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T.R. Reid's book "The Healing of America" was published in 2009, but the U.S. Supreme Court justices might want to have a look at it today.

Reid traveled the globe in search of a model health care system and a cure for his partly disabled shoulder.  

We, the people of the U.S., can benefit from the information he shares.

Here are some excerpts from my favorite chapter "The Paradox."


...In the richest country on earth, there are children going to bed at night with an earache, with a toothache, with an asthma attack that leaves them gasping for the next breath, because their parents don't dare face a doctor bill.  In other developed countries, those sick children would see a doctor and get the medicine they need regardless of the family's income...When the World Health Organization rated the national health care systems of 191 countries in terms of "fairness," the United States ranked fifty-fourth...The cohort of Americans  who don't have health insurance on any given day numbers over 45 million (about 15 percent of the population)...

...Among nineteen wealthy countries, the United States ranked nineteenth in curing people who could be cured with decent care...Among...nine rich nations, the per-capita rate of "Deaths Due to Surgical or Medical Mishaps" was the highest by far in the USA.....out of twenty-three wealthy countries, the American health care system ranks dead last when it comes to keeping newborns alive...A key that other countries offer free prenatal and neonatal care for every mother and every baby...
And here's the kicker:

...the United States is by far the world's biggest spender on health care.  Whether measured as a percentage of the nation's GDP or as per-capita spending, we pour roughly twice as much into medicine as other rich countries do...The administrative patchwork makes everything about American medicine more complex and more expensive than it needs to be...

The three key elements for making things better, according to Reid are:

..everybody is covered in the same system by the same set of rules.  All other rich nations have em braced this basic principle, because they think it's fairer if everybody in the country has the same access to the same level of care.  They find a single system is much easier to administer, with one set of forms to fill out, one book of rules, and one price list.  As an economic principle, a unified system is a powerful force for cost control. Since the single health care system is the only buyer of medical services, it has enormous market clout in negotiating fees with doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and so on.  That's why an MRI scan that costs $1,200 in Denver is prices at $98 in Tokyo...
A unified health care system that works the same for everybody doesn't necessarily equate to a single-payer system...[There may be] several, or many , different insurance plans...


..most countries rely on free-market enterprise to provide health care---but not to pay for it...The fundamental difference here is that foreign health insurance plans exist only to pay people's medical bills, not to make a profit..

And finally:

...every developed country except the United States has designed a health care system that covers every resident.  Universal coverage has to come first [before cost control]...Covering everybody in a unified system creates a powerful political dynamic for managing the cost of health care....Universal coverage also enhances health care results by improving the overall health of a nation...


The U.S. Supreme Court will see the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act and uphold it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes For-Profit Insurance is Illegal In All the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Russgirl, QDMacaw, akmk, G2geek

    advanced countries, for paying for mainstream insurance. Our Affordable Care Act would be outlawed anywhere else.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:13:37 PM PDT

  •  thanks but in America we love moldy crumbs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QDMacaw, G2geek

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 03:31:47 PM PDT

  •  #1 cause of bankruptcy for people WITH insurance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, akmk

    is medical expenses.  For a unemployed Boomer with no health insurance and health problems, I'm just one crisis away from being either dead or out on the curb.  

    ACA may help with pre-existing conditions, but, I still will have trouble affording the premiums, and I hate supporting the current excessive profit system.  For me, it is both inefficient and immoral.  

    I'll check out that book.  Thanks.

    I play for keeps. Kindness, Equality, Enlightenment, Peace, and Sustainability.

    by QDMacaw on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:10:23 PM PDT

  •  T. R. Reid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is on the board of directors of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in Denver Co.

    As such, he is a director of an abusive, bullying workplace that discriminates against African American males, single women, and harasses Muslims.

    A director passed out a picture of a chimpanzee at a staff meeting, telling his employees that their jobs were so easy, even a chimp could do the work.  An AA male objected towhat he perceived as racism; he was immediately placed on probation.  After release from probation, he brought up the issue at a staff meeting ostensibly called to address employee complaints.  He was forced to resign by John Parvensky, the President.  The AA's own boss, a director and attorney, resigned because of the way his employee was treated and averred so in a deposition.

    A Muslim employee has been repeatedly harassed over his daily prayer activity.  Another Muslim employee was harassed by her female boss, who suggested that she wear lipstick and said that male clients [the employee was a counselor] were sexually attracted to her and wanted to know what she looked like under her traditional dress.

    I was expected to work many unpaid hours in excess of the typical 40 hour work week to meet grant-stipulated time frames because I was single; my boss explicitly excused a co-worker from working additonal hours because she was married.  Then, I was repeatedly bullied and sabotaged by these two employees[will be the subject of a diary about workplace bullying].

    The employees who have caused these problems have repeatedly caused such problems over the years, yet the board will do nothing about them.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:39:40 PM PDT

    •  I shouldn't have hijacked this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      thread, but to me, bullying and harassment are health issues.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:42:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's not a hijack, it's useful counterpoint. (0+ / 0-)

        And it demonstrates either that Reid isn't exercising proper management control of his middle-managers, or that he's complicit.

        A bit of sunshine might help disinfect your workplace.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:38:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kind of off-topic from the health care issue. The (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          book is excellent.

          If there are personal issues about the organization in question and/or T.R. Reid in general, perhaps more information should be provided.

          Do we know if T.R. Reid is trying to improve the problems mentioned here or not?  He's one board member out of how many on an organization that is trying to do what?  And who are the workers and what is their role in the organization?

          •  I'm sure the book (0+ / 0-)

            is fine.

            The employees involved in perpetuating the abuse have been there many years; at least one has been the subject of numerous complaints.

            So, it is safe to say that the board is derilict.  

            The tone starts at the top; when you have the president and senior vice president retaliating and sabotaging an employee who complained about racism, then that explains the culture of the place and explains why other lower level employees know that they won't be held accountable for their actions.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 08:55:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Colorado Coalition for the Homeless doesn't (0+ / 0-)

        sound like the name of a group that would be doing oppressive, bullying things.

        This is an odd post.

        Perhaps you need to write your own diary and provide more information?

        What workplace are you referring to?
        What good is happening?
        What problems are happening?
        What are the roles of the individuals involved in the problems?
        What is your own role here?

        •  Glad you asked, even if (0+ / 0-)

          you sound like one of the sock puppets that CCH pays to post on various websites.

          Workplace bullying has nothing to do with the mission of an organization.  It can and does happen anywhere.  And I do plan to do a diary on workplace bullying soon.

          I am a state coordinator for the effort to pass antiworkplace bullying legislation in Colorado because of my experiences.

          You may have noticed that school bullying has been a very hot topic over the past few years; you also may have become more aware of bullying because of the movie that was just released about bullying.

          Because schoolyard bullies grow up to be workplace bullies:

          Workplace Bullying Institute

          I am also glad to say that Vermont appears to be on the verge of passing an antiworkplace bullying law.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 09:03:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Workplace bullying is something I too have (0+ / 0-)

            experienced.  I'm opposed to it also.

            Why would you call me a sock puppet?  Because I want a better health care system?  Because I asked you for more information?  I didn't even get answers to my questions.

            Perhaps you need to look in the mirror if you are going to talk about bullying.

            •  Well, let's take a look (0+ / 0-)

              at your post.

              You call my post "odd," and you demand more information from me even though I've stated that I shouldn't have hijacked and gone off topic.  Then you disparage me by saying that I need to look at myself for not responding to your demands.

              Your posts here are simiarly defensive compared to posts by cch's sockpuppets at other forums, in particular, the Denver Post.  There is a poster there by the name of Pilgrim [whose initials are JP, I guess it's a coincidence that the pres of cch is John Parvensky].

              These sockpuppets are dismissive of the critical poster, and typically insult the critical poster, using words like "crazy," and other disparaging, contemptuous language.

              So, while your posts here aren't as hostile in tone, the content is similar.  

              Further, if a someone who had expertise in communication looked at our posts, I'm fairly certain that they would conclude that yours is borderline abusive with the dismissiveness, calling the post "odd," making a series of demanding questions, then being offended that I didn't immediately respond to your demands, then to top it all off, accusing me of bullying.  

              Your posts are a very good example, even if milder in tone, of an abusive effort.

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 09:44:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  akmk - "All other rich countries" (0+ / 0-)

    don't have a one-size-fits all universal health care system and it isn't smart politics to try and legislate one in the US. England has had a parallel private pay system for more than five years. Several other developed countries also have hybrid systems that allow a private pay component to be part of the healthcare delivery options.

    The best chance we have here is a hybrid system much like the K-12 public and private school system. There would be a nearly free basic universal health care that covered everyone. However, no patient or physician would be required to participate in it. People and physicians could choose to be part of a private pay system that would be separate from the government funded universal access system. Everyone would pay taxes to support the universal access system, just like we fund universal K-12 education for all children. People using the private pay system could have insurance or not, it would be their choice. This has the advantage of choice, which most people would support. In addition, it silences the most vocal, and politically powerful, critics of any universal access system who would ask only to not be part of the system if they wanted a different level of service or care, and would be willing to pay for it themselves.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:55:21 PM PDT

    •  pragmatically it sounds reasonable enough... (0+ / 0-)

      ... but we have to be sure about hospitals.

      In an emergency there's no market, there's only saving lives.  So hospitals, in exchange for the various permits and considerations needed to operate, and the enormously lucrative private markets to which they can serve various forms of voluntary care, have to be precluded from any form of cherry picking.  

      And while we're at it, vaccinations need to be covered under the public system and under all private systems, no exceptions.  It would be one thing if unvaccinated people were only at risk themselves, but by decrementing "herd immunity" they put everyone else at risk, as the recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have shown.

      I would also eliminate "religious exemptions" from vaccination, except for individuals who lived in communities that were entirely self-quarantined from the general public.  As with the Amish, who don't generally do business directly with non-Amish except via the intermediary services of Mennonites, this could work out satisfactorily for all parties concerned, without putting the general public at risk for dangerous disease outbreaks.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 07:48:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are many details about the systems of other (0+ / 0-)

      countries in the book that are not in the excerpts reprinted here in the diary.

      Many of the issues you address here are addressed in the book.  An extremely small percentage of folks choose private systems where they are available.  

      It is necessary to have universal coverage for even the private portions to work, according to the analysis.

      Otherwise, there is a two-tier system, with the lower tier being underfunded and under-served.   There needs to be universal coverage with a basic set of services that are the same for everyone.

      Beyond that the wealthy can always find something special almost anywhere.

      Just like with schools, everyone pays for public schools.  Those who choose can choose to pay extra for private schools.

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