The pbs FRONTLINE show “Sick Around the World” contains facts, analysis, and a message that every thinking and responsible American needs to hear, see, consider, and act upon. In it, correspondent T.R. Reid examines the healthcare systems of five other advanced capitalist democracies — United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland — to see what ideas might help the U.S. reform its broken healthcare non-system. The show premiered last night but is available on demand to watch online (or, you can order a dvd for $24.95).
As Mike Hale said yesterday in his tv preview for the New York Times:
“… This fast-moving and entertaining hour starts from the premise that the American health care system … is a failure. And Mr. Reid makes the case (in about 10 minutes per country) that other capitalist democracies have not just cheaper more equally available health care, but also better care over all, with longer life expectancies and lower infant mortality rates. …”
Seeing nations comparable economically to our own, where the people and government take for granted that universal coverage and access to quality health care is a basic human right, where no one need ever fear going bankrupt because of a health care crisis, and where doctors do not demand to be rich in order to practice their profession, was enough to put real tears in my eyes (tears of hope and of shame for our nation). Of course, the show demonstrates ably that Universal Coverage does not have to mean Socialized Medicine: “Reid finds out it’s not all ‘socialized medicine’ in the rich capitalist democracies he visited. But he also finds out they don’t trust health care entirely to the free market — they all impose limits.”
Here are links to some of the materials available at the Frontline website for Sick Around the World:
If you like Pope Benedict’s open-hearted, brother’s-keeper approach to social justice (see our prior post), or if you liked the message of Michael Moore’s film Sicko, but have been looking for a presentation that is sarcasm-and smirk-free to share with family and friends, Sick Around the World is the answer.
for the new doctor -
the doctor gives someone else
… by dagosan
One final point: several of the experts interviewed were quite skeptical that our politicians will actually find a true solution to the American health care crisis. They noted that neither Obama nor Clinton is offering true reform and that universal coverage is unlikely to solve our nation’s health care crisis without greatly reducing the excessive cost of American medicine. We all need to make sure that the debate and movement toward universal health care is informed with the lessons that are there for us to learn from other economically-advanced democracies.