• Uninformed opinions

    Can “experts” please learn about other health care systems before they speak?  Can the media?  I was reading a piece in the Washington Post about preventable deaths in other countries and came across this gem at the end:

    More money went to higher physician salaries, larger administrative fees and higher prices for most medical services. Americans also have higher utilization rates of prescription medicines, sophisticated technology such as imaging and surgical procedures such as cataract surgery, knee replacements and Caesarean sections, according to the OECD analysis.

    For Conrad, one of the key Senate health-care negotiators, the international comparisons suggest following the lead of nations such as Germany, France and Japan that achieve universal coverage through a blend of private employer-based insurance and nonprofit cooperatives, with a significant governmental role.

    “What models most efficiently expand coverage, control costs and provide high-quality care,” Conrad said. “You look around the world, and it just jumps out at you.”

    Does it?  Does it really?

    I mean, saying that HR3200 with a public option is the same as these other countries is just, well, wrong.  Know how I know?  The Washington Post has done a series of pieces on other countries!  So it shouldn’t have taken too long to check.  Here’s France:

    France’s national health insurance, supplemented by a private policy for co-payments, covered the entire bill — from doctor’s fees to medication to a private room with a view

    That’s right.  France has a national insurance plan that’s entirely government.  They also have supplemental private insurance.  It’s like Medicare for all.  It’s not HR3200.  How about Japan?

    [Japan] does so by banning insurance company profits, limiting doctor fees and accepting shortcomings in care that many well-insured Americans would find intolerable.

    That’s….  nothing like HR3200.  Granted, the Post didn’t cover Germany, but I found this pretty quickly:

    90 percent of people are in the public plans. There is competition among the sickness funds, too, now that people can choose.

    That’s almost everyone in a public plan.  Nothing like HR3200.

    Calling these a blend of public and private is disingenuous.  They are almost all public with a dash of private.  Almost all non-profit.  And I don’t see cooperatives anywhere.  The lesson to be learned here is not that we’re on the right path.  It’s that we refuse to learn from other countries.

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