But first, updating Tuesday’s post, two powerful minutes on why Gloria should perhaps NOT boycott organic food. She could eliminate synthetic chemical pesticides from her system.  (Not known, she would argue: the effect of natural chemical pesticides used to replace them.)  [UPDATE: Turns out, Gloria’s right: It’s not so simple.  The maker of that video is being sued for allegedly misleading the public — the levels of pesticides detected in the video are judged to pose no risk.  And here’s a list of pesticides used in organic farming.]


And now . . .

One of my rightwing readers: “Contemplate why we are the only first-world country on earth with 4 of the 10 best hospitals in the world. Maybe it’s because we don’t have universal health care.  Did anyone in the debate mention that?”

→ Nope.  Nobody.

But two of the other countries with hospitals on the list, Singapore and Israel, have a combined population of 15 million people.  With health care spending less than 3% of ours, they have 2 of the world’s top 10.  Could it be because they do have universal health care?  (No, actually; but one inane question deserves another.)

America has fantastic health care for those who can afford it.  But it’s not because we have a huge health insurance bureaucracy.  That’s not what makes the best of our care so good.

Nor is it because Republicans fought so hard against Medicare, and against Obamacare, and even now reject federal Medicaid expansion funds.  That’s not what has made the best of our health care so good, either.

Denying universal coverage — as Republicans have long been committed to doing, making us the only developed country in the world without it — is not the secret of the Mayo Clinic’s excellence.

Joel M: “I have a few questions for you and all the Democrats running for President:  1-Do you know there are trustees of the Social Security and Medicare systems?  2-Do you know they produce annual reports?  3-Have you ever read any of these reports?  I’ll save you the trouble.  Here are the two most recent:  Social SecurityMedicare.  The good news is that Social Security goes bankrupt in 2035. Why is that the good news? Medicare Part A goes bankrupt in 2026.”

→ Thanks. Yes, aware.  Social Security is an easy fix.  Medicare, not — which is why we need to pull huge costs out of the system. Maybe we should cut back on nurses and operating rooms; but I’d rather cut back on health insurance employees and insurance company office buildings.  And negotiate prescription drug prices.  And promote the many other incentives and best practices the Affordable Care Act launched.  And make medical school free, so we’d have terrific young people choosing this field not expecting to make half a million dollars a year to someday pay off their debt and get rich . . . but a really nice living doing something wonderful, like the mostly-happy doctors in most of the rest of the first world.  Did you see Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next?  I can’t find the clip, but I still remember his interviewing French doctors who seemed really happy.  (Speaking of France, might there even be a thing or two for us to envy?  To emulate?)  And here, in Sicko, he interviews a young British doc who is more than content.

Jim Burt: “Republicans like things the way they are, or even better from their perspective, the way they were in 2009, with 25 million fewer people covered.  They talk about their ‘plan’ to cover everyone more fully at lower cost, but FDR told us how to evaluate claims like that.

“The various plans discussed by the many candidates for the Democratic nomination are just so many targets for the Republicans, and none of them is likely to get through Congress.  The way the Democratic candidates can best talk about their plans is along these lines:  ‘Americans are spending about $3.8 trillion a year on medical care and prescriptions of all kinds.  Under the current system, hundreds of billions of that are wasted on insurance company profits and efforts to deny medical care rather than provide it.  Any plan being offered by me or my fellow candidates will reduce that waste and cover more people, but it will only happen if you elect Democrats to the Presidency and the Senate.”

In the meantime, while we struggle to improve our health care system: eat right, eat less, sleep, walk, and help.



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