Yesterday, as the GOP's latest Kabuki theater threat to shut down the government unless "ObamaCare" is defunded continued apace, investigative journalist Kurt Eichnwald tweeted: "How did the GOP persuade so many otherwise rational ppl that a system of private industry competition is government run healthcare?"
He then attempted to answer his own question in a second tweet: "How? How did the GOP do it? With endless streams of lies, dragged out 2 the gullible, from ppl fearful others will learn govnt can help ppl."
True. But the problem is both much worse and far more remarkable than that.
"You have probably heard that the reason people enjoy 'free healthcare' in Australia, in the U.K. and elsewhere is that they pay higher taxes," New York Times' best selling author and video blogger John Green proclaimed, as he openly acknowledged his effort to capture attention with "mind-blowing" facts.
"But, in fact, in the United States we spend more tax money, per capita, on healthcare than Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom or Canada," he explained. "That's right, you pay more in taxes for healthcare than you would if you were British. And in exchange for those taxes, you get...no healthcare."
(Green's "mind-blowing" facts tactic appears to have worked. The video, embedded in full below, has been viewed nearly 3.5 million times since it was published on YouTube last month.)
Green underscored his rant about the outrageous per capita price for health care in the U.S. with an on-screen chart detailing how both public and private per capita healthcare expenditures in the U.S., in 2007, far exceeded such expenditures in those other countries...
That chart actually understates the argument, since it predated some $461 billion in additional public subsidies pursuant to the Affordable Care Act --- subsidies that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will find their way into the coffers of the private health insurance companies in order to expand coverage to at least 18 million Americans who could not previously afford it.
Relying upon published articles from The Incidental Economist, a May 2012 study [PDF] by David Squires of The Commonwealth Fund, and an in-depth New York Times article, Green offered up a must-see, fact-filled video rant about many of the "mind-blowing" reasons why the U.S. healthcare and insurance system --- a system that is so corrupt and dysfunctional that it results in the deaths of nearly 45,000 Americans each year --- is so damned expensive...
The one area in which Green falls short, in my opinion, is that he becomes so overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem in the U.S. that he doesn't recognize that solutions can be rather straight-forward. They entail utilizing the same methods of cost containment already so successfully used by the single-payer countries which he cites in the video, and that all provide better healthcare to more of their citizens than we do...by a long shot.