Presidential Candidates in Fantasy Land Over Health Care

Candidates say this and that about health care, but it’s the insurers and pharmaceutical companies that call the tune.

Presidential candidates from both parties are full of sound and fury about various aspects of the U.S. health care system, but unless we as a nation get serious about big money in politics, all the noise will ultimately amount to nothing.

Every one of the Republican candidates has pledged to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But I’m not

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The Best Health Care System in the World? Nonsense!

Let’s stop buying the party line from insurers and drug companies.

Americans spend more per capita on health care than people anywhere else in the world, yet outcomes in every other developed country are better on almost every measure, from infant mortality to life expectancy.

A big reason for that is our collective gullibility. We continue to believe what many politicians tell us, despite evidence to the contrary: that we have the best health care system in the world.

Similarly,

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Obamacare Exchanges Help, But Confused Consumers Are Still Spending Too Much

Folks are happy with health coverage, but still confused by choices.

Here’s the good news: 74 percent of people nationwide who enrolled in health insurance plans through the Obamacare exchanges rate their coverage as excellent or good.  That’s according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released last Thursday.

Here’s the not so good news: There’s a better than even chance that many of those folks did not pick the plan that is best suited to their needs. As a consequence,

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Energy Firms, Health Insurers Deftly Use Others to Spread Propaganda

The disinformation dance.

I usually don’t pay a lot of attention to the songs on a restaurant’s playlist, but when “The Old Rugged Cross” came on at the Manassas, Virginia, Cracker Barrel as I was traveling to Tennessee recently, I put my fork down and listened.

Hearing the hymn took me back nearly half a century to my childhood in Kingsport, Tennessee. Every Sunday morning, we listened to the “hymn program” on WMCH, a Christian radio station, as we got

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Why I’m OK Having a Mid-Level Dental Practitioner Work on My Teeth

Would you trust someone with two years of dental training to pull one of your teeth or fill a cavity?

If you’re like me–or like I used to be–I’m pretty sure you’re saying, “Not a chance.”

Until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that anyone with 24 months of training (plus a six- to 12-month preceptorship) could help solve America’s dental healthcare crisis. Now I know better.

I first heard about dental therapists from Dr. Gail Christopher, Vice …

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Don’t Let $418 Million of FUD Fool You

Obamacare-bashing politicians have outspent its supporters 15-1 trying to convince Americans the law’s not providing peace of mind.

Last November, I predicted that once millions of Americans were able to join the ranks of the insured, the public’s approval of Obamacare would start to go up.

I, of all people, should have known not to go out on such an unstable limb.

As someone whose responsibilities at work once included trying to get people to think, act and vote the

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Message-Maven Culture Killing Compromise in Washington

Public relations techniques rule as dialogue gives way to talking points. 

Former congressional staffer Scott Lilly, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, testified at a hearing on Capitol Hill last week that lawmakers might be able to reach a bipartisan consensus on how to improve the congressional budget process if Washington were not ruled by public relations people and message mavens.

Lilly, who served as clerk and staff director of the House Appropriations Committee before moving …

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Attack Ads May Actually Be Benefiting Obamacare Enrollment

Positive or negative, publicity seems to be increasing awareness.

It’s encouraging that something positive can come from something so unrelentingly negative.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, its opponents have spent an estimated $450 million on political ads attacking the law, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, which analyzes spending on advertising.  Supporters have spent a tiny fraction of that amount. Kantar says opponents have outspent those who favor the law by 15 to 1.

While those

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States Finally Taking Action to Improve Access to Critical Dental Care

Author’s Note: This post is part of a series examining America’s oral health care crisis. Be sure to read the previous article, “Why a Trip to the Dentist Costs So Much Now — And What We Can Do About It.”

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Lack of access to dental care has reached such crisis proportions in the United States that lawmakers in many states are finally taking action.

Maine last week became the most recent state to expand the dental workforce when Republican Gov. …

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Shining a Light on ALEC’s Power to Shape Policy

Commentary: American Legislative Exchange Council’s behind-the-scenes influence peddling should be getting more attention from the Washington press corps.

It’s amazing how a little sunlight will change the behavior of some of the biggest names in corporate America — sunlight here meaning greater transparency and accountability.

It’s also amazing how the U.K.’s The Guardian is covering this changed behavior — and its potential consequences for every American — without much competition from U.S.-based media. It seems that reporters in Washington in

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