Having spent the last week of my life drowning in health care statistics and system comparisons (the products of which you can read here), I want to make a few wrap-up points on the whole thing. First, I see why Clintons plan failed. In an effort to avoid the political baggage of single-player, he tried to emulate Germany's system, which is really the worst of the bunch. Complicated, bad at controlling costs, and obviously jury-rigged to accommodate an evolution that wasn't necessarily organized. Bad move.
Employer-based health care, which Germany and Japan's universal systems rely on, is a poor choice. There's no compelling fiscal or policy reason to use it, and employer's, frankly, should not be in charge of their worker's health care. It's just a silly way of organizing it.
Canada's system is too biased against the private sector; some degree of private, supplementary insurance should be allowed. We do not live in an equal society and we've never had a problem with allowing the richest to benefit from their funds. But if Canada's problem is that they have a ceiling, our problem is that we don't have a floor. Liberals shouldn't construct a system that stops Americans from getting ever-better health care, but we need one that guarantees a certain level of care. In essence, we want a floor without a ceiling.
France and Britain are more interesting, Britain for their enormous cost control and France for the fact that their health care is really very good. But Britain's frugalness has a price -- care simply isn't as good, surgeries are underused, medicines under-prescribed, and so forth. While they still have better outcomes than we do, it's only because so many of our citizens are totally without access to health care. If you had to decide where to be treated, you definitely want it to be here.
France is more my speed. Government provided, ceiling without floor, etc. The lack of a gatekeeper leads to overuse (i.e, the French go to the doctor's too often), but that's changing their, and it could easily be side-stepped here. What a shame, then, that France is so off-limits in political dialogue. But whether or not we can invoke the French, they're the closest thing to a model structure out there, and we should study them for ideas.
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