By Fareed Zakaria
“Americans spend 17.7 percent of GDP on health care. No one else spends even 12 percent. Let's make that more concrete: If Americans only spent 12 percent of GDP on health care we would have saved $893 billion in 2012,” write Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas on Wonk Blog.
“The reason isn't that Americans get more health care than anyone else. We have more uninsured than anyone else. We have fewer physicians per capita than anyone but the Japanese. We go to the doctor less often than anyone but the Swiss. We don't have more hospital beds than other developed countries, and when we do go to the hospital, we don't stay longer.“But we do pay more for the privilege. The average hospital stay costs more than $21,000 in the U.S. It costs only $8,363 in France. Administrative costs in the U.S. are more than three times higher than in most nations with universal health-care systems.”
“Deng put China on a new course toward prosperity in 1978. Now Xi wants to move the country up the value chain,” argues William Pesek for Bloomberg. “In the interim, though, the power of vested interests has expanded drastically. Politics is proving to be a bit too lucrative for China’s own good as untold numbers of millionaires and even billionaires get minted among the Communist Party’s upper echelons. The desire for change understandably shrinks as overseas bank accounts swell. Few of the epochal changes Xi proposes will work without the cooperation of these reluctant cadres.”
“The Lebanese have long complained that their land was a proxy battlefield for meddling foreigners, to the degree that some even dubbed their fifteen-year civil conflict ‘the war of the others.’ Now they are the foreign parties intervening in somebody else’s civil war, some sending men, money, and munitions to Assad’s opponents, and others – chiefly Hezbollah – sending the same to the Syrian president,” writes Rania Abouzeid in the New Yorker.
“Apart from vaguely blaming Israel, which is the usual move after an unsolved attack, some local TV pundits and politicians have pointed out that [Tuesday’s Beirut] bombings may be an attempt not only to punish Hezbollah for fighting in Syria, but also to try to split it from its base. The idea is that Hezbollah’s supporters will blame the group for the car bombs in their neighborhoods, and put pressure on it to withdraw from the fight across the border…That’s highly unlikely for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the pain threshold for Hezbollah’s followers is high.”