece and France and Germany and all the other states with a much higher degree of success at handling health care than the US.

    It’s almost as though they’re not interested in improving the health care system at all. Just trumpeting the old USA horn.

  4. 4
    Rosali says:

    T.R. Reid was on NPR’s Fresh Air today and his interview was pretty entertaining.

  5. 5
    Sloth says:

    You want fun, try this: suggest that we just clone France’s healthcare system to a bunch of wingnuts.

    I work with a bunch of wingnuts.

    I’ve lived in France.

    I made that suggestion to the wingnuts.

    Their heads did not *quite* explode, but it was a close thing.

  6. 6
    calling all toasters says:

    This is just further proof that America is perfect: we’re so tough we don’t need good medical care and we’re so rich we’ll overpay for it– because we can!

  7. 7
    eric says:

    When i was visiting Italy on my honeymoon earlier this decade, my ex got very sick and the doctor made a house call to the hotel after 8 pm. He spoke no english, we spoke no italian, but she ended up getting a shot on the tushy and all was better soon enough.

    total cost…$0 for a house call at night for total strangers to the country.

    eric

  8. 8
    gwangung says:

    Yeah. I love how conservatives harp on Canada and England and always fail to mention Spain and Japan. And Switzerland and Norway and Italy and Greece and France and Germany and all the other states with a much higher degree of success at handling health care than the US.

    Even those Eastern countries, like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

    Oh, yes. Israel, too.

  9. 9
    eemom says:

    Thank you for spreading the word about this. The WaPoop had it buried in the middle of the Sunday “Outlook” section, whose cover featured the most unattractive photo they could find of Hillary Clinton.

    I am SOOOO disgusted by this newspaper. It is ten times worse now than it was pre-Obama.

  10. 10
    Skullduggery says:

    And just imagine how short out wait times would be if we adopted Japan or France’s system and maintained our current spending. And then add mandatory euthanasia (for the less productive and less abled) and we’ll be able to provide unparalleled care for the rest of us!

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    You want fun, try this: suggest that we just clone France’s healthcare system to a bunch of wingnuts.

    I have to tell you that this is what I don’t get. The French have a system that costs much, much less than hours and is better in every respect. I want it. I don’t care how they do it, if it’s free market, if it’s single payer, it’s $ocialistic. I just want to pay less for better service. Why the fuck don’t people on the right want that? I don’t want to pay less for better service because I’m a liberal. I just always want to pay less for better service with anything whether it’s Fed Ex ground versus UPS or Wegman’s versus Whole Foods or French health care versus American health care.

    I don’t like spending money and I like stuff that works. Why does that make me a member of the far left fringe?

  12. 12
    eric says:

    @gwangung: here is a link to the 2000 WHO ranking of health care….we do beat Cuba, though not United Arab Emirates.

    http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

    helpful links generally for comparison nation shopping

    http://www.photius.com/rankings/

    eric

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    I have one rule on this weblog, and DougJ broke it.

    So sad.

  14. 14
    mellowjohn says:

    yeah, but we’re ahead of latvia in infant mortality.

  15. 15
    Jay B. says:

    The sickest part about this:

    – The right’s bragging about torpedoing health care. Awesome! Thanks guys!

    And a big shout out to Democratic halfwits and an ineffectual Democratic President for not being able to state the fucking obvious from the start — not doing this will KILL PEOPLE. And will kill them MORE EXPENSIVELY.

    Of course, one gets the sense that a big number of our fellow Democrats in DC want it to fail. So they can go back to being in the minority. Or something. It’s some bizarre strategy that, in classic Democratic fashion, they can take lemonade and turn it into septic drainage.

  16. 16
    Deborah says:

    Time to get in to see orthopedist with badly and spontaneously painful shoulder: about 2-3 weeks.

    Time from decision to go with surgery on the bone spur to actual surgery: 2.5 months.

    Man am I envious. And yet I imagine, just like Stephen Hawking would be dead if he lived in Britain, all of these Japanese doctors should properly have vanished, for all those reasons of the government running their healthcare system.

    If we have single payer there will be huge waits! Really! Unlike now!

  17. 17
    eric says:

    @DougJ: Here is the part i don’t get about the francophobia: no French, no America. We are close to the British and hate the French despite the fact that we needed to the French to kill the British to get a free country. Why? Because they are not sufficiently unrepentent capitalist rent-seeking usurists?

    ok then.

    eric

  18. 18

    @DougJ:
    la la la la la la la la la la I can’t hear you! la la la la la la I can’t hear you! la la la la la la la

  19. 19
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    I have one rule on this weblog, and DougJ broke it.

    I don’t know what the hell Cole is talking about, but i support you DougJ. I don’t know I support you because I don’t know what the hell Cole is talking about, but you can count on me buddy, So long as it don’t cost munny.

  20. 20
    Rosali says:

    @John Cole: What’s the rule?

    I think I just broke DougJ’s rule by recommending NPR when he just went on a tirade against them.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    I don’t like spending money and I like stuff that works. Why does that make me a member of the far left fringe?

    Because you’re supposed to overpay for an inferior product so you can lord it over your neighbor because he can’t afford healthcare. It’s keeping up with the Joneses writ large — if everyone has healthcare, it’s not a status symbol anymore. It would be like buying an Escalade and keeping it in your garage all the time. You’ve got to take it out and flaunt it.

  22. 22
    Jay B. says:

    the rule has to be “Don’t Link to that Fucking Ashcroft Video”. If not, it should be.

  23. 23
    Comrade Mary says:

    John still has a soft spot for Whole Foods?

  24. 24
    AZmando says:

    We were in Fiji a few years back, and I picked up strep throat. It’s a pretty impoverished, albeit beautiful, tropical island nation. We went to the doctor (a Fijian trained in New Zealand) and waited about 15 min. I still remember him looking down my throat and saying, “OH MY!” He gave us some penicillin and charged us $15 Fiji dollars. If I remember correctly that was about $10 US.

    A friend on a trip to NZ had a minor injury, went to the Emergency Room, got treatment and was told, “Don’t worry about it mate – enjoy the rest of your holiday.”

  25. 25
    John Cole says:

    The rule is DougJ is not allowed to use the phrase Let The Eagle Soar without linking to a youtube of it. I watch it compulsively. Every time I watch it, it is more awesome.

    It is just that good.

  26. 26

    Ummmmmmmmm…

    Uhhhhhhhhhhh…….

    I know: the Japanese don’t count minutes the same way we do.

  27. 27
    Tsulagi says:

    And we pay over 50% more per person for health care than Japan or France.

    And more than that compared to other countries. One of my SO’s sisters in Argentina gave birth to her first three years ago; it was by C-section. Total cost for OBGYN including prenatal, anesthesiologist, really nice private room for four or five days that even had its own small guest waiting room, and a nurse that came to her home every day for a week after to help with the baby and check on her came to $1,700 USD.

  28. 28
    Kathy says:

    John, tell us your rule, we are dying to hear. I thought I was “familiar with all internet traditions.” Apparently I’m not.

    Kathy + 1
    (see I know some of the traditions)

  29. 29
    Sloth says:

    Here is the part i don’t get about the francophobia: no French, no America. We are close to the British and hate the French despite the fact that we needed to the French to kill the British to get a free country. Why? Because they are not sufficiently unrepentent capitalist rent-seeking usurists?

    Fuck if I know. And every time I see one of those francophobic assholes tooling around with a picture of the statue of liberty on their truck, I just laugh.

    I think a lot of the problem here is american exceptionlism, but I’m just another one of those goddamn lefty freaks.

  30. 30
    Kathy says:

    Sorry, rule came up as I was typing.

  31. 31

    Make the Eagle Stop!

    I made it to the word “through” in line four.

  32. 32
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    I watch it compulsively

    I guess we let one implant slip through the scanner.

  33. 33
    Sloth says:

    Oh. My. God.

    I have never seen that before.

    But now I face a serious dilemma. Do I forward that to everyone I know, on the hope that they have not seen it either? Or will that make me look horribly out of touch.

    Don;t answer that.

  34. 34
    Ed Drone says:

    I recall an op-ed about health care and the author (steno) pointed out the problem with the British system — the National Health applied to ‘regular’ doctors (GPs), and most US physicians are specialists of some kind, so the British model wouldn’t work.

    ??? Why the hell would we, seeing the problem with the British system, copy it in toto? None of the single-payer systems would work exactly as it does in a different country and different culture. To think that we are proposing an exact copy is disingenuous, and, frankly, stupid.

    (Then again, look who’s claiming that that is what we’re proposing to do.)

    Time to ignore the twits and the Republicans (but I repeat myself) and vote the best public plan we can get (and if it’s single-payer, so much the better).

    I keep hoping to get a polling question, “Do you think the Obama plan will lead to government control of health insurance?” … I plan to answer, “Oh, I hope so!”

    Ed

  35. 35
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Oh gawd,. That video. No earworm please, pleeeeeeease!

  36. 36
    Mark S. says:

    Well, every time I’ve brought this up to a wingnut I’ve heard about how they saw or read that you can’t get an MRI in Canada, they don’t treat cancer in Britain, they leave old people to die in the streets of France, or some variation using different horror stories and different countries.

  37. 37
    John Cole says:

    What really separates that version of Let The Eagle Soar from others is the unsteady camera work. I think it really takes the piece to 11.

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Because you’re supposed to overpay for an inferior product so you can lord it over your neighbor because he can’t afford healthcare.

    And freedom isn’t free. As in ‘free beer’.

    In the prep school biz around here, there’s a phenomenon called the ***** factor (third rate prep-school’s name redacted out of fairness), to wit “I spend $23 grand a year to send junior to ***** — at that price it can’t suck, and, hey, at least it’s not public.”

  39. 39
    Ed Drone says:

    We are close to the British and hate the French despite the fact that we needed to the French to kill the British to get a free country. Why? Because they are not sufficiently unrepentent capitalist rent-seeking usurists?

    Lafayette, we are here dolts!

    Ed

  40. 40
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    the unsteady camera work

    Yup, and the way he tremmolos his voice as it’s shaking. Like watching inside the toilet bowl as it shakes when praying to the drunk Gods.

  41. 41
    Sloth says:

    Well, every time I’ve brought this up to a wingnut I’ve heard about how they saw or read that you can’t get an MRI in Canada, they don’t treat cancer in Britain, they leave old people to die in the streets of France, or some variation using different horror stories and different countries.

    An actual conversation I had went like this:

    WN: My family in Italy has to wait for healthcare

    Me: Well, not something I saw much of in France, and they are the most hypochondriacal people I’ve ever met.

    WN: Quality of healthcare will get worse!

    Me: Well, a friend in France has cancer and she’s got the money to go wherever she wants for treatment. She’s staying in France.

    WN: Yes, my family can go anywhere they want, too, the government will pay.

    Me: WTF????????? And your problem with this socialized healthcare would be?

    WN: ….

    WN: ….

  42. 42
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Zifnab:

    It’s almost as though [the GOP are] not interested in improving the health care system at all. Just trumpeting the old USA horn.

    “Almost?” They’re killing us — literally, and I do mean “literally”, not “figuratively” — with their BS rhetoric.

  43. 43
    cleek says:

    i can get into my GP the same day, if it sounds like something serious. they’ll happily bump all the people waiting for physicals or whatever, if i really need to be seen. my wife and i have done it many times. and yes, they’re a very busy office. they realize they’re on the front line, so to speak.

    but there’s no way i could get in to see a specialist of any kind without a few weeks delay.

  44. 44
    Tonal Crow says:

    @DougJ:

    I don’t like spending money and I like stuff that works. Why does that make me a member of the far left fringe?

    Because shut up, that’s why.

  45. 45
    jwb says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Yes, especially the tremolo.

  46. 46
    jenniebee says:

    @John Cole: That was the most beautiful thing I’ve heard since Lick My Love Pump

    It really is amazing about Americans. We refuse to examine our pasts and take a moral inventory, we don’t apologize for anything, and we stubbornly refuse to learn from others or do anything the smart, practical, humane and easy way.

    This country needs an al anon group.

  47. 47
    Calouste says:

    @Zifnab:

    Yeah. I love how conservatives harp on Canada and England and always fail to mention Spain and Japan. And Switzerland and Norway and Italy and Greece and France and Germany and all the other states with a much higher degree of success at handling health care than the US.

    It’s almost as though they’re not interested in improving the health care system at all. Just trumpeting the old USA horn.

    Well, those barbarians in those countries don’t even speak proper English American, so how can they possibly be any good at anything else?

    And of course, journalists will not report on that either, because they only speak two languages English American and Villageese. And you can’t trust them darn forners translating things properly.

    (That’s not limited to the American media btw. I still have to see a British journalist interview a local in a non-English speaking country rather than a Brit/Australian/New Zealander who accidentally happened to be near the scene.

  48. 48
    cbear says:

    This is not suprising. In Thailand you can go to Bumrungrad Hopital, one of the finest hospitals in the world, and receive one of the most comprehensive medical checkups possible: EKG, blood tests, ultrasound, chest x-ray, cardiac stress test, eye exam, pap smear, mammogram, etc, etc, etc,—and do it all in 4-5 hours.

    Here is the program:
    http://www.bumrungrad.com/pack.....index.aspx

    At the end of your checkup you meet with a doctor who spends about an hour with you going over every aspect of your tests and your general health. You then leave with a complete file of all the results from your checkup AND they will also email you the file to have on hand.

    Total Cost: About $400.
    If you had this done in the U.S. it would probably cost you around $3000 and take a month to get all the results.

    Buh, buh, buh, we have the best health care in the world!

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:

    American Exceptionalism at work:

    Exceptionally bad health care at exceptionally high cost.

    Gotta love it.

  50. 50
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    In the prep school biz around here, there’s a phenomenon called the ***** factor (third rate prep-school’s name redacted out of fairness), to wit “I spend $23 grand a year to send junior to ***** —at that price it can’t suck, and, hey, at least it’s not public.”

    Yeah. This BS has almost exactly the same evolutionary origin as the peacock’s tail.

  51. 51
    Demo Woman says:

    Is there a prize for the person who watched youtube and listened to Ashcroft sing for five minutes? (I did not press mute once.)

  52. 52
    stickler says:

    Why can’t Obama just ask the Congress to pass a single-page bill, eliminating the age requirement from Medicare?

    Boom: “public option,” baby. No muss, no fuss.

    And I don’t get the anti-France guff, either. Some nimrod yesterday on Just One Minute was going on for paragraphs about how awful the French were. WTF?

  53. 53
    Tonal Crow says:

    @stickler:

    Too simple. We ‘mericans love Rube Goldberg-like contraptions. Thus the Senate, e-voting, and a healthcare system that obsoletes the term “Byzantine”.

  54. 54
    stickler says:

    Demo Woman:

    Is there a prize for the person who watched youtube and listened to Ashcroft sing for five minutes? (I did not press mute once.)

    Your prize is this: you’re now five minutes closer to meeting your Maker. And you get fifty years off of Purgatory once St. Peter has ushered you through the Pearly Gates.

    Congratulations!

  55. 55
    Davis X. Machina says:

    In the old days we were glad to take pointers from foreigners who knew what the hell they were doing.

  56. 56
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Tonal Crow: I can haz edit button?

  57. 57
    Comrade Mary says:

    Huh. I’m listening to the NPR interview. I’m in Toronto, with a bad shoulder and a bad foot, but I can see my sports medicine specialist with a week and I got a bone scan appointment offered to me ONE DAY after I called the clinic with the referral from my doctor. (Saw my doctor again today to discuss the bone scan: except for a few mild arthritic changes in knees and shoulders, my bones are in pretty good shape, and I just may need to change my orthotics for my foot to feel better.)

    Now if I actually needed orthopaedic surgery, how long would I wait? Over a year?

    Nope. I checked this site and found that a hospital a short bike ride away could take me within three months. Not terrific, but hardly some horrible, horrible wait time.

    Of course, this could just be my horrible brain tumour, treatable only in America, talking.

  58. 58
    Comrade Mary says:

    DAMN it. The word speshulist, as in a medical speshulist, when spelled correctly, puts me into moderation.

    Guys, do you really get all that much spam about that boner pill?

  59. 59
    JK says:

    @jenniebee:

    You’ve accurately summarized the philosophy of sickos like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Bill O’Reilly.

  60. 60
    BR says:

    Folks need to mention Japan more.

    Japan is a first-world nation, a huge trading partner with the U.S., and home of one of the best health-care systems in the world.

    And the most important aspect is that when you say Japan conservatives and conservative-leaning independents don’t think “socialism”, “old Europe”, etc. And they can’t spin it that way.

    Japan is a proudly capitalist country and a high-tech one at that. Most folks associate Japan with Honda, Toyota, Nintendo, and Sony. So it’s politically more potent and harder to fight when we raise Japan as a good example.

  61. 61
    robertdsc says:

    but there’s no way i could get in to see a specialist of any kind without a few weeks delay.

    Same. My GP couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my shoulder after ordering an x-ray, so he sent me over to the orthopedist nearest my house. I zipped over there immediately after leaving his office only to find out that the orthopedist’s next opening was in 2 weeks. Brilliant.

  62. 62
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    It really is amazing about Americans. We refuse to examine our pasts and take a moral inventory, we don’t apologize for anything, and we stubbornly refuse to learn from others or do anything the smart, practical, humane and easy way.

    Being the only imperial power left standing after World War 2 and the Europe’s debtor fueled an intergenerational arrogance among Americans. Western Europe, who saw their cities and economies devastated by war, learned how fragile their societies were and acted accordingly. Same with Japan.

    We’re getting our wake-up call 60 years late. That’s a helluva lot of inertia to overcome.

  63. 63
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Guys, do you really get all that much spam about that boner pill?

    Oh yes, you have no idea. Who can say no to a 4 hour hard on?

  64. 64
    BeccaM says:

    What makes me sick is hearing over and over how covering everyone — every citizen, every legal resident and visitor — is too expensive to even contemplate. How every ‘reform’ proposal being considered includes massive co-pays, deductibles, and premium contributions. How we can’t even afford to implement a public insurance option, no matter how crappy, until 2013.

    All of which is utter bullshit.

    By the way, a doctor’s house-call in India, where I lived most of the time from 2006 until earlier this year, costs roughly $3 US. If you need medicine, maybe another couple bucks.

  65. 65
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    Europe’s debtor

    Whoops, meant Europe’s creditor not debtor.

  66. 66
    Gozer says:

    Let the Eagle Soar is so fucking awesome after consuming 2 carafes of sake and a few Kirin Ichiban’s after sushi.

    I’m in awe.

  67. 67
    superking says:

    That was a very good article. This is the most important line in the whole damn thing:

    The key difference is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people’s medical bills, not to make a profit. The United States is the only developed country that lets insurance companies profit from basic health coverage.

  68. 68
    Emma Anne says:

    @jenniebee: — It really is amazing about Americans. We refuse to examine our pasts and take a moral inventory, we don’t apologize for anything, and we stubbornly refuse to learn from others or do anything the smart, practical, humane and easy way.
    This country needs an al anon group. —

    LOL.

    The next day, we walk down the street in a *blindfold*! and fall in the hole.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @Demo Woman: You are one sick puppy.
    Meth fueled cross country biker gangs got nothing on you.

  70. 70
    El Cid says:

    If only we were a rich and powerful nation like Costa Rica we might be able to have a well functioning national health care / insurance system.

  71. 71
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    What makes me sick is hearing over and over how covering everyone—every citizen, every legal resident and visitor—is too expensive to even contemplate.

    The prices the imperial subjects pay are always higher at the seat of the empire.

  72. 72
    Nicole says:

    Oh my god, that video is the height of awesomeness. I especially like the Cloverfield- inspired camera technique. That fast zoom into the American flag was a thing of beauty- like, boom! In your face; here we are; we’re America! And then when it lost focus on the flag- it was like a metaphor for how America has lost its way. Or how Ashcroft lost the key. I’m not sure what the filmmaker was commenting on in that specific moment- the metaphorical or the actual. Ah, the ambiguity! I’ll have to watch it again.

  73. 73

    We can argue for the Japanese, French, German or any other developed country’s healthcare system. The one thing, that I know of, they all have in common? Doctors don’t make as much money there as they do here. How many doctors do you know who would take a pay cut? Would you?

  74. 74
    Makewi says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    Screw ’em. Tonsil stealing – foot amputating dicks! The only thing worse than the greedy docs is the greedy insurance companies.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    I was fine with the eagle till the actual mouth movement and words coming out part. Right about that time I got a ringing in my ears and was afraid blood would come out next. Hit the back button and all is well again.
    But other than the video, I agree with DougJ. I want what works, I don’t mind paying a fair price for that service and I don’t give a damn who I pay for it.
    The key here is we have plenty of proof what works, what we should be paying for it, and how many of us should have it.
    I wonder what a tourist from almost any other country would say if they needed a Dr. here?
    The view from the other side:
    “They wouldn’t see me without an appointment which takes 2 weeks. They wouldn’t see me without in network insurance. They wouldn’t see me without prior insurance company approval. So I went to the emergency room, waited for 6 hours, got a shot in the butt and a bill for $800. What a country, I’m glad I came to visit.”

  76. 76
    shoutingattherain says:

    @gwangung:

    Even those Eastern countries, like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. And leave us not forget Iraq:

    Health care has always been a top priority for Iraq and it had developed the most westernized system for health care across entire the entire country. Distinct to the other countries of its neighborhood Iraq which went for simpler measures employed a fully fledged medicinal system and urbane hospitals. Mortality rates and the deaths during pregnancy were also under control. Free health care was accessible by most of the urban and rural population before the deadly warfare took place. What war did was not only breakdown the country economically but also it made sure that all the hospitals along with its classic facilities were ruined. Everything from power generation to water treatment plants, doctors to health budgets was shunned.

    USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

  77. 77
    Mike P says:

    Once again, we have to look outside of our own media for hard-hitting stories that display what’s actually at play in this debate. This piece from the Guardian has some sad passages:

    Over the last month President Obama’s attempts to live up to his election promise to extend healthcare to all Americans has stalled in the face of a sustained rightwing guerrilla attack. Opponents of Obama’s reforms have succeeded in distracting attention from Manley and the 46 million other medically uninsured, swinging the focus instead on to the “evils” of publicly funded healthcare. The fear tactics were epitomised by Sarah Palin’s wholly inaccurate claim that the reforms would set up “death panels” that would force euthanasia on to older people.

    Such scaremongering has dismayed and infuriated Sharon Lee, the doctor who now treats Manley in Kansas City. “I’m very angry, very angry,” she says. “Many of the people I treat have already been in front of a death panel and have lost – a death panel controlled by insurance companies. I see people dying at least monthly because we have been unable to get them what they needed.”

    Lee’s clinic, Family Health Care, is a refuge of last resort. It picks up the pieces of lives left shattered by a health system that has failed them, and tries to glue them back together. It exists largely outside the parameters of formal health provision, raising funds through donations and paying all its 50 staff – Lee included – a flat rate of just $12 an hour.

    &

    Beth Gabaree, who came in to see Lee for the first time this morning, has experiences that sound extreme but are in fact quite typical. She has diabetes and a heart condition. Until two years ago they were controlled through ongoing treatment paid for by her husband’s work-based health insurance. But he was in a motorbike crash that pulverised his right leg and put him out of work.

    That Catch 22 again: no work, no insurance, no treatment. Except in this case it was Beth who went without treatment, in order to put her husband’s dire needs first. He receives ongoing specialist care that costs them $500 a go, leaving nothing for her. So she stopped seeing a doctor, and effectively began self-medicating. She cut down from two different insulin drugs to regulate her diabetes to one, and restricted her heart drugs. “I do what I think I need to do to keep four steps out of hospital. I know that’s not the right thing, but I can’t justify seeing the doctor when my family’s already in money trouble.”

    The problem is that she hasn’t kept herself four steps out of hospital. Her health deteriorated and earlier this year she became bedridden. Even then, it took her family several days to persuade her to go to the emergency room because she didn’t want to incur the hospital costs. “It was hard enough without that,” she says.

    After an initial consultation, Lee has now booked Gabaree for a new round of tests for her diabetes and is arranging for free medication. “It’s wonderful,” Gabaree says. “I’m so blessed. I didn’t know you could get this sort of help.”

  78. 78
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    There are no “right wing myths” only right wing lies.

    Myths are used by the ignorant to explain the inexplicable.

    The right may be ignorant but the matters concerned are very explicable.

  79. 79
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I listened to the T. R. Reid interview on Fresh Air all the way home (and btw, wrt a thread sometime in the last few days, Terry Gross is one of the reasons I keep my contributions as high as I can when the local NPR station has a beg-a-thon — but I digress) and found him fascinating, to the point that I will probably order his book tomorrow. If you can get a podcast, it’s really worth hearing.

    One thing that struck me was that doctors in other countries usually make a comfortable living, but don’t expect to get rich. But then, they don’t have to spend a gasquillion dollars on med school, as that’s usually provided free by their so ci al ist governments, so they don’t feel obliged to charge top dollar for services to make up for the cost of training.

    It was also really interesting to hear Reid talk about how doctors in different countries recommend he deal with a chronic shoulder problem. Everything from state-of-the-art surgery to regular physiotherapy to a yummy-sounding Ayurvedic massage.

  80. 80
    someguy says:

    The Japanese comparison doesn’t work out all that well because they are basically healthy people who eat a lot of fish, little red meat, and who watch their weight, walk (to public trans) and then walk some more. As a result there isn’t as much chronic illness for doctors to treat.

    You take a population where the average person is obese to begin with, where Cheetos and pork rinds and Mountain Dew and Corn Syrup (and the corresponding toothlessness and stupidity) is the average, and you’re talking about needing a lot more medical resources dedicated to diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements and similar weight-related chronic illness. That means less to go around for people who don’t suffer from self-inflicted injuries.

  81. 81
    HyperIon says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Your analysis is spot on. And yet you are the first person I have read on the web to just say it. Thanks.

    My fox repub cardiologist brother-in-law is pulling down at least $275K and he’s coasting (not full time anymore). I’d like to replace him with a primary care doc making $175K. Whenever I sort of hint that speshalists (never gotten moderated yet!) make too much money, he starts ranting about how much lawyers make. There is real animosity and envy between those two professions.

  82. 82
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    How many doctors do you know who would take a pay cut? Would you?

    This is exactly it. IGMFU. Wrapped up in a protestant work ethic roll and served with a side of free market shitatoes.

    I wonder why none of the health care trolls from the other night are here in this thread yet?

    The evidence from around the world is OVERWHELMING that health care CAN and HAS been done better than the U.S. system in several different flavors (single-payer, mandated insurance, mixed), and yet the wingnuts and the blue dogs continue to want to keep things the way they are.

    Our political and business classes don’t give a damn about the poor or the middle class and whether they live or die in health or lose all their possessions to bankruptcy. IGMFU.

    And the solution to the problem is to ask everyone to pass the hat (see Mackey, John “Galt”) and let Americans “help each other” through the tough times. Except Americans have shown through the entire 60 year history of health care reform failure that we don’t DO “help each other out” on a large scale. Especially the upper class.

    And the same people who don’t want to lift a finger to ease the burden on those who actually work for a living continue to suck health insurance off the same taxpayers’ backs (I’m looking at you, John Sydney McCain, Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi, Mitch McConnell, Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, and all the other dipshits who keep dragging their heels against HCR). Them and the wingnut welfare scum like Grover Norquist and Megan McArdle and her fiance and the list goes on of people who’ve never had to hope the paycheck made it to the end of the month and the kids didn’t get sick.

    They can all go fuck themselves.

    In this sense, I’m in agreement with Samuel L. Jackson.

    I am ashamed to admit that these people are from the same country I’m from. I am ashamed to think that generations of men and women fought and died so these scum could conspire with greedy health insurance profiteers to pillage and bankrupt their fellow citizens and leave them to die.

  83. 83
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    We can argue for the Japanese, French, German or any other developed country’s healthcare system. The one thing, that I know of, they all have in common?

    1) A system based on the principle that quality healthcare is a right
    2) A food industry not dominated by high fructose corn syrup
    3) Medical schools that don’t leave the students $150K in debt
    4) High-concept action movies

  84. 84
    Comrade Mary says:

    Who can say no to a 4 hour hard on?

    MPEGs or it didn’t happen.

  85. 85
    Mike P says:

    The kicker from the Reid piece was money:

    “Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has “the finest health care” in the world. We don’t. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero. “

  86. 86
    MNPundit says:

    A huge reason is that most people have never left the country. There are reasons for that: We have nearly the ENTIRE range of Earth’s climates and terrain–We have arctic cold and equatorial heat and everything in between. We are the Empire, we can get anything we want from anywhere just about and there’s not a lot of places where X is better than what we can do (except healthcare or mass transit!). Plus we are a huge country. It’s not like most of us can ride the train for an afternoon and be in another country.

    So people are insulated.

  87. 87
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    MPEGs or it didn’t happen.

    Of course, I personally don’t need the stuff and have not sampled the product. I just heard that if the HO lasts more than 4 hours you should see the doc.

    So a little quick math, I figured anything up to that is good to go. And maybe it’s time to go see Alice.

    MPEG?

  88. 88
    Steeplejack says:

    @Demo Woman:

    It doesn’t count if you were paralyzed with horror, like a mouse in front of a snake.

  89. 89
    Makewi says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    You deciding for other people that they make too much money for your tastes isn’t tyranny at all. Seriously. Thank God we have people like you around to tell us which of the assholes are ruining it for the rest of us.

  90. 90
    Cat Lady says:

    DougJ +1 for knowing his Joseph Campbell.

    Comrade Mary FTW.

    T.R. Reid probably has granite countertops, so he won’t be on This Week.

  91. 91
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Makewi:

    I think it’s time to send Makewi off the work camps, to get his mind right.

    Somebody write it down. I don;t have the list. Yes, THAT list.

  92. 92
    JK says:

    @Cat Lady:

    T.R. Reid is too sensible, well-informed, and intelligent to be a guest on This Week, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, the Today Show or Good Morning America.

    Hopefully Washington Journal, Countdown, the Rachel Maddow Show, or Democracy Now will have him on as a guest.

  93. 93
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Comrade Mary FTW.

    Have I been counter-snarked again? Please lord no.

  94. 94
    Skippy-san says:

    My wife is Japanese, and when I lived in Japan-it worked out just as described. She went to a doctor when she was sick and was seen in 30 minutes. She had a combination of private and Japanese Health insurance. She never paid the bills I had to pay when I went to private Japanese physician and then had to file a claim with my Tricare.

  95. 95
    someguy says:

    Makewi, son, fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life.

    Though if it works for you, who am I to criticize?

  96. 96
    Mark S. says:

    I didn’t recognize his name at first, but Reid did a Frontline on Healthcare:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/.....dtheworld/

  97. 97

    @Makewi:

    Oh, like you can’t figure that out? The Frist family making billions on healthcare while cousin Bill gets gold plated government healthcare, and voting to deny that healthcare to millions of his fellow citizens, is criminal. Not just bad policy, criminal. These people are criminals.

    If you are going to be a spooftroll, at least put some fucking effort into it and try not to sound like a complete horse’s ass.

  98. 98
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:

    We can argue for the Japanese, French, German or any other developed country’s healthcare system. The one thing, that I know of, they all have in common? Doctors don’t make as much money there as they do here. How many doctors do you know who would take a pay cut? Would you?

    When increasing portions of my salary are going to maintain the largesse of spekial ists who order unnecessary procedures, I think that’s fine. No one had qualms about outsourcing software development/other high-earning white collar jobs and depressing their wages–I say it’s just the reality of the market.

    Maybe if physicians made less the obscene financial extortion that is medical school tuition would get back in line.

  99. 99
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    And am I the only one who’s sick of the argument “but if they make less, no one will want to be a doctor/stock trader/financial analyst!”?

    My Dad’s worked as a contractor for 35 years, and I can tell you–salary ain’t the only compensation paid by nice white-collar jobs. Things like free weekends, lack of physical injury, not being physically exhausted at the end of the day, and intellectual stimulation aren’t trivial. Seriously, when did middle-class America become such dickwads? “Oh no, I might make less for my 40-60 hr/week job where I spend half the time surfing the internet!!”

  100. 100
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    I mean, it’s not that being a doctor is easy, it’s actually one of the more demanding white-collar professions. But it’s still nothing compared to some job where you do physical labor every day, and I don’t see any reason why people that enjoy the intellectual stimulation and helping people would cease to do it.

  101. 101
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Makewi:

    You deciding for other people that they make too much money for your tastes isn’t tyranny at all. Seriously. Thank God we have people like you around to tell us which of the assholes are ruining it for the rest of us.

    Which is another brilliant feature of the “free market” bullshit mindfuck that is conserva-libertaria-randianism. Anyone who might suggest that making 200-400 times what the regular workers in YOUR OWN DAMNED COMPANY makes is obscene and a perversion of humanity is deemed a fascist, so-kialist, or communist.

    IGMFU. It sums up in its entirety the right wing of this country. To which I say, fuck you … again.

  102. 102
    cmorenc says:

    Your “Power of Myth” thread title is extremely apt. Although we’ve long had a streak of pride in our national character toward our country and the generally positive traits of most things about it, one of the unfortunate undersides to our genuine great victory in World War II and the wonderful way the “greatest generation” came through the war and then built the postwar boom that made this country an economic and social powerhouse – was that we acquired a mythic belief that all our institutions and the ways we do things in this country are the better than those anyplace else on earth. The health care system in [France, Great Britain, Canada – you name it] CAN’T POSSIBLY BE BETTER THAN OURS HERE IN THE U-S of A. Why, we have the best-trained specialist physicians, medical technology, research institutions, the best hospitals on earth – sick people from all over the earth want to be treated in US hospitals!

    Well, that sort of begs the question about what is the “best” medical care in the world if access to these wonderful physicians and hospitals and medical technology is forbiddingly, bankruptingly expensive unless you have great employer-provided or self-purchased health insurance, and God help you if you lose your job or have a preexisting condition or get really, really, sick past the point where your insurer starts looking for ways to dump you or deny your claims. Also, it begs the question of just how soon you can get an appointment to be seen if you don’t have blood spurting out or a visibly fractured leg. The escalating cost of medical insurance is also becoming a significant drag on those employers still willing to provide it as a benefit, or as a portion of family income to the extent folks need to directly pay for their own. THAT is what is not “quality health care” about the present system, wonderful though it is toward the top of the pyramid.

    And we’re too xenophobic to admit that maybe, just maybe, the Frenchies and Japanese have their medical care system much better figured out than we do, in a way that more broadly benefits everyone than we do, and for far less expense.

  103. 103
    Martin says:

    Yes, but how long do you need to wait for a circumcision in Japan? In red-blooded America, they do it freely and automatically for any newborn planning on becoming President.

    Social!sm would leave a bunch of Presidents running around with their helmets still on, and then where would we be? Huh?

  104. 104
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    And am I the only one who’s sick of the argument “but if they make less, no one will want to be a doctor/stock trader/financial analyst!”?

    No sir, you are not. The way I look at it, doctor is in a class by itself, and I would rather have one that cares more about being a good doctor, than being a rich one.

  105. 105
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Makewi:

    You deciding for other people that they make too much money for your tastes isn’t tyranny at all. Seriously. Thank God we have people like you around to tell us which of the assholes are ruining it for the rest of us.

    Right, because that’s exactly what the post you were responding to was discussing. Except not at all.

    You act has been running on borrowed time since you first showed up ’round here. I reckon you take the advice to liven up your little charade or else find another place where no one respects, values, or cares for you to bewilderingly waste your time.

  106. 106
    Cain says:

    @John Cole:
    The rule is DougJ is not allowed to use the phrase Let The Eagle Soar without linking to a youtube of it. I watch it compulsively. Every time I watch it, it is more awesome.

    It is just that good.

    It should be our national anthem or the last fucking word in a debate with a wing nut!

    cain

  107. 107
    Cain says:

    @John Cole:
    What really separates that version of Let The Eagle Soar from others is the unsteady camera work. I think it really takes the piece to 11.

    probably because the cameraman is laughing his ass off.

    cain

  108. 108
    SarahLoving says:

    @John Cole:

    Watching that video reminded me of those episodes of Angel when Lorne would read someone’s aura while they were singing, often finding out they were capital E evil and about to destroy the universe.

  109. 109
    Brachiator says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Which is another brilliant feature of the “free market” bullshit mindfuck that is conserva-libertaria-randianism. Anyone who might suggest that making 200-400 times what the regular workers in YOUR OWN DAMNED COMPANY makes is obscene and a perversion of humanity ….

    But it is neither obscene nor a perversion of humanity.

    And I am for health care reform. But holding doctor’s salaries down is a way to control costs, and it is artificial, arbitrary and introduces its own problems, e.g. strikes and work stoppages. It’s also unworkable in the long term.

    And then we have distortions like this, which are related to wage controls in Britain’s NHS system:

    A third of primary care trusts are flying in GPs from as far away as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland because of a shortage of doctors in Britain willing to work in the evenings and at weekends. …The NHS is having to rely on doctors from overseas because a lucrative new contract for British GPs has resulted in more than 90 per cent opting out of responsibility for their patients in the evenings and at weekends. Despite doing less, their pay has soared by 50 per cent to an average of almost £108,000. Responsibility for out-of-hours cover has now passed to primary care trusts. …

    Their qualifications are checked by the General Medical Council and the local PCT, but no checks are in place to ensure that they are not exhausted after working long hours in their home country…. Our investigation revealed that more than a third of the 152 primary care trusts (PCTs) in England have flown in foreign GPs in the last year. Of the 146 trusts who responded, 51 have used overseas GPs in the last 12 months. The figure has trebled since 2008 when just one in ten primary care trusts were flying in GPs from abroad. However, it is impossible to know the exact number of GPs travelling to the UK as many primary care trusts do not keep a record of their nationality.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....ders.html#

    Now, to be fair, some US health maintenance organizations and preferred provider programs also end up holding down doctor pay, with the difference flowing to the corporate CEOs as excess profits, so the American system does not insure full economic freedom for medical care providers.

    Still, it was annoying to listen to TR Reid in his Fresh Air interview so happily insist how wonderful it was that countries which controlled doctor pay kept them so firmly in the middle class.

    Still, I listened to the interview thinking that it was about time that someone provided some kind of intelligent discussion of the various health care systems in other countries which provide universal care.

  110. 110
    Ron says:

    @DougJ:
    Because if it’s European Socialist it’s evil and will destroy our country. Also.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    A third of primary care trusts are flying in GPs from as far away as Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland because of a shortage of doctors in Britain willing to work in the evenings and at weekends.

    This is different from what we’re doing, how, again? We’re also importing nurses. And you thought they wouldn’t be able to figure out how to outsource medicine.

    Of course, being America, I’m sure we’re paying our foreign doctors 20 times more than what they could make in Britain. USA! USA! USA!

  112. 112
    tc125231 says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Most people in technical occupations want to good work and be comfortable. You would do far better to 1. Open more med schools, and let people attend for free, as is the case in France; and then give them good, high paying public employment as is the case in –gasp –France.

    No wait –we need doctors being Enreprenuers! Selling our un-needed body parts!

  113. 113
    tc125231 says:

    @Brachiator: This post is fatuous. It is well known that the number of med schools and doctors trained is currently artificially restrained.

    Think cartel, chump.

  114. 114
    Morbo says:

    But… Japan’s population is very homogenous, and they report their wait times differently, so you can’t really compare the two systems. Also.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    Here’s a bit of interesting information about the US poaching foreign nurses:

    Hasina Subedar, head of the South African Nursing Council, is appalled that the United States is trying to poach nurses, and she’s trying to stop it.

    She doesn’t blame the nurses for taking more money. “I think that everybody wants to improve their standard of living,” she says. “I do, however, blame the recruiters of First World countries, and I feel our country’s at a stage where we’re trying to recover from a very, very difficult past, and by taking our human resources, you are taking away our future; you are taking away our ability to improve the quality of life of people. And I think that this is something I would like to say to American society. Think about it.”

  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @tc125231:

    It is well known that the number of med schools and doctors trained is currently artificially restrained.

    And your point would be?

    Think cartel, chump.

    That’s MR. Chump to you, punk.

  117. 117
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Brachiator:

    I think Mr. tc is paying tribute to John Barleycorn tonight.

  118. 118
    JSDreyer says:

    My Japan experience: I got sick as a dog. Had the national insurance. Went to the doctor. He examined me and sent me home with 4 different meds to take (standard cold stuff: Tylenol, Sudafed, etc.). Total cost: $20 or so.

    After I got better, I went and priced the meds at the local pharmacy, thinking next time I’d treat it myself. Total cost, $50.

  119. 119
    Brachiator says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    I think Mr. tc is paying tribute to John Barleycorn tonight.

    Ah, yes. I see what you mean.

  120. 120

    […] care across the world blows ours out of the water. Our health insurance industry is fat and happy and growing happier all the […]

  121. 121
    liberal says:

    @Brachiator:

    And your point would be?

    Shorter Brachiator: “I’ve never heard of the law of supply and demand.”

  122. 122
    bago says:

    I figured it had to do with Ashcroft.

    Goddamned if it’s not fucked that this statue of liberty covering oil-annointing eagle-singing wackjob on drugs was one of the more cogent defenders of the constitution in the past decade. God-Damn.

    One of these days I will see Depeche Mode live.

  123. 123
    Mike D. says:

    @Rosali:

    “T.R. Reid was on NPR’s Fresh Air today and his interview was pretty entertaining.”

    And on that broadcast, he personally said that a Canadian physician whom he had examine chronicnother, nontrivial pain in his shoulder said that he would have him consult an orthopedist, which consult would occur after a wait of 10-12 months, after which treatment would follow in another six months or so. I said, “Holy shit” out loud to myself when I heard that.

  124. 124
    rec says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum:
    They won’t take a pay cut because they feel it’s their god given right to have a summer home and a boat. (I’m not a wealthist, some of my best friends are doctors.)

    Personally, I never had a problem with paying 50%+ in my highest income tax bracket, and 5% for nationalized health insurance, on a salary that was good enough for a rented apartment but definitely not for a house. My brother (a doctor) and his wife (a doctor as well) made less money than me. And I had no problem knowing that my 5% would be more than other people’s 5% even though I was young, I ran green and I kept my teeth nice and clean.

    45 million without health insurance is something that every single American should feel ashamed of. If you’re making over 250K and you don’t feel that you can afford to pay more taxes or get lower wages so that your fellow citizens would get basic fucking health services there’s something very wrong with your value system. And yes, I don’t make half that, and I would pay more taxes to give people health insurance.

  125. 125
    Shaun says:

    I had surgery at Keio University hospital in Tokyo for a broken finger that hadn’t healed properly. Experimental surgery!! Dr. Sato. Great doctor and staff. Cute nurses. I waited about six weeks from first visit to surgery but I wasn’t in any pain. They wanted me to stay in the hospital for over a week including two days before the surgery.

    You can definitely get a same day appointment but the place opens at 8:45 and if you don’t get your number out of the machine before 8:50, you will wait all day before seeing a doctor.

  126. 126
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    T. R. Reid is about to be guest on CNN, whatever the name of their early-morning program is called.

  127. 127
    BrYan says:

    @eric:

    Late to the party.

    Dude, that was an Italian guy, he just wanted to get to touch your wife’s butt.

  128. 128
    Sloth says:

    And on that broadcast, he personally said that a Canadian physician whom he had examine chronicnother, nontrivial pain in his shoulder said that he would have him consult an orthopedist, which consult would occur after a wait of 10-12 months, after which treatment would follow in another six months or so. I said, “Holy shit” out loud to myself when I heard that.

    I really do not understand the anti-americanism. Don’t you think we can’t do better than the canadians for the same money? Other countries have but we can’t?

    And it’s not like we’re doing better today. I mean, you don’t have insurance, what’s your wait time? Forever? Or you can sell your car to cover one appointment then your house for the surgery. Yeah, we have it better.

  129. 129
    bob h says:

    I have Japanese houseguests now. They say they have to pick up 1/3 of their healthcare bills, which they get supplemental insurance to cover. All healthcare premiums are $5000/yr. for a family of 3. That is about 1/3 what they would pay here, for coverage that is somewhat superior to ours.

  130. 130
    dave says:

    I thought we pay at or close to 100% more than Japan?

  131. 131
    sunsin says:

    But holding doctor’s salaries down is a way to control costs, and it is artificial, arbitrary and introduces its own problems, e.g. strikes and work stoppages. It’s also unworkable in the long term.

    Replace “doctor” with any type of ordinary worker and see if this idiot still agrees.

    And on that broadcast, he personally said that a Canadian physician whom he had examine chronicnother [sic], nontrivial pain in his shoulder said that he would have him consult an orthopedist, which consult would occur after a wait of 10-12 months, after which treatment would follow in another six months or so. I said, “Holy shit” out loud to myself when I heard that.

    I said something a little different: bullshit. Americans must be bog-stupid to believe such fairy tales about a country they actually live next to. I’ve had similar injuries and never experienced more than a quarter of these wait times, if that. And remember, wait times only apply to non-critical cases: all critical cases are treated immediately.

    We do not have trolls here, we have li.a.rs.

  132. 132
    slightly_peeved says:

    And remember, wait times only apply to non-critical cases: all critical cases are treated immediately.

    This is the key point here; the person has shoulder pain. Their shoulder still works, it just hurts. They still get it fixed for free, they just have to wait.

    If you don’t like that idea, don’t use the Canadian system in that particular respect. The Australian system works similar, except for the ability to purchase private insurance (at about AU$120 a month for a single adult) that gets you that treatment as soon as possible, and some other benefits besides.

  133. 133
    Corner Stone says:

    @tc125231:

    Think cartel, chump.

    I don’t actually know what this is supposed to mean but I find it rather poignant.

  134. 134
    Corner Stone says:

    @bago:

    Goddamned if it’s not fucked that this statue of liberty covering oil-annointing eagle-singing wackjob on drugs was one of the more cogent defenders of the constitution in the past decade.

    He wasn’t and he isn’t. IMO he refused to sign not because he was concerned for what he was authorizing but rather because he was concerned about getting left on the hook for something he authorized when he couldn’t fully evaluate how to CYA himself in the event it came out later.
    So, shorter me: Ashcroft was more concerned the Bushies were going to ass fuck *him* than he was concerned they were ass fucking the Constitution.

  135. 135
    MNPundit says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: The thing is, they can make less money because it costs less for them to go to school and not the horrendous amounts that leave you in a pit of debt.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MNPundit:

    The thing is, they can make less money because it costs less for them to go to school and not the horrendous amounts that leave you in a pit of debt.

    That’s one of the biggest reason for our shortage of primary care doctors right now — medical students go into specialties because it’s the only way they have any hope of being able to pay off their student loans.

    Personally, I would have no problem with the government forgiving student loans for people who agree to go into primary care (internist, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, etc.)

  137. 137
    GranFalloon says:

    Wait 12 months for treatment under the Canadaesque public option model?

    Pfffttt.

    I much prefer the private option of having my coverage denied immediately by my insurer. The private sector is far more efficient.

  138. 138
    jim says:

    The horror-stories about Canucks languishing on gargantuan waiting-lists are a tad overblown … I’m unaware of anyone perishing from lack of medical care in Canada unless it was due to their own stubborn refusal to seek treatment. The “brain tumor” lady is still peddling the same bullshit even after she’s been called out on it repeatedly – & last I heard, she was baaaaawing about her inability to pay the huge bill she voluntarily incurred because she refused to wait for treatment for something that likely posed no real danger to either her life or health.

    Of course, Canada’s wait-times for major procedures (which are now slowly but steadily going down, btw) have absolutely nothing to do with massive ongoing poaching of doctors & nurses by big American hospitals! Pay no attention to that recruiter behind the curtain! Hmm, I wonder what substantial incentives to create more medical careers for Americans & a “Hire Americans First” rule would do to Canada’s shortage of doctors & RNs? IT IS A MYSTERY.

  139. 139

    […] but they look funny and ganged with Che to bomb us during the revolutionary war. They are teh evil: In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don’t bother to make an appointment. […]

  140. 140
    Ray C says:

    I like charts and graphs. They work better than words, though I like those too. Anyhow, this makes it simple:
    http://y42k.wordpress.com/2009.....the-world/

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  1. […] but they look funny and ganged with Che to bomb us during the revolutionary war. They are teh evil: In Japan, waiting times are so short that most patients don’t bother to make an appointment. […]

  2. […] care across the world blows ours out of the water. Our health insurance industry is fat and happy and growing happier all the […]

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