Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health Care Thursday: Making tea partiers retch Edition

Ezra Klein: Lessons From the French Health-Care System
The graph above comes from Edward Cody's overview of the French health-care system. Compared with the U.S. health-care system, the French system covers everyone, spends less, and sees its costs rise more slowly. It's a pretty impressive performance. Even Kent Conrad thinks so.
But we've worked extremely hard during this debate to ignore all of its lessons. It's a bit weird: If the French medical system developed a cutting-edge treatment that proved to be the best approach to, say, late-stage Parkinson's disease, we wouldn't dismiss it as a French treatment. We'd use it. Which is exactly what we do with deep-brain stimulation. But when their health-care system develops a better, cheaper, fairer, more effective way of structuring health-care delivery and financing, we dismiss it.
People sometimes ask what the lessons of other country's health-care systems are. The lessons are twofold. First, they're better. Second, we're stubborn.
 Ezra Klein: Kent Conrad Hearts the French Health-Care System?
From Sen. Kent Conrad's remarks at Tuesday's Finance Committee hearing:
Let me just conclude for my progressive friends who believe that the only answer to getting costs under control and having universal coverage is by a government-run program. I urge my colleagues to read the book by T.R. Reid, "The Healing of America."
I had the chance to read it this weekend. He looks at the health-care systems around the world. And what he found is in many countries they have universal coverage. They contain costs effectively. They have high-quality outcomes, in fact higher than ours. They're not government-run systems in Germany, in Japan, in Switzerland, in France, in Belgium -- all of them contain costs, have universal coverage, have very high quality care and yet are not government-run systems.
Germany, Japan, Switzerland, France and Belgium have a level of government intrusion in their systems that would make the average tea partier retch. In France, for instance, the government provides all basic insurance coverage directly. In Germany, insurers aren't permitted to make a profit. In Japan, health insurance is publicly provided, and private insurance is available only to ease co-payments or cover services that the government leaves out. This stuff makes the shackled public plan look downright objectivist.
That said, I think France, Germany, and Japan offer excellent models, and their low costs, universal coverage, and impressive outcomes back up that contention. But they're not a rebuke to the progressives in this debate. They are confirmation of the argument that systems with more government-intervention offer lower costs and better outcomes. And either way, my sense is that Kent Conrad stands more firmly between this country and the French health-care system than does Barbara Boxer, but I'd certainly be glad to learn I was wrong on that.
 Attaturk (FDL): Matlock!!!
David Broder once again read some conservative bloviators about how Obama's too gosh darn ambitious. Stop the Presses! And with editorials like this, that'll happen at the Washington Post soon enough. Yes, Obama needs to be -- even more, Republican! Poor Rahm, he's been working so hard, but it's never good enough for "the Dean".
The progressives believed that the cure lay in applying the new wisdom of the social sciences to the art of government, an approach in which facts would heal the clash of ideologies and narrow constituencies...
Historically, that approach has not worked. The progressives failed to gain more than brief ascendancy
Somehow David Broder ignores the three most successful legislative Presidents of the 20th century were the policy-ambitious FDR, LBJ, and a progressive Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. Apparently he does this so he can kick Clinton and Carter a few more times.
Franklin Roosevelt made sweeping policy changes that put one party in control of Congress for the longest period in American History, more than sixty years. During that time it managed to pass strong civil rights laws; sweeping securities, labor, and financial reforms; social security and medicare. Even Republican presidents avoided significantly altering its fundamental accomplishments.
It won THE war, it made the peace, it created the middle class and the longest period of prosperity in American history. It started by burying the depression and ended by burying the Soviet Union, in between it only beat Hitler and Jim Crow. What a fucking failure! Thank goodness we finally decided it had to change because rich peoples' taxes were too high.
But David Broder, can take comfort in his apparently belief the last great Democratic President was Grover Cleveland, with whom he probably ate quail.
 Slow and steady passes the legislation?  Rachel Maddow is joined by MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman to discuss the slow progress by the Senate Finance Committee on health care reform legislation and the tactics some members are trying to employ to delay the bill further.

This video does have a strong health care focus . . .

Cantor obtuse on violent rhetoric Sept. 23: The Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas discusses the willful ignorance of Rep. Eric Cantor's disagreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that heated political rhetoric may result in violence.

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