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Are we being stupid in how we debate health care?

America’s Stupid Health Care Debate | CommonDreams.org

The answer is yes. Notably because we are looking at how we can fix the current system, and not looking instead at adopting a system that works much better and much cheaper.

It is a sad commentary on the pinched and strictly censored level of political discourse in this nation that any serious consideration of Canada's successful approach to health care is simply out of bounds in America. It is nothing short of absurd that even though the nation that is closest to the US geographically, culturally, linguistically and economically has, since 1973, had a system of provincially administered single-payer government-run health systems which have kept the country's health costs at about 3/5 of what they are in the US as a percentage of GDP (9.7% vs. 17% for the US), at the same time serving all people and (not surprisingly) achieving better health statistics than the US, no one in Washington has talked about inviting Canadian health authorities down to explain how their system works and whether it might make sense here.

Canadians have complete freedom to choose their physicians. They pay nothing to go to hospital. I interviewed one hospital administrator in Canada who had worked earlier managing a US hospital. He said a whole wing of the facility in the US was devoted to billing and accounting staff, while he had only two people for that job in Canada, "mostly to handle the bills of the occasional American tourist!" (Some 20% of every US health care dollar goes for paperwork.) Interestingly, when I interviewed the CEOs of a number of huge Canadian subsidiaries of US corporations, they universally told me that they were ardent supporters of the Canadian system, and in fact, were involved in lobbying to have it expanded to include long-term care and psychiatric benefits.

His kind shall not pass this way again -- Paul Harvey owned radio for 50 years

He passed away Saturday at 90. Paul Harvey: An appraisal of his career by the Tribune's Phil Rosenthal -- chicagotribune.com
Back when Harvey was on roughly 12 percent of the nation's radio stations in the 1960s and '70s, you would have been hard-pressed to find a dot on the map where a local station didn't air him. Sometimes he would air on both AM and FM in a town, sometimes on rock and country stations that had aired him when they had other formats and didn't want to let go for risk of alienating his listeners and boosting a rival. Harvey in his own way was the world's most successful pre-Internet blogger, plucking a series of stories from any and all available sources and putting his own spin and storytelling style on them, putting them in his own voice and unique cadence. One thing that distinguished Harvey from many of his peers, beyond his unmatched reach and popularity, is he had no problem peppering his copy with ads, reading commercial copy and moving product. But part of his appeal to listeners was that he wasn't a traditional newsman, and this only made him more valuable to his bosses. A 2007 National Public Radio report said Harvey was responsible for as much as 60 percent of the revenue of Citadel Broadcasting's ABC Radio Networks, which syndicated him.