The OECD rides again: We want to start by apologizing for the tone of yesterday's report.
"Too hot," we thoughtfully told the analysts when they quit work at 10 PM. We'd felt bad about the tone of our report all day long.
The tone of that report was too hot. That said:
"If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace/Behind the wagon that we flung [so many of Baltimore's children] in," you might understand how appalling it is to read such a report.
This is not a commentary on Eliza Shapiro, the highly-regarded young to youngish journalist who wrote that front-page report in yesterday's New York Times.
In our view, Shapiro could have been a bit less respectful concerning the gruesome malfeasance she was describing. But we're commenting here on Mayor de Blasio, and on our self-impressed liberal world, not on Shapiro's report.
As for Shapiro, we very much hope she is going to cure the Times' badly broken, baldly uncaring public school reporting. The Times has long been an inexcusable mess in this area. It's all up to Shapiro now!
For today, we thought you might enjoy seeing the OECD's latest data! Our curiosity was piqued by another front-page report in the New York Times.
That report, by Rosenthal and Luthra, was the featured front-page report in last weekend's Sunday Review. It ran beneath an Onion-worthy headline:
‘Don’t Get Too Excited’ About Medicare for AllSeriously though, Times subscribers. That's what the headline said!
Rosenthal was the author of the 2017 book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. In this report, she and Luthra cautioned readers about confusions surrounding the hot new term, "Medicare for all."
Fair enough! But along the way, the pair began discussing the financial implications of an American "single payer" system. That discussion started with this:
ROSENTHAL AND LUTHRA (10/21/18): Other countries achieve universal health care (or nearly so), but without single-payer. France and Germany have kept an insurance system intact but heavily regulate health care, including by setting the prices for medical procedures and drugs, and requiring all citizens to purchase coverage.Adoption of Medicare for all (single payer) "would require the biggest shift" from our current arrangements. Such a move would have "significant implications for taxes," the Times scribes quickly warn. Without a lot of explanation, we're told that doctors' salaries might drop by something like 12 percent!
These more incremental options have not captured the American imagination to the same extent as Medicare for all. But adopting such a system [i.e., Medicare for all] would require the biggest shift, with significant implications for taxes, patient choice, doctors' salaries and hospital revenue.
Enthusiastic politicians sometimes gloss over those consequences. For example, Liz Watson, a Democrat running in Indiana's Ninth Congressional District, suggested the impact on doctors' income was not much of a concern, because they would see a ''huge recovery'' on expenses since they would no longer need to navigate the bureaucracy of insurance paperwork. But analysts across the board agree single-payer would cut revenue for doctors—many say by about 12 percent on average.
As a starter, fair enough! Soon, though, we also got this:
ROSENTHAL AND LUTHRA: There's also the thorny issue of how Medicare for all would affect the thousands of jobs at private insurers. ''We have an insurance industry in Omaha, and people say, 'I worry about those jobs,''' said Kara Eastman, a Democrat running on Medicare for all in Nebraska's Second District. She suggested people could be retrained, saying there would have to be ''repurposing of positions.''Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble. We're warned about exaggerations by those who oppose single-payer. But according to Rosenthal and Luthra, doctors will see their incomes drop, and we the people will apparently have to pay higher taxes. Nowhere, though, are we the people encouraged to understand the remarkable sea in which this pseudo-discussion swims.
Critics of Medicare for all, on the other hand, tend to exaggerate the costs of single-payer: ''Denmark's top tax bracket is nearly 60 percent!'' (True, although that's largely not because of health care.) ''Doctors' incomes will drop 40 percent!'' (True, specialists in private practice would probably see pay cuts, but primary care doctors could well see an increase.)
Canadians generally pay higher taxes than Americans do—specifically a goods and services tax, and higher taxes on the wealthy. In Germany, working people pay 7.5 percent of income as a contribution toward comprehensive insurance.
But many Americans pay far more than that when you count premiums, deductibles, co-payments and out-of-network charges. Estimates of the tax increases required to support a Medicare-for-all or single-payer system are all over the map, depending on how the plan is structured, the prices paid to providers and drug makers, and the generosity of benefits.
As a politician famously noted, ''Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.''
As usual, as if by Hard Pundit Law, these remarkable data never appeared in last Sunday's discussion. They represent the latest figures from the OECD:
Health care spending per capita, 2017There you see the astonishing data which lie at the heart of this maelstrom. It seems to be against the law to publish such fundamental data in the New York Times or the Washington Post, or to discuss these remarkable data on MSNBC or in liberal journals.
United States $10,209 (sic)
United Kingdom $4264
South Korea $2897
Do Canadians "generally pay higher taxes than Americans do?" Presumably, yes. But they also spend less than half as much on health care, per person, than we spend Down Here!
Where's all that missing money going? A cynic would say that the New York Times doesn't want you to wonder or ask.
In Germany, do working people "pay 7.5 percent of income as a contribution toward comprehensive insurance?" Presumably, they do. But Germans spend only 57 percent as much on health care as we Americans do—and Germany is the only comparable large nation which spends even half as much as we do Over Here. Somehow, the U.K. limps along spending 42 percent!
The Times scribes warn us about the possible costs of that onrushing "single-payer" caravan. As usual, they fail to present the most remarkable data set of which we are aware.
Simple story! Enormous bundles of money are disappearing into the maws of our health care "system." About a dozen years ago, Paul Krugman described this remarkable state of affairs in a series of columns—and from that day to this, this remarkable state of affairs has disappeared from the Times.
This helps demonstrate a basic point we ourselves have often demonstrated here:
It's impossible to insert information into our "public discourse!" You can say it and say it and say it again. Unless it fits preferred elite narratives, your data, facts or information will simply disappear.
In Sunday's featured front-page report, Times readers were warned about possible tax increases. They weren't permitted to wonder about where those oodles of missing money are going under current arrangements.
Where's all that money going? Who is conducting that looting? Also:
Given the current amount of spending, why would any change in our health care "system" require higher spending? We spend twice as much as everyone else. Why would we have to spend more?
Those are the world's most obvious questions. They'll never be asked in the New York Times, nor will you ever see the data which might bring such questions to mind.
Aristotle is widely said to have said that we are the "rational animal." In fairness to Aristotle, he'd never read the New York Times. This includes its coverage of health care and public schools.
Rosenthal is highly informed, but she never offers this basic background information in her work for the Times. In closing, let us say this:
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace/Behind the wagon that we flung [so many looted citizens] in," you too might wonder about the way our intellectual horizons are curtailed in front-page reports like this.
Chomsky calls this process "manufactured consent." That said, Chomsky himself isn't discussed in the New York Times—or by our tribe's top cable star, who mugs and clowns and grins and chuckles and spoons us the porridge we like. (And talks about herself.)
Blue and red voters get looted this way. How hard would it be to create a world with blue and red together?
What the spendthrift socialists spend: God knows, we wouldn't want to be more like socialist spendthrift Sweden! Keeping that word of caution in mind, here you see the runaway spending of the smaller socialist boutique nations:
Health care spending per capita, 2017Where's all that missing money going? If you stick to "cable news" and the New York Times, you'll never wonder or ask!
United States $10,209 (sic)