Category Archives: England

Gordon Brown Calls On America To Repeal DADT, Calls UK LGBT Soldiers ‘The Pride Of Our Country

Posted by: Betsm

Gordon Brown speaks at reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

ThinkProgress/Amanda Turkel~As conservatives in the United States try to argue that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) would lead to all sorts of horrors like an increase in “body art,” natural disasters, and a reinstatement of the draft, British citizens are serving comfortably alongside openly gay men and women. Yesterday at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate February’s LGBT History Month, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown underscored the country’s more progressive position. Brown singled out the lesbians, gays and bisexuals from the Army, Navy and Air Force who attended the event in uniform. He told them: “You are the pride of our country and we thank you very much. We know this debate continues in America today. I would say to people who still favour ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, look at our experience in Britain.”

Brown also hosted a reception for LGBT History Month last year, when he slammed California’s Prop. 8 as “unacceptable.”

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Gordon Brown hosts a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

Gordon Brown hosts a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

Gordon Brown promises gay people they ‘will not have to walk alone

Pink News/Jessica Green~Prime minister Gordon Brown paid tribute last night to gay and lesbian members of the armed forces at a reception to mark the contribution of the LGBT community for Britain.

He told guests at 10 Downing Street, including a number of gay servicemembers, that there was a “debt of gratitude we can never fully repay”.

He said that the pride they felt was “nothing compared to the pride we feel in them”.

Mr Brown cited the current struggle in the US to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, saying he knew debate on the issue continued.

In 2009, for the first LGBT reception at Downing Street, Mr Brown said that the ban on gay marriage in California was “unacceptable”.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the British military allowing out gay soldiers.

Mr Brown said: “I promise you that no one need walk the road to equality alone again.”

He also listed the achievements made for gay equality in the last ten years, such as gay adoption and fertility rights for lesbians, saying people had warned these things could not be done.
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Academy Award® Nominated: Bright Star

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy


London 1818: a secret love affair begins between 23 year-old English poet, John Keats (Ben Whishaw), and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), an out-spoken student of high fashion. This unlikely pair begin at odds, he thinking her a stylish minx, while she was unimpressed not only by his poetry but also by literature in general.

However, when Fanny heard that Keats was nursing his seriously ill younger brother, her efforts to help touched Keats and when she asked him to teach her about poetry he agreed. The poetry soon became a romantic remedy that worked not only to sort their differences, but also to fuel an impassioned love affair.

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The cast includes: Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish, Kerry Fox, Paul Schneider, Edie Martin, Thomas Sangster, Gerard Monaco, Antonia Campbell-Huges, Samuel Roukin, and Amanda Hale

Reviews

IMDB member from England
“I saw this film tonight, and in my eyes, it is a perfect film. Beautifully acted by all involved, (several times during the film I found myself thinking ‘Abby Cornish is amazing!”, despite not being a huge fan before), and stunningly shot, it contains some of the most beautifully cinematic scenes i have ever seen committed to film. Campion does a wonderful job of communicating Fanny’ emotional state through the composition, particularly in one scene where the wind is blowing the curtain in her bedroom. The light and colour are fresh and gorgeous and the costumes and design add to the overall piece without being distracting, which is just what you want from a period piece.

But in the end, it is above all a wonderful story, well told. A deeply romantic tale, the story of Fanny and Keats could easily have become a mawkish, overly sentimental piece. But through her wonderfully naturalistic dialogue, her use of humour and light touch, and her restrained story telling (she never lets a scene go on one line too long) Jane Campion has created a heart wrenching film which I cannot fault. The characters are real and fully rounded, you feel the joys and the pain with them, and where I think she really succeeds is by making their love affair extraordinary and yet at the same time deeply ordinary. It stirred up my own personal experiences of love and loss and you would have to have a heart of stone not to shed a tear at the end. Lovely lovely film, and what cinema should be all about.”

Did You Know?

The Hyde House and Estate in Hyde, Bedfordshire substituted for the Keats House in Hampstead. Jane Campion decided that the Keats House (also known as Wentworth Place) was too small and “a little bit fusty“.

The film shot for one day in Rome. Keats’ funeral procession was the last scene to be filmed and the only scene of the film not shot in the UK.

One Nomination

Best in Costume Design

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Academy Award® Nominated: An Education

Posted by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy


It’s 1961 and attractive, bright 16-year-old schoolgirl, Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is poised on the brink of womanhood, dreaming of a rarefied, Gauloise-scented existence as she sings along to Juliette Greco in her Twickenham bedroom. Stifled by the tedium of adolescent routine, Jenny can’t wait for adult life to begin. Meanwhile, she’s a diligent student, excelling in every subject except the Latin that her father is convinced will land her the place she dreams of at Oxford University.

One rainy day, her suburban life is upended by the arrival of an unsuitable suitor, 30-ish David (Peter Sarsgaard). Urbane and witty, David instantly unseats Jenny’s stammering schoolboy admirer, Graham (Matthew Beard). To her frank amazement, he even manages to charm her conservative parents Jack (Alfred Molina) and Marjorie (Cara Seymour), and effortlessly overcomes any instinctive objections to their daughter’s older, Jewish suitor.

Very quickly, David introduces Jenny to a glittering new world of classical concerts and late-night suppers with his attractive friend and business partner, Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Danny’s girlfriend, the beautiful but vacuous Helen (Rosamund Pike). David replaces Jenny’s traditional education with his own version, picking her up from school in his Bristol roadster and whisking her off to art auctions and smoky clubs.

Just as the family’s long-held dream of getting their brilliant daughter into Oxford seems within reach, Jenny is tempted by another kind of life.

Will David be the making of Jenny or her undoing?

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The cast includes: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson, Cara Seymour, Matthew Beard, and Sally Hawkins

Reviews

IMDB member from Canada
“Overall, well done. The talented Carey Mulligan is definitely someone to watch as her career develops. She plays her role as mature, smart and savvy — almost a bit more than was believable, considering the circumstances of the character. Her suave and worldly love interest is well played by Peter Sarsgaard, and the knot in your gut tightens as the story unfolds and you sense where it’s heading. I loved the way Rosamund Pike played the girlfriend of Sarsgaard’s business partner. Both she and the mother seemed to illustrate the razor’s edge walked by women of the time who had to smile and pretend everything was fine even when it wasn’t. So much of this movie shows women’s struggle at many levels to claim choices for themselves that didn’t involve sacrificing their intelligence, dignity, dreams or humanity. I think the story’s initially smooth momentum becomes a bit choppy in the latter part of the film, which seemed not quite sure how to wrap up the story to a conclusion. Despite some shortcomings, the film is still definitely worth seeing.”

Did You Know?

Director Lone Scherfig says she experimented with giving the actors options during scenes. For instance, she told Peter Sarsgaard that if he felt like it he could start a conversation with an extra playing a doorman in one scene despite there not being any written dialogue.

Carey Mulligan mentioned in an interview at the Sundance Film Festival that some of the most enjoyable moments of filming where when there were actors who only came in for a day or so, like Sally Hawkins and Emma Thompson, and she particularly enjoyed the four scenes she shot with the latter, whom she described as being “amazing“, and called her acting “brilliant“.

Three Nominations

Best Motion Picture
Best Actress ~ Carey Mulligan
Best in Adapted Screenplay

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Nominated for Best Actress ~ Carey Mulligan ~An Education

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy

Carey MulliganTwenty-two years old at the time of shooting An Education, Carey Mulligan had previously appeared in two feature films: And When Did You Last See Your Father? directed by Anand Tucker and Pride & Prejudice, directed by Joe Wright. She will soon be seen in Jim Sheridan’s Brothers, and also The Greatest, directed by Shana Feste and co-starring Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan.
Her television credits include “My Boy Jack,” directed by Brian Kirk (Ecosse Films); “Doctor Who: Blink” (BBC Television); “Northanger Abbey” (Granada Television) and “The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard” (Kudos Productions).

Carey Mulligan in An Education

Carey Mulligan in An Education

On stage, Mulligan most recently appeared as the ingénue Nina in the Broadway transfer of Ian Rickson’s production of The Seagull, opposite her An Education costar Peter Sarsgaard. She had already won glowing notices for her performance in the show’s original London production, co-starring Kristin Scott-Thomas and Chiwetel Ejiofor at the Royal Court. She has also appeared in The Hypochondriac at the Almeida; Forty Winks at the Royal Court and Tower Block Dreams at the Riverside.

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Academy Award® Nominated: The Young Victoria

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy


From Martin Scorsese & the makers of Gosford Park and The Departed, comes the story of Queen Victoria’s early rise to power, focusing on her early reign in the 1830s. From an object of a royal power-struggle in, to her romantic courtship and legendary marriage to Prince Albert, Emily Blunt (Devil Wears Prada) gives a stunning performance as The Young Victoria.

Packed with drama, romance, political intrigue, breath-taking cinematography and featuring an outstanding British cast including Jim Broadbent, Mark Strong, Paul Bettany and Miranda Richardson and Rupert Friend.

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The cast includes: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, Thomas Kretschmann, Mark Strong and Jesper Christensen

44D’s Reviews

Audiegrl
“I’m not sure what I initially expected from this film, but it did exceed my expectations. In visualizing Queen Victoria, it was always as a very plump and stern-looking older woman in a daguerreotype; the exact opposite of Emily Blunt’s head-strong and spirited portrayal of a young Victoria. Blunt did a wonderful job of breathing life into this character. Plus as with many historical films set in England, the cinematography and costumes were simply amazing. Anyone interested in history and a peek into the private lives of the Royals will enjoy this film.”

Did You Know?

Producer Sarah Ferguson’s daughter, Princess Beatrice of York, has a small role in the film as one of Victoria’s ladies in waiting. Beatrice is a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

The costumes that Emily Blunt wore were insured for £10,000 each.

Many of the interior scenes were filmed at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. The bed used in the honeymoon scene was slept in by the real Queen Victoria when she visited the castle in 1843. The bedroom is so small that all the cameras had to be placed outside the windows.

Three Nominations

Best Art Direction
Best in Costume Design
Best Makeup

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Academy Award® Nominated: Sherlock Holmes

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy

After finally catching serial killer and occult “sorcerer” Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner’s new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic – and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler.

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Credits

Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guy Ritchie
Producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joel Silver, Susan Downey, Lionel Wigram, Dan Lin
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Philippe Rousselot
Art Direction . . . . Niall Moroney, Matthew Gray, Nick Gottschalk, James Foster
Score . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hans Zimmer

The cast includes: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Robert Maillet, Geraldine James, Kelly Reilly and Hans Matheson

44D’s Reviews

Audiegrl
“This was a fun movie to watch. The crime-solving duo of Sherlock Homes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) was portrayed as more of a collaboration and partnership, than that of the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce combo that we all grew up on. They enjoyed a natural chemistry and really seemed to play off each other and have fun with the roles. Downey used the English accent he learned from playing Charlie Chaplin to great effect, and seemed at home in the character of Holmes. As much as the movie was about solving a heinous and diabolical crime, it was equally about their friendship. I really enjoyed seeing Holmes’ quirky neurotic side, which was a easy task for Downey. ‘This’ Sherlock Homes was made for him.”

Did You Know?

Robert Maillet accidentally knocked out Robert Downey Jr. while filming a fight scene.

The set for Sherlock Holmes’s home in this film was previously used as Sirius Black’s home in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).

Watson’s line to Holmes, “You know that what you’re drinking is for eye surgery,” is an obscure reference to Holmes’s cocaine usage. In the Sherlock Holmes novel, “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” Watson laments that the cocaine mixture that Holmes was addicted to was originally meant as a topical anesthetic for eye surgery.

Two Nominations

Best Art Direction
Best in Music (Original Score)

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British Boy, Charlie Simpson Age 7, Raises $240,000 for Haiti Relief

Posted by: BuellBoy

Charlie Simpson

Simpson's efforts have been described as 'bold' and 'innovative' by Unicef's UK executive director.

He’s no Wyclef Jean or George Clooney, but that hasn’t stopped seven-year-old Charlie Simpson from raising more than $240,000 (£150,000) for the Haiti earthquake. Simpson from Fulham, west London had hoped to raise just £500 for UNICEF’s earthquake appeal by cycling eight kilometers (five miles)around a local park.

Charlie Simpson

Charlie Simpson

My name is Charlie Simpson. I want to do a sponsored bike ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives,” said Simpson on his JustGiving page, a fundraising site which launched his efforts.

I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti,” he said.

Donate to Charlie Simpson’s Haiti fundraising page

And with that simple call, messages of support flooded the site.

Charlie's helpful little sister

Charlie's helpful little sister

Such a big heart for a young boy, you’re a little star!” wrote one supporter. “Well done Charlie. A real celebrity,” said another. More donations began pouring in after the story caught the attention of the British media — with many cheering Simpson past the £100,000 mark.

Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is spreading the message. His “Downing Street” Twitter alias said: “Amazed by response to the great fundraising efforts of 7 yr old Charlie Simpson for the people of Haiti.”

David Bull, UNICEF’s UK executive director described Simpson’s efforts as “very bold and innovative.” “It shows he connects with and not only understands what children his own age must be going through in Haiti,” Bull said in a press statement.

The Simpson family

The Simpson family

The little seed — his idea — that he has planted has grown rapidly and his is a place well deserved in the humanitarian world. On behalf of the many children in Haiti, I thank Charlie for his effort.”

Money raised by Simpson will go towards UNICEF’s Haiti Earthquake Children’s Appeal which will provide water, sanitation, education, nutrition as well as support child protection.

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Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” Video highlights

Thanks to everyone who joined us for a night of great music and a show of support for the people of Haiti

Posted by: Audiegrl

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President Obama Signs Legislation

President Obama Signs Legislation Providing Immediate Tax Deductions for Haiti Charitable Contributions January 22, 2010.

President Obama Is Making It Easier for Americans to Support Haiti
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In the days since the earthquake in Haiti, Americans have shown their generosity with millions of dollars in donations. Tonight, President Obama signed a bill into law that makes it easier to give. This legislation will allow taxpayers to receive the tax benefit from donations made to the Haiti effort in this tax season, rather than having to wait until they file their 2010 tax returns next year. Specifically, cash donations to charities for the Haitian relief effort given after January 11 and before March 1 of this year may be treated as if the contribution was made on December 31 of last year so that the contribution can be deducted from 2009 income. This measure applies to monetary donations, not goods or services.


Clinton Bush Haiti Relief FundUNICEFAmerican Red Cross

WFP:  World Food ProgrammePartners In Health Oxfam America
Yéle Haiti

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Update of Performers and Participants in the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief Telethon

Posted by: Audiegrl

click here for video highlights from the show: 44-D

Friday’s multi-network “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” telethon will feature Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Stewart, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks, Robert Pattinson, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Muhammad Ali, former President Bill Clinton and more than 100 of the biggest names in film, television and music.

The telethon, will air commercial-free across MTV, VH1, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO, CMT, PBS, TNT, Showtime, Comedy Central, Bravo, E! Entertainment Network, National Geographic Channel, Oxygen, G4, Centric, Current TV, Fuse, MLB Network, Epix, Palladia, SoapNet, Style, Discovery Health and Planet Green. Canada’s CTV, CBC Television, Global Television and MuchMusic also will air “Hope for Haiti,” as will BET International, CNN International, National Geographic and MTV Networks International, making the event available in 640 million homes worldwide. ‘Hope for Haiti Now‘ will be the first U.S.-based telethon airing on MTV in China. The event will also be live streamed online across sites including YouTube, Hulu, MySpace, Fancast, AOL, MSN.com, Yahoo, Bing.com, BET.com, CNN.com, MTV.com,VH1.com, and Rhapsody and on mobile via Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and FloTV. Facebook and Twitter are the official social-media partners for the telethon.

All donations will benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, Red Cross, UNICEF and Wyclef’s Yele Haiti foundation. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and United Nations World Food Programme will also benefit from the telethon’s efforts, as aid will be split evenly among each organization’s relief programs for the ravaged island.


Clinton Bush Haiti Relief FundUNICEFAmerican Red Cross

WFP:  World Food ProgrammePartners In Health Oxfam America
Yéle Haiti

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A statement released Thursday detailed which musical artists would be featured from each location:

New York City, NY

  • Wyclef Jean, hosting
  • Madonna
  • Sting
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Shakira

Los Angeles, CA

  • George Clooney, hosting
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Alicia Keys
  • Dave Matthews
  • John Legend
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Taylor Swift
  • Emeline Michel
  • Group performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

London, England

  • Beyoncé
  • Coldplay
  • Group performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna

Port au Prince, Haiti

  • Anderson Cooper, hosting

People can start donating even before the start of the 8 p.m. EST concert via phone and text.

The two-hour telethon will be shown on all the major networks and a host of other channels. It will be broadcast from New York, London, Los Angeles and Haiti.

Hope for Haiti Now” will begin accepting donations at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT on Friday, January 22 via the following methods:

Online: www.hopeforhaitinow.org
Phone: 877-99-HAITI
Text: Text “GIVE” to 50555
Mail: Hope For Haiti Now Fund, Entertainment Industry Foundation, 1201 West 5th Street, Suite T-700, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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Cancer Treatment and Health Care Reform

Blogged by: BarbaraOBrien1

One argument you may hear against health care reform concerns cancer survival rates. The United States has higher cancer survivor rates than countries with national health care systems, we’re told. Doesn’t this mean we should keep what we’ve got and not change it?

Certainly cancer survival rates are a critical issue for people suffering from the deadly lung mesothelioma cancer. So let’s look at this claim and see if there is any substance to it.

First, it’s important to understand that “cancer survival rate” doesn’t mean the rate of people who are cured of a cancer. The cancer survival rate is the percentage of people who survive a certain type of cancer for a specific amount of time, usually five years after diagnosis.

For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, the survivor rate of prostate cancer in the United States is 98 percent. This means that 98 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive five years later. However, this statistic does not tell us whether the men who have survived for five years still have cancer or what number of them may die from it eventually.

Misunderstanding of the term “survivor rate” sometimes is exploited to make misleading claims. For example, in 2007 a pharmaceutical company promoting a drug used to treat colon cancer released statistics showing superior survival rates for its drug over other treatments. Some journalists who used this data in their reporting assumed it meant that the people who survived were cured of cancer, and they wrote that the drug “saved lives.” The drug did extend the lives of of patients, on average by a few months. However, the mortality rate for people who used this drug — meaning the rate of patients who died of the disease — was not improved.

But bloggers and editorial writers who oppose health care reform seized these stories about “saving lives,” noting that this wondrous drug was available in the United States for at least a year before it was in use in Great Britain. Further, Britain has lower cancer survival rates than the U.S. This proved, they said, the superiority of U.S. health care over “socialist” countries.

This is one way propagandists use data to argue that health care in the United States is superior to countries with government-funded health care systems. They selectively compare the most favorable data from the United States with data from the nations least successful at treating cancer. A favorite “comparison” country is Great Britain, whose underfunded National Health Service is struggling.

It is true that the United States compares very well in the area of cancer survival rates, but other countries with national health care systems have similar results.

For example, in 2008 the British medical journal Lancet Oncology published a widely hailed study comparing cancer survival rates in 31 countries. Called the CONCORD study, the researchers found that United States has the highest survival rates for breast and prostate cancer. However, Japan has the highest survival for colon and rectal cancers in men, and France has the highest survival for colon and rectal cancers in women. Canada and Australia also ranked relatively high for most cancers. The differences in the survival data for these “best” countries is very small, and is possibly caused by discrepancies in reporting of data and not the treatment result itself.

And it should be noted that Japan, France, Canada and Australia all have government-funded national health care systems. So, there is no reason to assume that changing the way health care is funded in the U.S. would reduce the quality of cancer care.

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