The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care
Richard Allen Williams (Editor)
Softcover: 304 pages
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Journalist and author T.R. Reid set out on a global tour of hospitals and doctors' offices, all in the hopes of understanding how other industrialized nations provide affordable, effective universal health care. The result: his book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.
You should buy this book.
It is the clearest and one of the most useful contributions to the ongoing health care reform. And, unlike most books that are described as a "useful contribution," it's a good read, too.
How is it that all other industrialized democracies provide health care for their citizens as a reasonable cost-something the United States has never managed to do? In The Healing of America, New York Times bestselling author T.S. Reid shows how they do it, bringing to bear his talent for explaining complex issues in a clear, engaging way.
In his global quest to find a prescription for American health care, Reid finds that it's not all "socialized medicine" out there. Instead, many industrialized democracies rely on free-market models the U.S. could use to cure a health system that has failed us. Reid visits wealthy, free market, industrialized democracies like our own, including France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and Canada. Chapters include:
Prologue: A Moral Question
A Quest For Two Cures
Different Models, Common Principles
France: The Vital Card
Germany: "Applied Christianity"
Japan: Bismarck on Rice
The UK: Universal Coverage, No Bills
Canada: "Sorry to Keep you Waiting"
Out of Pocket
Too Big to Change?
An Apple a Day
The First Question
An Afterword: "Obamacare" Explained
Appendix: The Best Health Care System in the World
The Healing of America lays bare the moral question at the heart of our troubled system, dissecting the misleading rhetoric surrounding the health care debate. Reid sees problems elsewhere, too: He finds poorly paid doctors in Japan, endless lines in Canada, mistreated patients in Britain, spartan facilities in France. Still, all the other rich countries operate at a lower cost, produce better health statistics, and cover everybody.
In the end, The Healing of America is a good news book: It finds models around the world that Americans can borrow to guarantee health care for everybody who needs it.
"Washington Post correspondent Reid (The United States of Europe) explores health-care systems around the world in an effort to understand why the U.S. remains the only first world nation to refuse its citizens universal health care. Neither financial prudence nor concern for the commonweal explains the American position, according to Reid, whose findings divulge that the U.S. not only spends more money on health care than any other nation but also leaves 45 million residents uninsured, allowing about 22,000 to die from easily treatable diseases." - Publishers Weekly
"Important and powerful...a rich tour of health care around the world." -Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
"The book's clarity comes from its thesis: The way America does things is not the only way things can be done. That simple refusal to remain inside the strictures of America's political debate -- where the argument is over how best to cover everyone while offending no one and changing nothing -- allows T. R. Reid to elegantly demonstrate how unnecessarily complex and inefficient and expensive and cruel our health care system really is. Unlike so many other commentators, Reid does not do this by exhaustively explaining the mechanics of the American health care system and wagging his finger at its many mistakes. He does it by offering insight into other health care systems. In particular, he examines the French, Canadian, German, Japanese, and British systems, alongside the pushes for reform that recently gave Sweden and Taiwan brand-new health care systems. The result is a sort of health policy travelogue: Reid flies around the world, investigating the workings of these systems and asking doctors in each to recommend a course of treatment for the chronic pain in his shoulder. This latter effort could be gimmicky, but it actually proves helpful: It allows Reid to view the various arrangements from both the high altitude favored by wonks and the ground level experienced by patients. Reid's reporting results in two important contributions to the debate we're having here at home. First, the national health care systems enjoyed by residents of every other developed country are superior to the fractured health care industry that serves Americans. They are cheaper, they cover everyone, and there is no evidence that they produce worse outcomes. Second, these national health care systems are all different. Some are socialized and some are not. Some are single-payer and some are not. Some are private and some are not." - Ezra Klein
T.R. Reid is a longtime correspondent for The Washington Post and former chief of its Tokyo and London bureaus, as well as a commentator for National Public Radio.
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