Research Project – Blog Post IV

The bases of this book, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care” , and what I do want all of you to remember is no healthcare system worldwide is perfect.

“No matter how good the health care in a particular country, people will complain about it” -Tsung-Mei Cheng

Some have their pros and some have their cons, and that is what I believe the writer, T.R. Reid, hoped to accomplish with this extraordinary book. This book hopes to accomplish just that and that we should be able to look at different healthcare models worldwide and choose ideas that are deemed good for the common people and disregard those that are not. What I hope to accomplish in this post is to hopefully fill the in gaps of any misunderstandings of our healthcare system and connect the points of my last three blog posts.

To begin, I’ve learned a lot of things about our healthcare system, however I never knew about different countries. These insights in this book helped me get a better understanding of that. Throughout this book the author searches for a country model to heal his arm and writes about it throughout the book. The author however stresses that his shoulder was not his top priority and that there was a much “bigger medical problem” with this nation’s healthcare system. On his journey, he gathers information on the different models of each different country and categorizes them into four distinct models.

The first model is the Bismarck Model.  This method uses an insurance system which are called “sickness funds” and is typically financed jointly by employers and employees through payroll deduction. Contrary to America’s health plan, though, countries with the Bismarck Model have health insurance plans that must cover everybody, and they don’t make a profit. Countries that the author visits that make use of such model is Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, and Switzerland. The second model, called the Beveridge Model, is similar to that of the Bismarck Model but instead of being financed by employers and employees through payroll deductions, it is financed by the government through tax payments just like schools and police enforcement. All the hospitals and clinics are owned by the government unlike the Bismarck counterpart. A great example of such model exists in Great Britain and Spain.

“No matter how much money is spent on health care, the doctors and hospitas will argue that it is not enough”  -Tsung-Mei Cheng

The third model also known as the Out-of-Pocket Model is one that is found in rural countries such as Africa, India, China, and South America. Ironically, the author, Reid, used this model to pay for his treatment in his arm at India even though this is the model that the he despises the most. A reason being is that it all comes down to whoever is rich and poor. People can go through their whole lives and not even go to a hospital. The rich tend to be healthy while the poor struggle greatly with such model in place. In the fourth and final model the author states that it is probably the best model out there. This is called the National Health Insurance Model. It takes ideas from both the Beveridge and Bismarck Models. It tends to have lower prices and even provides opportunity for price negotiations. It is so good that it’s one of the primary places that people tend to travel, especially Americans, to buy their prescriptions. Unfortunately it is only found in Canada and some newly industries places such as Taiwan and South Korea.

“The contention is that the United States, with its commitment to free markets and low taxes, could never rely on big-government socialism the way other countries do.” The insights that the author has that relate to what we are studying in this class is just that. We tend to pay too much for our services without getting fully what we want. In this class I remember reading articles about how we as American’s need to be better with our spending and how it relates to our economy being the way it is. One great example in this book is that Americans are “shelling out big bucks” compared to other countries. Japan is one of the oldest populations in the world and the Japanese people visit their individual doctors more than any other country. On average they tend to see doctors about fourteen times in the year compared with five visits for Americans. Here is the kicker, we spend about $7000 per person each year compared to that of $3,000 per Japanese person.

This book has more than done it’s part in the way I think of our policies in America. T.R. Reid done so by giving examples and fully exploring it himself. In the beginning of the book the author gave three laws by Tsung-Mei Cheng, that wherever he went, he has been able to incorporate such laws in to those countries despite their differences in their own individual healthcare systems. If you paid close attention I quoted two of them above and by the end of this post, I will be sure to include the last and final law. However, before I do that I need to explain that throughout the author’s journey he’s always found something good and bad about each individual model and country. He hasn’t found one that is perfect and I believe that there will never be a perfect way to do something. People will “always complain” and will “argue that it’s not always enough”. However, even past these two laws a third will surely pop up after, and that is…

“The last reform always failed” – Tsung-Mei Cheng




Reid, T. R. The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike, 2010. Print.

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