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September 10, 2009
Weighing U.S. health care against other countries

Following U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on health care reform, Worldfocus examines the issue from a global perspective.

View our Health of Nations series for videos and blogs exploring different health care systems in countries like the United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, China and beyond.

Are you convinced that health care in the United States is as good as that in other developed nations?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Victor Rodwin, a professor of health policy and management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public
Service, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss global health care systems and how the U.S. health care debate is being perceived overseas.




First, let’s be clear that Canada does NOT have socialized medicine. It has single provider insurance which is administered by each province and territory. Hospitals are private or community owned. You choose your doctor and it’s between you and your doctor to decide appropriate treatment. The government does not deny chemo and let grandma die (although your U.S. insurance or HMO might). Because of the single payer system, doctors and hospitals get paid so there is no need to pass along losses to others.

However, because much of Canada’s population is spread over a large geography, not everyone has access to the same services. If you need emergency heart bypass surgery in Wawa Ontario or LaRonge Saskatchewan they will probably fly you to a larger city, which could be hundreds of miles away (you’d be out of luck in Cut Bank, Montana or Guymon, Oklahoma as well). There are not as many specialists in certain fields so there is a backlog.

I am a U.S. citizen and have very good insurance. My employer covers my share ($380 a month) while I pay another $800 out-of-pocket to cover my wife and daughter. That’s $800 not going toward home improvement, another car, or simply toward savings. Kind of a shame because I’m sure other industries could use the help, but 17% of our incomes are going toward insurance (maybe your employer pays it, but make no mistake, it reduces their ability to compensate your salary). It’s a shame that one industry has such a hold of our government. But if they don’t do something I can promise it will get more costly. Most doctors now require payment (or insurance verification) in advance, so more and more people will delay treatment until it becomes serious (then the burden falls on the rest of us).


I think the current system is ok, but neds to be cheaper. I just want to punch anyone whos says that they’re not paying for other people AMERICA IS IN THE TOILET ANYWAY, TAXES WILL GO UP whether you like it or not!


Sir , why do you hate me so much? Why do you not want to see me go to a doctor? I haven’t been able to afford a doctor visit in over 10 years! I want health care. I deserve Health Care. Why would YOU deny me??? I am actually dying. Going to a doctor now probably won’t help now. I just want to thank you and people like you who have always voted against any type of Health Care for all in America. I am 45 years old and will be very very lucky if I live to see 50. Thank you Joe!


I had my hopes up when Obama took office, but now I am really discouraged. The Democrats do not seem to have an adequate forum in the commercial media to conteract the industry sponsored lies and scare tactics that are simply brainwashing the people.


I’ve been reading some of this comments and at least some of you have “medicare” down here in Laredo tx. the government will deny us any type of help, because they say that immigrants who got their visa and that have family that are from the U.S. are here only to work not to get the help they need by the government.


People here eat money, drink money, dream money, and think money. Insurance, politics, religion, ALL mean MONEY! What chance do poor people have?
We are all the little lambsfollowing the politicians – without question or rebuttal. I am glad I have medicare. Great doctor, best free medicine and lots of love. Wish all you guys that do not have insurance would have something like medicare.


People who have something to gain by it are spreading misinformation and the masses are taking this misinformation as fact instead of reading and studying the issue by themselves. This has worked repeatedly in the past. The US does already has a government-run healthcare system, Medicare, but it does not apply to everyone. An option similar to Medicare, if not Medicare, needs to be available to those who do not currently have health insurance. This option would not cost us any more since we are already paying for the health problems of these people anyway. Once they have become ill or injured, they go to the emergency rooms and are treated at a higher rate than if they had received preventative health care. These costs increase the costs for the hospitals and consequently those of us who are insured end up paying higher rates when we go to the hospital. The Republicans claim we have the best healthcare in the world, but all studies rank us a great distance from the top. We can do better!!! Everyone in this country needs affordable healthcare.


I truly don’t agree with this man. He just brings to the table what Obama and his group wants to hear. I want to hear a both sides at the same time be it 1 hour or 12 hours I want to hear it.


Medicare is run by insurance companies. An example of government-run healthcare would be the Veterans Administration, which doesn’t get high marks for care. We need reform of our medical care system but government is not the answer. I despise insurance companies, and I believe they should have competition, but surely there are alternatives to government-run healthcare. Most of what’s run by the government (The Postal Service is bankrupt) does not operate efficiently.


I still want to know, “WHY!” we are #45 in infant mortality and #45 in longevity while spending more of the GDP. Aren’t we supposed to be #1?
Thanks for pointing out the true definition of socialized medicine.


No, Mr. Lee, many of us don’t have a so-called left wing political bias (you have chosen to characterize us in that manner) ; our bias is for a medical system that provides the best care for ALL, regardless of one’s ability to pay. I choose to believe that view is what makes us caring human beings.


So I’m wondering why Victor Rodwin is not on the News Hour or network news making clear what you know if you travel: many other countries do it better without the insurance companies in the middle. You might have to wait for a hip replacement, but but no one is going to deny you chemo because you have a preexisting condition. Where I come from that condition is life.


Having lived in four European countries with government run health care the, my experience is that the USA medical care is far and away superior to any other country. What is never mentioned is that there is a two tier system in every country,long waits ,wards, and rationed care for the average person, no waits, private rooms in posh clinics and no rationing for those who carry private insurance.Similar to the situation that will exist if OBAMCARE is passed by Congress who will continue to have their gold plated health care while the rest are relegated to the wards, waiting and rationing.


It is evident that the comments here are biased toward left wing philosophy. When the emotions die down, maybe we can have a logical discussion about practical health care for all.


US Health Care is good only for people with money. Poor people may get some good care BUT – it is very iffy and depends on where you are. I have a poor (he makes only about $150 a week) friend who lucked out when his jaw was broken by a mugger. He lucked out and got an excellent sutgeon at UHMDNJ in Newark, NJ. But now he needs a thyroid operation and no one will do it as “Charity Care”. There is NO true Health Care Reform without some form of Public Option!


Right on, Victor! Two observations on health care: 1) show me a health care system that has the profit motive at its foundation and I will show you a sick health care system, and 2) some refer to the single payer option as socialized medicine and I respond by calling it civilized medicine.

Finally, demonizing those with whom we disagree appears to be the fashion for some commentators. First the President and now Daljit. Get a grip!


I think any improvement on health care is well worth it. However, from where I sit – behind a tv mostly where I don’t see anything else – I really don’t see any changes being made. At the same time, if I could thank the Obama administration personally, I would. I think they have done a fantastic job so far. It is unclear at this point if the doings of the chaotic George Bush administration are being used in our favor. Where is the line? It doesn’t seem like anything is being spelled out to the Nth degree. From what I understand, Singapore has the best health car system and the UK has a public health car system. If these are the systems that the people of this country are familiar with, These plans should also be spelled out and compared pros and cons and then from that choose the best course of action. Don’t go off in your own direction because you know what is best for the people just because you see what’s going on. As a person of this country I still have yet to see any gaurantees as to where I for one am headed.


About the Health Insurance topic…
Most Americans are like sheep running behind their two shepherders: politics and money. Most people are curious and interested. Sheep are dumb. They do not know the difference between Socialism and progress. They are being led by their noses and don’t realize it!
Viva Obama!


THANK YOU, Curtis (#47) for crucial insight on the toughest part of this issue: the economics, specifically, the true, horrendous, HIDDEN costs behind health care both as it is now, and as reform opponents would have it.

I just don’t understand why the Obama team and congressional supporters don’t consolidate facts and figures you mentioned, and probably a wealth of others, into a brief, coherent statement of these onerous costs, showing how meaningful reform may significantly reduce them, and thus go a long way towards defraying the $900 Billion tab. That’s the big number the opponents are most afraid of; they see it as one big costly entitlement (“giveaway”) to the undeserving, rather than an investment in a cheaper, more effective system, and a healthier citizenry– which after all, is essential to successful functioning and survival of this democratic nation.


Tom #40, no offense sir, but please consider more of the facts at our disposal. If you are a US citizen, you ARE paying for others’ health care – at a HUGE incremental cost over subsidizing an expansion of Medicaid for a few years. Among a litany of other ways, you are already – right now, through your higher taxes, insurance premiums you may pay, insurance profit “gimmicks” (limitations, exclusions, co-pays, limited drug formularies, all the other Jokers in the decks of cards insurance companies may apply to you) – you are paying for the health care of the uninsured by Medicaid, trips to ER for routine care by the uninsured, bad debts passed on to consumers, the uninsured but solvent (“private pay”, who pay the most without negotiated “contractual discounts”), bad debts community hospitals who cannot refuse care to indigents, etc..All of us who pay taxes, have health insurance, utilize health care providers, etc are not only paying for the uninsured and underinsured already, but through income taxes we are paying for the world-class, lifetime health insurance for these elected representatives who deny the same for us, as well as current insurance – also world-class – for their families! BTW – I am a CPA, former hospital administrator (accounting/finance director) and in ’97 I added an extra year of graduate study to my MBA for a combined degree. The facts I state are understated; the full story is more sordid: the high overhead from processing patient accounts for too many 3rd party payors; the bad debts from understaffed bad debt collections efforts or,in the alternative, the amounts lost as a result of delinquent accounts assigned to collections agencies. I was a turnaround specialist, operational auditor, forensic examiner – the waste alone made me sick, but at least I had great insurance (a 90/10 plan). However, in a prosperous country like the USA, there is no excuse that we cannot have health care for all – for free. Its just that we keep creating corrupt institutions that are “too big to fail”, as a result of “free market” ideologies favoring the wealthy, because they are purchased by the wealthy. Come to think of it, I wonder how Tom DeLay and the rest of his ilk -“retired” and active – is doing these days? Just fine, I surmise.


The health care situation in the united states varies between good and beter than other countries becauser as we see our health care as unaffordable,and finding a means to lower the health care prices over time.We all support a free health care market I believe competion between health care companies will bring the insurancs rates down and possibly work more efficently when the health care companies have to show the public their opperations.






We hear these Republican blow-hard Senator’s AND Congressman making false claims about the Superiority of the vaunted American Health Care System WITH their very favorite boast being that Canadian & British citizen’s all want to come here and take advantage of the U.S. Health Care system because we have the most fantastic health care in the World… You know, I hate to call the Republican’s LIAR’S (they did the President last night), but I have NEVER once bumped into ANYONE from any Country on the list of of 37 Industrialized Nations who has left the health care system in their own Country to come HERE for the Superior care we have…
I can guarantee this to ANYONE interested in the Health Care Debate here in the U.S. IF, Foreign Nationals actually do come here for “THE GREATEST HEALTHCARE IN THE WORLD,” there are 2 things going on here; 1st) those who come here KNOW that there are actually TWO separate Health Care Systems in the U.S. the system for those on H.M.O.’s, AND the Cadillac System for those WHO CAN AFFORD TO PAY FULL FARE IN CASH-And DO! They are also the one’s who get to stay in the really BIG Reserved Room’s that are named for some long since deceased former deep pocketed contributor who weren’t quite Rich enough to pay for an entire wing of the hospital!==========================================================================================================================
I encourage ALL of you to look up Health outcomes for the 37 Industrialized Nations under W.H.O. OR THE World Health Organization (within the United Nations) Presently the Mighty United States is 37th in Infant Mortality rates for a start, and if the mightiest Nation cannot properly lookout for those weakest among us, then I question just how mighty our Nation is…==========================================================================================================================================One trend that is for certain, and that has been reported upon by U.S. media, this is that more Americans are seeking Health Care from Asia and India because of cost, & outcome, not to mention more staff, and nurses to see after each patient…=========================================================================================================================I am losing patients with my country, and if President Obama doesn’t get through his reform, then I am likely to move to another Country, this is coming form a person who did 4 years in the U.S. Amry in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and someone who is in career where there is a shortage of multiple language computer programmer’s, and I have been learning to speak Danish over the past 7 years, and I have been told that I would almost certainly be granted citizenhip in Denmark… I do not wat this to happen, but it is a definite option.


Wow. How come almost every comment here is negative on US health care but yet there is such fear and resistance to changing it? Is this site populated solely by Democrats or lefties in general? I call on a Republican to wade in with some facts on their side.

I am a Brit and a US Citizen that happens to be very conservative. I am fascinated with this whole episode and so is the rest of the World. Similar to Katrina the sad and often hidden under belly of America is being exposed for all to see. The popular opinion around the World is that we must be ignorant, selfish and uncaring as it is beyond any other understanding. I love this country and am also embarrassed. For goodness sake stop the scare mongering and start educating with the facts.

Fact one -The existing system is too expensive…17% of GDP & growing rapidly….. ridiculous
Fact two – It is only available to the wealthy but the wealthy are happy to pay for ER services at five times the cost….stupid.
Fact three- We are not talking socialized medicine that doesn’t exist hardly anywhere in this world. Socialized medicine means that all care is provided by the state and private health care is outlawed. This is not the case in England, Canada, France etc etc.
Fact four – Those countries do not interfere with the patient doctor relationship in fact it is the opposite. Private insurance companies sure as hell do..pre existing conditions, life time limits etc.

Fact five- Our employer based system is tantamount to indentured service. We should own our own insurance and that would make for better employees and bosses. My boss would certainly learn a thing or two that he should learn but will never be told out of fear of retribution.

Fact six- We have terrible results, shorter life spans, higher infant mortality rates etc etc.

I could go on but what is the point as we are not looking at facts but going on politics and emotion.

Talking on emotion for a second this whole issue rings of basic human rights. It is simply a fact that a huge portion of Americans do not believe people should get healthcare if can’t pay for it. This is due to them knowing nothing else and therefore easily scared of change. If you don’t at least look at the grass on the other side of the fence how do you know if it is not better than what we have.

I agree that government bureaucracies are in efficient but the private sector has had 40 years to do it and has profits for motivation not people so never will.

We have a wonderful opportunity to come up with something better than anyone else taking the best from both worlds. This is just a start and nothing is written in stone. Lets start the journey now before it is to late. We must learn how to get government more efficient not eliminate it.

I am certain it will happen the Republicans have shown their cards to early this August and the facts will expose them for what they are scared,angry bitter people still smarting from the loss of the last election and the embarrassment of their last governments actions. It was a sweet thing when Bush had to bail out the banks…such an un republican thing to do but driven by a realization that they to not just the uninsured would have dropped off the cliff. Some things are to big to fail and one such example is healthcare. It is failing lets start to fix it now.


There are many fine doctors, nurses and hospitals in the U.S.; we certainly do have SOME excellent health care that equals the best of other countries.
But that fine health care is not available to all Americans by a long shot, and even many of us who have insurance pay way too much for that care.
The insurance companies siphon off a lot of money, and part of what they do is to deny service or make it hard to get. And pharmaceutical companies here get away with the highest prices and profits in the world.
It’s a very inefficient, top-heavy system. It doesn’t serve most people well, even though many of us like our doctors and get some good care. The greed and waste of the insurance companies could be eliminated by replacing them with a national health insurance, which, if administered as well as Medicare, would cost us much less and let the health practitioners do their jobs.


The professor’s response was so strange and unclear that it left the impression that Obama is proposing socialized medicine, which is most false. Why was he allowed to get away with that?


Why don’t all of you who think the Healtcare is so bad in the USA go someplace else where they have better Healthcare? Because the USA doesn’t have enough taxpayers to pay for Obamacare.
And I for one will stop paying taxes, I am not paying for other peoples Healthcare.


Illnesses should not be the source of big financial incomes. It is immoral.


The US health care system is among the highest cost per GDP among democracies (read: insurance company profits and the ROI from payoffs to lobbysists and Republicans),and the patient outcomes are among the worst.Yet here is a CUT & PASTE quote, from today’s (9-10-2009) website of one of the chiefs of the Blind-Side, Republican John Boehner: “Americans want health care reform – and House Republicans agree – but the Democrats’ go-it-alone, tax and spend attitude isn’t the way to improve the best health care system in the world”. “Best health care system in the world”? I guess when we can’t count the almost 50 million US citizens who cannot afford and/or obtain health insurance at all, that leaves some very satisfied mega-wealthy, rich, and upper-class Repub.. I mean, US citizens. Some of these people must have had poor outcomes from brain surgery, but don’t know it yet.


Our healthcare system in the US is woefully inadequate. Right-wing fear tactics calling the Obama plan “socialism” are an abomination. Ironically, many of those who are in the greatest need of an insurance plan in our nation resist the types of change that could be benefical, even critical, to their well-being. This is due to the fact that they buy into the rhetoric of their political party. Party allegiance for many is not a matter of reflective opinion or an examination of positions on important issues. Rather, it has been reduced to the level of routing for one’s favorite sports team. This makes a stance on issues like healthcare entirely an emotional choice, a blind devotion to one’s “team.” Both the buttery appeal of right-wing politicians and the smug reaction of the people who believe in their party position pose such a danger because this dynamic requires so little knowledge. It makes the general populace feel that they are the ones “in- the-know,” the loyal Americans. They enjoy being praised for their commitment to “freedom” and all that has gone into making our democracy what it is-these sort of vapid declarations which mean nothing at all really. It praises and edifies a poorly-educated adult population, steeped in an isolationist history, those merely content to hear how wonderful they are and villanize anyone in favor of change. Patronizing remarks that offer people comfort seem to excuse citizens from the unpleasant work of examining the options in any meaningful way. The problem is that President Obama is talking to a vast number of recalcitrant children who do not want to acknowledge any crisis and would rather believe simple attacks on the authors and supporters of any detailed, pragmatic solution. Once those negative labels and buzz words are circulating in the media to attack any proposal put forth from the White House, it seems to have the same impact as telling a three-year-old child that the boogie man will get him/her if this child doesn’t listen. A more enlightened explanation of how there is no such thing as a boogie man would do little to console that child. That child is too afraid and does not have the frame of reference, the background knowledge necessary to realize that there is no boogie man lurking. Keeping the general population in a patriotic frenzy is a very effective tool to keep the people from any form of critical thinking.


The U.S. has good health care if you can afford it. For people who have no health insurance, pray alot. If everyone is created equal, why can’t we all get the same insurance our government official’s carry. They sure don’t want the insurance that is being put together for the American public. I wonder what that says for the health plan?


It is comical to say that the U.S. has a worse health care than other developed nations. Instead of worse, it should read ‘equal to all.’ Everyone knows the U.S. has excellent medical capabilities. The hard true question is “Do we want all citizens to be equally covered with high quality care without paying more than we do now?” This is a daunting question—which I contend is unachievable. I have heard other countries talk about their “free health care.” Nothing is free. Whether it is in the form of time, money, or quality of services, those not paying and yet wish to receive excellent health care, will ultimately pay something; and those already paying for health care will pay more.


I am an American with epilepsy, asthma, and moderately severe allergies. Without insurance, my medication runs about $700/month–my wife’s approaches $400. I have spent my entire adult life working to pay for the pills that keep me conscious for 12 hours, and an inhaler that keeps me breathing. I am sick of it. I am sick of the struggle. I am sick of the fear. I am sick of dividing my life into $15 increments. The future of America is our ability to take care of our people. If health care reform fails, we fail as a nation.


I consider government controlled health care to be an infringement on my Constitutional right to privacy and an infringement on my life and liberty. We have great health care. Government will only make it worse because that’s what governement does best – screw things up.


The U.S. healthcare system (or lack of one) is at a crisis point. Affordable, accessible healthcare for EVERYONE must be made a priority; for a highly developed nation like ours…what, really, could be more important? Recent government policy has rendered us anti-health, anti-environment and anti-education as a nation. What possible good can come of that? The French health care model, to take one example, is NOT “socialized medicine,” a term most Americans use as if it were still the age of McCarthy and the Red Scare was still on. Private medical care will STILL BE AVAILABLE for those who want to and can pay for it. Physician autonomy will also exist. Let’s just make sure that good healthcare is NOT only the domain of the upper economic echelons and no one else by providing a PUBLIC OPTION. The insidious economics of the US healthcare system has resulted in what’s now a crisis and will soon be a disaster. It must be changed, and it must be changed NOW!


It is very sad but U.S.A. has the poorest HEALTH CARE in the planet knowing that is one of the richest country. THE HEALTH CARE INSURANCE ARE THE CANCER they are the ones that suck the money from the USA people and don’t cover nathing at the end. It is time to have a good Health care plan because children are suffering of ovesity please save the children of the future let Obama pass a bill or plan for health care, something is better than don’t do anything at all.


Republicans are scared to death of change of any kind. They respond to fear tactics on the part of their political action committees (Death Squads!!! Government Takeover!!!) etc. Progressives see that if the costs continue to rise as they are, we will be spending 125% of our gross domestic product on health care in 10 years. Something must be done. The problem with what we have now is that doctors are spending 23 cents of every dollar on administrative costs–that is, costs of billing the insurance companies and dealing with a different system for every different insurance company. If procedures were standardized, that would cut the costs immensely. That is part of the “fat” that Obama talks of cutting. Additionally, any high cost procedure, such as bone marrow transplants or cancer treatments, the for profit insurance companies routinely deny coverage for, even if it is explicitly included in the literature they send out with the policy. Consumers must sue to get the coverage on the policy. They Also lobby Congress to have such high cost procedures and treatments as “experimental” so that they don’t have to pay for it. In both cases, the insurance companies hope they can delay treatment until it is too late to be of value to the patient. The patient dies, and they keep their money. It’s “good business.” If you or I did that, we’d be up on murder charges. The system needs to change!


Silly question to be posed as if it matters to the “48oz. Big Gulp Crowd” (John Diaz @ SF Chronicle) who do the most yelling at Town Halls. The media in all forms in the US teaches a “culture of cruelty,” in films, TV shows, video games. No wonder the noisiest get “news coverage” as if it is worthy of attention at all. The “Fairness Doctrine,” which prohibited inflamatory speech in media was axed by Reagan, quietly so no one noticed at the time. Years later, Coulter/Savage, et. al. get wide airtime out of a distorted perception of First Amendment Rights to free speech. In school long ago we were taught it is OK to yell, “Fire!” in an empty theater, but not in a full one. Toxic Hate Foxoids call it “entertainment,” tho’ it clearly inflames too many across the length and breadth of the US. Yet, they are protected by massive funding from corporate sources, near $2 1/2 Bn
a day, over the last week. Other nations, even Taiwan, have it much better. An American has gone to Taiwan to administer the program, “Because the huge profits of administrators increase then costs for everyone there. I could not in good conscience stay there when offered this post.”


health care is become too expesive that many people can not afford to see a doctor. the government has to put cap about the cost of medical care.the doctor has to charge less.medical malpractise should be cntrolled in exchange for less charge for people. treminally ill people should not extend their medical because it is not going to help them. for example ,if a person has brain dead , no need to let him for medical suppert for years .it is te time to look for the at before it will be too late


My wife had a baby in hospital and it cost so much.We cannot offered to have any more baby because it drained all my saving and put me in debt.It was a normal child birth,but cost was too much.If you are poor and don’t have insurance,you cannot offered to have baby.
So american health care system is best only for rich and nothing for poor.There are other country where one can at least get to see doctor in reasonable cost.None of my family wants to live in america because they say,America is good as long as one’s bones are strong.I praise Obama and praying for him because he knows there are lots of poor americans.


The US has the worst health care of any major industrialized country. I have insurance and like many above can’t afford any but catastrophic care. Any disease and I’m doomed. We pay much more, many are uninsured, results are near the bottom in almost every category. And yet we can’t find the moral compass to insure everyone and focus on preventive care-look at the obesity and diabetes epidemics. My friends in Europe, Asia and Canada used to laugh at how backward the US has become. They’ve stopped laughing and gone on to facing the future with optimism while we celebrate individuality and darkness. Nice trade off. “You lie” indeed.


I believe health care in the US is spotty at best. Those who do not have insurance or independent means or cannot speak for themselves do not receive even adequate empathetic health care. We need reform of the delivery system, the economics of health care and better medical education. The profit motive has not given us the best care in the world.


With the majority of industrialized nations providing State Healthcare Services I can’t see why we do not take advantage of their experience and select the best features for ourselves. with The term “socialism” is being exploited by the opposition to create an element of fear in the populations acceptance of the program. We need a unified health care system,centrally organized to provide unified service to all. The only reaon I see retarding its adoption is the “Guns or Butter” situation we are in because of our overseas commitments.


America has the worlds best health care but only for wealthy customers. For many years the US system has been structured to harvest the savings of the aging baby boom generation who are now captive of a two tier system. Payment of outragious administraion fees is required to receive world class health care. All others are denied coverage. President Obama is upsetting the schemes of some who live in Naples Florida. The list was published long ago of those who get rich by buying and selling hospitals. Many in the US Senate owe their aliegence these investors. It is sadly humorous to watch Senators singing out their support of a system that hurts the citizens who elected them. And the Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides the cameras and the stage for them to stand and lecture Americans about the evils of healthcare reform. I was a Republican, but I would wash the feet of our President for the couragous stand he is leading against a corrupt system.


I believe that our basic health care is probably as good as or better than that provided in any other country. The problem lies in the economics of the delivery of that health care, and in the fact that too many people simply cannot afford it, with or without insurance. Our capitalist-based system encourages or even requires that providers compete with one another for patients and therefore income, instead of focusing entirely on the needs of all patients. A government based system of delivery (like Medicare, of which I am a very grateful recipient) could perhaps dampen the competitiveness which now leads inexorably to higher costs.


Doctors in Vermont, where I live now, are far less competent than the doctors I used to see when I lived in Manhattan, some years ago. Last spring, to obtain an updated pulmonological assessment for a longstanding condition, I had to (a) locate a pulmonologist in NW Vermont and then (b)self-refer because my regular doctor did not understand what I needed and sent me instead for allergy testing. At the Medical Center of Vermont pulmonology clinic, the specialists were competent in running the tests I needed, and arrived at what I think is a corrected diagnosis of asthma. But when they prescribed Singulair — which does help me — they neglected to discuss ANY its side effects. Yes, I mean NO discussion of side effects. Thank heavens for the Internet and search engines!!!


There are some amazing ‘scratch your head’ moments in American health care.

1.) My father had a developing hernia at 62. Not immediately threatening, but a time bomb. Insurance hemmed and hawed and gave the runaround. Eventually, one too-honest rep told him the truth. “You’ll qualify for Medicare soon enough”. Yep, two weeks after his 65th birthday, he gets a socialized surgery.

2.) I know two people personally on disability payments who could work. Except, if they’re “fully disabled” they get their fairly pricey health care, and they could never afford it on their limited earning power. Their doctors both understand, and are willing to vouch that they can’t work, even though it’s a lie.


No, I know US care is not even close to good much less best. My son’s life was saved as an infant by the French health system. He died, uninsured,by the substandard care available in an ER in California without the means to save his life. I also am a victim of the broken healthcare system as a disabled person no longer able to be a “productive member of society.”


As long as profit is the driving force in health care, the quality of services provided will suffer. The US system, which is largely controlled by private insurance and pharmaceutical companies, is a sad example, producing only mediocre results when taken as a whole and compared to other “developed” nations.


I’m an American in my late 30s. I’m insured. I haven’t seen a physician since childhood. Not on cost grounds, directly. But, out of economic fear. If I’m diagnosed with something… anything basically… I’d lose my private insurance, and I’d no longer be able to afford being an entrepreneur who takes time off. I’d have to find a full-time job (and employers discriminate widely against people with medical ‘conditions’ on hiring in the US).

Better not to interact with the system.


Daljit, we LOVE you. Martin was great, but you are incredible…keep up the great work!


Having lived 2 decades in Southern California, and about a decade and a half in Ontario Canada, I have had massive medical problems in Canada that have been taken care of efficiently without putting me in a lot of personal debt. Americans just don’t get it when a persons life is at stake. It isn’t about insurance companies, and money, it’s about saving lives, and here in Ontario Canada they are tops. The lobby of a hospital in Los Angeles made me think I was in a
3rd world country, complete havoc!


The healthcare system in the US is far from the best in the world. As one of the most powerful and wealthiest nations in the world we should have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. And yet we have people that don’t get the healthcare they need because they can’t afford the insurance to get that heathcare. They can’t afford to go to a doctor. Some can’t even afford to travel to a doctor. In an emergency they may be able to an emergnecy room for care but that trip could have been avoided in a lot of cases if they could have seen a doctor early on. But without insurance, people can’t go if they don’t have the money. Everybody deserves to have thier health. Everybody deserves good healthcare, preventive healthcare. Our people are our nations health blood! We must be taken care of to keep from getting sick, when we are sick EVEN if we can’t afford it. For without us…there is no U.S.


I was listening to Victor Rodwin’s conversation with Daljit Daliwal and was amazed to find myself listening to him parroting the rubbish that has been screamed at by those who have let their brains take a vacation. “death squads” of the government, government taking over healthcare…and find myself more and more wondering why one is hearing a different newscast from the previous anchor. He took a more universal perspective to the news, Daljit Daliwal with her new American citizenship (since she previously was a British citizen) seems to believe an objective perspective on news, which she claims as being an “international” perspective, has made worldfocus even more pathetic than the local channels. Thirteen has been taken over, but each evening, one begins to realize just how far from the original thirteen agenda it has strayed. This piece has left me speechless. Wow! how sad to see such a wonderful program degenerate into this…
Now one sees who the previous anchor was replaced. What a disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The health care $y$tem in the U.$. (please excuse the redundancy) is dollar-driven pure and simple. Not my opinion but the World Health Organization rates Cuba as having the best medical care in the Western hemisphere, and with lower infant mortality than its big, aggressive neighbor on the mainland.
Bill Moyers’ Journal recently showed the human face of suffering under the system currently in place in this country.
Does any halfway-informed person think for a moment that the people in any nation providing universal health coverage would trade it for oure?


I’m stunned when I read comments like Ms. Turcotte. How can USAians be so insular, so arrogant? They should look at medical statistics and other countries health programs, not ignore them. Our health system is corrupted by large corporations – health insurance companies, PHARMA and medical apparatus manufacturers. They control our political leaders and serving their true masters – Wall St. investors not medical patients.


US Healthcare system has been hijacked by Wall treet, Managed Care cost-containment subsidiaries of Insurance Companies, and big Pharma and other
medical corporations. As a result of the go-go profit-driven decades, the system of good public preventive community care has been killed off.
We will recraft a reasonable system if we excercize political will and harness our new technologies in service of America’s health.
If we fail, the US place in the global economy
will also fail.


Over the years, having been around doctors and medical students and working in the hospital environment as a health educator – it is clear that the quality of care from the providers has diminished due to the way that they are forced to work. We need to go back to the days where the doctor cared about healing people and not just having an affluent profession.


Our health care system is very broken. My children have much better care in Australia. I believe Obama doesn’t go far enough, but if he can get what he laid out, it will be a big step in the right direction


If the health care system in the U.S. is good, why are there over 40 million people uninsured? Even people who have jobs are not able to afford the costs any longer and many who can are not covered for what they need. This is not socialism. Rather, I find it could be called HUMANISM!


The healthcare system in the United States is the best in the world. Our problems are not with the healthcare system. Our problem is too much politics in the United States.


When President Obama ended his speech last night with eloquent words– making the health card issue a moral one, and a matter of social justice. I hope that those in Congress responsible for acting on this look hard at the success of other civilized countries where care for the health of people, not profit is the aim of their systems.


Rodwin hits the nail on the head when he points to the level of social solidarity in France et al. This is virtually nonexistent in the US, where the real argument, disguised by all the nonsense about rationing and government overruling doctors, amounts to whether people who cannot afford private insurance “deserve” equal health care. Anyone unable to keep pace in the vicious environment of unfettered capitalism is unworthy and should be left by the wayside. There is a deep undercurrent of racism, not to mention pure selfishness, in this viewpoint.

Americans become apoplectic if their “fundamental right” to own guns is in the least infringed upon. There is no concept in the average person’s mind that decent health care is a fundamental right. The ruling class have worked hard throughout US history to ensure that the working class have the right priorities.


Unfortunately our system is completely obsolete. It needs to be over-hauled and reformed. I have great insurance and have had all my life. I still believe we need to share the right to good health care for all Americans. There are very good mixed-models like France and Argentina, that allow for a robust private sector and profit dividends. Read the experts, nothing has to be socialized, that means no private sector. Get real even socialist like to earn money.


Love cures, and a cheerful heart is good medicine. Love could put the medical technology business out of business if people loved with all their might. Miracles abound in love. I’m a witness. God is love.


The health care system in the US is not even close to other Nations. Here only the Insurance company’s are doing very well. As a whole, they do not care one iota about the people who need treatment, they are evil incarnate

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