If you’re like most people, your head is probably swimming with claims and counter claims, unintelligble lingo, political doubletalk, and mind boggling statistics regarding health care reform. It all serves to distract us from the simplest way to assess various potential health care systems, which is by looking at countries that already have them.
Conservatives like to produce dire warnings based on the British NHS, which does have a fair amount of rationing. (They don’t mention that 73 percent of Brits nonetheless said they had confidence in their health care system, as compared with 56 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup poll last year.) These same conservatives avoid looking at the very best national health systems, which manage to deliver superior care at dramatically lower cost.
Here’s a very simple run down on the French health care system, often thought to be the best of them all. Much of this information comes from a recent interview published recently in the New York Times with Victor G. Rodwin, a professor of health policy and management at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and an expert on international health care systems.
If you’re not convinced yet, think about this: Doctors in France still make house calls.
Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.
Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.
Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found on his web site, http://jamesridgeway.net.
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