Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bored Now: The Healing of America by T.R. Reid

Bored Now

Bored Now will be my new quickie posts about which books I just couldn't finish. I get a ton of books from the library and half of them I don't make it through. So, in case you're wondering "What ever happened to the review for ...?" after seeing my Library Loot posts, this might help. :)

And, in case you didn't already know, "Bored now." is a quote from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Doppelgangland, spoken by the Vampire Willow from an alternate universe. Hence, the picture above.

From the library.

I saw this and it looked fascinating, but it is really preaching to the choir. The people who actually live without health insurance or are crippled by insurance premiums or prescription prices already know that we need a universal health care system here in the United States. Granted, very few to any of the people reading this actually have to think about such issues in their McMansions since they have excellent health insurance, but for the 45 million of your fellow citizens that have to weigh the price of a doctor's visit against feeding their family it is vitally important.

Do I believe, even after suffering through almost half the book before abandoning it, that we'll ever have universal care in our once great nation? No. Frankly, the rich just don't care about those who go without. And the upper middle class are too self absorbed to even consider anyone outside themselves for even a  nanosecond. The people who desperately need the universal system simply don't have the money to lobby to get what they need and deserve as a basic human right. Here in the United States money talks and it is quoting Animal Farm - everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.

So, if you can manage to make it through without becoming too disgusted with the state of our nation, give this one a try. I just couldn't tolerate the horrificness enough to finish.

In The Healing of America, New York Times bestselling author T. R. Reid shows how all the other industrialized democracies have achieved something the United States can't seem to do: provide health care for everybody at a reasonable cost.

In his global quest to find a possible prescription, Reid visits wealthy, free market, industrialized democracies like our own-including France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and Canada-where he finds inspiration in example. Reid shares evidence from doctors, government officials, health care experts, and patients the world over, finding that foreign health care systems give everybody quality care at an affordable cost. And that dreaded monster "socialized medicine" turns out to be a myth. Many developed countries provide universal coverage with private doctors, private hospitals, and private insurance.

In addition to long-established systems, Reid also studies countries that have carried out major health care reform. The first question facing these countries-and the United States, for that matter-is an ethical issue: Is health care a human right? Most countries have already answered with a resolute yes, leaving the United States in the murky moral backwater with nations we typically think of as far less just than our own.

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.


Mardel said...

!. I just saw that particular episode of Buffy the other day! I enjoyed it a lot, even though I'm way too old for Buffy shows. To be honest, I don't really like the older episodes...but then I'm kind of old.

2. I, and my family are some of those who really have to pick and choose about going to the doc. I'm convinced that my kids have not received the best of care while I was able to get Medical, and when I was able to work we couldn't afford insurance, but didn't qualify for Medi-cal - not that it helps that much.

3. I agree that we might not ever get good health care. Look at all the scare tactics the big corporations were issuing to ignorant people about the new health care bill. It may not be perfect, but it's a start and Obama had to fight tooth and nail about it.

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