Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Healing of America

Having just come through a serious illness of my own, I listened with interest this morning as New York Times bestselling author T.R. Reid discussed his new book "The Healing of America."

In the book, Reid gives an account of his findings after his visit to wealthy, industrialized democracies worldwide to investigate which countries have the best healthcare system.

After stops in Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K., Reid found inspiration in the fact that unlike the U.S., these countries have achieved their goal of providing all citizens health care at a reasonable cost. He also found that "socialized medicine" is not the way that the successful countries are caring for their citizens. The coverage is there, and the healthcare statistics are better than those we have here in the U.S., but it's being provided through private doctors, private hospitals and private insurance. While Reid did find some problems, like long lines in Canada, sparse facilities in parts of France, and poorly paid doctors in Japan, none of the various world systems he reviewed are run by the government.

I only hope that our own government considers the investigations of people like Reid as they continue the debate over our own healthcare reform. We definitely need change. A two week infection has cost me several thousand dollars, and I may need more treatment before it's all over. But, that care should not be handed down by a government who has had so many problems running itself, leaving our country in the current financial state it is in. In fact, had I have faced my illness in a socialized system, I'd probably still be waiting for the care that in this case may have saved my life.

Basic healthcare is a fundamental right of all human beings. Government run healthcare is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Check out "The Healing of America." It's available at online booksellers like, and is a worthwhile read in a time when so much is at stake.

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