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By Ezra Klein

Health care is too damn high:

By Ezra Klein  | November 17, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Hilarious. But actually sounds a lot like a real conversation I have heard!

Posted by: LindaB1 | November 17, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Nice. Would have been extra good if the other person would have said earmarks are the solution to the deficit.

Speaking of earmarks, here's an idea for the Dems... include a binding earmark ban with permanent middle class tax cuts (plus EITC/CTC, which never get mentioned but are tremendously important for working poor families). Call it the "permanent middle class tax cuts and deficit reduction act." Make the R's vote against middle class tax cuts AND an earmark ban. It would be good policy and expose the R's as not really caring about the deficit.

Posted by: mattching | November 17, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

From the vid: "If we had health care costs similar to most other developed nations like Germany or Canada the deficits would not be so high in the future."

Yes, if the United States had a smaller, more homogeneous, less mobile population, inured to a lower standard of living, with a history of willing subjugation to more authoritarian strictures, and less reference to the supremacy of the individual and the ideals of self-government and personal responsibility, then maybe, and only maybe, health care costs would be lower. But none of those things are possible, are they?

Posted by: msoja | November 17, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

msoja, you're talking about Canada? In any case, the ideal of "personal responsibility" certainly doesn't preclude the possibility that individuals can make sensible ideological concessions for public health.

Posted by: diane3 | November 17, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

--*you're talking about Canada?*--

It has a population smaller than California's. It's still a monarchy, and only recently formally separated from British parliament oversight. The government established a full on welfare state seventy years ago. The largest minority groups are South Asian and Chinese at 4% and 3.9% respectively.

If you can turn the United States into that, you'll *might* end up with lower health care costs.

As to your "ideological concessions", make them on your own dime.

Posted by: msoja | November 17, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

ps. Making an "ideological concession" with a gun pointed at one's head, alá the recent health care mandate, is akin to reading a confession for the cameras with one's captors just off screen.

Posted by: msoja | November 17, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

msoja's argument would be compelling if only Canada provided equivalent (or better) quality health care for a far lower cost. But virtually every developed nation in the world does better than America, and spends less. I will concede that we're still edging out Slovenia, even though we've got a ways to go to catch Morocco.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO%27s_ranking_of_health_care_systems

It's embarrassing that people in Cuba, Japan, and Singapore live longer than Americans at a fraction of the cost. And last I checked, the population is those countries was just about, oh, 100% "minority". Oh, and they drive, eat fast food, and smoke in those countries too.

http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/spend.php

Posted by: vvf2 | November 17, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Correction: No (Americanized) fast food in Cuba. But I assume without evidence that Cuban cigars counterbalance that factor. ;)

Posted by: vvf2 | November 17, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

--*the population is those countries was just about, oh, 100% "minority".*--

I referred to homogeneity as a factor, not particular racial identities, so you make my point.

And it's a long running shibboleth of the left that a nation's health care system accounts for differences in life expectancies. Anyone pushing that nonsense is a moron. Period.

Posted by: msoja | November 17, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone pushing that nonsense is a moron."

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Posted by: vvf2 | November 17, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

It's not particularly crazy to argue that the health care in a given country could
impact life expectancy. Just think about countries in Africa where there is broad access to health care and those where there isn't. They have similar demographics (and sometimes income) but there is vast diversity in outcomes. Read Hans Rosling or even Bill and Melinda Gates.

There are people who argue that the private health system in America results in people living longer than they would under a more socialistic system, due to better innovations and less rationing. I disagree with this sentiment, but it's a legitimate argument.

Posted by: vvf2 | November 17, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

--*It's not particularly crazy to argue that the health care in a given country could
impact life expectancy.*--

Well, it's true, crazy and moronic are two different things, but maybe they aren't so far apart.

I would suggest that you consider basic economic fundamentals, rampant corruption, and other complications as impacting both health care infrastructure development and overall health outcomes, at least while you're talking about Africa.

Other than that, it looks like you "disagree with" a "sentiment", and have no real facts.

Cheers.

Posted by: msoja | November 17, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Klein's readers have seen the following points which are culled from a fuller paper by Scott W. Atlas that he published last year. Oh, right, Klein never mentioned Atlas. Here are the points:

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.

5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.

Each of those if fleshed out some at...

http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/5589

Of course, it bears repeating, even if the U.S. trailed in any or all parameters, it doesn't mean the government has the right to stick its nose into the matter. At least not in a country that puts any credence into calling itself free.

Posted by: msoja | November 17, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

msoja, very nice work. I'm not surprised that you can find a NCPA or Hoover study/article to argue for less government intervention. That's their gig.
And it makes my point above -- conservatives DO argue that health care can affect life expectancy, it's not merely a "nonsense" "shibboleth of the left".

It doesn't automatically make the hundreds and thousands of studies/articles one could find with a different point of view to be "moronic" and "without real facts". It's a big world. There are lots of smart people in it.

Have a great day!

Posted by: vvf2 | November 18, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

--*conservatives DO argue that health care can affect life expectancy, it's not merely a "nonsense" "shibboleth of the left".*--

But no "conservatives" (here) *claimed* that the U.S. health care setup affects life expectancy. The Hoover blurbs merely counter some of the lies the left likes to utter as they seek to drag another sector of the economy into their little socialist mausoleums. The U.S. does not have worse outcomes than other countries. For whatever reason. The blurbs help illustrate that, once again, the left can't gain ground unless it lies, misrepresents, or spreads confusion and misrepresentation.

You, for instance. In addition to the flaws in your argument that I pointed out yesterday, it's more of the same today. The Hoover argue does not "argue for less government intervention." Can you read? Can you understand? Do you just get confused by your own biases? Or is it something more sinister?

Posted by: msoja | November 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"The Hoover argue does not "argue for less government intervention." Can you read? Can you understand? Do you just get confused by your own biases? Or is it something more sinister?" -- msoja

From the first paragraph of the Hoover article:

"Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics ***beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care***. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. ***Before we turn to government as the solution***, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system."

The article is defending the American system against those who would call for more government intervention.

Posted by: vvf2 | November 18, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

msoja, to conclude, I think it would be helpful for you to realize that people that you disagree with aren't necessarily always "lying", "misrepresenting", or "moronic".

I can assure you that I actually believe what I say, and I'm not getting paid to say it. I also have an advanced college degree, so somebody thinks I *can* "read" and "understand". Now whether I am doing it well in this particular case is up for debate, and you are welcome to question that.

This sort of give-and-take and realizing that people you disagree with can have sincere, well-considered, and deeply held views is an important lesson in life. I know I have struggled with it in the past, and we all do from time to time.

Pointing out holes in each other's arguments or bringing new facts to light are critical and helpful to this sort of community discussion. You have pointed out some things that I weren't aware of in this very discussion, and that's great! You're clearly very intelligent.

But we can do without name-calling and ad hominem attacks. And that will make for a more productive and fruitful discussion for all of us, where your views and everyone's views can be heard and appreciated for their content and insight.

Thanks for the discussion. I'm moving on.

Posted by: vvf2 | November 18, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

--*I can assure you that I actually believe what I say [...] I also have an advanced college degree*--

That and $3.25 will get you a cup of coffee, but no credibility from me.

The sad thing is, the guy whose name is at the top of this blog has even less going for him than you do. Look at the cartoon dialogue he chose to post. No doubt Klein wished to be part of the fashionable spate of xtranormal cartoon dialogue posting of late, and didn't scrutinize the content particularly closely, but cursorily determined that it fit well enough with his propagandic slant and sent it up. But I plucked the pertinent statement from it, pointed out some of what's wrong with it, and no one has touched it. The statement is ludicrous. The implications are ludicrous. The conclusions that people imagine they agree with in it are ludicrous. Everything about it is uninformed and nonsensical. But there Klein is, riding it and reams of similar output, to fame and fortune.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just a data point in the cultural decline.

Posted by: msoja | November 18, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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