Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Anyone still interested in health care?

This week (schedules vary), Frontline is running a program titled "Sick Around the World" in which the health care systems of the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland are profiled -- I know it is unpatriotic to suggest this, but we might be able to learn something from the experiences of others.

Here's an extract from the synopsis on the Frontline website (which refers to T.R. Reid, the Washington Post foreign correspondent who collaborated with the Frontline folks on this program):

Reid reports next from Japan, which boasts the second largest economy and the best health statistics in the world. The Japanese go to the doctor three times as often as Americans, have more than twice as many MRI scans, use more drugs, and spend more days in the hospital. Yet Japan spends about half as much on health care per capita as the United States.

One secret to Japan's success? By law, everyone must buy health insurance -- either through an employer or a community plan -- and, unlike in the U.S., insurers cannot turn down a patient for a pre-existing illness, nor are they allowed to make a
profit.

If you missed the program, it will also be available for viewing on the Frontline website.

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posted at 10:45:00 AM by Neil

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