The Healing of America (medical insurance)
In the book, The Healing of America, T.R. Reid exposes deficiencies and imperfections of the current health care system roaming in the United States. In comparison to England, the England’s public health service specifically its National Health Service mainly provides healthcare to all permanent residents of the United Kingdom. These services such as medical insurance, therapies, and consultation fees are free of charge at the point of use and paid for from general taxation. In the United States, health care is available but not at a reasonable cost. In the author’s quest to find differences in the health care systems between the United States and other developed countries including, France, Germany and Japan, he found that many developed countries provide universal coverage with private doctors, private hospitals, and private insurances.
Is health care a human right? T. R. Reid poses this question to the lawmakers of the United States. He stresses the importance of health care as leveled to the importance of education in a country. He also stresses the necessity for a major health reform. In the current health care system, doctors are poorly paid, some patients are mistreated, poor services and facilities are rendered but still it operates at a lower cost, produces better health statistics and covers everybody.
Reid criticizes how the United States spend a greater percentage of its wealth on its health care system but still operates inefficient in terms of its standard measures such as life expectancy after birth (ranks 47th) and infant mortality (ranks 22nd). In the old bill, about 40 million Americans are uninsured. Reid compares two American mothers who are single parents. One is a well-compensated executive with employer-provided health insurance and the other one is a hardworking domestic who has no health insurance. When both women begin to experience symptoms of illness, the woman with health insurance goes to the doctor, and tests reveal early-stage ovarian cancer. She is treated successfully and lives to enjoy her grandchildren. The other woman, who is afraid to consult to a doctor and fearful that she cannot afford out-of-pocket costs for a series of tests, postponed going for treatment until the symptoms are unbearable. An ovarian cancer is also discovered after her consultation and she does not survive her ovarian cancer. Unlike in the other woman with health insurance, her daughter becomes an orphan. Compared with other democratic and rich countries, only in the United States such inequalities are a commonplace. In addition, although health cost acquires very expensive, medical operations could still be ineffective.
In comparison to France and Japan’s health care system, consumers have quicker access to a broader range of providers meaning there is no cost for going “out of network”. Also, no one is denied an insurance claim and/or turn to medical bankruptcy. To reiterate, per capita health care costs are far lower than in the United States, and still operates similar to the United States health care system and in some cases produces better outcome. In terms of providing quick access to specialists, he named Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark outperforming the United States.
Health care systems among other countries just like in the United States do have problems and no single health care system works to provide and cover medical services to all. In the United States, providing socialized medicine is not enough to produce low cost health care although in terms of the quality of its services, health care system provides high quality of medical treatments and services among its consumers. Reid emphasized integration of universal coverage and government regulation with entrepreneurialism to produce high quality and low cost health care. This only means preserving a greater role for competing private-sector doctors and insurance companies. Furthermore, government regulation and price controls also play a big role in keeping the market value among medical practitioners in the public service sector. In Britain, most doctors are in business for themselves and most of them practice in private through phone calls and/or by an appointment.
Socialized medicine is defined to provide health care insurance to people without existing illness covered in the insurance and is available for those who can afford it. In a democratic country like the United States, it is nearly impossible for the insurance companies to provide health care insurance without gaining profit or switching into a non-profit entity for public service. In these terms, covering everybody for health insurance and providing them medical services free of charge is currently not available.
Even in the new bill, the problem of the United States health care system centers on; cost, coverage and quality. Universal coverage in practicality is the first thing that should be fixed before anything else. It is an essential tool to control costs and maintains the overall quality of the nation’s health. To improve the overall health of the nation, universal coverage is necessary since everybody has privileged to be seen by a doctor and be able to get diagnostic and preventive treatment that will keep them healthy. In the case of the United States, most Americans get medical treatments if their illnesses are already severe and most of them were treated unsuccessfully. Although it is cheaper to treat an illness than to take preventive measures to hinder possible severe problems, the more important thing is the health of everybody (Reid, 2009).
Reid, T. R. 2009. The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.