When I heard about the program, I was dubious that an hour long report covering five different systems could possibly be helpful. But this hour long tour de force accomplished a great deal and I came away impressed.
Did the report skirt a number of really important issues and fail to mention things that critics or supporters will be upset about? Yes.
But from my experiences in international health care I have to say it is a generally fair and balanced job. "Sick Around the World" is a constructive contribution to our national health care debate.
As the report pointed out, most of these systems rely heavily on the health care market--private insurers, private doctors, and private hospitals.
The program also offered a number of conclusions from their investigation of these national health care systems which, from my own experience, I cannot deny:
- These nations have health care systems--often as much market oriented as government oriented. Market or government, the U.S doesn't have a health care system as much as a hodgepodge of things we have drifted into over the decades and that creates much of our problem.
- That the quality of health care in each of these nations is generally as good as ours--it is a myth that the U.S. gets a lot more quality health care for the money we spend.
- That these nations take advantage of market forces but at the same time all impose limits that so far we have been unwilling to impose.
- That nations who successfully rely upon private insurance use only not-for-profit insurers and the insurers must accept everyone.
- That everyone is mandated to have insurance and the poor and near poor receive adequate premium support.
- That doctors and hospitals are required to accept one standard price structure--and their prices are far less than ours.
I strongly recommend you spend an hour online watching, "Sick Around the World."
All of my posts on international health care