How often will you see this: Last evening, Donald J. Trump got to talking to Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister.
That never works out well. Last night, Trump began with praise for his own health bill, then drove off the road:
TRUMP (5/4/17): It’s a very good bill right now. The premiums are going to come down very substantially. The deductibles are going to come down. It’s going to be fantastic health care. Right now, Obamacare is failing. We have a failing health care.Everyone in the liberal world will take a crack at that. Your challenge, if you're prepared to accept it—see if anyone offers you these tremendously basic data:
I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do.
Per person health care spending, 2015In many ways, the whole ball game is on display right there.
United States: $9451
Think of health care as a car. Which would be easier? Supplying everyone with a car if cars cost $4400? Or supplying everyone with a car if cars cost five thousand dollars more than that?
For reasons which persistently go unexplored, health care is much more expensive in this country than it is anywhere else. If it cost only $4420 per person to supply Americans with health care, it would be a piece of cake to provide universal health care here.
Why does health care cost so much more in this country? The question is never answered, largely because it's never asked. The question is never asked largely because data like these are never published or broadcast.
(On our own "corporate liberal" channel, we have much too much mugging and clowning to do. There's no time for data like them.)
Go ahead—take the Australian health care challenge! We liberals will be regaled all day with talk about what Donald Trump said. Ask yourself two basic questions:
1) Did I ever see those data presented? Also:
2) Why the heck not?
Where does all that money go, that extra five thousands dollars?
By law, the question never gets answered, in large part because 1) the data never get cited and 2) for that reason, the question never gets asked.
We do get plenty of mugging and clowning. Could corporate laughter actually be the best medicine after all?