This year, America has a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken health care system. As policy-makers discuss implementation of the Accountable Care Act, they should learn from China's experience and decide whether they see medical care as a commodity or social provision.
In Japan I wandered the pristine halls of Osaka University Hospital, ostensibly charting objective healthcare outcome differences, but really marveling at the anecdotal nuances of difference in ward rounds.
So, if you're a fan of crony capitalism, if you trust Exxon, Goldman Sachs, KBR, Monsanto, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their crony kin to look after you, Mitt Romney and the Republicans is your kind of band.
The Waiting Room is a punch to the gut, an unblinking gaze at the real lives of people cast off and left out of the medical system in the U.S. Shot in cinema verité style, the film takes place entirely in the emergency room at Oakland's Highland Hospital.
Government must have a role in the health care of its citizens. Without it, health care will simply continue to be viewed as just a commodity, to be bought and sold on the open market with profits to be made.
Can you imagine the reaction on the right if an Obama-supporting Super PAC ran an ad featuring Canadians demanding higher taxes on the rich? Cries from the Fox News cabal about filthy foreigners tampering with the sacred trust of American elections would be positively deafening.
Now that the government has secured unprecedented power over us, a new era has dawned for liberals, who will now have a new confidence to pursue countless other long-deferred projects of social engineering.
Even in Massachusetts, a state that passed a health reform law similar to Obamacare in 2006, the health care system isn't nearly good enough. Hunter Stuart tells the story of his childhood friend, who fell through a gaping hole in the safety net.
My father called universal health care the "cause of my life." Regardless of how the Court votes, his fight, and all of our fight, will continue so that needed physical and mental care is actually received. Every delay costs lives. Literally.
The difference between Democrats and this generation of Republicans is not at its core a disagreement on what government can legitimately do to help create universal access to health care for 50 million Americans, but whether the goal itself is worth pursuing.
While Americans who want affordable health care for all wring our hands and keep a stiff upper lip, blaming the misinformed conservative ideologues in Congress, in the Supreme Court, and in Tea Party get-ups, perhaps we should take a long look in the mirror.
While the Supreme Court wrestles with how to untangle the constitutional complexities of the Affordable Care Act, the politics are becoming crystal clear -- and they may ultimately benefit those of us who would like to see affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans.
It would be much better to acknowledge the reality and replace the individual mandate with explicit direct taxes. New taxes would need to raise a lot of revenue, but for most of the middle class they would be offset by big pay increases.