Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Welcome to Code WACK!

featuring host Brenda Gazzar


Shining a light on America's callous healthcare system

and what we can do about it.


Now streaming on Nurse Talk Media and Progressive Voices!


Powered by HEAL California


Oct 25, 2021

Join us for a lively discussion with Thom Hartmann about how America’s healthcare system got so screwed up!  

You probably know Thom Hartmann as America’s No. 1 progressive talk radio show host. But did you know that he’s also a New York Times bestseller? 

His latest book, “The Hidden History of American Health Care: Why Sickness Bankrupts You and Makes Others Insanely Rich, is hot off the presses and already making waves. 

The book is not only easy-to-digest but super informative and part of Thom’s popular Hidden History book series.



In this Code WACK! podcast, the first of two, Thom discusses why health care is such an important issue for him, the truly shocking impact of America’s racist roots, and how he came to realize that the U.S. seriously lags behind many other countries when it comes to health care. 


For example, he shared that when he and his wife Louise were heading to the jungles of Costa Rica to collaborate with Leonardo DiCaprio on their documentary “Ice on Fire” several years ago, he had a surprising conversation with a local taxi driver:

“I said … ‘What do you like the most about living here?’ and he's like ‘Well, I don't have any medical bills, and my son went to college, and the government paid for it.’ And I'm like, ‘Wow, you know, this is freaking Costa Rica. We can't do this in the United States but they do it in Costa Rica.’”



In fact, the United States lags behind many other countries when it comes to access and affordability, but also health outcomes. One major proof of America’s healthcare fail has been the pandemic. 


Taiwan, which has had a single-payer healthcare system since 1995, is faring much better than the United States when it comes to COVID-19 related cases and fatalities.

“Taiwan has what is arguably, in my opinion anyway,  the world's best single-payer healthcare system,” Hartmann said. “It’s clean, it's efficient, it's relatively new … and everybody is enrolled the moment you know that you're born.”


Thanks to their single-payer system, Taiwan has one of the fastest, most sophisticated and efficient contact tracing programs in the world, says Hartmann. 

“Using that, they were able to isolate the people who were infected with COVID, keep them from spreading it - bend that R value all the way down to zero -- the reproduction rate for the virus -- and you know they spent most of last year with no problem.




Meanwhile, the United States continues to struggle, not just with COVID but also with extreme inequity in healthcare access and outcomes. That’s in no small part, according to Thom, because of our racist roots:

“Racism is the legacy of America. It’s still very much the omnipresent reality of America, but it's also the reason why we don't have a national healthcare system.” 


And, he explains, it’s also why Medicare still has so many coverage gaps, why 8 former slave states are among the 12 states that still have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and why Black people continue to suffer higher uninsured rates than White people. 


You can check out Tom’s new book “The Hidden History of American Health Care: Why Sickness Bankrupts You and Makes Others Insanely Rich” and subscribe to Code WACK!, your podcast about America’s broken healthcare system, on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. 

Also stay tuned for our next podcast, bringing you more of Thom's thought-provoking insights!


Thom Hartmann Biography

Thom Hartmann is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host whose shows are available in over a half-billion homes worldwide. He's the New York Times bestselling, four-time Project Censored Award-winning author of about 30 books in print in 17 languages on five continents. Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" to make the movie "The 11th Hour" (in which Thom appears), and the movie "Ice On Fire."

Talkers Magazine named Thom Hartmann as the 10th most important talk show host in America in 2019 and has been in the top ten for over a decade and he is the #1 most important progressive host, in their “Heavy Hundred” ranking.

His radio show is syndicated on for-profit FM and AM radio stations nationally, on nonprofit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio (Progress, Channel 127), on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), via subscription audio podcasts, worldwide through the U.S. Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann iOS and Android apps. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in real-time into nearly 40 million U.S. and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, on cable TV systems nationwide, and live on both YouTube and Facebook.



Taiwan, International Healthcare System Profiles, The Commonwealth Fund


Our World In Data, Daily Number of Confirmed Deaths, U.S. & Taiwan


Health Coverage by Race and Ethnicity, 2010-2019, Kaiser Family Foundation


The Myth Of The Actuary: Life Insurance And Frederick L. Hoffman's Race Traits And Tendencies Of The American Negro, Megan J Wolff, MPH


Racial, Health Equity Leaders Call on U.S. Senate to Close Medicaid Gap for Good, Southerners for Medicaid Expansion


What are gaps in coverage with Medicare?, WebMD


Pitfalls of Medicare Advantage Plans, Investopedia


Hidden History Series, Thom Hartmann