October 12, 2009

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(As always, China looks at things a teensy bit differently than we do)

I've been working on getting a world overview of the Healthcare situation. Earlier this week I ran a debate over Health Care in Australia, hearing about issues we only hear rumors about. I kept wondering if in fact, the U.S. was the only country in the civilized (or even semi-civilized) world that didn't have some form of National Health, even as an option to private insurance. Hard to believe, but it's true - we are completely backwards in our relationships to health and healthcare.

Thanks to the BBC, I was able to locate a documentary done in 2008 which asked that very question - and did some exploring in Britain, the U.S. and China and came back with some interesting and very informative answers.

John McDonough (Director: Health Care For All): “All of the incentives, right now in our system reward Health Care providers for the volume of services they provide. So you get more money by doing more and more and more at a higher technological level. And we know the real secret comes from doing the lower complexity level of care much better than what’s being now. So all the rewards come from more procedures. And the more talking you do, the more time you waste and the less money you make. The incentives are completely upside down”.

The one thing I have noticed that's most disturbing about the current Health Care debate is the total lack of knowledge of what the issues and what the alternatives are. Clearly, ignorance is far from bliss and finding out how the vast majority of people on this planet handle things like doctor visits and emergencies is absolutely imperative if we're going to make crucial choices. Having ignorant people dangle the fear card in front of you doesn't do you or anyone else any good. Useful, factual information and knowledge of something your life and peace of mind depends on may save your ass in the long run.

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