Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dispelling myths

Have you read T. R. Ried's article in The Washington Post, "5 Myths About Health Care Around the World"? You should.

All the other developed countries have settled on one model for health-care delivery and finance; we've blended them all into a costly, confusing bureaucratic mess.

Which, in turn, punctures the most persistent myth of all: that America has "the finest health care" in the world. We don't. In terms of results, almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does. In terms of finance, we force 700,000 Americans into bankruptcy each year because of medical bills. In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero.

Given our remarkable medical assets -- the best-educated doctors and nurses, the most advanced hospitals, world-class research -- the United States could be, and should be, the best in the world. To get there, though, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies.
Note: Yes, Ried has a book coming out tomorrow, but that doesn't invalidate his points.
--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, I'm stealing this quote from you and Reid. The 700,000 figure in medical bankruptcies is shocking. How can we call ourselves a civilized country?

Paul said...

Mim, we are not a civilized country. I don't know if we ever have been.

Grandmère Mimi said...

I think of the gun-toting crazies outside the buildings where Obama appears, and the White House spokesman saying that's okay; it's the law.

I believe that you're right. We may never have been civilized.