US vs. Canada

As I’ve surely mentioned before, one of the surest ways to learn that someone only thinks they are knowledgeable about health care policy is for them to rely on wait times in Canada as the reason the US should not have universal national health care.  I’d certainly take Canada’s system over America’s, but the evidence is clear that lots of OECD countries do universal health care more effectively than Canada.  Canada just makes an effective bogeyman when you focus on the weakest elements of this system.  Our weakest element?  Massive human suffering (physical and financial) from Americans who simply lack decent access to affordable care.  Anyway, this video of a Canadian health care expert slapping down Richard Burr’s questions has been making the rounds and its good stuff.


And you can save yourself five minutes and read the best bits here (including my favorite):


BURR: On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?

MARTIN: I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.


America’s dysfunctional politics in one graph

Our non-sensical fiscal policy can be seen as a result of the utter contradictions in what American voters want.  Of course, since the fact that public opinion is largely shaped by elites, I’m not willing to go all in on the “Blame Voters, not Congress” title of this Wonkblog post.  Anyway, check out this chart and pay special attention to the emboldened items:

Candidate characteristics shape American voters’ opinions


Photo of the day

WUNC highlights some photos from NC environmental journalists:

Outer banks, erosion

Sara Peach, from the UNC School of Journalism, photographs a rental home in Mirlo Beach. The sand underneath the home is eroding at a rate of 14 feet per year. Any method of entering the home has been washed out.
Credit Eric Mennel / WUNC

Why people oppose Obamacare matters


Greg Sargent points us to the latest CNN poll on Obamacare today, one of the few polls that accurately judges public attitudes on the subject. Instead of just asking whether people support or oppose the law, CNN asks if their opposition is because the law is too liberal or not liberal enough. The latter aren’t tea partiers who hate Obamacare, they’re lefties and Democrats who mostly support the concept of Obamacare but want it to go further. Counting them as opponents of Obamacare has always been seriously misleading.

And some of the details from Sargent:

Today’s CNN poll finds that 39 percent of Americans favor Obamacare, while 57 percent oppose it. That’s awful, right? But it turns out only 39 percent oppose the law because it’s “too liberal,” while 12 percent say it “isn’t liberal enough.” That’s a total of 51 percent who favor the law or don’t think it goes far enough.

And if you peek into the internals, it turns out that Republicans and conservatives are the only groups who oppose Obamacare as too liberal. A breakdown:

* 67 percent of Republicans, and 60 percent of conservatives, say the law is too liberal. By contrast…

* Among moderates, only 38 percent say it’s too liberal, while 43 percent favor it and another 9 percent say it’s not liberal enough — a total of 52 percent. Breakdown: 38 say it’s too liberal; 52 percent favor it or say it’s not liberal enough.

* Among independents, only 43 percent say it’s too liberal, while 30 percent favor it and another 14 percent say it’s not liberal enough — a total of 44 percent. Breakdown: 43-44…

This may help explain why repeal remains unpopular. This is admittedly speculative, but it seems plausible that those who say the law isn’t liberal enough are saying they want the health system reformed but are not convinced, for a variety of reasons, among them the daily barrage of negative attacks on the law, that Obamacare will get the job done.

In other words, there’s real generalized disapproval of the law here, and no one is saying this isn’t problematic for Dems, but these probably aren’t folks who don’t want reform at all or want to go back to the old system.

Right indeed.  Just because Obamacare is not particularly popular in no way means that the Republican position of repeal (and replace)– yeah right) is any more popular.  It’s not.

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