June 14, 2023
Professor Aaron E. Carroll, MD, MS, is the Chief Health Officer of Indiana University. In a guest essay comparing the US health care system with the systems of five other nations that was published June 13, 2023 in the New York Times (“I Studied Five Countries’ Health Care Systems. We Need to Get More Creative With Ours.”), he writes:
“America could learn a thing or two from these other countries. We could take inspiration from them and potentially improve access, quality and cost.”
Though the Canadian system may be more familiar with people in the US due to simple geography, Dr. Carroll argues that systems in other nations may provide better examples for potential cost savings and system efficiencies, pointing specifically to Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.
He contends that the type of insurance is unimportant: “Insurance is really just about moving money around. It’s the least important part of the health care system.” What really matters is the bottom line: “Universal coverage matters. What doesn’t is how you provide that coverage, whether it’s a fully socialized National Health Service, modified single-payer schemes, regulated nonprofit insurance or private health savings accounts.”
Dr. Carroll points out that one of the main differences between the US and these other nations with better health outcomes is that they invest more to address other social determinants of health including housing, education, and nutrition:
“Our narrow view too often defines health care as what you get when you’re sick, not what you might need to remain well.
“When other countries choose to spend less on their health care systems (and it is a choice), they take the money they save and invest it in programs that benefit their citizens by improving social determinants of health.”
As Dr. Carroll concludes, “We’ve already decided to spend the money; we just need to spend it better.”
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Page last updated June 14, 2023 by Doug McVay, Editor.