T.R. Reid is the author of The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.
From a Q & A about the book:
How did you choose the five countries featured in this report?--Marshal Zeringue
Two of our choices, Britain and Japan, were pretty obvious. I had lived in both countries, I had doctors there and knew the systems. I could speak the language, sort of, in both places.
Beyond that, we were looking for examples of each of the established models of health care systems. The U.K. uses the Beveridge model; Taiwan has chosen the Canadian-style National Health Insurance [NHI] model; Germany, Japan and Switzerland use the Bismarck model. We went to three Bismarck countries on the theory that these private-sector systems are more relevant to America than a British-style National Health Service.
I got interested in Taiwan because Taiwan's Health Ministry did what our film does; it traveled the world studying health care systems. In the end, Taiwan chose the Canadian model. We went to Switzerland because it is a ferociously free-market economy with politically powerful insurance and drug companies. But still, the Swiss managed to revamp their system, making it cheaper and fairer. We thought that might inspire Americans to believe that change is possible here, too.
You and your family lived in London and Tokyo; what was your experience with the health care systems there?
Our American family used the health care systems in Japan and Britain with considerable...[read on]