HEALTHCARE: STILL A PROBLEM….To absolutely no one’s surprise, overall healthcare costs rose at a breathtaking rate yet again last year. Healthcare now accounts for 16% of U.S. GDP, compared to about 10-11% in our nearest competitor.

And what do we get for all that dough? Not much. Healthcare quality rose only marginally, which means we still suck on virtually every aspect of healthcare compared to industrialized countries with sane national healthcare policies.

But it could be worse. And for a lot of people it is. As the Washington Post chart above shows (taken from the National Healthcare Disparities Report), if you’re black, native American, Hispanic, or poor, your healthcare sucks even worse than if you’re middle class and white.

It sort of feels like whistling into the wind to keep harping on this, but it’s still hard to believe that more Democrats aren’t willing to put their reputations behind a genuinely sane, comprehensive, modern national healthcare plan. Not a patch, not “catastrophic insurance,” and certainly not HSAs. After all, lots of countries already have decent systems for us to borrow ideas from, and citizens in those countries generally have greater choice of physicians, better (and more equal) care, lower costs, wider coverage, and better outcomes. Sure, it won’t happen anytime soon, but it would still be the most effective rallying cry I can think of to truly differentiate Democrats from Republicans. Only a madman would prefer our bizarre hodgepodge system.

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