What VM Staffers are Reading This Week
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  • Andrew Allison

    “There are many reasons why policies that seemed to be working well in Singapore — for the book indeed confirms they are working reasonably well — couldn’t be directly transferred to other countries, America definitely included.” Such as?

    • ljgude

      Well I can’t answer that in terms of Singapore, but I can talk about how things work in Australia which is a Texas mile closer culturally to the US than Singapore. Everyone pays a Medicare levy and everybody is covered. Get run over and you will get the best Australia can do for you. It happened to a teenage girl on my doorstep. Those of who were there literally threw the car off her. It flew. She was having convulsions. The Ambulance came and went. Never heard what happened to her. But I know this: her treatment was not dependent on her parents insurance plan. No one spent one moment worrying about the bill. The downside is that that same public system has waiting lists for getting things like a pacemaker or a kidney stone removed. But there is a private insurance system and private hospitals. I’m 71. I pay a lot – $2000 a year. (Horrifying no?) I’m getting a pacemaker for my AF after two ablations that didn’t stop the irregular heartbeat – the day after tomorrow. Waiting time 8 days. There is a crushing co-pay of course. $25. That’s twenty five dollars and no cents exactly like when I write my check to the IRS. The private system takes the pressure off the public system. In the US that girl would get the car thrown off her by Americans too, and the treatment she would get might vary a bit more, but it would be the best too. The difference is who would pay and how it would be paid for. If the girl was indigent then she and her family would not be paying but the public hospital would be recovering it costs in a system that is much more complex and inefficient than in Australia. Again see the Time article Bitter Pill. The difference is that in Australia the public and private system complement each other. If the private system gets too expensive people drop their private insurance and rely on the public system. If the public system gets overloaded, people take out private insurance. Our insurance companies work hard to keep the private system within reach. The public system works hard to give its patients what they need. It ain’t perfect by a long shot, but it works. Australia spends $3800 per capita on healthcare, Switzerland, $5643 and the US $8508. Us Roos are doin’ just fine down here.

      • Andrew Allison

        This can’t be right. Everybody knows that single-payer systems provide lousy service and are going broke [grin]. Thanks for the detailed description of one such, which nicely illustrates what’s wrong here, namely that despite almost two-and-half times the per capita expenditure, decent healthcare is, in effect, accessible only to those with private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid.

        • ljgude

          I’ve spent two long nights in australian big hospital emergency rooms and there was plenty dramatic things going on. There was a mix of young staff and older staff that coped marvelously. My first emergency visit was as good as I could ask for and they got my AF under control very effectively and I saw really competent doctors who settled things down quickly. I had top doctors continuously since I took out insurance and the treatment has been excellent. It has been easy to negotiate treatment questions and the whole process has been very professional. Much like what I saw a cousin receive at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

  • lukelea

    What, no serious literature? Me, I just reread the Jill and Skeeter chapters in Rabbit Redux. Those have got to be two of the most powerfully realized characters since Shakespeare.

  • wigwag

    With all due respect, if that’s the reading list the Via Meadia staffers need to get out more.

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