Aaron Carroll has another one of his Healthcare Triage videos out. I have to say, it’s a mixed blessing. In general, I agree with everything Carroll has to say about just about everything. So the information that he presents is really good. But does he have to try so hard to act and sound like his producer John Green? Green is a good example of how you can be really successful at something that people think of as creative, while not being the least bit creative. It’s been about a year since I’ve watched any of Green’s highly polished videos because (1) they are all the same and (2) he generally manages to waste ten minutes of my time without informing me of anything at all. Compare him to CGP Grey, and there is no contest. Of course, Grey doesn’t put out videos every week like his livelihood depended on it. (Oops!)
Carroll’s newest video is “The Sky Isn’t Falling.” That’s great, because that’s what I try to explain to people in my life. If you’ve heard some outrageous story, chances are it isn’t true. And if it is true, it is most likely not indicative of a trend. And if it is indicative of a trend, it’s a new Republican plan to stop people from voting. Carroll is a doctor, so he’s talking about doctor stuff. And it is really interesting. It turns out that our kids drink less than kids in other comparable countries. And they smoke less. They have less sex. Pregnancy rates are down. Stealing is down. Assault is down. It isn’t all good, but it mostly is. The main thing is that our kids are fatter than kids in other countries, but even there, the trend is good: our kids are getting less fat.
But Carroll is such a white bread kind of guy, he won’t make the important connection that I will. We here in America spend about twice what comparable countries do on healthcare and don’t even provide healthcare for roughly 20% of our citizens. Conservatives like to blame this on the unhealthy lifestyles of Americans: we’re fat; we smoke; we’re violent. But the data that Aaron Carroll presents indicates that this is not the case. So what exactly are the conservatives going to blame our poor healthcare system that nonetheless costs us a fortune?
I’m not being naive here. That was just a rhetorical device. They will blame it on whatever is handy. Remember when the deregulated collateralized debt obligation (CDOs) caused a financial crisis? Or when deregulated Savings & Loans caused a financial crisis? Or basically when any kind of deregulated thing caused catastrophe? Remember what the conservatives always said was the real problem? It was the fact that there was still some regulation. In a truly, completely, “more mythical than A Midsummer Night’s Dream” world, there would be no problem.
So if we aren’t being over-charged for bad and incomplete healthcare, it must be the government’s fault. It must be that Medicare exists. Or Medicaid. Or food stamps! Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The main thing is that it can’t be that we have a totally screwed up pseudo-free market healthcare system that doesn’t work. Remember how the conservative mind approaches problems. First, it eliminates all possible solutions that contradict ideology. Currently, that eliminates pretty much all solutions. Then, from the couple of possible solutions left over, it picks one. It doesn’t matter how the solution is picked, because they are all useless. The conservative hope is that the problem fixes itself, so that their useless “solution” is eventually forgotten.
It is important to remember, however, that things are in generally not so bad. And this is despite the conservatives doing everything they can to make the world the worst place possible.
Happy new year!