This planet of us the chimps: On Thursday evening, we the liberals were promised a special treat.
The promise of our special treat came right at the start of a certain "cable news" program. A certain unnamed cable news host promised us this special treat, pulling back a terminological curtain as she did:
UNNAMED CABLE NEWS HOST (5/4/17): And thanks to you at home for joining us tonight.So extremely cool! If we stuck around for the "B block," we would actually get to hear a very, very nuts-and-bolts discussion about the practicalities of the Republican health care bill!
Big show tonight. Congressman Adam Schiff is live here with us tonight, looking forward to that.
We've also got one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act with us here tonight, to talk in some detail about the consequences today of this huge political news out of Washington...
I'll just say, as an aside, if you know somebody that doesn't like cable news because they, in particular, don't like paying that much attention to left-versus-right or red-versus-blue politics, but they are worried about the practical consequences of what happened here with this [health care] vote today, you might want to call them and tell them to watch.
What we're going to do, particularly in our second segment here on the show tonight—
This is the A block. In the B block, we'll have that very, very nuts-and-bolts discussion about the practicalities. So you have time to make that call, in case you know anybody who's in that boat. That is coming up tonight.
According to the cable host, we even had time to call our friends to tell them they should watch! We could call them during the "A block!"
A question entered our heads. Why hadn't we heard some such discussion before the Republican health bill actually passed the House? Couldn't we have called our friends and passed on that information?
In all the excitement, that question went unasked. We scrambled now to call our friends, the ones who may hate cable news.
Along the way, we learned some exciting insider-y terms concerning the A and B blocks! Another curtain drawn back!
From there, the unnamed host launched a discussion of the Ceausescus, a pair of villains from the 1990s. Her "A block" would once again be dedicated to the embellished, repetitive Russkie tales with which she now packs us off to dreamland every night.
Last night, the host was back to telling us rubes that Michael Flynn received cash payments from "foreign governments" (plural). As far as we know, there is no evidence that this is true, but the host keeps toggling between two competing stories, failing to notice that her two tales don't quite seem to align.
(Flynn did receive funding from the Russian government. When this major cable star pluralizes this part of the tale, she's toggling back to her otherwise abandoned claim that Flynn was also "on the Turkish government payroll.")
So it goes when corporate stars are paid to pretend to deliver "the news." In Thursday's B block (extremely cool term!), this particular cable star even told us rubes that she holds a degree in public health, thus seeming to prove, once again, that much "education" is wasted.
At any rate, whatever! Let's move on from here:
On Thursday, the GOP's health bill squeaked through the House. That evening, Donald J. Trump made a weird remark about the wonders of Australian health care.
Concerning the way the Aussies work, have you seen anyone present the data we showed you in yesterday's award-winning post? Needless to say, you haven't!
That said, why does it cost only $4420 per person per year to provide health care Down Under, as compared to $9451 per person per year Up Here? If someone with a public health degree would actually ask and answer that question, we might even be on our way to an actual health care discussion!
That's unlikely to happen on this, our own planet of the chimps. Consider again the way we liberals talk about national health care.
Currently, we liberals say we want a "single payer" health care system, in the form of "Medicare for all." Does this formulation really make sense? Let's compare the way we provide public schooling to that recipe for health care.
In this country, we treat K-12 public schooling as a basic right. Every child receives such schooling for free. There is no charge for attendance, though some kids pay for lunch.
You might call that "single payer!" The money which runs our public schools comes from government on various levels. But no payment is required from the children and parents who utilize this service, beyond the requirement of paying regular taxes where such taxes may be owed.
We could set up public health that way. We could devise a national health care system in which people receive medical care without charge, as occurs when children go to public schools.
Typically, national health systems don't entirely work that way, in part because there's a desire to discourage "overuse" of medical services. You don't want people scheduling physicals twice a week so they'll have someone to talk to.
That said, our Medicare program doesn't exactly work that way at all. According to the leading authority, this is the way it works:
"On average, Medicare covers about half of the health care charges for those enrolled. The enrollees must then cover their remaining costs either with supplemental insurance, separate insurance, or out-of-pocket."
That may be the best we can do. But we've never understood why we liberals are so eager to call that "single payer."
That said, there's a much larger problem with our ardent calls for "Medicare for all." This takes us back to the basic data in yesterday's award-winning post:
Per person health care spending, 2015Those are very strange numbers. According to those numbers, more than $5000 per person disappears into the ether each year, given the way our health care arrangements currently work.
United States: $9451
As compared to that country Down Under, this explains why it's so hard to finance universal health care Up Here. But you simply never see such numbers within our Potemkin health care "discussions." Presentation of those very strange numbers simply isn't allowed.
Those numbers represent health care spending for the whole population. Since we liberals want to institute Medicare for all, these numbers would also likely be instructive:
Per person health care spending, ages 65 and older, 2015As compared to our friends Down Under, how much money is spent Up Here on people 65 and over? How much money is disappearing per person per year?
United States: $xxxx
This is the system we liberals say we want to expand. To what extent does current spending within that system actually seem to make sense?
We self-impressed liberals have no idea. Have you ever seen anyone ask?
For ourselves, we've never seen any data about per person health care spending on people 65 and over. We'll assume that the numbers for this cohort look as crazy as the overall numbers shown above. But given the way our "discourse" works, we have no real idea.
Neither does anyone else on this, our planet of the chimps. Just imagine how great it would be if we had a cable news host who held a degree in public health! Someone who could stop all the bullshit on cable news and produce a real discussion!
Her bosses wouldn't like that much. If only a person could land a cable news job!
Another way of putting it: With respect to Thursday night's promise of that special treat:
All too often, if we the liberals weren't talked down to, we wouldn't be talked to at all!