Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sick Around the Word

Frontline is an online and on air journalism program that looks at critical issues we all face. Last year they worked with a senior reporter from the Washington Post to look at the delivery of health care. The program can be viewed online.

This program, Sick Around the World, looks at how five other capitalist democracies -- the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland -- deliver health care, and what the United States might learn from their successes and their failures.

  • UK - there is the government funded National Health Service (NHS)
  • Japan - everyone must buy health insurance, either through an employer or a community plan
  • Germany - offers universal health care, including medical, dental, mental health, and homeopathy
  • Taiwan - the government collects the money and pays providers but the delivery of health care is left to the market.
  • Switzerland - health reform saw the establishment of a universal health care system that restricted insurance companies from making a profit on basic medical care
This is of particular interest given the current moves to reform the US health system. The Wall Street Journal has been critical of Obama's move to nationalise the health system and has given attention to what they see as the failures of the NHS. Frontline has posted a 10 minute clip from Sick Around the World that profiles the NHS. This is available online.

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