SURGERY RESIDENT BLOG

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The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care

In his book, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care,” T.R. Reid compares health care systems around the world, and compares them to the system in the US, while at the same time explaining the lack of universal health care in the US.  He questions the disconnect between the US being the nation that spends more on health care than any other nation, and the fact that over 45 million people are uninsured.

Linked to his argument for universal health care is his personal story — a search for treatment for his illness in France, German, Japan, Canada, and the U.K.

What people like about this book
Nursing student: “He shows us that it is possible to have an excellent health care system that is focused on the well-being of the patient and not the all-mighty dollar. He also breaks down a complicated subject into an enjoyable reading experience, with prose that is clear and intelligent and often humorous.”

Anonymous: “1. It is well written even funny in places. 2. It is very informative. 3. It presents comparative data both as to health outcomes and also ways of paying for health care 4. It is non-partisan, even though by the end one wonders why we Americans are paying so much for health outcomes that are actually worse than any comparable country. 5. It is revealing as to the complexity of the US”

Anonymous: “The book is written in a crisp, enjoyable, conversational style. It is clearly ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS OF THE YEAR!! Also, don’t skip the appendix. It holds a wealth of statistical data supporting his arguements.”

Anonymous: “Interesting, informative. Makes a complex subject easy to grasp. I have words or sentences on almost every page underlined or starred. I couldn’t put it down–reads almost like a novel!”

My thoughts
Unless you see the long term effects on the health of people who lack health care, you will not be able to appreciate the need to provide insurance and better access to primary care for the poor.  In economic terms, a trip to the Emergency Department or a stay at the hospital for a condition that could have been better managed or prevented by a primary care doctor is not cost effective.  Finally, there is an emotional toll to not having a regular doctor, or a quick place to go if you have a simple medical ailment without waiting for hours in the ED; it is demoralizing, to say the least.

Source: The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by Reid

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