Thursday, August 30, 2007

If You Knew Sushi (Like I Knew Sushi)

A recurring theme here at IB is the advisability (or lack thereof) of a nationalized, gummint-run health care system. Over the years, we've examined (and dismissed) such systems as the "much vaunted NHS" of our cousins across the pond, the broken and bleeding system of our neighbors to the north, and others.
Still, some of our commenters (whose comments are almost always appreciated) insist that there must be some system, somewhere, that "meets the test." Often, they'll point to our Japanese friends as having "gotten it right."
Um, no:
Turns out, national "free" health care comes with a pretty steep price-tag: rationing. That is, because such systems discourage potential docs from pursuing high risk specialties ("why bother, I'll never make it back?"), appropriate care is often difficult to find.
Now, one may argue that we sometimes have similar problems here in the 'States. And one would be right. And wrong: when providers in our "broken, inefficient, smelly system" screw up like this, they're closed down. Period.
Not so in the land of the rising sun:
"Last year a pregnant woman who lived in the same area died after she was refused admission by about 20 hospitals which said their beds were full.
The problem is there are neither enough doctors in Japan, nor emergency facilities."
Still think we oughta go there?
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