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28 January 2007 @ 10:47 am
American healthcare  
Outsider looking in at American healthcare:

Human interest journalists make the world turn, and make keeping up on current events infinitely more bearable and real for me. Thank you to those who make the sincere effort to do so.
floiterfloiter on January 28th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
But remember that like anyone from the UK, this journalist (and me!) are used to an excellent healthcare system, provided and administered by the government, free of charge at the point of use. We all pay for it in our taxes of course, but we (or our loved ones) all make some use of it from time to time, and so we accept the need to fund it, for the common good. Having got a system like that it's hard for us to understand why anyone would ever consider any other way of providing healthcare.
Kburgunder on January 28th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
That was, in fact, the point - showing an outside perspective.
floiterfloiter on January 29th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
I know ... but we do tend to be very critical of the US system as a result.
For example, with the US system, if you have the money then the sky's the limit on the amount and sophistication of healthcare that is available. You can have whatever you can pay for. Whereas in the UK there most definitely is a limit, as extremely expensive treatment options with low/limited benefit just don't become available. The system is arranged to create the "best bang for the buck", for the masses.
Kburgunder on January 29th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see! Do you think it's an inherent truth of socialized medicine?
floiterfloiter on January 30th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
Interesting question.

I'm not sure I can completely generalise. I only have substantial first-hand experience of the UK healthcare system, with small amounts of experience of others (European and USA).

However, I suspect that it is an inherent truth. There is always only a finite amount of money available to fund the system. You can make it as efficient as you like, but ultimately there will always be more demands placed upon it (sick people with high expectations) than it can possibly meet. So there will always be a need for some type of rationing. Assuming a desire to maximise the benefit to the community, and maintain equity, that means that the system will have to provide treatment based on cost, effectiveness of treatment, and coverage.

Once you've reached that perspective, then the level of central funding merely determines where you can draw the line for general availability of treatments. Which (perhaps) is no bad thing ...

Kriskfrye on February 1st, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
I thought you might find this interesting: http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/health_of_nations/index.html.

It's a description of the national healthcare systems in different countries such as France, Canada, Germany, and Japan. France seems to have the best system of the lot.