Saturday, August 29, 2009

Must-Read of the Week: Reid on Health Care

I read this on my Blackberry while waiting for a table at Cafe Pasqual in Santa Fe last week. Hey, I'm learning how to function in the new world!--but not learning fast enough to have known how to post it directly. Anyway, it's T.R. Reid, once of The Washington Post (did he take a buyout?) with the best short summary of health care issues I've seen anywhere:

In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die.

I read this piece on a Friday. The author tag said Reid was doing a book on health care "to be published Monday." Later the same--Friday--afternoon, I saw it showcased in a Santa Fe bookstore. The book is available here. I see they have a Kindle, but it costs $12.46, which pencils out to about 23 pages for a dollar, which sounds steep to me.

Update: For some fascinating back-story on Reid's conflict with PBS over health care, go here.

No comments: