This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Switzerland's Health Care Model for the US

Per person expenditures on health care in the US are essentially off the chart higher than any other country in the world, yet the US is down there at 23rd on the list in terms of overall life expectancy, according to data from the Paris-based think-tank OECD. The Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") was meant to close this gap a little bit, but in fact it may be that with a little work, it could transformed into the Swiss model of health care, according to a story in Slate. And this is worth paying attention to, since Switzerland has the second highest life expectancy in the world (after Japan) at a fraction of what the average American pays on an annual basis. The Swiss model seems ripe for copying by conservatives, according to Slate.
At the highest level of abstraction, the idea of the Affordable Care Act is that over time Americans should be transitioned out of a blend of employer-provided insurance and lack of insurance and into a system of regulated, subsidized, individual plans. The model is Switzerland. And in an informative Reuters piece, Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy—two of the most important conservative health policy thinkers around—propose that Republicans embrace a system whose goal is to transition Americans into a system of regulated, subsidized, individual plans modeled on the Switzerland approach.
In other words, they want Republicans to surrender.
No repeal of Obamacare, no denouncing the individual mandate as unconstitutional, no insistence that the uninsured can just go to the emergency room. Surrender.
This is actually the kind of idea that is so crazy it could work. 

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