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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and I talk about the health-care system, whether Democrats have a plan for Medicare, what the market can actually solve, and the six weeks in which Coburn was, quite literally, radioactive.
The second part of my interview with the senator from Oklahoma.
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tareem heath's profile photoTodd Junkin's profile photoHorton Copperpot's profile photoDan Ostrowski's profile photo
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EK: Are there any international systems you admire?
TC: Yeah, the Swiss. They’re a combo of a socialistic system and a free-market system. Everybody has to buy.
<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Switzerland>

But wouldn't he vote to end "Obamacare"? If his party were in charge of the whole US federal government, what chance would there be for a Swiss system in the US?

So the truth is, Coburn is a fraud.
 
They just stay on script. Demand evidence and talk based on facts, a short interview I suspect.
 
The differences in cancer "cure" rates are based on differences in reporting of incidences and on differences in diagnostic education. It's not an artifact of the nature of the system. There is a reason why people who undergo medical education in other parts of the world have to jump through extra hoops to get licensed in the US. Stronger diagnostic procedures (and the ever-present threat of malpractice suits) is what makes it work. But TC also wants to do away with malpractice awards where they could have any reasonable deterrent capacity. Republican health-care policy is inconsistent, at best, even when it exists at all.

Over the last few decades, there has been a gradual shift in US medical culture where we now consider most problems preventable and treatable. The "cancer cure" (treatment success, not cure, but we'll stick to their language) rates depend heavily on the timeliness of the diagnosis. US doctors--and patients--prefer early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, even if occasionally it may seem overzealous (this applies across the board, not just to cancer). In other parts of the world, early diagnosis and treatment are often neglected--in part because life-threatening diseases are considered to be the normal course of human affairs, not something extraordinary. This, in part, accounts for higher costs, but also for the higher success rate in the US. The system of administration of health care is nearly irrelevant to the results.
 
Kudos on the interview, Ezra. While I'm sure there are disagreements with what Coburn said (I found the "philosophy" answer quite amusing), Coburn has at least admitted that the tax pledge is irrelevant, revenues need to go up and that the end game for health care will be, at least in part, "socialized." If we want anything good to happen in our political system, we have to grab hold of the reasonable wherever we can find it and try to nourish it.
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