19 July 2009
Sick Around the World
Last night, I watch the PBS Front Line report Sick Around the World on Netflix. I give it five stars! They looked at the systems in England, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland (skipping France for some reason!) and concluded that all of these systems, in spite of some minor problems, were vastly superior and cheaper than that of the U.S. Essentially, every other country's government had, one way or another, bullied the insurance companies and doctors into not overcharging people. The result was that healthcare was much cheaper for patients, much cheaper overall (in terms of total expenditures), and the country's populations were much healthier. Healthcare is one area that makes a real good case study into the problems of the U.S. The influence of corporate lobbies is so strong that any suggestion that we switch to any of these other superior systems is portrayed as extremely radical. We live in a corrupt plutocracy where banks are given trillions but essential services like healthcare mustn't be tampered with lest some billionnaire insurers or hospital owners have to sell off a boat in their fleet of yachts. On the bright side, I guess we have great motivation to keep ourselves healthy!