Sunday, March 1, 2009

Examining Other Healthcare Models

Healthcare is highly valued by our society, yet it seems that many of our pundits and politicians are willing to create a new healthcare system from whole cloth. In other words, let's consider this or that experiment, and the winner will be the compromise melange that gets passed by Congress. (Definition of melange: a collection containing a variety of miscellaneous things.)

Well, we already experimented with the theory that government was the problem, tossing strict regulation (of banks, mortgage providers, stockbrokers, the food and drug industries, and military procurement, to name a few) in the wastebin, and where did it get us? Do we really want our healthcare system to be crafted by a bunch of horse-traders, and laden with pork?

I, for one, don't think we have the time or money for another major social experiment. I think it is time to put the available information to work to craft a system that we know will meet our needs, before we put it into place.

So far, there has been deafening silence on the subject of healthcare systems in the rest of the world, and what is wrong and right with them. Yet these models can tell us so much about how different programs are likely to work. We should be examining the other systems under a microscope right now, as the administration and Congress begin taking positions.

Thankfully, blogger Tim Foley at has begun this conversation, describing how a low-cost, high tech, high drug use system has led to enviable life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Japan. Enjoy his enlightening piece.


Ellen Byrne said...

Tim Foley says:
"Ultimately, universal health care is about creating a system that’s affordable, covers everyone’s basic medical needs, and yields a quality outcome. It’s hard to imagine many countries doing it better than Japan."

Fascinating stuff.

Ellen Byrne said...

I could not agree with you more on these thoughts. Tim Foley's piece is a fascinating read. The time has come.