Friday, June 5, 2009

GM vs healthcare

I heard on the news a few days ago that the US government is now a 60% owner of General Motors, and the Canadian government owns 12%. I don't know what percentage of which banks the US government now owns, but I rather suspect that many Americans would far prefer to own medical insurance than a bankrupt car company or fallen-on-hard-times bank. Strange priorities!

I recently heard a criticism of the Canadian healthcare system, how inefficient it was, both from the perspective of users facing waitlists for needed medical procedures and the perspective of accountants toting up the costs of providing services. This critic recommended that the American government look to the Japanese style of healthcare rather than the Canadian style.

I don't know anything at all about the Japanese system, but I am willing to accept the critic's opinion that it is far better and more efficient than the Canadian system, knowing as I do first hand that our system is far from perfect. However, the American system seems so unfair, unjust and expensive that almost anything would be better, they need not go with the best system to experience a vast improvement. Sometimes the best is the enemy of the good; striving for the best delays action and can prevent a "good enough" system being implemented in a timely fashion.

Note to self: what is the Japanese system anyway? I'd love to know what the "best" healthcare system in the world looks like.


Barbara Anne said...

I vote for healthcare! I worked for more than 30 years before I could no longer work and my medical insurance was always tied to my job. Change cities or hospitals, change insurance. No job, no affordable insurance. Unfair is right!


20th Century Woman said...

You are right. The US has a terrible system. That is, for everyone under 65. Actually, Medicare is pretty good -- not perfect -- but good. If we could just have Medicare for everyone that would do. But I would like to know what the Japanese have that is so great.