Bruce Ramsey gives thanks that he’s not a Canadian

The Seattle Times’ Bruce Ramsey is thankful that he doesn’t have to suffer through that damned, Canadian socialized health care system.

An American friend lives in British Columbia with his wife, who just had hip-replacement surgery, paid by the Canadian taxpayer.

My mother just had hip-replacement surgery, paid by the U.S. taxpayer. (You know, Medicare.)

In Canada there is universal coverage, though the care itself is limited by squeezes on provincial budgets.

In the U.S. we have universal coverage for old people, but for the rest of us, our care is limited by squeezes on insurance company and/or household budgets. So what’s the point?

Says my friend, “You should hear the Canadians talk. They say, ‘We’ve got an OK system. If it’s really serious, they take care of you.’ “

And the last thing we’d want would be a system that takes care of us.

And it’s free, too, though don’t expect always to have the newest technology. You pay in taxes, of course.

Compare “tax-freedom days” — the day of the year in which, if you had to pay all your taxes first, you would be done with them. For Washington, the Tax Foundation calculates that day at April 16; for British Columbia, according to the Fraser Institute, it is June 8.

True, taxes are higher in Canada, but as Bruce points out, they cover health care as well. According to the Tax Foundation, Washington’s “tax-freedom day” is calculated on total local, state and federal taxes of about $14,100 a year per capita. Yet according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington state also spends an additional $6,700 per capita annually on health care costs.

Roll Washington’s per capita health care costs into our per capita taxes, and you get a “tax-freedom day” of June 5. Not all that different from British Columbia, huh? Plus they get all those other socialist goodies too.

Of Canada’s economic output, 11.9 percent goes to medical care, compared with 17.6 percent in the United States. Canada may be more efficient. It also saves money by making its people wait for things like hip replacements.

Osteoarthritis destroys the hip joint over time. The symptom is pain. My friend’s wife appealed to her primary-care doctor in April. He gave her pain pills.

See, that’s what happens when consumers are denied choice, whereas here in our free market American system, Bruce’s friend’s wife could have just sought out a new doctor.

In August she sought out a new doctor.

Oh. But still, a government bureaucrat is a government bureaucrat, so what difference would that make, right?

He said she needed a hip replacement right away and referred her to a specialist.

Oh.

She was told the specialist might see her in three months.

Bingo! Damn socialists!

She was lucky: He had a cancellation.

Oh. But still, a government bureaucrat is a government bureaucrat, so what difference would that make, right?

He approved her for surgery.

Oh.

She was told it would be three months, and to wait for a call from the scheduler.

Bingo! Damn socialists!

[…] She was about to sign up for New Zealand when the scheduler called. Luck, again. The specialist did the surgery earlier this month, and it went well.

Oh.

The patient’s room, however, was a four-bed ward, common in Canada. Two of her roommates were men — she was not happy about that — mixed-gender rooms being cheaper to administer.

Yeah… but… um… she got her hip replaced, essentially for free, as opposed to the $29,000 it would have cost her to go to New Zealand.

The price was right: only $2,100, all of it for an upgrade to a new ceramic hip, which probably will last her lifetime. The older metal-on-plastic technology, which ran a much higher risk of wearing out and causing her trouble, would have been free, courtesy of the government.

So let me get this straight… Bruce’s friend’s wife had a choice of doctors, and was referred to a specialist who replaced her hip promptly. Furthermore, the procedure went well and “the price was right.”

And the problem is?

Well, you know what the real problem is with Bruce’s column? It’s a red herring.

Despite the fact that his anecdote shows the Canadian system working quite well in comparison to the American system (or lack thereof) his whole column is entirely beside the point.  Neither house of Congress even came close to seriously considering the kind of single-payer system Canadians enjoy.

So Bruce’s wife’s friend’s experience has absolutely no relevance to our current debate. Which I guess, considering the quality the debate thus far, is really par for the course.

Comments

  1. 1

    Sludge Puppy spews:

    Goldy writes: “See, that’s what happens when consumers are denied choice, whereas here in our free market American system, Bruce’s friend’s wife could have just sought out a new doctor.”

    Goldy we have never had a free market system here in the U.S. In fact the medical guys have done their best to keep any competition out of the business. All one has to do is look at the history of midwives who were pretty much driven out of the business years ago. While midwives have been allowed to practice in the last couple of decades they still have problems with regualtions in many states and it costs lives and dollars.

    Then there is acupuncture, chiropractors, etc. Have fun and enjoy the turkey but a “free market” it ain’t and never was.

  2. 2

    demo kid spews:

    @1: But saying that there hasn’t been a “free market” as proof that we should have a “free market” is garbage. The truth is that Americans have never, and will never, be able to tolerate what a true “free market” system entails. EMTALA, which has single-handedly bankrupted a number of hospitals, was created because hospital emergency departments would refuse to treat patients, some of whom died in waiting rooms or out on the street. Medicare and Medicaid were likewise created because there were plenty of examples of the old and disabled being denied even basic care.

    The truth is this: Americans want to get something for nothing, and in the process, we end up getting nothing for something.

  3. 3

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    My mother just had hip-replacement surgery, paid by the U.S. taxpayer. (You know, Medicare.)

     
    Why didn’t you pay for your own mother? Not your responsibility?
     
    Didn’t she pay your way in life when you were little?
     

    Yeah… but… um… she got her hip replaced, essentially for free

     
    Only free for her. It wasn’t free for the working people forced to pay taxes for her “free” hip replacement.
      
    I want a “free” car. Since it’s “free,” goldy should have no problem providing me with one.

  4. 4

    Red diaper baby spews:

    This story shows that someone in Canada got excellent care and chose to pay the very modest upgrade price of some $2100.

    It’s very relevant, and it shows that the Canadian system works well.

    It’s only not relevant because our leaders were too chicken to make the case for nationalized health care finance system.

    a/k/a Medicare for all.

    Funny thing, because right next door in Canada we have lots of stories like this about how well their system works.

    Maybe we could get a special opt out provision that allows Washington state to opt out of the US plan, and join the BC Canada plan?

    $2100 for the premier hip replacement job is pretty good. And someone should tell Ramsey’s pal that having a bit of pain is part of life, you can take morphine for that. OR you can pay extra and fly off to New Zeland if your’e rich. I think she also had an option of goign to India, which was even cheaper than NZ, but maybe she wanted to be around European descended people and didn’t trust doctors in India. Huh, I wonder why?

    Anyway, the rich always have that choice.

    Too bad we’re too chicken to be for the socialized program. It obviously works well. Canadian wheat farmers won the fight for a socialized system up there, but somehow our leaders can’t seem to win a fight for the same well proven system down here.

    Gee, maybe it’s because they never try?

  5. 5

    Red diaper baby spews:

    Marvin:

    stop being a idiot, ok? Everyone for a socialized system agrees it costs money and this is paid thru taxes.

    The people in Canada vote for those taxes and that system. They take responsibility and pay the bills that way. Nobody says it’s free to society. People like you always fail to explain why you support market system if it costs more and provides less. That’s irrational and stupid, Marvin. It’s stupidty like that that makes America weak and burdens our industries and is part of why we are falling behind compared to other nations.

    On the whole we in the USA are paying 20-50% more per capita than they pay in Switzerland Germany France Japan Canada etc. where they get better outcomes and more equity. They all have free elections, Marvin, you can’t explain why if those systems are worse, the voters don’t change back to a monopoly scam system like you favor. All those nations ahve conservative parties that are put in power from time to time, and even they don’t change back.

    Not one of them has a serious movement saying “let’s change our health care system to what the USA has!” or anythign like that.

    Usually when right wingers are asked about that, they have no answer, or they claim that somehow people in Canada and Germany and whatnot are all brainwashed or in gulags. But in fact, those nations income per capita compared to ours is stedaily rising every decade and they’re doing better than us economically…..Canada in recent years has become just about equal to us in gdp per capita….about 25 years ago it was about 25% lower.

    Care to expalin how their socialized medicine is bad if it leaves them enough money to invest and grow and now be equal to us?

  6. 6

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Sludge Pupy said:

    “… we have never had a free market system here in the U.S. In fact the medical guys have done their best to keep any competition out of the business.”

    Man, ain’t that the truth! The docs have done a very nice job protecting their turf (and incomes) over the past 70 or 80 years. One part of health care reform is to break the stranglehold the docs have on the system, and the way to do that is to simply produce more docs. If there’s competition in the market palce, the cost seeing a doc will decline. For far too long, the doctors have viewed themselves as being “above all that market stuff,” and even think they’re superior beings.

    Well, here’s a news flash for all the docs out there: life is fatal: one day, your bod’s gonna start failing and you’ll need medical help yourselves!

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “According to the Tax Foundation, Washington’s ‘tax-freedom day’ is calculated on total local, state and federal taxes of about $14,100 a year per capita.”

    Huh? If TF’s numbers are right, a typical Washington family of four pays $64,400 of taxes a year, which is more than they make. Something’s gotta be wrong with their figures. Maybe Bill Gates’ capital gains tax skewed the average.

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 “Goldy we have never had a free market system here in the U.S.”

    Goldy was being facetious. But, of course, you know that.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 His mother (or her husband) didn’t pay Medicare taxes? Stamm, you don’t have to keep proving you’re a fucking idiot, because everyone already knows that.

    Most people in this country start working in their teens and keep working until age 65 or longer, and pay Medicare taxes for half a century or more before getting Medicare benefits. And you’re saying Medicare recipients don’t pay their own way?

    As always, you’re full of shit.

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 The thing you must understand about Marvie Stupes and his fellow wingnuts is they’re enslaved by an Ideology. The Ideology is the thing! The Ideology demands human sacrifices from time to time, but everyone must serve the Ideology! The Ideology is a jealous master and brooks no accomodation or compromise. Furthermore, the Ideology is like a black hole; once you are captured by the Ideology, there is no hope of escape from its iron grip. Instead of mocking Marvie Stupes, we should feel sorry for him, because he is eternally trapped in the Ideology. Not even death can free him from the Ideology.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 In any line of business, medical or otherwise, a business’ objective is always to eliminate competition, not promote it. The Bidness Boys And Girls hate competition! Competition drives down prices and drives up wages, both of which are bad for profits. A rational business person always tries to destroy competition.

    Back in the day, John D. Rockefeller would go into a community and give away kerosene for free. Unable to undercut this price, his competitors soon went broke, then John D. bought their business assets for 2 cents on the dollar. Once they were out of the market John D. raised his prices from zero to 10 times what his defunct competitors charged, and the customers discovered his kerosene wasn’t so “free” after all.

    Late in the 19th century and early in the 20th century, it became apparent that anyone could establish a monopoly in any line of business, not just oil, and because many oligarchs did, the resulting public clamor resulted in the government passing “fair competition” laws. Some folks called this “socialism” and predicted it would lead to the demise of human civilization. (It didn’t.)

    About 10 years ago, an overnight hospital stay for observation of chest pains cost over $20,000. Not sure what it is today; probably over 30 grand. Can any of you “free market” types explain to me how a hospital room can cost $30,000 a day in the competitive health care market you claim we have in this country?

  12. 13

    Sludge Puppy spews:

    @12 RR writes: “About 10 years ago, an overnight hospital stay for observation of chest pains cost over $20,000. Not sure what it is today; probably over 30 grand. Can any of you “free market” types explain to me how a hospital room can cost $30,000 a day in the competitive health care market you claim we have in this country?”

    Rabbit we do not and probably never had a free market or even one coming close to being competitive in America. Too many laws and a press that doesn’t understand what a free market is to begin with to even discuss the issue.

  13. 14

    spews:

    T.R. Reid in his book on health care systems around the world (highly recommended) is a little tough on Canada for the wait times.

    One guy he interviewed said the typical Canadian doesn’t mind the wait on some things as long as the rich Canadian is treated the same way.

    I think hypochondria is a huge burden on health care systems (some patients are incredibly high maintenance) and the Canadian system works well in that regard.

    Moderate exercise, managing stress and a non-inflammatory diet pay off big time in improving the quality of life.

  14. 15

    ZBSFAN spews:

    “A recent study (PDF) found that 90 percent of Canadians support universal, single-payer health care. A poll taken last summer shows 82 percent of Canadians believe their health care system to be better than the US’s, despite constant grumbling about waiting times for treatment of non-life-threatening conditions.”

    Again, does anyone, even the most out of touch wingnut crazy Republican think that American’s have a 90% support/approval of OUR health system? LOL

    I love how Republicans just make up crap and tell us how much the Canadian system is evil and everyone stuck under this oppressive system is trying to flee here! Bullshit! Made up. Canadians LIKE their system MUCH more than ours. You can argue by anecdote, which Republicans do, but on WHOLE it’s much cheaper, better liked and more effective that our ‘free market’ scatter shot “lets suck the MOST money out of the consumer” piece of shit state-of-the-art health care for “those who can afford it” system we have.

    Never let facts get in the way of a good Palin/Beck/Limbaugh wingnut fantasy.

  15. 16

    YellowPup spews:

    @14: I haven’t read Reid’s book, but I saw the Frontline special. What was interesting was that all the medical systems around the world that he looked at have serious problems/disadvantages, but our system seems to have the most serious problems/disadvantages in terms of cost (literal and societal), benefit, and so on.

    The constant comparison with Canada, as though any reform automatically leads to a Canadian health system, is ridiculous. We should look to other countries, as Reid does, for models and best practices (as Taiwan did, for example), accept that no system is perfect, but find the solution that makes the most sense for this country.

    Now, if only such a solution could run the gauntlet of lobbyists that are controlling Congress…

  16. 17

    2cents spews:

    “Thanksgiving is another socialist holiday. Congress should have put it on a Friday, better yet a Saturday. All those damn government workers getting paid on Thursday AND Friday. It’s a government plot to force me to invite freeloading relatives into my house to eat my food.”

    Bah humbug,
    Bruce Ramsey

  17. 18

    slingshot spews:

    Goldy, you’re not insinuating that the thing called ‘healthcare reform’ currently before the senate is equivalent to Canada’s single-payer system?

    It really should be called the ‘pathetic majority party of spineless Democrats sell out to the insurance industry act’ of 2009. That’s a little unwieldy, so how about;

    The ‘how to most effectively get voted out of office’ act of 2009.

  18. 19

    Michael spews:

    Compare “tax-freedom days” — the day of the year in which, if you had to pay all your taxes first, you would be done with them.

    Between what I pay for health insurance and what my employer throws in we’re shelling out $4,000 dollars a year for health insurance. 4K that I have to spend- no insurance no job- so that might as well be a tax. Add that 4k to my tax bill and I wouldn’t be surprised if my “tax freedom day came earlier in Canada.

  19. 20

    spews:

    So Bruce’s wife’s friend’s experience has absolutely no relevance to our current debate.

    Lack of critical thinking skills hasn’t damaged Ramsey’s writing career. Thus far. I’m curious to see how he fares after the Times.

  20. 21

    spews:

    I keep asking right wingers: who is marching and fighting in the streets of those oppressive socialist countries of Japan, Canada and the European States demanding their governments adopt OUR system?

    In this country where are the seniors and the veterans rejecting Medicare and the VA system for the right wing utopia of United Healthcare, Wellpoint and Aetna?

  21. 22

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Bruce Ramsey is an incontinent jerk. There is no point arguing with him because he argues with a dishonestly that is breathtaking in its braziness. He is simply another glibertarian, and they are a dime a dozen.

  22. 23

    ArtFart spews:

    Ah, yes….”Tax Freedom Day”. The day the average American schnook finishes earning money to pay for Republican-initiated wars, and starts earning money to make a tiny dent in his fucking “creative” mortgage and credit card balances.

  23. 24

    ArtFart spews:

    One of the recent TV network features about “medical tourism” dealt with a large number of people from the US and elsewhere who go to Mumbai for hip replacements. There are a number of factors, including the cost, and the fact that once one is released from the hospital there’s an opportunity to recuperate at any one of many beachside resorts. Another drawing card, though, is that the current state-of-the-art “minimally invasive” hip replacement procedure, which is often done with spinal anesthesia rather than knocking you out, was originated by a surgeon there.

    Eh? How is this possible, when “America has the best health care in the world”?????

  24. 25

    ArtFart spews:

    @22 “Incontinent”? I can’t imagine Uncle Frank employing someone who can’t control his bodily functions, but if this article is representative the guy has little respect for the truth and can’t write his way out of a paper bag.

  25. 26

    Kalifornia Karl spews:

    A “glibertarian”? That’s a keeper. If a subject makes him uneasy, he takes a month to write about it. Problem is, you or I could ghostwrite it in 10 minutes, based on his very predictable reasoning patterns. You all are just jealous of his paycheck. He must write a lot of the unsigned editorials, especially the ones that don’t make any sense at all.

  26. 27

    lauramae spews:

    Excellent deconstruction of the article! I enjoyed that.

    Our insurance company driven system works great until it doesn’t work for you. Ramsey argues that we have free choice. Absolute bullshit. We have what our insurance companies let us have, and they aren’t above letting you die to save money.

  27. 30

    spews:

    Bruce Ransey is an example of how newspapers are waisting their money on opinion that anybody can find for free on the internet, Nichole Brodeur is another. There are bloggers that write from a similarly narrow pov that can be read, or ignored, for free.

    Newspapers crying to the legislature, and sometimes here, about original reporting and democracy needing a tax break never point to the shit Ramsey writes as an example of what must be saved.

    Keep embracing your Bruce Ramsey sandbag, Blethen, you fucking idiot. Nobody wants to pay money for that bullshit.

  28. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 Oh, so your argument is that we don’t have a free market because of too many laws and the press? That business practices aren’t responsible, even though every business person worth a damn is working his butt off every day to eliminate his competitors? You’re silly.

  29. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 The only way people in the U.S. can avoid an unhealthy diet is by grazing on natural, organically fertilized, flora like I do because all the food sold in this country is chemical-laced dogshit.

  30. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve never seen a Canadian in an American hospital, health clinic, or doctor’s office. Not once. Never.

  31. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 As a retired career state employee, I’d like to say two things about the paid holidays that state employees get.

    One, it’s not really a holiday because you still get the same amount of work, and the only way to do 5 days’ of work assignments in 3 days is by working late or on the weekend, which is what we did.

    Two, a system has evolved over the years to give state workers more paid holidays in lieu of pay raises. Most state workers would rather have fewer paid holidays and more COLAs, but they weren’t given a choice. Thus, the “paid holidays” really are involuntary furloughs — and, because there’s no letup in workload, as stated above, you have to make up those “paid” days. When I worked for the state, I would have taken a COLA instead of another “paid holiday” every time.

    Of course, hating government workers is part of the conservative mantra, so you’ve got to expect this kind of drivel from Ramsey and his ilk. And because hating government workers is part of the standard-issue conservative mantra, and is not based on facts or rationality, neither he nor any other conservative has a gram of credibility on this issue or merits being listened to (or read).

  32. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Suzie Cute ran on a platform of solving the county’s $56 million budget shortfall by eliminating employer-paid health benefits for county workers.

    Then, late in the campaign, she complained that only one county employee — Reagan Dunn, a “nonpartisan” Republican council member — had contributed to her campaign.

    And then, on Election Day, county employees voted against her en masse and she lost by nearly 20 points.

    Fucking amazing.

  33. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Imagine a species born with a strong suicidal instinct. Now try to imagine how long that species be around. This should enable you to make a pretty good projection of the Republican Party’s longevity.

  34. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 Don’t overlook the fact that Bruce Ramsey’s “tax freedom day” for Canada is a crock to begin with. Wikipedia says,

    “For Canada the … Fraser Institute’s figures have been disputed. For example, a 2002 study … argues … [their] analysis includes flawed accounting, … exclu[ding] several important forms of income and overstating tax figures, moving the date nearly two months later.”

    In other words, if you correct the methodology flaws, Canada’s “tax freedom day” is in April, not June. Which means they have a tax burden nearly identical to ours, but with free health care thrown in.

    Wikipedia also points out,

    “In America, while Tax Freedom Day presents an ‘average American’ tax burden, it is not a tax burden typical for an American. That is, the tax burdens of most Americans are substantially overstated by Tax Freedom Day. The larger tax bills associated with higher incomes increases the average tax burden above that of most Americans. Another criticism is that the calculation includes capital gains taxes but not capital gains income, thus overstating the tax burden. For example, in the late 1990s the US Tax Freedom Day moved later, reaching its latest date ever in 2000, but this was largely due to capital gains taxes on the bull market of that era rather than an increase in tax rates.” [Emphasis added.]

    In other words, the methodologies used to “Tax Freedom Day” are a FRAUD in both Canada and the U.S.

    It should be noted that “Tax Freedom Day” is a privately owned trademark and the calculations are done by private organizations with a conservative bias. In the case of the U.S. calculation, the Tax Foundation admits it counts capital gains taxes and doesn’t count capital gains income, and acknowledges this overstates the tax burden — but then comes up with some bullshit rationalization for doing it that way (basically, they blame it on federal bureaucrats).

  35. 38

    doggril spews:

    Roger Rabbit – Are you saying that conservatives are liars who are willing to muck with the numbers so that they fit into a preconceived ideology?
    Good god, I’m stunned!

  36. 39

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @38 Some years ago a federal judge made a remark during a sentencing proceeding that I think is apropos here.

    Sentencing a Republican congressman who had been convicted of bribery, the judge expressed reservations about the defendant’s guilt, explaining that “frankly, Congressman, I think you’re too stupid to form a criminal intent!”

  37. 40

    Red diaper baby spews:

    1. Naturally, Marvin has no response when confronted with truth, logic, and the American Way.

    2. RR: nope, we shouldn’t feel sorry for people like Marvie. We should mock them. It’s our own failure to congfront idjits like that that lets them fester and spawn.

    They need to be proven, wrong, confronted, and where approrpiate, mackied for their being stupid and ignorant. They’re like the stupid and ignorant people who belive the earth is flat or that evolution didn’t happen or that somehow in American our government isn’t allowed to take action for the general welfare, or who believe that in Sweden every one is in a gulag because the overal tax rate as chosen thru a democratic and free process, is 10 or 15 points higher than the usa.

    3. ZBSFAN has got the right idea. 90% ion Canada supoprt the system. We lefties let the stupid idjits spew all kinds of lies and don’t usually rebut them by pionting to the truth.

    For example, we spend our time pissing on Ramsay. Well where’s the editorial saying Canadians would be horrified to have our health care system and urging us to SOCIALIZE health care finance because it WORKS AND PEOPLE ARE FIRMLY IN SUPPORT WHEREVER IT’S TRIED.

    @16: you make sense but this kind of argument is sooooo understaed you don’t even get your point across. Your error is to sugges that somehow our system’s failures are of the same order of magnitude as other system’s and it’s all a big question about which one is slightly better than the other bullshit! Our system is a monoploy scam enriching health insurers by about 7% of oure entire GDP. It’s the biggest econoimc crime of the century, or perhaps, in history; and other systems are as better than ours as, say, “having machines” is compared to “not having machines.”

    An immediate 7% of GDP cost saving and better outcomes.

    And yes we should constantly cmpare to Caanda because it is right next door. It’s ina big continent and it’s more familiar to most of us.

    In fact, we should just start a movemetn for us to get into the BC plan here in Washington, that would be a good comparison.

    4. Paid holidays have no relevance to this thread can’t you keep to the subject RR?

    WE’ll never convince anyone of anythign is we just spew off subject capriciously.

    And isn’t the simple point about tax freedom day this:

    if you add up US taxes PLUS premiums and co pays and noncovered costs due to prexisting cond. and limits on coverage and all denials of coverage or lack of coverage…..that is, if you add up US taxes plus ALL health costs basically…that’s more than the same figure in the socialized health care nations becaue basically in thos nations it’s almost all covered.

    That 5-10% differential in GDP spent on health care has to come into that tax day cmparison somewhere. The fallacy of the tax day soundbiting is although in the Caandian and similar systems you pay more in taxes you get more. This is the very simple point that stupid ignoramus right wingers deliberately ignore.

    We WELCOME adding up the numbers. THEY are the ones with phony baloney accounting. THEY are the ones saying it’s a free lunch, because they DON’T ADD IN PREMIUMS CO PAYS and the like when they compare tax days.

    It’s the Eyman approach all over. Everything paid into government goes into a black hole and is “Wast.”; he never looks at what we get for it, he just wipes that from the ledger, in a massive accounting fraud and lie designed to fool people into supporting his stupid, ignoramus notions.

    , that is the number

  38. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @40 You preach about not leaving rightwing lies unrefuted, then criticize me for refuting rightwing lies about “tax freedom day”? Make up your mind about what you want.

  39. 42

    Doc Daneeka spews:

    In the time it took to read Bruce’s column, about seven ambulances were turned away from American hospital emergency rooms and sent elsewhere because of overcrowding and problems with payment. But I’m sure that in the same time every single nice little old lady (with insurance) was given a prompt and timely referral for a hip replacement. At what cost does our system minimize waiting times for non-emergent and elective procedures?

    You cannot apply traditional economic models to a market place wherein the supply side is massively regulated. And a massively regulated supply side of health care markets is precisely what Americans and most rational, non-libertarian human beings demand. For very good reasons.

    The conservative and GOP approach to health care has become a total group-think ideology in the finest Soviet tradition, dogged in its convictions and yet so fragile in its relationship to objective reality that it is incapable of considering even the most desperately needed reforms.

  40. 43

    spews:

    ArtFart @ 24

    recent TV network features about “medical tourism”

    This is surprisingly common.

    Someone was just telling me their insurance had encouraged him to get a procedure done overseas. Because of cost.

    A coworker went back to India for eye laser surgery.

    A good friend of mine went to Thailand for some intensive eye surgery.

    I guess I should be doing research for when I need my next bone marrow transplant.

    It just blows my mind that the USA has degenerated to this point. Thanks, Republicans. Mission accomplished.