December 20, 2010

For healthcare, the US is made of four countries.

In the USA we have four different countries for healthcare purposes.
If you are in the military, you live in England.
If you are over 65, you live in Canada.
If you are insured by your employer, you live in Germany.
If you have no insurance, you live in Afghanistan.

From TR Reid's talk at the Commonwealth Club of California:

WATCH THE WHOLE THING: TR Reid, the Healing of America on


  1. Mostly true, but keep in mind, active duty personal stationed or otherwise currently in the US don't use the Beveridge style "socialized" VA system, they use Tricare, which is a government single payer insurance system, like Medicare. Otherwise, spot on.

  2. Not that i am a policy expert on Afghani HMO's but there are instances when those without insurance are not tremendously doomed. A couple of years ago my girlfriend broke her arm, at the time she didn't have any medical insurance. Under the Colorado Indigent Care Program she was able to get the majority of her med bills taken care of, maybe leaving us 10-15% to pay.

    There is no doubt that we were fortunate to be able to have access to the program, we were fortunate to have the means to decipher the 30 pages of paperwork, and we are much, much better off than many (most) of the un-insured. I don't want to suck the power out of the point you made, because you are right, our health care system is appalling. There are, however rare they maybe, times at which the system in place helps those who need it.

    And for as radical a decentralist, pro-liberty, theoretical anarchist that i am, there are some things that do better in socialized systems: the courts, the police, the fire departments, and medecine, there are others but these are easy to identify. Our best hope for these are social systems with meaningful democratic oversight and constitutional protection.

  3. I opted not to take my healthcare package from my employer because it was expensive and didn't cover shit. I get my healthcare at the VA here in Boston. I can only say that my care has been exceptional. I'm fortunate that I have that option - most people don't, especially when I was unemployed - I didn't lose my coverage. In fact, because my income was so low, I didn't have to pay for my meds, or my already low co-pay.

  4. And if you're working in Hawaii, it's like Switzerland, and soon in Vermont, it'll be like Taiwan.

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  6. Speaking of Hawaii and Vermont, I think they're evidence we may need to get all of America on expensive private insurance to get them more amendable to a single payer system, because these two states have the highest rate of insured in the country (Vermont through various piecemeal means and Hawaii through government regulation enacted in the 70s that requires everyone working 20 hours to get adequate insurance. An actual model for reform, and Obamas from there, but of course, he never looked at Hawaii), both over the 90 percent range, so they're used to most people having insurance, but realize just having people insured privately is a costly and wasteful thing, so single payer has really caught on there for its cost controlling measures. It's pretty much going to happen in Vermont, with the Democrat and Progressive party uniting on it (mostly out of the Democrats fear of losing its base) and the governor on board and Hawaiians are really considering it now too. If the inhumanity of people dying from lack of insurance didn't work, perhaps cost control will :p