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Friday, March 17, 2017


It is untrue that the USA is one of the few countries without universal healthcare.  Only around 30% do (the green ones):

There are a lot of fruits in this basket, and comparison is difficult, especially when most countries don't respond to surveys.  However, as Obamacare was becoming enacted, efficiency of healthcare:

Gray means no reportage.  Light blue indicates low medical care efficiency, as in the U.S.  Darker blues, as in Australia and Canada are good.  We are ranked last compared to our close allies.


Dark red is very high (% of GDP/year/capita).  In fact, our $8,608/year/capita is second only to Switzerland at $9,121.  The bottom line is that Americans pay more for poor medical service.  So is Congressional meddling in this field warranted?  Absolutely.  But politics have a way of producing an imperfect product that begs to be continually improved.

The top ten countries with the best medical plans are:
  • #  1  Taiwan (something to do the use of universal smart cards)
  • #  2  Switzerland (but expensive)
  • #  3  China (in process of building 700,000 clinics)
  • #  4  Canada (a model being considered by the U.S.)
  • #  5  United Kingdom (government essentially runs everything)
  • #  6  Germany (everyone is covered, paid through 8% of salaries)
  • #  7  France (universal, where the richer pay more)
  • #  8  Japan (highest life expectancy at low cost/capita)
  • #  9  Italy (everyone covered at relatively low cost)
  • #10  Cuba (good preventive care)
For me to explain what is happening in DC would be futile and a waste of time.  Read The New York Times.  My attitude is not to worry much about what happens to healthcare program legislation because the process is akin to evolution.

The next ultimate medical sausage bill will be passed by our Congress.  There still is Obamacare,  but in two years there will be an unpopular hybrid Republican health care plan.  They want less government, don't care much for the poor and indigent, and want to privatize almost everything.  In four years Democrats will probably come back into some power and undo what the Republicans undid. 

The bottom line is that within a decade we will have a plan not too dissimilar to the Canadian version, largely enacted a third of a century ago.  Everyone will be covered, except the American program will have two tiers:  for the "poor" people (quality will be low and it will be difficult  and certainly take a long time to see a doctor), and an upscale system (the more you can pay, the faster you will be seen) for those who can afford it.

Me?  I have Medicare and a very generous Hawaii State retirement plan where I now pay nothing/month.  Plus, I live in a seniors' community, where care is available 24-hours/day and hospitals are close by.  Three different kind of pills cost me a total of $15/month.

When my wife was in intensive care for a month eight years ago, I got an invoice just from Kuakini hospital, indicating that my bill was around a quarter of a million dollars.  A few days later she passed away.  I went to the Hawaii Medical Service Association six years, then four years, ago.  Both times they weren't sure how much I would be paying.  Eight years now and I haven't seen a bill.

Oh, yeah, Happy St. Patrick's Day.  They actually named a day after me.  I'll walk 18 holes at Ala Wai, then have corned beef and cabbage for dinner, with at least one kind of Irish whiskey.  Ever wonder why CB&C is served on March 17?  If you happen to be in Ireland, very few families actually eat this dish.  Sort of like May 5, Cinco de Mayo, which is only celebrated in the USA, and on this day, not in Mexico.  For CB&C, it did start in Ireland and has a confusing beginning starting with salted meats.  When they emigrated to the USA, the best affordable substitute they could find was corned beef, which reminded them of home, and cabbage is sort of green.

And, oh, by the way, in the ESPN March Madness Tournament Challenge, at this very moment I am in the top 5% with three wrong picks.  This puts me at rank #914,000.


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