I did read The Atlantic extremely long article and will read Bending the Curve recommended by David Brooks of the New York Times to President Obama.
The best way to explain our current situation is what Robert Frank calls Darwinian Economics, the Best explanation of why our society is in such a mess economically and morally. Darwin said individuals almost always do what is in their own interest which could be harmful to society, but as we have seen in the Healthcare Debate, there are very few altruists among the flock.
In his book "The Economic Naturalist," Robert Frank points out that Americans do not understand economics even if they took an economics course in college. He and Bernanke in the "Principles of Economics" point out that the wrong economic incentives are provided to Americans and by changing these incentives by specific taxes on behavior which is detrimental to our society would help control these excesses. They also write in the Principles book that the college classes pack too much information so the students become confused and do not really understand what they are learning, a factor necessary for them to retain it beyond their class tests. He believes that people absorb information through stories or usually stated narratives.
This is something Obama should learn in his teaching of Americans about healthcare. He might use the latest data from the California Nurses Association about how often the health insurance companies reject expensive care approved by doctors. Pacific Care,a part of the infamous and inappropriately named UnitedHealthCare, rejected 40 percent of all such requests by doctors in the first six months of 2009! They want to Get their profits when they can so you can see why UnitedHealthcare is at the forefront in trying to sabotage the Obama Plan through Front Groups and their own Lewin Group negative evaluations of reform often quoted by Republicans.
Medicare unfortunately does not reject any care, but controls how much they pay for a treatment. This leads doctors to do as many tests and procedures as possible leading to poorer results. See book "Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer " by Sharon Brownlee which is based on millions of Medicare patients by Dartmouth College.
Remember the #1 healthcare organization in the USA is the Mayo Clinic spends below average and one-third the amount in McAllen, Texas where lawsuits are extremely difficult to pursue for better care. Not mentioned by many is the good beans diet of poor Mexicans was benefited by less heart disease and high blood pressure so they are actually healthier than a typical American. Of course the younger population on a Fast Food diet are now having severe problems with pre-diabetic and Diabetes 2 and obesity at a huge current and even high future medical problems which much be addressed now. I find it hard to believe that pre-diabetic treatment was stopped because of the expense!
Jim Kawakami, Sept 6, 2009, For more Read http://jimboguy.blogspot.com
David Brooks New York Times Sept 3, 2009 ... Then I’d ask Obama to go to the Brookings Institution Web site and read a report called “Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth.” This report was written by a bipartisan group of battle-tested experts, including Mark McClellan, David Cutler, Elizabeth McGlynn, Joseph Antos and John Bertko. ...
I’d do is ask him to read David Goldhill’s essay, “How American Health Care Killed My Father,” in the current issue of The Atlantic. That essay would lift Obama out of the distracting sideshows about this public plan or that cooperative option. It would remind him why he got into this issue in the first place. ...
The essay is about the real problem: the insane incentives. Goldhill is especially good on the way the voracious health care system soaks up money that could go to education, the environment, economic development and a thousand other priorities. Health care, he writes, “simply keeps gobbling up national resources, seemingly without regard to other societal needs.” ... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/opinion/04brooks.html?scp=4&sq=David%20Brooks&st=cse