Winter 2017 Issue
In the News
By Joe Mason, MD, MSW, DFAPA
As we continue to fight about what kind of healthcare financing system we are going to have, I was reading an article in the New York Times that was a fairly succinct explanation of several national systems and thought it did a good job of summarizing some of the different ways countries have dealt with the economics of healthcare delivery. I want to emphasize that when we speak of reform, we are primarily talking about changing the way healthcare is paid for rather than the way healthcare is performed, though it seems easier to simply refer to this battle as “healthcare reform.” We, in the U.S., pay around 75% more than the next most expensive countries in the world as a percentage of GDP, though the quality of care certainly isn’t 75% better and, by many measures, is worse.
The Times selected a panel of five economists and healthcare policy analysts with diverse political persuasions, then picked eight countries which represented different ways of structuring systems and created a playoff for the best one overall. Each system was explained in some detail, but I will give a fairly cursory overview of how it played out.
The first round matchups were as follows:
In the second round:
The overall winner was Switzerland over France three to two. This system was thought to be the one among them all that would be most familiar and perhaps the easiest type to convert to if there were any chance of consensus in Congress. It is much cheaper, but would involve a concession to more regulation of costs than what private insurers are familiar with.
March 9-10, 2018
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