Monday, January 12, 2009

Public Health & Medicare

Excerpts from  Getting There from Here by Atul Gawande, New Yorker (Annals of Public Policy ), 26 Jan 2006

In every industrialized country, the movement to reform health-care has begun with stories of cruelty...

Britain - Universal health care under the National Health System.

George Bernard Shaw was visiting an eminent physician when as assistant came in to report that a sick man had arrived requesting treatment. `Is he worth it?` the physician asked. It was the normality of the question that shocked Shaw and prompted his scathing an influential 1906 play, `the Doctor`s Dilemma`. The British health system, he charged, was `a conspiracy to exploit popular credulity and human suffering`.

Universal health-care coverage:
Britain - 1945
Canada - 1966
Australia - 1974

Britan has the most socialized system in the industrialized world...Established on July 5, 1948, the National Health Service own the vast majority of the country`s hospitals, blood banks, and ambulance operations, employs most specialists physicians as salaried government workers, and has made medical care available to every resident free.

France - Securite Sociale provides payroll-tax-financed insurance to all French residents, primarily through 144 independent not-for-profit, local insurance funds. The French system has the highest satisfaction levels of any industrialized country, and compared to the Americans, the French have higher life expectancy, lower infant mortality and more physicians and lower costs.

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