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The Sound of Ideas

Health Care Around the World

Posted Monday, June 15, 2009

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Health Care Around the World President Obama promised a health care system that covers everyone regardless of ability to pay and regardless of pre-existing conditions. He's pushing Congress to have a bill on his desk by early fall. But what might a plan that works for everyone look like? What sacrifices in care would have to be made and how will we pay for it all? T.R. Reid, former foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, says there is much to be learned from foreign health care systems. In his Frontline special, Sick Around the World, Reid compares America's system to those in other countries. On Monday's show we'll talk with T.R. Reid about what the rest of the world can teach us about health care. Join us with your questions and analysis, Monday at 9 on 90.3.


Economy, Health, Children's Health, Mental Health, Other, Aging/The Elderly, Community/Human Interest


T.R. Reid, correspondent for PBS, NPR and The Washington Post

Additional Information

Sick Around the World, from Frontline
The New York Times article on the importance of money in the health care reform debate, Policy and Profit: Following the Money in the Health Care Debate, by Reed Abelson
The Cost Conundrum, by Atul Gawande, an article from The New Yorker on why health care costs are out of control, especially in McAllen, Texas.
This Doctor Does Not Want to See You, by Alice Park, a Time magazine article on how the Cleveland Clinic is getting into the business of health and away from the business of sickness
The World Health Organization (WHO)
The White House on Health Care
An evening with T.R. Reid, Saturday, June 20th, Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage

Leave a Comment

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Jill Spriggs 8:19 AM 6/15/09

My daughter lived in France for two years and I was astonished at how much less medical care cost there, and how much more user-friendly.  My husband broke a tooth while we were visiting and it cost 25 Euros to see a dentist and get a temporary crown.  The same treatment is over $700 here.

Jill Spriggs 8:41 AM 6/15/09

The Europeans pay higher taxes, but not only do they get free or heavily subsidized health care, but higher education is also subsidized.  Our French friends couldn’t believe how much we spent for our daughters’ college educations.  If you pass the bacc, you go to college in France.

Jill Spriggs 8:44 AM 6/15/09

The AMA does not control the number of people who get into med school; the government does.

Jill Spriggs 8:55 AM 6/15/09

Don’t forget that the pharmaceutical industry also has a lot to lose from nationalized health care.

Chuck good 9:02 AM 6/15/09

Great show! Very timely, Follow that with a pledge drive and I’ll switch over from KSU

a. stillwell 11:26 AM 6/15/09

I was able to listen to only the first 30 minutes of the show this morning - but a wonderful show!  It is very distressing that we, as a country, cannot get the health care issue settled - and humanely. I hope we soon do - and certainly this kind of information to us is helpful and encouraging!  Keep spreading the word!

Barbara Deeds 11:49 AM 6/15/09

People should realize that they are already paying for health care:  When I buy a car manufactured by GM, whether I am insured or not, I am paying $1800.00 (less $360 for the insurance company) for the health care of GM employees.  But, let’s face it premiums are higher because hospitals and other providers are charging more to cover their “free care” expenses.

So what we have is a two tiered system: uninsured citizens pay for the health care of the insured when they buy goods and services from companies who provide or individuals who have insurance.  These people are more likely to get preventative care on an ongoing basis.  The insured pay for the uninsured either through insurance premiums or taxes, but here the care is provided only for the very sick or injured.

Also, on the tax impact(read increase)issue:  we need to fair and compare apples to apples.  We would be transferring the amount currently paid by companies and/or individuals to insurance companies, add our out of pocket expenses for health care and transfer that money to an entity (federal, state or whatever) who in turn provides us with “free” health care. People are only looking at this as if the whole cost of a universal health care program is in addition to our current tax burden; they forget to subtract all their health care premiums and medical costs they are currently paying.  I am not saying it would be a “zero sum” transaction, but it might be close when you stop paying 16-20% of our health care costs to insurance companies.

Great show this morning; thanks for covering this issue with honesty and not just scare tactics!

Barbara Deeds


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