As I set out to write something about this book, I realize that I don't have much input or interest in reviewing nonfiction books. Reid, using an old Navy shoulder injury as a common device for his worldwide tour, seeks to categorize and inform the reader about how every other industrialized country and he repeatedly emphasizes America's sad exceptionalism in this regard tackled the problem of universal health care coverage, and the challenges each system will face in the future. And although all developed countries have seen their costs rise, the U. Plenty of countries already have it and are doing a better job at healthcare than we are. My life depends on medications that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year, not to mention doctors appointments, hospital stays, lab tests, bloodwork, etc. There is nothing in universal coverage that precludes competition, choice, and access. There are four major types of health care systems: 1.
Using the story of Nikki White, a young American woman who died of a curable disease — lupus — because she was denied coverage by her insurer, as a metaphor of everything that is wrong with U. As this book succinctly argues, universal health care is ultimately an ethical decision. Reid's ability to bring a light, witty touch to really serious topics --like health policy around the globe. We learn about the sickness funds of Germany, the carte vitales of France, the National Health Service of Britain, and the long, long lines of Canada. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills.
It is a scandal that the richest nation on earth can't find a way to meaningfully address this problem. Most of the medical facilities are too expensive for these people and they are left with virtually no health care. The government is the insurance company. Americans are not healthier nor do they live longer despite the huge expenditures. Yet all the other rich countries spend far less on health care than the United States does.
The countries he features have made the decision that access to health care is a basic human right and that government has a moral imperative to provide the same standard of care to all of its citizens, regardless of economic status. And they don't have our technology. Now updated with new statistics and a plain-English explanation of the 2010 health care reform bill, The Healing of America is required reading for all those hoping to understand the state of health care in our country, and around the world. Reid shows how they do it, bringing to bear his talent for explaining complex issues in a clear, engaging way. About a third of the book delves into the moral case for health care reform, and here the book is at its weakest. Individual Mandate - everyone must buy insurance.
From what I see around me there are plenty of people who believe in an old-fashioned concept of deserving and it really pisses me off. Above and beyond a basic level of coverage--liposuction, a private room in a hospital, etc--insurance companies could make their profit. There's no office staff, no filing cabinets- because none are needed. With the central framing device of visiting individual countries to see their recommended course of treatment for a bum shoulder, Reid avoids a lot of dry fact-finding that might plague other books of its kind. For insurance companies and many hospitals , it's the profit motive--it completely skews what should be the whole point of health care, to help people be healthy.
It's actually quite an entertaining book, though you'd think a journey through the world's health care systems would be a snore. Reid uncovers the international models that could work at home as we set out to cure a health care system that has failed us. Universal equal coverage will require individual mandate. And, there are pros and cons to each. Imagine for a moment that 22,000 Americans were killed by Al Qaeda every year.
The other main weakness of this work is that the detail is uneven. We are the only nation that allows for-profit insurance companies resulting in cruel denials, refusals, and astounding administrative costs. A population survey was undertaken in each country. This means that prices are all over the place and administrative costs are somewhere around 20% of every dollar paid into the system. This is why, quite often, neither the buyer patient nor the seller doctor knows how much a particular treatment costs! Add a real choice option, where Americans can pack up and move companies at will, and you suddenly have a privatized system with greater cost-containment and universal coverage. The government pays for everything and it owns everything with doctors as government employees. If someone has money, or a generous insurance plan, the most advanced medical services are available.
Universal coverage is a moral issue that America has never addressed head on; politicians always make this out to be an Among developed countries, America is a laughingstock when it comes to health care. Conflicting systems also undermine the broad base that is ideal to efficiently fund insurance. How is it that all the other industrialized democracies provide health care for everyone at a reasonable cost, something the United States has never managed to do? Health care is a public service like a library or fire department. All of the vignettes about the individual countries are interesting as well. It should be held just as sacred, if not more, as freedom or religion or freedom of speech.
But look around, is the American healthcare system giving us the best possible outcome? Among developed countries, America is a laughingstock when it comes to health care. . And I was not just persuaded by it. Reid does a good job of explaining health care systems around the world. Our system is overly complex, sickeningly unequal and discriminatory, and grossly expensive. And if you cut this out, you get the added benefit of lowering health care costs significantly premiums will automatically drop 15%.