Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Health Care Reform in Other Countries

Britain and Canada aren't the only countries with some kind of universal health care program. What else is out there?

The French health care system, lauded by many around the world, is based on a public insurance that is funded by employee and employer. "The working population has twenty percent of their gross salary deducted at source to fund the [health care] system." 20%. Just for health care. But that might be worth it to create a sustainable universal health care system.

But it doesn't. The French health system is continually in the red. People have begun buying supplemental insurance to cover what the government won't. They pay doctors much less than we do. None of this is keeping costs down. This is not a system we want to immitate.

Germany, on the other hand, has no government system. Their health care is financed solely through insurance companies, for-profit and otherwise. Everyone is required to have insurance, the premiums for which are deducted as a payroll tax. And "health care costs ... are among the most expensive in the world." I don't think this is one to immitate.

"Japan has a system that costs half as much and often achieves better medical outcomes than its American counterpart. It does so by banning insurance company profits, limiting doctor fees and accepting shortcomings in care that many well-insured Americans would find intolerable. ... Health care in Japan -- a hybrid system funded by job-based insurance premiums and taxes -- is universal and mandatory, and consumes about 8 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, half as much as in the United States. ... But many health-care economists say Japan's low-cost system is probably not sustainable without significant change."

They also experience the long waits, lack of emergency care, and shortage of specialists. Let's not immitate them either.

But there's good news! I finally found a government health care program that seems to keep costs under control. Run by our government! More on that tomorrow.

1 comment:

ChrisB said...

Closing comments due to repeated spam, sorry.

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