Part 4—The single-paragraph project: Has any group ever been disappeared more completely than the USA 9400?
The important group continues to languish in almost complete obscurity. You don't read about them in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Rachel Maddow would rather stop talking about herself than discuss this key group's existence.
In yesterday's report, we posted the simple, easily-memorized numbers which define this key group. Just for the record, let's gaze on those digits again:
Per capita spending, health care, 2015As you can see, the USA 9400 is arguably the USA Ninety-Five Hundred! That said, our basic point is clear:
United States: $9451
On a per person basis, we spend massively more on health care than other developed nations. As compared with France, with its outstanding health system, about $5000 disappears into the American mist every single year!
Five thousand dollars per person!
Where does all that money go? You'd almost think that American journalists would want to figure that out.
Over Here, we liberals tend to have a few tiny answers to that basic question. We tend to blame the insurance industry, then demand "Medicare for all."
We don't seem to know that Medicare is a prime example of apparent over-spending. We don't seem to know that spending by the insurance industry, however useless, constitutes a fairly small part of this rather obvious problem.
Whatever! We have our scripts and we like to recite them. After that, we tend to praise ourselves for our brilliance, then drop off to sleep.
Where does all that money go? You'd almost think that American journalists would want to answer that question.
That missing money helps explain why so many people can't afford health care, even including some people who actually have health insurance. With health care lying at the heart of the American political debate, you'd almost think that big major orgs would want to dig into those spending numbers.
If you thought that, you were wrong. Simply put, the 9400 are never mentioned by the American press, a guild composed of lucky ducks who typically have good health care.
Off and on through the years, we've suggested that liberals and progressives might want to remember this thoroughly disappeared group. We might want to explain where all that extra money is going—a giant sum which hasn't even come close to providing decent health care for all.
Granted, we liberals don't always care if some gap-toothed yokel down in coal country succumbs without medical care. Our biggest stars call those people the baggers! Why would We in the finer class actually care about Them?
That said, you'd think our impressive Ivy League grads would want to pretend to do the reporting on such a basic matter. But since that isn't likely to happen, we want to suggest a way that you, the average American shlub, can memorialize this disappeared group.
Here's how that would go down:
Every time you encounter a health care discussion, you could insert a single paragraph about the USA 9400, even if just in your head. We think you'll see that the health care discussion take on an exciting new aspect.
Let's return to the New York Times editorial with which this award-winning series began. As you may recall, the editors were stressing the high cost of health insurance. You may recall the somewhat murky way they described this very large problem:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (3/8/17): House Speaker Paul Ryan and Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, have railed against high premiums and deductibles for plans sold on the health exchanges, but that problem would only worsen under their proposal because insurers would almost certainly raise their prices as the pool of the insured shrank. Republican lawmakers seem to think that people who can't afford insurance are simply irresponsible. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, for instance, told CNN that people should invest in their health care, ''rather than getting that new iPhone.'' Word to Mr. Chaffetz: Health insurance costs more than $18,000 a year for an average family; an iPhone costs a few hundred dollars.The editors were stressing an important fact. For families with average American incomes, health insurance is very expensive. Full freaking stop!
Here's our suggestion. Next time you encounter such a report, remember the USA 9400. Even if only in your mind, insert a single paragraph.
Take the single-paragraph challenge! Just insert the basic context which should be part of all such reports, but instead never appears:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL REWRITTEN: House Speaker Paul Ryan and Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, have railed against high premiums and deductibles for plans sold on the health exchanges, but that problem would only worsen under their proposal because insurers would almost certainly raise their prices as the pool of the insured shrank. Republican lawmakers seem to think that people who can't afford insurance are simply irresponsible. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, for instance, told CNN that people should invest in their health care, ''rather than getting that new iPhone.'' Word to Mr. Chaffetz: Health insurance costs more than $18,000 a year for an average family; an iPhone costs a few hundred dollars.Go ahead! Imagine some such insertion! An insertion like that is highly relevant in almost all health care reports.
The high cost of insurance in this country derives from the remarkably large amount of money spent on health care each year. In the United States, an average of $9451 was spent, per person, on health care in 2015. In France, with its highly regarded health care system, only $4407 was spent per person that year. As is the case in many countries, the French system provides universal coverage, with health results equal to those in the U.S., at a much lower level of spending.
If that insertion appeared in every health care report, people might start to ask a key question:
Where the Sam Hill—where on Donald J. Trump's green earth—is all that extra money going? Why the Joe Hill does it cost so much to provide health care in this country, as opposed to everywhere else?
We liberals! We praise Obamacare, suggest Medicare for all. Then we take our naps.
In this way, we too disappear the 9400. Why do we keep doing that?
Concerning those two questions: In Part 1 of this award-winning series, we said the highlighted point in that editorial suggested two major questions:
Why does insurance cost so much?
Why does it cost so little?
Where does that second question come from? Thanks for asking! Here's where:
If we spend $9400 per person per year on health care, how is it possible to insure an average family for only $18,000? If we're talking about a family of four, won't it cost maybe $38,000 for their annual health care?
(According to our Arithmetical Computation Division, $9400 x 4 is almost $38,000.)
We assume we know the answer to that. Because we read the Times and watch MSNBC, we never see such questions or answers in print, or hear such discussions on cable.
CNN will discuss the Aghori sect, but it won't discuss the 9400. Do not discuss the 9400! Every good scribe knows the rule!