It’s the prices

Why do we spend so much on health care in America?  Because we charge so much for health care in America?  Why do we charge so much?  Well, that’s complicated, but as much as anything it comes from a lack of a government role.  Hard as it may be for conservatives to accept all those countries with more expansive health care for lower cost due it by using the power of the government to keep prices down.  Truth is, doctors, hospitals, medical device manufacturers, etc., can do quite well and get plenty rich in other countries– just not nearly so rich as in America.  Ezra’s got 21(!) charts on the matter.  Here’s a few:

office visit

bypass surgeryhospital dayMRI

Now, tell me again we don’t need government involved in prices.  Or that somehow all we need is insurance companies to sell policies across states and this absurdity goes away?  Ummm, no.  National single payer health plan with a global budget?  Yep– that would go a long way.

Gay marriage in 2020

Count on Nate Silver to bring the heavy statistical analysis to the future of gay marriage.  Assuming present trends in public opinion continue (certainly a debatable assumption, but the rate of increase in support has been quite stable for a number of years), here’s the state of gay marriage public opinion in 2020:

That’s pretty amazing.  And wow– Alabama and Mississippi in a class by themselves.  There’s a reason those are the two states I pick on all the time in my classes.  Mississippi: “where we keep the poor man, the Black man, and the gay man down– and don’t even get started about education.”



More free birth control = less abortion

If pro-life people really wanted there to be less abortions, they’d spend more time lobbying for free high-quality birth control and less time in front of abortion clinics.  I.e., put the focus on stopping unplanned pregnancies before they happen.  Yet more research on how amazingly effective free birth control– especially IUD’s– can be:

Providing birth control to women at no cost substantially reduced unplanned pregnancies and cut abortion rates by 62 percent to 78 percent over the national rate, a new study shows. The research, by investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, appears online Oct. 4 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Among a range of birth control methods offered in the study, most women chose long-acting methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants, which have lower failure rates than commonly used birth control pills. In the United States, IUDs and implants have high up-front costs that sometimes aren’t covered by health insurance, making these methods unaffordable for many women…

From 2008 to 2010, annual abortion rates among study participants ranged from 4.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 women. This is a substantial drop (62 percent to 78 percent) over the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008, the latest year for which figures are available.

The lower abortion rates among CHOICE participants also is considerably less than the rates in St. Louis city and county, which ranged from 13.4 to 17 per 1,000 women, for the same years.

Among girls ages 15-19 who had access to free birth control provided in the study, the annual birth rate was 6.3 per 1,000, far below the U.S. rate of 34.3 per 1,000 for girls the same age.

This is just pure win.  That is, unless your moral sense tells you it’s better to preach abstinence despite the evidence that preaching abstinence doesn’t work.  And cost/benefit wise, this is obviously, a huge win.  You know I really would like there to be fewer abortions and this certainly strikes me as about the best way to get there.  I really wish more of the pro-life crowd could get over their aversion to women having sex and join with liberals in funding programs like this.

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