Archives for July 2009

Life Expectancy and Health Care Plans

House Democrats' Health Plan.

Organizational Chart of the House Democrats’ Health Plan. Click to enlarge. Courtesy Rep. John Boehner

Health Care Debate

There has been considerable debate over health care of late and all manner of statistics presented to bolster certain points of view. I have read through some of this material but in the end I still hold the same ideas as I have held for years. I like the health care I have and I believe many millions feel the same way about their health care. Hence my view is that the answer to our current system is not a massive disruption but a gradual change to build on what works and implement improvements that are tried and tested over time.

I’ve been thinking about some wild statements that have been made that claim that the “U.S. health care system is broken” and that we should have “health care delivered the same way as countries like the United Kingdom and Canada.” I lived in England for 28 years so I am aware of and experienced health care there. I’ve lived in the U.S. for over 28 years and have had occasion to partake of health care in this fine nation. As I degenerate into greater decrepitude no doubt I will need even more health care in the future.

Life Expectancy

Now, if the U.S. health care system is so sick and socialized medicine so superior, one would think a large discrepancy would show up in life expectancy tables. Examining the CIA World Factbook 2008 estimates we find that in the United Kingdom life expectancy at birth is 78.7 years. For the U.S. the number is 78.06 years. Less than eight months difference. The U.S. stacks up very well considering that per capita violence, obesity, drunk driving, and illegal drug use is probably much higher than among Brits. Of course the United Kingdom does have soccer hooliganism that probably keeps their life expectancy down whereas the U.S. has millions of its population uninsured. I can only conclude that that these legions of uninsured are getting health care somewhere and that English soccer fans don’t hurt the national life expectancy as much as first thought.

Of course Canada weighs in with a healthy life expectancy of 80.34 years. Maybe we should copy their health care model. While we are immersed in our expectancy tables let us not stop at Canada but cast our eyes higher. Macau has the greatest life expectancy with 84.379 years. Notice the extra decimal place of accuracy in the years — Macau likes to get every last hour of life out of their citizens. Where is Macau? According to Wikipedia, Macau is a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province in the north and facing the South China Sea in the east and south.


So perhaps we should adopt the Macau Healthcare Model or MHM and we will all live longer. Macau is served by one major public hospital, one major private hospital, a university hospital, and numerous health centers providing free basic medical care. Consultation in traditional Chinese medicine is also available (this must be what gives them the extra edge in life expectancy). The Health Bureau is responsible for coordinating the activities between the public and private organizations in the area of public health. The Macau Centre for Disease Control and Prevention monitors the operation of hospitals, health centers, and the blood transfusion center. It also handles the organization of care and prevention of diseases affecting the population, sets guidelines for hospitals and private health care providers, and issues licenses.

Should we adopt the MHM? On reflection I will stay with my 76 years of life expectancy and forgo those extra eight years. I am just too old and I am sick of politicians saying I have to change my health care that is working very well thank you. And for all those hankering for a MHM or the equivalent, why not scoot on over to the United Kingdom and grab yourself an extra eight months of life expectancy. Steer clear of the soccer hooligans and be sure to send me a postcard.

Related Articles

Mr. President, what’s the rush? — Mitt Romney writing in USA Today.
List of countries by life expectancy
Low Life Expectancy in the United States: Is the Health Care System at Fault? — Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania

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Missionary Dan Email #25 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s twenty fifth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Flooding in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.

Flooding in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.

Hello From Rainy Mongolia

Wow! Sarah has a neat hair cut. Everyone looks way happy and well. Bryson is getting really big. It sounds like Bear Lake was lots of fun as well.


This week was quite an adventure. There was a huge rainstorm on Tuesday that flooded all the streets etc. We were teaching a lesson and the rain on the roof was so loud that we had to stop teaching for about 30 minutes. Luckily the bishop came with us to do work that day so we were able to escape getting soaked by the rain by riding in his car. The damage wasn’t too bad to the area and it is mostly back to normal now. I really like the picture I snapped of the fat man standing majestically in front of the flooded parking lot.

A Flood in Mongolia.
A Flood in Mongolia.

Missionary Work

I made a funny mistake when I called one of our investigators. When you call people you usually say, “Did you sleep well?” or “How did you sleep?” I accidentally added one letter and asked him, “Did you have a nice life?” We had a good laugh over that. Our investigator didn’t seem to notice that’s what I said. One of our members brought a nonmember friend to church. That is probably one of the best things members can do for missionaries. It was fun to meet her and talk to her. Missionary work continues on. I know it is Heavenly Father’s work and He really loves and helps all of His children.

To Melissa

I’m not sure I have many suggestions. Studying all the time was hard and made my head hurt but after awhile I got used to it. Steven, Jake, and Paul will know better suggestions for the language. I think it somewhat links to English so you can learn it by association with English words. There are some cool bikes to ride up on the third floor of the gym [of the MTC]. Oh and the far right part of the cafeteria has left-overs from previous meals. (That took me a long time to find :) ). Tell him to work hard and just keep going. He is doing great!

To Jason

Hey Jason! I’m doing great thanks for the comment. No I haven’t served in Darhan but if I do I’ll say “Hi” to your companions. That is way awesome that you had Mongolian companions that were brothers even. It would be way cool to meet them and tell them that I know you. Thanks again!

Love, Elder Willoughby

Related Articles

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Missionary Dan Email #24 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Mongolian baby.

Mongolian baby. Photo by Daniel.

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s twenty fourth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

It’s exciting that Derek and Sarah are coming. Speaking of Derek… that reminds me. Every time I show the Mongolians the picture of Bryson they mention about how big his eyes are. They say literally “He scary big eyes with,” which means he has really big eyes. It always makes me laugh. I’ve been meaning to say that for like 2 months now.

This week I got to build my first ger. That was fun to see how it was done and stuff. It is way cool to see how they put their houses together and how they can move the entire thing in about 3 to 4 hours. I didn’t get any cool pictures of it so next time I make one I’ll do better at that. I had the fun job of standing in the middle and holding up the pole while everyone put in the roof support things. It’s hard to explain. Anyway it was fun.

Lots of our less active members came to church yesterday. That was exciting as it always is to see them come. We have other investigators progressing towards baptism. Within the next 3 weeks or so they should be ready. Also the bishop really liked the ward member list my companion and I finished up this week. He said it will be very useful as did a member of the Stake Presidency.

I this week through out Mongolian through spoke. It to me good was. To me better speaking Mongolian through became. Because I good goals accomplished. This week through out continue more good goals will do. I joy with. I Book of Mormon from reading better accent receive can. I language rules (grammar) better study will. Sometimes to me confuse become but to me better speak becoming. Maybe to Jake and Paul Mongolian through teach will I. Language this like is kind of. Joy with! (bye) Ha ha. That fun with was.

To Mom

I decided that you can wait till my birthday to send a package. :) I don’t need anything. Thanks for the great letters you write. How is Byron doing? When does he leave? What is his address?

Love, Elder Willoughby

Related Articles

List of Daniel’s missionary posts.
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Missionary Dan Email #23 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s twenty third email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Nadaam Holiday..

Nadaam — the three games of men: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery.

Missionary Work

Thanks for all the emails! They are really exciting to read. The pictures are great as well. Thanks again. This week was great. My new companion Elder Henson is teaching me lots of great things and I’ve been accomplishing some great language goals. We had a good lesson with our new member’s husband. He isn’t a member yet but is working and improving. He has been struggling with alcohol so we are helping him to see the negative affects of it. He was really good to come to a fireside with his family. Later we set some goals with him on how he wants to improve. It was great and we felt the Spirit as we taught him.

We also have been working on contacting every member in the branch. With each missionary companionship contacting 10 or so members a week we’ll be able to contact them all this half transfer. It is always fun to go member searching to find out where they are. It is a big project but will be very helpful for the new bishop once completed.

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Missionary Dan Email #22 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s twenty second email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Independence Day in Mongolia.

Independence Day in Mongolia. Daniel center.

Independence Day

Looks like the parade was cool — we had our own little one at the American embassy. We went there on the fourth of July and had a party. They had hamburgers and hot dogs which is the classic meal for that day. I saw some of the elders from my MTC group and got a picture. It was transfers that day also and I got a new companion. His name is Elder Henson, he is from Michigan and is really cool. We have a lot of things in common and he has taught me a lot of things already. It is helpful for me to have him explain parts of the language and give some tips and advice. I actually knew him well before because his apartment is basically in the same place as mine and we talked about stuff.

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Kaysville Independence Day Parade

Yesterday we watched the Kaysville / Fruit Heights Independence Day Parade. The weather was perfect, so cool. There were ominous dark clouds overhead but they didn’t rain on our parade. Just before the parade started four F-16s from Hill Air Force Base flew low overhead to loud applause from the large crowd.

Three of my children, Sarah, Paul, and Jake, were in the Davis High marching band when they attended high school. Also my niece Shauna and son-in-law Derek.

If you didn’t see the parade here are a few photographs of what we experienced.

Davis County Sheriff Officer

Davis County Sheriff Officer.

A Picture of the Past wagon

A Picture of the Past wagon. This is my favorite of the parade.

Family at the parade

Front: Adelaide, Steven, Paul, Shauna. Middle: Cheryl, Ashton, Susan, Kent. Rear: Melissa, Aurora, Jill, Connie, Mark.

Jill and Aurora

Jill and Aurora.

Help Rescue America Declaration

Help Rescue America Declaration of Liberty.

LDS Business College float

LDS Business College float.

Davis County Sheriff’s Posse Queen and First Princess.

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Webcam Crawling

Bryson webcam crawling

Bryson webcam crawling

The webcam is a marvelous device. Our webcam is regularly in use as we communicate with Sarah in Keller, Texas. This had me wondering when and where the first webcam was used.

The First Webcam

The Trojan Room coffee pot was the inspiration for the world’s first webcam installed on a local network in 1991. The coffee pot was located in the so-called Trojan Room within the old Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The webcam was created to help people working in other parts of the building avoid pointless trips to the coffee room by providing, on the user’s desktop computer, a live 128×128 grayscale picture of the state of the coffee pot. On August 22, 2001, the camera was finally switched off.

Faraway Grandchild

Today we saw Bryson crawling for the first time over the webcam. That was a marvelous sight. Jill heavily praised Bryson, which brings a smile to his face. This elicits more praise from Jill which brings forth another smile from Bryson. I rather think this would continue all day long if not for Sarah saying, “OK, time to go.” And this is another great thing about the webcam. Because it is so easy to break off a conversation it makes it easier to start one, knowing you can sign off in an instant.

With five children it was rather inevitable that at least one would move away. On the bright side it did give me a reason to travel. Jill doesn’t need a reason to travel. She will go anywhere, any time, except to go to the kitchen to get me a snack — I have to do that myself. All I need now is a webcam on the chips so that I can cut down on wasted trips.

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