Reid's book convinced me that employer-based health care can work, and can work very well. This is the case because it works very well in Germany, Switzerland, France and Japan. Everybody is covered, no one is denied treatment, it costs much less than in the U.S., the outcomes are very good, and people don't go bankrupt over medical bills.
Reid has a bad shoulder. He went to England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and India to treat his shoulder and compare the local health care systems (he also went to an American doctor). All these countries (except India) spend less than America, have better outcomes, and cover everyone. However, their systems are quite different. In England the government owns everything and nobody pays a dime, like our Veterans Administration. In Canada the government pays for everything, but the private sector performs the service like our Medicare and Medicaid. India is an out-of-pocket place, like Americans without insurance. Germany, France, Switzerland, and Japan have employer-based systems like most Americans. While the foreign employer-based systems have significant differences, they are all much different from ours in that:
There were some interesting parts to the systems. For example,
With Reid's book in mind the current health care reform movement in America has a glaring flaw: all the other employer-based systems require non-profit basic health insurance, heavily regulate prices and procedures covered, transparency and simple administration. Maybe what's coming out of Congress will work, I certainly hope so. However, experience overseas suggests that we are leaving out key components of what is known to work well.
Oh, Reid tells us one other thing. The American health care system is the laughing stock of the world. Whenever anyone criticizes the German, English, Canadian, or other system, the standard response is: our system has problems, but it's not nearly as bad as in America.