Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From Sadly, No

Posted at 1:23 by Brad
This sort of comment is something I hear a lot from friends in Europe and elsewhere:

Where i come from, The Netherlands, which is far from perfect, i pay 125 Euro’s for full coverage. Dentists and pre-existing conditions included. I can have a television at my bed and a minibar if i want to, but that’ll cost me extra. We have 6 or 7 big insurance companies here who facilitate this and who are bound by government rules on maximum charges and minimum coverage. It works fine, there’s no deficit created and everybody is fully covered. Besides that there’s a government subsidy for everyone who doesn’t earn enough to pay for the premiums.

We’re a democracy, with politicians, which are to some degree polarized into left and right, but everybody agrees we need good healthcare. If our people are denied that, we go out onto the streets and make known that we disagree.

It’s that simple.

It is that simple and that’s what drives me insane.

The United States has, bar none, the stupidest and cruelest health care system in the entire developed world. We pay out the ass for health care expenses and leave tens of millions of people uninsured. Paying more for worse outcomes is the very definition of inefficiency, but that’s the system we have. In fact, our system is so bad that even its glibertarian defenders sneak off when no one’s looking to get affordable health care in France.

I don’t get it. Why do we put up with paying tons of money for crappier health care? Why are other countries’ health care systems relentlessly demonized when they’re demonstrably and empirically better than ours? And most importantly, how can we have a set of political leaders who insist on removing any and all bits of reform that might actually prove popular with the average voter?

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