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Marilee J. Layman

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05:51 pm: The Healing of America, A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T. R. R
T.R. Reid used to be a foreign correspondent for the WashPost so he's tried a lot of different kinds of health care in other countries. This book chronicles his search for two things: a health care system that would work for the US, and a cure for his stiff painful shoulder (doctor put a screw in many years ago).

He gives us the four standard types of health care systems and visits all of them to find out how they work and how people think of them. At the same time, he asks a doctor in each place what to do about his shoulder. This varied from the US doctor saying first he should have a shoulder replacement, to practitioners who did Ayurveda, to the UK doctor who told him to live with it.

The US is the only industrialized developed country that doesn't consider health care a moral right. In fact, although we pay the most for health care as a percentage of GDP -- 15.3 -- we rank 47th for life expectancy at birth.

This book is easy and engrossing to read -- I liked that he had his shoulder looked at everywhere (it was the Ayurveda that fixed it, but it took weeks in India) -- while he tells us about how the different types of health insurance work (ours is the Out Of Pocket model). He also tells about how some countries recently took parts of different systems -- the ones that work best for them -- and made them into hybrid systems.

I listened to loud voices on the tape of Meet the Press today and wanted to hand them this book. I recommend it highly.



[User Picture]
Date:September 7th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
I'll be on the lookout for the book. Your comments about it are timely in my case; I just returned from Canada, where I got repeated questions from people about the ongoing health care debate down here. My elderly mother and stepdad, and my mother's childhood friend (all of whom would have been candidates for Grassley's "death panels") were absolutely bemused - and horrified - about the way Canada's health care was being depicted in the debate.
[User Picture]
Date:September 7th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Canada is in the book, too -- which plan they use and how they're using it.

It looks to me like the US should take the discussion away from the politicians and hand it to some health economists. There's a guy at Harvard who helped Taiwan and other nations set up their health care at less cost than ours and better treatment.
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