Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Health Care Crisis in the Suburbs

My wife just donated to a fundraiser for the mother of a boy that my son played basketball and soccer with in grade school. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer but she has no health insurance. She is divorced and she is unemployed because she has spent the last year taking care of her mother who suffers from dementia. At least she has the comfort of living in a country that doesn't infringe on its citizens' freedom by providing government sponsored health care.


  1. Got any solutions that are better than the joke that just came out of the House?

  2. Sure, single payer like the rest of the industrialized world has.

  3. Worse is to be diagnosed with breast cancer and find that your insurance is not valid because of a pre-existing condition.

  4. It was nice of God to spare her that, wasn't it?

  5. To be fair, "the rest of the industrialized world" does not have single payer. In fact, single-payer is actually the exception. Too many reform advocates conflate single-payer with universal coverage. The latter does not require the former. The top-ranked health-care system in the world, France's, is not single-payer.

    Basically, Canada has single-payer. In the US, Medicare is also single-payer for its beneficiaries. In this system, the government provides health insurance for the entire population, but the doctors and hospitals are still generally private sector. For whatever it's worth, Canada's health care outcomes are decidedly middle-of-the-road, and only barely better than ours, although they do spend a lot less than we do.

    France and Germany and others have what's called a "Bismarck model" of health care: the insurers, hospitals, doctors, etc., are all private sector, but the government regulates the Holy Fucking Shit out of them, and requires that everyone be covered. Most people get insurance through their employer, as in the US. So this is like what most people in the US who have insurance have, although we seem to have forgotten the "regulate the HFS" part.

    The UK has bona fide socialized medicine, in which all of the doctors and nurses are government employees, and all the hospitals and clinics are government-owned and operated. In the US, the VA is socialized medicine for its beneficiaries.

    More on different kinds of health care systems here.

    If I had my druthers, we'd aim for Bismarck, not single-payer. The Bismarck model is proven the world over to provide better results for less money.