Recently I had the opportunity to watch an interview on CSPAN with T.R. Reid, author of The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, where he described his participation in a documentary produced by Frontline & PBS called "Sick around the world."
Some of the issues presented in the documentary are analogous to the problems we face today with Health Reform. T.R. Reid visited Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, and Switzerland where he spoke with health care professionals and politicians about the availability, costs, and quality of health care in these nations, and the interests of their people, drug companies, and insurers, with additional information on the government's role in health reform.
The documentary reports that in most cases, the quality of health care is as good or better than what we have in our country, and costs (as a measure of GDP), are significantly less than the U.S. Before watching these videos, I thought that although health care delivery systems exist elsewhere, the waiting time for treatment was excessively long, however the documentary shows that this belief is without merit.
I found these videos thought provoking. It is interesting to consider what has been done elsewhere, to learn from their mistakes, and to use the information to improve our national interests in health care reform - taking politics out of the equation. Health Reform is a "wicked problem" and I think most people agree that we need to do something. As a Registered Nurse, I have a high level of interest in learning new ways to improve the health of our population.
Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a health care system?
Great Britain: A Leader in Preventive Medicine
Japan:Universal Coverage, No Gatekeepers
Germany: A Popular, Largely Market-Based System
Taiwan: A New System They Copied From Others
Switzerland: Its Former System Resembled Ours
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