The Least, First

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Frontline’s “Sick Around the World” is now on the web

with 2 comments

UPDATE: With a hat tip to GiannaKali, I discover that this outstanding investigative piece is entirely available for free on the web here. What I saw last night on PBS was just excellent. Full of memorable quotes and comparisons, the contrasts among five nations’ systems is, perhaps, the most informative discussion of health care possibilities I’ve ever seen. All five cost less and deliver more than what we’re used to in the USA, and all five happen in capitalist democracies, with varying degrees of government participation. Valuable!

We in the USA have heard much ballyhoo (mostly bad) about the healthcare systems of other countries. Here’s a chance to learn about what they’re really doing, good and bad. I’m hoping this will bring some light to our own national health care conversation. The trailer is just below.

FRONTLINE presents SICK AROUND THE WORLD

FRONTLINE TRAVELS … to find out how five other capitalist democracies–United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland–deliver health care and what the United States might learn from their successes and their failures. … Reid turns up remarkable differences in how these countries handle health care–from Japan, where a night in a hospital can cost as little as $10, to Switzerland, where the president of the country tells Reid it would be a “huge scandal” if someone were to go bankrupt from medical bills.

Reid’s first stop is the U.K.- Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 14, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Politics

What everybody knows about health care

with 7 comments

Here’s the argument I get when I recommend single-payer healthcare: “Everybody knows that when government is involved, bureaucracy, waste, and high-cost result. Everybody knows that!” [Roll eyes here]

As friends of mine say about moving but inaccurate sermons, “Good preachin’—but it just ain’t so.”

Today’s Des Moines Register carries Eugene Robinson’s summary of a study by the Commonwealth Fund, “a respected New York foundation with a track record in health care stretching back to 1918.” It surveyed the U.S., Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Britain. All but the U.S. have single-payer systems.

Would that everybody really knew. Consider:

1. Personal touch: 80% of Americans see a regular doctor regularly. 84% of Canadians do. The others? Australians, 88%; New Zealanders and Britons, 89%; Germans, 92%; and Netherlanders, 100%.

2. Prompt service: 49% of Americans can get a same-day or next-day appointment when ill. 75% can in New Zealand.
65% in Germany. 58% in Britain.

3. Cost: No contest. None. Zip. Never let anybody get by with suggesting commercial health care is cheaper. The facts:

  • The United States spends $6,697 per capita annually on health care … more than twice as much as any of the other countries surveyed. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

November 14, 2007 at 4:45 pm

Poverty, government, and the Bible

with 11 comments

[Please note that many helps came via Ron Sider’s excellent but aging book Just Generosity: A new vision for overcoming poverty in America. This page is also saved as a post, under the title A Bible Argument for Government Aid to the Poor. The text is about the same there, but the comments of others—and my responses to them—are different. Thanks for thinking along!]



Madison Free ClinicEvangelicals often struggle with the idea of a government role in addressing poverty. Often, I hear questions like these, from an honest blogger called RenaissanceGuy:

  • I want to hear a reasoned biblical argument for government-run health care.”
  • … if people are coerced, though the income tax code, to support the poor, then are they actually pleasing our Lord?”

Others put it like this:

  • “Is it government’s job to care for the poor, or should the church and their families do it?”

While sectarian government is antithetical to American democracy, people of faith in the USA do have the privilege of holding and sharing political values consistent with what they understand to be good. Those values may not well fit in either conservative or liberal camps, but there will be common ground that can be shared with both.

In order to do that, people of faith have to be deeply aware of their own faith, and not just the arguments of right or left. So here’s an attempt to think aloud on one of those issues.

Especially for evangelicals:

a Bible argument for government aid to the poor:

First, some assumptions on which I think all can agree:

1. Jesus, as described in the gospels, is much more focused on the poor than our evangelical theologies have been. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 12, 2008 at 12:24 am

Posted in

A Bible argument for government aid to the poor

with 38 comments

[Please note that many helps came via Ron Sider’s excellent but aging book Just Generosity: A new vision for overcoming poverty in America. This post is also saved as a page, at the link shown in the blog’s title bar (above) called Poverty, Government, and the Bible. The text is about the same there, but the comments of others—and my responses to them—are different. Thanks for thinking along!]


Madison Free ClinicEvangelicals often struggle with the idea of a government role in addressing poverty. Often, I hear questions like these, from an honest blogger called RenaissanceGuy:

  • I want to hear a reasoned biblical argument for government-run health care.”
  • … if people are coerced, though the income tax code, to support the poor, then are they actually pleasing our Lord?”

Others put it like this:

  • “Is it government’s job to care for the poor, or should the church and their families do it?”

While sectarian government is antithetical to American democracy, people of faith in the USA do have the privilege of holding and sharing political values consistent with what they understand to be good. Those values may not well fit in either conservative or liberal camps, but there will be common ground that can be shared with both.

In order to do that, people of faith have to be deeply aware of their own faith, and not just the arguments of right or left. So here’s an attempt to think aloud on one of those issues.

Especially for evangelicals:

a Bible argument for government aid to the poor:

First, some assumptions on which I think all can agree:

1. Jesus, as described in the gospels, is much more focused on the poor than our evangelical theologies have been. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 18, 2007 at 12:09 am