Thursday, April 17, 2008

The most important show on television

There are shows are are must see, and then there are shows that are important. Frontline is one of those shows. I'm so pathetic that I get hooked whenever I hear that french horn intro and then the rat a tat music behind the show description.

In any event, the show was a comparison of health care systems around the world. Fascinating stuff. They compared Taiwain, Japan, Switzerland, Germany & England. They all have varying forms of universal healthcare. I liked Germany's the best, it give an opt out option, but the hallmark of all the systems is that it takes the profit margins out of healthcare, which is what is killing our system. It's not the doctor's faults. They have massive debts to pay when they finish their training and then you deal with private insurance companies who want to make a profit. Unfortunately, a lot of the hospitals in these countries are running at deficits and the people have to pay high taxes to cover losses, but the fascinating thing is that the people don't mind! What a concept. They would rather pay higher taxes and not face the risk of going bankrupt paying for medical care and prescription costs. In fact, when asked if anyone goes bankrupt paying for medical care, the people interviewed were insulted that this question was being asked and that it's the citizen's right to have healthcare. I don't know ... something needs to be done, but it needs to go deeper than making healthcare a for profit industry. I was disappointed that the film glossed over the fact that medical school is free in these countries. You don't have doctors coming out of the chute in debt up to their ears, so they don't necessarily need to make a ton of money in order to do their jobs. Being a doctor, although you can make a good living, you are a government employee. THAT wouldn't fly here at all, unfortunately.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget that we, American, pay lot of taxes too. There are all kind of taxes, such as state taxes, local taxes, sale taxes, property taxes, social security taxes...., beside the federal taxes (more or less depended on where you live). My question is that what do I get back????? Even the social security that taken away from me is NOT guaranteed being there for me when I get old. People in other country get their taxes back in form of social benefits, health care...My taxes money is used to support the dictators in some foreign land, to subside taxes for big corporation (for example: big oil industry), to pay the health care + benefits + salary for government officials (our public servants!!!!). It seems to me that government in other country is really "for their people" (at least in the principle). Although this country famously proclaims that its government is "for the people, by the people", it seems that it is only "for the wealthy people, and by big wealthy corporation".

SuperDuperDomerMom said...

I hear you completely! If someone wants to fix healthcare, the medical education system as well as the tax system have to be overhauled too. Ithink that most Americans can't wrap their heads around the fact this isn't a one stop fix issue ... but the point of Americans going bankrupt because of healthcare is wrong. I just think that seeing it compared side by side is fascinating and a step in the right direction no? Thanks for commenting.