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Apr 22 / Jonathan

Healthcare roundup

Kevin Drum summarizes a good collection of recent healthcare posts:

HEALTHCARE ROUNDUP….There’s been a bunch of healthcare blogging in the past couple of weeks. Here are a couple of roundups that are worth taking a look at if you haven’t already:

Ezra Klein has collected his snapshots of national healthcare systems in other countries here. The complete set includes Japan, Germany, Canada, Britain, and France.

Angry Bear pulls together all his recent healthcare links here.

I especially recommend Kash’s post about waiting times. One of the main bugaboos that Americans have about national healthcare is the fear that it means long waiting times for office visits and elective surgery. But it just ain’t so. As Kash points out, some countries have long waiting times and others don’t. There’s nothing inherent in national healthcare that causes long waiting times and there’s nothing inherent in the U.S. system that eliminates them. It all depends on how much money you spend, what your priorities are, and how well you run things.

Add to that Paul Krugman’s column today, Passing the Buck:

The United States spends far more on health care than other advanced countries. Yet we don’t appear to receive more medical services. And we have lower life-expectancy and higher infant-mortality rates than countries that spend less than half as much per person. How do we do it?

Think about how crazy all of this is. At a rough guess, between two million and three million Americans are employed by insurers and health care providers not to deliver health care, but to pass the buck for that care to someone else. And the result of all their exertions is to make the nation poorer and sicker.

Why do we put up with such an expensive, counterproductive health care system? Vested interests play an important role. But we also suffer from ideological blinders: decades of indoctrination in the virtues of market competition and the evils of big government have left many Americans unable to comprehend the idea that sometimes competition is the problem, not the solution.

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