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An article in The New York Times by Nicolas Kristof about the part of the American health system that works--the government part

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Believe It Or Not the Best Part of the US Health System Is the Government-Run Part

  • Sep 3, 2009
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"Here’s a paradox.

Health care reform may be defeated this year in part because so many Americans believe the government can’t do anything right and fear that a doctor will come to resemble an I.R.S. agent with a scalpel. Yet the part of America’s health care system that consumers like best is the government-run part.

Fifty-six to 60 percent of people in government-run Medicare rate it a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. In contrast, only 40 percent of those enrolled in private insurance rank their plans that high.

Multiple surveys back that up. For example, 68 percent of those in Medicare feel that their own interests are the priority, compared with only 48 percent of those enrolled in private insurance. "

That's the way New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof beings an excellent article about the US health system debate.  It's required reading for anyone who is intereted in the issue--and if you aren't, you ought to be.

Not only does Medicare please the people enrolled in it, the other big US government system, that run by the Veterans' Administration, is even better.

"It is fully government run, much more “socialized medicine” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effective elements in the American medical establishment.A study by the Rand Corporation concluded that compared with a national sample, Americans treated in veterans hospitals “received consistently better care across the board, including screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.” The difference was particularly large in preventive medicine: veterans were nearly 50 percent more likely to receive recommended care than Americans as a whole,"  Kristoff writes.

He adds that on his blog he is continually receiving comments from people outside the US who just don't understand why the country has dragged its feet in reforming its system.  I wonder too.

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September 03, 2009
That is indeed ironic and a point that I have not heard brought up in this debate. Thanks for pointing it out!
About the reviewer

Ranked #92
Mary Soderstrom is a Montreal-based writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her new collection of short stories, Desire Lines: Stories of Love and Geography, will be published by Oberon Press in November, … more
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