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medicine

Over The Moon: How Margaret Cho helped Ken Jeong choose comedy over medicine

Ken Jeong has had many scene-stealing roles in his second career, including that star-making turn in The Hangover trilogy and as the anarchic Chang in Community.

And while many know that he was a real-life doctor specialising in internal medicine while doing stand-up comedy on the side before choosing acting full-time in 2006, what they may not know is that it was fellow Asian-American comic Margaret Cho who really encouraged him.

“I was inspired by Margaret. I got my start in comedy because of Margaret,” Jeong told news.com.au. “When I was in medical school and being her opening act at university inspired me to do this full-time. I would always ask Margaret, ‘Should I quit being a doctor? Should I quit medicine?’.

“I was so tortured, and I know I annoyed her. And she was so patient with me and so loving. It was just like a sibling – and it got me through my own internal confidence crises.

“Margaret really is a pioneer in so many ways. Every Asian-American comedian owes a debt of gratitude to Margaret. Also, when I developed my own show, Dr Ken, I had Margaret as my character’s sister for a reason.”

Jeong and Cho reunite this week in Netflix movie Over The Moon, an animated film which tells a modern story based on an ancient Chinese legend about moon goddess Chang’e and her significance to Chinese cultures that celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Ken Jeong used to be a doctor before he turned to acting
media_cameraKen Jeong used to be a doctor before he turned to acting
Margaret Cho has been performing comedy since the early 1990s
media_cameraMargaret Cho has been performing comedy since the early 1990s

Jeong voices a mythical moon creature named Gobi, who plays guide to young heroine Fei Fei while Cho voices one of Fei Fei’s aunts.

The film drops on Netflix this week and also features the voice talents of John Cho, Philippa Soo, Sandra Oh, Kimiko Glenn and newcomer Cathy Yan.

Over The Moon is an often strange, often tender and often musical movie pitched at families, but for the Asian diaspora community, it’ll have extra resonance.

Cho told news.com.au that she signed on for the role because it was “a beautiful story” that moved her while Jeong identified the film as part of a wave of change when it comes to Asian-American representation in Hollywood.

“I think the script and the story was so novel, and then also finding it’s an all Asian-American cast – like my dear friend Margaret and then John Cho, Phillipa Soo from Hamilton, Cathy Yan who really is a centrepiece of this movie,” Jeong said. “So you have this incredible Asian-American talent and on the heels of Crazy Rich Asians, Searching, Tigertail and Always Be My Maybe, there is like a wave. And it’s really nice to have that wave extend to the world of animation.”

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Cho, who has been steadily working for almost 30 years, has been part of that wave when it was barely a trickle. She starred

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health

What Trump Has Done to Change the Health Care System and How That Has Helped Battle COVID-19

Our health-care system is experiencing rapid, powerful change, far more consequential than is generally recognized. Although these changes are welcomed by many in the health-policy community (see our assessment a year ago), even those who applaud them have been surprised at their speed and impact.

What follows is a brief overview of what the Trump administration has done to reform the health-care system — in some cases, with the compliant help of Congress. The vision behind the Trump reforms can be found in Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition. This 124-page Health and Human Services document from 2018 argues that the most serious problems in health care arise because of government failure, not market failure.

In pursuing its vision, the administration has aggressively pursued its options under current law. We now need Congress to make the revolution complete.

Virtual Medicine. The ability to deliver medical care remotely is growing by leaps and bounds. It promises to lower medical costs, increase quality, and reduce the time and travel cost of patient care. For example, most people in hospital emergency rooms don’t really need to be there. With a phone or a computer and an app or two, many of them could be examined and triaged in their own homes.

The benefits of telehealth have been known for a long time. Yet as we entered 2020, it was illegal (by act of Congress) for Medicare doctors to consult with their patients by phone or email, except in rare circumstances. Even non-Medicare patients were constrained. For example, it wasn’t clear if visual communication by Zoom or FaceTime satisfied the federal government’s privacy regulations. While some state governments were clearing away barriers, progress was incremental and uneven.

Two things made radical change possible: COVID-19 and the Trump administration. Sweeping away the regulatory barriers to telehealth was not a simple act. There are roughly 7,500 procedures that Medicare pays doctors to do. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had to sort through those and determine which were candidates for virtual medicine and which were not. There were also the questions of whether a virtual visit would pay doctors the same as an office visit, and whether an audio visit would pay the same as an audio/visual visit.

Fortunately, CMS had already been sorting through those problems in the first three years of the Trump administration, for example allowing Medicare patients to use telehealth to determine if an office visit was necessary and allowing patients to send medical pictures to their physicians electronically. CMS also allowed great leeway for telehealth in the Medicare Advantage program. So when COVID struck, the administration was ready. Congress was only too willing to let the administration do what it had wanted to do all along. State governments also got on board, not only loosening prior restrictions but also, in many cases, allowing doctors to practice across state lines.

The take-up by doctors and patients has been nothing short of breathtaking. According to

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