Sep 7, 2009

What Can We Learn from the Japanese Health Care System?

There is an excellent article on the Washington Post website that discusses healthcare in Japan.
Half a world away from the U.S. health-care debate, Japan has a system that costs half as much and often achieves better medical outcomes than its American counterpart. It does so by banning insurance company profits, limiting doctor fees and accepting shortcomings in care that many well-insured Americans would find intolerable.
Health care in Japan -- a hybrid system funded by job-based insurance premiums and taxes -- is universal and mandatory, and consumes about 8 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, half as much as in the United States. Unlike in the U.S. system, no one is denied coverage because of a preexisting condition or goes bankrupt because a family member gets sick.
After reading the article, I learned that the healthcare system in Japan is far from perfect. Then I thought, our system here is far from perfect, and we spend twice as much as Japan for our currently pitiful system.

I really cannot understand why we can't define the problem here. Do we want universal coverage like they have in Japan? Yes or No? If we want universal coverage why don't we limit the discussion to the best solutions to accomplish this goal? Why can't we accept that it is impossible to create a perfect system?

Politicians like to tell their constituents over and over how the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. Is this true, or are we deluding ourselves?

You cannot solve a problem until your first define the problem. Only then can you start to flesh out all the possible solutions.

We are woefully inept in this country at executing real solutions to problems. As a result, we get half-backed solutions from our politicians that result in enormous waste and lots of corruption.

It is time for this pattern of wasting tax payers dollars to end. Its time for someone to stand up, define the problem, offer a clear cut solution to the problem, and then fight like hell for what they believe in.

To read the Washington Post article go here.
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Bob DeMarco is an Alzheimer's caregiver and editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room. The Alzheimer's Reading Room is the number one website on the Internet for advice and insight into Alzheimer's disease. Bob taught at the University of Georgia, was an executive at Bear Stearns, the CEO of IP Group, and is a mentor. He has written more than 775 articles with more than 18,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.
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