Twenty years ago, Switzerland had a system very similar to America’s - private insurers, private providers - with very similar problems. People didn’t buy insurance but ended up in emergency rooms, insurers screened out people with pre-existing conditions, and costs were rising fast. The country came to the conclusion that to make health care work, everyone had to buy insurance. So the Swiss passed an individual mandate and reformed their system along lines very similar to Obamacare. The reform law passed by referendum, narrowly.

The result two decades later: quality of care remains very high, everyone has access, and costs have moderated. Switzerland spends 11% of its GDP on health care, compared with 17% in the U.S. Its 8 million people have health care that is not tied to their employers, they can choose among many plans, and they can switch plans every year. Overall satisfaction with the system is high.

Fareed Zakaria

Like I said, universal health care has worked in many countries for decades. The evidence is overwhelming.  

(via prettayprettaygood)

LTMC: whatever do you mean?  Socialism has ravaged Scandinavian welfare countries.  Just look at this hellhole:

what a wretched monument to tyranny.

(via letterstomycountry)

ataxiwardance: I’ve constructed a few arguments for single payer universal healthcare in my days. Some economic and some moral. I’m a creative and fairly good critical thinker but no abstract argument ever seem to be as compelling as the (relatively undisputable) empirical evidence that their shit just works better.

Right wing scare mongering and the occasional horror story about NHS aside, I’d be happy to trade such spook stories for the constant nightmare of the US healthcare system.

(via letterstomycountry)

Estimated waste in American health-care spending

AMERICA has a talent for wasting money on health care. It has devised many ingenious ways to do this. A patient may see many skilled specialists, none of whom co-ordinate with one another. Payment systems are unfathomably complex and highly variable. Doctors order duplicative or unnecessary tests. The country excels at treating sick people and does a horrible job keeping them from getting sick in the first place. All these problems, however, are due to a simple, structural failing: the more services a hospital provides, the more it is paid.

little—bird replied to your post:so apparently i’m going to write policy briefs for my nonprofit.

policy briefs < boxer briefs, y/n?

while i love policy analysis, i have to say “y”.

i only wear boxer briefs. they have supported and comforted me better than any woman, friend or religion could dream of. any and all other type of male underwear are an inferior product for an inferior grade of man. know this and choose well young man.

debate, discussion or dissent on this will not be permitted. it is simply a deontological truth of masculinity, like the primacy of beards and wine being red.


5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

“In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006,  according to a report released recently by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C, libertarian think tank.

‘Now instead of being put into prison, addicts are going to treatment centers and they’re learning how to control their drug usage or getting off drugs entirely,’ report author Glenn Greenwald, a former New York State constitutional litigator, said during a press briefing at Cato last week.”


I hope to write more about this with time permitting, but this decision (.pdf) by Bush 43-appointed federal Judge Jeffrey White from Friday — refusing to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Jose Padilla against John Yoo, which alleges that Yoo violated numerous constitutional rights of Padilla’s by virtue of his torture and other memos — is both extremely significant and very well-reasoned.  Ironically, the Obama DOJ, in representing Yoo, raised many of Yoo’s defining legal theories in order to argue for dismissal of the lawsuit (see p. 22:  the Executive is vested with war-related power and the judiciary has no role to play in such matters; judges should defer to the President; what was done to Padilla is too secret to allow judicial review, etc.).  It was those Yooian theories that were resoundingly rejected by Judge White, who held that the brutal, inhumane treatment to which Padilla alleges he was subjected plainly constitutes serious violations of his Constitutional rights and that Yoo’s memos can be shown to be responsible for those violations.

Judge White’s systematic rejection of the arguments once made by the Bush DOJ — and now made by the Obama DOJ — to prevent courts from adjudicating the legality of presidential actions was prefaced with this citation to the Federalist Papers.

i don’t know who you are but you may be my favorite Tumblr.

After Gen. Taguba Alleges Existence of Prisoner Rape Photos, Robert Gibbs Attacks… British Media



Mr. Gibbs: Instead of attacking the “British media” “in general,” how about going after Gen. Taguba, who lost his job for confronting torture and revealing Bush “war crimes?”

By Jeremy Scahill

Wow. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is really embodying the idea that when the message is devastating, you attack the messenger. Except in this case, Gibbs is not even attacking the messenger, but rather the newspaper that quoted the messenger.

In a major story today, London’s Daily Telegraph quoted Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba describing photos (that the Obama administration is fighting to keep secret), which allegedly depict US personnel raping prisoners, other sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency,” Taguba said. Put that statement against this one from the president: In defending his decision to fight the ACLU in its efforts to have the photos publicly released, Obama said on May 13, “I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational.”

brake all the mirrors. ignore the crime. blame the evidence.
“On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm … None of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for “drug tourists” — has occurred … decriminalization has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal, which, in numerous categories, are now among the lowest in the EU, particularly when compared with states with stringent criminalization regimes. Although postdecriminalization usage rates have remained roughly the same or even decreased slightly when compared with other EU states, drug-related pathologies — such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage — have decreased dramatically. Drug policy experts attribute those positive trends to the enhanced ability of the Portuguese government to offer treatment programs to its citizens — enhancements made possible, for numerous reasons, by decriminalization.”
— Glenn Greenwald, columnist and former American constitutional and civil rights litigator (the full 34-page white paper can be found here) (via lenachen) (via katharinec) (via abbyjean) (via bubububble)