HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Friday, July 27, 2007

Better Medical Care in Europe?

The New Republic has an article by Jonathan Cohn discussing whether medical care is better in Europe.   This has developed into a rather hot topic recently due to the scholarly articles (most recently JAMA) reporting that other countries with universal coverage spend less and receives better care and due also to SICKO (the movie) has made some comparisons between the United States health care system and other systems.  The article is here and is well worth a read.  (you do need to register - but it is free).

Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly provides a brief overview of the article's findings:

I suppose you're all getting tired of hearing this, but the conclusion here is pretty much the same as it is every time you look at the U.S. vs. Europe: the differences are almost entirely about money. If you have a national healthcare system but you spend way less than the United States (as Great Britain does), you can provide good but not great service.  If you spend modestly less than the United States (as France does) you can provide healthcare every bit as good as ours — and cover every single citizen in the bargain.

And what if you actually spend as much as the United States — but you have to put up with our ragtag private delivery system? Then you get healthcare about as good as France's, except that it doesn't cover everyone, it bankrupts large companies, and it goes away anytime you get laid off. And all for only about 40% more than anyone else in the world pays. Pretty good system, eh?

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