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PT and the Greater Good

The Healthcare Reform Question

Published April 7, 2010 2:29 PM by Dean Metz

I've gotten a lot of questions from people asking how the new US healthcare reform bill relates to the NHS in the United Kingdom. I've just spent a fair amount of time looking over some of the points that take immediate to near immediate effect in the United States. In truth, there is no resemblance to the UK system at all. I've been trying to figure out the difference myself for a while and I think I've got it. In the States, the new system will still be one of multiple payers mostly for for-profit healthcare businesses. In the UK, the system is really just another service provided for the citizens, not unlike the fire and police and the military. Healthcare in the UK is a business, of course, but more like the way the military is a business in America. There are private contractors providing submarines and tanks in the military and over here there are private contractors providing MRI machines and hospital supplies for the NHS.

In the UK, healthcare is as much a part of the civil service as is the library. That is the inherent difference. What I find more interesting about the healthcare reform bill is how it really provides for public health better than anything has previously. Prevention for Medicare recipients sounds like a fantastic idea. Which group is most likely to have the highest needs and provide the greatest drain on our resources? Our eldest, that's who! If we can keep them well for longer periods, we will save money in the long run. That money will then be there for us when we need it ourselves. For those of you who think the United States is going the way of the UK, take heart, it most definitely is not.


I continue enjoy your blog.  Matter of fact it is the only blog I read.

I just finished reading T.R. Reid's "The Healing of America".  He is a journalist who has lived around the world.  He decided to travel to various countries asking various questions about the countries health care and to seek help for his "sore shoulder'.  He lived in London also so he discusses the UK system as well.  I found it enlightening. And it made me wonder why we in the US continue to believe we have the "best health care"?  It depends on what we are compared on, in some areas, like infant mortality, is surprising poor.  I think we may have the "best medicine", but "best health care" maybe a stretch.    

Katesel strimbeck April 11, 2010 5:55 PM
Glenmont NY

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About this Blog

    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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