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Ridiculous ideas are being suggested by conservatives regarding healthcare reform, such as taxing some healthcare benefits (what!?!). Whatever else Obama does, he needs to get a wider perspective on universal healthcare--perhaps he'll hear those opinions during his upcoming European visit. Let's hope he gets a chance to speak in depth with such people as the Swiss president, Pascal Couchepin, who told journalist T.R. Reid in the documentary Sick Around the World (in response to the question, "Could a 100 percent free-market system work in health care?"): "No, I don't think so. If you do that, you will lose solidarity and equal access for everybody."
Wow. When a conservative Swiss politician admits that a completely free market system won't work in health care, perhaps America should listen.
In the meantime, concerned Americans such as Michele Swenson struggle to inform the rest of us about possible healthcare options, letting us know how other countries provide healthcare for their citizens. For instance, common features of health coverage in the five countries visited by documentarian Reid include:
- Everyone is accepted by the insurance companies, with no exclusions.
- There's a mandate to buy into the system, and government subsidizes the poor.
- Doctors and hospitals negotiate yearly for fixed-rate payment.
- Most utilize electronic medical records systems as well as individual smart cards with medical history.
(Via the Huffington Post.)
To restate--the reason that EVERY other industrialized nation has lower healthcare costs while providing health coverage for everyone (although they use differing payment mechanisms) must be that, inherently, universal coverage itself is a prerequisite to being able to keep healthcare costs responsible! The very fact that everyone is covered and must be provided necessary, reasonable healthcare is incentive to keep costs manageable, given that these countries do not have infinite budgets any more than the United States does.
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Regarding personal health, the weather rollercoaster we've been riding recently has given folks the sniffles, and made me feel creaky. I don't sound as creaky (I don't think!) as this fluffball, however...