Wednesday, April 16, 2008



T.R. Reid presents a lowkey study of health care in five countries other than the USA. And he has a book coming out as well. But if you missed it on Frontline on TV and you are reading this, most likely you have at your fingertips the possibility to see a great hour...

PBS' Frontline had a wonderful hour on TV this week, Sick Around the World. You can watch the entire show and gain even more knowledge by clicking Sick Around the World.

Japan, England, Germany, Switzerland and Taiwan's health care systems for ALL people in their countries is explored. If you didn't see Sicko, or did see it and need some more information to think about changing the USA health care or where you live, this is a website worth some exploration. There are many resources including interviews from a representative from each of the five countries named.

At Sick Around the World Countries you can learn such things as

in England the Percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on health care is 8.3 % and the average family premium is $0. It is funded by taxation. Co-payments: None for most services; some co-pays for dental care, eyeglasses and 5 percent of prescriptions. Young people and the elderly are exempt from all drug co-pays.

In Japan you can learn that Percentage of GDP spent on health care is 8% and the average family premium is $280 per month, with employers paying more than half. Co-payments: 30 percent of the cost of a procedure, but the total amount paid in a month is capped according to income. In Japan a hospital bed is nightly $10 for a 4 patient room and $90 for a private room.

In Germany, the Percentage of GDP spent on health care is 10.7% and the average family premium is $750 per month; premiums are pegged to patients' income.
10 euros ($15) every three months; some patients, like pregnant women, are exempt.

What is it? Germany, like Japan, uses a social insurance model. In fact, Germany is the birthplace of social insurance, which dates back to Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. But unlike the Japanese, who get insurance from work or are assigned to a community fund, Germans are free to buy their insurance from one of more than 200 private, nonprofit "sickness funds." As in Japan, the poor receive public assistance to pay their premiums.

In Taiwan, the Percentage GDP spent on health care is 6.3% and the average family premium is $650 per year for a family for four.
20 percent of the cost of drugs, up to $6.50; up to $7 for outpatient care; $1.80 for dental and traditional Chinese medicine. There are exemptions for major diseases, childbirth, preventive services, and for the poor, veterans, and children.

What is it? Taiwan adopted a "National Health Insurance" model in 1995 after studying other countries' systems. Like Japan and Germany, all citizens must have insurance, but there is only one, government-run insurer. Working people pay premiums split with their employers; others pay flat rates with government help; and some groups, like the poor and veterans, are fully subsidized. The resulting system is similar to Canada's -- and the U.S. Medicare program.

In Switzerland, the Percentage of GDP spent on health care is 11.6% and the average family premium is $750, paid entirely by consumers; there are government subsidies for low-income citizens.
10 percent of the cost of services, up to $420 per year.

What is it? The Swiss system is social insurance like in Japan and Germany, voted in by a national referendum in 1994. Switzerland didn't have far to go to achieve universal coverage; 95 percent of the population already had voluntary insurance when the law was passed. All citizens are required to have coverage; those not covered were automatically assigned to a company. The government provides assistance to those who can't afford the premiums.

How does it work for Doctors in these five countries?

T. R. Reid
Reid is a former chief of The Washington Post's London, Tokyo and Rocky Mountain bureaus, and also had stints covering Congress, national politics and four presidential elections for the paper. He is the author of eight books -- three in Japanese -- most recently "The United States of Europe: The New Superpower and the End of American Supremacy." Source

Questions and Answers with T.R. Reid

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At April 19, 2008 at 10:07:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Angry African said...

I know it isn't relevant to the topic. But haha! Federer reached his first (of many) finals of the year!

Hope you are well.


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