John Green offers a beginner’s guide to America’s health care reform woes

Originally published at:


Making less money in-exchange for strangers health? that’s about the most non-merica thing ever


I didn’t notice his collar being turned up UNTIL he pointed it out. Then, for the remainder of the video, I could only focus on his messy collar.

Yes, I just made a comment about his presentation rather than the content of the video. I think I’m safe in guessing that at least 90% of regular BoingBoing readers will agree with at least 90% of his content. His presentation seems to me like it would be great for anyone who already agrees with the basic premise, but somewhat off-putting and condescending to the typical anti-Obamacare Republican. In other words, I don’t think this video will do jack to help convince that group that single payer is the way to go.


I will have to watch later. I really enjoy his series he does on Crash Course. I learned a lot of neat little tidbits of history.


It sounds like many of the commenters here have never watched a John Green video. I for one appreciate John’s proper use of the term “magic bullet.” If I hear one more talking head say “silver bullet” when they should be saying “magic bullet,” I’m going to … to … I don’t know what. Write a sternly worded comment in my head probably.

As for the content of what he says … I agree with it. And I despair knowing that things will have to get a lot worse before the U.S. will ever get the public option that every civilized country has proven works just fine. The switch would be too disruptive to too many people who now have too much money and power to let it change without a huge fight.


Then I stand corrected. I’d prefer a more Mr. Rogers or Bob Ross tone, or maybe Gordon explaining to Grover that haircuts aren’t physically painful, but I suppose that’s just me aging out of any demographic that gets pandered to.



Silver bullets kill monsters.

Magic bullets kill presidents.


The AHCA is a Silver Bullet - the Coors Lite of healthcare


It will not be painless…

Well, you have painkillers for that! Health care!


What John Green ignored was how much we can save on healthcare costs if we don’t piss away money on 10 million dollar salaries of the CEOs of WellPoint, Humana, etc… Health insurance companies make their profits by NOT providing coverage and they provide no healthcare per se. Secondly, the main thing that prevents real healthcare reform - e.g. a non-profit medicare-for-all system - is the fact our politicians are purchased by the highest bidder and write laws according to the desires of their corporate owners.

1 Like

Just a reminder that insulting the appearance of the videographer is against our Community Guidelines. Let’s have a discussion about the content without the insults. Thanks!


I agree with your second point, but while it is deeply satisfying to bash those greedy CEOs, their pay is a tiny fraction of the corporate budget. Even if they worked for free, your premiums might go down 1-2% before they rise by 10-20% year-over-year.


While I can agree that CEO salaries seem to be very disproportionate to everyone else - it is a drop in the bucket on the overall health care cost.


Well, in 2016, the top 5 CEO received over 73 million dollars, topping out at over 17 million per year.

Of course, this is just salaries and doesn’t include stock options and other compensation. The CEO from Cigna made 49 million in total compensation in 2015. Here’s a list of the top 25 health insurance companies -

Let’s pick the little guy. Molina Healthcare. Their CEO comes home EVERY YEAR with over 10 million. So you can add them all up for each CEO, but the median compensation will be on the order of 30 million in total compensation for the top 25 CEOs. That comes to 750 million dollars. I really don’t consider three quarters of a billion bucks “a drop in the bucket” And that is only for 25 CEOs.


Well for many things, you would be correct.

According to the CDC, Americans spent ~$3 Trillion in health care in 2014. $750 million is .025% of that.

So I am not saying CEO salaries aren’t too high. I am saying the reason health care is so expensive, with a hospital stays increasing ~50% more than in 2014 and other numerous examples, has little to nothing to do with CEO pay.

I think our energies are best spent on other things than moral outrage some people are paid more than they are really worth.

1 Like

I think you are confusing “nothing” with “an over-hyped cost.”

Those salaries are justified by how much money they make investors, and considering the hospital system and insurance system are both for publicly held and for-profit the how upside-down pyramid of compensation goes much further than CEO compensation alone even though it is a symptom of many of the ills in the industry. I mean, the hospital stay increase is almost entirely purposely built to bill insurance for more money so that corporate CEO gets to report his spreadsheets to his investors to justify his compensation.

So it is all tied together, which is the entirety of the problem and what the video is speaking to.

1 Like

I see your point, but by that logic, if we halved CEO pay, then their polices and costs would go down? I doubt it.

The over arching question on how for-profit health care works and if it is the best model is a good point.

Also, finally listened to it. While lacking solutions, he does outline some of the problems and how we really need to acknowledge what the prime issues are, as well as consider that the best solution might look very different than what we have now, as well as possibly different than anywhere else.


I’m just saying neither of you are correct, and there is no promise in my logic that cutting pay is the solution to companies gouging for every penny regularly. The US system was always meant to have a public option (and as the video points out, we sort of do though it is purposely made as inefficient as possible through the forced use of ERs), and along with many other issues we face now they were forewarned by Truman generations ago correctly.

I think the exchanges are a great truly American middle ground - so long as there is a competitive public option it provides a cost target for insurance to meet or abandon the state exchange entirely. It also allows supplemental private options to improve the public option.

Having just sorted through hundreds of pages of picemeal insurance options once again, and knowing how the largest companies in the world handle insurance, the collision between healthcare giants and corporations and appropriate hospitals to have a lower price just for those institutions needs to end too.

John and Hank Green do great stuff.


While the extreme overpayment of corporate execs is a problem throughout the capitalist world, it isn’t the key factor in US health costs.

The key factor is the massive profit extraction by the private health insurance industry, most of which is going to the shareholders rather than the CEOs.

The health insurance industry doesn’t need to be reformed; it needs to be destroyed. They’re murderous parasites.

1 Like