We desperately need healthcare reform

Nicholas Kristof in the NYT: “Democrats’ internecine battle over so-called Medicare for all is largely irrelevant, because the plan won’t get through Congress. What’s imperative is simply achieving universal medical and dental coverage, either by a single-payer system (like Britain’s) or a multipayer system (like Germany’s); both work fine. What matters is the universal part.

“In some ways, America’s health care is outstanding. Specialized anti-cancer treatments are saving lives. But over all our system has two fundamental flaws.

“First, outcomes are mediocre and inequitable. Rich Americans live 20 years longer than poor Americans, and low-income American men have approximately the longevity of men living in Sudan. …

“The second fundamental problem with our health care system is that it delivers these second-rate outcomes at enormous cost.”

I would add that the coronavirus is a strong argument in favor of universal health coverage. Sick people with health coverage seek and get the care (and quarantine, if necessary) that they need. Sick people with no or inadequate coverage tend to avoid seeking treatment. That puts us all at risk.

China?s failures on the coronavirus are distracting us from the mess we have at home.

But he said they’re easy to win!

Paul Krugman in the New York Times: “So how will this end? Trade wars almost never have clear victors, but they often leave long-lasting scars on the world economy. The light-truck tariffs America imposed in 1964 in an unsuccessful effort to force Europe to buy our frozen chickens are still in place, 55 years later.

“Trump’s trade wars are vastly bigger than the trade wars of the past, but they’ll probably have the same result. No doubt Trump will try to spin some trivial foreign concessions as a great victory, but the actual result will just be to make everyone poorer. At the same time, Trump’s casual trashing of past trade agreements has badly damaged American credibility, and weakened the international rule of law.”