Monday, March 14, 2011

Deficits, Health Care, and Willful Ignorance

Paul Krugman recently published an article in the New York Times in which he bemoans the inane level of discourse on the budget deficit as well as our out of control health care system.

Krugman writes,
According to a column in Kaiser Health News, Republican staffers jeered at any and all proposals to use Medicare and Medicaid funds better. Spending money on prevention was no more than a 'slush fund.' Research on innovation was 'an oxymoron.' And there was no reason to pay for "so-called effectiveness research."

Damn; Republicans are no longer even trying. They say nothing, offer nothing, that even pretends to be serious.

But today’s Republicans just aren’t into rationality. They claim to care deeply about deficits — but they’ve spent the past two years putting cynical, demagogic attacks on any attempt to actually deal with long-run deficits at the heart of their campaign strategy.
Here’s a recent example. In his new book, Mike Huckabee — the current leader in polls asking Republicans whom they want to nominate in 2012 — attacks the Obama stimulus because it included funds for, yes, comparative effectiveness research: “The stimulus didn’t just waste your money; it planted the seeds from which the poisonous tree of death panels will grow.” Will others in the G.O.P. stand up and say that Mr. Huckabee is wrong, that Medicare needs to know which medical procedures actually work? Don’t hold your breath.

Note the reference to comparative effectiveness research. That means we spend a little to look closer at what other countries are doing, the ones that offer care that is better, universal, and less expensive. But this is what Mike Huckabee ridicules.

Really, Mike? Do your really want Americans to remain uninformed and not know just how dysfunctional our health care really is? Most analyses of health care that make it to our mainstream media are incredibly vapid. In particular, they almost never explore in any depth why universal health care in other countries works well, contains costs, and is so popular. Ask yourself why the public in Europe, Canada, or Japan does not demand their governments adopt the US system. 

I have embedded a PDF below that offers a comparative analysis of the US health care system and those of several other industrialized nations. This is just one of several. The others I will post in due time.


I hope this link and embedded PDF stuff works OK. I am using for this. Seems to be working, hope it stays working. Readers can let me know if the above PDF does not work. Note the text is a bit small, but you can click to open to full screen.

Alternatively, you can click here to view via Google docs.

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