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Make America Greater

The New Yorker has a must-read article about health care. If you can, go read it now.

Their point is that conseratives are treating health care as if it is just another business. A way to make a profit. But health care is not about economics, in fact, it is actually anything but.

Health care is better classified as an investment. Money we spent on health care now pays back handsomely in the future, in multiple ways. Everyone knows that treating an illness or injury early is far less expensive than treating it later after it gets worse.

But there is an even more important return on this investment:

In 1993, the economic historian Robert Fogel wrote an influential paper (it was his Nobel Prize acceptance speech) in which he demonstrated that improvements in health accounted for fully half of the economic growth in the United Kingdom in the first two centuries of the industrial revolution. Because of improvements in sanitation, food production, and medical treatment, people were living longer and spending much less time incapacitated by illness and hunger. Health was more important than railroads, electricity, mass production, and every other technology we more readily associate with economic success.

As if it weren’t obvious, I would rephrase this as “the health of a nation is critically dependent on the health of its people”. Healthy people are more productive.

And when people aren’t spending so much on health care, they have more money to pump into the economy.

Donald Trump promised repeatedly during his campaign that he would replace Obamacare with health care for everyone that costs less. It is time for him to keep that promise. It is the best way he could MAGA.



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    not mentioned: Removing regulations that protect our health, like encouraging the coal mines to open again, like polluting the water and atmosphere.

    And as I’ve said many times on this site over the last nine years, people who don’t work get depressed. That is mentioned. My son bought a golf course along with his partner. My son had worked on golf courses since he was in high school. Suddenly because he couldn’t do the business side, he had nothing to do. He crashed big time. Absolutely frightening to see. He stayed away from me because he thought I’d psychoanalyze him. Eight months later, he came to visit. “Are you walking, running, biking?” “I’m not doing anything.” And suddenly I had this inspiration. “Would you and your son trim my hedges for me?” Out they went, exercised, cleaned up everything. My son went home, got out his bicycle and that was that after all that time.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:27 am | Permalink
  2. TJ wrote:

    Trump was lying. Please don’t encourage him to try to touch health care again – it would just be another disaster. Hopefully in 4 years that process can start again, but not now.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    EBDOUG, great story.

    TJ, maybe in two years, we can make it a safe subject again.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  4. Patricia wrote:

    I find it interesting, the small comment at the end of the article you sourced, that “healthcare dollars [might be] wasted. The comment points out an interesting fact.” Some of all dollars are wasted. Military, Corporate, Individual consumers, all of these waste dollars at some time. Good old bookkeeping habits could solve most of this waste, but spending on almost everything has developed ideological roots and coincidently atrophied its logical root system.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  5. Wildwood wrote:

    I want the health care system done well and done right, but were Trump to somehow manage to do that it would be a bigly great miracle. The more likely scenario is total disaster from the Man With the Golden Tower. Let’s just try and keep the status quo until we can get a president in office that has a semblance of adult intelligence.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  6. TJ wrote:

    In six years we have a chance that a new census and redistricting round could releases Congress from the current Republican stranglehold, but that might be too much to ask. Remember to tell everyone you know to vote for your state representatives in 2020, even if they never do otherwise. And support efforts to restrict gerrymandering – but it has to be as universal as possible because if only predominantly Democratic states fix gerrymandering then the problems only get worse. I’m very happy California is leading the charge, but the other result of their effors is more Republicans in Congress than there would have been.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink
  7. Ralph wrote:

    Couldn’t agree more with arguing healthcare as an investment. Much like investments in the physical infrastructure of our roads, bridges, tunnels and power grid, if the nation’s health deteriorates it’s bound to hurt the overall economy. The current system also puts an added burden on companies, large and small. Large companies face a disadvantage trying to compete abroad against companies unburdened by healthcare costs in countries that provide universal healthcare, while small companies are disadvantaged against large ones that can bargain for lower group rate insurance premiums. As a result, smaller companies often can’t afford to offer coverage, shift more costs to their employees, or restrict worker hours to avoid having to provide it by mandate if they’re above a certain headcount (50?).

    But Republicans and Libertarians never have, and apparently never will, accept that principle of economics. They are super-glued to the age-old canard, as the New Yorker article puts it “…that the government shouldn’t force citizens to pay for the health care of other citizens through mandatory insurance or other penalties.” Everything must be subject to the God-given laws of supply and demand. Adding insult to injury, they then pass laws that skew the market even more in favor of providers by restricting drug imports or from bargaining for lower prices, or tolerate profiteering (because, you know, regulations bad), and seem fine with opaque and secretive pricing for medical devices and other such products. Healthcare industry lobbyists are second to none when it comes to their moneyed influence in D.C.

    Maybe if they were forced to live under the same healthcare plan they want everyone else to, things might be different. But after their latest fiasco with the AHCA, which amounts to nothing more than a reverse Robin Hood ploy, it’s clear they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century for the benefit of all, not just the top 0.2%.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  8. notycoon22 wrote:

    California at least has an independent commission that now works on reapportionment issues. We’re a big state with 14 Publicans and 39 Demoncats. Seems like a pretty good split.


    Monday, March 27, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  9. btn wrote:

    The thing that Donald Trump and many well-meaning moderate Republican politicians s don’t understand, is that what he promised isn’t really possible.

    One thing that has become clear (and was even drawign *praise* from some Republican House members): Obamcare has set a bar for any health care plan acceptabel to Americans: (1) no cap on spending and (2) no separate pricing of those with pre-existing conditions. However, both of these are *very expensive*. It should have been completely obvious that premiums would rise because SOMEBODY has to pay for these costs and it sure wasn’t going to be the insurance companies.

    Currently, it is the middle-class that is shouldering much of this burden thru higher premiums, and the upper class through the Obamacare taxes. Many in the middle class cannot afford these higher premiums, which is the reason that “Repeal Obamacare” has been the Republican road to Congress.

    Add in expanded Medicaid to provide for more of the poor – which tend to be grouepd in Red states with Republicna governors and you have yet another additioanl Obamacre cost that the Republicans can’t ditch.

    So Republicans voters are directly or indirectly pushing Congress in a direction they don’t want to go: the ONLY way they can improve Obamacare in a way satisfactory to their voters is to INCREASE federal subsidies on health care. Any budget savings would have to solely come from reducing fraud, increasing efficiency, or redusing prices for health services or health products.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink