Healthcare Without Borders – International Perspectives on the Reform Debate

Stephen Hawking

By DJ Edgerton

July 31 can be marked as the point at which the American health care debate officially abandoned all logic.

On that day, an Investors Business Daily editorial opined, “People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

As you’ve probably heard since, Stephen Hawking, a British national, has spoken very highly of the ALS treatment he’s received from his country. But let’s not mock the newspaper too badly. They did acknowledge and address their inaccurate reporting. And more importantly, they’re certainly not the only ones to lose their heads in this debate.

Americans sometimes forget, so caught up as we are in the current furor over health care, that other industrialized nations don’t have one “rest-of-the-world” system of “socialized medicine” or “national health care”. There are a huge variety of different programs in place. Everyone in the world is a patient and we all need health care.

We at P&P are not policy experts, but we think it would behoove all of us to take the time and do our homework to actually learn how health care systems work in other countries, like:

or a variety of industrialized nations.

Again, we are designers, marketers and communicators – we are not managed-care or political experts

But we are a multicultural, multinational, multitalented work force, and we’ve realized the benefits of seeing the world outside the U.S. as

  • not homogeneous.
  • offering useful lessons.

We believe that it’s incumbent upon those of us who are American voters to take the time to really see the disparate ways that healthcare has been handled in successful nations.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” wrote John F. Kennedy. As the United States hopes to keep leading the world, so must we continue to learn from the rest of the world.

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