Thursday, December 11, 2008

Speaking of health care

Well, health care is back in the news. For that I'm glad. I was starting to worry it was going to be put on the back burner as the new Administration and Congress focused on other issues. President-elect Obama is right that the health care crisis is a major component of the overall economic mess. What's frustrating to me though is that you have even Democrats refusing to discuss a single-payer model because "it doesn't poll well." The feds are taking over huge swaths of the financial industry and possibly the Big Three, but heaven forbid we mention "socialized medicine."

This might be a good time to review the four basic models of health care systems: the Beveridge model a/k/a single-payer, the Bismarck model, the national health insurance model, and the out-of-pocket model (see below). Here in the U.S. we have a weird mix of all four, including single-payer. I guess that's good or bad depending on which end of the stick you're holding. If you're a working family watching more and more of your income going towards high premiums and deductibles the status quo is looking like a loser. I realize that employers are getting hammered too. The question to ask yourself is, who profits by nothing changing?

Journalist T.R. Reid explains the four models and offers five examples.


redeyespy said...

As the enormous boomer population ages, you're going to see a meltdown akin to the current market crises in the next few decades unless major changes our made to our health care system.

As we've seen recently, you can only ignore destructive choices and/or apathy for so long. We seem only to learn the hard way, and often not even.

Anita said...

You don't know me. I read your blog through the HSBC blog roll. I had to leave a comment to say...great post. Why are Americans so parinoid about socialized medicine? I praise the National Health Service in UK daily. It has it's flaws but works so much better then any system the US has.

Stephen Ley said...

Hi Anita, I enjoy reading your thoughts on the Hobe Sound blogsite. I've heard the same thing from Brits I've talked too. Even though they complain about certain aspects of the NHS (no system is perfect) they still wouldn't trade it for our system(s).

Anita said...

Amen to that Stephen. I grew up in America without any health insurance. I grew up thinking that making ends meet to pay the bills was more important then my health. Now that I've been living in UK 6 years I always make sure I have traveller's health insurance every time I fly to US. On one visit I didn't manage to get my insurance arranged in time and so I was without coverage. I felt so vulnerable and found myself being so careful and almost paranoid. The truth is that even with insurance coverage you are not really fully covered. Try having a brain tumour or a life threatening illness that requires extensive treatment and you most likely will be denied.

I know a lot of people don't like Michael Moore and have difficulty listening to him. But, everyone needs to watch Sicko. Eye opening truth!