KPCC's home for all things Patt Morrison.

Lost and Found, Men and Women

With all the scary talk out of D.C. – all right, so much of the talk in D.C. is ALWAYS scary -- we tried to get past the politics of health care reform, to the cost, and the cost benefits.

One estimated price tag of a hundred billion dollars a year sounds a lot like real money [as the shade of senator Everett Dirksen would attest]. But as my guests today pretty much agreed in pointing out, compared to the $2.4 trillion we shelled out in 2007 for health care in this country -- nearly $8,000 for every man, woman and child, with 46 million Americans still without coverage -- they think it’ll soon pay for itself in money saved and better health care.

I played for them a comment by RNC chairman Michael Steele, who said that he thought the proposed health care changes from Congress amount to an ‘’experiment,’’ which made me think of a mad scientist in a Universal horror film.

But one guest, Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economics professor who specializes in health care matters, said rather sardonically that Steele’s committing misrepresentation:

"Boy, he was scary, uh, but totally wrong and irrelevant. This is not an experiment in anything. The bills that are, that President Obama has talked about, they all don't affect the vast majorities of Americans. They're basically saying, ‘if you like what you have, we'll leave you alone.’”

President Obama had hoped to sign a health care bill in August; it now may be October at the earliest, if there is one at all.

My favorite part of the program today was Colin Ellard, whose nifty book is ‘’You Are here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon but Get Lost in the Mall.’’ Ants, birds, turtles and other species have it all over homo sapiens when it comes to us finding our way through the world, and our growing dependence on GPS and Mapquest and the like doesn’t do much to help us cultivate our inner navigator.

[There’s also a definite difference to the ways men and women find their way around, and take – or don’t take directions – but Ellard was careful not to ignite a new gender war when he explained that difference. Me, I wasn’t one speck surprised when I read ‘’The Odyssey’’ and found that Odysseus had wandered around the Greek Isles for 20 years before finally finding the way home.]

Tomorrow, the original Chinese takeout: in 1784, Americans first tried Chinese food – in China. Today it’s as Americanized as apple pie. We’ll taste the history of Chinese food in the United States.

-- Patt Morrison


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