The Wall Street Journal apparently thought it would be neat to have former “Three’s Company” star Suzanne Somers write a piece for them as an “expert” on national health care policy, aka Obamacare.
Besides doing a bad job playing a bimbo, Chrissy, on 1970s television, Somers is best known for her infomercial for the “Thighmaster,” a device for women interested in slimming down their thighs in just minutes a day.
So yes, the Wall Street Journal, when pondering which “expert” might have something interesting to add to the debate over the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), they reached out to the creator of the Thighmaster, who’s apparently a bit of a right-wing nut. And boy, did they pay for it.
Somers wrote a lovely seven paragraph screed about the evils of communism, or Canada, or something. And then, to make things even more fun, she got a lot of it wrong. So wrong, in fact, that the Journal had to issue a long “correction” beneath her story. Let’s just quote that correction in full, shall we?
Ouch. Can’t you just feel the truth slimming down?
Now, before you go and mock Suzanne Somers for knowing next to nothing about the Affordable Care Act, she starts her essay by reminding readers that she’s authored 24 books “mostly on health and wellness”:
As a writer of 24 books mostly on health and wellness and by using my celebrity to get to the best and brightest doctors, scientists and medical professionals in the alternative and integrative health-care world, I have come to the following conclusions:
First of all, let’s call affordable health care what it really is: It’s socialized medicine.
Her expertise on national health care policy is writing 24 books “mostly on health and wellness”?
I suppose then we shouldn’t count Suzanne Somer’s collection of personal poems, “Touch me.”
No, Suzanne Somers is resting her astute health care reform expertise on her two dozen aging and diet books, including such august titles as:
- Sexy Forever: How to Fight Fat after Forty
- I’m Too Young for This!: The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause
- The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible
- Suzanne Somers’ Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away
- Suzanne Somers’ 365 Ways to Change Your Life
- Suzanne Somers’ Get Skinny on Fabulous Food
- Suzanne Somers’ Slim and Sexy Forever: The Hormone Solution for Permanent Weight Loss and Optimal Living
- Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement: The Science Explained
- Bombshell: Explosive Medical Secrets That Will Redefine Aging
- Anti-Aging Cures: Life Changing Secrets to Reverse the Effects of Aging
Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman look out, we’ve got a live one here!
Somers goes on to talk about her “expertise” in Canadian health care specifically – you see, her husband is Canadian – and how Canadian health care works just like Obamacare (she claims). So if Canadian health care is lousy, then so is the Affordable Care Act.
We then find out that Somers’ Canadian sister-in-law has an awful story about not being able to see a doctor for two months (really two and a half months), while vomiting continuously the entire 74-day period:
My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner. During this period she spent her days in bed vomiting continuously, unable to get any food or drink down because she couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor. When she finally did, the doctor said, “Oh you don’t need me, you need a specialist.” That took another two weeks until she got a pill that corrected the problem.
Really, is this what we want?
Huh. Her sister-in-law vomited “continuously” for two and a half months straight, and during that 74-day period was “unable to get any food or drink down.”
Now, I’m not sure how it works in Canada, but in America, if you don’t drink for 74 days, you die. Sometime in the first week (while you can go several weeks without food, you really can’t go more than a few days, to a week, without water).
And that’s not even counting someone who’s “vomiting continuously” for the entire 74 days – they’d be significantly more dehydrated, and presumably would perish even more quickly. But suffice it to say, no one stops eating and drinking for 74 days, vomiting continuously the entire time, and survives to tell Suzanne Somers about it.
Since we’re all about Canada in this story, let’s hear from the CBC on the subject:
In general terms, the human body can go two to three days without water and, it is often said in survival guides, 30 to 40 days without food of any kind.
That’s a tad short of 74 days.
Oh, but why stop there. I asked a real American medical doctor about Suzanne Somers’ claim that her sister-in-law lived for 60 days on no food or water, vomiting continuously the entire two month period. Here’s what the MD had to say:
She’s exaggerating. Her sister-in-law couldn’t have survived 60 days “without being able to get anything down.” She’d have died of dehydration, would have had massive electrolyte imbalance, would have probably developed Boerhaave’s syndrome (ruptured esophagus) from that much vomiting, probably at some point would have aspirated and either choked to death on vomit or developed aspiration pneumonia.
Also, that much vomiting could have caused other things, like rupturing blood vessels in esophagus, stomach, possibly brain. If that didn’t kill her, not getting food for 60 days? She’d go into ketosis which could be fatal and she’d also starve to death.
And there are even more ways that her sister-in-law would probably be dead from that phony ordeal. Dehydration would lead to major organ failure (e.g., kidneys), electrolyte imbalance would cause cardiac arrhythmias, and more.
And if she was that sick, why didn’t she go to an ER? What kind of self-destructive moron would/could spend 60 days in bed, horribly ill waiting for one doctor? If she couldn’t see “her” doctor, she could have seen another or gone to a clinic, urgicare, ER or called 911. Even if there were only one doctor in town, she could have had someone drive her somewhere else to see one. If she were vomiting and starving for that long, no doctor would have sent her to a specialist. He’d have taken a quick look and called 911 to get her to the nearest ER stat.
Somers is channeling Chrissy and Michele Bachmann.
Let’s delve further into this matter of someone who’s been vomiting for 60 days, and hasn’t eaten or drunk anything in two months, not being able to see any doctor at all in Canada the entire time. That sounded a bit odd to me, so since I’m a Canadian health care expert too – I have Canadian Twitter followers! – I decided to ask my Twitter-in-laws if it’s true that you can wait two months to see a doctor in Canada when you’re deathly ill. Here’s what they told me:
@aravosis specialists, yes. Or your “family doctor” If they dont have any openings. But you can get healthcare and see a doctor at all times
— Kyle JL (@kyjl89) October 28, 2013
In other words, you might wait weeks, or even months to see a specialist – like when I called a dermatologist in Washington, DC and told them I had a mole that was causing me concern, and they told me the next available appointment was in two months. And I have an expensive PPO plan.
But, in Canada, if you don’t care which doctor you see, you can see one immediately. Just like in America.
(And even here in the US, you’d have to beg to get a same-day appointment in your doctor’s office, even to see some other doctor in the practice, unless you have an HMO, and even then you’re not getting the doctor of your choice.)
Here’s another Tweet from Canada:
Again, if you choose the doctor you want to see, you might have to wait to see them, but if you don’t care which doctor you see in the practice, you can see them sooner. Just like my primary care physician, who I adore, but who is usually booked about 3 weeks out, so I can either wait to see him, or go now to someone else in his practice. And here are a few more:
Right, so the way it works in Canada sounds exactly like it works in America. If you have a specific doctor in mind, you’ll likely wait several weeks to see them (and if they’re a dermatologist, months). But if you don’t mind which doctor you see, you can come in today, especially if you’ve been vomiting for 60 days continuously.
Oh, and here’s another crazy idea, if you’ve been vomiting continuously for 60 days, and haven’t eaten or had anything to drink is two months – go to a freaking emergency room:
The rest of Somers’ article is equally idiotic, including her claim that “all” we’ve heard about, since the Obamacare exchanges launched, is people finding that their health care prices have doubled and tripled. Well, yeah, if you watch Fox News I’m sure that is “all” you’ve heard. If, like the rest of America, you actually went out and got the facts, you’d find out that “all you are hearing on the news” is not “how everyone’s premiums are doubling and tripling.”
My monthly premiums will likely go down about $40 a month (and I’ll have prescription drug coverage which I’ve never really had before in any meaningful way).
Or if you’re my friend Tracy Russo, your premiums are being cut in half.
So I cry “bull” on Suzanne Somer’s entire piece in the Wall Street Journal, from her sob story about her amazing death-defying Canadian sister-in-law who ought to join the circus, to her bizarre claim that no one has seen lower monthly premiums with the Obamacare exchanges.
PS In tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, Mr. Roper explains why immigration reform is totally gay: