Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get Sick in Another Country

In case you didn’t see Frontline’s Sick Around the World last week, here’s an opportunity to review this informative one-hour presentation. Washington Post foreign correspondent T.R. Reid visited five capitalist democracies—the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Switzerland—to compare their socialized health care systems to the one in the United States.

United Kingdom:
National Health Service (NHS) is funded through taxes.
Every individual born in the U.K. will use the NHS and will never be billed at any point.
The NHS is trying free-market tactics like “pay-for-performance,” where doctors get paid more if they get  good results controlling chronic illnesses.
Patients can now choose where they go for medical care, forcing hospitals to compete head to head.
There are still waits times for elective surgeries that is improving.

Japan: (boasts the second largest economy and the best health statistics in the world)
Everyone has to buy health insurance through an employer or a community plan.
Insurers cannot turn down a patient for a pre-existing condition and they are not allowed to make a profit.
Japanese go to doctors three times more than Americans, “have more than twice as many MRI scans, use more drugs, and spend more days in the hospital.”
Japan spends almost half as much on health care per capita as the U.S.

Offers universal health care, including medical, dental, mental health, homeopathy, and spa treatment.
Medical providers must charge standard prices, just as they do in Japan.
Keeps costs down but physicians earn between half and two-thirds as much as U.S. doctors.

Researched many health care systems in the 1990s; settled on one where the government collects the money and pays providers.
The delivery of health care is left to the market.
Everyone has a “smart card” all of his relevant health information; bills are paid automatically.
The Taiwanese are spending too little to support the system.

Has a universal health care system that restricts insurance companies from making a profit on basic medical care.
Universal health care supported by politicians on the left and right.

American politicians who are against health care reform are doing a disservice to their constituents. By lying, using fear tactics and obstructing any efforts to improve health care in this country, they are cheating the people out of a better health care system.


  1. Well, I would argue that the US politicians opposed to universal health care fall into two groups.

    The first are economic devotees of the religions of St. Milton of Friedman or St. Friedrich of Hayek, who have faith in things unseen beyond all empirical evidence.

    The second are those who simply view the corporations who sell health insurance as their real constituency.

  2. And there are thos who are simply politically motivated.

  3. Most of those politically motivated fall into the second group. They believe the corporations who finance their campaigns, rather than the voters who elect them, are their true constituencies.

    Or do you mean those who are not really 'opposed' to health care reform in a philosophical sense but resist it out of fear of losing an election if they are for it? I see that as something other than 'opposing' health care altogether, though whether that kind of cowardice is better or worse depends on how judgmental I am feeling.

  4. The disgusting part of these statistics is that our representatives know them to be true, but they lie and distort the facts to please their ignorant constituency or to accept more campaign dollars from the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists.