Follow The Discreet Traveler by e-mail!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The USA needs and deserves better health care

There is a lot of fear and hatred coming out of the U.S. health care debate back home. But most of all, there is a lot of rubbish. Americans who have never lived in another country, and therefore experienced an alternative to the U.S. "system," are panicking about what they do not know.

I remember, when I lived in the U.S., a dying friend telling me, whatever I do, make sure my job offered health insurance. Since I've lived in other industrialized democracies, of course, that fear is gone. I never have to worry about losing health care, no matter what happens to my job.

But don't ask me--listen to veteran journalist T. R. Reid, whose family has lived all over the world.
One of his key points is that it is actually less costly--in both health and money terms--for other countries to pay for preventive care. Preventive care costs up front, but it works in the long run to keep people healthy, as well as save money. When health care is a public responsibility (i.e., in every industrialized democracy except the U.S.), there is an incentive to pay for prevention. In the U.S., where you typically change (or lose) insurance every few years, there is none.

No comments: