Terrific Series on Health Care

The debate over health care is shaping up into a showdown between further marketization of an American system already an outlier in its degree of commerciality, or comparative analysis of how other countries manage to spend less and cover more. NPR’s latest series comparing the French, Dutch, Swiss, British, and German health care systems to the US is a terrific contribution. Here’s the bottom line:

47 million people in the United States lack health coverage. It’s one reason the U.S. ranks 29th in the world in terms of life expectancy and at or near the bottom of most international health care comparisons. [But] many of the universal health care systems in Europe provide high-quality health care to all residents, at a much lower cost than what people in the United States spend on health care. Waiting times for care aren’t all that different from the United States . . . . [and] the countries of Western Europe rank higher on most measures of good health.

If the mainstream media had any sense of professional responsibility, this issue would be at the center of the current campaign. Until it is, Glenn Greenwald’s sad indictment will ring true: “our elections are determined by . . . petty, personality-based distractions.”

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