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As Obama prepares to address the nation tonight on health care reform, the GOP, are salivating after  recent polls showing a majority disapprove of the president's handling of health care  

At the same time though, those celebrations may be a bit premature because another poll shows they almost unanimously (85%) consider his health care reform drive vital to saving the economy and making sure they personally have access to health care

So how to explain this dichotomy?  I think it can be summed up simply:

People have no idea how badly the current system sucks.  They are fed the lie that we have the best Health care in the world, and are vulnerable to GOP attempts to instill FUD, that Obama's reforms will take that away somehow.  They are hoping the truth is too complicated to fit on a bumper-sticker, and thus they can obscure it indefinitely.

Enter these three simple charts.  It is impossible to look at them and not see how bad things really are:

The bottom line is we are getting ripped off badly under the current system

We Spend FAR more than any other industrialized nation on earth on health care

in fact, except for the inexplicable anomaly that is Luxemborg, we spend almost twice as much as even the other richest nations on earth

and yet we are getting lousy value for our money:

You see how the US is WAAAAY over by itself on the high end of the chart?  You see anyone even CLOSE

And then for the Coup-de-Grace there is this chart, it shows much the same data, but really puts it in perspective:

you see what country is JUST behind the US in Life expectancy while spending less than any other country on the list?  Yup. Cuba. That "failed Communist experiment" several miles off our coast that still inexplicably drive right-wingers (whose houses are filled with Made in Cina products crazy.  That's not just sad, it's outright embarrassing.  

That chart proves either a) Cigars and Rum have some sort of magical curative properties not yet known to medicine, or b)we are spending WAY the hell too much money on health care bang for the buck-wise.

Now we can and should argue about the causes of the incredible inefficiency in our system and how to fix it.  Reasonable people can differ as whether the biggest culprit whether is  excessive defensive medicine costs,  The 33% overhead the insurance companies suck out, the fact that 93 million people don't have access to early intervention, detection and treatment of their medical problems; or all of the above.

But once we start having that national conversation, we've already won the most important battle: Which is getting people to acknowledge that change MUST come and soon.  As they say in various forms of recovery, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem.

I defy anyone to look at those charts and deny the system is broken iwth a straight face.

Originally posted to Magorn on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  FUD? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, bluedonkey08

      Sorry, I'm not hip.

      We're on a blind date with Destiny, and it looks like she's ordered the lobster!

      by Prof Haley on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:30:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yet, solution not that Simple (0+ / 0-)

      Someone asks me to model an optimal US healthcare delivery system, I would...

      (i) Eliminate the health care insurance expense, which adds several % points of GDP to the cost, relative to other industrialized countries.

      (ii) Control physician expenses.  US physicians earn at least 2x as much as their counterparts in other industrial nations.

      President Obama can't propose either (i) or (ii), however, for obvious reasons.

      So, how do we fix it.

      We can ignore (i) and (ii), but then, how do we reduce the 18% of GDP we spend on healtcare?

      I don't know.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:37:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I ran the world (0+ / 0-)

        I would do a modified Single-payer system:  Call it a 50-payer system.  In other words, have each state create their own single payer system, funded by dedicated FEDERAL revenues and subject to federal standards of minimum coverage.

        Why?  Simple.  There is some validity to the criticism that Single-payer systems can stifle innovation and have no market incentives to do cost control.   On the other hand the Administrative costs of private insurance are pure waste in the system that eats up nearly 1/3 of our health care dollars

        So you use the States as the "laboratories of democracy" that they are supposed to be.  You federally fund and regulate the system to restrain the Red States that are infamous for screwing over their people in favor of business interests, from cheaping out and refusing to raise the revenue to properly fund the system.

        However, once you've removed that temptation, you could spur a competition between states to provide the best possible care/results for the money the receive, as it would be a major way to attract businesses and employers to their state.

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:47:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          athensga, Hamlets Father, Norbrook

          because it would be like education with red states underfunding the public option and the rich just supplementing their own care while leaving the working class to do without.  

          Should we allow a private option?

          by Toon on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 06:17:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Which is why the revenue would be federal (0+ / 0-)

            thus states wouldn't have any ability to lower the taxes that pay for.  Thus their options would be spend the money or send it back to Washington.   Given those choices I think they'd try to spend it.

            Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

            by Magorn on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 06:35:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Institutions that practice integrative medicine.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...generally have docs on salary. The feds could provide financial incentives for docs to organize in this way by compensating integrative medicine at a higher level procedure for procedure.

        HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

        by kck on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:39:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have just stolen these charts. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosette, Magorn, camlbacker

      I will now proceed to viralize.

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 06:47:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  remember 20% of the population (5+ / 0-)

    will believe that a color is white instead of black.  This is the republican base.

    Republicans===the party of the 1% rich people in America. Or in other words..The Party of NO!

    by jalapeno on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:29:34 PM PDT

  •  For those of you who aren't familiar with the ter (7+ / 0-)

    FUD is a techie term for "fear, uncertainty, doubt", originally coined to describe IBM's marketing early 1980's strategy to sell their PC's  to business who could get twice the capability for half the price if they went with a competitor.  Their whole pitch was to make the customer too nervous to buy from a competitor, to cast doubt on how they could afford to be so cheap when IBM was so expensive.

    It's derpressing how often it worked

    Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

    by Magorn on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:33:20 PM PDT

    •  It still works today. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, Magorn, bluedonkey08

      NB: Cisco products are bought far more often than necessary, given the large number of products by other manufacturers which give equal or better value for a much lower price.

      FUD always works, and always will, sadly.  That's what brand marketing is really all about.

      "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

      by rfall on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:44:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone agrees that we need change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even the right wingers. The debate is about what that change will be and how much it will cost. Will we spend less per capita on health care if the Obama plan is passed? If so then that message is not getting out. What people are hearing is that we will need to spend even more money.

    •  We CANT tax healthcare benefits (5+ / 0-)

      Moreover, it was a mistake for President Obama's administration to even entertain the possibility of taxing health care benefits.

      He was right when he called it the....


                        BLITZER: Hold on, wait a second. I have a new ad that Obama's putting out on this specific point, going after John McCain's health care program, and I'll play a clip.

                        PFOTENHAUER: OK.

                        (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

                        UNIDENTIFIED MALE: McCain would impose a new tax on health benefits, taxing your health care for the first time ever. It's a multi-trillion-dollar tax hike, the largest middle-class tax increase in history. You won't find one word about it on his Web site, but the McCain tax could cost your family thousands.

                        (END VIDEO CLIP)

                        BLITZER: That scares a lot of people when they see that.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:43:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But, but, but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, cany, bluedonkey08

    We in the great US have an advantage over all those other countries on your chart, something which outweighs any of the "downsides" you so easily toss about.

    Our Health Care System is based on capitalism!

    And, as we know, capitalism, and the profit motive, is the most important feature of any system!

    So, there, I've demolished your silly arguments with one cortex tied behind my back!


    "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." Lazarus Long

    by rfall on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:42:11 PM PDT

  •  Cuba (5+ / 0-)
    I've been to Cuba many times. Their health care system is in tatters. The reason the do so well in terms of life expectancy is that they eat few calories, and little fat or sugar. It doesn't have much to do with the heath care system, which has plenty of doctors but no medicine.
    •  Some Good Medicine (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Magorn, AndrewMC, bluedonkey08

      But I agree, that supressed calorie intake is mostly responsible, plus more active lifestyles.

      TECHNOLOGY; U.S. Permits 3 Cancer Drugs From Cuba


      Published: Thursday, July 15, 2004

      Correction Appended

      The federal government is permitting a California biotechnology company to license three experimental cancer drugs from Cuba, making an exception to the policy of tightly restricting trade with that country.

      The company, CancerVax, had said late last year that it was trying to license the drugs and had been awaiting needed permission from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. That permission has been granted, and CancerVax is expected to announce it today.

      CancerVax executives said that it was the first time an American biotechnology company had obtained permission to license a drug from Cuba, a country that some industry executives and scientists say is surprisingly strong in biotechnology for a developing nation. In 1999, SmithKline Beecham, a large conventional pharmaceutical company now known as GlaxoSmithKline, licensed a Cuban vaccine for meningitis B that it is testing in clinical trials.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:53:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Had a feeling it was something like that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They once had some of the finest doctors and med schools in the hemisphere though  and some of that tradition probably still holds.   But yes, given the internal mistakes and external pressures on their economy, I would be shocked if any part of their machinery of civil society is working well these days

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 05:53:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So we spend the most (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, athensga, cany, Wolf10

    But get near the least.

    I don't see a logical explanation against reform.

    Proud Democrat. Proud American.

    by bluedonkey08 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 06:10:16 PM PDT

  •  Just out of curiousity... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magorn, lockewasright

    Where are the charts from?  Did you find them somewhere, or make them?  I definitely want to show those around.

  •  So, why aren't they used by Dems??? (0+ / 0-)

    That's what blows my mind. Their arguments are so inept.

    The President sure would have been better served by that last chart than the run-on explanation he gave tonight.  The chart, stats on  bankruptcies and a personal healhcare disaster would make a great 20 sec spot.

    •  Dem politicians know it but they don't feel it (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's because Democratic politicians know the positions they're supposed to take but they don't FEEL them, because too damn few of them have ever experienced any real adversity.

      Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for a better budget and changing the 2/3 budget rule. Go!

      by tmo on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:53:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  US pays for a Cadillac but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Cuba pays for a VW and we both get to the end of the road at the same time! Amazing!

    Amazing the Time I waste Here!

    by raster44 on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 07:49:00 PM PDT

  •  A powerful BLUE talking point is born (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Paraphrasing Obama:

    "What would you say if someone told you that they had a plan that was guaranteed to double your rates over the next few years, provide no alternative to entrenched private insurance, allow private insurance companies to kick you off their rolls whenever they see fit, and oh by the way bankrupt the federal budget? Well, that's the plan we have now, it's the status quo."

    It makes it crystal clear why significant reform is needed, and how to evaluate reform: Treat the status quo as a "plan", show exactly why it sucks in so many ways, and compare and contrast this "plan" against the various reform plans that are being proposed.

    If we're only comparing Reform Plan X vs. Reform Plan Y, it's not obvious that there is a Reform Plan Z ready to act as the default if congress can't get its shit together, and that it's much more horrible than X AND Y.


  •  put them on signs at your local RW radio station (0+ / 0-)
    where the lobbyists are doing their heavy lifting

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:44:16 PM PDT

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