Tap dancing on FAO Schwartz’s giant piano – here.  (Thanks, Alan.)


Padavic:  “Have you seen ‘The Daily Show’ clip on John McCain and DADT?  Amazing.  Brilliant.  It was like looking into the future.”

☞  Will anyone on his staff be brave enough to show it to him ?


Theo Kent:  “In Friday’s post, J. Kloppenberg writes:  ‘Obama explained why, because of our national traditions, the United States would never have a single-payer health-care system and would have to find a distinctively American hybrid relying on existing insurance plans.’  I hope and pray he is wrong.  The time for H. R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, is now, as further evidenced by this study by the Commonwealth Fund comparing the health care systems in 11 countries, summarized here.”

☞  The study’s key findings:

  • One-third (33%) of U.S. adults went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs, compared with as few as 5 percent of adults in the United Kingdom and 6 percent in the Netherlands.
  • One-fifth (20%) of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared with 9 percent or less in all other countries.
  • Thirty-one percent of U.S. adults reported spending a lot of time dealing with insurance paperwork, disputes, having a claim denied by their insurer, or receiving less payment than expected. Only 13 percent of adults in Switzerland, 20 percent in the Netherlands, and 23 percent in Germany—all countries with competitive insurance markets that allow consumers a choice of health plan—reported these concerns.
  • The study found persistent and wide disparities by income within the U.S.—even for those with insurance coverage. Nearly half (46%) of working-age U.S. adults with below-average incomes who were insured all year went without needed care, double the rate reported by above-average-income U.S. adults with insurance.
  • The U.S. lags behind many countries in access to primary care when sick. Only 57 percent of adults in the U.S. saw their doctor the same or next day when they were sick, compared with 70 percent of U.K. adults, 72 percent of Dutch adults, 78 percent of New Zealand adults, and 93 percent of Swiss adults.
  • U.S. , German, and Swiss adults reported the most rapid access to specialists. Eighty percent of U.S. adults, 83 percent of German adults, and 82 percent of Swiss adults waited less than four weeks for a specialist appointment. U.K. (72%) and Dutch (70%) adults also reported prompt specialist access.

☞  A review of the study sure makes the British system sound better than ours.  But though we’re not likely to adopt it, or anything like it, in the foreseeable future, what we are likely to do is tweak our just-passed health care bill in the years to come to reinforce the parts that work – especially the pilot programs – and course-correct elsewhere.  In doing so, it’s helpful to keep in mind how much more bang the single-payer systems seem to get for the buck / pound / euro / loonie / kiwi / aussie.

(Theo also recommends this short book: Single Payer Solution: America’s Health Care Cure.  And this website.  “We’re Number Eleven,” it titles its own blog entry on the Commonwealth study.)


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